Be A Priority and Not An Option - Part 2: Balancing Act: I Loved My Man More Than Myself

>> Thursday, June 24

I found this article on Essence.com and it home for me. Not only did it hit home; it knock on the door, let itself in, made a drink and was relaxing in my bed - straight chillaxin'. I felt as if the author had been ripping out the pages of my life story. I have been here in this situation and I was she. I have recently found myself falling into that old comfortable sweet spot with BD, that I had with my ex and I just have to be cognizant of the repercussions of my actions. Read the article and then see my response immediately following. 

Here's the article:
I thought I met my future when I was 24-years-old; now I've finally accepted the experience was destined to be part of my past ...at least for now.

*Steve was unlike any man I'd ever dated. He was larger than life, both physically and experientially. He was tall, dark, and handsome... and weighed around 400 pounds -- but I never saw his size. From the moment we met at an event, my instinct was to cater to him. We didn't exchange information that day, but I did think about Steve. Apparently, he thought about me too.

For the next few weeks he put a full court press on my friend's husband for my telephone number. When we finally spoke, it was like my left leg finally found the right one; we were in step. We talked on the phone for hours, and after a 12-hour marathon date (dinner, bowling, golf, dessert and driving around the city) we saw each other every day for about three weeks. Soon we were entrenched in the normal routine of dating and things naturally fell into place. Our relationship seemed ideal. Steve was a record company executive and rolled Big Willy style, a new experience for me. We traveled extensively, dined at fine restaurants and attended events out of my normal recent college grad circle. I loved the experience, but still knew it wasn't enough. There were some major red flags. Steve did not like labels and found it cumbersome to use the title of boyfriend/girlfriend -- though he wanted us to wed. He also did not want me to be formally introduced to his son -- he claimed it would be too much drama with his ex and I was idealistically expecting an "All of Us" moment. Lastly, Steve was very much a man who put his wants before my needs. 

Over the course of six years, Steve and I lived together, broke up, got back together and split up on several occasions. There was one constant: I always conceded to his demands. At the time I thought that's what a good woman did, you know; follow her man's lead. After all, he was a great guy. He was a responsible father. He was a determined provider. I realized there was only one thing he wasn't: my husband. The problem is that I treated him like he was, from the jump. I also thought it was my duty to put Steve's wants and needs ahead on mine. The more I did it, the more he expected of me. Steve wanted to me to silently follow his lead, and as long as I did he was happy. I wasn't. I dreaded standing up for myself, asking to discuss issues or questioning his choices -- all lead to confrontations. But as I grew as a woman, I couldn't help it. I wanted to know the whys and whens of our life together; I was his partner, not his child. I walked away from Steve many times. He always came for me. I always took him back... until now. Over the last 12 months both of us underwent surgeries. Mine was a day procedure, but I was scared and wanted him with me. Work obligations kept him from attending the surgery, but he chose not to visit me in the days that followed. 

A few months later, Steve underwent major surgery and asked that I stand by his side, as his wife. I was elated but wary. Still, the man I loved needed me and I was there. I stayed with him at the hospital, moved back in with him and prepped for our life together. Then he decided to modify our plan. Steve had a change of heart about our destiny post-surgery and asked me to leave his home -- though I was unemployed and had given up my apartment to pursue our life together. I was devastated but not totally surprised. I realized that Steve would always expect me to be there when he needed me but couldn't deliver the same. I always accepted what he offered, and stepped up to his demands. Sadly, I never set my own. This allowed him to have what he wanted but always left me feeling unfulfilled, used and underappreciated. 


In hindsight, I guess my hourglass figure isn't the only thing I got from my mama. I grew up watching her be accommodating to everyone around her and being okay with receiving little in return. Today I'm shipping off that unwanted baggage and marking it "return to sender." I finally understand that bending to fit and complement your mate only works when they are willing to flex too. I can't love someone more than I love myself. I won't settle for someone who says they love me but doesn't show it. Lastly, I will never "play wife" when I'm not. When the man I'm supposed to wed finds me, he'll have a good thing. I will shower him with love and devotion. I will compromise and be selfless. I will be understanding and self-reflecting. Most importantly, I will know I have a good thing when he's doing the same.
*name changed

My relationship with BD is wonderful, great even, but I find myself putting certain things I want to the side in order to accommodate BD’s feelings. The sad part is, he has no idea (well he will, once he reads this) but I just try to avoid conflict at all costs. In my last relationship we fought every, and I mean EVERY single day. From the time we hit the door until the time we went to bed; we fought, yelled, slammed doors, threw items at each other and I cried rivers of tears. I don’t think it’s possible for me to cry for the next five years, that’s how many tears I shed. I vowed that when I got out of that relationship I would not fight again like that in any relationship, at all. I refuse, it's not healthy and most certainly not worth it. That relationship was toxic in every way and I paid the price dearly for it - emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. 

BD is nothing like my ex, thank you God, but I find myself not being vocal about what I need and desire in our relationship because in my last relationship I was very, very vocal about every single thing that bothered. I'm trying a different approach by choosing my battles carefully and only bringing up the things that are really important and concern me but it doesn’t seem to be working. I find myself being sad a lot because BD says or does something that disappoints me and I just bottle it up. Yesterday, BD said something that shook me a little to my core and I got scared and a little nervous about our relationship. Instead of talking to him, I just completely shut down. When I say completely, I mean completely. I had to put on sunglasses so he wouldn’t see the tears welling up in my eyes and I tried to run out of his house faster than Usain Bolt on the track so he wouldn’t see the tears rolling down my face. I should have been vocal about my feelings at the time but I wasn’t. It was in one part due to not wanting to have a conversation with hurt feelings as a companion, another part due to me being tired and stressed from my workload (I really miss owning my own business and the feeling it gave me) and another part due to him getting ready for work; I didn’t want to have that type of conversation with him when I need him to go to work mentally clear and prepared. Was it wrong for me to hold it in? Yes. Did I do it for the right reasons? Probably not, but my intentions were pure.

I find myself holding back sometimes in my relationship because I don't want to give more than what I receive. I think BD sometimes may feel I don't completely open up or feel the same way about him that he does for me; but I do. I love him deeply but I'm just scared. This relationship scares me the most out of any that I have been in, in the past. Not because of my last break up but because I absolutely adore BD. He and I make such a great team and the ease in our conversation, the comfort we have with each other is very frightening because I almost feel like it is a dream and it's not real. I told my friend that BD is that guy that a woman never forgets and will do one of two of things: he will either make me love him forever or he will break my heart into a million little pieces. I’m hoping that I can love him forever but that’s not entirely up to me.

I want to give BD all of me completely but there are some things I need from him, so that I can do that. I need for us to find a common ground on where we see this relationship going and to compromise on where we differ. If he wants to travel down this road with me, I know this would be a love and relationship that would touch other people. There is something about us when we are together that I can’t explain. It’s like putting hydrogen and oxygen together to create a reaction. I feel it every time I’m in his presence; this is definitely one of those relationships that come once in a lifetime. If someone were to tell me that this was to be the last relationship I would ever be in, in my lifetime I wouldn’t even be sad or upset because it has been magical so far. I have so many good memories from our short relationship to last me two lifetimes. I hope that BD and I can really sit down and be honest with each other about our past, our hurts, and dreams for our future. I don’t want to be like the author of this article or the woman I was with my ex again. I want to find that place where I can love him but not forego loving myself to just make him happy. I need to find the balance between my needs, his needs and our needs in order to have healthy, happy and long relationship. 





Please share your thoughts on how to compromise with a mate without compromising who you are.

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