All Articles Tagged "relationship advice"
As told to Veronica Wells
We’ve always heard the adage that you shouldn’t listen to people who haven’t been where you’ve been, done what you’ve done, or walked in your shoes. If we took the time to evaluate that statement, we’d realize how untrue it really is. If we were to follow this sentiment, no one would be qualified to give us advice. And whether we’ve experienced this personally or not, the wise council of women, from various backgrounds and experiences, can not only be helpful, but life altering.
Those aren’t the messages we receive though. Instead, we hear about the bitter, single woman who is jealous of our relationship and doesn’t want us to be happy. Blame it on misogyny or patriarchy or the school of thought that says a woman needs a man to be happy. And since she is unhappy without a man she’s going to try to bring you down with her. And to take it a step further, if she’s really diabolical she’ll try to break y’all up so she can have said man for herself. It’s another way society teaches us to compete for the affections of men, viewing our friends, our sisters as nothing more than jealous, back-biting, untrustworthy competition.
We’ve all had friends who got involved with shady, shiesty dudes. Men who didn’t appreciate, respect or treat them like they deserve. But homegirl is so in love, lust or infatuation that she can’t seem to see any of this. When her friends try to warn her about this dude, her words fall on deaf ears. The situation is compounded when the woman telling her friend about her man is single. This happened recently with two women, two former coworkers, Ashley and Nicole. Their strange friendship got off to a very rocky start. But absence makes the heart grown fonder. And they found that if they didn’t have to see each other they could be quite civil, pleasant even.
Before Nicole left her old job, Ashley told her that she had started dating a new man who, for the purpose of this story, we’ll call Roger.
Roger, at 45-years-old, is a bit older than Ashley at 32. But that’s the way she likes it. In telling Ashley about her budding relationship, there were some things that immediately sent up red flags.
At 45-years-old, Roger was always in a hurry to hang out with his homeboys. He would have plans with Ashley and cancel because something with his homeboys came up. He was so close to his friends that he became furious, enraged even, just telling Ashley how one of his friends’ wife had kept them from hanging out one evening.
When he wasn’t preoccupied with his buddies and did interact with Ashley, he was sending her strange acoustic covers of Sam Smith songs that weren’t even good. And then to top it all off, at 45-years-old, Ashley was the first Black woman he’d ever dated. And if you’re wondering, yes, Roger himself is Black.
But Ashley dismissed it. After all, Roger was a slender but built 6’7 and owned his own construction business. Sure, he didn’t have all his teeth but Ashley was willing to work with that.
Nicole had her reservations about Roger but decided to keep them to herself not wanting to piss on Ashley’s potential happily ever after.
But all went out of the window when Roger put Ashley on a schedule. He provided her with a clear outline of the days and times it was appropriate for her to contact him. When Ashley shared that, Nicole could no longer remain silent.
“Don’t you think there are some issues you need to address with Roger?”
“You know, like the fact that he put you on a schedule or always chooses his friends instead of you. And then there are the Sam Smith covers…45 years worth of White girls…”
Ashley just rolled her eyes.
“Girl, you and I are in different places in our lives right now. I need a man with stability. All of that other silly stuff you young girls get caught up on, I don’t have time to worry about.”
Nicole just rolled her eyes and changed the subject. It was clear that Ashley wasn’t going to be able to hear anything she had to say.
Months later, Ashley called Nicole with news that she might be pregnant with Roger’s child. She immediately thought her friend was doing too much, entrusting her life to a man who was just not about the right.
Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
She wouldn’t realize how lucky she was until more red flags started popping up.
Shortly after the pregnancy scare, Roger asked Ashley, who had recently moved into a new home, to buy a bed that was big enough for him. For someone who, after a year, made no move toward commitment, this seemed like an unreasonable request…at least to Nicole it did.
Ashley brushed his fear of commitment off as a result of having lost his mother three years ago and started looking for a bed.
She also brushed off the fact that for Thanksgiving and New Year’s Roger essentially ignored her all day, refusing to respond to her texts and calls. For New Year’s he ignored her all throughout New Year’s Eve, finally sending her a Happy New Year text at 10 p.m. on January 1.
But again, God was on her side because just before she could find one or save the money to buy that new, big bed she and Roger went out for drinks and sh*t hit the fan.
They were bar hopping that evening. And after leaving one spot, they were walking into the club, Ashley a bit tipsy.
As they were walking into the club, a young White man was walking out.
Ashley could tell that he was starring at them. And by the time he was within earshot, looking right at Roger he said:
“I see you got your little lover friend out.”
Naturally, Ashley was confused. She turned to Roger and asked, “Where do you know him from?”
Roger shrugged cooly, “Around the way.”
Perhaps if Ashley had been more lucid and a little less tipsy she would have realized that no one he knew from just “around the way” would have known about their relationship. But she was loose, so she brushed that off as she and Roger made their way up to the VIP section of the club.
As they had just gotten another round of drinks, the same White man came back into the club. He ordered a drink of his own and spent the next hour shooting daggers at them until they left the club.
Finally, after a year of shady behavior, Ashley realized that her friend was right. Those homeboys were more like boo thangs. He was trying to tell her something with those Sam Smith covers and worst of all, not even his side lover, a man, was Black.
Whenever a brave celebrity opens themselves up to a #Ask________ session, you never know how it will end. See #AskRKelly, #AskDonLemon and #MyNYPD for examples of extreme failures. But today when Erykah Badu took to Twitter to answer a few questions from fans, it was all types of awesome. I actually learned quite a few things from E. Badu including her thoughts on marriage, Beyoncé and what she would be doing if she weren’t an artist. There’s even a nod to one of her ex boo thang’s if you watch closely.
Check some of the highlights from #AskBadu below.
— ErykahBadoula (@fatbellybella) December 7, 2015
“Do I ever see myself getting married? Absolutely. Every single time I fall in love, I do. I’m always looking for a forever. I’m a win-win type of person. Sometimes it all boils down to the chemistry, that’s the most important thing. No matter how good you are together, if the chemistry does not line up, I think that the bad may outweigh the good and there are easier ways to grow, to evolve. But…he’s coming.”
— ErykahBadoula (@fatbellybella) December 7, 2015
B! I love B! I’m a huge B fan. Beyoncé is one of the hardest working human beings I’ve ever seen. She has to have a lot of patience and control. I admire the way she manages her life, her relationship and her career. Plus, she’s from Texas. That’s my Texas homie. What’s up B? The whole Knowles family got my love.
Chile, people love to say that Michelle Obama was down for Barack when he had nothing. They reference the worn soles of his shoes and the hole in the bottom of his car and take that to mean that he came to her as a pauper and she was patient and understanding and waited for him to climb the ranks to President of these United States.
The message is that if it worked for our beloved President and First Lady, then “regular” women should be willing to work with a man with potential because it’ll pay off in the end.
In celebration of the first couple’s wedding anniversary, earlier this week, one man created this meme.
Ladies: He might not have it all right now, but be faithful, stick by his side and one day he'll give you the world pic.twitter.com/tawDJOD7vX
— The Jo Johnson™ (@itsTheJoJohnson) October 3, 2015
And while I’m sure this “betting on potential” has worked for some people, somewhere, somehow, potential doesn’t often amount to a whole lot. We all have potential to be or do something. The difference is, do you have ambition to match? Are you moving, shaking, hustling and grinding to do something with your gifts?
For a lot of people, men and women alike, the answer is, sadly, no.
But that wasn’t the case when our First Lady met President Obama.
When she met him, she had already given herself the world. She worked hard to earn a spot at Princeton and then graduated to work at a law firm, where she was his boss. He was her intern. Perhaps because she was his superior, people seem to think Barack came to her busted and disgusted and she took a gamble on a man who seemed like he “might could” be something one day.
When she met him he’d graduated from Columbia. And was in law school at Harvard. Then, a year later, he served as the President of the Harvard Law Review, the first Black person- male of female- to do so. When you consider this, it’s not that much of a stretch to consider he could duplicate the feat with the Presidency of the United States. But even more importantly, there was the work he was doing for the community. I don’t want to gloss over that. It’s important. This wasn’t a man who was just after titles and prestige, he was willing to give back.
That’s much more than potential baby, that’s a man who’s put in the work.
And thankfully, several people on social media were ready and willing to let this brotha know that it was deeper than standing by your man when he has nothing, hoping that one day he’ll have everything and be gracious enough to share it with you.
— Reagan Gomez (@ReaganGomez) October 6, 2015
@itsTheJoJohnson Your wording took all of her hard work and success on her own away from her, & implied that her husband GAVE her all that.
— That Girl (@Guarded_Dreams) October 6, 2015
Then activist Shaun King took it to Facebook to make it plain.
The creator of the original meme explained that this wasn’t his intention and peace was restored in the kingdom that is Black Twitter.
I don’t know what the original tweeter had in mind. But I do know that there are tons of people in this world, particularly in the Black community, who think that Michelle had to sacrifice, struggle and wait for President Obama to get himself together. Nah. Hopefully now, people will have a better, more realistic understanding of the first couple’s story: they each had plenty to bring to the table. The rest, as they say, is history.
I’m tired of relationship advice. I’m particularly tired of men telling women what they’re doing wrong…because we’re the only ones doing things incorrectly. I’m tired of women in relationships giving advice they’ve never used a day in their lives. And I’m particularly saddened seeing so many women devoting every inch of their conscious mind to the thoughts of being with someone else.
My sister and her friends are far from the women I’ve just described but they are single. And one evening they found this article on O Magazine. It was about questions you should ask yourself if you’re still single and want to find someone.
I’ve always considered the writing in the magazine to be quite good, so I was interested to see if the questions posed would be different than the trite ones I’d heard trotted out over and over again.
While the rationale behind the questions was very well written, I’d heard the questions themselves time and time again. The author asked things like are you stepping out of your comfort zone? Do you go out unaccompanied? When you go out is your body language open and inviting?
Just reading it makes you tired.
What I’ve always observed is that when you ask women how they met their significant others, most of the time they weren’t following any of the aforementioned or other cliche rules we hear day in and day out. It just happened when it happened, most times when they were least expecting it.
If you ask me, when it comes to finding a partner or getting into a relationship, there’s really only one question you need to ask yourself: Am I really ready to be in a relationship?
I don’t mean do you really want to be in a relationship, I mean have you proven that you are mentally, psychologically, emotionally mature enough to be in a fulfilling relationship?
Judging by the way you treat people are you ready? Are you friendships, past a present, a reflection that you’re ready? Do close friends and trusted confidants keep telling you you need to work on something about yourself?
When I was a little girl, more than anything I wanted a boyfriend. At five-years-old I told my godbrother that he was going to be said boyfriend. I just thought it was important. Interestingly enough that boyfriend I had at 5 would be the last one I ever had until I was 27, which is this year.
By the time I was in college, in my early twenties, I really started wondering what the hell was going on? Where was my boo? I don’t even think I was asking God specifically, it was just a thought, a question that had come to my mind so many times, that I guess God just thought now was a good time to answer it.
And He did so, very plainly.
“You’re not ready. You would be consumed by a boyfriend right now.”
When you put it like that God maybe I should chill.
I wish I could say that’s what I did, 100 percent of the time. But that would be a lie. I tried, repeatedly to force one situation in particular that was never quite right. And although this person wasn’t officially my boyfriend, though he did ask on occasion, I still found myself consumed by our relationship. There were things I didn’t do for myself when I was communicating and investing in him. There were relationships I neglected when I was worried about him. There were more viable options I missed out on while I was making myself available for him.
And while I will never say that it was all for nothing, in the end, it didn’t work out because I wasn’t ready. But I knew that. God had already told me that.
No amount of making myself available, after work mixers, or going out alone could have changed that. Only time and maturity.
Now, when I think of all the things I was willing, but ultimately didn’t have to sacrifice, it gives me chills. And I thank God for stepping in at the perfect moments to protect me from myself, even if I didn’t’ see it as such at the time.
When you ask yourself are you ready for a relationship, a part of that question is: Are there things in your life I know I need to do but have yet to accomplish?
When I saw that Adrienne Bailon and Lenny Santiago were no longer engaged, I was hurt. But then I watched the video where she explained the reason she called it off. She said she went on an “Eat Pray Love” journey and discovered the truth about herself and the fate of that relationship. Watching “The Real” pretty frequently, I couldn’t help but wonder if on that journey she discovered that there were some things she still needed to achieve before she was ready to be Lenny, or anyone else’s, wife.
On one particular episode, Tamar asked Adrienne why she doesn’t sing anymore. And she immediately burst into tears. Later on, in that same season, she was singing on the show. And her voice is quite nice. I don’t know the girl but I’ve heard her say things about not feeling like she had accomplished enough in her career.
That’s not insecurity, that’s her spirit telling her that there is more she’s supposed to do. And a part of me wondered if she wanted to do and achieve these things before she settled down into a marriage, where her attention would be diverted, once again, away from the road she knew she was supposed to be traveling.
I’m in a relationship now and I’m so thankful that it didn’t come along any sooner than it did. Now, at 27 and not 5 I’m more sure of who I am as a person and a woman. I’m not afraid to ask for what I want and my own behavior has proven that I’m not willing sacrifice things that are important to me in order to appease a man. Nothing could have prepared me for this place but life and learning.
I am 25 years old and I need help. My boyfriend is dead completely. In an emotional sense. He tells me he loves me, after I tell him I love him… When I ask him why isn’t he affectionate towards me, he gets mad, defensive or thinks I dont see his efforts. I do. I only say something when he reverts back to no emotional sense… I do not know what to do.
He says I know he loves me… why do his actions have to be based on it… he doesn’t get it…
I love him but I refuse to settle…
Dear Ms. Warm-hearted,
So, I had a great response planned out to this question. I was going to mention how different people have different love languages. Some need physical affection, some need to hear “I love you,” some need their loved one to do things for them, and some people need it all. I was going to cite the famous book that came from, and I even planned on sharing a few things I heard when my wife and I took pre-marriage counseling.
But then I read your email again. And came to the conclusion that I’m 99.9999% sure you two just aren’t a good match for each other, and that it’s best that you leave this relationship while you’re still (very) young. Because while he might not be giving you the type of love you need in a relationship, I’m sure there are others out there who will.
Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular VerySmartBrothas.com Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at Amazon.com.
Shanetta: Hi Damon, I know it’s pretty common to hear about women who have a child with a man and can’t let them go afterwards but in my case, the roles are reversed. Between the constant strolls down memory lane, flirting, attitudes whenever I get male attention and the infamous weekly declarations of his love and desire to be with me, (literally almost every week since I became pregnant 3 years ago), it takes a toll. Now the problem is, the day I took the test, he left, packed his things and told me to get an abortion. I didn’t hear from him again until about 2 weeks later. By then, my trust in him was completely destroyed. So finally, my question is, is the fear of becoming a father THAT real to make you leave the one you supposedly love? Also, what do I do when a man goes above and beyond to prove his love for me, but rarely acknowledges our child without my pushing him to do so?
DY: Whether it’s because of nerves, anxiety, or just plain fear, it’s not extremely uncommon for men to freak out about a pregnancy. Of course, not all men do this. In fact, most don’t. But some hear that news and just don’t know how to handle it.
But, there’s a difference between “freaking out” and “breaking up with your girl and telling her to abort the child.” That’s just insane. And badgering you about getting together — while at the same time ignoring his child — takes the insanity to another level. At this point, you just need to tell him that while you’ll need his help in raising your child, the romantic relationship ship has sailed. One baby is enough. No need to be raising two.
I’m something like a match-maker/event planner. And I’m organizing this speed dating event where I’m inviting a set group of men and women. To make sure that we get the right caliber of people I’ve had the men fill out a short questionnaire that asks basic questions. One of them is age. Interestingly, I’m coming across quite a few men who don’t want to share their age…which is odd to me.
I’ve stumbled across this in the past and I’ve even asked one guy why he didn’t want to share. He said because when you tell people your age they start labeling.
Who knows…the whole thing just seems weird to me. I mean, I don’t even know a whole lot of women who follow the ‘don’t tell your age’ rule these days. What do you think about this?
What do they have to hide?
Dear What Do They Have To Hide,
Last year, Iowa State point guard DeAndre Kane was one of the best and most electrifying players in NCAA basketball. He was first team All-Conference, third team All-American, and seemed to have the size and skillset that would make him attractive to NBA teams. But, when the NBA draft came around, Kane went undrafted. Why? Well, there are a few reasons you could cite for that, but it ultimately came down to one thing: His age. He was a 23-year-old college senior (and 24 the day of the draft). This might not seem that old, but, when it comes to college basketball today, it’s practically ancient, because most of the best players are already in the NBA by that age.
Basically, Kane was a full-grown man playing against 18 and 19-year-olds. When you factored in his age, his accomplishments just weren’t as impressive.
Although this was a basketball example, it translates to the real world as well. Whether fair or not, age is a consideration when judging a person’s accomplishments, goals, and trajectory. A 25-year-old living at home, or in some entry level position, or still making YouTube rap videos in his spare time is going to get more leeway than a 35-year-old doing the same thing. And, if a guy is hesitant about volunteering his age, it’s usually because he realizes that he’s probably not where society — or, better yet, the type of women he’s interested in — would expect a man his age to be.
Also, if you’re the type of guy interested in 23-year-old women, being “30-something” or some other vagary about your age might sound better than “37.”
Still, your age is the one thing about you you’ll never, ever, ever be able to change. And a man not embracing that part of himself because of some insecurity or trickery is a huge (Huge!) red flag.
Recently, R&B artist Sevyn Streeter sat down with her friends at “The Breakfast Club,” to talk about her career, her current tour, the music and her favorite topic these days: her romantic relationship with fellow artist B.O.B.
Angela Yee brought up the subject of her baby boo, revealing that Sevyn likes to get choked in the bedroom.
Listen here, I don’t kill the fun. And I think that that is important. I think it’s sexy. When you’re with somebody that you love and trust or whatever…it’s important that you don’t kill the fun.
If that’s her cup of tea, sip on boo. I’ve heard good things. But the conversation got particularly interesting when Sevyn shared her philosophy on sex in relationships. Here’s what she had to say.
I think that when you commit to somebody and you take them off the market, right? I think that it is your job as a woman or as a man to– I don’t think you should ever say no. Anal sex I’m not into, but I mean, if you’re tried–‘Oh, I’m tired, I don’t feel like it.’ No. Because at the end of the day, you took that person off the market. They can’t go and be with somebody else because they’re with you. So, don’t you ever say no.
Charlemagne argued that the statement actually opens the door for a man to cheat if she ever finds that she has to say no. Sevyn said that she actually agrees, homeboy should be able to step out, if the woman holds out.
I think Sevyn’s advice is…something. My first thought was that it sounds unrealistic. Life is unpredictable and while I agree you shouldn’t make a habit of telling your boo no; things come up. Hormones and sexual desires change for both men and women throughout life. Sometimes a “no” will be necessary. Then I thought, this is the second time I’ve heard someone talk about this market. Boris Kodjoe was the first person I heard say it, in reference to his marriage with Nicole Ari Parker. He too said that because they took each other “off the market,” they should both invest in making sure they stay right and tight, physically. And if either one of them slips on holding up their end of the bargain, the other would be within his or her rights to step out.
I don’t know about this market. It just makes the whole relationship seem like a business investment or decision. And the moment your acquisition isn’t performing as you expect, you’re ready to trade up, step out or kick them to the curb. Love doesn’t work like that. In love, you’ll be there when your partner gains a little or a lot of weight because while the body is nice, you, hopefully, feel in love with their spirit and soul–which remains. And that same love for the spirit should remain if your partner can’t break you off one night…or a few nights.
There’s also this bit about not being able to say no that troubles me. That’s a dangerous message to send to young girls and grown women when it comes to sex, particularly when so many girls and women feel pressure already. “No”, even within the context of a marriage, should always be an option. It is absolutely crushing to feel like your body is at the whim and disposal of another just because you’ve entered into a relationship with that person. Penny Wren, one of our writers, touched on the importance of women having their needs met in relationships as well; even if it’s the need for rest, it’s a need a compassionate partner should be able to respect.
And lastly, from a deeply personal standpoint, Sevyn’s advice just seems like entirely too much, entirely too soon. I’m not trying to pussy police anybody but the thought that she’s giving this man this much access so soon is a little alarming. I think I would be a bit more receptive to the advice if it came from a woman in a seasoned marriage…or something similar, like an Oprah/Stedman situation. If she’ll never say no to B.O.B now, what privileges does he get as their level of commitment to each other grows? I’d hate for this to turn into a “he won’t buy the cow” speech; but seriously, this is a lot for a dude you’ve been dating for a few months.
But that’s just me. Ladies, what do you think about the notion that you should never tell your man no when he asks for sex?
You can watch Sevyn Streeter explain in the video below.
I met an amazing man 13 years ago. We dated briefly (no sex)! Last year we hooked up (had sex)! He asked me to live with him and basically live happily ever after. He constantly showed and told me he loves me. I was afraid and ran home. The sex was awesome and the kisses were magical. I think about him daily. He thinks that i only want to use him for sexual purposes. My question is, what can i do to show him that I’m not using him, that i wanna continue to enjoy him when he have this mental issue?
– Don’t Know What To Do
Dear “Don’t Know What To Do”,
Reading this reminded me that, for my own professional/personal growth, I need to find another show to reference besides The Wire. Because the first and only thing I thought after reading this was that your problem “sounded like one of those good problems.” (ht to Marlo Stansfield) You and your “friend” clearly like each other a lot, but you just haven’t found a way yet to communicate that to each other in a language you both understand.
Oh, and here’s another thing: You’re actually in the right here. As much as you both seem to like each other, he does seem a bit, for lack of a better term, “extra,” and you’re right to want to take things a bit slower. Especially considering that you had that long period of time between seeing each other. Just tell him that you really do like him, and wish to see how this progresses, but also wish to take things slowly. Basically, date each other. And make sure this connection isn’t just an infatuation.
Check out another question and answer on the next page.
Relationships are a lot of work. Though nothing worth having comes easy, it can be pretty taxing to try to keep the romance exciting and consistent. Luckily, there are businesses that have made it a priority to help you keep the romance in your relationship alive. Let’s look at a few of the businesses that you can call on to show that special someone just how much they mean to you.