Family Magazine

Do You Have Your Own Back?

By Shaybanks @dnceluv

I was brought to my knees. Two years ago, I lost 2 friends with whom I was extremely close. No they didn’t die. But they jabbed a knife so far into my back, that I felt like I’d died. To add insult to injury, my boyfriend at the time broke up with me through an email on Facebook citing “we’re just too different.”

All of this happened within 48 hours after New Years. I was devastated. Broken. Torn to pieces. Shell-shocked from the pain. To lose one friend, ok, I can survive that, but two? Back to back? And to lose my man on top of that? Damn, can a sista get a break?!

Hands down, it was the worst way to start a new year. But I got through it. I took prayer, lots of tissue, and a lot of self-reflection.

A few weeks later, both friends contacted me. I gave them a big “F-Off” speech. Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice? Girl, please!

 Shortly after that, Mr. Break-Up-Via-Facebook called and emailed. I blocked his number and added his email to my Spam folder.

I was done.  I had officially decided that I didn’t have to entertain trash.

You see for weeks, I had beaten myself up over the events that took place. I felt “blindsided” and “hoodwinked”. I truly didn’t see it coming. If I looked back at my experiences with all three of them, I would notice that  I knew what they were capable of all along.

I chose to ignore it.

I wanted to be nice.

I wanted to be understanding.

I didn’t want to be viewed as the judgmental woman who never gave anyone a chance.

Last but not least, I wanted to be nice. (did I say that already?:)

And nice landed me on my knees, crying to God, and asking him “Why is this happening to me?? I’m such a good person…”

And I while I was crying one night, I heard my intution say “So then, from here on out, be good to yourself first.”

It took a little while before I truly saw how I put others before my own needs.  Not necessarily in big ways, but in small ways.

How I would answer a phone call from a friend who gabs a lot right before Zumba class, which sometimes resulted in me missing some, if not all, of the class.

How I let people use their low self-esteemed snide comments to tear down my high confidence down. (“Can you please tone it down,” they’d ask.)

How I let other people’s preferences overpower my own.

Seeing how I minimized myself to accommodate other people in little ways resulted in me being betrayed in a big way. 

The same is true for your relationship.

  • When you drop everything for him…
  • When your entire existence is based on him…
  • When you sit and wait for a phone call for him…
  • When you do things you’re not necessarily ok with…

…you’re giving up more of yourself than is required for a happy, healthy relationship.

And when that happens, you leave yourself vulnerable for a whole slew of things: mistreatment, lack of attention or affection, criticism, abandonment, betrayal, etc.

You see, marriage doesn’t change your relationship, it simply magnifies what’s already there. And if you spent your entire relationship catering to him and diminishing your needs, you’re setting your marriage up for failure.  As in divorce.

Before you even think of saying “I Do”, take a moment to ask yourself “Whose got my back?” More importantly, when the chips are down, and things get rocky, do you have your own back?

Will you stand up for yourself? Even in small ways?

Will you walk away if something doesn’t work or will you mold yourself into what someone else wants you to be?

What’s your “second-chance” limit? (Let’s be real…sometimes we give people MORE than 2 chances to prove they’re worthy of being in our lives. So…what’s your limit?)

What are you willing to say “No” to and mean it?

What are you unwilling to do to keep your relationship? (I know you’ll do whatever it takes to keep it, but what are you not going to do in any way, shape, or form?)


At the end of the day, whether you marry or not, you’ve gotta learn the fine art of having your own back. Sure, you may think that people will have it for you, (and some will) but in the end, if you can’t count on yourself 100% to get through the good and the bad of life and love, you’re setting your marriage up for a HUGE failure.

 What do you think?


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