All Articles Tagged "dating"
When a relationship with a man teleports to the next level in no time flat, do you feel like things are meant to be? Or do you get a little nervous about what his intentions truly may be?
For women who are cautious when it comes to love, falling head over heels overnight isn’t your thing. And if it’s his, you have a few follow-up questions and concerns. And sometimes your feeling of it being too good to be true can be just that. Some men who get in close really quickly may be falling really fast — and some may fall out just as quickly.
If the new love interest in your life is displaying any of these signs, do you get the urge to look more closely at his love history or let yourself fall? He could be Mr. Right or just Mr. Right Now. What do you think? We’d love to hear your take down in the comment section.
When you hear the words “trap” and “manipulation” regarding relationships, it’s often people stating the ways in which some women put men in a tight corner by getting pregnant and having a child to hold over a man’s head for years to come. Maybe even the ways in which sex can be used to get money and other things out of a guy. But rarely do people talk about the ways in which men “trap” and “manipulate.” Especially not the ways that men emotionally trap women in relationships. This is done through lies by omission, also known as, exclusionary detailing.
It’s the idea that someone misrepresents themselves in order to bring about a mistaken belief. Lying to paint the prettiest portrait of one’s self–a false portrait. A man who wants you to think he’s an upstanding guy, that he’s on the level of the kind of man you are seeking, and that he has his stuff together, might deceive you into believing that all is well (and clean) in his life. He’ll prey upon your vulnerability (you seeking Mr. Right via a dating app or being upfront about wanting a serious commitment) and try to get in where he can fit in. He’s a fraud, and sadly, many of us don’t realize we’ve encountered this kind of man until it’s way too late.
Like one of my best friends. As awesome as she is and despite having so much to offer as a partner in a relationship, she has consistently been approached by married men. All of whom failed to disclose the fact that they were, by law, taken. I remember one guy who tried to approach her at a party thrown by a mutual friend, only for that mutual friend to come through at the end of the night and tell my BFF, “Um, he’s actually married.” When my girlfriend approached the man about his lies, he tried to explain that his wife was actually still living in Nigeria, and it was a marriage he was trying to get out of. He wanted sympathy and an open mind from my friend, but she wasn’t offering it because he lied from the moment he met her.
Then there was the most recent love interest whom she dated for months. He seemed like a good guy with a big heart, but that’s probably because he was sharing it with another woman. Like the Nigerian fellow at our friend’s housewarming party, this new guy actually waited until the relationship was over to divulge that he was married. Yes, he is married to a woman who lives abroad and also claims that he doesn’t want to be married to her anymore. (He married her to help her stay in America, but she went back to Grenada with their son.) He would go on to claim that she wouldn’t sign divorce papers. He disclosed this information after requesting my friend’s help with a legal matter. That so-called “baby momma,” was actually a wife now coming after him for child support since he wanted her to sign divorce papers.
And I’ve known plenty other women who’ve encountered guys who had a wife and two children waiting for them in Guyana while they tried to play bachelor. Another who introduced a girl to his father only to have a serious long-term girlfriend he hid in the background. And another whose angry ex called a friend of mine to say that she was pregnant and that there were many secrets her prospective romantic interest had failed to tell her. In all cases but the latter, these women were heavily in like, sometimes on their way to being in love with men who thought it would be easier to lie and create a fake facade than to be honest and upfront about who they were and what they had to offer. So these women were left in more pain than usual when they cut things off because they thought they’d found a good catch. And sometimes they were left second-guessing whether or not they should leave their relationships because they were so attached, despite having fallen for a lie.
And this is more common than you think. Even famous women like Tasha Smith and Tichina Arnold have both married and split from men who painted themselves as one thing, only to waste years trying to hide the truth that eventually came out: They were liars. Such bad liars, that in the case of Smith, her marriage was annulled after five years together because her husband had been married five times, had scores of children, and hadn’t paid his taxes in 10 years. All things he failed to divulge to her before asking for her hand.
I tried to relay these stories to my fiancé, specifically the one about the married men who had lied to my BFF, and he seemed confused.
“But if he’s trying to get out of the marriage, it’s not really that bad, right?” he asked. “He’s making an effort and the wife won’t move on.”
“No, because he never told her during their relationship that he was married,” I responded.
“Ooooooh, I didn’t know that. Well…that’s not good,” he said.
And he’s right. It’s not “good.”
I was left sad for my friends, and for women in general, who often get the worst rap in this dating game (we’re angry, bossy, too independent, blah, blah, blah) while the fake facades put on by some men are ignored. Sad that men who want to draw them in lead them on to believe that they genuinely care and are available when they’re really out here living a lie. Sad that when you try to do a background check on a man, people look at you like you’re crazy–and then these things happen. Sad that instead of just being honest about the fact that their personal lives are not in the best place and giving women they’re interested in a choice to decide whether or not they can hang, they deceive them into falling head over heels.
In case you were wondering, I don’t have a resolution for all this. I’m just as boggled and upset about it as anyone else, and wonder how we as women can guard ourselves while attempting to be “open,” as people tell us we should be when it comes to “letting love in.” How do we balance healthy skepticism with going into a situation trying to be trusting? How do we take a man’s word as the truth when it seems so many lie in the attempt to have their cake and eat it too?
In reality, dating is exhausting. The movies and TV shows would have you believe that folks are supposed to sweep you off your feet, and sh-t is supposed to be happily ever after. But no one talks about how much of a risk it is to put yourself out there in the quest for finding love. Especially when there are master manipulators out here willing to prey upon your search.
Have you ever found yourself emotionally trapped in a relationship? Has a guy made you believe a lie about him only for it to come out in the messiest of ways?
In recent years, the art of dating has begun to die slowly. Back in high school and college, dates were simple yet charming. A movie and IHOP was enough to acknowledge romantic interest, and considering young people relied heavily on a limited income (a.k.a., we were broke), something as simple as a $10 action flick and sharing a stack of pancakes was considered sweet and thoughtful. But as an adult, some men just aren’t courting in sweet and thoughtful ways. Nowadays, too many guys I’ve met online or IRL exert considerably less effort, despite having fatter pockets, and will eagerly invite a woman on a drive-by date instead of planning a well thought out show of affection.
In this meet online and “let’s grab drinks” generation, passing off an hour-long convo and a few drinks as romantic is as easy as swiping right. A few of my guy friends justify these “pre-dates,” or mini meet-ups, as a vetting process to determine whether a woman is worth investing a considerable amount of money or time on in the future. They view spending $50 (or less) as a come-up if their date turns out to be a better Mrs. Right Now then Mrs. Right. But even though they regard this behavior as completely normal, I view it as extremely juvenile and corny.
I’m not alone in my opinion either. At least once a month, Black Twitter erupts over this dating tactic. A good amount of men denounce $200 dates and women reply with 140 characters that basically translate to “I’m worth an expensive outing.” Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had my fair share of pricey rendezvous: five-star restaurants, concerts, and trips. And of course, I like the idea of a guy spending a little bit of money as he pursues me. But it’s not about how many Ben Franklins he drops on the check. I simply expect him to extend himself, whether monetarily or creatively, to express his interest. In short: How far did you go out of your way to get with me?
I want to spend quality time with someone I’m attracted to in an environment where we can vibe and wax poetic about everything from politics to family values. The spectrum of things that can be considered a nice date is vast since it mainly depends on the interests of the individuals. However, for me, nothing about chit-chatting over caramel macchiatos in a noisy Starbucks sounds like you want to date me. Sure, we can have great conversation, but a quick meet-up sounds like a business meeting, not a pleasurable outing. Why not find out if I like music (I do) and take those same caffeinated beverages to a record store where I can sift through Prince vinyl? That’s a good date idea and a good indication that a guy is not only paying attention but also likes me. Spontaneity goes a long way, too. So, if all I can expect is a couple of shots of Henny at some free before 10 struggle rap show, my curve game will be strong.
Granted, not everyone falls in love at first sight, and some people need a buffer before they dive into dating. So I say, gain some familiarity via text, not during a “hi and bye” sit-down over glasses of chardonnay. Whatever that initial spark was that prompted you to ask for someone’s number, explore it earnestly. That onset attraction, however minimal, is as sweet and honest as “Lemonade,” so why spoil it with something uninspired, unoriginal and as mindless as “Netflix and Chill”? It’s lazy really, and no litmus test for real chemistry. Even though my savage nature makes it a bit harder for any guy to impress me, I guarantee that for any man, an invitation to happy hour won’t cut it. In fact, that pre-dating trick is merely a precursor to an unhappy dating experience altogether.
I’m in no way saying a flight to Costa Rica is a required show of affection. In fact, bowling for two, a trip to a local fair or even IHOP are all still endearing dates without a hefty price tag. Dates women can appreciate I’m sure. The bottom line is, we just want to feel like individuals recognize and value our time, especially after we fuss over our hair and call our BFF 100 times to consult her about which dress to wear. The pre-date ruins that excitement and, frankly, is just so played out.
Dating should be fun, less guarded and as thoughtful and charming as those HS and college dates, not some low-key interview process to see if a girl is worthy of a second date. Be mindful that this person is pursuing you as well, and if you’re trying to keep their interest piqued, as the saying goes, it’s truly the thought that counts.
Last week, we discussed folks who are quick to tell people how long they should be engaged to avoid becoming a punchline. This week, they’re telling people how long is too long to be a girlfriend without a marriage proposal.
There’s a meme that has been making its rounds on the web, which basically says that if you’ve been in a relationship with a man for three to five years and he hasn’t at least proposed yet, you should probably come to grips with the idea that he only sees you as “good enough” to be his girlfriend, but not his wife.
I think that the average woman knows when she’s in a relationship that is headed nowhere—whether she’s been in it for five years yet or not. Sure, there are definitely some men who will string women along for years with no intention of marrying them, but after spending enough time with them, these men are usually pretty easy to identify.
Every relationship develops at its own pace, so it’s always interesting to see people throw these blanket timelines out there as if they should be one size fits all. There are plenty of women and men who are in loving, long-term relationships who would prefer not to marry. Like, ever. There are also plenty of people in long-term relationships who hope that the relationship will result in marriage at some point. But who is to say that every couple is even ready for marriage by the four-year mark? There are so many factors that come into play when couples decide when they should marry, and obviously, marrying prematurely has its consequences.
I won’t front like I don’t completely understand the argument. I do. If I had a strong desire to be married, and I was in a relationship for five years with no sign of a proposal in sight, I might start getting restless. But there are so many factors that I would have to take into consideration before I assumed that it was because my boyfriend didn’t see me as worthy of being his wife. I would also think that at that point, I would know my dude well enough to know whether or not we were at least moving in that direction, or if he was just buying time.
What do you think? Should women automatically expect a proposal after 3-5 years of dating?
No woman is the same. Some of us had our first kiss in kindergarten; others didn’t have their first kiss until they were getting their pigtails pulled. Many girls developed in middle school and a few were almost on their way to college before finally seeing substantial changes.
Things happen for women at different speeds, and when it comes to relationships, things are no different. Whether it’s because we take more time to find the one or could care less about where he may be hiding, we are all on a different timetable.
Women come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. And thank goodness that in this beautiful world, not all of us are created equal. And some of us are created to stay single longer than others (and sometimes, for the long term).
Women Who Refuse to Settle
You know what you’re looking for in love (and in life and your career), and you refuse to waste your time with anyone who doesn’t live up to your standards.
Growing up a Baptist girl, I was always taught that sex before marriage was the no no of all no nos. There were really no in-depth discussions about alternative decisions or choices. It was, “don’t do it!” Period. Not only was it a sin against the almighty, but it was also the ultimate way to slow down your progress of earning the ultimate degree. an M.R.S. The implication was that if you were fornicating, you were not going to get a husband; God wasn’t going to bless you with one. So in order to reach the “holy grail” of labels, a good gal had to stay chaste.
I learned very quickly that this proverbial choke hold, was a crock. I can’t tell you how many “blessed” married couples I know who were engaging in the mattress mambo prior to the double ring thing. And alternatively, how many women I know who’ve been celibate for years, some even decades, with no husband in sight. So what gives? Well, firstly, one cannot be compelled to do the “right thing” through guilt. It most definitely is a personal decision, based on choices that affects your life and no one else.
While I’m not telling you to go out and throw away your “V” or celibacy card, I am saying one must check themselves to be sure that this decision is based on your own self development and not solely on the hopes of getting a husband out of the deal. There are no guarantees, and in the end you may just find yourself embittered and empty handed, literally. No ring, and no self esteem. Why? Because you weren’t abstaining for self, but for the hopes of drawing someone to you.
Isn’t that desperate? Oh, the dreaded d-word. Don’t we hate hearing that word in relation to ourselves and dating? Well, “Good Girl,” in this scenario if this is your game plan, you are no less desperate than the girl that puts out on the first night in hopes of snagging a husband. The reason? You aren’t making choices for you. You’re making decisions based on the need and desire of being married. You’re needy, another word we cringe at the very sound of.
Dating is a crazy complicated game that not even the savviest of daters completely understands. And when you add the lifestyle of celibacy into the equation, it can become even more convoluted. However, the benefits outweigh the complications and the benefits aren’t necessarily what you think.
I’ve talked to many people who have adopted this lifestyle for a mere month or two and returned to the land of “sex and adventure” saying, “nope, that no nookie clause is definitely not for me,” while others have continued to abstain. There are a myriad of wonderful reasons to enter the celibate lifestyle: mental and emotional cleansing, finding oneself, sexual health preservation, spiritual/religious commitments (i.e. Commitment to God, Lent etc.), or just plain ole “I’m taking a break.” But there is one reason to never ever adopt the celibacy lifestyle, and that is the guarantee of finding a spouse or committed relationship.
All relationships carry a risk of failure and there are no guarantees. This also rings true for the happily married, picture perfect couples who are so perfect they look like brother and sister – yeah those annoying people. There is no guarantee that any couple will stay together forever no matter how many emotional insurance policies one puts on the relationship. So when I hear women, especially church girls, make the assertion that they’re abstaining for the sole purpose of finding a man to marry, I almost immediately cringe with exasperation for the disappointment they will undoubtedly face when their chasteness alone gets them no closer to marriage than before the big hold out.
I have been celibate many times in her life, with the current time frame being one of the longest periods (four years) and the longest period being six years. Due to past experiences, I am committed to abstaining until marriage, but not for the sake of marriage, rather, for the sake of my spiritual and personal convictions.
Growing up, I actually thought abstaining equaled marriage. It wasn’t until my first years of college that I learned how truly wrong that theory was. First off, most married people have consummated prior to that long walk down the aisle, and secondly, most guys (not all) aren’t even willing to seriously date you if you aren’t willing to get personal between the sheets. So I learned very quickly that I had to identify what made my choice of celibacy important and necessary to me. If it was all about the guarantee of a ring, I might as well reconvene in “extra curriculars.”
I soon understood that my lifestyle choice had everything to do with my commitment to my faith and my desire to explore relationship possibilities with a clear mind and heart, as experience has taught me that sex can muddle the emotional waters. But I also understand that just because I’m getting to know someone under the umbrella of celibacy doesn’t automatically mean this person is the one. It just means we share the same ideology with regard to pre-marital consummation. It’s similar to you and your new boo having the same favorite color. A commitment, that does not make. Re-read this paragraph, saints and ain’ts. Rinse and repeat as needed.
With the current surge of celebrity abstinence endorsements and their subsequent walks down the aisle, one could be hoodwinked into thinking this is a sure-fire way toward the wedding march, but I beg to differ. While this is an ideal direction for me when getting to know someone, I know that this isn’t the only pre-marital prerequisite on the list. In fact, there are countless others; this is just a good start. I urge ladies — and gentleman — to choose abstinence for reasons that positively benefit you, spiritually, emotionally and, physically.
Holding out for the sole purpose of a 5 carat Tacori sparkler and a fantasy life of guaranteed bliss and forever togetherness is just plain silly and naive.
Behind closed doors, women whisper to each other about intuition. We say that we have the power to feel the molecules change in a room, and we know when our children are somewhere they shouldn’t be. Our hearts have ears attuned to the dishonesties of silence. This intuition, which I believe rises from somewhere ancient and divine, keeps us safe. Maybe it’s our direct communication with God.
The problem is, however, we misuse it.
Abusing our intuition manifests in two ways. First, we sometimes ignore the still small voice that beckons us toward something better. Secondly, and more often overlooked, we mistake our personal fears and biases as intuition. We use our judgments about things we don’t understand and pretend our “gut” told us to steer clear.
When talking to my best friend over drinks, she confessed feeling a deep level of calm at the pace of her new relationship. She was going super slow, but her new boyfriend worried that she was holding back. The thing was, he wasn’t exactly a new man in her life. She was in a new relationship with an old lover.
“I don’t know if I’m being guarded or trusting my gut,” she says. “I hope I’m not closed off to love.”
The friend in me wanted to shake her. I wanted to tell her that she needed to trust herself. I knew their history, and I wanted to tell her that her pacing was fine, but deep down inside, I realized that I had my own questions about my intuition. In an effort to be a bit wiser than I was the day before, I find myself slower to act, and I frequently wonder if my discretion is good sense or if I’m not open to new possibilities. I couldn’t give her advice that I couldn’t stand behind, so I just listened. But I was left wondering, how can we tell the difference between our intuition and our caution? It’s an ongoing experiment for me, but here are a few ways I try to keep myself honest:
I journal. A friend of mine is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for many years. When rereading his old journals, he discovered that he’d written that he was an alcoholic almost a year before he found himself in recovery. “My journal was the only place I could be honest,” he’d said. I find this is true for myself as well. Our minds are so chaotic that honest thoughts get mixed in with the noise. If we can find ways to get our thoughts out, we’re more able to see the difference.
I ask friends to listen. Sometimes, when I’m confused, I ask a friend to listen to me and repeat back what she’s hearing. Now, this doesn’t mean your friend is going to give you advice or tell you what she would do. That’s not what you need. He or she is simply meant to listen to you while you rant, and then report back what they’ve heard you say. Often, our words in someone else’s mouth can bring us clarity. “Oh sh*t,” we think as our friends tell us what they’ve heard. “Did I really say that?”
I pray on it. I’m not an overwhelmingly religious person, but I cannot think of a single time when I’ve asked God for guidance and didn’t receive some insight. I am able to live more openly than most because I truly believe that life won’t let me go too far down a path that is ultimately not for me. Granted, this is a two-way street. I try to live my life righteously and do the best for everyone I meet, but ultimately, I can live a little more openly because I know that I don’t walk through this life alone.
Only my friend knows if she’s holding back out of fear or intuition, but when I find myself holding back in the name of emotional danger, I like to remember that I am the descendant of those who survived. I come from a lineage of strong and powerful people, and carry the genes of the strongest of the strong. So often, our caution does a disservice to this strength. We protect ourselves as if we’re more fragile than we are. In the end, only you can decide when something is safe, but my hope is that we can all get closer to our intuition and further away from guardedness so we can love and live more freely every day.
Patia Braithwaite is a New York City-based relationship writer. You can follow her ridiculous tales of love, life, and travel on her personal blog, Men, Myself, and God. She also tweets and ‘grams whenever the mood strikes her @pdotbrathw8.
Keith Sweat said it best: “There’s a right and a wrong way to love somebody.” But when disagreements arise and things get sour, do you find yourself in a screaming match, throwing shots at each other only to leave things just as angry as you were when the argument began, if not more? Do you keep fighting about the same subject over and over again just to leave things unresolved yet again? I mean, you both said what you needed to say, got everything off of your chest, but why has nothing changed? As James Baldwin said, “How much time do you need for your progress?”
What if I told you there was a proper way to argue that didn’t require the both of you to sit on a colorless couch in a therapist’s office? What if there was a way you could still get your point across without raising your blood pressure? Arguing doesn’t always have to result in awkward silence and cold tension. It can bring you closer and increase intimacy in your relationship–when done right.
Choose Your Words Wisely
Temporary words can have a lasting effect on someone even if you decide to apologize later. Be respectful to one another and remember that the point of arguing is to address a disagreement. Therefore, the things that are said should be constructive, not destructive to the other person’s emotional, physical and mental state. Be mindful of what comes out of your mouth. Intimacy is about being empathetic to your partner. You can say what you need to say while still keeping in mind the thoughts and feelings of the other person.
Open Up Your Mind
You’re having a disagreement with your partner and your primary objective is to get your partner to see your point. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when you get to a place where you’re pushing your thoughts while being shut off to the views of the other person, it becomes a problem and does the opposite of creating an open and safe space for communication. Intimacy is about closeness. When you aren’t open to hearing your partner, you create distance. You set the tone for that person to not be able to express themselves without feeling attacked. The main goal you want to achieve is to close out an argument or disagreement feeling like you’ve accomplished something and have tightened the bond between you and your significant other and increased understanding.
Stay On Point
Of course, you love them, but you didn’t like something in particular that they did. You have different views on an important issue that’s affecting the both of you but during your venting session you resort to attacking them, attacking their character and addressing things irrelevant to the matter at hand. It’s no wonder you keep having the same arguments repeatedly. When you do that, nothing gets solved. Stay on topic.
For most, this is a challenge that requires some stretching, but to forgive is growth. Discussing, solving and then forgiving is hitting reset and refreshing your relationship. It’s saying from this point on we are wiping the slate clean again and continuing on our walk with a new purpose and a fresh perspective.
Kiss And Make Up
After an argument, you can tell if the issue has been resolved or not. You can just feel it. If you walk away with the same uneasy feelings, chances are nothing got resolved and it’s still planted deep and fresh in your mind, but with time you convinced yourself that you would get over it. Honestly, you won’t. It’s just been tucked away only to surface at a later date when triggered. When you and bae have been fussing and you can walk away smiling, touching and you feel the endorphins because you feel like you’ve finally gotten over a hump, that’s how you know it was an effective argument. Kissing and making up will be effortless and you’ll want to be close to your partner.
Arguing with your companion doesn’t have to be a screaming match, and it doesn’t mean that your entire relationship is in jeopardy and that this is the end. It could, in fact, be a cry for more intimacy and understanding in your relationship. That’s why making it count and being effective utilizing your conflict resolution skills is important.
First impressions are everything. And whether we meet him on Tinder or at a work conference, we all have big expectations on a first date. After all, you could be meeting the man of your dreams, or at least your next main cuffing season squeeze.
So when it comes to first date high hopes, these are the signs we’re all looking for to let us know that he has potential. They’re what we’re all hoping happens between appetizers and dessert — and it’s hard to imagine scheduling a second date without them.
Do you have first date moves that you always look out for? Let us know what they are in the comment section and what you do when they just aren’t there. Would you give a man missing these qualities a second chance with another date? Or do you have a zero-tolerance policy when he doesn’t display your list of first-date musts?
Does anyone talk on the phone anymore?
Over the years as our technology has developed, life has become easier, convenience has become an entitlement, and for almost every aspect of life, “there’s an app for that”. Thanks to the mega minds of the world humans across the world can watch TV, order food, find jobs, and even date and socialize through apps. Plenty of dating experts by trade, and by experience have written and vocalized their contention with the current impersonalization of communication in relation to dating in the last few years.
Talking on the phone for hours has evolved into continuous texting threads. Relationships are over before they really begin because signals get crossed, and emotions are misread in a sea of blue and white bubbles.
But is it really all that bad?
It’s been almost six months now that I’ve been dating a man whom I’m certain I will spend my forever with, and between work, school and children our lives are jam packed with busyness. While finding time for one another has yet to become burdensome, when we are apart most of our communication through the week is done via text. Being that neither of us are “phone people”, continuous texting was never something we discussed, or mutually agreed to, it just was.
Phone conversations for me are torturous. I despise the obligatory feeling being on the phone gives me. There is nothing more frustrating, and tiring than feeling mentally anchored to one task, unable to split my focus, and maximize the usage of my time. The requirement of devoting one’s undivided attention for more than 15 minutes is not a commitment I’ve ever been willing to make.
With technology and apps making communication quicker, and easier than it has ever been, it is no wonder many feel that talking on the phone is a lost art. Courtship has become subliminal messages over social networks, and relationships last as long as Twitter handles.
For someone like me, texting is the saving grace from unwanted conversations, immediate responses and daily work sidebars. It proves to be the ultimate convenience allowing quick pleasantries to be exchanged through the hustle of my busy days. Whether or not phone conversations have truly become a fossil artifact in the history of communication is relative.