All Articles Tagged "Ask a Very Smart Brotha"

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: My Boyfriend Is Emotionally Dead

May 20th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Ask A Very Smart Brotha: My Boyfriend Is Emotionally Dead


Dear Damon,

I am 25 years old and I need help. My boyfriend is dead completely. In an emotional sense. He tells me he loves me, after I tell him I love him… When I ask him why isn’t he affectionate towards me, he gets mad, defensive or thinks I dont see his efforts. I do. I only say something when he reverts back to no emotional sense… I do not know what to do.

He says I know he loves me… why do his actions have to be based on it… he doesn’t get it…

Please help.
I love him but I refuse to settle…



Dear Ms. Warm-hearted,

So, I had a great response planned out to this question. I was going to mention how different people have different love languages. Some need physical affection, some need to hear “I love you,” some need their loved one to do things for them, and some people need it all. I was going to cite the famous book that came from, and I even planned on sharing a few things I heard when my wife and I took pre-marriage counseling.

But then I read your email again. And came to the conclusion that I’m 99.9999% sure you two just aren’t a good match for each other, and that it’s best that you leave this relationship while you’re still (very) young. Because while he might not be giving you the type of love you need in a relationship, I’m sure there are others out there who will.


Damon Young

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at   

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: How Can I Ask My Friend To Hook Me Up With Her Ex?

April 15th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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How Can I Ask My Friend To Hook Me Up With Her Ex?


Shanetta: Hi Damon, I know it’s pretty common to hear about women who have a child with a man and can’t let them go afterwards but in my case, the roles are reversed. Between the constant strolls down memory lane, flirting, attitudes whenever I get male attention and the infamous weekly declarations of his love and desire to be with me, (literally almost every week since I became pregnant 3 years ago), it takes a toll. Now the problem is, the day I took the test, he left, packed his things and told me to get an abortion. I didn’t hear from him again until about 2 weeks later. By then, my trust in him was completely destroyed. So finally, my question is, is the fear of becoming a father THAT real to make you leave the one you supposedly love? Also, what do I do when a man goes above and beyond to prove his love for me, but rarely acknowledges our child without my pushing him to do so?

DY: Whether it’s because of nerves, anxiety, or just plain fear, it’s not extremely uncommon for men to freak out about a pregnancy. Of course, not all men do this. In fact, most don’t. But some hear that news and just don’t know how to handle it.

But, there’s a difference between “freaking out” and “breaking up with your girl and telling her to abort the child.” That’s just insane. And badgering you about getting together — while at the same time ignoring his child — takes the insanity to another level. At this point, you just need to tell him that while you’ll need his help in raising your child, the romantic relationship ship has sailed. One baby is enough. No need to be raising two.

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Why Doesn’t He Want To Tell Me His Age?

April 2nd, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Bad Habits That Women Can't Stand

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Dear Damon,

I’m something like a match-maker/event planner. And I’m organizing this speed dating event where I’m inviting a set group of men and women. To make sure that we get the right caliber of people I’ve had the men fill out a short questionnaire that asks basic questions. One of them is age. Interestingly, I’m coming across quite a few men who don’t want to share their age…which is odd to me. 

I’ve stumbled across this in the past and I’ve even asked one guy why he didn’t want to share. He said because when you tell people your age they start labeling. 

Who knows…the whole thing just seems weird to me. I mean, I don’t even know a whole lot of women who follow the ‘don’t tell your age’ rule these days. What do you think about this?


What do they have to hide?


Dear What Do They Have To Hide,

Last year, Iowa State point guard DeAndre Kane was one of the best and most electrifying players in NCAA basketball. He was first team All-Conference, third team All-American, and seemed to have the size and skillset that would make him attractive to NBA teams. But, when the NBA draft came around, Kane went undrafted. Why? Well, there are a few reasons you could cite for that, but it ultimately came down to one thing: His age. He was a 23-year-old college senior (and 24 the day of the draft). This might not seem that old, but, when it comes to college basketball today, it’s practically ancient, because most of the best players are already in the NBA by that age.

Basically, Kane was a full-grown man playing against 18 and 19-year-olds. When you factored in his age, his accomplishments just weren’t as impressive.

Although this was a basketball example, it translates to the real world as well. Whether fair or not, age is a consideration when judging a person’s accomplishments, goals, and trajectory. A 25-year-old living at home, or in some entry level position, or still making YouTube rap videos in his spare time is going to get more leeway than a 35-year-old doing the same thing. And, if a guy is hesitant about volunteering his age, it’s usually because he realizes that he’s probably not where society — or, better yet, the type of women he’s interested in — would expect a man his age to be.

Also, if you’re the type of guy interested in 23-year-old women, being “30-something” or some other vagary about your age might sound better than “37.”

Still, your age is the one thing about you you’ll never, ever, ever be able to change. And a man not embracing that part of himself because of some insecurity or trickery is a huge (Huge!) red flag.

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at   

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Should I Let Him Hang Out With His Female Friends?

March 27th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Should I Let Him Hang Out With His Female Friends


Dear Damon,

I met an amazing man 13 years ago. We dated briefly (no sex)! Last year we hooked up (had sex)! He asked me to live with him and basically live happily ever after. He constantly showed and told me he loves me. I was afraid and ran home. The sex was awesome and the kisses were magical. I think about him daily. He thinks that i only want to use him for sexual purposes. My question is, what can i do to show him that I’m not using him, that i wanna continue to enjoy him when he have this mental issue?

– Don’t Know What To Do


Dear “Don’t Know What To Do”,

Reading this reminded me that, for my own professional/personal growth, I need to find another show to reference besides The Wire. Because the first and only thing I thought after reading this was that your problem “sounded like one of those good problems.” (ht to Marlo Stansfield) You and your “friend” clearly like each other a lot, but you just haven’t found a way yet to communicate that to each other in a language you both understand.

Oh, and here’s another thing: You’re actually in the right here. As much as you both seem to like each other, he does seem a bit, for lack of a better term, “extra,” and you’re right to want to take things a bit slower. Especially considering that you had that long period of time between seeing each other. Just tell him that you really do like him, and wish to see how this progresses, but also wish to take things slowly. Basically, date each other. And make sure this connection isn’t just an infatuation.

Damon Young
Check out another question and answer on the next page.

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Did I Trap Him?

March 16th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Black woman thinking


Dear Damon,

I met my husband in high school. I had our first kid my junior year, as a result of a fling after we had left our high school sweet hearts.

We broke up right before I found out I was pregnant. While I was hospitalized (water broke prematurely) he called me everyday and asked if I’d take him back. He had went off to college to play football and we were together long distance.

During that time a lot happened, I was homeless at one point and moved to where he was for a better life. 4 years of marriage and a second child later, I found out he dated someone for about a month (they only went on one date) while I was away. And he still maintained an on and off relationship with his high school sweet heart.

Sometimes when we’re really going through it he would contact her and do the whole “what if” thing and then blame it on drunkenness. I feel like I was just the plan B girl, because of our child together, and because we’re so young I always hear comments about how I trapped him (which I would never do). I just want to know why he would stick around so long if he had feelings for his ex or wanted to see other people. Did I trap him without even knowing it? He’s a great looking guy and played football so he has no problems getting anyone he wants… Just wondered why he would stick around if he really wanted to be somewhere else, knowing I would let him go if that’s what he wanted. Sorry this was so long I felt I had to explain everything in detail.


The high school fling that turned into the real thing



Dear High School Fling,

For several months last year, I was working on a side project with a few friends. I won’t go into any details, but we had a great idea, a great plan, and were committed to executing that plan. But, a couple months or so into the project, something just didn’t feel right. Didn’t know exactly what it was, but things didn’t feel the way we expected them to, and weren’t progressing the way we wanted them to. The simple decision would have been to just regroup and start over, but it was almost like none of us wanted to admit what was happening wasn’t working, because we had to much time and thought already invested in what we were doing.

In business terms, this is known as a sunk cost. This mindset, however, applies to many relationships, where good and well-intentioned people stay with each other just because they’ve already invested so much of themselves into it. What eventually happened with us — and what needs to happen with you — was a “come to Jesus” conversation where we finally admitted that things weren’t working and needed to change. Because as much as we wanted to respect the time we already put into that work, we were losing even more time — and wasting effort and energy — by not changing things. Fortunately you’re both young and literally have your entire lives ahead of you. And trust me, you don’t want to be having the same  shoulda/woulda thoughts at 45 that you’re having at 25.


Damon Young

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at   

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: How Do I Get Him To Stop Looking At Me Like A Friend?

March 11th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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champ213Takara: Once a cheat always a cheat? Is it true

DY: No. I don’t believe in absolutes. People change. But, that change will more likely happen with someone else than with the person they’re currently cheating on.

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: The Sex Was Wack Am I Wasting My Time?

February 25th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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The Sex Was Wack Am I Wasting My Time

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I’ve currently been talking to a guy who’s 20 yrs old. I’m turning 24 in a few days. 
We met at a get together in January and it started off as pretty clear that we were both still emotional unavailable. He was smitten with me and was very nervous to even talk to me. I felt like a cougar. He started texting me every day and wishing me good morning. I made it clear that we could only be platonic friends. But then we started getting close. Cuddling, kissing and eventually intercourse. He grew on me. 
Our first time was pretty bad because he’s only had 2 partners. I’ve had far more. I may have been too honest about my lack of satisfaction. We didn’t talk for 4 days after that and then I had to make the first steps to contact him. He was too embarrassed, we cleared it up in the end. 
So it lead to this: He says he’s afraid to get hurt and attached to me. That he doesn’t want to start anything, that sex makes him feel used and weird. He wants to stay friends but when we are together he gives me puppy eyes and is really nice to me. He worries about me if I say I’m sad and lets me vent. Kissing just always happens. He asks me if I’m seeing anyone, what I’m doing. We always talk. He’s coming over to mine on Monday for my birthday. First time we’re gonna hang alone since that night. 
I told him I don’t want to rush and I am only ready for casual stuff right now. We tell each other anything. 
WHAT IS HAPPENING? Am I wasting my time???
Dear What’s Happening,
There are four things going on here:
1. You like each other. This is clear. Perhaps it wasn’t love at first sight, but you seem to like being around each other and enjoy each other’s company.
2. He’s very young. Both in age and in relationship/sexual experience.
3. You are very young too. Perhaps you’re more experienced sexually, but going from “Hey, we’re platonic. Nothing is happening here” to “Ok, you can put the tip in” in less than a month is a sign of someone who might think they know what they want, but really don’t.
4. He likes you more than you like him.
Fortunately, none of these are bad things. What can potentially be a bad thing, though, is if you continue this ambiguity without any type of parameters or rules. Casual with occasional sex works in theory, but once feelings are involved — and, again, you both seem to like each other — “casual” has a tendency to lead to “hurt feelings.”
Basically, if you want to date each other, date each other. And, if you want to just be cool with each other and leave the sex alone, just be cool with each other and leave the sex alone. Either way, figure out what you want, have an actual conversation about it, and…follow through. Only then will you be able to gauge whether you’re wasting your time.
Damon Young

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: He Says He Won’t Have Sex With Me Until I Lose Weight

February 11th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Alawanda: I’m becoming more conscious and awake. My beliefs have changed alot, extremely pro black, black love, he takes it as racism. I trying to deprogram what has been brainwashed in my head for generations. Yes we are married. He is semi conscious should I keep my views to myself?

DY: You don’t have to see eye to eye with everything with your spouse. But, what’s the point of being married to someone if you can’t talk to them and be honest with how you feel about things?

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Why Does He Leave Me Hanging Via Text Message?

February 4th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Why Does He Leave Me Hanging Via Text Message?

Niecy: Why do men try to hide their feelings from us? And you mean everything to them! And we show them ours…

DY: Sometimes it’s because men have been socialized to believe that showing feelings/emotions is a sign of weakness. And sometimes it’s because there aren’t any feelings to hide.


Denise: Why do men leave me hanging in a text message? No response for days… :(

DY: Sporadic communication is usually a sign that he’s not very interested in you.


Nicole: I’m 41 years old and looking to start dating again…any tips?? It’s been about 2 years since I’ve been out on a date and I’m nervous!

DY: Relax. Have fun. Enjoy life. I realize this seems like simple advice, but dating should be fun. And you won’t have fun dating unless you’re already having fun with your life.

Why Does He Leave Me Hanging Via Text Message?


Rae: Is it ok to have sex on the first date and can it develop into a relationship?

DY: Yes and yes. Just remember, make that decision when you’re comfortable making it. Not when you feel like you “have to.”


Allisha: How long is too long to date someone with no commitment?

DY: Depends on you. From my own experience, though, I pretty much knew how I felt about someone — at least in terms of commitment — after a few weeks of consistent dating.


Taye: When you truly like someone, but can’t tell the guy because he said he is not ready for a relationship because he has been hurt in the past…What should you do?

DY: Believe that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you.

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Why Did You Say 62 Percent Of People Shouldn’t Be In Relationships?

January 30th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Why Did You Say 62 Percent Of People Shouldn't Be In Relationships

Hello. In one of your recent writings, you said that most relationships (62%, I think) need to end. I know you were joking, but you’ve said similar things before. I don’t get it. I thought the point of advice was to help people in their relationships, not end them. Didn’t you just get married yourself?

Confused about your comments
Dear Confused,
You’re right. I did joke that 62% of people in relationships probably need to be single. And, like most jokes, it was rooted in truth. The percentage I used was arbitrary and maybe even far too high. But it stems from the belief that most of the relationship advice I give people is due to one of two overlapping things:
1. They don’t need to be in the relationship they’re currently in
2. They don’t know how to be single
You hear all sorts of reasons for why people stay in relationships. They’ve invested too much time to end it. Someone got pregnant. It makes financial sense. They feel like they’re too old to be single and start over again. The sex is great. The kids would be upset. But, only one question matters? Do you make each other’s lives better? If you do, stay together. If you don’t, don’t. When you get past all the extras, the main reason I married my wife is that I prefer the life I have with her in it than the one I had without her in it. (And I’m assuming she feels the same.)
Thing is, you also can’t expect a relationship to change your life. Enhance? Definitely. If you’re a cup of lemonade, a relationship should be a spoonful of sugar added to it. An enhancement that makes an already quality substance better. What some people expect is that a relationship will turn that cup of lemonade into a steak. It’s just not going to alter the properties of who you already are. Which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re good with who you are before you jump into one. Which is why I believe we need to stay single — even if that means ending the relationship you’re currently in — until that’s true.
Damon Young
Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at