I've been to a therapist twice in my life. During our first visit, I announced to Dr. Love (a world-famous relationship doctor with several books and appearances on Oprah) that I wanted to quit my job. I'm sure he has tons of people who tell him the same thing -- I'm just not sure those same people ran their own incredibly successful companies.
During my second visit, I told him I was scared I'd never be married. To my surprise and delight, Dr. Love was not at all concerned about this. He told me I was my own worst enemy. He called me a "linear thinker," and said that my ability to see things so clearly made me a very successful entrepreneur -- but was very detrimental to relationships. He also described my dating pool as a mountain with a peak. He told me I was at the top of the peak, and really, there weren't too many options at the top. He also advised against hanging out at the bottom of the mountain with tons of options. So, I'd just have to hang out a bit longer.
I could definitely see his point. I could be on Date One with someone, and completely dismiss our future together based on a few behaviors. "Better to know this now than spend five years with this person and find out later, " I'd always rationalize. It made total sense to me. And the majority of relationships that hadn't worked out in my early and mid-twenties were definitely bottom of the mountain type situations.
That was the last time I saw Dr. Love. He no longer felt comfortable taking my money because I was, as he put it, "one of the most emotionally sound people I've ever met." And we'd resolved that the work issue was just momentary insanity coupled with some frustration. I decided to write my tween book series, Mackenzie Blue, instead. Problems solved.
But as smart as Dr. Love was, it dawned on me that my linear thinking and bottom of the mountain dates weren't the problem. I had spent too much time in fauxmances. What, exactly, is a fauxmance? Well, it usually starts out with honest intentions. You meet someone, you instantly click, you have thoughts of procreation, you spend all of your time getting to know each other -- but there is no physical intimacy. You reason that that's coming soon. Your friends start to talk about you as "you two" and "Tina and..."
You get the point. My late twenties had become a cesspool for fauxmantic relationships. And to be honest with you, I was sort of okay with it. I'd read all of those troubling statistics about black women and their romantic pursuits, but, to be honest, I didn't think that applied to me. My thoughts were, "I feel really sorry for that 45% that will never get married." I wasn't one of them. I still don't really identify with that. I refuse to think negatively about my romantic future.
All my life, I've had a perfect example of what a healthy, strong, and romantic marriage is. My parents have been married for 32 years and have been friends for 39. In a world full of divorce and bitter breakups, every day I have an example of what's possible. My mom always tells me to marry my best friend, the person I will want to do things with when the romance fades. I don't think I've met him yet.
But I think that the fauxmances have been the problem. For some reason, the majority of my fauxmances involve attorneys. Make of that what you will. My first fauxmance was five years ago. We'll refer to him as McTrain, because we met on one. He fits into the category most fauxmances fall under: he liked me more than a friend and less than a girlfriend. He was incredibly intellectual, cultured (he was fluent in French and Tupac), and just really cool. But what started out as a decent fauxmance quickly became a hostile takeover of my personal space. He and I became us and we. At a dinner party, where I was clearly being pursued by a super-hot Ph.D. student, he quickly relayed stories of our trip to Cape Cod (ugh, sadly true), and our next stop at my friend's birthday party (yes, guilty as charged). I was shocked to say the least.
When I finally realized that this fauxmance was not working for me, I thought it would just end. Boy was I wrong. The person who wants and needs the fauxmance will fight tooth and nail to preserve it. It took an entire year of unanswered calls and texts for it to end.
Next came McArtist. He was absolutely perfect on paper -- artist, volunteer, religious, gorgeous, smart -- the list could go on forever. He loved children, dinner parties -- all of it. Oh yeah, except me. LOL. I credit my best friend (also named Tina) with getting to the bottom of this fauxmance. Her husband had become friendly with McArtist, and kept pushing him on the subject of me. Thanks to McHubby, the fauxmance was quickly over. But I'm happy to say McArtist is now one of my dearest friends, and now that I really know him, there is no way we would have lasted as a couple (he wants to live in the rainforest, and my hair is totally against that lifestyle).
This particular fauxmance perplexed me, so I had to seek advice from my brother, Marcus. As much as I hate to admit it, he gives good advice (and has an amazing love life in Florence with his Italian girlfriend). He basically explained to me that within my first two encounters with these guys, they were deciding what lane to put me in: girlfriend, friend. The reason I was having so many fauxmances was because these guys thought I was the girl they should marry, not date right now. And being the selfish men they all were, they decided they needed me "more than a friend but less than a girlfriend." So there I was, in fauxmance after fauxmance. That was the lightbulb moment for me, and the end of all fauxmances.
And come to think of it, I'm still friends with all of my fauxmantic partners. I just have zero interest in entering into fauxmantic relationships in the future. For years, fauxmances have actually benefited me too. I've been running my own companies since I was 16 years old. There's just no way I could take a day off to "heal my broken heart." I don't event think I could get an hour off for that. So fauxmances were a great solution. But they were also draining. My fauxmantic partner's problems became my problems, his work issue my issues. So I was really just getting a relationship with none of the benefits. No smart businesswoman, or woman in general, would ever accept that.
And now, at the age of thirty, I can truly say I have the best female friends in the world. I've ditched fauxmance for true friendship with them. They're my dinner party guests, vacation partners, confidants. I have a big family, my life is full of love, and I'm the happiest I've ever been. I can't wait to be in love and have children, but I'm perfectly content where I am.
And the next time someone pursues me for fauxmance, I have my safety kit prepped: a subscription to www.itsnotmyproblem.com, copies of my favorite recipes, and instructions on how to DVR Dr. Phil.