One thing that has always interested me is relationships. As a writer I tend to deeply observe the motives and mindsets of people, maybe making them a character in my stories or a topic of one of my articles. The relationships that my peers cultivate is often concerning to me. Many people of my generation just get together just for likes and retweets, aiming to be someone’s #relationshipgoals. They see their insecurities and mask them by hiding behind their “ideal” man or woman, putting their all into that one particular person. After time, they lose themselves.
Because of the afore mentioned fact, these relationships are dangerous. How many mature young men and women do you know with true game? How many hard grown adults do you know that are socially adept enough to understand who their significant other truly is at the core, celebrating their greatness but also respectfully understanding their shortcomings? We always want to change who people are, yet we don’t understand how to manage people. Forcing yourself on someone won’t make them bend to your will, only further resist you. Being selectively honest hurts everyone, including the recipients of these thinly veiled lies.
This semester at my college, I had the pleasure of meeting Bettina Johnson, the award-winning creator of the lifestyle brand Define Her Allure. Her beauty captured my attention. Her swagger intrigued me. Her intelligence and charisma impressed me. Here in front of me was the epitome of the saying “you act older than your age”. Usually, when you meet mature-minded young people, they’ve been through events and situations in their lives that sharpened their mindsets. What she expressed in her article, “Seven Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Serious Relationship” is a perfect example.
In the article, she detailed her first real relationship with a guy that she selectively chose to call “E”. She fell for him immediately, thinking he was “the best thing since sliced bread”. That bread, however, became stale and moldy quickly as the problems started. Bettina, black women and women in general don’t deserve to be in dead-end relationships with deadbeats that don’t truly respect them. Communication doesn’t mean arguing every five seconds. A woman “tip-toeing” around issues that matter to her isn’t the equivalent of submission or the manifestation of masculinity.
We wonder why these women are untrusting. We get mad at the baggage that is brought into relationships, viewing it as a deal-breaker. But, what if the person is special enough to help her get rid of the trash back full of pain, insecurity and regret? Bettina learned from her situationship. She laid out seven pieces of advice she would’ve given fifteen year old her at the age of sixteen. I wanted to affirm what Miss Johnson said in her article and remix it a bit from the view of an intelligent young black man that has an undying love for black women.
- It might not last.
Bettina J says: You should always have your own things going on aside from the things that you all do together. There’s nothing wrong with having things that you do together, but not everything you do or everyone you know have to be something you all have together. Hope for the best, but still prepare for the worst.
My take: 100% correct! You must keep your individuality when it comes to a relationship. Your partner is supposed to be the extension of everything great about you. You need to be able to stand alone before having the capability to stand together. Bettina is right on the money! However, what concerns me is the last sentence.
Hope for the best, but still prepare for the worst.
Why is it that our women have to have this notion about relationships? It causes them unneeded anxiety and stress issues that, in turn, distorts their perception of the actual good, quality men that come into their lives. While the answers to this question seem to be numerous the pure fact remains that any relationship is a risk. No woman should have to “prepare for the worst”. Miss Johnson shouldn’t have had to “prepare for the worst” and she shouldn’t have to now.
2. It’s going to be hard.
Bettina J says: Any relationship that you get into isn’t going to be easy. One person can’t and shouldn’t be doing all of the work while the other person is just there for the ride.
My Take: Once again, Bettina is dead on the mark! Why people don’t understand this is absurd. I love the car metaphor. Sure, only one person can drive the car at one time but both individuals should be able to “drive”. If you’re not driving, at least be a good co-driver. Give gas money or something!
3. Love isn’t supposed to hurt.
Bettina J says: Love isn’t one of those things that always feels good, but it surely is not supposed to hurt either.
My Take: Love should always feel good. It isn’t supposed to hurt at all. Even the definition of love says nothing about hurt. Check out what came up when I googled “Love definition”.
- An intense feeling of deep affection (noun)
- A person or thing that one loves (noun)
- Feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone) (verb)
What in the above definitions connotes hurt and pain? It describes intense and strong feelings of affection. Love shouldn’t hurt. Change does. Growing pains often do. But, those growing pains should be slight, not gratuitously horrible. Those that feel like this aren’t in love, they are in like. And just like on Facebook, they need to unlike or change their reaction because love pains shouldn’t exist.
4. If you’re bad days outweigh your good ones, reevaluate the relationship.
Bettina J says: When me and (let’s call him “E”) got together, we had some of the best days of my life at the time, but when we , mostly he, was upset, it got really bad. We would argue about the littlest thing that didn’t even require a disagreement. When that starts happening you need to reevaluate what the real problem is. I’m not saying that when things get rough you need to run, but you’ll know when the relationship has run its course. You also need to know that if it has, you can’t change it and you have to live with that.
My take: Bettina’s not saying run but I am. RUN! Get out of that dead end relationship before you get trapped in something that isn’t good for your spiritual, mental and physical health. I hate this whole notion of settling, especially when you’re in high school and college. You settle when there’s no other options. There are plenty of options for beautiful black women of Bettina’s ilk. Now, all of these options aren’t good but I’m speaking out as a great option myself! The issue is that these young women allow their innate insecurities and dusty dudes like E to negatively shift how they view themselves. And people really ask why I ride for black women so hard…
5. You have to be equally yoked.
Bettina J says: One person can’t want it to work while the other person could care less.
My take: Does any more need to be said? Bettina loves using this phrase though. I understand why now!
6. You can’t change him/her completely.
Bettina J says: When getting into a relationship, don’t go into it thinking this person is 70% of the person I want to be with and I can change the other 30% that I don’t like to make them perfect. You can’t change anybody.
My Take: Very true! Communication is key though. You can’t snap your fingers and make someone change but you can communicate what you think should be change and have a real, mature dialogue about the issue at hand. You should give anyone you truly care for that courtesy.
7. Research is key.
Bettina J says: Get to know someone before deciding to get into a relationship with them.
My Take: This goes back to what I said in the beginning about how I analyze the behavior and mindsets of people. I always thoroughly analyze anyone that I’m interested in from how they carry themselves down to the people they hang around, their family background, personal and socio-political ideologies. I even observe how the women I like walk and talk. Most things that you want to know about individuals in relationships is non-verbal. People speak through their actions and body language more than anything. Knowledge of this fact would save many relationships
Nevertheless, I applaud Bettina for even writing this article and speaking her truth. She should be celebrated for learning from her mistakes and vowing to grow from them. I’m glad E is kicked to the dusty curb! I hope she doesn’t allow the mess-ups and inconsistencies of other less-than-men to taint how she approaches future friendships and possible relationships with other men that enter her life. She’s on the right track, that’s for sure!
To Read the full article, visit her blog Define Her Allure at the link below: