Stop Picking Dates From The Clearance Rack
All good conversations start with a drink in hand, and this one was no different. I was sitting around with my friends at our NYE kickback reviewing 2018 and discussing our goals for 2019. When we got on the topic of relationships, one of my friends blurted out “I’m so done dating men from the clearance rack.” We all started laughing, but I wanted to hear more. She explained how talking to a therapist helped her realize that dating men who required an abundance of emotional labor with no return was not benefiting her. She was tired of her dating life feeling like a constant “fix him up” project. We all gave her a high five in unison because we agreed that putting all this emotional labor into one individual with little return was not beneficial.
To my surprise, my friend’s declaration was a common theme for 2018. While reading everyone’s year in review on Facebook, I noticed that every other status included a “ended a relationship” or a “this person just wasn’t right for me” tone. It was if everyone had a “Girl” by Destiny’s Child coming to Jesus meeting at the same time to discuss the reality of their relationships. Simply put, people were tired of putting their all into a relationship or individual and receiving very little return. Here you are accepting baggage, trying to heal old wounds, being their peace, and helping them grow while you continue to give from an empty cup. Some of them even have the nerve to pitch a fit when you ask them to make a dinner reservation. I understand that no one is perfect and everyone has flaws but in recent years, black women have made an effort to seek therapy to work on their mental and emotional health. It’s unfair if you’re doing all the work and your partner refuses to do the same.
I think back to when I ended my relationship in 2017 for these very same reasons and how people called me crazy. I heard it all from “he wasn’t cheating on you” and “you need to stick it out, he’s a good person.” It wasn’t about cheating or just being with someone for the sake of being with someone. It was realizing that I couldn’t be who this person needed at the time because I was struggling at the time. Trying to help a partner sort through their emotional traumas while trying to manage your own is the most daunting thing you could ever put yourself through, and it doesn’t do either of you any good. I had to look at my relationship from another angle, and I ended up choosing myself.
Now that I’m on the other side of that breakup and seeing my friends take a similar path in their personal relationships, my friend’s comment makes perfect sense. No more dating projects. No more taking on emotional labor and trying to “fix” someone that isn’t willing to do the work equally. You don’ t have to be perfect, but I can’t help build you up and lose myself in the process. Both parties have to be willing to put forth the time and effort to help the relationship grow. If that’s not happening, don’t be afraid to walk away and chose yourself. It will be the best decision you ever make.