Grown Zone

4 Things You Shouldn’t Give Up for Love

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Welcome to the Grown Zone at We look forward to providing tools, advice and a reliable framework to help you to achieve honor, esteem, respect, prosperity, health (mental, physical and emotional), good relationships and self-loving behaviors for your life. 

There’s no such thing as a perfect track record when it comes to relationships. We all start out—and too many of us remain—adult and messy (not Grown and Sexy, no matter what we like to tell ourselves and others). As we’ve said in earlier posts, very few of us were ever taught what to look for in healthy relationships (romantic or otherwise), nor how to go about securing and maintaining them.

In the Grown Zone, we provide such teaching and offer tools and guidelines to help you do just that—make healthier choices that are in your best interest, and recover and learn from choices that result in unhealthy, undesirable outcomes. That way, you can always make your next decision better, as opposed to repeating patterns that are destructive to you and those you care for.

If experience is the tuition we pay to learn how to live, love and be the best of who we are, then clearly, some lessons are far more costly than others. The mission of the Grown Zone is to shorten your learning curve and lower your “tuition,” so that you can graduate from mere adult choices to Grown decisions as quickly as possible, while minimizing the lasting negative consequences common to poor relationship choices.

To that end, there are four things you should never surrender access to in order to secure a new relationship: your body, your money, your home and your heart. In the Grown Zone, you are responsible for setting standards and boundaries to protect your sexual health, your financial stability, your home security and your emotional safety. Unfortunately, these are too often the first things people surrender access to in the name of “love”—with devastating consequences.

As we stated in our last post, Grown decision-making in pursuit of healthy relationships requires us to focus on discovering who a person is, instead of acting based what a person is (fine, sexy, nice, religious, etc.), before making a serious commitment to—or risking lasting consequences from—any relationship. The former—WHAT a person is—are either readily apparent, often at a glance, or easily faked, at least for a time. The latter—WHO a person is—can only be determined by observation, investigation, and time—and the more time you take, the harder it is for a person to fake or hide who they truly are.

Unfortunately, because most of us are primed to commit quickly based on the whats, we don’t discover the whos until we are deep into relationships. The same influences that tell us to commit to relationships with people because they are sexy, fine, educated, etc., are the same ones that urge us to quickly surrender access to our bodies, hearts, money and/or homes to show and prove that we are in love, or to convince the object of our desire to commit to loving us as soon as possible. We are told to go with the flow, let love happen, go off on that magic carpet ride with the romantic stranger. This is dangerous!

You must always remember that no matter how attracted you are by what people are, they are strangers—cute, sexy, funny, rich strangers perhaps, but strangers nonetheless. You may like them. You may even feel love for them. But you do not know them.

So, we repeat: access to your body, heart, money and your home are the last things you should surrender in the name of love, not the first. To limit the damage from poor relationship choices, require others to prove worthy of access to these—no matter how long it takes, or how attractive you are to each other. Some of the saddest, most damaging and most costly relationship consequences are the result of people doing the opposite.

Remember, until proven otherwise, the vast majority of relationships, including at least half of all marriages, are temporary. It makes no sense to risk permanent consequences before a relationship has stood the test of time (and we’re talking a heck of a lot longer than 90 days) and adversity, and both parties have clearly communicated who they are and understand who the other is. Consider what’s at risk when people prematurely surrender access to their:

BODY: Whether directly or indirectly, women in particular are told that the way to secure love is to give up the sex early and often, and to put it on him like it’s never been done before, either to secure a relationship, or confirm that it is real. If you love him, this line of thinking goes, you need to secure his love for you by giving up your body. After all, if you don’t do it, someone else will.

Too many men, on the other hand, have not only been taught to expect sexual activity as proof of love, but that it is pointless to pursue any relationship without the promise of sex in the foreseeable future (as in months, weeks, days—even hours). The results are obvious: sexually transmitted diseases (amazingly, adults still use “love” and sheer horniness to justify spontaneous, unprotected sex with relative strangers), fatherless sons and daddyless daughters, just to name a few.

Also, we have generations of men who have no idea how to sustain a loving relationship without sex—the single biggest reason companies are making a fortune selling drugs to deal with erectile dysfunction. (Nothing is more terrifying to a penis-led man than the prospect of being “penis dead.”) How well do you treat each other when there is no promise or expectation of sex? Give up the body prematurely, and you may never know—until it’s too late.

HEART: She is charming, God-fearing and attractive—she treats him like a king. Even his mother approves. So he immediately opens up to her during prayer sessions together, sharing his most shameful secrets (including being molested by a relative in childhood, something he’s never even admitted to himself), exposing his deepest fears (that he’s not successful enough to provide for a family), and confessing his insecurities (he’s worried he won’t be a good father).

He is emotionally naked before he learns the truth—she is judgmental, controlling, and all too willing to use his past and insecurities against him. If he had waited to get to know her, he would have learned that his perfect “woman of God” is a bully—and that he can never be emotionally safe with her. The truth is, once he decided that he was “in love”, he stopped bothering to learn who she is. After all, she quotes scripture. How bad could she be? Answer: Does the term emotional terrorist mean anything to you?

MONEY: She’s a nice, funny, good looking woman who’s had some bad breaks—including having to deal with a trifling baby-daddy—who’s behind on her bills.  He’s a shy, hardworking, single guy with a steady job, his own home and a nest egg. He offers to help her out, she accepts. He’s a reliable friend who checks on her regularly. She does call—when she needs something—and he always obliges her. He finds that he’s calling her more than she’s calling him, but he believes they’ve made a love connection – why else would she be accepting his good will? In her mind, he is just a good friend, with a permanent address in the friend zone. In his mind, she is his woman, or will be. His money is an extension of his ego, the source of his self-esteem. He’s buying her affection and when she rejects him, he’ll feel betrayed and led on, she’ll she a side of him that she hasn’t, and both will learn that all gifts aren’t blessings.

You can see this scenario played out any day of the week on your average television court show. The lesson: relationships are not property to be purchased or companies to be invested in. When getting to know someone, especially if you have feelings for them, the last thing you should do is buy them a car, pay their bills, bail them out of jail or co-sign for the lease on an apartment. Grown folks do not make financial commitments with strangers they are just getting to know.

HOME: She just met him online two months ago and immediately they started texting and sexting. He lit her fire! Now the mother of two girls, a toddler and a teenager, has moved him in to her place. She’s had bad luck with men but he treats her like a queen. He rocks her world and is so good with her kids, who really need a father figure. Two months later, her perennial honor roll student and cheerleader daughter’s grades are slipping, and she’s become moody and withdrawn. The virtual stranger she moved in, whom she couldn’t live without, is molesting her child.

The justification for all these choices: “I was in love. We caught ‘feelings.’ I was sure it would all work out. He/she was just the kind of person I prayed to God for.” Again, adults follow this logic all the time. It’s not a matter of “right or wrong,” “good or bad,” or “Godly or ungodly.” Being Grown means focusing on consequences and outcomes, not just feelings in a given moment. Either they are healthy (supportive of self-love and personal growth) for all parties involved (including minor children), or they are unhealthy. If it is unhealthy, it is not Grown.

You have the adult right to share your body, your heart, your money and your home with anyone you choose. But you reduce the risk of lasting damage if it doesn’t work out to almost nothing if you make these things the last things you surrender access to in a relationship, not the first, requiring people to earn it based on whom they show themselves to be—not what they are or who they say they are—over time. Until then, your time and the pleasure of each others company is enough.

If it’s not, there is no basis for a healthy relationship anyway. And to those afraid of missing out on love because they did not surrender quickly enough, we guarantee this: What you might lose by waiting is nothing compared to the value of what you will risk and likely lose by surrendering access too soon. Open your eyes. The evidence of permanent consequences as a result of failed and unhealthy relationships are all around you, including on television and in your own family. When it comes to relationships, time is always your friend. And anyone who tells you otherwise is not your friend.

Just so you know, we’ve surrendered access to all of the above prematurely in past relationships. As a result, we know better, and we now do better. If you allow yourself to learn from us, you can do better, too—without paying the high price we paid for the lesson. The question is: Will you?

We invite you to Enter and Live In The Grown Zone.

For a FREE copy of, 9 Keys To Living In The Grown Zone, click here.


About GrownZone

Zara Green and Alfred Edmond Jr. are co-principals of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, producer of The Grown Zone. Zara is a speaker/trainer & author. Alfred is an award-winning journalist and expert on business and personal finance. The couple, both “Do-Better Fanatics”, lead sessions on personal growth, self-love and resiliency, healthy relationships and “grown” decision-making at live events across the country.

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