‘Dear Culture’s’ love hangover: Unpacking toxic Black love

From the numbing of toxic relationships to the endless cycles of on-and-off relationships, this week we’re asking: 'Dear Culture, don’t you think it’s time to do away with toxic Black love?'

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Coming off the heels of Valentine’s Day, Dear Culture podcast hosts Shana Pinnock and Gerren Keith Gaynor sit down to talk about the darker side of some Black romantic relationships. From the numbing of toxic relationships to the seemingly endless cycles of on-and-off relationships, this week we’re asking: “Dear Culture, don’t you think it’s time to do away with toxic Black love?”

“There’s no shame in divorce, if you feel that you’re not being honored, then what are we doing?” says Pinnock to Gaynor. 

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The host argues that “no one deserves to remain in unhealthy relationships,” and Pinnock and Gaynor want to help pull as many people out of it as they can. Here’s a sure how list of how to tell if one is in a toxic relationship, according to our hosts.

  1. Constant breakup and makeup. One moment you love them so much and in an instance, y’all can’t stand each other. 
  1. In the age of social media, subtweeting is a telltale sign. 
  1. Blatant disrespect, from cheating to gaslighting. 
  1. Most importantly, a relationship that makes you feel that you’re losing parts of yourself. Never should you give up parts of who you are fundamentally. 
  1. Character assassination and/or name-teasing.
  1. Controlling behavior, such as telling you what to do and whom to talk to you. 
Black Love thegrio.com
(Photo/Fotolia, @Iryna)
  1. Never taking ownership of one’s behaviors. Ownership helps relationships grow. Stagnancy renders itself quick to toxicity.
  1. Jealous passive behavior and blaming that behavior on the other person instead of feeling honest about it.
  1. Projecting negativity, expecting someone to be negative with you. No one has to be miserable. 

“If you’re not loving on yourself, you will find yourself in toxic relationships, and I’m speaking from experience.” says Gaynor to Pinnock.

Read More: The prototype: ‘Dear Culture’ podcast looks at Black love throughout history

We never stop to sit down and examine who we are. It’s never healthy to assume another can dictate what loving yourself looks like. Gaynor says that “it will always come to bite you in the butt” when you don’t love yourself first.

Pinnock reminds us that the colloquial “bird” behavior we see in public displays toxic Black love isn’t something to shame. At the end of day, choosing to be in love with someone is a giant task that requires consistent maintenance, care, and reassurance.

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