Love in Ruins

Nothing brings more inspiration to this blog than Thursday nights. I can always count on ABC's "Scandal" to muddy the waters of love.  Last night Fitz told Olivia, "You ruined me" to which she responded, "I'm ruined."  He then said, "I don't care."  Does that sound like two people in love? It has now been a year since Liv and Fitz ended their relationship and they are both still "ruined".  As I watched with a lump in my throat, I asked myself, "Have I ever been ruined by love?"

So let's examine this.  Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy or boast and it is not proud. It does not dishonor others and it is not self-seeking. It keeps no record of wrongs.  As I quickly reflect on the definition of love, I do not see anything that could potentially harm me, let alone leave me in ruins.

Now, I have certainly had some relationships that took a pretty big toll on me.  But I cannot blame that on love. Love is not to blame for the brokenness I felt when I failed to change a man into what I thought he could potentially be.  In fact, based upon the definition of love i.e., patient and kind, one could argue that I was either 1) too impatient to wait for change or 2) not kind enough to accept him as he was.  Either way, I clearly did not love him. I loved the potential him that I was trying to create. Ladies, you know we are quick to fall in love with a guy's "potential".  Can I get an amen?

With regard to Fitz and Olivia - love does not dishonor others.  Uh-oh!  As much as Mellie gets on my nerves, the relationship between Fitz and Liv is one big slap in her face. God is the creator of love and He is not the author of confusion.  So, when you do love someone it will not be at a time that either one of you is in a position to behave in a dishonorable way.  Love is not self-seeking so if you see something (someone) you want that belongs to someone else do not go after it - until it is available for you. How confusing would life be if God kept hooking up "soul mates" who were hooked to other people? We would be one big ol' chain of foolery.  No! When love (God) comes into your life, it develops in peace and rejoices in truth. You cannot rejoice in truth as secret lovers.  

"But Kamryn, I know I love him and he loves me. Our timing is off but I know he is my soul mate."

Listen, I feel you and I feel for you.  You are correct, YOUR timing is off, but God's timing is never off and God is what? LOVE.  If you truly believe that this is love based upon the definition of what love is - then be patient.  Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.   Do not adulterate (no pun intended) your love by making it dishonorable.  Trust in love to bring you back to each other if it is real.  Love never fails!   God uses the foolish things to shame the wise and I am not even going to try to figure it out.  I learned enough through David and Bathsheba to know that God has a way of doing things with love that we do not understand. So I will never pass judgement.

HOWEVER, I will provide you will compelling truth.  Love does not leave you in ruins.  If you are in a relationship and you feel ruined, harmed, hurt or ashamed,  it is not love.  Relationships have challenges- financial, physical, emotional and otherwise. But during those times, you should not feel ruined by the love in the relationship, you may feel hurt by the circumstance but love fills you with hope.  Love is facing a stack of bills together, holding my hair while I throw up, and allowing me to comfort you when you are hurting.  Love is not a feeling. Love is a state of being. Love perseveres. It is never left in ruins.

Not so Secret Lovers

Last week I watched "Our America" with Lisa Ling as she examined this freely loving relationship called polyamory.  I began to do a little research on the topic to see if I clearly understood. Apparently, I am a bit late to the game on this because the New York Times had an article on polyamory back in 2008 and apparently this way of life sprouted out of the 1960s free love movement. So nothing new.

In simple terms polyamory is having multiple relationships without lying about or hiding it from any of the parties involved - a novel approach. Initially, I was vexed because this simply sounded like "dating" and being honest about it. Big deal! But polyamorous people say it's not just dating. These are real intimate relationships with strong bonds. Okay...  So it's SERIOUS dating and being honest about it. Big Deal!

Honesty is the foundation of a relationship.  It's a shame that a group of "polyamorous" folks have to model how to be honest in a relationship.  Granted they got a lot of other stuff going on that I don't necessarily wish to explore- I don't want to live in the same house with two boyfriends. What woman on earth would sign up for two loud TVs with missing remote controls, two toilet seats that are never down and double the laundry and cooking.  Nope!  I'll just migrate back and forth between homes. Thank you very much.  However, this concept of honesty and transparency in a relationship is sadly refreshing.

Isn't love supposed to be honest?  If you are dating someone why would you not share that you date other people.  I mean besides being selfish, sneaky, greedy, and manipulative.  What is the reason that two consenting adults cannot sit down and say "I like you and I like him too."

I'll tell you why... E.F.G.

The first big problem is EGO! As I watched those polyamorous men and women all I could think was that they must have personalities like damp washcloths. Most of us are too feisty and self-centric to share a mate. Okay fine.  I am too feisty and self-centric to share a mate.  I'll share my money, my time, and even jewelry on occasion . But I draw the line at a man.  I want a love that is mine and mine alone. I'll give you what you want and need as long as I know you can't see anything past my left ear. Once I feel like you are peeing on another tree- I stop giving you what you want and slowly ween you off of what you need.  This, in turn, sends you on your merry way fully into the arms of the next girl and I move on to the next guy. One at a time, no pushing or shoving.

The second big problem is FEAR.  Ironically, it's often fear that makes us want to date other people in the first place.  We require a safety net in case the current relationship doesn't work out for us. However, we don't want to be honest about our desire to date other people because then our mate may decide that he/she wants to date other people too. Who wants that? That doesn't work because of problem #1.  Geesh!

The third "problem" per se is GOODNESS. Everybody wants to be the good guy or good girl.  No one wants to be the reason why the relationship failed. So you have to be strategic about how you date other people in a way to "keep from hurting anyone" - which is a bunch of malarkey (Joe Biden circa 2012).  You may convince yourself that you hide your other lovers because you are good but you really hide them because of #2.

I don't really see the majority of people overcoming these issues completely. The dating game has been "the game"centuries.  I also don't think that all-out, full-blow polyamory is the answer with everybody in the house together, laying around with each other, and watching TV holding hands with someone on either side of you.  But isn't there something in between Love Lies and Amorous Anarchy?

What if we were honest about what was lacking in our relationships?  Instead of going out to find a secret replacement for what we desire, let's openly and honestly talk to our mates about what we need, want, or simply wish to explore in a relationship. Our mates could then honestly communicate what they are lacking in the relationship?  Oh, you think they are just so happy-go-lucky in love with you. No!  Relationships are a lot of give and take. Even when all is given and taken, there will still be a void.

Nobody gets 100% of what they need from a relationship. Our relationships are not designed for us to be completely satisfied by another person. That's why we have God in us.  God fills us with love, peace, joy, and satisfaction. So before you go out and try to find another lover, maybe you should try looking inward for love. Explore polyamory. I did.  I am in a polyamorous relationship with God at the center.

C'mon y'all saw that coming?  Peace and That Good Love.

Is Your Picker Broken?

A few months ago, Halle Berry told New York Times Style Magazine "My picker is broken".  There are lots of girls (and a few guys) that have broken pickers. Does your picker need to be refurbished?

Today during lunch my girlfriend joked about former days and my superb ability to love and take care of a man.  None of which I will deny.  I was a girl who loved love and I loved to take care of a man.  So, I cooked gourmet and brought his meal on a tray, soaked his feet, managed his finances, caught his free throws, bought gifts for his mama, typed his reports, scheduled the doctor, organized his office, kept him up in the studio,  did his laundry and yes...never said "no" to sex.  The collective "he" in my past reaped the benefits of my love affair with love.  When I love, I love hard, fast and "me love you long time."

My girlfriend made an astute observation - one that several people over the last year have brought to my attention so I guess it was time to write it:

None of my serious ex-boyfriends are married today. Please don't reference grammar school and high school. That doesn't count.  I mean those few but very important men who shared a significant portion of my life - none of them are married. Maybe they have a baby mama or two but no wives.   My girlfriend's take on this was that I am "the bomb" and after me those men never found anyone to love and care for them like I did.  I almost peed my pants laughing.

If only I were so vain to think that no woman ever measured up to me.  My response to her was "Girl, my picker was broken".  My intuitive attraction was to men who were guarded and unavailable to me emotionally.  I apparently liked the challenge of men who had other loves like music, sports, business, money, time, lots of women, or simply themselves.  Being a family man wasn't something they wanted or were equipped to do at the  moment - or now I guess.

Ladies, we have to stop blaming men for our broken pickers.  He's not hiding who he is from you. You just aren't processing it correctly because your picker is broken. How did I fix my picker?  The short answer is - I didn't. BUT when you know you have a broken picker you can ignore the signal until you can patch it up.  I stopped using my picker to chose men and I started using my intelligence, my values, and my desire for a healthy, drama-free, relatively pain-free life. I made myself open to men who I might not otherwise choose with a broken picker. And guess what? It worked. I picked right.

I want you to test your picker to see if it's broken.  Go to the man you are dating and waiting on to decide if he wants to be with you for real.  If you have been with him longer than 6 months ask him, "Do you think we could get married?"   If he says "I don't know"or "Maybe" and he appears uncomfortable- your picker is broken.

Men- don't start barking at me. You KNOW, that I KNOW, that YOU KNOW relatively quickly if a woman is someone you CAN marry.  Nobody said you have to propose today.

Need to test your picker again? Fine.  If it's been 6 months, ask him if he believes that your relationship has a spiritual connection, like you were meant to be together.  If he gets annoyed or comes up with some bumbling answer- your picker is broken. Still don't want to believe your picker is broken?  We women are creatures of hope so I know it will be hard.  Simply ask him this "Do you really want to be with me?"  If he responds with any type of questions like "Why are you asking me that?" or  "What do you think?" Child, your picker is broken.

A broken picker doesn't mean you need to break up. If you want to rock with a man chosen with a broken picker that's your decision. But you need to set the proper expectations. Expect some pain, heartache and frustration.  You may want some of that in your life to keep it interesting.  Who am I to judge? I'm just a girl with a patched up picker.

Part II: When To Break Up - NOW!

Over the past few months, I've had a lot of conversations about ending relationships.  I'm not surprised since "relationship season" is over. In Part I of this little series we explored how to break up. Now we will talk about when to break up.  If you don't have time to read, the short answer is NOW!

The Relationship Year
The book of Ecclesiastes says "there is a time for everything and a season for every activity..."  We all associate Spring with the season of love.  New relationships crop up in the spring time for many reasons.  People are outside again. Women wear open-toed shoes. Men get big tax refunds to make good first impressions.  Most importantly, Spring follows the end of "break-up season".

Have you ever noticed the relationship year?  Spring time you meet new people. Summer time you have loads of fun with those new people and start to narrow down your options. Fall is the "election" period and you are in a rush to get a boo and nestle down for the Winter months.  Around the end of October you realize you may have chosen wrong so you're in a mad rush to break up before Thanksgiving. Why?  Nobody wants to break up between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. It's impossible to win that one. You either end up looking cheap because you don't want to buy a gift for the holidays or feeling cheated because you didn't get a gift for the holidays.  It's the equivalent of breaking up with someone right before their birthday. You don't do it.

Break Up Season
Many of us live happily through the relationship year multiple times. But when (and if) that dreaded time comes to end the relationship you are now in the cycle mentioned above.  So, if you are in a relationship that is no longer meeting your needs and you want to get out - get out now!  If you are not married  then you're willingly and unnecessarily prolonging a relationship that is going nowhere. Spring is coming and it is high season for those shopping in the new market.  If you wait until summer, you may still score but there will be more competition as everyone has already built their rosters for fall.

My advice is to get it over with now - before wedding season begins.  You are going to need a date for all of these Spring/Summer weddings and if you don't break off your relationship you're going to be stuck taking your current friend with you. Thereby making it harder to break up after witnessing a wonderful celebration of love. You better hurry. Break up season is almost over. Those skilled break-up artists managed to somehow end it around the third week of January - far enough from New Year's and not that close to Valentine's Day.

But Seriously Folks...

The time to break-up is always NOW. Don't fear change.  Besides, it is not fair to the other person. You are a hindrance to their ability to find lasting love. You are blocking your own opportunity to find someone that you can love and build a life with that person.  Muster up the courage. Trust God to shape your life and move forward.  With a pure heart, wish your current mate the very best and walk away gracefully.  In a few weeks there will be droves of women in short skirts wearing platform sandals and men wearing designer sunglasses driving new cars waiting for you.  Tell 'em Kamryn sent you.