relationships

On Galentine’s Day: Watching Women In Her Life Abandon Relationships When Romance Arrives, This Latina Is Calling For A New Love Hierarchy

Too often, women who date men, including those who are straight, bisexual or queer, enter relationships with male partners and then dim the lights in the other places they’ve found love — whether that be in their own warmth or in that of their friends and family.

From childhood, we are taught to prioritize romance above other types of loving relationships. Everywhere we turn, the message is clear: true happiness comes in the form of being loved by a man. And so we constantly look for ways to be more desirable and less rowdy — the kind of women that men want to love gently and hang up in their homes like expensive art. We learn to be softer, prettier and to take up less space. Our society, after all, grants us more social currency for having a male partner than for being women who refuse to compromise.

But when so much of our self-affirmation is tangled with the idea of having a romantic partner, other relationships become placeholders — the kind of love that keeps us company in the meantime. Friendships and familial ties become temporary distractions, performances that keep us entertained until the final reveal.

We find romantic love and then become deserters in our platonic relationships. Slowly, we loosen the grip on our foundations and lose our sense of self in the process. But our friends and family provide us with a kind of love that romantic partners could never supplant. These relationships are sources of clarity and direction; they hold up mirrors for us and remind us of who we want to be and what our values are. Most importantly, they check us when we’re compromising those values. They’re homes that were carefully built and nurtured. And in order to sustain, they must be tended to. When those homes collapse, we move toward seeking validation exclusively in our romantic relationships. Like hungry children begging to be sated, we become increasingly willing to compromise our values so long as our need for companionship is satisfied. We become women whose unconditional love doesn’t demand very much in return.

Women who date men know that, more often than not, our relationships require that we perform an exhausting amount of labor. For Latina women, the search for this truth does not take us very far. Its presence is palpable in our everyday lives. At the same time that the women in our families pressure us to find a husband and bear children, their dissatisfaction with the men in our families is glaringly apparent. Their performance of happiness is but a gossamer veil over the physical and emotional labor that maintaining their marriage requires.

The Latina women in my family carry the weight of romantic love on their backs. Their own needs are whispered so that they can better listen to the needs of their partners. Emotionally, economically and sexually, they’re pushed to the margins of their relationship. The women in my family work the double shift. They labor at their jobs and then they labor at home, something their husbands rarely do. They are the primary caregivers to their children. They forgive more often. They comfort more often. And they please more often. They’re women who’ve spent their entire lives swimming in the depths of the ocean, always moving toward an invisible shore — givers in relationships marked primarily by a lack of reciprocity and selflessness on their behalf.

Given this, the question of why we continue to pour so much of ourselves into the idea of romantic love then becomes a matter of survival. Our path to liberation must necessarily include an analysis of the ways that our ideas about romantic love inform the way that we live our lives. We must question why women continue to prioritize romantic love, even when we know that it is far less likely than the platonic kind to provide us the abiding reciprocity and connection that we crave. We cling to the taxing idea that we cannot live satisfying, fulfilled lives if we do not find a lasting romance because we cannot bear the thought of being alone.

It is a transgressive decision for women who date men to continue nurturing all types of loving relationships when we enter romantic ones. Even if we find a loving and caring partner, we must be deliberate in continuing to invest time and energy in all of the people we love, including ourselves. This means reserving time exclusively for things that both make us happy and that do not involve our partners. While it is inevitable that our partners enter the world we’ve built with friends and family, these worlds must also exist independently of each other. Continuing to nurture our platonic relationships cannot be reductively shaped as a matter of convenience — a “well, what if you break up” or “who will comfort you when it comes to an end?” This is the only way that we can shift the paradigm and move toward a conception of love that does not rest on a toxic foundation.

In the tradition of women who’ve dared to reimagine the shapes that our existence in this world could take, we must find the courage to rethink a society where “ending up alone” is not the worst of all possible scenarios. Where the quality of our existence is not diluted by the absence of a male partner. Where entering a romantic relationship doesn’t translate into the absence of everything else. Where women past an arbitrary stage in life don’t carry scarlet letters that classify them as undesirables. Where self-love isn’t designated to second-class status.


Read: From Deportation To Incarceration, These Are The Stories Of Women Loving Through Injustice

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ANTM’s Eva Marcille Bravely Comes Forward With Her Story Of Having Hide In ‘Multiple Places’ To Evade Her Abusive Ex-Boyfriend

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ANTM’s Eva Marcille Bravely Comes Forward With Her Story Of Having Hide In ‘Multiple Places’ To Evade Her Abusive Ex-Boyfriend

Shade is often thrown around on any given episode of the Real Housewives franchises. Gossip is what makes the reality show interesting. Sometimes, however, when lies spread, the truth that is ultimately revealed can be hurtful and speak more about reality than what was intended.

On last night’s episode of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” one of the women, Marlo, tried to come for a castmate to poke fun at her financial woes. The shade turned out to expose longtime abuse.

Eva Marcille revealed on RHOA that the reason she has been moving from house to house isn’t that she’s lacking money but rather scared for her safety.

Twitter/@atlantainformer

“I still feel a sense of threat,” Marcille told her castmates on last night’s episode. “I have had to move five times, and I still feel a sense of uneasiness. He’s just so petty sometimes. I’ve walked outside of my balcony before, and he’s been standing in the dark. And it is the scariest feeling ever.”

Marcille is an American actress and former winner of the third cycle of America’s Next Top Model who is of Puerto Rican descent.

Marcille alleged that she has a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend, Kevin McCall due to stalking and domestic abuse.

The couple, who share a daughter together (though she refers to him as a “donor”), separated in 2015. She has since gone on to marry Atlanta lawyer Micheal T. Sterling; they too share a child.

Marcille dispelled gossip that she and Sterling have frequently moved around because of financial troubles.

Instagram/@omfgrealitytv

“Every time I move, he finds me,” Marcille said on the episode. “Because of that, I live in multiple places. Safety is a priority for me.”

Sterling took to social media to support his wife by saying “Everything we got, we earned the hard way. And every day that I wake up, I work for legacy, not labels. Motivational use only.”

Marcille told the women that a former friend, who she had a falling out with, began spreading lies about her. “The lies are real gross, and the hate is beyond,” she said on Instagram.

Her alleged abuser, who’s had a history of erratic behavior at least on social media, said Marcille is just using the claims against him as a fake storyline.

“It’s sad when she gotta keep using my name for her storyline if I was the husband I would be like “Real hoe of Atlanta is you out your mind, or is you still obsessed with your child’s Father? Why is he in our storyline so much ain’t I enuff headline for our relationship?” McCall said on Twitter.

Marlo also said on last night’s episode that Marcille was using old claims to back up her current financial situation.

Last year on “The Wendy Williams Show,” Marcille said that McCall has never been a part of her daughter’s life.

“He thinks that biology is more important than being present,” Marcille said of McCall. “He’s extremely dysfunctional, and he’s not at a place where it’s safe for himself or for others.”

Fans of Marcille were quick to offer her support on Twitter.

The less reasonable are demanding more details.

Others were quick to highlight their favorite and most empowering quotes from Eva on the episode.


READ: News Of This Woman Killing Her 11-Year-Old Daughter Because She Suspected Her of ‘Having Sex’ Is Proof Of The Perils Of Purity Culture

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Are You A Victim Of Abuse? Use This Checklist To Help You Determine The Truth

Calladitas No More

Are You A Victim Of Abuse? Use This Checklist To Help You Determine The Truth

There are three ways that abuse can be identified. By the way your partner treats you physically, by the way they treat you emotionally, and by how you feel about the relationship. This checklist of twenty signs of abuse is one tool that you can use to see if you, or someone you know, is a victim of abuse. And remember, more resources for dealing with abuse can be found by calling The National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 799 7233.

1. They have grabbed you and refused to let go.

gabkaphoto / Instagram

This falls into the category of physical abuse. No-one should grab you to make you feel threatened and unsafe. No-one.

2. They have pulled your hair.

Instagram: @theerinblythedavis

This is another form of physical abuse. Sure, a bit of hair pulling in the act of passion is fine. But when it happens as part of an argument, or when your partner is deliberately trying to hurt you or make you feel threatened, that is abuse.

3. They have thrown things at you and/or destroyed your belongings.

Instagram: @beatfreak1996

One way your significant other may try to control you is through your belongings. Throwing things at you and destroying your belongings is designed to hurt you physically and emotionally. Threatening to do so also falls under this category of behavior, too.

4. They have left you with bruises, black eyes, bleeding, and/or broken bones.

Instagram: @veeegooose

While abuse doesn’t necessarily have to leave marks on your body, a sure sign of physical abuse in your relationship is when your partner does leave marks. Research shows that once it happens the first time, a “threshold” of sorts has been crossed, and an abuser is more likely to hurt their partner again.

5. They have threatened to hurt or kill you.

Instagram: @raquelitt

It may not seem like abuse, since there are no physical marks left from a threat to hurt or kill you. However, these threats are still part of the arsenal of tools that abusers use. How? Because these threats are designed to control your behavior, and make you feel powerless. Abuse in a relationship is about the abuser gaining and maintaining power, and death threats are a way of emotionally controlling you.

6. They have threatened to take your children away or harm them.

Instagram: @stephaniemaurasanchez

Even if you have children together, children shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip in your relationship. Even more importantly, your children’s safety is non-negotiable: no partner of yours should threaten it. By the way, this doesn’t just apply to children. Pets can also be used to manipulate and control you in a relationship.

7. They have forced you to have sex.

Instagram: @jennylikesjewellery

Sex is not a “duty” to be fulfilled in a loving, equal relationship. Nor should your partner guilt trip or manipulate you into participating in sex acts after you have refused sex. Consent needs to be freely given! It doesn’t matter how long the two of you have been together. Otherwise, it’s classed as sexual assault.

8. They try to control you and treat you like a child.

Instagram: @silvia_almanza

Abusive relationships are about control and power. Part of treating you like a child is making you feel like you don’t have any control in the relationship, or even your life, so that you continue to stay and endure the abuse.

9. They make you feel like you need permission to make decisions or go somewhere.

Instagram: @kreeturefeature

This applies when you feel like you have to text at every moment to update your partner about where you are. And when you can’t spend time with friends or family without getting permission from your partner. This is because abusers commonly try to isolate their partner from other, platonic relationships with other people.

10. They try to take complete control of the finances and how you spend money.

Instagram: @loudmouthbruja

Controlling how money is earned and spent is known as financial abuse. People suffering from this type of abuse are commonly denied access to money by partners for doing simple tasks like grocery shopping. Or, sometimes the abuser decides whether and when their partner is allowed to work.

11. They cannot admit to being wrong.

Instagram: @abs_ter

Part of being in a respectful and loving relationship is being able to say sorry and to admit fault. An abusive partner refuses to apologise, because doing so would threaten their position of power in their relationship.

12. They accuse you of things that you know are not true.

Instagram: @estephaniaabarca

This is about control, and manipulating you. After all, if you’re spending your time trying to prove your innocence, then you’re not going to spend your time planning to leave the relationship, are you?

13. They do not take responsibility for their behavior.

Instagram: @lu.pazmi

The reality is, it’s not too much to ask someone to take responsibility for their behavior – even more so when it’s someone you’re in a relationship with. However, your partner doesn’t take responsibility for their behavior because doing so would threaten their position of power in the relationship.

14. They use “The Silent Treatment” to get their way.

Instagram: @yappaririri

Chances are you may have experienced “The Silent Treatment” before, in elementary school. And that’s where that behavior should stay. An equal, loving relationship is not built on one person using silence to manipulate the other person into conceding a point.

15. They make subtle threats or negative remarks about you.

Instagram: @noshophotography

Of course, there’s always room for some friendly sledging in a loving, respectful relationship. But, it turns into abuse when your partner does this on a regular basis to frighten, or control you. It’s possible they may even pass it off as a “joke”, or say that you’re “overreacting”. But again, if you’re in a loving relationship, then your partner should respect the fact that you’re hurt by a “joke”. They should not continue to make these types of comments.

16. You feel scared about how your significant other will act.

Instagram: @erikakardol

Repeat after us: you should have no reason to fear your partner in a loving, respectful relationship. You should have no reason to fear your partner in a loving, respectful relationship.

17. You feel that you can help your partner to change their behavior.

Instagram: @amnesia.r

But, only if you have changed something about yourself first.

18. You watch your behavior carefully so that you do not start a conflict in your relationship.

Instagram: @cmirandads

An abuser does not abuse all of the time. They maintain a cycle of abuse in the relationship. Things go from being tense, where you feel like you have to watch your own actions, to an incident which involves verbal, emotional, financial and physical abuse. Then, your partner attempts reconciliation or denies the abuse occurred, and the relationship goes into a calm stage. However, tensions will begin to build before long, starting the cycle once again.

19. You stay with your partner because you are afraid of what they would do if you broke up.

Instagram: @msstefniv

In other words, you feel trapped in your relationship because of your partner’s current, or potential, behavior. This can range from hurting you, your kids, your pets, your friends, and your family. Or, destroying your belongings, compromising access to your finances, or hurting themselves.

20. They don’t pass “The No Test”

Instagram: @kaitlyn_laurido

“The No Test” is pretty simple. Observe what happens the next time you tell your partner “no”. This could be in response to being asked out on a date, or maybe doing them a simple favor. Disappointment is a normal response to being told “no.”  However, pure outrage, violence, and/or emotional manipulation is not a reasonable response, and may indicate an abusive relationship.

If you feel that you are experiencing an abusive relationship, please seek help. Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 799 7233 for assistance. Please take care if you feel that your internet or mobile phone device use is being monitored.

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