All Articles Tagged "marriage"
Some women just have it. “It” being that bold sense of self that allows them to set guys straight early on in a relationship. Take a former classmate of mine for example.
I just ran into her at our beloved Veronica Wells’s Bettah Days book launch party. I heard through the grapevine that she had just gotten engaged the week prior and congratulated her, welcoming her into the stressful wife-to-be club. I asked her about her future husband and how long they had been together. She told me it had been less than two years. When I asked her if she saw the proposal coming, she might as well have said, “You bet your sweet a– I knew!”
“Oh yeah, girl. I told him a year into our relationship that I’m not the kind of woman who’s going to be your girlfriend for like five years,” she said. “I told him what I was looking for and said that if he wasn’t looking for the same thing, I wouldn’t waste time.”
While some women make their plans plain and clear, a lot of us wait (and wait…and wait…) and hope that the men in our lives will realize how special we are and step up sooner rather than later. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes you end up in a relationship with a man for six years and don’t get the proposal you’ve been waiting on. In one woman’s case, who shared her story on a popular wedding website, her spouse said he saw her as someone he wanted to spend the rest of his life with early on in their relationship. He was doing well for himself, made good money, and had a stable life — but still hadn’t proposed after six years. Our friend kept waiting and let the resentment build. Her dissatisfaction grew so much that it literally caused her to start looking at her spouse much differently and “emotionally let it destroy me.” She initially hinted about a proposal, then they had to sit down and really talk about it. He made it seem like a proposal was coming soon.
“Well… eventually I gave up,” she said. “I started thinking of him differently, and sometimes would feel angry when he was around. I didn’t like being intimate with him anymore. I still enjoyed his company, and we had fun together. I still loved him, but in a different way.”
As it turns out, he eventually proposed (the weekend before her post), and did so in a pretty romantic way by cooking her dinner and popping the question by the fireplace. She loved the ring. She loved him. But she was so scarred by the waiting game she had been put through that, you guessed it, she told him she couldn’t marry him. In the end, it seems that waiting so long not only built resentment, but showed her that maybe he wasn’t the right man for her.
“Men don’t realize the pain that waiting can cause,” she concluded.
I had never read anything like that. In retrospect, though, it made sense. It’s almost like a friend saying and saying and saying they’re going to do something, and when they finally act like they can make the time and care enough to follow through, you don’t even want to be bothered anymore. I can see how continuously being told that you’re the one someone wants and will propose to, and then not seeing any sign of that happening, can literally make you sick. It becomes a game. Every holiday becomes a nerve-wracking one as you wait and wonder if the the gift under the tree will be a ring; if during Thanksgiving dinner with family he will get down on one knee and pop the question; if he will make a big scene on Valentine’s Day. It’s terrible. My sister’s good friend was with a man for more than 10 years (they started dating in high school) and found herself playing that game until she eventually gave up on the relationship.
Still, it’s all complicated. I think it pays to have a plan like my former classmate who was proposed to recently, while also knowing how to be easy. It’s important to go into a relationship with your intentions made clear and mind right. If you don’t want to be a girlfriend for forever and day, say so. If he can’t see himself wanting to settle down if the relationship is right within a few years, you have to figure out whether or not you are willing to get up and go find what you’re looking for. But at the same time, is that all we’re going into relationships looking for nowadays? Do some of us want the nurturing and loving relationship with a genuinely good person or just want a proposal to say we were able to get one?
I know a girl who was proposed to right after their one-year anniversary. She wanted to be engaged so bad. When it was finally time to field questions about dates, bonding with his family and taking the next step, she realized the man she was about to marry wasn’t the right fit and left him heartbroken a year later. Oh, and she kept the ring.
I say that to say that if you go into a situation ticking down the clock in preparation for a proposal, rather than learning, loving and growing with a person and just letting things run their course, you are tripping about this waiting game. But in the case of this particular woman, while I think she should have picked up and left rather than allowing things to get so bad that her stomach turned at the idea of her significant other, I also believe six years was too long after he said early on he wanted to marry her. Still, I guess it was for the best. Had he not made her wait, she wouldn’t have realized she was waiting for the wrong man…
But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? Is this petty? If a guy says he thinks you’re the one, how long is too long to wait for him to propose?
“It’ll just be me and my boo against the world,” my co-worker stated. She said this before proceeding to provide an unsolicited explanation of why she thought she had to choose her new man over her long-time girlfriends. “At some point, you have to make a choice,” she said. “I don’t want to be single like all of them, and so, you have to choose.”
But do you? Should you ever have to choose your man over your friends? And if you do, when is the appropriate time?
“What would you do?” she asked me, disregarding the fact that I was single and didn’t have to make such a decision. I initially thought she sounded like a naïve, crazy person; but then I had to consider what “choosing” actually meant.
To choose means to select one thing over the other. I’m sure there are times when a woman would choose a date night with her man over happy hour with her girls; but what about special occasions? What about when your friends don’t get along with your man and vice versa? Should you have to “choose” where your loyalty lies?
“I think ideally you shouldn’t have to choose,” my married friend said when I asked for her input. I figured I should ask someone who wasn’t in a new situation like my co-worker. “I feel like if all parties are mature, friends will understand when a relationship is growing and moving forward. They’ll know when to step aside. By the same token, your man will know as well.”
She also added that a good man would actually encourage your friendships. I concur. Seriously, what man (in his right mind) doesn’t want you to have friends and wants you to hang out with him, and only him? I’ll wait…
It’s not healthy. Women need friendships, just as men do. Your mate can’t give you what valuable friendships can provide. And your friends can’t replace your partner. There are places and should be spaces for both.
Another one of my single friends admitted that things change once a friend marries. Though she’s never walked down the aisle, she assumes that friendships will change, but shouldn’t end.
“Once I get married, I know that I won’t tell my girls everything about my man because he and I should be as one,” she said. “But I also know that I still want to keep my friendships and spend quality time with my friends.”
As I always say, there is no one-size-fits-all relationship advice. Everyone’s situation is different. Some women can find the time to juggle friends and their partner without things changing. Others? Not so much. There isn’t anything wrong with friendships slightly shifting when a woman gets into a relationship. But there is a problem when she ditches friends she’s been around for years for a man she recently met.
Here was my question to my co-worker: Because you just met this guy, if it doesn’t work out, would that experience be worth losing your friends over? Her response confirmed what I initially thought about her being a naïve, crazy person: “It’s going to work out,” she said.
“Oh,” was all that I could say without sounding rude.
Clearly, she was a hopeless romantic who didn’t value her friendships with the women she’d known for years because she found herself a man she’d known for months. However, the consensus of reasonable women I spoke with all agreed that even if relationships change, they shouldn’t be abandoned. Just as many women don’t want to be single forever, most also don’t want to be friendless. Why should you have to choose?
When, if ever, should you choose your man over your friends? Or is it something that you should never have to do?
For the last few months, my period has been doing what it wants to do. While it used to come at the end of the month, it’s started moving backwards and becoming an even bigger pain than usual. I went to Barbados last month and even though it was supposed to come a few days after I landed, on the 23rd, it came the morning I was set to fly out.
I had errands to run last week to gather things for my wedding, and before I knew it, there my period was, a day early, on the 22nd, causing me to make a mess on myself far away from my house and a slew of feminine hygiene products. And now, based on my calculations, my next period should make its presence known on October 21 — the day of my wedding. For some people, that may not be a big deal, but the way my period is set up…
I don’t want to worry about leakage (especially not as I wear white), bad cramps, or bloating on one of the biggest days of my life. So I’ve been thinking about getting back on the pill to halt it — at least for next month. However, I’m feeling a little conflicted. Okay, a lot.
When I told my fiancé about my idea, he wasn’t crazy about it. “I’ve heard that stuff can throw things off,” he said, in reference to my cycle. “If it comes on the wedding day, it comes. That’s okay. We’ll deal with it.” We meaning just me. Plus, he’s not the consummate-the-marriage-during-the-heaviest-part-of-your-period type, so I could see it being a pretty dry wedding night.
And then there are the side effects of taking pills that I’m not interested in dealing with. From the weight gain to the change in mood, it was a lot to handle the first time around. Once I got off of birth control pills, it took a while for my period to return to a consistent schedule. When it found a regular timetable, my period was three days longer than before I started taking the pill.
Not to mention that when I did some reading online to see what women had to say about trying to dodge their period for their wedding day, there were a lot of people saying getting back on birth control just to avoid an inconvenient menstrual cycle is a bad idea for your body. And considering that I’m running low on time, it may not shift in the way that I’m hoping, so I could be messing with my system for naught.
If I choose to forgo the pill and deal with what comes, I have heard good things about the menstrual cup. On the Ever After Guide, the menstrual cup was recommended as an option if your period shows up unexpectedly on your wedding day. They can even be inserted prior to sex so as not to interrupt wedding night plans. A woman in my choir even called such a product a “lifesaver,” so that could also be an option. But I’ve also heard bad things, particularly about the removal process, so it could be more complicated than I’m thinking. I do have some time to practice, though.
All in all, I don’t know what to do. I hate the idea of worrying about my period on an already stressful day. As uncomfortable as my cramps can get and as heavy as my flow can be, I already know that I don’t want to be bothered. I want to dance carefree! I don’t want to worry about changing in and out of different products throughout what is sure to be a long day. I want to be beautiful! Damn being bloated. My preoccupation with my wedding day being as close to perfect of a day as possible has me considering all of my options.
I do have an appointment at the end of this week to figure out what my next step should be, and I’m interested in hearing my OBGYN’s honest opinion. I know that starting my period on my wedding day wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but when your Aunt Flo comes with all the stank attitude and pangs that mine usually does, it’s definitely an inconvenience I want no parts of. At least for one very important day in my life.
Attention Fellas! You never would have guessed it, but Wife Appreciation Day (yes, it’s apparently a real holiday) is right around the corner (September 18). While your lady love probably has no idea that it’s a thing, and you could probably skate by without having to acknowledge it at all, why not surprise her with something nice?To aid you on your quest for the perfect Wife Appreciation Day gift, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best ways to show your appreciation on this day.
I owe non-working, trophy wives and girlfriends an apology. Though I’ve never been one to label every woman afforded the opportunity not to work for a living because of her involvement with a financially stable man a golddigger, I have typically been one to say, “that could never be me.” But the way my life is set up now — I’m thinking it probably could, at least for a little bit.
Having already been there, done that, and kept the therapy receipts from my quarter-life crisis, six years later I’m having just the darnedest time reconciling the fact that, despite doing exactly what I said I wanted to do, where I wanted to do it, and when I wanted to do it, I. still. don’t. want. to. work. I don’t exactly want to be wholly dependent on a man either — not that one has shown up and offered to take me away from it all or anything (if you know somebody, let me know). But the reality is the fiscal vulnerability that goes along with having a sugar daddy can be quite a hefty price to pay in the long run. And yet I still have moments of shortsightedness when I think, is trying to survive all on my own worth more than that? I have a co-worker who has a friend who came up with a label to describe this conundrum I find myself in from time to time: wanting to be a kept feminist. That’s what ol’ girl says she’s trying to be and, dammit, it sounds pretty good to me too.
A kept feminist, as I understand it — and have worked out in the most idyllic way in my mind — is a woman who works but doesn’t have to work. You know, like a woman who doesn’t work to live but lives to work (for a few hours a day on something she’s really passionate about). As a writer, I feel like this make-believe lifestyle was thought up just for people in my profession, and in my dream scenario it goes a little something like this. Man meets me, man falls in love with me, man sees that “I just wanna write” (like all writers say). Man says “Then babe, you should.” Man sees “What you talkin’ ’bout Willis” look on my face as I proclaim “But I have bills!” Man looks at me and says “I got this,” like Big telling Carrie he’s buying the penthouse apartment with the tiny closet in the Sex & The City movie. Man tells me despite appreciating my offer to keep the house spotless and his stomach full and penis empty every day and night (because that’s the kind of outlandish stuff you say you’ll do in exchange for generosity like this — even if you have no intention of doing it), he just wants me to “be happy” and “do me” because he makes enough money for the both of us. Man wins my still somewhat-independent heart forever and ever.
A girl can dream right? Quitting a job and letting a man take care of me doesn’t have to be a nightmare, right? If I were Carrie Bradshaw, who already defied the odds making enough money to live on the east side of Manhattan writing one relationship column per week, that answer could possibly be yes. But, again, the way my life is set up…probs not gonna shake out like that.
Here’s the thing: When I say I don’t want to work, I don’t mean I just want to frolic on the beach all day — although I have stated on more than one occasion if I was a socialite I would live in the gym and soup kitchens (volunteering not scoring more free meals). But if I became so fortunate as to not have to support myself financially I would still do something to generate income. And then I would keep that income for myself should things ever go left with this non-existent sugar daddy from heaven I’ve concocted in my mind. And as I securely stacked my coins, I would bask in the glow of keptdom and experience that “When you love what you do (and money is no object) you’ll never work a day in your life” phenomenon motivational speakers who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars each year tell people is possible. Of course that also means no turning up to “I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T.” anymore should I find myself on the wrong side of a club’s entry door, and having to actually follow the instruction, “If you ain’t on sit down,” whenever I hear the song. But I imagine that would pale in comparison to not hearing my alarm clock go off every morning at 7 am, signaling the tortuous monotony that is having a typical successful career, no matter how much you (used to/sometimes still do) love what you do.
I’d also have to work on my attitude too, because you can’t exactly throw out sarcastically condescending taunts on a regular basis when the only bacon you’re bringing home is what you bought from the grocery store with bae’s bank card. And since there’s nothing worst than an unappreciative woman than an unappreciative, unemployed woman, there’d be a good chance I’d end up on the street if I didn’t at least try a little tenderness — and maybe let one or two instances of my man using “female” instead of “woman” in casual conversation pass. Oh wait, I’m still a feminist, I just have negligible finances — “females” goes, freeloading stays.
I think I’m beginning to see just how difficult this paradoxical existence might be already.
See even with the best attempts at new-age feminism, the fact still remains that he who holds the purse strings holds the power. And in this case “he” would not be gender-neutral. Of course, being the sole breadwinner isn’t an excuse for mistreatment of any kind — or a justification for eliminating the less financially stable party out of decision-making processes when it comes to issues that affect both of you. But in matters of money, often times if you can’t pay you can’t play, and you find yourself beholden to someone else’s vision for your life, rather than carrying out your own. That can range from simple things like having to move across the country because your partner’s job is relocating — and your argument that you won’t be able to run through Central Park anymore isn’t a match for the promotion he’ll receive — to your livelihood being reduced to an allowance and everything you buy scrutinized because it wasn’t purchased with your own money (remember you’re hoarding yours for a rainy eviction day).
So yeah, while the idea of being “kept” sounds great in theory. I imagine in the back of my mind I’d always wonder how much better it might feel to thrive off the sweat of my own brow rather than a man’s. I mean, if we’re equal and all, I should be able to set my own self financially free as well, right?
Back in 2014, we told you that former America’s Next Top Model star and actress Yaya DaCosta, 33, decided to split from her husband of two years, Joshua Bee Alafia. But after speaking with DaCosta earlier today while promoting Season 2 of her hit NBC series Chicago Med (which returns next Thursday, September 22 at 9/8c), she said that Alafia wasn’t her husband after all.
“You know what’s funny? Because I never talk about my personal life, it’s hard to dispel rumors,” Dacosta said in response to a question of how she’s moving forward after the divorce. “And a lot of people say, ‘Oh, just ignore them, they’ll go away.’ But no, I never got divorced because I was never married, first of all. But I did have a child with someone, which is more of a commitment than marriages these days anyway. I broke up with him right after the birth because like I said, it was an enlightening experience. But I definitely make it a point to ensure that my son has a relationship with his father because everyone should.”
In reference to the “enlightening experience” statement, prior to the question about life after divorce, I inquired about how motherhood changed the actress (she used her social media to help normalize nursing soon after her son’s birth). She said it changed her entirely.
“I’m a completely different person and it’s difficult sometimes because people who think they knew you before want to hold you to who they think you are and should remain.”
She continued, “It’s definitely difficult letting go of things, ideas of yourself, in order to be able to figure out who you are. But if you don’t do that then yeah, that’s how a lot of people do end up stuck their whole lives. So yeah, having him has definitely shown me, or reminded me I should say, of who I really am.”
But DaCosta’s rep did confirm to Us Weekly in 2014 that they parted ways, and according to the New York Post‘s Page Six, DaCosta filed papers for a contested divorce in Manhattan Supreme Court, but the filing was sealed, so the reason behind the split is not known. Neither party spoke about the breakup publicly — until now.
The pair had an outdoor ceremony in Pennsylvania in June 2012, and have a son, Sankara. He was born in September 2013.
How important is your last name to you? Is it important enough that you would want to keep it, while also taking your future husband’s last name, but at the same time, forgo the hyphen route?
For Solange Franklin Reed and Brian Franklin Reed, a couple whose cultures (Black and Jewish) mean a lot to them, they wanted to use both of their names in their official surname. What they found was that they would encounter some pushback in an attempt to keep both names, and in their hopes as changing their name together — not just Solange. The marriage bureau in New York told them that only one partner is allowed to change their name by way of taking one last name, merging names into one word or hyphenating two names. The pair literally had to go to court to make the name change of Franklin Reed happen.
“We weren’t into the idea of a hyphen, so after our wedding, we had to go to court and argue in front of a judge why we preferred to use a space,” Solange shared with Essence. “Thankfully, he was tickled and ruled in our favor.”
In images of Solange and Brian on the stylist’s Instagram page, she often hashtags them #FranklinReeds.
This way of adopting last names without a hyphen is becoming more common. On relationship and family threads, I’ve seen women who have said they kept their last name and also took their husband’s last name without a hyphen, but would give their children the husband’s last name only to avoid the confusion of having two last names. There have also been more and more couples who have merged their last names to make a completely new surname (see Chapman + Warner-Allen = Challen). It seems people are going out of their way to keep their own names while also embracing the names of their partners, because really, why do you need to give up one to have the other?
To some, all this hassle may seem unnecessary. It may even seem disrespectful to go out of your way to not solely take your husband’s last name. But for others, a name is more than just a name, it’s so much of a person’s identity.
Speaking for myself, I’ve stated in the past that while I would love to keep my last name due to the fact that my brother, who could carry on the Uwumarogie name, passed away, it would be too much of a mouthful. I don’t think I have to share my future last name for you to know that just about anything alongside or hyphenated with my surname would be too much. For one, it’s too long. Secondly, it’s just too damn unique, which is what I love about it. But if I could, and I weren’t marrying someone who considers wanting to keep your last name to be a sign that you’re not fully ready to move forward into a whole new family, I would. So I applaud couples who are understanding and progressive enough to not be confined by customs, societal and cultural, that say the woman has to take her husband’s last name. The end. But would you consider keeping both — without a hyphen?
If your name has a special meaning, your parents didn’t have a son, or you just love your last name that much, would you go as far as to tell your partner that you want to keep yours and take his, while maintaining the distinctiveness of each surname by not adding a hyphen? And would you want him to pull a Brian (or a Marco Perego-Saldana/Marco Saldana) move and take your last name as well?
When you first move in together, it’s one of the best parts of the relationship. Things are getting serious, the bedroom is busy, and you feel more like you’ve found the one than ever before. That’s a good thing, because moving in together comes with a crazy number of relationship tests. From stress you expected to arguments you didn’t know it was possible to have, things can take a left turn pretty quickly.
When two adults with completely separate personalities and ways of doing things try to come together as one, the road can get bumpy. But whatever happens, get ready to learn a lot about yourself (and your significant other, too).
We are currently in the age of retreats. Quests meant to aid us in self-discovery. While most are used to girls’ trips or excursions with loved ones, many people are now opting to sign up for solo trips where they spend time loving on themselves, maybe doing yoga, or trying to deal with some demons that have been holding them back. The retreat is how many of us are healing and growing. I know that was the case for me and my future husband.
Still, I didn’t know what to expect when I initially signed up for the opportunity to go on an IntimacyMoon for about four nights in Barbados. What is an IntimacyMoon? According to the web site, for couples, it’s “all about relationship building skills for engaged, newlyweds and married couples looking to make their ‘I-Do’s’ stand the test of time.” It’s also for singles “on a mission to learn how to love courageously, and date with intention and authenticity from the inside out.” Sounds good, right? And it’s led by licensed marriage, family and sex therapist Marissa Nelson, LMFT, CST.
I brought my fiancé along with me and prepared myself for what I expected to be fancier version of the premarital counseling we had been doing in church. But this form of counseling would involve workshops, guided experiences, some pampering, and the opportunity to do it all with Barbados as our backdrop (and The Crane Resort as our lodging). What I walked away with was some incredible insight into myself, how my childhood has impacted by adulthood, and what I really want in a marriage.
But before we get to the serious stuff, I have to laud the much lighter moments, and there were many meant to bring me and my fiancé closer. For one, we were set up in the lap of luxury with a suite at The Crane in St. Philip Parish. While we had just about everything we needed in the gorgeous resort (including a private plunge pool, a view of the beach, a complete kitchen, and a Jacuzzi tub), we also were able to wander off of the resort to mix and mingle with locals (and get macaroni pie and roti).
We also had the chance to get a couple’s massage, take a tour of the island as a whole (shout out to Glyne!), and go on a catamaran cruise (big ups to Cool Runnings!) where we snorkeled with sea turtles, checked out shipwrecked boats, ate a sumptuous feast that came with free drinks, and danced in the sun with the colorful crew. I even had the chance to learn wukking at a bar, which I was pretty good at, if I do say so myself. And did I mention that I got my hair retwisted for $35?
Still, what I treasure most from that trip, aside from the chance to relax on the beach with my love, was the opportunity to get to the root of certain issues that we didn’t realize were affecting our relationship. With Nelson’s help and knowledge, I learned that our childhood and what we go through in it truly informs how we behave as adults. Watching certain types of dysfunction in my household and the way we didn’t deal with it as a family caused me to assume the worst of my partner even when he wasn’t doing anything wrong. We also came to terms with the fact that a lack of emotional sensitivity growing up played into how we both dealt with our emotions. And yet, the things we liked and disliked about our parents was what we sought out in one another.
We were able to work on our communication, figure out the things we needed to let go of in order to move forward as happy and healthy people, and we even created a manifesto of what we want for our marriage. The latter activity allowed us to talk about things that many couples don’t discuss before saying “I do.” From the expectations when it comes to kids to how we will manage our money and even how we plan to deal with possible interference from our loved ones in our relationship. I shed a lot of tears, and in the process, shed a lot of baggage and gained a better understanding of the both of us as individuals and as a team.
I must admit that while I’ve loved my premarital counseling sessions at my church home, what I gained from Nelson was what I needed to hear for a very long time. Sometimes it takes more than telling someone to “pray” and “communicate” to deal with wounds that have been festering since you were a kid.
What I came with were high expectations for a good time on the beach with my fiancé, the chance to eat some delicious food, and maybe gain some tools to make my marriage work. What I left with was an invaluable experience, marked by a stronger comprehension of the man I love, a better way to converse with him, and a different perspective on everything from sex and my body, to my self-esteem and my friend circle. Whether you’re preparing to tie the knot or you’re a single who wants to do some self-reflection to get back to happy, you would be greatly enriched by going on an IntimacyMoon and working under the tutelage of Nelson.
If you’re interested, singles or couples, you can book an upcoming spot in her next retreat for April 2017 on the IntimacyMoon site. Upcoming retreats are set to offer a little bit extra, including a class on how to give a massage to your partner, sunset yoga and meditation, a tour, tasting and mixology class courtesy of Mount Gay Rum, and much, much more. It’s sure to be an adventure you will never forget.
Today’s episode of #LunchtimeChat posed the question : is it ok to have friends of the opposite sex when married? The ladies share their opinions based on a recent interview where Adrienne Bailon discussed her six-month engagement to Israel Houghton and their friendship of the past.
Catch the chat and share your thoughts below! Make sure to tune in to #LunchtimeChat every weekday at lunchtime on Facebook Live!