Relationship Advice

“Pain is Love” by Jason “Juice” Williams: A Critical Assessment

Jason "Juice" Williams

One of the most talented independent artists in America is irrefutably Jason “Juice” Williams. Juice’s exceptional talent and oeuvre have been acknowledged by Soul Train, Revolutionary Paideia, and many others. On March 9, 2013 at the Albany James H. Gray, Sr. Civic Center in Albany, Georgia at 9:00 p.m., he will be performing live with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. The purpose of this article is to provide an assessment of the dominant messages about love and relationships Juice’s “Pain is Love,” which is a single from his album A&J Live (2002), offer.

One recurrent theme in Juice’s full body of work is the notion of love being a nuanced phenomenon that’s never devoid of conflict. Even in his second album, 100% Concentration (2005), one can see how this aforementioned treatment of love is conspicuous. In “Pain is Love,” the artist communicates that problems can emerge even when they are not intentionally created. Those inadvertently engendered problems can cause pain for one or both individuals involved in a relationship. Even if the relationship terminates, Juice exposes the enduring pain often left unresolved.

The artist asks the lady for “just one minute” of her time to articulate how he feels about her and the love they have shared. The song, therefore, advocates for frank communication to be a significant part of the healing process in a relationship impacted by emotional pain. For those involved in relationships, it’s crucial to understand that candid communication is essential to overcoming problems. This candid communication must be guided by love, of course. Too often the lines of communication are shutdown when people are hurting in a relationship. If the lines of communication continue to be shutdown, the relationship is doomed to end inevitably. It will ultimately not be about the pain that caused fissures in the relationship, but it will be more about the failure to communicate that’s the authentic reason why the relationship ceases.

“Pain is Love” informs the listener that when you have real love for someone, you don’t intentionally inflict pain on him or her. This is an important message many people in relationships need to hear and embrace. Too many people, especially men, talk about how much they love the one they’re in a relationship with, but that “love” often is not strong enough to keep them from cheating on their partner. True love keeps you from being deceitful and unfaithful.

Jason "Juice" Williams

The artist longs to be with his lost love but she’s no longer by his side.

How frequent do we think about how our foolish actions can lead to the end of our relationships?

We should think more about how the things we’re doing can result in us losing the one we love and can cause us to experience a lifetime of pain.

The artist discloses that love will turn into pain if you are negligent in your relationship. You should never forget about showing the person you love how much you love him or her. If you abandon your duties in your relationship, you may discover just how much pain is love.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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It’s Natural to Grow Apart from People

You may think it’s a bad thing to grow apart from some of your relatives and friends, but you should stop feeling this way because it’s natural to grow apart from some of them. As time passes, you can begin to see differences between some of your relatives and friends that are not just simple differences but are differences that are incompatible with the core values and principles that define you. While you may have tolerated things they have done in the past that are conflicting with the core values and principles that define you, time may unveil to you that you need to separate from them. I would argue that you made a serious mistake in tolerating them in the first place and never should just simply tolerate people who you claim you love. However, we all do make mistakes and the best thing we can do is acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them, move on, and progress.

Although you may disagree with people on many political, social, cultural, and economic issues, it is ultimately their core values and principles you should be more concerned about than their political, social, cultural, and economic viewpoints. You should assess your relationship with people by who they are at their core. You should ask yourself the following query: What kind of human being is this person? Is this the kind of human being I want to be associated with and who is or can be a positive force in my life? Does the good outweigh the bad with this person? If you don’t like what kind of human being this person has become, then you should peacefully sever your relationship and ties to this person. If you don’t believe that the person is the kind of person you want to be associated with and isn’t a positive force in your life, then you should peacefully disassociate yourself from the person. When the good does not outweigh the bad with this person, then it’s time to disassemble the relationship.

Of course, you should not simply discontinue a relationship with some of your relatives and friends without making serious efforts to engage them and talk to them. You cannot worry about how other people will perceive the reality that you no longer associate yourself with these people. There’s no need to go into great details about why you are no longer associating yourself with certain relatives and friends. One of the best explanations is it’s natural for people to grow apart from one another.

When every little aspect about a person begins to irk you, then you know it’s time for you to either take some time away from this person and/or resolve whether it’s time for you to sever your relationship with this person. Far too often, we delay the inevitable when we already know the relationship is really over.

Relatives and friends who disassociate themselves from one another don’t have to become enemies. You can still be peaceful to one another. You certainly shouldn’t just maintain a relationship with one another out of fear of personal information and secrets you know about one another. If those secrets and personal information come out, then just deal with this reality but don’t let fear of those things keep you in a miserable relationship.

Always give your relationships an opportunity to work, but do know when it’s time to end them or modify them. We are all human beings and we all do change. The changes that happen with us may cause us to no longer be connected with others anymore. Accept this natural development and do what is necessary to appropriately respond to this natural evolution.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Exploring Secret Relationships

Let me begin this article by saying that I’m an open book—always have been and always will be. There’s absolutely nothing I avoid discussions about. Most people are not able to say they are an open book. You may say, “You’re right and I don’t want to be one either.” I’m just making this point up front, however. I think that it may be my unfiltered candor that may be my greatest strength and greatest flaw in this article. People’s strengths and flaws allow us to learn so much from them.

In only the most extreme cases can I see the necessity of maintaining a secret relationship. By secret relationship, I mean hiding a relationship you are in that you are building something meaningful in and/or desire to continue to build something meaningful in the relationship. Moreover, by secret relationship, I mean those relationships where a person refers to another person in intentionally ambiguous terms to keep the person’s identity veiled, but still keeps alluding to that person with such fondness. To go even further, by secret relationship, I mean any relationship where one is not publically transparent about the individual he or she is in a relationship with. Sometimes these secret relationships are nothing more than “invisible relationships,” that is, non-existent relationships.

Many people who maintain secret relationships will publically share with us a significant amount of personal information, but will not share with us at least the simple identity of the person who they are in a relationship with. Therefore, for these people to try to claim that the reason why they are not public about the relationship they are in is due to a desire to protect the privacy of the relationship, I would have to contend that their position is quite contradictory.

It seems to me if you have a strong fondness for a person and/or want to develop something even more substantive with a person, you would naturally divulge the identity of the person you are in a relationship with. If the person is making you feel this good, then why is his or her name left undisclosed? I’m not saying that a relationship is not valid that is not publically promulgated, but what I’m saying (or at least trying to understand) is why is there a need to keep the name of the person you are in a relationship undisclosed when you are so public when it comes to alluding to this person?

What are you hiding?

Although I recognize some of the strengths of a relationship that is kept tremendously private without people ever knowing the folk are in a relationship, I would like to express that there are some weaknesses to these secret relationships. When you don’t identify the person you are in a relationship with, even before you consider yourself in a relationship with the person, you run the risk of not learning things about the person you need to know that he or she will not tell you.

Personally, I know people who are in secret relationships and it’s resulting in them not learning things about the people they are in a relationship with that would cause them to no longer desire to be in a relationship with those people. Sometimes your secret relationships are not so secretive. However, because people will respect your desire to keep your relationship a “secret,” they will pretend that they don’t know you who you are in a relationship with. By pretending like they don’t know who you are in a relationship with, they feel like they have to withhold vital information from you. One guy I know who’s in a secret relationship is involved with a girl who tried to holla’ at his very close friend and has had sex with another one of his good friends and still is having sex with her because the good friend does not know a relationship exists. From my experience and vantage point, being secretive and silent does not prove beneficial inevitably.

By having a secret relationship, you prevent yourself from receiving some much needed relationship advice. You won’t receive any relationship advice because no one knows about your relationship or does not know who you are in a relationship with.

Furthermore, being in a secret relationship can be tremendously dangerous. If people don’t know you are in a relationship with a person, then they never know about you possibly being in danger by this person. They don’t know what the person looks like, and don’t know that you may be spending time with this person in a private place that’s totally isolated from everyone who knows you. This is a perfect storm for disaster to evolve.

What are reasons why secret relationships continue to persist? What do you consider to be extreme cases in our contemporary period where secret relationships are necessary? Do you think that it’s necessary for a person to reveal who he or she is in a relationship with?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Toward a Better Understanding of Relationship and Sexual Desires

The things that we desire can be really complicated sometimes. Many of the things that we desire we know are complicated—it’s not like we are blind about the complexity of many of our longings. Have you ever wanted to hook up with someone and later discovered that the person is really not what you thought? Have you ever longed to be in a relationship with someone, but later found out that there’s no way that you could ever make it in a relationship with the person? Have you ever had a deep sexual desire for someone and then, as time goes by, end up feeling like why in the world did I ever sexually desire this person? Have you ever had sex with someone and experienced just okay sex with the person, but you still want to have sex with the person so bad—even though you know you’re not going to be completely fulfilled after you have worked so hard to get with the person and the sex is again just okay? No, I have not been listening to Brandy’s “Have You Ever” lately, but I have been seriously contemplating how complicated our relationships and sexual desires can be sometimes.

Although desire emerges from natural human emotions, Karl Marx has evinced that desire becomes much more complicated when it comes into contact with capitalism. The economic and social influences of capitalism can cause our desires to become unstable and difficult to comprehend. Your desire to constantly have sex with someone who you know is not going to give you the sexual experience you long for can be a product of you attempting to find a way to satisfy your economic shortcomings that result from capitalism. The societal expectations to be sexually involved with someone can lead you to constantly pursue someone you know is not going to fulfill you sexually, and to make matters even worse, this person can be someone who it’s challenging to get him or her to have sex with you—even though you have had sex together before.

Although I have had the opportunity to read some very good (and a few great) blogs that concentrate on relationships, there is little to no discussion and analysis about the impact of the economic system, namely capitalism, on relationships. Relationships of all types are heavily affected by capitalism. By thinking about the impact that capitalism has on relationships, we can move more toward offering advice, critiques, and discussions about relationships that are informed by something greater than one’s personal experience and background; we can all begin to think about how capitalism is at play in what goes on in relationships and how we conceive relationships.

Envisage how much better Steve Harvey’s relationship advice would be if he solemnly contemplated capitalism’s impact on the relationships in which he analyzes, and imagine how much better constructed his relationship advice would be if he firmly situated it within a theoretical or conceptual framework that offers him the ability to critique capitalism’s effects on relationships. I don’t think this is asking too much of him, but his largely naïve and/or desperate audience may begin to run away from this more substantive and focused relationship advice.

Some people will say that they do include capitalism into how they think about and analyze relationships, but I would just like to see you be more explicit in your critiques of capitalism’s effects on relationships in your discussions and analyses.

When you no longer desire to be with a person who you thought you were interested in, I want you to think about that you may have learned something meaningful about yourself and what you want, as opposed to there being anything substantively wrong and/or disappointing about the person.

When you no longer want to hook up with a person for a one-night stand (or jump off), I want you to think about the possible economic and social factors at play that could be contributing to your discontinued desire to be with the person. You can learn much about yourself by engaging in this critical self-evaluation of your thoughts about relationships and your words and actions within your relationships.

When you continue to have sex with someone you really are not being fulfilled by, I want you to consider the possibility that you really don’t want to be with this person, and that you are only having sex with him or her to mollify larger economic and/or social problems and challenges that plague you.

It is my hope that relationship discourses, advice, and analyses will begin to include thoughts about capitalism’s impact on relationships. I’m not trying to discourage people from using their own personal experiences with relationships in their advice, discussions, and analyses about relationships, but I would certainly like to see a greater effort employed to contextualize and conceptualize your personal experiences within larger factors that will offer wider applicability and relevancy. Your personal relationship experiences can be useful to people, of course. However, don’t ever present your relationship experiences as the standards for all relationships. Just because you have been involved in some or many relationships does not make you a relationship expert, especially when you have not really internalized anything you have learned from your relationships.

Give more thought to your relationship and sexual desires—they can be highly complicated. Make stronger efforts to ameliorate the level of sophistication of your relationship advice, critiques, and discussions.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bombarded with Relationship Advice

Sometimes you can simply get too much relationship advice. Too much relationship advice can cause you to lack the will to solve your own relationship problems. Now, there’s nothing wrong with listening to the advice of others about your relationship problems, but don’t listen to too many voices. When you listen to too many voices about your relationship problems, this means you are talking to too many people about your relationship problems. You just might be having some of those relationship quandaries because you are sharing too much with too many folks. For those of you who have discovered that the more information you share with others about your relationship, the worse it gets. Pause one moment. Did you ever think about the reason that it keeps getting worse and worse stems from those people who you keep sharing information with all the time? The ones you are telling all of your relationship business to could be the ones that are going to take your woman or man—just a thought.

Women, when your man cheats on you, you just might want to seek out the advice of another man and not another woman. Many of the responses of women I have encountered will simply say, “Girl, you need to leave him.” Although cheating is one of the greatest betrayals, it’s not always best to simply discontinue a relationship with someone because he or she has cheated on you. The reason that many women will tell you that you should just leave him is they are not the ones who have to climb back in that empty bed night after night. No, I’m not advocating for you to let a man continue to dishonor you by cheating on you time after time, but you should not simply listen to the voices of people who are not going to rationally help you to think about this situation in its totality and who are not going to help you to make the decision that is truly best for you.

Yes, I know that I mentioned previously that you are bombarded with too much relationship advice and it seems that you are getting relationship advice from what I have composed thus far. The only reason that I have written what I have thus far is to cause you to seriously reflect on the relationship advice you get and to expose some of the irrationality and lack of depth in thought that accompanies much of the relationship advice you receive.

The person who needs to be the expert about the relationship you are in or about relationships in general is you. Why would you allow someone to be an expert about a person who you know better than he or she does? That’s silly! Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with getting other viewpoints, but you should not allow those viewpoints to skew the realities about the person you are in a relationship with.

It seems like every time I go to various blogs there’s someone giving people relationship advice. So many talk shows frequently focus on giving relationship advice. Too many people’s discourses are concentrated on relationship advice.  What qualifies a person to give relationship advice to another person? Why should anyone listen to what you have to say about relationships? Can your personal relationship advice really be applied to another person’s relationship?

Random question (I think): Why have so many people allowed Steve Harvey to become a popular national relationship “expert” for women and men?

On Facebook, I have noticed that people will disclose the things that are going on in their relationships through their statuses, and from what they have learned in their relationships, they will share with the rest of their Facebook friends their “profound epiphanies.”

Be more selective about the people who you elect to get relationship advice from when you are having relationship problems. Try to solve your own relationship problems before you let some blog writer, Steve Harvey, Oprah, your pastor, and/or others attempt to solve them for you. When you begin to feel overwhelmed with so much relationship advice, I want you to think about how much you are responsible for this feeling. Most of the time you are so bombarded with relationship advice because you allowed yourself to be overwhelmed with it.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison