#RelationshipGoals: Can We Survive Our First Big Fight?
Andrew and I hadn’t been as connected at the hip as we were when we first met. But honestly, for two grown ass adults, it was sustainable. There wasn’t anything wrong with our relationship. We were simply battling two lives, two cities, one working phone and one busy girlfriend.
I was constantly on the move, traveling for work. Andrew’s phone was still giving our whole situation an added layer of unnecessary frustration. And I was still torn on whether or not I wanted to offer him help by adding a line to my phone plan. In my understanding of relationships, support when necessary– and even when it’s not– is what I want, so it’s what I needed to give.
“Girl, if it’s going to make it easier to be in your relationship, you need to know what serves you,” my grounded and very married friend Dana said to me as we sipped cocktails at her favorite sexy Italian restaurant.
“I know. You make it sound so simple. But there is something about me providing for him that’s bothering me,” I admitted and gulped the remainder of my very small $24 cocktail.
“Because it is simple sis. You love your man. You are in a long distance relationship. You need to be able to communicate freely. You are just hesitant because you feel some type of way that you’re providing for him and he should be providing for you,” Dana suggested.
She was right, but I was also tired of this narrative for my love life. The last two men I called boyfriends were broke. I’m talking, when we go out, it’s never a nice restaurant, it’s always somewhere cheap. I’m talking, one time, I wanted a bottle of water from one of those little stores inside the subway station and this man patted his pockets 50-11 times, swearing to himself that he knew he had $12 on him. I’m talking, dating an everyday smoker who somehow never had any trees when he came to my apartment. So yeah, I was a little tired of not being taken care of by my man.
My homegirl Dana made me feel like if I wanted my relationship to be connected, it was up to me. I had to ignore feeling like I was providing for my man yet again and make sure I provided my relationship with the tools to succeed.
On one of the rare occasions that Andrew and I caught each other on the phone, I asked him flat out, “Babe, let me just get you a phone on my plan and we won’t have to worry about the disconnection.”
“I hear you, but I can’t let you do that babe,” Andrew said.
“Why?” I asked defiantly. “Your last girl had you on her plan.”
“And when I got with you, I had to let that go. I don’t want to have you doing that for me. I need to do things for myself babe,” Andrew said trying to dead the conversation. We trudged on, dealing with our sporadic communication.
I got assigned to cover Essence Festival in New Orleans and I let Andrew know that work had me heading down south and I suggested that he meet me there in the days before I had to work the event. It took some convincing because of his work schedule and the lack of ability to take more than two days off back to back.
Andrew ended up making it work and decided the most cost effective solution was him taking the bus a couple of hours to New Orleans from Houston. He arrived before me and let me know he’d wait for me at my hotel.
When I got to the hotel, I could barely contain my excitement when I saw him. The feeling was mutual. Andrew jogged over to me, arms wide open and grabbed me up when he reached me. He kissed every piece of skin that was exposed. I feigned being irritated by his affection, but we both knew I loved it.
I have never been the type to bring a boyfriend into public work situations, especially something as large and visible as the festival. But at that point in my life and in my career, I was more focused on Andrew and I than the other hang ups I previously had about integrating my boyfriend into my very public work life. Andrew’s journey took a lot out of him, so after our initial shower and consummation, he knocked out, wrapped himself in my curves and purred into my ear. I had also been traveling all morning, but I was more hungry than tired. So I hit my girls who were also in town to work the festival and made plans to meet them for lunch. When I attempted to let Andrew know, he moaned an irritated moan and turned over. That man never played about his sleep.
I met my girls for some chargrilled oysters and etouffee. We rode streetcars through picturesque neighborhoods, walked through the Bourbon Street area, and drank hand grenades as they cooed and squealed over the fact that I brought my boyfriend along and I drained him before meeting them. I kept checking my phone to see if Andrew had woken up and wanted to meet me. When we’d change locations, I messaged him, letting him know. Still no response.
The girls and I were out so long we ended up at yet another restaurant, ordering alligator bites and the like. Andrew called asking where I was and when I told him to meet me, he declined. I was upset because I wanted my girls to meet him. I left the girls and went back to the hotel to be with Andrew. When I got there he was getting dressed.
“Ooh, where are we going?” I poured myself a drink from our makeshift bar.
“I’m hungry. Let’s get some food,” He said smacking my butt. “Since you didn’t bring me anything back.”
“Sure didn’t!” I laughed.
Andrew made a face.
“What?” I asked, looking at him still making the face.
“You just don’t be thinking about me sometimes, that’s all.”
“Whatever Andrew.” I rolled my eyes.
We bounced around the steamy streets and slithered around each other’s waistline at sultry clubs down Frenchman Street. I felt like I was living my adolescent fantasy out loud. All in love and in my own world with my beautiful piece of dark chocolate. We ended up at a popular after-hours spot for some food. We placed our orders and chatted about how my day was. Andrew brought up the fact that I didn’t think about him or bring him any food again.
“I told you I was having issues with my card and you just went off with your friends and didn’t even think to bring me back anything. You’re selfish.” There was something about his tone that wasn’t the sarcasm I was used to. He was serious.
The waiter came over with the food and I immediately scrunched up my nose. Both of our sandwiches came with fries, but was brought a full basket of fries while there were just a handful on my plate. I reached over into Andrew’s basket and took some fries.
“Really babe? You got fries.”
“Yeah, but not as much as you. I think we’re supposed to share these,” I said crunching on the hot fries. His hot fries.
“Oh yeah?” Andrew laughed.
We were joking back and forth about his fries–our fries — when the waiter came over to make sure we were good. I jokingly asked him if I was supposed to have more fries. The waiter just laughed.
“Maybe he’s saving your life by giving you less fries,” Andrew suggested.
I swear to you a record f-cking scratched in that hole-in-the-wall restaurant. I instantly felt a lump in my throat and tears well up. As a plus-size woman, I am hyper aware of my size, the space I take up, and my health. Andrew was and is super fit, with the type of stomach you could wash your clothes on. He’s never once mentioned my size or even made concessions for me because of my size. So hearing him say something about my life in regards to how many fries were on my plate sent me into a fog just like that Mr. Crab meme.
I blacked out. I knew I was in a very tight space, so I kept my volume as low as I could, but my feelings hyped me up. I was giving sarcasm and Angela Bassett in Waiting To Exhale. “Oh, so you have a problem with my size now Andrew?” I asked, just a little too loud for his comfort.
The waiter came over, heard the question, refilled our waters, and kept it moving.
“You know I don’t like to argue and I damn sure ain’t about to do it in public, D,” Andrew said through his teeth.
Andrew threw his money on the table, got up and walked out. As I stood to follow him out, I shouted, “Really Andrew?”
The waiter rushed behind me, “Excuse me miss!” I left my bag on the table. He handed it to me.
“Thank you.” I said, took the bag and started to leave.
“You can do so much better girlfriend,” the waiter said, as he looked at me with sympathy in his eyes.
“Don’t do that,” I said, upset and embarrassed. I walked outside and didn’t see Andrew waiting for me by the door. My heart dropped. Where was he? I looked around and I saw him crossing the street, headed for our hotel. “Andrew!” I called out. He kept walking.
“Andrew!” I shouted that time. I knew he heard me, but he kept walking briskly. I stood there, thinking about the fact that not only did my boyfriend and I get into our first big fight, in public, but he walked away from me and left me standing outside alone. The tears were hot in my eyes.
“I can’t be with someone who would literally leave me out here by myself,” I said, almost giving myself a pep talk to break up with Andrew as soon as I saw him again. I headed towards the hotel, Angela Bassett’s Bernadine attitude in tow. I was ready to burn everything.
While you wait to see what happens next week, tell me, how would you have handled this situation?