Waiting For The Leading Role: Does ‘Talking’ For Too Long Lead To Complications?

While talking about dating and relationships, my friend shared something with me that her friend had shared with her some time ago. The friend (male), felt that he was being led on by his female friend whom he had been talking to for a while. Finally, one day he had enough and asked, ‘Where is this going? I need to know if you want me to be your leading man.’

I didn’t ask nor need any details of his situation, I had enough information to conclude that his statement showed the sign of someone who was done with the ‘talking phase’ of their friendship/relationship. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, ‘talking’, it is when two people have not established themselves as a couple officially, and technically can date other people. They go out on dates and in some cases are intimate with one another. Today I wanted to talk about the complications of allowing a talking phase to go on for too long. Generally, the talking phase of a potential relationship lasts on average 3-4 months, and while you can not put a time frame on the phase, it shouldn’t last that long. During this period, you’re learning things about one another, the dates are plentiful, and the phone conversations are still a tad bit awkward when the silence occurs. Importantly though, this is the phase that one should be able to determine if the other is datable and if they want to take the friendship to the next level (i.e. relationship).

However, what happens when you two have become intimate during this period? Does this complicate things? Meaning, even though there is no exclusivity, and one is free to date someone else, having sex during this time complicates the possibility of having a relationship? Does this delay your chances of getting in that leading role?  For starters, it is like human nature for both men and women to hold back initially while talking to someone, it is like a defense mechanism. For women, we don’t want the man to get too comfortable with where he is because if we give too much, he’ll get comfortable and there will be no need to commit. As far as men, they hold back for fear of getting hurt and no man wants to get  played. This in itself can delay a relationship, but once those guards are down, and you both are comfortable with one another enough to be intimate, then what?

The complications…..

The awkwardness of having to explain who this person is to your family and friends, since you’ve been hanging out for a while with this person, but you’re still ‘talking, ‘ therefore introducing them as your “boy/girlfriend” is out of the question. Or when feelings become too deep for one of you, and you start to put yourself out there more when you know you shouldn’t (i.e. “That was so good, I’mma buy him a short set”-Bey).

In all, talking to someone is necessary, because you’ll waste a lot of time, energy and emotions if you don’t, but all things must end. ‘Talking’ can only last for so long until one begins to question where things are going and real relationship behavior begins.And while its different if you have already established that you don’t want a relationship period, those who  haven’t established what it is that they want ultimately leads to someone getting lead on and feelings getting hurt.

SO, CT folks, when should the talking phase end?

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. TeasTer
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 13:56:39

    Wellllll….seeing as this is a discussion that I looove to have, and something that I’m sure many people can relate to, I thought I’d just throw in my .5 cents: I think that the length of the “talking” phase should (and often does) vary from person to person.

    In my opinion, its about communication, and being on the same page. Everyone wants something different out of life when it comes to relationships. Some of us just want to have a good time, while others are looking for long term commitments. I think that its important to make it clear early on what you’re interested in. That doesn’t mean that you have to sit down and have “the talk” after the second date. But I do think that its necessary to let each other know what you’re looking for. When you’re in the process of getting to know each other, sharing your current interests as far as relationships go is pretty much the same as sharing what you want out of life in general–your current goals, aspirations, what you want to accomplish. That being said, if one person knows that they are ready for a relationship and the other isnt, then that should tell you right there that the “talking” phase could last for an indefinite amount of time. At that point, its time to decide just how comfortable you are in just “talking”, as opposed to finding someone with the same interests as you. I have friends that have been “waiting” for the person they’re “talking” to for a while now. And trust me, it can be pretty pathetic (I’m talking years.) So I say, know what you want, and how long you’re willing to hang out in limbo.


    • Marsey
      Apr 06, 2011 @ 14:33:07

      Teas ter I think you’re completely right and by the way Queen great topic of choice. I believe all people have different reasoning’s for talking such as, just to have some fun for the time being or for long commitments. So this leads to the point Tease ter was making that the time frame for talking or dating depends on the couple. For instance two people may come together with a common goal which is to have a good time and let loose or to find a partner who may have the potential to be in a long term relationship. But to understand where both individuals are coming from communication is the key essence. However, let’s say both individuals understood each other but one began to develop feelings. In those circumstances that individual must sit their partner down and explain to them how they feel and if the other partner’s ambitions and goals are not lining up then you must depart from you partner to deviate from a devastating heartbreak.


  2. Samantha
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 14:51:17

    I have a few phrases that I think apply to this situation: “he/she’s just not that into you”, “for the right person…”, and “cab light theory”.
    I think that ulimately at some level if someone won’t lock it down it’s because deep down they just dont see you as that person. That’s why my friend said “either I am your leading man or nothing.” And I also think he was right to say that, instead of let himself be dangled.
    I imagine myself in certain situations when I was just pressured into something with a guy I really didn’t want to be with. And as a typical Taurus, pressure just makes me dig my heels in deeper. At that exact same moment, had one guy in particular said “let’s do it” I would hop on a plane a follow him around the world. So what did i do? I stalled as long as I could without having any titles with them.
    And finally the cab light theory. Men who, like cabs, ride around not picking up any fares. And suddenly their light comes on and they pick up the first one that looks like it might yield a good tip. I have a friend, who at 39, seems to have had his light turn on and from the outside at least has picked up the first thing that came by. My point is, sometimes we just aren’t in a place, individually, that we can actually be in a relationship. We just aren’t in that mode or aren’t up for the responsibility that comes with it. Sometimes timing is everything.
    At the end of the day, it’s a GREAT feeling to feel wanted and tell your friends about your dating adventures…and let’s be real here, it’s also great to get deliciously serviced on a regular basis. However, we also don’t want to hold on too long waiting for the right moment to be someone’s right person or just dangle someone because we don’t have any better options yet but wanna keep getting plowed regularly. So I say, just think about what you would do if you were into someone or you weren’t really into them. How would you act? Does it match what you are getting or want to get from your partner?
    The most important thing in any situation is honesty. So just try your best to keep it 100 with the other person and yourself about how you really feel what you really want, because even if that person isn’t the person for you or the timing isn’t right, they just may be up for whatever you’re up for–because you know we like it when it’s standing up high. And if they aren’t I guarantee you! Someone else really close by probably is.


  3. Letitia Coles
    Apr 06, 2011 @ 16:13:22

    I feel like many people don’t fully understand what the term “talking” means. I think the Queen described it greatly. My opinion is that if you’re “talking” to someone then it should be that you guys are getting to know one another (likes..dislikes..goals..etc). I do not feel like you should be “talking” to someone and being intimate with them while being able to “talk/date” other people. That doesn’t look good on anyones part, not just females.
    I know some women feel as though there is nothing wrong with talking and being intimate with someone and then going out on dates and such with other guys. Now don’t get me wrong..there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going on dates with different guys and getting to know different people; the problem with that is the being intimate part. If you’re just talking and being intimate without having a clear understanding of where the relationship/friendship is going then that’s just a whole mess waiting to happen.
    This is just my opinion, but I think the talking phase shouldn’t last more than 2 months at the most. I feel thats quite a bit of time to learn the basics and a little extra about someone and to know whether you want to be in a relationship with that person. If you continue to still be in the talking phase like after 3/4+ months, then that’s all there’s going to be. After that month or two and you guys haven’t had the talk of where the relationhip/friendship is going then that’s a clear sign that it’s going nowhere fast.
    However, when you do decide to have “the talk” and the other person says they’re not ready to be tied down or ready to have a title, then that’s when you MUST decide whether it’s worth it; meaning are you content with just being the one that he/she “talks to (have sex with)..or do you need to move on and find someone who you’re compatible with and doesn’t mind being with you only and having the title.
    My friends can tell you, I have NO problem with telling a guy to “kick rocks” if I feel like he isn’t the one for me or if the friendship is going nowhere. It’s not about being mean or being a b*tch or any of that. It’s about being happy and not settling. If I’ve been “talking/dating” a guy for like a month or two and I ask him where our relationship is going and he says that he doesn’t want a label, but still wants to do all the things that a couple does (including sex), then that’s a sign to me that he doesn’t plan on settling down with me. I’m not going to play house… I want to build a house/foundation with someone who wants to be with just me and wants the title of my man..or in light of the topic, MY LEADING MAN!


  4. KoolDude
    Apr 13, 2011 @ 02:30:03

    I know that I’m a little late but I felt that perhaps a male’s point-of-view is needed in this discussion. First, let me say that I think this blog that you ladies has created is phenomenal and kudos to you all for being so creative!

    I would have to say that I agree with TeasTer because it does ultimately depend on the individual. In the past, I’ve always felt that everything had a time limit. (ex. If I pursue her for this amount of time, then we’ll date this amount of time, and be in the relationship this amount of time). In actuality, each relationship is different, especially because of the person that you are involved in. Taking out time to get to know the person should be the key focus.

    I’m kinda old fashioned because I sometimes still call it “dating”. Nevertheless, the dating stage is simply you and your “potential” hanging out, spending time together, getting to know each others likes/dislikes, etc. The length of time it takes will be based solely off those two people. In my case, I don’t want to rush but I think a month or two is a nice substantial amount of time to “talk” and get to know each other before progressing. And as far as intimacy is concerned: if your man can’t abstain for a little time before getting exclusive, then that is a clear sign that he may not be your “Mr. Right”.

    Well, I’m going to go. I guess I’ve already talked your heads off.. Take Care and Be Easy!


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