Attention ≠ Intention & Intention ≠ Investment.

Writing and me.
10 min readSep 23, 2023

Let me regurgitate what I learnt from this beautiful man, Matthew Hussey, said in his free webinar which I recently attended. I am choosing to do this because many of the points he shared and the hacks he gave resonated deeply. In addition, I will not be speaking about romantic love for a while after this post. Therefore, really pay attention here.

Image by Markus Winkler

First thing he asked was “Where are you right now?” Are you burnt out from going on dates that don’t go anywhere? Or maybe you’ve even made a few connections, but they have ended up ghosting. Are you heartbroken because the person you poured all your energy and attention to and got all your hopes up for has gone on to commit to someone else after they told you they weren’t ready.

I just want you to know that it’s okay to feel sad at this sometimes. However, what’s not okay is feeling ashamed for being single, for not being able to boast of a relationship that’s worked out, and it’s definitely not okay to subject yourself to pressure or bad behavior simply because you are trying to get love. By bad behavior I mean indulging people who just want to sext without giving you proper attention, or people who verbally abuse you unapologetically or those who gaslight you when you try to address silly things, they are doing that aren’t working for you. Whatever you identify as, however old or young you may be, the desire to love and be loved right back is something alive in every one of us so grab a seat and join this circle. Everyone is welcome.

I will be sharing some of the things I took away from that webinar. Stuff like

  1. What to do when someone who disappeared before suddenly pops back into your life
  2. How to date with results
  3. Biggest mistakes we make when searching for or finding love and how to avoid these mistakes.
  4. How to- if it is even possible- go from being utterly single to being waist deep in a committed relationship. Oh, no pun intended. Is there a secret to commitment? What is it?

See, your self-worth is not tied to your skin color, your height, the number of followers you have on your Youtube channel, or any other one of those superficial things. No matter how fulfilled you think they make you. Your self-worth is stemmed and rooted in the fact that your creator made you with so much love and he has promised to supply all your needs if only you can believe in him. People left you. So what? Let them go. Nothing spoil. After Ishmael, Isaac came. What’s coming must be better than what was before it. Otherwise, time would stop and there wouldn’t be need for us to move forward.

Back to our chat…Do you know the 4 stages of romantic relationships? I started to see things more clearly when I started categorizing my different relationships (for you it could be talking stages, situationships and whatever other thing you have going on currently) into these four stages. You know, simplify the complex sturvs a bit, you get me?

SO,

Stage 1: Admiration

Here, you like someone, or you like their qualities. You think this person is great and you could be doing this liking from close by or from afar. Admiration is just you thinking “okay, I like this person” or “I like the way this person does this or that”, but there isn’t necessarily anything mutual yet.

Stage 2: Mutual Attraction

When there’s mutual attraction, there’s connection. (Let me take a break here to share this amazing write up with you that distinguishes between having a CONNECTION with someone and CLICKING with them.)

Mutual attraction is chemistry. It is when there is an exchange. I like Yu, Yu likes me too. Yu and I know there’s something between us. OMG tell me you got that 🌚

Stage 3: Commitment

You can tell you have gotten to this stage when you both know that you like each other but then go the extra mile and decide to be together/ in a relationship/ exclusive.

Stage 4: Compatibility

(Deez the stage that do usually hook many of us in the throat. We will commit to someone before checking compatibility. Then that’s when we will now be discovering that ohhhh, I like utter honesty and loyalty, but this person prefers to tell the truth only sometimes. Or ohhhh, my idea of a fun weekend is nights in on Friday followed by an early hike on Saturday whereas this one just wants to enter the club from 10pm Friday night till 7am Saturday morning.)

This stage 4 is so important because you don’t want to go and commit first before finding out that it doesn’t or will not work. That thing they call a mismatch? So freaking painful. I think in theory, this is stage 4 but in practice, it should be stage 3, right?

Now that we’ve simplified this small algebra, let’s go back to that question I asked you in the beginning. Where do you think you are, presently? Are you stuck in any of the 4 stages? What’s next?

The Mutual attraction stage actually can make or mar any relationship because this is where most of us lose focus. It could be the butterflies, the rush from finding that feeling with someone new, it could be that the dates are amazing or that the sex is just too good. This in turn confuses us and makes us presume that the fact that we are feeling this way and the fact that the sex is amazing must mean that this is an endeavor we should take on 100 percent; that this person is a person we should surrender ourselves to. Whereas the truth is that just because we are getting someone’s attention doesn’t mean that they have any intentions whatsoever. People could literally be giving you 23 out of the 24 hours of their day and still have no intentions of going long-term with you. Heck, even intention is never a guarantee of real investment. I could have the intention of preparing catfish pepper soup with white rice but if I don’t go to the market or enter the kitchen and turn on the stove, I have not invested even with my tremendously good intention.

Heck, even intention is never a guarantee of real investment. I could have the intention of preparing catfish pepper soup with white rice but if I don’t go to the market or enter the kitchen and turn on the stove, I have not invested even with my tremendously good intention.

Attention is not equal to intention and intention is not equal to investment. As hard as it can be, the moment you start to feel that spark, especially as a result of receiving so much attention from this person, that’s the peak moment to stop and assess compatibility.

Allow me to add a caveat here, based on my most recent experience. Your compatibility test can still land you in hot soup. Do you know why? Because some people will lie and claim to be something they aren’t in the beginning therefore producing a false positive result on that compatibility test. How do I know? It happened to me. What do I think might be the remedy or preventive medicine for this? I really don’t know but I will say wait it out. Give it time. Most shows come to an end in time and most masks fall off with time. Words will get too heavy for the lying tongue and the actions jump right out. OGs know and apply this.

The brightest and loudest spark can misfire and the people that have given you so many butterflies will pump you full of misery if you don’t anchor yourself in that stage 2. A relationship is not potential. It is the real thing. The actual building, not the idea of what the building will look like. It’s not enough to discover the beautiful land that overlooks the lake, it’s taking time to check whether this person can actually build with me to turn this piece of land into a beautiful home.

The value should be on the builder, not the connection.

What can you do differently, going forward?

1. Change the negative narratives, Nancy!

You see those things we say out of anger or frustration? Things like: “everyone finds love except me”, “there must be something wrong with me”, “maybe I’m not enough”, “guys just want me for the good time and never for the long time”, “all the good ladies are gone.” Get rid of those things. Get you a community or maybe even one or two persons who can shield you from yourself when these narratives try to envelope you in your moments of fear of PTSD. You need to find other people who could have those same narratives but have better results. People who could be using those excuses to wallow in self-pity, but they aren’t. Their story can help you identify what you are missing. It could be that you are there claiming that nobody wants you, whereas some people actually want you but you just don’t want them back. When you continue to tell yourself the same negative stories and even surround yourself with people who believe these negative stories, the result is bound to be the same: NEGATIVE.

2. Don’t invest too quickly!

Small potential that you will see in someone because of a swell date or a good rapport over the weekend, you will want to pack your suitcases and move in to their house. Stop it! At this point where you want to go crazy, the best thing is to do the opposite of our instincts: slow it down.

Investing too quickly is dangerous for many reasons. One of such reasons is that it chases away good people. What makes the right people the right people in the first place? Their attentiveness, right? So, you know for sure that they will notice that you are giving them too much too quickly. They’ll be wondering, why is this person giving me so much when I haven’t earned it? Is this how they are with everyone?

Investing too quickly will also help you attract the worst human beings on earth. I’m talking about those people with major red flags like the narcissists, the love bombers, those ones that mirror your energy to create the illusion that they are on your wavelength. You give yourself too quickly to these people and they see you as prey. They take advantage of you. To you, you are just being your authentic and wholesome self, but to them you have no standards since they don’t have to do too much before you give and give and give yourself. Liking someone is doesn’t mean stop having boundaries. Liking someone doesn’t mean that you can’t call them out when they violate your boundaries. Liking someone doesn’t mean that that feeling rules you.

Stop investing in someone based on how much you like them!!! Stop it today, chile!! You should be investing in people based on how they make you feel. Do they make you feel safe, valued, loved, respected, wanted, chosen? Do they want to learn how to love you and what to do to respect your boundaries? Are they receptive when you let them know that this or that didn’t sit right with you, or do they dismiss you? We should invest in people who invest in us. This is the only way to create a relationship of equals.

3. Take that value and place it on yourself

The goal is your happiness. The goal is not that person. Place value on that person only if they CAN/ARE WILLING to make you happy. If they cannot/ are not willing to, then, let them go. The goal is the goal. Measuring your relationship with any other goal would only be shifting the goal post. They could be charismatic and sexy and mysterious all they want but as long as they don’t make you feel at peace, as long as they don’t make you feel confident, as long as you struggle to trust them, baby, they should get on the next bus with their charisma. Who cares about their mystery when all it does for me is bring me anxiety? All it does is make me second guess my choices or my worth. Someone wrongs you and they can’t apologize about it? Someone wrongs you and they take five months to pop in with the “hey, thinking about you” message? Their lies and inconsistencies are keeping you up every night, yet you still choose to make excuses for them? They refuse to commit to you, and you are shutting down other people who have indicated genuine interest in you? Give people what they give you. Have your standards and when people are not meeting them, especially when you are coming correct, send them awayyyyy.

See, you are air. You are essential. You have value. The people you give access should be people who make you feel irreplaceable. People who say it and show it that they can’t give you up. That they can’t live without you. Can you live without air?

I want you to recalibrate. The year is almost over. Even if you don’t get to share an intimate kiss with someone on New Year’s Eve, I want you to come out on the other side stronger. No more giving the things of value to children and criminals. You are as expensive as diamond, and you are as essential and priceless as the air that sustains life. Being single is scary. Being afraid that you are running out of time to build that family you’ve imagined is even scarier. But being weak in this world of brutality is immense death. Take that value and place it on yourself and see what happens.

You are as expensive as diamond, and you are as essential and priceless as the air that sustains life.

I hope you have paid attention and I hope even more that you will be willing to start where you are and invest forward in things and people who provide relevance to you. Although I am not currently open to love and trusting people and committing to anyone, I believe that taking the time to understand your options and how your choices affect you will really help to simplify things even further for you.

God bless you.

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