Photo: Azmarie Livingston and Raven Symone parted ways after a 3-year relationship.
Written by Zamara Perri
If it were up to mainstream media and mainstream LGBT media, you would never know that black women love each other or that we even know anything about lesbian relationships.
That is why I’m eternally grateful for social media.
It is because of brave black lesbians who openly and proudly share their love stories on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube that I’m even writing this.
Some of these couples, who are famous on social media, actually gave me the courage to not only write my truth but live it!
I am a big fan of quite a few of these couples. I look forward to their adorable videos, beautiful pictures and posts filled with relationship wisdom.
They Were So In Love, What Happened?
So you can imagine how heartbroken I was when some of them broke up. I felt like I knew them personally. And naturally, I wanted to know what happened. They were so committed and in love, how could they break up?
I would be so upset you’d think I was the one who got broken up with.
These women were my sheros. They gave me so much hope for black love. But, they were also human beings who only gave us a glimpse of their lives. We don’t really know them.
Plus they are not responsible for living out my fantasy relationship.
I’m writing this because a large part of what I do is share photos of real black lesbian couples. In fact the very first couple I ever interviewed when I started the blog 2 years ago broke up shortly after getting married. Again, I was heartbroken because they seemed so in love.
I Feel Their Pain
I’m that person who is always sad when celebrities break up. I literally feel a pain in my heart because I know how terrible it feels to go into something thinking it will last forever and then it doesn’t. I think we all know what that feels like because we all have exes.
But you wouldn’t think it by how we react when the relationships of our idols don’t last. Often we tear them down and start speculating about whose fault it is.
I think part of the reason we take it so hard is because we have been fed this puritanical story line that says that divorcing or breaking up is something to be ashamed of. We think break ups are a sign that you’re not trying hard enough or that you didn’t take your commitments very seriously.
Break Ups Don’t Invalidate Lesbian Love
Because lesbian relationships tend to be so emotional, we see break ups as only a matter of time. Some of us see break ups as the best time to say, “I told you so” or, “see lesbian relationships don’t really last” or “see black women don’t know how to hold on to a good _______.” You can fill in the blanks.
Newsflash! Lesbians aren’t the only ones who break up! It’s just that people like to act like we are the only ones who do it.
I remember growing up and being ashamed that my parents were divorced. Instead I idolized my cousin’s seemingly perfect nuclear family. Later I realized how miserable they were and that they really should have just divorced instead of hanging on for decades.
Real Relationships Aren’t Fairy Tales
I remember wanting to have a fairy tale relationship where all me and my partner did was love each other, constantly have sex, be sexy and thin and rich. So of course when I got in a real relationships I didn’t know how to deal with a real, imperfect woman.
I dated women who were dealing with their own shit and problems inside themselves while balancing relationship with a woman who was also trying to accept love and heal her own wounds. Considering all that the average black woman faces, you’d think I would have been more compassionate and adjust my unrealistic expectations.
So of course sometimes shit didn’t work out. Sometimes that was because we weren’t mature enough to do the work and sometimes it was because we were smart enough to know when to let go.
There is Nothing Wrong With Breaking Up
Just because your relationship didn’t last forever doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful. A relationship is successful when you learn what you need from it and realize it is not the right fit. The lessons we learn can be painful, but they all have value.
No relationship is perfect. Believe that. I recently shared a video of a couple who had been through the kind of bullshit that would make most women want to leave, but they held on. A few weeks later I shared their beautiful wedding picture on Facebook. I didn’t even recognize them in their photo. A friend had to remind me. They looked so happy and they probably were.
I shared the picture not because I was holding them up as an example of perfect love. I shared it because they were radiating love with and for each other and that was beautiful.
So to me it doesn’t matter if our love lasts two months or a lifetime, the point is love, pure and simple. Love does not have to be perfect to be real.
6 Tips for Handling Social Media/Celebrity Break Ups
Here’s what you can do when your favorite social media couple breaks up:
- Realize you really don’t know what happened in their relationship.
- Instead of judging what you don’t know, be compassionate.
- Understand that they gave it their best and are in a lot of pain.
- Recognize their courage for sharing their personal life with strangers and realize we are all learning and growing.
- Realize these people don’t owe you anything, not even an explanation.
- Mind your own business and focus on your own life.