HOURS: 24 per day
“No matter where you go, you are what you are, player / & you can try to change, but that’s just the top layer / Man, you was who you was ‘fore you got here.” –Jay Z
I know you’ve heard it before …
“He’s crazy. He’s abusive. He ain’t sh*t…but girl, I can change him! He hasn’t had this, yet.” These are the tragic words that carelessly drip from the lips of an abundance of hopeful hopeless romantics. I call it irrational optimism–delusional people with an altered sense of reality who think they possess the uncanny ability to change people. A Captain-Save-a-Ho, if you will. Regardless of what reckless behavior a man might display prior to a relationship, there’s a woman out there who thinks she can make it stop.
Then this happened…
I had a conversation with a friend who insisted that three is his limit. Not drinks, but “body counts.” If a woman has been intimate with more than three other men in her lifetime, she doesn’t stand a chance with him taking her as a serious date. I asked him how many women he’s been intimate with. he said 15–an unreal double standard too many men agree with.
Rick Ross has a rap that states, “These [expletives] Can’t Hold Me Back”–poorly worded lyrics with a great universal message: You can’t hold a determined person back. If someone makes up in their mind to do something, they will do it. It may not be today or tomorrow, but it will happen. Checking their phone, giving them a curfew and smelling their privates every time they walk in the door won’t change that. The phrase once a cheater, always a cheater isn’t true. Once a cheater, a cheater until the cheater changes is more precise.
Simply put, we must manage our expectations. When we begin to understand our actions are incapable of dictating a desired response, we can start to decipher people and relationships. Love isn’t enough to make a person stop doing wrong. People will make up in their mind what they will or won’t do based upon their own reasoning independent of your preferences. Humans are flawed. Enjoy life, but reserve a space in your heart for disappointment.
Ladies, this is for you: Sex can’t change a man and neither can you. Accept it and stay, or deny it and leave. It’s a harsh reality, nevertheless a reality. And far too many of you run from the realities right in front of your faces. Red flags are conveniently present prior to relationships. Don’t ignore them.
Gentlemen, this is for you: Let her live. Locking her in and lurking on her Instagram to check her likes likely won’t avert her insistent mission to like whatever the hell photo she wants to like. This doesn’t mean she’s cheating and it doesn’t mean she’s not. But if you impose on her life, she might be resentful and rebel. And it’s not because she’s a bad person, but it’s how people naturally respond to restraint. Whatever is meant to be will be. You can’t change that. Relax and enjoy her or let your paranoia make you leave.
Most people don’t change overnight; they grow overtime. And you have to allow folk that space to develop on their own. Attempting to personally interfere with this natural process might delay the inevitable, but it won’t prevent it. We must allow people to live their lives simply because they’re going to live their lives anyway. We should guide, teach and love them, but ultimately adults make their own decisions.
Don’t expect me to be where you are because you matured quicker. Your private sins are no better than my public sins. We all got problems we’re working on.
Either love me, or leave me alone.
– Enitan Bereola, II
Bereola is the go-to style and etiquette impresario and public speaker. He is also the bestselling author of BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate. He is working on his follow-up book titled, “GENTLEWOMAN: A Lady’s Etiquette Book from a Gentleman’s Perspective.” Check his Website Bereolaesque.com and @bereolaesque on Twitter as well as Facebook.