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Is Marriage Necessary?

Hey, ya’ll!  If you do not know, I have a relationship podcast named Let’s Talk Relationsh*t with three of my friends. Weekly, we discuss random relationship topics or whatever relationship topic is relevant at the time. On our latest episode, we discussed what the majority of people were raving about last week, the relationship drama between the rapper, Fabolous, and his long-time girlfriend, Emily Bustamante. As a part of our discussion, we speculated and offered theories about the cause of their infamous blow-up  as seen on various news and social media outlets. While listening to the podcast before posting and promoting, I realized I made a strong assertion when it came to Fabolous and Emily’s relationship. I implied that because they have been together for nearly twenty years and are not married, that it was an issue. After hearing myself, I wondered why I made such a statement. While I knew my reasoning in this instance, hearing this strong assertion made me want to analyze the question: should long-term relationships end in marriage or at least have a proposal?

I am sure that most people desire marriage and believe that if they are in a long-term relationship, marriage should be the next step.  However, some people impose these beliefs on other people.  Let’s be honest here. People tend to be highly critical of other’s relationships and try to force the standards they have for their relationship onto another couple. Comments like “Oh, you’ve been with him for how long and he still has not put a ring on it? It couldn’t have been me!” are prevalent.  We also have social media statuses and memes floating around saying things like “3-5 years together without engagement/ marriage, you’re good enough to be a girlfriend but not a wife,” giving the impression that if you are not married within a certain time frame, your partner does not deem you worthy of being his or her spouse.  I just want to know. Whose timeline are we going by? Our own? Society’s? Because I know when these obnoxious statements are being made, we do not stop to consider that these two individuals are happy in their relationship and may have no desire for an engagement or marriage. Obviously, I am guilty of making this kind of statement and thinking in the same manner, but after giving it some thought, I do not believe that long-term relationships have to end in marriage. Marriage does not equal happiness, respect, and/ or love. You could be in a marriage and lack these things and be in a long-term relationship and have all of the above. I did a poll asking the question, “should long-term relationships end in marriage?” 81% of voters said yes and 19% said no. Some of the voters who voted either yes or no explicitly stated that the answer they chose is a result of their preference. They understand that whether a couple chooses to marry after being in a long-term relationship or not is their choice.

However, the distinction I would like to make in the Fabolous and Emily situation is that Emily most likely desired marriage. For anyone who followed the reality show Emily was a part of, in some scenes where she spoke about her relationship, it was implied that she wanted something more solid, maybe marriage, maybe not. So when I made the statement about their situation, I was speaking on what could be perceived as Fabolous’ selfishness if it was explicitly stated by Emily that that was what she wanted. However, the overall idea or point I am trying to make is a long term relationship does not have to end in marriage, and if it does, the couples should do so when they are ready. There are couples who do not desire marriage and that, too, is absolutely fine, but a conversation should be held to ensure that you are both on the same page about your goals for the future. I just wanted to clarify my statement made during this recording so the people who are in healthy, loving relationships are aware that I do not feel nor think that the length of time a couple is together is indicative of anything. There is no blueprint for a relationship. Relationships do not need to be placed in this imaginary box neither do they have to follow “society’s” guidelines.

 

Editor: Sweenie Nicole; Instagram: Sweenie.Nicole; Twitter: @simplysweenie; Blog: Relish N’ Rise

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Do you find it beneficial to go to your friends for relationship advice?

So, to start, let me just say that this is a topic I have mixed feelings on.  There is really no right or wrong answer. It is truly a matter of preference. There are many factors to consider when going to your friends about your relationship: are they in a relationship? If so, is the relationship healthy? Does this friend genuinely want what is best for me? Will they be honest with me?

  1. It does not actually matter whether a friend is in a relationship or not. Some of the best advice comes from single people who have made their fair share of mistakes in relationships and aim to prevent others from going down a similar road. But if they are in a relationship, we should probably find out if they are in a healthy one. A healthy relationship is not one void of problems and hardships; the couple was just able to overcome the difficulties using positive coping mechanisms like communication. If a person who is in an unhealthy relationship gives us advice, we could be less likely to take it because it could be ungenuine. We may even find ourselves paying attention to how it is they handle their problems, and if they aren’t following their own advice, we probably wouldn’t follow it either.

Disclaimer: Anyone is capable of giving great advice; it’s just harder to take advice from people when their water is not clean.

  1. We all have friends who genuinely want the best for us and some who would try to sabotage our relationship because they are not happy in their current situation. The hardest part about knowing this is determining if our friend is the former or the latter so we know who we should and should not take advice from (we obviously would not want to take advice from someone who has bad intentions)! Then, we have to consider that among those friends who genuinely want the best for us, are some who find it hard to be honest for one reason or another. For instance, one of my closest friends recently revealed to me that she could not stand the person I was dealing with a few years ago. Her exact words were “I never told you this, but I could not stand him.” When I asked her why she did not tell me then, her response was “You were not ready, but I knew you would have gotten it right someday.” A few years removed from the situation and no longer defensive, I was able to meet that statement with understanding instead of holding her decision against her. I know she is a friend who wants what is best for me, but sometimes those kind of friends get caught up in the line of fire if they tell us the truth about the person we are dealing with WHILE we’re still with them. At that point, our minds are clouded by our emotions, and a friend giving us sound advice before we are ready to hear it or come to terms with what the situation actually is could be detrimental to a friendship. I had other friends who I pushed away for that exact reason. They refused to enable me when it came to my dealings and rather than looking at the guy as the enemy, I pushed them away to save face.

I polled this question a week ago and 58% of voters said they DO find going to their friends for advice beneficial versus 42% who selected no. One voter messaged me and explained why she was against seeking advice. She said that she never listens to her friends even if they’re offering logical guidance because at the end of the day, the heart and mind will not accept what it is not ready to. She believes people ask for advice hoping we will get cosigns for what we say or think; we need validation and I agree. We usually go to people to vent until we finally come to terms with what we need or want to do. We only take advice when we want to.

This topic is not black and white for me. I have arguments for going to your friends and arguments to keep your business private. However, if I had to choose a side, I would say it is not beneficial to go to your friends for their input. While some advantages are that they may be able to see in your partner what you cannot and can help point out if and when you are sabotaging your own relationship, the majority of the time, we are not taking our friends’ advice until we are good and ready. By that time, we realize that we don’t even need their help anymore because we came to an ultimate decision on our own.

Editor: Sweenie Nicole; Instagram: sweenie.nicole; Twitter: @simplysweenie; Blog: Relishn’Rise

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The Love I Was Not Prepared For

I’ve always heard that women do not know what they want, but never believed it. Any time a male friend of mine would say this, I would always brush it off and think “women certainly know what we desire, it’s men who struggle with knowing what they want.” Of course, women have their specific preferences, but generally speaking, most of us want a man who is handsome (in our eyes), loyal, honest, caring and treats us well. But what happens when we actually meet a man like this? Do we appreciate him for who he is or do we take him for granted?

I personally believe that women are unable to recognize when there is a good man in their presence, and 9 times out of 10, it’s because the man is not coming in the package we had hoped for or desired. The reality is that the man who would treat you the way you want could come as the total opposite of everything you envisioned. If he does come as you hoped for, it’s possible he could lack in a specific area that would cause you to pause and make you reluctant to deal with him.

Trust me when I tell it, I almost missed out on a great guy all because he fell short in an area that is extremely important to me: stability. I did not realize God was giving me everything I needed and wanted in a man because I was placing so much emphasis on his one shortcoming that I let it affect the relationship. I focused less on the positive qualities: that he was loving, supportive, genuine, funny, and gave me a lot of attention. Though I was grateful for it, I lacked full appreciation because highlighting his shortcomings helped to compensate for my own. My man lacked stability, but he was working on that.  I knew he was working on it, but I kept harping on it.

Now that I am a little wiser and more mature, I understand why. Prior to him, I was not use to guys treating me in the way in which he did. I was emotionally damaged. I had become fairly cynical and looped all men into one category. His love made me uncomfortable and because of that, I used the one thing he lacked to push him away. I knew he made me happy but because I was not used to such a feeling, I tried to do what I would normally do which is run.

Sometimes I wonder how I’d react if he was treating me like shit and had the same shortcoming he had. While the “logical” thing to do would be to leave or not deal with him, that is not always the reality of the situation. Women tend to gravitate to what is familiar and we like to believe we can tame an asshole. Simply put, women like assholes. If my boyfriend came in the form of one, I think that I would’ve been less inclined to push him away because he would have been treating me in a manner that I was familiar with.  As much as we don’t like to admit it, the truth is women tolerate a lot of shit from men who don’t do much for us and oftentimes, they don’t come as the package we anticipated either. We gravitate to them because converting an asshole and getting him to commit is a task we all like to believe we can complete.

I was going to keep this post specific to women and emphasize how this attitude could cause us to miss out on our blessings, but why limit it to women when men are notorious for doing this as well?  A man would have a good woman and would leave or cheat on her because she is not “bad” or for some other superficial reason. Although I am aware that not all individuals think this way, for the ones who do, the superficial things are not the things that actually keep us happy when we’re with someone. Certain things shouldn’t be a deal breaker if you really like a person. Their fundamental core makeup, who they truly are as a person, is what truly matters because circumstances could change and people can overcome their shortcomings. If you have someone who is perfect in many ways but has things that they are lacking that could be worked on, my suggestion is that you try not to dash them away for superficial reasons, and give the relationship a real chance. I am happy I did because my man turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. To try and to fail is a horrible feeling, but to regret is even worse.

Editor: Sweenie Nicole; Instagram: Sweenie.Nicole; Twitter: @simplysweenie