All Articles Tagged "relationship"

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 

Pick Your Battles Wisely: 5 Tips To Communicate Effectively

December 3rd, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From YourTango

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

 

Why Lonely Individuals Are Not With You For You

November 29th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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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