All Articles Tagged "coping"

How To Be There For A Grieving Ex Without Involving Romantic Feelings

June 28th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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I received a private message on Facebook Messenger from a very recent ex informing me that his grandmother had fallen ill and her chances of recovering didn’t look promising. My initial reaction was complete shock because we had only been broken up for two months and she seemed to be in good health at that time. So naturally, I offered my prayers and condolences to him and his family. In his message, he talked about how much his grandmother loved me and how cool his family thought I was in a way that made it seem like he regretted the decision for us to part ways. Not knowing how to respond to that, I decided to act like I didn’t see the message, so I changed the subject because I was genuinely concerned about his grandmother’s sudden illness and how it was affecting his family. We ended the chat with him telling me he loved me and thanking me for being there for him. I decided once again to skip over the love part and told him it was no problem.

A day later, I received a text message from him informing me that his grandmother had passed and it tore me up. But somehow, in the midst of his grieving and trying to cope alongside the family members that he had the closest relationships with, he also took upon himself to start pouring out feelings that he had been clinging to. Soon after, he started sending messages that read, “Hey babe” and “I love you.” I even started second-guessing myself and reflecting on if we could actually make it work again even though I knew better.  When I told my friends about my dilemma, they said it was time to cut him off — completely. The thing is, I felt bad for him after such a tragic loss, so I didn’t want to cut him off. But I also knew that I needed to establish boundaries on the type of emotional support I would offer to him and the amount of emotional feedback I could handle from him. When it comes to dealing with an ex who reaches out to you when they’re going through turmoil, you don’t want to be cold, but you don’t also want to lead them to believe that a reconciliation is in the works. So, if you are going to be there for them, keep these things in mind: 

Be Sincere, But Objective

Offer them some encouragement. Death is never easy to deal with, so allow them to vent when they reach out to you. Say a prayer with them. Offer them your condolences, but remember to remain objective. When the conversation starts to move away from the situation at hand and steers itself into matters of the heart, immediately change the subject. Reiterate that you’re here for them in their time of need, but that it won’t go beyond that. It’s not being harsh or insensitive, it’s just a way for you to protect yourself from getting hurt by falling for misplaced emotions.

Keep Your Distance

For some, it’s easier to deal with situations in person rather than over the phone. There is the urge to want to reach out and hug the person, but the truth is, that’s not a good idea. When we’re most vulnerable, we want someone to help us make the pain go away, and in those moments, anything can happen. Anything. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the funeral if you were invited, but it also doesn’t mean you need to attend with the family. Even though you’d like to offer support to your ex, you don’t belong there in the family circle. It can cause emotional confusion and create the illusion that things are back to the way they were when you two were together.

Know When to Be Done

There are only so many times you can say “My condolences to you, ” “Your family is in my prayers,” or “I’m sorry for your loss” before you start to sound less than genuine. Keep in mind that you’re not going to be the very thing that gets them through this trauma, only time will. So to avoid emotional attachments and confusion, know when to start pulling away. It’s a good thing to be a shoulder for someone, but at some point, an individual will have to face their internal struggle on their own. 

When someone is grieving, it’s important to be there for them. However, when it’s an ex, you can still be there for them if they reach out to you, but remember that you need to establish boundaries for your own emotional well-being. The worst thing that can happen is that you allow that person’s grieving process, filled with mixed emotions, to confuse you into finding yourself caught up and falling for something that isn’t real. You can be of support without having to go back down a road that led to nowhere.

When It Hurts So Bad: Dealing With An Unexpected Breakup

October 5th, 2015 - By Deja Jones
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Sometimes we can tell when our relationship is coming to an end.

If you’re in a long-term relationship, the things you once found endearing quickly become annoying. You start to see qualities and traits in your partner that you don’t like. And eventually, you realize that you have no idea how to deal with everything. The endless arguments without a resolution. The feelings of being trapped. You want out.

But what happens when you don’t see a breakup coming?

You had convinced yourself that you were so deep in love that you didn’t realize what you thought was a relationship was just one-sided infatuation. You thought you were growing and going places, but the only person who seemed to be moving was you. So how do you cope with a breakup when you thought things were going good, and you have no idea as to why they fell apart? Most will tell you that in time, things will get better. That’s true! But right now you’re left trying to pick up the pieces and hoping to figure out what went wrong. And that’s normal.

Lose Grip

Sometimes you have to let your emotions consume you, even if that means hitting rock bottom. It’s common for people to try to make sense of what happened and it’s okay to want answers. But sometimes you have to be okay with not getting closure. Allow yourself to run through and replay your entire relationship in your mind, talk to friends, and if you must, binge on Ben & Jerry’s for a day. That’s okay too. It’s all a part of the coping process. But it’s also important to know that once you’ve allowed yourself to get it all out and hit rock bottom, you shouldn’t plan on staying there. Coping is a healthy form of recovery, but once it turns obsessive, it’s no longer healthy and it’s time to pick yourself back up and start finding those simple joys in your life again.

Make A Connection

The first thing most of us do when grieving is to isolate ourselves. We shut down from everything and everyone partially because pride won’t allow us to let people see us that vulnerable, but also because taking flight is one of our basic instincts and defense mechanisms to protect ourselves. While it might help to have a crying session by yourself, it’s even more helpful to have someone close by to help you cope. I’ve learned to surround myself with love whenever I’m hurting because I can always count on my friends for a good laugh, a good conversation, and a good story to ease my mind. If you neglected friends during your relationship, it’s time to reconnect. Trust me, they won’t shut you out.

Pick A Hobby

There is life after a breakup, and it’s your job to rediscover it. Do something you’ve never done before or pick something you used to love and want to try again. Take a cooking class, become a gym rat, sign up for a free photography class–anything. Exploring new things, setting new goals and allowing yourself new experiences is a healthy distraction, but it’s also an opportunity for personal development. It’s a win-win situation.

Accept It

I remember experiencing my first unexpected breakup. It took me a while to get over it, and I honestly didn’t think I would. Things were going so well between us and out of nowhere it all just fell apart. No amount of excuses, apologies and reasoning could give me the closure I wanted until I had to learn just to accept everything for what it was. It was over, and I needed to move on. I had to be okay. And once I started accepting that and rediscovering life as a single woman, it took less time to heal.

I’ve learned that the best way to deal with any breakup is to keep on living through it. You’ll continue to love and want love, and you’ll find it soon enough. As for your defunct relationship, you may never know why it ended the way that it did. Be okay with that. It just means better is on the horizon.

Get Your Mind Right: 9 Things You Didn’t Know Could Affect Your Mood/Behavior

March 7th, 2013 - By Kendra Koger
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"Happy Black Girl"



Humans, we’re such a weird bunch, aren’t we?  As much of some would like to claim that we’re creatures of habit, there’s this little thing called “human error” that we can’t account for.  Small things that seem so innocuous can have such a large effect on our behavior.  What things you might ask? Let’s see.

Push Your Pride Aside: Times You Should Consider Seeking Professional Help

January 21st, 2013 - By Kendra Koger
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When times seem really hard, we can sometimes feel alone and isolated; like no one else knows how we feel.  However, not only is there someone else who is dealing with exactly what you are, there are people who can help you with your problems as well.

In a time where it seems that there’s a greater importance placed on physical health than mental, sometimes we can overlook the tell-tale signs of when to seek guidance from a professional. I’m not a licensed professional, however I can say, rather than suffering in silence, these may be a few times when a professional mental health expert may be of use.

You Gotta Keep It Movin’: 15 Ways to Recover From A Failed Relationship

September 28th, 2012 - By Ashley Page
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We all experience failed relationships until we find that one special person, and while some of us only have to deal with the hardship of a breakup a few times, others have it much harder. If you’ve had bad relationship after bad relationship, or if a recent breakup has just been awful, here are 15 tips to help you recover and keep a positive outlook towards dating.

Give yourself time.

When a relationship ends, it’s likely that you’ll be sad, angry, upset, and confused. Always give yourself time to grieve and to adjust.

Your Man’s Cheating Produced a Child – Can You Work It Out?

July 15th, 2012 - By Brooke Dean
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If you’ve been following Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta, you know that one of the main storylines involves infideltiy. While finding out that your significant other has cheated on you is bad enough, discovering that a pregnancy has resulted from that affair can be even more devastating. If the relationship is fairly new, you may decide that the ONLY way to handle such a blow is to simply bounce. After all, if he’s running around town cheating, and NOT using protection, you’d be better off leaving him…and saving yourself and your health in the process. But what if he’s your husband? What if you have children of your own together? Do you still leave, or do you work it out?
There is no right or wrong answer; only you know what you can and cannot handle. However, if you choose to stay in a relationship where a child is the product of an affair (confirmed by a paternity test of course), there are a few things you need to consider in order to reconcile the relationship and move past the pain.

2 Tips For Fighting Fair In Intimate Relationships

April 4th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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When your significant other does or says something that upsets you — depending on the size of the affront and the depth of your reaction — you might shut down and stop listening, especially if your partner’s tone conveys judgment or derision. You may withdraw for a period of time or retaliate with criticism of your own. Either behavior results in a negative circle of energy and delays understanding and healing. Help! My Boyfriend & I Always Argue VIDEO

As a result of your shutting down, your suffering will be prolonged. Conscious awareness of the impact of your anger is your best bet for breaking the cycle. Here are two practical suggestions to cope with fighting in a relationship:

To get the tips, visit


More on Madame Noire!

What’s Eating You?: Reasons Why You Eat That Have Nothing To Do With Hunger

January 4th, 2012 - By Christelyn Karazin
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Now that we’ve dipped our toes into 2012, I’ll bet you’ve got your new running shoes and yoga pants ready at the door so you can step out into the new year a few pounds lighter. You’re really gonna do it this time. Really. Really? You can exercise until your flat-ironed hair sweats back to the Motherland, but if you don’t get your eating under control the scales might not tip in your favor long enough for you to see results. In order for real change to occur you have to get to the heart of your appetite, which happens to be in your head. Turns out there are plenty of reasons why we eat when we’re not even hungry.


How many of you have just eaten something just because it was there? You’ve just had lunch and someone’s popped popcorn in the lunchroom and you grab a bowl because it’s there. Maybe you’re watching some ratchet Real Housewives franchise and you just don’t feel right sitting in the easy chair without your salt and vinegar potato chips. Eating because you’re bored will derail your weight loss journey big time. So before you pick up another chip or another kernel of popcorn ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Sometimes it just as simple as checking in with yourself to gauge if those are indeed hunger pangs.

Weight As a Shield

No one really knows how pervasive sexual abuse occurs in the black community, but experts suspect it happens much more often than is discussed. Young black girls in their teens are often targets of abuse by older men or male peers and many swallow the pain, anguish and shame with food. It is often not a conscious decision to create a body armor made of fat, but often patients who seek therapy realize they used their girth to become less physically alluring and thus, a less likely target for unwelcome attention.

Undiagnosed Anxiety Disorders

Gloria, 41, stuffs cookies in her mouth in a corner of the kitchen. She does it quickly, because she doesn’t want anyone to catch her. She eats in secret because she doesn’t want anyone to know how out of control her eating has become. Gloria has an anxiety disorder, and the food she eats triggers chemicals in her brain that make her feel peace and pleasure. In church on Sunday, she’s told that true believers don’t need psychiatrists–they just need to pray. And so she prays, and she eats. And eats, and eats. “Be conscious of your stress level and try to keep it under control. Whatever your reaction to stress, it’s normal for you so don’t fight it. You can counteract stress if you learn to be active, think positively, keep your priorities straight, don’t spread yourself too thin, and enjoy relaxing pastimes,” says Lavinia Rodriguez, PhD, author of “Mind Over Fit Matter: Conquering Psychological Barriers to Weight Management”

If you recognize yourself in any of the above examples, it’s time for some serious introspection if you’re got to start your New Year’s resolution and this time, have it stick.

Christelyn D. Karazin is the co-author of “Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed” (to be released April 2012), and runs a blog,, dedicated to women of color who are interested and or involved in interracial and intercultural relationships. She is also the founder and organizer of “No Wedding, No Womb,” an initiative to find solutions to the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate in the black community.