Saturday, February 11, 2012

A SHIP Docked in Relations. . .

This post is for those of you looking for a relationship in the long-term, such as marriage.  If you aren’t interested in marriage, well. . .this post is not for you.

When you love someone, it is true that the heart wants what it wants.  It’s not like a faucet where you can turn it on or off, although one would get the sense you could do that with the way people fall in and out of love.  As I mentioned last week, I’ve never been one to do that.  For me, regardless as to how my relationship may have ended, it still hurt when you know you’ve vested time in someone, hoping and praying that this time it will be the right person for you—only to discover you’ve found another dud.  I’ve been there, done that, and I’m so thankful I have a man that I adore and love tremendously because from what I see out here in the dating world today, I’d be in trouble.

But, finding the right person can be frustrating, tricky and downright exhausting.  In no way am I an expert, but I have some experience when it comes to dealing with relationships—seeing as how I’ve had quite a few in my time.  One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed is that people really don’t know themselves the way they should.  What do I mean, you ask?  If you aren’t comfortable in the skin you’re in, decision making, how you view yourself, or self-esteem issues—bottom line, if you don’t have your life together—how the hell do you think you’re going to be able to handle a relationship?

Know Yourself and Your Partner!
One reason why relationships fail is because you barely know yourself, so how can you get to know someone else, when you don’t have all your stuff together?  If you don’t love yourself, then how can you give love to someone else?  The problem for many people is you know your partner intimately, first.  Any time you go out to the club, meet a man/woman that appeals to you, invite them over, sleep together, and then you give this person the key to your place, and suddenly you’re in a relationship!  Sorry to disappoint you, but you’re in lust, not love, and lord only knows what kind of relationship—if you can call it that!  You wonder why you hear or read horrible stories about men and/or women hurting babies/children only to discover the child(ren) has been beaten, sexually assaulted—or worse, killed.  Some of you have the audacity to teach your children stranger danger, and yet you welcome home a stranger (you just met) to their home, and expose them to possible danger, all because you didn’t get to know who you were really dealing with!  Do you see the irony?  Why chance someone you really don’t know with all your worldly possessions and child(ren)?  Make sure you know who you’re dealing with before you unwillingly invite the devil to live with you and your kids?

Exercise Control!
What about the woman who is in a troubled relationship and sees the red flags her man is waving knowing she should leave him and discovers she’s pregnant?  If you thought it was bad enough being in a horrible relationship, now you have a baby to worry about and you’ll forever be tied to this man because you made a baby with him.  What happened to meeting someone and being friends first and then seeing where the relationship goes?  Many of you are so concerned about the sex and fall deeply in lust, not love, and wonder why you end up single again?  You don’t have to become victim to this.  There’s a little simple thing you can do—it’s called ‘control’ people!  And no, I’m not talking about Janet Jackson’s Control album—but with the same intent though. Women, just like men, think with the wrong heads too—don’t get it twisted!  You are not going to die because you don’t have sex!  This is why many of you have issues with relationships because you go into them with ‘sex only’ and then wonder why things get crazy down the line.  You don’t know anything about each other.  The only things you have in common are your shared bodily fluids—which could potentially lead to your death, but nine times out of ten, you’re not even thinking about that.  And you have the nerve to question why things didn’t work out?  Go figure!

Giving In!
Another huge issue is people give way too much of themselves in too little time.  In the beginning phases of a relationship, you are supposed to be learning each other—like what makes your partner tick, where their mindset is based, what are their aspirations for the future, etc.—not what turns your partner on!  You shouldn’t be concerning yourself with shacking up, nor having children, when you are getting to know each other. 

I don’t understand my sistas who have babies out of wedlock, and then get upset when the man doesn’t ask for her hand in marriage.  Well, what the hell did you expect?  You made it way too easy for him.  As I mentioned last week, “Why buy the cow, when the milk’s for free?”  What’s the damn point, seriously?  You sit around playing ‘wifey’ without the paper or the ring, and then get upset because he won’t marry you.  If you respected yourself this would never occur.  Make the man work for it and show him you’re worth putting a ring on your finger.  Continue to take things slow, set some damn boundaries and let him know where you are coming from—which brings me to another issue.

Time Limits!
Grown folks play way too many games—and no, I’m not talking about your Milton Bradley board games either.  If you’ve met that special someone that you think is the one, then make sure you let that person know just what you expect out of the relationship.  Don’t be sitting there for almost two damn years, and you never mentioned you wanted to be married, and then think you’re going to spring that news on your partner present day.  You may not like the reaction you get, which I can’t say I blame them.  Communicate with each other instead of sexing each other!  Your goal should be learning your partner so you are both on the same page!

Once you let each other know what you expect, you can decide if this is a relationship worth continuing?  You may find that each want something different, which is cool, but you need to let each other know that from Jump Street!  If, however, you decide you do want to be married in the future, this would be a good time to set a time limit.  Yes, you heard me right, a damn time limit!   Do you know how many of my girlfriends’ engagement parties I’ve gone too, only to be six and seven years later, and we still haven’t been to wedding one yet?  Time limits, people!  Hear me loud and clear on this!  Depending on how long you want to wait to see if it’s the right thing to do, is up to the couple, but as for me, two years is all I’m willing to wait.  If after two years we still aren’t getting anywhere and nothing is definitive, (set in some kind of stone) regardless if I love you or not, I’m gone—period!  I have exes for a reason!  If you don’t stay true to yourself, don’t expect your partner to.

Never Compromise Respect!
Everyone talks about ‘respect’ all the time.  I get so tired of people using that word and not truly knowing the real meaning behind it.  When you tell your partner how you feel and where you see your relationship heading and the clock is ticking, if your partner can’t respect your direct approach, that’s your cue to leave—period!  There is no compromising your feelings when it comes to spending the rest of your life with someone.  This is why it’s so important to communicate with each other.  You must respect each other’s views and feelings; otherwise there is no point in being together.  You don’t have to agree with your partner’s views, but you must respect where they are coming from.  Have enough respect and dignity for yourself to know when things aren’t working out for you.  But no matter what, never compromise your values for the sake of someone else.  That’s respect people!  Loving yourself enough to put you first is respect.  Again, how can you respect someone else, when you don’t even do it for yourself!  Practice what you preach!  So if you’re going to talk that whole respect thing, you better make dame sure you do it for yourself, before you spout that ‘respect’ to your friends! 

 The Royal Flush!
When a person you meet realizes that you love and respect yourself, you’d be amazed what that can accomplish for you in a relationship.  It lets your partner know that you mean business, so this way the games are left for children to play.  However, having said that, some people set up timelines and talk the talk, but fall short of the walk.  When that happens, you’ve given in to someone because you have feelings for this person.  Ok, let’s say for the sake of argument, you do this, what you have just done is proven to your partner that you aren’t serious and that he or she may do to you what they wish—making you a human toilet.  Your partner now knows that you were just full of hot air, and will give you nothing but loads upon loads of shit because you will take it.

This is certainly not the way you want to start a relationship, nor do you want to be in a relationship like that.  Never allow someone to dump all over you because they know you have feelings for them.  Sure, it’s hard to walk away from someone you love.  Hell yes it’s hard, but if you are truly down for the whole respect thing, you’ve got to put your foot down.  When you discover that your time limit has run out and he or she still isn’t acting as though they want to be married, what is that telling you?  Why would you continue to be this person’s fool?  One thing should be extremely clear; your feelings aren’t being considered by them!  If they cared about you, marriage shouldn’t be an issue.  And let’s face it, twenty-four months is a good bit of time to decide whether you want to be with someone or not?  You can pretty much find out if you can put up with this individual or not.  So, when you’ve reached the expiration, and you’re being met with resistance, you have a decision to make.  If you don’t mind being shitted on, then you may continue to be the toilet you’ve allowed your partner to make of you!

I’m not sure about you, but my mother birthed a human being, not a toilet.  So taking one’s shit isn’t something that’s going to go down smooth for me!  I don’t eat turds, but I see so many of my friends, who are still single, swallowing whole logs of turds daily just to say they have a man/woman.  Where’s the damn respect in that?

Be ‘Very’ Specific?
If there’s one thing relationships have taught me is what to ask God for.  What’s that you sayin’, you ask?  Yes, I prayed to my god when I was single that He would send me a man.  It wasn’t until after a few failed relationships that I realized god sent me just what I asked for—a man!  I failed to mention to Him what kind of man I wanted.  When I say be specific, I mean just that.  If you’re looking for a partner, you better make damn sure you tell your god what kind of partner—god-fearing, handsome, someone who loves his/her family, has religious values, treats his/her mother and children right, has a job, physical health, how this person lives, etc.  You may be laughing at that, but I’m dead serious.  God answers prayers and He has one heck of a sense of humor.  Think I’m kidding?

I kept saying to Him, I want a man, Lord, someone I can share my time with.  And that’s just what he sent, a man with no good redeeming qualities whatsoever who made my life a living hell.  So yes, I had a man and he shared my time, but what kind of quality was it?  I had the nerve to wonder why after three months my relationship was heading south.  At the time, it didn’t occur to me that some of my exes just weren’t any good for me, but I had a man!  Get my point!  He was a man in the sense of being born male, but that was it—he wasn’t being the man I needed him to be.  Just because you have a woman or man, doesn’t make them one.  It’s the qualities of these individuals which makes a person a woman or man.  The qualities I needed, I never asked God for that, so he answered my prayers as I sent them up to him.  This is why I say you better be very specific with what you want God to send you because He will.  Oooh yes indeed He will!

Once I realized the constant mistakes I was making, I made a pack with my god and told Him flat out, if I cannot have the type of man I’m asking you for, I’d rather be single for the rest of my life, and I meant that.  I clung to that each and every time I felt myself possibly slipping into my old ways.  I took full control of my life and changed my ways.  It was right around this revelation that my husband entered the picture.
In Due Time!
Like I mentioned above, relationships are tricky.  You have to find out what best works for you and stick to your plan, but above all, you must be patient!  Another thing I’ve learned is that while you are single, there’s a difference from being alone and being lonely.  It was very frustrating trying to find the right fit for a relationship, but while I waited for the right man to come along, I used my time wisely by busying myself with other things to do.  I didn’t sit around thinking about ‘wanting a man’ every second of the day.  I worked on myself and got ‘me’ together—that, coupled with not worrying over men, is when god opened the door and in walked my husband.  Of course, at that time, I wasn’t aware he would be my husband, but we started dating, became the best of friends, and within a year he asked to marry me.

My girlfriends love the story of how my husband and I met, but they especially love what he said to me the very first time we talked on the phone.  “I’m not looking for a girlfriend!  I’m not looking for 'just' a woman!  I’m not looking to ‘shack up’!  I’ve been there and done that and I’m sick of it!  I’m looking for a wife!  If you’re not interested in marriage, we don’t need to finish our conversation.”  My jaw dropped.  You see what I mean by not playing games.  I hadn’t even met him in person, but we spoke on the phone and that was our very first conversation.  Hell, I was falling in love with him just from that.  Finally, I got it right.  That’s the type of man I was looking for.  He wasn’t about games; he was about taking care of business and finding a wife to share that with.  Well thank you Jesus!  Of course we waited another year and we were married, so our plan fit within my time limit, and his, by the way!

And the rest, as they say, is history, but I’ll say this.  We talked about everything before we were married.  We didn’t leave any subject unturned!  I knew exactly where he was coming from and visa versa, which is what I’m advising you.  You have to be on the same page and when you’re not, well; chaos and broken relationships are what you will be left with.

I’ll tell you something else, if you do things ass backward, don’t expect to move forward! Get your mindset correct, and everything else will, more than likely, fall into place!  Love Yourself!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
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