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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As a senior in college, I have been in a few relationships.

Some of them lasted longer than others but there was one thing that I learned as a Black woman attending college in Atlanta; black love is real. It's not a figment of my imagination or something that I can only feel in my soul. It's real, and there are so many people who are enjoying it every day. Black love technically shouldn't exist. We've been taught growing up that Black love is struggle love (which is an entirely different subject for an entirely different day) or that it isn't possible, for some reason that our mothers refuse to explain to us.

Black love is something that has withstood the sands of time. First, there was slavery and then Jim Crow. Then you couldn't be black and be in the LGBTQIA+ community. At one point, you couldn't marry the person you loved unless a white person gave you permission. There were so many trials and tribulations, and as a Black woman when you see black love, you think of fairytales and the impossible (and don't get me started on the lack of representation of black love in fairytales... yes I am looking at you Disney).

In a real relationship, a man doesn’t make his woman feel insecure or jealous. He makes others envious of her.

Steve Maraboli

Through it all, Black love has persevered.

You see, I have always known that wanted Black love. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being in interracial relationships or dating people outside of your race. However, my time in college taught me that I needed to be with someone who understood me on a level that was ancestral. As I navigated relationships that would lead me to the one I'm in now, I learned ten things that only furthered my belief in Black love.

1. Unspoken Understanding

What dance do you do when Candy by Cameo comes on? If someone says come at 2:30, what time do you really get there and why doesn't that baby have on a coat? You see, in a relationship where Black love is present, you never have to worry about the unspoken rules. You know to speak when you enter the room, anyone your Mama's age and older gets a 'yes ma'am,' and you better be home when the street lights are on. We've known this since the moment we were born. The first time I dated a white boy, I was overwhelmed with questions; did he support Black Lives Matter? What was his stance on police brutality? Did he understand why you keep your hands on the steering wheel at a traffic stop? Did he believe in white privilege? All of those questions and more are topics are ingrained into the minds of black people everywhere and for the most part, we all have the same answer. There's a level of understanding that we have. What's understood doesn't have to be explained. My boyfriend and I have the same answers to these questions (I know because I asked him while writing this) because we were raised by parents, who were raised by parents who experienced the same kinds of things together.

2. iT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE HARD

I remember the first time my boyfriend told me he loved me. Jill Scott was playing her classic 'He Loves Me' and we'd just finished our first at-home date. He spent the day taking me wherever I wanted (Chick-fil-a) and buying me whatever I wanted (Chick-fil-a) and at the end of the night, we'd cuddled up in the living room and listened to music together. He turned to me and told me he loved me and he knew it the moment we laid eyes on each other. Every day that I have been with him, he's reminded me that love doesn't have to be hard. We communicate when we see things differently, we share the joy in our triumphs and we hold each other in our downfalls. I was once afraid that loving a Black man meant the chance I'd be another stereotype. I'd convinced myself that for it to be real it had to be a struggle but man, oh man. Black love doesn't have to be hard at all. It is actually one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced in my life.

3. We are more than just stereotypes

Before my boyfriend and I got together, I remember always feeling like I had to be the strong black woman in my relationships. There was never a chance for me to move in feminine energy and just be weak for a second. I was more than a girlfriend. I was a cheerleader, a coach, a friend, a lover, all rolled into one package labeled girlfriend. Then, I learned it was okay to say I wasn't okay in a relationship. It wasn't easy. I was breaking through relationship trauma with a man who wanted to love me but needed me to heal and love myself first. He taught me the value of saying "I'm not okay" or saying "You hurt my feelings when you...". I learned that I could depend on my partner (He took care of me one weekend when I was sick and stayed up with me to do homework all night on another), I learned to show affection (I didn't grow up seeing proper black love). Furthermore, I learned to love myself and see the value that he saw in me.

4. Black men need love too

The first time I saw my boyfriend cry, he was telling me how much something his ex consistently did changed his perception of himself before he allowed himself to heal from their relationship. It hadn't bothered him in forever, but there were times when insecurity would sneak in and overwhelm him. So I did to him what my mother did to me whenever I needed consoling; I wrapped my arms around him and kissed his forehead and promised him that he was fine just the way God created him. It was in that moment I learned Black men need to be told "I love you" and "I support you" just as much as Black women do. We want men to be providers and to care for us and our future family one day. I never realized how far telling him "I love you" could go and now, I'm always saying it whenever I think he could use a little bit of my love.

5. I want to raise children I can relate to

Black children go through a lot.

We learn about the horrors of slavery and we often are exposed to life faster than our counterparts because of racism and nowadays, because of police brutality.

We are taught to keep our hands on the wheel at traffic stops because we could be killed if we don't (If you've ever seen The Hate U Give, you know EXACTLY what I'm referring to).

You see, when you have children as a Black woman with someone who isn't Black, you have to learn how to relate to your children in a way that you've never had to learn before. You have to teach them all the things you learned being a Black woman but if their skin is fairer than yours, the majority of the life lessons you have won't even apply to them because they don't look Black. Now, I'm not saying I'd ever pick struggle for my children. What I am saying is, I want them to love the 4C hair they got me from me and the wide nose they got from their father. I want them to grow up learning who they are instead of having an identity crisis because they are "too white for the blacks and too black for the whites." I want my children to be rooted in their identity the way I was.

Black love teaches everyone different things at different times, but if there's one thing I've learned the most from Black love, it's that I am worthy of every breathing moment of it.

Hi! I'm Danyelle Briggs, a student at Oglethorpe University studying Public Relations and minoring in Politics. I love Vampire Diaries, Chloe x Halle and everything related to The Flash. Whenever I'm not on Her Campus, you can catch me writing any one of several novels I plan to publish!
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