Couples Dating and Living Together…yay or nay?

Shacking up. The legendary term coined by black grandmothers describing unwed couples who lived together. This was something that was looked down on and at one point, never happened. But this day, more than half of couples live together before entertaining the thought of marriage. Why was this such a taboo thing to do back then and why has it become the norm now?

For me, I believe that most older people believed in the tradition and idea of marriage. They believed in a woman being very docile and the man being very dominant, but respectful. They believed in the man and woman not kissing or having sexual interaction while dating. So if that is the case, living together is a definite no while dating. Flip it to today and it is the complete opposite. People are a lot freer with themselves and traditions have gone out the window. Most people when asked have at one point lived or had their significant other living with them.

I have dabbled with shacking with two of my boyfriends and honestly, it is something I would encourage any couple to do. But only when they have hit that serious stage. Living with your mate has a lot of benefits, such as double income, always having someone around when you need them, and getting to know that person’s quirks and learning how to adjust. A lot of problems that happen in marriage could be prevented if the couple just lived together and had the opportunity to learn how to work through it. Or leave if it’s something they can’t handle. Being married makes it a little harder to just leave, so many people stay unhappy for years.

Lately, my boyfriend and I have not been living together. It’s not by choice, but it’s been that way for about 6 months, off and on. When we first started dating, we always were in the same place, but now that I have had this break from living with him, it feels a little different. Dare I say…nice. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my man to death, but I understand why some people would prefer it. You have your own space when needed and you get the chance to miss your partner. That’s the best part. The excitement of finally being able to plan something and spend time with him. Every time, I am like a giddy teenager and it builds our bond. It brings the thrill of dating back and that is something that I am really starting to enjoy.

Now, even though I enjoy this new thrill…I still can’t wait until we are under the same roof. There are kids involved and things would just be a lot smoother. Each relationship is different, so naturally, do what works for yours. I would encourage anyone to at least try it both ways. Even if it is not a full move in…try two weeks out of the month, for a few months. See how you interact when you are in each other’s space for 24/7. You may find things that you cannot deal with or even things that you learn about yourself. Being in a relationship is all about growing and learning. Do what you have to do to get to the full potential. I mean, if you can’t stand to live with each other, how are you going to get married? Think of how relieved you would be if you lived with your boyfriend and discovered he was a neat freak or that your girlfriend was a hoarder. Wouldn’t you want the opportunity to know this and adjust before the final marriage stamp? To me, living together is like the final test before the huge final exam. If you can past that, you can get through anything. Oh…and if you’re abstaining from sex, living together can still take place. Godspeed to you though :).

 

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!! What are your thoughts? Are you against shacking up? Have you ever lived with your partner? What was your experience? Would you do it again or would you wait with your next relationship?

 

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Love… It Ain’t for Everybody

Maybe I should rephrase my title a little. Love is for everybody…but relationships aren’t. (That doesn’t make for a catchy title so hence why I didn’t change it.) When it comes to relationships, I really feel like it just isn’t meant to be for everyone. The fact that people try to push relationships on others or the fact that people stay in shitty relationships just to keep up appearances proves this notion. Society makes you feel inadequate if you do not have a “bae” or someone whom you deem your MCM every Monday. If you are single and, God forbid, over 30, you’re trash. This makes people jump into relationships at the speed of light so they are not categorized. It saddens me that so many people are doing this nowadays. Speaking for myself, I fell into this sad space. I wanted to build my family and be a perfect wife because I knew I could do it. I wanted to feel what love was and have someone love me unconditionally and be able to post pics of date night and shit…then he cheated…and tried to move her in. I immediately retreated from the word love and went back into hiding. Now that time has went on, this man is still in my life. We were friends for years before and somehow just can’t shake each other. He often jokes about one day settling down with me and leaving everyone else. I laugh uneasily because I do not want this at all. I do not want the relationship…with anyone.

Let me explain how I am in relationships. I lose my entire self. I am no longer Jeanine Nicole. I am this person’s everything. His mother, his cook, his maid, his sex slave, his designer, his financial advisor. I am all his. I have nothing left to give to myself because I become consumed with making his life better. It’s a horrible trait that I have and will be damned if I fall into that trap again. Reasons why I say it’s not for everyone. Some are able to be this type of person for their mate and still be successful in their own endeavors. I am not that person. I honestly did not write for the entire time that I was with him. Writing is my air. That alone showed me that I am not equip for a relationship. I often would argue with myself when I came to the realization of this. I wasn’t upset with the fact that I didn’t want the relationship. I was more concerned with knowing that I deserved it. I deserved love. I deserved a nice beautiful wedding that I have had planned since the age of 10. I deserved a gorgeous bearded man tearing up at the thought of me being his forever. I deserved the perfect family and nice house. Saying that I am not right for relationships had me feeling like I was saying I wasn’t worthy of it. Now that I am older, I see this as completely opposite.

When it comes down to it, love comes in various forms. I feel like I have more love being shown to me since I broke up with my ex than when we were actually together. Does this mean I am settling for his bs? Hell no. But at this moment in time, I am happy with what we have. There is no pressure. There are no titles. I am focused on myself, my career, and my kids and if he wants to come over and we have amazing sex, that just happens. It’s that simple for me. After I broke up with my son’s father and was actually free of him, I went two years without even thinking about love or relationships. I had been tethered to someone emotionally since 12th grade and I was free to do as I pleased now. In those two years, I published 2 books and was the happiest I had ever been. I mean truly happy. I look at old pictures and would remember how free I was. And I envied that. Now, I am back there. I am her again. That to me matters more than a relationship or having someone’s last name.

Love is beautiful. Period. I love seeing people joining together and being truly in love and happy. It’s really an amazing thing when it happens and it is pure. But with that being said, those two are actually ready for that union to happen. They are both in a place where they are comfortable enough with their own selves to join with another. I am not there yet. And I honestly, probably never will be. This doesn’t mean I can’t have the family that I want or experience date nights. It just is on the terms that I have set for myself. I don’t need a boyfriend or husband to be happy. Sorry society. That does not equate my value. My happiness is what drives me. That is what I care about the most. Do more to make you happy and stop worrying about how others will perceive you. At the end of the day, you are the only one who gets in that casket when it is over. You are what matters. Not what others think. Figure out what works for you, with any aspect of your life, and simply do it.

Representation of Black Love

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When it comes to Black love, I feel like this is the most misrepresentation in the media. When you turn on the television or the radio, you are more likely to see or hear about a Black man having a side chick or a Black woman being cheated on. You rarely see or hear about longevity in marriage or someone appreciating and loving their mate. It’s always the negative that is glorified. I have seen women discuss the norm of being a side chick and this is not okay. Do we really want our younger generation thinking that it is okay to settle for less? That it is not okay to be in a monogamous relationship? That the only thing that comes with Black love is endless fights, cheating, and baby mama/baby daddy drama? Why is this such a normal thing and where are the real relationships in the media?

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As  I stated before, I have yet to actually turn on the television and see a positive representation of Black love (besides Blackish). Sit back and think to yourself. The only time you see this is either a Black man or Black woman is in love with a person of a different race or the same sex. If you do see a Black couple together, they are bogged down with nothing but lies and cheating scandals. Where are the Huxtables? Where are the Banks? Where are Martin and Gina? I remember watching, “Martin,” and absolutely loving and envying their relationship together. I wanted what they had. Because of the positive representation of Black love that I grew up with, in the media, I am still able to hold on to the possibility that real love exists because it was all I saw. But think about the generation that is being brought up now. What images do they have to look up to? You have a plethora of reality shows that feature mainly Blacks, but when it comes to the relationship aspect, there is rarely anything positive. You have grown…GROWN…women fighting over men who really could care less about them and this is looked at as what you are suppose to do. You have women who are doing ridiculous things and are letting men get away with cheating and having babies on the side because they supposedly “love” them and they are “ride or die”. This is what Black love is turning into and it is absolutely ridiculous! It needs to be brought to a stop before it truly gets even more out of hand. The more that this type of representation is put out in the media for our people to see, the more it starts to set in that this is actually normal. Many people go by what they see and if all you see is this, then how will you know to do differently? If you don’t believe that marriage actually works and don’t see the real positive effects of it on a daily basis, why would you aspire to it?

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When Solange and Alan Ferguson showed off their wedding photos, the internet was set on fire. There has never been such a positive image of Black love, recently, than these pictures. They show that real love is true and possible. It is a breath of fresh air in the wave of “break babies” and side chicks. To see such a beautiful experience, coming from two people of color, gave me such joy and hope that people would start to look at Black love differently. We don’t have to settle for less like they portray in the media. We don’t have to date other races to be truly treated the way that we should. Love exists in every single person. The problem is our love is being represented in the wrong way and people are starting to adapt to these behaviors. My generation is still able to remember the great Black families that were seen every day on television. The younger generation does not have that. It is up to us to bring these images back to our community. To show them the power and beauty that is in Black love. It is not always hurt and pain. Our love, Black love, is an amazing and wonderful thing when done properly. We can become so much more as a collective whole if we began to bring this type of love to the light.

Photos Courtesy: http://www.ladylindablack.blogspot.com, www.lipstickalley.com, www.usmagazine.com, http://www.thewritertj.com

How To Face A Break Up Via Social Media

So, it’s happened. The unthinkable. That beautiful, funny, perfect relationship you were just tweeting about last weekend is over. Oh no! What now?? How do you save face when you just posted a million kissy face pictures with you and your ex boo? I mean, now you have to go and hang your head and let the world now that you have failed again and love don’t live here anymore. But, you don’t want to look like a fool. Here are a few tips to help you successfully survive a break up via social media. FYI, I should have taken my own advice this week…but eh.

1. Step Away From the Meme’s!

Okay, I know how you feel. You are ready to let the world know that you are a good woman and you can hold your man down and you saw the perfect meme for it, but…no. Just no. First, you have to ease your way into letting everyone know you are single again. Bombarding your IG with hateful, yet witty memes may seem like the best way to go, but trust me you will end up looking a little crazy. Also, it will be a bit of an overload. Could you imagine seeing this on your TL?

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Yeah, psycho! Lol

2. Only One Post is Needed.

You don’t have to constantly talk about your current break up. The less, the better. This saves you on looking crazy and also not getting any backlash. You don’t want every status to be, “F#$% that! I don’t need a man. I got me! I been doing this since day one! You think I need you? Tuh”, “Looks like my weekends are free now! Who wants to take me somewhere? Y’all know I’m free right?”, “Every time I put myself out there, somebody screws me over. Love just isn’t meant for me.” Oh and my favorite, “F*&% this cheating ass bastard! Tell that b&#@# to pay that phone bill!” Lol sorry, that last one may have been a little bit too much of me. But, seriously, just one general post or even just a single…”*sits at the Singles Table* Welcome back” is pretty much all you need. Remember, he is probably following you and one simple comment on a crazy post will send you spiraling. Don’t give him or anyone else any ammunition.

3. Okay, You Aren’t THAT Busy Now

Last, I really hate to see people who did absolutely nothing, socially, before now become a socialite. Come on. Truthfully, you are just at home watching Netflix AND THAT’S OKAY! Acting like you are having lunch dates and dinner dates and after work dates and inbetween nap dates is just ridiculous. This is not making the other person miss you and it is making you look stupid. Just resume to your normal behavior. It’s just less one.

Now, as stated before, I should have followed my own advice. I mean, I didn’t go crazy, but I did do all of these things lol. Well, except the last one, because I really don’t have a life so I can’t even fake that. But I posted a few memes and I did a few posts, mostly sappy song lyrics, but luckily I didn’t get too extreme. The point is so many people say you should keep your relationships off of social media and it’s because of this very reason. You don’t want to look stupid once you’ve broken up. But reality is no one expects to break up. If you are in something that is good and makes you happy, you want to share it with the world. And when you are in pain and hurt, you want to show that as well. But, with this situation, less is the better way to go. A simple relationship status change is all that is needed. All the other stuff is just extra and unnecessary. You don’t want the whole world in your business. Remove your pictures, unfollow, and move on gracefully. This will be unentertaining and catch no one’s eye. Social media is all about the show. The smoke and fire. If you don’t give them anything, they will pass you by and go to the next crazy person posting about their ex.

Reasons Why I May Be A Bad Girlfriend

So, I’ve been in a relationship for a few months now…yeah I know what you are saying. What? Relationship? But you hate love and all that jazz…we will discuss that on another post lol. But since I have been in this relationship I have realized something…I may be a bad girlfriend. Now, don’t get me wrong I’m an amazing person, once you get to know me, but the actual levels that you have to reach in a relationship just seem to be insurmountable. I will give you all a few examples and then you guys be the judge. Hopefully I won’t be single after this post. 🙂

1. Stuck on independent mode

Now, I had my oldest son when I was 20 and I have been on my own ever since. Even when I had my last relationship, I still was on my own in a sense. I have been figuring out how to pay the bills, make my dollars stretch, clean/cook/type/ (all at once) successfully in an hour…I have basically done it all by myself and mastered it. The problem with this is now I actually have someone who can help me with my load but my independent self won’t allow it. I will literally argue with them about how I can do it by myself or catch an attitude if they suggest otherwise. I am the woman who will have a child on one arm and a million grocery bags on the other and dare you to try to help me close the car door. I got this! But that’s not what a relationship is about. It is about helping each other out and willingly doing so. Not forcing someone to allow you to help them. My inability to switch from independent mode causes other issues as far as being able to actually trust someone with anything. To actually be able to say to him, “Yes, I need help with the kids” or “Yes, I would love for you to give me your suggestions on a post I need to write” and truly be comfortable with doing this is something I long for. I don’t want to be that independent girl when I clearly don’t need to be. This does not mean I want to rely on him for everything because, eww, no, but I do need to be able to show him that I trust him enough to let my guard down and that I actually want him.

2. Compromise

This ties into me being stuck in that independent mode. Compromise is one of those things I don’t do. I never saw the need for it because, once again, I’ve always been by myself. Kinda hard to compromise with yourself. But now that I am in a relationship, I see how important compromising is. My biggest issue with compromise is that I am used to seeing it done the wrong way. Most settle and that is a difference from compromising. I’ve had to come to that realization. Compromising does not mean you are giving up something and you are someone who is just ran over. When you compromise with someone, you are showing them that they are important enough to you for you to take their feelings and thoughts into consideration. You cannot be selfish in a relationship. Now, I don’t believe in compromising everything you believe in for the sake of keeping someone around because honestly, that person should not put you in that sort of predicament. Your partner should ask you to compromise with something that is reasonable and they know is not a stretch for you. You can’t come and ask me to compromise and give up weave when you know how I get down lol. But asking to compromise when it comes to where you live or how you will raise your children is something that has to be done when it comes to relationships. Remember, you are not the same person. They are coming with their own feelings and ideals and if you feel that they are important enough, then compromise should come naturally.

3. I’m not always right

This is a hard one too. You see, I’m the type that likes to be right about any and everything. I don’t do it in that annoying way where you are ready to fight that person. I actually didn’t realize I did this until I entered this relationship. My ways and views are mines, but they are not always correct. Allowing someone to have different ways of thinking than me and opening my eyes to new ways is not a bad thing. It is a part of the dating experience. Being able to say, “You’re right and I’m wrong,” is one of those things I don’t do. I will make up excuses after excuses until that person sees it my way. This. Does. Not. Work. In. A. Relationship! No one is always right, so I’m not sure why I feel like I am or have to be. I’m sure it’s some underlying reason that stems from my childhood, but for now we won’t go there. I know it’s wrong and fixing it is a must.

4. Attitude Adjustment

This is the last one and this is a huge one. This is the one that will have me back to my “I hate love” posts if I don’t correct it. My attitude can be the worst in the world and it can happen in the blink of an eye. (Blame the Gemini in me) I can be just fine and someone will come in a room, say the wrong word about the wrong subject, and I’m yelling and cussing at him and he’s looking at me like I’m crazy. This is the ultimate no. A real man is not going to sit there and take this type of abuse just because I’m upset with someone else. I mean, I wouldn’t even take it. This is one that I am not sure how to fix because it is an integral part of me. I’m sarcastic and nonchalant. I have mood swings, more like mood rollercoasters, and they can be triggered by any thing. I used to struggle with it at a younger age, but I am able to deal with it accordingly. But when I say I am able to deal with it, that is me dealing with it on my own. I’ve never had to deal with it in a relationship. I’ve never had to sit around with someone while I am having a depression episode and try to explain that I’m on the verge of tears simply because I have to get ready to go to back to work. Or explain to them that I am only raising my voice because that’s what happens when I am mad but I’m not actually arguing with them? How do I adjust that? How do I get out of that overly serious mood and get back to just sitting back and laughing about nonsense? My only answer, for now, has been constant communication. When I feel like I have said something out of the way, I immediately try to explain the situation. But I feel like that will soon grow tiresome and I will be back to boring Saturday evenings. 😦

So, those are my reasons as to why I could be a bad girlfriend. But the fact that I recognize these issues and am actively trying to fix them is reason why I AM NOT a bad girlfriend. See, most people would see these issues and shrug them off and that’s how the relationship becomes bad. Luckily, this is someone I actually care about and am willing to make these changes. You guys know me. I don’t change for anyone, but I guess this is different. I’ve always heard that when you are in a relationship, your mate should make you want to be a better person. It should not be a big fuss or something that they force you to do, but something that you come into on your own. You should find yourself wanting to do more in life so that you can provide more to the relationship. I never understood this until now. Ladies and even you few men out there that’s reading this, if you see signs that are leading you to the “bad mate” section, quickly regroup and come up with a game plan to get yourself back on track. Especially if you feel like they are worth it. A relationship is as amazing as you want to make it, but you have to do your part in making it so.

Happy Valentine’s Day….or Nah?

So, it’s that time again. TL’s will be flooded of “Aww look at what my bae bought me today!” messages, IG will be an army of sappy ass pictures or lonely memes. Yes, good ole Valentine’s Day. The most hated/loved holiday of the year. Why is this the most hated/loved day for me? Because it’s probably the fakest and most overrated day of the year. There shouldn’t be a day that goes by that you don’t show appreciation to your significant other. Yes, you can do something a little extra for her, but the thing that kills me are the ones who don’t do shit year round and then want to show out because its Valentine’s Day. It’s a free country so yall can do what you want, but I really don’t want to see a pic from you saying “He loves me!” when just yesterday he was whooping your ass. Like, nah! He doesn’t love you. But that’s a whole different post. Another thing I think is dumb is ladies and guys using this day to do extra freaky things. Like, why are you waiting till Valentine’s Day to give your man/woman head? Who does this? How old are we? Once again, if you aren’t doing it all year, don’t do it on Valentine’s Day. If you don’t tell me on a regular that you love me, don’t say it on Valentine’s Day. If you don’t eat…nvm, yall get it. Last, but not least I hate this day the most because everything is focused on the material. A girl will get mad about her man not buying her the biggest teddy bear in the world knowing that he may not be in the position to get it. Isn’t the fact that he is there showing you love good enough? I’m not saying every now and then a nice gift is not appreciated, but don’t get too caught up in this Valentine’s Day shit. Don’t let it ruin your relationship because you are looking at “fake love” on social media.

The point of today is….hell, I don’t even know. Just show love all year round and treat today like another day. It’s that simple. So Happy Valentine’s Day…or nah? It’s up to you how you look at this day.

It’s Not Your Beauty…Nor Your Booty. What Really Attracts Men to Women

So there is a list that Huffington Post published that stated the top 11 things that men do that women find attractive. They included hugging from behind, being kind to strangers, concentrating hard on something, etc. (Here’s the link on the full article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/27/the-11-most-attractive-things-men-do_n_4673122.html?utm_hp_ref=tw) One of my followers on Twitter, @kidnoble, decided to do a list of the reverse, what did women do (non sexual) that attracted men. I immediately told him he wouldn’t find any real responses because this is Twitter of course and yall know how that goes. But as I began to look at his retweets, I actually found some amazing answers out there. I decided to take a few that I saw that stood out to me and discuss them. Here is the actual full list by Kid Noble http://internalchroniclesofme.blogspot.com/2014/01/beneath-surface-11-things-women-do-that.html?spref=tw

1. A Woman With A Book in Her Hand

This was absolutely heavenly to me because as a writer I love to read. Even though I have fallen slightly off, I love to just sit in a quiet corner and delve into a good book. Just the thought of this simple enjoyment being an absolute turn on to my man is beyond amazing. I believe this is something that turns a man on because he sees that you are more. You are able to expound and open your mind to things that are less trivial. You aren’t wrapped up in the latest reality show or gossip column. You are able to have an imagination. You have a brain.

2. Sincerely Pray For You

I believe this is a good one as well. If you have a woman that is able to pray for you without hesitation then you definitely have a keeper. If you have a religious or spiritual relationship, this is something a man is looking for in a wife. He wants to know that she holds the same values as he does and that she is willing to help in his need for spiritual rebuilding. He sees that she is serious and that this is not just another relationship. She is actually going to the Lord and praying for him, trying to uplift him. This is something truly special.

3. Be A Good Parent

This really should be a no brainer. A man wants a woman who he believes he can procreate with and prosper. Whether you think it or not, your parenting skills are definitely a factor. Especially if he has a void in that area, i.e. his parents were not around and he still feels the affects. If he sees you being a great nurturer, this will turn him on because he knows that he does not have to worry about his own children that he has with you. He knows that they will be raised in a way that he approves of and he will look at you in a different light.

4. Shows Genuine Concern

A man likes to act super tough but in reality they want to be cared for just like a woman. They want you to be concerned in their aspects of life. Whether it is helping them with a resume because they are looking for a job, or discussing ways that they can communicate better with a family member, or even just rubbing their back when their favorite team has lost, men want to know you care. Now, there is a difference between nagging and caring. Nagging is being in their face all day, every day about nonsense. Caring is different. If you hear him saying that his feet are hurting more and more after work, go out and buy him some better shoes or even some of those gel insoles. It’s really that simple. Men want to know you care so that they will feel comfortable reciprocating the same feeling.

5. Being Independent

This is my all time favorite. Yes, men want to feel like they can take care of you, but no man wants to feel like they have to take care of you. A woman that is independent is a turn on because that man knows that you can hold your own. You don’t need him, but you want him. There is a difference. A man doesn’t want to feel like he has to hold everything down because you lack the capability. He wants someone who is equal and if something were to happen where he fell, she would be right there to pick up the pieces. She knows how to hold down a household. Once again, she doesn’t need him.

I will say that these men really opened my eyes and made me realize that there are still some real men out there. Real men who appreciate real things that women have to offer. Not just a cute face and a big ass, but actual attributes. Being smart, studying on the weekends, smiling, showing interest, these are things that real women do. Far too often do these qualities get overlooked because the media is shoving different qualities down our throats. I also found it refreshing to see black men actually praising black women. We don’t see that too often. We both, men and women, have to do better in this department. Men need to appreciate and praise us more openly, not just in the privacy of our own home, and women need to get back to these praise worthy qualities. We are more than just sexual creatures. We are more than just titties and ass and arguing and drama. We have to do more to perpetuate the opposite. Even when I thought about what some of these responses would’ve been I automatically thought of stereotypical responses. “I like that she cooks and shuts up when I talk” or “I like how she cleans”. It’s sad that I, as a woman, thought this is what men thought was attractive in the opposite sex. Seeing otherwise gives me hope that there is still room for change. Room for us to get back on the right path. It starts with us.