-By Shalina Bell
“The truth shall set you free” was one of the many phrases my mom implanted in our heads growing up. As a child, when you hear that phrase, your interpretation is if you tell the truth, you will not get in trouble. Well, 30 years later with two children and a not-so-happy ending of a marriage, I learned the true meaning of that phrase.
In 2009, just after I went through the phase of dating the proverbial frogs, I took a break from dating. I went on a full-blown strike from anything and everything related to the male species, no matter how good they smelled.
My mission was to get to the deeper reason why I kept dating and attracting the same type of guys AKA fuck boys. Shortly into my strike, I learned the importance of making a list of what you want and do not want in a partner and created my own. I took my time making that list, and to be honest, it reminded me of the fantasy-like letters I wrote to Santa as a child. But sis, it had everything I wanted!
I started dating a guy in June of 2009, and he was the list. Everything I wrote that I wanted in a partner was him — family-oriented, loyal, no addictions, treated me well, and did not cheat.
In 2011, we had our first child, a little girl. She was my miracle baby, as doctors did not think I could have children due to suffering from fibroid tumors for three years. In 2015, we had a son, another miracle baby. I was blessed with the only boy in our family. Those looking in from the outside would say we were the picture-perfect family.
However, my relationship was just that — picture paper. Little did people know, I had been silently questioning my relationship for years.
As I got older, I began to learn the importance of feeling a connection and chemistry with your partner, experiencing intellectual stimulation, laughing like children together, feeling desired, feeling loved, and feeling seen. My mistake was that I forgot to write all those necessities down when I made my list in 2004. I had excluded chemistry from the equation and actually downplayed the importance of a connection. It gradually ate at my spirit.
Ever since our daughter was little, he and I would have conversations about why he lacked initiative when it came to making plans or why we didn’t have any passion in our relationship. These conversations were recurring and I started to feel like beating a dead horse, eventually, we even stopped having those.
My guy and I were engaged for years before we finally got married in 2018. A week before the wedding, my sister, who was also my matron of honor, broke her ankle in three places and could not walk, let alone come to my wedding. The morning of our wedding was rainy and gloomy. I knew immediately God was trying to tell me not to go through with it. Her injury and the storm were signs. I called my sister upset, nevertheless, she talked me off the ledge that morning.
We did get married that day, but inside it felt like another day. Nothing about my wedding day felt like that magical day you dream of as a little girl. I was doing the right thing. I had found a good guy to spend my life with. He was Mr. Perfect on paper, but that would not translate to the perfect wedding day, relationship, or marriage.
My sister and I would often speak about how I felt lonely and lacked chemistry in my marriage. At one point, she suggested we get some couples counseling and I thought it was a great idea. Therapy would most certainly help. However, he didn’t think we needed it and believed we could figure things out on our own. It was an internal battle only I could understand.
In September of 2018, while I was working at a restaurant a new guy joined the staff. For some reason, I was drawn to this man, not sexually but energetically. I couldn’t explain It. I started to feel things, like parts of me were waking up after being dormant for years.
It was June of 2019 when I told my husband I was not happy and that I had not been for a long time. Finally, I got the balls to tell him he didn’t inspire me. I got the courage to speak my truth.
I wasn’t met with anger or hostility, I was met with understanding and mutual feelings. We were trapped in a picture perfect frame and existing as shells of ourselves to keep our “picture perfect” life on display for others. We both wanted to live for us, even if it didn’t look anything like our lists from 2009.
Speaking my truth set me free, but also speaking my truth set him free as well. He’s happy, he’s motivated, and he remains an incredible, loving father. We are kickass co-parents, both in our own separate relationships, and I am the happiest I’ve been in years while focusing on my babies and self-love.
Always speak your truth Young Queen. “The truth shall set you free.”