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5 Love Lessons I've Learned From Being In A Situationship

Dating

It is rare that I meet men who have nothing going for themselves, lack substance, and the like because I wholeheartedly believe that we attract who we are at any given time of our lives. They typically have their lives together – some entrepreneurs, all educated – eclectic, exciting, enriching. In the beginning, everything goes so well.

No commitment. We're chillin'.


I have wonderful words to describe them all, but with a few, the end of our situationship still felt like a loss.

Somehow, even though we were never an outwardly exclusive partnership, I have ended up feeling silly and/or hurt at no longer having some of these men in my life anymore. I view relationships as relationships, even if there wasn't any real commitment involved in the nonexclusive ones I've had. I weigh these experiences the same as I have the three exclusive relationships I have been in. And I don't feel crazy about it anymore.

Here are 5 love lessons I have learned from being in a situationship:

1. Be Clear On Your Intentions

For some, sex is the most vulnerable and intimate act shared with someone else. For me, this is not totally the case because my history with sex tells a very different story. Truth be told, I've been in situations where sex happened upon arrival, where we waited, or where we didn't have sex at all. In the wise words of one of my male cousins, “It doesn't matter if you gave it up on day 1 or day 100, if that's all he (or she) wanted, that's all it's going to be."

I also understand the value behind the why and respect those who do choose to wait. Good for you. It is not a universal truth and it certainly isn't one size fits all. We see many of the happily ever after stories about why it is appropriate to wait, but it is possible to live that same story even if you don't wait. Do what is true to yourself, what works for the both of you, and where you are or aren't trying to go. Be clear on your intentions.

2. Love Yourself

And by loving yourself, I don't mean placing your worth and value at the mercy of the person you are involved with. What I do mean is that after every separation from that which was never exclusively “mine," I still have me.

I'd spend substantial amounts of quality time with myself and my Higher Power, forgiving myself, and extracting from each experience what was healthy or unhealthy for my growth and sifting through feelings of rejection, shame, guilt, regret, or not being good enough. I emerged from isolation restored, reminding myself of the sweetness and value of each experience, and that I am good enough. There's power in that. I'm thankful for the love I have found in and for myself. Love what you have before you go giving it away.

3. Needs > Wants

Quite possibly the most valuable lesson I have learned in every situationship, consciously or not, is to be open. I also learned to allow people to be who they are. In doing so, I have come to understand what sets my soul on fire and what pisses me off.

I have grown to understand that what I need, both independently and in the context of a relationship, is often the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted. I have ceased trying to change someone into who I want them to be or allowing someone to do the same to me. I have grown to choose substance over surface. I have realized that my needs and wants will be synonymous with whoever I am to spend the rest of my life with.

4. Get Your Power Back

I think often times we can subject ourselves to upset and heartbreak by proceeding without caution, not asking the necessary questions, “going with the flow," or allowing circumstances, people and opportunities that are not necessarily FOR US to speak on our behalf and dictate where things are or aren't going. Too often, I was the “chill" woman, you know, the “we'll see what happens" kind of person, never calling out, challenging or pushing back on the dissonance between the words and actions presented to me because I did not want to push any buttons.

Having difficult, uncomfortable, and awkward conversations with yourself and others is necessary and may leave a sting (that sting is fleeting), but not being able to have a say-so in decisions regarding your heart and life will hurt much deeper. We DO have a say. There is power in confirming the clear direction and safe landing that our lives are steered in. You can walk away. You can let go. No one can ever take that power away from you anymore, and vow that no one ever will.

5. Be Ready For the Man You Will Spend Your Life With

We've heard many times the quote about investing so much love and time into the wrong relationships that we should look forward to the day where we can invest the same and more into the right ones, when that time comes. In hindsight, there is not one man that I've involved myself with that was right or wrong necessarily. I believe that human life is much more valuable than just a right or wrong, good or bad person, and that we should treat everyone with privilege.

Everyone and everything is a valuable experience and not a waste of time.

I have decided that the men of my past were a significant moment in time that was necessary for my growth as an individual and as a partner. Without these experiences, I wouldn't have anything to look forward to. And I look forward to finding love in the future without the expectation that things will go bad or that I'll be hurt again and without the regret of having wasted my time.

Instead, with each encounter, I view them as fleeting glimpses of my eternity. When we meet (and maybe we already have), I already know I'm going to be ready. Whatever “ready" looks like. I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned.

Have you ever been in a situationship? What has been your biggest takeaway from them? Share with us below!
ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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