[EDITED TO MAINTAIN POSITIVE FEELZ OF THIS SITE]
Yesterday, I posted this very long message on Facebook and decided to share it here. I have since decided to delete it from here so that I can maintain positivity here. There was a lot of negativity there I just don’t want lingering around on my little corner of the internet.
The topic was about the push to get black women to take on people and situations that don’t serve us positively just so we can have someone to call our partner. Many black women have coined these unions “struggle love.”
In my own experiences with dating, I’ve also tried dating men whom are essentially not ready to be proper partners. They, in my opinion, date so they can get help with things like a place to stay, money to “borrow,” or food to eat. I’ve left these relationships feeling spent and taken advantage of. Of course, there are some who simply date for companionship during their time in need.
However, I have found if a man is dependent upon me for his livelihood, it is stressful on both of us and the companionship is doing more harm than good. Coming together to support each other through hard times isn’t all bad, it just isn’t something I enjoyed in my own life. Especially when my already busy life was moving smoothly, but then I added the concern of a man’s burdens to it. That’s extra responsibilities. I can do bad all by myself.
And a lot of times us black women get told that is the only way we can find love instead of being educated on our options. We’ve got plenty of options. We don’t have to choose partners as if we’ve showed up late to the sell. As if we’ve got to take what’s left at the store or go without.
As momma Eartha Kitt has put it, a partner should share in the love you already cultivated and have for yourself. We should love ourselves and be excited enough about this love to seek out partners that’ll support it. Not partners that’ll make us question it or will chip away at it. That means choosing a partner that doesn’t make you compromise what you want and see in your life.
Also, if you are in search of someone to love, you should already love yourself. How can you love somebody else if you can’t love yourself? Yes, that is Mama Ru (Rupaul).
Since giving up struggle love, my life has been less stressful and I have more time to myself. I’m more selective and date to be pleased and have a good time. Lately, I’ve been more marriage minded so I’ve learned to get even more selective. So far, it has gone lovely. I’m happy.
Dating this way has also done a lot to preserve my wellness and protect my wellbeing. I’m overall just a happier person. And with all the extra time, I’m strengthening the love I have for myself. That’s crucial. One day I heard this woman being interviewed on one of Black Girl In Om’s podcasts make a great point. She said something like we make the mistake of thinking self-love comes easy because it is ourselves we are learning to love.
Reality is we have to work for this love the same way we’d have to work with someone else. We have to date, court, romance, and learn about ourselves to love ourselves the same way we have to learn someone else to love them. We must take ourselves out on dates to learn what we like to do and then treat ourselves with those dates again. We must give ourselves the things, situations, and environments we love to have. We should shower ourselves in positive thoughts, affirmations, and sweet talk to strengthen that love. The same way we’d do that to show love to another human being.
It all made really good sense to me. I realized I hadn’t really spent enough time loving myself. I was spending too much time trying to prove loyalty to someone else so they could love me. I was working for the love I should have been giving to myself. As is the case with many women whom take on situations that don’t truly serve them or their purposes.
Searching for love before we love ourselves is a sure way to pick a partner that doesn’t quite get it. So that partner might do things that hurt us and our feelings. It isn’t really intentional, although some of it might definitely seem that way. It is Divine Truth. That’s how that person was going to act in your life regardless. That is their Divine Truth. They are there to teach you a lesson and show you truth. If even that truth is the painful realization that lack of self-love likely let them in.
So for me, letting go of situations that add burden (struggle love) rather than subtract stress and add value has been a pretty powerful step. I definitely advocate other women, especially black women, move to do the same.
Struggle Love As Described By Other Black Women