Why I Stopped Settling for “Eventually” and Started Being Single in My Relationship

by Keila Dumas
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To me, timing is everything. Time is essential, time is money, time is the driving force behind everything you do, right? 

Now, imagine being with someone who expresses a completely different connection with time. Someone who “goes with the flow” and “lets life happen as it’s supposed to.” That, my friends, is my boyfriend. He is my balance, the calm to all of my stress and anxieties, and the most patient man I know. That being said, when discussing our future, I notice that my compulsive calendar writing and sticky-note hoarding is no match for my in-tune empath, July Leo partner. Example: I wanted marriage before I had a baby. Well, I had a baby and still have not seen marriage. Granted, we live the millennial “shacking up” lifestyle quite comfortably, but again, time is essential and I am not getting any younger.

Moving forward, I noticed that in a lot of our heart to hearts I would mention a relationship goal and follow-up with a logistical timeline of when it could possibly happen. Example: Although I’m happy with what I have, I’m a woman and diamonds are my best friend. I want a ring. His response? “You’ll get one…eventually.” That answer reminded me of when I asked my parents for a Christmas gift that was never going to happen. I felt child-like. Almost as if my ring/wedding/marriage fantasy was just that. But that still wasn’t what made me become single in my relationship.

I needed attention. I wanted to be courted again. 

Time had passed and a lot of the spontaneity of my love life had become either non-existent or routine. Parenthood also hindered a lot of the “young love” stuff that we were indulging in prior to our daughter. Routine had made us forget that we were people and not robots. To him, I was no longer the girl that he thought about every day or wanted to talk to every day. I was just his girlfriend that he saw all of the time; or as he would put it, “we’re always in each other’s faces.” To me, he was slowly fading into the shadows of our Pinterest-inspired “Martin and Gina” apartment. He was just there. The dynamics changed after the title was applied. I would get so angry because he was no longer doing “the little things” that made me latch to him in the first place. And that was the problem! I latched to him.
                                                                                                      
I forgot that before him, before relationship, before girlfriend, before motherhood, I was Keila. 

I was a single, Black woman, with an unfiltered mouth, and I was unapologetic; but he softened me. I would get upset and tell him that we needed to get back to how we were and communicate better, “date” again, and his final response ignited a fuse in me that I don’t think will ever go away. “We’ll get back to that…eventually.” I was over it. There were too many “eventuallys” and not enough “let’s do its.” I refused to get lost in someone else’s timeline of betterment. I was tired of waiting for my partner to bring a happiness back to me that he initially wasn’t the sole provider for anyways.
So one morning, I woke up and decided to be single again. (No, I did not break up with my boyfriend, but I won’t lie and say that I didn’t dangle the idea of a break.) I courted myself. I started taking myself on lunch dates, and going out to the grocery store alone. I put on make-up and heels, and just got some damn air. I started doing it as much as I could so that I could properly express my new found appreciation of my independence. I started doing “the little things” on my own. I didn’t expect “good morning” or “I miss you” texts anymore because I no longer expected anyone to check for me more than I was checking for myself.

The cool thing about separating yourself from your relationship is getting the chance to remember who you were before the relationship happened. 

Single Keila at 23, 24 year old relationship Keila, and 25 year old mom Keila were all three different people that I didn’t get to experience single-handedly. I missed myself so much that the idea of being in a relationship seemed pointless once I came back around. That was perfect. The validation that I now provide for myself overpowers any reassurance I’ll ever “need” from anyone. Aside from my daughter, my priority is me. If I forget to be selfish sometimes, I forget to cater to the things that brought my boyfriend to me in the first place. My sense of self is no longer contingent upon “the little things” or the ring I’m still waiting for, or the communication we still have to work on. All of that will happen when it’s supposed to, right? Absolutely right.

To close, I am still very happy in my relationship, but I will continue to be single. Why? I’ll quote one of my favorite films, Breakfast at Tiffany’s to say: “We don't belong to each other; he's an independent, and so am I.”

Without our individuality, we hinder that spark that we both bring separately, and dimming each other’s light has never been an option.

Disclaimer: I love my boyfriend. Do not let the title fool you. We are in a happy, faithful and loving relationship. However, we are still two individuals who need to be just that in order for us to continue being the people that we chose to be with.

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