Guest Blogger, Theory & Essay

Postcards from the Other Side – Married Guy Existentialism

[One of my boys - a married one - felt the need to write something and offer it up. I figured that since we talk so much about relationships, but since neither The Champ nor I are married, it might be interesting to let a married man do the talking for a day. Enjoy!]

“the grass is greener where you water it”Big Sean

[Disclaimer:  Generalizations abound in this piece. If you are offended by labels, don’t read this. I'm no authority on the subject matter; I have no profound insight or even answers to my own everyday dilemmas, although I offer up plenty here.  The title is admittedly grandiose and arrogant, but I was just trying to draw you in from the throngs of way brighter and infinitely funnier people that are occasionally featured here. Matter of fact, the only reason I even have this forum is b/c one of the HNIC is basically family. ]

Now that that’s out the way, here’s my first pronouncement:  single folks don’t understand marriage, not for real. Most of you are probably really, really smart people but marriage for you, the institution, is only some abstraction, likely informed through viewing family, close friends, etc., etc.  I’m writing to offer clarity.

I have a few female friends that want to be married, but they think only in terms of conforming to norms and internalized, self-perpetuated pressure re: certain milestones they’re supposed to have already crossed.  What most don’t get, or at least focus on, is that marriage isn’t the destination or some magical elixir that’ll fix all of the problems in their relationships.  The notion that they/you couldn’t possibly understand until you’re on this side is that your current relationship, whatever that looks like, predicates the health of your future marriage.  Bottom line, I think our marriages unravel for essentially the same four reasons that your relationships do – 1) unmet/unarticulated expectations, 2) poor communication or lack of it altogether , 3) patience lapses and 4) pride.  I’m not even going to touch infidelity here.  Experts, like Steve Harvey [PJ Note: debateable...], make a fortune off of trying to explain that one, and even though I have thoughts, it would marginalize the subject to even attempt to address it here.

Second pronouncement — the “marriage” title only exacerbates the problems b/c, once you jump the broom, you’re expected, not by society but by your family and friends, to stay over it.  The pessimists, naysayers and doomsday prognosticators will quote you the figures that we all vaguely know about the statistical probability of divorce, but those numbers can’t pick up the qualitative, in that the vast majority of the failed marriages serving as the statistical inputs were fucked up in the first place and would’ve fallen apart without the omnipresent burden of “forever” that marriage is supposed to entail.  I think married people, guys in particular, are very reasonable about getting married – they’ve thought through the potential hindsights, thought about the many women they’re choosing to forgo and have initiated a review or already taken stock of the major issues (e.g., kids, religion, in-laws) in selecting their choice.  So when the marriage starts to develop those little fissures that turn into canyons, it’s because of the same little things that arise in all relationships that are impossible to vet at the outset.

Personal admission (for grounding purposes) – I slept in my car for the past two days because of a fight. I can offer up that it had nothing to do with any of those major considerations in getting married.  Even though I’m still raw from the experience, I can also unequivocally state that it was equally my fault that I ended up in the whip.  We fought over something, in retrospect, so damn stupid that it never should’ve risen to the level that it did, but because our emotional responses served to obscure the issue and frustrate the conversation, the situation eroded to the point that we couldn’t even speak to one another.  I know it’s hard to make sense of this without providing much more detail, but if I were to give anything more, it could potentially consume this entire piece and still not seem like the big deal that it ultimately became.  I’m happy to report that we’re working through it now, but the actual issue, as much as I’m minimizing it now, has definitely served as the inflection point for failed marriages that I know of — the beginning of that downward spiral to “irreconcilable differences”.  In relationships, if you can’t reach consensus on little shit, you just deal with it as long as you can and then you break up; in a marriage, if you can’t find a way to properly frame those same “little” issues, they transform into bigger indictments on commitment and, all of a sudden, the end is nigh and the magnitude of the relationship failure seems so large because it was supposed to be forever.

That’s why I want to pivot to relationship woes more generally.  The hallmarks of any piece like this are blanketed statements, supposedly culled from first-hand experience, that have broad, I Ching-like applicability. How could I possibly envision my work within the pantheon of the capital t thinkers on the subject, like the chick that wrote Dear Abby, the aforementioned Steve Harvey or the Mars/Venus author, without offering my own tome for better relationship/marital harmony?!!?

Here we arrive, simple & absolute instructions for men and the fairer sex on how to maintain relationship bliss; for guys- it’s straight forward, you have to start downloading to your woman, not your boys. Notice my admittedly clumsy attempt to come up with a fancy way to say ‘communicate’ and sound intelligent, but here’s the distinction: women think that we (guys) are ill-equipped to articulate emotional unsteadiness/discord.  The perception’s certainly understandable b/c it’s grounded in their interactions, but it’s also patently false…we talk about our issues, just not in the most cohesive fashion and not to you.  For every clueless, frustrated and fatigued female reader here, there’s her dude out there passively informing one of his homeboys about the impending doom of the relationship. Sure, he’s not thinking of the relationship’s failure when he tells his boy in fractured missives that he doesn’t like your family or that your best friend is an intrusive bitch or that he’s tired of hearing about how great that ninja that your other homegirl is dating or that you don’t cook enough or that both the frequency and variability in your sex life are subpar but he’s slowly eviscerating the relationship with each new observation. Understand that men tend to be impulsive in their decision to end shit, but not in the underlying reasons for the judgment – it’s the aggregation of all these little things that yields his seemingly snap judgment to break it off.

For ladies, I think the Evelyn Lozada-Chad Johnson circus is more instructive than we could’ve possibly imagined b/c we learned everything that we needed to know about women’s failures. Women simply have to learn to absorb more. Before I’m written off as a dumbass apologist, let me interject that I don’t mean physical blows.  I mean, I couldn’t possibly be more profound or eloquent than the soon-to-be former Mrs. Johnson herself, whom I presume has curbed her own belligerence, in informing us that domestic abuse is not ok.  But her problem — that I think plagues many, many women — is that throughout their relationship, and way before she had even begun to give his marriage proposal serious consideration, she hadn’t ascertained that he was the sort of ninja that could resort to the physical to resolve issues.  I don’t want to get too far in the thickets in tryin’ to draw a parallel here, especially b/c abusive proclivities aren’t always apparent at the outset, but the takeaway remains the same.   My charge for ladies to absorb more effectively, i.e. develop more insight and reflexiveness, is two-fold.  One, you have to figure out the puzzle earlier – for all of the complaints about his lack of communication, I guarantee he’s providing all sorts of nonverbal cues on his non-starters, like lightly resistant acquiescence to being around your friends that he doesn’t like, or seemingly innocuous suggestions about what he likes to eat or what banging dishes his boy’s girl makes.   Ladies have to pick up these signs and adjust without having to make an issue or, even better, a f*cking dialogue, out of it.  Second, absorption also requires an ability to fight that natural predisposition that some (read: all) of you possess to get in defensive posture when issues are actually communicated.  Here’s the deal, I believe that we (guys) know what our issues are, it’s just that sometimes we haven’t fully digested and deconstructed them in a manner that can withstand the withering challenge that you all sometimes offer up in response to the issues.  Rather than argue, often times guys will just deflect and sublimate their frustration, but just because he’s quiet doesn’t mean he’s come around to your thinking on the subject matter, he’s just filed it away and added it to your list of issues unresolved.  Note that this list, which he’ll never really divulge to you btw, will eventually undo the relationship.  Instead of the counteroffensive, I think that if you just listen to his problem without always offering criticism, maybe you’ll find a way to make sense out of it on your own terms and adjust in a manner that will actually make him happy, even if he doesn’t speak on it.

For married folks, I’ll let you in on a simple, resounding truth that has made my life as a married man infinitely easier – I don’t think the state of being ‘equally yoked’ actually exists.  We all are such dynamic people, with fully formed views on both pervasive and granular issues that a chasm could potentially exist with respect to any issue, even if we believe that we’re eye to eye in principle.  The differing views don’t come up when you broach the topic generally; no, just like with the fights about little stuff, the disconnect is way more nuanced than that and becomes apparent only in the moment.  Understanding that my marriage has the potential for an impregnable gap on any issue, what I’ve thankfully figured out is that for all the reasons we’ve chosen one another — what she brings to me, brings out of me and how she edifies me — are way more valuable than my compulsion to be ‘of one accord’ on stuff.

More straight forward, I just needed to shut up and learn to deal with the little things that we will disagree about every day for the rest of our lives since my life is infinitely more meaningful because she’s in it.  Before you jump the broom, can you live with the fact that the potential for bickering on every subject under the sun, not just the big ones, is not only possible but probable?  Without sounding too self-important, I think this is the realization that couples have to figure out, on their own terms, to traverse the bumps and bruises along the way, whether married or just together.  That’s it.  I haven’t written much here, yet I feel like I’ve illuminated the path to resolve the rancor in all relationships as well as provided you the irreproachable blueprint for a sustainable marriage.  You’re welcome.

Then again, what could I possibly know, given that I’ve been sleeping in my car for the past few days…

-JOHNNY KWEST

Tomorrow night, join Panama as he is one of the many co-hosts on The Blaqout Show brought to you by Beny Blaq on www.blis.fm (or better http://blisonline.streamon.fm) from 8-10pm EST! Panama will be breaking down what men hear and say!!! Join us tomorrow night!

And as always, this Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Reminisce! VSB will be live and in full effect mode (we used to have a crush on dawn from En Vogue). If you’re in DC come party with the folks at Liv Nightclub (11th and U Street, NW). Free entry with RSVP, open bar from 930 to 1030, and no dress code. It’s cheaper to come party with us!

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    Hmmm….my married friends are always saying I’m missing out by being single. I low-key always thought it was a trap, because like your 2nd pronouncement said (okay, I’m paraphrasing), marriage magnifies and aggravates things

    Even though my parents have been married 31 years, I’m still not convinced, and I’m not ready to lose my freedom yet. I don’t care if my married friends think I’m at life’s equivalent of the kids table, I still don’t see me loving someone enough to tolerate his draws on the floor (this includes children)

    *takes my difficult, inflexible azz to bed*

    • Latonya

      Why do you feel that you will lose your freedom once you are married?

      • jmo

        It’s because you do…when you indefinitely and utterly tie your life to someone elses, your life isn’t your own, your decisions aren’t your own, and your consequences aren’t your own….In short, you’re “signed, sealed and delivered…” belonging to someone else. It’s not so much of a “property” issue as what I’m saying sounds, but it’s real. I can’t go out and buy that home entertainment system for $2k like I want to without entertaining wifey with the thought…why? Because we’re married and we have to make those decisions with each other in mind. If you take marriage for what it should truely mean…it’s two people becoming one flesh, one mind, with one purpose (whatever that is for you). It’s not a together in a relationship but i do what I want type of deal…and if you feel like it is….don’t get married. (I mean, unless you want a glorified bf/gf).

        • Come On People

          Don’t worry, married men still go out and buy the 2K entertainment center and just say “you man, oh i am sorry, my bad” continuing to enjoy said entertainment center…lol (coming from a woman married 9 years to a man who DJ’s as a hobby). Men will always have toys, they just get more expensive as they get older. I have learned to accept this.

    • Reason

      “Even though my parents have been married 31 years, I’m still not convinced, and I’m not ready to lose my freedom yet.”

      This. My parents have been married for 20+ years and it is one of those love-less, soul-sucking unions. My father was physically abusive towards our mother and I still am resentful that she never left him even though we (her children) were the p-poor reason. Now that all of us our grown she still talks ad nauseum about once and for all leaving him but I’d trust a substance abuser’s resolve over hers. That’s why I am such a commitment-phobe; I find ways to sabotage relationships (I know this). I’ve made a pact with myself that I have to trust that I know I will leave like a thief in the night (or Katie Holmes) if things ever get too much before I commit and especially before marriage. Watching the codependent trap/quagmire my parents have ensnared themselves in just scares the beJesus outta me. And I know I have their codependency gene manifesting itself in other parts of my life. Freedom indeed.

      • http://www.shay-d-lady.com shay-d-lady

        This. My parents have been married for 20+ years and it is one of those love-less, soul-sucking unions. My father was physically abusive towards our mother and I still am resentful that she never left him even though we (her children) were the p-poor reason. Now that all of us our grown she still talks ad nauseum about once and for all leaving him but I’d trust a substance abuser’s resolve over hers. That’s why I am such a commitment-phobe; I find ways to sabotage relationships (I know this). I’ve made a pact with myself that I have to trust that I know I will leave like a thief in the night (or Katie Holmes) if things ever get too much before I commit and especially before marriage. Watching the codependent trap/quagmire my parents have ensnared themselves in just scares the beJesus outta me. And I know I have their codependency gene manifesting itself in other parts of my life. Freedom indeed.

        i have the exact same experience and its made all of my relationships infinitely harder as I have tried so hard at times to not be like my mother and father that ive sabotaged a many relationships. However I am happy to report that I am married and at this moment happy with myself, my husband and our relationship.

        • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

          Fortunately, my parents are happily married. But there was a ton of sacrifice to raise a slew of kids, kids’ demanding activities schedules, and of course, my parents had a crazy work schedule. My mom’s now retired and my dad will be within the next 5 years or so. But they are just now being a ‘couple’ and not ‘parents/workers.’

          There’s so much work involved in keeping a marriage and family together that you lose yourself in it. I don’t know if I could do it

      • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

        happiness is a choice ~*~

      • Rewind

        I’ve got something similiar. My parents were married for 26 years, but 10 of those years were spent watching them slowly break apart until that huge crack finally came. I unfortunately had to sit there, living with them, watching the marriage fail, the divorce go through, and the discord between the both of them grow ever stronger. I think that’s why it irks the hell out of me that I had told my girlfriend when we first started my feelings on marriage, and as she’s been beside me the whole divorce, she still can’t see where my confliction comes from.

        Maybe we as single people do stereotype marriage too much, but for myself, I HAVE NOT SEEN A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE. I can’t take what I saw as a child, because I realized as an adult, all those couples were putting on a show.

    • http://twitter.come/InAnimateAlpha Animate

      Funny that you say that you don’t want to lose your freedom. Marriage isn’t any more freedom less than any relationship is. You get a guy you hang out with your girls less, it happens 100% of the time. Marriage is no different. You just have a slightly heightened level of dedication.

      Using my marriage as an example, I jokingly tell people I married my drinking partner. 75% of the time if either of us goes out it is together. It’s not because we fell like we have to its because we want to. If you feel like you are losing something by getting married then don’t get married. You are too focused on you and being single, which is fine, but you aren’t even really open to the little nuances that come along with any relationship for that matter.

      • Rewind

        Not all of us will be successful in finding a partner that will fully embrace who we are as a person. Most of us are used to people who like parts of us temporarily, then try to chop that shyte apart and add artifical limbs to please them. So quite a number of us don’t get that outlook on marriage you are providing because we know nothing of the sort.

        • JustAThought

          “Not all of us will be successful in finding a partner that will fully embrace who we are as a person. Most of us are used to people who like parts of us temporarily, then try to chop that shyte apart and add artifical limbs to please them. So quite a number of us don’t get that outlook on marriage you are providing because we know nothing of the sort.”

          Sustained.

      • Kema

        ” I jokingly tell people I married my drinking partner. ”

        That is so sweet!!!

      • A Womans’ Eyes

        +1

    • LadyLark

      Ditto, I am your people.

      K. I’m a day late and 98cents short…

      Plus, Johnny Kwest: “I don’t think the state of being ‘equally yoked’ actually exists.”–I was sooo just saying this to someone. Even if you share staunch militant or religious beliefs, we can get so bogged down in ‘nuances,’ a quagmire of differing in the details.

      “what I’ve thankfully figured out is that for all the reasons we’ve chosen one another — what she brings to me, brings out of me and how she edifies me — are way more valuable than my compulsion to be ‘of one accord’ on stuff.” —Personally, I don’t know a whole lot of guys that ‘actually’ think/behave this way. I think I know too many ‘cavemen,’ ‘kinda-sorta-pimps.’ self-righteous wannabe slave masters (woosah, single person here) who talk that talk but want to change what a woman has to bring to the table for edification (the stuff that makes us individuals and feel kinda ‘free’). Plus (you said it) ‘what’ she brought to you (or how you felt about it) sent you to the car for two days. But I still admire married people, especially those in it for the long haul as it was intended

      ALLADAT plus 2cents, just to say Good post.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    I think success in marriage requires two people who have come to a point in their lives where they are both willing to deal with a bunch of BS from another person and rather than walking away, they just deal with it, forever.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

      You’re right, and I would like to add that whatever the BS is just happens to be of less importance than what they bring to the table for you. People just don’t deal with BS for the sake of it. One would think that they have something legitimately positive to bring to the table.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

        True, the good needs to outweigh the bad, in the long run. But in the interim there are going to be many times when it’s hard to see the good that your spouse is bringing to the relationship. Those are the times that require seeing the big picture and resolve to make it work.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

      theres going to be good and bad the key is to find enough goods, no different from a career, relocation, or any life changing decison

  • Kandi

    But her problem… is that throughout their relationship,… she hadn’t ascertained that he was the sort of ninja that could resort to the physical to resolve issues.

    Hmm in some cases women do begin to have an inkling that things may be awry but the thought of being single is frightening. In this case, Evelyn had to be aware of what she had to bring to the table. She was in her forties, with a high body count and an internationally known reputation; Chad was her retirement plan and a way to reach an elusive goal of marriage. Think of how validated she would have felt to have the wife role (amongst jumpoffs and baby mommas) that pride is a mofo

    • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

      Sad, but true. While no woman deserves domestic violence, putting yourself in a position that one needs to be married is a very dangerous road to take. Unfortunately, Evelyn Lozada ended up in a very bad situation.

      • bhillboy

        They both ended up in a bad situation. I’d venture to say Chad ended up way worse than Evelyn. I’ve never seen or heard of Chad even having a disagreement with another person but Evelyn….I’ve seen her bully and fight at least 5 different women, a number of times. This was all Chad’s fault. He knew she snapped of on people at a high rate and he messed with her anyway. His fault. He lost his career, reputation, money, and might lose his freedom over a woman that I’ve seen fight on television a half dozen times. Chad may have head butted her but he shouldn’t have been within 5 feet of her in the first place.

        • Iceprincess

          Yea, she set chad up for the okie-doke. Sold him a dream. I actually saw the episode of BBW wherw they were talking bout fidelity. Chad told her he loved only her & wanted to marry her, but he didnt think he coyld stay physically faithful cuz forever is a looong time. Ev said shes not stupid, she knows the deal, but condoms are a must. So they get married. Welp, the first time this b*tch finds a condom receipt, she freaks the f*ck out!! B*tch, you TOLD him it was ok!! If you didnt mean it, you shouldnt have said it. She wanted to show how “down” & “cool” she was cuz she was thirsty to get married. Soon as the ink was dry on the marriage certificate, she flipped the entire script! This is a professional groupie who spent her adult life sleeping with other peoples men, then couldnt handle it when someone slept with hers. Ev, you aint bout dat life! Bwahaahaahaaaaa.

          • Sweet GA Brown

            +1

          • AfroPetite

            +311

          • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

            +To Be continued…

        • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

          Looking at what I’ve seen of both of them, your point is right on. I’ve seen her jump across tables, throw bottles, act like she was really going to fight, etc. All I’ve seen of “Ocho Cinco” are smiles and white girls. She is a known instigator but I can’t imagine her just lying on him.

        • Aly

          “I’ve never seen or heard of Chad even having a disagreement with another person but Evelyn”

          Chad was arrested awhile back for slapping a former girlfriend.

          • bhillboy

            Not convicted and it was more than 15 years ago. I’d say it doesn’t really count in this case.

            • Aly

              Happened in 2000 and he most certainly was convicted. He plead no contest.

              http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2012/08/chad_johnson_could_face_up_to.php

              • bhillboy

                Oh it was 12 years ago and he plead no contest. That’s way different. I seen Evelyn jump on 5 chicks in 2 years and we’re talking about something Chad did over a decade ago. Interesting. I guess that incident in 2000 makes it all so much worse.

                • Aly

                  Listen sir… please stop trying to pick a fight with me with your abrasive ass lol. I’m not saying I think one person is more at fault than the other. I don’t know anything about Lozada, never even seen her show. I barely know anything about Chad Johnson. The only thing I was pointing out is that I’ve read that he does have a history of domestic assault, mmkay? That’s it.

                  • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

                    Woooooww. Never thought I’d see the day… even Sweet Sweet Aly is popping out the claws.

                    • Kema

                      *snickers*

                  • bhillboy

                    If you don’t know anything about Evelyn and never watched the show you shouldn’t even be commenting for real. I’m not trying to pick a fight with you but without watching that show, you are woefully uninformed about the whole situation.

                    • Aly

                      @bhillboy- Seriously?? I shouldn’t comment about an article that I read which directly relates to what you posted? That makes no sense…at all. I don’t have to have seen the show to know that what you wrote is wrong. He WAS arrested and he WAS convicted. You’re coming across as very defensive. Please stop trying to make this a man vs. woman thing. Again, I’m not defending him or her, simply stating what is fact. Does this make sense?

                    • bhillboy

                      Maybe you didn’t read my prior post in which I said Chad was at fault but you can’t be soo one sided as to not have any idea about Evelyn. We weren’t just talking about Chad but his relationship with Evelyn. You keep focusing on what Chad did but I’m saying you don’t know Evelyn or you haven’t seen her in action. Saying Chad is a bad guy because he plead no contest, which is an easy way out of going to trial not an admission of guilt., is short sighted to say the least.

                    • bhillboy

                      This is what I would call Extreme nitpicking. I was wrong that it wasn’t 15 years ago and he wasn’t convicted. but arguing just that fact is extremely nitpicky in context to the whole conversation we were having.

                  • bhillboy

                    That chick assaulted 5 women, a number of times WITH THE CAMERA FOCUSED ON HER. Ain’t no telling what she’d do in private. Aly- she’s committed 5 felony assaults on her show in 2 years. Chad had 2 incidents in 12 years. His fault but DAMN!

                    • LOL!

                      That was a seriously funny response to Aly. You dont have a point but you are entertaining.

  • mena

    He should write for this blog bi-weekly.

    Thanks for the insight.

  • The Other Jerome

    Not much to add except; Excellent post!

  • http://awordorthree.com Crystal Marie

    Insert rubbing of chin & pensive look here.

  • Ronniehoequotes

    “since my life is infinitely more meaningful because she’s in it.”

    Aww. I love hearing men gush about their wives. (Not that love in general isn’t awe-inspiring, but I think I’ve just grown immune to hearing it from women. :-/ I’m sure that has more to do with the fact that I’m a single female with mostly chick friends and only a handful of platonic (I think) guy friends than anything else though. In other words, I’m sure men do it just as often–just not around me.)

    The first part about women “absorbing” sounds more like wanting us to be mind readers though. Isn’t that the exact opposite of good communication/ articulated expectations? I get what you’re saying in theory: learn to take a hint. But the best way to get what you want to is to speak up. And I think women are “better” at that. Some people call that nagging though…

    Thanks for your insight. I enjoyed it. You did a good job of not sugar coating marriage as the promise land that married people sometimes try to paint it as…while not making it seem like hell on earth as other (unhappily) married people do.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/IluminatiNYC Todd

      I wouldn’t call it mind reading though. In my relationship, and in others, a man will straight out say his agenda or his issues, and women will flat out not listen if it’s not in their interest. I think women sometimes are so involved with the man-in-their-head that they ignore the guy right in front of them. A lot of relationship disappointment when it comes to women comes from when they finally reconcile the guy they married and the guy they thought they married.

      • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

        It’s basic male knee jerk victim blaming. She should’ve known better. He showed signs he might be an abusive sort of guy, so the minute he interrupts you or tells you your dress is too short, you should break up. Because if he hits you later it will be your fault, you shoulda known. Never mind that plenty of men are mild or moderate jerks who never hit women. Never mind you find men who soften up and become more unselfish and compassionate when they love someone. No. Ignore that. It’s foolishness to believe you will be one of many many women whose husband was merely a jerk sometimes. He’s gonna hit you. Get out now.

        • Rewind

          It really is hard for you to accept that in most situations, both parties are equally at fault, isn’t it?

          I don’t care what anyone says. In most relationship problems, both parties had a hand in the problem festering into whatever stance it currently takes. There are NO VICTIMS, there are just two perpetrators denying responsibility.

          • Come On People

            I think that is the issue with a lot of relationships that break up. Most times you see responses from both sides blaming the other about what they should have done. However, no one is expected to look introspectively. We all have to look internally to see how we can make things better.

            Also, women tend to not look at the signs. Lets keep it real. A guy can tell us 100 times that they don’t want to marry them, but will still believe that in a little more time things will change. Everyone wants what they want *shrug* but in any relationship that is not always possible.

    • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

      Even if it is asking ya’ll (women) to mind read, don’t act like y’all don’t try and do it anyway (when I say mind read, I mean use women’s intuition to find out what your man is thinking, not saying, or saying through body language and prior knowledge of his mannerisms and emotions). Just use your powers for good. Then (Lord willing) it could be one less issue on the heaping pile of Mars/Venus oversights.

      • Rewind

        Damn straight.

      • Brother Mouzone

        Can I get a A-MEN for the Messenger?

    • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

      P.S. In terms of speaking up (read: nagging <<<you inferred this, Ronnie), i just think it's all about tact, tone, and approach. If you know your words are going to fall on deaf ears if it sounds like nagging, try a different approach! I don't speak for all men, but I actually like being able to bring things to the table with my woman. In the end, if y'all gone spend "forever" together, you might as well do all you can to make comfortable for the both of you. That war of the roses sh!t is for the birds.

      • Rewind

        But even you realize, with some people, no form of communication works, because it won’t be about what you say, it will be when people are willing to listen to it. If there is a problem, and no matter how many different ways you try to communicate with another person about this person, the message just doesn’t seem to get through, then it’s quite clear this person either doesn’t care or is not ready to accept the message because they aren’t ready to interpret what it really means.

        I am currently at this stage in my relationship, and my girlfriend is now finally listening to me about issues I’ve brought up since we first started dating, and that’s almost 5 years ago. I think it has to do with mentally and emotionally where you stand in life, because you may truly be far beyond your partner in those aspects.

        • Ronniehoequotes

          “If there is a problem, and no matter how many different ways you try to communicate with another person about this person, the message just doesn’t seem to get through.”

          Exactly. See IMO this is what comes off as nagging sometimes. I kind of think no matter how sweetly you convey something, if you do it over and over and over again, it’s seen as a negative. But if the issue is still bothering you, what else can you do if you want to make it work? You either choose your battles and get over it; let the issue fester until it ends up in a larger-than-it-should-be argument; or keep bringing it up if you want that part of your relationship to change or improve.

          If it really is that your expectations are a step beyond what your partner can deliver at that time, then maybe it is about patience. But that’s scary. Because it could go either way. They may get it together eventually…or you could be waiting forever for a person to get some act right that never comes. *thumbs down*

      • Ronniehoequotes

        I do believe in women’s intuition. But I don’t think it means anyone is psychic or can read minds. It’s more your mind bridging the gap on a LESS conscious level. Kind of how your brain solves problems when you sleep, and you wake up with a ready made solution. So even though a person (man or woman) may not be able to explain why they have that “gut feeling,” I tend to think its hidden somewhere in reality. One facet of your brain just figured it out before the other part did.

        But mind reading to tell me what you like and how you like it? That makes less sense to me. I know ideally you’d just want your partner to automatically “get it” and meet all of your unspoken demands, but that’s more like soul mate/fairy tale type thinking. More important (and far more realistic) than your partner doing everything right the first time is his/her ability to listen and at least try to meet you half way.

        I can’t be mad if a guy never buys me flowers if I haven’t brought that up. If the issue (and the person) is important, why not give him/her a chance (and the resources) to give you what need?

        Plus, in a relationship you tend to want to make the other person happy. At least to the extent that it’s in your means/something you feel comfortable with. (If that desire to make the other person happy isn’t there, I don’t see the point of the union. Unless you’re just trying to get yours.) So if a man I actually cared about came to me saying, “Baby, I wish you’d cook more,” I just don’t see that request getting outright ignored. It would either: get met, end up with a compromise, or, worse case scenario, initiate a conversation on why that’s not possible. But you sitting around being passively aggressive and throwing around hints is not productive and both of you end up losing.

        And I agree with you on your other points. How you say something is definitely where most people drop the ball. And bringing things to the table makes life easier for everyone. But I just think if you don’t say something explicitly you can’t sulk and say “poor me” when it doesn’t get done.

  • Geneva Girl

    Why are you sleeping in the car? Y’all don’t have a sofa?

    I’m married and we often FIGHT, but I wouldn’t kick him out on onto the street. Sofa, yes. Move into the guest room, yes. Car? No way.

    That said, my guy snores so loudly that in hotel rooms with no where to escape to, I have considered sleeping in the car.

    • Reason

      “Why are you sleeping in the car? Y’all don’t have a sofa?”

      *dead*

    • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

      I’m guessing it was his choice.

  • http://Obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

    “Fisrt things first, I Poppa, freaks, all the honies…”
    -The Notorious B.I.G.

    Hello mr kwest,
    Your missive prompts the following reply.

    First lets examine the wide angle, cinemascope view: given the nature of this forum and the people toward whom it is geared, we simply must ask the following burning question: why has marriage so drastically declined in the black community in the years following our emancipation back in the mid-1960s, despite the fact that, aside from the aforemention freedoms, we negroes have more education, more money and a better quality of life, than our jim crow era forebears-and why has the quality of marital bliss so woefully degraded for those of us who have taken the plunge?

    Well, the answer is quite simple, my boy; we see what we do today in our time because, well, freedom happened. Before the voting rights/civil rights acts happened, black folk were more or less forced to tolerate each other if for no other reason than the simple fact that we had to; when it became possible that we no longer had to tolerate restraints on our freedoms-and to be sure, other interventions, like the pill/abortion on demand, and feminism et al played a mighty role-then we merely voted with our feet. Of course, as it so often does, with every action taken there comes consequences-which for black america, means that its ostensible best and brightest have chosen a kind of demographic suicide and ceded the job of bringing on the next generation to the shaniquas and pookies of the world over at world star hip hop-but thats another topic for another day.

    That was easy. Now lets get micro with it:

    One of the major reasons why marriage has dropped like a stone in black america is…

    …wait for it…

    Because black men too, have fallen for the egalitarian, post modern, post feminist okey doke. When it is possible to read how a black man in 2012 has spent the past few nights in his whip instead of his crib, oh how the mighty have fallen indeed. Such a sight is simply impossible to imagine, only a few decades ago; surely not in the houses neither my father, nor grand father built. In short my brothas, we have not only lost our way, weve lost our backbone-and scrotum-along with it. No woman wants a man she can roll over, because if she can, anyone can. Such is the price for an entire generation of our men for imbibing the purple drank of political correctness.

    Thankfully, i came of age at a time when men still handled theirs, without apology or explanation-i have never-ever-seen my forebears campout in their vehicles after a socalled fight with their women. In fact, i rarely saw that-their women knew the ledge, and they were able to walk it back.
    Of course in our time, we can be a weebit sympathetic to our sistas, seeing as how theyve been given the gloria steinem treatment, but at the end of the day the blame rightly falls squarely on our shoulders for not putting an end to that on day one:

    This is not a democracy; this is a benevolent dictatorship. You will not raise your voice in my house. I run things here; you just live here. My job is to run the three p’s; yours is to look good and not make life such a fuss. Guys are simple; dont screw this up.

    Now, to be sure, women, and especially black women, can and will test you to see if youre for real; thats when you gosta bring it: you aint goin’ anywhere, this is your house and you pay for what goes on in it, around it, under it and over top of it; if anyone is leaving itll be her; offer to help her pack. The only one allowed to roar in your house is you, which is highly unlikely unless unduly provoked.

    There is a reason as to why women speak of “boundaries” so often these days, and a big part of that is because men have forgotten how to demarcate and enforce them.

    I predict that, unfortunately, we’ll see more such “existenstialist dilemmas” being aired in public by certain of our black men in the near future, as the black community pulls further and further away from james and florida evans; and we all will be the worse for it.

    There is an answer of course.

    Its called Game.

    Now adjourn your arses…

    O.

    • dabigpodina

      You right about us men and husbands putting our foot down and acting like the stronger vessel. My wife knows she cant put me out and im not going anywhere unless I want to. She can have her say and all but I wont ever feel the need to run away. Im to strong for that. Ill go to another room but ill brush it off for the most part. Somebody # men has to be strong enough to brush stuff off. Stop acting like a lil byatch that gotta have the last word. Let her talk and shell let you do. Men and women tend to balance each other out. We just can run when things get uncomfortable. Things will balance out.
      And another thing is that everybody does not need to be married. Some people are great all by themselves and others like or need a partner. But I hate when I see single seemingly bitter women act like they better than the woman who prefers to have a partner. Purposely trying to make them feel lesser for putting up with whatever they put up with ‘just to keep her man’. I dont conduct or condone abuse because I dont know why I just dont, that’s not love, but there are men and women who express themselves that way and if their partner agrees, that’s their decision (remember that old couple on In Living Color LOL). But they “still together ” .
      Maaaan, maybe diva dudes are the problem.. with all this divorce. Me and my wife argue, but I dont get my feeling hurt and can admit when im wrong and im learning to listen, but its all worth it cuz I like having her as my partner I know she got my back so I got hers. Were not perfect, but I think were perfect for each other. I pray yall that want it can find that and be strong enough to ‘fight’ for it.

      • Justmetheguy

        Man between Obsidian and dabigpodina I gotta stand up and give an ovation. Marriage can work for me, but not an egalitarian one. As long as it’s understood that I have the final say I’d be willing to give it a try at some point (no time soon though). “Benevolent dictator” was a good label. I won’t relinquish my freedom AND my power. As a single man I have BOTH. No way I’m giving them both up. That’s not compromise, that’s servitude imo

      • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

        Many women I know still whole-heartedly believe that the man is the head of the household. Regardless of their social or economic position they believe that and they want that! But that “you just live here” sh*t is not the right mindset, LOL. A husband doesn’t make a home all by himself.

        • Justmetheguy

          “Many women I know still whole-heartedly believe that the man is the head of the household.”

          Agreed. And contrary to popular belief you don’t have to get a woman from outside the USA for this to be true.

          “But that “you just live here” sh*t is not the right mindset, LOL. A husband doesn’t make a home all by himself.”

          I agree. He went a lil too hard in the paint with that statement lol. It was funny, but I don’t co-sign that sentiment

    • http://www.blackyodaprime.blogspot.com black yoda

      “nathan but penetration”…lol. Well said!

    • bhillboy

      Like this commercial. I always thought this fool just signed his life away.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl86lqm-CaM

      • Justmetheguy

        Commercials like this piss me off man. I know it’s just a joke, but they subtly imply that if you get married you have to give up everything that matters to you and be your wife’s obedient b!tch. People who are lookin for conspiracies to blame for the decline in marriage in the black community can add modern day sit-coms and commercials to the (quite extensive) list smmfh

      • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

        @BHB:
        I can do one better:

        http://www.doublex.com/section/life/rise-kitchen-bitch

        Ugh…

        O.

    • Stephy

      @Obsidian I am a single woman who has never been married and doesn’t see myself wanting that in the future. I did not grow with married parents and have had little exposure to healthy marriages. I do have very healthy non romantic relationships that have stood the test of time (many upwards of 20 of my 28 years). None of them are “benevolent dictatorships.” None would survive that type of dynamic, I am sure of this. Why does this apply to romantic relationships but none other (well maybe parent/child to a degree)? Or do you think it does? I find it hard to wrap my mind around the idea of this one type of relationship needing to be approached in such a drastically different way than all of my other relationships in life.

      • Rewind

        If you think about it, it has been applied to many other relationships (parent/child-the parent is in charge, not the child, yet that has changed for many people these days; friendships-by contrast, you should be equal to your friends, however what people call friendships these days, for many people aren’t friendships at all, more like partnerships for convinence, etc). I don’t know if O said it best, but I do believe there was a bit of a hierarchy back in the day, and barely does that stand today. Does it need to? Not 100%, but I do beleive in some scenarios, some men really have given up their right for power to their women, and some women truly have lost context of what A PARTNERSHIP is in a relationship.

        • Stephy

          I mentioned the parent/relationship because I do see the parent as the “boss.” That is only until a certain age though and reason for it is nothing like anything we would encounter in other relationships. I agree a lot of people don’t understand friendships, sadly. I just don’t see how a “benevolent dictatorship” works with two adults. I feel a partnership (romantic or otherwise) is just that because each takes on the roles that suit them best. If a man is the better decision maker, then yes he should make (most) decisions. If he continuously shows bad judgment though, he should not be deferred to for that then, Y chromosome or not. I feel like that applies to all aspects of the relationship. The best cook should cook. The more academically inclined should be the homework helper, etc. That to me is a partnership.

          • Rewind

            I agree. Yet there are so many people who have not managed to find that balance yet. Then people assume this is how all relationships will and stop putting in a good effort.

  • Namia

    This is not a democracy; this is a benevolent dictatorship. You will not raise your voice in my house. I run things here; you just live here. My job is to run the three p’s; yours is to look good and not make life such a fuss. Guys are simple; dont screw this up…. ha ha ah where does this work?……….

    Women have choices now..most do not have to stay if your acting like their father.

    • Demondog06

      Thats part of the point….it doesn’t work anymore , another factor in the
      Rising demographic of dudes that ” was” or “never will be’s” married(s)

      • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

        + one million

    • SweetSass

      Exactly. For all it’s cracked up to be, droves of women willingly choose to leave marriages over this type of stuff. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t marry or stay married to a Neanderthal.

    • Justmetheguy

      “Women have choices now..most do not have to stay if your acting like their father.”

      I agree and they should if they don’t think the guy is worthy of having that type of relationship dynamic.

      I personally don’t like the inciteful way he made that point, but I agree with him that I don’t want an egalitarian marriage. If I don’t have a controlling interest I won’t invest. When it’s time to find a wife I’m gonna communicate this upfront to be fair. Freedom is the culprit of all this discord too. Probably the best point Obsidian made in that post actually…

      • Iceprincess

        Yep, i agree. Much to my chagrin, i gotta admit O really brought it this time. He should go back to dropping jewels like this, instead of rambling just to hear himself talk lmao.

        • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

          @Ms. Iceprincess:
          “Yep, i agree. Much to my chagrin, i gotta admit O really brought it this time.”

          O: For ye shall knoweth the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free…

          “He should go back to dropping jewels like this, instead of rambling just to hear himself talk lmao.”

          O: You’re fired.

          O.

      • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

        Wow……..wow. wow. Have you ever seen a functional marriage where the woman doesn’t have freedom? In this century, I mean.

        I can’t imagine an arrangement today where that would work. I used to have clients who brought in wives from other countries to get that. They gave them green cards and since they didn’t speak English, their employment options were limited. But even in those cases, the woman eventually learned that she didn’t have to put up with that.

        You would have to have woman who has choices, but willingly gives them up. Even when she knows better. Even when you’re heading the both of them off a cliff. She has to be willing to just sit and let it happen. Knowing she can do something. Sit on her hands. Shove herself in a box. For the sake of having harmony with a man who wants control. Knowing there are plenty of men out there who aren’t like that.

        I can’t see how it could possibly work long term. For a little while, sure. But at some point she’s gonna make some easy calculations and decide she doesn’t have to put up with it.

        Somebody tell me how this can work in 2012.

        • Kema

          I think it can work if she truly respects the man and is sure of his ability to lead.

          • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

            I’m with you on letting him lead with the things he’s good at. Even letting him have the appearance of control in front of people. But handing over the finances to a guy who will put the checking account in the red with spending every time? Real talk. You willing to let him bankrupt you, your retirement, your children’s future, just so he can be in control? Just so he can say he’s the man? And its never gonna occur to you over say, 5,10, 15 years that MAYBE you need to get a separate account and handle finances even if he doesn’t want that? That’s not letting him control. That’s why a dictatorship cant work.

            • Kema

              A man being a good leader to me would mean him knowing I am better at handling the finances and not letting his ego get in the way of that.

              I guess I think of it like a business. In business the CEO does not have to take full control of every single thing to be considered the leader of the company. But the CEO should be privy to the important stuff.

              • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

                Gotcha. I agree. I wonder if thas what the guys mean when they say power and control. If she’s better at money management. Do you hand over control of the accounts?

                • Rewind

                  That’s what I would want, if I preffered that kind of a relationship. But I’m more interested ina partnership, where we both take control at different times based on skill and knowledge. Whoever is better at a particular subject should have the best ability to handle it, of course it should be discussed and agreed upon, like any business deal.

                • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                  @Ms. Wild Cougar:
                  “Gotcha. I agree. I wonder if thas what the guys mean when they say power and control. If she’s better at money management. Do you hand over control of the accounts?”

                  O: Such things are easily delegated to whomever has the best talent in that particular area. A general (or admiral or commandant) needn’t sweat every area of an operation…indeed, having competent staff is key to the success of an operation. The same holds true for a union/LTR/marriage – which is why it is very, very important for a Man to select the Woman that shares his bed very carefully.

                  O.

      • SweetSass

        Dictatorships don’t work in real life, or relationships.

        And you can’t find a single woman these days you have that kind of power over. Women can do what they want. No matter what you have to say about it.

        If you found a woman you even want to marry… already there is her power over you. That you are attracted to her enough to commit to her. She can always walk away. Good luck with that total power thing. Lol.

        • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

          @Ms. Sweet Sass:
          “Dictatorships don’t work in real life, or relationships.”

          O: Chairman Mao. Joseph Stalin. Hosni Mubarak. Mommar Ghaddaffi. You really should get out more.

          And you should re-read, carefully, all that I actually said…

          “And you can’t find a single woman these days you have that kind of power over. Women can do what they want. No matter what you have to say about it.”

          O: Strawman. I never claimed that Women “couldn’t do what they want”. What I said was that no Woman can raise her voice in the house that I’ve built.

          Period.

          “If you found a woman you even want to marry… already there is her power over you. That you are attracted to her enough to commit to her. She can always walk away. Good luck with that total power thing. Lol.”

          O: In the words of the great philosopher Tony Stark:

          “That’s how America does it; that’s how Dad did it; and it’s worked pretty well so far…”

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAE5ymVLmZg

          O.

          • http://fourpageletter.wordpress.com keisha brown

            “Dictatorships don’t work in real life, or relationships.”

            O: Chairman Mao. Joseph Stalin. Hosni Mubarak. Mommar Ghaddaffi. You really should get out more.

            REALLY??? Didn’t Mommar get shot and killed in a hole somewhere by the people of his country???

            you need more people O. plenty of them.

            • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

              @Ms. Keisha Brown:
              “REALLY??? Didn’t Mommar get shot and killed in a hole somewhere by the people of his country???”

              O: Well, you gotta go sometime. But the point was, that he was in power for more than four decades. Question: how many couples do you know who’ve been together that long? I’ll wait.

              “you need more people O. plenty of them.”

              O: I forgot to mention Fidel Castro…

              O.

      • Ms. Bridget

        If I don’t have a controlling interest I won’t invest. When it’s time to find a wife I’m gonna communicate this upfront to be fair. Freedom is the culprit of all this discord too.”

        I can’t fully agree with this. The thing is women still have freedom. No man can force a woman to submit, it is freely given. Usually after she has determined that the man is worth submitting to.

        • Justmetheguy

          “The thing is women still have freedom. No man can force a woman to submit, it is freely given. Usually after she has determined that the man is worth submitting to.”

          Yeah, I agree. I wasn’t saying that I want my woman to have no freedom. I absolutely want her to have freedom. Freedom to say no to my sexual advances. Freedom to decide she’s not gonna cook that day, freedom to get up and leave my @ss and not come back etc; I’m saying that Obsidian was right about freedom being the culprit to people not sticking around trying to make sh!t work and the culprit of marriage being on the decline. Neither men nor women have to stick around and be miserable anymore. Also nobody has to get married if they don’t want to. THAT is freedom

          • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

            @JMTG:
            ” I’m saying that Obsidian was right about freedom being the culprit to people not sticking around trying to make sh!t work and the culprit of marriage being on the decline.”

            O: Boom. I wonder how many people (read: Sistas) actually caught that…

            O.

    • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

      PERSONALLY, I feel like roles are determined by the reasons one gets married. Historically marriage was a main option for women because it guaranteed protection, provision, and the desire to procreate. For men, it meant the evolution of a house into a home; the warmth, the meals, clean draws, and the carrying on of your name. It was a mutual trade-off. In the unlikely event of a divorce, the loss of these were substantial, and i’m assuming no one wanted to deal with those consequences.

      Times have changed. Women got rights and independence and sh!t. Male protection/provision is optional. Y’all can do it yourselves. Men got Foreman grills. We straight. So if one has the desire to get married, it seems a little irrational to rely on an old school train of thought IMO. It’s our responsibility to look at our individual needs and decide if we actually WANT to deal with someone on that “forever” level, or if they even fit into our lives. That includes putting up with their BS, be it male or female. It’s still a choice, though.

      But if we want the old school marriage, then we adhere to the old school rules. And one of those rules involves the wife’s submission to the husband, and the husband securing the survival of the family through leadership.

      But don’t expect to marry a leader and not disagree when that leader leads you in a direction you don’t agree on. That’s your leader.<<<Sounds alot like America

    • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

      @Ms. Namia:
      “Women have choices now..most do not have to stay if your acting like their father.”

      O: In the words of the late great Biggie Smalls:

      “I love it when you call me Big Poppa…”

      O.