Losing Us in Relationships

June 20, 2022

By Nicole


I was used to getting a ride from him. I had a hair appointment and didn’t have my own car and it would be an inconvenience to not call him. Even though he had cheated on me and even though we had broken up after that. I knew he would still be there for me. I only needed to pick up the phone to call.

“Catch the bus,” I heard the Spirit of God say. My shoulders haunched over. I sighed internally. Catch the bus? The dirty, stinky, nasty, hot bus? I mean, sure I had caught the bus numerous times just to see my ex when we were high on love and hormones. When I thought we were gong to be together forever. I had caught several buses back then. There was not a bus that I wouldn’t catch for that man. Neither of us had transportation as teens while dating and the local bus system (The RITA) was our next best bet, the luxury of Uber being nonexistent.

“Catch the bus,” God said as sure as you and I would in speaking to one another. 

“Ugh. The bus.” I knew why God was saying this. He gave me understanding even as He drilled the words into my heart. He wanted me to depend on Him. I had been overly dependent on my ex in so many ways. I was in every ounce of the word “codependent” and as codependent as codependent could be. And not just with him, but in other relationships. I now understand my way of functioning back then stemmed from my household, but that revelation wouldn’t come for at least another 15 years.

So, I caught the bust that day and in doing so, began the journey of standing on my own. Of learning to re-learn my self. Of cultivating my value.

It’s been years since I’ve “caught the bus”. I honestly shudder to even think of doing such a thing. I mean, thank God for Uber for when I couldn’t drive and was on crutches and couldn’t get a ride. I don’t know how it is where you live, but last I checked, in Cleveland, Ohio, the bus system is a half step up from walking. And only half a step because air conditioning is a toss up, Joe Schmoe and his boys are bound to hound you and you have to don your “pimp face” at all times to let people know you ain’t the one to be messed with.

Even after all these years, I know, I still wear my “pimp face”. 

Thankfully, God did what He needed to do in me in that season and only required the bus for a short period of time. He used the bus, and a slew of other humbling experiences, to weed out of me codependency, pride and fear. Primarily, the fear of being alone.

It’s been years since I’ve ridden the bus and even longer since I took that first scary step to give up my most prized relationship. I can now see that I am surrounded by women on that same journey of self-value, maturation and healing.

I watch my friend with her shoulders dejected and her head bowed low. Seated across from me is a beautiful woman with a broken heart and my own heart deflates. My other friend is caged in the war of her emotions stemming from the on again off again tumultuousness of her relationship. She wrestles constantly with the nuances of it and asks me perpetual questions regarding it. My answer is always the same: Know your value.

I grieve for my friends and for all women with a similar experience. It is easy for me to feel other’s pain. It is even easier when I am so close to them. In my grieving and praying and interceding, I remember what it felt like to be so tied to someone that you’re not sure where they end and where you begin. It doesn’t matter if they mistreated you. It does’t matter if they were toxic. All that matters is that they are one with you. They are your breath. Your purpose. And you can’t possibly see anything outside of them. At least, that’s how you feel in the moment.

At least, that’s how I felt.

Me at circa 18 years old…

But one thing I do know is that that feeling of never being able to live without them is a lie because I have lived 17 years since I rode the bus that fateful day when God was adamant that I not call my ex for a ride. And guess what? I’m still alive.

I told my friend it is not easy to choose yourself. As women we esteem men (often overly esteem) and I personally think it has something to do with that wretched curse in Geneses. Most of us are relationship-oriented. We are selfless, pouring out ourselves easily to our loved ones, babies and spouses. But where does that leave us? If we have given it all, what is left for us?

I am cautious when I give relationship advice. I know I have a very unique calling. To have walked out a path I never wanted to venture for so long was my own way of laying down my life. I am still laying it down but I know ultimately that even in the laying down, there is finding life. There is finding true identity, purpose, value, God.

These are the jewels I acquired over the years, but the jewels did not come easily. They were always given through making the very hard decisions. That is what I told my friend when she poured out her heartbreak over our meal. She knows from her own experience, but needs the strength to face the ugly, hard truth once again.

In lieu of the clarity I am gaining in this season regarding my own purpose with these women, I want to let you know about an upcoming online discussion my friends and I will have that expounds on this very topic of women and relationships. It is called “Girl Talk: Losing ‘Us’ In Relationships”. We are going to discuss so many of the items I mentioned in this blog so if any of this resonates with you or you know someone who can benefit from it, please drop in! Tickets are FREE and available on eventbrite. I’m hoping we walk away from this talk feeling more confident, affirmed and focused in our identity, with or without a relationship.

If nothing else, I can say, I have that as my testimony and gift to pass on to others.

Oh, and P.S (Happy Juneteenth!)

In other news, did you know that I have a monthly newsletter? You can email me if you would like to receive it, or sign up on my website! Just click on “Blog”, go to any blog post, then scroll down until you see “Join Our Newsletter”! I share all of my updates on events I am selling books at and the latest happenings in authorship! You can also view the latest newsletter on my linktree.

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Have you read “Stories for the Urban Soul” and are eager to dialogue about your favorite characters, lessons learned, and so much more? Well, now you can download 20 Dialogue questions available on my website to discuss with your friends! Just enter your email in the pop up box and its there!

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  1. Lianna

    Is the event going to be recorded? This is such an important topic, and always so relevant. It’s often much easier for me to take care of others than it is to take care of myself!

    • Nicole M.

      Hi! Yes it will be recorded and available on my Youtube page 🙂