The latest conversation on social media is “should you have friends of the opposite gender while in a relationship?” My initial answer is yes, you should have friends of the opposite gender. I have always been able to have great platonic relationships with men. It has worked in my favor most times. There have been countless times where I needed the male perspective. It’s evident that men and women don’t always speak the same language.
I was having a conversation with a male friend. He agrees having platonic friends of the opposite gender is important. He said if he mentions to his guy friends that he’s having relationship issues, they will likely brush it off and encourage him to go out, which may lead to talking to other women.
But having a female friend that he trust would encourage the opposite. She’s going to tell you the consequences of your actions.
My brother was sharing with me the other day a conversation he was having with a woman. He was a little frustrated with her response. I said what she’s trying to say is “I’m being vulnerable and this is hard for me. You didn’t meet me emotionally when I was vulnerable so I’m taking it back”. He said mannn that’s all she had to say lol. Again men and women don’t speak the same language.
Have there been times where a friend might cross a boundary? Of course. But I will communicate that offense and take a step back from the friendship if I need to.
I encourage you to get a good trusting friend. Honestly, it will help shape and shift your perspective. Tell me what you think in the comments.
This subject here is one that constantly troubles me. I find myself going back and forth trying to decipher the difference. How do we know when we are compromising instead of settling? Well I sure dont know. So you know what I had to do. I had to ask my married experts what did they think. My career advisor and I had a discussion briefly about relationships. Every time I even mention the word settle she will instantly correct me and say compromise. In her words, you are going to compromise in some way. No one is perfect and we need to leave space for a real person.
I remember having a similar conversation with someone else. She gave an example of her own life. She said when she met her husband, she was already financially stable and independent. However, her husband was living at home and working on his next degree. This scenario worked out for them obviously. She said to some people I settled but it was the best decision ever for me. Her husband made promises to complete school and provide for their family in the future. That’s exactly what he did.
When she decided to make a career change, he was able to provide for their family comfortably as he promised. To her; she compromised and it was beyond worth it. She explained that settling would be listening to someone promise you future plans with no plan in place.
I recently saw a video where a lady said settling means you have to compromise too much to be with them. You will compromise so much that it takes away from your happiness. I can understand her point of view but that’s too black and white for me. Relationships are hard work and you won’t always be happy. So then what should you do?
Have you seen that Tik Tok that says “That was the best idea I ever had” then 2 seconds later it says ” That was the worst idea I ever had!” Thats exactly what moving far away from home can feel like. Its definitely a roller coaster ride. There is this meme that everyone is posting on social media; encouraging to move away and it will be the best decision of your life. Well that’s a tad overzealous. It may not feel like that at first. Moving to a new city is challenging. The hardest part is leaving your support system. I moved away from home 5 years a ago (Not counting college). I would have anxious thoughts about what if my car breaks down, who will I call? What if I get into an accident, how am I going to figure that out?
One of the biggest adjustments is trying to get a positive social life. Who do you hang out with after work? Or on the weekends? Its hard to make friends as an adult. Everyone is having this struggle. When I first moved, I felt so out of place. I was beyond ready to have local friends. I started going to meet ups. This was trial and error in itself. Although I met other women at happy hours and the movies, I didn’t necessarily find anyone that I connected with. We struggled to have common passions and interest. Our personalities didnt click. Most of my local friends came from work. That’s where I found my tribe. We clearly already had work in common so there was a connection there. I would say, be patient and creative. Look up organizations in your area that might interest you. What about your local alumni chapter? I also volunteered as a troop leader for Girl Scouts and met a friend there.
I didnt feel like I made the right decision until I started making permanent changes for myself. Once I found a church home that I loved, I felt more grounded. Its something about a great church with great people that gives me balance and peace.
Also, my family and friends from out of town came to visit me often. This helped with the transition. But lets be clear, there are many days where I questioned did I make the right decision. I would come home from work and go right to sleep on the couch. This came up in my therapy session one day. She told me I was probably had functional depression at the time. I had no idea. Couldnt even recognize it. It took about a year for me to get used to the adjustment.
If you are deciding to move, go into it with realistic expectations. Its not easy, but it may be worth it.
I usually list my emergency contact as my sister or my best friend. In my mind it would be my husband by now but we know how that story went. Its not just my story. I love sharing my friends stories. It makes me feel like less of an outlier. It allows you to understand the common themes that take place. My brother drove 2 hours to mount my TVs. Probably should have been my husband. My friend had a nail in her tire. Her dad took her car to go get it fixed. She said she would have preferred it to be her husband. My friend said she was looking up someone to hang her curtains. She said she would have preferred it to be her husband.
I see and hear men say there arent quality women to date. I dont want to hear it. Miss me with the non sense. From where Im standing, there are too many quality women to go around. I was discussing with the girls about how we were taught to just do this the right way. Dont worry about a husband. Dont worry about a man. We all graduated college. Most of us have masters degrees. Some of us have doctorate degrees. We are at the height of our careers. Everyone makes at least 60k and even more. No children. Own place and can financially support ourselves. Emotionally intelligent. Beautiful. Well traveled. Selfless. Did I already mention no children? So nope I dont want to hear that there arent quality women. We did it right. We did it how our Moms and Aunts told us to do it. So why does it feel like its at a disadvantage? My friend said sometimes it feels like a disadvantage that we dont just turn a blind eye to the games and BS in dating. She’s right. As soon as we see a couple red flags, we cant stick around. Clearly the number of men vs women is already unbalanced. Then when you add in your preferences and standards, the options get fewer and fewer.
My aunts and uncles seem to have healthy marriages these days. But I know from the stories, it wasnt always like that. My aunts had to deal with a lot to get there. I asked my uncle when do men get it together and stop playing games. He literally looked at me and said around age 40 with a straight face. 40. He said 40. Nah I dont even have it in me to twirl my fingers for the next 8 years. * Big Eye Roll*
Lets have a round table discussion on who is raising these men shall we? We are #OverIt in 2021.
Now before you prejudge and say oh this is about to be about men bashing, its not. Its me sharing our stories collectively. Somehow we are seeing some common themes in these new age men and we dont like it. Lets list some common denominators.
Consistency -I don’t necessarily hear my guys friends complain that women are inconsistent but that is for some reason these men struggle in this area. Dont start anything you cant maintain. This guy told me I dont tell him good morning. You know why I dont? Cause I cant maintain it! Im not a morning person but I can for sure say goodnight. Dont call me every day for months and then randomly I dont hear from you. Dont introduce me to a vibe you cant maintain.
Emotional Intelligence– This one is rough. Men dont spend enough time developing in this area. Its not only about showing or expressing emotion. One of the biggest components is self awareness. Most men arent self aware. Especially when it comes to relationships and dating. They have put so much focus on building their career that this becomes a large area of weakness. You aren’t aware that your over indulgence in drinking, smoking or sex is avoidance for your problems and issues. Emotional intelligence means you know how to communicate effectively. There’s is this meme going around that says “time passed its not an apology”. I for sure know that this is directed towards men. Men will not communicate for days at a time and think things are supposed to go back to normal. How about learning how to communicate to overcome challenges and defuse conflict.
Low Effort- If I hear one more man make the excuse that he is busy Im going to swipe a table. Everyone is busy. We are adults. Grow up. People make time for who and what they want. The “Im busy” excuse is old and tiring. Most of my friends are really low maintenance. This guy took my friend to watch the planes take off. Cheap, easy, intimate and low maintenance. That’s it. Its the low effort that takes me right on out of here.
Those are the major themes for now. Im sure there will be Part 2. Stay turned.
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.
I came across this video posted by comedian David Arnold on Instagram. He told a story about how he ended up in couples counseling over an argument about oatmeal! I laughed so hard because that is seriously how it happens sometimes. The last straw may seem so petty!
I ended up in couples counseling over toilet paper! No lie. The toilet paper was the argument that broke the camels back. Let me paint the picture. We were watching a movie and he went to the bathroom. He went to grab the toilet paper but was annoyed that I accidentally bought paper towels instead of toilet paper. Oh Baby! He was sooo mad. He wanted me to leave the house at 8 at night in the winter to get him some toilet paper pronto. Nah fam. I wasnt doing that. You all know that its gets pitch black dark at 3p in the winter. Besides, we were watching a movie. So I suggested that he go downstairs to the lobby and use the restroom. Nope, homeboy wasnt having it. So we ended up arguing because I wouldn’t go to the store and he wouldn’t go downstairs. Needless to say, the night was ruined. And that, ladies and gentlemen had us in front of a therapist.
I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into when we went to therapy. Therapy was his idea actually. Im a social worker so I was totally in agreement with going. But chilleee someone should have told me to buckle up for that ride. I literally had no idea that our relationship was in such turmoil. Hanging on by a thread. Im pretty sure I cried at every darn session for months. I thought we would go, talk about feelings, chat it up. Nah son. Sis had us pulling back layers and layers. Hurtful things were said. But a lot of healing was done.
You have to be emotionally prepared for this. I was not. Its a safe space for both partners to express how they feel. Ask yourself some questions before going. Give yourself a pep talk that you will be receptive to what your partner says even though it may cut deep. And most importantly, you have to commit to doing the work. In the future, Ill talk about some exercises we did. Keep tuning in.
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.
My name is Brittany. I decided to create this blog because writing was always my first love. Not writing in a sense of a paper, but creative writing. I enjoy writing about the topics that are near and dear to my heart. I enjoy deep thoughts and abstract emotions. It’s my connection with myself and others. I may not have any answers but I hope this blog will help you to think beyond the surface level as well. Enjoy!