7 Worrisome Things In Relationships...That You Really Shouldn't Worry About

"Why worry about something that probably will never happen and, if the does happen, would the pre-worrying have stopped it?"—Unknown


Something that I grew up around were worry warts. It wasn't until I grew up and was able to create my own energy oasis that I realized how toxic that space actually was because worrying really does tend to create issues/problems that don't exist. I mean, just think about what the word means—"to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret". What about that sounds healthy, beneficial or productive? Exactly.

As a marriage life coach, I oftentimes see people literally manifest their own drama in their relationships because they worry about things that, at the end of the day, they really shouldn't worry about—either because it's not that big of a deal or they couldn't really change it if it happened anyway. That's what I want to touch on today. If you want to keep your relationship in a good space, long-term, start by not tormenting yourself—and ultimately your partner—by choosing to have fear, anxiety and/or doubt about things that…really aren't worth it at the end of the day.

1. Titles


Titles are an interesting topic. When it comes to romantic relationships specifically, on one hand, they can help to bring about clarity. On another, if you're too consumed with them, they can create a lot of unnecessary drama. As someone who has said, many times, that I am too damn old for a boyfriend (check out "Why I'll Never Call Someone A 'Boyfriend' Again"), a title isn't that big of a deal to me. What I need to know is that we're on the same page (check out "The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have"), that the page isn't a secret to those who know us, and I'm all good. Besides, titles typically only come up when folks are being introduced to other people, right? It's like the title is needed in order to validate the relationship and, trust me, if you're being treated well and right, you will automatically feel confident—both in and out of the presence of folks.

The only real caveat to this is when a man refuses to put a title on your relational dynamic when it's something that you actually long for. I know a married couple like this. While the wife claims that she and her husband were a couple for many years prior to jumping the broom, her man is adamant that nothing "official" ever transpired before they said, "I do". Hmph. That low-key sounds like, "If I say you were my girlfriend and you find out all of the dirt that I did, I can't excuse my way out of it by saying we were never a couple in the first place." SMDH.

Still, people like that tend to be the exception and not the rule when it comes to this particular point. Besides, a title means nothing if the actions aren't backing up the words. For instance, I know another guy who, when he's asked if he has a girlfriend, he sometimes says, "She might think I'm her boyfriend but I don't have a girlfriend." This ninja. So yeah, why spend a lot of time worrying about if there's a title to your situation or not? Because it has to matter as much to the person who you're in a relationship with as it does to you, anyway. Instead, focus on if your needs are being met. If they are, chill. And what if the "need" is to have a title? If so, ask yourself why. Then discuss it with your partner. You might realize that you wanted one only because it's so-called what everyone else is doing and not really because it's that big of a deal to you. Or, you might discover that you and he want different things and it's time to do some shifting because of it. Either way, you win.

2. Social Media


If any of you have been watching the current season of Ready to Love, you know that there's a two-time divorced guy on there by the name of David who said that he believes that long-term couples should give each other full password access. While I do think that a marital dynamic is different than two folks who are dating, this is still something that I've never personally desired in any kind of relationship. I mean, for what? When I think of other situations where passwords are shared, it's automatically parents and children that come to mind and it's usually because either a parent doesn't fully trust their child's online actions or they don't think that they're mature enough to handle social media without their guidance.

Adults aren't children, so what's all of the grown folks monitoring about? And if someone isn't your actual spouse, I really don't get why you should have that kind of access.

Being in an intimate relationship doesn't mean that someone has to give up their individuality or privacy. Besides, if you can't trust your partner when it comes to how they interact with people on Instagram (or they can't trust you), why are the two of you together to begin with?

Some folks cause worry to make mountains out of molehills when there shouldn't be one. That said, just because some attractive woman likes your man's page or he's friends with folks you don't know online, that doesn't mean that you need to hop into his DMs or "check" anybody. Geeze. Things grow when they have space (more on that in a sec). Not when they are being suffocated. Your partner doesn't need you monitoring them. If you disagree, the issue is probably way bigger than social media. Real talk.

3. Your Partner’s Opposite Sex Friendships


Do I think that men and women can be "just friends"? 1000 percent. I've got a few male friends—single and married—to prove it. When two people are truly platonic (check out "The Word 'Platonic' Is Sacred. Literally."), there really is nothing to worry about because a "spiritual love-based relationship" oftentimes takes on a very different kind of energy. Like me? I adore all of my male friends and they each bring something very special into my life. Yet lawd, the thought of anything sexual or romantic transpiring with any of them basically makes me want to throw up in my mouth. I'm not exaggerating. That's why I'm so over the myth that just because someone has a penis and you've got a vagina, there is an automatic temptation there—even if it's dormant—between two people. Who said?

Case in point. I just went out with a very close male friend of mine not too long ago. He is adorable and hella photogenic. And yet, we can talk about him and all of the women who want him 'til the cows come home because I can't even get my mind around us being anything more than what we are. He listens to me. I listen to him. We provide each other with a perspective that our same-sex friends are unable to provide and that's about the extent of our connection. That's all that it ever will be.

Unfortunately, some people get into relationships and think that a part of their job is to get their partner to "clean house" when it comes to their opposite sex friendships when what they're actually doing is putting an expiration date on their relationship (at least 8 times out of 10). Listen, unless "she's" hella disrespectful (check out "What If Your Guy Friend's Girlfriend Isn't Feelin' You?"), she seems to be trying to influence you man to distance himself from you or she's putting strain on him to the point where he can't take care of the other priorities in his life (none of these instances sound very "platonic" to me, by the way), who cares if he's got female friends in his life? If they were gonna be together…they would've been together. Don't create problems that don't exist, just because you've heard too many times that men and women can't be "just friends". That is absolutely not the truth.

4. Not Seeing Everything Eye to Eye


I personally think that one of the biggest mistakes people make in relationships is expecting their partner to become their clone. Shoot, worse than that, they put themselves in the position to become the "clone trainer" when no one (especially their partner) asked them to do so.

You know, a part of what comes with being emotionally intelligent in a relationship is understanding that people who are different than you are can help you to evolve in ways that folks who are similar never could. So, if you're out here worrying that you and your partner won't work out because you're not in agreement about everything under the sun, what is it that grandma used to say? You're just borrowing trouble.

How can you know if the differences are potentially problematic? That's a fair question. If you don't share similar values. If you don't have the same long-term goal(s) for the relationship. If you communicate in a toxic way. If you don't respect one another's religious and political points of view. If you don't complement one another. If any of this is going on, you shouldn't shrug it off. However, everything else? You're far better off being open-minded when it comes to why the two of you have different approaches to matters than assuming that you're doomed, just because y'all are not Bobbsey Twins. A lot of marriages end, unfortunately, because one or both spouses don't get this very point. Your partner isn't supposed to be just like you—again, they are to complement you. Oftentimes, differences are what do that because they challenge you to grow. RELAX.

5. Being on Other People’s Timetable


A couple of years back, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Experts Say You Should Date This Long Before Getting Married". If you're rushing and you want the bottom line answer, many relationship experts say that it shouldn't take longer than two years for two marriage-minded people (check out "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material") to date and at least get engaged. For the most part, I agree with that (by the way, it's also not the wisest thing to stay engaged for more than two years; engagement really should mean that you are in a period where you are planning your wedding not sitting around forever with a ring on your finger). What I will also say is this is a generalized conclusion—and each couple is different.

If you and yours live in two different cities, states or countries. If you and yours are trying to get your finances together (lawd, PLEASE get your finances together). If the both of you know that you love each other and still would like to take out some time to do some self-work (via therapy, etc.) in order to heal some issues before taking things to the next level. If there are certain things that you know would be easier for you to accomplish as a single person before getting married. If you've got kids and you want to make sure that things will "blend well"—don't let what relationship experts, your mama or your married girlfriends think deter you from what your gut instincts say is best.

It really is sad, how much a lot of us worry about things that we're really not all that worried about; it's just that people and their opinions come in and try to plant seeds of fear, confusion or doubt. So long as you and your guy are clear about your relationship short- and long-term goals and you're both working to meet them, give the clock a bit of a rest. Haste makes waste. That's not just a random saying. There is a ton of truth to it. Just ask a lot of the divorced people that you know.

6. The Need for Space


I honestly don't know anyone who doesn't want their own space from time to time. I take that back—yes, I do. Needy people. Controlling people. Insecure people. Folks with a low-key love addiction. Yet one thing that all of those individuals have in common is they typically look for their relationship to fill voids that they need to work on as individuals. So, if you're someone who knows that you kinda suffocate your partner, I say this in love when I say, "heal thyself".

While I get that sometimes there can be challenges in this area because, for instance, your primary love language may be physical touch when your partner's isn't or you enjoy spending as much time as possible with the ones you care about while your partner is cool with you only seeing each other a couple of times a week, tops, it's not fair to assume that someone who wants space is someone who doesn't care about you, isn't being on the up-and-up when it comes to what the two of you have agreed to do and not do out of each other's presence or that he can't be trusted on some levels. Right as I'm typing this, I can think of a woman who is constantly finding ways to not be out of her husband's presence. I mean physical presence, online presence—you name it. And you know what? It's taking a major toll on the relationship because while she's calling it "love", he's calling it "annoying AF" and "hella insecure".

I believe that we've all heard the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Deeper than that, being a couple doesn't mean that someone doesn't want their own "me" time.

Encouraging your partner to have time alone. Being cool with them spending time with friends when you're not around. Not feeling like all of your free time needs to be spent together—you'd be surprised how much that can make him feel like you are secure in the relationship. And that kind of confidence is sexy as hell.

7. That It Won’t Work Out


I've got a friend who, right at this very moment, is going through the grieving process of a break-up. Something that's a bit fascinating about the situation is he basically saw red flags in the dynamic and blatantly ignored them. And so, although he knew that there was an expiration date to the relationship, he kept putting off the inevitable which led to him becoming more attached, which caused the break-up to ultimately become more painful. Still, in the midst of it all, he's seeing some personal growth and lessons that he may not have learned any other way.

My point? I don't know many people who go into relationships with a plan to end them (some folks are narcissists, users or commitment-phobes which is why I couldn't say that I don't know any). So yes, if/when the relationship comes to an end, it can be really difficult. Sometimes, even devastating. I've been there. Believe that. Yet when it comes to myself and the folks I know who've shared their relationship and break-up stories with me, only maybe 10-15 percent have a lot of regrets. The reason why is because they see that some things naturally run their course after a season, that sometimes breaking up is a pruning process that helps us to grow and/or that if they hadn't ended that relationship, they wouldn't be with the person they're with—someone who is far better for them—now.

Besides, sitting around worrying that a relationship could end could play itself out to be a form of self-sabotage because you end up bringing so much fear, negativity, confusion, testing (you know, testing someone to see how loyal or committed they are; that gets old) and/or drama to the situation that it ends up running its course—even if it wasn't supposed to.

So, STOP WORRYING. As long as you bring your best self to the relationship, that's all you can do. Let the universe handle what you can't control. If you remain in this head and heart space, you'll realize that there really isn't all that much to worry about anyway. What will be, will be—and ultimately, it will be for your better good. If not immediately…eventually. Amen.

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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.


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

The Long View

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

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

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

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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