All Articles Tagged "marriage"

Would You Say Yes To Wedding Insurance?

February 7th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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As the newly appointment maid of honor for a best friends upcoming wedding this summer, I’m beyond ecstatic and a tad bit stressed because there’s lots to be done. Like most weddings, the planning of every single detail down to shoe selections for bridesmaids to flatware and china options to narrowing down makeup looks has been quite tedious even though my friend has no real budget. Between her fiancé and her family, her wedding day is going to be nothing short of spectacular, partly because they’ve got frivolous money to spend. Nevertheless, my friend has always been smart with her coins ever since we were kids.

So it came to no surprise when she sent me a link to a YouTube video regarding a new way to save money on weddings. On a recent episode of The Real, the co-hosts sat for a round table discussion about wedding insurance and the company that offers this service. Apparently, they’ll pay for your wedding (up to $10,000), however, you have to pay it all back (with interest) if you get divorced.

She hasn’t brought up the idea to her fiancé or parents yet and wants my advice. However, I’m on the fence. Of course, I know that she’s in love but it does seem a bit weird to want to start off her marriage with a company hoping on her divorce. Marriage isn’t a gambling game whatsoever to me. But then again, finding the best deal is in her nature, but is it fair to take it as far as marriage?

What do you think?

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

February 5th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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After so many years of getting it wrong with so many people concerning dating, I decided to take myself off of the market and really focus on preparing for the life that I wanted. I had to get myself in order career wise, I had to patch up some holes in my finances, and I needed to finish up a couple of manuscripts I’d been sitting on for over a year. More than anything, I needed to allow myself time to heal from all of the emotional and mental exhaustion I had put myself through by dealing with men who had no intention of taking me seriously. I realized that even in the midst of all the partying I did, the good times, the flings, the tequila and the late nights and early mornings, I was lonely. And despite wanting to date seriously and work towards a sincere commitment with someone, I wasn’t even prepared. So with a boatload of lessons learned, I locked myself in a cave of personal development and that’s where he found me.

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

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

Delaying Gratification

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

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

Getting Below the Surface

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

Mind Over Matter

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

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

Woman In Waiting

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

Standards Of Dating While Waiting

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

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

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

Travel Trials: I Don’t Want My Husband To Attend A Bachelor Party In DR

February 3rd, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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(As Told To Lauren R.D. Fox)

Two years ago, I married the love of my life, Terrence, and our marriage has been smooth sailing for the most part with a occasional bumps in the road. Usually, our fights are petty and revolve around dirty dishes or Terrence forgetting to put the toilet seat down. Despite this and our usual banter, as of late, I’ve been feeling quite resentful towards my husband.

The reason is Terrence’s fraternity brother is getting married in July and he and their mutual friends have planned a bachelor party in the Dominican Republic. When Terrence told me about the party and its destination last year, I didn’t think twice about it. However, once I told my sister and best friends about his impending trip, doubt started to fill my mind.

“Girl, you would be a fool to let your man go to DR by himself, much less with his frat brothers” my sister casually said as she cut into her steak during our weekly  dinners. When I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my friends added more fuel to the fire. After hearing the news, they began to send me exposés about men who travel to the Dominican Republic (DR) to have sex with women. Although my husband has been faithful throughout our entire relationship, you can’t put anything past anyone — especially when peer pressure gets in the mix.

Right?

I told Terrence my concerns and, although he understood them, it wasn’t long before we started arguing about trust. Like I said, we’ve never had any fidelity issues, but whenever I’m around his frat brothers, they speak about their “golden” college years and my stomach twists into knots. It’s safe to say my husband enjoyed himself with many types of women before settling down with me. And while I’m sure that part of his life is over, I don’t necessarily trust the men who he calls “brothers.” To make things more complicated, I recently learned I’m five weeks pregnant and I don’t want to spend a portion of my pregnancy being worried about our marriage.

I told Terrence he is not allowed to go on the trip since I’m pregnant and it would be selfish of him to leave me at home while he frolics on the beach. He thinks I’m being unreasonable since both of our parents live 20 minutes away from our house and someone can stay with me while he is away. He makes a valid point, but as his wife I believe I should always come first. And even though he agrees, Terrence no longer speaks to me about the trip, even if I inquire about it.

Currently, I am even more infuriated then I was before and I don’t know what to do. Should I let my husband have fun with his boys in DR or is that trip asking for trouble?

 

3 Ways To Make A Long-Distance Marriage Work (From A Woman Who’s Doing It)

January 28th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Last year, I read a thought-provoking piece on Cosmopolitan titled, I Love My Long-Distance Marriage. Prior to reading the piece, I assumed the author, Diksha Basu ,would be writing about how she and her spouse were separated by state lines. The reality is Basu and her husband don’t even live on the same continent, yet she claims their relationship has never been stronger.

In her piece, Basu gave a detailed account on how her relationship progressed with her husband since their first encounter: “Mikey and I met nearly eight years ago in Mumbai and immediately we recognized each other as fellow travelers. We both had the good fortune of being born into families that love travel, and our relationship has always been defined by movement. My husband is from New Zealand, lived a large part of his adult life in London, and now spends most of the year in Mumbai. He is the only blonde-haired, blue-eyed music producer in Bollywood. I am from New Delhi, have lived in various cities around the world.”

Since 2011, Basu has lived in New York City where she attended Columbia University for her graduate degree. After completing her studies, Basu decided to stay on the east coast and pursue career opportunities in the city because she felt a deep affinity for it. Basu also decided to stay with Mikey because “it isn’t easy to find a partner who understands your deep-rooted wanderlust and need to roam.” So to make their unconventional living situation (and marriage) work, Basu and her husband alternate travel schedules so they can spend time with one another as often as possible. They also don’t label their marriage as “long-distance” because they don’t believe it’s reflective of their lifestyle. Instead, they opt for being labeled as a couple that likes to travel together and independently.

If you have a hard time wrapping your mind around this time of arrangement, but think it might be worth a try, check out thee three tips Basu gave on how to make a long-distance marriage work:

Check In

Married couples who live together often say at times they’ve grown apart from their spouses. Basu shared she and her husband check in with one another at least once a day. Jenn Bennet who wrote a similar essay about her long-distance marriage for XOJane also noted:” We called each other almost every day or we were regularly in the middle of a text message conversation. Email, Gchat, text, and Facebook have made it relatively easy to keep track of each other’s comings, goings, events.”

Make A Schedule

Make a routine schedule to travel to your spouse’s city, often. Basu and her husband never allow three weeks to pass without seeing one another. However, not all couples have the financial luxury to travel to see one another often. Therefore, it’s important to know how much physical contact you and your spouse need in order to make your long distance marriage work. Bennet and her husband couldn’t afford to see each other more than three times a year. Because of this, Bennet shared, “Living apart made knowing his daily habits impossible so practicing things I was previously great at, like empathy, became challenging. I imagined him partying instead of taking care of the dog, or forgetting overdue bills because he slept all day, or ignoring household chores by playing video games. What I didn’t realize was that he was cleaning out the garage or going to class, and that money was so tight he was eating off the same plate over and over and not doing laundry to conserve utility costs.”

Know Why You’re In A Long-Distance Marriage

Although it is not often talked about, long-distance marriages occur often. Despite this, the lifestyle is still considered taboo. Basu says many people think her marriage is on the rocks nevertheless she knows that their relationship works better because they’re able to achieve their goals. So it’s important to stay focus on the decisions that make your marriage work instead of listening to the criticism.

Would You Purchase A One Way Or Round Trip Ticket For A Fiancé With A 90-Day Visa?

January 25th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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In this real-life scenario of TLC’s 90-Day Fiancé, a man is seeking advice from his fellow Reddit peers about whether or not he should purchase a round trip ticket for his fiancée who is traveling from Germany on a 90-day K1 visa. The visa will give the couple 90 days to wed in order for his German fiancée to start her American citizenship application.

Despite this being an exciting time in their lives, the groom-to-be is a bit worried that things may not work out as they should. He writes: “The thing is, she’s got a 90-day limit to marry me and that should go over just fine, but I’d like to have the round trip just in case something goes awry and she has to return. It’s also cheaper, which is nice. Problem is, if everything works out and she can stay, she would not take the return trip.”

Not only are their wedding plans making the groom worry, but he also doesn’t want to waste his money on a potentially unneeded plane ticket. “I’ve read into the practice of “throwaway ticketing” and understand airlines frown upon it, but I feel like we have a good reason to get a round trip in the first place just as a precautionary measure. Advice? Speaking of cancelling, is it better to actually contact the airline and explain to them why she won’t be returning rather than simply not showing up?”

While many focused on providing advice on how the man should contact the airlines in case he has to cancel his bride’s round trip ticket, I’m more concerned with him seeking such advice at all, as it makes him appear a bit doubtful about his future wife’s intentions. When Americans enter relationships with those who live abroad, they are usually seen as a commodity because they offer citizenship to one of the world powers and the key to a better life. It’s for that reason, many, like this Reddit user, are skeptical of the potential repercussions once the newness of the relationship — and the arrival to the States — wears off. So what should one expect when marrying a foreigner? Forbes gives U.S. citizens three major tips to consider before your big day:

Get A Prenuptial Agreement

Many Americans are sought after during their travels abroad, especially if they are wealthy. Therefore, it is important to have a prenuptial agreement in order to shield your property and financial estates if there is a divorce in the future.

Understand Your Spouse Won’t Become a Citizen Right Away

No! For two years, your spouse will be granted a conditional green card as Immigration officials review your marriage and living situation. Forbes reports, “ At the two-year mark of the relationship, immigration officials review the marriage to see if the couple is still together. Those spouses that satisfy officials of the bona fides of their relationship get approved for permanent status. Those who fail are required to leave the country.”

Know How Much You Have To Pay

If you are sponsoring your fiancé/e, you will have to (currently) pay a filing fee of $340.00 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This fee does not apply to the other expenses expected to be paid if the fiancé/e decides to become a U.S. citizen.

Knowing this information, should the groom-to-be purchase a round-trip ticket for his German fiancée or not?

For more information on sponsoring an immigrant fiancé/e, visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services site.

Should Regular Folks Keep Their Marriages On The Hush Like J Cole?

January 19th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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For months, rumors have been swirling about J Cole and his engagement to longtime girlfriend Melissa Heholt. And then they died down, leaving all of his fans and fanatics with a little bit of hope that he was still, technically, on the market.

But yesterday, we learned that that is not the case.

While Cole and director Ryan Cooler were celebrating Dr. King’s dream at the MLKNow event, many women had theirs crushed.

In case you missed the moment, you can watch it in the video above where Coogler asked the rapper how being married has changed him.

Wait, what?! The last we heard, he was questionably engaged. And now we learn that he’s married?

The news left our heads spinning trying to catch up.

Once I let it soak in, the whole thing made sense. The only thing we’ve known for certain about J Cole’s relationship is that he’s been in one from the time he was in college. And that’s it. Mind you, there are pages and pages of speculation about their relationship and his cheating on Lipstick Alley; but the facts are they met in college. Period.

For someone whose relationship will be viewed under a microscope, speculated and whispered about, the notion of keeping it secret seems cautious, protective, smart. Not only do people assume most celebrity men can’t be faithful, there are plenty of people who will root for public relationships to fail.

And that brings me to the regular folk. Are there benefits to keeping your wedding and your marriage low key? Certainly.

And here are just a few.

Maintains its sanctity 

There’s the wedding and then there’s the marriage. And more often than not, the preparation and planning for a wedding becomes such a monster that the marriage, the entire purpose of the wedding, seems to take a backseat. When you marry secretly, whether you elope or keep the guest list to a minimum, you don’t have to consider the opinions, wishes and critiques of others.

Saves money 

If people don’t know you’re getting married, if there are no social media announcements, there will be fewer people, random people, asking for invitations, attempting to bring cousins you’ve never met who will be there talking about the food you so painstakingly selected and paid for.

Build quietly

I don’t want to make a habit out of agreeing with Future. But even a broken clock is right twice a day. And though the rapper’s argument was a bit illogical, he said that he wanted to marry Ciara privately, so that when the tabloids learned about their nuptials, they would have made it past the newlywed stage. Now, considering the fact that Future and Ciara literally promoted their relationship, I’m going to call B.S. But for those who haven’t appeared on red carpets, tattooed the other’s initial or publicly referred to their partner as royalty, then the idea of doing the grunt work out of the public eye might not be such a bad idea. Depending on who you ask, the first year as a married couple can either be fun and exciting or a shock to the system. But everyone agrees that it is an adjustment. While you’re transitioning into the role you plan to hold for the rest of your life, it might be nice to do so without the prying eyes of others.

Keeps your business your own 

When we’re in love, we have a tendency to want to declare it. If you’ve seen Mean Girls, you know about word vomit. You might want to keep certain details or the entire relationship to yourself but as you’re speaking, things just keep flying out. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But it also invites wandering eyes into one of your most private, most intimate relationships. As joyous and celebratory as weddings can be, they can be just as special if they’re shared between the two people who will ultimately have to work to keep the union strong.

“It’s The Toughest Thing I’ve Ever Dealt With” B. Smith And Her Husband Talk Living With Alzheimer’s

January 15th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Many of us remember the tragic news of B. Smith being reported missing back in 2014. It was then that we learned the model, restaurateur and lifestyle guru, was living with early onset Alzheimers.

In a recent interview with People, Dan Gasby, B. Smith’s husband of 23 years, explains what life has been like taking care of his wife who has been living with the disease for three years now.

Gasby says it’s an around the clock job.

“It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever dealt with. Anybody who is an Alzheimer’s care giver knows exactly what other caregivers are going through. It’s 24/7. The complexity and the intensity of it is very tough.”

Smith, who is 66, was diagnosed in 2013, after her husband noticed she became increasingly moody and forgetful.

The news of her disease came as she was continuing to build her empire. She opened three restaurants, wrote three cookbooks, hosted a nationally syndicated television show and was the first African American woman to appear on the cover of Mademoiselle. She also launched her own brand of home goods at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Also in the midst of battling the disease, Smith wrote a memoir called Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s. It will hit shelves on Tuesday, January 19.

In the memoir Smith and Gasby also share the details of drug trials and research to help Alzheimer’s patients.

“I want to help a lot of people,” Smith said.

The couple dedicated the memoir to Congress in hopes they will increase funding for research to find a cure. The disease most commonly affects women and African Americans.

Gasby said with someone being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every 67 seconds and all of the technology in this country, America should be leading the world on this.

Gasby also mentioned the financial and emotional costs of caring for a loved one with this disease.

“[It] is overwhelming most of the time. I’m taking it one day at a time,” he says. “It’s extremely difficult. At times I feel like I am between the Titanic and the iceberg and the water is cold and it makes a difference which one I get on.”

But it’s his devotion to B. that allows him to carry on.

“The real secret to love,” he says, “is that you gotta like who you love, because that’s what’s going to take you through the tough things.

“She is without a doubt a decent person,” he says. “She has always found the good in people. She is selfless, not selfish. She cares about people. You would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t like Barbara Smith or B. Smith.

Over the 28 years in the restaurant business, we got hundreds of letters that remind us of when she made a difference in someone’s life.”

Smith looked over at her husband and smiled saying, “He takes good care of me,” and then wiping away tears added, “I love him.”

Brandy Says She’s Sworn Off The Idea Of Marriage–But I Don’t Believe Her

January 14th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Brandy has dealt with her fair share of heartache and pain. And if you know her track record with love, you can’t help but root for her. You want her to be happy. And right now, being happy for Brandy is being by herself.

At least, that’s what she told the ladies of The Real when she visited the show recently to discuss her new sitcom, Zoe Ever After.

The clip from her visit started with Brandy saying she’s at peace with singledom.

“I am so satisfied being by myself. I’ve never taken this much time on myself.”

When Lonnie Love asked her if she was dating, the singer said she hadn’t gone on a date in quite some time, opting instead to focus on her work and her family.

“I don’t date. I haven’t been out on a date in a year.”

She continued, “I just like me right now. I just like the way it feels being by myself and taking care of my daughter and doing my thing. I’m all about my career right now.”

I heard that. Who hasn’t been fed up with the dating scene and just needed that break? That time alone to focus on you, who and what’s important to you, and to just love on yourself? I understood that. I respected that. I got that.

But what I didn’t get was Brandy all of a sudden saying that she never wants to get married. That just didn’t sound like her.

Jeannie Mai commended Brandy for taking a break and said women should definitely do so before getting married. That’s when Adrienne Bailon said, “But wait, she’s saying she doesn’t ever see marriage in the future.”

Brandy’s response?

“I don’t.”

She expounded on that feeling, saying, “Girl, I don’t want to go down that road. I know I don’t want to…self-love is great right now.”

And that’s where she surprised me–and made me a little sad at the same time. I couldn’t help but wonder, through both her statements on the show and her demeanor as she said them, if she was telling the truth. Could Brandy really be giving up on love?

Based on what we’ve seen her go through over the years, you could understand why she might want to.

She had her heart broken by Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men when she was 18, and in the worst way:

“He fell in love with someone else, so the worst feeling is to be in love all by yourself. That feels f–ked up, honestly, it just does, and that’s the only way I can really put it. It felt like somebody had just completely taken my heart out of my body and just crushed it.”

Then there was the fraudulent union with Robert Smith, a guy who literally ran to the media after the relationship ended, embarrassing the star by sharing that they were never married.

Then, she bounced back and was engaged to former NBA star Quentin Richardson from 2004 to 2005. During that time, she even got a tattoo of his face on her back, as she was so sure that they were going to go the distance. Ater their split, she refrained from seriously dating and having sex for years.

And then, there was music executive Ryan Press. He proposed to her in 2012, and it looked like Brandy finally found her happily ever after. She was happier than ever. But in 2014, things fell apart, and the engagement was called off. When I talked to her about moving forward from that split last year, Brandy admitted it wasn’t easy.

“It really did take a while. This last heartbreak was really hard, you know what I mean? It’s time. I just made a decision that even through heartbreak, you have to affirm that all will be well and in time you will feel better. And I feel better.”

Even after that split, though, Brandy didn’t give up. She appeared on a short-lived show called The Daily Helpline and sought advice on how to make relationships work.

“I have a deep question for you guys. I’ve been in relationships before. I’ve been the heartbreaker; I have had my heart broken to pieces. But I just want to know the secret of making it work, cause time is ticking. I’m 35, and I’m trying to one day get to the next level. The next level! You know? Like marriage one day? Help me.”

But now she says that she’s done with marriage?

That’s why I’m so skeptical. Some women and men, you can look them in their eyes and tell that marriage has absolutely no appeal to them. Maybe they watched the relationships of their parents fall apart bitterly, or maybe they’ve been severely hurt in a previous marriage. And while some of those people do forgo holy matrimony and just date, others find someone who changes their way of thinking and tie the knot down the line.

But someone who has been engaged more than once and openly said that she wants to be married now saying she knows she doesn’t want it at all? I don’t think so. I think Brandy’s speaking from a place of hurt, and I’ve seen quite a few men, and especially women, do that.

I know women who hit their 30s and feel as though because they weren’t already in a serious relationship, there is no hope for them. I’ve even had a friend say that after everything Brandy’s been through, it makes sense for her to want to give up on marriage. She is almost 37

But why give up on something you’ve always been so adamant about wanting? Why turn up your face at the idea of dating and look horrified at the concept of marriage all of a sudden? What scares me is that I think many of us give up because we’re operating on the timelines society has set for us. They say that if you don’t get married by a certain age, the chances of you doing so, and the chances of you having a healthy pregnancy, dwindle. So there some of us are, depressed because we think we’ve missed the boat. The man we thought we’d marry didn’t pan out. Our attempt at online dating has been a mess. Instead of being open to love and what it could bring, we get fed up and tell people “Maybe marriage just isn’t for me.” We didn’t meet the invisible deadlines, so we decide to be defiant and reject the idea of marriage, shaking our head at the word and saying, “I don’t want that.”

But the reality is that instead of giving up on what we want for ourselves, we need to give up on the pressure people put on us to get it fast as hell. Give up on thinking that every time we step out, we need to do and wear the absolute most to get noticed. Give up on running behind and doing everything for a man who shows very quickly that he won’t reciprocate because we’re just so sure we can make him want to settle down. Give up on going into every dating situation with the desperation in our face that we want a ring, and we want it ASAP. Give up on taking a ring from a man just to say you’re engaged, and that you made the life deadline, even though you don’t know if you’re ready.

All the sh-t that people tell us we should do to make it down the aisle, and make it down before we expire like old milk (because marriage, in that realm, is more about calling yourself a “wife” than truly wanting to be one), give up on that.

I feel, in my heart, that Brandy still wants to get to that “next level,” but I think it’s time for her, and many of us, to go about doing so in a different way. As she said, self-love is great. When you take the time to love yourself and know yourself, you’re not so eager to be out in the world looking with a magnifying glass and a list of wants. Instead, you just open yourself up to what may come, politely decline what you don’t want, and focus your energy and happiness in doing the things you like. As cliche as it sounds, you really do attract some interesting things and people when you stop looking for them.

So I say this long spiel to state that no matter what you’ve been through in relationships, no matter the people you’ve encountered through this thing we call life, and no matter what people tell you about clocks and deadlines, you shouldn’t let it push you into becoming a cynic of love and marriage. The person who is so sure that it won’t happen for them that they feel the need to raise an eyebrow at the idea as if to say, “Marriage? For me? Girl, bye.” Plenty of women are being open and finding love not when society tells them they need to, but when they are truly ready for it.

At the end of the day, I just don’t want to see us shut out love because of what we’ve been through, or frown upon marriage because of what other people say it should be about. I respect that she is taking this time for herself, and, after all she’s experienced in matters of the heart, it’s only right. But a time out doesn’t have to turn into one thinking time has run out.

“I Feel Like Marriage Isn’t For Everyone.” Nick Cannon Says He Highly Doubts He’ll Marry Again

January 12th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: DuJour

Source: DuJour

Whether you’re in the limelight or an average Joe, marriage is a challenge. Joining your life with an entirely different person is no small feat.

Some people learn this before they embark on a marriage, others in the midst of it and some people don’t fully grasp the concept until their own marriage is looking a little shaky.

In a recent interview with DuJour, it would seem that Nick Cannon has come to that realization.

The 35-year-old was on his way to a tattoo parlor when he conducted the interview. The article breezed past his numerous jobs, the fact that he sleeps about two hours a night and his role in Spike Lee’s Chi Raq but more than anything, the article was focused on his divorce from superstar Mariah Carey (He filed in December 2014 after six years of marriage.), maintaining their amicable relationship and his thoughts on marriage these days.

Check out a few of the highlights below.

Cannon say that no matter how amicable his divorce from Mariah has been, he realized the media would always want to make it drama-filled and sensationalized.

He also discovered something else throughout this ordeal.

“I feel like marriage isn’t for everyone. A friend of mine put it the funniest way. He said, ‘If you heard that there was a 50/50 chance of living or dying when you jump out of a plane, you probably wouldn’t go skydiving. There’s like a 50/50 chance of a marriage working. If it didn’t work out for you the first time, and you still survived it, you probably shouldn’t do it again.” 

His thoughts are pretty clear but when DuJour asked Cannon if he’d ever marry again, he nailed the point home.

“I highly doubt it.”

But, as he’s been trying to tell us, he still has nothing but positive things to say about his wife. In talking about their family’s Christmas celebration, Cannon mentioned all the extravagance. The “Rockefeller tree in their living room,” half a dozen reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh through Aspen where they traditionally spend Christmas. And though it’s excessive and far from normal, Cannon doesn’t think their different upbringing predicts doom for their adult lives.

“I don’t see a problem with them being different and having an eccentric upbringing. It’s fascinating and fantastic. But it’s about [teaching them] humility more than anything. Teaching them to be respectful—to make eye contact and say ‘Yes, ma’am’ and ‘Yes, sir,’” he says. “You can still be a diva and be humble. Mariah is a perfect example of that.” 

Being that his marriage to Mariah seemed to end relatively nicely, you would think he would be more optimistic about giving it another go. But he’s looking at things differently these days, even suggesting that being married goes against basic human nature.

“When you can be blissful in [a marriage], it’s beautiful. Embrace it for the time that you have it, because it’s not easy. In human nature, we’re supposed to be selfish… We’re constantly moving, constantly changing and evolving. To expect someone to do that with you is kind of absurd.”

Despite not being so sold on the idea of marriage anymore, he still describes himself as a hopeless romantic…just one who has a hard time trusting people.

“I’ve rarely let people that close to me. A lot of it comes with me having trust issues. I’ve been that way since grade school. I don’t trust many people,” he says. “Who knows where I’ll be when I’m 60. At 35, I’m not even looking to be in a relationship.”

So maybe there’s some George Clooney hope there.

But for now, he’s working on being by himself. You may remember that he recently told Ellen he’s practicing celibacy for now. 

He also posted this quote on his Instagram.

#comfortable

A photo posted by Nick Cannon (@nickcannon) on

“I never ever in my life want to have to… how do I say this the right way…” he trails off, thinking carefully about his choice of words. “Not to say that I was bogged down [in my marriage], because I wasn’t by any means, but I like being able to make my own decisions and come and go as I please.” 

You can read the rest of Cannon’s DuJour interview and check out the spread here. 

Serious Question: Do You And Your Spouse Keep Your Money Separate?

January 8th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Do You And Your Spouse Keep Your Money Separate?

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One of the biggest tasks faced by newlyweds is successfully merging finances. Figuring out how to go from allocating your funds as a single woman to sharing accounts and having to make joint financial decisions with another person can be challenging. However, some couples choose to forgo the merging and continue to keep their money separate. For example, Marian Schembari, who recently wrote about her experience with keeping her funds completely separate from her husband’s and why this works for them in an essay for Good Housekeeping. The couple has been married a year and have chosen not to mix their money at all. They split every bill down the middle and couldn’t imagine living any other way.

Elliot and I have been married for just over a year now, and together for almost three. During that time, we made the deliberate choice to keep our finances 100% separate. We don’t have a joint bank account, and every expense is split 50-50. Time to stock up at Trader Joe’s? We either ask the cashier to split the bill, or one of us will pay and the other will Venmo their half. Half of rent, furniture, utilities, and vet bills constantly whizz back and forth, with a tidy spreadsheet to manage outstanding bills.

As for savings, both Marian and Elliot put the same amount of money away, but they refuse to “police each other” regarding who saves what and when. And when they chose to blow their savings accounts on separate trips last year, neither questioned the other’s decision. Apparently, this lifestyle choice was one Marian chose to adopt after witnessing her parents constantly discussing money during her childhood.

As a kid, I watched my dad ask my mom how much she spent each day, jotting down the particulars in his little yellow reporter’s notebook: $3 for coffee, $15.95 at Barnes & Noble.

I never heard my parents fight about money, but they sure talked about it a lot. To my young ears, whenever they went over the daily spending, it felt like he was more her dad than mine. Growing up, I heard again and again that money was the number one reason couples fight. So when I got married, sharing money just didn’t make sense. Why would I want my husband to question why I bought those $200 shoes? Why would I want him — love of my life that he is — to be able to spend the money I worked hard for? Or vice versa?

Taking her experiences into consideration, it makes sense why Marian would want to keep money separate and while it’s not the most traditional approach, we can definitely see how splitting everything down the middle could reduce conflict in relationships. At the same time, it seems that this approach could also make everyday tasks—like paying a light bill, for example—quite complex.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you keep your money separate from your spouse’s or did you merge your finances once you tied the knot?