Before it all began, I was solid. I knew what I wanted and how I wanted it. I had my list of desires, needs and areas of compromise ready to bring to the table. Then here he came. Standing 6’1, brown-skin, a killer smile, and eyes that touched my soul and my….
I honestly didn’t see anything happening with this dude. I was convinced he was a player. He was popular, a crowd-pleaser, and the girls were on him. When I did my inventory, he surely did not match my checklist! “Girl give him a chance. He really likes you. He talks about you all the time. You have too many rules. Live a little and have fun!” The echoes of my friend’s encouragement played over and over in my head. But that’s what us suburban girls aim for right? Go to college, get a husband… possibly a degree…but definitely a husband… and life is set! So, I said eff it all and I took a risk.
I let him in. Eager to experience a change in life, I dove head first. Like… hair in the wind. Not giving a fuck!
I shared my secrets, exposed my insecurities, and after months of listening to him beg for my vulnerability, I opened my heart. Your girl was a goner! He had me. I was so deep in that I erased my list and allowed love to run its course. We shared tears, laughed a lot, and he gave me bone chilling orgasms! I was in heaven.
He proposed to me. Me??? This tough skin woman, shattered by past relationship baggage, and identity confusion; but he chose me. He sought to know the real me and then he made the commitment with a diamond engagement ring.
Sis, when I tell you homeboy had me???
Of course like all things, our relationship evolved, and the colors of my beautiful canvass begin to change. What was light and happy hues, turned to grays and purples. I’m not going to front… it took me by the wig and draggedddddd me. We went through so many ups and downs; at times I wasn’t sure if we really wanted the same things. All of the learning, loving and compromising I did ultimately led to nothing. When I look back and reflect on what caused our relationship to go sour, I tend to blame myself. I blame myself for my baggage, my poor communication, my selfish expectations. Honestly, that sort of thinking was the entire reason I lost myself in this relationship period. The demise of this union was my fault. But not because I didn’t love with my whole being, or because I didn’t give everything I had emotionally, mentally and physically. It was because I gave everything I had emotionally, mentally and physically. Before I knew it, I had poured so much of myself into making this failing relationship survive that I needed someone, something to pour into me… and I received no consideration.
Men are going to read this article and find fault in the way I managed this situation. Women are going to blame me for being a push over and loving blindly. Truth is, I tried both ways, and it changed nothing. You know why? Because in his eyes, no matter how down for him I was… I wasn’t good enough because he simply didn’t want [EVERYTHING & MORE] from me. He found his way into the arms of as many women our tiny college campus would allow. Time was teaching me a lesson I refused to learn. Instead I stayed, made excuses for him, and blamed me for the roller coaster ride our relationship began to resemble.
Reality became clear to everyone else but me. Shit, even he figured out that chasing whatever made him happy was a priority. I was the only one blinded by the diamond that sat pretty on my finger. Despite the bullshit I faced daily, I remained committed to the words we said to one another the day we chose to build a future together. I felt crazy. I was cheated on, beaten down, and made to feel like the decline in our relationship was my fault. So I did all I could to show him that my commitment to him was all that mattered. I cooked, cleaned, and made him feel like the King I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
I still battle with this reality. I still battle with the betrayal I withstood. The lies, the cheating, and the physical fights. I still proposition what I could have done differently to show him I was different. My mind literally stands in my heart’s parade of sorrow yelling, “You couldn’t have done anything else, chile!”
I had forgotten what I needed. I had forgotten what made me happy. Shit, I forgot the Queen I used to be. But hunnay… when I remembered!!! I demanded respect. At that point only respect would reveal to me whether this man was truly the person God created for me.
Can you believe the moment my worth became visible to me, and I tried to invite homie to the viewing of the new and improved me, he was not with the shits? As if he thrived off me being a fucking doormat. Still loving, still giving, still compassionate. I was literally the strongest I had been since he met me and “had no time for the bullshit anymore”.
“You’re not the same person I fell for. I’m not taking this shit no more.”
AND I STAYED.
I knew damn well if my friends were in relationships like mine, I totally would not support them. Nevertheless, I continued to indulge and blamed my addiction on what I called “The Makings of Us.”
Every relationship goes through things, right?!
This is just what our relationship looks like.
We’re gonna fix it.
We love each other and no matter what happens that ain’t changing. Right?!
Yearning for attention, affection and security, I continued a relationship with this man. We broke up and made up. Made up and broke up again. We’re working on it guys. It takes time. We gotta go through the motions to rebuild our relationship.
That’s what I figured. When you grow up hearing about people breaking up because they can’t work through their issues and their unwillingness to persevere, you form this idea in your head that you’re going to be different.
Different I was.
Day in and day out I worked to make sure he never doubted the way I felt about him, yearning for the man I fell in love with to reappear and see how much I wanted to protect him.
Abandoned; that’s how I felt. I worked alone. I participated in therapy alone. I changed alone. I loved alone. He left me to do all the relationship work by myself. I knew things weren’t right. I sat up so many nights, crying, trying to figure out what mistakes I continuously made to have this man, who swore I was his future wife, treat me like i wasn’t worth shit. I had to accept that it wasn’t me who damaged us. I needed to understand that no matter how much I tried I couldn’t keep a man that didn’t want to be kept. Well at least not by me.
Loyalty to self-preservation was the lesson this relationship taught me. By the time he tossed me to the side, despite my continuous efforts to regain his trust and love, he had remodeled his manhood and initiated a family with a stranger. A whole family experience. The fidelity, the parenthood, the partnership I begged him for.
I was a goner. I had no idea who I was anymore. What did I enjoy doing? Where did I like to go? Shoot, what did I like to eat???? There were many days I didn’t even have an appetite. I was lost. You could ask me anything about that man and I’d be able to spit it back to you like a pledgee on Probate day! But why didn’t I know myself anymore? How did I allow myself to become so stupidly in love with a boy to the point in which I forgot how to love myself, nurture myself, trust myself.
I was so engulfed in trying to become the woman he wanted and needed that I couldn’t recognize my own reflection. That was the real betrayal.
I betrayed myself. My Queendom! But that’s not where my story ends. After months of depressive symptoms, I decided to embrace resiliency. I needed to move on and heal myself from this self-inflicted pain. With all that shit said, I’m in the process of rediscovering myself. It’s taking time but shit if I can’t spend time on me I damn sure ain’t wasting no more time on anyone else. I’m making a list and checking it twice. This time around I’m choosing me.