“You’ll lose a lot of money chasing women, but you’ll never lose women chasing money,” goes a famous quote featured in the Chris Rock movie I Think I Love My Wife. Ironically, this quote is geared towards men, but it’s a lesson my mother has been teaching me since I was a little girl.
When I was younger I fantasized way more about climbing the career ladder than I ever did about my dream wedding. Even as an adult my career continues to be something that I work hard investing in. It’s not that I’m using the fact that I’m an independent career woman to excuse any pitfalls I may have had in the past on romance, it’s just always been important to me to be able to hold my own and not have to be at a man’s mercy to have the things that I want. I believe that it’s possible for all women to thrive both professionally and personally, even if society sometimes makes it seem like we have to choose. Let’s be real, Oprah may not be saying yes to the dress anytime soon, but even one of the richest women in the world has Stedman by her side.
In addition to remembering her working hard at a hospital for almost all of my life, I remember my mom always pulling a stash of rolled up twenties from under a cat figurine on her nightstand or dipping into a separate savings account set aside in case of a family emergency. It wasn’t because she was hashing some secret “leave her husband” plan, it’s because she believed in being able to contribute equally to the household. It was important to her that in the event that if someone lost a job or some other unfortunate life surprise, one person shouldn’t hold all the weight, financially or otherwise, when it came to supporting a family. She taught me being independent isn’t about just being able to get your nails done without waiting for your man’s payday, it’s about being in love but not letting your life fall apart if for whatever reason the love ends or looks a little different over time.
When I heard the story of Barvetta Singleton, the White House staffer arrested for first and second degree assault when she fired her lover’s service weapon after a dispute, I couldn’t help but wonder about the chronic problem many women face where they momentarily lose their minds over a man and end up forfeiting their own personal success because of it. Not too soon after lottery winner Marie Holmes’ name was in the headlines for spending $9 million of her $188M windfall to bail her boyfriend out of jail not just once, but twice.
I try my best not to pass judgment on other women. The truth is we’ve all made mistakes and had moments we’re not proud of, but I must say time and time again I’ve witnessed our nurturing spirits taken advantage of by men who would never pass an opportunity to do business over being in love. And I’m beginning to think it’s our own fault.
When I first started seeing my husband as an undergrad, I remember being so sprung over that man that I would dip out early on Friday classes just to beat the traffic and make the two-hour drive to see him because he had the night off. Do you think he ever turned down some overtime to see me? Of course not, at least not in the initial dating phase. It got to a point where I had to literally cut myself off from him when I realized my grades were suffering and I was completely about to blow my plan of getting my bachelor’s degree in four years and nothing more.
Don’t get it twisted. I’m not saying you can’t lose your mind a little every now in then when all you want to do is be laid up with an Idris Elba clone you’ve just started seeing. Love can make you do crazy things. What you shouldn’t do is allow a man to come hijack plans you have for yourself that were made when you had common sense and not drunk in love. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Facebook friends disappear for a few weeks after getting their #RelationshipGoals on with their new guy, and then after a messy break up renew their commitment to going to school or getting a promotion. Losing your mind in love is why there will always be plaintiffs on Judge Judy suing ex-boyfriends over ruined credit because of the bedroom set they bought that he’s now laid up on with the next chick. Why do some women think they can only invest into one area of their life at a time?
[Tweet “Love doesn’t ruin your credit score, result in a criminal record or overall disturb your well-being.”]
It shouldn’t take you to a point where you’re willing to sacrifice your career or personal goals to pursue it. And any man you have to jeopardize your own personal success for probably isn’t worth having.
Have you ever did some crazy things in the name of love?