11 Aug Preparing Her 4 Relationships
My oldest daughter had her first crush at the age of twelve. This year she will be turning fourteen and going into high school. I dated a few girls before high school without knowing or understanding what a relationship was. I didn’t even initiate my first relationship. It was “hey Carlos, so and so really thinks you’re cute and wants you to be her boyfriend.” I would only consider them if I found them attractive, and if my friends validated how attractive they were. In short, if they didn’t want her, I didn’t either. Of course, I wanted her to be kind, and I wanted a connection as well, but I didn’t know any better or why any of that mattered.
I never learned how to be in a relationship, and there weren’t any good examples of relationships around. My parents were busy with their own lives. Most of the questions that I had about relationships were answered in the media. I saw how rappers and R&B singers treated women in their videos. They always had the most beautiful women. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that not everything that glitters glows. Everything has a cost, and sometimes it’s paid upfront and other times, it’s paid down the road.
I believe music is how my mother dealt with some of her heartbreak, and as I got older, it became something that I used to assist with mine. I guess that is what we do when we are lost in self-reflection; we go back to what we know. Now here I am, about to have my daughter go into her first year of high school, and all I want to do is prepare her for all the boys that don’t know better, much like how I didn’t know better. I also want to prepare her for the boys that do know a little but not enough, and helping her understand expectations the way I learned them. I would just prefer for her not to have to learn it the way I did.
In my experience, people don’t have clear expectations of what they want in a relationship. They know that they feel empty and are trying to fill that emptiness. There isn’t enough validation at work to fill that void. Their relationship with God needs work, and they are afraid to establish it because they don’t fully believe. There is doubt in God, and as a result, instead of trying to get closer to God, they move further away. I don’t know about any of the people reading this, but I have been back and forth with God. I replaced the comfort of God with women, and as I got older, I added more things to fill the void of prosperity; when I should have been looking for God.
As I looked deeper into myself, I realized that the deeper issue was validation from others and not feeling enough. I didn’t want my daughter to have these insecurities going into high school, but I wasn’t sure if she had them. My parents didn’t know I had them. I didn’t feel psychologically prepared for high school, and no teenager should have to worry about that, but the reality is there are a lot of broken people hiding behind smiles and hugs. Hurt people, hurt people, and there is little compassion because of ignorance. We cannot be compassionate about anything because everyone is going through something, but no one knows what the other person is going through. All we see is how they are reacting to what they are going through.
People don’t take the time to see the signs. It’s the same way people don’t take the time to listen and analyze the lyrics in music. They just hear an excellent beat, with a catchy hook and forget the message of the actual song. I think that is why musicians are becoming more frustrated. Musicians have to entertain when they are developing the most as a person and as an artist and their ability to balance this determines their survival successfully. You could hear the pain in the music. At times the music feels like a cry for help; sometimes, it is a defence mechanism where they excessively flaunt what they have to make up for what they are missing. Rappers will talk about cars, jewelry, money, and women to receive validation from their audience. In those same lyrics, they will also talk about their drug abuse to balance their mental health. On Lil Uzi Vert’s Uppin and Downers, the chorus reads, “I take Addy just to keep me up; I take Xanny just to bring me down I take Molly just to keep me up Took a 30 just to bring me down”. I’m grateful that my daughter isn’t in a place where she needs to take drugs to regulate her emotions.
I try to give my daughter space to teach me about herself and how she judges people. I pay attention to her social media posts to see what her interests are or what she finds entertaining. She cancels people when they say or do something that goes against what she believes in. I’m proud of the standards she has, but I don’t know if that is enough when dating boys. In the past, I adjusted my rules for women I was attracted too, but I didn’t want her changing hers because I feared that my daughter would lose herself.
I never thought about why I wanted to be with girls. I was about thirteen when I learned about sex. Surprisingly, it happened at a sleepover at a friend’s house. When we thought my friend’s mother was sleeping, he showed me an adult film on his computer. It was only a few minutes of the movie that we got to watch before his mother surprised us by checking in. She never caught us. It would have probably been better for her to catch us because at least she could have answered some of the questions we had.
I didn’t feel prepared for sex after watching that video, but sex didn’t look difficult. At least that is what I thought as a teenager. It seemed like all of my friends were having sex before me when I entered high school. Some of them were just doing it with any and everyone, but I guess the Christian boy in me wanted it to be with someone special. I lost my virginity at the age of sixteen. I might have waited eighteen months before having sex with that girl. It would have probably been nice to have the sex talk with my mom before I lost my virginity, but I didn’t talk with mom about sex until after I had already had multiple partners.
One of my high school partners was a bit older and more experienced. She introduced me to unprotected sex. I was so nervous, but I did it anyway. I didn’t want that for my daughter. I made sure that once my daughter was attracted to boys, we would openly talk about sex. Now I find myself talking to her more about relationships and intimacy.
As a father, I feel it’s essential to guide your children to be the person you want them to be when they get older. I didn’t know what a relationship was like when I was younger, and if I’m honest, I only recently discovered what a relationship is supposed to be like. For me to learn what a relationship is supposed to be like, I had to learn what it was not supposed to be like. With every new relationship, I became a better partner, and I chose better partners. My standards went up to avoid some of the insecurities I felt. Before my rules went up, I to go through the heartbreak of being cheated on by the girl I lost my virginity too. As a result, I didn’t go to prom or my graduation. I couldn’t face all of my peers. In their eyes, I was the man that slayed the baddest. Or at least that is what I felt their perception of me was because of all the attention I got from women. Imagine how that made her feel? I never thought about it during the time I was with her.
I knew there were rumours of me cheating on her. I did what I could do at sixteen to make her feel more secure. I learned then that women at any age need security; otherwise, they become less invested. How would I prepare my daughter for how someone could make her feel, but based on their actions? Maybe I would start by telling her that you can never control people’s actions; you can only control the way you react to their actions. If someone does something to hurt you, you can leave and find better, or try to figure out how it happened in the first place. If you find out how it happened in the first place, then you can stop the cycle from repeating by seeing the signs. I know it’s their actions, but sometimes we are motivated by other people’s actions or the lack of action they choose. What was your part in your partner’s betrayal?
We never look at how we contribute to a failed relationship. All we do is point fingers. We vent to our friends and family to confirm everything that we already know, but our family and friends aren’t as forgiving. Let’s face it the people we date are not allowed to make mistakes for our family to find out. We are the only ones attached to the person we are dating. It’s easier for us to forgive and be empathic because we know them a bit better. Often when there is an argument, we don’t even really tell the full story. By full, I mean from both sides and both perspectives. But to understand their perspective, you also have to understand their triggers. We often don’t know the whole story, but we could probably learn more about the entire story and triggers to appreciate our partners truly. I’ve learned you don’t want anything before it’s time. Having things before it’s time takes away the preparation.
Sadly, we rush into things that we aren’t ready for. Communication isn’t clear, and actions aren’t as loud when you don’t know what to expect. When we’re kids, all we want to do is mature and experience all of the cools things that adults do. We never really see the responsibilities of bills and keeping up with expectations. As we get older, we worry about the time. We never seem to have enough time for anything. We equate our time with our status in society and compare our achievements with our peers. This is dangerous because we all have a different purpose. Paying too much attention to other people’s lives can distract you from finding your purpose.
Your friends and people you get into relationships with should aid you in reaching and fulfilling your purpose. Everyone has a different journey and a different purpose. The journey we are on will determine the lessons we will learn. Some people are sent to us by God to help us develop for a future blessing. That blessing doesn’t come without doing the work to earn that blessing. Doing the work in relationships isn’t easy, and it isn’t fun. It mostly requires sacrifice and trying to understand someone who is struggling to communicate. Everyone is going to have good and bad seasons. It’s all about how you manage it.
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