“Love Hard, or GTFO”

A friend of mine sent an Instagram reel to me of Chris Rock’s stand-up. Chris said, “Love hard or get the fuck out.” This is a  concise statement of how I want my next relationship to be. 

Love Hard or GTFO

If you want me, show me. If you are not capable of that, then get the fuck out. I don’t want someone who is unsure about me. I don’t want someone who is using me to get over an ex. I don’t want someone who is settling for me because the person they want doesn’t want them. 

I need the actions and words to match. I need compassion and empathy. I REQUIRE communication of your needs. I need someone who wants to spend time with me and shows it; I don’t want to beg for your attention or time. 

Several years ago, my husband was working a lot. I was working, too. Our children were young, still in diapers. There were only a few times a week when we were both home, the kids were asleep, and we finally had time to spend together. I wanted to spend this highly limited time together. However, he wanted to be in the garage to “tinker” with engines. To this day, I loathe the word, “tinker.” I would get upset; he’d rather spend time alone in the garage than with me? Even though we already had little quality time together? When I would tell him this upset me, he’d say to me “it’s my passion, you need to find a passion.” I still feel like shit when I think about it. It happened a lot. Why can’t I be your passion? Or, at least one of them? I felt rejected because it was rejection.  

I don’t want to feel like I’m being rejected in my own relationship. It’s important to have your own time and separate hobbies and activities, but when in a relationship time together should also be a priority.

I need romantic gestures. I need dates that I didn’t plan. I need to do small activities together that I didn’t suggest. I do not want to be a mother to a man I didn’t birth. If a man is looking for a mom, I am not it. I’m not the 50s housewife type, I will not cater to you without reciprocity. I will cater to a man, but only if I am getting equal treatment. The more love I get the more I give and vice versa. 

There were things in my marriage that I liked. There were good things, but this isn’t about that. This is about how the bad parts made me feel. How those situations shaped future behaviors. How I grew to realize what I do and do not want in a man and out of a relationship.

I have to remind myself daily, sometimes multiple times a day, if he wants me he will show me. If I have to analyze his words, he isn’t being clear, and that’s not what I want. Over-analyzing what a man says only sets me up for heartache. A man that is interested in you will act like it. A man that is only interested in you for sex, will show it. A man that is interested in you for more, will show it. Words are great and being told you are wanted is fucking fabulous. BUT, none of that matters if the actions don’t show it. It’s no different than an apology. An apology doesn’t mean shit if your actions don’t match your words. 

Over the last several months, I have discovered a lot about how I feel about dating and relationships. I think I tried to date before I was ready because I was lonely. It had been a year since my husband died and I thought that is what I was supposed to do. I feel differently now. I feel ready to actually date and enter into a relationship, but I am not in a rush. I am not desperate. I have spent nearly 18 months alone. I am comfortable being alone. I renovated a house. I gained a lot of self-confidence. I can do so much more than I ever thought I could. 

As much as I want someone, I have to remember things are what they are, not how I want them to be. I have to remind myself daily, if he wanted me, he’d show it. It’s important to respect my own needs, to realize I deserve what I want and need. 

My husband and I both had unmet needs. We were both stubborn and fell into a cycle of having unmet needs, expressing this to each other, not relenting to each other because we blamed the other for not meeting those needs. Sometimes, he was at fault. Other times, I was at fault. One day, he told me he felt like I wasn’t excited when he came from work. Instead of asking him what he meant so I could understand what he needed from me and in turn trying to meet his need, I became defensive. I took this to mean he wanted me to act like a 50s house wife or an excited dog and that wasn’t happening. Years later, I figured out what he was asking for; a simple, “hey, I’m glad you’re home how was your day,” with a hug or kiss on the cheek. He wasn’t asking for me to stop mid-activity or to treat him like a King or to act like an underling, but to acknowledge him. He wasn’t asking for a lot.

We married young, we grew together and apart at times. We both put up with behaviors in our marriage that were not healthy. We learned and tried to change those behaviors. Often times we did, but occasionally we would relapse. 

I am not 20 anymore. I am fast approaching 42. I have had years of life and relationship experiences. There is no learning curve anymore. I know what I want. I know what behaviors I allowed in my marriage that I will not put up with in a new relationship. I have admitted I have cheated. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on why. I know now, if I am unsatisfied in my relationship and am fantasizing about relationships with other men, then a need is not being met. This needs to be communicated to my partner. Something will need to change or the relationship will need to end. I want someone who is willing to communicate with me if their needs aren’t being met. Tell me. I want to know if there is a problem. Don’t let it fester. If we can fix it, we fix it. If we can’t we part ways. No more cheating.

I would love a relationship that makes my life better than it is. I have no interest in just being in a relationship.

Tracee Ellis Ross

I want this. I don’t want to be in a relationship just for the sake of being in one. If it doesn’t make me feel good, then it isn’t for me. 

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