The Business of Relationships

– By Jontae Grace

We have been trained to think that love is some emotional, mystical feeling devoid of logic and reason, something you “just feel”. Our media pushes it; society believes it and our relationships suffer for it. Truth is, there are concrete areas of love and companionship that, if developed and cultivated, can lead to satisfaction. I present to you the business model of relationships.

Among the stranger comparisons I’ll ever make, I want you to begin looking at your interactions as transactions. If nothing else, a relationship – even a platonic friendship – is a transfer of energy and resources. You absorb whatever wisdom, knowledge and energy your mate puts out, and they you. Both of you have qualities, goods and services that you trade among one another, and you are only as useful as the commodities you offer. Once they run out, you’ll be on your way out shortly thereafter. It isn’t the most conventional advice, but it does hold water.

In this line of thinking, do your best to deliver high-quality products. Of course you can’t be everything to everyone, but you can ensure that whatever strengths you do have are as highly developed as you can make them. I’ve always believed that self-improvement is the best way to attract your dream girl or guy. You can chase and pursue until you’re blue in the face, and you may even get a foot in the door. But if you don’t have what it takes INSIDE to keep that man or woman fulfilled, then you are wasting the spot that some worthier person could be occupying.

Once you realize that you only have a certain range of qualities, it will dawn on you that you will only attract a certain range of people. Stay in your lane; know where you excel and where you lack, and don’t try to be something you’re not in order to hold onto someone who needs a different product line for satisfaction. All you’re doing is delaying the inevitable return and refund.

If you ask the average woman what she wants in a man, she will probably give you a generic answer like “Intelligent, God-fearing, and employed.” That is so vague as to be laughable, but it’s a trick question to begin with. The question cannot be answered in one sentence, let alone one conversation. As complex as we are, our desires are even more muddled, and many of them are contradictory. For example, I like Oreos – Black Girls with suburban mentalities – but I also like hood girls too. They both appeal to totally different areas of my mind and libido, but I have had successful journeys with both types. It all depends on what particular combination of traits she carries within her size 10 frame.

Now we arrive at the more practical issue of money, careers and the like. Suffice to say, you cannot eat love; this is where movies lie to you with the “love is all you need” message. It is very important to our survival as a people that we have some sort financial power within our relationships. On the other hand, you should not sacrifice your happiness for stability and security. People live in these two extremes all the time and wonder why they’re still unfulfilled. Be careful not to get trapped by flashy advertising and product placement. Just because a person has a degree(s) doesn’t mean that they have good credit; just because he’s rolling around in a late-model spaceship doesn’t mean he lives under his own roof. The product placement is there, but do your research to make sure that a person is satisfaction-guaranteed.

To that end, find out where a person’s head is at, because that is the best way to find out where their life will be at. Hopefully I can say this in a way that makes sense: whatever is in your mind will manifest itself in your surroundings. I have a homeboy my age who legally out-earns me and all of my peers (several of them combined) and he is a high school graduate. The standard of living that he saw for himself has become his reality. He decided a long time ago that he was going to do what it took to make a comfortable life for himself and his daughter. A wise person would have seen that his taste in little things like clothing, automotives and housing said a mouthful about what he planned to accomplish in life.

This also extends toward your standard of loving. If your goal is to change hoes like you change clothes, you will attract exactly that: droves of women. If you’re a woman who likes several men in your mix – one for each of your needs – there will be no shortage of them, each one willing to provide. For the monogamists, you too will attract someone who is willing to forgo all other connections to be yours. Because you desire it, you are already shopping for it mentally. Your job is to make them never consider a refund or exchange once you get it.

Its simple commerce: if you need a hammer, don’t buy a plunger.

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