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We have all been there…. We have that partner who promises to ride through life’s ups and downs with us to the very end. Late nights, we bake in laughter. Early mornings, the smiles still continue. Life actually feels good because you have a partner, wife, husband, or a confidant who just loves to be up under or near you. Sharing the same space means everything. You share the same love language. In all honesty, the mood is always healthy. Isn’t it a fresh feeling to have someone by your side who offers advice when there is confusion? Isn’t it beautiful to have that mate who can instruct you on how things should be done? We all want that – don’t we?

Until….

You realize that the kind of person you are seeking is there when life is good, but can you count on that friend or partner when life isn’t so rosy? I have been there. I have done that. I had great relationships that went haywire when my life got hectic. The ride-or-die narrative went straight down the drain. The friend or significant partner who once meant the world to me, easily became a mere associate who couldn’t weather the storm. The same people couldn’t carry a spare umbrella when the rain poured heavy. Those harsh lessons made me really think about friendships and associates including love and loyalty a lot differently.

The reality is – everyone in your life, no matter how much you love and care for them can’t ride shotgun for the long haul. That includes not only your partner, but it may even include your family. Many relationships fall apart because the other or better half could not rock with the punches or help their mate out of the trenches. See growing up you had two groups of people in your life. They were family and a core group of friends. Think back, most of the time your best friend was either one of your brothers or sisters or some one you grew up with. As you grew older, if you all grew apart you would make more good friends throughout the school year and so forth. That bestie or family member became the person you shared everything with. That was the person who you vented to when things weren’t going so well.

Overtime, a lot of those close relationships changed. Overtime a lot of those people who you used to call on became unreachable. As adults, we can handle those separations better. Life teaches us to go at the struggles alone if we have to. It’s not always easy, but its important to develop that frame of mind or you will always be surrounded by inner conflict. See there are so many obstacles when it comes to true friendship that you have to face. If you don’t go through many of the hoops and hurdles that will allow you to identify who really is a friend verses just an associate, you will always open yourself up to hurt. No one wants that. I advise that you take your time when building relationships. Take your time before really considering someone to be a friend. Everyone doesn’t have your back.

Simply, life is a learning lesson. You will recognize who is there for you via your experiences together – both good and bad. When you make a connection with someone and you can honestly sit down with that person and share smiles and converse with one another and really get to know what makes each other tick, then you can assess whether or not that person can ride out the dark and stormy times with you. That’s when you can move from the term associate to friendship.

Randy ‘Wood’ Ritchwood is an East Orange, New Jersey resident and a divorced father of 4. He is also a serial businessman, restaurant owner, real estate owner, and the former reality star of ‘I Love New York.”Wood’ as he is often addressed, is also the 2005 winner of Oxygen’s show ‘Mr. Romance.’ To spice up Mommynoire from a man’s perspective, he will be contributing a weekly column targeting sex, intimacy, dating, marriage, baby mamas, and divorce challenges. For more on Randy Ritchwood and adult topics, catch him on his lifestyle site: randyritchwood.com

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