In days past, I was a young girl who had yet to experience her first love or her first heartbreak. The level of idealism I possessed primed me to be swayed by almost any and every artistic aspect of romance – movies, novels, sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the like. One of my all-time favorite movies back in the day was Love Jones, among the first cinematic expressions of love and relationships between Black folk I remember seeing. I still recall getting a VHS copy from my uncle who visited from New Jersey – one watch, and I was hooked.
Isaiah Washington’s character, Savon, had a particular line that stuck with me from the very first viewing:
You guys are always hoppin’ and fallin’ in love. Love ain’t what it is. It’s easy to fall in love, but will someone, please, tell me how to stay there?
It initially struck me because my naive self couldn’t understand it, then later struck me for its truth once I was a bit older and wiser. Where I once thought that falling in love was the difficulty, I now see Savon’s point – standing and staying in it is where the real work lies.
Regardless of your thoughts on celebrity relationships, many of us were stunned when news of Paula Patton and Robin Thicke’s separation surfaced. For a couple that had been together since their teen years, and who seemed to have carved out a marriage style that worked for them, many were surprised by the split. I immediately thought of my own current relationship – a few years of dating followed by nearly 3 years of marriage – and Savon’s quote came ringing back.
There are the never-ending thinkpieces on single women, single men, and why people can’t find the partner they desire. The Carrie Bradshaw-Mr. Big revolving door relationships that seem much more glamorous on TV than in real life. The common jokes about “the old ball and chain” or warnings about the woes of settling down.
So many components play into the imbalanced focus on falling in love vs. staying in it – so what’s the gameplan once you’ve locked down that new paramour and are trying to solidify things for the long haul? Two key points come to mind:
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