All Articles Tagged "love"

Lessons in Love: How My 89-Year-Old Grandma Taught Me To Enjoy Being Single

September 27th, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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From Yourtango

By: Michelle Toglia

“Never marry for anything other than love,” Nana said to me from across the dinner table on one of our Sunday date nights. We clinked wine glasses.

Of course, I thought. She knows me. I would never marry for money.

But what my 89-year-old grandma meant was never marry because of pressure. Never marry because it seems like “next thing to do” when you’ve been dating for a while. Never marry because your younger sister is already married. Never marry because you’re 30-something and everyone’s asking why you’re still single.

Nana got divorced when she had three kids. When it wasn’t common, or acceptable even. But she also got married when she wasn’t ready.

That was the ’50s, but are things really that different now? Sure, divorce is more common and accepted these days but what about marriage expectations? I’ve seen couples get married because they want to. But I’ve also seen people tie the knot because they’ve been dating for years and come on, where is that ring already?!, because of ultimatums, because they’re going through the motions.

Nana constantly tells me I have all the time in the world. And even as I see friends, who are ready for it, get engaged, I don’t really feel rushed. I’m genuinely happy for them. This is right for them in their lives right now, not mine.

Sometimes as I go on dates, I think I’m being too picky or not giving people a chance. But I don’t want to date just to date. I’m all for meeting new people, but this isn’t like I’m unemployed, on the job hunt and going to latch onto the first company that likes my resume. If I’m going to be in a relationship it’s because of the person.

And as I sit across from Nana while we wait for our gnocchi, I remember there’s nothing worse than being in the relationship that doesn’t feel right. Feeling suffocated. Feeling like you’re wasting your time. Feeling like you’re on different pages. Feeling stuck.

For the rest of the article, click here.

Remaining Committed To My Husband Made Me Depressed

September 26th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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By Dr Karen Finn, From YourTango

The groundwork for my divorce was laid before I ever got married.

I turned 19-years old a month before I met the man I would marry just 10 months later. Back then, I used to love to go out to clubs to dance and have a couple of drinks with my friends (the drinking age was 19 where I lived). But, my boyfriend did not drink. He also didn’t dance. So I gave them both up. They seemed like little things to forfeit at the time. And yet this was exactly when I started laying the groundwork for my divorce.

I was raised in a family that would drop a well placed expletive when we were frustrated or excited. “Sh*t” is a rather multi-purpose word it turns out. But, my boyfriend did not curse. So I gave up that way of expressing myself. At the time, it seemed like just a little thing.

A couple of months before our wedding, I suddenly had a deep knowing that I shouldn’t marry this man. (And this was not pre-wedding jitters.) But, you know what? I talked myself out of that deep knowing. In my 19-year-old brain, I rationalized that I had to marry him no matter what my inner wisdom said because I’d given him my word that I would. I reasoned that keeping my word was the most important thing I could do. I believed that ignoring my innate knowing was just a little thing to sacrifice in order to keep my word.

After we were married, I continued to make a long string of small changes that denied who I was. I justified each of these as being just another little thing (the compromises of partnership perhaps). The problem was that all of these little changes added up to a very large hole. And in that cavernous space, I could hear the echo growing ever louder of my inner voice telling me: this marriage wasn’t right for me. The marriage was slowly but steadily chipping away at me. But I had given my word, so I just kept going. After all, we were fairly well off, almost never argued and I was able to pursue my education. I would eventually graduate with my Ph.D., land a plum job, and teach a class at a major university as an adjunct professor. Life was looking pretty “fine”, wasn’t it?

Then, after 5 years of living this way, out of the blue, I started having panic attacks. Amazingly, at the time, I didn’t understand the fear underlying my panic. Now, of course, I can look back and see the real me sounding the alarm, scared that she was going to die.

But I didn’t even let the panic attacks stop me. No, sir! I had given my word “until death do us part” so I continued to stuff my rising fear (along with just about every other emotion I had) and began pasting a smile on my face every day. This was my new strategy. Fake it ’til ya make it.

Despite the ridiculous forces smile on my face and my outward efforts to hold my life together, my body started to fall apart inside (those repressed emotions take their toll) and catastrophe started to assault my world over and over. In a span of just 4 years, I developed TMJ so severe I was unable to open my mouth more than a few millimeters for months and months. I was in so much pain that I could barely speak, chew, or open my eyes. I spent months on a liquid diet and ground my way through at least 2 “non-destructible” bite guards while I slept.

After I started to recover, I was then in a car accident that compressed my spine and made it difficult for me to sit for more than a few minutes at a time. I had meetings at work where I was laying on the floor with my feet up in a chair. It looked weird, but I could be productive. I was that determined to make everything work and convince the world that my life was “fine”.

Next, our beloved dog died of bladder cancer. Then, I had a miscarriage. But I was left alone in my tremendous grief because to my husband, everything was fine, he didn’t want kids any way. The next year, just 10 days before Christmas, my sister died unexpectedly. She was only 32 and I was inconsolable. But again, I was alone in my grief.

Read more about this marriage at YourTango.com

How To Battle Insecurities In Relationships

September 26th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Single Black Male

When you find the one you feel like you’ve been waiting for all your life, it’s not surprising that you’d want to hold on tight. Your relationship is something that should be cherished, and you’re likely wary of anything that could harm it or take it away from you. But sometimes, the person in the relationship can be so concerned with keeping the relationship, that they actually begin harming it.

It can also be difficult to stay positive about finding love amid reports about how often people commit infidelity. Just recently, AdamEve.com shared survey results indicating that one in every three people admit to cheating in relationships. So, again, how does one stay positive here? But then there’s also this question: At what point do normal insecurities become too much?

Everyone occasionally has jealously flare up or pangs of doubt, but there are ways you can help deal with these emotions instead of letting them impede on your relationship.

Talk About It
It’s important to have self-reflective conversations with yourself before talking with your partner in order to learn how to better manage your emotions and thoughts. The next time you feel your insecurities creeping up, first ask yourself why you’re feeling this way. Has your partner done anything to cause this? Is this feeling counterintuitive to the state of your relationship?
If you still find a specific issue nagging at you, calmly bring the issue up with your partner. Dr. Jeanne Segal contributed to an article on HelpGuide.org, which stated that the most important aspect to positive communication with your partner is being able to listen. When sitting down and discussing your concerns, you have to be open and receptive to what your partner is saying. Challenging what they’re saying as untrue will hinder the conversation, rather than lead to a positive conclusion. And remember, your partner has nothing to gain from lying to you about their commitment. They are with you because they want to be—no one is forcing them.
Learning to Trust
One of the most important aspects of a relationship is trust. If you can trust your partner, then their words of reassurance should be enough to put your mind at ease. If you still find the issue in the forefront of your mind, it could be because you’re not as confident in their sincerity. But if they haven’t given you any reason to doubt them, it’s a good idea to reaffirm whether or not your concern could be due to your own insecurities.
Do you trust your partner in every other way besides how they feel about you and your relationship? If so, it’s likely that you’re just experiencing some self-doubt. If you feel you can’t trust them in other aspects, there could be deeper issues that you both need to discuss.

Read more about insecurities at SingleBlackMale.org 

Bruh! My Open Letter To Homie Who Tried To Sleep With My Girlfriend

September 23rd, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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By Michael Hollan, From YourTango
Recently, I brought my girlfriend to a party. I had some friends there who hadn’t met her yet, so I was excited to introduce them to her. All in all, it was a fun party and everything went well.

A few days after the party, one of my friends who had just met my girlfriend sent her a message on Facebook. He wanted to know if she wanted to go out with him sometime. She never responded to him, and I was understandably upset with him about this. I felt like I was pretty clear about our relationship status when I introduced her as “my girlfriend.” I feel like I used pretty obvious language there, right?

The next time I saw this guy around, when I wasn’t acting like I was happy to see him, he pulled me aside and asked me if something was up and if I was mad at him about something.

This is an open letter to him in response to the situation:

Hello, creep.

Yes. Of course I’m mad at you. Don’t ask me if something is up. You know what happened. You sent my girlfriend a message on Facebook, and instead of beginning a secret affair with you or dumping me, she never responded. Now I’m acting like I’m mad at you. Do you really need to figure this out? Why are you acting surprised?

OK, this may sound weird, but I don’t think we’re friends anymore. Right? I mean, you tried to sleep with my girlfriend, so I don’t think this is a weird reaction on my part. You shouldn’t be surprised.

I don’t hold it against you for being attracted to her. I feel the same way. She’s super funny, likes video games, is a great baker, and has perfect teeth and a great butt. So that part’s cool. But you can’t sleep with her, not while she’s still dating me. You’re also not allowed to sleep with me either. It’s a strict rule, but at least it’s fair.

I guess I’m really just upset that you went behind my back. You didn’t even attempt to include me in the conversation. Look, it would’ve been super awkward if you had sent a group message that included all three of us together, asking my girlfriend out. I would’ve been creeped out, but I would’ve also respected it. That’s what friends do.

It’s a new world. Open relationships are a thing. Some people don’t care about that sort of thing. I may not be one of them, but I’m not going to judge people that do. There are some couples out there that would say yes to the whole thing. We’re not one of those couples, but I wouldn’t have held it against you for checking. In fact, I would’ve thanked you. That’s what a good friend would do. A weird friend, but still a good friend.

Read more about this relationship at YourTango.com

Bag Lady: How Much Emotional Baggage Can You Handle?

September 20th, 2014 - By Courtney Whitaker
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From Your Tango

By: Christine Baumgartner

 “I don’t want to date anyone who has baggage” is a refrain I hear often. This love seeker’s lament is typically referring to emotional issues, someone having children, financial problems, or physical and spiritual hang-ups. Even though I understand the desire to avoid a potential partner who brings nothing but drama, when clients approach me pining for a free-of-baggage love connection, I have to reply honestly and say, “Sorry, that’s impossible.”

If you’re over the age of 10, you’ve already started accumulating at least some emotional baggage. The older you get, the more baggage you acquire as a result of things that happen to you from your family, school, relationships, career, (basically, from life) — the possibilities are endless.

Where does emotional baggage come from?
When we experience an unpleasant or uncomfortable situation in our lives, we stuff it down. We save it to deal with later. We tell ourselves that it really doesn’t matter that much or it’s too big to face right now. That stuffed down “stuff” becomes emotional baggage.

When I divorced and started dating again, I definitely noticed the huge amounts of baggage everyone else had. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I eventually discovered that my focus on their baggage, faults, and imperfections was a result of my own inner beliefs (otherwise known as: my own baggage). For example, I used to think: Though all men make money, most never seem to actually have any money. I know how to be with men like this and these are the only type of men I deserve. And sure enough, in my dating life, all of the men I attracted were employed but never actually had any money.

For the rest of article, head here.

Is Online Dating Toxic?: One Woman’s Journey To Finding Love

September 19th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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By Amanda Chatel, From YourTango
My aunt was the first person I had heard of who did online dating; you know, back in the day when it was still scary stuff and something only the “desperate” would do. She was also the first, last, and only person I ever knew who tried her hand at the dating personals in the newspaper, too. These two facts about my aunt always disturbed me, and I think, because of it, I’ve never seen online dating as anything but an absolute plague on the community, and something to forever avoid.

I have been on two dating sites in my life. Once, for a couple months for a work-related story; and another time, because my best friend begged me to join. That latter site happened to be OKCupid. His whole reason for me joining was so I could endorse him with a good review (I’m not sure if they still even do that, it’s been so long!), so I figured I had nothing to lose, because I wasn’t looking for anything to gain. I was just simply being forced into something so he could look better to all the hot gay men on OKCupid in New York City. I also thought that if we were both on there, commiserating about how awful a place it was, he’d erase his profile and move on to a place where harassment was monitored better.

I took one evening after work to put up my profile, pick out the best photos of myself that I have that actually didn’t include a beer bottle in my mouth or a scowl on my face, then wrote my endorsement for him. Afterward, I sat on the couch and waited for about 20 minutes to see if anyone looked at my profile or sent me a message. When no one did, I shrugged and went out instead.

When I got home I checked my profile. I was really excited for some reason! I was venturing into a world I had only heard of and it was strange and wonderful and … OMG, did that guy just send me a message asking me if I “swallow?” I was appalled. I had heard the horror stories, but less than two hours into my OKCupid experiment, my blowjob techniques were being questioned and I felt gross. I felt the same way I do when a commenter gets way too personal or tells me to kill myself over something controversial I’ve written. It’s like it doesn’t hurt you, per se, because that person means nothing to you, but it sort of shakes you that this is how people in the world behave. I’d question if they were raised by wolves, but a child raised by wolves would at least have manners and respect.

I noticed I had a couple more messages, but decided I’d spare myself before bed. Those messages weren’t going anywhere.

I didn’t check it again until later the next day, and saw 18 messages. A couple were from the, um, “gentleman,” who questioned whether or not I swallowed, with some lovely commentary on how I’m a prude, among other things and delightful expletives, while all strung together with misspelled words and holes where punctuation should have been. Along with him there was a message from a guy telling me I was ugly and my nose was big. Not exactly what you want to hear from a stranger, but oh well! I was more concerned with the fact that he had time out of his day to legit troll me, as opposed to find love, as I assumed was his reason for being there in the first place. There were a couple nice messages along the lines of, “You look like a cool girl. Tell me about yourself,” but I didn’t respond. It wasn’t that I was totally against the idea; I did, after all, sign up for the site, although my intentions for doing so were completely unrelated to getting a date.

Read more about this online dating experience at YourTango.com

My Boyfriend Can’t Get Over My Sexual Past, Should We Break Up?

September 18th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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By Em & Lo, From YourTango

Dear Em & Lo,

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost a year now. We have known one another three total years. In the beginning of our friendship, I treated him like a best friend, and told him quite a bit about my sexual past with ex-boyfriends. It severely affected him and bruised his ego. I never had a clue that I hurt him so badly until he told me his feelings.

We have since started to (try) and repair the damage that I did, and I have made it a point to try and nullify it. But he is still severely affected by what happened and to be honest, after quite a few months, I am wondering when he will come around. I have made a point to boost his ego. Tell him he is the best in bed, that he is very attractive, etc. He still finds himself in whirlwinds of depression and he thinks back on that time period of when he was in the friend zone. What can I do to pull him out… or can I at all?

Read their answer at YourTango.com 

Why Casual Sex Doesn’t Make Men Commit

September 17th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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By Michael Hollan, From YourTango

A female colleague of mine keeps describing herself, quite proudly, as a slut, and bragging about all no-strings-attached sex she has with guys … but then desperately tries to make each of those guys her boyfriend and gets hurt. Here’s why that method isn’t working.

Dear girl that works in my office that describes herself as a slut,

No, you’re not a slut. Stop saying that.

I think that however you want to live your life, as long as it’s not hurting anyone else, is fine: go for it! When it comes to slut shaming, it’s a horrible thing to try to make someone feel ashamed for their choices. If a girl or guy wants to have a certain type of sex life, then let them. If you don’t like it, then just don’t sleep with those people. As long as they’re neither hurting nor deceiving anyone, then let them do their thing. It doesn’t matter.

(Side note: I’m not slut shaming this girl. I’m also not virgin shaming anyone else. When it comes to sex, have as much or as little as you want. I am ok with dumb shaming though, which I think is fine. People can be promiscuous if they want, but they shouldn’t be dumb. Dumb shaming is just fine. If a girl sleeps with a guy that she finds attractive even though she doesn’t want to marry him, she shouldn’t be shamed. Someone that’s walking around in public looking down at their phone instead of where they’re going and walks into a wall? Yes, that person should be shamed.)

So once again, back to my point, which is my female coworker: you’re not a slut. But you’re having sex in a dumb way, if that makes sense. You go out and pretend to be a self-proclaimed slut, just to get guys to pay attention to you. Which, if that was all you were looking for, would be a great plan. If all you wanted out of these guys was to get them to pay for your drinks, then this would be a great plan. I’d say “you go girl” and high five you.

The problem is, you tell guys that you aren’t looking for a boyfriend, just some fun, and then get mad at them when they don’t want to be your boyfriend. Which I think is totally unfair.

Read more about sex and relationship at YourTango.com

What Your Deal Breakers Say About You

September 16th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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By Jonathon Aslay, From YourTango

One of my clients, Leslie, has been divorced for five years and dating for two. She hasn’t been very successful with men so far, so she came to me.

She’s a beautiful redhead with blue eyes that twinkle and a killer sense of humor. She’s smart, together, and a great conversationalist.

But she rarely dates a man more than once.

Why, you may ask?

Leslie does not want a man with children (even if they’re grown), one who’s been married more than twice, or one who hasn’t been married before. She has dumped some good guys because of her standards. She’s inflexible and won’t discuss changing her mind.

Her reasoning?

She feels the kids would always come first, a man with two divorces under his belt can’t make a relationship work, and a never-married man doesn’t know how to commit.

So how many available men has she excluded with these ridiculous deal breakers?

90%?

95%?

Is Leslie using these conditions as a buffer to keep from getting hurt or a way to avoid intimacy? I think so. If she sets impossible standards that men cannot possibly meet, then she doesn’t have to worry about a relationship developing, and she doesn’t have to worry about a relationship ending and getting hurt.

Read more about dealbreakers at YourTango.com

“When He Kissed Me, I Felt Nothing.” How I Got Over My Ex-Boyfriend With Break-Up Sex

September 15th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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By Amanda Chatel, From YourTango

After a breakup that almost destroyed me, I took to my bed for not just days but weeks. I wasn’t just broken, but whatever is the next step worse than that, horrifically devastated, might be the most accurate explanation of the state of my mind and heart. As with anyone who’s just experienced heartbreak, I was quite sure I wouldn’t recover.

Once I was able to get out of bed, I went through the motions of being alive, as one does after such a thing. I remembered my routine: Getting up every morning, brushing my teeth, showering, and then off to work. I was moving and breathing, but I was like walking dead. The pain was just unbearable.

But time passed and everyday I grew a little bit stronger. I moved to New York City, started a new beginning, and even began dating again. I felt like I had come full circle and he was just a distant memory; a memory I assumed, or rather hoped, I’d never see again. Then one night the unfathomable happened: I ran into him. Of all the bars in all the cities in the world, there he was. It turned out that he, too, had decided New York was the place to be.

My stomach dropped. I began to shake. I couldn’t feel the ground beneath me and I was pretty sure that I was going to throw up all over the floor, any neighboring person, and myself. It was going to be a projectile vomit; the kind that comes with extreme emotional distress. I grabbed my friend’s hand to steady myself as he came walking toward me. I could not believe he was walking toward me.

We exchanged pleasantries; I guess that’s what one would call them, and he asked about my family and I asked about his. I commented on the weather because it had been a hot summer and he commented on the length of my hair. I also ordered another drink, because, dammit, I needed one.

As I proceeded to get tipsier, the fear and nervousness began to melt. I was able to laugh and the comfort level we had between us was back again, although it had been almost two years. I realized, although I missed him and always would, I was in the process of moving on from him, despite the nausea and trembling earlier in the evening. I felt good, to be honest. So, when he asked me to go home with him, I did. Because OF COURSE, I did. I thought I could somehow prove even more to myself that I was over him and, in my mind, having sex seemed like the best way to really solidify that. Yes, at the time, it was a drunken idea, but some of the best decisions we make come out of a bottle of whiskey.

Read more about breakups at YourTango.com