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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...

Monday

Weighing In...no pun intended, I don't think...


Friends and ex friends alike know that I am VERY opinionated about relationships. What many fail to realize is that I'm most opinionated about my own, not really getting involved in the relationships of others beyond the occasional side-eye or "oh really...?" Truth of the matter is, I believe everybody has a right to do it how they choose. And in the classic words of many, most especially my older sister- if you like it, I love it. Now, if you BRING your relationship to me, seeking words of, whatever, I'll jump in, but that's only because you've provided me the diving board. One thing I hate the most is when the diving board is the retractable kind AND no floaties are tossed in, leaving me to drown by invitation. This isn't one of those situations. I just can't be quiet anymore.

For the last week, maybe 2, Mo'nique has been a major topic of discussion. She admitted to Barbara Walters, of all people, that she and her husband have an open relationship. The alarm was sounded and EVERYONE started throwing in their 2 cents on Mo'nique's relationship. Let gon' and pitch my pennies. First, I detest Mo. The sound of her voice makes my skin crawl. The volume of her voice is so incredibly unnecessary. Her hatred of "skinny bitches" to offset being a fat one is reverse psychology gone wrong. Her comedy is hit or miss. The only thing I can say about her is that she played the hell out of Precious's mama in the movie. I can't deny her praise for that role. So, I'm not a hater, I could just totally live in a Mo'nique-free environment. As much as she makes me wish she would go away, I have to stand up for the sister here. I can feel real friends actually preppin' to cringe and deciding yet again whether I am rational enough to remain friends, or if maybe I'm the enemy. Since this ain't new, I'll simply say-do what you feel is best for you, but my opinion is coming in 3...2..

Mo'nique has a right to hold down HER MARRIAGE in whatever way she sees fit. HER MARRIAGE is HER BUSINESS!! More than that, from what I've observed over the last....ALL MY LIFE...relationships between men and women might just be in need of an overhaul or a return to...something. Marriage ain't what it used to be, and let my grandmother tell it, it ain't gon' never be what you think it is, perhaps even want it to be. I don't want to ride completely with pessimism here so please don't stop there and decide you know where I stand on this. I'm in love with love. I actually believe marriage CAN BE a beautiful concept if approached right; the problem is I haven't seen too many approach it honestly. That brings us back to Mo. Not only was she transparent about a VERY personal decision, but she and her husband have sided with honesty. That in itself is a big deal to me. It seems it's the DIShonesty that tends to kill most marriage gardens, letting the weeds grow strong and tall, choking the life out of the happiness originally being planted. Here's another place I need to make sure that I'm clear. I do NOT think happiness is a constant, but I do believe that JOY is (another gem I've acquired from my grandmother.) I do not believe anyone can make me happy or unhappy unless I give up my personal power. Even when I'm unhappy, I can still find joy in all that I have and should be thankful for. Mo'nique, in my opinion, has increased her personal power, recognized that in the past SHE has cheated and been cheated on, and decided to be honest with and about herself for and to her husband. He, in turn has done at least enough of the same to satisfy their union's requirements. How can you or I shit on that? Many have assumed Mo's self-esteem has gotta be lower than the pits of hell to make such an agreement. I believe the woman is smart, which doesn't necessarily mean this choice is one I could or would live with, I just think it's smart.

Most of the people I know who are suffering from within a marriage are doing so because they haven't been honest with self or each other, and certainly haven't addressed any of the VERY REAL topics that affect relationships. Also, the assumption is that an open relationship strictly means someone is agreeing for the other to get on their ho stroll and have all the sex they want. Not true. What a lot of us are also having to deal with is the fact that other people might actually contribute to the emotional well-being of our intended. That man you married has a woman friend who he talks to a little too much for your liking but nothing sexual has transpired between them. You feel like they're just a a drink and an out-of-town spouse away from swinging that feared ep. That woman you married comes with far more men friends than you believe is natural. After all, all men are just waiting for the right moment to pounce. Could be. But your wife controls that and those men friends know it. They respect it as long as she does. The man and the woman are both having aspects of their lives fulfilled that their spouses can't or don't. Feels threatening doesn't it? A little honesty about what you can handle and a little acceptance of who people ACTUALLY are when they come to you could help to prevent these kinds of spurs from sticking to your union.

Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis wrote about having such a relationship. Their relationship is iconic. No one questioned Ruby Dee's self esteem (at least not since I've been listening), as she earns far more attractive points than Mo'nique does. In Ossie Davis's own words:

"It occurred to us, from observation and reasoning that extramarital sex was not what really destroyed marriages, but rather the lies and deception that invariably accompanied it--that was the culprit. So we decided to give ourselves permission to sleep with other partners if we wished--as long as what we did was honest as well as private, and that neither of us exposed the family to scandal or disease".


What he and his wife discovered, or were allowed to rediscover, was that the love they shared was greater than the sex available outside of their relationship. Permission doesn't necessarily mean it will be used. Having permission, again, in my opinion, eliminates what some feel is a need for dishonesty because their feelings/needs/desires haven't been validated in a safe space. We all want to be validated, right? We all have kept something about us close to the sleeve, afraid it wouldn't be validated, right? I know I'm not the only 1.

I've been in several mutations kinds of relationships and don't even begin to propose to know what's best. I'm just out here seeking what's best FOR ME. What I do know is that I have a right to learn from example, be aware of all my options, consider ALL my needs and wants, and make an attempt to have them met or fulfilled. If more of us were out here honest, maybe we'd run into the people who match our criteria a little better, instead of finding out on the humble, waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy too late to avoid being tragically hurt, or just making an informed decision to accept certain behaviors because we KNOW we have it in us to do so. I prefer to be armed with information. An ex confessed to being a serial cheater. I accepted him, armed with information, and chose to be with him anyway. If he cheated on me, I certainly couldn't cry about it.

All I'm saying is this:
Allow people the space to make a decision for themselves how their relationships should go--unless they ask you, and then you decline and still let 'em decide for themselves [MESSAGE]. If we're out here pretending to be liberal and people should be able to make their own decisions about everything from sexuality to immunizations, why not be allowed to decide how your marriage will go down? After all, it's my understanding that they are contractual business arrangements, whether we openly admit it or not. So, get off that woman's self esteem and worry about whether you really KNOW what kind of relationship you're in. She seems to be clearer than most of us, whether we agree with her choice or not.

Watch me
[continue to] move [alone, cuz I ain't ready to wade thru nunna this!]

5 comments:

  1. I was waiting to see what someone who's opinion I actually respect had to say about this. Many celebrities have spoken openly about having these kinds of relationships, Will and Jada come immediately to mind. I won't go so far as to say that hubby can do the grown-up thing with another woman, but we are very open about our attraction to other people. Those people may be celebrities (we both have "lists") or they can be just your average person. But we acknowledge it, and I think that's where the openess comes in for us.

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  2. I agree with you on this post...there are people in all kinds of non-traditional relationships that have healthier marriages than those who try to adhere to societal norms. I can respect that.

    To play devils advocate for a minute...I think the assumption is that they would be having heterosexual openness in their relationship...but what if her man was going the other way?

    Honesty, I find that I am a little less accepting in my spirit. Something about it screams disfunction...but I could be wrong. Thoughts?

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  3. D Mac,
    What counts as openness is determined by the 2. You and your husband are ok with the agreed upon terms and that works for you. Some couples can't even be that honest. Sadly, I've had this experience where I've just said "so & so is fine." So & so wasn't someone I'd ever meet, more than likely, & certainly wouldn't have an opportunity to do anything with them. My then partner was still sick about it. Apparently, it wasn't an agreed upon form of honesty. LOL!!

    Osun,
    You know what? What you've brought up is very real. & we read about/see these [mostly white] women on the news or Oprah everyday, making choices to stick it out in a relationship with an admitted gay man. They can have it. But if I'm being honest, I have to at least consider this scenario. In reality though, I'm burnin' some shit down. I'm not really afraid of dating/marrying a gay man. My gay-dar is pretty good & the warrantee is lifetime. If I accidentally end up with this kind of man, he'll simply be returned, slightly damaged.

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  4. From the Married side of things you are absolutely right. Her marriage business is her own just like mine is mine and ours. Honesty is the best type of communication no matter how out of the norm it may beor if your truth changes. DO YOU!

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  5. I often consider what you have written (not Mo'nique's relationship but the rest) and wonder what this says about how women are raised and what we are taught about dealing with men and entering into relationships. I know I have only recently learned (from a sister friend, NOT my mother) to ask every question under the sun. My girl is so thorough she will ask about the blood history of your great great great great grandfather. Clearly I exaggerate but my point is that she is not afraid to ask. And that act of asking runs counter to what many women are taught, by society and their mothers. Thanks for this. I will be forwarding to my girls and adding you to my blog roll. xoxoxo.

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