It’s makes sense that this love language lays, smack dab, in the middle; because the first thing I have to do is be open to receiving the act as something genuine. I can fully acknowledge that I battle with seeing a partner’s act of service as fully genuine. Don’t get me wrong, a good deed is a good deed, I simply wonder if there is an ulterior motive behind the act.
I grew up hearing “men only want one thing” or “he did this because he wants that”. So, it only made sense that whenever I dated a guy, if he did something (without me asking for it, first) I would quietly question, why did he do it? I used to believe that if people did something nice for me it was because they genuinely wanted to do it, I was 8 years old; today, life and dating has since delivered me some very rude awakenings.
The most important one being that; no one does anything without receiving something in return. Sir Isaac Newton’s third law states that; “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. However, that reaction isn’t always visible. For example: A business man on the train gives a dollar to a homeless man. It may appear that the businessman is receiving nothing in return; but if you allow yourself to consider not every exchange has to be tangible; you’ll see that the reaction is emotional. It felt good for the businessman to give that dollar, and that’s why he did it (in addition to it being a good deed).
With the above being understood; sadly, there is always an internal tug-of-war between my mind and my heart. On one side, my heart wants to receive the act with no questions asked; while my mind is scanning for an ulterior motive.
In the average relationship, when people perform acts of service, it’s because they’re working to maintain their relationship and to get to that ‘Happily Ever After’. All the deeds one did to show love and care appear to be totally self-less, until the relationship is over. When the relationship ends, all those ‘self-less acts’ turn into sacrifices made. The once, “this is for you my love” turns into “I sacrificed this for you”. A self-less act rapidly transitions and becomes something that was actually a bargaining chip in disguise. I hate to admit it, but I did the above to an ex and I’ve had it done to me.
In a past relationship, I financially supported my partner. I paid his phone bill, his metro card, and when we went out- I often paid. We met online, while he was in Trinidad. He was a runner, but was in recovery from an injury. He had an opportunity to come to the U.S. to train with a special coach, and to be with me; but he first had to buy himself out of his contract, which left him with very little money when he finally arrived. I felt that he had made a sacrifice for me; so, for a while I did what I could to support him. The only problem was, every time we got into an argument, he would threaten to leave and I would weaponize what I did for him. He would say “I should’ve gone to Jamaica to train instead…” and I would say “Really? with all that I’m doing for you!” I was by no means rich, so helping my partner out while I was only making $30K (before taxes) at the time was a real financial burden. But I had convinced myself that it would only be temporary; he would land an athletic contract, we would move out and live together, and everything would have been worth it. As time passed and that fantasy drifted farther and farther away, I grew to resent him and all that I had done for him. I blamed him for my financial struggles, and when I finally ended the relationship, I declared that I would never make the same mistake again. In my mind, I was supporting my man because I wanted what was best for him; but my subconscious knew that if and when the tide finally turned, I wanted to be there to ride the wave of success with him. I wanted him to see me and all that I had sacrificed for him and declare that I was worthy to go on the journey with him. I later learned that was not a truly genuine act of service.
Those feelings and lessons learned in that relationship still fuel my perspective today. As much I love it when a partner does something nice for me; being who I am, and knowing my history, I worry that one day their acts of service will be thrown in my face, if things don’t go the way they intended. In previous posts I stress the importance of being selfish and, with my feet firmly rooted in the dirt, I stand by that. I like to think that I am fair in how I choose to date. I never ask a partner’s income, but I take note of what they say to get a general idea. A while back, I had a partner offer to help me out financially, although the situation wasn’t yet a reality, I declined the offer. I knew that their desire to help me would only further hurt them; the same way me financially helping my ex hurt my abilities to save and get financially stable for myself. I firmly feel that if helping someone today has the risk of turning into something sacrificed later, don’t do it! That’s like doing someone doing a favor and then holding it over their head in arguments; you either want to do it or you don’t. There will always be a looming question of an ulterior motive. Why are you here? Why are you doing it?
As I’m learning and growing with love, I’m learning to work on aligning my brain and heart, and to trust the actions of those that I love; it’s not easy, but I’m working on it.
The first time I took the 5 Love Languages quiz, I was dead single; and, with no hope for a relationship in sight. I felt that learning my love languages would allow me to process why certain relationships didn’t go as planned. When I took the quiz my love languages were as follows:
1. Receiving Gifts
2. Acts of Service
3. Physical Touch
4. Quality Time
5. Words of Affirmation
Over the last week, as I knew I planned to dive deeper into exploring my love languages, I felt it only made sense to read the damn book; but, since I was on a time crunch and I am not a fast reader, I listened to the audiobook. Absorbing the messaging from the book, further broke down my understanding of my love languages. Outside of the occasional religious reference (which I easily glossed over), the average person could learn to apply the tools of the book to their specific relationships.
I re-took the test before writing this post, just to see if there were some changes, and these were my results.
1. Receiving Gifts
2. Quality Time
3. Acts of Service
4. Physical Touch
5. Words of Affirmation
It was no surprise that my primary love language remained Receiving Gifts; I’ve known and suspected this for quite some time. I was, however, surprised to see that Quality Time had moved up in the ranks to number two; and the inquiring mind that I am, I wanted to understand why. That desire to know took me back to all the times in my past relationship, where I was technically in my partner’s presence, but I felt totally alone.
When Bruno Mars sang “Lucky for you, that’s what I like” – it made so much sense. How easy would a relationship be if you and your partner had things in common? How easy would it be if your love languages aligned? How easy would it be if your partner was willing and able to love you in the way that you received love? Dag Nabit! If only I knew this sooner, I would’ve saved myself a lot of tears, emotions, and wasted breath. If I was able to lay on the table my love languages (considering the receiving person even knew what love languages really were), we could determine right then and there if we wanted to proceed or not.
In my past relationships, where having any of my needs met was like pulling teeth without Novocain, to cope with the disappointment, I subconsciously minimized their importance. If after many requests and failed attempts I was still without, I pushed the need to the bottom and made others more important. Years later, I recognized this behavior and labeled it the ugly C-word; ‘compromise’. The idea that if you meet If you meet a seemingly perfect person that you loved deeply; but, if they are unwilling do to the things that make you happy, in your core; you should just dismiss that key detail and be happy with what you get; I think is total bull-shit. I may not be able to get all that I want but, my primary love languages should be met.
When I finally had an idea of what my love languages were, I was more than happy to apply them when I started dating again.
For example: If Guy doesn’t believe in buying gifts (for whatever reason). On my side, because receiving gifts is my primary language; even if I’m able to live without gifts for a few weeks during the euphoria of new romance; there will come a time when I will want a gift. As he’s already stated it’s a no-go for him, we’ll eventually arrive at a roadblock in the relationship.
If I’m able to know from the very beginning, that he will never be willing to give me what I want in the end, I’ll know not to go down that road; because, it will never work.
In my last relationship, without knowing it was my love language; towards the end, I would stress to my partner that I just wanted some time together with him. As he never got me anything for the entirety of our relationship, I had convinced myself that if he could come through on this, all would we right within our world. So, when our quality time looked like sitting on the couch as he watched basketball; I kept my mouth shut. I couldn’t complain, because I was technically getting what I had requested, just not in the form that I desired. Had I known better I never would’ve allowed for the relationship to go on as long as it did. He wasn’t spending quality time with me; he was just being in my presence.
Over the years I’ve learned that, quality time is something you do for your partner the way they can receive it. Him having me over to watch a game that he would’ve watched regardless; did not count. Just because we were in each other’s company, that doesn’t by default mean, the time was quality; as he was focused on the game and I wished that I was in my room watching Love & Hip Hop.
With Receiving Gifts and Quality Time at the forefront of my love languages, in a society where everything costs a million dollars and people can barely find a moment to shit in peace; I knew my work was cut out for me; but, like Bruno Mars said; “Lucky for you, that’s what I like”. When I re-entered the dating world (with all my additional titles), I made it a point to seek partner’s whose love language matched my own; and to avoid the unnecessary headache, I only entertained those that I felt were willing and able to love me the way I knew I needed to be loved.
Armed with new armor and weapons to win the battle that is love; I found dating and love, this time around to be more satisfactory and love filled than ever before.
So, Friday is Valentine’s Day, and for the first time, in years, I’m actually in a relationship. So, what does that mean for me? If you remember my post from last year, The Significance of Valentine’s Day; I wrote about this miraculous day of gift giving, and relationship confirming, as one that shouldn’t bear so much when compared to the entirety of your relationship. A part of me still agrees with that, while the other part of me, the part that still holds onto traditional values, cares for none of that evolved way of thinking.
It’s important to remember that, when I wrote my post last year; not only was I single, I was still dealing with the emotional ramifications from being scammed, and I was on my own self-discovery-celibacy journey. After some amazing realizations and changes, an entire year later, I have a primary love interest, and two quasi-romantic-sexual partners.
I still don’t seek for my relationship to be validated on a single day; because I know what I have with my Love. But I do know that, if I don’t get flowers and chocolates while I’m at work; IT’S GONNA BE A PROBLEM! And with that I bring into the conversation, The 5 Love Languages.
Acts of Service
Words of Affirmation
I, like many people, took the online quiz; and the above are my love languages in order of importance to me. As you can see, receiving gifts is of high importance to me, but not for the reasons one would think.
When I was younger, colored roses had just started popping up, and the prettiest to me, were blue roses. Many shops spray painted white roses, which looked horrible. However, there were some that did it the proper way; either by stem-dyeing the roses, or dipping the roses in blue dye. One could imagine the process and money it required, for a business to keep blue roses on hand for purchase; so, it only made sense that they were difficult to come by. Everywhere you looked you could find red, pink, white or yellow roses, but to walk the extra few streets to find the place that sold those beautiful blue roses, it made all the difference in the world.
My priority love language is not receiving gifts, just because I like gifts; that would be too simple. It’s my primary love language because my, often very complicated, mind breaks down the steps behind giving said gift. From remembering the conversation where I mentioned my love for blue roses, to the effort required to recall that tiny detail in the ocean of all that I tend to say during any given tangent, and lastly to actually get off your ass and get the seemingly unimportant roses, all just to put a smile on my face. The thought process and effort put behind the gift, is a thousand times more important than the gift alone.
I used to believe that – it was the thought that counts. But as I got older, I believed that less and less. The best gift is not only one that comes from the heart; it is also one that is totally void of the gift-giver. When giving a gift, it should be tailored to the person you’re giving it to. It should be something that they want and/or need. Giving a gift that is more for your personal excitement or enjoyment, is not a genuine gift.
On the other hand, avoiding giving a gift because ‘gift giving’ is not your personal love language, is just as bad; if not worse.
My infamous Ex, (X-Files: 1-5) was the definition of worse. If I’m being honest, the average man doesn’t pay attention to romantic holidays. Which is why marketing and retail commercials are constantly reminding them that it’s approaching. You ever wonder why Christmas music starts to play immediately following Halloween; that’s why. And the same goes for women with Valentine’s Day. Marketing is well aware that all men really care about, between January and February, is watching other men toss around a football. The last thing on most men’s minds is, what to get the lady in their life for Valentine’s Day. This is why those Jared and Kiss commercials start playing on heavy repeat.
They make it virtually impossible for the average thinking man to forget. Every store you enter is littered with hearts, pink and red junk, and flowers, so many flowers. So, it would only make sense that a man, working at one of these stores, would take full advantage of his employee discount and purchase at least one VDay gift for his lady. But that was not the nature of my ex. The simple effort to purchase something he saw every day, on sale- no less, deemed to be too much every single time.
For years, I truly believed that he didn’t care, which may have very well been true. However, years later, I learned that my ex’s love languages were just different from mine. In fact, they were damn near upside down and opposite. Had either one of us read the book, before we met; we still may not have stood a chance; but in the very least, I would’ve been armed with the tools to better express why something that seemed so futile to him, meant so much to me.
In dating, love, and life, it’s important to learn what and why your love languages are what they are. We are all unique individuals, so we process things differently. If we truly care for our partner, it’s important to at least try to love them the way they can best receive it.
Let the record state: I am down with the swirl. So when a good looking man, of the fairer complexion, that just happened to be Russian born and American raised messaged me on Badoo, I messaged him back.
On a Monday, N_Badoo messaged me and I replied back. We exchanged greetings, professions, and spoke for a few more days then he asked to exchange numbers, and we did. We agreed to meet that Sunday afternoon. So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled home on a Friday night and he hits me up that he’s in the city and wanted to meet for drinks. I had only been home for 5 minutes, didn’t even undress yet, so I figured, sure. He met me at a near by bar, The Duck, but they only accepted cash, so we walked to the ATM together. First thing I noticed was that he did not walk beside me. He walked ahead and I had to double pace to keep up with him. He got some cash then we went back to the bar. He got a beer and I ordered a margarita and we sat on the less crowded, although not quieter since the music was unreasonably loud. He got us another round of drinks and we conversed for about 2 more hours: work, travels, hobbies, foods and drinks we liked, families etc. The conversation was light and fun then he got up and kissed me. His kiss was extremely powerful and his hands felt amazing exploring my body. That went on for about another hour, then for some reason the bouncer kept opening the door and I started to get really cold. We went back to his car and continued kissing and feeling each other up. He tried really hard to get me to go back to his place but I was not with it; since he lived all the way near Coney Island and it wasn’t even a first date. But I did let him suck on my breasts. He did it so hard that I realized when I got home the stopper to my nipple ring was missing- How the fuck?
He met me on Sunday after I left the movies with my family. He drove from Brooklyn to get me and we went back to his place. We started watching Netflix and he made us dinner. After dinner we started kissing then he went down on me, satisfied my desire, and we started having sex. At first I thought average but once inside of me, and finding his groove, he grew exponentially-WOW! He felt amazing. We did a few positions until he finished then we rest for a little bit. We went back to watching TV, (he-from his chair, me-on the bed). In between his roommate came home, I guess he wanted to hang out with him for a bit, but he shut it down by saying ‘my girlfriend is here”. Girlfriend? We did not discuss this at all- I was not ready for this title, as I was still dating other men, and I didn’t feel he was either but I didn’t know what to say at the moment so I just let it be. About a half an hour later, he got the urge again and then again. I was enamored with his insatiable nature and it had been a while since I had a partner like him so I enjoyed every minute of it. Around 10pm we got dressed for him to drive me home. On the walk to the car, yet again, he walked ahead of me and I doubled my pace to keep up with him, I was again, annoyed.
Throughout the week we spoke on and off then we made arrangements for me to visit him Friday night. He picked me up, around 2am, from a party I was at and we went back to his place, we took showers then got down to business. The oral the second time around was less then satisfactory and the intercourse was only 1 and night. I love to cuddle after sex but he sat back in his chair when we were done. It did not enjoy laying in a huge king sized bed all by myself so I eventually rolled over and tried to go to sleep, and he came to bed shortly after. In the morning we had another session and then he had to go. He had a lunch picnic to attend upstate but before then he had a dentist appointment. After he finished with his shower, I went to take mine. He seemed annoyed that I wanted to shower and rushed me along because he had to make his appointment. He dropped me off at the train, I decided I wanted food so I found a place nearby, ate, and then went home.
The next day I asked him about the picnic. He mentioned, he got drunk and started making out with some man’s wife- sloppy much?. They got into a little fight but nothing serious happened. I took this as my chance to state my opinion. Keep in mind; I was still dating other men and I didn’t want to be his girlfriend any more that I felt he would be a good boyfriend so I proposed the idea that we remain just sex. We hang out and enjoy each other’s company, but no title and no responsibility and he agreed. The next few days went by ok. We continued to speak on and off but every once in a while he would say these things exuding extreme affection that made me scratch my head. Calling me pet names, and saying I love you, like I highly doubt you actually do but I don’t want to be a bitch today, so I’ll let you live. I realized that we never actually had a planned date. Every time we saw each other he and/or I were already out and/or we just went back to his place. So I messaged him said you should take me on a date: dinner and a movie followed by a night of sweaty sex. He replied –sounds like a plan and we agreed to meet on a Saturday. I checked with him earlier that week to make sure we were still on. He asked which movie and I said lets see what’s playing when we get there- because I could pretty much go with the flow. We agreed I would meet him in Brooklyn, he’d pick me up from the train and our evening would begin.
I called him before I headed out, just to do a final check, he answered and I made my way to Brooklyn. I texted him when I was a few stops away but got no reply. I called him when I got off the train-no answer. I started to feel a ball in the pit of my stomach. It was telling me, this night would not go as planned and that I should go home. That little ball comes in handy; the only problem is I rarely ever listen to her.
I walked to his apartment, knocked on the door and no one answered, I did it again and still no answer. I felt like a fool- I started to walk out of his building when I finally heard the door open. He was visibly drunk. He and his coworkers went out the night before and he was still hammered. I knew then this wasn’t going to be good. I sat down on his chair and we talked for a bit, the topic of food came up. I was hungry and so was he so we went into the kitchen to make some ribs and chicken. The entire time he flirted with me: kissing, touching, fondling, and rubbing, it was all very flirtatious and I enjoyed it. He kept calling me sexy and beautiful, saying how he was so lucky, and asking what would our kids look like, etc. I reveled in the fantasy of it all then when the food was done we ate. Maybe it was the 4 Coors Lights, or the unknown cups of vodka, or the almost 3 packs of cigarettes he smoked but whatever it was he became a pile of drunken stupor. He was so drunk he bit through a chicken bone fell off his chair, I had to assist him to the bed, and he even threw up on himself.
All the while I’m thinking I can’t ever find a happy medium. I go from a man that doesn’t drink at all to a man that cant control any of his alcohol- this night was shaping up to be a total disaster.
I ended up watching 6 episodes of Siren on Hulu then he partially woke up. Shortly after his roommate came home and wanted to go out and find some women. So, not wanting the night to be a complete waste I agreed to go out (not that I had much of a choice- it was either out or go home, and I really wanted sex). We went to a nearby bar called Wheelers and he acted like a total dick-bag; being rude to the waitress and servers and left a horrible tip, so bad that I gave the lady $15 just for dealing with his rude ass. From there he started talking to another Russian and convinced him to go to Williamsburg with us. So we got in an Uber and were off to Huckelberry Fin bar. The bar was nice, a good crowd, many of the people just came from a wedding so his roommate would have no luck finding a single DTF woman tonight. I was getting annoyed at this point: it was 2:30am, his roommate was socially awkward as fuck, and I just really wanted to have sex to make this night not a total bust. I pulled my guy to the side to tell him I was ready to go, but he wanted to party with his friends. Seriously- you met other Russian a few hours ago and you can be with our roommate any time. But because my shit was at his house I had to suck it up and continue to deal. We went to another bar where he got super handy with some chick and I was like dude I know we’re not a couple but have some decency- don’t be a dick in front of me. So I had to shut that shit all the way down. I was having an outer body experience saying to myself; why did you not just turn around earlier? Why did you continue to walk to his house? Why did you stay? And why did you agree to come out?
We made our way to what would thankfully be the last bar of the night Union Ave Bar or something like that. We get there and the music if bumping. Finally, at least I can dance and boogey to this. I find myself finally having a good time then this ass hole says it’s too loud and wants to step out side- Seriously What the Fuck!His roommate is still having no luck getting women- like zero! They go out to smoke more cigarettes. So just a side note: when we met he said he didn’t smoke, then when I went by his house the second time, it was I smoke cigars on occasion, then I realize that when he drinks he’s a chain smoker- Fucking Disgusting. Finally his roommate was able to converse with a group of girls visiting from Atlanta with their amazing black, gay, best friend (every one needs in their life by the way). He lied that he would be able to get them “party favors” at 6am and they should come back to the apartment. I knew looking at the girl that she was not going to give him anything but whatever this night was already a bust and they seemed like fun; so in the very least we could have a few laughs. We all piled into an Uber SUV and head out. The driver takes the long route and of course my guy starts acting like a dick yet again. The white girl in the front from Atlanta is lit on trap music and we all make a request for something more ‘white’. Cue- Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and The Spice Girls- all resulted in an awesome cab ride home. Naturally my guy attempted to complain about our music choice and singing, at which point- I gave zero fucks. I left all my fucks on the dance floor after he made it perfectly clear that getting drunk with his friends was more important than spending time me. Back at the apartment I offered them the ribs and chicken and I got rave reviews for my cooking. We drank and had a few laughs. They tried to call their connect for party favors but at 6am he was asleep. The group left about an hour later and when I turned around my guy was lying across the bed tapped out. His friend never did get any sex because the girl had zero interest in him, wise woman she was. I left the roommate and other Russia in the kitchen and went to bed. I was on fire with anger, disappointment, and just the feeling of stupidity. Thinking another one I have to add to the list. It was very unfortunate, especially since when I made comments to him about him walking ahead of me and not cuddling he actually made those changes-so I saw potential. But the behavior he showed that night was unacceptable.
I slept for almost 2 hours then I had to go to the bathroom. He woke up for a few minutes after I did then went back to sleep. Then the coughing started (the coughing that was actually him throwing up); at that point I said Nope!I went into the bathroom, took a shower, threw on my clothes, and left the apartment. I have no intentions to reach out to him in the future. Next time I will listen to my little ball.
There is much joy to be found when I detach from the world. Of course, I never fully detach, but going a few hours without looking at a device does have its benefits.
It was a summer day, a few years ago, and I wanted to get out of the house. I got on the train, walked around a bit downtown, went to see a movie; then my phone died. To my surprise, I didn’t care. I ended up getting dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant and walking some more, before I took the bus home. Even with the mediocre actions of the day, I still remember it as one of the best days I had. When my phone died, there was no anxiety to get to the nearest charger, and with no need to check in; I just went about my day.
Today, I won’t leave my house unless my phone is above 95% and before walking out of the door, I make sure my phone is on low power mode, just in case. My life, like many others in this day and age, revolves around devices. From using my computer at work, to listening to a podcast or playing a game during my commute on my phone. I don’t know what it’s like to not have a phone on me. There have been a few times when I left my house, and made it to the train, only to go all the way back home when I realized my phone was not with me. I refused to listen to the conversations of other commuters, or eat my lunch without visual stimulation. And let’s not forget my daily Instagram upload, because my followers would be lost without me.
In the fall of 2019, my life almost ended. I went to sleep with my phone plugged in and I woke up to my phone only being at 25% I figured the wire came undone in my sleep, so I plugged it back in and prepared to get ready for work. When I got out of the shower it was at 20%, I got so frustrated I started to cry. I went to work and experimented with various chargers, cords, wireless pads, and none of them worked. I watched as my phone went from 5 to 1, and when my phone died, I felt like my life was over. That day I missed lunch because I was at the apple store trying to get it fixed. That night I went to a Broadway show; but I couldn’t fully enjoy it because all I could think about was my phone. The next morning, I went to the AT&T and send for a replacement that had to be ordered. When the doorbell rang Saturday morning, I ran downstairs. I didn’t even grab my precautionary knife from the drawer, in case it was an intruder. (Yes! I watch way too many cop shows). None the less, I opened that box with the same excitement that a kid opens a present on Christmas morning. I charged it up, swapped over my information, and all was right with the world again.
As I scrolled through my Instagram, Facebook, and emails, I couldn’t help but think back to a simpler time. I thought back to that day in the summer; and there was a peace of mind in knowing that the inability to connect to the digital world is only temporary. It would’ve been easy to get a charger and fuel up, but I chose to enjoy the peace of the silence. However, when that silence was forced upon me, I found no peace.
I realized then that my connection with devices was unhealthy, to say the least. So, I started limiting my interactions with them, in the best way I knew how. Instead of listening to podcasts during my commute, I would read a book (Yes… an actual printed – book). I read hundreds of books on my phone over the years, but eventually, it took a toll on my vision; and considering I stare at a computer at work all day, anytime away from bright light proved to be highly beneficial.
The next thing I did was limit the amount of time I spent on social media (Twitter & Instagram). I would allow myself a few minutes every few hours to scroll and like, and once time was up, I had to stop. When it came to Facebook it was a tad more difficult. As an activist, I felt the need to comment on the posts that resonated with me. But I learned to pick and choose my battles, thus limiting my screen time and overall drained energy from random hater.
The final thing I did was limit the amount of texting and messaging I did; I applied the same logic as I did with Facebook. Not every text required an immediate response, and some things could wait for later. The world would not implode if I didn’t respond yes that instant, and my alone time was very important to me. I had to release the self-induced anxiety from my being, because no one was causing it but me. I can now go hours without looking at my phone and it’s been a huge relief, especially considering that I don’t always want to talk or communicate. I get deep into my moods of self-preservation and my need to personally re-power up on positivity is of the utmost importance.
I challenge everyone to take some time, every day to detach and see how you feel.