Maintaining Your Dating Sanity in the Age of Social Media

6 Nov

Imagine turning on your computer and going to Facebook to update your status and read a few status updates from friends and THERE IT IS…the red “1″ on top of the friend request icon.  You click on it only to discover that it is a request from an ex that you had a bad break up with over five years ago.  What do you do? For the moment you ignore it to make a decision on whether or not to accept the request and just start reading friend’s status’ and going about your normal Facebook routine.  At this point though, there are so many things going through your mind about that relationship and how it left a bad taste in your mouth.  Suddenly your eye is drawn to the inbox icon where there is another illuminated red “1″.  Now you start getting butterflies because you wonder whether it will be a message from your ex.  You click on the icon and see you your ex’s name and now you have a full on anxiety attack and begin pondering whether to click the name or not.  Of course you can’t resist because you really want to know what they want, so you take a deep breath and click on the inbox message that reads: “I hope all is well with you and your family.  I was just thinking about you and I hope you don’t hate me.”  How the hell are you supposed to respond to that?  You’ve been waiting for over 5 years to get a bunch of stuff off of your chest about the relationship if you ever had a chance to talk to them again but you’ve since moved on and don’t really want to give them the satisfaction and can’t believe how they set you up with this inbox because you would look crazy sending them hate mail back after such a cordial inquiry.  This is too much to handle right now, an innocent hello from an ex is ruining the rest of your day.

Social media has changed the dynamic on dating tremendously.  It is truly a gift and a curse because in one instance you can reconnect with people but in another you can lose some as well.  Social media can cause people to go insane when they are in relationships because people put too much stock into what is being posted on there.  There are times when people break-up over relationship status on Facebook.  You think you are in a solid relationship and then you go on Facebook and your significant other has changed their relationship status to “single” or “it’s complicated”.  Social Media makes your life accessible to the world and often there is too much disclosure, particularly around relationship discussions.  Social Media also makes finding you and uncovering your life very easy because these days, everyone has a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account.  Posting on these sites also makes it easy for people to take your comments and the comments of others out of context and get you accused of things that you aren’t really doing.  We will explore the three main reason that your sanity can get compromised when you are using Social Media.

Too Much Disclosure

How many times have you gone on Facebook or Twitter and read status updates or tweets about some extremely intimate details of someone’s relationship? I’m not talking about surface comments like, “Date night with my boo was fun”.  I’m talking about too much information like, “Last night was the best sex I’ve ever had and my man is hung like a horse.”  These types of comments open up a Pandora’s box.  If you are “friends” with hundreds or even thousands of people, you are giving that “thirsty” follower a reason to go after your man.  There are people who follow you or request you as friends just to find out what is going on in your relationship believe it or not.  Never talk about what is going on in your relationship publicly on social media because people tend to use that against you.  I’ve seen an instance where a woman’s friend was using Facebook to keep tabs on what she was doing with her recent ex-boyfriend because her friend started sleeping with him after they broke up.  The status updates allowed her friend to try to convince her to leave him alone because he was no good for her so that she could keep him for herself.

Another instance of too much disclosure is “relationship status” change.  This is becoming popular for people to play around with this feature going in and out of relationships and fake engagements.  Strangely, divorcing people over Facebook has become popular.  Changing of relationship status without forewarning your partner has become much like the scene in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married Too?”, when Janet Jackson announced that she and Malik Yoba were divorcing but he was totally clueless.  It is very inappropriate to use social media to let your partner know that you want a divorce or to end the relationship.  Communication IN PRIVATE on this subject is the key because it is totally disrespectful to do it on Facebook, Twitter or by making a break-up video on YouTube.

Lastly, when you are single and looking for a mate, be careful of the things you say on social media.  No one will take you seriously if all of your postings are about how many people you slept with, how drunk you always are or how much you hate your child’s deadbeat parent.  Social media gives people a lot of insight on your life and they can put the pieces together to see what kind of person you really are.  If the things you are talking about on social media has no substance, your dating stocks can begin to plummet if you are the type to “friend” or “follow” everybody you meet.  Be strategic about accepting friend requests from people you just met and are interested in dating.  Are you really ready for them to see those scandalous pictures of you at the strip club, with your ex or you upside down over a keg at a frat party?  Clean all of that up before you go accepting them into your social media circle unless you just don’t care how much they know about your past.  There is much to be interpreted in a photo.

Doing the Research

Social media is an excellent way to research people who you meet.  It used to be a time when running a “background check” was hard to do without paying but now you can just “Google” people and you can find out if they have any social media accounts.  It is very easy to meet someone and want to know more about them so you go on Facebook to see if they have an account.  If they do, you pray that it is not private so that you can see at least their profile.  You can find out where people work, went to school, if they met are married, in relationships or have kids and even see pictures as proof just by checking social media sites.  There is nothing wrong with checking social media for a background check.  There IS something wrong when you are using social media to stalk people.  Social media stalkers are those people who get fixated on a person and like or comment on their every status update, comment on every picture posted and stalk their twitter timeline.  These people are trying to establish a dominant presence on your social media networks to create a suspicion amongst other followers or friends that you might be dating them by making hard to interpret comments.

It’s easy to get bored and start to Google ex’s.  We’ve all done it, including myself.  You don’t really care about them or what they’re doing but social media makes it easy to find out what has become of their life.  Something inside of you secretly hopes that they fell off in the looks department or married someone ugly and when this is the case, you feel a sense of satisfaction.  Be careful though, doing this can cause old feelings to resurface when you see their picture on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and they look amazing and you find out that they are single and still living in the area.  You could be motivated to send them a little note to say hello and ring a bell that can’t be stopped.  Now you’ve opened up a line of communication with someone in your past and if you’re in a relationship it can be unhealthy to start rehashing old memories with a lost love.  If you’re single, rejection could be a possibility if you reach out to them with a friendly hello.  They may not want to be bothered and still feel wounded or they could actually be in a relationship, in which case beware of their significant other sending you a “get lost” message.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with “friending” an ex but if one or both of you are in a relationship, your significant others may have an issue with the two of you communicating.  Consider this before you do it.

Taking Things Out of Context

It is very easy to take things out of context that are posted on social media sites.  You can’t really check somebody’s temperature (so to speak) through the words on the computer.  There was an instance when a woman posted something on my husband’s Facebook wall about how she couldn’t wait to see him.  Now if I was insecure or didn’t know what was going on with him, I might have snapped and commented on her post and accused him of cheating.  I just happened to know that his Homecoming weekend was approaching and he was selling shirts and tickets to a party that was in high demand.  There are only 140 characters possible on twitter so reading an abbreviated tweet can be misleading if you are the type to always jump to cheating conclusions.  Posting on Facebook walls are often brief and unassuming but can be taken out of context when outsiders who are not in the conversation reads the posting.  Be careful not to blow these things out of proportion because often times they are innocent.  Do recognize that sometimes there is a cause for concern when postings on YOUR man’s wall are clear and obvious violations like, “Last night was the best sex I’ve ever had and you are hung like a horse.”

Social media is great for connecting with people whom you would otherwise never talk to without it.  The one-on-one personal element of communication has been taken out of society with the invention of social media.  We now have more access to the private life of people than we ever had.  We know when celebrities are hooking up and breaking up just by reading their tweets.  We can find out who is “in a relationship” or “single” by status updates.  People have to start to learn to keep their private lives private and not give the public so much insight into their lives.  Just remember to use these sites responsibly, otherwise they will drive you insane!

Jump Offs 2.0

2 Oct

After watching a particular episode of that train wreck of a television show, “Jersey Chasers LA” (Basketball Wives, LA) it got me wondering if these women REALLY know what a “jump off” really is.  In case you don’t watch (and I wouldn’t blame you), there is a young woman on the show named Draya Michelle (who’s real name is Andraya Howard) who is an ex-stripper turned model/actress that most of these washed up Basketball Baby Mamas appear to be jealous of and keep calling her a “jump off”.   As a matter of fact, she is the ONLY one on the show NOT currently involved with, having been engaged or married to or have any children with a basketball player.  Yes, she may have actually slept with a few ballers in her young life but of all of these women on the show, WHO HASN’T?  Sleeping with ballers is how they ALL got on the show! DUH!?  They are hating on her because they probably USED to BE her.  It’s like looking at themselves in the mirror and the chickens coming home to roost.

The “Urban Dictionary” definition of “jump off” is a mistress or a person that is usually only being used for sex while in marriage or serious relationship; The chick (or man) on the side.  The term “jump off”  has been around since 2003 when rapper Joe Budden released the wildly popular hip hop song “Pump It Up”.  There were a few lines in the song that introduced the “jump off” concept:

 “My jump off doesn’t run off at the mouth so much, My jump off never ask why I go out so much, My jump off never has me going out of my way, And she don’t want nothing on Valentines Day, My jump off don’t argue or get rebellious, And she don’t mind hanging out wit da fellas, My jump off’s not insecure or jealous”

This show “Basketball Wives” should just be called “Jump Offs 2.0″ because they have all taken being a former jump off to a new level and parlayed it into ghetto television gold.  They give athlete jump offs around the world hope.  They make is appear that being an athlete’s jump off will get you a television show, endless shopping sprees, luncheons and social status.  The only two people on this show who are ACTUALLY married to ballers are Jackie Christie and (Laquisha) Malaysia Pargo.  Jackie has been married to Doug Christie for 16 years but has recently revealed that this is her 3rd marriage.  She met Doug the same year that he was drafted (a coincidence?) and married him 4 years later.  Was she a jump off? Probably!  She is best known for traveling the country with Doug and shielding him from ANY potential groupie that may have had their eyes set on him, up to and including women sports reporters.  Did she have the inside track on how jump offs work?  Malaysia met her husband Jannero Pargo at a party in LA which is prime groupie/jump off territory and her real name is Laquisha who’s from Compton, need I say more…likely started as a jump off.

Many of the other ladies are CONFIRMED previous jump offs.  There was much controversy surrounding Laura Goven during the Basketball Wives Miami first season.  Although we had never seen her until this season, her sister Gloria spent most of the first season defending Laura’s alleged affair with Shaq, who was Shaunie O’neal’s husband at the time. What I want to know is when did she have the time to fit Shaq in when she has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with Gilbert Arenas for 10 years and have 4 kids with him?  Perhaps it was BETWEEN the many break-ups that she had with Gilbert Arenas. Who knows?  She was one of the MAIN ones to consider Draya a jump off.  Then there is Imani Showalter who used to be engaged to Stephen Jackson.  He called off their wedding on the day of, when she REFUSED to sign a prenuptial agreement.  She was so desperate for a baller that she lied about her age, lied about having an additional child and half paid attention to the child she DID tell him about according to the blogs.  She really had the nerve to let the cameras film her interactions with her children about how “daddy” didn’t really love them or send them anything.  Well only ONE of those children ACTUALLY belong to the DADDY that they are referring to!  It seems that she is no better than Draya (see child endangerment story on blogs).   Aren’t these the wigs calling the weave fake?

These shows are designed to create a “hater” atmosphere.  There is a lot to be said about women who spend so much time “judging” other women for their indiscretions.  While I don’t have much respect for women who exclusively date married men, I’m not going to go out of my way to bash women who do.  I just know who to keep my eye on if they are in my inner circle.  I don’t wage a full out hate campaign against them.  The key is TRUST in your OWN relationship.  I trust that my husband wouldn’t try to sleep with any of my friends or acquaintances.  When you judge other people, your character tends to come into question.  This is what is happening with the women on this show and it happens in real life.

Let’s get to the REAL issue at hand:  THEY ARE ALL HATERS with low self-esteem. They all took one look at Draya and saw that she was a very pretty young women with a nice body (one that they WISH they still had or the money to buy).  They know she still has the tools to STILL snag ballers while they are washed up in the “baller circle”.  YES, she has some baggage but WHO DOESN’T?  It’s a dog eat dog world out here when it comes to women.  We know that we outnumber men so they have a huge selection of women to choose from so the quicker we can discredit the competition, the better our perceived chances of moving up on the dating food chain are.  This is why many women are content to start off as jump offs because they truly believe that they can HATE their way to the number one spot.  You can always spot a jump off because they will always be the one’s on the sideline hating on and trying to point out the flaws of the girlfriend or wife to try to make themselves appear to be the better catch.  If you are a jump off who is successful at getting an upgrade, good luck holding on to that relationship because you’ll probably have to cling to him like Saran wrap or Jackie Christie to keep him from getting a replacement jump off!

Who Am I?

21 Aug

How many times have you taken a look at yourself in a figurative mirror while you were in a relationship or immediately after a break-up and asked yourself, “Who am I? or Who have I become?”  I ask this because a lot of people often get annoyed when friends and family tell them that since they’ve been in a relationship, they’ve changed.  Change for the better is good but change for the worse is bad!  When I say change for the worse, I mean that you’ve strayed so far away from who you were as the person that people knew and loved, into an ENTIRELY different person that people can’t stand to be around since you’ve been in that relationship.

Many times, people don’t even know that they are changing or have already changed.  It’s after others bring it to their attention and they start getting defensive, that they realize that it just might be true.  Some people are just chameleons, blending into the relationship and changing to fit every different situation that they get in.  Then there are the conformists who basically will conform to whatever their mate “expects” them to be.  Finally, there are those people who like to adopt an “alter ego” to keep evolving in the relationship to keep it spicy.  No matter the type, these people CHANGE for relationships!

Chameleons

Chameleons are beautiful lizards that are able to change colors to blend in with their surroundings for social purposes with other chameleons and for survival purposes to protect themselves in their environment against harm.  There are some people who will do these things when they get into a relationship.  I’ve seen women go out and meet a guy and once they get to know his likes and dislikes, they start to try to adapt their lifestyle to them because they think it will be pleasing to him.  In reality, it’s not who they really are and when the lights come on, they will be exposed.  You can only hide behind a farce for so long.  In one relationship, you’re “Holly Housewife”, cooking in the kitchen dressed like “June Cleaver” with an apron on presenting an apple pie to guests because your mate is a straight-laced, no-nonsense, dinner party type of guy.  The next relationship, you become “Hip Hop Harriet”, dressed like video vixen “Melyssa Ford” with nothing but a push-up bra on posing for pictures next to a Bentley because your new man is a gun-toting, drug dealing, pretend rapper who smokes weed all day.  This is very dangerous behavior, especially for the person who constantly changes for every new relationship.  You will become unrecognizable to your friends and family but most of all, YOURSELF!  If you are in a volatile relationship and have adapted for survival, it can be very hard for your family and friends to help you because you have blended in to the situation by making excuses for the abuser, masking bruises and going along with his abuse.

Conformists

The definition of conforming is to act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes or practices of society or a group of people.  When you meet someone who you really feel a connection to and can see a future with, you can easily start to conform to their expectations because you want a relationship with them.  How many people do you know that ended up in a unfulfilled relationship because they tried to conform to a lifestyle that their mate wanted to have?  One good example of this is a woman who meets a guy who CLEARLY states that HE DOESN’T WANT KIDS and she pretends that she can live with that and she marries him.  Ultimately, in the back of her mind, she resents herself for going along with this because she really wants a family and starts to “act out” her frustration by trying to change his mind, which causes problems in the relationship.  When someone gives you a clear understanding of the things that they value and their expectations in a relationship, they aren’t just saying it for the sake of conversation, they usually mean it.  Sometimes we hear things that we want to hear but we aren’t “listening” to what’s clearly being said and we think that we can change what we don’t like about them.  Most of the time, WE CAN’T change them as a person or their minds about something that they feel strongly about so we end up conforming to their ideals, ways of thinking and to the direction that they want the relationship to go in.  Sometimes, their thoughts become your thoughts and every response to a situation warrants the question, “What would he/she do or think?”  When you find yourself in this situation you must consider the question, “Have you lost who you are to be what they want you to be?”  If the answer is YES then you are not going to be happy in the long run with the relationship or yourself when you realize that you’ve given up your own beliefs, principles and practices.  The signs that you are a conformist is when your mate tells you to wear your hair a certain way, weigh a certain amount and cut off certain friends because they’re bringing you down and YOU DO IT.  Conforming for EVERY person that you date will only distort your TRUE self.

Alter Egos

It’s hard to uncover all of the layers of a person because people are multifaceted.  People show different sides of themselves around different people for obvious reasons because everything is NOT for everybody!  Men like to say that they want a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed.  The “freak” is essentially her alter ego, the one that she pulls out only with him.  There is nothing wrong with having an alter ego until your real personality and alter ego start interfering with one another and become indistinguishable.  This commonly happens, for instance, when cops go undercover and live a double-life, they can’t separate the two in reality and it becomes detrimental to their relationships.  Alter egos can make you start to believe your own lies.  I can recall an ex-boyfriend who started chatting online using an alter ego to get attention from women.  He made up a fake identity and biographical information.  I started getting weird phone calls to my house asking for a guy all of the time and I would tell them that they had the wrong number but I quickly realized that he was CRAZY enough to give out the REAL house number with his FAKE name.  After we broke up, I had a friend call his cellphone and ask for the fake name and HE TALKED to her.  People who claim to have an “alter ego”, tends to really have an IDENTITY CRISIS.  Get to know yourself and be who you really are and stop using the alter ego to portray who you WISH you were.

The bottom line is that you DON’T need to completely change who you are to be with a person.  If they can’t accept you for who you are, flaws and all, then they’re just not the one for you.  There is a HUGE difference between compromising and caving.  Compromising on some of your rigid ways may be necessary to balance the relationship but don’t cave in to all of the things that they request that you change about yourself just to be with them.  Take it from Mary J. Blige, she said it VERY succinct: “Take me as I am, or have nothing at all!”

Is Your Bar Too High?

14 Aug

Talking to my single friends, they tell me that the dating pool is very “shallow” these days.  According to them, there really aren’t many “quality” single men out there to choose from when you are over 30.  Is this really true or do women have TOO MANY standards that ultimately disqualifies a lot of single men that could be a good catch?  I’m not saying that women shouldn’t have standards because everybody (both men and women) should but if they are impossible to meet then you’ll continue to find yourselves single.  I once went out with a guy who told me that his ideal woman had to have, long real hair, real nails, a college degree, light-skinned, never been on welfare and a good job.  Well I guess I was HIS PERFECT MATCH because I met that criteria but just hearing it, made me want to gag!  I thought to myself while listening to him spew off his ridicules list, “you think WAY to highly of yourself because you DELIVER THE MAIL for a living and your arms are too long for your body.”  I NEVER went out with him again.  What I want to explore are some common standards that women have and when it IS and IS NOT acceptable to lower them for a relationship.

He Doesn’t Have A Car

Not having a car is an acceptable reason to lower your standard.  A man is NOT defined by the car that he drives but many women place a particular emphasis on this standard for some reason.  You could be ruling out a lot of good men who don’t own a car.  If he doesn’t drive, he should be honest and up front with you about the fact that he doesn’t have a car and shouldn’t try to make it seem like his car is “in the shop” indefinitely.  What is wrong with picking him up for a date if you have a car?  First you need to explore the REASON he doesn’t have a car.  Did he get into an accident and total his car and is awaiting insurance money or a settlement to buy a new one?  Perhaps the payment to fix the totalled car is too high right now and he’s saving money to get it fixed.  Does he even have a driver’s license?  If he does not, you could always encourage him to get one and LEARN how to drive so that he’ll eventually buy a car.  He could be saving money to buy the car of his dreams but you just shot him down at the initial sign of him not having a car.  There are plenty of men who will pay for dates if you are willing to take the bus, drive or catch a cab.  Some women think that they are better than a bus ride.  Will him not having a car keep him from coming to see you or spending time with you?  Some men like to use this as a test to see how shallow you are when it comes to this topic.  They will say that they don’t drive to see your reaction.  I once had a guy refuse to tell me what kind of car he drove (as if it mattered) because he didn’t want me to be enamored with his “Lexus ES 350″.  Clearly he missed the memo that cars are not that high up on my priority list since I have always had one since I was 16.  When I met my husband, he didn’t have a car and he told me up front and I offered to pick him up for our first date and he bought a car during the course of our dating.

He Doesn’t Have A Career

This can go both ways depending on how old they guy is.  It is acceptable if the guy is 35 or under and has not established his career but still has a job.  Statistics show that the average person will have 7-10 jobs before establishing a solid career.  With that being said, you need to evaluate the direction that he is going in with his life.  When you met him did he have goals that he was actively working toward accomplishing such as going to school, starting a business, etc.? It is not acceptable if he is over 35 and has only worked odd jobs here and there and has no real career pattern or any plans of getting one.

Many women like to put men in employment boxes such as doctor, lawyer or executive but there are many other career fields that are just as acceptable and lucrative.  The goal here is to meet someone who you can grow with and perhaps you can push him to his full potential by being supportive and encouraging.  If you rule out the guy with the average job such as a “camp counselor” when you first met, you could be ruling out the next CEO of the camp organization in a few years.  You have to know what his aspirations are and see that he is working toward them before passing judgement on him as a good catch.

He Has Kids

When I was under 30, this was an ABSOLUTE deal breaker for me.  Once I passed 30, I realized that the likelihood of finding a man WITHOUT a child would be like finding a needle in a haystack.  It would be acceptable to lower your standard in this case IF only one mother is involved.  If he has multiple mothers of his children then NOT ACCEPTABLE!  When you don’t have children, being involved with a man with children takes a special kind of women because women are generally catty.  The mother of his children will inevitably give you a hard time unless she has moved on and is COMPLETELY over him, which is why you should only deal with a man who has ONE of these women!  Having to deal with two or three different women and different attitudes toward you can get exhausting.  The other thing to consider in this case is that he will have to split his time between you and his children if he is a good father.  If you do decide to get involved with a man with children and HE NEVER spends time with them or talks about them, that is a red flag and you should consider that when you are looking for a more serious relationship with him.

He Doesn’t Have A College Degree

There are many men out here in jobs that don’t require a college degree so this should be acceptable.  The only caution is that he might not be able to relate to your enthusiasm for “homecoming” or your “sorority life” because he doesn’t have those experiences.  Blue collar workers make very good money and often are in business for themselves so they should not be overlooked.  Being a barber is also a lucrative business since people will always need a haircut and they are unlikely to be out of work but do tend to work long hours.  There are jobs in the medical field that don’t require a degree such as radiology technicians, medical assistants etc.  The key here is not hinging your hopes on a man with a college degree because that doesn’t necessarily make him a good catch.  There are many men with college degrees who are TERRIBLE boyfriends or who are bums.

Dating these days is hard enough without all of the added pressure of a checklist.  When you meet a guy, don’t start going through your checklist to rule him out right away unless you see OBVIOUS red flags.  Consider being open-minded and broadening your horizon.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  If you keep sticking to your standards so hard, you may drive yourself insane trying to find the right guy.  You have to step out on faith and try something unorthodox.  Give that younger/older guy a try.  Take your contractor up on his offer for lunch.  Go out to dinner with that not-so-attractive guy.  You may find your hidden treasure in the one that you would never consider.

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Love Will Lead You Back

7 Aug

While driving home the other day from dropping the kids off at school, I threw on my iPod to enjoy a much-needed break from the radio and the 20 questions from the kids.  I turned to my “Love Songs” playlist, which is packed with nearly 200 classic love songs from “Adore” by Prince to “Heaven Help Me” by Deon Estus and suddenly, “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne came on (video provided).  Now of course I’m dating myself a bit but this was my song in the late 80′s (when good music was colorless on the radio).   The lyrics to the song got me thinking about a twitter friend of mines who I have been giving advice to regarding his lost love.  There are a few questions that I pondered while listening to the song such as, “Can you ever get over a lost love? and Can you get a lost love back?”

Getting Over A Lost Love

Have you ever had a relationship that you felt was rock solid and you were truly in LOVE?  Your whole world practically revolved around the other person.  You didn’t make many moves that didn’t involve your other half.  You thought about your love constantly and could complete each other’s sentences.  There might have been times that you picked up the phone to call them and they were already on the line because they called you first.  Some would consider this a “Soul Mate” (a concept we will explore in a later post) and you just knew that it would last forever.  Of course in every relationship there are problems, arguments and blow ups.  This is just a part of the natural course of healthy communication in relationships.  Somehow though, you don’t see that the love is fading or that the two of you are growing apart.  You probably stayed in the relationship going through the motions because no one wants to be the first to admit that the flame is burning out.  Finally, one of you decides to call it quits or take a break until you can sort things out.  Either way, breaking up with someone you TRULY love HURTS!

When a break-up of a serious relationship occurs, people tend to go through a range of emotions similar to grieving the death of a loved one.  Those emotions can consist of shock, denial, loss of sleep or over sleeping, loss of motivation, social withdrawal, guilt, intense sadness and crying or indifference.  We sit around listening to sad love songs that reminds us of our relationship and try to keep the memories alive.  Will this wound ever heal you ask?  My best answer is ABSOLUTELY, but you have to give it time and stop obsessing over it.  Yes you are going to think about that lost love a lot in the beginning, but over time those thoughts will diminish and they will only pop into your mind when you see or hear something that reminds you of them because something or someone WILL INEVITABLY remind you of them.  What do you do to start moving past it and begin the healing process?

  • Come to terms with what happened to end the relationship.  -  Many times, we aren’t willing to accept the responsibility for our part in a break-up or even acknowledge that we saw it coming.  We like to blame and point fingers at the other person because it is easy to do but it really doesn’t allow us to adequately assess ourselves.  Don’t spend a lot of time BLAMING YOURSELF either because it is easy to fall into self-loathing. If a person wants to leave, there is nothing you could do to stop them even if you lose weight, change your hair color or get a different job.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings with other people or a professional. – I’m not saying to stop random people in the grocery store to pour your heart out but talking about it is healthier than holding it in.  People are very afraid of seeking the help of a counselor but we can be very effective at helping you cope and giving you strategies to move forward.
  • Get a journal or a blog. – Putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard is also another healthy way to get your feelings out if you are not a talker or don’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with other people who might possibly judge you.  You will be surprised at how you can see your growth by going back and re-reading your past journal entries.  It is like looking at yourself in the mirror.
  • Get to know yourself better. - Spend some time with yourself and get to know who YOU are and what you have to offer in a relationship before jumping RIGHT back into another situation.  People tend to believe that the best way to get over an old love is to immediately find a NEW one but that is not the best idea.  A rebound love will more than likely not be genuine simply because you haven’t discarded the baggage from the old relationship.  If you TRULY loved someone, they can’t be REPLACED.
  • Begin dating again and don’t try to compare EVERY person to that lost love. - Go out on casual dates without expectations of finding “THE ONE” again.  Just let things progress naturally and have a good time.  If things start to get more serious, don’t start making comparisons and looking to recreate your previous relationship.  This new person WILL NEVER be the old person reincarnated!

Getting A Lost Love Back

How many times have we gone through the motions of breaking up with someone we truly loved only to find our way right back to them?  It happens quite often but it isn’t always a success.  I’ve always operated on the notion that an “ex” is and “ex” for a reason and those reasons usually don’t change when you get back with them but sometimes they do.  Is it good to go “backward” or should you just move on? That really depends on why the two of you broke up in the first place and whether they are worth fighting for.  If you are someone who is contemplating a return to your love, there are a few things to consider in doing so.

  • Gauge the willingness of the other party to reconcile. - This is very important because you will be fighting for nothing if you aren’t sure whether the other party is willing to give it another try.  I know of a situation where a guy went out and purchased an engagement ring to carry around with the hopes of running into his ex-girlfriend and proposing to show her how serious HE was about making amends for the mistakes he’d made in their tumultuous relationship that ended in a bad break-up.  When he finally ran into her, the woman was NOT hearing any of it and told him NO and that she’d moved on with not an ice-water’s chance in HELL that they’d EVER be back together.  He’s still single today.  Rejection is always a possibility here if you go in blindly.
  • Don’t try to force a friendship on them right after the break-up. - Many people try to pull the “Let’s be friends” card after breaking up but you REALLY can’t be friends with someone you have intense feelings for because the motive is fake.  You will always want more than a friendship from them so don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that you can separate your “friend” feelings from your “lover” feelings.  Give them their space to heal and it’s okay to talk to them occasionally but to pick right up where you left off in the relationship as ” just friends” is a recipe for disaster.
  • Write down the pros and cons of being with them. – I know this seems textbook but it works if you ACTUALLY listen to yourself.  If the pros outweight the cons then perhaps they are worth fighting for but if they don’t then let it go, cut your losses and start the healing process.  The problem here is that when people start seeing the cons outweighing the pros they start exaggerating the pros to make them win because they REALLY want the relationship back.
  • Can you REALLY put the past behind you? - If you decide that you are going to move forward with a reconciliation, you must decide whether or not you can put the pass behind you.  If trust was broken in the relationship due to cheating, lying or abuse (for which I don’t recommend a reconciliation), can you really trust their word that they won’t do it again or will you always be suspicious of their every move to the point that it ultimately breaks you up again?  If these issues aren’t resolved, they will ultimately rear their ugly head as soon as you two are back together.  I had a relationship once where the guy just COULD NOT let go of something that I did in the very beginning of our relationship and he just didn’t trust me at all and we broke up over it at least four times in the span of four years.  Ultimately, we weren’t right for each other but every time I went back, he had never gotten over that situation.
  • Don’t become a STALKER! - No matter how much you miss the person and want to be back with them, don’t try to stalk them into being with you again.  Calling or texting excessively and constantly sending them gifts or flowers will only make them annoyed by you.  They won’t think that it’s cute or you really love them.  They’ll think that you are acting irrational and it might give them a new perspective on why the two of you broke up in the first place.  Trying to guilt them into being with you will only get you but so far.  They may feel sorry for you and take you back because they sympathize for your broken heart but their heart isn’t really into it so it will be a farce.  I can’t stress enough how important space is in a serious break-up.  It gives you both a chance to think clearly and to miss each other if you really care for each other.  Be patient and if it is meant to be it will be.  As the old adage goes, “If you love something set it free and if it comes back it’s yours, but if not, it was never meant to be.”

Love is an action word and it takes both parties to be active for it to flourish.  I will leave you with my favorite love scripture usually read at weddings and hope that it feeds your souls:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

Can I Buy You A Drink?

24 Jul
Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

In 2007 auto-tune extraordinaire, T-Pain, had the clubs, radios and bars rocking to his commercial smash hit, “Buy You A Drink”.  It was an extremely catchy title and beat but if you listen to the lyrics and get the premise of the song, you’ll understand just WHY I’m about to tell you that it’s NOT a good idea to let him BUY YOU A DRINK!  In case you are not familiar with the song, at the end of this post will be a clip of the song along with the lyrics.

Initial Meeting

How many times have you been out somewhere and you had a “chance encounter” with a seemingly nice guy? He stops you and strikes up a conversation and you seem interested so you decide to exchange numbers.  You get home sort of excited to hear from him and debate the age-old question, “Should I call him or should I wait for him to call me?”  Either way, a first conversation takes place between the two of you.  During the first conversation, after you get all of the particulars out of the way regarding careers, cars, relationship status and general time-wasting rhetoric, he suggests that you two get together for a date and his first suggestion is, “LET’S GET TOGETHER FOR DRINKS”.  Well since he seems so interesting and just talking to him gives you butterflies, you quickly accept his offer without hesitation.  But WAIT, why did he just suggest drinks and not dinner or a movie?  Here is where you have to be careful about his motives and the potential disastrous effect that this could have on your first “date” with him.

Having drinks on a first date can be innocent fun but it also has the potential to go very wrong.  Believe it or not, men like to test their limits with women to see how far we will let them go and to see what type of woman they are dealing with.  BEWARE, if on this first date, he seems too comfortable with you drinking shot after shot, multiple glasses of wine or hard liquor or he keeps pushing you to do so.  He may be offering you drinks so that you will release your inhibitions (as most people do when they drink) and he can get you to be more flirtatious with him, more forthcoming with information, more ambitious and even open to sleeping with him on the first date.  Some women might ask, “What’s wrong with that, we’re both consenting adults?”  Well I can tell you that most men, when asked, will tell you that contrary to what you might think, they really don’t respect you in the morning after sex on the first date.  I know you THINK they do, but they DON’T, even if they’ve lied to you and said they did!  They will most likely place you in what my husband often refers to as “Category C”, which is no room for upgrading to a girlfriend or eventual wife status (Category B and A respectively) but they WILL call you for sex again.  Also, if you are a “heavy drinker” or someone who likes to drink to get wasted, THE FIRST DATE is NOT the time for that.  If his motives were purely innocent and he just thought that you two could go somewhere to talk and get to know each other better over a FEW drinks, then you will RUIN a good night by getting tipsy and becoming too talkative or throwing up!  He will most likely think you have a drinking problem, consider you unattractive and will NEVER call you again.  Getting wasted on a first date is NOT COOL!

In The Club

When women go to the club, we all pretty much have the same rituals.  The first thing we do when we walk in is survey the room to see whose in there and then we hit the bar.  The bar is usually crowded with men ordering multiple drinks; one for them and one for a lady standing by the bar or sitting on the bar stool waiting patiently for that free drink.  Ladies usually stay close to the bar at a club for two reasons: 1)that’s where the seats are because we can’t stand too long in our 2-hour shoes and 2)we know free drinks will be coming.  The problem is that these FREE DRINKS come with a PRICE!  Now that you’ve accepted that FREE drink from the dude with the gold tooth, tight shirt and the gold rope chain with the Mercedes-Benz medallion on it, you are almost obligated to PAY attention to him for as long as you can stomach his conversation or until someone saves you.  He will most likely follow you around the club all night and ask for dance after dance until your run out of excuses or show him a bleeding toenail to prove that your feet don’t work.  The other “hot guy” who bought you a drink and that you don’t mind talking to and dancing with all night, will inevitably make references to “hooking up” before the night is over.  He has it somewhere in the back of his mind that you OWE him what’s under your tight-fitting dress for that cheap liquor that he just bought.  Men don’t buy drinks in the club for sport, they buy drinks to see whose coming home with them at the end of the night.

If you find yourself going home with the “hot guy” at the end of the night from the club because you are a little tipsy and he whispered something really appealing in your ear, BEWARE! He might just bring friends with him (rape, HIV, danger, etc.)! Women at clubs are prime targets for kidnapping, rape and murder because when you are intoxicated, you don’t have all of your faculties to make good decisions.  Hopefully you have friends who will not allow you to leave the club with a virtual stranger in that state (See Natalie Holloway).  Even going to a strange man’s house as a group is not even safe because men can easily overpower women and you all don’t know what you are getting yourselves into.  Even if nothing dangerous happens to you by going home with the “hot guy” from the club, you don’t even KNOW him and you don’t EVER want to wake up looking over and thinking, “Who the BLEEP is this, where am I and what happened?” Now you have to take that walk of shame to your car trying to piece together the events of the night feeling hung over and used!

When making the decision to accept a drink invitation whether or not it’s a first date or at the club, there are a few things to consider:

  1. Don’t drink BEYOND your tolerance level.  If you have one drink and begin feeling buzzed or tipsy, STOP HERE! You want to make a good impression and not turn him off before he’s even gotten to know you.
  2. Don’t make any MAJOR life decisions that you’ll regret later while you are drinking.
  3. At the club, when accepting a drink from a stranger, GO WITH HIM to the bar and let the bartender put the drink in YOUR hand because date rape drugs are REAL ladies.

When it’s all said and done, ladies, PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

Ballers’ Wives

18 Jul

When the writers of the “Screen Actors Guild” went on strike for more than 14 months in 2007, there weren’t many options left for television enthusiasts besides old re-runs. This moratorium on screen writing ushered in the expansion of the “Reality Television” era. Reality television is an allegedly “unscripted” look into the lives of people from celebrities to athletes and usually focus on their relationships. Suddenly, the prospect of watching athletes and their “wives” has people glued to their television sets. What have we learned from watching “Basketball Wives”, “Football Wives”, “Deion & Pilar’s Primetime Love”, “Hank and Kendra”, “I Married a Baller” and “The Real Housewives of (insert major city here)”? We’ve learned that most of these women have absolutely NO SUBSTANCE, no career, little education and were more than likely NOBODY before they fell in the lap of their “baller”.

The AVERAGE woman is sitting in the house that SHE is helping to pay the bills in, because she is working overtime to make ends meet, watching these women on television sipping wine, having WAY TOO MANY lunch and dinner dates with each other to COMPLAIN about nothing and ENDLESS shopping trips to spend their husband/fiance’/boyfriend/baby daddy’s money. There is no HATE here because many of us WISH we had the means and opportunity to stay at home, drink wine, go shopping on a whim and to the gym all day everyday, while spending the money that SOMEONE else makes. The point here is that television doesn’t show you what REALLY happens in the lives of these ballers when their careers come to a screeching halt and there is very little income coming in. They don’t show “Little Mrs. Socialite” selling her furs or her watching the moving truck haul away her prized possessions to a storage facility while she takes her three kids to a hotel because the house is getting foreclosed on and she doesn’t have a dime in the bank to stop it from happening. Very few of these shows will show struggle because THAT’S NOT DRAMATIC ENOUGH. You’ll have to tune in to “Real Sports with Bryant Gumble” to find out that most of these ballers’ lives are all smoke and mirrors. According to CNBC.com, in 2008, the NBA player’s association cited that 60% of the players go bankrupt after 5 years out of the league. A few notable bankrupt athletes include: Allen Iverson, Michael Vick (he’s earning money again), Kenny Anderson (his ex-wife Tami appears on Basketball Wives), Derrick Coleman and Antoine Walker (his ex-fiance’ Evelyn is one of the stars of Basketball Wives). To prove that times are just as hard for athletes, Ex-Philadelphia Eagle, Reno Mahe just got arrested for stealing $12K worth of GAS.

After ditching their high school or college sweetheart because she is too “regular” for them, most of these “ballers” usually end up dating and marrying mindless arm candy with no business savvy or entrepreneurial spirit but instead she possesses a Ph.D in “gold digging”. Ballers aren’t usually trolling the high-rise office buildings in pursuit of the corporate types or hospitals for the orthopedic surgeons who are repairing their knees and certainly not seeking out the restauranteurs of the expensive restaurants that they frequent. Instead they are hanging around on the social scene looking for models, dancers and those relying on their good looks to get them through life. Good looks can prop the door open for a lot of people but they won’t necessarily give you the key to enter the front door at will! Yes a lot of women make a “career” out of being beautiful but “career” is the operative word here. You have to couple those looks with a vision for where they might take you and a plan on how to get there and have the will to execute and sustain it. Take America’s Next Top Model for instance, another wildly popular reality show, what are the winners of that show doing AFTER they won? Basically they are back into relative obscurity. Did they go into the show with a game plan on how to parlay that experience into movies, tv, starting their own modeling agency or motivational speaking? I suspect they just assumed that their looks and that one season’s appearance would catapult them to stardom automatically with little to no effort. These nonsubstantive, “beautiful-only” women are looking to be taken care of and there is a baller somewhere happy to oblige (see Just Wright movie).

The average career expectancy of an athlete is about 4 years across all sports. Many athletes engage in frivolous and reckless spending because they never really had money or unlimited access to the women that their new money can buy them. Many of them haven’t sought or utilized the services of a financial professional or the partnership of a woman who is savvy enough to game plan for the END of his career. His career will inevitably come to a screeching halt due to injury, being cut from the team or retirement and if he doesn’t have a back-up plan to go right into the next phase of his life, I hate to break the news to you Mrs. Baller with no independent wealth, YOU ARE IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE! A savvy woman would take all of that free time that she has to waste with her fake friends and parlay it into a business that will make her independently wealthy as well as helping to position her husband for his “life after”. She will encourage him to make wise investments with their money that will have a guaranteed return. A nest egg will be established for emergency situations and depending on whether or not he completed his education due to declaring early for the draft, she will encourage him to complete his degree to have it in hand and ready to go in the next phase of his life. Real women will encourage him to live “debt free” and pay off his creditors with all of that money so that they will be as “liquid” as possible and able to access CASH in a hurry. If he get’s a MILLION dollar signing bonus, there is no need to buy a $20 million dollar house! Even if they pay it off, the TAXES will be astronomical and will STILL have to be paid even after he’s out of the league and will most likely be unaffordable.

The next reality show that’s geared toward “ballers” and their wives should show a real “HONEST” account of these women in the roles of establishing themselves as real business women instead of real wastes of time! On Basketball Wives, they constantly reference their businesses but that storyline is buried WAY in the background of the show. We know that Evelyn owns a shoe store in Florida, Royce dances for a living, Jennifer has an extremely vague career, Shaunie is the Executive Producer of the show and who the hell knows what the other women do. It should also be noted that NONE of these women are actually BASKETBALL WIVES! They are all ex’s of basketball players. The Real Housewives of Atlanta used to star Lisa Wu Hartwell and her husband Ed Hartwell, who has had a hard time in the latter years of his NFL career. They were losing money, properties, etc. but she was willing to step up to try ANY kind of business to help pull her family out of their financial slump. She even encouraged Ed to pursue a career in broadcasting because he was attractive and well spoken. She was ultimately dropped from the show because her storyline didn’t have enough drama but what it did for REAL people was show us that ATHLETES STRUGGLE and some women will stick it out with them and support them by going to work and activating previously established financial plans.

The take-away from all of this is that, if you were always secretly trying to snag a baller and live like a “Ballers’ Wife”, it is NOT without sacrifice ON YOUR PART! Establish yourself and get a career or a business plan because statistics show that you are going to NEED it! You can have all of the “cash cow” babies that you want to ensure your lifetime of child support from your baller but if his money runs out, YOU will be left holding the diaper bag!

The Problem With Superwoman

10 Jul

Ladies, do you sometimes feel like you have a “super suit” underneath your neatly pressed business suit or your pajamas?  As a strong independent woman, I think we ALL do.  We are “Super Women” by birth right, but it takes a lot to be a “SUPERWOMAN”.  What’s the difference you ask? Women are born with super powers because our pelvis expands to birth children, we have telepathic hearing to know when somebody is talking about us or our kids are sneaking around when they are supposed to be napping and we have eyes in the back of our heads to keep up with EVERYTHING going on in a room behind us. All of these things make us SUPER as women but a SUPERWOMAN is somebody who runs around doing EVERYTHING for EVERYBODY on two hours of sleep, very independent and highly motivated to succeed in all that she does.  There are 3 basic types of a SuperWoman: SuperMom, SuperIndependent and SuperWorker.  Some women can be all three or a combination of the three.

SUPERMOM

A SuperMom is usually a mother who gets up with the kids early in the morning, takes them to school or daycare, then either goes to work if she has a full-time job or proceeds to cook and clean the house until she picks the kids up from school or daycare.  After doing all of this, she may take the kids to dance, gymnastics, soccer, basketball or baseball practice, then takes the kids home to feed them the dinner that she home cooked.  After dinner she usually gives them a bath, reads them a story and puts them to bed.  Where is the dad in all of this you ask? He’s probably there watching tv, on the internet or even at work.  He may help out on one or two of these tasks but more than likely SUPERMOM has a system and she wants to do it herself.  Perhaps dad is not even involved and SuperMom is TRULY alone at home with the kids and HAS to perform all of these tasks herself.

What’s the problem with SuperMom? SuperMom will get burnt out but NEVER tell anyone or really ask for help.  She believes that in order for things to get done, SHE MUST do them herself.  She believes that the kids are used to HER system of doing things and if someone else steps in, it won’t be the same.  She believes that she is the only nurturer and that dad will not be as effective.  SuperMom has probably mentioned this to her husband/boyfriend that she needs a break and he pretended to understand but he really didn’t make a concerted effort to help her to relieve any of her stress because he SUBSCRIBED to her “SUPER” persona and felt that she could HANDLE it ALL ON HER OWN.

As a mother, you have to realize that you can’t do it all by yourself and that you really do need help and a break.  Consider sharing some of the parental responsibilities and if your husband or boyfriend doesn’t step in automatically, IMPRESS upon him the importance of HIS role and responsibility and show him that YOUR CAREER, if you have one, is JUST as important as his and if you don’t, that your SANITY is just as important as his.

SUPERINDEPENDENT

Destiny’s Child used to have a hit song called, “Independent Women” and here are some of the lyrics:

Question: Tell me what you think about me
I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings
Only ring your cell-y when I’m feelin lonely
When it’s all over please get up and leave
Question: Tell me how you feel about this
Try to control me boy you get dismissed
Pay my own fun, oh and I pay my own bills
Always 50/50 in relationships

The shoes on my feet
I’ve bought it
The clothes I’m wearing
I’ve bought it
The rock I’m rockin’
I’ve bought it
‘Cause I depend on me
If I wanted the watch you’re wearin’
I’ll buy it
The house I live in
I’ve bought it
The car I’m driving
I’ve bought it
I depend on me

This is the story of the SUPERINDEPENDENT! She’ll have a great job, her own place and a great life, so why do she need anything that a man has to offer? A man to her is just a compliment and not a necessity.  When she is out at the club or a restaurant with her girlfriends socializing and a guy walks up to her and extends his hand to introduce himself and starts to converse about his job, car, etc., the first thing going through her mind is, “yeah, yeah yeah, who cares.”  She is not impressed by anything that a guy has or has to offer because SHE HAS EVERYTHING.  She won’t mind a few meals, drinks, laughs and GREAT SEX but she won’t really need him for much else.  When he sends her flowers at work, she’ll act unimpressed because face it, SHE HATES FLOWERS.  When he buys her expensive gifts for special occasions or just because, she isn’t really moved and either throws it in the junk jewelry drawer, tosses it to the side or cracks a half-smile to show how pleased she is.  When her car breaks down or the sink in her house, she’ll call a professional or her DAD.  She’d rather wait for a cab or drown in knee-deep water before calling a man who she is seeing because, what can HE really do?

What’s the problem with SuperIndependent?  She is sort of self-absorbed and constantly alone.  Most of these women are driving men away with their nasty attitude towards EVERYTHING that a man has to offer.  They have never felt a deep connection with anyone or very few people because they are operating on the “I don’t need a man” premise.  She is quick to dismiss a man when things aren’t going her way.  Essentially, she is a spoiled brat!  Her father probably spoiled her with everything that she wanted or she may have worked very hard to spoil herself as an adult.

No matter how much you have and can do for yourself, you are still going to NEED somebody for something and the main thing is INTIMACY!  Remember, sex and intimacy are TWO VERY DIFFERENT things.  Sex is surface, intimacy is a DEEP connection to one’s soul.  If you carry this SUPER independent attitude into a serious relationship, it could backfire.  Men want to KNOW that you need them from the start and that they are not just some “add-on” to YOUR lifestyle.  You have to show your appreciation for what he can offer even if you aren’t that excited about it in the beginning because when you really need him, he will flake because he’ll feel like you won’t appreciate it anyway.  If you are spending the night as his house and planning to go to work from there and realize that you’ve forgotten your debit card and he offers you a $20 bill to pay for lunch, ACCEPT IT and say thanks.  DON’T say, “No thanks, I’ll just drive back across town and go home to get my debit card.”  That will just make him think you are rejecting his help.  If he buys you the SAME pair of Tiffany earrings that you already own, accept them and wear them occasionally when you are with him so he sees that you appreciate his gift (re-gift the other pair a friend or family member).  If your car breaks down, call a professional and then call him for a ride and let HIM reject you because he’s busy, at least he’ll feel like you needed him.

SUPERWORKER

SuperWorker is usually the hardest working person at the job or in an organization.  She could be the boss, the owner or a very dependable employee.  She is probably someone who people generally can’t stand because she tries to do everything.  She has a hard time delegating and working in groups because she likes to be in charge of projects and doing things herself.  Much like SuperMom, she feels that if she isn’t doing it herself, it’s not going to get done correctly.  She will multi-task and take on several projects at once and often take work home because she is up against a deadline.  People will constantly call on her for her perceived expertise and because is probably known as the person who can FIX just about anything.

What’s the problem with SuperWorker? She is secretly stressed out and burnt out.  She probably works late a lot and when she gets home from work or meetings, she has no time for the family and no time for intimacy with her mate.  Her mind is usually running a mile a minute about upcoming projects and deadlines that she can barely sleep.  One of the biggest issues is that she doesn’t know how to turn this off with her mate when she comes home. She is essentially transferring her stress to her mate.   She probably bosses him around, takes control over everything and treats him like an employee at her job. This is bad for relationships.  She also probably doesn’t even realize that she doesn’t really have a life.  She really doesn’t even have friends that aren’t connected to work or an organization that she belongs to because she has no time for friends.

SuperWorkers, you have to realize that life is too short to throw yourself into work all of the time.  This will send you to early grave from stress and anxiety.  You will also lose your family or your ability to start one.  Your kids will need you, your mate will need you and if you are single, YOU’LL NEVER MEET ANYONE!  You have to learn that it’s okay to SAY NO! It’s okay to scale back projects and delegate some things.  Stop being the “on call” expert in everything at work and let people solve their own issues or just give them a little push and let them take it the rest of the way.  By all means, if you are the bossy type at home, STOP IT! You will lose your man! Believe me, you’ll have a piece of mind, better relationships and more FREE TIME!

There is nothing wrong with being a SUPERWOMAN but you have to know when to PUT YOUR CAPE AWAY.  A final note to SUPERWOMAN: As my best friend so eloquently put it: “If you ACT like you can do everything, then you’ll end up DOING everything!  Rest your capes occasionally and let SOMEBODY ELSE do it for you!

The Home Invasion

3 Jul

Picture this, your leasing agent hands you a set of shiny silver or gold keys to your very first house or apartment that you don’t have to share with your parents or a roommate? The feeling of euphoria that you are experiencing right now as you walk around the house testing out all of the new gadgets and walking in and out of YOUR VERY OWN walk-in closet that’s fully equipped with a closet organizer, is overwhelming. After taking another personal tour of your home, you lay on the couch with your hands clasped behind your head, your eyes closed and take in all of the foreign noises that you weren’t accustomed to hearing yet in this new place. Suddenly you realize just how loud the crickets are in this neighborhood. Laying there, you have two thoughts going through your mind, “Who’s going to help me unpack these boxes?” and “Where is the nearest pizza delivery place?” Days go by with friends and family coming by to help you unpack and decorate. Your boyfriend comes over almost daily to make sure that you are safe and to see if you needed anything, because after all, this is a NEW PLACE and void of other people besides you and the crickets.

After several weeks of getting things situated in your house JUST the way you want them and enjoying being able to run around the house doing naked dances in the mirror (what, we’ve all done it), you go into the bathroom to take a hot shower and notice the extra toothbrush in your toothbrush holder. You don’t think anything of it because your boyfriend has been staying over pretty frequently. After you take your shower, you go into that wonderful walk-in closet and notice two pair of oversized Gap jeans on hangers next to your clothes and a pair of blue Nike running shoes in the corner. Hold on, these aren’t yours, but your boyfriend must have left them there by accident. You grab your clothes, start to iron and then realize that you needed your cellphone car charger before running out of the door so you start to walk towards your nightstand and trip over a pair of shower shoes that are a man-sized 9. Finally, reaching for the drawer of your night stand on the side that HE usually sleeps on, you pull it out and notice that there are several pairs of boxer shorts in the drawer. OH NO! You begin to panic, start to sweat and realize, you’ve just been a victim of a HOME INVASION!

What is a home invasion?

A “Home Invasion” is when single people who live alone end up “accidentally” living with their significant other. The significant other slowly starts to move things in and getting you used to seeing their personal items. You don’t think anything of the first few items because they are common items such as a toothbrush, a change of clothes or some underwear; you know, things they can easily take home. The next thing you know, they have their ENTIRE wardrobe in your closet, cd’s, a laptop and special dishes in the sink in YOUR place where THEY aren’t paying ANY rent! Home invasions are ALL too common with single ladies with their own apartment or house that is dating a guy who lives with a roommate or is in a break-up situation with another “live-in” ex. You spend so much time with your boyfriend, going out, cooking him dinner at home in YOUR new digs and hosting sports parties together that you haven’t realized that he hasn’t been to HIS house in MONTHS. You probably hate to visit his house because he has a roommate, which is why he spends so much time at your place. The other thing is that frankly, MEN don’t live like women. Women are usually more conscious of how things are decorated, cleaned and the amount of privacy they are getting. Men usually have a MAN PAD that smells like the gym, with dirty dishes in the sink, unmatched furniture, a pool table in the dining room and constant drop-in company. Another SURE way of getting home invaded, is GIVING HIM A KEY. You may do this unconsciously because you need him to run over and feed the dog, water your plants or because you needed someone to meet the cable guy and he just happened to be off that day. The next thing you know, he’s coming in your apartment ALL OF THE TIME for ANY reason with that same key.

Men usually don’t fall victim to the home invasion very easily because they are LESS likely to ALLOW you to leave ANYTHING at their house. Try leaving some Dove body wash in his shower. I bet the next time you are over there, it is hidden away underneath the cabinet behind the cleaning products and you have to ASK for it the next time you want to use it because you can’t find it. God forbid you try leaving something that he can’t easily hide, like a pair of shoes. I guarantee you that before you get the keys in the ignition to your car, he is tapping on your driver’s side window, out of breath from running and saying, “Baby, you left these, I thought you might need them.” The guy that is a PRIME target for a home invasion by a woman is the guy that lives alone in a “comfortable” bachelor pad. His house or apartment will have all of the creature comforts of home. When you walk in, it smells like scented candles, there is beautiful plush furniture and carpet, lavish artwork on the walls, matching dishes in the cabinet and a flat screen tv with surround sound above the fireplace. Yes all of this sounds great if you are a bachelor BUT it also invites women to take up residence in YOUR place because it feels like home. I’m not saying DON’T live like this, but be prepared NOT to live ALONE like this for long because as soon as she takes her shoes off that first night and steps on that plush carpet, her clothes will be moving in next!

How to Avoid the Home Invasion?

If you aren’t ready to “accidentally” live with someone then there are a few things that you need to AVOID doing.

  1. Don’t allow your significant other to spend EVERY DAY at YOUR place. You need to alternate houses even if you don’t like their roommate. If the place that they live in is too unbearable to spend the night in, just part ways at the end of some of your dates and get used to sleeping alone in YOUR bed once in a while.
  2. Don’t allow them to leave things at your place that will collect over time and become ALL of their worldly possessions. If they leave a toothbrush that’s okay but if they start bringing their laundry over to do at your place and NEVER take it home, BEWARE, they’re trying to move in.
  3. Don’t give them a key to your place because that is an OPEN invitation to let them come and go as they please (and to move stuff in while you’re at work). If you have to give them a key for a specific reason, MAKE UP A STORY to get it back IMMEDIATELY. Tell them that your mother is coming over and you need to give it to her to get in.
  4. Don’t come immediately to the rescue by offering your apartment for a short time if they have a fight with their roommate that ends up with them having to “move out”. Run to the grocery store and grab all of the “Apartment Guides” off of the shelves and bookmark EVERY apartment finder website there is, because your way of showing support is to FIND THEM A NEW APARTMENT IMMEDIATELY!
  5. Be on the look out for that person with the pattern of living with people. If they are going from one relationship to the next and they are ALWAYS living with the person, they are basically a user who is looking to get a free ride with YOU until they can take up residence with the next sucker who will pay their way!

Basically ladies and gentleman, don’t be afraid to look them straight in the eye and say, “I LOVE YOU, YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO HOME, BUT YOU HAVE TO GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! Then follow that up with a kiss and send them on their way!

The “Girlfriend Experience”

26 Jun

The summer is upon us and dating season is too. We tend to come out of hibernation AND out of our excess clothes. We’re visible now at cookouts, parties, mixing, mingling and meeting new people because it is “outdoor” season. It is also the season to get stuck in the “Girlfriend Experience”. What is that ladies? It is the experience WITHOUT the title. This happens to the BEST of us.

You meet a guy and start hanging out pretty frequently and start to cut all other prospects because you really like this guy. You are going to the park, having impromptu lunches, dinners, movies and hanging over each other’s houses pretty regularly. You’ll look around and a few months have passed by and you realize that you’ve really caught feelings for this guy. You have pictures of him on your phone, memorabilia from the amusement park trip you took together and then it hits you; YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND. The next thing you know, the summer starts coming to an end and he is having a family gathering and he takes you to meet his family. While driving there you have butterflies in your stomach, you’re leaning over on the arm rest giving him the occasional kiss while listening to KEM on the radio stirring up all these feelings. The car pulls up and you hop out and the two of you begin walking towards the backyard where you smell the grill burning with good food and music playing in the background and you are thinking to yourself, “Today is a going to be a good day” and then it happens, he introduces you to his ENTIRE family as his FRIEND!!! Now you THOUGHT you were more to each other than friends but there’s one problem, HE DIDN’T.

What he did was give you the “Girlfriend Experience” because HE wants to keep his options open. Remember, it is summer time and there are SEVERAL ladies running around dressed scantily clad, so he’s not going to limit his options. He may actually like you and enjoy spending time with you pretty frequently, BUT, he’s not with you 24/7. He is possibly hanging out with other women on the days that he’s not hanging out with YOU or out with his friends MEETING new women to hang out with. Men have a uncanty ability to date multiple women and compartmentalize their feelings for each of them. He will get what he wants from each of them because they are all different and unique to him. Each woman offers him a different experience and it’s not always about sex but MOST of the time it is a factor. If you catch him out with another woman while you’re seeing him, he wants to be able to say, “You’re not my girlfriend.” The problem for us, ladies, is that we never decided to address where we THOUGHT that the relationship was going after all of these months. We pretty much decided that he was our boyfriend and started referring to him as such in our minds and to our friends. We just ASSUMED he felt the same way. Perhaps this WAS addressed and he gave you the standard, “I’m not ready for a commitment right now because I just got out of something, so let’s just take it slow”, response. Maybe he told you, he sees a future with you after you spend a little more time together getting to know each other (but it’s been like 6 months). The question is, how long are you willing to continue being stuck in “girlfriend limbo” until you either move on completely or start dating other men in addition to him? There is no right or wrong answer to that because relationships can blossom quickly or take time. How much time you’re willing to put in to find out really depends on you knowing what you want and how fast you want it.

The worst thing that could happen is that you put all of your eggs into THIS basket and you call him one day and he says, “let me call you later because I’m watching a movie with my GIRLFRIEND.” Yes, he actually already has a girlfriend somewhere, which is why he hasn’t committed to YOU after all of this time. I’ve seen the “Girlfriend Experience” go really wrong over the years and in some cases go to the altar. When I say really wrong, I’m talking SERIOUSLY wrong to the point where children got involved and child support suits followed. These women allowed these men to string them along for YEARS with bogus promises of a future relationship and they ended up having children with them years later and these men STILL wouldn’t commit to a relationship with THEM and either married other people or were already married when they dated. In the good cases, I’ve seen women decide that they aren’t going to put up with the limbo status and confront the guy and tell him that she’ll give him some time to get himself together and make up his mind but she’ll be dating other people too and made herself less available. That tactic seems to prompt a response in men who have caught feelings for a woman because he doesn’t REALLY like the idea of her potentially SLEEPING with another man and if he really cares about her, he won’t want to see her gone completely either.

What do you do if you think you might be a victim of the “Girlfriend Experience”? Take a long hard look at your budding relationship and how long you’ve dated. If it’s been longer than 6 months and he’s not making any moves and you’re becoming anxious, then it’s decision-making time for YOU. If you started catching feelings in the first couple of months, don’t just assume that he feels the same way because women tend to be more vulnerable to their feelings than men. Have a conversation that will prompt him to talk about his feelings for you. Let him know that you can see yourself with him but don’t put the full court press on him to commit right there on the spot because he might feel too pressured into the relationship and it won’t be genuine. Typically men hate ultimatums and they tend to run the other way when presented with one. Relationships should progress naturally and you should be sure not to give too much of yourself too fast. Don’t be so available all of the time and try not to wear your heart on your sleeve because men will use that to easily manipulate you into doing what they want and if you’re too clingy he’ll figure that you’re not going anywhere no matter how long he takes. Relationships are pretty complex but they can be fun and easy-going if you don’t attach too many rules and expectations onto them to soon. If you don’t like the direction it’s going in or the speed at which it’s moving, don’t be afraid to address it and don’t be afraid to LEAVE IT. Don’t just assume that you’re in a relationship that you’re actually NOT in. That’s the quickest way to get your feelings hurt.

Happy First Weekend of Summer!!!

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