I read this yesterday. I guess it popped up in my Pinterest feed because, just days prior, I was wondering how I can better activate for my partner. The post biblical-heavy and written by a White straight woman so, not to many direct correlations to my Black gay relationship, but it did get me thinking.
When Bae and I go through the ups-and-downs of relationship, my close-to-first response is to ask myself how I contributed to where we are right now. I know for sure that every argument and disagreement is put in our relationship so we can grow. So when I feel neglected, perhaps I’ve been neglectful. When I feel controlled, perhaps I’ve been controlling. And when Bae is being petty, clearly it’s in response to my own pettiness.
That works for me, but admittedly, that may not be everyone’s first response. Nevertheless, we had been going through a rough patch at a time in our relationship where I needed him to activate. I was in my feelings and needed some momentary rescuing that I wasn’t getting. After I quelled my over-active emotions, I realized that at some point, I may have taught him that, in an argument, coming to my rescue was a riskier bet that staying to himself.
I never said that verbatim, but the routines that I developed over time showed him–and now they’ve showed me–that activating for me was not in his best interest.
You see, everyday with every action, we are sending messages to our partner. Good Baes pick up on the messages and react in-kind, whether it’s the intended reaction or not. For this reason, there are routines we can develop to show Bae that he is our priority in the relaitonship and the life we’re building together. To make this post more intentional, here’s a list of 5 small gestures your man needs from you everyday.
Get off the phone when you come home
After a long day of work, can you take your first five minutes to give them to Bae? Much of our lives are devoted to things we can not touch, see, or control: social media posts of people we don’t know; emails from coworkers we don’t like; and checklists full of things we don’t genuinely care about. But Bae is here, waiting for you every day. Give him the first 5 minutes when you get home. Allow your face to light up and yourself to feel excitement when you see him. This may not work everyday, because Bae will fuck some shit up every once and a while, but the excitement you feel in a normal situation will help get you through the abnormal, rocky times.
Find a new way to express encouragement
My dad is my biggest encouragement. Ever since I can remember, he was the one that thought I could do no wrong. Thirty-five years later, he is still one of the cornerstones of my life. His love for me taught me that, in a Black man’s life, there is nothing more powerful that an encouraging word from the man you love.
Tell him you want him
My Bae is great about asking, “You don’t want to lay next to me?” Which is code for “I want you to lay next to me?” The difference between the two is vulnerability. Your Bae wants to hear that you want him. He needs to hear that there is something unique about him that you need in your life. Expressing that takes courage and vulnerability, but it will pay off in spades.
Random dick/ass pics
You remember when Bae was just a hook-up on some “dating” app. You’d send a dick pic at the first request if you thought it would get you some ass. Now that you’re in love doesn’t mean Bae is less sexy, nor does it mean that, sometimes, he just wants to fuck. Light his fire like you did in the beginning. Snap that shower selfie, add that filter and slide in his DMs.
Give him something to laugh about
One of the most impactful things I took away from couples counseling was that Bae doesn’t have to be my best friend by now. The actual best friends I have I’ve known for much longer than I’ve known Bae. So asking him to fill best-friend shoes is creating an expectation that he’d never be able to live up to given how long (or short) of a time we’ve known each other.
What is important, however, is finding something to laugh at. Laughter, like sex, cleanses the chalkboard of the relationship so you can draw a new, more beautiful work of art. Tickling works for us. After an argument, when emotions have subsided and you’re back on good terms, tickle him (because make-up sex may take preparation, lol). Send him that gif you’ve been laughing at all day. Facetime him when he’s across the room. Everyday, find an excuse to do stupid shit to keep your relaitonship light.