All Articles Tagged "love"
Millennials are known as the generation who creates their own rules rather than conforming to what’s traditionally acceptable. Whether choosing to have an indefinite honeymoon or opting to wear a bridal jumpsuit instead of a dress, millennial couples are focused on choosing what personally matters to them as they prepare to wed.
Case and point, some brides-to-be are choosing engagement necklaces, bracelets and even septum rings instead of the traditional diamond ring when their future husband pops the question. Even if their fiancé could afford an engagement ring, some women shared in the Reddit thread, Would You (Or Have You) Accepted An Engagement With No Ring Or A Cheap Ring?, why they were satisfied with their ring-less proposals. Reddit user Montereoyo revealed she and her now-spouse went ring shopping a few times but decided to take an engagement trip to France instead of purchasing a ring. Montereoyo also shared the engagement story of a food blogger who received a mountain bike rather than a diamond ring. Other users gave insight on why commitment exceeded the need to have the traditional jeweled accessory:
“MrAnthropic proposed without a ring, and we didn’t buy rings until our 5th anniversary. They were inexpensive rings, and we kept those until our 10th anniversary when we were finally comfortable enough with splurging. No regrets.” –MsAnthropic
“My wife went down on her knee, took my hand, and asked me to be her partner, her helpmate, and her wife. It was the most romantic thing ever and totally spur of the moment. As a token of her affection, I received a necklace that was passed down from her grandmother (after we got home later that night). Diamond engagement and wedding rings are a 20th century push by the diamond companies, as a way to sell their product. For practicality’s sake, I’d much rather a simple band. If my wife felt like she had to get me a stone, I would go for tanzanite because I adore purple.”-TheGreatLabMonkey
“We didn’t go the whole engagement ring, or engagement, route. We were out for drinks and decided that we would elope. We decided where we were going to do it, booked our tickets, and went together and bought bands. His is plain and mine has small diamonds inlaid.”- Yalarual
Interestingly, many other women in the thread connected because they all received unlikely proposal symbols: engagement puppies. Others simply didn’t want to support the diamond trade and designed wedding bands with stones like opal or pearl. When I asked my best friend how she felt about ring-less engagements, she said it was another excuse for “negroes to not buy rings.” She also said women who accept ring-less engagements are complacent in their relationship. After asking around the office and extensively reading the Reddit thread, some couples had ring-less engagements because they didn’t plan to (mutually) propose to their significant other. Many disclosed their engagements happened because they were in the moment with their partners while on vacation or cuddling on the couch. Although the women in the relationship received their engagement rings after the initial proposal, most people didn’t seem pressed to have their love story develop in a certain way (or purchase expensive rings) because the option to upgrade is always there.
Reddit user Spinzard placed sage advice in the thread in the midst of the story-telling and controversial diamond ring debate, writing “I waited until my SO bought me a diamond ring. I just figured, there’s no rush and he was so excited to buy it. My only advice is: get excited about getting married that you forget about wanting a ring. If you want one, don’t trick yourself into thinking that you don’t just so you can get engaged. In 5 years, you might regret it. I just went with the traditional option because my SO is very traditional and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life explaining why I didn’t have a diamond. Also, I like diamonds. Be true to yourself, whatever you really want is what you should go with.”
Where do you stand? Let us know if you would go the ring-less, nose-septum or traditional diamond ring route in the comments.
Relationships have become extremely complicated nowadays, and they really shouldn’t be. People are marrying less, divorcing more and settling for effortless no-strings-attached situations. I am not married, nor have I ever been married, and as unconventional of a person as I may think I am, there are some things that I still find sacred. Things such as marriage, dating and the value of family. I’m old-fashioned when it comes to courtships, and even more traditional when it comes to marriage. I want a union that is highly valued and sacred to both myself and my husband. I want to walk into a lifetime commitment with someone knowing that we meant the vows we spoke aloud.
However, as I get older and more in tune with the dating behaviors of today, I realize that not only is the way we date changing, but also the way we handle the ups and downs of marriage.
There was a debate that arose on Twitter recently. A user made a point of saying that once you’re married, you stay married until death or a legal divorce. They claimed that even when you’re legally separated, it still means you’re married. But I know some couples who don’t wait for the ink to dry, choosing to date other people when they’re separated. Such decisions started me thinking about how often this happens. Is it really okay to date around and dance around the idea of starting a new life with someone when you haven’t even closed the door on your marriage? Dating, while separated, is (not can be) difficult and comes with much drama.
Sitting in the lounge at work, a co-worker randomly shared with me that she’s involved with a married man. I didn’t know how to react, but she said it boldly as if it were nothing. An achievement to be proud of in a way. She disclosed that when they first started dating, she had no idea that he was married. Now that she knows, it hasn’t changed her opinion or shifted her status in terms of being involved with him. She shared with me how he left his wife and children to move in with her and her children. He uses her car as if it were his own and drops her off at work most days. And as I sat and listened to her drama-filled story of the children caught in the middle (both his and hers), the man’s battles with his wife who “doesn’t want to let go,” the house pop-ups and the vandalized property, I couldn’t help but look at her with a sour taste in my mouth. Nothing about her situation seemed stable, which is all the more reason not to date a man who hasn’t tied up his loose ends.
If the relationship is truly over between a wedded couple, the marriage should and will end in divorce. By legally separating, it means, in my opinion, that some things are still being shared between a married couple. Reconciliation is still possible. Dating while separated can also be messy because an individual might not be ready to start dating again. For some of us, when we are fresh out of a relationship, we are eager to start anew. We are anxious to get back out there and explore. But deep down, when the dust settles, we might not even be ready emotionally to invest in someone new right away. A person battling the same feelings during a separation hasn’t given themselves time to learn the lessons their defunct marriage has laid out for them: Why did my marriage fail? What could I have done differently? Can we fix it? How will I do things differently in the future?
Some don’t take the time to search for these answers before jumping into a courtship with someone else. Some find the answers after they already started dating again and end up right back with their estranged spouse.
The same reason you shouldn’t rush into another relationship after a failed one is even more of reason, to me, to avoid dating while separated. Don’t get me wrong, for those of you who have tried it, it may have worked for you. But my question is, why not just get a divorce before putting yourself back out there? After seeing your marriage crumble after all the work and love you put into it, what’s the rush to do this love thing all over again?
Love is definitely in the air this month. So many celebrity couples have made it official that several of these new relationships flew right under the radar. And what’s the new fictional relationship that has Shondaland fans all fired up?
In this fast-paced society, sometimes it’s good to slow down and really look at what’s right in front of you. Life is so much more stressful when we try to plan out our every move, and so disappointing when it steers us in a completely different direction. Some women wait and search their whole lives for “Mr. Right,” however, many end up with a bunch of “Mr. Right Nows.” But that’s not such a bad thing. Sometimes we end up unhappy or dissatisfied with the things we thought we wanted and end up happy with the things we never would have imagined. Many lessons and perks come with dating a “Mr. Right Now.” For instance:
They Fill A Void.
Before I start a riot, hear me out. We are naturally made to love and want love. It’s in our DNA. It’s a basic necessity to want and seek companionship, because who wants to be alone? The older we get the more that desire needs to be fulfilled. It’s perfectly okay to want the romantic company of someone. It is also completely up to you to define the boundaries of how far you want it to go and how long you would like it to last. Sometimes we rush into relationships we aren’t ready for when all we really wanted was just simple camaraderie and intimacy without strings. Be honest with yourself.
They Help You Appreciate The “Moments”
Dating and being okay with Mr. Right Now forces you to drop certain expectations and just enjoy the moment. Enjoy those last-minute dates and spontaneous trips. Enjoy the company. Constantly having conversations about where your interactions are headed or what one’s expectations are can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Stop racking your brain and just be happy in that moment, for a moment.
They Aid In Self-Discovery And Providing Clarity Of Your Type
You learn a lot about yourself when you allow yourself to yield to the dating experience with whoever you’re with. You discover what you like, dislike, want and need. You also learn about a completely different individual other than yourself. That forces you to be more open to learning more about how you date. This alone will benefit you when it comes to finding the love you deserve.
They Open You Up To Opportunities
I once dated someone just as creative as I am. While he wasn’t the one for me, being with him and enjoying those moments allowed me to broaden my professional network. It helped me to realize the path I wanted to take in my creative projects and ventures. I started writing again because he appealed to my artistic nature. I also took away a lot of insight about personal responsibility. I absorbed a great deal from that experience, and it opened the door for many more opportunities–pertaining and not relating to love.
I didn’t learn much about the dating experience until I was single. Even in being in a long-term relationship with someone, I still didn’t know much about what I was doing. Being single and just having fun getting to know guys allowed me to see how people date nowadays, the expectations they have, and how I could grow from those experiences. So even if you may not see anything long-term with an individual, remember that you have to start somewhere. A relationship never stemmed overnight and, you never know, Mr. Right Now could eventually turn into Mr. Right.
Some women prefer to date older men because there is an assumption that they are wiser and more grounded in life. One 24-year-old woman I conversed with believes that they are more powerful and aware of such power, well-established, and are more likely to know what they want from a woman. Some men prefer younger women because they are perceived as more fun and “trainable.” For some men who wait until later in life to settle down, they believe there are perks to doing so with a younger woman. One 37-year-old man I talked to thinks that dating a woman in her late 20s will give him a better chance of still having the children he wants without the rush factor that a lot of older women come with. Some men date older women due to the assumption that there will be fewer expectations and more maturity while some women prefer younger men because both parties aren’t looking for anything serious.
A 2013 U.S. Current Population Survey on the “Age difference in heterosexual married couples,” revealed that 33.2 percent (the majority) of husbands and wives in the U.S. have a year difference in age. The percentages got lower and lower as the age gap widened. Despite the so-called perks that come with dating older or younger, most people settle down with someone closer in age. So in conjunction with all the dating assumptions, expectations, lack of expectations and dating preferences, does age really matter?
According to an article published by The Guardian, Danish researcher Sven Drefahl found that “the key to a longer life is to marry someone the same age, if you’re a woman.” His research showed that women who dated men older and younger than them decreased their lifespan while men, on the contrary, had a higher mortality rate when dating a younger woman.
Psychology Today published an article in 2014 about a dating trend that is being used as the deciding factor on the minimum and maximum age of your partners. This trend is called the “Half your age plus seven” rule where you divide your age in half and add seven to determine how low you should go when dating someone younger than you. On the contrary, when finding the maximum appropriate age for dating, you must subtract seven from your current age and multiply that number by two. But how effective is this rule? As a 25-year-old, my minimum dating age is 19.5, which I’m just not here for. My maximum age would be 36, which isn’t too bad, but based on the assumptions and beliefs that were made in the beginning, and on my own experiences, I don’t believe age is important. Here’s why.
I’ve dated a man near 30 who was still trying to figure his life out and had no idea what he wanted from a woman, so he sure wasn’t looking to settle down with one. I’ve dated a man near 40 who was just as clueless and unestablished. I’ve dated a guy who was my same age, and while things lasted for a while, we ultimately realized we wanted two different things. I’ve dated younger and have found that some young men are way more mature than older men. Even though there may be some truth to the statistics and stereotypes, I do believe that measuring someone’s level of establishment, maturity level, and direction in life goes way beyond the factors of age.
When you get to a certain age and a certain stature, you begin to look forward AND backward at the same time. And clearly, you stay entrenched in the present. Forward vision is a result of the possibilities that have yet to manifest themselves. The past, for me, involves dealing with what could have been or what has already manifested itself.
Mostly, I have current-day appreciation to those that unwittingly support me as I transverse through life.
I have long wanted to write something dedicated to the women who got me through life.
Vernese Edgehill, The Center For Black Culture
So, it took me sometime to realize this, but Vernese Edgehill may have saved me from the the gaping, jagged jaws of mediocrity. I’m sure you don’t know who Vernese is, so let me explain. When I was a student in my my early 20s, Vernese acted as the head of the Center for Black Culture at the University of Delaware. Now, the CBC (also proudly my initials) was the place where all the Black students got together in solitary. Verse and Sheila (RIP), the secretary, looked out for us, taught us how to conduct ourselves in business, and acted as guidance counselors (who we actually loved and respected) as students at a majority white school.
Vernese was also a surrogate mother to a lot of us, as I was away from home and didn’t go back very much. She never chastised me for my wonderfully messy college dorm room. Now, I am certain Vernese knows that the line between genius and megalomaniac is a fine one.
Hanifa Shabazz, Owner Of The Drumbeat
A Muslim sister took me under her wing as I was being cultivated into a collegiate revolutionary. Honestly, I never loved college as an institution. I just loved the vast resources at my disposal like the Mac Room, where all the Apple computers were. I also loved the radio station, where I posted up every Friday afternoon.
I managed to link up with Hanifa, who ran a bookstore with her then-spouse Hanif. She also ran a paper called The Drumbeat. Honestly, I cannot recall how, but we connected. I loved the fact that Hanifa meant I was able to plug into a “higher power.” I was a student activist that ran the Black Student paper called The Pamoja. The Pamoja became an insert in The Drumbeat, increasing our circulation to one of the biggest in the state. More importantly, Hanifa offered many, many lessons. We were fighting on-campus racism and needed guidance on all fronts. Hanif got us ready for the bigger war…a lifetime war against injustice.
My Strong Women Friends
I want to name them all of the women who helped me through one of the toughest times in my life, my divorce, but I can’t. So here are a few: Seandra, Gina, Elon, and Holly. All of the relationships are completely platonic. However, during that period, I needed to talk my way through life. A journal wasn’t getting it and, a therapist would have broke the banks with all the time I needed to talk my way through my circumstances. So, to those ladies – I salute you. I haven’t dated too crazily, but a couple of times, I was linked to very doting women that understood my frail condition and treated me accordingly, even when it was tough love. My homeboy told me these were my “angels of mercy.” They were there for a specific time, knowing it was limited. However, they may have saved my life had they not been there.
My Daughter, The Little Teacher
People probably know this, but even before my divorce, I had issues. My daughter gave me the strength and resolve to push through everything. She’s a real life inspiration that has taught me – the father and man – how to be more loving, caring, empathetic and patient. She teaches me the value of unconditional love in adulthood.
Mom, The Master Teacher
My mother is the adult version of my daughter – a master teacher through action. For example, my mom survived my father’s death and managed to flourish like no widow I’d ever seen. She’s managed to do better for herself than even when my dad was alive, fiscally speaking. Every so often, I want to have deeper conversations, but I really play observer. Every now and then, she will speak something that I will use, but more often, I watch her moves. She was a teacher (now retired) and he continues to do so in her everyday life. There are times when I encourage my mother to write a book to share with the world, but she is happy right now just to give to her sons and grand kid, I think. Maybe one day, the whole world will learn what I have from the woman who gave me life.
These women and young ladies are the gifts that keep giving. They continue to give me life and strengthen me with their spirit on a daily basis.
Many people falsely believe that once you get married, you’re automatically happy and everything is just perfect. But in reality, that’s not how it is. Marriage is like a plant – you have to keep watering it or it will die. Many people also have outrageous expectations of what a marriage should be like; including me. I had to struggle with that for the first few months of my marriage because all those fairy tales we used to watch, well, they’re just that. Fairy tales.
Marriage is hard work, as beautiful as it can be, if both are willing to put in effort and work together as a team, everything will work out. Here a few core points of what I believe every relationship needs in order to be a blossoming, successful marriage.
We all have heard the saying that “Communication is key.” And yes, it truly is. If you want a person to understand your fears, know your wants and needs, be able to cater to you in a way you wish for – you need to communicate that to them. Most of the time expectations just set you up for failure. I like to keep it as direct as possible, without being disrespectful. If something really disturbs me or if I think there’s some improvement in our relationship we need to work on, I make sure to let him know. Even though we’re on one page, one might perceive the situation in an entirely different light than the other. Don’t be afraid to hurt your partner’s feelings, to come across as nagging or to ruin the vibe. Leaving issues unaddressed and letting negative feelings build up is what will definitely hurt the relationship. Just be open to each other and very importantly, be open to constructive criticism.
Trust is the foundation of a relationship. Just as with any other relationship, including friendships – you need to trust one another.
How else could you possibly rely on a person to have your back throughout the good and the bad times?
Without trust, no relationship can truly function. The best way to build such confidence is to not expect any negative actions from your partner. Regardless of what that person may have done in past relationships, circumstances have changed, and this is a new beginning for both. Of course, it doesn’t always go smooth, and trust may be broken or taken advantage of. In that case, your partner needs to prove himself through actions. Prove that whatever it was that broke your trust won’t happen again and that you’re the one they sincerely want to invest their time and effort in. That doesn’t mean that it’s okay for anyone to take advantage of your trust and forgiveness. There’s only so much a person can and should take. Don’t be a fool for love but know when forgiveness can be earned.
Spending Time With Each Other
It’s crucial for you and your partner to find time to enjoy each other’s company whenever possible. A busy schedule and your kids might make it hard but it’s important to have at least one date night a week where it’s just the two of you. Have a nice dinner, go dancing, check out a local happy hour – whatever it was that you guys used to enjoy doing before your schedules got hectic. That is what’s going to make you appreciate the time that you do have together even more. It’s not a bad thing to miss your partner, but you don’t want to get in a habit of living separate lives.
You and your partner need to communicate your fantasies and needs to each other. Trust is also needed to entirely let go of all worries and to fully enjoy the act of intimacy. And then it’s important to put forth the time required with each other to do all that. It is totally up to each relationship, but most won’t want to keep it to just once a week. Men: women are different from you all. We need the whole romance thing to get it started. Random gifts, dinners, massages, cleaning up something for us, even putting the babies to sleep – anything that gives us the opportunity to relax for a minute will also benefit you. And women: men like it spontaneous. Not everything has to be planned; he doesn’t always need to be expecting it. Keeping it fun and interesting between the sheets can do so much for your relationship. Another benefit for both is that sex reduces stress and releases dopamine, so you’ll both feel much better afterwards.
The illustration above shows what I believe are the three main components of a healthy relationship. My father taught me that. He said:
The foundation of a good relationship always has to be a solid friendship. If that’s nonexistent, you won’t be able to share your most vivid thoughts and fears with that one person. You also won’t love a person if they don’t become your friend first. Wanting to be around that one person–laughing and crying, fighting with each other and then getting over that–that’s love coming from friendship. But my favorite is the sex. Good sex is crucial. Attraction, intimacy and sex are what keeps a relationship alive.
Now, that I am married myself, I understand what he was talking about.
You’re in the bedroom; he’s unzipped and the moment of truth is at hand. But whether it’s your first time or you’re anything but a newbie when it comes to sex, these are the thoughts that run through every woman’s head when she first gets a glimpse of what a guy is packing.
The dating game has definitely changed. Ideas for dates have become less and less thoughtful while dating, in general, has grown more complicated. You can thank all the various apps and websites for that.
Men are still buzzing about whether or not spending $200 for a date is too much, and women are wondering if someone who spends less, much less at that, is worth their time. In the place of such pricey outings, “Netflix and chill” has become the latest trending topic. It is code for “let’s hook up” while Netflix plays in the background. Picking you up in the evening, opening the door for you, and going somewhere nice dates have become somewhat antiquated. People are settling for late-night rendezvouses, Netflix, or “Can I come over and chill?” We settle for these things because of our basic need to be wanted, but more so because it’s convenient and requires less effort. We give all types of reasons as to why we can’t seem to make love work for us or take the time to build a relationship, including the classic excuse that “we’re too busy.” And by “busy” we most likely mean that we’re trying to build our careers, finish school, handle day-to-day responsibilities, or find different opportunities to make money. But are these legit reasons to settle for lazy dating relationships? What happened to the old-fashioned type of dating where you actually got to know someone, spent hours talking, planning dates, and letting time take you to the next level?
Some have chosen to live by the guidelines of cuffing season all year long. Find the right contenders, date them just long enough to keep yourself warm and entertained, but short enough to not have to spend loads of money, meet family and friends, and establish real feelings for one another. It’s easier to crash at someone’s place, order Chinese takeout and watch a movie on Netflix until you two fall asleep. It’s effortless. It’s easy to meet up for a nightcap and late night tryst between the sheets than to make dinner reservations, find a nice outfit and have a night out on the town.
The bar has been set extremely low. People are refusing to think outside the box and would rather get instant gratification as opposed to putting in the time and effort with someone. We’ve become a free generation that has taken the bull by the horns, and we’re creating the life we want. This includes the freedom to date multiple people and explore the social scene as we please. Some might even look at building real relationships as a distraction to their lifestyle. I mean, aside from laziness, wanting to get off real quick, and narrow-mindedness, there are some legitimate reasons as to why some would rather not place effort into dating. It’s usually because they are still trying to figure themselves out.
It is important to know what you want for yourself before you can articulate those expectations to someone else, and it makes no sense wasting someone else’s time and emotions if you can’t. Or your own. As a woman whose had the pleasure of growing up around long-lasting and stable relationships, I long to meet a man who believes I’m worth the time and effort. I pray for the day I meet someone who wants to wine and dine me and saves the “Netflix and chill” for a rainy day. Or at least until they’ve taken me out, learned the basics of me, and made a real effort.
I’ve been misled about how this whole “love” thing works. It all started when I was a kid. One of my favorite love scenes growing up and to this day, hands down, is from Dirty Dancing. I know, it’s not the first love story you think of when it comes to the epic ones shared on the big screen, but it has always made me swoon.
Baby sneaks off to Johnny’s (Patrick Swayze) cabin and they dance their way into a sexual escapade. The best part about their exchange is the way he dips her in a swooping motion. You watch her surrender herself to him when she releases her upper body and closes her eyes. The song in the background says, “Don’t you feel like crying?”
Hell yeah, I feel like crying! Hollywood had me mentally screwed as a child thinking love was one family vacation and a dance lesson away. I begged my mother to take me to Catskills Resort! And guess what? Catskills Resort doesn’t even exist! Message to Hollywood: kill yourself!
Ok, I know that’s harsh. I’m just saying, why paint the picture that love is so easy when clearly it’s one of the hardest things to find and to undertake during your lifetime? When I didn’t have the love that I saw as the standard in my favorite films, the love I saw others around me engulfed in, I felt some kind of way. I felt like I needed answers. Would I ever find it? Why does it sometimes hurt so much? I set out to get those answers.
Stay with me here.
I decided to put my journalism skills to use and try to snag an interview with Love. I managed to reach her publicist and set up a meeting with Love at Starbucks Coffee. Our meeting was at 6 p.m. I arrived about 15 minutes early to make sure I could find us a table. I found the perfect table facing a painting of a little girl and boy holding hands by a lake (quite symbolic don’t you think?). Around 5:55 p.m., I ordered our drinks. Her publicist informed me that she was very particular about her drink and had given me exact instructions on what to order. Love wanted a Venti Dark Cherry Mocha with two shots of espresso, extra hot, with extra whipped cream. I took our drinks to the table and waited for her to arrive. At 6:15 p.m., no love. By 6:45 p.m., still no love. I waited and waited for her, and she never showed. At 9:00 p.m. the cashier gently tapped me on my shoulder and said, “I’m sorry ma’am, but we are closing for the evening.”
Disappointed, I got up, brushed the banana walnut bread off my dress, gathered my things and left. I didn’t hear anything from Love or her publicist.
About a month later, Love called. She apologized for missing the interview and wanted to schedule a time and date to meet–for real this time. We were to meet at her home on a Friday evening. It was clear that I was the one who had been kept waiting, but still, she was in control, and I was on her time. I accepted the invitation.
When I arrived at her house, her assistant answered the door and led me in. Her house had simplistic yet thoughtful decor. There were pictures of captured memories all in black and white, strategically placed around the house. I sat down in the parlor and waited for her to join me. She took her sweet time, yet again. But as I looked around the room, a framed picture caught my attention. It was the only picture in the house that was in color. I was intrigued, so I got up to get a closer look. When I picked up the frame, in it was a picture of my face, my eyes, my smile, my body…me.
I grabbed the picture, picked up my purse and left.
I realized while I was waiting for Love that real love was right here. Inside of me. Not in another individual. Not something that I couldn’t have on my own. All of the broken hearts, lost loved ones, tests, and trials are all faded and fading memories. I am light. I am love. And so are you.
This metaphorical story is for so many of us who seek out happiness through relationships with other people. Who feel that without one, we don’t have love. But that isn’t the case. A healthy relationship is definitely a beautiful thing. However, when you truly learn to love yourself, you already have found that peace. That satisfaction. That happiness. That love. Look no further, love is inside of you.