Lesbianism Declassified IV: Letting the World Know About Your [New] Love
Cuffing season has officially commenced and if you’ve been following the Lesbianism Declassified Series then you probably have your person! Yay you!
As I wrap up this series and the year, let’s a talk about the role of New Relationship Energy, getting settled in vs. settling down, and when to make introductions (especially during the holiday season).
Moment of transparency: whenever it is time to talk about relationships, I freeze up. Not because I don’t know what to say, but because I often don’t know where to begin. I mean, I’ve been in a relationship or two or ten (but who’s counting). And I have loved them all, until I haven’t. I love, love. I love almost everything about love. Especially the part where my emotions are heightened and I am swimming deep in the pool of my feelings, my skin is glowing and reflecting the radiant light of being in love.
This is the part where everything about them is GREAT. No, really… You know the part where even if it’s not great, it’s still GREAT! It’s them and they are an amazing human. She isn’t complicated, she is just complex. She doesn’t have a quick temper, she is just passionate. She makes your lady space tingle just by speaking. Oh, yeah you know what I am talking about, the euphoric, throbbing blissful feeling referred to as New Relationship Energy (NRE).
Most of us have experienced the escalation of an emotional connection and the lusciousness of a flourishing sexual attraction, with a person we are interested in and want to know better. It’s important that we are aware of our feelings and emotions (literally energy in motion) this helps us keep things in perspective and engage accordingly. It’s easy for most of us to get swept of in the enjoyment of the moment and make rash decisions.
In the immortal words of Junior Giscombe, “Mama used to say, take your time young man" (gender inclusive). In the rush of it all, do not rush. Honestly, feel your feeling and know that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a solid relationship. Even when you know they are the one, keep your head about you. Understand that you are bringing all of you and your stuff to the table and so are they. Our stuff requires on-going interpersonal work to heal to be whole. You are not two halves, you are two wholes filling each other’s holes (no pun intended).
Once the two of you have gotten clear on this part, it gets exponentially easier to navigate a relationship and remain present. You can relax into the relationship with joy and confidence about what you are doing, where it is going and be grateful for it (even if it ends). This is settling in, which is different than settling down. When I think of settling down, the implications are of the fire not burning as hot, and who wants a lukewarm love? Be excited and be on fire for your love always! Delight in this part, spend time celebrating as a "we" and an "us."
When you are ready, and you just need to let the world know, do it! Why wait for someday? Someday is not a day of the week, but Monday, through Sunday are. Discuss it with your partner and decide when you are ready to make it official to the rest of the world. Then go forth and proclaim your love for the people to hear!
Yes, it can be challenging to introduce any lover to your people, but it is bound to happen sooner or later. It’s important that it happens on whatever timeline you are both comfortable with. If you wait too long, your significant other may feel less significant. They may feel like you don't find them worthy or you're ashamed and embarrassed of them. Talk about it openly and honestly. If you are having these feelings, they deserve to know. Keep those lines of communication open. Conversely, moving at a quicker pace than one or both of you can handle can create feelings of anxiety, and possible resentment. Talk it out create a loving and supportive connection that will allow you to rise to the occasion empowered, prepared, and in love.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!
You have to be prepared because one day you may need to be a united front that will stand shoulder to shoulder in front of your folks proclaiming your love. You'll likely deal with "well-meaning" folks, who want to ask a thousand questions to vet them for you. Or the strategic side eyes and slick mouths aimed at undermining your relationship with sideways commentary. Prepare, prepare, prepare! Do not allow your lover to walk into an ambush! Prepare to check folks on their unwelcome and unsolicited opinions. Yes, that’s right, you showing up does not issue a license for folks to be invasive or impolite. Check ‘em boo! Be prepared to avoid uncomfortable situations by declining invitations and the feelings that arise when you say no. Above all, be prepared to love and support each other, encourage each other, and practice compassion when it is required in dealing with difficult family situations.
Whether it’s a Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day there are some things to discuss when bringing someone home or being brought to theirs. The holidays may in fact be the prime time introductions are made due to Cold and Boo Season coinciding with the times that most of our loved ones are gathered in one place. It may seem like a good opening to acknowledge your relationship to assembled family, friends, and co-workers. However, I encourage you to take special consideration of the heightened emotions and family dynamics around holidays when you consider the following factors:
Identify Your Fears: Yep, both of you lay them right out there. Figuring out what you are afraid of and why, will help you put things in perspective. Is this a simple case of nerves about bringing someone home? Or, is this a serious, potentially dangerous situation that should be avoided?
Tell Your Partner About Your Family: Is meeting your family going to be a real life version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Let your introverted partner know before they walk into that. Is their family conservative and you are unapologetically liberal? This may not be the time to show up in that bold statement shirt. And don't forget about the drunk uncles and aunts (FYI I am #YoDrunkAuntie)! Discuss, discuss, discuss!
Tell Your Family About Your Partner: I skipped this step once, without incident. No funny looks or pauses or anything. I brought my girlfriend to my nieces’ wedding, my first time meeting her husband and new in-loves, and after not seeing her for about 5 years. That was a bad Malaika move because while my partner and I were prepared, they totally were not. That was unfair of me to do on their special occasion. Talk to your people ahead of time and answer their questions, gauge their reactions, and inform them of taboo subjects. Be upfront with your folks and ask them for their love and support.
Self-Care is Always Imperative: In this situation, one or both of you may be a fish out of water, removed from your environment and your routines. Be gentle with yourself and each other. Take breaks when you need to. Step out for air. Make a store run. Find the quiet room or corner. And DO NOT DRINK TOO MUCH!
Well boos, baes, lovers and beloved, I sincerely hope that you have found what you were looking for. Above all, be sure that you love yourself and always find joy in your own company. Merry Holidays and Happy New Year see you back on top in 2018!