From the outside looking in, my former relationship was like a love scene out of “Lady Sings the Blues.” I, of course, playing the soft-spoken Diana Ross, and my ex playing the handsome co-star, Billy Dee.
And just as Lewis did with Billie, he quietly pandered to my needs, offering me glue to piece myself together when I crumpled up, and waited patiently in the wings while I sung my song, blues and all.
During my sleepless nights, I wondered how long it would take before he decided that enough was enough; that it was time for him to move on. We had been together for years, and he had begun using expressions like, “the next step,” and “the future of us.” All those great expressions that make you want to either jump off a bridge or completely reevaluate your life.
But I couldn’t “get with it.” While he was all, “marriage and babies”, I was all “long island ice teas and living.” When he was slipping in words like, “forever ever, ever-ever?” I was casually slipping out.
When he realized that we weren’t on the same page, he slumped to the door and out of my life, fuming at the idea that he had waited so long for me to get it together, revealing his bruised heart and a battered ego.
Recently, the number of celebrity weddings has surprised me, mainly because I saw myself and my former fling at the same fork in the road that many of those couples were at.
After a nine year relationship and a short prison stint, T.I. married Tiny on Miami’s Star Island. After a near six year engagement, Carmelo Anthony and Lala Vasquez wed at Cipriani in New York City. And the news went crazy when, after dating for 5 years, Chelsea Clinton and hubby Mark Mezvinsky tied the knot at Astor Courts in Rhinebeck, NY.
All three of these relationships have something in common. The waiting time from relationship to marriage was as long as the line at the DMV. So when a recent Harper’s Bazaar profile of Lebron James mentioned his longtime girlfriend and mother of his 2 children, Savannah Brinson, as a “sidekick,” I was not surprised.
“A person like myself always needs a great sidekick and a person you can rely on no matter the circumstances. And she’s that. She’s got my back, and I love her for that.”
Though still young—Lebron is only 25 and Savannah, 24—it’s impossible that Lebron doesn’t know the power of his own words. The term “sidekick” brings up a lovable cast of supporting characters—Batman’s Robin, the Brain’s Pinky, Shrek’s Donkey—but not main roles. Rather someone one who’s still waiting in the wings to get their big break.
Her response, though infused with love, also reeked of resolve.
“I’ve definitely not put a fire under his ass. I would never rush him to do something like that. We’re really comfortable with the way things are now. And it’s not up to me. When it happens, it happens. We talk about it. If we do it, I want it to be forever.”
Understandably, it’s imperative to get to know your partner inside and out, working out the kinks as you go. But where is the line drawn between following the yellow brick road in your fantasy, and clicking your heels back to reality?
For someone like “King James”—a man with a promising career, a new Miami Heat contract, millions in his back pocket, and two children—how long should Savannah wait for Lebron to make the decision about forever-ever, ever-ever?
And subsequently, after children are involved, shouldn’t that decision be a little easier to make? Carmelo Anthony proposed to Lala in December 2004. During the engagement, she gave birth to their son Kiyan. (Note: Even before the baby, Carmelo had put a ring on it.)
True, there’s no manifesto or alarm clock that buzzes dictating a couple’s time frame. But it makes me wonder about what milestones it takes to propel couples to the next step. Is it having your woman stand by your side while you’re in doing time? Is it having a man’s baby?
If the expectation with your spouse is that marriage is next, how long should it take to go from “sidekick” to co-star? How long are you willing to wait?