Is this thing that we’re arguing about worth us breaking up? I was first asked that question years ago by my then boyfriend, my first really serious relationship.
I must have been about 19 or 20, dating my college sweetheart. For all his flaws — and mine — we managed to have great communication. We were open and honest and never feared saying what was on our minds — a dynamic which is so hard to find in a partner these days. To this day, that one question always comes to my mind when I’m dating someone and we get into a heated discussion. It allows me to step back from the situation and say to myself: Am I really mad about this thing or is there something else bothering me? What’s the real issue here and is this really worth getting worked up about?
No two relationships are alike and they can end for all kinds of reasons. “We’re just at different stages in life.” “She didn’t respect me.” “He cheated on me.” “We argued all the time.”
Or how about this one: “She cut her hair and went natural.”
That’s a new one, or is it?
A few months ago, I discovered the blog: Diary of a Happy Black Woman. I was immediately sucked-in by the blogger’s positivity and zest for life, and she confessed that she just started dating an amazing guy she met on Match.com, a rocket scientist. This is gonna be good, I thought. Part 1 detailed how they met, their initial communication and their first date. A few weeks later, she posted Part 2, there was a poetry reading (her poems) and gasp — the rocket scientist met her mom. Then, Part 3 is posted in early February and it’s titled “the end.” I couldn’t read it fast enough to see what made this couple — who had been walking clouds from what I could see of their eight-month courtship — break-up.
Wait, did I read that right? Rosetta decided to cut her hair and that’s not what the rocket scientist had signed up for, so he leaves on Super Bowl Sunday, and that’s it? I had to read it again. Her dream guy left her because she cut her long permed hair into a cute, short ‘do.
This is some of what Rosetta said in her blog:
I’d dubbed January my “Year of Happy.” Little did I know that one of my happiest decisions would set off a sequence of events that would change that quite quickly.
My last post about making the decision to grow out my natural hair talks about how it was initially met with “approval” by the rocket scientist. I think his reaction may have been more aspirational on his part, now that I think about it. Then we get snowed in. I’m looking at my friend’s Facebook photos of her new natural hair. I say something about not being able to wait until I get my “afro puff.” He says, “what’s this about an afro puff?” We were drinking margaritas. I thought he was joking. I told him that’s what my hair would look like after a while. I was smiling. He was not. He said he thought the braids were temporary. That I would go back to my straight hair in a few months. I just looked at him, then pulled up the lovely Lecoil natural hair website. I was giddy showing him the different hairstyles I wanted to have. He seemed to get more visibly annoyed with each one I pointed out. He had no idea what I meant by natural hair. He had obviously not been listening very closely when I told him all about the process. He said he preferred straight hair. I told him I wasn’t going to have straight hair.
Everything got quiet. Real quiet.
I asked him if my hair was a deal breaker. He said it shouldn’t be. I told him that “shouldn’t” is an aspirational word. Either it is or it isn’t. He went to bed, saying he had to think about it.
Wow! So, here’s where I’d insert the magic question: Is this thing that we’re arguing about worth us breaking up? Obviously, the rocket scientist had/has some issues. Whether it was just the hair or more than the hair remains to be seen, but three-months post breakup, it seems Rosetta has happily moved on…
You can read more here from the Diary of a Happy Black Woman.
She’s on Twitter: @happyblackwoman