break ups, love, marriage, relationships, sex

“I’m a homebody” and other lines from broke boys

It’s no secret that in this game of dating, I have some pretty strong opinions, from the nonsense around cuffing season to the ambiguous AF notion of “talking”, I’ve got a lot on my mind. And it’s not without reason.

Since I keep the company of attractive, whole, successful women, I often hear stories that range from titillating to downright disrespectful. Just last week, I was briefed on a steamy rendezvous, getting ghosted, a great first date, and an “I like you, but”…disaster. And just when I thought I’d heard it all, I had one of the most ridiculous text exchanges in recent memory.

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“But Adri” you may say, “what’s wrong with this gentleman you’re dating coming over for wings and wine?”

Well, for one, this man and I have never been on a date. We met twice and barely know each other. Secondly, and this is important, it is highly untoward for this man, or any man I’m not in a relationship with, to invite themselves over to my home. This is not the first time a man has tried to come to my place or invited me over to his without knowing me. In fact, I wrote about my issue with it a while back. Thirdly, I don’t eat wings.

I was highly annoyed because I thought interactions like that were reserved for the young and the cashless. This was common in my early 20’s living in NYC and New Jersey.

I suppose since moving to the nation’s capital, I grew comfortable living in a bubble where men in their 30’s wouldn’t dare try such cheap gimmicks. I was rudely reminded that they exist. Still.

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And so with this knowledge, I have to inform my sistren that there’s games afoot- and the broke boys are out trying to finagle their way into your homes and pockets. So, I bring you: 5 [new age] broke boy lines

  1. “I’m a homebody” – this may be true but if he keeps saying it, it means he’s preparing to only stay home. You might as well empty your cart from Fashion Nova, baby. You ain’t going anywhere
  2. “There’s too much drama at these parties” – this is coded language for “I don’t want us to run into my current flings” or “I don’t have the funds for a few drinks”. Either way, bye.
  3. “How about I cook for you?” – this one is tricky because these new age scammer men have learned that less women are interested in preparing meals for any old guy but many will be impressed if he offers to cook. You just may be signing up for nights filled with spaghetti and jar pasta sauce.
  4. “I’m saving up to buy a house”– if his savings plan doesn’t have a line item for dating then guess what? He doesn’t need to be dating. A lot of these men will use that line because it very often ends the conversation. Who can argue with a hardworking man trying to purchase a home? Me- because I own a home and know what it takes. Furthermore, if he doesn’t have any room at all for the extras in life, he will be house poor if he is, in fact, “saving up for a house”. A man with a plan and purpose for you will be creative and show you a good time without breaking the bank.
  5. “I’m just interested in getting to know you one-on-one without a bunch of people around.” – BS. Staring in someone’s face while sipping cheap wine constantly doesn’t spark organic conversation. Nor does it give you an opportunity to see them in different, sometimes less than ideal circumstances. Go to an art show, play mini golf, go bowling, grab smoothies and walk around a farmer’s market. Those are the instances when you’ll see how someone acts in different places and spaces. Adults know that. Broke boys are trying to get a lot for little to nothing.

 

Toodles!

Adri

blog, dating, healing, love, relationships, sex

Death to “Talking”

I can’t believe in the year of our Lord, 2018, that I have to even write this.

It pains me to even bring it up but since we’re in the midst of the hell that is called “cuffing season,” I have to look out for my sisters.

It has come to my attention that men and women above the age of 21 are engaging in what is being called “talking”. That’s right, folks. You’re not reading a #flashbackfriday post. I’m declaring a State of Emergency on all things brokeboy and proclaiming that we end “talking” immediately.

I’m sure some of you may be confused. Before I get ahead of myself, allow me to break down the stages of dating, according to the little situationship that couldn’t.

Stage One: Two people meet. They’re attracted to each other. They converse as they get to know one another.

Stage Two: They go on outings (not dates), limited to free or near free activities.

Stage Three: “Talking”. This almost always includes sex. Talking also means they go out on dates. But they are not committed and are free to date and sleep with other people.

Stage Four:
Dating. It’s important to note that few make it to this stage. Most situationships toggle between stages 2 and 3, and usually only progress at the insistence of a frustrated woman. The primary difference between dating and talking is that dating usually involves more emotional investment. You’re free to openly flirt just as much as you’d vent to them about a tough day at work.

Stage Five:
Exclusive dating. They agree to only date and sleep with each other. They may be known among their friends and family as a couple.

Stage Six: Sudden death round. Ok, ok. I kid. This the relationship.

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I’m exhausted. I’m sure you are, too. And that is why I want to do away with the fluff in between meeting a person and being in a relationship. These barriers of entry are entirely left up to interpretation and are almost always set up to avoid accountability.

Ladies, let’s chat.

You know that guy that hits you up no more than 2 hours before he wants to “link up?” The one that says he’s just looking for a vibe? The one who looks good but you have listed as “Don’t Answer”? The one you fake cut off every quarter?

Y’all are not talking. You’re not dating. You’re not just hanging out. You, my beautiful sister, are SINGLE. As single as the dollar bill you fished out of your purse when he asked if you had tip money for the bartender.

I advise you to take your single behind out of the twilight zone and stop subscribing to this talking nonsense. No man who wants love, a relationship, and commitment with you would even bring such things to your doorstep. You know it. And I know it.

Kill it with fire.

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break ups, dating, love, relationships, self awareness, sex

Sometimes, you do it to yourself

Froth: worthless or insubstantial talk, ideas, or activities

In light of today’s daily prompt and recent celebrity gossip, I’ve decided to tell the straight-shot-no-chaser version of the scandal that is Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian.

Some may consider celebrity gossip mindless fodder, or froth, but I often see and identify the meaning within these types of stories. This one is no different.

Here’s the breakdown: Khloe Kardashian began dating professional basketball player Tristan Thompson at or around the time his former girlfriend was heavily pregnant (his son is 15 months, so you do the math). They soon attended star-studded events together, were seen publicly almost daily (at least I think so), and a few months ago, announced that they were expecting a daughter.

Yesterday, allegations, along with videos, arose depicting Tristan in very compromising positions with women who were not Khloe Kardashian. Khloe is in Cleveland while she prepares to give birth any day now. Apparently, the Kard-Jenner clan is shocked, with a source noting that they, along with Khloe, did not “know how deceptive Tristan could really be”.

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Aight.

I’ll start off by saying that under no circumstances should a pregnant woman, or any woman, go through the stress and pain of cheating.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of way…Khloe…girl.

GIRL.

This woman is 33. I am having a hard time understanding how she could, with all of the money, resources, and fame at her fingertips, make a conscious decision to enter a serious relationship with a man who was expecting a child. Life and romance rarely play out like in the movies where everything would be perfect if not for a case of good guy, bad timing.

If the timing is bad, then so are the prospects of the relationship.

Which brings me to the title of this post. It is important to exercise accountability at the end of almost every relationship in order to reflect on how you either contributed to the demise or could have avoided the relationship altogether. This goes for personal, professional, and romantic relationships.

Personal accountability should not ever be conflated with blame or shame. No one deserves to be met with a terrible partner who is abusive, dishonest, or unfaithful. They are, however, responsible for guarding their heart and being mindful about who they trust with it. Yes, a man can switch up and become the worst kind of partner. It happens every day. You cannot control another adult’s actions. You can, however, control yourself and your response to poor treatment.

Khloe enjoyed nights on the town and fancy dinners while her boyfriend’s recent ex was giving birth. No amount of finessing should have convinced her that that was a good idea. Perhaps she thought that “the heart wants what it wants” or maybe that “true love wins”.

Maybe this is all an elaborate publicity stunt. Maybe there’s no merit to the claims. But there is a very real innocent life about to be born into a media storm and that’s the biggest concern in all of this.

It’s just a shame that it took something like this to throw a monkey wrench in Khloe’s plans.

Sometimes, you do it to yourself.

via Daily Prompt: Froth

black panther, healing, love, racism, representation

#BlackPanther and Freedom: A Review

Marvel fans and casual viewers alike can breathe a sigh of relief- the year-long buzz has not merely been hype (kind of like the Justice League-oops). It’s the real deal.

I attended an early screening of the film on Monday, February 12, thanks to a Twitter – IMAX partnership, which gave fans the opportunity to participate in a #blackpantherlive Twitter conversation with the stars of the film and then watch the movie in IMAX. At the New York City-based event, the stars answered questions, and even gave viewers across the country an opportunity to take a peek at an inside joke that led Lupita Nyong’o (who plays Nakia) to cash in on a bet and make Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger) do a push up on the spot. While the conversation was entertaining, moviegoers applauded as it came to an end. It was time to watch the film.

Obligatory spoiler warning: I won’t be revealing any key plot points but if you don’t want to know anything at all about the film, now would be a good time to stop reading.

Imagery: Wakanda is not quite like anything I’ve seen before. As an avid moviegoer, I’ve seen plenty of films featuring East African plains and rural environments. But the juxtaposition of roaming goats against a (hidden) metropolitan city teeming with street vendors, pedestrians, professionals and other worldly technology felt like my wildest dreams coming to life. As a Jamaican, I reminisced on my most recent trip there and wondered, briefly, how things would be if we had just some of that wealth.

Be prepared to feel almost overwhelmed with the amount of details and images that cross the screen. From flying wigs to zipping trains, you may often be transported so quickly from one amazing shot to another that you won’t realize you were holding your breath until it’s over.

The cinematography is very much in line with the Marvel style – broad, sweeping shots of action scenes, appropriate slow-motion edits as cars flip over and things blow up, and what I loved most – a poignant scene where T’Challa struggles with responsibility, grief, and loss. It is more beautiful in film, thanks, in part, to Hannah Beachler (production designer for “Moonlight”).

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And yes, everyone is black.

The Story: One of the issues that some Marvel movies face is that a strong story line is often sacrificed in favor of witty banter, gravity-defying action, and the overarching need to connect to the other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in preparation for the Infinity War. Save for a plot hole that I suspect may be answered soon, this movie didn’t have that issue.

Viewers get to see a younger King T’Chaka as Black Panther, a son of Wakandan tradition and willing to uphold it at all costs. It isn’t long before we realize just how harmful tradition without empathy can be (sound familiar?).

The theme of tradition and calling on the ancestors for guidance is what powers the film, which is why Erik Killmonger, similar to Magneto, is a “villain” we can relate to. Misguided, but only because he subscribes to the Machiavellian “ends justify the means” tactic that ends up doing far more harm than good. I’ve never taken to villains or antagonists who were evil just for the sake of it. Erik’s reasons are sound – his method is not. Michael B. Jordan is a master at playing these kinds of characters. There’s nothing one-dimensional about Killmonger and you know why almost immediately. I only wish that the script was filled with the kind of dialogue that would support the full range of this character. There were several times when I was left wanting him to say more.

The Dora Milaje – King T’Challa’s all-woman security team- is a fan favorite. From the vibrant red of their armor to their synchronized battle style, I was excited whenever they were on screen. As a fan, I expected more from them but frankly, Okeye (played by Danai Gurira) was all that mattered. She, along with Nakia and Shuri (T’Challa’s genius little sister who heads up Wakanda’s tech) quite literally save the day on more than one occasion. You know how in Harry Potter everyone knows Harry would’ve been dead if not for Hermione?

Same thing, except T’Challa isn’t nearly as incompetent.

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My Take: There will be a lot of conversations surrounding some of the themes that emerge from the film: love, tradition, and duty, to name a few. As a first-generation American, I closely identified with the struggle T’Challa faces as pressure comes from multiple sides to have Wakanda open its doors to refugees and distribute foreign aid. Wakandans live hidden – shrouded in the belief that in order to thrive, they must keep to themselves. But with unimaginable wealth and technological resources, T’Challa and others grapple with the guilt in turning a blind eye while other Black people of the diaspora suffer.

Black US immigrants often deal with similar struggles, with many instructing their children to stay indoors and focus on attaining their piece of the American Dream. We’re often told outright that we can’t solve worldwide problems and our best bet is to focus on ourselves and our families. This means getting degrees with high ROIs, buying homes, and adhering to respectability politics, as to not ruffle any feathers. We don’t have the freedom to be too loud, too joyous, or too black.

Our parents were and are trying their best to secure some modicum of financial and social freedom for themselves and their children. And in Black Panther, Wakandans who cling to tradition are trying to maintain theirs.

Black Panther premieres worldwide on Friday, February 16.

break ups, dating, feminism, insecure, love, marriage, relationships, self awareness

7 Tips to Ruin your Livelihood in Love and Relationships

The 1950s. A decade filled with A-line skirts, the dawn of rock ‘n roll, and good ol’ American segregation. Mad Men glamorized this era, where the men were powerful and their doting housewives drowned in depressants to keep afloat- with not one strand of hair out of place.

‘Twas a simpler time, indeed.

When I read the article below, I laughed heartily. Not because the tips are ridiculous, but because I knew that men who came across this blast from the past would be chomping at the bit to go back to this time – when women catered to their every need.

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But this entry isn’t about that. It’s about how seemingly progressive, feminist women get stuck carrying the emotional weight for their relationships and partners.

Black women experience stress-related weathering at the molecular level. And it’s killing us. We literally cannot afford to do this kind of stuff anymore if we want to be alive and thriving.

You may not be in a scurry to freshen your makeup and clean up before your partner’s arrival but you may be doing these 7 things that are detrimental to yourself.

  1. Saying “yes” when you mean “no”. Every time a woman says “yes” when she doesn’t mean it, an angel loses its wings. We are conditioned to be a man’s “peace”, and for many men, peace means subordinate. If you don’t want to do something, say it with your chest.
  2. Not sweating the small stuff. “It’s just the trash,” you mutter, as you haul the garbage out in your PJs while your partner watches his team play ball.  You’d asked him to take it out at least 4 times that day. Some other relationship coach may tell you let sleeping dogs lie, but this ain’t that. When you don’t sweat the small stuff, they don’t disappear; they grow. The “small stuff” thrives on resentment.  Bring it up. Talk it out.
  3. Playing detective. You’re likely not a detective, and if you are, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to spend unpaid hours investigating your mate. If you have suspicions, then you need to pony up and address them head-on. Be smart. But routinely looking through his phone, email, social media, etc., only makes you look like the crazy one. Then you end up feeling guilty and taking the blame, which brings me to number 4.
  4. Conflating accountability with blame. Accountability is a crucial component of any whole and loving relationship. Each partner commits that they will uphold their end of the bargain. They make a concerted effort to honor their commitments and apologize when they fall short. Accountability is not saying that everything that goes wrong in the relationship is your fault. It is not a pity party. Sis, it’s not always you.
  5. Playing therapist. One of the most irritating things about that 50’s article is that it instructs women to place the emotional health of their husbands above their own. His long day at work warrants a quiet and clean home upon his arrival, with nothing to greet him but docile children and a smiling wife. Meanwhile, anyone who has children or has looked after them knows how something as simple as getting them dressed can turn into a puddle of tears.
  6. Your job is not to help solve his problems, unpack his emotional trauma, serve as his whipping boy, or address his resentments.  I don’t care what meme or video you saw floating around that said the opposite. You are not his therapist and that boundary needs to be firmly in place.
  7. And before you object with the very real importance about being a supportive partner, take this into account: there’s a reason why therapists charge $150/hour and don’t treat people they know.
  8. They know their time and barriers are valuable. Why are you volunteering?
  9. Telling your business. Long after you’ve vented to your close friends and family about the terrible thing your partner did, they will remember. And while you may have forgiven him, they haven’t. It’s important to note that this one is often overlooked because women tend to confide in one another. The problem is that long after the dust settles, your closest companions will feel used and robbed of their time. You have an issue? Either fix it internally or vent but be prepared for your friends to have a vested interest in what happens next.
  10. This is often how emotionally abusive relationships strengthen. When I was in a relationship with someone that was a habitual cheater and verbally abusive, I vented to my friends until the did not want to hear it anymore. This made the man I was with my only confidant. He and I kept our mess quiet while I died internally. I touched on it here.
  11. Taking your foot off their neck. The modern woman is often told that she is too demanding, bossy, or picky. I argue that we are not assertive enough.  Relationships often start with him pulling out all the stops to woo you and once you agree to be in a committed relationship, the romance and good behavior fades away. Sometimes, it’s gone so quickly, you wonder if the good behavior was all an act. ( Spoiler alert: It probably was). And so you end up trying to bring the relationship back to its former glory, as if that’s something only one person can do, when your partner acted like they had a real interest in being with you.
  12. I learned a decade ago that the true test of your will is not how many flowers you get or public proclamations of love after a fallout; it’s in the little things he does daily to honor you, himself, and the relationship you both agreed to be in.
  13. If you saw “Fences” starring the incomparable Viola Davis, you remember the monologue that secured her the Academy Award. After her husband (Troy) of eighteen years reveals that he’s not only been unfaithful but also is expecting a child with another woman, he then goes on to explain how he’s felt trapped and unfulfilled in life. He’s “been standing in the same place for eighteen years”.
  14. Rose (Viola) then goes on to say “I been standing with you! I been right here with you, Troy. I got a life too. I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot with you. Don’t you think I ever wanted other things? Don’t you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me? Don’t you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men? That I wanted to lay up somewhere and forget about my responsibilities? …But I held on to you, Troy. I held you tighter. You was my husband. I owed you everything I had. Every part of me I could find to give you. . . . I gave everything I had to try and erase the doubt that you wasn’t the finest man in the world. And wherever you was going . . I wanted to be there with you. Cause you was my husband. Cause that’s the only way I was gonna survive as your wife.
  15. You always talking about what you give . . . and what you don’t have to give.
  16. But you take, too.
  17. You take.”

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Peace & Love,

Adri

assault, blog, gratitude, healing, love, weight

Simmer but don’t Burn: Letting go of Bitterness

In response to today’s Daily Prompt: Simmer , I’ve decided to write about how and why I value “letting go” of painful situations and experiences.

I grew up on the higher end of the middle class spectrum in Queens, New York. My childhood was filled with generally “normal” things: class field trips, curiosity, some bullying/teasing, and excelling academically. It was also filled with not-so-great aspects; a painful relationship with my weight, discord within family, and often feeling that I didn’t quite belong.

Young adulthood brought more difficulty – eating disorders that spanned well over a decade, anxiety, anger, embarrassing break-ups, and sexual and physical assault. The sudden death of my cousin shook me to my core as my anxiety worsened and I became almost obsessed with my own and others’ mortality, my thoughts often plagued with the various ways that I could die.

A few years ago, a relationship that wasn’t right for me prompted an abuse of alcohol that I now recognize as self-medicating. I had not properly dealt with my trauma. I had not asked the tough questions or gotten the help I needed. What made my struggle particularly challenging was my fabulous talent for masking my emotions. My own mother said to me that she only learned a few years ago that I’m as sensitive as I am. In all of her Leo-ness, she wears her heart on her sleeve. If it’s hard for my mother – who’s about as involved and caring as a mom can get – to see me, then it’s pretty much impossible for any other person.

With all of that said, I go back to the title of this post. For those of us who cook, we know that simmering means to prepare something at a temperature just below the boiling state. Simmering breaks down cartilage in bones and thickens soups and stews. It is the difference between fluffy and burnt rice. Simmering is tough preparation.

Few of us have lived a charmed life and I recognize that we all internalize pain and trauma differently. I recognize that these things also manifest in our lives differently. But I learned something extraordinarily powerful a few years ago. I could either live my life as a reactionary response to my pain – or I could simmer in it. I could let the pain break me down but firm me up at the same time. I could feel it, acknowledge it and then…let it go.

Forgiveness is often met with derision from those who conflate it with absolution. But forgiveness is the foundation of gratitude. It’s when we forgive others and mainly ourselves, that we can begin to live a life free of the toxic dumpster fire that is bitterness. I’m not saying it can or even should happen overnight – simmering takes time. But eventually you have to get out of it. Because what lies on the other side is a peace so whole that you wonder why you couldn’t or didn’t try it sooner.

It’s possible to speak truth to power when you say these words:

“[ this person/ place/ situation] hurt me. I will never forget what happened. But I am not going to give the pain teeth. I will not allow it to take up residency in my heart. And I will certainly not allow it to mess with my energy moving forward. I release it. I release [person]. And I’m still here.”

I am not a guru. I am not an expert. I am, however, thrilled to be on this journey. And I want others to be able to feel what I longed to feel for so many years – better.

 

Peace & Love,

Adri

dating, love, relationships

Reclaim Your Time: Death to the Situationship

Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Together, the two decide that they’re attracted to one another. They go on dates, communicate via texts and calls on a daily basis, and share some of their most deepest secrets. After some time, one or the other decides that they don’t want the either to date or sleep with anyone else, so they decide to become “exclusive”. Although they are only dating each another, they are not in a committed relationship. Boy and girl are increasingly at odds with one another. Jealousy arises. Miscommunication is a norm.

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Situationship (n): A waste of everyone’s bloodclat time.

In a recent article by Cosmopolitan, a situationship was defined as “the catch-all term for those relationships sitting at the intersection of “hooking up” and “in a relationship.” A label for those who don’t have a label.  A situationship is essentially the squib of the wizarding world. For non-Harry Potter nerds, a squib is person born of a magical parent or parents who doesn’t have the ability to perform magic. They’re perfectly fine people, but they just don’t serve much purpose as far as magic goes. The same goes for situationships. They’re about as useful as a pair of flip flops in a snow storm; they serve a purpose, just not one that is best for you.

I’ve had a situationship or two, and in those instances, they ended with  disappointment and anger. Here’s my take on why situationships should be discarded:

  1. Women are almost always getting the short end of the stick in the deal. If I had a dollar for every woman in a situationship who actually wanted to be in a relationship, I’d be writing this from a balcony in Seychelles. Women have been conditioned to accept the terms that men define for them and the relationship, or lack thereof. Because she does not want to be alone, or “catch another body” she settles for whatever she can get.
  2. They are rooted in dishonesty. Let’s face it, if you wanted to be with them, you would. The world may not be in black and white but when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s usually much easier than we make it out to be.
  3. Words matter, and the very nature of  a “situationship” is based on a situation, not an agreement. A car breaking down is a situation. Your two best friends fighting is a situation. Who you choose to spend your time with should be anything but.
  4. It’s a functional form of dysfunction. Situationships or their cousins “exclusive dating”, are ideal for those who have issues with commitment. For those who’ve been reading this blog for a while, y’all know how I feel about grey areas. You are either committed or you aren’t. Nuance is great except when feelings are involved. Show me a situationship, and I’ll show you two people bound by their mutual dysfunction.

Imagine how simpler relationships would be if two adults decided “hey, we like each other, but we don’t want to be in a committed relationship. Let’s continue to date other people.”

I’m sure some people will be offended by this. But uh…

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Peace & Love,

Adri

feminism, love, relationships

I am Not your Lemonade

I’ve been meaning to broach this subject for quite some time; Jay-Z’s most talked-about track on his latest album just happened to be the impetus.

Like many listeners, I groggily played the album when it dropped on TIDAL at exactly midnight. With eyes heavy from the fatigue that seems to be more present as I get closer to 30, and the first few songs piquing my interest, I immediately was struck by the haunting sample of Hannah Williams and the Affirmations’ “Late Nights and Heartbreaks” on 4:44. Could this be the “Lemonade” response that was rumored to be in the works for over a year?

With HOV starting off plainly stating “I apologize, often womanize”, my suspicions were confirmed.

There’s something especially painful about relationships that end with you feeling as if you’ve wasted your time. You look back at the money spent, hours used to coach him on his next interview, the dozens of times you overlooked some questionable behaviors, all for the sake of him getting his act together.

In some cases, the resources you expended were begrudgingly accepted, as the object of your affections sought an escape route from the relationship that you thought would end in “started with a DM” happiness. I’ve been there. I actually don’t know any woman who has not. We date men with the understanding that they need work, and it is our job to tinker with them until, like an old Chevy, they’re on the road, custom-made for us.

As my mother and her mother often say: nuttin nuh go so.

Instead, what happens more often than not is the man that you diligently fine-tuned to your liking, despite him being less than desirable, will move on. And you will be left in the dust feeling like you were with him shooting in the gym but never got to see that Lakers money. You look back at the past few months/years, and wonder “how could he?”

The default answer is that he’s trash and a user. And in many/most cases, he is.

But as I watched myself and other attractive, charming, and successful women go through the same thing, I wondered: what can be done to avoid this? Can it be avoided? Should I be more supportive? Spontaneous? I’d heard men don’t like women who are too available. Was I too available?! My best friend’s dad had given us advice when we were teenagers “all men are dogs, they just have to find the right trainer”. OMG I WASN’T A GOOD TRAINER.

And on it went as I dragged my love-sick vessel from one dead-end fling to the next. Until, one day, it hit me as I read Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes were Watching God.

“De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.”

Black women were and are often viewed as beasts of burden that are expected to toil without complaint and bend without breaking. “I am not your mule” is a typically strong response to those expecting things for free. I wondered why so many of us were putting in overtime on our next new man project, when we were so adamant about others’ respecting our time and effort. Why was I so willing to take on the task of doing the emotional heavy-lifting in the relationship, with the expectation that it would all work out in my favor?

As much as listening to 4:44 left me feeling horrible for Beyonce and all that she endured, I was dismayed to find women on social media hailing her for her ability to be “strong”, and put out albums, while likely crippled with grief over her miscarriages and stillborns, and facing the humiliation of a philandering spouse.

Was this the picture of strength? A woman who can go through something ugly but step out and make it look beautiful? An alchemist who can transform the pain left by her empty womb into entertainment for the masses?

Was this something to be admired?

I recalled pieces of 4:44 and Lemonade in tandem:

Beyonce: You spun gold out of this hard life
Jay-Z: You matured faster than me, I wasn’t ready
Beyonce: Found healing where it did not live
Jay-Z: Please come back to Rome, you make it home
Beyonce: Discovered the antidote in your own kitchen
Jay-Z: Like the men before me, I cut off my nose to spite my face
Beyonce: You passed these instructions down to your daughter
Jay-Z: I suck at love, I think I need a do-over

 

And I was relieved that I’d given up making Lemonade.

 

Adri

break ups, dating, healing, insecure, love, relationships

Kill It With Fire: The Case of the Ex

This post has been a long time coming, as I’ve dealt with my own “case of the ex” a few times now.

An inconvenient truth in the majority of relationships is that you won’t be the first, second, or even third person who has captured the heart of your mate.

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When you agree to become someone’s partner, you implicitly acknowledge that they were an entire person who once loved and cared for another long before you were even a thought in their heads. And while that may be uncomfortable for some, it can be even more uncomfortable when the object of their longstanding affection takes up space in your current relationship.

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This is the ugly truth about exes: sometimes they don’t ever really go away. Like lingering spirits who haven’t moved on from this world into the next, their presence still hangs around.

And that’s why I don’t believe exes should be friends in almost any circumstance.

In a perfect world where romantic feelings can be packed up and shipped off to the land of dead relationships, exes can certainly befriend one another, interacting with civility and pleasantness. They may even be the best of friends.

But such a world doesn’t exist, and in this world, we move through life with tokens of our past attached to us, making up the essence of who we are. And so, by the time you meet someone that you hit it off with, and fall in love with, you’re aware that this person wasn’t plucked out of the universe unsullied. You weren’t, either. But you both make it work, creating a new reality, and ultimately, a new future.

 

So what happens when an ex resurfaces in your relationship?

Some women react harshly: directly addressing the interloper and telling her to stay wherever the hell she came from. Others are more relaxed, feeling confident that whatever once was, is no more. And therefore, she has no reason to be worried.

I advise women to play their position. And to NEVER address the other woman. Your issue is not with her. If the fear of a past relationship being rekindled is strong enough, then that means your partner is providing kindling for that fire – take that up with him.

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Leave, if necessary. 

The one thing you must know is that no matter how beautiful, trustworthy, kind, and doting you are, you cannot compete with the unresolved affections of a past love.

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You deserve a love that is so whole, honest, and full, that neither of you cannot imagine how life would be without one another. And that kind of love should not be begged for, it should be freely given.

 

Peace & Love,

Adri

break ups, dating, love, relationships, self awareness

Stay Low and Bullsh-t

“We can stay low and build.”

These words were texted to a young woman who was questioning the direction of her relationship with someone. You may be familiar with the phrase because during a fit of a rage/sadness, she shared the text conversation on Twitter, citing it as evidence that she had been played and mistreated.

Long before #uberbae  and #hurtbaethere was the #staylowandbuildbae.

And much to her chagrin, few people rallied around her but rather used the text thread against her. It was pretty obvious that he was playing her with “stay low and build,” right? Well, maybe.

Long before staying low and building, women have been told to “keep it on the down low,”  “keep things quiet,” and a host of other creative ways to basically shut the hell up about the non-relationship. But discretion doesn’t automatically equate to nefarious intentions. Sometimes, it’s just about the personalities of the people in the couple-ship.

For example, I’m relatively low-key about sharing details about my significant other, both before and after we decided to be in a committed relationship. No one but us knows personal details and we’re keeping it that way.

It may also be a good idea to keep your dating situation on the low if you’re dating several people who are in the same social circles. Running your mouth prematurely may (read: will) jeopardize your prospects with others who don’t want to be associated as 1 out of the several that you’re dealing with.

So how do you know if someone is moving in silence because they want to keep things simple or to string you along?

  1. Ask them about their intentions. Early. If you know you’re looking for a committed relationship, say that (without demanding one), and ask him directly what he wants.
  2. Pay attention to how he acts when you’re out in public. Are you going to places that are in the cut? Is he often looking around, as if he’s on edge?
  3. Does he remember key details about you or are things pretty shallow? I don’t mean if he remembers your birthday – does he remember that you prefer tomatoes on your sandwich, or vodka over cognac? Random details are hard to keep track of if you don’t take an actual interest in a person.
  4. Is there any progression in your relations? Have you met key friends, family, and associates?
  5. Has he asked you for things that are “girlfriend-esque” but never discussed a commitment?

The main things you want to look for are transparency and sincerity. And neither of those traits can be proven by saying a few words. Words, action, and consistency should all be working together to show you that the person you’re dating is taking you seriously, whether he’s shouting it from the rooftop or not.

But be honest with yourself. Are you keeping things hush-hush because that’s how you move or because that’s how you’ve been told to move?

 

Peace & Love,

Adri