All Articles Tagged "relationship"

3 Secrets To Help Couples Communicate Better

April 17th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

Have you ever tried to convince a man to do more in your relationship, only to see him pull further away from you? There’s a smart way to communicate with a man and motivate him to invest in your relationship — without any convincing at all.

When you’re frustrated that you’re doing more than your fair share in a relationship, do you feel the need to take action and try to talk the man you’re with into giving more? Sure you do — most women react the same way. And you don’t need me to tell you that most men will resist your efforts.

That’s because of something I call “the convincer”. When you try to talk a man into doing what you want, he will naturally become “the resister”. It’s human nature.

Your convincing is a turn off for him, because he’ll feel like he’s being forced rather than making his own decision to invest in the relationship. If you really want to get a man to start putting in more effort, memorize these three key elements.

COMMUNICATION SECRET #1:  Truly Listen
In order for a man to respect your feelings and needs, he needs to feel safe to share his true feelings with you. And the way to do that is to show him you’re not just venting your feelings but rather truly interested in what he has to say.

Men — just like women — need to feel like it’s okay to have their feelings, and that they will be heard and respected. And when they realize their partner isn’t really listening or interested in who they truly are or how they truly feel, they will start to shut off bit by bit.

So, approach difficult conversations with a spirit of negotiation. Understand that he has his own reasons for feeling the way he does, and listen with the intent of reaching an agreement that pleases both of you. This kind of listening makes a man feel most comfortable to open up and respond with a deeper level of thought, care and honesty.

Read more about communication at YourTango.com 

“Where Is This Going?” 4 Signs Your Relationship Is Ending

March 20th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango 

Maintaining a relationship is one of the things that many people are not very good at. It’s not because relationships are really not meant to last forever, but people are often unaware of what they should — and shouldn’t — do to have a lasting relationship. What’s worse is that we hardly notice our relationship is failing until it’s too late.

Since it’s hard to tell when things aren’t going well from afar, you may as well look at your own actions to know if you’re doing a good job of building a strong relationship or not.

So you can be more aware of where you’re heading, see the various ways you’re actually ruining your relationship below.

1. You’re Taking Your Partner For Granted
One of the best things you can do to rush the end of your relationship is to think that your partner will always be with you to make your life better and easier. You may think it’s not too much or too hard to cook dinner, do some grocery shopping, or clean the house but all these can become burdensome to your partner.

It’s important that you acknowledge and appreciated whatever it is that your partner is doing to make your life together as comfortable as possible. A simple “Thank you” can mean so much to the person who willingly does things for you. You wouldn’t ignore a visitor in your home, so you don’t have any reason at all to treat your special someone worse.

2. You Don’t Have Anything To Say … All The Time.
Looking back, you would see how much you enjoyed talking to each other when you were in the early stages of your relationship. In fact, you may have spent so many hours at night talking on the phone or whenever you had the chance to be alone together. Talking or communicating is an essential aspect of building a strong relationship.

When you notice that you hardly talk to each other already, you may as well expect your relationship to die eventually. Take note also that talking here doesn’t just mean exchanging words. What couples need is to have some real and sincere conversations where they could learn more about each other. It’s true that the fading of honest conversations between couples is a natural process that relationships go through overtime. But still, you need to make a conscious effort to spend time with your partner to talk about the important things in your lives.

Read more about relationships at YourTango.com 

What Is On Your Relationship Bucket List?

February 28th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

Since the film Bucket List came out in 2007, most of us haven’t just heard of bucket lists, we’ve got one. Mine includes: traveling internationally, getting over my irrational fear of karaoke, and finishing a book I started writing years ago.

Bucket lists reflect our unique dreams and desires, which makes them deeply personal. They’re also inspirational: They remind us of what we want to accomplish and of the qualities we hope to honor more fully before we die. In my case, we’re talking about adventure, creativity and overcoming challenges, to name but a few. Viewed through the lenses of doing  (what we want to experience) and being (who we aspire to be) bucket lists aren’t just a boon to our personal growth. They also benefit our romantic relationships.

Research shows that trying new things together reinforces relationship happiness. Novelty not only provides more ways for us to connect, it gives us a new, and renewed, perspective on our partners.

For couples, creating and checking items off a bucket list energizes your relationship.

How do you go about creating a couples bucket list? Start with these three questions.

  1. What new experiences and adventures do we yearn to have with each other?
  2. What do we want to create together as a couple?
  3. Who do I most want to be in our relationship?

Feel free to answer these questions jointly. Or you can respond separately and then compare notes, highlighting areas of overlap. Focus on the big picture if you notice differences. For example, don’t assume that your wish for more romance and your partner’s interest in a course on Tantric sex mean you don’t agree. My guess is you share a desire for more intimacy, maybe passion, too. So ask yourselves:

What might be possible for me, and for us, if I tried what my partner suggests?

Unlike items on our most common to-do list — buy milk, pay bills, etc — it’s easy to defer our relationship bucket list (and our individual one, too) to some vague future. “We’ll explore our sensuality after our kids leave home,” we tell ourselves, or “we’ll take a cross-country road-trip after we retire.”

Read more about relationships at YourTango.com 

How Much Do You Tell Your Friends About Your Relationship?

February 25th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Essence 

Last night on Blood, Sweat, and Heels, Mica’s mother found out that Mica’s boyfriend Terry was still in another relationship when he started dating her daughter. After talking about it, Mica’s mother admitted that she’s glad she wasn’t told from the beginning because she wouldn’t have given him a chance or grown to like him the way she does.

Mica is not the first woman to keep the messy details of her relationship from family and/or friends. Some women only share the good because they want their friends to like the guy and/or don’t think it’s their business.

Read more about relationships at Essence.com 

I Didn’t Make My Boyfriend A Priority So He Dumped Me

January 28th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From HelloBeautiful 

Dating Kevin was one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had. He was the one that hated my vices and I was faced with a decision to make a life change or go back to being single. I chose single life, but it wasn’t the vices that broke us up–well, sort of.

During the time that I dated Kevin, he’d lost the job he held for over eight years. He was feeling very down on himself and I think because I am a career-minded woman, he was always bothered by any and everything that had to do with my career. Kevin was no longer a working man, his only job was to worry about what I was doing and he did that very well. At first, I took his attention as devotion to me and getting to know me was high on his priority list. As a person in the media, my job is neverending, so there would be times, while we were on a date, or chilling at my apartment, that I would have to pick up my phone, address an email or worse, write a quick story. When we first started dating, Kevin was so enthralled with my demanding career, he even helped me write an op-ed. But that thrill was short-lived.

One busy Tuesday at work, I watched my phone buzz and light up with Kevin’s name and I made a promise that I would respond quickly, but after four hours, another call came through and I slapped my palm to my face. “Hello,” I picked up, trying my best not to sound irritated because I was swamped.

“Hey babe. How’s your day? You saw my message and call?” Kevin said with a bit of desperation in his voice.

“Yes sweetheart, just swamped today, but we’re still on for tonight, no worries,” I said, trying to tackle his intention for calling before he could complain more.

Kevin sighed, “Yeah, I figured. I just really wanted to hear from you.”

“That’s sweet,” I said, checking my attitude before I responded. But then, I did what I normally do when I am irritated; I slathered my comment in sarcasm, “Would it work for you if I designated a 10-minute window everyday that we could chat and just catch up. I know you hate texting,” I smiled, knowing that I was kidding.

Read more on this dating story at HelloBeautiful.com 

No Romance? Evoking The Romantic In Your Boyfriend

December 20th, 2013 - By Nicole Akoukou Thompson
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Music plays from outside of your bedroom window, resonating against the late evening backdrop. You then drop whatever misleading but enthralling romantic novel you are currently invested in and you approach the window. You see your beloved below: stereo held high above his head, his body adorned in a trench jacket, and there’s love written across his handsome face.

OH, wait….rewind. That’s not your boyfriend, that’s John Cusack (See: Say Anything), and that couldn’t be your life, because your man does not have a romantic bone in his body.

For some reason, your boyfriend can spend his existence splurging on video games, but never on jewelry; bringing home a dozen donuts, but not a dozen roses; and sitting through three hours of basketball, but not two hours of Broadway.

He’s unromantic and it’s frustrating, but before you kick his adorable but oblivious butt to the curb, consider some subtle and not-so-subtle tips to help your man be the romantic that you always knew he could be.

Dr. Phil Who? Holiday Gifts That Will Improve Your Relationship

December 12th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango 

Ah, marriage. You weren’t kidding when you vowed “for better or worse,” and sometimes that “worse” seems pitifully trivial. Lack of sleep, a silly spat over lost keys, or even dirty dishes can sometimes make you feel like throwing in the towel. But never fear. You chose each other for a reason, and these devices will help you stop sweating the small stuff, and get back to what’s most important: enjoying each other.

From an app that wakes you up silently and let’s your partner sleep in to a DVR that allows you to watch two live shows or record up to six at once, here are 10 products that will squash fights before they start.

1. He’s Hogging The Remote
He wants to watch the rest of the football game and you refuse to miss the newest episode of Homeland, especially knowing you’ll see spoilers the second you sign onto Facebook. Sound like a familiar Sunday night? TiVo’s all-new Roamio Series DVRs will put an end to your usual TV tug-of-war. With this epic DVR, you can record and live stream up to six shows at once. And not just on your TV. You can stream shows on your iPad or iPhone, and take them to go. Holding up to 450 HD hours of recordings, you’ll both get your way — and your favorite shows — anytime, anywhere. (Starting at $199, TiVo, for a list of specifications by model, click here)

2. He Lost His Keys… Again
He’s constantly misplacing those great sunglasses you got him for his birthday, but that doesn’t stop him from getting annoyed with you when the keys disappear in the abyss that is your purse. Now you can both get over your anger quickly with the Stick-n-Find Bluetooth Location Tracker. Simply stick a quarter-sized tracker on any item you are likely to misplace, and you can find it using an app on your smartphone (just make sure you don’t lose that!). The app can track up to 20 items within a 100-foot range, and will alert you when an object moves outside of (or into) tracking range. The stickers buzz and glow in the dark to make finding easy in any conditions (from $49.99, brookstone.com).

3. It’s Gotten Boring in the Bedroom
You need to spice things up, and sometimes a few extra candles or a slinky negligee won’t do the trick. If you’re nervous to suggest your deepest sexual fantasies, let Kindu do it for you. Inspired by a sexual health course, the app aids intimacy by making communication easy and embarrassment-free. It suggests ideas to try in the bedroom (or not), ranging from new positions to exhibition to activities that will make you feel the love, and you can rate them “definitely,” “no thanks,” or “maybe.” Your partner does the same, and then Kindu records. But don’t worry, you can rank that fetish a “definitely,” and you’ll never know if they ranked it a “no.” All that’s left is the good stuff ($1.99, kindu.us).

Read on to learn of more devices that will help cherish your relationship this holiday season at YourTango.com 

People You Don’t Need To Talk To About Your Relationship

December 12th, 2013 - By Ashley Page
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Most women love talking about their relationships, especially when things are either going really well or really badly. We tell the real details in hopes of getting opinions and advice from those we talk to. But, no matter how much you want to talk about your relationship, there are definitely some people who don’t need to hear all about it. Here are 14 people you don’t need to talk to about your relationship.

3 Clear Signs He’s Not A Grown Man

December 9th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From Jet Magazine 

A significant proportion of unhealthy relationships are the result of the failure to differentiate between a man, who is merely an adult male, and a Grown man. Sadly, too many men were never taught how to be Grown (or worse, had role models who taught them anything but Grown manhood), and too many women don’t know one when they see or meet one—or are too willing to settle for less, at least as a “placeholder.”

One result is that many women fail to set a healthy, self-loving standard for relationships, instead accepting the best of the men available to them and trying to motivate, bribe, guilt or coerce them (using sex, affection, money and even procreation) into Grown manhood. The theory: If I love him right (or enough, or however he wants it, or more than anyone else has or can), then I can change him into the man he was meant/I want him/I need him to be.

The reality: You can’t. Living in the Grown Zone means recognizing that it is not your responsibility, nor is it within your power, to change, fix or control the behavior of another person with your love. (And if you’re counting on sex, even if you can put it on him better than anyone else can, that will not change established habits; it can only reward existing—including unwanted—behavior. Sex is a form of approval, not correction.)

A man who is not Grown can’t change for you. And a man who is Grown will only change for himself, out of a commitment to his own personal growth and who he chooses to be, not who you want him to be. By the way, attempting to manipulate a Grown man will result in his distrust, resentment and, ultimately rejection of you. So forget what you may have been taught, by your girlfriends, movies, books and even your mother, about using sex, money or emotional blackmail to get, keep and control a good man.

So rather than trying to take a “piece of man” and somehow make a whole one out of him, better to learn to differentiate between a Grown man and merely an adult male right from jump, before you even consider relationship options. First, take your time. How much time? As much time as it takes. Until you confirm that a man is a Grown man, it’s best, as an act of self-love, to assume he’s not. (And if you can’t stand to wait, that’s a sign that you still have some personal growth work to do.)

At first glance, there is little apparent difference between a man (merely an adult male) and a Grown man. Don’t go by appearances; go by behavior over time (before you give access to your body, money, heart or home), during which you should be both observing and investigating his character, habits and track record. This is not an all-inclusive, exhaustive list, but he’s not Grown if:

Check out the signs on JetMag.com

The Two Types Of Listening You Need In Your Relationship

December 4th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango 

There are two different ways to listen to our partner – problem-solving listening and empathic listening. Oftentimes we get intoconflict because we are not using the type of listening that is needed or expected by our partner, which can result in hurt feelings on both sides. By learning how to utilize both types listening and when to use which type of listening and why, you and your partner will be better able to understand and support each other.

Sarah and Douglas, a couple in their late 30′s, recently came to a couple’s therapy session. They sit down and immediately Sarah says “I can’t get him to listen to me. I try to talk to him more about what’s happening with me like we talked about in the other session, but it’s just not working. He doesn’t have the capacity and I just don’t know what to do anymore.” Clearly, Sarah is very upset.

Douglas, on the other hand, is visibly surprised by her words. He responds with “I don’t understand – I thought we had a great conversation. You talked to me about your work, and I listened and told you what I thought and we were really getting somewhere.” I could see that Sarah and Douglas had very different experiences of their recent conversation, so I asked a few more questions to try to get a better sense of why.

Sarah had a major conflict with a colleague at work and was very concerned about how it would affect their project. When she talked to Douglas about it, he listened and told her what he thought – that she should talk to her boss first to get a strategy for how to handle the situation and only then talk to her colleague, etc. Douglas was trying to be supportive by helping her deal with the situation. Sarah was upset because she didn’t feel that he really understood how upset she was by the situation, and his advice didn’t address that either. This demonstrates the two basic types of listening, and the frustrations couples go through when they are offering one, and the partner wants the other.

Read more at YourTango.com 

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