All Articles Tagged "relationship advice"
There is no genre of memes I hate more than the faux-deep, build-a-bear-a** sayings bitter little creatures disguised as men create to shame women for having standards. Not sure what I’m talking about? I’m referring to those simple little memes that litter my timeline from time to time and read something like, “Shout out to all the women who aren’t afraid to build with a man.”
Are we building our first home together?
So what you’re saying is this is some warped attempt to convince me I have no right to expect a man in my same age range who approaches me as a potential suitor to at least bring the same things I bring to the table?
Yeah, I’m not here for that.
In fact, I’ve wanted to write about the ridiculousness of said memes for some time now but I never found the right tone for a piece that wouldn’t make me sound like a man-hating you know what. I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with “building” with a man if that’s what you want to do (and he demonstrates potential that leads you to believe you will actually have built something when all is said and done). But I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling like you come to the table as a ready-made woman and you want a ready-made man. Sure, we can — and should — help each other get to the next level as partners. But what you won’t do is tell me my standards are too high if at, say 30, I don’t want to wait for Jason to get his GED and catch up on his child support to “see where things can go.”
I’m starting to sound like a man hater aren’t I?
Well let me stop there because there’s actually a meme that sums up my opinion on this topic better than I ever could in 1,000 words or more and this, my friends, is it.
Have you caught your breath yet?
Yeah, sorry fellas. You’re not about to have me out here with a left arm that has right-hand capabilities just to prove to you I’m ride or die and not superficial. In other words, this whole notion is a– backward!
It’s not a woman’s job to build a man, that was your mama’s and your daddy’s. If they didn’t do it, that’s not my problem to fix unless I so choose. Furthermore, when’s the last time you heard a man, in all of his innately visual being, say “I bet she’s gonna be fine one day. Let me wife her now”? Or “It’s okay you don’t have a job and still live at home at 32. I’ll take care of you. I see your potential”? And please note I’m speaking of regular, every day school loan debt having guys, not wealthy men and rappers who nip and tuck their girlfriends into “models,” “stylists,” and trophy wives whose only “job” really becomes popping out babies for them.
I’ll build up my husband any day of the week. What I won’t do is invest more in a boyfriend in 6-18 months of knowing him than he’s invested in himself in all of his years on this earth. Men, think about that idea for a second as you create these selfish expectations of women. Ladies, if you’ve ever been one of those types of women (and I can admit I have) just study this meme and see how that behavior has you twisted — literally. Everyone else, just have a good chuckle at the absurdity that is social media relationship advice and be glad you know better.
As much as we’d love to believe that romantic relationships come easy, we know better. They’re hard work! Which is why we sometimes seek out advice from friends, loved ones and so-called love gurus to gain perspective and insight. That’s true for single and married women alike.
But sometimes the advice you receive from someone on the outside looking in can be detrimental and end up doing more harm than good. That basically translates to not all relationship advice is created equal. Use your judgment to determine what, if anything, works best and makes sense for you. Have you heard any of the following bad advice and tips before?
Pick A Fight
You shouldn’t have to pick a fight with your partner to be heard or to get what you want. This so-called tactic could blow up in your face and end up causing even more problems in your relationship.
I am a damn good listener. Sometimes I wish I could exchange my platinum-grade listening skills for equally brilliant creative skills of any kind – singing, dancing, Shonda Rhimes-ing. I ain’t picky. While the skill typically serves me well, there’s one instance in which it works against me: When I’m listening to a friend go on and on…and on and on and on about a dude who isn’t worth her time. An immature guy who disappears and reappears as he sees fit; who continues to disappoint her over and over again. An emotionally unavailable dude who made her chocolate chip pancakes one morning and in one fell swoop wiped her memory clean of the long list of offensive strikes he racked up. Got her singing Case’s “Happily Ever After” despite the fact that he introduces her to people as a mere friend and thinks she magically “caught feelings” much like one catches a common cold.
But depending on the friend, I can’t tell them what they need to hear without it falling on deaf ears or without suffering through an accusatory lecture about how I need to be more supportive. It can be a slippery slope. The one time I give it to them straight – no chaser, no sugarcoating, no traces of make ‘em feel better BS whatsoever – suddenly overrules all the times I listened intently, doled out positive advice they chose to ignore and consoled them when the relationship went south.
Now, I know what it’s like to be smitten beyond belief and fully gone – mesmerized by the “D,” hopeful about the future you want to build with a man who seems to have everything you’re looking for in a partner. But both rationale and receipts have to be factored into that lovey-dovey equation. When they’re not, you can fixate on the wrong things (see: chocolate chip pancakes) and fall into a downward spiral despite the obvious signs and straight up verbal cues a man gives you.
For example, if a man says, “I don’t want a relationship right now,” that means – wait for it – he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. It can also mean that he does wish to be in a relationship, just not with you. But all you heard was the “right now” part, which turned up your hope dial and set you on a mission to change his mind. You interpreted his words as a challenge and willingly took him on. He played along, of course, but when he reminded you that he doesn’t want a relationship, you acted as though you heard this for the first time and took serious offense. Both parties are to blame in this instance.
For me, the friend who has been listening and offering advice that has been turned down this entire time, it’s really difficult to continue to be supportive when this happens. I’m not saying my advice is the cure-all. Lord knows I’m no relationship expert. But I know what you want. You’ve told me many times. I know what you’re looking for, I know how you feel, I know how upset and unhappy you are. And I know that you deserve better. But if you ask for my advice and then repeatedly ignore it while expecting that what you’ve been doing all along is finally going to get you somewhere, what exactly is the point? And then to complain to me afterwards about how he did this and that…that’s when I’m out of everything – interest, patience and time to give to this sad but perfectly amenable situation. Sorry, not sorry.
People have long referred to love as a drug. If that’s the case, every addict has to want better for themselves. They have to recognize their worth as well as the underlying issues that influenced their bad habits and poor choices. And then they have to make the necessary changes to make healthier decisions moving forward. So, as a friend, at what point do you say, “Girl, I love you and I’m here for you, but I can no longer participate in this back-and-forth drama. You deserve better, and I can’t continue to support you in this manner”? I understand that sometimes we don’t want to be alone (though it’s always better to be alone than in an awful situation) and that we hold onto the belief that one day the guy we’re dealing with will wake up and see how great of a woman we are. But nah, girl. Wake up. Stop trying to make a bad thing work. It’s time to move on.
Have you experienced any of these situations with a treasured friend? What did you do to help them see the light?
When I met my boyfriend of six years, he had downright lickable abs. We were both fresh out of college where we had free gym memberships and plenty of free time. But these days with hectic schedules, grinding to make our dreams realities and the everyday stresses we never knew in college, his workout routine went down the drain. Those abs I used to love turned into a donut.
At first I thought it was cute, endearing. We had moved in together, I was cooking and I took his little pudge as evidence that he enjoyed the meals I so painstakingly prepared for him.
I can’t remember the exact moment the donut stopped being cute. Maybe it was the way it stood in between our bodies when we slow danced, acting as a cushiony barrier. Maybe it was the way it looked with him siting slovenly on the couch, eating Cheetos watching television.
But it was definitely the way that I saw him looking at himself in the mirror disapprovingly. We were on vacation and after he’d changed into his swim trunks, seeing his belly sitting on top of the elastic band, he was less than pleased. And asked me if he should wear a t-shirt.
He hadn’t quite reached that point but if his little pudge was starting to bother him, it was time that I help him do something about it. The thing I’ve learned is that most people don’t need you to tell them they’ve gained weight. They know their body better than you. They realize it. What they might need is encouragement to make a change.
I’ve always been big on keeping the romance in our relationship. I’m big on date nights. Now, I just make sure that one of our three monthly date nights has some type of physical component. I make sure my meals are as healthy as possible and I may or may not have mentioned how much I would love for those abs to make another appearance.
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.