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How I Knew It Was Time To Call Off My Wedding

Her Voice

It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I was in the middle of one of the biggest fights of my life. Perhaps, the most hurtful part of the blind anger, and blood red rage was who I was in the fight with. My opponent during that fight wasn't supposed to be an opponent at all, he was my fiancé and almost a year ago, to that date, he had asked me to marry him. And now, we were fighting each other with words that could make anyone think that love had never grown, made, lived, or stayed there between us at all.

It was an hour before our food tasting at the wedding venue, but I could not feel anything. I was numb. I watched his back walk out of the door to leave.

Tears flowed down my face.

I accepted the sadness I felt in the time following our break up. Not for him. They were for me. I felt like the relationship failed despite all my effort. It was a realization that only solidified more as I thought of the save-the-dates that had gone out to family and friends, the venue that was halfway paid for, the wedding dress I no longer had a need for.

How could I stop now?

As I look back now, I realize that the feeling of failure was still easier to swallow than regret would ever be. And the relief I felt after sadness subsided forced me to realize that I was glad the train had stopped well before it pulled into the station. Deep down, I was grateful to him for walking away.

It meant I no longer had to say “yes" when every fiber of my being was screaming “no" all for the sake of a so-called happy ending with a man I no longer felt moved by or enamored with.

It's okay to be wrong in love.

Here are the 7 signs I wish I paid attention to long before that fight that told me the wedding was off:

Nothing About Our Relationship Was Organic

I met my ex-fiance the day before my first solo trip out of the country. I re-read the article I wrote about it now laughing at my ignorance. I didn't listen to a friend that said, “Get to know a man through all four seasons before committing your life to him." I had it mapped out to a science. Controlling my destiny was so important, I even organized the date and time of his marriage proposal. It wasn't a surprise. Nothing about our relationship came naturally because I was constantly forcing him to show love he didn't rightfully feel.

Of course, a man can say he loves you, but if he wakes up in the morning, fixes a full breakfast for himself and never asks, “Are you hungry?", you can make a safe bet that his words are just words. Love motivates us to be selfless.

Love moves us to give and, when it's authentic, giving is as natural as breathing. I ignored all the signs while simultaneously depending on signs to hold us together. What do I mean? The distance between us and our inability to communicate was consistent. However, on days where he'd happen to finish my sentences I thought, Oh my God, that's the sign that he was made for me. I just got to stay committed and rock with him!

Trust what is consistent. Trust your heart. I learned to stop fishing for signs and see things as they are.

My Body Changed

I gained 15 pounds. It wasn't the cutesy “date night eating out" weight because date nights ceased with a wedding looming overhead. It was stress weight. After my annual biometric screening, I was told to take a stress test. My blood pressure was incredibly high. If that wasn't enough, the hair around my temples receded after I'd cut off all my hair. I felt horrible about myself. The progress I'd made just the year before in being the healthiest I'd ever been was completely wiped away.

I Made No Personal Advancements

While personal advancement is a self-motivated decision, sometimes I was so obsessed with the relationship that I stifled my own growth. It's important to hold some energy back for your own goals and ambition. It's also important to connect to a man or woman who is your ultimate cheerleader. On days you run out of energy, he/she makes you feel like you can leap over tall buildings. Most importantly, you cultivate that “I Can Do Anything" spirit from having a healthy balance between your personal goals and the "us" goals. I didn't have the balance. It was all about building the "us" life and my life lost its luster.

I Had To Fake That The Picture Was Perfect

I became wedding planning obsessed while the relationship was falling apart. The image of the “best day of our lives" was the only joy I had. We made the commitment so we had to make it work. If I focused on the wedding plans, then the relationship would work itself out. I just had to keep pushing forward. I began overcompensating by creating the “grand" wedding in effort to mask the fear that I was making a mistake.

I went to my second bridal shop and found THE dress. I'd watched hundreds of would-be brides stand on the podium when they finally said 'yes to the dress' and cry tears of pure joy. My mother was teary-eyed. Her firstborn was in a gorgeous gown with a chapel-length veil. It was real now. I was going to marry him and I felt sick. I stood there with a beautiful dress on and the owner of the boutique said, “I sense some hesitation." The hesitation she sensed was not about the dress…it was my heart.

I remember leaving the boutique. Still manufacturing excitement, I called him saying “I found the dress!" He said, “That's nice. I'll call you after I'm finished doing what I'm doing." I stared at the phone, beeping with the sound of an abruptly-ended call. The wedding dress that should have been freeing felt like a straightjacket.

I Was Not Keeping God At The Center

My relationship with God came to a standstill because building this other relationship became the singular focus. I'd sit in church and plan out table settings and centerpieces in my head. I'd fill the hole with keeping busy. A friend said something so powerful to me once: “Christ is so important in a relationship because every time I get into an argument with my wife, I am convicted. My relationship with God gives me that push to say, 'Hey, I'm sorry.' God values at the center of your relationship holds you to a higher standard of how you treat each other. She is my partner and not my enemy."

It should never get to a place where name-calling is the go-to defense or ending the relationship becomes a curse-filled mantra. God is the compass that causes you to honor each other even in heated disagreements.

I Felt Really Alone In My Relationship

There I was, seven months away from the big day and I felt more alone than I'd ever felt in my life. I'd been stripped of my first love, which was travel, in order to prioritize the relationship first and not offend my soon-to-be-husband. He was on the couch playing video games or watching Netflix. I was in the bedroom buying home appliances or watching Four Weddings. This would go on for hours with barely two words spoken to each other until I fell asleep or he left the apartment to "do something." I became a clam, only imparting my feelings to my friends. He became resentful, using the silent treatment towards me whether we were together or apart.

Communication failed and therefore so did trust. My relationship with my friends ceased to exist. When I went to Barbados with my college friend for my birthday, a monkey ran across the main power line on the island and shut down the power in three parishes. The power outage also impacted the cell phone towers. To my fiancé, the story seemed as far fetched as it sounded. I spent most of the time there arguing about the veracity of the power outage on the island. Even in another country, I was unhappy. We were in a relationship in title but could not have been more apart in action.

We Were No Longer Compatible

Seeing value in what makes you different and appreciating it is what makes relationships work. He and I had two very different backgrounds. I am very suburban and he is very urban. I am a newbie traveler and he is a chronic homebody. He is frugal. I am for fabulosity on a budget. Our differences became obstacles instead of assets. They were weapons that drove a wedge between us instead of drawing us closer together. What we failed to do was respect the incredible things that made us unique. No one will ever find a person who is compatible in every way. Compatibility is important when it comes to values but differences are important to building mature balanced relationships.

The apartment was empty. I stared at a brand new Spin & Scrub Hoover vacuum cleaner and my new touchless trash can. All of these high tech appliances surrounded me but a gilded cage is still a cage. Actress Meagan Good's husband, Devon Franklin once said, "For anybody that has ever been married getting the ring isn't the end of the story. Unless God cosigned that ring, you are in trouble. Don't compare your life to someone else's life because you could be coveting trouble."

Thanksgiving Day, I had a family auction. I gave away most of the things I'd purchased during the course of the relationship. It gave me the closure I needed, and the satisfaction of witnessing my family and friends receive the things they needed.

To my surprise the family embraced my change in relationship status with a “thank God".

They saw the sadness I thought I'd masterfully masked. The fear I had of failure dissipated with each Taboo card thrown on the dinner table and each piece of cinnamon glazed sweet potato pie passed around. Life goes on!

We are living, breathing beings that grow and change.

I am embracing the fact that every relationship isn't the right one. I've learned to make a U-turn when it's necessary. No amount of commitment in the world is worth sacrificing your happy. By all means, get your happy!

Do you have a personal story that has happened to you and left you feeling empowered? Share your story with the xoNecole readers by sending your submissions to editor@xonecole.com!

Featured image by Beatriz Pérez Moya on Unsplash

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
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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