What’s the most difficult part of being in a relationship?

Written by @PresidentElla

If there is one thing that gives me a hard time in a relationship… it’s my own mind. The worst, most testing question is “What is a relationship, really?” What role do I play? What role does he play? What are my expectations and are those expectations justified? Do I think Im greater than I actually am, or does he need to step his game up?  We see ourselves as such beautiful reflections, but that vision is skewed in the eyes of others. Am I as great as I think I am? 

I question what happens first. They say that first you crush, then you date, then you marry, move in, have babies and, finally, watch each other rot with an affection no one else understands. But people have babies just because everyday. Couples move in together with no wedding ring every other day. Women go down to welfare and pretend the man on their couch is in another country only for him to trade in EBT credits for dollar bills to get himself a 6-pack. Do I cook meals and pack him lunch to earn myself dates? Or should he take me on dates and earn his way to my table? Do I want to be a “power couple” where my dollar is needed, or do I want a powerful man who could take care of me (because Lord knows I don’t want to work anymore)? Should I just be cooking dinner, or should he be bring groceries? These are just minor examples but… this is real life. 

Is there a “right” way anymore? With everyone being so “open” and “accepting”, am I suppose to completely give up on all tradition? Have you ever tried to be perfect? People make “perfect” sound like life is easy but perfect seems a lot harder than people pretend it is…. 

As I find myself confronting humanity and “real life”, I wonder how much of it is valid. How much of it am I really obligated to deal with, cope with or adjust to? How fast am I expected to adjust? I sometimes think back to the one month it took for Im-glad-I-forget-his-name to slam my face into the bathroom sink at 7:30am because he didn’t like what happened in court and decided not to sleep all night and show up to my place when he was done. Maybe he was expecting me to welcome him in… lay with him… console him. Women deal with that everyday. I think of how much fright I pretended not to have as he sat next to me in the subway car telling me how sorry he was an how much he “loved” me. I decided to walk straight into work, since I had no visible marks, and not say a word to him. Then, I looked for a new place. It took a few months for the random text messages to stop but I was so proud of myself for knowing that wasn’t a life I had to live. At all. 

Commentary (especially on social media) about women who are too picky and end up with cats always catch my attention, but they never worry me —I like dogs. So the most difficult part of a relationship, for me, is deciphering my “what ifs”. I try to figure out what direction the relationship is going in, as opposed to which direction I want it to go. I’m trying to be realistic without compromising what I [believe I] deserve. 

With this in mind, I’ve been trying to be a better person. You know, buying inspirational books & pretending I’m going to do yoga in the morning. I’m trying to be more giving, but I’m the youngest of 3 and it ain’t easy. Know what the even worst part is? When you truly do have a good guy who loves you and would do anything of you, but circumstances give you things to pick at… so you pick at it all. And you’ve been lied to so many times you’re just exhausted and it’ll take war to knock these walls down. That’s where it gets confusing. How much do I hold against someone who knows no better? Who isn’t fully understanding of the things I’ve experience? Who isn’t even at fault? I usually just catch an attitude. But That ain’t workin for me; I wouldn’t recommend taking the Bitch road. Lol

What keeps me in a relationship is positive reinforcement — we’re all animals at the core. I have some really bad, really bitchy days & all it takes is consideration to put a smile on my face… He gets me roses, but I’m never afraid to grab myself $5 flowers if I’ve had a bad day. I work a job where I interact with far too many people, I’m trying to finish up my first music project, and I’ve completely neglected this magazine which make me want to prove how much I love being able to share my heart with  whoever doesn’t “hate reading”. What keeps me in a relationship is the sunshine he gives me. I know what I fear and I’ve driven him crazy explaining myself. I know that I keep living in past situations, but how else does a human being learn if not from experience? I’m terrified… not of ending up alone, but of being betrayed. Of someone changing their mind about how much they love me. Or finding out that we aren’t who we told each other we were. I think the most difficult part of being in a relationship, for me — a strong, independent woman of color, raised by a single mother and never having had a father, is admitting that I need someone else. I don’t want to need anyone… because then you become dependent… I’ve never been dependent on anyone.

I’m happy half the time. I’m confused a quarter of the time and the rest is fear I hate to admit. But I can’t control what other people do and that frightens me. Not only do I fear the betrayal, but I fear having to make up for the portion that was supposed to be their responsibility. People (or maybe the Internet) make it seem like marriage is one day & childbirth is 3 days: ultrasound, baby shower & birth. People post their happiest moments for the world to see but in reali life, marriage is tough, I’m sure as is parenting. Both are more than the outfit you chose for the birthday or anniversary. I don’t pretend the tough times don’t exist. I love a good fairytale but… 

I know that this is all in my head… that’s why I share. I’m certain I’m not the only one. I know there are women like me who have no idea what a man is for (other than having a special part you can buy and shove in your drawer for when you’re good an ready). I’ve been taught to fend for self, do for self and pay my own way. I don’t expect anyone to put a drink in my cup, gas in my tank nor food on my table. So it’s tough for me to accept anyone’s help. I suppose this is the curse of the independent woman. But I don’t want to end up alone. & I want to be with someone who truly loves me. I’ve got to get to work on letting down my own walls because These babies are solid steel. So… maybe… that’s the toughest part of me being in a relationship… giving in to chance, letting go of my fears & not being as strong & defensive as I think I need to be…  

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