break ups, dating, feminism, insecure, love, marriage, relationships, self awareness

7 Tips to Ruin your Livelihood in Love and Relationships

The 1950s. A decade filled with A-line skirts, the dawn of rock ‘n roll, and good ol’ American segregation. Mad Men glamorized this era, where the men were powerful and their doting housewives drowned in depressants to keep afloat- with not one strand of hair out of place.

‘Twas a simpler time, indeed.

When I read the article below, I laughed heartily. Not because the tips are ridiculous, but because I knew that men who came across this blast from the past would be chomping at the bit to go back to this time – when women catered to their every need.

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But this entry isn’t about that. It’s about how seemingly progressive, feminist women get stuck carrying the emotional weight for their relationships and partners.

Black women experience stress-related weathering at the molecular level. And it’s killing us. We literally cannot afford to do this kind of stuff anymore if we want to be alive and thriving.

You may not be in a scurry to freshen your makeup and clean up before your partner’s arrival but you may be doing these 7 things that are detrimental to yourself.

  1. Saying “yes” when you mean “no”. Every time a woman says “yes” when she doesn’t mean it, an angel loses its wings. We are conditioned to be a man’s “peace”, and for many men, peace means subordinate. If you don’t want to do something, say it with your chest.
  2. Not sweating the small stuff. “It’s just the trash,” you mutter, as you haul the garbage out in your PJs while your partner watches his team play ball.  You’d asked him to take it out at least 4 times that day. Some other relationship coach may tell you let sleeping dogs lie, but this ain’t that. When you don’t sweat the small stuff, they don’t disappear; they grow. The “small stuff” thrives on resentment.  Bring it up. Talk it out.
  3. Playing detective. You’re likely not a detective, and if you are, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to spend unpaid hours investigating your mate. If you have suspicions, then you need to pony up and address them head-on. Be smart. But routinely looking through his phone, email, social media, etc., only makes you look like the crazy one. Then you end up feeling guilty and taking the blame, which brings me to number 4.
  4. Conflating accountability with blame. Accountability is a crucial component of any whole and loving relationship. Each partner commits that they will uphold their end of the bargain. They make a concerted effort to honor their commitments and apologize when they fall short. Accountability is not saying that everything that goes wrong in the relationship is your fault. It is not a pity party. Sis, it’s not always you.
  5. Playing therapist. One of the most irritating things about that 50’s article is that it instructs women to place the emotional health of their husbands above their own. His long day at work warrants a quiet and clean home upon his arrival, with nothing to greet him but docile children and a smiling wife. Meanwhile, anyone who has children or has looked after them knows how something as simple as getting them dressed can turn into a puddle of tears.
  6. Your job is not to help solve his problems, unpack his emotional trauma, serve as his whipping boy, or address his resentments.  I don’t care what meme or video you saw floating around that said the opposite. You are not his therapist and that boundary needs to be firmly in place.
  7. And before you object with the very real importance about being a supportive partner, take this into account: there’s a reason why therapists charge $150/hour and don’t treat people they know.
  8. They know their time and barriers are valuable. Why are you volunteering?
  9. Telling your business. Long after you’ve vented to your close friends and family about the terrible thing your partner did, they will remember. And while you may have forgiven him, they haven’t. It’s important to note that this one is often overlooked because women tend to confide in one another. The problem is that long after the dust settles, your closest companions will feel used and robbed of their time. You have an issue? Either fix it internally or vent but be prepared for your friends to have a vested interest in what happens next.
  10. This is often how emotionally abusive relationships strengthen. When I was in a relationship with someone that was a habitual cheater and verbally abusive, I vented to my friends until the did not want to hear it anymore. This made the man I was with my only confidant. He and I kept our mess quiet while I died internally. I touched on it here.
  11. Taking your foot off their neck. The modern woman is often told that she is too demanding, bossy, or picky. I argue that we are not assertive enough.  Relationships often start with him pulling out all the stops to woo you and once you agree to be in a committed relationship, the romance and good behavior fades away. Sometimes, it’s gone so quickly, you wonder if the good behavior was all an act. ( Spoiler alert: It probably was). And so you end up trying to bring the relationship back to its former glory, as if that’s something only one person can do, when your partner acted like they had a real interest in being with you.
  12. I learned a decade ago that the true test of your will is not how many flowers you get or public proclamations of love after a fallout; it’s in the little things he does daily to honor you, himself, and the relationship you both agreed to be in.
  13. If you saw “Fences” starring the incomparable Viola Davis, you remember the monologue that secured her the Academy Award. After her husband (Troy) of eighteen years reveals that he’s not only been unfaithful but also is expecting a child with another woman, he then goes on to explain how he’s felt trapped and unfulfilled in life. He’s “been standing in the same place for eighteen years”.
  14. Rose (Viola) then goes on to say “I been standing with you! I been right here with you, Troy. I got a life too. I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot with you. Don’t you think I ever wanted other things? Don’t you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me? Don’t you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men? That I wanted to lay up somewhere and forget about my responsibilities? …But I held on to you, Troy. I held you tighter. You was my husband. I owed you everything I had. Every part of me I could find to give you. . . . I gave everything I had to try and erase the doubt that you wasn’t the finest man in the world. And wherever you was going . . I wanted to be there with you. Cause you was my husband. Cause that’s the only way I was gonna survive as your wife.
  15. You always talking about what you give . . . and what you don’t have to give.
  16. But you take, too.
  17. You take.”

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Peace & Love,

Adri

break ups, dating, healing, insecure, love, relationships

Kill It With Fire: The Case of the Ex

This post has been a long time coming, as I’ve dealt with my own “case of the ex” a few times now.

An inconvenient truth in the majority of relationships is that you won’t be the first, second, or even third person who has captured the heart of your mate.

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When you agree to become someone’s partner, you implicitly acknowledge that they were an entire person who once loved and cared for another long before you were even a thought in their heads. And while that may be uncomfortable for some, it can be even more uncomfortable when the object of their longstanding affection takes up space in your current relationship.

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This is the ugly truth about exes: sometimes they don’t ever really go away. Like lingering spirits who haven’t moved on from this world into the next, their presence still hangs around.

And that’s why I don’t believe exes should be friends in almost any circumstance.

In a perfect world where romantic feelings can be packed up and shipped off to the land of dead relationships, exes can certainly befriend one another, interacting with civility and pleasantness. They may even be the best of friends.

But such a world doesn’t exist, and in this world, we move through life with tokens of our past attached to us, making up the essence of who we are. And so, by the time you meet someone that you hit it off with, and fall in love with, you’re aware that this person wasn’t plucked out of the universe unsullied. You weren’t, either. But you both make it work, creating a new reality, and ultimately, a new future.

 

So what happens when an ex resurfaces in your relationship?

Some women react harshly: directly addressing the interloper and telling her to stay wherever the hell she came from. Others are more relaxed, feeling confident that whatever once was, is no more. And therefore, she has no reason to be worried.

I advise women to play their position. And to NEVER address the other woman. Your issue is not with her. If the fear of a past relationship being rekindled is strong enough, then that means your partner is providing kindling for that fire – take that up with him.

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Leave, if necessary. 

The one thing you must know is that no matter how beautiful, trustworthy, kind, and doting you are, you cannot compete with the unresolved affections of a past love.

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You deserve a love that is so whole, honest, and full, that neither of you cannot imagine how life would be without one another. And that kind of love should not be begged for, it should be freely given.

 

Peace & Love,

Adri

break ups, dating, insecure, sex

“Did You F-k Him?” That time I was almost Issa

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the latest episode of Insecure that aired on 11/20/16, please stop reading. This entry is littered with spoilers.

If you're a fan of Issa Rae's new hit show "Insecure" you'll recognize the title of this blog as the most pivotal point in the debut series to date.

After years of harboring resentment towards her kind and loyal but often broke and lazy boyfriend, Issa acted out by sleeping with her ex. Viewers across the country let out a collective curse word as they watched her betray Lawrence, her boyfriend of 5 years. What made it worse was that we saw it coming a mile away and couldn't do anything to stop this fictional character from contacting her ex, then hanging out with him, then agreeing to "chill" at the studio.

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But these kinds of scenarios are rarely black-and-white and while I hate infidelity (as someone who was cheated on by an ex who had no idea what "faithful" meant), I was once in a situation that almost made me take that step.

I used to date someone that I thought was I was going to marry. He was kind, devoted (sorta), and had a sense of adventure. But, like Lawrence, he lacked direction. He was always in and out of work. He had great ideas but limited follow-through. The financial burden often fell on me as I struggled to advance within my career while also being in graduate school full time. I was, as the kids call it, "holding him down" because I believed in him.

But as the months dragged on, I noticed something – he stopped trying. Like Issa, I'd often come to my apartment after working and see him chilling on the futon while watching Netflix.

It angered me.

I was angry that he wasn't doing more for himself. I was resentful that I was making it work and he was not. I essentially lost respect for him.

And that's why I started toying with the idea of going out with other guys. I'd say during our arguments (usually about money) that he's lucky because any one else would've cheated on him.

I knew I had to end things when I went out one day for happy hour with coworkers. One of them was attractive and secure and essentially an "itch I wanted to scratch". And believe me, I almost did. While kisses weren't shared or anything like that, I knew that if I wanted to take that step, my colleague would've been down with the get down.

But I chose not to because I thought about the guilt I'd feel afterwards. And THAT is when I knew it was time to break up.

And I did.

While cheating is always wrong in every aspect, sometimes people are not as skilled at stopping themselves before it's too late. We often overestimate our ability to control a situation.

The key is to be honest with yourself and communicate your issues as they come up. Otherwise, you could end up like Issa.

So ladies, what's your story?

Adri