Decision Time

Damon at This May Concern You put his readers on to this youtube video of Smokey Robinson performing at Def Comedy Jam. At one point, Smokey says,
How come I didn’t get a chance to vote on who I’d like to be? Who gave you the right to make that decision for me? I ain’t under your rule or in your dominion, and I’m entitled to my own opinion.
He's talking about being called black vs. being called African-American and he wonders why no one asked him what he wanted to be called. Makes sense.

Last night, I had a conversation with a friend about her current boyfriend. He's almost 15 years older than her, has 3 kids and has been married before. I'm on this new "if you like it, I love it" kick with my friends and I've been trying to just be a supportive ear. Initially, I ignored all the red flags, because age ain't nothin but a number (no Aaliyah), aren't we constantly being told that it's getting harder and harder to find a man with no kids, and at least he's got a track record that suggests he "does" marriage, right? Ya'll know I can't co-sign foolishness, though, right?

From all appearances, he's a good guy. He seems to really care about her, is always talking about building a future complete with kids and marriage (that's the order he talks about them in. I'm uneasy with it -- but this ain't my relationship). However, up until a couple of weeks ago, she thought he had 2 kids. He asked her to look over some insurance papers to help him understand them. That's when she noticed that there was a name listed with his other 2 kids names that she recognized. He had previously told her that "Zachary" was his cousin's child. Why then, she wondered, would he be on his insurance papers? Things get a bit more murky when she realizes Zachary is the same age as his oldest child, Maria.

She asked him about it and he admitted that Zachary was not his cousin's child, but his own child. He seemed a bit ashamed that he hadn't spent as much time with Zachary as with his other kids. He also took the opportunity to hint that he'd been married before.

Now, here she is, 6 months in a relationship with a man who's spent the last 3 talking about their future together in a new city, with kids and a house and all the things people say they want but never thought to mention he actually had 3 kids and an ex-wife. Out of order much?

Of course, he said "Well, had I told you, you would have left me."

I had an immediate flashback.

I was the other woman once. I didn't know I was and when I found out, I was no longer "officially" the other woman, but that didn't stop me from being very upset. When J and I talked about it, he said,
"Well, had I told you, we wouldn't be friends now, would we?"

"No," I agreed, "but that was my decision to make."
I cautioned my friend on letting her beau make all the decisions by manipulating the truth. I can tell, and I know based on her track record, despite her best "I can't stay in this situation" speech, she's not going anywhere. He'll have to dump her or make staying almost impossible before she'll leave. I do hope, though, she at least makes him understand that he's got to be completely honest moving forward.

"How can ya'll build a life together if he can't be honest about who he is and the parts of his past that will effect your future?" I asked her. She didn't really give an answer.

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