My friend called me just to chat. Our chat soon turned into a conversation we’ve had far too many times: Should she stay with her man despite their most recent fight?
I love her, but these conversations are frustrating and exhausting. And I mean for me. I can only imagine how she must feel.
Listen, I understand the complexities of it all. She loves him. They have history. She thought he was the one. The list goes on and on. But I also see what this relationship is doing to her. I see how she’s changed in recent months. I notice the difference in how much she expects from him. I see her leaning right up against that crappy placed called settling.
It makes me sick. It makes me sad. It makes me want to shake her just a little until she realizes that she deserves better. She always has. But I realize that my advice and my opinions don’t go very far with her. I realize that love is, indeed, blind. I realize that shaking a little or a lot won’t force her to see what I see.
So I listen. I accept the frustration and exhaustion that comes with listening. I console her when she cries. I drop a few curse words about how trifling he is when I know she needs to hear that. I give her a shoulder to lean on because life has taught me that sometimes that’s all you can give a friend. Nothing more.
But my experiences with her make me think about all the beautiful, smart sisters out there who are settling. I get angry about all the women who tolerate crap that they shouldn’t because they want to stay with him.
If you find yourself in a less than desirable situation with your man and you are constantly wondering if you should stay, please consider these five things before you let him back into your life.
Have you taken the time to love yourself?
I think the biggest reason most women put up with crap in relationships is because they lack self-worth. We have to take the time to fall in love with ourselves. If we don’t do that, we tend to settle for anything that’s thrown our way.
Do you love who you are? Do you recognize your worth? Do you realize you deserve the best in life? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, maybe you need to spend some time loving YOU instead of being with a man who doesn’t deserve what you have to offer.
Do you have unresolved issues with your father?
My dad wasn’t around much when I was a child. And when he was, he wasn’t fully present. I didn’t learn a single thing from him about how a man should treat a woman because he didn’t treat my mom well at all. That said, I made it my business to work through my issues with him at an early age, so it would not impact my ability to find a good man.
You may not even realize it, but if you are in an unhealthy relationship, ask yourself if you have issues with your own father. If you do, it is time to work through them. If you don’t take the time to do that, it may continue to impact who you enter relationships with and your ability to find happiness.
Are you scared to start over?
Starting over is scary for all of us. So scary that we often choose to stay where we are even if we aren’t happy, because the prospect of starting anew is too much to wrap our brains around. But starting over is not as scary as a lifetime of stress and misery because you were too scared to walk away. You can find love again. There is no reason to stay involved with someone that simply isn’t giving you what you want and need.
How will your life look in 10 years if you choose to stay?
Staying with him right now may feel like the easiest thing to do, but in the long run, it can be so damaging. Take the time to think about the instability in your current relationship and ask yourself how you’ll feel if you are still dealing with the same mess in 10 years. Is that what you really want for your life? If not, you have to question your decision to go back to him.
Do you believe you will be okay by yourself?
Loneliness is real, but as women we have to realize that being alone and feeling lonely are two different things. When we are alone, it gives us time to grow and reflect. We understand more about who we are and what we want out of life. When we are afraid to be alone and use that as a reason to stay involve—even if the relationship is unhealthy—it damages your spirit and leaves you feeling depleted and disappointed.
BMWK ladies, are you staying with him when you know that you shouldn’t?