All Articles Tagged "advice"

Hey Madame: Every Time My Boyfriend Messes Up I Want To Go Back To My Ex

August 27th, 2014 - By Brande Victorian
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Go Back To My Ex


Hey Madame,

In my previous relationship, I was madly and unconditionally in love with my boyfriend. We meant the world to each other but I felt he didn’t trust me. When I confronted him, he would say it’s because he is jealous. Despite all the issues we had, we were in love with each other and I never imagined us breaking up. But one day, one of my distant uncles discouraged me from dating my boyfriend because he apparently was not from a good home. This really hurt me but I took it to heart and decided to look at all the negatives and pulled out. I’m now in a different relationship but I’m still in love with my ex. Every time my current boyfriend fails it makes me think of my ex. I really love my ex but my current boyfriend is so good to. Should I go back to my ex despite what my uncle said or should I continue loving to my current boyfriend ?

Jazmine: You should truly get to the root of why you broke up with your ex-boyfriend. Was it solely based on the things that your uncle brought to your attention or was it that he did not trust you? Only after you get to the root of that will you be able to accurately assess whether or not you should go back to your ex-boyfriend. What will make things different this time around? Has he changed at all?

As for your current boyfriend, I believe that you have him in a very unfair position. For one, you’re constantly comparing him to your ex-boyfriend and honestly, you don’t seem to be very into him. If you’re willing to leave him for someone else, then you should probably ask yourself whether or not you actually love him in the first place.

I’m not sure how much time passed between your last relationship and your current, but perhaps you should spend some time alone so that you are able to truly sort things out and figure out what you want to do with a clear head.

Veronica: Your letter makes me think you’re imagining your past relationship to be better than what it really was. You said you loved your ex unconditionally but the trust issues, more than your uncle’s “he’s not from a good home” analysis, let you know it was time to bounce. Trust issues aren’t problems you can gloss over. Even if you love someone, not trusting that person–or him not trusting you– can doom your relationship. Which is exactly what happened to you before. You need to figure out if you’re really satisfied with your current boyfriend. Do you only think about your ex when your current man messes up? If you decide to leave your current guy, I wouldn’t suggest going back to your ex, simply because it might not be the fairy tale you imagined.

Lauren: It appears you do not trust your own instincts. Your uncle or whomever should not have the power to direct the course of your relationship — especially an uncle who you consider to be a distant relative. Also, your uncle does not know your significant other in the same capacity as you do. I think for the moment, it would be best for you not to go back to your ex. He doesn’t know how to trust a partner because he has jealousy issues. That factor will not produce a healthy relationship. As for your current boyfriend, I do not think it is fair to be with him if you do not love him and if you constantly compare him to your ex-boyfriend.

Victoria: The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. While you say your uncle played a big role in your decision to leave your ex, you’re an adult and you knew your ex better than anyone. Chances are you had your reasons for wanting to move on and did just that. But it does seem that you still have deep feelings for your ex. In my opinion before you try to rekindle an old flame, make sure you wouldn’t be walking back into the same situation that made you leave in the first place. And the jealousy sounds like it was a big problem for you guys. And if you do want to be with your ex, have respect enough for your new man to be honest with him about what you’re feeling  and leave before you try to get that old thing back. If he’s been good to you he deserves that much.

Brande: Don’t go back to your ex and seriously consider whether you want to be with your current partner. We all have a tendency to look back on past relationships with rose-tinted glasses and wonder “what if,” but when we do so, we’re usually omitting all the negative issues that caused the relationship to end. Jealousy is not a small issue to deal with. Something besides your uncle told you to leave your ex alone — your intuition — and it seems you were right to follow it. As for the current man, are you really happy with him or was he just a rebound after breaking up with your ex? Every time a man falters you shouldn’t want to throw in the towel and go back to someone else unless you truly feel unfulfilled. It may be a good time for you to spend some time alone figuring out what you really want.


Hey Madame: I’m Dating A Guy But Anytime We Talk About Religion We Break Up

August 6th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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Hey Madame is our new advice column featuring each MadameNoire editors’ take on reader questions, giving you a wide range of perspectives on topics like you’d get from any good group of girlfriends. Read, enjoy, and if you have a question, email it to us at!

Talk About Religion

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Hey Madame,

I’m dating this guy but anytime we talk about religion we end up breaking up. This is my third try now. Any advice?

Brande: Religious differences are a hard thing to overcome because spiritual beliefs determine how people of faith live their lives and, honestly, I’m not sure they’re supposed to be overcome. Christian theology advises that partners be “evenly yoked” and judging by your past three breakups it sounds like your yoke is quite uneasy. Whether intolerance or a difference of opinion is what sparks these breakups, it’s unlikely that this same issue won’t come up again because you two seem to not share the same basic spiritual foundation, which is a key element in sustaining a healthy relationship as a religious/spiritual person. Don’t compromise that just because everything else seems good.

Jazmine: Judging by your question, I am guessing that you two have different religious beliefs. While this can present a major issue in relationships, it seems that the bigger issue between you and your guy is that the two of you are having trouble communicating, which can completely destroy a relationship. My advice would be to address the communication issues that you two are experiencing before you even begin tackling a discussion about religion.

Lauren: First you have to think about how important religion is to you and if it should be that important to your significant other as well. Then you have to think about whether you want your partner to have the same religious values as you. Once you have figured that out, your conversation with your boyfriend should become easier because you have an understanding of what you expect. If your boyfriend does not meet your expectations, you should tell him — not for him to change but for you both to have a better understanding of what you both want out of your religious/spiritual lives and relationship. His different views don’t make him a bad person but they do show whether  you can be with a person like him long term.

Veronica: I know there are people in interfaith relationships and they make it work. Personally, it’s not a concept I can completely grasp. I know love is strong but I’m also of the mindset that anyone can love someone else. I say that to say just because you love someone that’s not always an absolute reason to be together. Religious beliefs are typically pretty high on the priority list so it’s only natural that things can get heated when you don’t agree on what both of you consider to be fundamental truths. You all can agree to stop discussing religion but I’d bet it would come up again and again, since religion is more than just doctrine. It’s doctrine by which you live your life. All of that was a very roundabout way of saying I don’t know how you can proceed in this relationship, especially since it’s already caused three breakups…not arguments, breakups. I’d say that’s a pretty clear indicator that neither one of you are going to change and you might need to stay broken up.

Victoria: It seems as though religion isn’t something he is comfortable discussing, so that might mean he doesn’t believe in organized religion (or he could be atheist). You could try approaching him about the matter one more time and reiterating how important the topic is to you, but it does seem as though he just might not be the right guy for you. It seems that your religion is very important if you want to discuss it often; therefore the real question is: can you have a relationship with someone who doesn’t believe in what you do and stand on the same principles? Some people can do it. But can you? You should be able to discuss these things with him and not feel like you have to compromise a key part of who you are to have him in your life. So yeah, try chatting with him one more time to see where he stands, but I would recommend not staying around longer than you need to if you feel like you guys won’t be able to come to a compromise of sorts. Good luck with everything.

Things Some Men Still Need To Learn About Sex

July 29th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Some guys can be surprisingly clueless when it comes to sex. If he’s still making these beginner mistakes, it could be time to have that awkward conversation about why doing it with him just isn’t doing it for you.

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Foreplay Is Always Necessary

Instant rip-your-clothes-off chemistry is rare. Women are just wired to warm up. But if he’s willing to put in the time it’s better for everyone involved.

How Selfish Is Your Advice?

July 21st, 2014 - By Kendra Koger
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As a little girl growing up I had a severe stuttering problem.  It’s really weird to talk about it now, because it’s pretty much nonexistent, but it was very evident as a child.  Because no one really wanted to hold a long conversation with me while I struggled to get words out, I just held everything in.  My speech therapy kicked in when I was in first grade and I felt more comfortable talking to people.  But I was told by my classmates that I sounded like the preacher from Coming to America.   Which is funny now, but was devastating as a child.  What little girl wants to hear that she sounds like a grown man?

As much as I love my family, their advice to me was to just “let it roll off your back, like water off of a duck’s feathers.”  It wasn’t until an argument happened that one of them blurted out:  “I don’t feel like listening to you go on and on!”

That’s when everything clicked.  I always felt as a child that the “just let it go” advice was always self-serving for the person giving it to me.  They didn’t have to listen to me, and I continued to carry on the baggage in ways that I was hurt.  They were happy that they didn’t have that deal with it.  Those words of truthful anger was my confirmation of everything that I suspected.

I vowed that once I had my own child I wouldn’t do that to her.  Until a few weeks ago when the last thing I wanted to hear was screaming and that was all that daughter was offering.  I pulled her to me and said:  “Baby, I need you to stop screaming, okay?  Please play with your toys.”  At that moment, right when I was about to gently push her in the direction of her toy pile I saw that flash of hurt in her eyes.  That feeling of being cast aside because I didn’t even try to really figure out what was wrong with her.  I just gave her a quick solution so I could go about my day.  Realizing that, I felt horrible, but at the same time forgiving to everyone who I felt had done me in the same manner.

Let’s be honest here, sometimes we don’t feel like being bothered.  It can be extremely upsetting, and overwhelming when your friend is constantly going through the same struggles, and you’re tired of hearing about it.  I understand.  So you might give him/her some advice, not necessarily because you think that it’s the right thing to do, you’re just trying to give him/her a quick fix so they can stop bothering you about it.

I feel as though we’ve all been there at some point of time.  But let’s get this first thing straight though:  that doesn’t make you necessarily a malicious person.  Yeah, your intentions might have been self-serving, but you are just a person at the end of the day who is fighting their own battles and struggles.  Sometimes it’s hard taking on the baggage of others, and sometimes you shouldn’t have to.

With that being said, if you are in a position to give advice, try to give it in a spirit of wanting to help, not just shut the person up.  If you have a friend that is going through emotional struggles at home, and he/she keeps on venting to you about it, don’t give them some second rate fortune cookie advice.  Suggest something that can help, like seeking counseling.

Because the only thing that selfish advice usually leads to is resentment.  It’s understandable that  you might not be able to handle what your loved one is throwing at you, but try to help them aim for help in the best way that you can.

Kendra Koger did find out why her daughter was crying (she broke her crayon), find out about the saga on twitter @kkoger.  …(Not really, I don’t tweet about stuff like that.)

So You Want To Move To NYC?

July 9th, 2014 - By Dee Rene
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There’s no place like NYC but moving here can be a beast. If you have dreams of living it up in the city of bright lights like a character off “Sex and the City” there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Brokers’ Fees / Application fees

Most apartments require a credit check and background check. That will run you about $30-$50 per application. If you use a broker, find out their fees before you fall in love with an apartment. Brokers’ fees are the cost you pay to the person that shows you the apartment and helps you go through the paperwork.  Most apartments have a broker. The Broker does the work which is why the owner of the building enlists their services. Unless the apartment is listed as “no fee” there is a broker’s fee. This is usually 10-15% of the ANNUAL rent. An apartment that costs $1,300 a month costs $15,600 annually ($1300 x 12) which means your broker’s fee would be $1,560 – $2,340 IN ADDITION to your first month’s rent and a security deposit of one month’s rent. Which makes your total move in cost (1st months + security + broker’s fee)  4,160 – $4,940. Rough.

Getting the apartment – Time is a factor!

If you plan to move July 1, you can’t start looking for an actual apartment until June. Apartments go within the same day sometimes. You might catch a listing and by the time you call that afternoon the apartment is rented. You’ll need to have your money ready (via money order or cashier’s check) and your documents (copy of your ID, bank statements, application, copy of tax return, etc) in a packet ready to go so that if you love an apartment you can apply within 24 – 48 hours. Unlike other cities, there aren’t many places you can apply months in advance. To save yourself time, go visit different neighborhoods during the day and at night to decide the area you want to live in. Once you have the area narrowed down, when it’s closer to the time for you to move, you can use sites like Pad Mapper and Naked Apartments  to search the area for what’s available.

What’s nearby? Do you reallllly want a car?

Do you have to take the bus to get to the train? Will it take you two hours to get to work? These are all factors you want to consider when moving. The closer you are to the train line the more expensive the rent but sometimes you are paying for convenience. Use an app like HopStop to check your potential apartment address with your work address. The app will tell you the route you’ll have to take and the estimated time. You should walk around the neighborhood. Is there a laundry mat nearby? A real grocery store and not a bodega? Look for the type of things you’ll need weekly and remember this is a walking/train/bus city. You want to be nearby to something you use frequently.

Keeping the car is a matter of personal preference. But most neighborhoods have alternate day street parking. That means you will be moving your car every day from one side of the street to the other so that the street sweepers (boom boom baby) can come by and clean. Or you’re paying to house your car in a garage each day. You really can get 90% of places on the train or bus. But if having a car is a big deal to you, then you’ll want to search for a neighborhood with parking or without alternate street parking.

Utilities & Bills

Heat and hot water come pretty standard for most buildings as part of your rent. However, there are a few that don’t offer this which could significantly increase your monthly bills. It’s cold 80% of the time here and you want to factor in your heating bill before you pick a place where heat / hot water aren’t included. You can call National Grid (the gas company) or ConEd (the electric company) and find out how much the bills were throughout the cold season for the last tenant to help give you an idea of the cost. Moving to NYC also comes with new bills! Your monthly metro pass ($100+) is one. You also want to factor in that everything costs more here. A bottle of shampoo at Target in a smaller city at may be $4.00 but here it’s $6.50. Things are expensive. And of course your new “fun” bill. Living in NYC there is always something to do so consider you may spend a bit more on fun activities.

Use your network

No one can tell you where to live or what borough is best for you. You’ll need to hang out and explore each borough to figure out where you might want to live. Exploring is the key to finding a place that fits you. When you do go out looking, be sure to take someone that has lived in the city for a while. He or she may know the some key factors about the neighborhood (like the park that’s so pretty in the daytime is a bit too popping at night for you to walk home safely) that could save you a headache down the line.

The last thing to keep in mind is that although this is a hard, cold and hectic city, it’s the most amazing city to live in even for a little while. Random free concerts by your favorite artists, endless food options even at 3 am, culture, parties, arts and anything else you’re into is all here somewhere. Living in NYC isn’t always easy but it’s an experience you can’t trade. If you’ve always wanted to do it, keep these few tips and tricks in mind and make the jump! You never know if it’s the best decision you’ll ever make.

Is He Trying To Tell You That He’s Secretly Unhappy?

July 9th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Men speak another language. And sometimes they don’t say anything at all. He might not have the courage to tell you out loud, but unhappy partners give off plenty of signs that they’re done. Pay attention to the clues and you won’t get blindsided by the end of your relationship.

Secretly Unhappy

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You Watch Anderson Cooper During Dinner

What started out as comfortable silence has turned into dead air. Now you spend your meal times watching in silence, wondering what he’s thinking.

Don’t Rent Your Home or Smoke! 15 Surprising Things That Can Ruin A Marriage

June 26th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Could the ship be going down without you knowing it? Here are a few surprising habits that can ruin a marriage.

Ruin A Marriage

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Letting Him Do the Chores

When men do “feminine” chores around the house, like dishes and dusting, they have sex with their partners 1.5 times less a week. When men stick to masculine chores, they have more frequent and better sex with their partners. Go figure.

Stop Telling Single Women What You Would Do If You Weren’t Married With Children

June 10th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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best friend bad habits


We walked along the gravel trail through the Wissahickon park in Philly. Her baby carriage, which housed her sleeping one-year old, noisily trudges through the rocks and dirt, making it almost impossible to hear her. I asked her to repeat herself.

“I said what happened to Ghana?,” she said.

My walking partner seemed sincere enough in her query, but I still couldn’t help signing heavily to myself. I couldn’t help it: that question always puts me on the defensive. Ghana had been the most recent escape of the dreary boredom, also known as the US. The plan was to sell my house, take the proceeds and spend at least a year (more if I liked it) living like a real Ghanian – well more like the somewhat affluent ones, who live in Accra. A girl gotta have her KFC and whats the point in moving somewhere just to be broke? At any rate, after I had my little West African adventure, I would move to Brooklyn and ruminate all day with the rest of the struggling writers. I had it all vision boarded out and I was certain my scheme was going to be freakin’ fantastic.

But no one wanted to buy my house – or if they did, they wanted way less than what I owed on it. And then stuff around the house, which I couldn’t sell, started mysteriously breaking; like the heater. And then some of the pipes. And then Philadelphia Parking Authority showed up with some overdue tickets for that ass and so did a few other enforcement agencies. Likewise my professional life has also idle after a year of transitioning from losing my job. In short, money isn’t coming in as much as I would like. And all the money I had put aside for an actual plane ticket, housing, transportation, food and other incidentals, which come from picking up and moving nearly five thousand miles away, is slowly being ciphered away.

This is what I told her.

But as she pushed her son along in his stroller, a hint of skepticism began to spread across her face. After a few moments of awkward of silence, she finally blurted out: “Mayne, if I was single I probably be traveling the world right now…”

The dread “if I was single…” conversation. It had been a popular sentiment expressed as of late, mostly told by young mothers and married women, who feel like they have wasted their lives. Or feel like I am wasting my life. Or perhaps a combination of the two. At any rate, the consensus is that I’m not living up to the fullest of my single potential. Never mind the fact that my passport has touched ground on three continents and eight countries thus far outside of the United States. And that I maintain a house, a brand new car (at least it was brand new back in 2012 when I purchased it off the lot) and a gang of other middle class trappings. And although I am unmarried and childless, I have had my share of romance and uninterested attachments as well. The point in telling folks all of this is that when it comes to life, no one can really accuse me of failing to take the bull by the horns and living it.

It’s just that sometimes, things just don’t work out. And right now, it seems like lots of my personal aims (which I have actively put in work for) and objectives – including ones outside of running off to Ghana for some Eat. Love. Pray – have not been working out. In short, it was just not the right time for me now. Truth be told, I have no idea what time this moment is right for.

“I hear that, but I’m just saying. If I was single, I wouldn’t be worried about all that stuff. I would be in Paris somewhere, jumping from one dude to the next,” she said with an extra tinge of dreaminess in her eyes.

I rolled my own unaffected eyes. “Bish, if you were single and jumping from dude to dude, you would likely end up right where you are right now. And that’s pushing this raggedy stroller up a gravel path. And why don’t you get one of those jogger strollers anyway?”

Sometimes, you just got to let these hoes know…

We shared a chuckled and continued on with our walk, instead choosing to keep our topics far removed from our personal failures. However I still couldn’t shake the annoyance, which began to fester inside of me. I know, she was just trying to be supportive. And as one of the long-term single folks, I should totally be used to the questions now about my solvency – enough to know how to properly brush off all the subtle implications without hurting feelings (mine and hers). But I would be lying if I didn’t say that at times, I do wonder why women feel the need to try to neutralize another woman’s personal distress and pain, simply because it is not our own? And call me crazy but the “if I was single…” conversation always just seemed like a stand-in for telling a single woman to ‘shut up and stop complaining because it could be worse.’

It’s true that I’m not hunkered down with the responsibilities of tending to a herd of my own (i.e. a family), which might limit lots of personal choices and time I have in my life to do my own thing. But in the words of Langston Hughes, Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair…”

In fact life for a single person can be pretty taxing. NO I actually mean got-damn taxes. According to this article in the Atlantic entitled, The High Price of Being Single in America, a single woman earning a measly $40k annually will pay an upwards of $39,000 more in income taxes over the span of 40 years than her married counterpart. And as noted by this article in the Daily Beast entitled, Singled Out: Are Unmarried People Discriminated Against?:

They pay more for health and car insurance than married people do. They don’t get the same kind of tax breaks. Co-op boards, mortgage brokers, and landlords often pass them over. So do the employers with the power to promote them. “Singleism—stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against people who are single—is largely unrecognized and unchallenged,” says activist Bella DePaulo, the author of Singled Out.”

And there are other concerns too. Like workplace discrimination. And housing discrimination. And food discrimination too (because why can’t they make single packs of fresh chicken in addition to family packs? I don’t need all that damn chicken). And then there is always the very real fear of dying alone in your place, only to have your half-eaten body discovered three years later when your crackhead slumlord finally comes to collect the rent.

Generally speaking, our culture has put in place lots of incentives to reward women and men for the simple act of being married. And while single moms get dragged through the mud by this same society, there still exists a large consortium of folks (including yours truly), who will go to bat for, pitch in and even offer an empathic ear to our solo parents. But who cares about the single aunties of the world? The general consensus for single people is that we are alright. That we can manage. And that is simply not true.

Sometimes we need an ear to bend and a shoulder to lean on without the fear that our problems and issues are too small and inconsequential to consider for serious girlfriend duties. Or to be reminded about our alleged mistakes and failures in living our lives to the fullest. We need folks to understand that being single is not the whirlwind adventure we see on television and in films. Carrie Bradshaw is a lie. Just like everybody else, life for a single person can too become pretty mundane – with jobs, bills, old reruns on Netflix and an after-work happy hour or two thrown in just to keep you alert.


I Luh Ya Mami: 15 Things Men Admire Most About Women

March 14th, 2014 - By Kevin L. Clark
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There are countless things that most men admire about women. Whether it’s their subtle gestures, the way they walk, or even just how cool their personality is, a man enjoys figuring out these telltale signs that she’s the one.

In my case, my admiration falls for one woman and all of these attributes listed below are traits that she has in spades. While there may be an abundance of men out there on the Internets attempting to offer advice on how to become a better woman, my expertise is in extolling the things men admire most about women.

There are plenty of non-physical things that we enjoy and I’m pretty sure that if the ladies of Madame Noire have special someones, they’ll confirm that their physiques aren’t the only things they fell head over heels in love with. If you’re interested to learn more about these other things, please read carefully because every man definitely loves a learned woman.

Captain Save-A-Sidepiece: How To Let Go Of A Married Man

March 11th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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If there’s one thing we learned from “Being Mary Jane” it’s that it’s not hard to accidentally find yourself the other woman. If your struggle goes as deep as Pauletta’s, here are a few tips that might help you let that toxic relationship go.

Let Go Of A Married Man

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Go Cold Turkey

Delete his number, de-friend him on Facebook, cut off his friend circle, then keep yourself busy with friends until the sting wears off. And when you feel like backsliding…