All Articles Tagged "communication"

Hey Madame: I Have A Problem Expressing Myself To My Fiancé

October 1st, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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I have a problem expressing myself to my fiancé. He told me that if I don’t start expressing myself he will end our relationship. How can I make it easy on myself to do so? I really need help!

Veronica: Oh Lord! What a threat! Honestly, I don’t think he was right to put that type of pressure on you. Particularly when he presumably proposed knowing that you weren’t exactly an open book. Perhaps the threat was an idle one and he’s trying to let you know just how frustrated he is. Still, for someone who doesn’t like to talk, this type of ultimatum certainly won’t give you the comfort you need to bare your soul.

As far as opening up, I’m not a therapist but I think that first you should really try to figure out why you still don’t feel comfortable opening up to your fiancé. Is it something he’s done? Is it something someone from your past did that makes you hesitant to let him in? You need to figure it out. And when you do, you can start by telling him this is why you’re so guarded. And ask him to be patient. And it’s never a bad idea to speak to a therapist. I’m sure they could get to the root of your issues and maybe even provide some type of suggestions on how you might begin to communicate better.

Brande: I can relate to your struggle. I’ve never been great at expressing myself to people I care about (to my detriment), but it’s a necessity for establishing lasting healthy communication in your relationship. Figure out what makes it difficult for you to express yourself, i.e. is it a personal issue like fear of rejection that only you can work through, or do you hold things back because of how your partner has reacted to your expressions in the past?

If the former is the issue, let go of the baggage and recognize when you have a loving, accepting person in front of you who wants to know your thoughts and, just like you, needs to know how you feel about him and your relationship. If the latter is the issue, communicate to your partner that you need him to be more open and understanding when you express your feelings and that his doing so will help you be more comfortable opening up. Also, make sure you nip this issue in the bud before you walk down the aisle. It’s interesting your fiancé would propose while your expressiveness was still a problem in his eyes, but make sure you two don’t just gloss over this issue. It could cause much bigger problems in your marriage if it’s not handled now.

Victoria: This is a tough one because I feel like I need more details. Is his issue that you don’t express what’s bothering you when you’re upset and it causes problems and resentment down the line? Or are you just not good with conversation?

It’s definitely an important thing to be able to communicate whatever feelings or concerns you have because you all will be married. If there’s anybody you need to open up to, it would definitely be him. So you need to figure out what is holding you back. Maybe you could write your feelings out and share them with him that way if you’re really not comfortable sharing them face-to-face. But as an adult, you should try and push past that and trust that whatever you come to your partner with he will understand and work with you on. Otherwise, it might not be the best idea to get married. Certain issues should be worked out before walking down the aisle.

As for his threats, again, I would need more information about how this lack of communication has affected your relationship to be able to say whether or not he’s really trippin’, but if you love him, try to work together to improve your communication skills as a couple. Good luck!

Jazmine: I think it’s probably wise for the both of you to seek counseling immediately, perhaps both separately and as a couple if you can afford it. Your inability to open up is more than likely the symptom of a bigger issue. His threat to end your relationship when you’re clearly struggling with this may point to a deeper issue as well.

Have you always experienced difficulty expressing your feelings? Did something happen in your relationship that has caused you to shut down? It’s really tough to make an accurate assessment of the situation solely based on the information provided, but I truly believe that a therapist would be helpful in the sorting out of your issues. I do realize that not everyone can afford to see a therapist, but maybe a couple’s workshop will be beneficial. Also, local churches often offer premarital counseling for engaged couples.

Lauren: I find it odd your fiancé gave you an ultimatum after proposing to you. However, everyone has a different communication style and before you both say “I do,” it would be best to seek counseling. Counseling will allow you both to express your differences through workshops and foster a safer relationship without misunderstandings or anxiety. If that is not an option, research articles that can teach you how to speak confidently to your fiancé. I also think you should examine why you don’t feel comfortable expressing yourself to your fiancé — that will offer you the most clarity.

Why It’s Not Safe To Be Friends With An Ex

June 5th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

I’ve been asked this question countless times over the years: Can two people who were in love and breakup then be friends? The answer is twofold: It depends, and maybe in time but usually not at first. To really get at this answer, we have to look at a definition of friendship.

There are many kinds of friends in life — some are situational, such as co-workers or schoolmates. When you change jobs or graduate, those friendships often don’t last. It’s not that you didn’t like each other; it’s that you didn’t have a bond deep enough to survive without daily reinforcement. There are also business colleague friendships but those often include the wearing of a social “mask” — you want to look good so you don’t reveal much if anything about your flaws and failures.

One of the characteristics of a deeply bonded friendship is emotional safety. This means you have the freedom to completely be yourself and openly share about the deep down stuff of your life. With emotional safety, you can be real, no social mask required. This also means that you lack hidden agendas, and that’s where the problem comes in as former lovers attempt to be friends too soon.

The typical scenario is this: you dated, you fell in love, it went badly, and you broke up. (We’re not talking about the kind of dating relationships that never got that deep.) Now, the person who once loved and made love to you is dating someone new, maybe even sleeping with someone new. It is almost impossible to resist the temptation to compare yourself to the new person in your ex’s life. “Why not me?” you can’t help but wonder. You haven’t yet moved on to someone you’re crazy about, so you are still feeling raw and wounded.

Your ex-lover, now “friend,” shares about a new relationship and you find yourself “coaching” him/her against it. You find fault with the new person, fault with the way they connected, fault with just about everything. You have a hidden agenda whether you are aware of it or not: to keep your ex-lover single until you are happily in love with someone else or until he/she comes back to you. Exposing yourself to the reality that your lover has moved on is like pouring gasoline on a fire — it keeps you inflamed and prevents healing.

Read more on breakups at YourTango.com 

What’s Your Motive? 5 Reasons Why People Have Casual Sex

May 30th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

It’s a familiar scene: a thriving nightlife, a club or maybe a wine bar where glasses are clinking and singles are mingling before drifting off into the shadows — two by two. It’s not the perfect picture of romance, but when you’re caught up in the moment, a warm body feels like a fair substitute for love, right?

Hooking up is just a reality of the dating scene. But since when did the hookup scene become the place to find love? While you may think you’re just living the carefree single life, your brain is influencing your decisions more than you might want to admit.

1. Your Brain On Hooking Up: Men & Women Have Different Morning-After Emotions

We all know that love is a powerful drug. It’s comparable to being addicted to crack cocaine. Literally. The shared, near-identical effect amounts to a rush of feel-good chemicals in your brain (or a “high”) that leaves you with an enhanced mood, a heightened sexual interest and a boost of self-confidence … not to mention impaired judgment that can influence you to make poor decisions in the dark of night that you come to regret in the light of day (that is, the morning after).

 

The proof to this morning-after regret? Psychologist Anne Campbell from the Durham University in England surveyed more than 3,300 people between the ages of 17 and 40. Half of them — men and women equally included — reported having experienced a one-night stand. She asked them to describe their experiences and, more importantly, the emotions they experienced the morning after. Her research on casual sex found that despite women’s claims that they can have carefree sex unattached: 80 percent of men had overall positive feelings; meanwhile, only 54 percent of women had positive feelings.

 

Instead, they felt “regret at being used.” Women said, “I felt cheap,” “horrified afterward,” and “I felt degraded. Made myself look cheap and easy. Total regret.”

 

2. There’s A Connection Between Poor Mental State & Casual Sex
So why do we do it? Over and over again? It all has to do with motive. A study conducted by researchers from Ohio State and published in the Journal Of Sex Research sought to clarify whether the state of someone’s mental health determined how often they had random sexual encounters and vice-versa. In surveying the sexual behaviors and mental health of 10,000 people, those who reported serious thoughts of suicide or more depressive symptoms as teens were more likely to engage in casual sex as young adults. In other words, poor mental state and casual sex do reinforce each other — in both men and women.

 

3. Is There A “Hookup” Gene? Actually, Yes
In studying human sexual behavior, Justin Garcia and his research team from State University of New York at Binghamton, he suggests that a person’s DNA may be to blame when it comes to infidelity and sexual promiscuity. For their widely cited study, published in PloS One, they surveyed 181 young adults on their sexual history and tested them for a gene called DRD4, which affects levels of dopamine in the brain and has been associated with ADHD, alcoholism, as well as compulsive, risk-taking behaviors such as partying and gambling. Out of the subject pool, 43 tested positive for the gene, and according to the researchers, “report a greater categorical rate of promiscuous sexual behavior (i.e., having ever had a ‘one-night stand’) and report a more than 50 percent increase in instances of sexual infidelity.”

 

Does that leave you off the hook to cheat? The experts reiterate that your genetic makeup isn’t the only influence over your sexual behavior.

Read more about hookups at YourTango.com 

Men Reveal What They Think Of Scorned Women

May 30th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Single Black Male

Everybody goes through things in their life and there’s no telling how they’ll come out of it. The pain that comes from heartbreak or disappointment cannot be captured in words. We have power though. We have the power to find peace and heal ourselves. And when we don’t find that we end up scorned. This is my blog today, what happens when you’re scorned.

1. You alienate friends with your constant negativity – No one likes to be around the person who is always theorizing with why relationships don’t last. Or telling people why they know that deep down all men are trash, or women for that matter. People who are scorned will bring up just about anything to get their point across and it always leads to negativity.

2. Your social media becomes depressing – Have you noticed that your scorned friends social media looks like death? They’re always ranting about how great they are but humanity is not. It’s just silly. They never realize that while people are reading this they’re also thinking to themselves; who hurt you?

3. You take it out on other people – The next person you date will have to deal with you constantly suspecting they might be just like the last. That will weigh heavy. Nobody wants to be subjected to snooping of any sort, they don’t want constant questioning, they don’t want to deal with it. They want you to handle your own issues before you get in the relationship.

4. You become an ugly person on the inside – Yes, while your outside may be beautiful it bleeds through that you’re not all together there anymore. Some of the most prettiest people do the ugliest things. And trust, i’ve met several people who would think that the person they’re dating is gorgeous but they’re personality is stinky.

Read more about men and their thoughts on scorned women at SingleBlackMale.org

The Reason Why He Didn’t Call After The First Date

May 29th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

The date is great. The kiss that follows is even better. You’re all smiles as you go your separate ways, but then….nothin’. No phone call. No text message. Handsome McSmiles just vanished into thin air. He must have been faking his interest. Right…? 

Read more about navigating dating at YourTango.com 

The 4 Facebook Dating Rules To Live By

May 27th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

 

You’ve probably have been meeting people in real life and you hit it off so well with them that you added them on Facebook. Great! What isn’t great, however is after adding this person on Facebook things change for the worse. He or she doesn’t seem that interested anymore or has a few pressing questions.

What went wrong? Well, it’s probably that you have been breaking these four rules, and sent them running for the hills! Luckily on A New Mode, they have broken down the dos and don’ts of how to maintain your Facebook profile while dating.

What do your pictures really say about you? Think about those more risky photos of you tagged from that drunken night out with the girls. Yeah those. Also are you friending these guys at the right time?

After scanning the comments on A New Mode, I have noticed a very common topic in almost every discussion. Somehow we always manage to fit Facebook into all relationship/hookup/guy-meets-girl talks. I understand it. The image we portray to the world is now through statuses and pictures.  But how does that fit into our special, or not so special, someone?

I am happy to do my best to shed light on how to navigate the complicated world of The Facebook with the first ever ultimate Facebook rule book!

Read more about dating at YourTango.com 

How Men Find Happiness Without Women

May 23rd, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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From Single Black Male 

One day I was thinking to myself about all the relationships that went wrong in my past and I decided to give up trying to do it the “right” way. You see, the right way is the reason why I had found myself struggling my whole life. I found the need to do things the way everyone else would do them and not the way that worked for me. And I thought that maybe I was the only person that felt this way but I quickly found out that whether that was the case or not, it was silly.

Most of us live our lives in the reflection of everything around us. We’re products of our environment and that leaves us in a disposition when it comes to our personal lives. We fail to realize that our personal lives do not do anything for those around us but yet we consider it to be a decisive factor. That’s why one day I decided that I had enough and I was going to do things my way.

I thought that living for everybody else had run its course. I knew that in the end I would only have myself to blame for why things didn’t work out or why they did in fact work out.

I mentioned to a friend the other day that I would have no time for a woman’s insecurity in dating when it came to me. I didn’t want to do things in my life to live for what her friends may say to her or to coddle her own insecurities. She would have to find a way to be in the relationship between the two of us and not with everyone else who may be viewing the relationship and chiming in. I’ve felt pretty much from the time I left my college days that having everyone in your relationship was the utmost determining factor for failure in your relationship.

And it comes out of me in the things I say about relationships now too. I tell people, what works for them is probably what’s best for them. While I may not have a relationship history that looks unconventional and I may be very traditional in my approach, it’s what works for me. I live by the thought that in the end if you are happy, that’s all that matters. Love isn’t a journey that’s examined for how you got there, all that matters is that in the end you’re happy. No one asks you to show your work when you reach that happy place.

Read more of this narrative at SingleBlackMale.org 

How I Left An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

May 22nd, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

Never is there physical abuse without emotional abuse, but unfortunately the reverse isn’t always true. During my first job as a therapist with a domestic violence organization, more than one of my clients said that they actually prefer the physical violence to the emotional violence, because at least physical bruises heal. Of course, it is more difficult to realize if your relationship is emotionally abusive than if it is physically abusive. Physical attacks are impossible to ignore, but verbal and emotional ones are harder to identify.

I can relate to this because I was also in an emotionally abusive relationship and it never occurred to me that that’s what it was until years later. I didn’t have a good enough sense of what behavior I should tolerate and what boundaries I should set, and so I didn’t know I was being abused.

My boyfriend and I were smart, attractive and well-educated. But no matter what my life looked like on the outside, I desperately wanted to be loved and so I endured him ignoring me and treating me like I didn’t even matter. I wasn’t good enough to be invited to his brother’s wedding even though we had been together for two years, but I was good enough for sex whenever he would visit. There was no reason for him to change his behavior because he got everything he wanted, when he wanted it. The harsh reality I have to face was that I let him get away with it every time.

 

I was lucky that he never proposed and that our lives diverged naturally. I don’t think I would have been able to see the destructive pattern I was part of without distance and time. It took me a couple of more years, and a hard break-up with a man I did want to marry to see what I needed to do in order to be in a healthy, loving relationship. There is a reason for the expression, “no one else can love you until you love yourself.”

Read more about this woman’s relationship at YourTango.com 

#Thirsting: How To Be Less Needy In Your Relationship

May 13th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

Trust me, you need to read this article. Why? Because I was that needy girl. Fine on the first date, content if I was not that into him, but as soon as I liked him I fell apart. I did not know what to say, how to behave and bit by bit that gorgeous guy smiling across from me would disappear.

To make matters worse, the more I would not hear from him, the more I would blow up his phone asking him where he was, what he doing, when he wanted to meet. I know I am not the only one who does this, so if I am talking to you, my hope is that this article can give you some insight.

You Are Too Agreeable?

 

When we really like someone, we want them to like us back. We become vulnerable and become ultra-agreeable with that person. He likes football, but you absolutely hate it. Three dates later you are hanging on his every word and you agree to go to a football match with him. Now, at the game you are the most miserable person there.

 

The smart confident women he asked out has now turned into the worse company he has ever experienced and your handsome man has disappeared. He has sensed your need to be agreeable and his attraction level plummeted. Men like women, who have their own opinions, interests, and hobbies. This leads me to the next point…

 

Dropping Everything For A Man

 

It’s Friday night and you have agreed to have a wine and cheese night in with your girlfriends and you told your mother you would call at 7 p.m. Brad calls at 6:50 p.m. asking you out at 7:30 p.m. A little short notice, but you forgive him anyway. You laugh at his jokes, listen to all his excuses as to why he could not call you earlier in the week and then you agree that you will be ready to meet him at the local bar.

 

On your way there, you text your mum saying you can’t make the call tonight and you send a mass text to your friends that this great guy wants to see you and the only night he is free is tonight. Are you coming across as needy? I think so! And now, because of your neediness his respect and attraction for you has plummeted. Ouch!

 

Follow-up Phase

 

The most important part of dating is his ability to follow-up in between dates. Your job is to sit on your fingers while he is thinking sweet thoughts about what a great time he had with that confident brunette until he calls back. That means you! You don’t need to play games, you don’t need to hint to him that it has been four days since you spoke, and you don’t need to remind him it has been a week since you last saw each other.

 

Men do what they want and if he wants you, he will make the effort. All you have to do is mirror his actions by answering the phone when he calls as your happy, positive, “I have altogether” self. Men like to win you over. Needy girls put words in his mouth, stalk his Facebook page, and are jealous of every girl he mentions. Sit back, relax, and let that boy work for you. You will be gracefully rewarded.

Read more about dating at YourTango.com 

“Girrrl Lemme Tell You!” Why Women Love Relationship Advice

May 12th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

Most of us, both men and women, are having an affair with guidance and counsel: in short, we love advice for relationships. We read blogs, we ask our friends (well, if we’re female…guys mainly just grunt at each other), we page through magazines, and we, in times of desperation, even turn to our parents. There’s no doubt about it: we adore advice for relationships so much that we seek it out wherever we can find it.

But, why do we do this? By nature, many of us are independent, hell-bent on solving our own problems on our own terms. Yet we put down are defenses when it comes to love, romance, and marriage: we embrace advice for relationships with not only open arms but also open minds. And we do this because:

 

We no longer know it all: The second we become teenagers, we wake up with the realization that we do, in fact, know it all. We know so much of everything that we never need to ask for help or seek the opinions of others. And we definitely don’t need to listen to the older and wiser. Yet, this phase of knowing it all is like heavy breakouts of acne: it’s sort of a teenage phase. Upon maturing, we realize that we have a lot to learn and this, in part, is why we love advice for relationships. We appreciate that people who have been through something similar just might have something important to offer.

 

We like to know we aren’t alone: Deep inside of us all, we have the yearning to never be alone. The old saying “misery loves company” is true: we all like to know we aren’t singled out when it comes to bad things happening. Relationships, because they can involve heartbreak, struggle, and bad times, can come with a more the merrier point of view. What I mean by this is that it helps us to know others have had their hearts broken. Not only does it make us feel less alone, but it also provides a learning opportunity. Seeking advice for relationships from someone whose been there isn’t only logical, but it’s also emotionally healing.

Read more about relationship advice at YourTango.com