How do you learn to love and relinquish control in building a romantic relationship, when you have been raised to be strong and independent, and you did not grow up watching a healthy marriage?
Signed, “too strong for my own good”
Dear “too strong for my own good,”
Your question is such a thoughtful one, that it deserves a response in kind — and I applaud you for even asking.
When one grows up in a household where love is not demonstrated, or worse, the woman is the sole breadwinner, it can be hard to reconcile “asking” or “relinquishing” roles that happened before from necessity. We often emulate what we experience, but the good news here is that we do not have to stay there.
In order to fully embrace a new reality from that which you have been accustomed to, it requires you to do major introspection, soul searching, and yes, some healing.
None of those three conditions are easy to do, and your level of success will depend wholly upon your willingness to do the uncomfortable work required.
When one has spent their formative years listening to mommy, auntie and grandmom as they drill into our heads things like, “always make sure you have your OWN money” and to “never depend on a man” as examples, it is nearly impossible to undo those messages when the right man shows up to love, protect and provide for you.
You begin to question in your head what feels good in your heart, and unintentionally you push him away by telling him it’s not necessary. If he wants to open your doors — let him. If he chooses to open an umbrella so that you stay dry — thank, not berate, him.
If he sees you are struggling with bills and offers to cover you — be gracious, not angry.
When he asks you to not do something because it may offend him, do not dismiss his feelings.
A relationship requires both parties to be open and vulnerable in ways you would not bestow upon the average date.
The problem has been too many women got hurt, because they chose to be open and vulnerable to men who saw them as “options” instead of “priorities.” People show us through their actions, not so much their words, how they feel.
So, our challenge as women, is to spot the jokers from a mile away, instead of plotting how we can “fix” and make them better.
By the time the right man shows up, you are now too jaded and emotionally worn out to believe a thing he is saying, and a good match passes you by.
So, when you are fully aware you are with the right man over some period of time by noticing consistency in his patterns, have the confidence to begin slowly engaging him in what you both need to make this work.
Allow him to be the man, even if you have to fight your instincts to tell him you can do all things on your own. If he doesn’t feel needed or appreciated, he will go where he is.
Find at least one couple who exhibits the love you desire to have and keep, and let them mentor you, because this thing, is work. Ask them questions, observe them, and take the advice given in the spirit of what would work in your own life.
Be willing to apologize when you know you are wrong, give your partner breathing room and find what is normal for you both.
Above all else, keep folks out of your business and a prayer in your mouth.
The rest will happen.
Dear Muva: Why are women so often hateful and filled with judgement towards each other?
I could go back to Eve and when dinosaurs roamed the earth, but the truth is, since the beginning of time, women and men, have been conditioned to compete with each other. While men will fight it out, forgive and move on most of the time, women will hold tenaciously to their feelings, even after the problem has been discussed to death and should have been resolved.
It is the woman, then, who is fully aware that her power lies in being able to work through and move on, that will find a smoother pathway in this thing called life.
Being vile and holding grudges hurts the one holding it the most.
In order to maintain your sanity, choose to be around women who will help you to be a better person, and leave the Petty Pamelas alone.
Muva has had her fair share of saboteurs disguised as friendships — one that took two decades to end. But hear me — toxic friendships can be harmful if we do not let them go so our souls can breathe, expand and grow.
Worry not so much about why some women are so divisive, and learn instead to side step them at all costs.
Never mistake an acquaintance for a friend. That tiny bit of advice alone will help you tremendously.
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