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I’ll be frank break ups are never easy but there are always warning signs.
So today after taking a couple of months to reflect here are some high level reflections I have of my most recent experience.
**I changed his name**
In my 2.5 year relationship with Brian we never moved on from the check-in to see what each other was up to and if we ‘agreed’ with the path. For example, I am and always will be interested in increased representation of Black women in my field, chances to travel to talk about what I do, and spending time with ‘my’ family. But in my relationship Brian considered those things as secondary to what I was ‘supposed’ to do like school work, self grooming, and making plans to continue our lives together after school. In a rare occurrence we would talk about things like religion or social experiments but near the end of our relationship those conversations got more and more toxic.
What would have been ideal is that our dreams and passions were seen as equally complimentary to our personalities and what we liked in each other until a personal decision was made to change. And I mean liked as if these traits and hobbies were synonymous with our identity, not just admired like something in passing but will eventually change…
There are so many things for me to talk about here that I refused to take account of. The first alarm should have been when Brian said I opened his eyes to how someone from my background could have a good story and be seen in a positive light. I will internalize my own scream here. Then he made a statement much later that Black people are the most violent people based on the FBI arrest records for the country and how there were more arrests for violent crimes of Black people than White people. And finally, after a certain point, he refused to talk with me about race because I ‘needed’ to learn how to temper my conversation and basically stop talking about race.
To brake this down a bit, we disagreed on how the conversation of race relations should be treated. Brain refused to talk about the differences in our ideas about race which is pretty much a requirement in ALL interracial relationships. You may have heard the adage to beware of someone who has not been in a serious relationship. Well beware of someone who has not been in an interracial relationship before if that is what you mean to start. Better still, beware of the person who says they do not have any friends in an interracial relationship. (smh) It doesn’t mean I will have to swear off dating people like that completely, but when the time comes and if they fail the test, like Brian did (repeatedly) my message will be to LET IT GO!
Calling a woman a c*** is NEVER appropriate. Now Brian did not personally call me this but he did call a woman that who cut him off on the freeway and some other woman in an impersonal situation like that. He would also have other outbursts of anger which slowly but *eventually* came my way in the end. Do realize that if anyone has emotional and verbally violent outbursts, they give themselves permission to do this to another person. If a life is not in danger, no one is being forced to believe something or another serious extreme is not present, it is within their will, or a habit, or a chronic illness that allows that anger to be present. And then after being on the receiving OR giving end you need to make a smart decision about how to proceed. My mom shared with me that, “you teach others how to treat you.” And I wish the first time Brian cussed me out I had been stronger in my response even to the point of saying that behavior would not be tolerated again. Then it might not have happened a second or third time.
I was not on the extreme end of an abusive or otherwise harmful relationship, I am lucky it stopped when it did. This is just the high high high level of what went wrong but I plan to make a follow up article once I can compare this relationship to one that is a little more healthy. Stay tuned for a later date.