Adventures from a cross cultural relationship Part 1: Family over Pets but my pets are my family…..

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My boyfriend is Nigerian and I am African American.  The funny thing is we never talk about until we don’t want to claim each other’s people, which usually happens when we see people who are actually being stereotypes. We don’t look for differences but sometimes they are stark and unavoidable.  One of these has to do with indoor dogs and his complete and utter confusion about this.

Until recently I had 2 dogs, a 3 year old Poodle and a 13 year old Pomeranian.  My boyfriend has never really been here for my fur babies, he tolerates them.  He is not willing to keep them on the weekend but he will pay for the boarding, lol.  I let my cousin, whom I had recently reconnected with after 10 years stay with me until she got on her feet. During her stay at my place my dog got hit by a car under her supervision.  Unfortunately my dog did not survive the trauma and after a million apologies I put my cousin out of my apartment. My boyfriend immediately encouraged me to reconsider, it was an accident and she was staying with me after having nowhere else to go.

The thing about family is that blood doesn’t make you sincere.  While I don’t think she meant for anything to happen, she did not take the necessary precautions to prevent it.  She also did not call after she left from my house, not even a text message which really made me feel as if she wasn’t as sorry as she claimed. My boyfriend doesn’t understand my attachment to my dogs he tries really hard but he doesn’t get it.  He likes dogs but he is not fond of them being in the house and dogs as small as mine really serve no purpose according to him, I can’t rally argue with that. He felt as if my cousins needs should have taken precedence over my grief.  He would have never put out a person because of a dog.

I showed up on his doorstep at 3 a.m. balling and drunk “He was a dog you can get another one” my boyfriend said. I had also gotten a memorial tattoo in my dogs memory and he liked the tattoo but really didn’t understand my pain. He held me while I cried, supplied me with 2 aspirin, a bottled water and of course a trashcan.   I was clearly too drunk and inconsolable for sex so he made me go to sleep. He didn’t understand but he was there for me nonetheless.

The next morning I tried to explain that when you nurture something for years you can’t replace it and no other dog would be my dog it would be a totally different dog with different quirks.  In our conversation we had to face that I take my dogs very seriously. I get very attached and grew up with dogs, I even took my Pomeranian to college.  A cousin who comes into your life after not seeing you for over 10 years then ends up on you couch doesn’t get that consideration.  We did not disagree but we did not exactly agree.  He has never had a dog so I didn’t expect him to understand, after all there are Americans who aren’t that serious about dogs but they understand the attachment.

Our disagreement was rooted in the treatment of family.  I am a firm believer in the nuclear and immediate families being close.  He runs errand for his mother’s friend’s cousin whim he calls aunty mostly because it’s respectful, but also because if everyone is aunty you don’t have to remember names.  He was raised to be there for his family immediate, extended and otherwise.  I admire that but I don’t adhere to that. My parents raised us to be close as siblings but we aren’t really obligated to extended family.

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Love or whatever…

When do you say I Love you?  When do you know you Love someone? I am at a standstill… I think I Love him.  If he needs a piece of my liver or a kidney I would give it to him.  I would have his children under the right circumstances but do I Love him?  I haven’t actually pondered if I love someone in a very long time, it never gets to that point. I pray for him and care about him.  I don’t worry about him though, and in all of my thoughts I feel our friendship not necessary Love.  I feel the passion for life between us but not life necessarily together. I think I Love him though? There is a level of intimacy that is there and is comfortable.  I want to be better because of him and not disappoint him but do I Love him?  Do you just know?  Do you wait for the guy to declare it first?  What are the rules?  I am confused in this. Please HELP

Homie, Lover, Friend: Loving him

This is an Ode to the person I have always felt my best self around, he calls me on my bullshit and I listen to him; he is one of my favorite people.  I Love you to pieces and if we were never together again I would be happy to revel in your happiness because that is what I want most for you.  To be joyful and live the fullest life possible, because the way that I Love you is more than romantic. It is intimate and unique and it makes us friends.  I often say that friendship is one of the most sacred relationships to have and if you can be friends with someone the possibilities of that relationship are endless.  You are my friend and one I hold in my heart and would give a piece of my soul.  I Love you in ways that I have never been able to explain because it is a Love that has more interest in your happiness than your romantic companionship.  It is a Love that does not beg to be by your side because that may not be my place in your life.  It is a free Love that somehow makes my heart smile at you and for you.  My Love for you is not interested in reciprocation, it has existed regardless of how you feel about me because it is pure and true.

You are the perfect a ending to a great book and you are my prototype. Although being that  I do not hold you selfishly close to me because my Love for you is not selfish.  It will not allow me to selfishly chase you because it respects your choices and  trusts your heart. It is in this that I recognize that we may never be more that we are right now and that is my friend.

Intrigued by the Best Friend bored with the Boyfriend

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I am attracted to his best friend.  This is not going to end well so I am preparing to for my exit from his life.  This may have started with the awkward drunken kiss that happened between us or the day we spent together.  The newness of his smell and optimism in his eyes. He did more with me in one day than my boyfriend has done with me in six months. He even taught me how to shoot a gun and told me I should get one. The hands that he had to put on my waist to steady me and slow intentional breaths he told me take. There is something about his friend that makes me curious and it may be the deliberate manner in which he secretly pursues me, or the security I feel with his height, may be the way he barely dances when we’re out or his insistence to wear shades even in dark clubs. There is a coolness about him that I am usually put off by but I’m intrigued.

I am usually pretty clear about friends being off limits but this friend… I think about him and I think about him.  I wonder what he’s doing and as I pick up my phone to text him I always put the phone down, without sending anything deleting the text so that I won’t be reminded there was a draft.  I put it down because he is trouble, I can see trouble a mile away and that is what this is.  I am comfortable with my boyfriend but very bored and there is no spontaneity, no excitement.

My boyfriend carries a weight on his back and I can see it.  It seems as though he is giving up on his dreams. This weight is in his walk and his deep thoughts.  The way that he can watch TV for hours and never consider leaving the house, there is somberness to him.  His best friend has zest for life and for new things, but it is his zest that gives me pause.  His need to know; his curiosity about me. It is off putting because people who are this way tend to have the attention span of a puppy and curiosity as they say…. killed the cat.

I’m so into the fact that you’re into me

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I am convinced that people are so self-indulgent that they will look over the fact that don’t like a person simply because they like the attention they are getting.

I’m confused… Do us 20 somethings who claim to want a healthy relationship really want that?? I’ve met people, male and female who continue to entertain a person’s affections because “He/she is so nice”.  There are a lot of nice people out there, but maybe they are hiding… I enjoy my singledom and I admit that I have at times entertained a person’s company because they were into me for whatever reason, knowing damn well I lost interest at “Good Morning beautiful” text number five.

 I have made a conscious effort not to get caught in my own hype; letting people go when I realize it is not going to work out.  But there are those who stay in a never-ending cycle of flattery while nurturing relationships, be it friendly or romantic, that they know for sure they are not interested in sustaining. Stop being so into people who are into you, if you don’t care to ask important questions like “How was your day?” or “Would I actually care if we never spoke again?”, you will never find a satisfying relationship that is not based on your need for attention.

I completely understand it though, when most of your social life is based on the number of followers, likes, retweets and or “friends” you have, flattery has become ingrained in the us.  The need for acceptance is at an all time high, the need for you to actually accept, not so much. Next time ask yourself: “Am I into them?” or “Am I into the fact that they are into me?”

Friends with Benefits Gone Awry

What do you when the person you crave looks pass you? Keep in mind this person is always around always a friend and always an outlet.  What do you do?  I really don’t have an answer for this.  This post is not a declaration it is simply a brainstorm. I don’t always know the answer to my questions and sometimes I never figure them out.

I know that friends with benefits can be beneficial in some instances.  I know that sometimes you actually become friends. You learn how to put a wall up and you just separate the sex from the friendship.  Honestly you can only spend so much  time being naked with someone without creating a certain level of comfort with them; and we know where that leads.

Friends with benefits should have an expiration date.  We all need to grow and learn to be emotional and open to the possibility of being hurt.  At some point friends with benefits has to progress or stop. Progression is what happens sometimes.  But how do you just stop???  It turns into your drug of choice only needing a fix every now and then.  But this fix fast becomes a habit and the next thing you know, you are thinking about forever and what that would mean if it was together.  But there is this wall…

The rules that you created to protect yourself in the beginning have become your worst enemy and what you forgot to do was get to know the person you have spent so much time with; naked.  All the time that was focused on the physical has become this emotional burden because the person you have seemingly become the closest to and care about on a more than basic level is actually a stranger that has built the same wall you built in the beginning and they have become very comfortable with it while you are ready to tear it down.

What you learn in trying to tear this wall down is that they continue to build it higher and with stronger material because the truth is, the only part you play in their life at this moment is the only part they ever want you play.  The friendship was an added bonus and they actually don’t value it much at all.

As much as it hurts you move on, you move on learning a very important lesson. What the lesson will be for you,  I really don’t know but we all have to live and learn.  My lesson was simply value the people who actually value you. If you come to point where you have to question your worth to another a person then its time to move on; be it friendships or relationships.

Me, Us, Him and Them

I’ve been in 2 serious relationships in my short life.  The first one I felt like and still do feel like part of the family.  There was nothing I wouldn’t do for his family and friends.  I Loved his brothers like my brothers and they treated me the same way.  My present relationship has not be a smooth intergration of the people surrounding us.  I don’t feel like his family is my family and it is very evident that his friends certainly are not my friends.  Don’t get me wrong they are very nice people I just don’t consider them my people.

There is stark difference in the way that we were taught to interact with people and I think it has a lot to do with where we are from.  I am from a city where everyone was extended family if you were around long enough.  Friendships last forever,  as a matter of fact, if I call my friends from high school today we would talk as if no time has lapsed. I don’t know if people just like to gossip, but there were very few secrets; good and bad.  He on the other hand was not raised in a very open and inviting community. His family is very small and close knit,  it seems that in his family and with his friends you have to prove that you are worthy of their acceptance; and endure some ancient family ritual.  Whereas with my family once you cross the threshold you are one of us.   We are open books but we respect the fact that we are individuals living different lives.  It seems that with his friends and family the willingness to share their failures as well their success is absent.  

I understand that complete immersion into someone else’s inner circle is not always a good thing but when it feels as though you are on the outside looking in, it kind of sucks.  I think that it is very important that I make him feel like he is part of my family and that  there is no reason to shy away from them. In a serious relationship you will have to interact and constantly hear about these people.  The funny thing about his people is that they will secretly hate you and smile in your face.  I don’t know people close to me who are that nice.  Then again people around him feel like they have the right to voice concerns about our relationship.  Honestly I don’t think I make people that comfortable or I just don’t even give it a listening ear when advice or concern is unsolicited.

In relationships we have to deal with more than just or signifcant others and this can be very difficult when you are seen as the villian.  I am exactly that in the eyes of people around him and I don’t know what he does to change that now; I know what he has done in the past and it doesn’t exactly make me confident.  We are not attached at the hip, ir over the top affectionate couple that people like to see.  They hear about the downs far more than they hear about the ups and honestly I’m done defending myself or playing nice. Quite frankly it is not my place to check the people around him.  My people don’t have a vested interest in the demise of our relationship.