Written by Zamara Perri
I’ve never met WNBA superstars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson, but I can tell you why their marriage failed after only 28 days. No, I’m not psychic and don’t have some inside track on their relationship. I just know a lot about failed lesbian relationships from personal experience. I can tell you that whatever the reason for this young couple’s split, it is most likely one of the five most common reasons why some black lesbian relationships don’t last:
Anger. In the past couple weeks my honey and I have struggled with anger issues. My honey is by nature a happy-go-lucky person while I am serious and always thinking about the injustices in the world. And when I start thinking about all that’s wrong with the world, I get angry and give her the silent treatment as if she did something to me. So then she gets mad. And when she gets angry, she yells, stomps around the house and even leaves.
How can a home environment like that be a setting for peace and love? It’s not.
If we treat our partners like our enemies, then why should they want to stick around?
We need to know how to diffuse our anger and turn it into something valuable instead of using it against our lovers. Brittney and Glory’s domestic violence arrest record clearly points to trouble controlling anger.
One of the things my partner and I love about each other is how much we make each other laugh. When we realized that we had stopped laughing and started letting anger dominate our relationship, we knew we had to do something to stop it in its tracks.
One of the rules we made was that first thing in the morning, I wouldn’t start railing about what’s wrong with this country and the harsh injustices that black people face. Not because she doesn’t care about these issues, but because she prefers to start her morning with positive thoughts and meditation. Now when I’m angry, I meditate, journal, talk to my honey, exercise or spend time alone.
Lack of self love is another dangerous weapon against black lesbian love. Some of us get into relationships without understanding how important it is to love ourselves well. We criticize ourselves, downplay our successes, ignore our pain, and overall treat ourselves terribly. If we had a friend that treated us the way we treated ourselves, I guarantee you that person wouldn’t be a friend for long. Negative self-talk has a dangerous effect on the self image, which means it impacts your relationship. How can you love someone else if you can’t love yourself? Most of us have never been taught how to do that.
I grew up being told in many ways that I didn’t deserve happiness. As I got older, I simply told myself some of that same negativity. If you grew up like I did, then you know that it is a battle to teach yourself differently. For years I’ve struggled to believe that long-lasting love was something I deserved. And of course that showed up my relationships. I bet it shows up in your relationship too.
We’ve got to love ourselves the way Kanye loves Kanye. And I’m serious. Any kind of success–relationship or otherwise–begins with believing that you deserve it. So, go easy on yourself.
Try this, every time you get ready to tell yourself that you’re “fat” “not cute enough” or “not smart enough,” replace that thought with “I’m a beautiful, loving woman who deserves phenomenal love.” Repeat it until you believe it and then repeat it some more. For those of you who say you love yourself, take a look at your own actions toward yourself. Do you treat yourself like the amazing, divine woman that you are?