All Articles Tagged "relationship"
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
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
So many couples end up in a situation where they argue about the same thing over and over. This is partially because not all arguments are solvable and partially because couples sometimes choose the wrong things to argue about. Here are some common reasons why it is so difficult for most couples to choose their battles successfully and below, ways to learn how to move on and choose wisely.
1. Bad Moods
Sometimes we pick a fight with our partner because we are in a bad mood or upset about something other than what our partner has just said or done to us. We need a place to vent our frustration, anger or sadness and we believe our partner can handle whatever we throw at them.
2. Feelings Of Inequality
If we feel we are no longer equals with our partner, our natural reaction is to fight to regain power. We want to feel respected and valued and if it that does not happen automatically, after a point, we demand it. However, we often misattribute our disappointment by fighting about a different topic rather than the issue at hand: that we feel disrespected. Feeling powerless can come from feeling as if your partner does not listen to you or does not pay enough attention to you, if you feel unappreciated for the things you do in the relationship, or if you feel your partner “gets his/her way” more often than you do, etc. It is a common experience in many relationships, particularly unhealthy ones, but needs to be addressed for what it is and not masked by an unimportant argument that is unrelated.
3. The Need To Win
Related to feeling powerless, sometimes we want the feeling of “winning” to know that we are taken seriously in the relationship. When we win an argument, our partner has had to back down from their point of view, which makes us feel more influential. Thus, we will pick a topic that we may not necessarily feel very strongly about, but will fight to the death on it until we experience the “thrill of the win”. Backing down can feel like a sign of weakness and that fuels us to fight harder. This is often a more passive-aggressive method to regaining power.
4. Fear Of Intimacy
Some couples tend to “thrive” on bickering and argue about anything and everything. Mostly, these couples are afraid of intimacy and/or vulnerability and hide behind the “stronger” façade of argumentative behavior.
Read more at YourTango.com
From Single Black Male
Laying there at night, taking inventory of your life between self-induced orgasms, it is inevitable that you will think on a past relationship and ask yourself, “did I fumble?” Hindsight is always 20/20; coulda-woulda-shoulda’s abound when you look back at experiences that seemed muddled at the time. Now, everything appears exceedingly clear: you should have gone left instead of right, zigged instead of zagged, on and on to infinity. I am convinced that the easiest way to give yourself a meltdown is to second-guess your moves in life. In love, like chess, you can’t take a move back.
At times like these, you are experiencing a normal reaction to being alone. As social creatures, we all crave intimate connection to an individual, family and community. So a streak of loneliness while single is natural, and to be expected. But it can also be dangerous, leading you to engage in behavior to satisfy short-term needs, while having long-lasting effects. And so we must learn how to identify the signs, work through lonely periods, and conduct ourselves properly when interacting with others from a place of neediness/loneliness.
There is a difference between being alone, and being lonely. Alone is a status –someone who is single with little or no action in their draws is technically inactive and alone. They don’t have a special someone to share their burden, they must keep their own counsel, and their rise or demise is entirely their own. When alone, you can take all the credit for the wins, but you assume all responsibility for the losses. It is as frightening as it is liberating, and you will discover exactly what you are capable of – to the most positive and negative extremes. With a determined mind you can make phenomenal strides in self-improvement, or descend into a pit of depravity because you have no one to catch your fall, or propel you forward.
This self-sufficiency makes single life so important because tests that determine our passage to the next level are often solo endeavors. You may even notice that certain doors only admit one at a time, and spiritual discoveries only happen between you, your spirit and The Everlasting. And with a constant focus on companionship, you can slow or even block personal progress. If you don’t acknowledge the value of solitude, embrace and develop your oneness, you squander valuable opportunities to become even more of a catch for your next mate.
Read more at SingleBlackMale.org
When we initially meet Somaya Reece on the first season of Love & Hip-Hop New York, she openly discussed her relationship woes. Those woes included both physical and emotional abuse. Since then, the South Central Salvadorian beauty has not only revamped her look but has a cute boyfriend who simply adores her. Despite the amazing turnaround for Reese, she humbly never forgets her past. This past weekend the hip-hop reality star turned model and author stated on her Instagram that she was actually once the victim of domestic abuse:
“I love and embrace my imperfections. No one is perfect. No one will ever be. The thought of living or portraying a perfect life is not REAL! My life is transparent for a reason. I embrace the pain I have suffered. The reason why I made it out alive many times over was because I was meant to live in order to tell my story. To tell my story in order to inspire and motivate others. The physical pain will never go away, but my heart is in a better place. I still have night terrors from when my first boyfriend beat my face into pulp. I lost my hearing for a bit. I can still distinctly hear his haunting laugh while he was doing it. He punched and broke the majority of my top right teeth. He crushed my right temple & crushed my upper cheek bones.”
Somaya continued on:
“When you’ve seen death dead in the face, you fears no longer exist. No man on earth can every hurt me or try to instill fear in me. No man (or woman) on earth can determine my fate. And no matter how much or many have tried to bring me down. They can’t. All those that have done me dirty I don’t have to pray for, they need to seek prayer for themselves. Many have tried their best to hurt me, but i’m still here. I’m still standing tall with my head held high. I was once broken but never shattered. I’m here to send a positive message. I don’t allow my past to make me bitter. I don’t use the excuse of my painful past as a reason to act up. I have a lot to live for. I have a lot of people to help. I have my family to work hard for. And I will continue to tell my story in order to inspire YOU.”
Because of her experiences, Reece has launched a domestic violence campaign called “Be You.” The campaign will help domestic violence survivors to rebuild their self-esteem and reclaim their identity.
What are your thoughts on her statement?
When my husband and I first came together as a romantic couple three years ago, we agreed to practice Radical Honesty in our relationship, meaning he and I wouldn’t keep any secrets from each other bigger than a surprise party. The rule can prove more challenging to abide by than you might suspect at first. But both of us feel it’s well worth the occasional angst we experience in order to enjoy a romance that lets us feel totally connected and utterly trusting of each other.
What does Radical Honesty mean? It means, quite simply, that you tell the your partner everything that’s going on in your life. Everything. Not just where you’re going that evening and what you’ll be doing at work that day and with whom, but also mentioning when someone you meet gives you butterflies. When you feel an urge to reach out to an ex. When you get overwhelmed with guilt about someone you hurt years ago.
It means sharing when someone at the office gets flirtatious with you—even if you don’t reciprocate his or her advances. Or telling your partner you find someone—even a movie star—Hot. In sum, it boils down to full disclosure and keeping zero secrets in an attempt to ward off any potential trouble further down the road.
My desire for Radical Honesty runs deep. I was married for six years and in a nine-year relationship prior to meeting and marrying my current husband, Kiran.
Back then I was married to Sid, who was not the love of my life by any means, but we did have a caring, fun relationship—until it all fell apart. I gradually discovered that Sid had been lying to me. First about small things, like running into an ex at an event and grabbing a quick drink with her. Then about big things, like hitting on a mutual friend of ours, telling her how much he wanted to sleep with her. After we divorced, the walls came tumbling down. Other people shared their stories about Sid. Turns out my ex had been dishonest about who he was at his very core. It took me a long time to forgive him—and myself.
What I learned beyond a shadow of a doubt from my first marriage was a gift. I came to see how lies, no matter how tiny, can snowball into grander and far more humiliating deceptions. Lies completely undermined my relationship with Sid; I was not about to allow the same thing to happen with Kiran.
Of course, practicing Radical Honesty can be tough. It forces you to confront tough emotions head on. In a society that teaches us to avoid conflict as much as humanly possible, to make amends, smooth things over, and tell white lies, Radical Honesty is the opposite policy. It’s all about diving headfirst into sticky situations in the name of love.
I’ll give you an example. I have promised to tell Kiran whenever I hear from an ex-boyfriend, just as he will tell me whenever an ex-girlfriend contacts him. I personally don’t think there’s anything worse than glancing at your partner’s cellphone when it rings or buzzes and seeing that heart-pounding, knee-shaking, jealousy-inspiring ex’s name on the screen. What could more instantly and assuredly inspire a total mental breakdown? At least this way, I know that if Angela or Katy (not their real names) reaches out, Kiran will tell me about it—pronto.
Read more at YourTango.com
From Single Black Male
I was able to catch “The Best Man: Holiday” on opening night with my homegirl. Upon leaving the theater she said something that struck me. Without giving anything away, she was amazed at how a man could love a woman so strongly. She was so amazed that she told me that she thinks a man should love a woman more than a woman should love a man.
To be frank, I think we’ve all heard this before. I know that I have, and I also realized that I never paid it much attention. It was at this moment where I simply thought “no.” This couldn’t possibly be right. Let me tell you why.
I told my friend that I think her philosophy is only shaped by her past experiences.
None of us are strangers to relationships in which we may have given more than the other person. To ever say that one person should love one more than the other only speaks to a paranoia we have. In a relationship, we have a paranoia of not wanting to experience that hurt again. In that mindset, we formulate defensive schemes like this. Either we think of it ourselves, or our elders lend their two cents on the issue. Regardless of the source, this idea comes from a place where maybe too much thinking is going on. Sometimes it does pay to experience new relationships in the moment. Give new experiences a fair chance. It’s the only way to remain fair to your partner.
I told my homegirl that if she asked a happily married couple who loved who more, they wouldn’t have an answer. I know what it is to be in love. At no time while being in love did I have a chance to think if I loved my lady more than she loved me. It was irrelevant. I simply knew I loved and that I loved as hard as I knew how to. For a woman to say that a man should love her more says to me that she’s pulling back.
If you’re pulling back and are still waiting for someone to show more love than you do, it isn’t fair.
Your whole relationship is no longer balanced. I’m no expert, but I don’t think that this philosophy will solve your issue either. You could argue that you’re being just as unfair as the person who may have hurt you in the past.
Read more at SingleBlackMale.org
Dear Dr. Sherry,
I usually don’t ask for help, but I am just so disgusted with my situation. I’m 60-years-old and I am ready to accept the fact that I may end this life as a single woman. I have dated more than I care to tell you, and although there are still men out there worth dating, they’re all still so immature. Either they want sex immediately and when you say no they don’t call back or you do sleep with them and they still don’t call you back. I know my age is a turn off, but I have lost weight, I dress well and I have my own home and car. I recently earned my Masters Degree too.
I cannot find a man who appreciates what I have to offer. I was married for 20 years and I’ve been divorced for 17. I am not a prude by any means. I have fallen in love a couple of times but they always end up not calling and finding someone else. One man even got married last year, to a younger woman, and is now trying to talk to me again. What am I doing wrong? I love myself the way I am but I can’t seem to find a man who loves me. I am no dummy, but I don’t play cutesy coy catch me if you can games either; I never have. What advice can you give me because I really don’t like what I’m seeing out here in the dating pool!
Still In Search
Read Dr. Sherry’s response at Essence.com
Have you ever heard of “premature infatuation”? This is a syndrome that occurs in adults of dating age who are actively searching for a special love relationship. They imagine their ideal savior and project that image onto another person — whether he or she deserves it or not. When feeling that spark or chemistry, they confuse these feelings for real love and end up with premature infatuation. When the projection fades, it’s like a part of them gets cut off from air and they can’t breathe. Doesn’t sound so romantic, does it?
The aftermath is filled with a search to get yourself back to that magical place when you were together. No one else will do, and only that person holds the magic to create those feelings inside of you. You feel lost without them, and the high of the infatuation is matched by the low of the abandonment.
What follows? So many wasted nights pining over this image, fueled by the idea of a person that you decided meant so much to you. You forget that you are the one who chose them, made them special and created the feelings of adoration. Now, the good news is that if you created the image, then the love and idea is INSIDE of you, not inside of them. You hold the key to moving on.
The reason you get infatuated is that you deny the most beautiful and amazing parts of yourself. This gold inside is hidden and is a part of your love shadow. When you meet someone, you project your own gold onto them, forgetting who you are and believing they hold all the magic. So many people approach shadow-work as facing the dark and negative in us, but most of the things we can’t see or acknowledge about ourselves are incredible. We were born to search for this “awesomeness” but the world has told us to look outside, especially through the acceptance and approval of others. (Shadow is a termed coined by Carl Jung about the unconscious parts of us that we deny or suppress that direct our relationships with others).
If you reclaim these wonderful parts of you, you will stop projecting and see people as they truly are through your own beautiful eyes. No longer allowing someone to hold you captive in fear of loss, you can make love decisions based on truth. Many people ask if real love is less exciting because you aren’t projecting anymore. The answer is that it is actually much better. Imagine feeling those great feelings without the fear of loss, and coming from a strong foundation that you want to give, not get love. That is true love.
We naturally crave infatuation because we are designed to search for this love. But the problem arises when we are searching for it “out there” instead of inside ourselves. It is like we live as though we are a homeless person who doesn’t know he or she has a million dollars in the bank.
Read more at YourTango.com
Okay, once again, here’s the scenario. You call up a male friend in another city, say Los Angeles, and say, “Hey, I am coming into town on such and such a date, can I stay at your place?”
Now keep in mind that you have never slept with this friend and you have other friends in the same town that you could potentially stay with, so this man is going to have a bit of anticipation because of your choice. (When to Have Sex with the Man You’re Dating?)
Your friend is a nice guy and accommodates you. He goes two hours out of his way, round trip, to pick you up from the airport, simply because you were unable, too cheap or just didn’t think to get a rental car. But whatever; you now expect this friend to cater to your needs by running you around town. Can I say: Get a bus pass?
Okay, as a rule of thumb, if you call and invite yourself to a man’s home in another state, come prepared to take care of your business and at least ask him, at the bare minimum, if he needs anything. I mean, if the man has provided lodging, then right off the bat, you are saving hundreds of dollars on hotel costs. Right?
So he picks you up from the airport. Keep in mind you’re not sleeping with him; in fact, now you are back in the safety and comfort of his home in a gigantic king-sized bed of your own, not to mention your own bathroom. He now reluctantly asks if you know how to give a massage. After all, he has a headache from a very long day–facing two hours of driving in LA traffic, highway construction projects and road detours just to pick you up. And you say no. Okay, I know what you are thinking, but I don’t care if you give a massage in your panties, in your bathrobe, down on your knees or fully clothed. No is not an option. Besides, is it “no” as in you don’t feel like it, or “no,” as in you don’t know how to give a massage? In that case, you’re 27 years old and do not know how to give a man a basic massage? Are you kidding me? You are a prime candidate to be cheated on.
Okay, so let’s be realistic here and go deeper. You are somewhat of a decent-looking woman; I will give you that. You can dress nicely; I’ll give you that. But the real question is, what do you bring to the table that benefits anyone besides you? Here is the honest-to-goodness opinion of an intelligent man viewing your behavior: “She is not a supermodel; she’s in the middle of the road. She is not willing to sleep with me, she called and invited herself to stay at my home, she expects to be picked up from the airport, she does not know how to give a basic massage, she was too cheap to get a rental car (which means she is broke) and she never even asked if I needed anything. So she is broke and cheap and it was always about her–how her hair looks and what she is going to wear.” Who are you really going to catch–the Man of Your Dreams? More like the man of right now.
Read more at YourTango.com