NGIT: The Stages of Courtship

By Branden Lee



The phrase “talking to someone” seems to be popular in Atlanta, and it’s a phrase that confuses me very much. It’s natural to ask someone’s relationship status before pursuing them. It’s necessary to see if the person you’re interested in is already taken or available. When a guy says “I’m talking to someone” I don’t know how to interpret that since guys seem to use that phrase to mean anything from casual fling to full-on relationship.


I had a huge crush on this guy I met at work. I was crushing on him for months. We’d like each other’s posts on social media. Text here and there, but he’d leave me on read sometimes, which should’ve been a clear sign he wasn’t interested. But I refused to give up. I’m a Scorpio. When I have my sights set on my prey, I won’t stop until he’s mine. I’d ask him to hang out, and didn’t get a response, which devastated me. I couldn’t tell if maybe he wasn’t gay, but then I saw him on Jack’d so that confirmed my suspicions.


I saw him on another set two months after we met, and confronted him about not texting me back. He said the reasoning was that he’s “talking to someone,” and doesn’t like to multi-date. I’m the total opposite. Until I’m officially locked down in a relationship, and we are exclusive boyfriends, I’m otherwise single and free to date and hook up with as many guys as I want. To me if a guy says “talking to someone” that means fair game to me, especially since my crush still flirted with me hardcore for a full half hour. The conversation was super sexual, so I presumed that meant we were going to hook up and he’s available. Then he tells me to text him, and he’ll be in touch.


Two days later I hit him up, and he shuts me down saying he’s “talking to someone” and “committed.” WTF. I was livid. I felt so deceived, lead on, and like I’ve had my time wasted. To me committed and talking to someone are completely different things.


First stage of courtship to me is “talking to.” This is when we first met, start texting and flirting, maybe just started messaging each other on an app. Even if we went on one or two dates, that’s still the “talking to” stages to me. It’s early, and we’re still starting to get to know each other. It confuses and annoys me when people say “talking to” means something serious because there’s nothing serious about just talking to someone.


Second stage of courtship to me is “seeing someone”. In this stage, you’ve been on at least three dates. This person is someone you like enough to see consistently, but things aren’t official or committed yet.


Lastly is “dating.” “Dating” seems to be a controversial term since some people use “dating” just to describe going on dates with someone but it’s not committed. The term “dating’ to me is more serious. I’m not ever going to say “I’m dating someone” unless they’re my actual boyfriend. If we aren’t committed, then I’ll just say I’m “seeing” them, since “seeing” doesn’t sound as serious as “dating” to me. To me, dating is we’ve decided to be in a relationship with each other. We’re committed and exclusive, and officially boyfriends.


Some people throw in an extra stage where they’re exclusively seeing someone, and both decide that they won’t talk to or go on dates with anyone else, but they aren’t officially a couple yet. That just seems dumb to me, and like they have commitment issues. What is the point of being exclusive but we aren’t boyfriends? If you know you want me and only me, then it’s time to make things official. I’m not cutting off other guys for a guy that is still unsure if he wants to be with me.


I do think a lot of men are scared of the “boyfriend” label, and many men have commitment issues. Hence why so many gay men find themselves in ‘situationships’ instead of actual relationships. Don’t tell me you’re just “talking to someone” when you’re already someone’s boyfriend.

Branden Lee is a writer and actor living in Atlanta. Follow Branden on Instagram and Twitter @Brandeness. Watch Branden on his YouTube channel SexxxPerTease.


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