Black Women and The Romanticization of Struggle Love
There is a fine line between being loyal and simply wasting your time.
I have found that we have taken the phrase “ride or die” and have completely run it into the ground. Loyalty has been characterized as sticking by a partner despite them not only being unambitious, emotionally unavailable, and financially unstable but also when they have no real intentions of making a change. Obviously, all men do not check these boxes and we all have opportunities for growth that we need to work toward. But minimizing and parading any of these issues as “character traits” that Black women should be okay with is highly problematic and further places unfair pressure on Black women to grin and endure all.
What Exactly is Struggle Love?
Love, no doubt, takes work and sacrifice from both parties. In the context of long-term monogamous relationships, it is the decision to grow and do life with another person. Rather than “falling” in love with someone, I believe we choose to love someone. The important thing about love is that the effort is coming from both sides.
Struggle love can be defined in a number of ways. In a nutshell, it describes a relationship in which all of the work, sacrifice, and growth is one-sided. It all falls on one person to make things work and to be any and everything for their partner. But, in actuality, struggle love isn’t a partnership at all. Struggle love is based on a deficit mentality and the idea that Black women are not worthy of any other experiences outside of trauma and struggle — begging for whatever scraps they can strong-arm from their partner. You’re begging for communication, begging for quality time, begging for constructive and healthy conflict resolution, begging for growth, begging for emotional availability, and maturity and the list goes. Umm, no ma'am.
Unfortunately, I can’t help but notice that Black women tend to be on the receiving end of struggle love more than any other demographic. The idea of the ride-or-die woman seemed to have good intentions, but it actually just reinforces Black women being treated as though they should serve as rehabilitation centers for men. All of a sudden, we are no longer women but Manic Pixie Dream Girls…