It's Not That Black And White These Days

It's Not That Black And White These Days

Cheers to the gray area.
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When asked if he liked a girl, my friend’s response was, “it’s not that black and white these days, is it?” I was surprised, yet somewhat intrigued and pleased at his answer. Prior to this conversation, I’d only ever seen it two ways: yes or no. You either like someone or you don’t. Put in the effort or walk away. So his question really got me thinking.

It made me realize that I’ve been wrong this entire time. Sure, for some it may be as easy as a yes or no, but in the age of dating apps and the hookup culture, it’s really not as simple as it used to be. Now, there’s this gray space that’s confusing and stressing us and making our lives so much more difficult. Within that space lies so many variables and questions.

Maybe you like spending time with someone, and you know you’re definitely more than just friends, but does that necessarily mean that you like him or her? I’d argue no. In my eyes, enjoying your time with someone is solely about enjoying their company and interests, and maybe even their personality. However, liking someone is about wanting to get to know the person on a deeper level and appreciating who they are as an individual. While the former can surely lead to the latter, it’s intrigue and curiosity that are driving factors of liking someone, and those are what I believe mark the true difference between the two.

I’m not quite sure what my intent is in writing this article. I suppose this is more food for thought and my take on the matter rather than anything else. You might agree or disagree, and that’s fine. Again, it’s just my opinion, so don’t take it too personally or seriously.

I know I’m not the only one that’s been confused before by someone else’s signals and intentions. But prior to having that conversation with my friend, it never really hit me that I’ve been living in this gray area for some time now. Honestly, I think I’m okay with being in the middle… for now. Until you find that one person that continues to peak your interest and draw your attention, live in the gray area! There’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, sometimes it’s just what we need.

Cover Image Credit: icytales.com

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Want To Be A Better Boyfriend? Try These 5 Tricks

4. Listen to her.

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Some days, it seems like girlfriends are constantly asking for more, and while they may be annoying, there are a few simple ways to stop her nagging and win her praise.

1. Pay attention to her.

I promise you, she is dropping hints every day. These may sound like "Awh, look at all the pretty flowers" or "I haven't been to Boba House in so long!"

2. Plan dates. 

Text her while she is at school or work, and tell her to be ready when you get home or by a certain time. Give her an idea of how dressed up she should be, but don't tell her where you're going. Then, take her to her favorite restaurant, one she's mentioned lately, or to a new movie she'd been looking forward to!

3. Pick up small gifts for her.

This doesn't have to be anything expensive, but next time you're at the grocery store pick up her favorite candy, or a small flower bouquet. Just something little that will show her you were thinking of her when you weren't together.

4. Listen to her. 

Ask about her day, and when she tells you what Sarah did at work, ask her the next day or a few days later if things got better. Take interest in her life and remind her occasionally refer back to old topics to prove you do listen.

5. Get her involved in your interests.

It doesn't all have to be about her! Ask her to watch the game with you, or to go out with you to hang with your friends. She wants to be just as involved in your life as she wants you to be involved in hers!

At the end of the day, every relationship is different. Take this advice as vaguely as needed, and learn your partner and what they expect from you! Happy dating! :)

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You Can Never Go Back To Who You Were Before You Were Cheated On

A slideshow of what they did, what it must have looked like, begins to play on loop behind your eyes.

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Immediately, the thought of it becomes unbearable. It constricts the brain, depriving it of oxygenated happiness until slowly your joyful loving memories begin to blackout in your head. That's when it begins. Like the lights dimming in a theater, once all else fades, a slideshow of what they did, what it must have looked like, begins to play on loop behind your eyes. Every bite of the lower lip, every euphorically strained facial expression, every second of decadent ecstasy.

As other thoughts begin to seep back in and the lights go back up, every scene ignites like gunpowder in the back of your skull. It isn't just sadness anymore, it's pain that burns your mind and radiates through every nerve in your fragile body. The smoke clears and you can think about other things again, but the inferno has left the ashes imprinted on the inside of your eyelids. Every time you close your eyes, you see it all again.

Of course, you didn't actually see any of it. It's all just what your psyche, in the fragile state it's in, imagines it to have been like. You would think that helps, not actually having seen it, but it doesn't. It doesn't give you the certainty of fact, the assurance of exactly how it happened as observed. No, now since you're left to recreate the scenes in your mind, the ash impressions on your eyelids are exaggerated. You assume that every single thing that could have happened to make it worse, did. You fill in spaces unnecessarily, adding dreadful detail that may or may not be correct (though you are convinced it is) everywhere you can.

It's only a matter of time before you start examining and over-examining every single detail of both your relationship and what happened.

Were they willing to do this to you the whole time you were dating? Remember that day early on? When you drove through the October mist, windows down and music blaring as you both screamed the lyrics to your favorite songs through the cool damp night?

That first time you said those dreaded three words once the beat faded and you pulled up to the house just giggling and smiling at each other, then you kissed under the stars? Did that mean anything to them at all? Did they really love you back then? Do they love you now? They keep saying they do.

How could they love you? How could anyone? You're unlovable. You're not good enough, you will never be enough for them. That's why they did what they did. At least, that's what you keep telling yourself. It's what keeps ringing through your ears in the recreated tone of their voice. Even as the months pass or sometimes even years, the words will still reverberate off the prison cell bars of your skull.

You'll only be convinced of it more and more as time passes and you find yourself still single. Your confidence after what happened will be nothing more than the gum stuck to the bottom of their shoe, constantly getting crushed again and again by their full weight. You'll become convinced that nobody will ever love you again, that you have nothing to love, that nobody would ever conceivably want to be in a relationship with you ever again.

And then someone does. They're sweet, they're caring, and most importantly, they make you happy. Things progress just as they normally would, only with one difference. You still bare the scar of being cheated on. You'll find yourself, early on at least, questioning if this new person in your life really means what they say and if you can trust them. You'll start drawing comparisons between their words and actions and that of your former partner. You'll find it hard to trust again. You'll find it hard to love again.

Now, everything I've written so far may not be certain. Of course, this sort of thing varies from person to person and no one account of being cheated on is true to the experiences of everyone that has ever been cheated on. This next part though, this is the only part that I can say with near absolute certainty, will happen eventually for anyone who has gone through having a partner cheat on them:

This new person will prove your fears to be wrong. They will love you, and you will allow yourself to love them. They will be trustworthy, they will be respectful, and the last thing that they would ever want to do is hurt you. Their affection will cleanse the ash marks on the back of your eyelids and mute the hissing voice in your head. In due time, they will make the pain of your last heartbreak disappear, until one day it all just becomes like a distant nightmare to you. One that they have woken you up from.

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