All Articles Tagged "romance"
February has arrived, which means Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Cue the mixed feelings and gift-giving anxiety. St. Valentine’s holiday triggers a variety of emotions. For some, it’s the highlight of a dreary, boring, and weirdly short month, while others find it sappy and contrived.
Whatever you feel about this day of hearts and flowers, choosing a gift for your Valentine can be tricky. You don’t want to be too lovey, but those chalky conversation hearts simply won’t do, so play to his interests. Here a Valentine’s gift for every type of guy.
1. For The Cinephile
Okay, so he’ll likely argue that Moonrise Kingdom was not Wes Anderson’s greatest film, but he’ll still appreciate the sweet sentiment behind these adorable love-note hoops, inspired by the movie (etsy.com, $69).
2. For The Sports Fan
While this enthusiasm is endearing, and you can even take the statistics spouting (sometimes), those ratty sports posters have got to go. Up the ante on his sports love with a Ballpark Blueprint. The attractive prints display his favorite stadium along with its history and, yes, more statistics (uncommongoods.com, $185).
Find more Valentine’s Day gifts on YourTango.com
“Don’t let anybody around here know about your relationship until things are official and you guys have set a wedding date,” a minister from my church told me several years ago. Though his words seemed a bit extreme, they resonated with me and I could tell that they came from a hurting place. The conversation came just months after he’d experienced the painful ending of a very public relationship. People naturally want to win. No one sits down to take a test hoping to fail. No one shows up to a race hoping to lose and no one begins a meaningful relationship hoping to break up. Having been in a situation similar to this particular minister’s, I could completely relate.
Never again would I want to be the subject of those sympathetic gazes or questioning stares. So I swore off things like social media when it came to my relationships and only informed a tiny circle of friends and family members that I was even seeing anyone. My logic: The less people that know about this relationship, the less people I’ll have to deal with looking at me and wondering what went wrong if things happen to go awry. Anything to not have to deal with the shame of a highly visible breakup again. But after closely examining my behavior in relation to other people and my relationships, I began to wonder exactly what kind of relationship I was trying to have.
We’re often advised that one of the best ways to increase the chances of a relationship’s success is to keep it private and keep your business out of the streets. However, with social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram making it possible for the average Joe to broadcast a message to hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of social media users with a few swift keystrokes, maintaining privacy in a relationship has become a rather challenging feat that requires a huge helping of self control. But just how private should a relationship be and what happens when people become too good at keeping their relationships private? What happens when a relationship becomes so private that it becomes a secret?
I suppose the best example of maintaining a private relationship would be Hip-Hop’s beloved couple, Jay Z and Beyoncé. Most didn’t even know the two were dating until several years into their relationship. The Carters are nearly 11 years strong, and there’s still not much that we know about their relationship besides the fact that they’re together and that they share a child. Though they initially played coy about their romance, after a few solid years of dating, establishing that strong foundation, and then jumping the broom, they eventually went public. To contrast, I couldn’t really have this discussion without mentioning Ashanti and Nelly and their attempt to carry on a secret relationship. Though they were together well over six years, they failed to publicly acknowledge one another until the relationship was almost over. I suppose this would be an example of a “secret” relationship. A poorly kept secret, but I suppose it was an attempt nonetheless.
From the outside looking in, it would seem that both of these couples started out with similar intent: Let’s protect our relationship by keeping it on the hush until we’re better established and know where we’re heading. Yet somehow, on the corner of “Let’s keep people out of our business” and “Maybe we shouldn’t acknowledge each other at all,” things appear to have gotten a little murky. A person in love wants to be many things, but in most situations, a secret is not one of them. Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller conducted a study in 2009 on secret relationships for his dissertation at Colorado State University and what he found isn’t a complete surprise. According to Dr. Lehmiller’s studies, keeping a relationship a secret was ultimately detrimental to the relationship.
“I think one of the most important findings from this research is that keeping your relationship secret can be detrimental not only to the relationship itself, but also to the health and well-being of the partners involved,” said Lehmiller. Specifically, my results indicated that keeping one’s relationship secret was linked to being less committed to one’s partner, reporting more symptoms of poor physical health, and having lower self-esteem (i.e., feeling worse about oneself). It appears that keeping one’s relationship secret from others is stressful, which puts wear and tear on both the relationship and on the partners’ physical and psychological health.”
Of course, some instances require that a relationship be kept a secret, at least for a while. But just how healthy can a relationship be if the couple is spending more time hiding their love than actually nurturing it?
Have you ever been in a “secret” relationship? How did things turn out?
Dear Dr. Sherry,
Here’s my convoluted mess of a life: About three years ago I moved to a new city. Six months later, I began seeing a person I worked with during my internship experience. He was a good guy. When we started, I was adamant that everything be kept casual. He really wanted a relationship, but I did not want to have drama at my new work place. He respected my request. I told him that it would just be between us and when he tried to push things further, I quickly, and a little rudely, rebuffed him. He eventually began dating someone else. Since I was the one who decided not to take things further, I understood. He dated this woman for several months. I was eventually promoted and moved to another division of the company.
In October 2012, he began calling again and he told me that things were over between him and the other woman. He and I still work for the same company at different locations, but I am in a leadership position now. Even though I still had reservations about dating him, we began a physical relationship. He came over in November depressed but could not (or would not) explain what was wrong. In December, someone that still works with him told me that the other woman he dated revealed that she was pregnant. I know him. I know he wants to be a good father and make things work with anyone who has his child. I asked him if she was pregnant and he told me “no.”
Fast forward to last week and I see a photo of the girl and the baby, who looks just like him. I asked him again and he finally admitted that he was the father. He asked me to forgive him for lying, but I feel betrayed. I cannot handle this, so I told him that it was over after a year and a half of dating seriously. He asked me how long I thought I would be mad about this. Umm, forever! Then he said that she is here (meaning the baby) now and that we can’t be mad anymore. The baby is four months old.
I know he did not cheat on me but he damn sure lied about his child. He didn’t want me to end things again, but I do not feel I can trust him. I love him truly but this is some Maury mess and we are too old for this foolishness.
I went to the doctor recently and found out that my blood pressure has gone way up and I’m a month pregnant. He used condoms every time; I really don’t know how this happened. I have decided not to tell him. He is going to have to see her and what if things kick up for them again. I couldn’t take him leaving again. I’m tired of the stress. Is it best we cut ties and I raise this baby by myself? Am I being fair? Does he deserve fairness?
Oh, everyone in this scenario is over 30.
What would you do if the man you cared about lied about having a child? Check out Dr. Sherry’s advice over on ESSENCE.com.
What is unconditional love?
Loving someone regardless of conditions. In other words, someone who loves a person no matter what they do, say, think, feel, look like, act like, or believe. Loving someone even if your needs of connection, certainty and significance aren’t being met by them.
Unconditional love means no-strings-attached to the love you give. You may or may not receive love back because that’s not part of the deal. If you had to receive it back, that would be a condition. You love them without expecting anything at all in return.
How do you get unconditional love?
In order to get it you must be willing and able to give it as well. It’s a two-way street. The two-way street is not a condition, it is based more on personal growth and attraction. Most people want unconditional love so they have certainty that the person they are with won’t leave them because of things they do or say but are rarely willing to give the same in return. If this is you, your need for unconditional love already has conditions.
Most people don’t realize they have to work for it, they just want to receive it.
The reason you have to be willing and able to give it is because then you will attract other people to you who are able to do the same. The confidence you develop when you recognize you are a whole and complete human being (all by yourself) is the same confidence that is so attractive to other people with confidence—the only other ones who will be able to provide you with no-strings-attached love.
When you have this confidence, you will be able to give love without expecting anything in return. You won’t get your feelings hurt if your guy doesn’t do what you think he should do or say what you think he should say. You won’t need his approval or acceptance of you so that you feel validated as a worthy human being because you already do. You will feel connected to him even if he doesn’t call on time, doesn’t invite you out on the weekend or forgets your birthday. You may be upset but your love for him won’t change because of it.
You may be wondering: “Then what would I need him for?” That’s just it. You won’t needhim. You will want him and to be in a relationship with him out of desire. Needing a relationship and wanting a relationship are two completely different things. Most people feel they should be in a relationship to be whole or because society is rough on singles many times and alienates them or they feel uncomfortable and alienate themselves.
Some people pride themselves on giving unconditional love and tell people about it. I’d venture a guess that them telling people about it is to gain acceptance and approval in which case the love they say they are giving is filling a need they have therefore is not unconditional. Would these same people love the same way if they couldn’t tell anyone about it?
So, let’s see if you’re ready to give love unconditionally yet. There is no right or wrong answer; just an authentic awareness of where you stand that may take some pressure off of a need to find this elusive emotion or the key to how you can get it. Let’s say you love someone because they have certain qualities you like or status or treat you in a certain way. Ask yourself if you would feel the same way about them if they didn’t have or do those things you like so much; the things that attracted you to them. Most people who are being honest with themselves will say, “No.”
If you said, “Yes,” congratulations. You are much closer to getting unconditional love from someone else than most people are. If you said, “No,” you’re in good company. When we decide what we want in our lives and go after it, we have standards and hopefully establish and enforce healthy personal boundaries around those standards. This way, we don’t hook up with someone who turns out to drag us down and wreck the plan we had for our lives? Can our standards and plan change? Absolutely.
Read more about unconditional love at YourTango.com
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.
“You need friends,” my now ex-boyfriend blurted out one evening. I stared at the phone in disbelief. Surely, this could not be the man who once referred to me as his “best friend” saying this. I had just given him the rundown of my day during one of our nightly chats. Looking back, I can admit that I had informed him of all of the nitty gritty details of my day—including those details that would prompt most men to holler, “TMI!” and that most women would have sense enough to only share with a close female confidant. But we were best friends, so those rules didn’t apply, right? Life experience and better sense now tell me that my then-boyfriend referring to me as his “best friend” was only a cutesy way of expressing how close we’d grown; however, when I called him my BFF, I meant it in every sense of the word. To be perfectly honest, he was probably my only friend at the time.
I mean, once upon a time (i.e., prior to hooking up with him in the past) I had friends who I could call on and hold such conversations with, but I, like many women, began to neglect those friendships once ol’ boy came into the picture. Of course, we never set out with those intentions. Things usually start off innocent enough, but then cuddling up with your boo on a Friday night begins to sound a helluva lot more appealing than taking advantage of “ladies free before midnight” with the crew. Slowly, you begin to pass on more and more outings with the girls, until you turn around and realize you haven’t seen or spoken to them in days. Sadly, those days turn into weeks and those weeks, eventually, into months of not hanging out—totally unfair to them and you. The most obvious thing to consider is the fact that these were the people who were there for you way before Mr. Wonderful (or in my case, Mr. Not-so-wonderful) emerged on the scene and more than likely, they’ll be the ones to rally around you in the event that things don’t work out. Aside from that, in my opinion, maintaining outside friendships is also crucial to the prosperity of a healthy relationship. Love can be overpowering at times, and it’s pretty easy to lose yourself in a relationship. But real friends force you to remain true to who you are. They provide balance. They keep you grounded.
After being in the previously mentioned relationship for a substantial period of time, I found myself greatly resiting the urge to cling. After months of fighting this urge that seemed to come so naturally, I came to the painful realization that the life (and friends) that I had outside of our relationship, had somehow been drowned out by the waves of our “honeymoon” phase. Needless to say, the relationship did not last. And in addition to piecing my heart back together, I had to put my life back together.
Thankfully, this was a lesson that I only needed to be taught once before I got the message. A new romance can be wondrous, thrilling and downright breathtaking, but in the midst of all of that excitement, don’t forget about the other important people in your life: your girls. A healthy balancing act between your pals and you boo isn’t always easy and in many cases, it requires conscious effort, but it’s certainly worth it in the long run.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.
The holidays are here again, love is in the air and things seem to be getting pretty serious between you and your new boo. So serious that he invites you to spend the holidays with him and his family. “I think it’s time that you met everyone,” he says. You, of course, quickly agree. Your minds gets carried away, trying to decipher what it could mean for your relationship that your beau asked you to spend the holidays with him. You try to imagine what his family will be like. You happily inform your BFF that he wants you to meet his folks. You ruffle through your closest, trying to find an outfit for the big day until you eventually decide that only something new will do. And then, the dust settles and you ask yourself, “What the eff did I just get myself into?”
Once the glittery thrill of knowing that your significant other is ready for you to meet his parents dies down, it’s natural to become a little intimidated. Meeting your love interest’s family for the first time can be pretty overwhelming. But to meet the entire clan at one time at a major family function like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? Well, that can be intimidating and honestly, downright annoying at times. No need to fret though. Here are a few tips to help you ace these holiday functions like a champ.
Be polite (even when others aren’t): Alright, I’m just going to be honest, people’s families aren’t always on their best behavior. Some family members may even be downright rude, but that doesn’t mean you have to get down in the gutter with them. In the event that dinner goes that route, which I’m hoping it won’t, allow those sly comments to roll off of your back. Remember: you’re a lady. If you get testy or indignant, some may try to hold it against you forever. If it bothers you that much, take a moment to collect your thoughts, get some fresh air and be sure to speak to your boo about it later.
Don’t be a clinger (it’s annoying): Allow your boo to freely navigate through the room without you hanging on his arm the entire time. You’re a big girl with a great personality. Try to show some interest in getting to know his family. Trust me, some family members are probably dying to get to know you!
Do volunteer to help: Chances are they’ll probably say, “No thanks,” but the fact that you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty almost always looks good. It might even be a nice idea to bring some sort of dessert or plate that you made to show you know better than to come around empty-handed.
Don’t start thinking you’re Iyanla Vanzant (at least not during the first meeting): When a big family gets together, sometimes drama isn’t too far behind. When conversations get heated, resist the temptation to get involved or offer unsolicited advice during said conversations. And if you’re nosy like me, please make sure that you’re not watching all of the drama unfold with your mouth hanging open like you’re watching the latest Tyler Perry flick.
Do dress accordingly: You’re a grown women and you can do what you want, but showing up to a person’s family function, where children will more than likely be present, dressed like you just stepped out of a rap video could be perceived as a little disrespectful.
And of course, be yourself: People can spot a phony from a mile away, so pretending to be someone you’re not will not get you very far. Take a deep breath and allow your beautiful personality to shine through.
How did you survive spending the holidays with your significant other’s family for the first time?
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.
It looks like Olivia and Fitz might soon have some competition in the interracial love race thanks to Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Silverman and Iman and Andy.
The talk show host/producer/actress/comedian and producer Ben Silverman have sold a 30 minute rom-com style show to ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Iman & Andy will focus on the relationship between an interracial couple who are trying to keep their romance a big secret. No, not because they’re an interracial couple; you see, they work together and don’t want people all in their business (some of you know that well, I know). Their supervisor finds out and instead of it being some violation of work place ethics, he forces them to start a vlog so viewers (and their co-workers) can follow their now exposed relationship.
Well, it sounds like it could be an interesting concept. While interracial dating isn’t new on television (albeit still a bit taboo), their idea sounds a little more fun. In real life, people love checking out more personal vlogs on Youtube or other media outlets. Let’s not forget that men and women love talking relationships so if they keep it fairly genuine to everyday life, there will be situations that people can relate to and chat about at the coffee machine the next day.
Goldberg’s partner in the project Ben Silverman is also behind Sofia Vergara’s upcoming show on ABC, Raising Mom.
That title though…I don’t know. Every time I look at it, I think of Amos & Andy. Is it just me? Maybe it’s just a “working title” right now.
Anyway, there’s no debut date for Iman & Andy but we can probably keep an eye out for it Fall 2014 or Winter 2015.
Will you check it out?
It seems that we hear about the start of new relationships every day. But more often than not, we hear about many of them falling apart a couple of months, weeks and sometimes even just days later. Keeping any relationship together can be a challenge, but it’s an even greater challenge for new relationships because in most cases, a solid foundation hasn’t been established yet. Unfortunately, without that foundation, many couples find it difficult to make their love last and easy to chuck the deuces. Here’s a list of common reasons why new relationships fail.
When you’re single and dissatisfied with love, ladies, do yourselves a favor: don’t log onto Facebook. It’s the absolute worst thing you could do.
Think about it: In your newsfeed, you face an endless stream of happy couples in love. And when you’re recovering from a devastating breakup, the last thing you want is to be bombarded with smiling couples making kissy faces, gushing statuses about date nights and baby’s firsts and wedding planning. This is the kind of cheery optimism that makes you stop and quietly wonder to yourself, “Geez, am I behind everyone else?”
When I was in college, it seemed like everyone I knew was getting “OMG #engaged!!!” Cue the countdown apps to “the big day” and rants about the typography on the invitations not being perfectly right, gushing about picking out bridesmaid dresses, and Instagram photos with the caption “Should I pick Badgley Mishka or Jimmy Choo for my bridal shoes? Help me pick, girls! :)”. Ughhh.
But even more unbearable and unavoidable is an oversharer’s worst weapon — tagging. I knew one lucky bride-to-be who tagged every invited wedding guest whenever an announcement was made about her upcoming nuptials. (Needless to say, I defriended her faster than you can say “I do”.)
Zoe Strimpel would agree. She’s the author of Man Diet: One Woman’s Quest to End BadRomance and recently spoke out against Facebook at a lecture. “What [Facebook] does is it enhances the sense that your life is lacking,” she said to The Daily Mail, “and specifically, when you are single, you focus in on all those pictures of perfect weddings, perfect babies, perfect couples.”
This isn’t exactly a revolutionary concept. It’s the ultimate and oft-written about ironic twist to Facebook: our online social networks disconnect us from our in-person social networks. And what we see online is not always reality.
Read more at YourTango.com