Granted, it’s a movie, but sometimes art really does imitate life. In the film, the leading female character, Helen, is married to a successful lawyer who divorces her for a woman he’s had an affair and 2 children with. Where my example comes in is that the Helen never pursued her own career goals, signed a pre-nuptial agreement that entitled her to nothing in the event of divorce, and put her mother in a nursing home because her husband said having her mother in their home didn’t fit his “American dream.” When her husband literally picked her up and put her on the front porch and told her to get gone, she had no money and nowhere to stay. She didn’t have any friends to bunk with because all of her friends were his friends. She didn’t have any family to immediately call because she had been selectively alienated from them to be immersed in her marriage. In “Waiting to Exhale,” Angela Basset’s character pushed her personal goals aside to work for her husband’s self-built law-firm. When he divorced her for another woman, she was out of a job AND a husband, and had to start from scratch. These may seem like extreme examples, but it happens.
I’m sure that there are men out there who have made some similar sacrifices while in a relationship, but it SEEMS that it rarely happens. It SEEMS that most men aren’t going to put their mama’s in nursing homes or put themselves in a situation where they have nothing to fall back on because they’re in love. Most men stay on their stuff; they're gonna 'be how they be', and do what they do regardless of how negative or positive it is. You can be a devoted partner without sacrificing your dreams, your resources or your support system.
Writing about these brings me to another point. You can be a devoted partner without losing your sense of self too. I’ve seen chicks so wrapped up and so immersed in their relationships that their entire identity is being __________’s girlfriend. Everything they do and think about has to do with their boyfriend. I knew one chick that went to the same workplace, school and church with her boyfriend AND lived in the same apartment complex. You might ask “well what’s wrong with this if you’re crazy in love?” The problem with this is that heaven forbid you split up, you won’t know who the heck you are anymore. Its like “what do I do now?” If you’re whole identity is being __________’s girlfriend or wife, what happens when you’re not their girlfriend or wife anymore? Even if you never split up, there’s going to be a time where you need the space and time to “cool off”, reflect or be in tune with yourself for a little bit. It’s ok to have your OWN friends, your OWN hobbies, your OWN accomplishments, your OWN environment; your OWN identity. You have so many roles: you’re mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, friends, colleagues, students, your beliefs, your ideas, etc. You’re all these things IN ADDITION to being a wife or girlfriend. You are a multidimensional entity. Treat yourself that way.