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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You Are Worthy

In light of recent scandal with baseball player Danry Vasquez,  who was caught on video abusing his girlfriend, a thought I often struggled with immediately came to mind: What causes women to stay in tumultuous relationships?

When I was younger, I could not understand it for the life of me. I use to judge women who stayed in these kinds of relationships and viewed them as weak. There ain’t that much love in the world to keep me in that kind of relationship, so I thought. My mind fuck moment came at a random time, but I had to sit and be real with myself. Tezhula, what made you any different from these women? 

In my past relationships, I was used, manipulated, lied to, and cheated on. You see, people like to associate abuse with physical harm, but emotional and mental abuse is just as harmful. It was then that I understood the psyche of a domestic violence victim because the cycle isn’t much different than what I had once experienced. We stay with men who mistreat us because we love them and want them to either change or return to who they were in the beginning. The reality is, 90% of the time, the chances of that happening are not likely, but rather than loving ourselves enough to walk away and knowing we deserve better, we stick around and take the mistreatment due to our lack of self-worth.

Do you really know your worth or do you think you do?  When I was in my early 20’s, no one could not tell me that I did not have my shit together. I was self- assured and confident about what I brought to the table. I was a recent college graduate, had a job, and believed that I was attractive, but beneath all of that, I had some insecurities. I use to question my place in this person’s life. What did the other women who he use to play me for have that I did not? Did I have whatever it was to keep him satisfied with only me? When I realized I was not enough for him, my insecurities increased. I started to feel unattractive and compared myself to some women thinking that it was the standard he judged me by. If I had truly known my worth, however, he would not have been able to make me feel insecure. I would have recognized that the way he treated me (his inability to commit and feeling the need to have multiple women) was a result of his shortcomings. I would have understood that his behavior was a reflection of him and had nothing to do with me.

While many of us like to think that we love ourselves, true love and understanding of worth entails finding the strength to walk away from someone who mistreats us or is simply not good for us. It’s understandable to think you’re incapable of leaving because it takes a lot of pain, tears, and struggles to get to this point, but it’s like you wake up one day and everything clicks. You finally won’t take all the bullshit you once did. You know your worth and won’t accept any less than you deserve.

Have you forgiven yourself for the mistakes you made prior to truly knowing your worth? Often times, we are our own worst enemy. We are not kind to ourselves. We do not forgive ourselves for the poor decisions we made and despite letting go of bad relationships, we hold on to the experiences that played into our low self-esteem. These thoughts can manifest, resulting in actions and behaviors that are out of character. If I had forgiven and thought enough of myself, I would not have allowed my past experience to influence my poor decision-making. I would not have sought out the love and attention I should have given myself from other people. But as the famous saying goes “everything happens for a reason.” The journey to self-love is one paved with mistakes, heartaches, trials and tribulations. With every experience, there is a lesson learned. There are some lessons I regret and wish I did not have to learn the way I did, but it was necessary for my growth. Only at your lowest point can you find the strength to heal and move forward. I had to break myself down and rebuild myself back stronger and wiser. I had to learn to forgive myself and knew as long as I learned from it everything would be OK.

The love you want begins with you. If you want someone to respect you, respect yourself. If they do not respect you, respect yourself enough to walk away. Remember that you teach people how to treat you. Never settle for less than you deserve and if by any chance you do, forgive yourself for what you did not know. Once you know better, make sure you do better. Do not allow anyone to judge you for your situation. People (some who have accepted or will accept something similar) judge what they do not understand and their opinions could have a way of making you feel worse. Sometimes, you have to take the road less traveled to end up where you need to be. At the end of the day, everyone at some point in their lives has struggled with knowing their worth. You are not alone. If you are in a situation where you are being mistreated in any capacity and you feel like you are stuck and cannot move forward, take a leap of faith and make sure you put yourself, your feelings and your interests first. Do not rely on anyone to love you or to make you happy. You are the one who is in control and responsible for your life.

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

LOVING YOU ON VALENTINE’S DAY!

So, today is Valentine’s Day! A highly anticipated holiday for some and an overrated holiday for others. Nonetheless, it is the time of the year when people show their love for one another by doing things that they do not normally do. The romance is stepped up for the couples who are in a relationship, but then there are people, women in particular, who are left feeling bitter on this day. As I scroll through my timeline, I see some women who are acting like the Grinch for Valentine’s Day. Lol. If you are one of the ladies who are feeling down about this holiday, do not feel sad, bitter or resentful because you feel you cannot celebrate this day when you are not in a relationship or do not have a partner to share this day with. Today is about love, plain and simple. Most people put emphasis on the romantic aspect of this holiday, but that is not the only love we experience or the only meaningful relationships we have in day to day life. We have parents, children, friends all who we can share and experience this holiday with. More importantly, we have ourselves.

When I was single, I used to be one of those women who was bitter when this time of year came around. But, when I sit and reflect, I wish that, as a single woman, I would have taken more advantage of this day. How often do people usually set aside a day to treat, pamper, spend time with, and love themselves? We get caught up with the normal activities of life that we may do one or two of these things often, but we usually don’t reserve a whole day for it. Instead of moping about not having a valentine, today could be the day you give back and cater to yourself instead of having to cater to someone or have someone cater to you.

Forget about social media. Forget about all the couples who are posting their cute, lovey dovey pictures and the things they bought/received for Valentine’s Day. Forget about the engagements that will happen today. Forget about not having a romantic relationship. The love you want begins with you. When you are looking and feeling good, you radiate confidence. This confidence can attract someone special. We do not only have to make this a Valentine’s Day thing. It can be an everyday thing. But as they say, everyday is Valentine’s Day when you are in the right relationship and the most important relationship we all have is the one with ourselves. After you read this, I hope you no longer associate negative feelings with today and instead use this day for positivity and while I focused on the single women, women who are in relationships can do this, too. Self-love is the greatest love and once you perfect this, no one can break it up. Besides, if you really don’t want to be by yourself today, get dressed up and hit up one of your single friends for a Galentine’s Day.

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

Make Peace With It

A few days ago, I was sitting in my room when a random thought about relationships came to me. I thought it would be clever to turn it into a meme that I could share with my followers. The meme I created stated “He may not get it right with you. He may get it right with someone else; you just have to make peace with that.” Of course, as with most things relationship wise, this does not only apply to females despite my use of the word “he”. The meme itself was pretty self-explanatory, but I wrote a caption with the final message I wanted to get across which is that our purpose in a person’s life could be to help them evolve and become a better version of themselves in a future relationship. When I created the meme, I had no intentions on making a blog post about it, but it was brought to my attention that the message could be interpreted as putting blame on the person an individual did not get it right with.

Now, I know that a message could be understood differently based off one’s level of perception, but I want MY intention to be clear. The message was solely meant to convey to people that it is OK to let go of a relationship if it is not working. So often, I hear of people who fear letting go of a failing relationship because they do not want to see the person they are currently dating with someone else. The fear of a person treating someone better than they treated you should not be the reason to stay in a relationship. I understand the thought process since I have thought like this a time or two, but at the end of the day, we hurt ourselves holding onto a relationship that is not working for this reason and blocking the blessings that may come our way.

Instead of settling for a mediocre relationship, find peace in letting that person go. They may or may not get it right with someone else, but in the event that they do, make peace with it. You have to know and feel comfortable that this has no bearing on your worth nor should it make you question yourself. This just means that you have not found the person for you yet.  The way I made peace with a similar situation was by recognizing that this is a learning process for all. Did I fault him for some of the things he did to me and hurt he caused me? Yes, but I found peace in knowing that sometimes it takes leaving a person for good for them to realize what they had or lost. He probably realized that certain things he had done made me reach a breaking point and as a result, whatever future relationship he enters, he knows what not to do if he really values that person and does not want to lose her.

So, just because a person is doing all the things you wanted them to do with someone else does not make them more special.  You helped this person grow by showing them how not to treat someone they see a future with. Even if that was not the case, it could be a learning experience for you. You learned what you would not tolerate in any future relationships. In the end, when you find the person you are meant to be with, you would look back on the relationship you feared letting go of so badly as a lesson. At that point, you would not even care if that person is treating someone else better than they treated you. You would actually be happy for them, wish them all the best, and hope that they are not repeating the same mistakes and hurting someone else.

 

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

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

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

Dreams to Reality

I don’t know how many of you are fans of urban fiction, but it is my genre of choice. There are a lot of relationship issues that occur in these books that are thought provoking and often times, insightful. Most of the issues that occur in these books parallel real life. Art imitates life anyway. While reading a book the other day, it triggered a thought. The main character was in a relationship with a guy who consistently cheated on her and even got other women pregnant. What took the cake was when he ended up having a secret relationship with one of her childhood best friends. Yet he claimed to love her. How could you say you love someone and betray them in that way? Upon learning about his and her best friend’s deceit, she caught sense and moved on to another man. As a result, the ex-boyfriend got jealous and found several different ways to convince himself that she fucked up and was wrong for leaving him to be with someone who he knows would treat her better. The whole scenario just triggered the thought for me: why do men treat women wrong and then when she moves on, they look at her like she is the one in the wrong as opposed to acknowledging their flaws and what it is that they had done wrong?

I actually posted this question on social media looking for male insight as to why they become angry with the women they mistreat for moving on. One of my male friends answered with multiple comments. He first stated that “the woman is suppose to stay and be loyal” and after asking for further explanation, he said “because men know they’re not shit but as a woman, you’re suppose to hold it down”. A female commenter thought that women are the cause of why men treat us like this. We make excuses for the men and then when those excuses are not valuable or useful to us any longer, then we wake up and begin complaining. It turned into a debate with my male friend stating “as a man, it is their job to sell dreams”. At first, I rolled my eyes for two reasons: why should you as a man think that it is ok to sell dreams but furthermore, did it even have anything to do with what I initially asked or what the young lady commented? I wrote it off thinking the comment did not apply but upon further thought, I see what he means. Men are going to tell you exactly what you want to hear to keep you there. Men believe women are suppose to continuously buy the dreams they sell knowing that they’re not shit and will not change, BUT if they do decide to change, they expect you to be there after many years of being used and abused. To them, it is like ‘how dare you not believe what I say anymore? You did for so long.’ Yes, we are going to blame the men and hold them accountable for their actions, but I agree with what the young lady commented.  IT IS OUR FAULT AS WOMEN FOR ALLOWING THE MAN TO CONTINUOUSLY DO US WRONG. Yes, rightfully the man should be upfront and honest about his intentions, but we know that is not how the world works. Some men, the users, the cheaters, etc. can see women’s weaknesses and prey on them selling them dreams and as a result, we fall for words and not actions. However, the actions were there all along and we ended up selling ourselves a dream. Men should not be mad because they knew they were playing games and hoodwinking us, but it is our fault for allowing it to begin with. When the signs are there, believe what is being shown and not the fantasy that is created in our heads. Mostly all women fall victim to this behavior at some point or another. When we realize what is happening and words and actions do not match up, we should try to escape the situation as soon as possible. We stay hoping that things could change or get better and we end up wasting more time. No matter how much time you have invested, there is always strength in leaving. It is never too late. The man you want is out there and will treat you like the Queen you are. I have been in a situation like this and after a lot of reflection and self-evaluation, I had to acknowledge that it was my fault for staying and ignoring signs that other women would have run at the first sign of. You cannot change anyone who does not want to change or who does not see an issue with their actions. No amount of talking can change a person who does not want to change. The best apology you can give yourself for tolerating toxic behavior such as this for so long is to leave and move on.

PS: If any of you are interested, the book is “Trust and Issues” by Danielle Marcus.