All Articles Tagged "relationship questions"

Serious Question: Should You Give Your Man Money, So It Looks Like He’s Paying The Bill?

November 23rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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As much as the “strong-Black-woman-who-don’t-need-no-man” trope has been shoved down our throats, I don’t need to see her again. But I also know that she exists partially because there are a select few women who willingly and intentionally project this image for the world to see; even if, at the end of the day, they’re more nuanced and complex than this.

Almost a year ago, I was having dinner with one such woman, talking about relationships and how we all wanted to be in one, when the check came. This triggered her memory and she jumped into a story that still seemed to have her fuming.

“What do y’all think about this? The other day I was in a cab with a coworker and her boyfriend. And once we’d arrived at our destination, she pulled out some bills, handed them to her man and he paid the fare.”

My friend  thought the action was weird. “I was like, does she owe him money? Had they had a conversation beforehand? Why didn’t she just hand the money to the driver?”

When her man went to the restroom, my coworker swooped in with her question.

“Why did you hand him the money instead of just giving it directly to the driver?”

The coworker said, “I just don’t want to emasculate him in any way. I want him to feel like a man.”

My friend’s face held a scowl as she concluded her story.

“This is the problem with men. Everything threatens their masculinity. If this is what it takes for a man to feel like a man, then I guess I’ll die single. Does it really matter whose money it is as long as somebody in the car can pay for the fare?”

I listened to the conversation quietly, raising my eyebrows.

I understood her and agreed. Masculinity is easily threatened and I certainly couldn’t see myself doing this for a man. If I happen to pick up the check or bill this time, it doesn’t matter. I’m not going to be in any type of relationship where I’m always picking up the tab. And if a store clerk, taxi driver, customer service personnel or any other outsider believes this to be so, that’s on them. They don’t really know me and it’s really none of their business. So I don’t see the need to front.

But on the other hand, I’d witnessed women in my own family, including my own mother, do this when they found themselves in similar situations. The only difference is that these women are married. So perhaps they didn’t want people harshly judging their spouses or hypothesizing about the state of their marriage based on one transaction.

What I do know is that men are judged when a woman is seen paying for something, while she’s in their company.

Just a couple of months ago, my boyfriend and I were at the bodega buying snacks. And since he’s always spending money on me, the absolute least I could do that evening was buy some chips and juice. We got to the register when my boyfriend was saying he wanted a different type of snack than the one he’d already selected. Ready to go, I half-playfully told him to just roll with what we had and keep it moving. And he playfully went into a diatribe about why this type of chip was better than the other. Whether out of irritation, impatience or a snap judgment made about our situation, the cashier said, “Man, just get what she says. She’s the one paying for it.”

He said it with a smile and a glare. I don’t think it was said with the intent to scold or belittle my boyfriend. The bodega is near my apartment so his loyalty is to me. But still, the fact that he felt the need to comment on who was paying for something as simple as a snack was interesting to me. Furthermore, the notion that my boyfriend shouldn’t have a voice because I was paying for it was even more intriguing. Did that then mean that when a man pays for something for a woman, she doesn’t have the right to disagree or suggest something else?

This chip and juice run had turned into a lesson in gender roles.

Truth be told, the comments gave both me and my boyfriend pause. I didn’t explain to the store clerk how dude spends exponentially more on me and us than I do because that’s none of his business. Secondly, if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s for someone to count me or my people’s money.

But the whole interaction did make me think about my mother and the women in my own family who had gone out of their way to give off the appearance that their man was the one with the cash.

When I asked my mother about this practice of hers, she simply said, “Listen, that’s my husband and I love him. I don’t do anything because he’s asked me to or out of obligation. But if I can keep him from being embarrassed in public, then I’ll always do that.”

Ok girl.

She’s ride or die apparently.

I can’t say whether or not I’ll be following in her footsteps. I’m not married and I don’t want to feel burdened by the judgments of others but there is something to be said about making sure the unit looks good in these streets. Still, I come from a different era than my parents. And I would like to know that my man won’t feel a way if he’s judged critically by those who are completely ignorant to the financial matters of our relationship.

So ladies, what do you think about this. Would you hand your man your money to pay the bill in public, just so he can save face?

Ladies, Would You Propose To A Man?

June 12th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Personally, I’m still scarred from the day Chrissy proposed to Jim Jones in front of her friends and his family. In case you forgot, Chrissy took the stage, grabbed a microphone and crouched down as she asked her longtime boyfriend, rapper Jim Jones to marry her. She opened the ring box and Jimmy smiled before saying, “I’m with you.”

Not “yes, I’ll marry you.”

“I’m with you.”

Three years, Jimmy is still with Chrissy; but as far as we know, the two still aren’t married.

I still cringe thinking about that reality tv moment. And even though I had never considered proposing to a man, I promised myself that that would nevah be me.

This week you may have seen the viral image of a woman, down on bended knee proposing to her man.

We don’t know anything about the couple. We just see the picture and know it’s being reported as a proposal. And once again, the question of women proposing to men came to the forefront of social discussion.

These days, I’ve evolved a little bit. I decided that the only way I would propose to a man is if he proposed to me first and I said no. If we stayed together, the next time around I would ask him. Just so he knows I’m ready.

In this day in age, with shifting gender roles and people feeling comfortable in expressing their true thoughts and desires, I don’t see a problem with women asking men to marry them. Still, I’m forever cool on that getting down on one knee part. Women are placed in lower, subservient positions everyday in society, no need for all of that in a loving relationship. But if a woman feels like that’s what she has to do (and she’s sure her man will say yes and actually follow through with a wedding), then do you boo boo.

I have to admit that there is something a little off putting about a woman always being the one waiting for a man to make a decision that will ultimately impact both of their lives equally.

What do you think about women proposing to men? Is it something you could see yourself doing in a relationship?

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: His Family Doesn’t Support Our Marriage, Is That A Bad Omen?

May 27th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Dear Damon,

I have been in a relationship with and Indian/Muslim man for three years, this month. We’ve been engaged for about a year and a half. His family says they will cut him off if we marry. I’ve spoken to his sister and met his best friend. Now, he’s going to the army so he can get his green card and have no worries about money if his family cuts him off. My question is, do I stay? I love him very much and we’re always together, outings, vacations. He was also there with my everyday of my surgery. I just want your opinion. What do you think? Is this a bad omen going into a new marriage?

– Am I Tripping?


Dear Am I Tripping,

So, this guy is so committed to you that he…

1. Proposed to you

2. Is preparing to spend the rest of his life with you, even if this means cutting off his family

3. Is practical about what might happen if his family cuts him off, so took proactive steps to make sure he’ll be able to make a living in America

4. Supported you through your surgery

…and you’re asking if this is a bad omen? Is this a trick question? Am I being punked or something? If so, good job. You got me. If not, well, let me say this. There’s a difference being saying “You’re the most important person in my life”…and proving it. This man is proving it.


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 Can I Ask My Friend To Hook Me Up With Her Ex?

April 15th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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How Can I Ask My Friend To Hook Me Up With Her Ex?


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.

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Why Doesn’t He Want To Tell Me His Age?

April 2nd, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Bad Habits That Women Can't Stand

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Dear Damon,

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.

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: 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   

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