Dear Culture

Unpacking Struggle Love

Episode 78

Love hurts, but does it have to? This week on the Dear Culture podcast, our host, theGrio Social Media Director Shana Pinnock and special guest host, theGrio Entertainment Director Cortney Wills, talk navigating modern romance, setting expectations and what it actually means to settle.

Read the full transcript here

So, what’s like to be out on the dating scene in 2021? 

“It’s trash,” joked Pinnock, citing the multiple catastrophes of 2020 as a factor complicating the dating scene. However, Pinnock also shared that the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown offered her the opportunity to grow and get to know herself, which she believes helps her show up more fully for romantic opportunities. 

Black couple reading a book on the couch
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

“It was such a time of quiet where I had to reassess certain things,” said Pinnock. “That time of being alone and taking therapy more seriously, just being by myself and just discovering that love of ‘little old me’ actually helped me to prepare for embarking on the actual relationship I’m in now.”

Quarantine had a similar impact on Wills, who said the pandemic and quarantine actually helped make her marriage become even stronger. 

“Quarantine required a level of teamwork that couldn’t be simulated in any other way,” said Wills. “The other thing that it did was made possible that magic time when you’re in love and it feels like you’re the only two people on earth.” 

Portrait of young afro couple cooking together and using mobile phone in the kitchen at home. Relationship, cook and lifestyle concept.

While we all know that romantic love comes with its own set of unique challenges and heartaches, what does it mean to be in struggle love? For Wills, struggle love means a love not worth saving. 

“I think what is truly toxic and unacceptable is when partners stop fighting because if you get there, someone has given up already,” said Wills. “It’s not like you have to fight every day, but to me, caring enough to talk things out, to disagree, to share your different opinions and at least try to come to an understanding, if not an agreement, means that you are both still in it.” 

To hear Shana’s definition of struggle love and hear what Felicia Pride, co-writer of the new filmReally Love, has to say about the portrayal Black love in her new film, tune into the Dear Culture Podcast.

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