All Articles Tagged "relationships"
When I was in college, there was this guy who projected an image of perfection and enjoyed a great deal of popularity. And since he was so well-known and well-liked on campus, folks paid attention to the people with whom he chose to associate himself, particularly romantic interests.
I went to the PWI (Predominately White institution) so when it came to the small Black community on campus, everyone knew quite a bit of everyone else’s business. So, when this dude, Mr. Perfect started “talking to,” a girl on campus, people were not only curious about his newfound interest, they told him, directly to his face, what they thought about his selection.
Basically, they didn’t think she was good enough for him. They would have expected him to be with someone else, someone who matched his level of attractiveness, someone…else.
And instead of waving his popularity wand and standing up for the girl he clearly liked, he cowered and stopped speaking to her, not wanting his image to take a hit.
I thought about that story today when a friend posed this interesting question.
To paraphrase, it was something like: Do you care whether or not people find your partner attractive? And furthermore, if you could choose the number of women, men or both who actually noticed your partner throughout the course of the year what would it be?
I thought the question was odd. Honestly, if I found someone to be attractive, it really didn’t matter what other people thought. I’ve never been known to mess with dudes who look like dog meat anyway. But I was going to play the game. So I gave an arbitrary number, anywhere from 30-50 people a year would be cool. Enough to let him know he looks good but not enough to make him vain or arrogant.
But then, the more I thought about it, I realized that the opinions of my family do matter to me. If my mom, sister and best friend all agreed that a dude wasn’t attractive, I just might start to look at him differently. And not so much because I would lose the attraction that I originally felt; but because, selfishly and shallowly, I want the people that I love the most to think any future children I might have are cute.
Truth is, we do try to gauge what our friends and family think about the men and women we choose to date. We show them that first cell phone picture of the person or make that first introduction and nervously await their approval.
Still, as I’ve written about before, women have a tendency to overlook certain physical attributes if a man’s personality overrides it.
But the question was one I wanted to pose to you all. Do the opinions of your family and friends matter when you’re choosing someone to date? Does it matter if they share those less-than-approving opinions before you’re in too deep? Do tell.
Yes, it’s the interracial dating debate again. But instead of making assumptions that all men from the continent either have dated, are dating, or want to date a fair-skinned or non-Black woman, we decided to ask actual Black men if this whole light is white mentality when it comes to dating is as real as society makes it. Their answers just might shock you. Check out what the fellas had to say about the pervasive ideal that the higher a man climbs in society, the lighter his woman gets in the video above and weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments section.
Check out all episodes from Season 2 of Ask A Black Man here.
Even as a young girl, I was fascinated to see my mother fix my father’s plate. They were both clearly able-bodied people so I couldn’t understand why she was the one making his plate. While he was more than capable. After years of watching this, finally I decided to ask her what this was all about.
“Why do you fix Daddy’s plate when he could get it himself?”
My mother, having endured years of my persistent questions and slick mouth, responded with a twinge of an attitude.
“I don’t have to fix your father’s plate. And I don’t always do it. But it’s just a nice gesture. And I don’t mind.”
Well, that made sense. If she liked it, I loved it. And she was right she didn’t always do it and my father wouldn’t sit and starve waiting for my mother. Quiet as it’s kept, he could cook pretty well himself. He bakes exceptionally well.
I learned long ago, from watching my parents and my mother’s response, that a woman should do only what she feels comfortable doing for her man. And what works for some women doesn’t work for all. (Though I later learned that I too am not opposed to fixing a man’s plate.)
I’d reconciled this in my own mind and life but apparently, the topic came up again, when this picture went viral on Twitter.
— Miss Green Eyes (@Ayee_Stephh_) May 19, 2015
There are two points of discussion here. Whether or not this woman should fix her man’s plate and the other woman who jumped up to do it while his significant other was there.
If you ask me, the other woman is completely out of line for offering to fix a plate for another woman’s man. If she’s offering to do something like this, she knows that this gesture is intimate and typically reserved for couples. Homegirl is looking for trouble. And honestly, if I were the type of woman who didn’t fix plates, I would expect my man to tell her he can fix his own plate or leave the one she prepared for the birds and small insects to devour. He shouldn’t eat from that plate like Adam and Eve shouldn’t have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge.
You’ll also notice in the original tweet, the man tells his girlfriend that he’s hungry. Which is one of the last things I want to hear from a man when there is food around and readily available. The fixing of the plate, as I’ve observed, is something I’ve seen offered, never expected or demanded. Because able bodies. Expecting me to fix your plate will have you severely disappointed. Let that gesture come from the goodness of my heart not the misogynistic nature of your expectations.
But that’s just me. Check out what some Twitter users had to say about it on the following pages and answer our poll below.
This series happens once a week. In order to understand what’s going on in the series, be sure to read the column, in order.
Christopher had something simple down pat. It was something this generation’s woman sees rarely, something that we yearn for in quiet, something we sometimes pretend we’re strong enough to do without.
It’s what kept me interested. It’s what made me answer the phone, even if I was infuriated with outside factors that were motivated by our union.
He called the moment I got back to my hotel.
“That was pretty crazy, huh?”
I tried to be optimistic, “Your parents seemed really concerned for your well being. I mean, I might be a serial killer.”
He sensed my sarcasm, “Hardy har har. Things are tough for me. I’m bound by this whole trust fund thing.”
“I get it, but I don’t. You’re a grown man, you should be able to move like one.”
“You don’t have to get it. You don’t have almost a million dollars in jeopardy.”
He sounded annoyed. I was too, “Like I said, I get it. I’m just concerned about how you’ll move when you actually get that independence. What do you actually do on your own?”
The other line grew silent. I was genuinely concerned about him: his mother did his laundry and cleaned his room, they rarely went out without one another, and they even managed his finances. I wondered what type of provider Christopher would be if he didn’t learn these things, on his own.
He changed the subject, “Despite my dad’s appearance, I thought tonight was pretty cool. Did you enjoy the vineyard?”
I did enjoy that portion, it was the only time we really had alone, “It was great.”
My next statement came out quickly, in a way that I instantly felt guilt about, “Listen, maybe we should spend some time being friends.”
“I knew it. It’s over, right?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Run. That’s what all of you do, any way. No one understands my predicament.”
I frowned, “I tried to, but right now…it’s not going to work for me.”
The other line grew silent and then my phone lit up. He was gone.
I hadn’t heard from Marsha since our last encounter and as our friendship started to fade, my interest in Edwin grew. There was no guilt when we met up.
Edwin tried to be consistent. He truly did. However, he was frequently out of town due to his touring and he’d call at ridiculous hours after shows. I told a friend this and she stated, “He could not call at all.”
I sighed. Sometimes we mistake minuscule, scarce-effort gestures for grandiose ones, because of the excessive absence of opulence. I took her advice, anyway. I ignored my gut.
He did try. When he came home, we spent a day or two together, but it was hard to catch him between those moments, unless it was in a tired short call or text exchange.
I think I spoke too soon. On one of the nights he was on tour, he called. It was early and I was excited to see his name flash across my screen.
He used my name, not a pet name and his tone was dry.
“Hey, is everything okay?”
“Mayyyybe. I’m hearing some things that I’m not happy about.”
“I’m listening,” I truly was and his words were a bit slurred, he was drunk.
“You ever dated a guy named Derek?”
I thought about it for a second, there was a guy by the same name that I went on one date with and never spoke to again.
“Derek Matthews? The writer?”
“Oh. So you do know him…”
“I do. We went on one date and we never spoke again.”
“Why is that?”
“No chemistry. I think we both weren’t feeling it.”
“That’s not what he says. Derek is a good friend of mine.”
My, my, how the tables started to turn.
“What did he tell you?”
“He said he was into you and you ended it. But that’s not even what I care about…did you sleep with him?”
I could not believe I was having this conversation, “No I didn’t.”
“He says you didn’t either, but I don’t believe much folks these days. The way he talked about you, the way he spoke about how wonderful you are, it just doesn’t make sense. How could someone end it with you and you still think the world of them?”
“Because I didn’t end it, we just stopped texting one another. I’m sorry he didn’t see it that way, but that’s the truth.”
“I can’t date you and you dated one of my best friends.”
“It was one date and it was years ago.”
He ignored me, “Imagine how I feel, showing your picture to my homeboy, and he’s all ‘she’s so dope’. He’s not even supposed to know you.”
We’d officially arrived at foolish land.
Edwin was overreacting. I couldn’t believe how loud and ridiculous he was being.
“I believed you when you said you weren’t messing with Marsha. Why should this be any different?”
He sighed, heavily into the phone, “It just is.”
I stood and waited for my co-worker to finish her flirtation with her almost-boyfriend. Trey shuffled things on his desk nervously, while I threw intentional shade with a grin. But she was so giddy to see him, she didn’t realize.
After twenty minutes, she was ready to go. I’d decided that I wasn’t going to tell her anything, we weren’t that close. Also, telling a woman something about someone she’s infatuated with never ever goes well. I’d also decided that I was through with Trey.
We made our way out of the bank, when my co-worker realized she had one more transaction to make. As we turned back, we saw one of Trey’s fellow bankers hugging and kissing him goodnight. My co-worker was furious and stormed her way back to his cubicle, I stayed put.
She yelled, “Who the hell is she?”
The girl looked defensive, “I’m the manager of this branch. & I’m also his girlfriend.”
See you next week!
Rivaflowz is an educator and freelance writer, living in New York. You can read her first dating series “In The Meantime” and her fiction, at Rivaflowz.com and follow her on Twitter/Instagram at @rivaflowz.
In this episode of “Ask A Black Man,” six Black men, some single, some married and others who have been divorced, sit and talk about the m word: marriage.
These brothas discuss everything from the perception of marriage in our society, to the divorce rate and that troublesome ‘head of the household’ concept.
They also talk about whether or not Black men are marriage minded.
Check it out in the video above.
From the toilet paper roll to what’s on TV, these are the dumb things every couple fights about. Who knew “over” or “under” in terms of toilet paper could cause such confusion?
This series happens once a week. In order to understand what’s going on in the series, be sure to read the column, in order.
I came to a realization.
It seemed like the most competent and trustworthy gentleman in my repertoire was Edwin. He came up with great dates, treated me with respect, and kept it all the way real.
Here’s the thing with some “gentlemen”…
The flaws come when you least expect them.
There are some flaws that are worth staying for; they’re the kind that God allows to grow and augment our beauty. There are others that are completely ridiculous, the kind that time and knowledge should’ve eroded.
With men, I always seem to confront the latter.
The culinary class was perfection. I thought Christopher’s hot air balloon ride and winery couldn’t be beaten, but I was wrong.
When a man has his arms around you,
while you giggle about the way he holds his knife,
and the instructor informs you that you’re the cutest “couple” he’s ever seen,
Our connection was genuine. My fumbles were his smiles, his excitement was my laughter, the sync was real.
Once we’d left the venue, after trying the scrumptious meal we’d created together, we decided to walk along The High Line.
(For those of you who aren’t based in NYC: The High Line is a train track that’s been renovated into restaurants, gardens, creative events, and so much more.)
Edwin grabbed my hand.
I felt like I was 16.
I raised my brow as if to say: Boy, you better stop, before I marry you.
I think I did actually say that once, during our walk, when he said something smooth and savvy, as he always did. We leaned over the railing at one point and looked out over the city as the sun started to set.
“I love living here.”
I smiled, “Really? I feel quite the opposite. In this moment, I’m good, but anxiety runs rampant through the hustle and bustle. I yearn for peace and quiet.”
He seemed saddened by my notions. “I mistook you for a city girl. Well, I’ll be here for the rest of my life. I’ll continue to tour and see everywhere else, but I’ll always come back to New York City.”
I smiled at him. I still didn’t share his sentiment, but I didn’t want to ruin the moment.
His phone rang, he looked at the caller and appeared startled. He stepped away and said, “I’ve got to take this, I’ll be right back.”
I don’t like to eavesdrop, but it was hard not to hear. He seemed pretty upset.
“I told you to talk to the woman, negotiate! Why is this so difficult?”
“I’ve done all I can do! What else can I offer, at this point?”
“We tried that. No. No. I’m not going back there, not even as a last resort!”
“I’ve got to call you back. YES, I’M OUTSIDE. I’ll call you back.”
He walked back over, and I asked, “Is everything all right?”
He found his smile, from earlier on, and plastered it across his face, “I’m good. Let’s keep walking.”
Mr. Hot and Cold.
I was so ready to quit this dude.
One day, we were working on a script, and he’s asking me out. The next day, he’s ignoring my calls without the decency of a text to say he’s busy. Ugh.
He called, after a week of being M.I.A., and I picked up reluctantly.
“This is my fourth call,” he spoke rapidly, annoyed at his attempts.
I rolled my eyes. “I’m aware.”
“Why didn’t you answer?”
“I’ve been thinking the same thing, for a week.”
“I’ve been busy.”
Trey sighed, “Listen, work is stressful right now. I promise things will be different, soon.”
A few days later, I was conversing with one of my colleagues on the way home.
I walked hurriedly alongside her, “I’m headed to the 4, what train are you taking?”
“Same train, but I need to head to the bank first.”
“Oh. Which one?”
“The Chase, right next to it.”
“Oh, that’s my bank too! I’ll follow you. I need to deposit something, anyway.”
“Girl! Have you met Trey?”
I feigned ignorance and said, “Is that the tall, lanky one? He’s kind of fine.”
“Kind of? Everyone knows about him, girl. They’re all checking for him. I’ll let you in on a secret though.”
“Okay, I’m listening.”
“He’s all mine. We’ve been talking for weeks, and I think we’re ready for the next step.”
I snickered, “What step is this?”
She looked at me suspiciously. “A relationship. Why is that funny? You don’t think we could be together?”
I lied, “Sure you could! I just didn’t know you were getting serious, with anyone.”
“I didn’t think I would be. I was keeping it quiet, in case it didn’t work out, but I think it is.”
I smiled at her. I was happy for her, but sad at the same time. Just a few days ago, Trey wanted us to be together. Puh-lease. I was dating other folks, so I didn’t mind that he was doing the same. However, he was a sleaze for making each girl feel like she was “the one” when she was one of many.
We walked into the bank together. I wanted to wait in the lobby, but she motioned for me to join her at Trey’s cubicle. Trey was dressed to the nines, as always, and he stared at his keyboard and typed relentlessly. It was after 5, and I was sure he was ready to clock out.
He looked up. For a moment he smiled, but then his smile turned to horror when he realized who stood before him.
My co-worker was so excited to introduce him. “Trey, this is Erica. She works with me. She’s a phenomenal artist and writer, and she’s bringing that to the program she runs.”
He smiled at me and squeaked out a hello…
Until next time!
Rivaflowz is an educator and freelance writer, living in New York. You can read her first dating series “In The Meantime” and her fiction, at Rivaflowz.com.
Today, many couples looking to tie the knot are encouraged to sign prenuptial agreements to safeguard their assets in the event that the marriage goes south. But according to attorney and legal TV commentator Ann-Margaret Carrozza, entering into a love contract with your husband-to-be has the potential to save your marriage before it’s ever in trouble in the first place.
In an essay for the New York Daily News, Carrozza explains that these documents should be customized to address both finances and lifestyle issues. She writes:
I encourage couples to customize these documents to include provisions to address lifestyle issues, pet peeves, shared goals and “deal breakers.” Examples of common Love Contract provisions are infidelity penalties, vacation schedules, social media parameters — and even fitness goals.
We begin by looking at some common sources of a couple’s disagreements. High on the list for most couples is money. Applying the contract process to this (or any problem) requires each party to become clear about one’s goal.
This may take the form of reducing debt, building up savings or investing in real estate.
Of course, asking bae to sign a contract about fidelity or keeping in shape is everything but romantic; however, Carrozza explains that love contracts are more about self-reflection than placing contractual demands on one another.
Each party is then asked to take a critical look at their own behavior and determine what actions they are prepared to take to achieve the goal. These may include eating out less, cooking more or selling some unwanted items.
The parties then come together to share their goals and voluntary self-action steps. Only then, with this enlightened foundation, do we make constructive suggestions to each other. The actions and goals that both parties believe they can live with become incorporated into the contract.
The Love Contract is both a relationship blueprint and mission statement for a couple. It is a dynamic process that encourages periodic introspection and goal review. Properly utilized, the Love Contract can produce powerful results in terms of strengthening relationships and achieving joint goals.
Does this sound like something you’d be interested in exploring?
A year ago, I found myself living life in a gray area. It was perfect because I had just come out of a long-term relationship and was only looking for a cuddle buddy, someone to chill with until feelings surfaced on both ends. I thought we were just going to go with the flow until he wanted out and put me in the friend zone. It was difficult for me to dial it back and undo everything up to that point because I slipped up and caught feelings. My situation was a little different because the benefits of our situationship didn’t come from or with sex, but companionship. A companionship I eventually came to relish. It was the classic, “I don’t want to be alone, but I don’t want a relationship either” scenario that went horribly wrong.
This situationship gone wrong had me wondering if it is possible for friends with any type of benefits to work out successfully, whether the benefits include sex, companionship or just a routine of Friday night movies with takeout. For my case, I’m just going to focus on the most usual benefit of these situations, which is sex. Oftentimes, after several failed relationships and not wanting to put in any effort to work towards another one, we settle for friends with benefits relationships. They usually come with ground rules that are and should be established up front under the pretenses that there will be “no strings attached.” But what exactly are strings? For some, “strings” could be summed up as emotional attachments, a demand for the other person’s attention, an obligation to spend quality time with one another, and the expectation of dates and something more than the “just sex” agreement that was established. Then, I got to thinking, isn’t sex technically a string? Don’t we expect sex from this commitment we’ve made? Don’t we come into it with the expectation that if I call him for sex he’s obligated to give it to me because we have an agreement?
A study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that 42.9% of women reported at least one “friends with benefits” relationship a year. The same study also showed that the emotional part of these non-emotional agreements can be difficult for most women to avoid, but their male counterparts seem to have more positive reactions to sex-focused relationships. This brings forth the conversation that we’ve all had among our friends, but one that never gets old.
My answer? These situations could work, but there is a huge percentage that don’t. To avoid commitment or catching feelings, simply don’t do it if you know you aren’t built for it. If you decide to try, do not have expectations. You should talk about whether this is going to be a long-term thing, always keep friends out of it, and have no sleepovers and no romance involved. Even with these “ground rules” in place, we sometimes cannot control our avoid our emotions. We can only control the amount of attention and action we give them.
Often, we find ourselves in situations we can’t explain. We never expect them to happen, but there’s no way around it. We want more from a situation that we agreed we wouldn’t get caught up in, and the hard part is coping with those unresolved feelings while trying to get back to that place of friendship before the benefits. The best way to cope is to admit to your partner that you want more; you caught feelings, and, therefore, cannot honor your part of the deal. You will only hurt yourself if you can’t be honest. And don’t expect your partner to be understanding. Take some time away and really evaluate what you want. If you know that settling for just friends with benefits isn’t going to work for you anymore, it’s best to slow down on all the sex. Being friends again is not impossible, but trust me, it will take a lot of time, patience, and mood swings to get back there.
Is sex as a single lady really more fun? Even though sex in a long-term relationship gets a bad rap, it definitely has its perks!