The Fantasy is Possible
Summer - the best time of year to find love. The weather. The energy. It’s the perfect cocktail for a good time. It was all good when Leslie and Jordan met in the summer of 2012. Leslie’s friend met a new guy at a Taco Tuesday and he invited her to a barbeque a week later. Like any good wing-woman, Leslie agreed to tag along but not without an exit plan. If no cuties were present, they would leave in one hour. Arriving at the party, there were about 15 people present. Leslie and her friend were the only two Black women, which didn’t bother them.
A quick scan around the room and Leslie noticed two cuties, Jordan and his friend. When people broke off into individual conversations, Leslie made her move. She struck up a conversation with Jordan and his friend. Two men, one woman. The odds were clearly in her favor. Jordan’s friend showed little interest, so Leslie kept talking to Jordan. They spoke for 5 hours straight! No exit plan needed.
When Jordan spotted Leslie, he immediately thought she was cute and their conversation only confirmed that she was special. Jordan was a bit hesitant to shoot his shot because he didn’t think Leslie would go for a white guy like him. Thankfully, Leslie was attracted to all kinds of men. Before leaving the party, he gave Leslie every piece of contact information he could - phone, email, and Blackberry Messenger. Yas throwback!
After the party, Leslie and Jordan talked via gchat. It was during these conversations that Leslie’s interest really peaked. Thinking his instant messaging game was weak, Jordan enjoyed the face to face time he shared with Leslie at coffee, dinner, and the movies. Jordan was intentional about building an authentic bond with Leslie that wasn’t based on sex. Gone were the days of him waking up to some random girl. He wanted real connection. And that’s what he got with Leslie. The couple recalls how they would move through conversation effortlessly - cracking jokes, sharing things they wanted to experience but hadn’t, and asking challenging, probing questions. While the conversations flowed, Jordan kept wanting to kiss Leslie. After the second or third attempt, Leslie finally asked, “do you want to kiss me?” Jordan responded, “yes, I always want to kiss you but I don’t want you to smack me or something”. Say what now?
Leslie looked at Jordan offended. She shared that she would not go out with a man only to smack him! She told Jordan that it was also a racist thing to say because he wouldn’t have said that to a white woman, which he confirmed. That was one of the first conversations the couple had about race. Luckily for Jordan, this wasn’t a deal breaker for Leslie.
So, why did Leslie and Jordan choose each other? Leslie shares, “I chose Jordan because he was the person with whom I could feel most myself. In previous relationships, I often felt like I had to fix the other person and make them better. My friends would always tell me that I was a relationship person because I always had a boyfriend. But growing up in church, I was taught to believe that you were supposed to want something long lasting. I didn’t know how to date and I think that’s the case for most Black women. We think we have to be in relationships to get to know people. But that’s not true. In spending time with Jordan, I didn’t feel this need to try and help him. I could be 100% myself. I could say what I wanted to say without him making me feel like I was too much of a woman. I heard that I was too much from many people. Too loud. Too opinionated. But that didn’t bother him. I never felt like being who I was created an issue.”
Jordan shares, “I dated a lot of women who were subdued and didn’t share their opinion because they believed that’s what men want. But Leslie was fresh in that regard. I love having a partner who can speak up, check me when I’m wrong, and help me think about what I’m saying. I’m opinionated and strong-willed so it’s good for me to have someone else like that. It also makes our relationship a lot more fun.”
While their relationship is a lot of fun, Leslie and Jordan have also had to overcome challenges along the way. Leslie had to learn to communicate her feelings better. Having experienced unhealthy relationships in the past, she learned to shutdown and say “it’s fine” when things weren’t at all fine. She was made to feel like what she had to say didn’t matter. So, she had to learn a new way of being - to express her emotions in a healthy relationship.
Jordan learned to shut up and listen. This was difficult at first. He had to admit that he wasn’t really listening to Leslie, thinking about her words, and being mindful of them after the conversation. To become a better listener, Jordan read books on the skill of listening and he meditates to increase his mindfulness. Leslie and Jordan’s individual areas of growth are a profound example of how our intention can build healthy relationships. If Leslie had not learned to communicate her emotions or Jordan wasn’t so good at listening, then the two could have become triggers for one another rather than transformative partners.
When it comes to finding love, Leslie and Jordan have a few words of wisdom for our readers. First, we’re not as different as we think. Our differences don’t have to be the reason we don’t take a risk on love. Second, the fantasy is possible. Often, couples say that marriage is hard, but Leslie and Jordan don’t believe that’s the rule of thumb. Yes, marriage takes commitment but overall, they say marriage can be fun and pleasant. So, go find that fairytale!