Friday, February 19, 2010

Ask a Bougie Chick: Love & Relationship Edition

First a disclaimer: The opinions and advice shared on this blog are from the fertile soil of my mind based on my experiences. They are in no way professionally sanctioned or meant to influence anybody, anywhere, at any time. Thank you. ~The Management.

Hello BougieLand. Thanks for joining me this week while we explored some aspects of love and relationships. I enjoyed the week and found out that anytime we talk about sex, folks are going to go ALL IN. Duly noted. It's been far too long since we had an Ask a Bougie Chick session. The questions have been pouring in and yet I'm only going to answer two today. So, Ladies and Gents... without further ado (cue the game show music)… Let's Play Ask A Bougie Chick… (letters were only edited for spelling and grammar)

Our first letter comes from Audrina. That is her real name, she asked me to use her real name so she could be sure I was talking about her. Okay, Audrina from Minneapolis… here's your letter:

Hey Chele,

I love the blog and I've noticed that you speak a lot about your ex-boyfriends. I have an ex-significant other that I am considering going back to. We spent two years together and I really thought he was going to be if for me. He had a bit of a problem with the truth and fidelity but that was a year ago. From all appearances, he has really matured. I still care deeply for him and want to believe that it will be okay this time but I don't want to blind and stupid either. How do you know it's right? In your experience, does the second time around work out better than the first?


Thanks for the love. This question is near and dear to my heart. I recently wrestled with this very same issue. Let me break my answer up into sections:

First: When you say he had "a bit of a problem with the truth and fidelity" – that's a lot to digest. Without getting into your gritty details, I'm going to ask that you think about how you phrased that and let it marinate.

Second: What has he done in the past year to mature? You need tangible proof of improved behavior not "appearances".

Third: There's no way to know if it's right. Sometimes you have to step out on faith. But before you take that leap, make a list of what was great and what stank before. See how much of the stink is gone and how much of the good is still there. That way you'll feel less blind.

Finally: I haven't had great "do-over" success rates. There's generally a reason (or ten) when a relationship falls apart. Ask yourself what's different, if you are both willing to work that much harder this time around and to what end – what do you hope to achieve by reconciling.

And if none of my practical exercises work for you… follow your heart and pray for the best. Good luck and thanks for visiting the Black 'n Bougie.

Letter #2 comes to us from a gentleman in Florida. We'll call him Jimmy:

Ms. Bougie,

Me and my wife are just regular people. We live a good simple life. I never got a college degree but I do what I gotta do to make sure things are taken care of with my job. Not everybody is going to be a doctor or lawyer. My wife just finished up her degree and now she is not satisfied with what we have and who I am. She keeps talking about moving up to the next level. I thought we were here already. I was looking around her laptop and found your webpage. She reads it like a religion. When I asked her about it, she said she want me to read it so I can understand where she's trying to go.

She's started talking about changing our 'environment' and 'expanding our horizons'. I don't know what that really means or have patience for folks putting on airs and acting like they don't know where they came from. We used to take little weekend vacations fishing now she says she wants to go to Jamaica and Aruba and places I can't afford to take her. I'm not blaming you, I wonder if you are making your life sound like something people should have even when they can't afford it. Since the degree, her new job and this page we are not the same marriage. Just thought you should know.


I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "just regular people". In my mind, I'm just as regular as the next person. By good simple life, I'm going to assume you mean modest lifestyle and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

If you look around the blog, you'll see that I don't encourage people to do anything they cannot afford or are not comfortable with. Also, if you read the blog you'll see my life is not all roses and champagne. Lastly, if you read the blog you'll see that this is where I happen to come from so bougie is not an act for me. I would respectfully submit that I am not glamorizing a lifestyle of any kind, Black 'n Bougie is not the Jay-Z Big Pimpin' video for the up and coming. I do encourage people to get as educated as they can and achieve a level of success that they can be proud of – whatever that means to them. That's what I was taught; just passing it along.

As for your wife and your situation – people grow and change. It seems as though your wife, having achieved one goal is ready to dream a little bigger and step out from what you may be used to. Not to get all up in your relationship sir, but it seems as though your wife is ready to shake things up a little bit. You should really have this conversation with her and see what's on her mind. I would hope you can open yourself to her ideas and new direction since I'm told people within a marriage should be walking the same path. I hope this is the response you were seeking. I appreciate your feedback and thank both you and your wife for visiting the Black 'n Bougie.

These two were tough for me. I'm more at ease answering outlandish off the wall questions where the answer is glaringly evident. These I had to think about. What do you think, BougieLand? How did I do? Do you have advice for Jimmy & Audrina? Agree? Disagree? All thoughts and comments welcome.


ASmith said...

Chele, let's think about finding you a television show, k? K.

When it comes to getting back with an ex, I always say something has to have obviously changed. Usually about both people (because as much as we like to think it, relationships rarely end just because of one person). I say re-connects rarely work out like we hope because we don't focus enough on making sure that what was wrong about both people were fixed before we jump back in. Old relationships always look good because they're familiar and comfortable and it's really hard to see the situation without our "familiar and comfortable" glasses on.

As for Jimmy... well... Jimmy...

I hope you let your wife read your letter because that's who you should've sent it to (and maybe CC'd OneChele). Ultimately this is a discussion you have to have with her. There's more to why she wants to go "bigger" than this blog. The other thing is, I notice that a lot of times people say "well, she used to be ok with x" when actually she just pretended to be ok with it. Find out if she really did always enjoy those weekend fishing trips or if she just tolerated it for you (and then don't be offended if it's the latter, be appreciative). If you guys can't afford Jamaica and Aruba, then be honest about that but talk about a compromise. I mean there are lots of inexpensive vacation options out there. I also agree with OneChele -- sounds like she's trying to shake things up and I'd caution you to be too resistent. Change isn't always bad.

midwestdominicana said...

Isn't Jimmy's letter so familiar?! Why is it so unbelievable that brown-hued folks can come from a lifestyle of strong educational background, vacations outside the country and stock options? If you were fortunate enough to be born into that situation, is that really your fault? If your parents taught you how to maintain financial balance and put stock into yourself and your abilities, does that make you a sell-out?

Unless Jimmy's wife is walking around degrading him and telling him he's not a man and that she's better than him,, then his complaint is simply null and void. He is either jealous or stubborn, in my opinion. What person in their right mind doesn't want to pursue perfection? None of us will ever reach it on Earth, but what is the harm in pushing yourself to do better? To achieve more, to go for your dreams? There is ALWAYS room for improvement in some area of everyone's life.

If Jimmy is indeed happy with himself, then he is a giant among men, but he has to realize that his marriage is not just about him. And if Jimmy's wife truly loves him, she must do the same.

With that said...there inevitably HAS to be some change in their marriage or it will eventually fail..whether that is through separation or divorce or whether it is through withdrawl and resentment.

I agree that there is plenty of compromise to be had here. I HIGHLY recommend that Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy sign up for a class together. Something that interests them both or something that they've never thought of trying before. Start simple like a tango class or something similar. And then expand that. Find a tapas restaurant to have dinner and wine at either before or after class. It's not going to Spain, but it's a little sample of what Spain might be like. Maybe the food, wine and culture will be enough to spur Jimmy's interest to start planning a future trip.

On that note, there are MANY services out there that offer payment plans and pay later options for potential vacationers. Dear Jimmy...this doesn't mean that your wife has gone off on the Bougie side of the pool necessarily, but even if it does, maybe you should consider wading in on the shallow end. Who might actually enjoy it!

Sarah said...

If I gave anybody relationship advice, I think a lightening bolt would come out of the sky and strike me down. But I will say that Jimmy is in for some rocky times. In the words of your friend Paul from the show the other night, his wife and he don't seem to have the same vision. I don't get the picture from reading your posts that you have created some rosy sugar coated unattainably fantastic image of your life. In fact, I'd say the realness of the stories you tell is what keeps me coming back to visit. And by the way, I really enjoyed listening to the radio show Wed. I hesitated to listen like I somewhat hesitated to read this week since sometimes discussions of love and relationships make me sad and I can't afford to spend time crying into my tea. However, I thought the radio show was funny even though the topics were serious. I laughed really hard when your friend Max was talking about how his friendliness was greeted with scowls or unkind words and then asked you if women were becoming meaner. I thought you handled it well.

Hidi said...

Onechele, you did a good job. :)

I am no expert, so I wish Audrina the best with the non existent might be getting back together relationship. :)

Moving along to Jimmy.........

Sigh. It sounds like he is frustrated and directed it towards the wrong person; he really needs to talk to his WIFE. I am not in their marriage and I know they are two sides to every story, so they were many things not written in that letter. Also, it sounds like he does not want to compromise; it's either his way or no way. Anyway, what is wrong with "expanding your horizons" and "changing your environment"? This does not make you forget who are and where you came from. Only someone who is afraid of leaving the mundane alone will feel this way.

Listen, no one can make you change who you are unless you give them permission to do so. Ok? got it? good.

LeonX said...

To coin your phrase Chele, I call bullshiggity on "Jimmy". Blaming your wife's new found aspirations on a blog? C'mon Son!

Rob said...

I don't believe in "do-overs" - I try and do it right the first time. As for Jimmy, my man - keep up! You WANT a woman to aspire for more. Now what Chele is too polite to say (love southern chicks) is that your wife is trying to bring you up with her but you are dead weight right about now. Rise up son or get left behind. And stop looking OUTSIDE your marriage for the reason it ain't working...

OneChele said...

Oh I cannot do TV or play poker, my face shows EVERY emotion. My mouth would be saying, "Oh that's interesting." My face would be saying, "Ninja Please!"

Queen of Me said...

She is all Southern Charm! I just got that. I would have said - Audrina, run away baby. Jimmy, man up.

Yoruba Mutakabbir said...

RE: Jimmy. It seems he and the wife are on different paths but that can be rectified. You are right, everyone can not be a doctor or lawyer and why should they be? But everyone can expand their horizons and try something new. something different. There must be something out there you have never done but always wanted to do or wanted to learn more about. You wife has been exposed to some new different things and wants to try them. Life is a journey. You are not there already!! You don't want to be the same person as an elderly man that you were as a young whippersnapper. There is nothing wrong with that and it doesn't have to be expensive.

JaymeC said...

It always troubles me when people try to blame outside influences on their relationship woes. A relationship is A and B, don't put C, D and E in the middle.
As for Audrina - I think she already knew the answer, just wanted a co-signer.
You did good.

OneChele said...

Great response, on point.

Carey Jackson said...

I'm currently in the middle of a "Take 2" relationship. Slow going. We haven't really conquered the whole trust issue yet but we'll see. I decided there was enough still there to warrant one more go round.

OneChele said...

Glad you liked the show. It was a lot of fun!

BendLikeBent said...

Jimmy took the time to search his wife's laptop and write this letter instead of talking to her directly? FAIL.

All Honey said...

THIS! Jimbo - she is halfway gone, you better catch her before she turns the corner. She on that come-up, you waiting for what to happen?

Veronica said...

This was the glaring statement that stood out at me.

She's started talking about changing our 'environment' and 'expanding our horizons'. I don't know what that really means or have patience for folks putting on airs and ***acting like they don't know where they came from.***

There's this very misguided notion that people have to "keep it real" by "staying in their place." And when someone decides they're NOT going "to stay in their place," they become a threat to people who never considered mobility as an option. So the first thing they say is "Don't forget where you came from," which to me reads, "Don't think you're any better than the rest of us who never tried to do better."

Jimmy sounds like one of those people, and he seems threatened that his wife wants a life that he never even considered to be an option. Yes, the couple has to communicate, but I'd also say Jimmy has to examine within himself why he feels that way -- what the hell is wrong with expanding your horizons, or taking a trip to the Caribbean for that matter?! Seriously?!

I don't think it's necessarily a money issue, it seems more like an inferiority one. Jimmy's wife is stepping into a realm that he is NOT comfortable with, and maybe even intimidated by. Remember that dinner scene in "Disappearing Acts"? (Link: That's what Jimmy is giving me.

datdudeincali said...

Audrina - "problem with truth and fidelity"??? You already knowing.
Jimmy - men the world over trying to find an ambitious woman who works to get better and you beefing? In Florida? Son... get right or get left behind.

OneChele said...

Ummm ^^^ what he said.

OneChele said...

Ah, ya'll got me feeling like melted butter on a honeyed biscuit <<< Southern enough? LOL

Just Passing By said...

I like the fact that you picked two questions that we could all sink our teeth into. I notice not a lot of people paid attention to Ms. Audrina. (Maybe because Jimmy gave us so much to work with). Auduina - I think the fact that you had so much doubt baout your decision means you are not ready to try again. You can have feelings for someone without being in a relationship with them. It's hard but sometimes you have to do what's best for you.

OneChele said...

Wishing you luck!

Steve said...

The tapback/second time/begin again strategy is always dicey. For me, I've decided not to double dip. That's why I don't walk away easily, I know I'm not going back.
Jimmy is a bit to the wack side, huh? No offense to his wife who is probably reading but dude... wow. Rediscover balls.

Liselle said...

Audrina: It depends if you are a Use Your Heart and not your mind girl. Only you can decide that.
Jimmy: Wake up and smell the designer coffee. Your woman has left Folgers and entered Starbucks. Get there.

Kandia said...

Audrina has he really changed THAT much or is he just smart enough to cover his tracks this time around?

Jimmy can either grow with her or they're gonna grow apart. Everybody can't be doctors and lawyers, so if he's content to stay in one place at least he can encourage HER DREAMS as she moves forward or he WILL get left behind scratching his head wondering when she left....people rarely just "leave" overnight.

Yoruba Mutakabbir said...

Re: audrina, immaturity is one thing, lying is another. Which was it really? A liar is a liar, period, don't make excuses. Lots of mature liars out there.

sunt97 said...

Wow who would have ever thought through your computer, you could manipulate a person by changing their mind about where they want to vacation, lol. I think that guy needs to breath and have a sit down with the wife to discuss his concerns instead of blaming a blog. And your first letter I agree witht he fact second gorounds don't usually work out, expecially if infidelity was the culprit the first time. Hopefully she took your advice and put some real thought into it. Great blog, I think I'm becoming a regular.


kh20s said...

Jimmy - its going to be ok! your wife is just trying to tell you that she wants to try some new things. perhaps she thought a blog by a sister would be a non-threatening way to open up a conversation. she's trying new things and the good part is that she wants you along! everybody needs a new vacation now and then. i've been in positions where i didn't try something new because i thought it was too expensive or that i couldn't afford it. maybe you can't afford an all out deluxe trip to aruba, but the two of you can pool your money together and put together a nice trip to the islands.
i hope your wife continues to appreciate your ambitions and goals - which seem to focus on providing a life (and a few fishing trips) for your family.
or maybe your wife just doesn't want to go fishing any more....


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