All Articles Tagged "relationships"
Have you encountered someone around the office who is overly abrasive and in many ways mean? It kinda makes you question if they have someone to love — or loves them — outside of the office. Hopefully you aren’t this person as that type of behavior can sometimes lead to a lonely life.
Having a “boardroom mentality” or strong business attitude is great, but should be checked once you leave the office as it has the potential to affect your relationships. Here are some common traits and behaviors you might want to adjust.
I’ve always been intrigued by asexuality. And by “intrigued” I mean I never thought it truly existed.
As I work to expand my own boundaries of comfort and explore other possibilities of life, there are some areas, in which, admittedly, I am not the least bit progressive. Asexuality is one of them. In short, I just always saw it as avoidance. And that people should be honest about that, instead of making up labels to hide behind what is likely a natural stage of life.
Contrary to popular belief, most single people aren’t out here humping each other like rabbits. Some of us, particularly those who have been through some things and need healing, fill our times with other joys in life, besides sex. Some of us are not even hurting but at this moment in our lives, really just wants to focus on our careers or our children or our church and social clubs. Back in the day, we used to call these periods, “dry patches.” And even lovingly-committed married couples tend to ebb and flow with sexual attraction, so why wouldn’t single people? And why do we need a label for that part of our lives?
However after reading this piece in Wired entitled, Young, Attractive, and Totally Not Into Having Sex, I am now open to the possibilities that having new ways to describe our sexual lives is not a bad thing – somewhat. In the article, writer Kat McGowan interviewed Sean, Rae and Genevieve, three students at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville about their asexuality identities. And let’s just say that in spite of not wanting none, describing their celibacy is a bit complicated.
As the article explains, asexuality as an identity has gained traction in the last decade, particularly in the online community including gaming-sites, Tumblrs, blogs and reddit. Moreover, “ In 2001, a Wesleyan University student named David Jay created a website called the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. It started as a repository of information about all things asexual. When forums were added a year later, members started trickling in. By 2004 there were a thousand. Today there are some 80,000 registered users.”
And although the sexual identity is fairly new in mainstream culture, it has already branched out to form, “ its own nomenclature and subcategories of romance and desire, all revolving around the novel concept that having little to no interest in sex is itself a valid sexual orientation.” As McGowan writes those subcategories includes aromantic asexual (a person with little to no romantic attraction), heteroromantic demisexual (a person who can only have sexual attraction to those in the opposite gender they feel emotionally connected to), and panromantic gray-asexual (a person who is romantically attracted to people, regardless of gender, but has little to no sexual attraction). And that is the tip of the marked-iceberg.
In spite of the rise in identity online, the article notes that at least one survey puts the total asexual population under one percent. However, those who are labeled asexual don’t necessarily have a mental disorder. In fact, a survey published in 2013 in the journal of Psychology & Sexuality, has shown that while mental illness was common among asexuals, the reasoning had to do with the stigma and isolation faced because of their identities rather than the label itself.
Yet as the article notes:
“The conventional wisdom today is that lust and gratification are natural and healthy, a nonnegotiable aspect of being human. We presume that freedom of sexuality is a fundamental human right. But the idea of freedom from sexuality is still radical. It is an all-new front of the sexual revolution.”
Indeed. As weird as it sounds, there is a certain pressure we put on ourselves culturally to be seen as sexual beings in ways that we likely didn’t in the past. And lots of that has to do with commercialization, which often uses sex, in particular the idea that we are not doing it enough, as a means to get us to buy products and services. Therefore it is nice to see young folks charts paths and identities of their own, which are built around their own personal boundaries and comfort levels.
With that said, I do wonder what impact the embrace of this new sexless identity will have on our ability to connect with one another in general? A couple of years ago, the Guardian UK reported on the alleged “celibacy syndrome” in Japan, which already has one of the lowest birth rates in the entire developed worlds. Yet as the piece noted: “61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship, a rise of almost 10% from five years earlier. Another study found that a third of people under 30 had never dated at all. (There are no figures for same-sex relationships.) Although there has long been a pragmatic separation of love and sex in Japan – a country mostly free of religious morals – sex fares no better. A survey earlier this year by the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) found that 45% of women aged 16-24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact”. More than a quarter of men felt the same way.”
And it is not just in Japan. In the United States, new data suggests that not only are people staying single longer – sometimes forever – and having less children, but that young people in general are not getting jiggy with it as they had in the past.
While this could just be a sign that our culture is resisting hookup culture and looking for more emotionally-fulfilling relationships, if they want a relationship at all, there is still that question again of avoidance. While identity is good in helping a person explain themselves to the world, too many labels might make people feel more isolated and awkward as well as make it harder for people to relate to one another.
But I’m curious of what folks think: are we just answering one extreme (in this case, over-sexualization) with an equally harmless and disingenuous extreme?
Attraction is a huge part of the dating game for both sexes, but we all know women tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to attracting a mate. Not only do men hope we show up looking like video vixens on the first date, even when we manage to get into a committed relationship we’re somehow expected to be sexy for our lover all.the.damn.time. Is this just the price women have to pay to keep a happy home or do men need to chill with all the requirements about our physical upkeep? Check out this sneak peek of our Breaking The Code attraction episode and tune in Friday for the full video.
In order to understand what’s going on in the series, be sure to read the column from last week, here.
If I had to choose, at that very moment, I couldn’t.
I was too afraid to miss out on something, anything. Insecurity is the damndest thing. It will crawl out of you at the most inopportune moments, when just seconds before, your crown was clinging to your afro.
Christopher was clingy; sometimes it was endearing, other times it was annoying.
Trey was inconsistent, but swoon-worthy when he made an effort.
Edwin’s intentions weren’t clear, but our magnetism was undeniable.
Much like Sydney Shaw, from Brown Sugar, I knew what was good for me and what wasn’t. Did I oblige these notions? No.
Despite knowing this, despite knowing what the perfect verse was for the beat of my drum, I clung to an unfinished melody and prayed for an eventual song.
Marsha arrived promptly. I opened the door to find her, hands on her hips, ready to converse. She walked straight into my living room, plopped on my sofa, and got to the point.
“Are you seeing Edwin?”
I immediately became defensive, her tone was accusatory and unexpected, “We’re talking.”
What did talking mean, anyway? Was it something that you did casually throughout the day? Was it something that was a precursor to the real thing? Was it absolute bull and something for your not-so-significant-other to utilize when they wanted to bail?
“I mean…I thought we were just talking.”
Marsha spoke again, “What does that mean?”
Good lord. She wanted ME to define it.
I let out a small sigh, “We’re conversing on the phone.”
“Did he ask you out?”
“Yeah…well, sort of. Why, what’s up?”
“I’m just going to keep it real. I’m into him.”
“Oh. Since when? When we went to the dating event…you were into Scotty.”
“Well, I changed my mind.”
Marsha was always changing her mind. We frequented a dating event that happened once a month in the city. Wayne, the host, was a good friend of mine that Marsha met through me. Once he started posting flyers, she started attending. I, on the other hand, was busy with work. After much pleading, I finally decided to go with her. We attended their Halloween party and were both wearing costumes. I was Frida Kahlo and she was a sexy kitten.
Marsha was right. There were fine men, everywhere. Wayne spotted us the minute we were about to give the bouncers our name.
“Hey! This is my play sister and her friend. They’re welcome in.”
The bouncer moved the velvet rope and let us in. We both hugged Wayne and I looked at him in admiration. I was so proud of him. He’d started the event with a few friends and now it was a big deal. The place was packed.
“Where do we start? There’s so much happening.”
Wayne pointed out all of the rooms, “There’s drinks and food there, dancing in there, and speed dating in this other room. Start anywhere you’d like.”
Marsha and I decided to head to the dance floor. I spotted everyone of interest to me, instantly. I whispered, “There’s a bald guy over there, that’s gorgeous.”
“Oh. That’s Monty. He’s a blogger. He tried to talk to me last week, I wasn’t interested.”
Ew. Leftovers. I looked around some more.
“What about the brother sitting down?”
She smiled, “That’s Scotty. We’ve been kind of kicking it. Off limits girl.”
Last, but not least, I spotted the DJ.
“Okay. I stand corrected. He’s the finest man in the room.”
She laughed, “Edwin? He’s always busy. He doesn’t have time for women. But if you’re into him, go ahead.”
I didn’t take her advice until months later, at the party. The biggest issue I thought I’d run into was him being unavailable. I didn’t think I’d be arguing with my best friend, over a guy.
“You can’t just change your mind.”
“Yes I can. I met him first.”
“Yeah, but I introduced you to Wayne. You wouldn’t have met him, if it weren’t for that.”
Was I really having this conversation, over a guy? Yes. Yes, I was.
“Seriously, I like him,” she said.
“Does he like you?”
She frowned, “I asked him, but he didn’t really respond. He kind of avoided it.”
She shifted her feet around and played with her fingers, a sign that she was upset or nervous. I didn’t want to lose my best friend.
“I’ll stop talking to him.”
As I said this, my phone buzzed in my pocket. I took it out and looked at it.
I pressed ignore, mentally and physically, put the phone away, and suppressed whatever I was feeling.
Christopher and I spoke every night, since our run-in on Instagram. We’d exchanged numbers and notions, realizing that we had a lot in common. We had a few of the same friends, interests, and we loved all the same sports teams.
He was the epitome of consistent. I received three standard texts, a day, at least one phone call, and several links/mentions to articles he thought I’d enjoy.
We were wi-fi & 4G cuffing, because we lived in different states. (More on the pointlessness of this, in another chapter.)
Christopher’s regularity was exciting, during a time when men were frequently M.I.A. However, there were some times where it became a bit needy.
“Hey. I haven’t heard from you all day.”
“Hey. Did you get home safe?”
“Hey. Hit me in the morning.”
These texts, isolated, weren’t cause for alarm. However, these texts were within an hour of each other. Keep in mind: Christopher and I have never met in person.
I wasn’t checking my phone and I went home and passed out. I woke up to these messages and wondered if Christopher was a little off his rocker.
I brushed these thoughts away and scolded myself for being unappreciative. I called when I got in. After twenty minutes of conversing with him, I got a call on the other line. It was my father. He called to let me know that his really good friend, someone I’d considered an uncle, had passed away overnight. Despite our lack of closeness, I clicked over and started to cry while speaking to Christopher and got dressed at the same time.
He wouldn’t let me off of the phone.
“What’s wrong, love? Tell me.”
I pulled on my jeans and spoke through tears, “I’ve got to get to my parents. I’ll check in, later.”
“Promise you’ll call. I’m worried about you.”
I promised I would.
His incessant behavior was suddenly endearing. All night, he checked in on me and did so several days afterwards.
This experience brought us closer together. I liked him, I decided I would let him know. Before I spoke to him, that evening, he text:
“I’m really into you. Can I fly you down? I really want to see you.”
I think that most people want to be wanted. Though relationships can be stressful, if you find the right person then the good will outweigh the bad. However, there are times that a relationship, any relationship would suffice, and if that’s the case, then you might be in love with the idea of love.
So how do you differentiate if you’re in love with the person or the experience?
Would you relocate for love?
It’s a question I have been seriously contemplating; and in all honesty, I wouldn’t rule it out.
My hometown of Philly has been in the news lots lately. It was not only named the second-best shopping city in the world by Condé Nast Traveler reader’s choice list, but Philly is also number 3 on the New York Times list of top 52 places you should go. The city has lots of great amenities also including cheap housing, low-taxes and an amazing park system. And not only is the Pope coming in September; but just today, the Democratic National committee has decided it too would hold its convention here.
But in spite of the accolades and assets, this place is just dead to me.
And I’m not talking about the club scene, or the art scene, or the film and music scene or whatever scene that there is here. I’m talking about the men. In short, we ain’t got any.
Okay, that’s not true: there are men visible and walking around, but I have no idea what they’re into – outside of themselves. Alright, that’s also not true.
All Philly men are not stuck on themselves. Some are just in jail. Some are not independent (financially or emotionally). Some are shallow meatheads, who feel that just because they have a nice car and a good job, they don’t really need a personality. Some are just players, who have no intention of settling down. And some are married; some to more than one woman (and anyone from Philly knows I’m not exaggerating this claim at all).
And before folks start going in with the usual trite we used to silence women about legitimate gripes we have about the selection of men on the dating scene, including how I need to look more (or less) or how I need to smile more (or less) or how I need to stop being too picky (or become more picky), etc…, there is actual scientific research to back up my claims.
The website Citylab.com, along with the Martin Prosperity Institute, have crunched the numbers and discovered that Philadelphia has 70,000 more single women between the ages of 16 to 64 than single men. And it is not just a Philly problem. The article says that the odds are in favor of the fellas in most major East Coast cities like Atlanta, which has 80,000 extra single women, Washington D.C., which has 65,000, and New York City, which has a whopping 230,000 extra women. Something tells me that when Beyoncé sung “Single Ladies,” this is not what she had in mind…
While the aforementioned numbers includes a wide array of singles, when the numbers are broken down even more into age groups, the site notes that the numbers get a little more fairer, particularly if you are between the ages of 18 to 34 range.
With that said:
“But the pattern starts to change for singles aged 35 to 44. Notice the growing number and size of the pinks dots: Now the odds start to shift in favor of single men. Pink circles dot the entire Northeast Boston-Washington corridor, including New York, and the odds also favor single men in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston. The West Coast remains largely blue, with single women having the advantage in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Seattle, as well as Las Vegas, Austin, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Honolulu, Salt Lake City, Denver and Pittsburgh.”
And according to the piece, the odds get even more favorable to men even as they mature into retirement age. More specifically, the article notes:
“This map is almost entirely pink, meaning that, by middle age, single men have the advantage nearly across the board. This is true on the West Coast as well as the East Coast. New York leads with a whopping surplus of more than 325,000 single women in this age range (1,392 single women per 1,000 single men). L.A. now moves into second place, with 140,000 plus more single women (1,256). There are over 100,000 more single women in this age group than men in Chicago (1,259). And there are at least 50,000 more single women aged 45 to 64 than men in Atlanta, D.C., Philly, Miami, Dallas, Houston and Boston.”
Now you see why Philly guys like Shawn Bullard from “Match Made In Heaven” can claim themselves bounty in the alleged war between Black and white “sistas,” even when their lips are perpetually shiny and wet like Dutch Boy premium high gloss exterior paint. Listen, if he can talk “honestly” about not liking head scarves, we can tell him to blot those lips.
But back to the point, in the past, I would have thought a woman desperate for picking up and moving in hopes of finding better prospects for love and marriage. However if those numbers are accurate (and I do believe they are), now I think that she is kind of smart and definitely a go-getter. And as I get older, I realize that often what you want in life requires you actively making that happen. So, if moving is what I have to do to find a decent dude, then booking a U-haul and moving out of town is exactly what I’m willing to do.
In all truthfulness, a part of me is likely burnt out with this city anyway. I was born and raised here and after college, have spent most of my adult life here. I feel like I have done all I could professionally and socially here – and I have done it twice. And although I will miss Sunnah beards and Muslim oils, it is probably time that Philly dudes and I go see other people.
Oh in case you were wondering, the CityLab article notes that the best places for a single gal are likely in major cities on the West Coast including San Jose, San Francisco, Las Vegas and even Honolulu. Also small town like “Hanford-Corcoran, California; Jackson, Mississippi; Duluth, Minnesota-Wisconsin; Jefferson, Missouri and St. Cloud, Minnesota.”
Is it me or is Valentine’s Day getting more expensive by the year? I love the additional attention, but don’t need a holiday to declare my love for my husband and others in my life. It’s really crazy how much people are willing to swipe on a credit card as “proof” they adore that special someone in their lives.
Valentine’s Day has always been circled on my calendar, but not for the reasons you may think. Even when I was a single gal, I had no problems treating myself to chocolates and sending fun cards to friends and family members. It reminds me of my time in grade school and how teachers would encourage students to make (or purchase) little cards and treats for their fellow students. I’m not sure if they still do it, but I can remember the looks kids would get and the feeling of being remembered — even if it was just for a day.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work the same way when you’re an adult.
Some ladies I know have serious problems if their boyfriend or spouse doesn’t go the extra mile by sending flowers to their job, or taking them out on a fancy dinner. I won’t even touch the jewelry aspect. In the seven years my beloved and I have been together (three years married), we have done a pretty good job mixing up going out and enjoying a home-cooked meal (I can burn). The funny thing is I’m always conscious of pricing on those occasions we go out even though he says it’s okay. For some reason it’s hard for me to wrap my head around paying $40 for a piece of steak when I can make filet mignon for two at home in half the price.
Valentine’s Day to me is about celebrating time with the one you love, not how much you spend on them. All of us are guilty at some point of neglecting our relationships due to work demands or personal issues. It’s good to have a day out the year that makes us stop and “smell the roses.” This doesn’t mean you need to go on a shopping binge to proof a person’s worth.
So I say use that Groupon to lower the cost of dinner. It might not be a good look if it’s the first date, but if you know the person, there’s no shame in that game. Or stay at home and enjoy a gourmet meal you two spent time preparing together. And if you choose to indulge a little, go right ahead assuming your budget allows for it. Motherhood can also change your outlook on things, but the older I get the more I enjoy a personal touch. It means more to me to find an hidden “I love you” note around the house instead of a bouquet of flowers that will die in a couple weeks. I also think about ways to please my spouse instead of what I’ll get in return.
Just some food for thought.
Have you ever gotten revenge on a cheating-ex? Cheating is always wrong but these cases of revenge dropped our jaws to the floor.
Honestly, the title that I aspired for this series to have was “I’m Still Looking for a Love Jones In The Brown Sugar Section Of Whole Foods, But I’m Not Sanaa Lathan and My Area of Brooklyn is Gentrified.”
But we don’t have that much title space, or breath, or patience. So let’s begin.
I’m a writer.
I’m a writer and educator, living in Brooklyn.
I’m a writer and educator, living in Brooklyn, with general anxiety disorder and trust issues, considering my last long-term boyfriend was cheating on and lying to me consistently.
Damn, that’s layered.
However, aren’t we all?
Let’s start the series with the truth. We’ll begin with a peeling of me and all my complexities. Why? Because our layers correlate with dysfunction or lack there of. They are to blame and not to blame for why things went the way they did. We love better, when we’re fully aware of our flaws, our discrepancies, and our triumphs. We’re better at loving, when we accept, mend, or stand by them.
This series isn’t meant to preach. The narrative is meant to entertain, it’s meant to make you laugh, it’s meant to make you yell, it’s meant to make you cry. It’s meant to make you reflective, when you come across something that mirrors something you’ve been through. I encourage your notions, your stories, and your smiles.
Let’s try that again:
I’m a writer and educator, living in Brooklyn, with the issues listed above. I write at night and teach during the day, I love my friends and students to no end, I’m incredibly close to my family, and I give back to my community in ways you cannot imagine.
See? I’m not all bad.
I grew up in the 90s. I snuck my mother’s Eric Jerome Dickey, Terry McMillan, and Omar Tyree books. (I also snuck her Langston, J. California Cooper, and copy of the DSMIV. But let’s be real…that’s not what influenced this series.) I watched “Love Jones”, “Love and Basketball”, “Hav Plenty”, “Brown Sugar” and many more movies like it, with eyes wide open. (I snuck some of those movies when no one was looking. I grew up in a household where I was only allowed to watch, if the rating said I could.) The scenes of these works greatly influenced my outlook on love. I was ready to share an open mic cafe table with funny HBCU bred intellects, fall in love with the boy from next door or one that was Brooklyn bred and love with hip-hop, and we were going to be successful as all hell with our brown babies, running around our brownstone.
I moved to Brooklyn. I moved into a brownstone apartment. I frequented open mics and cafes. I became hella successful.
But no guy.
No Dre to my Sidney.
Okay, that’s not entirely true.
I was in a 3 year relationship that ended, just as I moved into this new space. Our union was white sugar–modified, temporarily satisfying.
That was a few years ago. Since then, after a much needed breather, I’ve been on the prowl. (<—Damn that sounds predatory, Riv.)
Last year, I wrote a dating series called “In the Meantime” that covered the initiation of this so called “prowl.” It accrued hundreds of thousands of views on my personal blog and then eventually picked up more speed here, at MadameNoire.com. Those stories were from 2013. These are from 2013-2014.
Back to it: Brooklyn, brownstone, cafes, blah, blah….
Yeah. Here’s the problem: Dre isn’t here.
I hear you, cliche reader….calm down…un-bat those eyelashes and give me a break. Of course there are Dres out there, of course my time will come. I get it. I know. But right now? I’m going to write about the f-ckery that is finding him.
Around February, three different guys entered my life around the same time. During one of my girlfriend powwows, I was told that my issue was that I was putting my all into one guy.
Instantly I replied, “I don’t entertain several men at once, that’s just nasty.”
My friend laughed, “Girl! I don’t mean like that. Go on several dates. Get to know several guys, let things blossom. When you find one you really want to invest in, you cut the rest off.”
I’d never really considered this. I’ve heard Demetria Lucas allude to it, read it in several articles, and even had my mother reiterate it.
Have several dinners.
Go dancing with someone new, every time.
Hearing this advice from my mother was most difficult. She’d been in a successful marriage for over thirty years. She met the love of her life at sixteen and all she knew was triumph and tribulation, with someone by her side.
This is all I’d ever known too, so I mimicked it in dating. I met someone, we both expressed interest and I latched.
That winter, I decided I would no longer latch. I would date, freely.
CreditCards.com surveyed 843 adults who are in relationships about how they manage money with their partners. The results were quite interesting: six percent of the participants have a secret bank account or credit card their partner does not know about. In comparison to the entire American population, NBC reports 7.2 million American commit this type of financial infidelity.
Although the terminology sounds over the top, Jezebel notes when one partner hides their extra financial assessments it makes them appear shady. The survey also concluded that one in five persons spent $500 or more on purchases their partners did not know about. Although an image of a woman sneaking into her house with bags of shoes or clothes may emerge in your mind, it is actually men who spend twice as much and fail to inform their partners of their purchases.
Paula Levy, a marriage and family therapist who is also a public accountant says that financial infidelity is common in most relationships. The reason this occurs is because both partners want to avoid conflict in their relationship and get the material things they desire. Levy also notes, although the phrase “financial infidelity” is intense, partners do not need to share every detail of their financial spending, which helps them feel independent from their partner.
The survey also noted two-thirds of married couples maintain joint accounts whereas others maintain the separate accounts they had prior to marriage. Whatever the financial setup, Levy does claim if a person lies to their partner about their financial habits, there will be a lack of trust in the relationship. The survey went onto highlight the most interesting financial claims made by couples in the survey:
“Younger people are more likely than older people to say they’ve had hidden accounts or large, secret purchases. A full one-quarter (25 percent) of respondents aged 18-29 say they have made purchases of $500 or more without telling their partners, compared with just 15 percent of those aged 65 and up. Seven percent of those aged 18-49 said they had secret accounts, compared with 4 percent aged 65-plus.
Is big spending acceptable? Many survey participants say they’re tolerant of their partner spending money without telling them. Thirty-one percent of men and 18 percent of women say they would have no problem with their partner spending $500 or more without letting them know.
At the other end of the spectrum, 31 percent of respondents said they think their partners should be able to spend only $100 or less without telling them.”
In order to avoid distrusting your partner’s financial spending habits, lawyer Dane Scalise and his wife created a list to avoid the drama:
1. Consider financial infidelity as serious as any other type, as data show the consequences can be equally grave.
2. Be aware of and honest about your financial health. Address problems early and seek help so they do not escalate.
3. Regularly discuss the household finances. Make financial decisions as a team and agree on an amount that each can spend “no questions asked” (as long as it fits into the monthly spending plan).
4. Create checks and balances by taking joint responsibility or taking turns paying the household bills.
5. Agree that all account access will be shared, even if the account is individual (bank, credit, investment and so on).