Many people stay in unhealthy romantic situations due to some form of “love.” But more often than not, they’re captives of other emotions (fear, comfort or complacency, for example), not the one they claim to be their reason for remaining committed to a less-than-deserving partner. This four-part series explores the many ways one can be “held hostage by love” and offers examples of telltale signs that you may need to muster up courage and plan your exit before it is too late. Remember, committing to someone is and should always be a welcoming, willing and desired choice.
Here’s part four, the most important segment of this series: Continue reading Held Hostage by Love: Part 4: ‘My Mate is All I Know’
You know it. I know it, but one of the most influential, constantly accessible entities needs to be reminded.
For every example of an authentic, strong, loving Black family portrayed in the media, there are several louder, more consistent images of dysfunction. Turn on any television station, especially cable, and trust me, you’ll witness an abundance of programs that show you just how bad it is to be Black and in love.
Sure there are shows that portray White families in chaos. After all, dysfunction is a part of life. But we have comparatively few images still, so the abundance of negative imagery of our community creates a sickening cycle. All Black men are not Stevie J. All Black women are not desperate to the point where they will tolerate disrespect, lying, cheating and the fathering of several secret kids outside of their union.
And it is most offensive because it just isn’t most Black people’s reality.
It doesn’t matter if they are successful or average, pretty or standard, loyal or basic, the idea that Black women are just sitting around patiently waiting, to “get chose” is disturbingly pervasive in pop culture. We all know this. The problem is that no one seems to spend time speaking up about it. Or better yet, no one seems to be interested in changing the narrative.
We all remember that much-maligned ABC report on why so many successful Black women were single. Not to mention the abundance of movies, self-help books and websites that reinforce the notion that Black women are either desperate for a relationship and/or are the last choice to be anyone’s lifelong partner.
Black men aren’t exempt from unfair scrutiny either. The media often portrays them as hypersexual dogs that lack self-control. They’re reduced to simply being “free-spirited” and thirsty beings, eager to plant their seeds and mark their territory among several vulnerable, desperate, man-sharing women while shirking responsibility.
For the record, I’ve never believed any of this, and there’s proof that these are merely stereotypes and harmful generalizations despite what we’re continuously being shown.
According to a 2013 report released by NPR, The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Harvard University, when it comes to dating, Black men are looking for long-term, committed relationships more than Black women. Researchers theorize that financial concerns may be responsible for this trend.
Read more at EBONY.
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” –C.S. Lewis
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do for many of us, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. You open up to someone in hopes that they’ll never betray your trust, and then it happens.
Not only does your heart shatter into a thousand pieces, but your emotional scars run very deep. You then become determined to never feel that type of pain again, and turn “cold” in the name of protection.
Recently, an associate of mine told me that her common- law husband of 12 years did the unthinkable. Not only did he cheat, he got the woman he had an affair with pregnant.
My friend was completely calm when she told me.
“I’m not going to leave him and it isn’t because we have children or I don’t think I can do better,” she explained. “I love him, and I forgive him.”
She then proceeded to tell me that they’d both done their share of dirt throughout the relationship, but somehow, some way, the child was a wakeup call for the both of them.
While I’ve never experienced this particular situation, I have experienced my fair share of trauma, hurt, pain and disappointment in love. Listening to her tell her story got me thinking about what it takes to move past such a devastating betrayal.
Here are five steps to forgiving when you’ve been betrayed by your mate.
1. Determine if you can/should forgive the act of betrayal.
Everyone says that forgiveness isn’t for the other person, but for you. While that’s true, sometimes there’s s something in your heart that won’t allow you to move past a transgression. And that’s fine. If this is the case, end the relationship. Otherwise you’ll ultimately end up resenting, possibly even hating,each other. But if you are willing to fight for the relationship and move past the indiscretion (whatever it may be), then decide to work on not placing it at the forefront of your mind. Forgiveness is letting go of all of the negative emotions toward the offender for what they’ve done, and will not work unless you genuinely work for it.
2. Have an honest conversation.
Acts of betrayal just don’t come out of nowhere. Yes, there are a lot of selfish people out there, but often there’s a pretty solid reason why someone hurts the one they love. No, I’m not trying to validate those who cheat, lie and father (or mother) children outside of their relationships, but I’d be inaccurate if I said all people who commit such offenses are doing it out of pure selfishness.
It’s time to have a conversation about why the offense took place, and it must be an honest one. Both you and your mate must be willing to be raw with each other for the sake of saving your relationship. Determining why the offense occurred gives you the opportunity to correct whatever issues might lie below the surface. Seeking professional help is critical during this time. Therapists can offer a very objective point of view as they only look at the issue at hand and aren’t emotionally connected.
3. Be willing to let go, but never forget.
Many times people mistake forgiveness for forgetting. Rarely can anyone forget when someone does something to hurt them no matter who it is. But all of us, especially the one who has been betrayed, just want to forget the offense ever took place. True forgiveness does not work that way.
While you’re not supposed to keep score of how much someone has hurt you, it’s good to be aware of what has occurred in your relationship for the sake of redirecting triggers. Forgiveness is a two-way street. The offender cannot just expect for all to be restored at the snap of a finger, but the innocent party cannot continue to hold the offense over their mate’s head. Earning the trust of your mate back takes time, effort and tangible action that may be required for the duration of your relationship.
Read more at EBONY.
“I’m not saying this to shake you up/I’m just saying this to wake you up/It’s all good when we’re making love/All I ask is don’t take our love for granted…”—Lil Wayne
On more than one occasion, I’ve been in relationships where I felt like I was being taken for granted. I was 100% committed to the union, but continued to accept a lackluster 50% commitment from my mate. There were countless times where I’d want my significant other’s love, support and affection, only to be greeted with a “We’re going to see each other later, so I don’t need to check on you during the day,” or a “You know corporate functions aren’t my thing, so I’m just gonna chill at the crib.” Continue reading Never Take Love For Granted