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.

Time is a relationship currency: Putting time into a relationship is like putting money in the bank.

Time matters.

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I am a person who requires time not much to that. I don’t want to be financially supported I just want time. Someone once told me that it is better to be with a person who is busy, rather than someone who is broke. Well a broke busy person is no Bueno,  but busy for no reason is no good either. You have to make time for a person you’re in a relationship and if your definition of time spent is different than mine then it’s not going to work. But even when a person has money in the bank and extra to spend, when building a relationship time is a precious commodity.

Time supposedly equals money, so let’s talk about that for a min. If I spend all of my time doing things that don’t involve my significant other, what value do you suppose they hold to me? In relationships time is a valuable currency and when you don’t spend time building your relationship or continuing to invest in it, it will eventually lose its value. For me the value of my relationship directly relates to how much time we choose to invest in it. If I am investing more time into than the other person and I am not seeing a return on my investment, be it equal time committed or progress in our relationship,  I will simply choose to divest my interest.

Time as a relationship currency can make it clear how much value you hold in someone else’s life at given time, especially in the building stages of a relationship. Unlike established relationships new relationship don’t appreciate in value based on the amount of time people have been in a relationship, only in an established relationship does the value of a person’s presence in your life appreciate.

So now that I have explained my train of thought I can vent…

I have been dating a person for a little over a year but lately they spend their time doing things that they feel are more important basically leaving me begging for time, and  ‘what I’m not gon do is…’ beg, especially when I didn’t ask him for anything but time. I didn’t expect anything from him but time and that time didn’t have to include extravagant dates of any kind. I begin to notice that whenever someone else needed him he was there and when there were times when I needed him and someone else needed him he always choose them over me. He felt that the amount of time he spent when he had nothing better to should make up for the times when he had to choose. I began to feel like he didn’t value our time together and thus he didn’t value out relationship. So I had to a make tough decision.

In relationships you have to choose what to settle for. In this situation I settled for his financial situation, his living situation, his age and his need to always make himself a victim, but I wasn’t going to settle for him feeling like he didn’t need to spend time with or on me. I mean he had no money, so time was the next best thing; word to all the guys out there you can’t be busy and broke. When a person has something to show for them being busy it makes it justifiable and it doesn’t have to be money. But when you are busy and you have nothing show for it but an excuse or some lame life happens story I lose my patience and cool. Why am I sitting around waiting on someone like a side chick? If I wanted that life I would be a side chick. So in the end I felt that because he wasn’t investing time in our relationship it was not valuable to him, thus I was not valuable to him and we broke up.

Well with that said time is important in a relationship and you can’t be in one if you don’t have any.

SELF ESTEEM: Why would you need inequality when you can hold yourself back?

Low self-esteem like most unpleasant things is a bitch.  You can’t Love someone into Loving themselves… I was recently in a relationship with a person who seemed like he had it together, but under the surfaced he was a wreck.  He never felt good enough for me. So much so that when his more successful friends showed interest in me he would tell me to weigh my options.  Now I am not in the business of stroking the egos of grown ass men but I really liked him and I would for the most part ignore the advances.

I often tried to make him feel good by making sure I wanted to do things in his budget or would simply just pay for things and not asking him for anything more than time and company.  What I learned as our relationship progressed is that no matter what I did that he was always insecure of where he was in life.  I mean I understood some things like not really having your own place at 40 years old but he had a great heart and treated me as well or better than any other man I dated.  But his insecurities caused a rift between us because he didn’t like to share because of them.  I am an open book so the fact that he couldn’t share things out of shame really hurt us.  I am not judgmental nor do I demand the finer things in life.  I grew up in the struggle and my life until recently was one.So the fact that he was ashamed of things really baffled me.

One day when we had both had very hard days at work, being beat down by the man. I realized that nothing I could do would make him feel better and there were several things that made me come to this conclusion.  The fact that he wasn’t willing to compete with seemingly more successful people for me and actually encouraged me to consider them was disheartening for me. If you don’t think you’re good enough why should I?  I also noticed that while I was complaining about the perils of corporate life he would kind of shut down and look dazed.  Other days he would not share anything about his day or the life.  He was the type of person who felt a strong since of entitlement to nice things but realized at some point he had not attained the level of success associated with these things.  He was not living the life felt he deserved and therefore I could not like/love him the way he was, where he was, as I tried so hard to do.

But you can’t Love someone into loving themselves.  Happiness starts with you and as long as you are unhappy nothing will feel right or satisfying.  I think that first and for most you have to be honest with yourself, then you can be honest with other people; honesty is the beginning to making yourself happy. Liking yourself simply comes from accepting yourself, flaws and all.  If you accept things for what they are you can learn to be comfortable with them.   You have to be willing to let someone meet you where you are even if that is not where you want to be. Be great by yourself, love yourself and allow others to do the same no matter what.

Marriage Zone???? There is truth to it but it is still full of Bullshit

Recently one of my close guy friends sent me an article or blog post called “The Marriage Zone”.  The Marriage Zone Theory suggests that women and men come to optimal dating ages  two different age ranges.  While women are more desirable when the are young, men are more desirable as they age.  But there is a small window for women to marry men before the woman has aged too much and the man hasn’t reached his full dating potential.  This what is considered the marriage zone. marriage zone 2The article then suggest that guys should avoid the marriage zone because dating life gets so much better for them if they make it through this rough patch.  But women should try to snag at man at this optimal marrying age, before he realizes his potential, and if they don’t women will be single through their thirties and possibly beyond that.

So my take on the marriage zone is there is some truth to this.  However there are  a few things to consider when thinking about things based on age alone.  Some guys aren’t the player type.  There are guys out there that like to be with one person and enjoy the person they are with.  They are not into games because they don’t see the point.  These are the guys that aspire to the family life early on.  The idea that copious amounts of sex will satisfy every man suggest that men are more simple than I thought.

The idea that age is the key variable in a woman’s ability to attract men is bullshit.  I am pretty sure that any woman who takes care of her body will age well.  I think that life experiences hinder women more than actual age.  Women lose their optimism as they age and with the biological clock ticks (and I truly believe this clock is real), they become a little impatient.  Women who are approaching or in their 30s are not less desirable to men but they have a zero tolerance for games.  However women who are not looking to settle down play as many games as a men in their age group.  They know how to attract men and keep them coming back for more.

So do I think that the Marriage Zone is Bullshit???

YES and NO. I think that after 30 men and women have different goals. But if you get two people together who have the same goals and interests then the age doesn’t factor in as much.  I think that women have to be more patient and open minded with men as we get older and that men need to figure out what they want sooner rather than later.  Who wants to become a dad for the first time after 40 with a 25 year old??? So really this marriage zone thing is where you place it, as long as you are mentally prepared to spend you life with someone  you get married whenever you want. I am very close to 30 at this point and have no plans of settling down anytime soon and I have no problems attracting men of all ages so….