Cassie and Ciara have shared about finding true love after relationships gone wrong, but this phenom isn’t only for celebrities. BlackLove.com contributor Toni-Ann Craft shares her story of loss leading to the greatest love of her life.
June was a great month for love, or more specifically, love the second time around after heartbreak, humiliation, and lovers who wasted a whole bunch of their love’s time. First, Ciara blessed us all on Red Table Talk with the truth about her rebound from Future and how that break up prepared her for her luminous relationship with Russell Wilson. Then, there was Cassie’s announcement that she was pregnant with her new love and boyfriend after Diddy wasted 10 years of her life in an affair that proved to be going nowhere.
But all of the revelations made me reflect on my own tale of love, wasted time, and how that relationship led me to the love of my life. I’m here as proof that true love after perceived loss is not only for celebrities. And, often times, it is just that loss that prepares you for the love of your life.
I remember the day this happened for me.
We sat on his couch watching a rerun of A Different World, my favorite 90’s sitcom. It was the episode where Whitley and Byron get married.
The reverend gave the vows.
Byron, with confidence and ease, replied, “I will.”
Next was Whitley’s turn, but she was nervous, hallucinating, and confused. And, her response was hella delayed.
Suddenly, her ex-boyfriend, Dwayne Wayne, hollers from the opposite end of the aisle, “Whitley, I love you, and if you’ll have me, I want you to be my wife!” Chaos broke out as men started pushing Dwayne to the opposite end of the aisle toward the exit. But he pleads even louder, “Will you have me, Dwayne, as your lawfully wedded husband, from this day forth, to have and to hold, for richer or for poorer? Baby please, PLEASE!”
I watched the television intensely as tears filled my eyes.
I’ve seen this episode billions of times, but this scene has a way of pulling at my heartstrings.
I turn to him, my boyfriend, the man I expected to marry.
He looks disengaged.
“How would you feel if something like that happened at our wedding?” I asked hypothetically, but really, it was just for the sake of making conversation.
I turn to him, my boyfriend, the man I expected to marry. He looks disengaged.
He murmured, “That’s the thing, I’ve been thinking about it, and I don’t want to ever get married.”
My mind screeched to a halting stop as I swiftly turned in his direction. I thought back to month’s prior when he begged for me to come back into his life after our 11-month long breakup.
“You’re the one,” I recalled him saying. “I know I want to marry you, and I want to do it soon.”
For a split second, I questioned if I made that conversation up, but I knew I didn’t — I watched him say it live and direct from his own mouth.
Before our 11-month breakup, we dated for two years. He had never mentioned to me previously that he didn’t want to ever be married.
I began to quickly examine our relationship as though watching past moments replay swiftly in my mind. I noticed a pattern of him stalling when people brought up the subject of us getting married. I drifted back to a year and a half earlier—we went to visit his hometown for the holidays, and his family had taken a strong liking to me. So much so, that they kept asking if we were planning to get married. The question came up so often that when we returned home he felt the need to discuss it with me one-on-one.
“I know you want to get married,” he said, “but I need more time.”
I was okay with that then. It was still early on in our relationship, and I appreciated him bringing the topic up. It made me feel like he was serious about what we were building and that he was considering being married to me sometime in the future.
But here we were, years later, and the narrative suddenly changed.
I felt bamboozled, as he attempted to explain why he never wanted to be married — ever.
I felt bamboozled, as he attempted to explain why he never wanted to be married — ever.
“Marriage doesn’t work in my family,” he indicated. “Things change when people get married.”
My voice erupted loudly, “TO GET ME BACK YOU SAID YOU WANTED TO MARRY ME! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?”
“I said anything I could to get you back. I didn’t want you to be with anyone else,” he explained.
“Wow! So, you want a long-term girlfriend?” I asked.
“In a perfect world, yes,” he bluntly replied.
“How did we get here?” I asked myself. “And how dare he ruin my favorite show like that!” I thought in disgust (though I can LOL about it now, let me be clear,this was a real concern).
“Well, that’s not what I want, and I won’t sign up for that,” I rebutted.
At that moment, I knew that I was worth far more than staying with a person who didn’t foresee a future with me. I made up my mind that I was done with him.
I packed all of my belongings into my car, and on my way out of the door I warned:
“I’m not gonna be around the next time you decide that you’re ready to be with me.”
“I love you,” he replied. “But that’s a chance I’m willing to take.”
With that, I was done.
I knew, deep inside, that I was a good woman who deserved so much better. I deserved to be valued, loved, and appreciated. I deserved to be with someone who saw a future with me. To be with someone who wouldn’t take my presence for granted and most importantly, someone who knew what he wanted and wouldn’t waste my time.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t miss him.
I made a conscious decision to become the person that I wanted for myself first. I made time to invest, love, and learn about myself.
I went on solo dates to fancy restaurants, traveled alone, and gave myself permission and space to flourish. I became selfish and put myself first. I joined a CrossFit gym, started a new diet, lost twenty pounds, and even hired a therapist. I dived into the depths of my innermost thoughts to a place that I had never explored before and started to love every ounce of the woman I was becoming.
I learned to block out chatterfrom negative people who complained about the lack of available Black men and the inferior status of the dating pool. I remained hopeful about love while staying focused on God and my wellbeing.
I learned to block out chatter from negative people who complained about the lack of available Black men and the inferior status of the dating pool. I remained hopeful about love while staying focused on God and my wellbeing.
Later that year, I met the most amazing man who possessed all of my criteria and more—he loved God, was respectful, college educated, professional, had no children, was amazingly handsome, tall, dapper, and funny.
We dated for eight months and knew each other for 10 months when he showed up at my doorstep with 10 roses to surprise me for my birthday. He handed each rose to me one by one and told me the sweetest stories of the most memorable times that we had together from month one to month nine. Upon handing me the 10th rose, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.
This amazing man is my husband, and whenever he tells his side of our story, it always begins with him declaring that he knew I would be his wife from the very first moment he laid his eyes on me.
My husband is my greatest gift. He is a man whom I proudly proclaim as my prayers personified. He is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. But I had to first find love in myself before God was willing to present him to me.
My husband is my greatest gift. He is a man whom I proudly proclaim as my prayers personified.
Contrary to what I initially thought about relationships, I didn’t have to wait years for him to be ready for marriage. My husband came to me from day one with a mindset that was already prepared to be my husband.
I am grateful for everything that got me to this point. If I hadn’t gone through that process of awakening, I probably wouldn’t have met the amazing man who, today, I have the utmost pleasure of calling my husband. It’s amazing how life has a way of falling into place when we honor and listen to our innermost being.
Oh, and as for that ex, the day that my husband proposed to me, he sent me a text message that read, “Hey stranger, how are you? Happy Birthday!”
I replied a few days later with a photo of me sporting my happiest smile and showing off my brand new engagement ring. My text back read, “I’m blessed! Happily engaged to be married. Hope all is well with you, but please refrain from contacting me in the future.”
In the words of the great side-eye sorceress, Luvvie Ajayi, “May the God of Shadrack, Meshack, Cassie and Ciara remove the enemies of progress and time wasters from your life, so you can be connected to the joy and love you desire and deserve.”
“May the God of Shadrack, Meshack, Cassie and Ciara remove the enemies of progress and time wasters from your life, so you can be connected to the joy and love you desire and deserve.”
I encourage you to boldly close doors to dead-end relationships, and go forth in pursuit of your innermost peace. Claim your happiness — you deserve every bit of it.