Why You Might Need To End This Year With A Breakup
I’m willing to bet that it comes as absolutely no surprise to most of you that the most popular day to get engaged is Christmas and the most popular time of the year to do it is between November and December. And just why am I bringing all of that lovey-dovey stuff up when this title clearly indicates that we’re going to be discussing the total opposite of a man getting down on one knee? Well, interestingly enough, guess when the most popular time of the year is when it comes to people (70 percent of which are women, by the way) filing for divorce? That, my dear, would be January.
The stress of the holiday season, compounded with so much focus on making resolutions for a new year, oftentimes is what sends husbands and wives over the edge. To them, ending their marriage at the top of the year means a fresh start. It means no longer having to tolerate what they’ve had to for weeks, months, or even years on end.
Now here’s the thing. While I personally think that marriage is several steps up on the commitment tip from dating (I also think a lot of us could be spared unnecessary heartache if we processed it this way. Check out “Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife”), at the same time, most people don’t get to the point of proposals, marriage, and possibly divorce without it, right? That’s why, in the effort that all of us can get to who and what is best for us (and also so we won’t end up wasting precious time), I thought it would be a good idea to run down a few reasons why ending the year with a breakup, may actually be what’s ultimately…best.
You’re Constantly Wondering If You’re Missing Out on Something
It’s not uncommon to use the end of the year as a time for some serious reflection. Well, when it comes to your relationship, ask yourself this — what do I like the most and what do I like the least about it? Although no relationship is perfect (because no human is), a telling sign that you’re in something that’s healthy and beneficial is you don’t feel like things are missing and/or that you keep having to compensate for certain voids or needs that you have. That’s actually one of the reasons why I am absolutely NOT team act-like-you’re-married-when-you’re-not; it’s because it will have you believing that you have to endure some of the things that people with paperwork, changed names and different tax statuses have to — and that’s simply not true.
Everyone deserves to feel like they can “exhale” in their relationship. If you feel more like you are ignoring the quiet voice in the back of your head that is telling you that there is more out there, I wouldn’t ignore it. There is a huge chance that it’s probably right.
Remember: Time Waits for No One
Semi-recently, I did an interview about if there is anything I regret about my 20s and 30s. Chile. CHILE. If you are in your 20s and reading this, let me share three things. One, you can spare yourself a lot of drama by not spending so much time trying to “prove how grown you are” instead of being open to hearing the wisdom of folks who have already been your age before (discernment tops experience, more often than not). Two, this ridiculous notion that you should be wild and reckless for an entire decade and then get around to getting more serious about life in your 30s is costing people more than they think. And three, I’m saying all of this because I know from personal experience. Because I was dealing with some childhood and adolescent-related trauma and I was stubborn and I was too smart for my own good, my 20s were really something. Because of that, I spent most of my 30s in recovery, and honestly, just now, in my 40s, is everything leveling out. Lawd. Time. Time I will never get back.
A wise person once said that when you start to value yourself, you start to value your time more. That said, another sign that it may be time to break up is if you keep wondering if you’re wasting your time or people who care about you keep telling you that you are doing exactly that. Because if there are two things that I believe, now more than ever, it’s when there’s reciprocity in a relationship, there is no need to keep tabs and if two people are fulfilled in their dynamic, they don’t wonder if they are wasting time; they are too busy enjoying their time together for it to even cross their minds.
I would hate for you to look up, two years from now, and realize that you should’ve made some shifts a long time ago because two years from now is…two years from now. Each day is just as precious as you are. Make sure that your relationship honors the time that you have. It’s supposed to.
You’ve Hit a Fork in the Road
A part of the reason why I’m such a fan of people getting relationship insights from the opposite sex is because you need people who naturally think differently than you do. For instance, while your girlfriends may be encouraging you to hang in for another year (after it’s already been several years) to see if your man is going to become who you want him to be, your male homies may be like, “If he wanted to marry you, he would’ve done it by now." And you know what? Your male friends are probably right because if there is one thing that I know about men is, what they want, they will go all the way out of their way to get it — if need be.
Sometimes, relationships need to end, not because two people don’t love each other anymore; it’s just that they want different things out of life. And sometimes, the relationship is what helps to bring them to that conclusion. You know, one of the best things about dating as opposed to being married is you can always put yourself above all else, you can always do what is best for you. If you want marriage and kids in the next few years and your man is like “I mean…maybe” — don’t over-romanticize things. Please believe that when he heard what you wanted and replied with some “meh” energy that he already sized up that he could end up losing you because you’re on two different pages. Staying longer isn’t going to change his mind either. He has to get there on his own.
Forks in the road can be challenging because you spent so much time walking through life together and suddenly you’ve got to decide if you should continue to do so or not. What I will say to that is the world is mighty big and you stand a far greater chance of freeing yourself up to see what other possibilities there are than to “hang right” with him and just…hope for the best. Besides, doing that, more times than not, isn’t really about love. Far too often, it’s actually about…fear. This brings me to the next point.
Fear, More than Love, Is Keeping You
You’d be amazed, how many clients have told me that on the day before their wedding, they knew that they were making a mistake to get married (check out “What Should You Do If You Feel Like You Married The Wrong Person?”). Shoot, my own mother said that about my father and my brother’s dad. And I wrote an entire book that touched on how that led to layers of pure bullshishery for all parties involved. That’s why I totally believe that the opposite of love is not hate (one definition of hate is “unwillingness”) but fear. Nothing about love moves in fear. Love is courageous. Love is bold. Love is also holistically beneficial. Fear, on the other hand, typically overthinks. Fear creates anxiety, worry, and doubt. Fear creates clinginess and neediness. Yeah, love and fear are polar opposites, pretty much in every way.
I’m pretty sure that, at some point, you’ve heard that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. Sometimes, when I reflect on that, I think of fear from the angle of being a mirage. It can play with your mind so much — yes, even in a relationship — that you’ll talk yourself into staying stuck in something because you think that leaving will totally wreck your life when that’s simply not true. Oftentimes, when we get the nudge to move on, the universe is letting us know that all that we needed to get from a person, place, thing or idea, we’ve received and to remain would be to do it/them and us a huge disservice.
Love? Love is calming and reassuring. Fear? Fear gets us to freak out in our decision-making process. When it comes to your relationship, which side of the fence are you on? Trust me, on this, there is no middle ground; riding the fence is simply impossible (if you’re honest with yourself, that is).
You Keep Looking to Him to Do More than YOU Are Doing for You
There are needs and then there is being needy. The first is healthy. The second, not so much (check out “Are You In Love Or Are You In Need?”). The reason why a lot of people are so needy in their relationship, though, is because there is some part of them who thinks that it is their partner’s job to make up for where they lack within themselves. What I mean by that is, say that you don’t think very highly of yourself. Rather than take some time to be alone to get a grasp on why that is the case, you decide, “I’ll just get a boyfriend and then constantly nag him to affirm me, give to me and make me feel good about me.” What about that sounds like a healthy relationship or something that a healthy person wants to get involved in?
I’ve had relationships in the past where, because I didn’t love myself very much, I expected the men in my life to make up for it. That’s not only unfair, it’s pretty unrealistic too. When you’re in something that’s good, your partner is going to reflect back to you how you feel. Yes, they will be loving, respectful and giving. However, not tp the point where they are being these things more than you are. You know, I know a man who, when his now ex-wife wanted to call their wedding off, he told her that he had enough love for the both of them. If you just said “aww” to that, I’m shaking my head because that is some seriously dysfunctional and codependent ish.
No one has enough love to make up for the love someone else lacks. Besides, that’s not their job. The job of a partner is to support, encourage and reaffirm what you already know about yourself as you do the same thing for him. If all of this is completely foreign to you, that’s another sign that breaking up, at least for a season, so that you can get clear on how you feel about yourself, may just be the best thing.
Feelings Are Superseding Facts
Following your heart is following your feelings and feelings tend to be quite fickle. So no, I am not a fan. Lord, the amount of drama (and even divorces) that could be spared if people focused on facts. Facts are rooted in what actually exists. Facts are based on reality. Facts are about acknowledging the truth. When it comes to your guy, feel how you feel yet don’t make major decisions without considering the facts — what exists between the two of you, the reality about the two of you, the truth about the two of you. And if those things are totally contrary to your feelings…you already know what I’m about to say. Even if you don’t break up, get some space to really ponder and process THE REAL because a relationship that is approached based on only feelings and no facts is problematic, at best.
Honey, I know. This definitely ain’t no Hallmark holiday rom-com kind of piece. Yet if you want to live the kind of life that is full of what you truly desire, it’s important to get out of scripted movies and into the real world. Ending the year with a breakup can be hard; still, it’s much harder to be right here, this time next year, with no progress. It’s your heart. Your time. YOUR LIFE. Please, sis, choose wisely.
And while you’re single (not married), that always means choosing you — most of all.
Featured image by Giphy
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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
Aside from the trick-or-treating, costume parties, and abundance of Halloween candy, something else that is common during this time of year is horror movies. Scary movies can be watched year-round, but cozying up for a fright night during the month of October adds another layer of spine-tingling thrills to the horror.
For the horror movie aficionado in you who might be more likely to reach for the remote than go out for Halloween party plans, we've got the perfect movie list for you. Grab your popcorn, dim the lights, and prepare for a terrifyingly good time as we explore the must-watch horror movies and TV shows on streaming that will haunt your dreams.
Scary Horror Movies and TV Shows To Stream This Halloween
The Strays (2023)
"A woman's meticulously crafted life of privilege starts to unravel when two strangers show up in her quaint suburban town." - via Netflix
The Fall of the House of Usher (2023)
"To secure their fortune — and future — two ruthless siblings build a family dynasty that begins to crumble when their heirs mysteriously die, one by one." - via Netflix
Get Out (2017)
"Chris is anxious about meeting his girlfriend Rose's parents, and his jitters prove justified as the get-together turns from uncomfortable to terrifying." - via Netflix
"A serene family vacation turns frightening when a family's nightmarish doppelgängers descend upon their beachfront abode." - via Netflix
"Successful author Veronica Henley is finishing a book tour before she returns home to her husband and daughter. But a shocking turn of events is about to upend Veronica's existence, plunging her into a horrifying reality that forces her to confront her past, present and future -- before it's too late." - via Rotten Tomatoes
"Traveling to Detroit for a job interview, a young woman books a rental home. But when she arrives late at night, she discovers that the house is double-booked, and a strange man is already staying there..." - via 20th Century Studios
The Fly (1986)
"When scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) completes his teleportation device, he decides to test its abilities on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a housefly slips in during the process, leading to a merger of man and insect..." - via Rotten Tomatoes
Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)
"When a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game goes awry in this fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong." - via A24
Bad Hair (2020)
"In this horror satire set in 1989, Bad Hair follows an ambitious woman who gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music TV. However, her career comes at a cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own." - via Hulu
"When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited..." - via A24
Talk to Me (2022)
"When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces." - via A24
The Invisible Man (2020)
"After staging his own suicide, a crazed scientist uses his power to become invisible to stalk and terrorize his ex-girlfriend. When the police refuse to believe her story, she decides to take matters into her own hands and fight back." - via Rotten Tomatoes
The Babadook (2014)
"Sam's frequent tantrums turn sinister when a creepy children's book mysteriously appears in his room, and he asks his mother, 'Do you want to die?'" - via Netflix
Evil Dead Rise (2023)
"In the fifth Evil Dead film, a road-weary Beth pays an overdue visit to her older sister Ellie, who is raising three kids on her own in a cramped L.A. apartment. The sisters' reunion is cut short by the discovery of a mysterious book deep in the bowels of Ellie's building, giving rise to flesh-possessing demons..." - via Rotten Tomatoes
His House (2020)
"As a young couple from war-torn South Sudan seeks asylum and a fresh start in England, they’re tormented by a sinister force living in their new home." - via Netflix
The Conference (2023)
"A ragtag group of public sector employees battle not only their own discord but also a bloodthirsty killer during a seemingly innocuous retreat." - via Netflix
Midnight Mass (2021)
"The arrival of a charismatic young priest brings glorious miracles, ominous mysteries and renewed religious fervor to a dying town desperate to believe." - via Netflix
The Invitation (2015)
"While attending a dinner party at his former house, a man starts to believe that his ex-wife and her new husband have sinister plans for the guests." - via Rotten Tomatoes
Gerald's Game (2017)
"When her husband's sex game goes wrong, Jessie -- handcuffed to a bed in a remote lake house -- faces warped visions, dark secrets and a dire choice." - via Netflix
The Nun II (2023)
"1956 -- France. A priest is murdered. An evil is spreading. The sequel to the worldwide smash hit follows Sister Irene as she once again comes face-to-face with Valak, the demon nun." - via Rotten Tomatoes
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