Once Again Its Valentine’s Day (Don’t worry it only lasts 24 hours)

It’s that time of year again. The day of Love. Valentine’s Day. Again, I will never understand the concept of the day because when I love someone, I hope that I do love them everyday and not just because society tells me to love them specifically on February 14th. Yet, since I am a sucker for romance and a sappy chick flick, I must admit that I do love the feelings and atmosphere that surround February 14th. It is always nice to see an overabundance of diamonds, flowers, and chocolate in lovely heart shaped boxes.

I used to think that Valentine’s Day was a girl holiday (a large part of me still does). Seriously I thought men hated the whole concept of the day. My take was that men who had a significant other would go through the motions and slowly wait in misery for the day to be over. I have never known a man who was genuinely excited about Valentine’s Day. Then I met my ex. He told me that men celebrated Valentine’s Day too, and men should be given gifts just like gifts are given to women. I was perplexed. Huh? All this time I was thinking that Valentine’s Day was a girl holiday. Girls get roses, teddy bears and diamond rings. The Kay jewelers and Hallmark commercials taught me that men present women with gifts on Valentines day, so obviously that was the way the day went down. I always had expected a small gift from the man I was dating at the time, and as for them, umm lets just say I didn’t know what to get them because Valentine’s Day is a girl holiday!

The first Valentines day I celebrated with my ex was simple, well we weren’t actually in an exclusive relationship at the time, so I didn’t expect a gift. He did take me out so that was a nice dating celebration for the day. The next year that damn Valentine’s Day rolled around again, and since we were far and long into an exclusive relationship I guess I had to give him a gift. Although, in my head Valentine’s Day was still a girl day, and I felt like I was being bamboozled. For the sake of genuine happiness in the relationship I caved. Honestly I can’t remember what it was that I got him, I know it wasn’t expensive though, it was small something to say I love you. I could have done that on any given day of any month, however Hallmark told me it was Valentine’s Day so celebrate.

For people in a relationship who are low on a budget, Valentines Day can be an added expense. We just celebrated Christmas less than two months ago. With the blink of an eye, six short weeks into the new year then bam! Another gift giving day. Because of that I feel Valentine’s Day gifts should be small, simple gestures just to say I love you. A large, expensive, materialistic, gift is not always needed. Everyday words and actions that say “I love you” mean so much more than a gift on Valentine’s Day. And that both men and women can reciprocate.

So that ex boyfriend of mine that somehow convinced me that Valentine’s Day was not only a girl day, but a guy day too, well obviously he is an ex for a reason. No it is not just because he expected gifts on Valentine’s Day (even though that would be a funny reason for a woman to break it off with a man). But, we were able to come to a mutual agreement when it came to Valentine’s Day. We were able to do things to make each other feel special, to celebrate love not only February 14, but every day before and after it. It wasn’t about the dollar amount that went into the gift, but the love that would last when the flowers died, after I ate all the chocolate, and after I lost whatever piece of jewelry he would eventually give me. My favorite gift was the one that probably cost him the least amount of money. A CD of original songs that he recorded just for me. The price: the amount of one blank CD.

Valentine’s Day is a  lovely over publicized day. However, since romance is in the air go with it. If that cupid guy shoots you and you feel overjoyed with emotions of love, spread that love. No one should be overly stressed, sad, or increasingly depressed on Valentine’s Day, after all it is just another day. Show love every day, be creative with love, go against the norms and come straight from your heart. By showing the simplest amount of love, in the simplest way, you will defiantly earn the greatest results.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Now can someone tell me the truth, Do men really expect gifts on Valentine’s Day or is it a girl holiday?

GelGems (I love them) on train.
Image via Wikipedia

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In the world of love and relationships not every question is a soup question

The initial dating or getting to know someone phase of a relationship can be tricky. After the first few dates are there any questions that are completely off-limits, or does the concept of a dating, or semi-maybe-possibly we’re dating relationship equate to an open forum of information between two people? Is taking the no holds bar, all questions are possible approach a good strategy for building your relationship?

When we first get to know someone, we do what is natural, we ask questions (or at least I do).  As I continue to talk to them more questions become relevant, and I get more answers. I hope the answers are truthful.  Yet, what if a question is presented, and I feel the question and the answer is not relevant to moving forward with the relationship? Basically it is a question about the past, and has little to do with the future status of the relationship we may or may not be working on building. Do I  have to answer all the questions, or is there a bit of myself that I can keep for myself?

I am a firm believer in transparency.  As you can tell I hold back little information, I write about my life on a blog. I am not a huge fan of lying, I have found many times that the truth always comes out, so I do my best to avoid the lie. Honesty is less stressful, it helps me to keep a clear conscience. So if I am dating someone, or thinking about a relationship with a new man, I will tell the truth all the way.  So when he asks a question, I hope he is prepared for the answer. If the question is asked I have an answer, but I wonder are some questions just blatantly inappropriate to be asking in the first place?

For instance,  when it comes to the issue of sex and past sexual relationships, are detailed questions about a persons sexual past necessary to ask. Now I am not talking about questions like when was the last time you had an STD test, or do you currently have an STD? That I want to know, and if intimacy is to be had, that conversation should be had.  Let’s be honest, HIV is real and I don’t want you to kill me. HPV is more widespread than ever, and herpes is on the rise (I don’t care how happy those people look on the Valtrex commercial). So, if we need to talk about STD tests, yes I want to have  that conversation. That conversation I will bring up myself.

However other questions appear less relevant,  such as how many people have you slept with, or when was the last time you had sex? Are those need- to- know questions if you are not actually in a relationship with someone?  If you are in a relationship does the basis of your relationship change if you know how many people your partner has been with in his or her past?  Are those questions ever OK? If it happened in the past, is it so wrong to leave the past right there.

I say this because I have had men  ask me those very questions, they weren’t even my boyfriend, I was still trying to determine if they were good enough to be boyfriend potential.  I have also heard of men asking other women those questions. To some women (or men) in this situation who get asked those particular questions the saying, “Ask me questions and I will tell you no lies” may come into play. Since I like transparency I will give an honest answer. I give an honest answer for two reasons, number 1: my sex life is nothing I am ashamed of, and number 2: at this point we haven’t reached the point of being in a solid exclusive relationship, I would like any man who wants to know me, to know me for who I am.  Would I ever think those questions are relevant? No.

Some men will be quick to judge a woman by how many men she has slept with in the past. That I will never understand. If he has had previous sexual encounter, why would he expect for her to have a whole lot less sexual encounters of her own. I know men are glorified by their sexual experience, and women are labeled as a slut or hoe if she has too much sexual experience (still not sure who determines exactly what is too much, but oh well). That standard really needs to change. Newsflash to all men: Women are having sex, and they like it!  Sorry men, unless you are number 1, anything after that really doesn’t matter. Start from where you are at in your new relationship and go from there.  If you have expectations for a committed monogamous relationship then state it. Be assured with from that day forward  you will be the only man she is sleeping with, all those other men are non factors. If you want to know the last time she had sex before she was exclusive with you take a moment, breathe, then ask yourself, “Why is this important for me to know”? Continue with,”What what answer am I already expecting”? Trust me, the actual answer will probably be vastly different from the one you are expecting, so then again say to yourself, “Why is this important to me”? How would you feel if she asked you the same question? Would you be honest?

In relationships, yes, many questions should be asked, and truthful answers need to be given. When talking about intimacy and sexual health, it should be an open forum for a conversation between two people. When talking about past sexual relationships that is usually a tricky grey area. It would help to keep the questions relevant, don’t assume the answer will make you feel good about yourself. The answer may be shocking. It may hurt.  Expect the truth. If the truth scares you, then next time be careful about the questions you ask. The best relationships start with honesty and an open mind. Everyone has a past, but new relationships work best when they are focused on the present, and plans are made for the future.

Have you ever been asked a question when starting a brand new relationship that you just really did not want to answer?

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My Much Overdue Dating Fast

Quick life update:

For the first time in what seems like a very long time I am not actively dating anyone. Wow, feels weird. Well not really. I have achieved some mental clarity (took long enough). I had wanted to take a dating fast for some time now because I felt I was at a point where I was dating without purpose. What do I mean by that? Well I was just dating guys to just to go out fun. It was an activity that mainly filled up my nights and weekends. At first glance, I had a feeling that I wouldn’ t be completely interested in these men, because they did not measure up to someone who I would see myself with on a  long-term basis. At second glance,  they still did not seem that way either.

In came my dating fast. Why was it so difficult to take a dating fast? Well, because there are men everywhere. Chances are if you are single, then you will eventually come across a man to ask you out. When asked out  for dinner or a movie, I would say yes. That yes was on the hopes that I would get meaningful conversation, or a good laugh, but no it never turned out that way. Suddenly dating, just became a waste of precious time. The experience was more pain than pleasure.

Since my dating fast, my life is feeling more refreshed than ever. I feel surrounded by positive energy, and positive thoughts. I’m at a point of happy with purpose.

Accomplishment as a result of my dating fast:

  • I have lost 7-8 pounds. A quick decrease in movie popcorn, eating out at restaurants, and late night appetizers does wonders for your diet. I have also been able to stick to a regular workout routine, no interruptions, or over exhaustion.
  • I am all caught up on my work, most times I am even finished early. No minor distractions of text messages or phone calls to attend to
  • I no longer feel obligated to do things  like go out on dates, when I really don’t want to.
  • I have been able to spend more time with my friends, no thinking about ways to split hours in the day.
  • I am learning to incorporate a regular sleep pattern into my life. Who knew 8 hours of sleep could make a world of difference in the morning.
  • I have also been able to develop ideas that have been sitting in my head. I have time! This is great!
  • Finally, I have been able to think about and, admit to myself the qualities that I truly desire in a man. I have realized the type of man who I want in my life  and who I should share my time with. I no longer have to spend time, dating just to date. I can date just the men who truly have the potential to be more than just a first date.

 

 

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The independent woman: A positive concept with a negative vibe

The concept of Miss Independent is one that is quickly becoming a misconstrued notion to many men. It seems to have transformed from the idea that women can be liberated to get the most out of life with or without a man, to one of  men feeling that an independent woman does not want a man, and would rather be alone at night. How did that happen?

Well a few weeks ago Tyrese was ever so kind, and gave his input in a message for independent women. Check it out here:

Tyrese’s Message to independent women

Thank you Tyrese, I’m sure we all really needed to hear that (yeah not really). However, you did inspire me to clear a few things up for men who may like yourself, not truly understand the wants and needs of an independent woman.

I previously wrote the blog Miss Independent: Gift or Cruse, which questions if men are intimated by an independent woman. A man may   feel inferior if  he thinks that a woman does not need him. He will question himself, by asking “what can I do for her?” However that should not be the issue. Let me clear up a few misconceptions, and maybe men who think similar to Tyrese will have a new perspective of what it means to be  miss independent.

For a woman to say she is  independent,  it no way also means “I don’t want a man”, or “I don’t need a man to do anything for me”, or “I would rather stay at home with my dog”.  Of course independent women want and need a man. To be an independent woman, is to be a woman who is not defined by a man. A man is in her life to make her better, she will only allow men to enter her life who will make her better. An independent woman wants a man who will respect her and truly understand her worth. She is independent because she is not going to date just any type of man. She will not allow a man to disrespect her, or treat her any kind of way because he thinks that she needs him.

When a man is with an independent woman, he knows that she does not need him so she can be his dependent, however, she wants him to be apart of her life. She wants to be able to depend on him, and makes that choice knowing that she can also be just fine without him.  She wants him to be a man, do the things that real men do. Protect her, love her, take care of her and the family,  because sometimes even independent women get tired of depending on only themselves.

When black men feel that the independent black woman is synonymous for “sistas with an attitude”, it sends the message out that black men aren’t listening, or recognizing the needs of black women. Sure we have our own job, pay our own bills, and can take care of ourselves without a man in our life, but yes we do want a man in our lives. We want that emotional connection to a man who is understanding of the hardships of the independent woman.  The attitude that you may see is not purposely there to scare you away, it is there to protect us from men who are not capable of handling the challenge of being with an independent woman.

So to Tyrese, or other man who feels they have a message for independent women, listen closely. An independent woman wants to be loved by a man, an independent woman wants a partner, an independent woman has needs and expectations for a relationship. If you as a man are not able to fulfill those needs, those expectations, and cannot step up and be a real man, then yes, you will feel that this woman wants to be alone.  In actuality she does not want to be alone, she is just more than you can handle. In that case you have to be man enough to admit that you just are not ready to be in a relationship with Miss Independent.

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I want off this “Ship”, what I really want is a “Relationship”

Recently I was having a conversation with a male friend about his most recent relationship. According to him, he had just gotten out of a 3 year “ship”.  Yeah “ship”. I asked him to elaborate on what exactly was a “ship”. He proceed to explain that a “ship”, was kind of like a relationship, but not exactly a relationship. No commitments, no demands, no expectations, basically no relationship. A “ship”. My definition of a “ship”: A friendShip with benefits, but don’t expect too much more because you are not in an actual relationShip. Think of it as dating extended, or relationship limbo.

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

Before the whole concept of the relationship hits its death bed, I want to make an effort to try to save it while it is still on life support. I’m going to target this one towards women.  I will agree with Steve Harvey on this one point: women, we have the control as to what we want from the relationship with a man. We set the expectations of what this relationship will be, if you have no expectations, sadly you will get nothing in return.  With the acceptance of an undefined relationship, you will eventually set yourself up for disappointment, and anger. Women, if you want an actual relationship, lets start by not accepting the “ship”.

To be in an undefined “ship” for 3 years is a long time. Women will eventually want more. Reality check time: no one is ever really happy being the side chick, the baby mamma hanging on to her baby daddy who has a new girlfriend,  or a wifey but never a wife. Women we may stay in that “ship”, on the hopes that it may turn into a relationship. After 3 years, you can almost be certain that you will not get that relationship that you want. As women we are emotional creatures who look for connections. So if choose to stay in that “ship” now, don’t be surprised by the disappointment you may face later.

The good news: If you are in a ship, you can jump off at any time you are ready. The “ship” can also be avoided all together.

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

Ways to avoid getting stuck on the “ship”

  • When you meet a man who appears to be your next possible Mr. Right, state your expectations.  Make them clear. If a relationship is what you want, let him know that you are looking for a relationship. A real relationship, you don’t want to just “kick it”, and you don’t want a “ship”. If he doesn’t want a relationship be prepared to walk away, if you don’t walk, you may find yourself smooth sailing on his ship.
  • If  your possible Mr. Right says, “I want a relationship, but I need time to really get to know you”. Fine take that. Give him and yourself time to decide if you two are compatible for a committed relationship. Date him, you should even date other people if you want to weigh your options. However, make sure you have a timeline. Use your best instincts, and make your timeline is one that you are comfortable with.  If you say to yourself, and to him, I need to know if we are ready for commitment in three months, make sure you check back in three months to see if he is ready for a committed relationship. If you overlook the check back stage then you will be on that ship to the land of confusion, questioning what you two are doing. If he is not ready for that relationship that you want, then be ready to walk. There are other men who will give you the relationship that you want.
  • If you find yourself on the “ship”, but you are having a good time. (this is a hard one) In the moment it may not seem so bad, it may even be fun. Ask yourself are you looking for fun right now or, are you looking for a relationship  for the long run.  Think about the direction that you want this ship to go. Jump in the captain’s seat and take control. Again if you want a relationship, say so! This guy may be a good guy for you and may be boyfriend material, tell him you want a commitment. If nothing is said, nothing new will be done.

Men will only treat a women in a way that she allows herself to be treated.  If you accept crap, you will get crap. If you hold yourself to a higher standard, then you will get a higher standard. When a man wants to be with you, you will know it. So when you know what you want, don’t settle for less than that. If a real RELATIONSHIP is what you what, don’t start it off by hoping on that SHIP.

 

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I want a wedding! But you can keep that whole marriage thing for yourself

Today in entertainment news it was announced that Kim Kardashian and her short-term husband Kris Humphries are getting divorced. Is anyone really shocked by this? Probably not (well apparently Kris is). Yet, the end of such a highly publicized relationship does lead some discussion about a more important topic: When you say yes to marrying someone, are you saying yes to the wedding, or yes to the actual marriage?

Kim and Kris were married 72 days. Wow only 72 days! Seasons last longer than that. They were a match made in reality T.V. heaven, maybe that was problem number one. Reality T.V. is not real life. When the cameras stop rolling, and the checks stop coming, you are actually stuck with a real person. The person that millions of people watched you say you were ready to spend the rest of your life with. Not the rest of the summer with. Marriage vows are supposedly said for a reason. For better or worse, until death do us part right? That is for real in real life.

Kim Kardashian at the Seventh Annual Hollywood...
Image via Wikipedia

The  point of this post is not to attack Kim and Kris for their decisions on their relationship. A lot of blame is being put on Kim for the whole wedding extravaganza, but Kris is an adult (even though he appeared a bit immature at times), he knew what he was walking into, he chose to keep walking.  Nobody has ever offered to pay me millions of dollars to watch me get married, maybe if someone did I might just get married and divorced real quick too.  I wonder if the sanctity of marriage has turned into a downgraded concept, that is easily replaced with the freedom of divorce. Is marriage really just a piece of paper with no meaning?

With age comes responsibility. I know a few married couples, I also know people who have been married and are now divorced.  A wedding is an exciting time for a woman. It starts from the moment of engagement. The ring! Most girls grow up dreaming of  the fairy tale wedding. Once the ring is placed, you can start planning your childhood fantasy, with  flowers, poofy dress and all. For some planning a wedding is a stressful time, but to make the fairy tale perfect stress must be involved.

One thing that I have come to realize it is easy to get married. I know I have said this before, anyone can get married. But getting married to the right person, and making the marriage work is the truly the hard part. The work should not start after the wedding is over, and the flowers have died. The work actually starts way before that. Before the engagement ring is even put on the women’s finger, both people should have a basic understanding that this marriage is going to be work. If either of you think otherwise, well then you may be filing for divorce in 72 days.

A wedding starts with a wedding planner. A marriage starts with communication. Communication should have started from day one. Okay, so maybe you were late with that communication thing, but it should have started way before the day of your dream wedding. In my work, I both love and hate doing marriage counseling. It is great to work with a couple that is at least agreeing to work on their marriage, but it is difficult to teach people to communicate when they never have  felt comfortable communicating before. Love should not hurt, and neither should communication, so proper communication takes a lot of work.

When I have counseled women who are  in intimate relationships, they often tell me they are afraid to communicate with their partner. I have heard many times, “if I tell him this, then he may leave me”. When I hear that I immediately think, well if you don’t tell him, then your relationship is based on a lie. When you lie to yourself, eventually the truth starts to eat you up mentally and physically.

A relationship also involves making expectations clear. If you have fear in expressing your expectations, say to yourself, “is this the type of marriage that I really want to enter into?”  Before the wedding, have the conversation about the expectations for your new family. Talk about where the both of you want to live, do the both of you want kids, how important is contact with the in-laws, everything down to the subject of  pets. If it is a topic to importance for you, say it to your partner. Your partner may not agree with you, but then at least you can have that conversation before the wedding.

Also, don’t go into a marriage with hope that the other person will eventually change their mind, or you can make them change their mind on something. That rarely is possible, and you will set yourself up for disappointment if you have that expectation. If they tell you straight up what they want or expect from the beginning, take that as a fact. You then have the choice to accept it or move on.

I can understand why Kim Kardashian may have been quick to want to marry. It was a fabulous wedding after all. She got to play princess for a day, and she was living every young girl’s fantasy of Cinderella marrying her Prince. Kim just turned 31, so the pressure from herself, her family, and society, to get married and start a family must hit at full speed (that feeling is one that I do actually know about). She has said that she wants a family;  how do you start a family? With a husband! Whether it was well thought out or not, Kris was the man with the ring, so he got the role of husband.  Kim is a beautiful girl, so no matter what happens she will have  no trouble finding a man. However, next time  now that she has had the dream wedding, she will take a little more time and plan an actual vision for the marriage.

If your marriage lasts less than 90 days do you have to return all the wedding gifts?

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences