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Romantic relationships really are the kryptonite of the black queer community. It seems that we are always auditioning people we just met for relationships we don’t need to be in. Unfortunately, many black queer relationships have the shelf life of cheese sitting out on the counter. However, it’s not because we’re incapable of loving or even building healthy relationships.
It’s usually because of untreated mental and emotional health issues. Let’s be real: there’s a lot of trauma in the black community. From the lingering generational pain of our ancestors, to racial and socioeconomic inequities, to poor treatment we experience in our daily lives, we have a lot to manage. Being queer doesn’t help because it makes us even more vulnerable to abuse or neglect by people that don’t understand or approve of who we are. On top of that, the road to recovery isn’t paved in gold. We’re still being taught to “pray on it”, told that only crazy people need therapy, live in communities with little resources, and are brought up in homes that don’t normalize self-care and good mental health.
With us carrying all of this around, it’s no wonder maintaining healthy long-term relationships is like driving a burnt-out hooptie cross-country. Even as the engine blows and tires fly off, we keep driving, constantly hopping from relationship to relationship hoping the next one will yield a different result even if we don’t change. In the process, we run down our relationships within the first month by putting hands on our partners, yelling and cursing at them, emotionally alienating them, cheating, running from commitment, destroying property, and a plethora of other toxic behaviors because our damage is acting for us. If this is you, that’s a very strong indication that it’s time to go to therapy before you date again.
Why, therapy before, you date is important:
You’ll have the emotional capacity to handle a healthy relationship
When you’re ready to date again, you’ll be more likely to attract healthier people and less likely to lose them via toxicity
You’re less likely to hurt someone by projecting your trauma onto them
Your emotional regulation, impulse control, communication skills, and accountability will be honed
You will be able to spot red flags in others and leave toxic situations quicker
You’ll have the tools and skills to troubleshoot when you are triggered
You’ll be a happier, healthier person, which will make YOU feel better day to day
Therapy is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a lot of time, accountability, and vulnerability to see changes. But if you make the effort, not only will you thrive individually, but you’ll thrive in your romantic relationships once you’ve done the work. What’s amazing about therapy nowadays are the black LGBTQ+ mental health professionals you can link with that will understand you culturally and help you feel more comfortable discussing your trauma. You can find your ideal therapist here, here, and here. To help you along, surround yourself with people that support your mental health journey. If your family and friends don’t, seek out community in meetup groups, Facebook groups, and anywhere safe that connects you with like-minded individuals who will stand alongside you.
More than anything, know that you’re not crazy for needing some extra help. Wanting to grow into a healthier, more joyful person makes you strong, not weak. You’re investing in yourself and normalizing healthy habits, which is amazing! Trust me, as someone who’s been through the process, I know it’s worth it. Therapy was there for me, and it can be there for you if you choose.
Written By: Eden Carswell, LBH Content Writer (@locs_on_the_rocks, IG)