All Articles Tagged "dating"

10 Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Date A Single Mom

February 12th, 2016 - By Danielle Elaine
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Earlier in the week a nasty, and obviously biased article danced on my Facebook newsfeed. The article listed 15 of the most asinine presumptions one could ever make. As I read the list of reasons why any “real man” shouldn’t ever date a single mom, one burning question resound in my mind, “Who hurt you, sir?” One point short of sounding bitter, the writer gives a bizarrely descriptive and detailed account of all the horrible things “all” single mothers do, rendering them utterly undatable. Being a single mom myself, I can tell you exactly why a single mom could actually be your potential wife.

 

  1. Single moms have superior time management skills. As a single mom, we have a lot on our plate at any given moment, and life is a constant juggling act. Whether we are carting children to activities, scheduling family outings, meals or nap time, no one can make use of the days 24 hours like a single mom. We understand the value of time, and always aim to make the best of ours.
  2. Single moms have limited availability. Between work and the kids we usually always have something going on. So a date night out with a good man is just the thing to break up our routine. We can get dressed for work, church and dates in record time. So don’t worry about being stood up or a last minute cancellation (unless there’s a medical emergency). We’d love adult conversation over a delicious meal someone else prepared.
  3. Single moms are responsible. We are literally the most responsible people on the planet. I mean, we are charged with domain over other human beings. We’re the epicenter of our children’s lives, and every decision we make–and those that we don’t–affect our children as well, from the type of car we drive, the area we choose to live in, and the men we take interest in. Because we work, and are the primary provider for our children, you won’t find us in the club or bar acting up. (Well, not usually) We won’t be in the street  parading around in tight skimpy clothes either, because after all, who else will make breakfast in the morning?
  4. Single moms are dedicated to their children. We value the simpler, and most important things in life. Having quality time with our children is one of them. If we find time to spend with you and show you considerable attention–that means a lot. Working a man into our lives means we see potential in you, and think highly enough of you that we trust your presence and influence in our life and around our children.
  5. Single moms know what they want. We are not looking to waste valuable time that could be spent with the kids, working or treating ourselves to an occasional day of pampering. Not to mention we already struck out once in the relationship department, we aren’t looking to make the same mistakes, and continue to start new with just anyone. We’ve been through some things and we’ve seen just as much. We can see warning signs a mile ahead, and can easily navigate away from any drama.
  6. Single moms are selfless. Being a mother brings a different kind of patience and love into a woman’s life. There is a new level of compassion that we reach when we become moms. We put our children’s needs before ours regardless of what the sacrifice may mean for us. Be it forfeiting lunch money, a hair appointment, or well-needed wardrobe update, if we got it, our kids got it and we’ll take care of you the same way.
  7. Single moms can “keep house”, as my grandmother would say. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, and dry cleaning–we’ve got it covered.
  8. Single moms are fiscally responsible. We know how to have a good time on a frugal budget and maximize our spending power and spot good deals. A good man never has to worry about a single mom taking him for all he’s worth. Single moms are all about financial security and planning for the future.
  9. Single moms are great under pressure. We can keep calm in sticky, stressful and chaotic situations. We are master negotiators, with experience dealing with children ranging from two to 32-years-old.
  10. Single moms are master manipulators. I mean, kids need to eat their vegetables, right?

All jokes aside, if a woman isn’t a match for a potential partner, it is not because she has kids. Bitter men like the author of what I can only describe as the ultimate troll’s article, are the perpetual reason why stereotypes of the “mad Black woman,” and “bitter single mom” continue to exist.

Disillusioned ideas such as these drive deeper the stake of disconnect between singles in the Black community. We are only in the second month of 2016, and I think it’s safe to say everyone is carrying at least one tote of baggage from past relationships, be they romantic or other. Single moms are stable, and can run a household. Single moms know how to have fun, and know how to handle business. What single moms are not is all the same.

Would You Marry Someone To Keep Them In The Country?

February 12th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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I recently read Erica Buddington’s latest book, a collection of essays on dating and relationships called Of Micah and Men, And in one of the stories, a very brief one, Erica writes about going on a date with a handsome waiter from a Jamaican restaurant. On their very first date, before vibes had been established, sexual innuendo had commenced, hell, before they even had a chance to finish their meal, the man asked her if she would be willing to marry him so he could stay in the country.

He offered to pay her $400 a month.

Now, for those of you who are new to the immigration game, getting married to a non citizen is not all that easy. The movie The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds is a good example of what such an arrangement might entail. Basically, you have to convince a federal agent that you two are really in love and not trying to deceive the government so one person can obtain citizenship; which is, of course, exactly what you’re doing.

It’s not just a one and done type of interview process. They look for documentation of your relationship, make home visits etc. It’s no joke. And of course, if you’re caught or found out, there are harsh penalties. The non-citizen will be deported and the American citizen can face prison time for lying to a federal agent. See Marion Jones, Martha Stewart, Bernie Madoff, etc. It happens.

Still, I do wonder how likely one is to get caught. After all, how can you prove you’re in love with someone?

If you’re ever in a financial bind, a fake marriage doesn’t sound like the worst way to make money. Now, the brotha who approached Erica went about it all wrong. He didn’t give her any time to know him as a person, let alone like him. And he certainly wasn’t talking about enough money. But let’s say you’ve been dating someone for 2 months and you’re starting to think that you like him a little bit.

Then, on your last date, brotha man pulls out all the stops. He’s wining and dining, he smells good, he places his hands in the small of your back just the right way, conversation is popping and Floetry lyrics are playing on a loop in your head. Say Yes. And just as you’re deciding whether or not you should invite him back to your place on tonight, he sits you down and explains his situation. He tells you that he’s about to be deported and wonders if you’d be willing to marry him if he paid you $1,000 to $2,000 a month.

Now, he’s asking a favor from you, so anything you want, it’s yours. You get to outline the rules. There’s no sex unless you want it. He’ll have to live with you to convince the agent but you two don’t have to sleep in the same bed. You’re both free to see other people and, if you don’t want it to be, the marriage will not be publicized. If you two don’t actually fall in love with each other, he’ll pay for the divorce entirely. And he’s willing to meet any other stipulations you may have.

Would you consider it?

Or is marriage too sacred of an institution for you to play with it like that? Erica wondered how she would explain an entire marriage to her new, real life prospect. Which is a legitimate concern. Personally, I don’t know. Maybe I’m just sympathetic to the plight of the immigrant, but I can’t say no “I would never” to this one.

How I Avoided Having Sex With My College Bae

February 11th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Corbis

After a night of playing drinking games at my friend’s sorority house, I drunkenly laid on her couch thinking about my walk back to my townhouse that was on the other side of our 5,000-acre campus.

Thankfully, Isaiah was there.

Our history ran deep; he was the first boy I liked in college and also the first one to break my 18-year-old heart, leaving me to cry in my academic advisor’s office during the first week of classes. Now, three years later we had developed a respectable friendship and eventually found ourselves in the arms of others.

That is until we both found ourselves single at the same time.

Isaiah had recently broke up with his girlfriend and would constantly apologize about how he treated me during my freshman year. Although I was over the incident, it felt nice to see Isaiah sweat me, a bit. Our sexual tension always hung like a cloud over our heads whenever we found ourselves in the same place at the same time. This night was no different and the alcohol made things worse. Isaiah offered to drop me home to my townhouse and I stalled, saying I could take the campus bus home. “F-ck outta here with that sh-t,” he casually said in his Brooklyn accent, as he grabbed his car keys and my hand, leading me outside towards his car. Although I acted like I didn’t want the ride back to my house in 20-degree weather, inside I was jumping for joy.

In the car, we casually caught up and spoke about classes, friends, and even the library’s new lunch menu. You know, the type of conversation that you have before you lose your morals. When we reached the parking lot of my housing complex, Isaiah parked and got out the car to walk me directly to my house. “Ohhh sh-t,” I thought as my heart began racing. Before I knew it, Isaiah’s lips and mine were locked as he pressed my body against my house door. After coming up for air after what felt like our 99th kiss, I opened my house door and both of us found ourselves on my living room couch. Finally, the sexual tension between us was being released, that is, until Isaiah began to unzip his pants. Once I saw his penis poking out even before he could finish unzipping, the Henny and 99 Peach Snapps I drank evaporated from my body.

I couldn’t have sex with Isaiah even if I wanted to. After he broke up with his girlfriend, Isaiah had become the campus community peen. The majority of girls I knew had been with him in ways that were more than biblical and not to sound like I found Jesus five minutes ago but I didn’t want to be on the list. Also, over the years, his ex-girlfriend and I became good friends who would party or have dinner often with our mutual friends. I was not down for sharing.

When Isaiah realized I wasn’t kissing him as passionately as before, nor was I shimmying out of my skinny jeans, he sighed. “Why don’t you want to have sex with me?”

“Because I’m not trying to get jumped at the next BSU party,” I whispered as I kissed him for the last time. He gave me a forehead kiss and slid himself off of me. He knew my explanation wasn’t far from potential reality. At the time, Isaiah’s cuddy buddies routinely bullied each other on Facebook and even got into several verbal altercations in the college union.

As much as I still liked Isaiah, I didn’t want to get caught under the voodoo spell of his penis. “You’re right. You’re right. Chicks are out here wildin’ and I don’t want you to get involved.” I smiled at his response. We continued to chat about the boundaries we would need to have in order for us not to find ourselves panting for air on couches or floors and it felt good to be respected by him even though the tension between us still stuck like glue.

Despite our plan, we found ourselves in similar predicaments but always with the same outcome. I guess I realized there were other men I could have sex with who didn’t bring drama to the table. Eventually, Isaiah and I stopped our stolen rendezvouses and have remained good friends till this day.

Have you ever had to pump your breaks before you got busy with a guy? Check out how the ladies in Relationship Hacks avoid having sex below.

Travel Trials: My Sister Moved In With Her Study Abroad Boyfriend But Our Parents Want Her To Come Home

February 10th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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(As Relayed by Lauren R.D. Fox)

My sister Mila recently completed the fall semester of her junior year studying aboard in Antigua at the University of the West Indies (UWI). While studying Post-Colonial Literature at UWI, Mila volunteered at a local school where she served as a Teacher’s Assistant. There, she met Adam who served as the school’s Principal. Adam is 28 and well established in the community where the school is located. Mila would gush about him whenever we Skyped. It was cute to see my little sister mature into a young woman. She became more financially responsible and navigated her relationship with Adam pretty well even though he’s seven years her senior.

Everything seemed to be going well until Mila had one more month left in Antigua.

One night, She confided in me that Adam kept mentioning marriage and wanted her to stay in the country. He even suggested Mila complete her undergraduate degree at UWI. When I asked Mila how she felt, she said she said doing study abroad in Antigua was the best decision she ever made. Besides Adam, her students loved her and she found a host of friends who felt like family. Mila also said she finally felt like she found a place where she could be comfortable in her skin and decisions. As her older sister, I understood.

I had a similar experience when I traveled to Spain and lived there for a year after completing my PhD degree. However, my love affair with and in Spain ended after I decided it would be more logical to settle down and raise a family in the States. Although there are moments I wish I stayed in Spain, I’m not one to project my regrets unto others so I told Mila it would be best for her to talk to our parents. Especially since education is very important to them.

Of course, our parents were more upset about Mila wanting to complete her education at UWI and not Stanford. They didn’t care too much about Adam or him hinting at proposing to Mila because they saw their relationship as a travel fling. Mila proved their latter theory wrong when she missed her return flight home in December and stayed in Antigua.

Two months later, our parents are still upset and decided they will travel to Antigua in order to bring Mila back home even though she successfully transferred to UWI and even became Adam’s fiancée.

I understand why my parents are upset but I also believe they are too controlling and need to let Mila make her own mistakes and adventures.

What do you say?

Should You Have To Answer Questions About Your Sexual Past If You’re With Someone New?

February 10th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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Meagan Good

Source: WENN

We all have that one person in our circle, that one family member, or that one acquaintance who just knows how to keep us in our past. They bring up old relationships, and it’s like making an old wound bleed again. But what happens when that one person is actually a large group of meddlesome people questioning you about your past experiences with the opposite sex?

Meagan Good’s love life has been a favorite topic of conversation ever since she decided to be with DeVon Franklin. Her decision to forgo sex and date a man of the cloth left many wondering what that would mean for the image she was branded with as a sex symbol. Some even feared that it would tarnish his image as a preacher. However, these past couple of years have been a significant time of transition for Good, especially in the public eye. She has successfully made the transformation from a sex symbol to a preacher’s wife and with her inspiring marriage to Franklin, they have catapulted their celebrity status into a platform to spread a message on the importance of waiting until marriage to be intimate. The month of February has been an extremely lucrative one for the couple with the release of their book The Wait, and with the promotion of the book came loads of guest appearances on radio shows and television talk shows.

In a sex-driven society where it’s pretty much flaunted everywhere, there’s a sense of shock and interest that comes from the couple sharing their struggles and the journey that’s led up to their success. On countless radio shows and television interviews, the pair talked about celibacy, their sexual relationship, and past relationships. In a few of these interviews with both Good and Franklin, she was asked a series of questions about the men she dealt with in her past. Nothing about what she learned from those situations, but rather, inquiring minds wanted to know about which famous men she bedded. People wanted to know if rumors were true that she had slept with certain men, and the line of questions left me wondering, should people have to answer for their sexual past when they’ve already moved on to someone new?

I thought that it was distasteful for others to expect such an explanation from her, especially to inquire about her sexual past as her husband sat right next to her. Your past is your past for a reason, and once you’ve made the decision to close certain chapters of your life and move forward, there’s no need to revisit them. If you and your partner have a clear understanding of each other and are accepting, then that’s all that matters.

With that being said, I think it is important to have conversations with your partner about your past. Discussing your past relationships with them can help you identify problematic patterns, it can give them insight into who you are and how you love, it encourages trust and open communication, and can help you really get closure as you take the next steps in your relationship with your current companion. These conversations are only important and necessary with your partner, not everyone else. Therefore, I thought that it was pointless for Good to even try to formulate a response to those types of questions. The woman has moved on,  and created and worked for a life that makes her happy. So if you ask me, the past is now irrelevant–and none of your business.

People Think Sharing A Netflix Account Is A Sign That Things Are Serious

February 5th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Corbis Images

Apparently, the Netflix habits of you and your boo are more telling than we initially guessed. In the past, singles were able to gauge the seriousness of a relationship by the frequency in which a potential partner invited them over for Netflix and Chill (read: sex). Essentially, the belief has been that if the only thing you do with a guy is Netflix and Chill, there’s a good chance the relationship is headed nowhere. However, a recent study conducted by Netflix and market research company Ipsos, revealed that there’s a lot more that can be learned from a couple’s Netflix habits.

According to Refinery29, out of the 1,008 adults whose ages range between 18 and 29, 51 percent of them expressed that they believe sharing a Netflix password means that the relationship is serious. What was even more interesting was that 17 percent of participants responded that they would not be willing to share their passwords with a partner until they’re engaged. Check out the infographic below to see what else was revealed by this unique survey.

Netflix

Netflix

I’m not really sure if folks are reading too deeply into the whole password-sharing thing, but apparently, there are some who play no games when it comes to their Netflix accounts.

Dating While Waiting: What I Learned From DeVon Franklin & Meagan Good

February 5th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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meagan good

Source: WENN

After so many years of getting it wrong with so many people concerning dating, I decided to take myself off of the market and really focus on preparing for the life that I wanted. I had to get myself in order career wise, I had to patch up some holes in my finances, and I needed to finish up a couple of manuscripts I’d been sitting on for over a year. More than anything, I needed to allow myself time to heal from all of the emotional and mental exhaustion I had put myself through by dealing with men who had no intention of taking me seriously. I realized that even in the midst of all the partying I did, the good times, the flings, the tequila and the late nights and early mornings, I was lonely. And despite wanting to date seriously and work towards a sincere commitment with someone, I wasn’t even prepared. So with a boatload of lessons learned, I locked myself in a cave of personal development and that’s where he found me.

He laid it all out on the table for me and rather than seeing me as this sexual, free-spirited, wild child, he saw me in my purest form. I hadn’t realized how much of my self-worth was based on how big of a social life I had, how many friends I made, and having a calendar with every weekend booked to be somewhere clubbing it up. It was a front to my loneliness. So when he told me he wanted to work towards a marriage, I panicked a little because I didn’t even know how to be a girlfriend despite the fact I believed I had a lot of love to give. I panicked even more when he said that he was holding off on having sex in relationships.

It wasn’t a big deal to me at first because since I had taken a break from dating prior to meeting him, sex had also come to a halt. But in reality, it was a big deal because I had gotten used to sex being an expectation when you’re in a relationship. I was a bit hesitant at his suggestion that we wait, but then something ironic happened. I got an email for a free course offered on Essence.com called “The Wait 101: Discovering Lasting Love Through Celibacy.”  I thought why not? The short course is facilitated by married couple DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good, and they take you through a series of short videos and surveys and quizzes to help you reflect on your dating patterns and to help prepare yourself for such a covenant. In such a short period of time, I’ve discovered some very helpful gems. Some might seem elementary, but I realized that the older we get the harder it is to go back to the basics.

Delaying Gratification

We live in a society chock-full of the quick and easy. We want quick meals, quick weight loss results, quick education. We want to alleviate the amount of effort we have to put into things. We want to get paid more money to do less work. You get the point. But with quick meals, you’ll be hungry again sooner; with quick weight loss results, you’ll find yourself struggling to keep it off because you don’t know how to properly maintain. With quick education, you’re only brushing the surface and risk missing out on important details. Such is the case when it comes to building a relationship with someone.

We want the reward first as an incentive to do the work later. I used to be that way. Sex was instant gratification, but it’s no foundation to build a relationship upon. I couldn’t understand why people would want or should deny their natural desires. However, I soon realized that I was often left wondering why guys didn’t want a relationship with me, but wanted the fun that came with being with me. Meagan Good talked about how waiting weeds out what’s not supposed to be so that you can focus on what is meant to be a lot faster. A lot of the damage that we experience emotionally and that we’re still trying to recover from is often rooted in sex or hasty relationships with someone who wasn’t meant for us. Franklin also suggests waiting because rather than spending weeks, months and sometimes even years with someone who wasn’t meant for you, you’ll be able to see them clearly for who they are sooner.

Getting Below the Surface

“Do I love you? Do I lust for you?” Those are just the beginning lines of “Bonita Applebum,” but these are questions we can find answers to faster when remaining celibate while dating. It allows you the clarity to make better decisions not just with your partner, but in your individual life as well. There’s so much more beneath the surface of a person and by choosing to wait you’ll gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your partner. You’ll be able to fully understand and experience the entirety of love without uncertainty. You’ll figure out if you even like this person and vice versa without the haziness of a sexual relationship. Franklin talks about how so much of men’s values are tied up in their sexual lives and that when you’re in a relationship, with it comes an unspoken expectation that you’re supposed to have sex.

Mind Over Matter

Temptation is all around us. It’s in the music we listen to, it’s in the shows we watch, it’s in those romance novels we lose ourselves, in and there’s literally no escaping it. Choosing to wait is more than just an action, it’s also a mindset, and Franklin and Good both shared some tools on having the mind to wait that I’ve tried to put into practice:

  • Pray about it.
  • Find a support system. Even though the two of you have each other, it’s great to have a support system of the same sex who can identify with the struggles of being a man or woman in waiting.
  • Cut off toxic friends and change your scenery. Most of my friends are as artsy as I am, but nights out with them often ended in sexually-charged nightclubs, throwing back shots of Brandy, grinding and inhaling massive amounts of hookah. I love them dearly, but I knew that couldn’t be my scene much longer.
  • Create a statement of purpose and share it with your partner. As a writer and educator, I have a million things going on in my day and if I don’t write them down and have a tangible reminder, I’m liable to forget. So during this process, when things get tough and you find yourself on the verge of slipping, having that physical reminder will help you remember why you started.

Woman In Waiting

It was very interesting to hear Meagan share her journey of living in the limelight and being labeled a sex symbol to embarking on this journey. Often times, when we find ourselves in a web of sex and partying, there’s guilt that we leave with. Even though it’s fun in that moment, the guilt is there followed by feelings of unworthiness. She expressed that your self-worth is your power and the way in which you control your life. Rather than making it a goal to find a man, set goals for yourself. Figure out what makes you excited and find your passion. Develop discipline by starting a fitness routine, learn financial responsibility, pray and meditate, serve your community and just be your best self. He will find you. And no, that doesn’t mean if you don’t do all these things he won’t find you. And there’s a chance that yes, you might even find him.

Standards Of Dating While Waiting

It is important to set some boundaries when dating while waiting. Set your intentions from the beginning, evaluate them constantly and tap into your discernment. Franklin explained that by waiting, we are giving people time to show themselves and to figure out if they are really prepared to share in this experience with you. Learn their dating patterns, their dating past, identify any negative patterns, and learn their type. REMEMBER, you have the power to choose exactly what you want and if they aren’t it, then feel free to walk away.

Plan double dates or group outings with friends. This allows each of you to see each other in different elements and you can observe how they interact with their friends and your own. It is important to control your environment and lessen the amount of alone time in intimate places.

Overall, I loved the course because it gave me the clarity and confirmation that I needed. I love how the program is for those who are single, those who are dating, and also for those who are married and looking for a fresh perspective. I think that even if you aren’t planning on being celibate and have no desire to do so, it will still give you tips on developing a healthy relationship with anyone, period. As I said, some of these things seem a bit elementary while reading, but when you’re in a relationship, you find that it’s not as simple to communicate your feelings, it’s not as simple to reach a common ground on things you don’t agree on, it’s not as simple to abstain, and it’s not as simple to plan a life together. But Franklin and Good are great examples that if someone wants a future with you, they are going to be open and committed to sharing these experiences and walk alongside you.

When Is The Right Time To Put Bae On Social Media?

February 2nd, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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When Is The Right Time To Put Bae On Social Media?

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The other day I was scrolling through “Facebook Memories,” you know the app that curates your posts and statuses from today’s date in years past. It’s easily one of the best features on the site. Everything I was seeing made me smile and reminisce, until I stumbled across something that induced a cringe.

It was a status where I tagged or mentioned my former boo thang. I cringed mostly because I didn’t talk about our relationship publicly. Mostly because it was so loosely defined for us that I didn’t feel comfortable putting it out there for the people, knowing that there would be questions, comments and prying dips into our business. Plus, when you break up to make up and then break up again, it’s hard to keep a consistent posting schedule that wouldn’t indicate that there are problems in paradise. So, I was scared. The last thing I want in life is to look like a fool, on social media or in real life.

But on this day, years ago, after homeboy put in a bit of a request for a shoutout, I wrote a Facebook status including his name. It was years ago, but thanks to memories, it popped right back up, making me cringe.

I think it was with this failed relationship in mind that I was so hesitant to put my new, current, infinitely more stable one on social media. I didn’t want questions. I didn’t want to cringe if it didn’t work out. And I didn’t want to look like a fool. I had never readily admitted these things to myself. It was just a feeling, a sense that I had, that I may or may not have been able to articulate if asked.

Little did I know, my mother would be the one to do just that.

I texted her a picture of my boyfriend and I and she was so inspired that, without my permission, she posted it on her Facebook page. She was dead wrong. After I had my sister log into her account to delete it, I told her how wrong she was, that it wasn’t her place to do that. She wasn’t trying to hear me.

“Girl, get off my phone talking crazy.”

“Moooom,” I pleaded, “I haven’t even posted a picture of us yet.”

And then she asked me a very simple question that caused me to examine myself.

“Why haven’t you?”

That’s when I realized that while I absolutely didn’t want my mom to be posting my business, there was really no legitimate reason why I hadn’t. Different dude, different relationship. No reason to be hesitant.

But I can’t lie. A part of me remembered cousins and associates who had put entirely too much of their relationship business on social media early, only to find that the relationship fizzled. And what were once happy, optimistic, romantic, “my boo is better than your boo” statuses turned into embittered, single and salty, messy breakup posts.

I thought of Ciara posting her N for Nayvadius tattoo and calling him her king. And especially her interview with Brides magazine. And we all know how that turned out. It was embarrassing. We were embarrassed for her.

Then again, I’m sure Ciara felt sure about her relationship. Particularly after Future proposed to her…and got her pregnant, whichever came first.

So, much like relationships themselves, it’s a gamble either way. You do it…or don’t do it and hope for the best.

When you feel comfortable sharing your relationship on social media?

Thinking About Taking A Break From Sex? Here’s My Celibacy Journey

February 2nd, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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A few years before I met my husband, I decided to give celibacy a try. I had just gotten out of a crazy, hyper-sexualized relationship and I felt like I needed to go on hiatus so I could start making judgments without an overload of endorphins pumping through my brain. We’ve all been there at some point, right?  Looking back on it, the time off was transformative and helped me tremendously in my future relationships. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner you may be even more tempted to bail on your promise to self, but we’re hoping these tips keep you going strong.  Celibacy is no easy feat, but there are valuable lessons that can be learned from such an experience. Based on my experience, here are three things you don’t want to do when you’re giving celibacy a try.

Avoid Setting a Time Frame

Try not to think of this as a “how long can I go without sex” game. It’s really not about how long you go without it, but what kind of improvements and realizations you come to while your abstaining. Initially, I said I was going to do this for three months, but when the time was up, I realized I still had some work to do, so I extended until I could really sense a change in my feelings and beliefs about intimacy. It took about a year before I finally felt good about getting back out there. Believe me, the urge to write tally marks on the wall during the first three months was very real, but surprisingly, it subsided when I got very serious about what I hoped to gain from the experience. Try to think about some areas you’d like to make changes and use those as goal marks to help you decide when you’re ready to end your hiatus. Celibacy is about the knowledge we gain about ourselves during that time period – regardless of how short or how long. Make it count.

Don’t Advertise It

When I first decided to be celibate, I really wanted to talk about it, if for nothing more than explain where I was at in my life.  But I quickly learned that men can sometimes see a declaration of celibacy as a challenge and I found it was best to just keep that to myself. If I had already made the choice that I wasn’t going there, it didn’t need an announcement. I just needed to stick with it.  It’s okay to disclose if you feel you need to, but try not to use it as bait to see how hard he’s willing to work to get the cookie out of the jar.  The real goal is to see how well you function and how things flow without the complicated nature of sex on the table. Sure, there will be tension (which can be a good thing), but there’s really no need to brag about the journey while you’re going through it. The real emphasis should be on pacing yourself and evaluating your connection with a person. Plus, you’ll find there are much more interesting things to talk about than the love below.

Don’t Waste Your Time

If you make the decision to be celibate, make sure you use your time wisely. Don’t waste it obsessing about not getting any, or cyber-stalking exes (tempting, I know). I had to shift my focus and be intentional about what I hoped to gain, and not spend too much time worrying about what I may have been missing. This is a good time to develop a hobby and work on team you. We all have needs, but the truth is, our needs expand beyond what happens horizontally in our lives. If we fine tune things vertically, the horizontal stuff will eventually fall into place and be that much better. I found that pursuing different interests such as painting, kayaking, bikram yoga – if you get my drift – made me a more interesting person to be around. It felt good to get an endorphin rush from things that left me feeling accomplished and complete instead of empty and confused, however pleasurable the fleeting moment had been.  I had time to explore the things I really liked and was more open to what life had to offer.  I was developing a stronger sense of self and it felt good. When I did decide to get back out there, I wasn’t the same person I was before.  I was drawn to different people, places and things and my dating life was a lot more fulfilling than when sex ruled the day.

Have you ever taken a walk on the celibate side? What did you learn from your experience?

Travel Trials: My Boyfriend Is Going On Vacation With A Female Friend I Don’t Know

February 1st, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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(As Told To Lauren R.D. Fox)

Eric and I started dating in July and our relationship was nothing but bliss. Throughout our seven-month courtship, our relationship unfolded with ease. Our date nights were Instagram-worthy (and could even fill a Zane book, cover to cover). Not to mention, I never had to pry for information and I met his friends, family and even co-workers immediately! I was in his world and completely over the moon for him.

I felt like I had finally met “The One.” That is, until one evening after dinner, Eric reminded me that he would be traveling to Brazil in August. He initially told me about his planned trip on our second date and although I had grown to trust Eric, I still had my reservations. I assumed it would be an all-boys trip so I was a bit worried Eric and his friends would have too much fun. You know the type of fun viral Internet videos were made of. Nonetheless, I asked him if there was anything I could do to help him prepare for his upcoming trip. Cheerfully, Eric said, “No it’s OK, Keisha has everything under control.”

I paused.

“Who is Keisha?” I asked, anxiously . “Oh that’s my home girl who is coming to Brazil with me.” Before I could hurl a series of expletives towards Eric, I calmly said to him: “You’ve never mentioned or spoke about her to me before. Furthermore, why haven’t I met Keisha?”

Eric responded by explaining he and Keisha were college best friends and after they graduated Duke, they traveled once a year together since they lived in distant cities. As much as I wanted to fully believe Eric’s “that’s the homie” spiel, something deep down inside of me didn’t want him to go to Brazil with her.

In order to keep the peace but still have a backbone, I told Eric I didn’t feel comfortable with him going to Brazil with Keisha but if I spoke to her prior to their trip I would feel more at ease. Eric said that was fair but after three weeks, he never made the effort for Keisha and me to be introduced via phone or FaceTime, so I can put a face and voice to the name.

Currently, I am on the fence about our once perfect relationship and considering breaking up with Eric.

Am I being irrational?