All Articles Tagged "dating"
About two years ago, I found myself back on the market and learning how to date in this day and age. I had grown used to having someone by my side for the last six years that I didn’t know how to be alone; I didn’t know how to be single. I had also fallen in love with the freedom that comes with being single, so when I decided I was finally ready to get back out there, I didn’t know how to do so while still enjoying the freedoms of singlehood. So I started to go out with my friends with the intent of meeting prospects, but after a week or two of dating, I wasn’t impressed with any of them. I was extremely picky and was wondering why I just couldn’t find someone that “fit.”
I had adopted a carefree black girl attitude and men started to see me as a little too carefree in a sense, someone they could only have fun with. I was pleasant and exciting for a while, but when it came to getting serious, I was too much to handle or they just weren’t looking for labels. It was a cycle that continued until I realized one thing. I am a firm believer in the saying, “He’ll do as much as you allow him to do” when it comes to dating and building a relationship with someone.
I often think about my love life and the types of men I attract. Deep down, I want something real, but I seem to be attracting guys who are just looking for a good time. I started to wonder, why can’t it be both? Why can’t I have a good time with a guy who is also looking to take things to the next level? Am I doing something wrong to attract these wishy-washy guys? I realized that it was because I really wasn’t taking myself or the list of standards I had set seriously. Therefore, I was letting men come into my life only to waste my time and bolt when it was time to step up.
Some people would argue that setting standards lessens the chances of finding someone for you, but would you embark on a road trip with no directions as to where you’re going? Standards are the GPS that will help you decide on which direction to go in with someone. Here I was, asking for a man who had himself together, steady job, established, nice dresser, old-fashioned when it came to dating and for someone who was genuinely interested in getting to know me on a serious level. But I was also being careless, enjoying my freedoms as a single woman with no actual intention of wanting to commit, or at least that’s what my actions showed.
I came across a quote that read, “How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.” Here I had this list of standards for someone else, but I didn’t even believe in them for myself. When you are honest with yourself, and you are up front with what you want from the beginning, it leaves room to weed out those who aren’t real and will make room for those who are ready to step up. Setting goals doesn’t have to be as complicated or unrealistic as most make it seem.
With that being said, standards should address fundamental needs, not resemble a Christmas wish list. Sometimes we get carried away and start asking for someone who has a specific kind of car, a certain amount of money, and a whole host of other mundane things, but when all those material things run out or get damaged, what’s going to sustain your relationship? Furthermore, how much of what you’re asking for do you actually possess yourself? Not saying you aren’t allowed to have your wants but think about how your standards address the most important needs that you have. There should be a clear differentiation between wants and needs.
Remember, when talking about standards, this is a conversation that sets the foundation for the direction of your relationship. They should be made clear from the start and you should also practice what you’re preaching. If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else will waste their time trying to.
A few weeks ago, Angie Stone told MadameNoire that she would never date a sex symbol again. During her exclusive interview, Stone revealed how she passed on the opportunity to date Idris Elba because she already experienced what it was like to be in a relationship with one man who was the object of everyone’s affection (D’Angelo) and that was enough. “I had my stint with one sex symbol in the world. And it was not the greatest of situations,” she said. “I didn’t want another headache like that. Idris is fine. Idris is a great actor. He’s rich and he’s famous. And for me, that was a bit much.”
Although some of us may not have the opportunity to meet or fall in love with celebrity sex symbols, we do, however, meet fine men in our day-to-day lives. Even better, we may get the chance to date these good-looking men but with that comes the disheartening question: “Am I pretty enough for him?” I asked myself this question when I started to get to know my boyfriend, Carter. We attended the same junior high school and in 7th grade I was immediately enamored by his hazel eyes and entertaining personality. I would leave my English class early just so I could catch a glimpse of him leaving his Social Studies class. I had it bad for Carter, but crushing on him was cut short when he told a mutual friend that he was not interested me, at all.
The rejection stung and once we graduated middle school, I would strategically avoid him around our Brooklyn neighborhood. Over the years, I put thoughts of Carter and our experience behind me but I would see his beautiful smile and cinnamon skin pop up on Myspace and, later, Facebook feeds. We eventually became Facebook friends while we were in college and exchanged numbers, but our conversations were always friendly and never romantic—until my last week of college.
It was a typical Friday night but because I was graduating, my friends and I decided to do a bar crawl until our legs and heads made us want to crawl back to our rooms. Because I was drunk, graduating, and feeling fearless I sent Carter a “Ms.Jackson If You Nasty” text and concluded it with a, “YOUre soooooooo f*cking FINE!!!” Surprisingly, Carter playfully replied back and from friendliness we graduated to flirtation. But because I questioned if Carter could ever be interested in me, I found myself trying to hook him up with one of my friends. He dismissed me playing cupid for him and would continuously show that he was interested in me but I made up my mind that he was just a flirtatious person and not serious. Our cat and mouse game lasted for six months until I hired Carter to DJ for my birthday party and from that night on we’ve been inseparable.
I decided to continue our relationship because Carter has and continues to sharpen who I am as a person. Besides my parents, he is the only person who sees me as an invincible winner. And although he has not been a headache for me, the problems we’ve encountered have humbled us to work on our individual development. I’ve learned that many of our issues were based on the perception I had of me. I didn’t think I was ugly when we entered our relationship but I believed Carter would never pursue a girl my complexion or with my hair length. To be honest, prior to falling in love with him, I believed Carter to still be the 12 year old who rejected me before homeroom started. Because of that, I wasted a lot of time toiling between his true character and my negative perception. Now that I am more mature, I’ve learned to stop fighting with my guard up and be okay with our relationship. By focusing on my own confidence and not tracking his timeline, decisions and feelings like the FBI, I’ve gained more personal security. This allowed me to be more open to learning about Carter and his personhood. Because of this, our love has become safest space we know.
Before we get down to business, let me just clarify a few details in my last entry. I had known the gentleman in question for a significant amount of time, he even knows my family. The only thing I was questioning was whether or not I had the right to be mad he didn’t carry my 50 pound baby-car seat set. I mean overall, from beginning to end, I knew the whole scenario was a sham. I was willfully being naive, under the guise of hopefulness.
Now, back to more important news…over the weekend I went on a date with my co-worker, whom I’ll call Mr. Perfect. A few weeks ago we casually struck up a conversation as we robotically read package labels and sorted boxes into their respective chutes. We discussed nothing extraordinary, yet I found myself not wanting the conversation to end. He told me about his son, and how he was an Electrical Engineering Graduate student. We even discussed our parental other halves and dating horrors. One would think that was heavy stuff for an initial conversation, but something about him was so familiar and comfortable. We talked constantly for weeks.
I’ve never felt so comfortable with someone so quickly in my life. Everything is just easy with him. There is no over-thinking, or doubtfulness, and I can’t tell if it is because I’m different, or he is.
Our conversations went on and we discussed our siblings, college, and I told him I was a writer. He read my book “Love Letters I Never Sent,” and even checked out my column. He asked me out, and I acquiesced.
All night we talked, and laughed. I made a complete fool of myself thinking General Nutrition Center was something other than GNC, and I’m still embarrassed (even now) about that. For the last week I have been utterly googly eyed for this man. Towering over me at 5’11 and covered in beautifully deep brown skin with hands that swallow mine when our fingers lace he is literally everything I have prayed for personified. My gentle giant with the most sincere eyes, and a genuine smile that instantly calms the millions of butterflies fluttering through my body almost seems too good to be true. Even as I write this I can’t help but smile.
Only moments ago, literally seconds, I was going off on my Facebook status about the totally unsurprising verdict on the Michael Brown case. Even through my rage, radicalistic anger and pain, the mere thought of finding Mr. Perfect penetrates my inner being and suddenly he’s become the eye of my storm. Over the years I have learned to take things for what they are, as they are. It is very possible this won’t last because maybe he’ll turn out differently than he appears to be, or maybe I’ll push him away. Either way I am willing to take the risk to find out.
Without a doubt, motherhood has not only redefined what love is, but taught me how to love. On the hard days, when frustration and stress run high, and my daughter is acting up, it is my love for her that allows patience to guide me in dealing with her. It is my love for her that makes it hard to stay mad with her, and in the same way children are loved with patience and mercy, I have learned that men and women should be loved in such a manner also.
If you loved your ex the way you love your kid(s), would you still be together? If you extended the same patience, and unconditional adoration you pour into your children in your love life how much different could things be?
This time around I want something different, I believe it is possible and I’m willing to work for it.
I’ve heard of slut-shaming, fat-shaming, gay-shaming and most other shaming pertaining to race, ethnicity and size, but more recently, I stumbled across the new term, “single-shaming” in Cosmopolitan and I thought, is this really a thing?
Hey Aunt Kathy, it’s cool. And you too, mom and dad. You guys can’t be blamed for asking me if I’m dating someone when I’m home for the holidays. It’s just what you do. But, hey friend-of-a-friend at the bar who dropped a major shame bomb on me the other night. Not. Cool. We were chatting in a group when I revealed I was a Tinder-less single person. “What?” she squeed. “But how do you meet guys? You’re just not dating?” Bartender, pour me another! Usually, singles are left to defend themselves while passing the potatoes at Thanksgiving, but my bar encounter was more biting: I was single-shamed by a peer.
Has anyone else found themselves in this situation where you often feel like you have to answer to people or explain yourself for being single? The more I read the article, the more I realized that single-shaming really isn’t anything new. This isn’t some new phenomena or theory that just surfaced. Someone just took something that many of us have experienced and gave it a name. I often have to explain to friends and family that in my mid-20s, I’m not in a steady relationship because I am working on my career, or making grand plans to travel, or I just don’t want to settle for anybody for the sake of not being by myself.
How many of you have found yourselves excluded from many conversations with committed, engaged, or married friends because you’re riding solo? How many of you have had to ask for a plus one when attending an event that requires a “RSVP” because your friend decided you didn’t have a suitable partner? How many of you have had your friends come down on you for the way you choose to date or not date? How many of you have received an invite to hang with your friend, but found yourself third wheeling it when their boo decided to make a guest appearance, only to be told how fun it would be if you could find someone so you all could double date?
According to Cosmopolitan and Dr. Bella DePaulo, author of Singled Out, single-shaming comes from thinking that if you follow the prescribed path and get married (or at least commit), you’ll be happier. If you don’t go that route, in turn, people won’t understand and presume that you’re blocking your own happiness.
Well, I call bull—t. Who’s to say you can’t be happy being single? I’m happy with my friends, my career, my freedom and exploring life and I don’t need to be committed to anyone to have all those things. A man, woman or any person you choose to be your significant other should be an enhancement to your already complete life. They shouldn’t be there to compensate for something lacking. So I’ll enjoy my life in my carefree single bubble, and when I meet a man worthy enough of my time, we can enjoy the life we’ve built as individuals, together.
So when you find yourself at the center of these questions at grandma’s house on Thanksgiving, or when you find yourself at the singles table feeling like your whole life has been exposed, just remember one thing: You don’t owe anybody anything, let alone an explanation for your love life.
As much as the “strong-Black-woman-who-don’t-need-no-man” trope has been shoved down our throats, I don’t need to see her again. But I also know that she exists partially because there are a select few women who willingly and intentionally project this image for the world to see; even if, at the end of the day, they’re more nuanced and complex than this.
Almost a year ago, I was having dinner with one such woman, talking about relationships and how we all wanted to be in one, when the check came. This triggered her memory and she jumped into a story that still seemed to have her fuming.
“What do y’all think about this? The other day I was in a cab with a coworker and her boyfriend. And once we’d arrived at our destination, she pulled out some bills, handed them to her man and he paid the fare.”
My friend thought the action was weird. “I was like, does she owe him money? Had they had a conversation beforehand? Why didn’t she just hand the money to the driver?”
When her man went to the restroom, my coworker swooped in with her question.
“Why did you hand him the money instead of just giving it directly to the driver?”
The coworker said, “I just don’t want to emasculate him in any way. I want him to feel like a man.”
My friend’s face held a scowl as she concluded her story.
“This is the problem with men. Everything threatens their masculinity. If this is what it takes for a man to feel like a man, then I guess I’ll die single. Does it really matter whose money it is as long as somebody in the car can pay for the fare?”
I listened to the conversation quietly, raising my eyebrows.
I understood her and agreed. Masculinity is easily threatened and I certainly couldn’t see myself doing this for a man. If I happen to pick up the check or bill this time, it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to be in any type of relationship where I’m always picking up the tab. And if a store clerk, taxi driver, customer service personnel or any other outsider believes this to be so, that’s on them. They don’t really know me and it’s really none of their business. So I don’t see the need to front.
But on the other hand, I’d witnessed women in my own family, including my own mother, do this when they found themselves in similar situations. The only difference is that these women are married. So perhaps they didn’t want people harshly judging their spouses or hypothesizing about the state of their marriage based on one transaction.
What I do know is that men are judged when a woman is seen paying for something, while she’s in their company.
Just a couple of months ago, my boyfriend and I were at the bodega buying snacks. And since he’s always spending money on me, the absolute least I could do that evening was buy some chips and juice. We got to the register when my boyfriend was saying he wanted a different type of snack than the one he’d already selected. Ready to go, I half-playfully told him to just roll with what we had and keep it moving. And he playfully went into a diatribe about why this type of chip was better than the other. Whether out of irritation, impatience or a snap judgment made about our situation, the cashier said, “Man, just get what she says. She’s the one paying for it.”
He said it with a smile and a glare. I don’t think it was said with the intent to scold or belittle my boyfriend. The bodega is near my apartment so his loyalty is to me. But still, the fact that he felt the need to comment on who was paying for something as simple as a snack was interesting to me. Furthermore, the notion that my boyfriend shouldn’t have a voice because I was paying for it was even more intriguing. Did that then mean that when a man pays for something for a woman, she doesn’t have the right to disagree or suggest something else?
This chip and juice run had turned into a lesson in gender roles.
Truth be told, the comments gave both me and my boyfriend pause. I didn’t explain to the store clerk how dude spends exponentially more on me and us than I do because that’s none of his business. Secondly, if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s for someone to count me or my people’s money.
But the whole interaction did make me think about my mother and the women in my own family who had gone out of their way to give off the appearance that their man was the one with the cash.
When I asked my mother about this practice of hers, she simply said, “Listen, that’s my husband and I love him. I don’t do anything because he’s asked me to or out of obligation. But if I can keep him from being embarrassed in public, then I’ll always do that.”
She’s ride or die apparently.
I can’t say whether or not I’ll be following in her footsteps. I’m not married and I don’t want to feel burdened by the judgments of others but there is something to be said about making sure the unit looks good in these streets. Still, I come from a different era than my parents. And I would like to know that my man won’t feel a way if he’s judged critically by those who are completely ignorant to the financial matters of our relationship.
So ladies, what do you think about this. Would you hand your man your money to pay the bill in public, just so he can save face?
You meet a guy while out and about with friends. He’s handsome, witty, has a pretty good job and knows how to carry on a stimulating conversation. You give him your number and soon after, you go on a few dates. You both have great chemistry, and you like where things are headed. But after a few great dates, he hits you with some startling information that he felt was important to divulge before moving forward. He’s got herpes.
Where do you go from there?
That’s what one woman who reached out to us is trying to figure out after being told by a guy she was really interested in that he contracted herpes in college. Type II herpes entered his life (and body) when he was reckless and enjoying his freedom a little too much as a student. But he’s been out of college for more than a decade now.
He didn’t feel it was something he needed to tell Kylie on their first or second date, but as it became apparent that they both liked each other a lot, he wanted to be straightforward. The woman, who we’ll refer to as Kylie, would like to give this guy a chance, but at the same time, she wants to stay healthy. A reasonable concern. I mean, herpes is for life.
But genital herpes, despite how scary the name sounds, is more common than you think. According to the CDC, one out of every six people ages 14 to 49 have genital herpes. Thankfully, Kylie’s prospective boo was forthcoming with his STD information.
And it’s not the end of the world–or a thrilling sex life. While there’s no 100 percent surefire way to ensure that genital herpes isn’t spread, there are antiviral drugs that help treat it, and consistent use of condoms and barriers of protection can significantly reduce Kylie’s chances of getting genital herpes. Plus, if he has an outbreak, that’s the sign that folks would need to avoid sexual activity until it’s treated and everything is in the free and clear.
But enough of sex ed. What should Kylie do?
They’ve only been on a few dates. So if Kylie truly doesn’t feel comfortable dealing with the possible risks of dating a man with herpes, she has the right to exit stage left. But mistakes he made years ago shouldn’t keep this guy from having a fulfilling relationship and flourishing sex life with someone. Again, that was awesome that he chose to be open and honest about his situation way before a conversation about sex even came about. And if she really liked what he was bringing to the table before he told her, it would suck to throw all that out of the window.
They both could work together to prevent his outbreaks and limit Kylie’s chances of contracting the STD. As long as his outbreaks aren’t out of control, and he’s not jumping from bed to bed, it may not be necessary to count him out so soon.
Then again, if Kylie goes into things naively and doesn’t take care of herself, the relationship may not last, but the herpes? Oh, they would last forever…
But as always, that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Is it petty to end things with a person because they told you they have herpes?
Dates are time-consuming, they take up space in your head — and your heart — and they can be expensive (if you need to take a cab home because things get weird). So why not skip some unnecessary second and third dates by asking these first date questions that show you who he really is?
Being single when it’s not by choice is never fun, but it’s especially trying on the soul when everyone is going on about how winter’s coming and all these men are hitting them up trying to find someone to hibernate with during the cold months and you’re like, #WhereDeyAtDoe?
I’ve always found humor is the key to sanity, so if you’ve played “Hotline Bling” so many times you can’t think straight and are still wondering if it’s too late to get in the game during cuffing season, let these memes comfort you. The very fact that some other woman sitting at home solo created them let’s you know you’re not alone.
Being in love is an enthralling experience, so much so that people often forget one day that vow to love one another in sickness and in health may be challenged and saying “I do” in that moment won’t be as easy as it was on your wedding day.
One woman recently wrote to Slate’s Dear Prudence column asking if she was wrong for divorcing her husband who’s slowly dying from brain cancer because she’s found herself in another relationship.
The woman revealed, “Four years ago, my sweet and loving husband, the awesome father of our three children, was struck down by brain cancer and suffered brain trauma following emergency surgery. I’ve cared for him at home, dealing with the hassles of hospitals, insurance, family drama (his parents blame me for his health issues). He will never recover and he is declining. It is like being married to a 41-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. He does not remember me, our long marriage, or our kids. I’m trying to place him in a nursing home, but there are waiting lists.”
As the wife’s relationship with her husband continued to dissolve because of his health issues, she met a man a year ago whom she fell in love with. At first, the two were friends and the man would help her with errands, household chores, rearing her children, and even caring for her husband. As they spent more time together, the woman and man became exclusive and she decided to divorce her ailing husband. As these plans unfolded, life threw a miraculous curveball. “ My boyfriend and I recently found out that, despite using protection, I’m pregnant. We are excited, as once I am legally able, we want to marry. My family is not happy, as in their eyes this is not appropriate, and they have been icing me out.”
Slate’s Prudence assertively responded congratulating the woman for her pregnancy and finding a supportive man. She also told the woman to have a conversation with her family members about their behavior to help bridge the gap that is widening between them. “As for your family, they deserve nothing but scorn for their attitude, and for apparently not being there to help you provide care for your husband and your suffering children, but I understand you don’t want to create a breach that would be even worse for the kids. I suggest you try to arrange for them to visit the grandparents. Your children need their extended family, and they also need a break from their dying father. Maybe that visit will provide a bridge to better communication.”
Interestingly, Prudence didn’t say much about the woman’s new relationship except for her to be prepared to raise children with a man she’s not married to. Marriage aside, I don’t think the woman’s budding relationship is necessarily wrong, though it raises an interesting question: If your spouse is physically bedridden and their health is declining, do you get a pass to cheat on them?
I’m sure the woman had no ill intent towards her husband as she pursued her new relationship. I can understand how frustrated she must’ve felt watching him succumb to the disease while raising their children alone with no familial help. In my opinion, her boyfriend is a supportive godsend. Though their relationship didn’t begin at an ideal time, I don’t believe in prolonging your happiness when it comes to getting the love you think you deserve, no matter how it looks to outsiders.
Should the woman have waited until her husband died to start a new life?