Tired Of Being On Layaway

I was talking to my cousin the other day about some personal life choices she planned on making. She expressed how she finally knew her worth and intended on treating herself better when it came to relationships and more. She said,

“I’m tired of being on layaway and putting people on layaway. Where people can hold onto me, put in occasional deposits and then walk away until they’re ready to make another deposit.”

That statement hit me like ton of bricks. It was so powerful. It was so true. True on so many levels.  I added by saying,

“The thing with layaway is that you have the choice to stop making deposits and leave it at the store. However, you won’t get your money back from the store. You will never get back the time and emotion you’ve used dealing with people.”

When I finished talking to her, our conversation continued to replay in my head.  I then began to think about how putting things on layaway and being put on layaway is not only true when it comes to relationships. I thought about situations where I occasionally put a deposit into it, but never fully committed. Goals, ideas, self-care, activities with my children, my husband… ME.

I can’t even begin to list the countless goals that I’ve set, only to make small deposits and then walk away. One being a healthier lifestyle. I continue to be inconsistent with my diet and working out. I’ll do great for a week or two and then fall off. I have a long list of things on my “to-do list” with my husband that I haven’t committed to as well. Of course, it takes two to get the job done in marriage, but I know my husband. If I don’t follow through, most likely he will forget. I’ll spend all month (or two) that he’s gone, making plans, getting them in order, and then once he gets home all I want to do is sleep and relax in the house. I know for a fact it’s because I finally get a break with the kids, and I actually sleep when he’s home. The thing is, once he leaves for work again, it’ll be a while before I get that time with him again. My time to experience life outside the house with him expired because I didn’t follow through.

With layaway, not only do you have the choice to stop paying on your items, but the store can also take back the items because you stopped making your deposits. Your time to get those things have expired. Opportunities expire every moment we choose not to take action. You don’t always get the choice to jump back on board with something or someone when you feel like it. It’ll be gone when you get back to it.

How many friends have you neglected, and now the friendship no longer exists? Kept dropping in only to ask for something. How many times have you given that guy a chance, had sex with him over and over again KNOWING he wasn’t the one? You’ll never get your time back. You deposited an unnecessary amount of emotions and your body into someone who decided a long time ago that they no longer wanted you. Layaway smh…

I gave myself the example of house shopping. Try putting a house on layaway or not acting on it as soon as you see it. Before you know it, it’s under contract and sold to another buyer. If it’s something at a store you know you truly desire, you would never put it on hold or in layaway. You’d purchase it right away so that you won’t miss the opportunity to have it in the future. You’re anxious to have it and can’t wait to walk out of the store with it. You don’t want anyone else to have the opportunity to have the thing you wanted so bad.

Of course there are times where you may not be in a position to grab ahold of your desire. But if you really want it, you’ll make an effort to save up and prepare for your purchase. You put it on your vision board and remind yourself daily what you’re working toward. That’s how we oughta view our goals and relationships. Maybe you want a certain job but need more experience or a higher degree. Well, if you really want it, you’re gonna do everything in your power to get that position. If there’s a girl or guy you want to be in a relationship with, and you’re not quite ready, you don’t just sit around and not work on yourself. You constantly take strides in order to be the man or woman you need to be for that person.

Just like items and opportunities, we have an expiration date on our lives; most of us don’t know when that is. Don’t let another day go past where you don’t fully commit to your goals, or continue to let someone make occasional deposits into your life. Don’t die only having made deposits into your goals or people you care about. Fully commit!

I’m already working on it. 🙂

Relationships & Friendships: Emotionally, They Are Indeed Similar (Throwback Thursday)

As life continues on, we [hopefully] mature, our priorities change, and we meet and establish new friendships as well as watch some deteriorate. For many of us, we also find ourselves searching for love or have established it, but in return was given a broken heart. You may have found or find yourself putting so much effort into making the relationship work because you feel like you’ve invested so much of your time and no one else deserves that person in your mind. You continuously have thoughts about the great moments you had with that person and how well you both connected, learned each others likes/dislikes, and even fought, but at the end of the day you two were there for each other. If you really sit and think about it, some of those same moments you find yourself experiencing in a relationship, you experience in a friendship as well.

It is certain that change is inevitable, but in my opinion there are some things that don’t necessarily have to change. They can evolve. A good friend of mines said, “Some things you can’t control in life, but control the things you can.” I most certainly agree with this quote! I believe it applies to both friendships and relationships. Let me provide you with a few examples.

At the beginning of many friendships and relationships, you may find yourself on the phone with the person a lot, making time to see one another, having fun doing absolutely “nothing,” learning about one another and expressing your every emotion to the person. As the months or years go by, you experience several events that you couldn’t have handled on your own [the friend or boyfriend/girlfriend was there for support], and when it was the other way around you did the same. At this point, you’re thinking this is “forever” and I can trust this person.

Then there comes a moment when you find yourself constantly texting and/or calling the person, no reply. In your time of need, they are nowhere to be found, BUT as soon as something “horrible” happens in their life you’re there for them at any time of the day/night. You observe how you guys no longer go out or do the same things as before and when you do, things just aren’t the same. The conversations have long and uncomfortable pauses, both of you are on your phone the entire time and an array of other things.

You begin to think to yourself, “I know I’m not the only one who knows things are changing.” So you bring it to the person’s attention. You both then agree that in order for things to go back to the way they were or to get better, you both needed to make an effort. At the end of the day, you find yourself making all the phone calls, sending all the texts and always finding ways to spend time with the person.
It is true, as we grow things change in our lives and our relationships with people also change. You may not have enough time to go out like you used to, or talk on the phone as much, but there are ways of allowing relationships to evolve into something that works for both people and not let unnecessary changes occur. It is a shame when you text or call the person and don’t get an answer, but as soon as you log on to Facebook or twitter you see their status changes are done from their mobile phone.

Now for some people, it’s easy for them to get the picture and to just simply “cut” the person off. But for others, they continue to think about the good times and don’t want to let go because of the things they experienced with the person. You become tired emotionally in either a friendship or relationship when you’re always wondering will things go back to normal.

There are signs and actions that these people give us that clearly shows us that keeping a healthy friendship or relationship is the last thing they are thinking about. We have to learn how to re-evaluate situations and really think about are we hurting while this person is out “doing them?” Are you being a better friend, girlfriend/boyfriend than they are being? Ask yourself these questions and more.

It comes to a point where we have to understand that some relationships and friendships were formed specifically at a time in our lives for us to grow and have the person there in that time period. It’s easier said than done, but if you’re constantly trying to make a friendship/relationship work and there has been no changes or more importantly progress, it’s not worth your time. Sometimes it takes for you to actually let go, or to not care for the person to truly realize your worth and come to YOU. Once you realize your worth first, that same person will realize it as well in the future and the next person after that. Stop running around trying to catch your tail, it’s behind you for a reason. You may find yourself getting close to catching it, but it is very rare that you will. On a dog, he is able to see and depend on his limbs, nose, eyes, etc. But his tail is behind him. He knows it’s their and may pay it some attention from time to time, but there is so much in front of him and beside him that he doesn’t focus on what’s behind him. Look at what’s in front of you and whose beside you. What’s behind you will always be BEHIND you if you let it stay there instead of chasing after it.

No New Friends (Or Old)

One of the things my husband and I do a lot of is talking. Our conversations range from world hunger to fashion trends, from childhood memories to going back to complete a discussion that got heated a month ago. It was when James became a truck driver my junior year of college that our communication life changed. Our long distance relationship depended on long phone conversations in order to make us feel closer to one another. Ever since then, it hasn’t mattered whether I was in school, working or at home, we talk all day almost every day. Even when he’s driving locally and I see him in the evenings, we talk up until the moment I pick him up from his truck. There are many topics that we discuss, but I’ll start by sharing this one. The question was, when you’re married, should you be allowed to have friends of the opposite sex?

I thought I was going to be able to provide you with two sets of answers, one from me and one from James, but thankfully we saw eye-to-eye on each scenario. The scenarios were as follows:

  • What if your spouse had a best friend of the opposite sex prior to your marriage?
  • Can you or your spouse gain new friends of the opposite sex (i.e. coworkers, church, school)?
  • If you or your spouse has close/good friends of the opposite sex, but doesn’t talk to them on the regular, should they be cut off?
  • Should you or your spouse go out with friends of the opposite sex without your spouse being present?

What if your spouse had a best friend of the opposite sex prior to your marriage?

This scenario is pretty tricky. I think I can speak for all women when I say that the idea of our man having a female best friend doesn’t bring us the slightest amount of joy. Our guard immediately goes up because we can’t imagine another woman being close to our husbands other than the women in his family (i.e. mother, sister, grandmother). You fear that the two are closer than friends, and you feel uncomfortable with him/her sharing personal information with them before you. You ultimately want to be your spouse’s very best friend. Some women will run the moment the man mentions having a female best friend, while others will stick around and do their best to befriend the woman. For the most part, I would guess the same goes for a man regarding his lady having a male best friend as well. James and I believe that if your spouse has a best friend of the opposite sex, he/she is not new to you. You should have met this man/woman when you started getting serious in the dating phase. While you’re boyfriend and girlfriend, you’re getting to know this friend and everyone (spouse, best friend and yourself) is making an effort to build comfort in the relationship/friendship. That means creating boundaries. For example, it is no longer acceptable to just go out to eat or hang with your friend of the opposite sex without first letting your significant other know. This will eliminate any insecurities of cheating and secrecy. Once you’re engaged, your spouse’s best friend doesn’t need to be your best friend, but he/she should definitely be your friend also. You all should be able to hang out together without any hesitation, and the need to hang out separately without you is not necessary. At this point, you are able to truly make the decision on whether you can deal with this friendship. If you just can’t get along with your spouse’s friend, it is his/her responsibility to end that friendship in order to move forward with your relationship. Once you’re married, you have accepted that this friendship is okay with the both of you and there is no confusion, disrespect or jealousy surrounding the friendship.

Can your spouse gain new friends of the opposite sex (i.e. coworkers, church, school)?

Depending on your personality, it is inevitable to avoid gaining new friends when you’re at work. It is important to be intentional about new friends being both you and your spouse’s friend. Once you’re married, there’s no such thing as a person of the opposite sex being only your friend or only your spouse’s friend. If you or your spouse don’t have any interest in gaining a new friend, it’s both your responsibility to make each other comfortable and confident in your being friends with that individual. How do you do that? By respecting your spouse and his/her feelings toward that friendship. If they are uncomfortable with the type of conversation you’re having with that person, shut it down. Honestly, that goes for any friendship, but I can definitely understand putting up a fight for one who has been around long-term versus a new friend gained through work. For James and I it’s about comfort, respect, confidence, communication, and reassurance.

If your spouse has close/good friends of the opposite sex, but doesn’t talk to them on the regular, should they be cut off? 

In our opinion, if you don’t speak to your friends of the opposite sex on a daily basis, there’s no need to end the friendship or acquaintance-ship. We agreed that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having an adult conversation to catch up with one another. For example “Hey! How are you? How’s the family?” or “Hey, I know that it’s been a little while, but I value your opinion and need your advice on something.” The friends that do need to be cut off are those who contact you with “Hey stranger” or “Hey big head.” I repeat, it’s crucial that you keep boundaries in place. You shouldn’t text anyone of the opposite sex after a certain time. It’s up to you and your spouse to set the time.

Should you or your spouse go out with friends of the opposite sex without your spouse being present?

If your spouse is not aware, the answer is absolutely not. Doing that shows a lack of respect and can make your significant other insecure and no longer trust you. We’ve all heard the saying, “trust is easy to lose, but hard to gain back.” If you value your spouse and your friend, you will always let your spouse know when you are meeting with them.

When evaluating your friendship(s) with anyone of the opposite sex, take yourself out of your shoes, and look from the view of your spouse. If they took a look at your text message thread, what would they see? Does your spouse know the password to your phone? Are you comfortable with leaving your phone around them? Do your friend(s) make an effort to include your spouse in your plans? There are several questions you can ask yourself, but let’s be honest, as an adult you know right from wrong when in a mature relationship. I’m not one to judge because I am far from perfect, but I’ve noticed that people make excuses to stay in their single ways when being in a marriage. When being married, your way of thinking and actions have to do a full 360. You can not operate in singleness when married, and if you do your marriage is deemed to fail. I’ve also noticed that some people think that when you get married you lose yourself or your identity. False. Your spouse becomes a part of your identity. When getting married, you are gaining a new part of YOU. Change your perspective and look at your spouse as an addition to your identity and not a source of subtraction. All in all, it’s about finding what works best for you and your spouse. If you two are on the same page, then what everyone else thinks doesn’t matter.