Tag Archives: relationships

Relationship Obsession

17 Oct

Why does it seem like some people are obsessed with relationships? They seek advice about relationships and the decisions they make pertaining to developing said relationships they spend money on books and therapists to manage their relationships. There are songs, movies-in many ways a whole industry dedicated to relationships. And all the while people are getting criticized for being “too relationship focused”.

I’ve often heard the advice to just “get over it” after a tough break up and it has never ceased to be upsetting (even if I do eventually heed the advice). But isn’t it natural to be obsessed over something that is essential for survival? It has been proven that an infant can die if never receiving personal touch or contact with another source of life, so the innate programming to be “obsessed” over friendships, popularity, being in love, affection, dating, marriage and the like, should be a part of who we are. Not many people (if they are truly honest with themselves) want to live a life in complete solitude and isolation (even after a string of negative personal interactions). We all want to be loved, appreciated, validated and who can achieve that solo?

The Facebook Reality

29 Aug
Facebook logo

Image via Wikipedia

We’re all grown right? So let me be frank: Facebook is not the real world! It is a fraction of reality in some terribly embellished gift wrap that we all feverishly open with high hopes and then become frustrated and hurt when it doesn’t live up to our expectations.

I’m not saying that it along with other social media sites don’t have their benefits and advantages (if used effectively), but it is maddening to hear that people are fighting, divorcing, and creating lifelong irreparable rifts over a website. Does anyone else find that odd?!

Now, when your relationship ends, you rush to change your status…and for what? To get the attention and compassion that you truly crave? And lets not start on the audacity of some people to get mad at you when they see you “online” but you won’t answer their phone calls. It’s a bit “stalker-ish” if you ask me but more immature than anything.

We should all be striving to be our best selves and hopefully somewhere in that recipe is true conflict resolution or communication improvement, where we can end (and in some cases start) a relationship maturely and perhaps not through a computer. Where we can be proud of who we truly are and what we have actually accomplished (or not) and not hide behind this over-inflated character that we have created (with a perfectly airbrushed AVATAR) to represent us online. Remember, it is supposed to be for social networking, not social disconnection.

Generational Divide

26 Aug

I’m starting to accept that there will always be a divide between generations. For eons, the youth have been blamed for the separation due to our “colorful language” and taste in music and clothes (among other superficial details), but I beg to differ.
I find that in many cases, it is our elders that perpetuate the divide with their preconceived notions that they are hopelessly dedicated to, while convincing themselves that we are selfish, egotistical brats with no respect for the past or our predecessors. The main issue I see is that our elders are set on lumping us all into one “ungrateful” group despite our individual differences. Where we as the youth have been raised to shun and defy labels, they are determined and in some way dependent on those labels in order to grasp this generation of people that they do not understand. I had to accept this as evidence when my grandmother compared me to my older cousin who outside of us being related, shares very little in common with me.
In no way do I think the youth of today are asking our elders to embrace all that we are without understanding it, I certainly am not trying to force my beliefs and existence on my parents or those before them. I just want the respect in acknowledging the possibility. The possibility that in youth there is this natural resistance to the status quo and a longing for understanding and acceptance of our desire to be individuals. This does not however compromise all of our reasoning or intellect. 

Regardless how the music has changed, we are no different from previous generations in that we all march to the beat of our own drum and rarely feel like we have to explain our reason for doing so. Instead of being treated like social deviants, all we want is to be understood and the first step to that is accepting that despite our generational divide, we all want the same in the end because we are all people (despite age). Our methods of attaining such may differ, but the basic needs do not differ from those of our elders.

“Ex-Factor”

23 Aug

I know I fell short of your expectations. But as my mother always tells me, “when you put your expectations on someone else, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed.” I couldn’t give you what you wanted and although you are a great man it was as much your fault as it was mine.
You kept pulling for me to be more and different, like I wasn’t enough as I was. So I rebelled at first and then slowly started to withdraw in order to protect myself. I just couldn’t bring myself to give my best to someone who didn’t see the best in me.
Sure I wasn’t ready to embrace your world, but what about who I was? What I actually did possess versus all that I was missing. I needed your praise as much as your critical eye.
I do hope that you find love, but first you may want to look into what love truly is, and what it definitely is not. How being a responsible steward of it can lead you to great reward, but poor handling will only lead to loss. I’m sure you’ll get there, but I won’t be standing by you to witness it because in your absence I gave myself fully to love and where you lost, I truly gained…

G.I. Joe

16 Aug

My dating life has brought me in contact with many G.I. Joes.  Before you get all psyched, I do not mean actual soldiers or even the figurative soldiers described in the Destiny’s Child anthem. In my case G.I. stands for Good Imposters. You know, the ones who claim to be a certain person and end up being his evil twin or in some cases the boring twin, the passive aggressive twin, or the I-stole-this-character-description-from-a-dating-handbook twin!?

Men are as guilty as women when it comes to telling people what they want to hear and tailoring their life to fit what they assume a woman wants as opposed to who they truly are. But what’s worse? Don’t be cocky with it! Don’t claim to be a college grad when you only attended one semester of a community college, a sushi lover when you only eat fried shrimp or a connoisseur of fine things when you cannot even pronounce Louboutin (let alone buy a pair). If you are truly happy with who you are, that should speak for itself. If you’re not, change it. But whatever you decide, please stop attempting to lure women with the facade of a man because it’s only a matter of time before the veil falls and your sham is exposed.

“The Blame Game”

15 Aug
Jungle Fever

Image via Wikipedia

“You Black women have issues. That’s why I’m gonna start dating women from another race!”

Sounds ridiculous, right? Well I’ve actually heard that on a few occasions and each time my response is laughter followed by a barrage of questions (due to my naturally inquisitive nature).

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand the frustration. Us women feel it too at times, but the threat of dating outside of your race as a solution to your “problem” just seems ludicrous to me. Well first, because if certain members of my family hadn’t made the choice to date/marry outside of their race, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be short some family members and some of my friends wouldn’t exist. So the statement alone doesn’t present a threat to me. It also doesn’t upset me that these men want to date interracially, I am more upset at their immaturity. Boys blame their issues on others, not men. So essentially these guys are throwing their toys down and stomping off because they cannot get their way.  Instead of looking at the specific situation and individuals involved, and taking accountability for the role they played in their sour circumstance, they would rather play the blame game.

THAT’S THE ISSUE!

Successful relationships are made up of two mature adults. You can date anyone from any race and at the end of the day you would run into the same issue because the problem doesn’t lie with the women, it lies within you and possibly your choices (because it is a possibility that the “women” you are choosing may be the problem). Work on that first, and you’d probably increase your success rate.

“Daughters”

12 Aug

I have heard a lot of men say that they can tell when a woman has been raised with a father in the home. What I’ve realized is that fathers need to be more than just present, more than just a testosterone filled force that looms around the household as an intimidating figure that threatens potential suitors in between going to work and paying the bills.

Fathers need to be active in their daughters’ lives. Just like fathers are supposed to (stereotypically) play baseball with their sons in the backyard, men need to engage with their daughters too and not just for the proclamation of having a “daddy’s girl”, but because women need a strong foundation in their primary male relationship in order to function socially.

A father needs to show his daughter love and affection so that she won’t crave it. So that she won’t fall for the first guy that gives her a compliment. A father should be so encouraging and affirming that the this girl already knows the woman she is destined to be.  A father should be an example of what a man should be in terms of responsibilities yes, but more in the way he interacts with the world. How does he treat women? Other people? How does he address and resolve challenges? Is he even-tempered or highly reactive?

A father can essentially keep his daughter from being screwed (whatever way you take this statement). He can be the first person she learns to stand up to, so that defending her beliefs or demanding the respect she deserves from other men in the world won’t be a foreign concept. Women have minimal issues standing up to other women. When she is denied the salary increase she deserves, when the boss asks her how much she wants the promotion, as he places his hand on her knee, a woman needs to know how to handle the situation. Who better for the role of teacher, than a father.

What I find is that fathers at times feel that with a daughter, their role is limited. That as long as he keeps his daughter “off the pole (as Chris Rock puts it)” he’s been successful. As long as she doesn’t end up a teen pregnancy statistic or with some deadbeat thug, his job is done, but what these father’s don’t realize that is there are countless educated, worldly successful women who are broken and clueless. Broken because they don’t know their true value, never having been validated by the man who gave them life. Clueless when it comes to how to manage healthy relationships with men because they’ve spent their lives simply “dealing” with men; mastering the skillful art of obedience and invisibility. Sure these women are not strippers, but these women are not whole. And the only one who can heal the issue is a father.

if he pushes you he likes you…

1 Aug

Sometimes guys can be so harsh! I’ve had interactions with males that fall into the friends and lovers category that leave me thinking WTF? In 32 years I haven’t been able to grasp how someone who says they like you can also tease and lash out at you. What is there to gain from that except for the title and resulting discomfort of being emotionally unpredictable?
I mean, how is it that the move from cuddling to cussing happen so seamlessly? I’ve started off conversations with “good morning” that end in me being on the receiving end of a tirade that breaks down how selfish and stuck up I am! WTF? My girlfriends and I have exchanged countless stories of the guy who was super hot and then turned icy in a matter of minutes. Oh and what about the guy (who considers himself my friend) telling me that if he hadn’t “known me before, he wouldn’t be talking to me now”. What was I supposed to gain from that, that I should feel lucky to be in his company?! WTF?
These random (or perhaps not so random) interactions and responses just arouse unnecessary discontent creating a wedge between people who supposedly like each other. Shouldn’t we be building each other up instead? Showing love to one another because we feel that’s what they deserve-since we value the relationship and care about their feelings.
Or better yet, the guy who says “you can do what you want with your feelings” when you state that something he did or said hurt your feelings. The short guy who rags on you about wearing heels or cracks on you for wearing short skirts, when in fact, he met you that way. In the heat of an argument he “slips” and calls you a ho because you mistakenly shared too much about your past when you mistakenly took his word at face value when he said you could trust him. Even though he has even reaped the benefits of your so-called “ho-dom”.

Here’s the deal: Men and women are not all that different. Sure we are psychologically wired differently and are anatomically different, but we all want unconditional love and respect. We want to be valued and have our opinions validated. Most of us, don’t want to fight. We prefer peace. We also all have our baggage that has affected who we are as people, now and then rears its head in both positive and negative ways, but we are not from different planets (despite what the book says). We all deserve the reciprocation of giving and receiving regardless of how much of a woman or man that we exhibit or claim to be; Simply because we are people we deserve these things. In reality we could not exist without each other, so the hurt, humiliation and subsequent isolation that occurs is just as ridiculous as it is futile because face it, we need each other. So, please refrain from pushing unless of course you are encouraging me toward greatness because that is the only way that a push can be useful.

“Lovers and Friends”

24 Jul

One of my favorite books is Friends and Lovers which I read when I was 19, ironically with the man who would serve in those dual roles for me (although I had no idea at the time). I’ve gone through the hills and valleys of relationships over the years since him, and I realize one imperative factor in successful relationships is friendship. It’s the necessary ingredient for true love, selflessness-the foundation of respect.

It took me living, “loving” and discarding or being discarded while carelessly casting aside their feelings or wallowing in mine, to realize that friendship is what was missing-the contributor to the demise of another “love” gone by.

Love and friendship are not mutually exclusive (except, perhaps by links of DNA). One cannot exist without the other, especially in romantic relationships.

Friendship is what inspires the giving that drives the reciprocity which starts the fire that makes love grow. It makes you second guess your words and actions as to not intentionally cause harm. It aids you in loving who the person is and appreciating your differences, instead of trying to change them. It enables you to open up when you are broken and cling to the reasons you love them as opposed to searching for and giving attention to why you don’t. Friendship reinforces the fight to save the relationship when everything (and sometimes, everyone) is telling you to throw in the towel.

In my missteps, I realize I forgot the importance of friendship between me and the men I called myself “loving”. I was living in fast forward mode attempting to achieve greatness without the greatest component. I was attempting to paint a canvas without paint, create a song without music, write a love story without paper-I was setting myself up to fail. I know that now, and while developing a friendship takes time and patience, which at times seem to be in limited supply, I want the masterpiece. If friendship is essential for me to live out my love story, I am willing to put in the effort in order to gain the greatest reward.

Friends with Benefits

23 Jul

In light of the two movies released this year, “No Strings Attached” and “Friends With Benefits”, everyone has been forced, if not already entertaining, the possibility of whether engaging in such a relationship is plausible, for them.
Is it possible?
Sure for the noncommittal types who shy away from relationships due to fear, because who wants to willingly be hurt?
What are the risks?
You could possibly cheapen some interactions that have the potential to be deeper and of more value, while promoting others to a level of credibility that they don’t deserve.
Also the heart often ends up tangled in a mess that you couldn’t have prepared for even if you tried. Even if you claim no emotional attachment, you still remember their face, what they may have felt, smelled, sounded, or even tasted like. We can’t erase memories. You could potentially be filling up your memory bank with meaningless memories of people that aren’t even an active part of your life. This may not appear to be an issue at first, until you need or want the companionship and cannot reach out to the individuals who you’ve shared some of the most intimate parts of yourself with.
Okay, so are there any benefits?
Perhaps. Depending on you and the state of your “maturity”. I say this because I believe that monogamous, committed relationships between two actually require a level of maturity that most can only imagine possessing. So, if you’re not ready to be faithful and in some ways responsible and accountable for another person’s feelings, then maybe friends with benefits is the way to go.
Also as I’ve heard it phrased, maybe you just need a thorough cobweb dusting and don’t want to have to commit in order to indulge in the luxury of such.
Here’s the real deal though: the operative word in the arrangement is “FRIENDS” with said benefits. It seems like by even the way people discuss entertaining the idea, people are getting it twisted with a one night stand or “booty call”, and subsequently discard an imperative dynamic in the “arrangement”.
Friendship is rooted in mutual respect and love for a person. Think about who you call your friends. You wouldn’t knowingly hurt them or disregard their feelings to maintain your own. Would you use your friend for momentary satisfaction and then put them on the shelf until the need arose again? Probably not. So the definition of the relationship itself isn’t really set up to meet what your expectations of such a relationship can turn out to be.
So therein lies the rub (simply put, the catch 22). Friends with benefits is not the same as a one night stand. The potential risk and subsequent loss is in fact greater. You can cheapen a friendship by reducing them to means for physical gratification and risk losing a relationship of actual value. You must ask yourself: why would I pursue something cheap and of limited value when I deserve and may (even if it’s truly deep down) desire a relationship that is so much more?