All Articles Tagged "love lessons"
While reading the article by Single Black Male that Madame Noire published today called “Five Things About Women I’ll Teach My Son,” I got to thinking about what I would teach my own daughter about men. My own mother didn’t directly tell me things about men and how to carry myself in the dating world, but I sure would have appreciated some guidance. Needless to say, we get all types of messages (directly or indirectly) from the women in our lives and the themes in the media. (Check out Veronica Wells’ recent piece: They’re All Liars and Other Lessons I Learned About Men)
There’s certainly a lot of mixed messages out there and I’ve realized that all the popular isms about relationships aren’t necessarily true and all the guides about dating are not 100 percent on point and that at the end of the day, it just is what it is. So how would I distill my thoughts about men and relationships to my own future daughter? Here are just a few things I think she should know for sure.
Judge A Man By His Actions, Not His Words
This little tip can apply to all human beings, but I think it just rings truer when you’re talking about a potential suitor. There is a “game” out there which many folks in the dating matrix engage. Be wary. Don’t ever try to rationalize a man’s feelings and his intentions based on his words, because at the end of the day, it’s what he does and how he treats you that matters.
Don’t Play The Game
You will hear a lot about the rules of dating. You may hear that you should seem unavailable and not accept a date unless it’s made a week in advance or not return his first call. But ask yourself, do you want a man that you have to play games with or do you want your true equal? The man you truly will connect with will be above all of this, and there’s no need to convince him of your worth through mental games.
Men Are Fragile
I had to learn the hard way how fragile a man’s ego is, but believe it or not, men are more fragile than women. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s something to keep in mind. I don’t want you to use this as an excuse to undermine your own qualities, but you should know that relying on him isn’t a burden, it’s an honor. For him to act as your protector is the highest honor. Treat that honor accordingly.
He Is A Reflection Of You
I will hope that you attract a man who has just as much character and integrity as you do. BUT, if I hear you complain about your significant other, I will ask you “what is your part in attracting this relationship or behavior?” We all make choices. We all make mistakes. But if you feel that the man you are with is not worthy of your love, then I would recommend that you look inside yourself and make sure you reflect the qualities that you want to attract or enforcing the standards that you hold your highest self to.
He Is Human
Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that the man romancing you or breaking your heart is a complicated being, but he is. You’ll never know exactly why someone you treated so well couldn’t continue with the relationship or why someone who showed interest couldn’t step up to the plate. It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll never know everything about another person and their own private battles. As long as you are doing your part to upholding your own standards, everything will work out.
Two Thousand Twelve began on a Sunday. The gods call it the year of the dragon, a creature considered to be a master of authority and a deliverer of good fortune. Yet, as this summer comes to an end, along with another of my whirlwind romances, I’m forced to confront the bad fortune I’ve allowed into my life and the lack of authority I’ve forged in my relationships. I always act like a lady, but I forgot to think like a man in terms of being assertive in what I want out of my relationships.
Our minds have a lot to do with where we allow our lives to take us and the kind of relationships we are inclined to have. A writer I enjoy, Michelle McKinney Hammond, once told me that self mastery says, I am the boss of me. I make decisions that the rest of me follows to my betterment.
When you look at your life, as a series of years, like a book sectioned into chapters, it is much easier to see the road you’ve traveled, your blessings, and your failures that give way to blessings that make life all the more fulfilling.
In love, the journey is all about trial and error. Yet, when we err, we err on the side of being too vulnerable, too loving, too giving, and too passionate. Thus far, 2012 has brought people into my life who have changed me for the better. Even those who have hurt me have really helped me because, in them, I’ve uncovered four lessons to take with me for my journey.
Know. Your. Worth.
Life (and men) give you exactly what you tell it you’re worth. Love Yourself. Confidence should come from within. If it’s based on others appraisal of you, the number of drinks you didn’t pay for last night, or the size of your bank account, it’s not real confidence. Real confidence says, “meeting me is like finding a gold mine, whether you know it or not.”
I used to begin every new relationship by jokingly (but not really) telling a man I am emotionally unstable. This way, when things go awry, he can’t say I didn’t warn him. But the truth is, alerting someone to your flaws, says much more about your insecurities than it does your concern for the person you’re with. This does not mean to pretend that you have none, but instead to admit we all have flaws and yours don’t make you less of a person for it. Boundless confidence makes dragons intrepid even in the face of difficulties. Therefore they court success easily.
Only a confident person can really be honest about her thoughts and feelings. When he asks you what you want…from him, from life, in love…tell him. Too many people are afraid of being vulnerable or looking silly, but it’s always best to tell the truth. If he feels the same way, now he knows the feeling is mutual. And if he doesn’t, now you know it’s not. If you are honest, and he doesn’t like you for it, leave the pieces on the floor, and move on.
I’ve dated more men in my life than there are stars in the sky and with each one, my friends and family knew more about my feelings for him, than he did. It takes a certain amount of risk to bare your feelings, and it is true that when you do, you are opening yourself up to ridicule and maybe judgment. But the saying goes, the brave don’t live forever, but the cautious don’t live at all. In the latter part of last year I started to tell the truth and noticed that with practice, it gets easier. It becomes second nature to very simply tell the truth. What’s surprising is that when you do, you exude confidence and men and women alike find that hard to resist.
One of my favorite movies in the world is Brown Sugar. Maybe it’s the writer in me that can relate to the story’s main protagonist, Sidney Shaw, maybe its the fact that I’m a hopeless romantic and have an infatuation with the story of hip-hop and how it came to be. Whatever the case, I can watch this movie over and over again, never growing tired of watching Sidney and Dre’s romance blossom from innocent friendship to romance on my television screen. I always turn to mush as the movie comes to an end and Sidney finally confesses her love for her longtime best friend over the radio airwaves of New York City’s Hot97. Unfortunately, there is no sequel to Brown Sugar, so one can’t say for sure whether or not things worked out for Sidney and Dre. The fact of the matter is that this is only a movie and they are only fictional characters birthed from some amazing storyteller’s imagination, so one can argue that the relationship between Sidney and Dre is highly idealized and overly romanticized. However, the one thing that can be taken away from these characters is the importance of friendship and the part it plays in the success of romantic relationships. Okay, no I am not suggesting that you go jumping out of the window, forcing a relationship on your nearest male friend, but, what I am saying is that there should be some form of a close friendship between you and your spouse or significant other.
It is a common occurrence to hear people refer to their spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, fiances etc. as their best friend, so common that many write it off as cliche. But, when you really think about it, if this is the person that you are building a life with, entrusting your emotions to, and investing your time in, shouldn’t you guys be friends as well? The bond of friendship is usually formed between partners during the early “get to know you phase” of dating and courtship. The phase where emotions aren’t too much invested. It is during this time where a couple will begin to learn more about one another, such as likes and dislikes, hobbies, goals, aspirations, fears, familial structures, good habits, bad habits, and so on. Unfortunately, we are living in the microwave generation where we demand instant gratification instead of sitting back and waiting for something to blossom in the timing that it is supposed to. As a result of this, many couples find themselves fast forwarding past this fundamental bonding period and dive head first into full blown romantic whirlwinds. These whirlwinds have the potential to end in a crash and burn scenario because there was no solid foundation built at the beginning of the relationship.
Let’s go back to Brown Sugar for a moment. The relationship between Dre and Reese is the perfect example of a whirlwind gone wrong. They were married after only a few months of dating each other, the honeymoon ended, real life kicked in, and they realized that they had absolutely nothing in common thus resulting in a divorce before the ink even dried on their marriage license. Of course, this situation is extremely exaggerated for the sake of Hollywood and the making of a great story; however, the underlying scenario is the same.
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl like each other. Boy and girl hook up and form a relationship. The newness of the relationship fades. Boy and girl realize they have nothing in common and barely know each other. Boy and girl break up. End scene.
There comes a point in almost every relationship where rough patches are experienced, it’s life, it’s inevitable. When a relationship is based and works solely on superficial things such as chemistry and physical attraction, the chances of that relationship surviving those rough patches are greatly diminished because it has no substance. Your banging body alone will not help him cope with losing his job and the sweet nothings that he is so great at whispering in your ear won’t help you to cope with the loss of a loved one. What will help you is the friendship that you’ve built, the important things you’ve learned about one another, and the way in which you’ve learned to support one another. While the rest of the world seems to be running a relay race in the game of love, it’s okay to want to take your time, as slow and steady wins the race. So the next time you meet someone who you feel to be worth your while, try taking things slow this time. Try making him a friend and building a healthy friendship first.
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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, nor does it keep track of right or wrong. Love is an action at best, and it doesn’t matter if the one you love is at a distance or within arm’s reach because love is love… It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, meaning that when you are not in the presence of a loved one you value the person and their presence more, and you love them more and more with each passing day they are not with you. However it is also said that when you’re out of a person’s sight you’re out of their mind, meaning that if you are not in the presence of the one you love physically then you are likely to become a distant memory.
Are these statements true for long distance lovers? Does absence increase the desire to be with someone, or is it a necessity to be within your loved one’s reach whenever you desire? Based on my personal experience, I believe that both statements are true. I have had the privilege of encountering quite a few relationships from a distance where my significant others were in different states, and while I did long to be with them and miss them I will admit that it was difficult to keep them close. I recall one distant relationship where my significant other and I could not get enough of each other. We called each other constantly; sent each other surprise gifts, planned vacation visits, so on and so on. We did everything we could think of to supplement for the distance, and to keep the relationship going strong, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to sustain a healthy relationship. So shortly after one of our vacation visits, my then boyfriend sent me a very long and dramatic e-mail ending our relationship.
I was baffled when I received this e-mail, but for some reason I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t surprised because deep down I knew the relationship would be short lived because as individuals we struggled with the idea and the reality of a long distance relationship. We both struggled because we did not fully understand the level of commitment, trust, patience and understanding it took from both parties to maintain a relationship from a distance. We struggled with the reality of a long distance relationship because I don’t believe we were mature enough to handle the distance between us as we were both used to having our mates within reach; we did not have the willingness to commit to each other whole heartedly, nor did we have the patience.
One of my personal struggles with this particular relationship was that I was not connected enough to my then boyfriend on a meaningful level to sustain a purposeful relationship. While we had everything in common physically, we were not connected to each other spiritually and emotionally which made our visits draining for me because I chose to struggle to keep a relationship with him because he was a good man. When this relationship ended, I decided to reflect back on it to see how we could have done things differently to make the relationship work. So the first thing I did was ask myself if my mate and I took the time to become friends. We did not. The next thing I asked myself was did we mutually prepare for being involved in a long distance relationship. We did not. Another question I asked myself was, were we mentally prepared to trust each other and were we willing to commit to a long distance relationship.
Remember the first time you saw “Love & Basketball?” Remember how you rolled your eyes at the screen, talked back to the characters and “awwwed” at the end? If you can remember all of that, then you certainly recall telling your friends – or yourself – the things you’d never do or what you would’ve done in “that situation.”
Let’s see if you learned or peeped some of the lessons that I did….
I love Girlfriends. It’s a show that not only introduced us to the hilarious and diverse dynamics of Black female friendships but also taught us a lot of lessons about love and life. Sure, it’s purely fictional and exaggerated at times, but the trials and tribulations of the thirty-something gals surely gave me some things to think about in my own life – and that’s the barometer of good television: being able to connect with viewers on a personal level.
If you’ve seen BET in the last five years, you know the network plays “The Wood” every other day. While that fact alone might sway some of you to believe the movie is garbage, I’d suggest you take a second look. This nostalgic flick, while seemingly simplistic, is chalked full of golden nuggets we all could stand to learn or re-learn. Here are just a few examples of what I’m talking about…
Taking cues from romantic comedies and applying them to your real love life is always a risky proposition. After all, can you really expect things in real life to play out the same way they do in movies?
Well, yeah, you can. That’s the great thing about living! But if you’re not careful you could end up emulating idealistic behavior and circumstance based on a work of fiction. Ultimately you end up using real life to imitate art without the multi-million dollar backing of a Hollywood production to make sure your story has a happy ending.
Imagine the scores of middle-aged women who booked flights to the Carribbean to get their groove back, inspired by Terry McMillan’s novel and the resulting film, only to be struck with the post-happy ending reality: Stella’s “groove” is actually better suited for something closer to a Steve.
But in the beginning art does imitate life and if we go through your favorite love stories with a fine-tooth combed and monocle trained on realism, we’re certain to find those undeniable truisms that peaked your interest in the first place.
Here are the love lessons learned from Brown Sugar:
We all fell in love with The Misadventures Awkward Black Girl web series and are truly excited for its success. Many of us can relate to J’s natural awkwardness and have been in similar situations. The series has also showed us how us awkwards deal with the tricky topic of romance.
Here are some love lessons we learned from J and the crew:
When you were a child, love was based solely on what you saw in Disney movies and other fairy tales. In high school you learned through crushes that sometimes the feeling wasn’t always mutual. And in your twenties you realized that maybe love isn’t always so sweet. Now, that you’re 30 (or over) what lessons have you learned about love? Has your prospective changed?
Find out what this woman realized about love and relationships once she hit the big 3-0 at Your Tango.com.
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