All Articles Tagged "relationship advice"

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: The Sex Was Wack Am I Wasting My Time?

February 25th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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The Sex Was Wack Am I Wasting My Time

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I’ve currently been talking to a guy who’s 20 yrs old. I’m turning 24 in a few days. 
We met at a get together in January and it started off as pretty clear that we were both still emotional unavailable. He was smitten with me and was very nervous to even talk to me. I felt like a cougar. He started texting me every day and wishing me good morning. I made it clear that we could only be platonic friends. But then we started getting close. Cuddling, kissing and eventually intercourse. He grew on me. 
Our first time was pretty bad because he’s only had 2 partners. I’ve had far more. I may have been too honest about my lack of satisfaction. We didn’t talk for 4 days after that and then I had to make the first steps to contact him. He was too embarrassed, we cleared it up in the end. 
So it lead to this: He says he’s afraid to get hurt and attached to me. That he doesn’t want to start anything, that sex makes him feel used and weird. He wants to stay friends but when we are together he gives me puppy eyes and is really nice to me. He worries about me if I say I’m sad and lets me vent. Kissing just always happens. He asks me if I’m seeing anyone, what I’m doing. We always talk. He’s coming over to mine on Monday for my birthday. First time we’re gonna hang alone since that night. 
I told him I don’t want to rush and I am only ready for casual stuff right now. We tell each other anything. 
WHAT IS HAPPENING? Am I wasting my time???
Dear What’s Happening,
There are four things going on here:
1. You like each other. This is clear. Perhaps it wasn’t love at first sight, but you seem to like being around each other and enjoy each other’s company.
2. He’s very young. Both in age and in relationship/sexual experience.
3. You are very young too. Perhaps you’re more experienced sexually, but going from “Hey, we’re platonic. Nothing is happening here” to “Ok, you can put the tip in” in less than a month is a sign of someone who might think they know what they want, but really don’t.
4. He likes you more than you like him.
Fortunately, none of these are bad things. What can potentially be a bad thing, though, is if you continue this ambiguity without any type of parameters or rules. Casual with occasional sex works in theory, but once feelings are involved — and, again, you both seem to like each other — “casual” has a tendency to lead to “hurt feelings.”
Basically, if you want to date each other, date each other. And, if you want to just be cool with each other and leave the sex alone, just be cool with each other and leave the sex alone. Either way, figure out what you want, have an actual conversation about it, and…follow through. Only then will you be able to gauge whether you’re wasting your time.
Damon Young

Reclaiming My Favorite Love Songs

February 20th, 2015 - By Kendra Koger
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I have a very complicated history with music.  Like most people, I’ve always loved it, and been drawn to it.  However, my mother did what she could to keep music away from us.

It wasn’t because she was kill-joy.  It was the fact that she was a health educator for the school district that we went to, and there were too many times that some of the kids in the different schools (and even in my elementary class) would come to her facility with issues about intercourse.

So my mother put a moratorium on music, to the point that when she was driving, we couldn’t even listen to gospel music (because at that time, Kirk Franklin was turning old secular songs to Christian ones, and she was against it), we listened to sermons.

My father, not wanting us to be the “weirdo kids” who didn’t know what was going on in pop culture, but could recite a Kenneth Hagin sermon from beginning to end, would sneak us music (but if we got caught with it, we were on our own).

Though my mother is less strict on music (because we’re all grown, and what can she do?!) I hold certain music very close to me.  I don’t know if it’s because I feel like it might get taken away, or what, but once I have “a song,” I like to keep it.

The problem that came with that, is when I would date, I would share some of my favorite songs with my guys (and vice versa).  Those songs would be the soundtrack to late-night chilling sessions in dorms, cuddling moments, and cruising around in my small Hyundai because we didn’t have any money to go anywhere, but we wanted to hang out anyway.

But once those relationships ended, I couldn’t listen to those songs anymore.

This became even more evident when I had an urge to listen to Usher’s “There Goes My Baby” on Youtube and couldn’t even make it to the “turn the lights on” part.  I knew that that song in particular was going to be hard to reclaim, because that was the song my ex-husband dedicated to me, but geez-louise, I still wanted to hear it.

It wasn’t until I looked at the selection of “Suggested Videos” on the side of my Youtube browser that I was confronted with my “Love Song Graveyard.”

There were so many songs that gave me a pang in my heart just looking at their titles.  It wasn’t like I still had feelings for the guys who I listened to the songs with, but I guess I just didn’t want to be reminded  of what didn’t last.

However, I’m incredibly stubborn, and figured that I need to get over this.

First, I realized that I never really confronted my feelings on each situation.  Once the relationship was over, I just moved on with my life.  You should do that; but for me, that included ignoring my feelings completely.  I never had a time to just marinate in what I was feeling.  So, I gave myself some time to think it over.

It wasn’t in an attempt to wallow, but to acknowledge whatever feelings I’d been suppressing.

Second, by thinking about it, I realized that though the relationships didn’t work, it didn’t mean that I was losing out on anything.  For some reason, thinking back on the relationships allowed me to remove the emotions from them, and I was able to see them in black and white.  Relationships begin, and some of them end, but that’s just life.

Finally, once I had an objective view of those past relationships, I was able to reclaim some of my favorite songs!  Being objective helped me to able to separate the emotions that were tied to the song, and just enjoy them.

The end of a relationship can be hard, but that doesn’t mean that you need to end your relationships with your favorite music, restaurant, or gym.  Whenever you feel ready, you can reclaim your favorite things, no matter what the emotions are that’s attached to them.

Trust me, my world has become a lot more musical of a late, and I couldn’t be happier.

Kendra Koger is gently bobbing her head, while occasionally tweeting @kkoger.

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: He Says He Won’t Have Sex With Me Until I Lose Weight

February 11th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Alawanda: I’m becoming more conscious and awake. My beliefs have changed alot, extremely pro black, black love, he takes it as racism. I trying to deprogram what has been brainwashed in my head for generations. Yes we are married. He is semi conscious should I keep my views to myself?

DY: You don’t have to see eye to eye with everything with your spouse. But, what’s the point of being married to someone if you can’t talk to them and be honest with how you feel about things?

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Why Does He Leave Me Hanging Via Text Message?

February 4th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Why Does He Leave Me Hanging Via Text Message?

Niecy: Why do men try to hide their feelings from us? And you mean everything to them! And we show them ours…

DY: Sometimes it’s because men have been socialized to believe that showing feelings/emotions is a sign of weakness. And sometimes it’s because there aren’t any feelings to hide.


Denise: Why do men leave me hanging in a text message? No response for days… :(

DY: Sporadic communication is usually a sign that he’s not very interested in you.


Nicole: I’m 41 years old and looking to start dating again…any tips?? It’s been about 2 years since I’ve been out on a date and I’m nervous!

DY: Relax. Have fun. Enjoy life. I realize this seems like simple advice, but dating should be fun. And you won’t have fun dating unless you’re already having fun with your life.

Why Does He Leave Me Hanging Via Text Message?


Rae: Is it ok to have sex on the first date and can it develop into a relationship?

DY: Yes and yes. Just remember, make that decision when you’re comfortable making it. Not when you feel like you “have to.”


Allisha: How long is too long to date someone with no commitment?

DY: Depends on you. From my own experience, though, I pretty much knew how I felt about someone — at least in terms of commitment — after a few weeks of consistent dating.


Taye: When you truly like someone, but can’t tell the guy because he said he is not ready for a relationship because he has been hurt in the past…What should you do?

DY: Believe that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you.

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Why Did You Say 62 Percent Of People Shouldn’t Be In Relationships?

January 30th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Why Did You Say 62 Percent Of People Shouldn't Be In Relationships

Hello. In one of your recent writings, you said that most relationships (62%, I think) need to end. I know you were joking, but you’ve said similar things before. I don’t get it. I thought the point of advice was to help people in their relationships, not end them. Didn’t you just get married yourself?

Confused about your comments
Dear Confused,
You’re right. I did joke that 62% of people in relationships probably need to be single. And, like most jokes, it was rooted in truth. The percentage I used was arbitrary and maybe even far too high. But it stems from the belief that most of the relationship advice I give people is due to one of two overlapping things:
1. They don’t need to be in the relationship they’re currently in
2. They don’t know how to be single
You hear all sorts of reasons for why people stay in relationships. They’ve invested too much time to end it. Someone got pregnant. It makes financial sense. They feel like they’re too old to be single and start over again. The sex is great. The kids would be upset. But, only one question matters? Do you make each other’s lives better? If you do, stay together. If you don’t, don’t. When you get past all the extras, the main reason I married my wife is that I prefer the life I have with her in it than the one I had without her in it. (And I’m assuming she feels the same.)
Thing is, you also can’t expect a relationship to change your life. Enhance? Definitely. If you’re a cup of lemonade, a relationship should be a spoonful of sugar added to it. An enhancement that makes an already quality substance better. What some people expect is that a relationship will turn that cup of lemonade into a steak. It’s just not going to alter the properties of who you already are. Which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re good with who you are before you jump into one. Which is why I believe we need to stay single — even if that means ending the relationship you’re currently in — until that’s true.
Damon Young
Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular 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   

J. Lo’s Number One Piece Of Relationship Advice: People Never Cheat On You Because Of You

January 23rd, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Jenny’s been around the block a few times and we imagine the three-time divorcée picked up a few pieces of wisdom about life and love on her matrimonial journey over the years. That’s why when we had a chance to sit down with Jennifer Lopez at the press junket for her latest film, Boy Next Door, we asked her about the double standard of women dating younger men — which, according to this movie, might not be the best move — and what’s one piece of advice she’d take from her personal life and apply to her character Claire. That’s when J. Lo provided some interesting insight on infidelity and why women need to relieve themselves of the burden of shame when their man steps out. Watch and tell us what you think.

Are you going to see Boy Next Door on opening night tonight?

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: We’re Getting Married But His Brother Is Racist

January 21st, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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There were some very pressing relationship questions being posed today on our Facebook live chat. See what Damon Young, of Very Smart Brothas, had to say to these women in response.

We're Getting Married But His Brother Is Racist


Aisha: If you’ve been dating a guy for about six months and you haven’t been introduced to his family, are you the side chick, or is he just not that into you?

DY: Big difference between “dating” someone and being in a committed relationship with them. Which describes your situation best?

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: We Haven’t Had Sex In 7 Months…Is He Cheating On Me?

January 14th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Should you suspect your husband of cheating if he hasn’t had sex with you in 7 months and seems unbothered by it? It’s only an issue if you (the woman) brings it up, and his reply is ‘Well, you don’t try either…’

Sexless in the City


Dear Sexless in the City,

There are myriad reasons why your husband might not be interested in having sex with you. Stress, depression, and physical injury can have a negative effect on a man’s sex drive. Maybe he has a naturally low libido. Maybe he is legitimately tired of always having to initiate sex. And maybe you’ve gone without having sex for so long that doing it again creates anxiety.

One thing is clear, though: There is something seriously wrong with your relationship. Going seven months without sex — and not making an effort to find any resolution — is very likely a symptom of a more serious issue. Although sex has its obvious physical attributes, sex is also a form of communication; the canary in the relationship coal mine. And a relationship where you refuse to communicate about this lack of communication can’t be fulfilling.

You need to have a serious and honest — and it’s the time for 100% honesty, not the 65-80% honesty often practiced — conversation about the state of your relationship. Find out what’s making you both unhappy/unfilled, and seriously consider if it just might be time to go your separate ways. Because, as “lonely” as singledom is often portrayed, there’s no lonelier place than a relationship where your partner doesn’t want to be with you.


Damon Young

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular 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   

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: “How Do I Stop Hitting My Man?”

January 7th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Victoria: How long is to long to be in a relationship without being or discussing marriage?

DY: That’s up to you to decide. If you think it’s too long, it’s too long. That said, from what I’ve observed, adult couples who get married seem to do it relatively quickly (within two or three years of first dating). You have your exceptions, obviously, but those are rare.

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: My Friend’s Relationship Advice Is Getting On My Nerves

January 2nd, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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My Friend's Relationship Advice Is Getting On My Nerves


Dear Damon, 

I don’t know if this is necessarily a relationship question but it’s about relationships. I have a really good family friend who is hell bent on serving as some kind of relationship guru/expert/therapist, telling me, my female friends and family members (of all ages) how we can catch and keep a man. 

I’m talking more than just the awkward interactions during the holidays. All year long she asks us questions like “Do you know how to flirt?” And when we are dating someone, she’ll say things like, “He doesn’t look like he wants to marry you.” She even sends us those ridiculous articles about the type of women men marry. I get the sense that because she’s married, she believes she’s got life figured out. But also a part of me wonders if she’s really happy in her own marriage since she spends so, so much time telling us how we can get like her. 

I know you’ve recently married… so I’m wondering is she really well-intentioned, trying to help us experience the best that life has to offer or is she covering up some of her own insecurities? And also, since I value her as an older friend, how do I respectfully tell her I don’t want to hear any more of this. Shouldn’t some things just happen naturally?


Fed Up With A Family Friend

Dear Fed Up With Family Friend,

I (obviously) believe relationship advice has value. Sometimes it takes an outsider with a relatively objective viewpoint to help people recognize certain things that they might be too blinded by love or passion or themselves to see. That said, there are no set of directions a person can read or follow that will make it 100% certain that they’ll end up in a happy relationship. Because much of what happens (or doesn’t happen) comes down to uncontrollable variables. And sometimes it’s just sheer luck.

Anyway, I believe your friend is well-intentioned. I also believe she’s obnoxious. Sometimes people forget that luck has just as much to do with their current situation as anything they did does, and your friend seems to be one of those people. Well-intentioned or not, you don’t have to put up with obnoxious behavior. The next time she decides to offer unsolicited advice, tell her kindly (but sternly) that while you appreciate her efforts, your path to relationship happiness may be very different from what her’s was. And, if that doesn’t work, offer her some “unsolicited” advice on how to be a better friend.


Damon Young

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular 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