DON'T BE THE BEST.
BE THE Only!

Black Love Is Fragile.

He’s teaching me how to cook.
Nothing major. Just breakfast food.
He keeps buying me groceries.

Is this normal????

My refrigerator has NEVER been this full!
He buys foods I like and then makes a game out of cooking them.

First he does it, then I want to try.

We live in the same state but in different cities. I try cooking scrambled eggs (pray for me!),
I send him a photo.
Then I call for direction and send the final result.

He celebrates my efforts like I just won an Olympic gold medal for best breakfast.😂

Cooking makes me feel close to Him when he is away.

I miss him when He is gone.

To help me not miss Him so much, he sent me a stuffed animal, Pepe Le Pew, which Happy tries to eat. Every time.

I have Pepe by the television in my bedroom that I NEVER turn on.

Unless He is here.

He had an unexpected loss and I sensed he needed a hug. We don’t live in the same city but I would have driven to give him a hug and turned right back around.

He is a proud man.
He brushed off my offer for a hug.
My feelings were hurt.

I went quiet and got off the phone.

It’s very hurtful when I try to take care of him but he won’t let me.

I feel deeply wounded and guilty.

Here’s this Black man taking care of me on damn near every level, yet my love offerings keep being turned down.

I feel diminished.

But I honor his wish.

Later that day he sends me a love letter pouring out his heart about not knowing HOW to let me love him my way.
He is used to being strong.
But I was right: he did need a hug.

He wanted to feel safe.
Held.
Like a little boy.

He permitted me to baby him the upcoming weekend.

Both of us have businesses and full lives. We have to schedule to see each other, which works for both of us.
I became excited about nurturing him for the weekend.

I created a series of things to nurture the little boy in him so he would feel loved, nurtured, and cherished emotionally.

I went to the store and bought out the little boy toy section! I hung streamers and wrapped gifts just for him.

When he arrived, I bathed him. Scented candles and rose petals I sprinkled on him in the bath. He fell asleep in the tub.😊
I cooked my version of a gourmet breakfast (WITHOUT HIS HELP!) and made it look beautiful.

He was awkward with each love offering. He was not used to being nurtured and loved.

But he tolerated my antics!😂

 

I don’t know if he actually let the love in.
He so identifies as “man” it’s hard for him to receive my love.

Right after our couple’s therapy session, we got into an argument because I was trying to love him spiritually and he missed it and dismissed it.

That broke my heart.

I felt like he had not only pissed on my love offering but also my faith in God.

My relationship with God is all to me.
I was offering my faith to activate his faith.
He scoffed at it.

I folded in.

I haven’t made it back out yet. Not fully.

Upon reflection, I can see I was trying too hard to help. He was managing a major loss for himself, and my attempt was too early.

I apologized.

We both are healing in service of the hopes of a long-term significant relationship.
I’m not always confident we will make it.

Black love is fragile.
It’s tender and raw.
Being vulnerable feels like an exposed nerve that screams when the wind blows on it. Even accidentally. For both of us.

What I love most about Him is his tenacity. He has a steadfast willingness to heal and grow with me. He puts in the work.

He stands for an “us” that’s healthy and whole.

He takes the time to hear my hurt.
He almost ALWAYS disagrees with me about it. 😊
This forces me to keep communicating; to continue to stand for myself in this relationship until he hears me, instead of leaving.

Sometimes I yell.
Sometimes I hang up on him.
Sometimes I make him the bad guy.

He waits me out.
He takes a day or two to self-reflect.
He gets in my world and on my side.

He becomes responsible and accountable for his words and actions.
He puts in the correction.

We try again.

I am learning not only how to be in a healthy relationship.

Through his example, I am learning how to stay in one.

And I am grateful.

I thank God for Him.

 

By: Dr. Venus Opal Reese
Date: 10.29.21

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