Courting Darnell : Win. Lose. Move Forward.

As much as I’ve gone against tradition in intimate relationships, some of them more than others, I’ve held tight to my belief in and admiration of the courtship stage. A recent conversation with friends determined that I hold out too long. My “choosing” comes months after my friends’ and they say “that’s just not okay.” For them, 3 weeks of dating is enough time to decide “this is the one for me.” For me if could be 10 months or more. But why?

Perhaps when I say “I want to get to know you,” I’m being honest. While some are fine with only knowing their potential life partner’s name, job status, and netflix password, I want to know so much more before clearing space on my bookshelf for your books, and clearing my weekends and thinking about not writing every Sunday. I want to know what makes your palms sweat, and I want to know your neck, and yes, that can come in 3 – 7 weeks like my friends claim it does for them, but it doesn’t for me. Besides, most of my friends are in bullshit relationships they’ll try to escape soon.

Equally, I need to be sure it’s me, not the idea of me, they’ve fallen for. That takes time. I call this process, for now, The Breaking Down of Darnell Lamont Walker.

Back to the courtship. No, there is no exclusivity there, and yes, dating others is totally allowed. When did people become so afraid of competition? I understand how vulnerability is set up, but it’s a part of it. The stakes must be great to get something great. It’s the reason people who go to Vegas with $20 rarely come home with thousands. To make this make sense for some of you, here’s the simple breakdown:

Your vulnerability is perhaps the most valuable thing you have. To get something equally valuable, you need to put your vulnerability on the table.

Compete. My dad tried teaching me chess as a kid, but I never caught on, but I kept asking for lessons here and there. As an adult, I learned by playing on my computer. Every two days I would increase the difficulty because I knew the only way to get better was to play a better opponent. Some of you are so scared of getting better that you give up before beginning.

Court. Win. Lose. Move Forward.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Stephen R. Freshley says:

    You touched on something grand when you said “I need to make sure she likes me, not the idea of me”. This concept is lost on so many people and is a lesson I have learned multiple times the hard way. We differ on if it makes a difference. If I find that a suitor only likes the idea of me, I continue in the courtship just for practice or take it as a teaching opportunity. Also, as a society we have definitely lost the concept of competition. Part of the reason is that we have grown soft. Everyone is a “winner” now. The trophy just for participating is just as large as the winner’s trophy. I touched on this in an article called “I am Average”. If we are real with ourselves, I mean truly look in the mirror and accept what is there, not what we want to be there, than we can truly make strides to better ourselves instead of making ourselves feel better about what is not there.

  2. Will S. says:

    You’re right. People don’t court. They want it quickly. They don’t nurture relationships, maybe because they don’t know how. From conversations I have had with people, many of them make an assessment of someone within the first few minutes. The ‘love at first sight’ garbage causes many troubles in relationships. Many are flawed in their thinking when it comes to relationships. But the more I think of it, you know what the real problem is? People are lonely and just want a warm body. Anybody is better than being by themselves. They see someone who, on the surface appears decent, and they think they’ve found their prince or princess. I think like you do, Darnell. I want to know all the inner workings of the other person, those things in their deepest partitions that seldom come out. Think of an onion that’s made up of dozens of layers. People are like that too, and I want to get to that piece that is all the way in the center. Just because you date someone for 2 months or 8 months or whatever doesn’t mean that that person will eventually become your future mate. Maybe love will happen, but you may find that he or she isn’t the right one for you. Maybe some of them you’ll want to walk away from forever, never to see again. But for others, well perhaps you’ve made a lifelong friend. I hear people also say they have enough friends. That’s more flawed thinking, in my opinion. That new person can be the source of a new blessing, a new business opportunity, peace of mind, or a solution to a problem you’re facing. You can never have too many friends. I can go on and on with this topic, so I’ll end here. I like that word you used, vulnerability. That’s the best part of relationships. If you never make yourself vulnerable, then you’re missing out on the beauty of what relationships offer.

  3. G says:

    I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve allowed myself to quit before I even begun. Some of us women don’t want to be bullshitted. Some of us don’t want to revisit the pain that hurt and got us to the barrier of love to begin with. Others haven’t broken down their walls because it’s easier to stay recluse in your own Pandora’s box. I fall between all of them at the same time while fighting to get myself out of the space I created…my emotional immaturity. That begins with vulnerability and unlearning things. Shit, damn, motherfu*ker.

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