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All I Want Is For Them To Stay Together

When I thought about it, perhaps it wasn’t fair for me to tell the men in my sister and mother’s life to be better men than I. After all, they are still men, which is short for imperfect human being. To put on them a responsibility I haven’t even been willing to do myself, is unfair and somewhat fairly hypocritical.

So I have been thinking about it and I figured out exactly what it is I really want, aside from the obvious good treatment of my mother and my sister. I want my Mom and my stepdad, my sister and her boyfriend, to stay together. Stay together for their entire lives.

Every time I talk to my sister I ask her four things, in this order:

How are you doing?

How is my niece doing?

How is your man doing?

How are you two doing?

The first two questions are obvious, right? The third question can be considered a formality. But the answer to the last question, tells the truth about the three previous questions.

My sister can tell me she’s doing fine all because she’s not sick, and she can say my niece is fine because she’s not crying or doesn’t have a fever, and she can tell me her man is doing okay because, well, the last she time she asked him the same question, that’s what he said. But then, if I ask her how the two of them are doing, and she hesitates or says they’re only doing “Okay”, I know all is not well with the rest and to me, this is the most important.

I remember when my Mother and Pop were going through their separation and at one point being upset with the way my Mom was handling the situation. I thought she didn’t need him and she still had us and so why be sad over him? I thought the love of her children should be enough. And all she could say to me was that it was different.

It wouldn’t be until I saw my Mom get married to the man she is with today that I realized how different it was. When I walked her down the aisle to give her away to my step-dad, I silently prayed to myself that this would be the last time my mother would ever have to walk down the aisle again and the two of them would indeed stay together until death do them part.

When my sister told me she was having a baby one of my main concerns was her relationship with her boyfriend, which by all accounts has always been strong. My sister knows like I know what it’s like to go back and forth between parents, visiting one set on the weekends, and staying with another the rest of the time. I didn’t want my niece to have to go through the same thing, and also, well, I know my sister loves the father of her child, and I don’t want to see her hurt if it never worked out.

I have comforted my Mom and my sister when men have done them wrong, and I remember back then wondering why men would ever do such things, never thinking there was more than one side to the story. Then I became a man myself…

When I became an adult and began to have my own relationships, and saw women cry because of things I did, or sometimes felt the pain of something a woman did to me, I realized that when relationships don’t work out, there’s a heavy emotional toll everyone is going to pay, but no one pays more than the two people who were in the relationship. Heartbreak, as a kid, is something we kind of only see in movies, and maybe at most, feel for our second grade crush. But heartbreak as an adult, is very real. No movie sums it up accurately, nor do they sum up relationships accurately.

I may have told this story before, so forgive me long time readers, but I remember when I was a kid, a trip my sister, mother, and I were supposed to take to our grandparents. At the last minute, it was canceled, and when I asked my mom why, she said my grandparents got into an argument. I said, “Well they should go to sleep.” And my mom asked me why I suggested such a thing. “Because,” I replied. “Every time you and Dad argue, when you wake up, you two don’t argue anymore.”

As a child, we just don’t want the relationships to be messy, we don’t think about how difficult they are and how it takes both people to make them work. We don’t think how the mistakes one person makes can sometimes be unforgivable or sometimes be caused by the other person. We choose sides, and usually we choose the side of whoever is crying first or most hurt. I would be remiss to think my mom is always in the right and my step-dad is always in the wrong, that my sister always does the right thing and any argument she has with her boyfriend will be his fault.

As an adult, I know better. As a man, I have experienced more and I have realized that maybe the biggest mistake I made was being with women who weren’t right for me. As tough as it is to say, I know sometimes the tears my mom cried or my sister cried were of their own doing, and I have to applaud the men for their patience with these women who, much like the men, are imperfect human beings.

I don’t just want the men in the lives of my mother and my sister to be good men. I want my mother and my sister to be good women to those men too. And for all of them to be good to each other. I mean, if I can’t get that for myself, let me see it had by the people I love most.

I’ve made a couple women cry, cried over a couple women, and if there’s one thing I want beyond not ever going through something like that again myself, is seeing the people I love the most go through it themselves.

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  • Violet

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • superwoman

    this is so moving. not much more to say, really. i’m touched.

  • L. Dejean

    “Because,” I replied. “Every time you and Dad argue, when you wake up, you two don’t argue anymore.”

    ^^^That was cute/sweet!

    This was a good post…one can’t help but want the best for their family members (as i want that for my parents). I’ve always been under the assumption that my father could take care of himself because I’ve never seen him shed a tear (only heard it once and never again) or heard him speak of any angst associated with relationships but now I know he very well might. My mom, on the other hand, displays her hurt through her body language…even if she doesn’t speak of it, it is written all over her & I can feel it. My sister does the same thing, to an extent, but I know she is capable of hurting others (she showed us last summer).

    While I wish the best for my family, i also have to realize that they are real people and have their faults as well as their strengths in relationships and other aspects of life.

    Good post!

  • SimplyBeautiful

    “I mean, if I can’t get that for myself, let me see it had by the people I love most.”

    truer words have bever been spoken…

    There is a certain someone who hurt me more than he will ever know and after going through the process of getting over the big hurdle of pain I can truly say that I want him to be happy.

    Unfortunately I couldn’t be what he needed, but I love him enough to pray that God blesses him with a woman that will make him happy.

  • Danni

    Yep, very beautiful post.

    I’m definitely one for forgetting that everybody’s human, so we’re all bound to make mistakes at some point or another, even in relationships. Ish happens. I just wish I could remember this, as clearly as you described it here, when somebody’s actually doing me harm. Ah, one day…

  • @broSouL

    yeah. that was dope.

  • Nicki

    “… As a man, I have experienced more and I have realized that maybe the biggest mistake I made was being with women who weren’t right for me.”


    I believe this is the hardest mistake for anyone to accept, what with hindsight being 20/20 and all. The statement poses the question: how does one choose the right person for them? Or perhaps, how can one be the right person for someone else?

  • JC

    Beautiful, from the heart, shot straight from the hip post.

  • maria

    very honest, great post! the worst is when they actually do separate and at that moment you don’t know whose side to be on… hope everything goes well for you, and the women in your life! 🙂

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  • Love Is Dope

    Awww, this was sugar sweet. You mentioned before that your fam reads your blog. Glad they do.

  • Cynic

    I’m a faithful reader but this blog hit really close to home. It was hard to read this since my own breakup was a couple weeks ago. Thank you for sharing.

  • Leah


  • Malia

    Awwww… that made me cry.

  • BoomShots

    Its interesting that your focus is on the fate of the women and that is expected because those are your loved ones. But I think as men we fail to realize how much broken relationships affect us. Because we don’t complain as much or cry as much or blame women as much as they blame us. But I would suffice to say we hurt as much with a lot less options to address our hurts. I don’t believe it is to anyone’s benefit that so many men lack a support system to help them through their heartbreaks.

    Your concern for your mom and sister originate from your own perceived shortcomings as a man and that is commendable because that signals introspection. But I propose you view it also as an aspect of how society offers men no emotional support while asking them to be more in touch with their feelings. Becoming introspective is not a skill enough of us have and it is even more difficult to make our thoughts actionable in our behavior. We experience the feelings but no one teaches us how to deal with them.

    So we either try to self medicate or self treat our hurt feelings. There have got to be better options available to us. Because the truth is we are too often go out again making the same mistakes with the “wrong” women. Starting another vicious cycle of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It is great that we want to safeguard the women but who is looking out for the men who play an equal part in any broken relationship.

    I have had my share of wrong women and been my share of wrong men. After a while its just gets to be too much to climb back on that horse, hoping and praying the next time you fall off you don’t break your damn neck.

  • Esqin

  • Fallible Sage

    Great post.

  • Malia

    @BoomShots who is looking out for the men who play an equal part in any broken relationship.

    Well who is supposed to help when most men don’t want to open up emotionally?

  • ShaCrista

    Great post! This hits home because I have several examples on couples staying together through thick and thin, and it really makes me hope for a relationship like that one day. Thank you for sharing!

  • Yesi Jukebox

    This was an extremely sweet post Jozen.

  • Yesi Jukebox

    @Malia Well society tells Men that they need to be brave, macho men all the time. I would say that is the reason most of them feel they can’t open up emotionally.

  • zy

    you will not make me cry this early in the day! absolutely not!!! that was beautiful =(

  • brbuddy

    Damn….Starts slow clap….deep.

  • Simply Beautiful


    Not all women blame men for the demise of a relationship. Some women actually internalize (not that internalizing is a better choice either…). As a woman my question is why don’t more men show more support and understanding to each other when it comes to matters of the heart? Is it that society or men in general don’t support each other when they are hurt? Self medication… We all self medicate in one way or another while dealing with the loss of love. Be it the drink/a club/food/or even the arms of another person.

    What I have noticed is that instead of men being able to express what they are going through effectively their friends take them out for a drink or maybe even a strip club to ease their friend’s pain, not realizing he just may need a listening ear instead of a numbing distraction.

    You pose a very good question; ‘who is looking out for the men who play an equal part in any broken relationship.’ I can’t rightfully answer and that’s unfair to men. I’m not use to seeing a man show that he is hurt until it’s too late so if and when I do see it I’m in shock and awe because it makes the man more human (if that makes sense). If you don’t see the hurt in his heart how do you know he’s hurting?

    My question to you is do men think it’s ok to show their emotion amongst themselves without being made to feel less of a man? Can you go to your boy and say (however you say it) ‘I’m hurt, I love this woman and she is hurting me what do I do’ and you actually get some wise counsel or medication?. Some men will turn to a woman (be it mother/sister/or even a friend) for advice before they turn to a man…

  • Janet

    Wow. I’m a first time commenter..with really not much to say because you’ve said it all. Truly a great piece, Jozen.

  • M. Hendricks

    Growth. Such a beautiful thing!