Love is, Love Ain't

Posts Tagged ‘love

In the spirit of Independence Day and just the recent reminder that we all need to be free no mater what our relationship status, I thought I would celebrate my independence as a single woman.  I don’t celebrate it just for me, but for every woman or man – single, booed-up, or married – who may be bound by the idea that being single means being insignificant.  Two things recently collided to make me want live an even more empowered, celebrated life of singleness.  One – I joined Twitter and was introduced to the fantastic tweets of The Single Woman.  Two – My really good friend called me discussing the same ol’ deadbeat boyfriend of hers whom she shared wants to “take a break.”  For her, every time he wants to take a break it’s devastating.  For me, I’m happy, because I hope she will stop changing herself – physically (I mean physically if you follow) and mentally – for a guy who’s been working on the same Bachelor’s degree for the past 12 years, has no car or house, and is very selfish.  I called her randomly as I always do last week, and she answers the phone to share that she had just been sitting on the floor in her closet crying and how grateful she was that I called.  I’ve learned to tread lightly with her because she’s not like me – I’m a give-it-to-me-straight type of girl.  I listen as she goes on about how he wants to “take a break” for the millionth time.  Then she goes on about how they are meant to be and he will need to figure all of this out – with a lot of crowding from her and interfering from her mother.

All I could think is she can’t be free with all of that.  I need her to know that she is “significant without a significant other,” as The Single Woman tweeted one day.  I can’t say it to her though.  Every time I try, she interjects with several excuses as to why he hasn’t graduated, why he doesn’t have a car, and why the “breaks” might be good – continually strengthening the chains that hold her in the position that she is in.  And as she does that, she ridicules my “solo glow,” and sometimes politely reminds me of my patriarchal duty as a woman to be married to a man that I can cook for everyday.  So I’ve decided that maybe if I walk my talk and practice what I preach, she will see the freedom that I have as a beautiful, smart, silly, loving single woman.  And I won’t be single always, but I will make sure that I am always empowered, strong, happy, and significant – with or without the significant other.  And yes, I will fall from time to time and call and whine about how my ex just won’t give up and be judged because I keep answering the phone for him, but I won’t let him or any other person control my happiness, joy, or freedom.

I hope that all of my men and women who are significant whether with a significant other or not will join me in celebrating the love that we have for our Creator, ourselves, our families, our friends, our husbands/wives, girlfriends/boyfriends, and enemies.  And within these loves let’s pledge to be honest that singlehood does not automatically mean insignificance and relationship-hood/marriage does not automatically secure our significance.  Happy Independence Day!

I seriously thought my blog about What Chili Wants would be only one part, but since I watch the show regularly, I could not help but blog again about what we can learn from Chili.  So Chili and Floyd (UGH!!) hang out some more.  He basically ignores her while they are at Six Flags – he’s too busy having fun with his entourage.  This prompts Chili to finally have the talk that they should have had a long time ago.  I can’t remember what she says specifically, but she wanted to know if she and Floyd would be in that weird space they titled “friendship” forever. I heard Floyd loud and clear though when he called their relationship a friendship.  And I have learned from my own experiences that that is all I need to hear to cue my exit from a weird friendship.

What I have also learned is that you can never change another person; however, you can change yourself and can get out of these paralyzing “friendships.” Here’s a list of statements that your “friend” of over a year (I’m being lenient with this time period) should not be saying:

“I don’t want to get hurt.” – No one wants to get hurt.  This is really irrelevant, and I’m not trying to be coldhearted.  Ok, if you want to be specific about past heartbreak, family/relationship issues – fine, I’ll listen.  But you need to understand that there are very few people who have not been hurt or affected by someone else’s heartbreak and pain.  Don’t allow him to keep saying this to you for an extended period of time.

“I’m scared.” – Fear can be healthy in some cases.  After 3 weeks of knowing someone, you should be scared to make a commitment or move in with this person.  However, remember we’re talking about knowing this “friend” for a year or more.  Maybe he means he’s scared that you will find out that his intentions have never been to be your friend with the possibility of being your man but a lukewarm relationship parasite.

Anything with “just friends” or “our friendship” – Hello, no matter how many diamonds, dinners, private Six Flags trips he has given you, if he’s saying this word or combinations of this word he’s being loud and clear – you’re only friends.  Please, take him at his word.  I would even suggest that you not accept his lavish gifts.  Accepting the extravagant gifts is one of the signs that you’re OK that your love for him is “in the layaway for a rainy day.”

“I can’t see the future.” – Well, guess what, no one can (generally speaking).  However, after spending significant time with someone especially over the period of a year, you know something.  This person knows enough that will allow him to take the risk to see what the future could hold.  Part of me believes that this statement reveals that this person does know what the future holds, and I’m 95% sure it’s not you.  Sorry 😦  *hugs*

“Women are my weakness.” – Actually, he should never be saying this if you are in that weird maybe-more-than-friendship relationship.  He is actually playing you from the start.  If you really value his friendship, you should make sure that it is clear that he knows that you want to just be friends and then inform him of the standards you have for your friendships.  This means no evening romantic dinners, no extravagant trips/gifts, no spending nights at each other’s places and having closet/drawer space, and no sex.  Sorry, I digressed. 🙂

I’m not bashing male friendships.  I established in Part I that I have some fantastic male friends.  I also believe that it is so important that your partner is also your friend.  But I also believe that sometimes your friend has to be just your friend.  And if someone is your friend, they don’t play games with your emotions.  He doesn’t lead you to believe there could be more at some point.  He will encourage you during all parts of your journey even your dating journey. He will remind you that there are so many great men out there, and you will be so lucky that you can call him your friend.

And sometimes when you find that your wonderful male friend is the man of your dreams, it won’t be because he led you on at some point but that he carries the qualities you would like your mate to have.  He will have proven to be faithful and respectful during your entire friendship.  He will not take the opportunity for you two to be more for granted.  Don’t dismiss all your male friends or stop making male friends – just be very clear about what is going on.

 

I find What Chili Wants on VH1 interesting.  The one thing that intrigues me about this show is that this TLC group member is a beautiful, successful woman with specific standards (nit-picky standards but standards nonetheless). Well, in the last season, Floyd, her rich, athletic “best friend” would pop in and out, and I began to believe that he (and probably Usher) was the real reason she could not find her life partner or was not available for her life partner to find her.  Now, yes, let’s remember this is “reality” TV, but a lesson can be learned from Chili and her “best friend.”  In a recent episode, pretty boy Floyd comes to visit and goes with her to get a facial and buys her $14,000 13k diamond earrings (no typos there, yes he bought that) and took her out to dinner and talked about how he loves her and etc. etc.  Chili’s matchmaker interjects in the commentary portion of the show and asks a valuable question, “Ladies, how many of your male friends buy you $14,000 earrings??”  Most of us would say none of our male friends have.  But take a moment and ask yourself, what are some things that your male friends have done that suggest something greater than friendship?  What have they done that leads you to be emotionally connected to them in an unusual way for people who say they are “just friends”?  What do they do that makes it difficult for you to genuinely date someone else or be available to the possibilities of dating someone else?

About a year ago I had to ask myself some of those questions.  I have some fantastic male friends.  They treat me like a lady.  They look out for me.  They check up on me.  They make sure I’m good.  I’m baby girl, and they treat me as such.  But one day a close male friend of mine said the strangest (at least to me) thing.  He had recently broken up with his girlfriend of over 2 years, and he was just not feeling the dating scene.  He said, “You know what, M-boogie, I want to marry but I don’t want to put forth the effort to meet anyone.  We should just get married – I won’t have to do much with you.”  Yes, I think we should all laugh here.  Now you may believe I was being overly sensitive to his idea, but he was serious.  And that was not cool with me.  I immediately shared this with a few of my close girlfriends, and they all felt the same.  My close friend, Sistaoutsider, broke it down for me.  She told me to evaluate my male friends and see who were truly friends and not someone using friendship as a way to keep me as an option.  I remember it clearly when she said, “Think about it.  Are any of them trying to put you on?”  And by put on she meant were they introducing me to eligible bachelors, were they inviting me to events that would broaden my social circle that may lead me to meeting eligible bachelors.  Now she didn’t mean that they had to be active matchmakers, but she wanted me to consider their actions to see if they were trying to hold the monopoly on my companionship, you know just in case they didn’t want to put forth the “effort” anymore.

This was some of the best advice I’ve gotten.  I ended up separating myself from a couple of guys who had been doing just what pretty boy Floyd had been. No, they weren’t showering me with ridiculously priced diamonds, but they were always talking about how much they adored and loved me.  We never went to dinner or other events with other people.  We always had intimate dinners and dates.  Yes, dates.  I was dating my friends and didn’t even know it.  They had a friend with benefits.  No, not sex, but everything but that.  In some cases, I would not go on a date because I could hang out with my friend.  He was going to make me feel like I was the only girl in the world but with no commitment.  But don’t get it twisted, he would still be dating and would tell me about the dates and like a fool I had passed on two or three dates just to “hang” with him.

These guys were beneficial as I dealt with issues I had at the time with my old boo, but if I had continued to let them put my “love in the layaway,” I would have not met new boo.  And though I don’t know what new boo and I will ever become, he stands as proof that when you remove the blockers you can meet a great guy.


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