Like the Oscars, every award ceremony has seat fillers. Seat fillers are people who sit in celebrities’ seats while they’re gone so there are no empty seats on camera. The problem with seat fillers is that they’re just there to take up space and a bit out of place no matter how you look at it. Far too often, I find we date too many “seat fillers,” which are really those we just aren’t that into.
This weekend, I was at brunch with my friend celebrating another friend’s birthday. Naturally, our love lives came up and I asked her about the guy she’d been seeing for the past three months. She gave a lackluster response, like she normally does. Granted, he wasn’t the most exciting catch in the sea, but he was a decent guy.
I’d seen how she acted with previous guys, and with this guy, things were definitely not the same. She rarely spoke to him, about him or brought him around her friends. When she did bring him to a gathering, she consistently criticized him and openly worried that he would do something to “embarrass” her. It was a very uncomfortable situation to see, but he seemed to take it in stride. I often found myself feeling sorry for him although he is a grown man and able to make his own choices.
So, finally, I asked, “Why are you dating him?” She couldn’t give me a good reason beyond the fact that she hated being single, he was nice and she liked going out to dinner. “That’s not a reason to date someone,” I responded. “You’re wasting your time and his. Clearly, you don’t really like him and it’s not fair to string him along just to fill space.”
She said I was being self-righteous because I’d dated plenty of space fillers in my day. She was right, I can’t deny that, but that wasn’t my point. Through my personal experiences I know firsthand that it ends up being a waste of time, and I knew early on in the relationship that it wasn’t going anywhere. I also know now that in the past when I have dated space fillers, it has been just so I wouldn’t have to be alone.
The ironic thing is, I made a vow at the beginning of the year not to date anyone else that I’m not really that into just for the sake of avoiding a “single” status. I realized that, in doing so, I wasn’t allowing myself the opportunity to grow personally and I was making myself unavailable for someone who was right for me. It was a scary thing to contemplate, because was forcing myself to deal with my fear of being alone. But it was necessary.
I encouraged my girlfriend to do the same thing. She had plenty of friends to go to dinner with, and there was no sense in her continuing to engage with a guy who she didn’t genuinely like much as a person. I didn’t expect that she would act so quickly, but to my surprise, she met with him on Monday and broke things off.
Neither one of us can get back the time we spent in dead end relationships, even though I truly believe that every step on your journey is a lesson. What we both can do is make the conscious decision to wait on someone who will start our engines and is what we are genuinely seeking in a partner. If you find yourself being ho-hum about the guy you’re dating, ladies, maybe you’re just not that into him and it’s time to cut your losses and move on for your sake and his.
Wishing you LOVE & CEASLESS JOY!
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Nathan’s book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World is available now.