Hey, ladies.

Are you wondering if that man you love so much is wasting your time? A few years ago, I read an article on Boundless.org titled Stop Test-Driving Your Girlfriend. I’m sure you’ve read it already… and if you’re like me, it hits home in so many ways.

But these men are so slick sometimes, and without a seasoned eye, it might be difficult to discern when a man is playing games or has no intentions of taking your friendship anywhere. For whatever reason – insecurity, keeping his options open, uncertainty, or who-knows-what-ity – certain men just like to play games, and they seem not to realize that hearts are involved. Sadly, they have cost us women several nighttime tears and prayers of frustration… but this does not have to be the case for everyone.

It is said that if you must learn from experience, let it be someone else’s. In my early 20s, I was “test-driven” more times than I’d like to admit (okay, twice – and thankfully, I walked away both times, but not without some serious heartache). I’d like to share some signs that tell you your relationship is headed nowhere. These might seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised just how many women don’t recognize that they’re getting played.

1) He never says where it’s headed.
It took me a very long time to realize what simple creatures men are. If a man wants a relationship with you, he’ll say it. He might do it very awkwardly, but no matter how shy, busy, quiet, old, young, experienced, or inexperienced he is, those words will come out of his mouth. At the very least, they’ll be typed out in a corny email or written down on a card or piece of paper. But they will come from him. Some men may think making things official is too corny and movie-like, and so they might prefer to just ease into things and let them progress naturally. That’s fine. With this kind of man, all you have to do is bring up the subject, and he’ll immediately confirm that you are his girlfriend/significant other/woman/etc. Think about it. As soon as Adam realized Eve was the one for him, he said it. Paraphrased: “The man said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.”

2) You’re a secret.
If the people in a man’s life, especially those he’s accountable to, have no idea you exist, then smell trouble and run. Sometimes issues like tribe and family politics prevent men from introducing women to their families. But if he meets his pastor or mentor every week for a chat and this pastor or mentor has no clue who you are, then chances are things are headed nowhere, fast. If his boys do not have the slightest inkling that you have captured his fancy, then consider the serious possibility that you have not captured his fancy. If you happen to find out that your number is saved in his cellphone as something like Fundi Kirinyaga Rd, question marks should form in your mind. I want to beg you to take it from me… a committed man will not keep you a secret.

3) Any mention of the future inspires a) a freakout, b) a meltdown, c) a freeze-up, or d) vagueness.
Watch him closely as you bring up the future. If his face seems to say “Us who?” when you use a sentence that has the word “us”, if words like “we” are banned, or if, when it’s time for a DTR he rubs the back of his neck uncomfortably and says something like, “Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it,” or if – and this happened to me – he spends three years “praying” about pursuing a relationship with you, then just let him be, please.

Of course this might not apply if you bring it up a week after you meet the guy. But if you’ve been investing your time and heart into something for months and he is still talking about “praying,” please walk. Like my friend Bayo once said to me, if a man takes so long to pray about getting into a relationship, how long will he take to pray about simple family decisions? How long will he pray about where you will live and the schools your children should go to? Shouldn’t a man of God be able to hear his God clearly? God answered Eliezer’s prayer for a wife for Isaac even before Eliezer had finished praying. There is no excuse for ten centuries of prayer. Ten centuries of prayer is fear, and a loving leader cannot be ruled by fear.

4)  He’s ambiguous in introductions and all other matters.
Ha. This is if you even get to meet anyone he knows. Say you’re walking in town and you bump into a friend of his. Watch how he introduces you. If he just says “This is Angelina,” be afraid. Angelina what? If he says hello to his friend, and then looks at both of you and waits for you to introduce yourselves to each other, be very afraid. No, don’t be afraid. Just put two and two together and run. Usually, especially if you’re looking exceptionally hot, the friend will wink and ask if there’s anything going on between the two of you. Listen to his response. Is it an uncomfortable shrug and an “Ah, weeh,” or a snicker and a “Bros, you dey craze?” If he gives you mixed signals, or would never be specific if you paid him a million bucks, that’s not a good sign.

5) You both do everything on his time.
If he’s only available after everything important has happened, then that means you’re not important. If he is never available when you are, that’s a warning sign. No matter how busy a man is, he will make time for you. If he never texts first, never calls first, never initiates dates, or if he shoots your ideas down then suddenly wants to hang out because his cousin’s ruracio or his buddy’s owambe was cancelled, then you’re an afterthought. A man who is committed to you will always make you and your concerns and your time a priority. It doesn’t take that much of an effort to send a “How are you?” during a lunch break, does it?

6) You pay for all your dates.
And you put gas in his car and send him airtime just so he can text you (after which, by the way, he only sends one text and uses the airtime for other things). If he’s always available but never pays, that’s another sign of strangeness. It’s okay to go Dutch from time to time. It’s even okay to treat him to lunch on occasion. But I’d be very uncomfortable with any man for whom not paying was the norm. Instinctively, men feel the need to provide for the women they love. If that instinct hasn’t kicked in, then probably neither has the commitment.

7) Things are great when you’re together… alone.
But they change drastically when you’re in a group. Say you’re having coffee at Dorman’s Sarit Centre (if it still exists). Everything is going wonderfully. He’s paying attention; you’re chatting, laughing, and having a great time. Three of his friends walk in and you all decide it would be great if they pulled a table and joined you. And from the awkward introduction through to the end of the date, he totally ignores you, interrupts you, and acts embarrassed when you speak. You even notice that his chair has slowly inched ten meters away and is now right next to the female friend across the table. You’re being test-driven.

8) He shows the same level of affection/closeness to every other woman he knows.
If every female friend of his gets a long hug, lunch at a special place, sweet texts, and inside jokes, then evidently, he’s not committed to you. Whatever issues are causing him to act this way are likely not your problem. Save yourself the hassle of trying to figure it out and keep moving.

9) You’re never acknowledged.
An introduction is a great way to be acknowledged. But sometimes there’s just no opportunity for that. There are other ways to be acknowledged. One that we women often consider a big deal is Facebook. I’m just going by the mail I get from women, but I suggest you Google something like “Boyfriend does not acknowledge me” and see for yourself.

Now, many guys don’t really see what the big deal is with that changed relationship status. And that’s okay. It’s actually very okay if his profile info is scanty. But if it has everything from his education to his family members and what he had for dinner, then it may not be a big deal, but it’s a deal. If he’ll talk about every single thing except you, that’s a deal. If you take a lot of pictures, and he posts a lot of pictures, but there are no pictures of you on any of his online networks, that’s a deal, especially if you’ve been together for a reasonable amount of time. Now, he might change his relationship status just to please you. It’s possible for him to say “In a relationship with Betty” and have that status visible to only Betty. So this is no guarantee.

Acknowledgment could also be saying hey in public, texting to thank you for something you did, or validating your feelings, especially in regards to the relationship..

10) He insists on the ultimate test-drive, and your refusal is a deal-breaker.
They say you should never buy a car that you have not test-driven. Once upon a time, the enemy convinced men and women that the only way to determine their sexual compatibility is to have sex before marriage. Someone bought the lie, and things have been a mess since. This test-driving phenomenon is so common in the church that I wish we would just address it. I have been here and will tell you, if a man insists on sleeping with you and wants nothing to do with you after you refuse (or after you agree!), then you know for sure that he  was not committed to you in the first place. I don’t care what who says. No man who truly loves you will use sex to blackmail you or view sex as proof that you love him too.

Ladies, don’t settle. It is extremely immature for a man to refuse to commit out of fear that “something better” will walk by as soon as he is “stuck” with you. Someone somewhere will make that commitment. There is a man who is willing to celebrate you, lavish you with gifts, be a true friend, show you off to the world. There is a man who will open doors for you, call you on a busy day at work, and care when you hurt. God is the ultimate Love and His command to your husband is that he love you with the same love Jesus showed you. God’s name is Jehovah Jireh; He is our Provider and would never call us not to be unequally yoked, and then fail to provide equal yokes for us. Marriage is not self-actualization. Don’t kill yourself and destroy your destiny just to be called “Wife.” Don’t end up with any man just because he calls himself “Christian.” You know, deep within yourself, if that man is test-driving you. Do what you need to do.

You have only one heart. Guard it with all diligence…

Love,

Pea.

test-drive [test-drahyv]
verb (used with object), test-drove, test-driv·en, test-driv·ing.
to drive (a vehicle) on the highway or a special track or route in order to evaluate performance and reliability.

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