-By Jontae Grace
As humans, we are solitary creatures – that is, we are born with all of the tools and resources we need to live. Yet we are also social creatures who crave connection to a group, social circle or community. A romantic relationship straddles the two in several interesting ways, a delicate mix of the public and the private. It is intensely private because you unlock a secret side for your mate, granting them access to the most intimate details of your being. On the other hand, your mate links you to an entire network of homies, family members, exes and acquaintances that you had no prior connection to.
The boundary between the two becomes blurred during the course of a relationship, and many relationships can be undone from the inside by people allowing their friends to know and influence too much of their relationship. For this reason we must establish rules and regulations to keep our relationships (or our social allegiances) from being ruined by our social circles.
Everyone has homies, cousins, and close acquaintances with whom they confide in about anything from work to finances, spirituality to gossip. And when you become involved with a man or woman, naturally your friends want to know about them as well. At the beginning of a relationship, it isn’t immediately clear whether it’s going to last, so you tend to share information casually and freely: how they look, how they make you feel, how they sex, and more.
Once a mate begins to show signs of permanence, and the relationship officially begins, people continue to feed information to their friends and family – a big mistake. Instead of focusing on nurturing the budding connection with their significant other, many people remain more connected to their homies than their mate. In essence, you develop a love triangle between your homies, your lover, and your friends.
You must both begin to turn inward and develop your companionship. When your relationship reaches a certain level, it is wise to keep any and all discussion about your mate away from your peers. You must decide which is more important – keeping your friends satisfied with updates, or maintaining the integrity of your bond with your mate. At the end of the day when you turn out the light, the only person that matters is the person next to you that kisses you goodnight. Your homegirls aren’t gonna hold you at night; your relatives wont always be there to wipe your tears, and your acquaintances surely won’t appreciate you farting in the bed with them and flapping the covers. Only your significant other accepts all of that, and more.
Once two people have spent a significant amount of time together, they develop a bond which makes them comfortable showing negative attributes that they normally keep hidden from the outside world. They become more than lovers, their spirits bond in such a way that begin to show their entire selves, not just the positives. And one of the privileges that come with total exposure is vulnerability – your mate trusts you with information in the strictest of confidence, and when you share it with friends, you betray that trust.
When problems arise in the relationship, be very careful about which information you choose to disclose to your friends. If you can handle it in-house, do it. Your mate should be mature enough to be able to communicate with you, even during fights and arguments. But when you run to your friends about problems in your relationship, you change their perception of your mate. Your friends only know what you tell them; they have no understanding of the chemistry that your relationship is made of. From then on, their advice will be colored by the limited information they have about your s/o, and they are more likely to give you bad advice based on limited and outdated information. In the long run that could cause more problems than it solves.
Ladies, you have a power that you constantly underestimate. You hold your man’s self-esteem, his very confidence in your hands. Once he opens his heart to you, you become his best friend, and your words penetrate his very spirit. Be careful how you represent him to your social circle because he takes your words seriously, and he cares about how you feel and speak about him. If you are proud of him, disappointed, expecting more of him, tell him, not your girls. At some point, you are going to have to choose between your homes, your lover, and your friends. Which one are you living your life for?
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Where are your friends during moments like these?