Social media has become a place where couples declare their love for one another and exchange heartfelt messages for millions of people to see, but not all love letters are the same — or even sweet for that matter. A writer named Solomon Buchi attempted to express his appreciation for his future wife, but his message and delivery caused him to go viral for all the wrong reasons.
“You’re not the most beautiful woman; neither are you the most intelligent woman, but I’ve chosen to never find perfection in anyone else,” he wrote in an Instagram caption. “I put my gaze on you, and with that commitment, we would mold ourselves for ourselves. Our perfection is in our commitment.”
The caption continues, “Stating that you’re not the most beautiful/intelligent might sound like it’s not a compliment, yeah? But it’s a realistic base for real love. Acknowledging that my woman isn’t the best, but I’m not looking for the best. I was looking for you and I found you. There’s no best, there is just someone you choose and see the best in them. This to me is the real love. Not the one that consoles itself in the faux reality that their partner is the most good looking, most intelligent, most successful person in the world. That’s disingenuous and doesn’t give room for love to thrive. My love for you isn’t about you being the best, it’s about you being you. There’s just no other you. I love you, ayanfe. I’m committed to you. I miss you so much!!! But my love for you is stronger than distance.”
Struggling to pick your mouth up off the floor? I know, I struggled too. Some people call this a backhanded compliment, while others refer to it as negging—verbal emotional abuse with the intent of lowering someone’s self-esteem.
Reading this was embarrassingly familiar and brought me back to a time I was riding in the car with my ex. I made a comment about me being beautiful and I’ll never forget when he interjected, unsolicited, and said “No, you’re not beautiful, but you’re cute.” That should have been a red flag for me, but my self-esteem at the time, in many ways, agreed with his objection.
And it didn’t stop there. As the relationship progressed, so did the negging. It turned into statements like, “I could be with so many finer girls, but I chose you,” to “I could have been with a fine light-skinned girl, but they’re too high-maintenance. I chose you because you’re not too fine and you’re low maintenance.”
Yes, this is a true story.
Thankfully, that was the last time he had the opportunity to tell me anything crazy again and therapy has helped me to see my worth.
Let’s keep it real, we all likely have internal thoughts about the perceived shortcomings of our partner. We could all have someone taller, richer, smarter, better at sex, and the list goes on. But when is it ok to tell your partner (or even worse, tell the whole world) that they’re essentially subpar, yet you chose them anyway? Individuals who say things like this are primary examples of people who project their insecurities onto others to make themselves feel better. It’s a way of “humbling” your partner so they feel thankful you chose them. Maybe people like Buchi even believe they’re some type of hero for supposedly choosing the basic chick most people wouldn’t want. Instead of reminding your partner about the ways they fall short and passing it off as a compliment or declaration of love, it may be a better idea to face your shadows and confront the ways that you feel inadequate. Peep that nowhere in his essay does he mention any of his own flaws and shortcomings.
Not only is it mean-spirited and unnecessary to say these types of things to your partner, but it’s a quick way to break down someone’s self-esteem. It doesn’t uplift her in any way to tell her she isn’t the most beautiful or the most intelligent. And what response is one hoping to get by saying this? “Thank you for choosing me! I know you had better options out there. I’m so lucky”? Some may argue these statements are borderline abusive, and in my case they were. I found myself internalizing those words and struggling to believe I was “that girl.”
For all the tone deaf people saying things like, “Is it better he lie to her?” to our knowledge, she never publicly asked him if she was the most beautiful or smart girl. Even if those are his sentiments, there was literally no reason to say that out loud.
Keeping it “real” shouldn’t entail being mean, and honesty should always be accompanied by tact. In case the message he was trying to relay got misconstrued, this may be a lesson that oftentimes, less is more. If the intent of the message was “You’re imperfect, but I love you,” there was no need to publicly out all of her “flaws.” We’re all imperfect. As a partner, your job is to water your partner so they grow and these types of statements do the complete opposite.