Friday, June 8, 2012

There Are No Real Relationship Experts, There Are Only Experts on Their Own Relationships.

photo credit: kehinde wiley
Today I’m going to tell you about the magic of coincidence. It’s the excitement that creeps into your heart when you’ve just opened a fortune cookie. Its tiny paper will read “You will find the love of your life”, right after meeting a potential the night before. It’s the confirmation that your cheating notions are accurate because your web browser’s been littered with headlines of “how to catch him.” It’s within the nodding of your head to agree with a quote that resounds with your predicament.

It’s an:
I knew it.

Coincidence is sneaky like that. It’s repugnant with familiarity and confirms our fears and beliefs.

Coincidence is betraying you. Right now. It's within the books you read, the talk shows you clamor over and the echoes you let sift into your memory.

I’ve been highly peeved by the sudden boom of articles by sites, especially those geared towards African-American women. These articles have always been prevalent, however via “Think Like a Man”, other let-me-help-you-fix-your-relationship books and their successes; many women have deemed themselves mini Harvey and have gone on tell-it-like-it-is tangents.

Some of the most prominent themes include: moving in with your man, not giving your boyfriend “husband treatment” and step by step tactics to get the ring.

I’m going to let you in on a little something:         

No book, article, expert, writer or quote can tell you about your relationship.

I’m going to say that one more time.

No book, article, expert, writer or quote can tell you about YOUR relationship.

I’m dead serious.

It seems that every time I hear a friend tell me of a romance issue, she’s using a quote or method from something she read or listened to. My friends and other women have started to concoct sure-fire ways of getting and keeping a man, blending the advice of all the “professionals.”

Whatever happened to just letting yourself fall?
Don’t you miss the days of fast heart beats under warm shirts and the looming of unknowing nearby?
Risks are complicated and beautiful.

Much like relationships.

Although there are amazing relationship advisers, i.e. Demetria Lucas, they can only provide insight based on their own experiences. As Edge Magazine’s relationship columnist, I’ve also done this. However, contradictorily, I’ve found the best guidance comes from anecdotal articles that you can parallel to your own occurrences. This does not mean following the guide’s path verbatim, it’s acknowledging the story’s place based on your own plight and learning to assess what best applies to the characteristics of your individualistic relationship.

Recently, I’ve read articles that include statistical information based on couples that lived together, before marriage, and ended up in divorce later. I’ve listened to women force their spirituality and phases down the throats of eager ladies in cohabitation.

Yes, I live with my boyfriend. It’s a decision that best suited us during our time of alliance and I don’t regret one ounce of it. We’re both clear on our plan for our future and we’ve decided to delve into our journey, knowing the risks that might come our way. To embark on a notion (living together) that our families aren’t always in favor of, is courageous. That’s my middle name.

In these articles there’s almost always the prominent line: “You might think you’ll be the one that makes it through, because you know of a rare story of a relationship like yours that ended in a fairytale; but it won’t happen.” I’m sorry to disappoint these writers, but I know plenty of people in this predicament: Close friends, family members, and co-workers. There’s nothing rare about reality. Some had a child before they were wed and somewhere down the line they decided to make it official. I know an elderly couple who lived together pre-marriage for ten years and spent the next fifty encased in each other’s arms. There’s a girl who’s been with her man for eight years and recently they just swapped kisses at their engagement party. My best friend is a man who lived with his woman for two months and now they’re engaged.

When you ask them what their formula is, they simply shrug. They have none. All of their plights were individualistic, risky and trying. They went through breakups and misfortunes, but mutually decided to recommit and face their forthcomings hand in hand.

These examples are not proof that my relationship will defy the “odds.” My significant other and I will not follow their footsteps. However, what I took from their advice is that their situations were exclusive and the possibilities could only manifest in between those two particular people.

This husband treatment thing? Let’s get into that. A writer complained that she wasted her time spoiling her ex with six course meals, trying to show him she was wifey material. She said she regretted spending her time doing ample things for him and she warned girls to hide their special talents from their men if they wanted the ring. The comments baffled me, there were tons of mmhmms and amen. Women were actually agreeing with this.

So let me get this right…you want to hold out on six course meals, but still give the “cupcake” up? Really? Aren’t your priorities a bit mixed here? What’s worth more?

            My boyfriend and I alternate cooking meals. When we first started dating, he couldn’t boil water. However, we’ve spent enough time in the kitchen together for him to pick up several things. When my days are burdened with longevity, I can depend on him to make a warm meal appear in a plate before me. It’s our personal and unique compromise. The reason this girl feels as if she needs to take away “hubby treatment” is because she yearns for equilibrium in her union. First of all, she needs to tell her partner what she’s feeling. Enacting games without discussion is selfish and childish. Contrary to popular belief, men aren’t mind readers.

            No amount of withholding will change a negative brother into one that’s more positive. Someone who isn’t willing to change or learn isn’t worth you wasting your time to convince him.

            & this getting the ring business is simple. If he loves you and he admires your value (assuming you possess esteemed attributes) within your union, he will eventually marry you. If he doesn’t, he won’t. Simple.

            I’m sorry to disappoint you, but no one has the formula to your relationship’s success. The recipe for an immortal love lies within the bravery of taking the relationship on, substituting ingredients that don’t necessarily work for the both of you, and stirring your tribulations one turn at a time.

            Ignore the articles and statistics and follow what your mind and soul request. Our intuition is strong; stop denying it when it clings to your heart in the morning. Deep down we know when we’re truly appreciated and loved.

            Good luck on your distinctive unification. It might be a match made in heaven, but not even the angels can tell you how to love. Everything depends on the two of you.


Unknown said...

i love that you said this because i've always thought the same thing. i could never figure out how these so-called relationship experts made a living and then i realized that that was possible because people actually bought into it all...word for word.

riva. said...

It's so true. & they will always live by those rules. No one realizes that there is no handbook for love.

dparrish2003 said...

Tell Erica I'm sorry for all that advise I gave her @ HU! Lol! I think I am a super offender of giving relational advice and I must agree with you. You have to kind of go through life and figure out your own relational path. I would say advice, in moderation, can help though. Even with this being the case, I still would give advise but won't take it. I felt as if I probably knew what was best for me, for the most part. I wasn't cocky or anything I just trust me to make the best decision. If it didn't work or go as plan I just chalk it up as a lesson learned. I'm lovin this article!

Ciara said...

Another article full of truth...