All Articles Tagged "relationship"

#SpringCleaning: 7 Ways To Change Your Relationship

May 2nd, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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shacking up




From YourTango

If we don’t like what we see when we look in the mirror, we don’t try to paint something different or paste collage on the mirror to change what we see.  We understand the mirror is a reflection, so we change ourselves, what we are wearing, how our hair is arranged, our makeup and our clothes.  However when we don’t like our reflection from our life, we try to change the mirror, our life on the outside, rather than change what is being reflected, our inner state of being.

I love the movie Buck, the documentary about Buck Branaman, the man who was the inspiration for the both the book and the movie Horse Whisperer. Buck also served as Robert Redford’s coach on the movie set.  In real life he teaches horse owners and riders how to get what they want from their horses. The key is not about changing the horse, because the horse is just the rider or horse owner’s mirror. It is about changing the where the rider is ‘coming from,’ their state of being as expressed in their own behavior.  The horse is simple intimately relating too and reflecting back what is going on inside and being expressed by the person.  The horse is responding perfectly to what it is receiving.

The horse is like the rest of life.  What is happening in our life is responding perfectly to what is happening inside of us, just like the mirror showing us what we look like. Life, like the horse, is showing us how we are being inside of ourselves.

An amazing life-changing, empowering adventure begins when we realize this intimaterelationship with life responding to us, to our inner being, our energy, emotions and thoughts.  Many people who attend Buck Branaman’s horse clinics become converts to an exciting new relational way of working with horses.
Similarly, when we discover the power of our creative inner life and begin to experience how life is deeply responsive to our inner state of being and reflects it back to us.  We stop feeling like we are on the receiving end of the stick, struggling to get what we want in our life on the outside. We stop trying to paint on the mirror, or beating the horse into submitting to our will. Life becomes exciting, empowering, deeply intriguing and much, much easier. It is all about intimate relationship, our own intimate inner relationship with life.

When we begin to realize this, we no longer need to suffer the bad relationship, the crappy job, the stresses that overwhelm us.  We now have a choice.  We begin to look inside to what is really happening there.  What is the habituated knee-jerk inner choice we are making, that is so painful both inside and outside?  When we identify that choice — THAT is a huge win. We have identified the real source of our pain.  From there we just need to find the inner choice that feels good. That is the choice that will effect a new outer reflection that also feels good, one much more to our liking, both as we experience it first of all inside our self and therefore as it is reflected back to us on the outside.

Instead of believing that the feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, the sense of loss, defeat, confusion are solely due to the circumstances of life, we can begin to see how those life circumstances are largely a reflection of our beliefs, our false perceptions, the inner state of being we are choosing to hold onto inside of ourselves. As we look inward and become aware of those unconscious painful beliefs that we are choosing to entertain inside, we are now able to make a different choice.  When we change that choice, when we make a kinder choice for ourselves, we will feel an inner shift and like the horse, life will also feel that shift and respond to it and reflect that kindness back to us.

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How Texting Affects The Quality Of Your Relationship

May 2nd, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Single Black Male 

Don’t you always enjoy attending events where your friends are celebrating something? Whether it’s a birthday, job promotion, job creation, newborn baby, engagement, etc. you will create a new connection with someone. Recently, I caught up with a good buddy of mine, and the conversation inspired me to share.

He recalled supporting a group of friends who were celebrating an anniversary. After doing his normal meet and greet conversations, someone had his attention, but she didn’t have his. They exchanged numbers, he walked her home, and he called it a night.

What ensued were weeks and weeks of endless text messages back-and-forth, and back-and-forth again. Having merely met within the confinements of a mutual friends celebratory event, they had gone on for an even longer time without seeing each other again. When you’re young and free, you get to the point quickly. Like the eternal line from Puff Daddy, “Why don’t my friends…meet your friends…and we can be friends.” LOL!

They go on for days and do nothing but text. She never called him and he never called her. He even forgot what her voice sounded like! It was very strange hearing the story, because how else would you know that someone else is really into you unless they talk to you on a consistent basis. Consistent text messages, from my perspective, do not hold the same weight or importance as consistent phone calls and conversations. Is that a guy thing? Fellas, do you agree or disagree?

After that initial meeting, they only met up once more, and it was for a “limited” time. His description of “limited” was thirty minutes. They caught up, of course, talked about the inconsistent New York weather, what the rest of our week looked like. What followed was another long duration of text messages and never a face-to-face interaction.

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10 Tips For Amazing Pregnancy Sex

April 29th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From HelloBeautiful 

Pregnancy is an exciting time!  With the all the changes and anticipation, it can be hard to maintain your regular life, much less your sex life. Fortunately, your love life doesn’t have to slow down during pregnancy. In fact, sex during pregnancy can bring you and your partner closer together.

Don’t believe me? That’s ok. I have 10 tips to tell you otherwise!
Here are 10 tips for keeping a healthy sex life when you’re pregnant:

1. Don’t be afraid to have sex if you want to.

For most women, sex is perfectly safe during all trimesters of a normal pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about sex while you are pregnant.

2. Try something new.
Many women experience an increased sex drive as they enter their second trimester, which can be a great time to experiment with different positions or adding a little kink to the mix. Check out this blog post for some great information on safe kink during pregnancy.

3. Make sure you are comfortable.

Your body goes through a lot of changes during your pregnancy. Positions or touching that you enjoyed before may suddenly cause irritation or discomfort while you are pregnant. Be sure to talk to your partner about anything that feels uncomfortable, so you and your partner enjoy your time in the bedroom.

4. Be intimate.
If sex doesn’t feel good, there are lots of other ways you can still remain intimate with your partner. Kissing, cuddling, sensual massages or hugging brings you and your partner closer together and can help fulfill your sexual desires even if you don’t feel like having intercourse. Receiving oral sex can offer release without the discomfort from penetration and often due to the increase in sensitivity can feel more pleasurable than before.

5. Find the best positions.
Know which sex positions work best for the different stages of your pregnancy. Missionary and other positions where you are lying on your back can be uncomfortable as your pregnancy progresses, and can even be unsafe after the fourth month of pregnancy, because they put pressure on major blood vessels. Avoid putting weight and pressure on your abdomen by using positions like woman on top, spooning, or side by side. Experiment and find what works best for you and your partner. This doesn’t have to be a chore, it really can be exciting! Consider using this as a chance to have adventurous sex on a different piece of furniture or in a new room of your house.

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He Says He Can’t See Any Wife Of His As A Pole Dancer, Should I Break Up With Him?

April 29th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Essence 

Dear Abiola,

For a long time, I felt out of touch with my body and myself. I hated my dark chocolate complexion, the way I looked and everything about myself. I even hated sex because I never thought anybody could think someone who looked like me was sexy.

Then my friend invited me to a pole fitness class two years ago. Everybody knows me to be conservative. Doing something like this isn’t “me!” I was reluctant but I went and it changed EVERYTHING! Now I feel sexy and beautiful. My body is fit and toned, I feel in control of myself and I love who I see in the mirror. My friends even say I move differently.

With my new attitude I met a new man. He is very successful and says that one day he wants me to be his wife. We’ve been dating for almost 2 months. The problem is that the thing that most turns me on to myself turns him off. He says he can’t see any wife of his as a pole dancer or “pole ho,” his words.

He knows that I work in a bank and I’m not a pole dancer; this is just the workout I prefer. He goes to the gym everyday so I don’t see the difference. No one sees me except the 7 or 8 other women in my class. I invited him to come see me dance. I said I would rent a private studio so he can see what I’m doing but he said no.

He said that I need to choose and if I’m going to be serious with him I need to find another way to work out ASAP. He feels that any woman who gets with him needs to uphold a certain image. I think the truth is he finds it a little threatening. He always wants to know who was there, what I did, etc. For the last couple of weeks, I had to lie and say I was doing zumba. Nothing against zumba but I really feel a healing connection with pole fitness.

Am I bugging? Should I just give up the dumb pole fitness classes for my man? Is pole dancing something shameful for a wife? Pole fitness is like my therapy. He doesn’t know that this sexy, new me that’s been turning him out in the bedroom is a benefit of my pole classes.

By the way, thank you so much for the advice you give. I have been reading your Intimacy Interventions for a long time — but never thought I would be writing in. I am too embarrassed to talk to anybody else about this. Help!



Read Abiola’s response at 

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.

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.

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“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.

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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.”

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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.

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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 

No Romance? Evoking The Romantic In Your Boyfriend

December 20th, 2013 - By Nicole Akoukou Thompson
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

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.