Should I stay, or should I go?

Joey Garcia

Sacramento offers little for single people of color. I am a divorced, African-American, Christian woman in my early 40s. I have a beautiful home, a great job, good friends and three grown children. I am content to be single, but I’m open to dating. However, the pool of single, Christian, African-American men is non-existent. Churches are geared for married couples, and most activity groups are composed of the dominant culture. I considered dating other ethnicities but prefer my own. Even if I met someone, I would be discontent here. I have visited the South and the Bible Belt, and I enjoy being around “my people.” I have no fear of moving out of state, but I wonder if I will regret it. I know happiness is largely based on one’s state of mind, but environment plays a part, too. I wonder if I will miss California and all I’ve accomplished here and want to return.

You’re perched on the edge of the river of change, but you want a guarantee that the water will feel the way you imagine it should: the right temperature, the right depth and no debris. (This is your mind trying to identify potential obstacles.) You carefully immerse one toe and then two. Joy! But can you trust that feeling? (These are your excursions to the South and the Bible Belt.) What if you jump into the river and can’t get out? What if you like the river but miss standing on the riverbank? (These are your fears of missing Sacramento.)

The move is a risk. That means danger is involved, but so are excitement and adventure. You may live, gratefully, in a community of people of color. You may meet a man with the criteria you yearn for as well as the capacity to give you what you need and what a healthy relationship requires. I wish that for you, because, despite your protestations of contentment, you clearly ache. Hear this: It is acceptable to have all that you do (family, friends, the right livelihood and a lovely home) and a romantic relationship, too. If you miss California, come back. We’ll leave the light on for you and keep a place set at the banquet table.

P.S. We’re all your people.

My ex-girlfriend sent a nasty e-mail demanding the return of a coat that she left at my house months ago. She was abusive while we dated. I just want her to treat me with respect. I am also angry about her refusal to reimburse me for airline tickets that she promised to repay. I am angry with myself, too, because when we met, she owed money to her previous boyfriend and refused to pay it. I’ve thought about dumping the coat at Goodwill or requiring her to pick it up. I have started to date someone else, but this situation bothers me.

Forgive the debt. It’s tuition for the University of Bad Relationships course called “Why did I think it would be different with me?” Revenge scenarios like dumping the coat reveal the imbalance of power: She has it, and you don’t. You probably felt this way throughout the relationship, and if you admitted that, you would have left (that’s self-respect). You would have had to give up trying to secure respect from her, but do you really need her to prove your worthiness?

Attempting to ransom the coat allows you to maintain contact. This fragile connection supports your illusion that she will change and become the respectful woman you imagined her to be. Hanging on to an unhealthy relationship, waiting for a crumb of positive recognition, is an act of desperation. If you refuse future contact, you refuse opportunities to be manipulated. That raises your self-confidence. It also supports you in being fully present for your new relationship. Box the coat and send it back.

Meditation of the week
“The shared cornerstone of anxiety and depression is the perceptual process of overestimating the risk in a situation and underestimating personal resources for coping,” according to psychologist Michael Yapko. How do you invite anxiety and depression into your life?

Our content is free, but not free to produce

If you value our local news, arts and entertainment coverage, become an SN&R supporter with a one-time or recurring donation. Help us keep our reporters at work, bringing you the stories that need to be told.


Stay Updated

For the latest local news, arts and entertainment, sign up for our newsletter.
We'll tell you the story behind the story.