In college, I had a male friend who was handsome and tall, the kind of guy I could see myself with. We looked good together; we had a lot in common. But he had very close-minded perspectives on how things should and shouldn’t be.

My hair was damaged beyond repair. I was using children’s relaxer, thinking it’d be gentler than regular. My hair was broken, dull and lifeless. I decided to get a short haircut to cut off all the damage—I was doing a big chop before I even knew that was popular. When my guy friend saw my new look, he made me fully aware of his disapproval. “Oh. I see you decided to ask for ‘The Menopause,’ he said, giving my style the side-eye. His opinion was that only women of a certain age would cut their hair as short as I’d chosen to. He continued to mock my new look that evening. For about 24 hours I let his opinion about my hair make me feel some kinda way. Then I realized that I deserved better.

His response to my hair (and other things) let me know that he was not my Mr. Right.

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I believe that if you decide that you want to get a haircut, Mr. Right may ask a few questions or express a concern but he won’t try to stop you or use demeaning descriptions or jokes to make you feel bad about your decision. He won’t make you feel any less of a beautiful woman than you are. Mr. Right won’t try to throw cold water on your self-esteem, or make you adhere to his standard of beauty. Mr. Right will respect and understand your need for self care, self expression, and personal style.

The most important thing is to love what you see in the mirror. You have to love who you are as a whole, devoid of embellishment. The opinions of others about our hair, our beauty, our style, our weight—these things shouldn’t break our spirits, but negative attitudes from the people we love and who love us, can hurt deeply. A partner for life, someone worthy of the commitment of love and marriage, should support and encourage you through all of the stages of your journey in life and beauty. I’ve learned that the real Mr. Right will understand you; listen to you, and love you for who you are—not just what you look like.

Afrobella was the natural hair blogger at AOL’s Black Voices and a writer for Vogue Italia’s Vogue Black website. She has also presented keynotes at several major media expos and seminars.