June is a breath of fresh air for the collective. Mercury retrograde officially ends at the start of the month on June 3, and we get to enter June with a little less stress and delays flowing through the world. With Gemini season fully underway and a new vibe transpiring, the energy of the month is that of hope, inspiration, self-expression, and finding the courage to walk into new territory. With all the changes that have been flowing through the world already this year, June is coming in and wanting to regroup, gain the full picture, and create some space to breathe and allow the new to unfold.
The day after Mercury goes direct, Saturn goes retrograde. Saturn retrograde transits happen yearly, and this year Saturn will be going retrograde in the air sign, Aquarius. This Saturn retrograde brings attention to the collective, humanity, technology, and the systems of the world. Saturn wants to show us what systems need reworking, and what patterns and ways of being we can throw out altogether for the sake of love and for the sake of peace on Earth. As we move deeper into retrograde season this month, we are being reminded of the importance of doing this thing called life together, and to consider a helping hand when necessary.
The Moon cycles of the month are powerful, dynamic, and a little more light-hearted than what they have been now that we are officially out of eclipse season. The Full Strawberry Moon in Sagittarius on June 14 is a Supermoon, and this is a good Full Moon to release, renew, and take your healing and your happiness seriously. This Full Moon has a flair of adventure to it as well being in the sign of Sagittarius, and everything that has been going on within is making its showcase without. Cancer season begins on June 21 this year, and the energy moves from the head to the heart. Cancer season is the time to honor yourself, your home, and those that feel like family, and to nurture your world.
We have a New Moon in Cancer before the month ends on June 28, and this New Moon has a sweet disposition to it and is a time to believe in your new beginning. This Cancer New Moon will be highlighting the emotional world and is a time to set your intentions for what you want to become. Home is where the heart is during this time, and this New Moon is all about regrouping, finding your ground, and manifesting your heart's dreams. Neptune goes retrograde in Pisces the same day as the Cancer New Moon, and emotions are running high right now. You are being reminded as the month ends that your heart is the priority and that everything begins and ends here.
When you can find your balance between the head and the heart, you can live your truths and inspire others to do so as well. June is the time to believe in you, and believe in the magic that is becoming.
Aries Horoscope for June 2022AriesKyra Jay for xoNecole
A new month is here, and you have been getting your energy right, Aries. With Jupiter, the planet of good luck, entering your sign last month, and with May, June, and July being the only full months of the year that Jupiter will be completely direct in your sign, you are in the midst of immense progress and opportunities in June. This month is all about nurturing your body, your world, your intentions, and what is becoming for you at this time. You are at a place in life where you are creating space and the right conditions for your intentions to bloom.
There is a Full Supermoon in fellow fire sign Sagittarius occurring mid-month on June 14, and this Full Moon will be highlighting your 9th house of adventure. June is a good month to take that vacation you’ve been wanting to move forward with, and you will see fewer obstacles on the way towards your goals now that Mercury is officially out of retrograde and moving direct again. Venus enters Gemini and moves into your house of communication on June 22, and you are moving out of June and into July feeling inspired by what has transpired, and like your voice is really being heard and well-received right now.
Taurus Horoscope for June 2022TaurusKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about finding your balance and your truth between past, present, and future, Taurus. You are bridging the gap in June from what was, to what is to be, and this is an exciting month of opportunities for you. The month begins with Mercury retrograde moving direct in your sign on June 3, and you can finally catch a breath right now. Breathe in, breathe out, Taurus. You are being given a helping hand this month, and are being lifted out of a place you don’t want to be anymore. This is soul replenishing for you.
With your ruling planet Venus in your sign until June 22, all the opportunities for love, nourishment, and grace are with you right now as you move through the month knowing that at the end of the day you are love and you are loved. June is all about looking at the positives in your world and creating more of them, rather than staying in a perspective that doesn’t serve your growth or your happiness. There is a Cancer New Moon on June 28 before the month ends, and you are receiving the messages and insights you have been looking for moving into July.
Gemini Horoscope for June 2022GeminiKyra Jay for xoNecole
June is a month of forward movement, progress, and inspiring action for you, Gemini. Your spirit is flying free, and this is an enlightening time for you. With your ruling planet, Mercury officially moving out of retrograde and going direct on June 3, and with Mercury moving back into your sign from June 13 to July 5, all of the communication changes and challenges you were facing that had to do with who you are and how you express that, are turning around for you this month. No more second-guessing yourself or your voice, and June is all about knowing that you deserve to take up space.
A Full Strawberry Moon is happening in your opposite sign on June 14 this month, and this Full Moon is highlighting your love life and relationships. This Sagittarius Full Moon is bringing clarity to what partnerships work and can run with you, and what dynamics are best to be let go of now. Venus makes its yearly transit into your sign on June 22 where it will remain until July 17, and love is especially exciting for you right now. Through any blurred lines that have been, you have sought your truth, and discovered your bliss.
Cancer Horoscope for June 2022CancerKyra Jay for xoNecole
The vision is clear, Cancer. June is a beautiful month of life unfolding to the dreams you have been setting for yourself and creating. There is a deep coming together within happening this month for you, and your wise soul is shining in your truth. Luck is on your side in June as you nurture the gifts of the present moment, and protect your energy. You have been on a journey of self-discovery as of late, and are experiencing a coming together of what you have been working on bringing to fruition this month.
Venus is currently in your house of friendships until June 22, and this is a good month to expand your network, meet new people, and connect with your hopes and dreams in life. A lot of things are changing for you this month, and they are moving in the direction of your dreams. Cancer season begins on June 21 this year, and it is your time to shine, beautiful. This Cancer season, remind yourself that you are a powerful creator of your reality. With a New Moon in Cancer on June 28 before the month ends as well, all things are possible, and they are coming together for you.
Leo Horoscope for June 2022LeoKyra Jay for xoNecole
June is all about flipping the script, and defining what it is you want to see moving forward, Leo. Relationships and their dynamics have been a big theme for you this year, and in June you are figuring out what works for you and what may need some reworking. Your guidance for the month is to remember your connection to your higher self, and that all the answers you need to know will always be within you and within reach. You are not alone on your journey, Leo, remember this.
With Saturn going retrograde in your house of love on June 4, you are thinking a lot about love this summer. The relationships in your life are strongly coming into focus in June, and you are getting the opportunity to see what relationships ground and support, and which ones make you feel off the path. The Full Supermoon in Sagittarius on June 14 will be giving you all the clarity needed on navigating the different experiences in your life, and how to put your happiness at the forefront of it all. By the end of the month, there is a New Moon in your house of endings and culminations, and you are wrapping up a major chapter in life.
Virgo Horoscope for June 2022VirgoKyra Jay for xoNecole
Virgo, this is an important month for planting the seeds and creating your reality. June is a time when you are getting the full picture, and are rewriting your story. This month is about reminding yourself of the power you hold in life and speaking of things you want to bring into existence. Your thoughts and words hold immense power, and this month is reminding you of the importance of a clear mind and heart. With your ruling planet, Mercury officially moving out of retrograde at the start of the month, the path ahead is clearing for you and new opportunities abound, Virgo.
With Venus moving through your 9th house until June 22, you are inspired by expansion, travel, adventure, and the new. There is so much to learn, know, and dive into this month, and you are inspired by the connections you are making right now. The New Moon on June 28 is moving through your 11th house of friendships, and you are seeing some new beginnings within your social world and network this month. June is all about redefining your goals, hopes, and dreams, and seeing the true gifts in them. You are worthy, and you always have been, Virgo.
Libra Horoscope for June 2022LibraKyra Jay for xoNecole
Libra, June is all about nurturing your world. This is the month to pay attention to the little moments of magic that are appearing for you right now and bring more of this beauty and contentment into your life. You have been allowing all to unfold, and have given your intentions the right space and conditions to continue to bloom for you. June is the month to practice opening up to receive, and knowing that you deserve the love you so often give. You have so much magic within you to share and shine in the world, and this month is reminding you how to maintain your balance through it all.
There is a strong focus with you right now when it comes to self-expression and speaking from the heart. Saturn goes retrograde in your 5th house of romance, creativity, and expression from the first week of June until October, and you are redefining ways to go about obtaining your happiness to where you feel this is something sustainable in your life and that you can continue to grow. With your ruling planet Venus moving into your house of adventure on June 22, this summer is all about having fun, feeling free, and making your happiness the priority.
Scorpio Horoscope for June 2022ScorpioKyra Jay for xoNecole
Connect to the sweet moments of life, Scorpio. June is a month of rebirth and a month of remaining patient with the blessings that are unfolding for you at this time. You have reached an important moment on your journey where you know exactly what you want and what that looks like for you, and the Universe has your back while this all unfolds. Finding the balance between what’s been and what is to be isn’t for the faint heart; but you have the courage, strength, and conviction to live your truths and stand in your happiness through it all this month.
With eclipse season out of the way and less tension flowing through the lives of Scorpios right now, June is your month to regroup and gain new ground. The Supermoon on June 14 will be entering your house of income, values, and self-confidence, and this is a good time to go over finances, clean out your wallet, and release anything you have been putting more time and effort into and not seeing a return back. June is your month to bring more of those precious moments of understanding and contentment into your life and to listen to your heart.
Sagittarius Horoscope for June 2022SagittariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
June is here, and you are experiencing some full-circle moments this month, Sagittarius. The month begins with Mercury officially moving out of Retrograde and going direct on June 3rd, and you have a clearer idea of what you see yourself doing daily, and what is going to ultimately benefit your health and lifestyle. This month is all about finding your flow and being your biggest cheerleader. You have shown yourself time and time again that if there is one person you can count on, it is you, and June is about moving through your experiences with this empowered perspective.
Mid-month a Full Strawberry Supermoon is occurring in your sign on June 14, and this is an empowering Full Moon for you. As life comes full circle during this time, make your self-love and self-care a priority and look in the mirror and say, “I love you” a few times. June is reminding you that you do not have to be a bystander to what is happening in your life and that this life is for you to create and consciously experience. With Venus moving into your opposite sign of Gemini before the month ends, you are entering a time of receptivity and grace.
Capricorn Horoscope for June 2022CapricornKyra Jay for xoNecole
June is all about clarity for you, Capricorn. Some important decisions are being made this month, and you are bridging the gap between your intentions to your reality. This month is a time to find your balance between the closures you are seeing right now and the new beginnings that are coming from it, and about moving at your own pace. You have been weathering the storm and have gotten yourself out of some shaky waters, and June is the time when you are putting your foot down and making decisions with a clear heart.
With retrograde season moving underway and your ruling planet Saturn going retrograde at the start of the month, you are moving into a time this summer of understanding more of the giving and receiving in your life. Finances, income streams, and your financial goals for the future come into focus right now, and this is a good time to review the books and get things in order that you feel have fallen to the wayside. Before the month ends there is a New Moon in your opposite sign Cancer, and you are moving out in June and into July with the love and balance on the brain.
Aquarius Horoscope for June 2022AquariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
Love is singing a new tune for you this month, Aquarius. June is a month of being the lover and allowing yourself to be loved as well and is a time where your emotional world is highlighting the thoughts that have been flowing within. You are ready to stretch your wings and fly this month and are looking at the open horizons ahead of you right now. One of your ruling planets, Saturn, makes its yearly retrograde transit this month on June 4 and will be retrograde in your sign until October. You are entering a journey of defining what self-love means to you, and are giving yourself breathing room to figure things out for yourself.
The Full Moon on June 14 is an inspiring one for you, and a one that is helping you redefine your goals, and vision of the future. You are getting the opportunity to see some past intentions come full circle right now, and there are real treasures in your world to grab ahold of in June. By the end of the month, Venus moves into your 5th house of romance where it will remain until July 17, and there are a lot of happy times ahead of you right now, Aquarius.
Pisces Horoscope for June 2022PiscesKyra Jay for xoNecole
June is a month of big changes, and big power moves, Pisces. You are the one moving yourself forward right now, and you are getting yourself to a place where you feel there is more stable ground to walk on. You have been finding your balance between the need to heal and the need to be, and this is a month of renewed passion and inspiration. There is a lot of courage with you this month to clear space and make room for the new, and you are building your world right now with your heart in mind.
One of your ruling planets Neptune makes its yearly retrograde transit this month and will be retrograde in your sign from June 28 until December 3. This retrograde transit is reminding you of the importance of seeing things for what they are, and not allowing your powerful imagination to run too wild into territory that doesn’t serve your personal growth or idea of self. There is a New Moon in fellow water sign Cancer on the same day Neptune is going retrograde, and this is a good time to set your intentions for how you want to live out your dreams and happiness moving forward.
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Featured image by Kyra Jay for xoNecole
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Tayler Barakat is a Mystic who has studied Astrology for over a decade. She does intuitive astrology and tarot readings for people all over the world, and her work focuses on healing and empowering individuals. Follow her on Instagram @taylerbarakat_ and check out her website www.listentothevirgo.com.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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What Is A 'Monogamy Agreement' And Should You Have One?
As a writer, I've gotta admit that it can get more and more challenging to tackle certain topics. Why? It's because I'm a pretty word-literal person. Yet, like a lot of people who I witness on a daily basis, who constantly move the goalposts in order to suit whatever whim they're on at any given moment, even the dictionary has a way of doing something similar when it comes to various words' definitions.
Take monogamy, for example. When I was growing up, it meant "married to one person for a lifetime." This meant that you couldn't be remarried and technically consider yourself monogamous (because you're not with the first person you said vows to). And you definitely couldn't be living with someone or in a long-term relationship and use the word. No, for you, something like "exclusive" would be more accurate (and that's actually the word that I lean into in those instances even now).
These days, though, the goalpost says that monogamy is "marriage with only one person at a time." So, while people who've had more than one spouse can now use the word, when it comes to what we're about to dive into today (a monogamy agreement), folks who are interested in those would still be far better off going with something like "exclusive" to drive their point home. That's because this topic doesn't really have anything to do with marriage…although it does approach commitment in an interesting kind of way.
Yeah, in a world that is ever finding ways to change marriage, redefine marriage or figure out how close they can get to marriage without actually getting married, monogamy agreements have entered the chat. And because we try to cover as many bases as possible, basically on the "FYI tip," I wanted to take a moment to break down what exactly they are.
Let’s Tackle Traditional Marriage First. For Clarity’s Sake.
I won't lie — even as someone who's been working with married couples for many years now, whenever I happen upon a healthy (first) and happy (second) married couple of more than a decade, I'm halfway in shock. That's because, these days, people seem to treat the sacredness of marriage like they would a dating relationship — they have a big party in the form of a wedding, pledge to God and everyone present that they're not going anywhere (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7) and that their love is patient (I Corinthians 13:4) and then, somewhere down the line, when things get rough, they end it…only to rinse and repeat.
Now when it comes to things like infidelity and abuse, that's not what I'm speaking of here. I'm talking about there are so many people acting like they are married before they actually are (a boyfriend or girlfriend is not a husband or wife) that by the time they do say "I do," they are numbed out to the fact that a marriage is supposed to be several steps up in seriousness and sacredness than a dating dynamic is.
I definitely could go on and on about how there is supposed to be a boatload of integrity behind the vows that are exchanged between two people. However, this article isn't about marriage — it's about monogamy agreements. What I will say about marriage, for now, is it's not just about if you love someone a lot. Ask any pastor, marriage counselor, or even lawyer worth their merit, and they will confirm the fact that marriage is a legal contract — that you are not just vowing sentiments and emotional promises. No, under the law of marriage, there are also certain rights and responsibilities that you are agreeing to as well. That's why people should go into marriage with a very sober and level-headed mind because they're a lot easier to get into than they are to get out of. No doubt about it.
Speaking of legalities, let's touch on marriage licenses for a moment, shall we? Because there is something about them that you actually may not know (that I absolutely think that you should).
So, What’s the Deal with Marriage Licenses and Marriage Certificates?
Although this really could get its own article, let me just say that marriage licenses definitely deserve some level of side-eye in this country. Even though history says that it started out as being a business contract in England, in America, the long short of it is racist politicians used marriage licenses as a way to keep track of interracial couples (you can read more about it here, here, and here). Yep. So, that's part of the reason why even some traditionally married couples are not super fond of marriage licenses — because, basically, the government is "regulating" the relationship on some level.
With that cleared up, just what is the difference between a marriage license and a marriage certificate? Good question. A marriage license is what allows you to get married in your state prior to saying "I do," while a marriage certificate is a document that proves you are married once your wedding ceremony is actually over.
Can you get a marriage certificate without a marriage license? The short answer would be "no," although couples who fall into the category of "common law marriage" sometimes are able to work around this based on what state they live in. For everyone else, getting married without a marriage license is basically a commitment ceremony. That's because, in order to get a marriage license or marriage certificate, your state's county clerk would have to issue you one.
Now, I ain't got no lies to tell you — go to YouTube, and you will see a good amount of videos (like this one here) stating that not only can you work around not getting a marriage license, you absolutely should. To that, I'll just say that one of the biggest problems with social media is everyone is a so-called expert now, even if they have no credentials to back it up. So with that in mind, if this section of the article has you tempted to go down a long rabbit hole (and I totally get it if it does), speak with some people who have actual and literal experience in the field in your state. Don't just go rogue with your own resolve (please don't let YouTube and TikTok hem you up).
Okay, So What Is This Whole Monogamy Agreement Thing About?
So, what does all of that have to do with a monogamy agreement? Well, in order to explain why some people are opting for it as an alternative to a marriage license (or marriage altogether), it was important to explain marriage licenses and certificates just so that you could clearly get what the differences are.
Now that you know, a monogamy agreement is pretty much just how it sounds: it's an agreement that is established between two people who want to have some form of a commitment to one another, yet they don't want all of the legalities that come with traditional marriage.
If you're trying to wrap your head around that, I'll explain it to you this way. You've probably heard someone say that they wish that the marriage contract could be renegotiated every few years. For instance, rather than being "locked into" until death parts us, every five years or so, they wish that they could revisit their marriage to see if they want to opt-out, change certain initial agreements, or restructure the marriage altogether. Well, for folks who are wired this way, a monogamy agreement is probably the best route for them to take because, again, although it's not a legally binding contract, it is a formal agreement between them and their partner about what each of their expectations is.
See it like an integrity agreement — no one is making assumptions about where things stand or where things are headed (hopefully); the monogamy agreement puts things in black and white so that it's all crystal clear.
And when I say "black and white," I literally mean just that. Again, although it's not a legal contract, it is a document that lays everything out so that there is no confusion. And what do I mean by "everything"? It's totally up to you and your partner, yet some of the things that people usually include are goals and values, sexual expectations, financial responsibilities, boundaries (both in and outside of the relationship), how infidelity is defined, ultimate goals for the relationship — and yes, when the agreement is up for renegotiation whether that's in a year, five years or 10.
Who Should Consider a Monogamy Agreement?
Now that you know more about what a monogamy agreement is, let's begin to land this plane with the people a monogamy agreement may be best suited for. While at the end of the day, the short answer is anyone who wants one, there's a specific reason why I decided to even broach this topic.
It's because, while it's not (yet) earth-shattering in either direction, marriage is somewhat on the decline as cohabitation is on the rise in this country. And while research continues to reveal that married couples are more satisfied with their relationship than folks who live together and many who do cohabitate, they see it as a stepping stone towards becoming spouses at some point, let's not act like millennials (and under) aren't a bit gun shy when it comes to saying "I do."
Reportedly, 56 percent of them are not married. For many women, it's because they are prioritizing their education and careers over marriage and a family. Also, some suffer from what is known as gamophobia (the technical term for having a fear of getting married), in part due to a pattern of failed relationships, being the child of divorce (divorce affects children more than a lot of people want to accept) and what getting divorced themselves could possibly cost them. Then there are those who just never wanted to get married…yet that doesn't mean that they don't believe in some form of commitment on some level.
For individuals who don't want to casually date or even just sit at the "boyfriend/girlfriend level" for years on end, monogamy agreements may be a solid fit. You can have your own version of a commitment ceremony (or not), knowing that you're not on one page regarding what your relationship is about while your partner is somewhere totally different. There's no confusion because you literally have documentation about where the two of you are.
Now, I will say this: no agreement works if two people's words are trash (LOL). Yet honestly, that can apply to traditional marriage or a monogamy agreement. I'm just putting you on to what a monogamy agreement is all about if you've been trying to figure out how to have a serious commitment without a legal contract.
No doubt about it, monogamy agreements are gaining some real traction out in these streets.
Something for the committed-yet-not-marriage-minded.
Interesting, right? Relationships always are, chile.
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