All Articles Tagged "relationship"
When I first heard about StayGo, an app that helps you decide whether or not you should stay with your partner, I was single. Like, painfully single. I was too busy using Tinder to think about using StayGo, so I thought of a few friends who might benefit from trying the app. One of them was going through a divorce and the other was happily married. I thought it would be both cruel and entertaining to see what kind of feedback they got from the app. But, as always happens when I’m being a little petty, an ex-boyfriend came back into my life and turned it upside down. Suddenly, I needed to use the app.
At a different time in my life, I thought he was my soul mate. Sometimes, when it was really quiet and we were lying in bed together, I could hear his thoughts before he spoke them (they were often about food cravings). We were on and off from ages 16 to 27, and last week he popped back into my 32-year-old life as if he’d never left. I found myself on a park bench one afternoon, holding his hand and laying my head on his shoulder as if it we were still two high school kids with no place to go.
It’s sort of amazing how the body remembers. It’s shocking that, with all the time that passes, the heart can still quicken when the love of your
life teens and 20s touches your hand. Still, things have changed between us. He’s in a committed relationship, and I’ve raised my standards. But as we sat together, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was an opportunity for us in the present.
So, I decided to use the StayGo app on myself.
Now I’d like to point out that, no matter what the app would tell me, I’m not a homewrecker. I’m not in the business of dating men in committed relationships, and I don’t intend to start now. That said, I decided to use myself because the heart distorts memory and makes everything appear softer. In the cloud of nostalgia, I wondered if perhaps we could have a different life together. In the cloud of nostalgia, my good sense was being silenced. Mostly, in this cloud of nostalgia, I was heartbroken all over again. I felt I’d lost something I know deep down I’m not supposed to have.
Most of us, when faced with these relationship questions, ask our friends. If our friends are honest, they tell us to get a grip. If our friends are as flawed as we are, they might give us less objective advice. StayGo is supposed to circumvent bad advice because it’s an app developed by behavioral psychologists. You fill in your information, (including your relationship status, which can range from married to “hooking up”), then, the app prompts you to answer a series of questions about almost every aspect of your relationship (from communication to sexual activity). It asks you to imagine what your friends might think of your relationship and forces you to consider your own values (where do you see yourself in five years and what aspects of relationships are most important to you?). The entire questionnaire takes about 15 minutes to work through, and in the end, you’re given an SG Score with a bit of advice.
My score was a 49 out of 100, and, quite accurately said, “There are lots of red flags, but you already know that. If you want to make this relationship work it will take lots of effort on both parties.” Then, a little further down it said, “…you should ask yourself why you expect so little from this relationship.”
And right there, in black and white, I had the answer I already knew existed. If I wanted more from a relationship, as I claimed, I couldn’t go back. This person is not (nor has he ever been) for me.
Overall, I thought the app was cool because it forced me to ponder tough questions. Before the app calculated my score, the questions I was being prompted to answer already let me know that a relationship with this person wasn’t what I wanted again. I was forced to admit that sometimes the sex was not fulfilling and that I never felt fully supported emotionally. I was forced to quantify my satisfaction, and before I got the score, I knew I was coming up short.
It made the truth stronger than the nostalgia.
For those of you in committed relationships, StayGo has a tracker that allows you to chart your satisfaction over time. There are even graphs that I guess tell you when you’re happy (I don’t really know). You can also do the questionnaire as many times as you’d like for different folks, so if you’re choosing between two people, it could be helpful. Mostly though, I think we all have the right answers in our own hearts. StayGo, and other technologies, might just make it clearer for us to access what we already know.
Patia Braithwaite is a relationship writer from New York City. You can find out more about her @ www.menmyselfandgod.com. She also tweets occasionally @pdotbrathw8.
I am a serial apologizer. If I accidentally bump into you on the train, I’ll apologize for it. If I blurt out something that’s a bit too candid, you’ll get an apology. It doesn’t come from some deep-rooted insecurity as most people seem to think, but rather, the recognition that you will always catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Most of all, in my opinion, it costs you nothing to say “I’m sorry.”
I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve been the aggrieved party, and while it’s glaringly obvious as to why I may be angry or feel slighted (even when I’ve stated why), from family members to friends and even total strangers, there is a pointed aversion to saying the words “I’m sorry.” Why are some afraid to admit guilt or take responsibility? Could it be the slight shame in making a gaffe? Is it overzealous pride in believing we’re perfect? The thing about apologies is that they acknowledge not only the wrongdoing, but also the humanity of the other person. More often than not, saying “I’m sorry” and meaning it goes a long way in diffusing an already tense situation.
I recently had a falling out with an older family member. I won’t go into detail about what was said and done, but let’s just say they were exceptionally rude to me. Even in the face of this, would you believe they have not apologized for it? I’ve spoken about it with my siblings, and the general consensus is that I manage the issue myself, forget an apology, and move on because I will never get one. But I have a hard time wanting to move forward with someone who can’t admit when they’ve done wrong. Why is the onus on the offended person to always “move on”? Why should I be the one to let go of a transgression someone else made? Where is the accountability? Needless to say, the relationship with this person is strained and stalled, and I’m not quite sure how we can get back to happy without an apology leading the way. Call me petty if you like, but that’s where I stand.
While I agree that holding onto a grudge is like holding onto poison and expecting the other person to die from it, the idea that some people, especially those above a certain age, are above an apology is a little unsettling. No one is exempt from apologizing. Even if you are staunch in your convictions, it means a lot when you take responsibility for upsetting another person and acknowledge that what you may have said or done hurt someone’s feelings or made them feel less than. Relationships have been made and broken by the presence or absence of a simple apology. Oh, and for the record, saying “I’m sorry your feelings were hurt” is not the same as saying “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, that was not my intention.” When offered the other way around, one throws the ball and the other, a.k.a., the offended party, takes ownership. Genuinely taking the time to understand why someone may be hurt or offended by something you say speaks greatly to the regard in which you hold that person’s humanity and your relationship with them. So while I can forgive, I can’t forget — and I shouldn’t be expected to do so in the effort to help someone else avoid taking responsibility for themselves.
How do you feel about apologies? Would you rather not deal with the tension and just move on without receiving one? Or are they a necessary part of your relationships?
I’m Literally Sick And Tired Of You: For The Sake Of Your Mental, Physical Health, You Need To Cut People Off
I’ve always been one to say that “Life is too short” to hold grudges, especially ones towards those close to you. I’ve believed, through my faith, that forgiving people for the things they do does more for me than it does for them. Who has the time or energy to hold on to all that anger? I still believe that.
But I also have come to the conclusion that I can forgive you and not want anything to do with you. And that anything isn’t said with rage or animosity behind it, but rather, with my mental health in mind.
In the effort to be diplomatic and to appear less than petty, I’ve given a certain individual a handful of chances to get right after disrespectful comments have been made over the years about everything from my hair to my attempts to go out of my way for this person during important life events. Not to mention that their energy is often off — when it isn’t, that’s a good day.
I’ve hoped for change, and each time, been disappointed by more of the same. More of the unreliability, more of the disrespect, more of the bullsh-t. Recently, I decided that I can’t take it anymore. It’s nice to want to move forward and embrace people, but it sucks when you keep providing opportunities for them to come back into your life, only for them to continue to hurt your feelings. To continue to disregard your time, money and energy. To continue to be self-absorbed and really adding nothing of value to your life but rather, take, take and take. Lord knows I’s tired.
But when I bring my feelings up to the people in my life who tend to play the moral compass role, like my mother or my future husband, I’m told that I’m better off letting my dismay go. Why? Because it was my fault for depending on people. If I learn not to do so, I’ll have less chances to end up disappointed. I guess, mom.
Oh, and the other suggestion was that “You have to talk it out.” When I asked why, I wasn’t really given the “Message!” moment I was hoping for: “You just need to, babe.”
But do I?
I don’t think so. What I do think is that in an attempt to not have what we believe will be drama by ending a relationship, we continue to deal with actualized drama every time that person comes around. It’s exhausting. We continue to be subjected to their moods, their comments, their selfishness and all the other toxic personality characteristics that leave us drained when we finally remove ourselves from their presence. It’s almost like volunteering yourself to be denigrated time and time again and actually believing that you’ll come out of it unscathed each time. Yeah, right.
Not to mention, according to a study, toxic people in your life, from friends to romantic interests, can literally make you sick. In a UCLA study from earlier this year, researchers found that stressful relationships can increase the levels of protein in your body that can cause inflammation, which can lead to serious health issues down the line. When asked to explain such results, Daniel Yadager, M.D. told the New York CBS affiliate that while you might eat healthy and exercise to have optimal health, it’s also important to have good relationships for your overall wellness.
“This is also part of leading a healthy lifestyle, is to make sure you’re around people who are nurturing and supportive.”
And if you leave your friend or loved one feeling more stressed than relaxed, chances are, they are going to make you ill down the line. As I prepare for a new chapter in my life (marriage), I don’t want to take people with me into that stage who, in my heart, I genuinely feel don’t wish me well. People who really couldn’t be concerned with my feelings. And no, I don’t have an exit strategy that will end things on good terms. I’m just separating myself and looking at it as going on sick leave: I’m sick and tired of your a–.
So while I’m all for salvaging the relationships that mean a lot to you and that have seen you through many hills and valleys in your life, those who’ve dragged you through some of those valleys or only come around during the hilly times may need to be reevaluated. As much as I would like to stay close with every person who has played a role in the stages of my youth and adulthood, it’s not worth it if I’m the only one always making the positive effort to ensure that happens, and the one regretting that I did each and every time.
When it comes to certain relationship issues, from the ones that sound petty to the ones could really turn a relationship upside down, everyone has an awkward time talking about them. But if one’s behavior changes due to issues you didn’t know you both were having, that leaves one wondering: What’s behind the silence?
Some pet peeves find a comfortable spot beneath the rug they’ve been swept under. Others grow to be the elephant in the room that’s behind all of the little arguments you’ve been having or the distance he’s been giving you — even if he never fesses up to the reason. From your hair choices to how much more you make, things that you assume aren’t that deep could be a turnoff for your partner.
If one of these relationship issues might be in the way, you will most likely have to bring them up before they become problems with a capital “P,” because chances are, he won’t.
Our twenties have long been dubbed the “selfish years.” I’m not sure who decided to declare how one should spend these monumental nine years, but it’s provided the excuse for much heartbreak, confusion and regret. Since the inception of my college years, I was taught that this decade-long period should be solely focused on myself. Wise friends encouraged me to live according to the laws of Nikki, throw my heart and soul into pursuing dreams and have fun trying on a few men (as if they’re outfits in a store). All recommendations that, at the time, I completely engaged in.
Two weeks ago I received an early morning phone call from my best friend. Considering the fact that it was 9 am and our normal communications ensue within texting walls, I had a feeling that this call wasn’t the average “check in.”
I answered at my desk with a whispering “hello.”
“Hey girl, do you have a minute?” she responded. Naturally I thought the worst. Who died? I nervously scanned potential victims in my head before uttering the confirmation she needed to continue.
“I need you to sit down, I have something to tell you.”
The last time someone demanded I take a seat it was to reveal painful news (or just opposition to one of my many Beyonce rants). But being at work, this wasn’t the time or the place for the latter, and I was sure my friend knew that.
After a few deep breaths, I assured her that I was sitting.
” So I want to tell you something that may be shocking. I left New York.”
Let me brief you on this friend before moving any further. My friend was a brilliant, budding producer here in New York. She’s worked for a major network for a few years, produced rewarding content and up until recently, appeared to be happy. In one year she met a great guy, fell in love and they had just planted their feet in a new swanky Brooklyn apartment. Though the trajectory of her life seemed ideal to anyone standing on the outside, internally she was yearning to break free; a feeling too many of us New Yorkers often empathize with. We dream of getting up and leaving this soul-draining place behind, but are held down by reality and all that comes with it.
Continuing our phone conversation she reminded me of how depressed she had been and how her search for purpose became all-consuming. She spoke briefly of moving to California in the past as a stepping stone towards her producer/director dreams, but considering all that New York was providing her, that dream didn’t seem urgent.
Any friend would have been stunned, sad or possibly angered by this news, but somehow my spirit smiled for her. She left us all behind in pursuit of something greater… herself. Such an act of courage was to be admired. Even if it carried dramatic undertones and required abandoning her friends, family and relationship all on a whim.
When a friend makes such a sudden and unexpected change for their greater good, it forces you to self-check a few things. Too often I’ve yearned after someone else’s life moment, unappreciative of my own. I’m in a loving relationship, supportive family surrounds me, and though I’m not all the way together yet (because, who is?) I’m growing as a human. I have nothing to escape from.
Many twenty-somethings are faced with an ultimatum: relationship vs dreams — as if the two are mutually exclusive. We’re all open to getting bit by the success bug, but swatting away the love bug once it comes? That’s never an easy choice. But is it even possible to achieve career success while enjoying great personal success in your relationship? That’s a question I’ve been pondering for quite some time. My friend left her boyfriend behind with a two-day notice. Though it wasn’t the best way to handle the situation, she’s adamant that it was a necessary, although difficult, decision for her future. And she didn’t want anyone having weight in her choice; the secret worked. My friend is now out in California capturing every moment (pictorially) of her “happy life.” Where does that leave him? Picking up the pieces she left behind.
While striving for greatness, we’ve all encountered the fear that getting into a relationship will slow down the process, distract, and possibly cause us to become weak and unmotivated. There’s a common panic that our focus in chasing a personal dream will ultimately deter us from establishing successful relationships; that a relationship during this stage in our life will take us off course, while our competitors continue to reach new levels.
But why do we have to choose one over the other?
I have yet to ask my friend why the relationship she’s invested more than a year into didn’t require the same dedication she put toward her professional dreams. Why can’t her relationship goals and professional goals find a loving space in the same house? After all, our partners should be supportive, loving, understanding and complimentary to our dreams– not a distraction. In my own relationship, I’m experiencing the beauty of growing with a partner. We challenge those who believe a man or woman has to have it altogether before coming together. We still have a long list of professional, personal and united goals that we’re aiming to check off our list, but what’s beautiful is that we’re able to teach and learn from one another. My self-doubt is conquered by his confidence, my determination motivates his laziness at times, and sometimes we need that to not only further ourselves professionally, but personally. Can’t dreams be encompassing of both – or is one a required sacrifice?
I was recently watching My Big Fat Fabulous Life on TLC, and Whitney Thorne, the lovable subject of the show, was going through it on Wednesday’s episode. Her boyfriend, Lennie Alehat, was being very distant. How distant? Well, despite calling and texting him multiple times during the day, he could go almost the entire length of it without getting back to her. In one particular situation, Thorne had to drive by his home to get to her internship at a morning radio show, leaving the house at 3 a.m. When she passed his place, she didn’t see his car. When she called him to see what was going on, she didn’t get a response — for the entire morning. It took Thorne going back to his house, knocking on his door (while covering the peephole) for him to come out and explain what was going on. His reasoning? Well, he said that he’s not cheating, nor is he not into her anymore. Instead, he apologized for the fact that she worried unnecessarily, and claimed that he’s not the type of person who needs a whole lot of communication to be happy in a relationship. He’s not alone in this way of thinking.
I have a girlfriend who has been dating a guy for a couple of months now, and she’s pretty frustrated with how lax he can be when it comes to returning her phone calls. Sometimes she will call him and instead of calling back, he will message her. When she texts him, sometimes it takes him hours to respond to her. And when he responds quickly, his messages are missing a lot of the enthusiasm that she, herself, is so used to displaying. According to her, he’s good to her for the most part, but his indifference when it comes to touching base gives her the feeling that he’s really not interested in taking their budding relationship seriously.
Still, she doesn’t believe that it’s something worth parting ways over, though it can be incredibly frustrating (and stressful considering that sometimes she worries that something has happened to him when he goes all MIA communication-wise). So what is a girl to do when the guy she’s dating likes her, but doesn’t like the idea of being “checked on” (as he calls it) when it comes to correspondence? And what do you do when you’ve talked to them about it and they still leave you hanging?
I don’t know what other people base their relationship on, but for me, communication is everything. No one wants to be running after a grown person to ensure that nothing serious has happened when all it takes is a quick reply to let people know you’re okay. And I get it: not everybody is the “Let’s talk for hours!” kind of person. I know I’m not. Most grown folks are quite busy, and the best they can do at times is send a quick message as a reply. But when you rarely if ever send a message or drop a line to let someone know that you’re thinking of them, and then you barely respond to their attempts to get in touch with you unless you have or want to make plans with them, it’s hard for someone, like my friend, to not take such things personally. I know long-term relationships have moments where all the newness wears off and folks aren’t interested in doing the most over the phone. In fact, a touch base message here and there throughout the day works just fine for some. But these two are in the early stages of things. Plus, when you know that your behavior makes your partner feel left for dead or unwanted, it would be nice to at least attempt to make a better effort. Because being in a relationship is all about making an effort and keeping other people’s feelings in mind to show that you care. If you don’t want to be bothered because you claim you “don’t need all that,” then you might want to figure out if you need to be in a relationship altogether…
But as always, that’st just my opinion. What say you? Is she being petty, or is he being inconsiderate?
Every relationship goes through it: The two of you started arguing one day and it seems like you haven’t stopped. Setting the other person off is as easy as chewing too loudly. Suddenly everything gets on your nerves, you can’t remember the last time you had sex and things are looking bad.
But a bad relationship patch doesn’t have to mean the end. The trick is to choose the relationship over the fight. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but here are some surprisingly effective ways to do it.
Do you have a go-to move to set things right when you get into it with your partner? Share your techniques in the comment section.
How did you end up being so close with the people in your circle? I’m sure there was a situation that put your relationship to the test or just brought you together. Whatever it was, you came out on the other side with a sense of trust and love for one another. You meet people all of the time, and while many seem like great individuals, it’s hard to say that you really know a person until you go through one of these complicated situations together.
It feels great when someone surprises you and shows you that your connection goes deeper than you initially thought. Unfortunately, not every relationship makes it through bumps in this road of life, and you quickly find out who’s a permanent acquaintance and who was just meant to be around for a season (make that a few seasons).
Have you ever gone through one of these situations and someone close to you showed you their true colors?
Being single brings a variety of emotions; from frustration due to the barrage of inquiries surrounding your relationship status to worrying if you’ll ever find ‘the one’.
Fortunately, relationship experts say that the single life should be a time of enjoyment and for self-discovery. In fact, sex and relationship expert Dr. Gabrielle Morrissey said, “Being single is when you live for yourself, not just by yourself. Being single should not mean being solely on a quest for love.”
Below are tips that can help you experience a healthy single life.
Try traveling alone. You’ll be able to set the tone on where you decide to stay, eat, and places to visit while in that specific location, without having to compromise. Kristen Newman, author of the travel memoir What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, thinks that people are afraid of looking like a loser while traveling alone. “It’s the same how people don’t want to eat dinner alone,” she said. “I think people are afraid of being lonely, of being scared, of looking like they didn’t have anybody.” Step out of your comfort zone and see the things you’ve always wanted to.
Treat yourself well
Like traveling, you don’t need to be in a relationship to have fun! Cook a nice brunch for yourself and grab a huge wine glass (like the one you use while watching Scandal), make a mimosa and enjoy yourself. Get massages and manicures and pedicures regularly, just for kicks. Go see a movie, by yourself, and actually indulge in popcorn, chocolate candy and a huge drink when you do. Whatever you decide to do, show yourself love. As Iyanla Vanzant put it, “Learn to appreciate quiet times alone with you. When you are alone, you can pamper yourself and be extravagant with yourself.”
Become financially literate
Making money is great and spending it freely while single is even better. However, becoming financially responsible and taking this time to truly figure out your financial goals can really be an asset in your future relationship. Jay Hurt, relationship coach and author of The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship, said that finances are often stressful in marriages and being prepared can help minimize tension. “Actually putting your expenses and income on paper forces you to think about where all of your money is going.” Hurt said. “It’s a great habit to start while single, which will help to build wealth (together) down the road. Make it a point to check your credit score and find ways to continually maximize your score.”
Sleep in the middle of the bed and spread out. In fact, fill the whole house with candles and flowers. Appreciate the space that you have and use it, while you have the chance. Also, explore career opportunities that might call for you to relocate. This is the time of no compromise or sharing so enjoy it. Bob Rosen, author of Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World, believes it’s a necessity. “To be a healthy, grounded person, you need to be selfish,” Rosen said. “If you’re looking to a partner to fill your emotional needs, your relationship is vulnerable. The best relationships happen when two adults show up and enjoy each other.”
Figure out what you want
Relationship expert Susan Winter said that being single should be a beautiful and rich experience. We should get to figure out what we do and don’t want, and in the meantime, do what we want. “Our time is our own. We can go out with our friends or luxuriate in a movie (we like) at home. We have the rare opportunity to explore what we want, when we want and without constraint.”
This is the time for true self-reflection and self-development. After all, the more you learn about yourself and appreciate yourself, the more enriching your future relationship will be.
I’m a big follower of the A&E series, My 600-lb Life.
I don’t necessarily enjoy watching the individuals featured struggle greatly with their weight as much as I like to see the progress they make to lose it for and following weight-loss surgery. A spinoff of the series has been made, a Where Are They Now? That program follows the same documented subjects as they adjust to life after losing hundreds of pounds, and the effort they make to drop a bit more weight so they can obtain skin-removal surgery. One of the women featured was able to lose more than half of her body weight with proper diet and exercise post-surgery, but in the process of losing that barrier to her happiness, she also had to lose her husband. He turned out not to be very supportive of her weight-loss endeavors. And this seems to be common, because not only have other individuals featured on the program divorced hindering spouses who couldn’t deal with their newfound independence, but many women have also shared their stories online about dealing with the same kind of negative partners.
Like one woman who said that because her husband prefers big women, he’s been against her attempts to lose weight. Keyword: “attempts.” With the lack of a proper support system, the woman consistently yo-yos.
“My husband is just so negative about me losing weight,” she said in her post. “He tries to sabotage my diets and make me feel guilty about losing weight. On various occasions, he has let me know that he has become less attracted to me. Usually when this happens I fall into a downward spiral of depression and I get so insecure I can hardly handle it. This is the point where everything I have worked so hard for completely goes to **** and I gain all the weight back and then some. I have told him that I want to be healthy and that I’m doing what I need to do for me to be happy, but he doesn’t seem to really care.”
The woman would actually go on to say that her husband is a fine partner in every aspect of their relationship–except for this very important part. So what is a girl to do when the person she loves doesn’t support her in one of the biggest goals she’s ever tried to reach in life?
Some women can make it work, it seems. Even Jennifer Hudson, who went from a size 16 to a size 6, said that her fiancé, David Otunga, had moments where he wasn’t thrilled about the changes that came with the difference in her size.
“He’s getting adjusted to it,” she told Jay Leno while visiting The Tonight Show in 2011. “He’s not really into change that much so he fusses at me like, ‘Why do you have to get all dressed up to go out and why can’t you just go out like you used to?’ And I’m like, ‘I’m a walking billboard now, honey!'”
But other women deal with a bit more negativity and decide to leave. As one woman stated in a comment on A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss:
“You know what’s sad…our mates are usually the first people to check us when we gain weight or fall off the wagon a little bit but when we start to do something about it, sadly we get punished for it. I was in a relationship (and I emphasis [sic] WAS) where my ex had conditions on my weight. If I didn’t lose blah blah blah he was going to leave me. Foolishly I worked towards “his” goal weight for me. When I was finally tired of his crap and lost the weight for myself then he had more issues. My theory is, if your mate can’t support you through good and bad it’s time to kick rocks.”
I can’t imagine putting in the work to reach a significant goal only to have one of the most important people in my life make a conscious effort to thwart my plans. In the case of the married woman, considering that she feels as though her husband is good to her in every other way, they may need some form of counseling (not just a quick conversation) to figure out why he can’t seem to support her. And if that doesn’t work, then I would say she needs to look out for self and split. Because not only is that guy, and individuals like him who sabotage the efforts of men and women trying to lose weight (likely because those people won’t need to depend on them as much for help and affirmation) messing with her emotions, but he’s messing with her health. That’s an even bigger no-no…
But as always, that’s just my opinion. Is this a petty problem they can work on?