A Gentleman's Guide

JULY | 2018

JULY | 2018 | LOVE & RELATIONSHIPS

Interdependently, Yours

Summer is here and while the first round drafts of cuffing season aren’t scheduled until mid-October, some of us are walking around here humming Ella Mai’s Boo’d Up ad nauseam. With the release of our independence issue, we wanted to spend a little time reminding those of you whose hearts are going Biddy-da-dum. Those of you who’ve been following us for a while know that we’re good for conducting a Facebook poll and true to form, we’re using the responses we received from our Beaux to fuel this month’s Love & Relationships. Any of us who are of a particular age have seen our fair share of relationships and, if we’ve been lucky, we’ve learned the importance of remaining independent while in those relationships.

Independence is freedom from control or influence. The single Beaux, for example, might demonstrate his independence in a way that allows him to cat around town because he doesn’t have any attachments or commitments to anyone other than himself. Codependency exists when one factor cannot function without the other. We can find an example of this in the codependent relationships of plants and animals in the wild. Here we find that plants provide animals with oxygen and food while animals provide plants with nutrients, pollination and in some cases, protection. Removing either from the equation would lead to the end of the other.

This is why codependent relationships are not the move. What we need is interdependence. Interdependent relationships are those where both partners have the ability to function independently when needed, but like the planeteers who combine their powers to form Captain Planet, they willingly join forces to achieve things that benefit them individually and as a couple.

Interdependency is the goal because it means that you and your Beaux are as good together as you are apart. Think of it as Beyonce and Jay-Z's Everything Is Love. The Carters have blended their musical talents but we all know that they’re just as effective together as they are apart. Before you proclaim how you’ll never get over him until you find something new, take a close look at the suggestions some of your fellow Beauxs provided on how to remain independently yours.

“Do things by yourself.”

One of the first suggestions we received was to do things separately from your partner. Yes, we see your Instagram posts and we know beyond any shadow of any doubt that the two of you are a couple but what’s the last thing you did without him? When is the last time you spent some time with yourself?

This is especially important when we’re in it for the long haul, because who wants to spend a lifetime interacting with the same person? That’s not healthy. While we may find ourselves excitedly involved, we cannot forget to dedicate some time to ourselves.

Absence not only makes the heart grow fonder but it helps you to avoid becoming overly reliant on your Beaux as well. Engaging in activities away from your Beaux keeps you self-sufficient and prevents your Beaux from being stifled. Time apart from your Beaux gives you a chance to go out and experience things which will, in turn, give you something new to talk to your Beaux about.  And if none of this makes sense, liken your relationship to a room whose windows haven’t beenopened in a year. What does that room smell like? Keep your relationship spring fresh by venturing out by your damn self.

“Don’t move in together too fast!”

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By now we all know that the chicken crossed the road to get to the other side, but the question some of us still struggle with is why some Beauxs choose to cohabitate so quickly. The rush to move in too quickly can have some pretty devastating results. Sure it gives us easy access to sex, someone to come home to and in the best cases cohabitation helps to bolster our wardrobe, but is it really something we’re ready for? There’s no set answer for the question of how soon is too soon, but rest assured that if you’re asking whether or not it's too soon-it's too soon.

Moving in before you’re certain that your Beaux meets your standards regarding hygiene, finances, cleanliness, and before you know whether or not he has the same plans for the future of the relationship as you do, can be a disaster! Don’t do it!

If you and your Beaux haven’t talked about whether or not marriage is in your future, don’t do it! If the two of you haven’t determined the manner in which bills will be paid and by whom, don’t do it! If either of you feel a way about having both of your names on the lease, don’t do it!  All too often people are in such a rush for live-in booty that their Beaux becomes nothing more than a roommate.

DON’T DO IT!

“ Avoid the silent Y”

Your friends are your friends and his friends are his. Sure you’ll be included in his circles just as much as he’ll be included in yours but you must never purposefully infiltrate his circle! They are your friends, not ours.

In the worst of situations, his friends will be the ones who sit idly by while he cheats on you. His friends are the ones that know where the bodies are buried because they helped him to bury them. Trust and believe that every time you get on his nerves, he’s telling his friends about it, and while they may act like they don’t know what’s going on-they do. And don’t you dare get in your feelings about any of this because you do it too.

Do you want your Beaux to get along with your friends? Of course! But what you don’t want is a situation where he’s so close to them that he’s still around in the event of a breakup. This is real life, people. It happens. We are the sum total of our friends and there’s nothing wrong with wanting them to like your Beaux, because the alternative is that they don’t like you which means the relationship isn’t going to go anywhere fast.  Avoid this by keeping your friends as separate as church and state and by limiting the amount of time he spends with your friends and vice versa.

“Do you, boo.”

We’ve already touched on the importance of taking some time to yourself for yourself. What’s equally important is to remember and hold on to who you were before you became one of two. Sometimes people accidentally slip out of character when they become involved which results in them focusing more on the things that are important to their partners and less on the things that are important to them.

Avoid losing yourself in your relationship by continuing to spend time with your friends. Sure you may have to concede a weekend or two for your Beaux, but don’t neglect your friends because you know that they’re going to let you have it in the event that the relationship doesn’t work out. You can also avoid getting caught up in the matrix of your relationship by continuing to engage in or finding new hobbies that are just for you. It might help if your Beaux isn’t super interested in your hobby as his disinterest will serve as a natural barrier of sorts that’ll allow you to engage in it alone.

You don’t have to experience everything with your Beaux, and it might be a good idea to occasionally disconnect from him. You don’t want to be the guy who came to the club with his friends that are constantly texting Boo. Boo can wait- “Nice For What” just came on and we gotta let these heauxs know. Stop playing.

Being independent in our relationships is important because doing so keeps us true to our authentic selves. It’s easy to get caught up in prioritizing someone else’s happiness. This is why it’s about balance. The goal, again, is interdependence, not codependence. It's the difference between Offset and Cardi B and Offset, featuring Migos. We should all be able to separate ourselves from our relationship in order to keep us from not being our own distinct person. The transition from “me” to “we” shouldn’t keep us from remembering the “I”.

 

Jeremy Carter