While watching an episode of Divorce Court a few weeks ago, I witnessed a young black couple who thought they might want to get married consult with Judge Lynn Toler about whether or not she thought they were ready to take such a step. After just five minutes in, even I could tell them that they were NOT. He kept making uncomfortable jokes about her being overweight after giving birth (and when I tell you she was not big at all, I’m not kidding), and when asked what they loved about each other that would make them want to tie the knot, every word they had to say about each other sounded like this: “Well, in the beginning judge…”
By the end of the episode, Judge Toler let them know that they needed a lot more help and understanding when it came to one another before she would grant them a marriage certificate, but in a poignant moment, she gave them the real about the real issue in their relationship, and it went something like this: “When I asked you what you liked about the other person, you could only tell me what you liked about them in the past. You two are sticking together because you’re in love with the past, but you’re not in love in the present.”
When I heard her say that to the broken couple, it was like a church shout moment. So many people find themselves in relationships and situations like this without even realizing it. In the beginning, the newlywed stage for even the unmarried, everything is splendid. Everybody’s happy and positive, and all the good qualities that pushed you to pursue a relationship with someone is what is shining through. But after some time passes and you get a bit too comfortable with one another, those other qualities come out of hiding, and slowly but surely, you’re getting unhappy. Let even more time pass and you find yourself hanging on to a broke, busted and disgusted relationship for dear life based on the hope that things will go back to what they used to be. Most times, they don’t.
That same hope is what gets you picking up the phone call of an ex you KNOW you need to leave alone, and being trapped in a dead-end relationship that you keep complaining about but always go back to, to the chagrin of friends and family. Trust me, I’ve been there, and holding out hope for the good ‘ol days will have you getting your feelings hurt worse each time he effs up until you’re finally embarrassed enough to make a mad dash for the exit.
So I guess the question you have to ask yourself now if you feel as though this is your situation is, why are you really sticking around? Are you doing it because BOTH parties are making a conscious effort, even if it’s not a change that is happening overnight, to improve your relationship? Or are you sticking around because you hope ‘ol boy will somehow turn back into the guy you fell in love in the beginning, and because you feel that the evil you know presently, is better than the evil out in the world that you don’t know? (Aka, you’re afraid to get back out there…) If you’re in the latter group, I wouldn’t recommend wasting too much time waiting for a metamorphosis, because as Maya Angelou once said, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” It won’t make sense to cry to them about how they need to go back to the guy you were feeling three years earlier. So if the state of your relationship now isn’t anything like what it used to be, and that makes you very upset, then chances are, it isn’t the right fit for you. Don’t stick around just because.