Welcome back, and Happy Monday. I hope everyone is doing well and keeping your spirits lifted during this time. To jump right in, this week, I want to delve into a more in-depth topic that I believe most people can relate to, love. But, not just how we view love on the surface level, the dates, the cuddling, the trips, etc. I want to talk about the price of love or what some are willing to endure because of love. A question that I have always asked myself is whether romantic relationships and trauma are synonymous? I ask this question based on my observations. If you look around, this idea of love and trauma existing hand in hand is everywhere. For instance, how many times have you watched a friend suffer through a toxic relationship, and no matter how many times you told them it’s not healthy, they reply, “I love them, or I know they will change.” Maybe you have even been on the receiving end of this type of relationship yourself. I do not believe this is a new concept. I’m sure it has been going on for years, but our social media-driven society has brought more attention to this issue. Go on any social media platform and look for any proposal, birthday, or anniversary post. There is a 50/50 chance you will find at least one where a guy says something to the effect of, “I know I put her through so much, and I did this, that, and the other but she still stood by my side, and for that, I am so grateful.” I’m going to be very honest; I have a strong dislike for these types of posts. I understand the intent behind them, but reading them makes me cringe because, for one, it is embarrassing to the other person, and for two love is not survival of the fittest.
For years we have upheld this idea of the “ride or die,” but there comes the point when it’s no longer about just merely going through the typical ups and downs with each other. It becomes more about one person being subjected to constant cheating, manipulation, mistreatment, and neglect at the hands of their partner. Love should not be this continuous test after test just so the other person can judge whether you are worthy of their love. As a matter of fact, there is a meme going around that speaks of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and the gist of this meme is if you can’t replace “love” with your partner’s name, and it fits who they are then you may need to do some reevaluation. This scripture says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”. Nowhere in this scripture does it say love will mistreat you, manipulate you, or neglect you. I feel if God has set the standard for the genuine love he wants us to receive, why would we accept anything less for ourselves?
If that’s not enough, this idea trickles down into the movies, and tv shows that we watch. I’m going to preface this by saying that I’m sure men deal with these types of situations as much as women do. However, a lot of films and television shows have made women the face of this issue, but if we are being honest, women do tend to take on more of the emotional lifting in relationships at times. I have lost count of the number of movies I have seen that portray the dutiful wife of 15 years that takes care of the home, all while suffering through the mistreatment of the husband because she loves him and that all she’s ever known. It later escalates to him throwing her out, and she hits rock bottom. Once she picks herself back up somehow, he needs her, and she goes back to take care of him. He later realizes she was the one all along, and their love grows, and they get back together. The alternative is, another man swoops in, he saves her and shows her how to be loved properly.
I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t bear to watch another movie like this. As much as I admire Tyler Perry as a businessman and filmmaker, I also can’t ignore the fact that most of his films portray this ideal; however, I can’t just hold him to task for doing this. Other movies do this as well, even some that we uphold as the quintessential love stories. For instance, Love and Basketball, which stars Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps. First let me say, as a child I used to stan this movie. I used to think it was everything. I still can’t deny that it is a classic, but one of the best love stories? I have to beg to differ. Although its a slightly smaller scale of toxicity compared to most, it’s still toxic nonetheless. If you haven’t seen the movie, proceed with caution because this will be a little bit of a spoiler.
Lathan’s character Monica and Epps character Quincy, basically grow up together, both with dreams of playing basketball in the big leagues. From the very beginning, It’s painfully clear that they share mutual feelings for each other. So, you would think this would be a pretty cut and dry story; however it is anything but that. Throughout the whole movie, we are watching Monica jump through hoops for Quincy. She is loyal to him to a fault, even when she shouldn’t be. Meanwhile, Quincy is just running around doing as he pleases and playing in her face. But, Monica deals with it because it’s real love, right? It’s not until the end when life has gotten the best of Quincy that he then decides to take Monica seriously, but not until she plays him one on one “for his heart” because of course, it would be “real love” without proving you are worthy and willing to keep jumping through hoops, right? *Insert eye-roll* At this point, I want to know when are we going to see more well-rounded views of relationships. I know every story and perspective deserves to be told,but I would be willing to pay to see more functional connections on the big and small screen. I’m not asking for perfect because no relationship is perfect, but I’m just tired of seeing one partner having to suffer just to obtain love. This imagery only furthers the narrative that with love, you must accept trauma.
Moreover, I say all this to say, never feel like you need to suffer for love or just to say you have somebody. I know we glorify the “ride or die,” but nothing is worth more than your peace and well-being. I get so tired of people saying, “This generation will never experience the love our grandparents had because they always want to walk away just because of cheating or this and that.” Let me let you all in on a secret the “this and that” adds up in the long run. Also, I’m sure if you have ever talked to any elderly people in your family and asked them about their love story, 9 times out of 10, you will find out they were putting up with way too much themselves. We are not in the 1950s anymore. We don’t have to tie ourselves to someone to prove our worth. We are whole on our own, the addition of someone is just a bonus. We can’t keep passing down this narrative that another person makes us whole. That how we fall back into the same cycles because we are mindlessly chasing something we already possess . We also have to eliminate this generational system of toxic behaviors and the acceptance of them. I know it’s getting redundant hearing everything stems from childhood and environment, but it’s true. Children are always watching. When generation after generation is watching their mother and father in a cycle of dysfunctional love they begin to pick up those habits because it feels like a norm. But that doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to it, somebody has to break the generational curse.
Furthermore, as quiet as it’s kept. Most men actually know one of many valuable philosophies in life that we all should consider adopting into our way of life. Men know how to be done when it is time to be done. Let me explain. For some men, if you cheat on them, you are out of there. They don’t even consider second, third, or fourth chances. If they feel neglected or mistreated, you are out of there, and they are on to the next. There are no thoughts about, “Oh they can change, or I want to see what can happen.” They clock out. They don’t have to cry about it or talk it over with their friends. They are just done. We all have to learn when it’s time to be done. Don’t lower your standards or put your well-being on the line; just to wait and see what’s going to happen next because, in most cases, you will be waiting forever. Set your intentions early on, and if it doesn’t match with the other person, just keep it moving.
Lastly, I want to make another thing clear. If you are enduring or have endured a relationship like this, never get down on yourself or feel like you wasted your love and time because trust me when I say all that love will come back to you tenfold in ways you never imagined. Don’t worry about getting even or trying to prove a point that they lost someone genuine because they already know that and knew that when they were treating you any kind of way. But they will definitely feel it when your presence is gone. The best thing to do is continue to be the authentic person you are and keep your head held high. Because in the words of the late Nipsey Hussle, “When your intentions are pure, you don’t lose anyone they lose you.” Remember that.
As always, thanks again for reading. I will talk to you guys next week, until then in the comment let me know what are your deal-breakers when it comes to relationships?
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