hedging

Someone Will Always Be Collateral Damage

I have to admit, I was one of the skeptics when Afua said she wanted to publish that article. In my mind I was thinking, I just don’t even understand why men have to be solely implicated in the issues of toying with emotions and hurting people. It was not an attempt to play devils advocate or to even the tone of the conversation, but it was to say that no one gender has complete ownership over ‘collateral damage’. I will concede, in Ghana, men are given the pass way more than women. Especially with issues of infidelity. But Afua’s point was bigger than just this idea that people cheat, her point was that people use people, and it’s unfair that it’s largely women who suffer in the end. I think that the issue is really that hurt people, hurt people. And that there is a bigger conversation beyond just telling men to stop being emotional abusers. I think the conversation is about mothers and fathers and social leaders investing time and energy into developing the social intelligence of the generation to follow. I happen to think that this issue is about social accountability.

I will take myself as an example.

I have been in the situation where I have recently stopped seeing someone. In my haste to ‘move on’, I sort of rushed into something new. In my mind, I may have entered with good intentions. I may have thought, maybe that old adage is true… that the best way to get over someone is to get under beside someone else. So here we are having fun, laughing, getting to know each other— building. Suddenly it dawns on me that a) I am not really even over my ex and b) I’ve been faking it up until this moment and it’s gotten extremely tiring.Here the person is, constantly talking about a future life together… about how much they love you and how they will marry you. How perfect you are and how wonderful it is to meet someone as lovely as you (duh and duh!). And in my mind, all I can think about are deciding on the most sensitive and considerate ways to slowly break away from the relationship. In the time of my thinking about these things, I start to detach and get easily annoyed. It becomes clear that I am just not interested.  I clearly needed to address some personal issues with regard to my past relationship. I also needed to be real with myself about what I wanted. And I feel this is fundamentally, the real issue. I don’t think people are out here purposely trying to hurt people. Even though I am of the mind that people are inherently evil and self seeking, I think that they are also preservationist— that is they want, as much as possible, to save face and at least put good into the world so they can also benefit from that good energy. I don’t think Ghanaian men, or African men in general, are hard wired to want to be deceitful. I just think our societies don’t foster the type of self- reflection necessary to enter into healthy relationships. I agree with Afua: “Sometimes the journey towards ‘…happily ever after’ or ‘…and the rest is just history’ does not leave you unscathed.” But this is true for everyone, male and female. Unfortunately, in Ghana, women carry the burden of emotional intelligence. There are conferences and books and preachings and seminars and speaker series and conventions and anointing oils— dedicated to ensuring women get to the status of Proverbs 31— not so for men. While Full Gospel Christian Business Mens groups exist en masse to encourage entrepreneurship and honest business practice, the same does not exist to spur on men to be honorable men, worthy of lifetime commitment. And yet, with all the Proverbs 31 messaging being thrown at women— neither men nor women are taught how to be emotionally intelligent. Preparing yourself to be a a wifable woman and developing your emotional intelligence have somehow been separated. So while yes, there are men— nay, people— who trample on the hearts of well meaning, good natured, loving partners en route to their happily ever after… it is not an epidemic that is wholly owned by men. It is the epidemic of not offering enough training, support and mentorship in growing our overall emotional intelligence (as evidenced by the messy, shady, crazy things women are also doing here in order to bait, keep or trick a man). As children of immigrants, we know too well the high standard of academic excellence placed on us, however the same is not necessarily the case for emotional intelligence. And while women are definitely exposed on how to develop themselves into ‘wifey material’… there is a general shortage of ‘how to deal effectively with your emotions such that you are not making your partner a causality in your sordid love affair” development opportunities. All in all, I will repeat hurt. people. hurt people. And the only real solution for all of us, is to get our emotional intelligence game up by seeking resources to help us grow… after all proper preparation prevents poor      partner   performance— eh?

What say you? Do you think it’s all one big male ploy to trample the hearts of unsuspecting woman of valor, or society overall has failed our generation in adequately preparing us to be good partners in relationships? #SoundOff 

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Collateral Damage; Men and Women are not Equal.

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So… I was torn posting this, but I figured in the end I could post it and preface it *shrug*. I didn’t want to post this initially in fear of being labeled a bitter black women. However, many of the relationship things referenced in this post have been witnessed more-so than experienced (remember we have a new simple modus operandi of late). Thus, this post is channeling a lot of things I’ve seen- which is still incredibly frustrating– so that’s probably the tone you’re picking up on.

And after sending this out as a feeler to a couple guy friends, I do recognize that the struggle is real on both sides of the spectrum… Because no one, guy or girl, should feel like they’re being used or their time is being wasted. 

Would love to hear your thoughts.

~afua

– – – 

Twitter just be giving us so much life recently… AND content for the blog!

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Girls abr3**.

You remember that phrase? I used it first when discussing the Art of Hedging, or when men in long term relationships be faking and using you for one last test run/ joy ride before clamping down on the inevitable.

Well this tweet in a way circles back around what I wrote, and it appears to be a view shared by many- judging from the number of re-tweets. I’ve always known that men and women aren’t equal in a number of aspects, but when it comes to relationship behavior, these differences couldn’t be more pronounced as I get older. AND I am not saying women don’t do their own playing, I’m just speaking from what I’ve seen and experienced.

For me, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t want to be part of your sinful past on the way to redemption. I don’t want to be part of your try everything on for size stage or be a part of the starting five line up on your hedging team, before you say ‘I do’. Again… I know I’m generalizing on men here, but I can only speak youcutefrom my perspective…

Folks just be tired of wasted time.

…which, hear me out people, is different from when we really like each other, date with direction and somehow it doesn’t work out.

Although I’m still quite weary of this type of behavior, I now honestly understand when some women want to know where things are headed shortly a man starts talking to them. Like I get it now. I get when some women want to (partially) give up and bury themselves in just work, family and friends. Sometimes the journey towards “…happily ever after” or “…and the rest is just history” does not leave you unscathed.

It’s funny cause a few guys I know (of) have recently gotten engaged or married and you look at their behavior prior to marriage like, ‘I hope you come to Jesus real soon, cause it’s only His blood that can wipe your past clean.’ #ikid #butonlyjustalittlebit lol
But on the real, dudes have run circles around Accra, Lagos, London, Johannesburg, Nairobi, NY, DC, [and add in any other big city where there is a mass of Africans]… they’ve been dating, sleeping around with, breaking hearts, cheating on their gfs right, left and center. And now they are walking down the aisle like all is forgiven. And according to society, all IS forgiven. Society tells us that, “he’s a man being a man, he was sowing his wild oats, having fun before having to commit to one person”; in essence, the slate gets wiped squeaky clean once he puts a ring on any (half decent) girl. The behavior gets chalked up to a typical young bachelor lifestyle, which he has now matured from [we thank God oh]. However, while folks outchea having amnesia about a guy’s past and while he’s moved on to dutiful wife and kid, the former women have to deal with the consequences of the situations they put themselves in. And I do put blame on women for putting themselves in these situations too- if you remember *THIS BLOG*.

It’s one of those hard truths that we need to stop pretending doesn’t exist, because we are the ones suffering for it… Things aren’t equal and one has to make sure you don’t end up being a casualty of a man’s ‘growing pains’, however that manifests itself (ie. Pregnancy… Your reputation jeopardized (cause his won’t be)… Or you’re just plainly heart broken).

Sometimes you have to just honestly protect yourself… and sleep soundly.

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**Girls are tired (of relationship wahala)

Hedging: Play Now, Pay Later

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“To protect (one’s investment or an investor) against loss by making balancing or compensating contracts or transactions.”

According to my Mac Spotlight dictionary.

A coward who’s scared to make a permanent decision on a woman.

According to Afua’s dictionary.

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Let’s get into this a little, because it’s one of the most annoying things known to a Woman. So… you meet a guy, he’s chill… hence why y’all start Chilling. And then in some distant, not-so distant future you find out: he’s definitely wifed up. And NOT in the sense that he’s actually said the I-do’s, but that he is near-married, near-engaged, near-co-habitating… near-COMMITTED (however you want to package it). So then the questions start flying, “Why in God’s name was he hanging out with me, with no mention of his “wifey”? ” Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Hedging. 

The art of protecting your prized asset (your arse heart) from an investment you’re not 100% sure will produce the future returns you once calculated thought. The art of diversifying your portfolio to see whether higher returns can be made elsewhere… because any half brain could tell you that going all in on something you’re not 100% sure of is just plain stupid, right?. . . Have you heard of counting your chickens before they hatch? (Usually in reference to a woman eagerly awaiting a proposal, which may or may not ever come). Well hedging is in essence not counting anything… at all.

I’ve heard enough stories of hedging now to know it like better than the back of my hand:

  • boy meets girl (or girls), who he is attracted to. Girl(s) could be new, girl(s) could be old, it’s equal opportunity.
  • boy begins to implicitly or explicitly, or both-ly (?), make moves. ie. inappropriate behavior for someone in a “committed” relationship. This can vary in degree, from acting oblivious or nonchalant about his current relationship’s future… to making propositions such as, “hey, how come you’ve never thought about us being together; we’d make a good pair.” … to outright physical cheating. Note: in all this, boy can disclose or conceal his current relationship, this is also equal opportunity.
  • boy then comes to his senses. And… full stop.

A rather predictable fable, no?

So what makes hedging different from cheating? I’m glad you asked. The important distinction between hedging and mere cheating is that we’re not talking about people who have been dating some few months to maybe a year or two. We’re talking about people who are going on damn near 10yrs (lol naw, but more like anything over 2-3yrs). When generally it’s time to start making moves towards a forever-type situation. For hedging to take place, it must be preceded by movement towards a deeper level of commitment.

girls abr3

GIrls are tired of relationship wahala

Interestingly, (as noted in my neatly bulleted synopsis) what I’ve seen from men who engage in hedging is that they end up marrying wifey anyways. Therefore, it all becomes just a lot of wahala to make them feel more confident in the decision their actions have basically already made- – please ask yourself, what have the last 5years been about then? If that 20% of her that you’re not sure of really makes you want to step out, but that 80% kept you in for 6yrs… chale chale girls abr3 paa**. This thing is just a waste of everyone involved’s time.

I’m guessing another question on your mind is: what happens on wifey’s end? …Welt, let’s first make the assumption that wifey actually knows hedging is upon her (sadly, for some women this is a big assumption… And understandably – I’ve been with you for five years, why wouldn’t I be secure in what we have?). So assuming she actually knows, then perhaps she weathers the storm and banks on the fact that her asset can keep the investor committed, or at the very least fend off other attractive investments long enough for the investor to surrender to come to his senses. Or perhaps she does some hedging herself, to hedge against the hedging… <?> dear God, my head actually hurts thinking about this. Really, I just don’t get it. After a said amount of time, haven’t y’all made a decision? You’re telling me in year 3, year 4… year 8 maybe, y’all didn’t stop to think ‘wait, why are we doing this again?’ Whatever happened to road maps before a journey begins? Or a compass even? *sigh*

I think my frustration lies in the fact that I’ve seen a few too many hedging situations of late. Maybe it’s always been there, and now I’m just at the age where those around me are the one’s actually involved in it. I know life blogger-image--1298430667is complicated- obviously it’s not a small task to have to pick someone to spend the rest of your life with, however to me… I think we get too hung up on the picking part sometimes. When the foundational things are solidified and you’ve picked (judging by your actions of being with this person for 10yrs already), then it shouldn’t be much to take that leap to the next level, no? Perhaps if we were less worried about the picking part, about getting someone who ticks more boxes than the last, about hedging against the hedging, then we could work on the stuff that actually matters… you know, the real hard work that comes afterwards (which will happen regardless of who the woman is). That daily grind of sacrificing oneself for another individual, which will still take place whether it’s Jackie from school or Abena from the next cubicle. I mean at some point you just pick. No hedging, no temporary backing out, and for God’s sake no hedging against the hedging. You just make a decision, and stick with it. *shrug*

**Girls are tired (of relationship wahala)