Updated: Sep 6
"Why I oughta kick that dirtbag square in his....." says every best-friend, to her inconsolable gal-pal as she balls her eyes out over some joka'. We've perhaps all heard of a couple who was together for five years, then in what seems like the-blink-of-an-eye, they're broken-up and six months later, homeboy done' upped and married someone else.
From the outside looking in, you probably asked yourself, "What in the Idris Elba and K. Michelle just happened?" I can't speak definitively for other couples but I can recall being with someone for a long time only to discover that one of us was pressing gas while the other was pumping the brakes. Not the most ideal situation, I assure you!
So, rumor had it that Idris told R n' B Singer K. Michelle, he could never be committed to just one woman. Then low and behold, People's Magazine 2018's Sexist Man Alive turned around and not only committed to a different woman but even gave that sista his last name. He met his now-wife in 2017, was engaged to her by 2018 and sealed the deal in 2019. I'll tell you (and as bad as it may sound) it was a smidgen comforting to know situations like this don't just happen to us, regular people. Yes. I said it. Sorry, not sorry! In my book, what Idris was really saying is, "No K, I'm just not moved to commit to you!"
Men are always telling us (women) the truth. We either don't like it or we're just not listening!
A sobering thought
If this has ever happened to you, chin-up cupcake. An action of this magnitude is not always a reflection that you did something wrong or even that there is something wrong with you. Sometimes he, she, it, just wasn't for you. I know, such a harsh reality can make you question yourself so much so that you'll be wondering if that left arm attached to your body is really yours.
While I can't say I have experienced a former beau marrying someone else in record time after a break-up, I know quite well what it feels like to hear him say, "I'm seeing someone else." in what feels like .5 seconds. What? How this dude done' moved on and I'm still over here with Brian McKnight's One Last Cry on repeat? You can find yourself elbow deep in a gallon of rocky road, replaying all the events that led you to yet another broken heart.
How is it that someone else (and by that I mean someone you consider lesser than yourself) is halfway down the aisle and you are starting all over again? How are you not just as happy or even happier than they? How are you NOT equal? But what if we have been looking at equality from the wrong angle? Shouldn't the view on equality be solely on the two people that make up the couple? Realistically, 'Is equality even achievable within any relationship?'
While the scenario I'm about to present does not apply to everyone, it was a sobering lesson for me on how relationships can become lopsided when one party pulls back but expects the other party to maintain. This forced me to take a closer look at my relationship scale and see why one side was visibly higher than the next.
Walking in my truth
Finding the source of any issue is often a good starting point when trying to solve a problem. Reckoning day for me was on April 18th, 2016, as I walked into my then Manager’s office and tendered my resignation. Truth is, after 5 years of service, it was safe to say, 'I hated that job!' At about the halfway mark, I began to ignore all the terms and conditions of my contract. While I did the bare minimum, I still expected Caesar to do his maximum. Isn't that like us though?
We present this rainbow-bright version of ourselves at the beginning of a relationship and by the end, that character is nowhere to be found. At first, I was excited about that job and not just because I needed one either. But because I thought it would eventually become more than what was initially offered. Sadly, my unexpressed expectations went unmet and the innocent suffered for the guilty-and by guilty, I mean me.
An obvious truth is I was no longer doing what I was paid to do. I can only liken it to the equivalent of having your professed 'soulmate/the one' status unknowingly revoked mid-relationship, without warning.
My customer service skills left much to be desired. There is no other way to say it, except that I had a blatant disregard for Caesar's requests. If a customer breathed the wrong way, I was instantly annoyed, and they were mishandled as a consequence. It should not have mattered that I felt overqualified to do what I deemed menial tasks. The fact remains that I willingly accepted the terms and conditions set forth by Caesar when I signed on the dotted line. I agreed to receive an amount of money to carry out a list of duties. Yet, I failed at those tasks, flawlessly- each day. It's the same thing when you agree to be in a relationship. You suddenly pick the level of involvement you want, or which parts you don't and leave the rest.
A conversation needs to be had. Worst of all, in the face of my professional annoyance, this lack of care was also evident in my Christian walk. Sometimes it felt like I invented the "Lord if you get me out of this one, I'll...." prayer. Only, when I got out of the pickle, I forgot all about my devout vow.
I can see clearly now the rain is gone
Whether we express it or not, there is a great divide. Some people place more value on certain relationships, while others focus solely on certain aspects of a relationship. For some of us, when we begin dating we are that friend that pushes pause on the crew. We are so engrossed in our love bubble that we forget everything and everyone. For others of us, our careers take precedence while (what we deem) lesser areas suffer. Then there is a small crew of us that straddle the fence of our spiritual relationship.
Either it's full-fledged quoting Pastor like the Bible or wringing grace and mercy like a dishrag. I think it's safe to say that for many of us it is the relationship we have with ourselves that suffers most. Ultimately, until we are well acquainted with the One that created us, every other relationship will be weighed in the balance and always found wanting. So really is the notion of equality like chasing the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?
However, when you are grounded in your spiritual relationship, I find that even if your partner up's and leaves you, though it will certainly throw you, it will not Mortal Combat 'finish you'. Knowing and accepting that someone was not for you are two realities that need to work in tandem if you don't want to veer onto 'crazy-lady' boulevard. Them leaving is not the end-all of your existence. Yes, I know, he was perfect and you guys use to take really cute pictures.
But ask yourself, would you rather the disappointment now or the devastation later? I think some people are more comfortable living the fantasy than reality. It doesn't matter if you resigned (initiate the break-up) or if 'they' terminated you (left you high and dry), at the end of the day someone was getting the short end of the stick and no one wants to be on the receiving end of that. Thus, the symmetry was already off.
At some points, the appearance of equality is present but is it ever really there?
A word to the wise is sufficient
I'll tell you this, who I was in one relationship, I wasn't in another. One man had a passive, almost push over me-while another had a feisty, don't-care savage. If they were to ever compare notes, I'm sure they would not be singing Usher and Kelly's Same Girl. With that said, don't be mad when another woman moves a man (or vice versa) to a state of commitment readiness. It is not a sign that the person has given more than you did. You were just not the one to influence their desire to want more.
No matter how many commonalities you think your relationship shares with other folks, or how much 'better' you think you are, please resist the constant urge to compare. The only thing that should matter to you is that which involves you.
Being equal is saying that something is the same in importance and deserves the same treatment. Now, you and I both know there are shoes, and then there are shoes. There is a difference between Pay-less shoes and Nine-West shoes. Don't get me wrong, they each have their customer base and relationships are no different. Each shoe brand is treated differently depending on means (what one can afford) or usage (what the shoe is used for). Equal then suggests that each party receives the same treatment across the board (now let that marinate for a minute).
Women, is that really what you want? To be equal to a man on every level in a romantic relationship? Do you really want him to treat you the way you treat him? Are you prepared to give him the things you require him to give you? Can you stand to be on the receiving end of your attitude? I can't tell you what to do or what to want. All I know is if I was Caesar in my work scenario, I was letting me go. All I'll say is this, being equal isn't nearly as beneficial as being balanced. Just remember though, balance is only achieved when you have a firm anchor. Being anchored means even if you sway, you won't drift because you are 'fixed' to a certain position.