Model. Actor. Musician. Author. Those are just a few words to describe the multi-hyphenate heartthrob that is Don Benjamin.
Hailing from humble beginnings on the South Side, the Chicago native found himself bouncing between Minnesota, Mississippi, and even Florida before settling in Los Angeles in 2005. It was there that he thrust himself into the world of modeling, fashion, and music, securing campaigns with various notable brands such as Bloomingdale's, True Religion, Tillys, Guess, and also appeared as a finalist on America's Next Top Model. But don't let the handsome face and pretty eyes fool you, there's much more to Don than meets the eye. And if you needed further proof of that, look no further than his new book, My Truth. In his debut work, Benjamin opens up about the tests, trials, and testimonies of his life experiences––everything from growing up without his father in his life, growing into manhood, love and loss and so much more.
xoNecole recently got the chance to chat with Don about all things personal evolution, self-love, and dealing with heartbreak. Here's what he had to say:
Courtesy of Don Benjamin
xoNecole: You’ve got your hands in a lot of things with acting, music, modeling, and now your new book. Which of those do you find the most rewarding?
Don Benjamin: I try to make them all coincide as much as possible. As long as I'm being creative, you know expressing different sides of my creativity. Sometimes I'll get really into my music and I'm in a zone where I want to write a ton of music. And sometimes I'm locked in and all about acting and growing. Now I'm all about writing. After spilling my soul, I'm really loving writing books. I've already started writing my second book. But I feel like it all goes together even though they're all different, they still kind of feel like one.
In your book, you talk about the difficulties you faced growing up without your father and the void that that relationship created. Why do you think it’s so important for young men to have that healthy male presence and dynamic?
That's important because, without it, I think it's something that kind of messes us up to where we kinda start questioning ourselves, like 'Was it something I did? Was I not good enough for him to be around?' And it breaks down our self-esteem. For me, I just bottled it in. My mother was always asking if I wanted to talk to a professional about it but I would always bottle it in, not really realizing how unhealthy it is and how it leads to bigger issues. But I think it's important to put yourself around men that are of a positive influence. Because when you grow up in that situation, you're kind of hungry for the influence of a man that's going to help guide you since you didn't get that from your father.
A lot of times, it leads you to other broken situations where you find yourself with other men who didn't have their father around. And you're following the footsteps of the people you see in the media and it just leads to an unhealthy pattern. That's what I found in myself. I kinda had to snap out of it, I had to take some losses in my life and learn some pretty harsh lessons and THEN go searching for that. Like, 'Yo, I need some men in my life that can actually be a positive influence.' So I want to try to help the younger generation understand that at a sooner time, rather than waking up in their thirties and forties and realizing it and doing a lot more damage.
I often feel like most people at some point in their life go through a Blinding Light experience. Meaning a moment where life knocks you off your current course in order to redirect you onto the right one. Have you had one and if so what was it?
Yeah, I think I had an initial one when my father passed away in 2017 and it made me start looking at life a lot differently.
"I went into a real depression, I stopped focusing on work. I think my entire life I was looking for his approval subconsciously, I was always like, 'I wanna get super-rich and famous so I can take care of my Dad and give him the life.' I finally started to come out of it and then last year I was engaged to be married, but towards the end of the year, I made some stupid choices that led to us breaking up. And that was my ultimate Blinding Light to where I needed to step back and look at the things I was doing. And why I was carrying on these continued patterns that my father had been doing to me and make a change in my life."
It really woke me up and it's crazy how it happened the year we were forced to stay inside and stay to ourselves––and not do anything but focus on ourselves. So I had it at the top of this year and I feel like I'm finally aligned and seeing things clearly. It's a blessing.
I’m sorry to hear that. But how did you deal with that heartbreak?
When we first broke up, I didn't really know how to get through it in the moment. I went to God and just laid it all on God. I had a good support system around me, thankfully. I was like, 'Lord give me the strength to understand this and get through this and use this to grow and become a better version of myself.' And that's what really helped me. A lot of reading, praying, and meditation.
That prayer and meditation will do it, won’t it?
Man, I'm telling you. It was everything.
What’s something you vow to do differently or do more of in your next relationship now?
For me, what I've really been working on is being a lot more selfless in a relationship. I never really had a solid foundation of a relationship to look at for inspiration. I always just kind of created my own thoughts of what I thought a good relationship should be like. And I was going based on a lot of men from broken homes as well. I did a lot of reading of different mentors who've been in strong relationships after making some mistakes and how they changed things up and maneuvered differently. And how you do things differently in a relationship, and just being all about your woman. Making her feel confident and letting her have the right type of trust in you––and just letting the woman feel confident and full in a relationship. Letting her have that queen feeling. That's what I'm really trying to work on carrying into my next relationship. I don't have to let my pride win or my ego win and I make sure my focus is all my woman and cutting out certain distractions and temptations. Because the world we live in right now is so full of temptations with social media and TV. So being more aware of those temptations so that it doesn't interfere in my relationship [is how I'd move differently].
Speaking of distractions and temptations, when it comes to things like infidelity or unfaithfulness in relationships––what’s one thing men and women should understand?
I think for men a lot of times, it stems from past issues with parents or influence. Not getting the proper influence from people around us. And our need for certain attention, it goes deeper than just the situation per se.
"My advice for women is that it doesn't have nothing to do with you. You could be the best woman in the world, but if a man is broken inside, he has to dig deep and fix those issues. Because the infidelity is usually something deeper that he's searching for and he doesn't realize that it could stem from his childhood."
The couple has to really come together and talk about it and maybe go to relationship counseling early to prevent anything from taking place.
Do you think a person can truly be ready for love if they don’t first love themselves?
You definitely have to love yourself first, how can you love somebody else if you're not happy with yourself? I feel like there are gonna be a lot of issues. I've been learning that more and more. But it's weird because you hear stories about high school sweethearts and the ones who got married young and lasted long, and they grew together and learned lessons together and bonded together even stronger. Nowadays, especially if you're a little bit older, I feel like you wanna have as much love for yourself as possible. You have to know what you need in life before you go searching for that in someone else. Because then you're gonna put all the weight on them and it's gonna lead to a lot of stress.
That last part is definitely key, I love that you brought that up.
It's real though.
For sure. Let’s talk relationship green flags, what would make you feel the most safe and secure?
I think a woman having confidence and something going for herself, to where she's not sitting at home all day wondering what you're doing. If she's confident and independent, that's definitely a green flag. Family, religion. If she doesn't have a strong religious foundation or good guidance in her life, I feel like it's gonna be really hard to make that connection. So religion is key.
Courtesy of Don Benjamin
How can a woman get AND keep your attention?
Right now, I'm so focused on my personal growth, it's whatever God places in my sight. I'm not really specific. It has to benefit me and help build me, there has to be that spiritual energy and connection. Being in LA, you see so many attractive people, you could meet one just walking to Starbucks. So it's not really so much about the image, it's about the connection. If you have a connection with somebody on a deeper level, that's how I feel like you can maintain that longevity.
Do you know your love languages?
I think mine are physical touch, I like to be held and I like cuddling. I love quality time, I need that. I like to just cuddle and watch a movie.
Before you go, I want to know what’s something you know now about yourself or about love that you didn’t know before?
The main thing I've learned is that you really have to be selfless. It's not about you, of course, the self-love dynamic too, but you have to be confident in you—and really be more aware of your partner's feelings. And keeping them happy and safe.
"It's a lot of work, [but] I've learned that you have to be ready to put that work in going into a relationship in order to make it last. Everything isn't gonna always be peaches and cream, there's gonna be disagreements; there's gonna be family issues. It has to go way deeper than just 'oh I'm attracted to you.'"
Once the puppy love stage wears off and ya'll get past the honeymoon phase––then it becomes another form of work. You literally have somebody's heart and feelings and well-being in your possession, you have to be careful with it.
You have to be careful with it. And lastly, what's next for you Don?
I was supposed to be filming a movie this year. I was playing the lead in a movie I co-created and produced, but I feel like we're still up in the air as far as whether or not we're going to be able to finish shooting it before the year is up. So hopefully we can do that. I'm also working on another book that comes along with a masterclass. A lot of people have been asking me how to break into the modeling industry, so I wanted to create something for them to go along with that.
Featured image courtesy of Don Benjamin.
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
As I move through life and experience different highs and lows, one thing that has become increasingly clear is the importance of self-love and self-worth. Now, I’m not saying it’s always easy, but I do feel like if it’s in a good place, people experience life more fully. And when it comes to love, my friend Amanda Wicks and her husband, Will Ford, are the perfect example.
Amanda may not remember this, but years ago, on one of her many visits back to Atlanta (we both went to Clark Atlanta University), she sat across from me at a dinner table and declared she was done looking for love. She was happy with who she was, and while she still desired it, it was no longer something she was chasing. “If it happens, it happens,” she said. The statement was so bold it made me quickly reroute our usual dating story catch-ups and awkwardly move to a different topic.
Well, the next time we met up, she told me she had met someone and was moving to Houston to live with him. Imagine my surprise and concern. Later, I’d find out that this decision, like so many other elements of their relationship, flowed naturally and organically. Their whole partnership has been full of peace and vulnerability.
Fast forward to today’s conversation, they’re still living together, celebrating four years of marriage, and planning to create a family. And while this stage of their story sounds generally normal, the way they got there is nothing but. Check out the "How We Met" feature below to see how a couple who never spoke on the phone and lived in different states ended up in a loving marriage full of ease, art, and authenticity.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
Walk me through your ‘How We Met’ story.
Amanda: We met on Instagram (laughs). He followed me first, and I followed back because he does art, and I was intrigued by that. Honestly, we followed each other for a while before we connected. But I remember one day I saw a post where he had on a Martin t-shirt that I liked, and that sparked our conversation. He ended up telling me he made the shirt and actually mailed me one. So when I got it, I made a post wearing it, and that’s where the conversation started. Since that day we’ve communicated every day since.
Will: Yeah, I initially saw her on a short-hair Instagram page and followed her because I thought she was attractive. I actually showed her to my co-workers on one of our monthly outings as an example of my “type” – something I had never done. But one thing I will say is, I noticed she had on a Nina Simone shirt in one of her photos, that’s what got me. It showed she had more depth.
I guess that answers my next question. Did you have an initial attraction to each other?
Will: (Laughs) Yeah, I did.
Amanda: For me, no. I just wasn’t looking at him through that lens. I didn’t follow him because he was attractive. I don’t follow people online because of that. I actually remember a time when we were going back and forth, and I was like, “Aye, you kinda cute.” It was a specific moment. Once I started looking through his page more often, I started to view him that way, but it still was more of an acknowledgment. We really connected primarily because of our creative interests.
So, how did it go to the next level?
Amanda: I was in Nashville, and he was in Houston. But I’m somebody where if I feel like doing something, I’m going to do it. I had been meaning to go to Houston for a while to see a friend, so I felt like it was the perfect combination of a circumstance. We had been talking a lot, and I knew I liked him as a person and really wanted to meet him, but of course, I was aware of the idea that it could blossom into more. I remember I sent him a text saying, “Would you think I was crazy if I pulled up to Houston?”
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
What was your reply? Did you think she was crazy?
Will: In my mind, I was like, I don’t know. (Laughs) I wanted her to, though, so I wasn’t going to say yeah. It was a little wild, but I encouraged it.
Okay, so tell me about the date.
Amanda: I don’t know if you’d call it our first “date,” but the first time we met, we went to a skating rink. I was a little nervous about meeting him in person. Like, what if we don’t have chemistry – that was in the back of my head a little. But I brought my friend with me as a buffer, and thank God I did because he was so quiet the whole night. I literally can’t think of one thing he said the entire time. But the saving grace was that we had built a rapport. We reconnected the following night and were together until 5 a.m. – just sitting there talking. We ended up spending the whole weekend together.
Will: I’m socially awkward if I don’t know you. Also, before the date, I didn’t know what she sounded like or anything because, that’s another thing, we hadn’t talked on the phone. (They both really don’t like phone calls, so everything was through texts at this point.) I guess I could say I was kinda nervous, too. I had never met someone through social media, and then here I was, meeting her in person at a skating rink. I hadn’t skated in years, I was hoping I didn’t fall. But we had just been talking so much that I was open to it.
What made you want to take that risk?
Will: She has a level of authenticity that I’ve never seen in any other woman before, and once I saw her, it solidified that. I knew I wanted her around.
Amanda: I don’t think it was anything specific. It’s not hard for me to connect with people. But there were no red flags. We align across the board. That was different. We really connect on how we see the world.
"She has a level of authenticity that I’ve never seen in any other woman before, and once I saw her, it solidified that. I knew I wanted her around."
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
Out of curiosity, what are your love languages?
Amanda: I connect with all of them. I think it just depends on what I’ve been lacking. I appreciate words of affirmation because I’m so big on actions that I like those bold statements of love, and of course, I appreciate quality time. The older I get, the more I appreciate physical touch, but that’s not something I need. With receiving gifts, I like thoughtfulness, and I like giving thoughtful gifts, too. But acts of service is for sure my biggest one. I love when someone considers me and makes my life easier. That speaks to me most.
"I love when someone considers me and makes my life easier. That speaks to me most."
Will: I think it all depends on how I’m feeling, too. But probably also acts of service. I like how Amanda will buy me deodorant when I run out (laughs). She just does so much all the time to show that I’m thought of.
At what point in your connection did y’all have the “what are we” conversation?
Will: I don’t think we ever had that convo. We never defined anything, we just kinda went with how it was going. However, I knew I wanted it to be more serious when I went to visit her. She had been coming to Houston once a month, and I went to Florida (she was there for work) to see her. I realized I felt comfortable coming into her space, too. That gave me that last little bit of whatever I needed.
Amanda: Yeah, I can’t say I had a defined moment like that. But again, as we had more and more interactions, there were just no red flags. The more we thought about it, the more we realized no matter where we went relationship-wise, we were adamant about being a part of each other’s lives. We never had the “talking to other people” conversation or anything. But we did both understand we weren’t going anywhere. Eventually, it graduated to convos around building a life together, but even that was over six months in. I just liked him as a person.
Have there been any negative revelations that your partnership and marriage have taught you about yourself?
Amanda: I’ve always felt that partnership is supposed to make the other person’s life easier. For me, it was a struggle to let someone help me in all the ways I didn’t really know I needed help. As I started having less capacity, I had to realize that it doesn't work anymore. It was hard for me to acknowledge and ask for help. I think that’s something I am still coming to terms with, even with other relationships in my life.
Will: I think I’m learning and still learning how to get out of my head. I’m the kind of person who always has to visualize stuff before it happens. And this relationship is the first thing that I don’t do that with. Of course, we plan stuff, but I know it’s gonna be good regardless. It allows me to stay in the moment. If I can do that with this, which is the most important thing to me, why can’t I do that with other things?
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
What challenges have you faced together?
Will: For me, the preconceived challenge was living together. I’ve never lived with a woman before. Even in my previous relationship, it was long-distance. I’m also the type of person that likes my space, but as soon as she got here, that was out the window. It was so smooth it made me feel stupid for questioning it.
Amanda: I’m grateful to say we don’t necessarily have challenges between each other together. But we have been struggling with infertility and health issues. Our biggest challenge thus far is trying to get pregnant. Even articulating that makes me realize I’m grateful it hasn’t caused a rift between us. I think we have been able to face it in a healthy way. But that’s an example of how having someone else there can be helpful. I was so functional as a full-blown individual doing everything by myself.
So, in my head, I don’t need anyone, but having someone there who is happy to support me has taught me it’s okay to welcome that. It’s made us stronger because it’s taught us how we both function under duress – it’s good to know it’s not terrible (laughs).
"Our biggest challenge thus far is trying to get pregnant. Even articulating that makes me realize I’m grateful it hasn’t caused a rift between us. I think we have been able to face it in a healthy way."
What are some of the shared values that are important to your relationship?
Will: How we see life, what we’re here for, and how you’re supposed to treat people. It sounds really simple, but it’s not as common as you think.
Amanda: We value being really good people – without strings. We both don’t value money, but we value stability. So we don’t have to endure the “why are you not hustling” arguments. We were both stable people individually, and we came together. Also, we both value meaningful connections, alone time, reflection, and family. That guides us in what we do and how we build a life.
Finally, what is your favorite thing about each other?
Amanda: I’ll say one of my favorite things about him is that he’s brilliant. I view myself as a smart person, but in my head, he can do what I’m doing ten times faster. There are times I want to push myself to do stuff, and I’ll just ask him because I know he can do it. It’s incredible.
Will: My favorite thing about her is how people see her. Being a witness to how important she is to other people’s lives is amazing. Standing to the side and seeing how she affects them is really special.
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Feature image courtesy of Amanda Hicks and Will Ford
Although there are many times when Dr. Phil will say something and I will find myself rolling my eyes all the way to the back of my head, when it comes to the topic of ultimatums in relationships, there is something he once said that I will give him a standing ovation for: “Relationships are negotiated, and if you deal with ultimatums and authority all the time, then you're not going to get anywhere.”
It really is kinda wild how, let’s go with the word “aggressive” for now, ultimatums are, and yet — I’ve been working with couples and writing on relationships long enough to say that it remains to be a steady go-to for so many people whenever they want to get their way. Even though, usually, it backfires on some level (I’ll explain in a sec), even though it really is a low-key threat, even though one definition of ultimatum is “a final, uncompromising demand” — people are still out here acting like, if they want to get what they want, issuing an ultimatum is the best way to go.
WRONG. People who have worked with me know that something that I will say, pretty much on loop, is just because something is familiar that doesn’t make it right. And when it comes to ultimatums, specifically, just because that’s what is popular, that doesn’t make it healthy. If you don’t agree, think about the last time someone issued you an ultimatum and how it made you feel (more on that in a sec, too). Yeah…exactly.
And yet, since it is such a widespread issue when it comes to romantic relationships, I’m gonna do my part to at least help folks to consider rewiring their approach whenever they are tempted to use an ultimatum to “move the needle” with someone. Because, believe you me, it will be better for you, your man, and your relationship in the long run if you intentionally decide to put ultimatums to the side.
Here’s why I say that.
Ultimatums Are Pretty Controlling in Nature. No One Likes to Be Controlled.
It’s no secret that I’m a life coach (with a niche in marriage), that I became a PCC (Professional Certified Coach) this year, that I am currently getting certified to deal with trauma, and that penning my third book is all causing me to get that, more and more, people do things oftentimes simply because that’s how they were raised. They don’t even really stop to think if it’s beneficial or not — it’s simply all that they know…until another option is introduced into their psyche. And so, since so many of us were given ultimatums as children — you know, “Do this…or else” or “If you do that one more time, this is gonna happen” — and we were pretty much powerless to push back on the ultimatums (because we relied on those individuals for our basic needs to be met) since the people giving them to us professed to love us, we think that’s what love looks and acts like.
No time to get into all of the childhood layers of that (like the fact that a parent/child dynamic is very different than two grown adults or that even some parents weaponized their love in order to control their kids) — I’m just sharing that as a foundation for my overall point. And my point is, if you’re used to ultimatums coming with love, you will think that’s what you need to do when you love someone…and that simply isn’t the case.
When two adults truly care for and about each other, there shouldn’t be a lot of demanding going on. Demands are stressful. Demands are pressuring. Demands tend to have a super controlling tone to them. Not to mention the fact that demanding people are pretty difficult to deal with. They’re usually impatient. They don’t tend to compromise well. They typically refuse to see the other person’s point of view. They are inflexible. In short, they are triggering, draining, and annoying…overall.
What does that matter so long as your overall mission in making your demands gets accomplished? If that’s what you’re actually thinking, that’s your first flag that you need to do some serious internal pondering because, if you truly believe that you have to use some level of force in order to get what you want…are you really getting what you want…in the way that you truly want it? In other words, wouldn’t you prefer someone to do something because they choose to — not because you had to “take matters into your own hands,” make demands or control them, damn near like they were your own kids? If you’re still Elmo shrugging, I don’t know what else to tell you other than good luck with your struggle. Dealing with you is always gonna be a struggle.
Here's Why Ultimatums Are Rooted in Either Control or FearGiphy
If while reading this, you’re already on some, “Shellie, that’s your opinion” — yeah, that’s not accurate either. Many mental health professionals frown upon people using ultimatums in order to get what they want from their partner.
One article I once read shares this:
“When someone hands out ultimatums, it’s a major sign that they are controlling and less concerned about your welfare than their own. This is a tell-tale sign of emotional abuse. Ultimatums go beyond the minor disagreements that couples normally experience. Forcing you to jump through hoops or do things that make you uncomfortable to ‘prove’ your love is unacceptable.”
“Ultimatums can be unhealthy if they are used frequently in a relationship to control the bounds of a partner's behavior… This can drastically undermine a partner's feeling of safety and security in a relationship, which leads to an unhealthy dynamic.”
Still another shares this:
“Ultimatums are a shortcut to getting what you need, without actually asking for what you need. This is why they don’t work–the receiver doesn’t know what you really want, they just know what behavior you want them to stop without knowing why. This information alone is rarely enough motivation to change our behavior.”
And believe you me, there is PLENTY more where all of this insight comes from. For now, I’ll say that my biggest takeaway is that ultimatums are usually rooted in manipulation and/or fear — and if you’re trying to manipulate a person, you honestly shouldn’t be in a relationship because that is based on very toxic energy (check out “Are You Being Manipulated? Are You Manipulative? Here's The Breakdown.”) and if it’s fear, well, the first thing that comes to my mind is a Scripture: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (I John 4:18 — NKJV)
If you’re giving someone an ultimatum because you’re scared of what will happen if you don’t…do you actually love them as well or even as much as you think that you do? Bigger still, do you LOVE YOURSELF as well or as much as you should?
Listen, you can spend even 15 minutes on TikTok listening to some of those so-called life coaches and get all kinds of cosigns that control and fear-based decisions are the way to go. However, if you want a healthy relationship instead of an immediate approach to getting your way, you really need to avoid ultimatums because, one way or another, you’ll regret relying on them.
This brings me to my next point.
Whether Immediately or Eventually, Ultimatums in Relationships BackfireGiphy
Just yesterday, a life coach friend of mine and I were discussing ultimatums as it relates to marriage. When he asked me if I knew many men who got married under the guise of an ultimatum, he was surprised by my response: “Easily half of the men that I know proposed because they were given an ultimatum. Something like, ‘If you don’t propose to me this year, I’m leaving you.’”
After he said, “Wow,” I went on to explain that what’s crazy is, that a lot of the women who made that demand — or issued that threat — did end up getting married to the guy. Problem is, over time, it has put a wedge between them and their partner because he became low-key resentful as she ended up low-key not fully trusting that he loves her for her. Why? It’s simple: she had to issue a demand in order to get him to show it (at the time and level that she wanted it). Demanding love? Lawd.
See what I mean? I mean, if you’ve got to pressure a man to commit, how can you fully rest and relax in that commitment? Unfortunately, a lot of people are either so controlling or so scared that they don’t look into the future — right now is all that they care about. And because of that, the same mindset that got them what they wanted (or what they thought they wanted) starts to feed into insecurities, which can make people paranoid, which can cause folks to overthink, which almost always creates problems that don’t actually exist.
Ultimatums either play out that way OR the person who gives them keeps on doing it until the person on the receiving end gets so sick and tired of their ish that they tap out — if not literally, mentally, and emotionally.
Yeah, there are a whole lot of ways for ultimatums to totally backfire because, as my favorite character from Insecure (Chad) once said to Lawrence: “Pressure busts pipes.” Indeed. Far more than they ever create diamonds…if ultimatums are the driving force. SMDH.
So, what are you saying, Shellie? We should just sit around and hope that someday our man will give us what we want from them? That we should just gamble our time away?
Nope. And that brings me to my final point because there is certainly another approach, not just that you can take, but you absolutely should.
Remember, If You Have to Make an Ultimatum…WELL…
Hands down, one of my favorite wedding videography companies (and IG pages) is Iris Films — and hands down, one of my all-time favorite grooms that is featured by them is this guy (above). The confidence. The tailoring (LOL). The way he looks at his bride and the sheer excitement that she has to become his wife.
Y’all, I’ve been in this marriage life coaching and relationship writing game long enough to know that when a man is READY to be with a woman, NO ULTIMATUM IS NEEDED. He is coming strong, consistent, purpose-filled, clear, and prepared. He doesn’t need pressure. He doesn’t need control. He doesn’t need a list of demands. HE’S GOT IT COVERED. Ask any man who got married without an ultimatum, and I am confident that he will totally vouch for my point.
So, what’s the hold up with all of the rest of the brothas? I mean, what’s the opposite of not being ready? And next sentence — whatever the answer is, why is that your fault or even your problem? Are relationships about compromise and flexibility? 100 and 10 percent. Yet until you are married, you are responsible for you, not him and that means the main focus needs to be what you want, IF YOU ARE ACTUALLY READY FOR WHAT YOU WANT and what you’re willing to do, for yourself, if you’re not getting it.
Well, let me back up a bit — first, think about why you want what you want. For instance, shortly, I will be writing an article about the fact that a lot of women don’t actually want to be a wife…nah, what they want is a wedding. That’s why, six months in, so many of them are freaking out; it’s because they were so consumed by a diamond and a white party that they didn’t factor in all of the responsibilities that come with maintaining such a serious and long-term union.
Okay, yet if you think you are truly prepared and your partner either isn’t or doesn’t want what you want (which doesn’t make him the devil by the way; it’s also hella controlling to think that someone should want what you do simply because you want them to…again, think about how you would feel if the roles were reversed), making demands isn’t the way to go.
Express your feelings? Yes. Share your expectations? Sure. Then give him the respect of allowing him to do the same — and if the two of you aren’t on the same page, your job isn’t to “mother him into your will”…your job is to decide if you want to wait it out (the right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing) or if it’s time to go. Not “go” in the sense of, “Give me what I want or I’m leaving!” — more like, “I love both of us enough that we should get what we both want, and this simply isn’t it for me…anymore.”
AND THEN MEAN IT. Because I promise you, taking any other approach, 8.5 times outta 10, is going to leave you always wondering if he decided to be with you for all of the reasons that you truly deserve — starting with, simply because he wants to and is ready to be.
Yeah, I really do hate ultimatums. Can you tell? More than anything, if you have to demand or threaten someone to get something, isn’t that your first sign that something is way off and that you should do some serious reevaluating? Isn’t that a huge indicator that you’re probably way more focused on achieving a goal than being with an actual person? Isn’t that a glaring reminder that love shouldn’t be so stressing or stressful?
Listen, I get why so many people go the ultimatum route; we live in a world that is filled to capacity with controlling, manipulative, and/or fear-filled individuals. All I’m saying is you don’t have to be one of them. Have faith that your love and all that comes with it is blessed enough that you don’t damn near have to bludgeon someone to death for them to get the memo about it.
State your needs. If “he” is not ready to meet it, that’s not universal rejection nor is it anything to fear. His not being ready for all that you have to offer is on him. Let him work that out for himself. Take the ultimatum off of the table and simply decide what you’re willing to provide based on what he is or isn’t ready for.
And then trust the Rumi quote — one of my favorites — that is oh so very true: “What you seek is seeking you.” And hear me, sis, what’s looking for you is ready…and it won’t need an ultimatum, and it won’t give YOU one either.
So please, clear the path for that instead of threatening other people. You clear the path by chilling out, ramping up self-care, and accepting that just like you want the freedom to make choices in your own time, others have the same right. And if you two are not choosing each other…that’s not an insult; it’s your reality. The season is shifting. Welcome it instead of fighting it. WHAT YOU SEEK IS SEEKING YOU. Be available for it to find you.
Then watch…when love is at the helm instead of fear…JUST. YOU. WATCH.
(...and then report back!) #wink
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