I met up with a friend who came into town. I literally haven’t seen him in years. I knew he would come to my city sometimes, but we would never link up. One day we were finally able to get together after years of not hanging out. It was really like we never missed a beat. We could talk for hours if we had the time.
After we were heading out for the night, I told him to let me know any time he’s around so we could hang out. He said something to me that made me have an epiphany. He said oh I don’t know you in this light to always hang out. He said I only know you inside of a relationship where you go to work, grind and go home. Yup he’s right.
Women always talk about losing themselves in a relationship. This is how that happens. I wasn’t going out as much as I do now. I also didn’t have as many local friends as well. But I became used to a routine. I was still trying to find my niche. I worked really hard to get here.
One of my girlfriends is in the same space now. But she’s doing it right. She was able to recognize that she desired a life outside of her relationship. She communicated this to her partner and is actively working to hang out more and do the things she enjoys outside of him. The knowledge we gain as we nature is so amazing. Cheers to doing more of what we desire in 2022!
I seriously do the most. I didn’t learn this about myself until recently. Have you seen that meme that says “I dont like how I act when I like somebody.” That is definitely me. This year I’ve learned a hard lesson of staying true to who I am. This mantra does come with some cons. Staying true to who you are can also bring about some hurt. Nope, no one talks about that part. Story time of course…
I am a giver. I always have been a giver. My mom was a giver. I learned that from her. Any time she thought a person would love something, she would for sure buy it. Man, this has come to my detriment in some situations. For instance, last year, I was dating this guy. I love to get stuff for the man I’m interested in. *insert big eye roll here* Im annoyed with myself. Anyway, birthdays and holidays are a big deal for me. It’s always weird buying stuff for someone at the beginning. You cant go too hard because you arent at the level but you feel like you have to do something right? Well I just bought a couple small but thoughtful things. Chileee why in the world would I do that? Homeboy started acting up literally on his birthday. Acted up so bad, I had to just drop his gifts off. I should have just bought a dollar store card and called it a day!
I have a couple friends who feel that same. We are just givers. I have a guy friend who goes all out for the person he is interested in. I don’t ever get those type LOL. But again, sometimes it comes with disappointment. I get excited to get a person a gift. Especially if its thoughtful. Lets jump to present day. I bought this guy a gift for Father’s Day. I remember him showing me his favorite picture of his kids. So for the gift, I got the picture put on a dog tag for him. Man I thought the gift was superb. I checked with all of my guy friends. They said oh he’s going to love it, thats dope. This dude literally said “Oh thank you for the gift.” That’s it and that’s all. Welp after two lessons, I think I’m done on the gift giving. Clearly the guys I choose don’t appreciate it.
As promised, I am going to give you guys the scoop on some of the activities we did while in couples therapy. Obviously, communication was a big part of our problem. Although we talked often, we weren’t communicating effectively. Man we received soooo many tools. This part of therapy was awesome. These are skills I will keep for the rest of my life. I dont remember the order of the activities of when we completed them, but they were all useful. Lets divulge.
We had been together so long that things just became complacent. We were well into year 5. We were basically just doing the every day things to go through life. One of the first activities we did while looking at each other, we had to list reasons why we loved the other. I know I know. It sounds cliche. But you would be surprised how much time you can let pass by without telling your partner specific reasons why you love them. This was hard for me because I was in a state of Eff him Lol. But it can really soften your heart. When is the last time you said to your partner, “I love ___ about you.”
We were challenged to be intentional about dating. Prior to this task, we were in the habit of hanging with friends, or just hanging at home. We barely left the house to hang out with each other. Maybe once every 3 weeks. We started being intentional with date night again. Thursday night movie nights were our thing for new releases. We started to have so much fun by including things like bowling to bike rides to jazz clubs. This is how we built the friendship again.
We had to practice being intentional about our words. Sure its easy to say, I appreciate you. But it means so much more when you say I appreciate that you cooked dinner tonight. Thank you for ironing my clothes. Even just saying Im sorry. Sure its easy to say, Im sorry. But it means so much more when you say, Im sorry for yelling at you. Im sorry I wasnt listening. I apologize for not calling those people when I told you I would. Man this part is so humbling. Its so next level. You are forced to put your pride to the side.
Speaking of apologies. Did you know that people receive apologies different ways? There are apology languages just like there are love languages. https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/apology-quiz/ Heres the website. My apology language is to accept responsibility. Yes and that was spot on for me. You have to admit that you were wrong for me to accept your apology. The other ones are 1. Requesting forgiveness 2. Genuinely repent 3. Expressing reget and 4. Make restitution.
The Five Love Languages is always paramount. My love language is acts of service. I think my mom created this in me. My mom used to help me with everything. Even in adulthood, my mom would cook for me and help me pack. When people help me out, it means the world to me. Take that quiz also. https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/
We were challenged to serve each other. Who can out give each other? This was so good. It changed my mindset into working with a partner. This isnt about gifts at all. Its about being a helper to your partner. We started to love doing things for one another. It didnt feel like one person was doing more than the other. It felt equal. It was small things like getting my charger when my phone was dying or me getting up to get him a bottle of water. This was such a raw expression of love.
Lastly my all time favorite. The Four Horsemen from the Gottman Institute. Dr John Gottman is like the godfather to relationships. The Four Horsemen is an approach to identifying conflict in relationship. These are the 4 things you need to identify like right now in order for your relationship to survive. They are 1. Criticism 2. Contempt 3. Defensiveness 4. Stonewalling. The last one was big for me. It means shutting down and withdrawing. I did this all the time and it was causing a major tiff between us. I had to work through which was not easy. I had to allow my partner to call me out when I would resort to this behavior. That was difficult too. Here is the link. https://www.gottman.com/blog/category/column/the-four-horsemen/
I hope these tools have been helpful. Put them in your toolbox and pull them out when you need them! Comment below and tell me what you think.
I’ve had my share of tough break ups. But as I get older, things arent as black and white as they used to be. When I was younger, I could walk away from a relationship and not even think about looking back. My cut-off game was REAL. Now, things arent that easy. My friends and I have had countless of conversations about when should you be patient and when should you let go.
We talk to each other about weighing the pros and cons. Finding compatible people seems to be extremely difficult these days. Yeah, you could go on countless of dates but that gets old. And fast. In my time of singleness, I started to get annoyed sitting on the other side of a table with a guy and Im thinking WTF is he even talking about. Or what is he looking at because his eye contact is horrible. BORING.
That brings me back so our discussion of how do you make the decision of being patient with someone verses just letting them go. One of my friends has a really good connection with a guy. The conversation is awesome. It flows freely. The connection is there. Boom. The drive to push each other is there. Jackpot. They have fun and can share intimate details. That’s also a win. So what’s the problem?! BABY! These men have commitment issues. You can check all the boxes and still find that something is missing. So should she walk away or stick around and be patient for him to get it together? Walking away may be easy for you to say unless your heart is involved.
Here is my take. I don’t have all of the answers but I know for sure my peace means the world to me. If you are disrupting my peace, then I cannot wait. Losing sleep, feeling unsure of myself and all the rest that goes with that AHT AHT. Gotta go.
Also I have to step back and assess the internal work you are doing. I ask myself, what am I waiting for you to do? Where is the goal mark and what does it look like? Is that something I want to wait for you to do? Or are you just stringing me along with no real end goal? After asking and answering these questions, things become more clear.
Regardless, you can talk to your friends to get their opinions until you are blue in the face. But let me tell you, when you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough. Your heart will scream, its time to go.