Tag Archives: sex

Don’t Let the Likes Fool You

We live in an age where social media is prevalent. It’s not going away no more than the Internet it lives on is, and everyday it becomes larger than the previous day. Social media is truly embedded into our culture and how we communicate with each other. That can be both good and bad. It can be good because social media allows us to communicate with people that we may normally have not had access to because of distance and language barriers. There are also many other benefits to social media; such as the ability for businesses to reach a global consumer base and relatives to stay in contact from miles away.

Unfortunately, one of the down sides to social media is the impact it has on individuals and their self-esteem. A lot of people, adults included, use social media to validate their self-worth in society. Many people only have interaction with others by way of their social media accounts and the strive on a daily basis to make other people “like” them. What they fail to realize is that some of those people liking their content, whether it is photos, memes or statuses, don’t really know or like them as a person and would not ever support their endeavors in the real world where it matters.

For instance, being a radio show host I offer independent artists the opportunity to have their music played on my show. I did this because I was constantly receiving messages with links to YouTube videos from artists asking me to watch, like and share their videos. However, many of those artists weren’t generating revenue from their video content on YouTube. So what’s the point in me liking your art when my ‘like’ is not helping you to make money from your art? To me it was a waste of time. So I offered artists another, more traditional method, by which they could be heard, not just liked. A many of them have stated that they have seen an increase in the number of PAID downloads of their music as a result.

Artists and musicians aren’t the only people impacted. Aspiring models, actors and others are in the same boat. People love the way they look on Instagram and like their pictures on Facebook, but that doesn’t help if those same people aren’t going to see the actors in plays, movies or aren’t watching their television shows, and…. well…. everyone wants to be an Instagram model nowadays, so you can imagine how stiff that competition is. Getting a lot of likes on Instagram doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be booked for the next Dolce & Gabbana, or Macy’s campaign anymore than for the local county fair at this point.

Part of the issue is the façade that big brands portray to consumers as well. When big brands seek partnerships or endorsements, outside of professional athletes and well-known celebrities, they often seek individuals in large part due to the quantity of their social media following more than the quality of their followers, the person’s power to influence those that follow them or their own loyalty to the big brand as a consumer.  This makes everyday social media users and those with dreams of success and stardom believe that they only way to be successful is to have a huge following on social media.

What’s the use if your followers can’t be converted into consumers?

For instance, reality show stars are now being cast in movie roles that actors/actresses fight and train for, simply because they have a larger social media following, but they don’t actually do anything. The movie studios do this because they hope that the reality show star will give them free advertising for their movie. True enough, the advertising is free, but what movie studios fail to realize is that everyone that follows that reality show star on social media isn’t really a loyal fan who would buy a ticket to see them star in a movie.

Being in media has afforded me the opportunity to hear what everyday people honestly think about others. I don’t know what it is but me, but people love to talk to and confide in me. I hear it all the time “I just follow them because I think they are funny/I want to see what people are saying about them; but I’d never spend my money going to see them perform/sing/dance, etc.” And that’s the hard truth that a lot of people don’t know when they have dreams and goals of Instafame.

Consider the newest social media darlings, The Westbrooks. They are being called the black version of the Kardashians. I wouldn’t consider that a compliment personally, but maybe they do. They have millions of combined followers on Instagram and a reality show on a popular cable network. On the show, we get to witness the sisters attempt to do what their father (a successful businessman), suggests they do; monetize their social media following. We also get to see their friends either support their attempts (backyard pool parties) or try to use them for their own attempts at gaining clientele (club openings). Which is probably where the Kardashian comparison comes into play. It seems that the “power” their wield over their social media minions could be used more productively than to endorse hair extensions and pop bottles in nightclubs. They all seem to be intelligent young women, with guidance from their hardworking parents, who didn’t always have it easy, so they understand building success in a more traditional way to acquire longevity.

So why shouldn’t The Westbrooks be able to do something bigger and more impactful with their branding than what everyone else on Instagram is doing?

Time will only tell when it comes to how far things will go for The Westbrooks. They’ll either make change, make waves or be replaced by the next hot group of pretty sisters on the internet. In the meantime, I hope that they serve as a lesson on how fleeting and intrusive Instafame without strategic preparation can be. I also hope that at some point we move away from the façade of what makes people successful and show examples of more men and women using their influence on social media for more than monetization. Those people exist. They may not have millions of followers, but they have quality followers, who are positively impacted by them, myself included. Big brands aren’t paying attention to those types of social media influencers….yet. But that is something that I also hope will change so that being attractive isn’t the only talent left for people to have in order to become successful.
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Relationship Goals

There’s been a lot of cute memes and videos circulating on the internet with #RelationshipGoal(s) examples. Everything from hugging and holding hands, to being handcuffed and wearing matching shoes. Being a woman who has had a multitude of bad relationships that included hugging, holding hands, wearing matching shoes and the occasional handcuffs (please reference some of my blogs or short stories if you don’t know what I mean), those things just aren’t a relationships priority for me.

Although the idea of a relationship lasting for a decent period of time is a foreign concept for me, if I were ever afforded the opportunity to have a healthy, successful partnership with a man who loves and respects me, my relationship goals would include honesty, communication, building wealth and leaving a legacy behind for our grandchildren. We can have great sex, of course, and dress nice, live a comfortable lifestyle, travel and such, however having mutual respect, admiration and support for each other’s professional endeavors, talents, ideas and ambition would be what separates the good from the best, in the way that I view a successful relationship for myself now.

Having someone who encourages you to be the best version of yourself in spite of what others say about you, can make a difference in your self esteem as well as in your bank account balance.
Someone who encourages you to take care of yourself, mentally, physically and emotionally, so that you can look and feel good, as well as combat stress that comes from obstacles you can’t control, can be the difference between you being happy and having a heart attack. Having someone who respects your sacrifices and struggles to grow within your purpose, instead of someone trying to change who you are to fit their agenda, can be the wind beneath your wings.

But that’s not how a lot of people view relationships anymore.

A lot of people look at relationships as something they need to make them whole and happy. That isn’t the case. Relationships are meant to enhance who you already are and increase the happiness you that already have as an individual. Seeking happiness from someone else in a relationship will not make you a whole person. And if, because it happens, the relationship ends, then what do you do? Sadly, some people resort to extremes because they can’t let go of the person they believed made them happy. That’s not healthy for anyone involved.

A lot of people also hold a lot of bitterness when their relationships end. It’s normal. It’s human. But you have to let it go so that you can move forward and have the opportunity to do it better the next time around. Try to refrain from wishing ill towards someone when the relationship ends. That only creates a void within yourself. When you genuinely care for someone else you want them to be happy, healthy and whole, not because of you, but even without you around.

I’ve always admired power couples. Personally that is what I’d like to have if and/or when I get involved with someone again (yes I’m cynical about the possibilities. Again, reference my past blog posts).  Power couples are typically two separately successful individuals who come together and complement each other’s drive, ambition, talent, focus, etc. etc. etc. There are thousands of said power couples in the world. Some more successful and popular than others, but all equally beautiful to me.

These couples probably wouldn’t have the relationships they have if they depended solely upon each other for their success or their happiness. They came to the table as two people with a lot to offer as individuals and saw that in each other, made a decision to combine together and grow towards something they wanted. That is what I think it takes to reach your #relationshipgoals.

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Keep Calm…I’m Still Here

It has been a few weeks since I posted. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been hard at work for The Company, The Woman, The Brand. I even did something I haven’t done in two years. I went on vacation. No, I don’t mean a stay-cation at the Fortress of Peace of Mind, or a weekend trip. I mean a real, authentic vacation, to another state, for more than three consecutive days. I attended this year’s Essence Festival in New Orleans and although I traveled to the Big Easy for the first time solo (no girlfriends, no boyfriend, no pets, no Super Son), I’m so very glad that I did. This was a trip to refocus and reiterate my purpose, and I was blessed to be around people and hear people speak, that helped me to accomplish that. Not to mention the music performances were STELLAR and before you ask, YES Mrs. Carter (aka Beyoncé) put on a fantastic show.

I also did some networking. Some of this networking I did will hopefully have long-term benefits result from it. I have a ton of video to edit so it can be posted on the Official Super Woman YouTube Channel to share will all of you, from the panel discussions at the Empowerment Experiences and a live performance from Marsha Ambrosius, to Steve Harvey hosting Family Feud. I ate shrimp and crawfish etouffee, chick and sausage jambalaya, turtle soup, fried oysters, crab cakes, conch, and the best peach cobbler I’ve ever had in my entire life, and my family hails from the South. The peach cobbler was so good in fact, it deserved its own Instagram post.

I have grown fond of sharing my experiences and my life lessons with others on a very transparent level, so on July 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm (eastern) I’m going to do something for my Super Fans. I’m hosting a live Google+ Hangout aptly called #AskSuperWoman, so that nine Super Fans can ask me questions which I will answer during the Hangout. The questions can really be about anything, and I have already agreed to answer the questions honestly and frankly. However, it’s best that the questions pertain to something that I know. In advance, let me say that I don’t know anything about physics, I can’t solve world hunger and I’m not giving anyone a loan. But any questions that may be relevant about business, my company, relationships, sex, friendship, entertainment, writing, getting a book published and many other topics that I have some knowledge of, are welcomed.

Participation is very easy. All you have to do is think of something to ask me, go to any page of the Super Woman Productions and Publishing website and click the button on the right side that says Ask Super Woman. An email will open in your browser, and you can type your question, then send it. I’ll receive your question and then invite you to the Google+ Hangout on July 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm (eastern). One (or some) of the nine people selected for the Hangout, will also receive a prize from me for their participation. It’s that easy.

There’s only one catch.

You have to be at least 18 years old.

And there’s another catch.

You have to submit your question by July 14 to be selected and accept the  #AskSuperWoman Google+ Hangout invitation you receive.

That’s it.

You don’t have to pay anything.

You don’t have to sell anything.

I don’t need you to sign any agreements or give me your oldest child. 

 

Then on July 18, 2013, at 8:30 pm (eastern), we are going to have some fun, grown folks conversation via Google+ Hangout. If you don’t accept the Hangout invitation and join the Hangout at 8:30 pm (eastern), you will not be eligible for a prize. So, get your question thought out and send it in to #AskSuperWoman by July 14 and I’ll tell you what you want to know.

~Smooches!  

Keep Calm I'm Still Here
Keep Calm
I’m Still Here

How To Get A Man To Pay Your Bills

Everyday a large amount of traffic comes to my website from women searching for “how to get a man to pay your bills“. I honestly have no idea how that happens because I’ve never written anything on that topic to my knowledge. I’ve written quite a bit and I really can’t remember everything I’ve ever written, so it may be a combination of the words resulting in the hits. Well, due to supply and demand, I decided to give a quick lesson on the subject.

Here’s how you get a man to pay your bills!

 

1. Don’t have any bills.

If you’re deep in financial debt in this economy, and you meet a man who also has financial responsibilities, the likelihood that he will want to pay your bills is very slim. Single men have bills also, even if they don’t have children. The only single men without bills are most likely living in their parent’s basement or still sleeping in the room they grew up in. That man can’t pay anyone’s bills or he’d have his own house. And let’s be honest, if you were already dating the wealthiest caliber of men to begin with, you wouldn’t be looking for a man to pay your bills in the first place.

2. Don’t ask a man to pay your bills.

Men look at women who ask for them to pay their bills as gold diggers. And that’s me being nice. Men actually call women who ask them to pay their bills garden tools. Here’s the thing, if you have something you can’t afford, a man doesn’t view it as his responsibility to make sure you keep it, particularly if you’re just “some chick” he met at the club, at the party, or even at church. Living above your means is not anyone’s problem but yours. So if you can’t afford that house, car, jewelry, those purses or shoes you covet, you may need to stop buying them or downsize until you can.

3. Don’t be a side chick.

In this society, the side chick gets nothing because she doesn’t know what her role is and has allowed herself to become over saturated. The over saturation of anything depletes its value. Therefore, the side chick (also referred to as the “jump off”, mistress or other woman) is no longer a commodity or convenience for a man to have. As a result, the smartest men will either elect to stay single, so they can date whomever they want, or get married and remain as faithful as possible. Smart men know that having a side chick is not worth losing everything they’ve worked for, no matter how beautiful she is or how good the sex is. The side chick is not likely to ever become his wife either, even if he does lose his marriage because of her. Plus, in this economy, unless a man is very wealthy (like Richard Branson wealthy), the wife isn’t necessarily going to divorce him. She may very well remain married to him and make his life miserable for as long as she feels like it. Either way, the wife gets everything.   

4. Become the wife.

Like I already said, the wife gets everything. The type of man who would pay a woman’s bills wants a woman who has proven herself to be loyal, outside of his wallet and bank account. She has had his back and held him down and when needed, she has also held him up. One example of this is seen in President and First Lady Obama. The woman a man of substance marries has been his motivating factor, his muse and his best friend. She may not be the mother of his children. She may not be the most beautiful woman in the world. She may not even be the smartest light bulb in the box. However, she has been his ego stroke when he needed it, and the necessary reality check when his ego got out of control. She has encouraged him more than she has belittled him. When he gets sick, she not only takes care of him, but she’ll make sure his business doesn’t fall to nothing by calling his supervisor and his doctor. That woman who made him feel better, stronger and taller than he’s ever felt before is the woman he will marry. And that man will pay her bills.

5. Be independent.

The only thing worse than a woman who walks around saying she doesn’t need a man, is a woman who is needy and can’t live without a man in her life. Men who pay bills, like women who have joy and purpose in their lives without needing a man around. A man wants to know that if something tragic were to happen to him (death, dismemberment or illness), that woman can take care of the kids, the house, the cars and the dog, without having to move another man in the very next day. If you can’t do anything for yourself, if you can’t go anywhere by yourself, if you have to always have a man’s attention to feel good about yourself, you will never get a man to pay your bills. You might be nice to look at, have sex with, go to the club with, but you aren’t going to be the woman who gets that man to pay her bills without being considered a garden tool in the process. When a man of substance opens his wallet, he likes to feel like a man while doing it; not like customer number 9

 6. Establish standards and goals that have nothing to do with getting a man to pay your bills.

This is highly essential in your pursuit. If your only standard is a man who will pay your bills and getting such a man is your primary focus and goal for a relationship, you might attain that…but at a cost. There’s a big difference between a man with money and a man who is chivalrous. A man could have all the money in the world. He could drive an expensive car, live in an expensive house, wear expensive clothes and have all the expensive toys he could ever dream of having. That does not mean that he is going to spend his money on you and your bills. In my experience, some of these same men are very insecure and selfish with their money. They don’t mind spending it on themselves and will do so at anytime, but the minute they meet you, they become afraid of letting you near their bank accounts. That’s because they didn’t grow up with money. They are what is considered “new money” or first generation money. Whatever they have financially, they had to either work  extremely hard for it, won the lottery or did something illegal to attain it. Therefore, giving it up isn’t easy for them. And if you manage to get them to give you their money, you now become their property. It’s a lot better to have a man who is chivalrous. A man who is chivalrous believes that his role in his WIFE’S life is to be a provider and he will spend money to make her smile, because he works hard, in every way, for her: he put in time and energy to meet her, court her and has invested his emotions into her. He cares for her and wants the two of them to have a good relationship. Buying gifts, paying bills, and so-on, are something he considers to be a part of who he is as a man in that particular woman’s life. He does so willingly, not by manipulation. Instead, develop personal goals and standards that will attribute to you building your own wealth and being able to pay your own bills. Upgrade yourself and your lifestyle by yourself. If your idea of traveling is going to Chicago for the weekend, you can’t expect to meet a man who has lived in Italy and speaks fluent Italian. You might have to actually go to Italy for that. Which means you need to have your own money. If you work harder at improving your financial situation without the aid of a man, your overall life will improve tremendously, and so will the caliber of men you meet. You attract what you are.    

This may not have been the advice you were searching for when you Googled, however, I don’t write, or speak to people just to tell them what they want to hear. That’s counterproductive. It only results in people continuing to do the same thing expecting different results. I tell people the truth, whether they like it or not. You don’t have to take my advice or adjust your mindset. It won’t change my life one bit if you don’t. However, if you pay attention, and look at yourself hard and long, take my words and put them into practice, it might change YOUR life for the better.     

~ When you know better, you do better.

Love Therapy

We all have issues. Some of us are just more honest about it than others. Some of us are aware that we have issues and some of us are deeply in denial. I’m going to share something with you that very few people know about me. I have a fear. A fear that causes me to use a particular defense mechanism because it’s easier than doing anything else. I have a fear of being alone. This fear in most people causes them to always want to be in a relationship even if it is unhealthy, just so that can avoid being by themselves. Since I’m not like other people, in my case, this fear causes me to want to remain single so that I don’t have to be worried about a man leaving me alone.

My entire adult life has been full of men who have abandoned the relationship. They’ve all had reasons that they felt were justified. My son’s father left me because I wouldn’t continue to have a sexual relationship with him while he was in a relationship with another woman. My ex-husband left me because he could no longer abuse me and he was cheating on me with another woman. My ex-fiance had his family plan a wedding for us, then I discovered that he was seeing another woman that he was keeping a secret from his family. One ex-boyfriend told me he didn’t want to marry me because I didn’t make enough money. One man I dated for nearly a year told me that he didn’t want a relationship with me because he wasn’t “ready“. Another ex-boyfriend of mine cheated on me because he said I get too much attention from other men. These are all forms of rejection, abandonment and betrayal that I have experienced over the years and resulted in me to developing this fear. Some people would refer to it as insecurity. It’s not insecurity. Some people would call it baggage. It’s really an instinctual response to protect myself from perceived or potential harm. What I have discovered is that a lot of people have this same fear. We all handle it differently. Some of us lash out at others to drive them away. Some of us hold on to others for dear life. Some of us may decide to remain in solitude because it’s less traumatic than going through break ups. 

My fear is resulting in me losing people who I love. I lost a friendship that I value because I am fearful of the friendship developing into a more intimate relationship. My effort to communicate was an epic fail.  So, I’m going to see a therapist that specializes in sex, intimacy and relationships. That may seem counterproductive because I’m not in a relationship, but in spite of my fears, I would like to be…one day…before I die…if God willing.

I truly think that there are a lot of good men in the world, I just don’t believe any of them could want a relationship with me. That is a part of my fear. Why did this fear manifest itself and what can be done about it? I don’t know if anything can be done about it, but my goal is to become better at expressing myself and then conquering the fear itself. The fear causes me to hide from the idea of a relationship with a man I love because I’m afraid he will eventually leave me; either for another woman or because he just doesn’t believe me to be worthy of him. I recognize that this fear hinders me in other areas of my life, and in my career. The fear causes me to be withdrawn in social atmospheres because I’m afraid of feeling rejected. The fear causes me to seclude myself because I’m afraid that others will not appreciate or accept me. As I take this journey to conquer my fears, I want to share with you some of the “triggers” that cause people to have a fear of being alone and what you can take into consideration if you’re in a relationship with a person who has these same fears or has trust or abandonment issues – or if you’re in a relationship period.  

1. Don’t use the word love if you don’t mean it. Love is an action word, not a stick of gum. When you love someone it’s best to show it to them, more than you say it. Personally, I’d rather have a man who never says he loves me, but shows me everyday with his actions, affections, protection and by claiming me as his woman or wife.

2. Be compassionate. You’re dealing with another human being. They have feelings too. Even if you don’t agree with how they feel, be compassionate towards their feelings and try to gain a better understanding of where it comes from. Everything isn’t always about YOU in the relationship. There’s someone else involved in that relationship as well.  

3. Pay attention. If you want a relationship with someone, paying attention to them is necessary. Pay attention to what bothers them, what makes them happy, what makes them sad and how your actions contribute to that. Learn what their likes and dislikes are. No one believes you truly love them if you don’t know anything about them. It’s not logical to us as people. When a person says they love you, but they don’t know your likes and dislikes, favorite color, what makes you sad, your favorite movie or anything else that makes you YOU, you feel like they are playing games with your emotions and you will react as such. 

4. Don’t use the relationship as a weapon or method of control. Too many people are always threatening to leave someone if they don’t do what you want them to do. Telling a person you are going to divorce them, leave them or cheat on them is the wrong approach. If you are not happy with that person and you don’t accept and appreciate them for who they are, you should not be in a relationship with them. If you feel it is necessary to use your relationship as a weapon or method of control, you need to seek therapy for yourself. That’s not love. That’s being a bully.

5. Be reliable. Do what you say you will do and be there for the person you love. If a person doesn’t feel that you have their back, they won’t be open with you. If they call you in a time of need and you never answer or show up, they won’t find you reliable. If you value a person in your life, showing you are reliable, and that you have their back and are in their corner will help them feel more comfortable with you and they won’t be guarded and withdrawn.  

6. Respect people’s timeframes. Some people believe that they have an eternity to have a relationship with someone. If you aren’t looking to get married until 2035, you should not say the words love, relationship or marriage to someone in the year 2012. It’s misleading. Consider that someone you love may have had a near death experience that makes them want to live every moment like it’s their last. They aren’t going to wait for you to be ready before they live their life to the fullest. You could lose someone because you don’t respect their timeframes and how they want to live their moments in life.

7. Respect the human factor. People make mistakes. Do you prefer someone who can take responsibility for their mistakes or someone who blames everything on everyone else, including you? In a relationship, both people are responsible for that relationship. What you do, say and don’t, will impact the strength and longevity of the relationship. You’re dealing with another human being who has feelings, problems and past experiences. Show concern more than you find fault in them and they will do the same with you. Treat a person the way you want to be treated.  

8. Be trustworthy. Don’t expect a person to trust you because of what you say, because you’re not like “other men/women” or because you think they should just trust you “just because”. Trust is earned. Trust is not given. Particularly for people who have experienced betrayal and infidelity. You have to show yourself to be someone a person can trust. See numbers 1 – 9 for ways to accomplish this.

9.  Know what a person expects from the a relationship. Understand a person’s views on relationships. This comes from having effective communication with a person, by being honest about your own expectations and by listening to theirs. This also comes from paying attention and showing compassion. You don’t have to agree with the person, but you should be aware of what they want and need out of the relationship. Then you can determine if you are capable of building a relationship with them instead of hurting them later.  

10. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It’s never a good idea to get a person’s hopes up and not follow through. This goes back to being reliable and trustworthy as well. If you over promise and under deliver, you look like a liar. Even if that is not your intention. People will call your character into question if you are “all talk“. If you are going to do something, do it. If something unforeseen prevents you from doing what you said you will, make a phone call, apologize and reschedule for another day or time. You can’t expect a person to keep giving you chances to disappoint them.  

11. Don’t communicate in 140 characters or less. As much as I love technology and gadgets, I also hate the effect they have on interpersonal relationships. We’ve gotten so comfortable with not having human interaction that we literally attempt to establish, have and maintain relationships using texting, emailing and social networking. This is not a good foundation for a relationship. Mostly because people have misused these tools in order to do harm to others. When someone constantly experiences meeting men/women on Facebook who are only interested in having sex, and that’s not what that person is looking for, if you met them on Facebook, you can’t expect them to just react differently. They are operating from what they know. They are protecting themselves from harm. You have to show that you are not the same, not just say it. There’s nothing better for solidifying a personal connection than face to face contact with a person. There’s nothing better than being present in their space, inhaling their pheromones, looking into their eyes and hearing the inflection in their voice when they speak. Take the time to get off the internet and get into each other’s personal space.  

12. Learn to agree to disagree without anger and animosity. Everyone you meet with not agree with you. If they do, you are doing something wrong. People are entitled to have a difference of opinion. Even if you are extremely compatible with someone else, you will never agree with each other 100% of the time. Learn to express how you feel in a way that doesn’t cause anger or animosity, yet allows you both to speak your minds and have a better understanding of each other. Some people just need to vent. When this occurs they turn towards the person they love and who said they love them. They want that person to be a sounding board. Their outpouring may or may not have anything to do with you directly. They just need you to be there for them and let them be vulnerable.

13. Don’t placate a person. No one in their right mind thinks they are right 100% of the time. A person dealing with abandonment or trust issues, or who has a fear such as mine, wants that one person that will prove them WRONG about how they feel. They don’t want a person agreeing with them to get them to stop talking or to end the disagreement. They want the person they love to be honest with them, tell them and show them that the fear they feel at that moment is not warranted. This doesn’t work if you placate them. It might only make them angrier and cause the already existing issues to escalate out of control.

14. Spend quality time together. Whether you call it quality time, intimate time, quiet time or date night, it’s important for two people who love each other to have time in the same space together to enjoy each other’s company. It doesn’t matter if it’s indoors or out; whether it includes activities or just laying in the bed holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes. Time together between two people builds bonds and strengthens relationships. It allows for a connection to exist and remain. People who have the best and longest lasting relationships are people who spend one on one quality time together and make it a habit to do so on a regular basis.

15. Listen to the person. It is said that we have two ears and one mouth because we are supposed to listen twice as much as we talk. If a person says that they have a need from the relationship, listen to them closely and measure if you can meet that need or not. Silly and superficial expectations don’t count. I’m referring to reasonable needs and wants that a person expresses, such as “Honey, I would like for you to help me with the housework more, so we can spend more time together on weekends instead of me cleaning all day.” That’s a reasonable need.

16. Be honest. The biggest issue that causes people to fear being alone, being abandoned or to have trust issues is that the other person they are dealing with is dishonest in some way. Not many people can be honest with themselves, let alone with other people. Sometimes even withholding small bits of  information can appear to be dishonest. A person who doesn’t have bad intentions, something to hide or isn’t playing emotional games is more able to be honest, even when it hurts your feelings. At least you will be able to respect them for telling the truth so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.     

17. Compromise – The 80/20 Rule. You will only get approximately eighty percent (80%) of your emotional, financial and intimate needs met by the other person in the relationship. You have to be willing to compromise the other twenty percent (20%) and go without those needs or do those things for yourself. Expecting someone outside your relationship to fulfill that 20% is a recipe for disaster. Leaving one woman for another woman because she has a bigger booty or a smaller waistline is fuckery, when the woman you already had at home is a good wife, good mother, good friend and partner to you. Get your priorities in order in your relationship.

18. Give the same level of love that you expect. You reap what you sow.  Enough said. 

19. Measure the pros and cons. I’ll never forget the scene in Why Did I Get Married, Too?” when Patricia (Janet Jackson), told Angela (Tasha Smith) and Dianne (Sharon Leal) that they should“write down all the good he’s ever done and all the bad he’s ever done. And if the good outweighs the bad, you need to be big little women and fix it”. Resilience through the hard times is what people want to see that you are capable of. Marriage vows say for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, for a reason. Are you the type of person that runs from a problem before you try to fix it? Are you a person who will quickly dismiss someone you say that you love because they did something you dislike or that offended you? This behavior tells a person you don’t think they are “worthy” of you, your time, your attention, your energy or your love and that you are not able to be there for the long haul. It translates into “You’re not good enough for me to stay and work this out.”

20. Be happy. Being happy is a decision. One of my favorite songs is “Be Happy” by Mary J. Blige. When I was going through my divorce it was on heavy rotation. The answer to true happiness lies within yourself. Another individual can not make you happy. It’s not their responsibility to make you happy. They can only enhance your existing happiness. If you’re not already happy with your life, even without being in a relationship, you should reassess if you should be in a relationship at all.

21. Learn to forgive. If you truly love someone and you want them to be your friend or spouse, you must learn to forgive them when they make mistakes in your relationship or fall short of your expectations. No one is perfect. If you think you are perfect, seek therapy for yourself. If your relationship is not abusive, full of addiction, infidelity or anything demeaning or harmful to you, your health or happiness and it’s worth fighting for or saving, the first step is to forgive.

22. Sex ain’t better than love. There’s a difference between physical and emotional intimacy. People desire to be loved, appreciated, respected and acknowledged…outside the bedroom. If you are not capable of this, you should not use the words love or relationship until you areEmotional intimacy is the most valuable type of intimacy between two people. It means that they trust each other, are reliable, communicate effectively, know each other well, and have the other building blocks necessary for having a healthy relationship.  

Look at a relationship like a tree. Trees have to be planted. The tree has roots that develop into a trunk, which sprouts branches, and grow leaves or fruit. If your roots are weak, your tree won’t be strong, your branches will be limp and your tree won’t bear fruit. And if it does manage to bear fruit, the fruit will be rotten to the core. Take responsibility for your actions or inactions in your relationships and make an attempt to grow. If you love someone, truly love them, and they have fears of being alone, have trust or abandonment issues, make an attempt to work through their issues with them before you walk away. You could be that one person that teaches them how to love and makes a difference in their life.

~ Love is the strongest element on Earth. It can heal a broken heart, rescue a lost soul or it can be used to destroy.

Valentine’s Day…The Don’ts

I’ve been single for a while now, so there are some things I don’t do traditionally. I don’t wait for men to buy me diamonds. I don’t wait on men to take me on trips and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. In my past relationships, I either had really beautiful, romantic Valentine’s Days or really horrible, ‘I’m breaking up with you after this’  Valentine’s Days. Therefore, with Valentine’s Day approaching, I wanted to share some DON’Ts that I learned over the last 20 years. This is for men and women, married couples and single people. It is to be taken with a grain of salt because everything ain’t for everybody. However, even if you disagree with the DON’Ts, they are something to consider, particularly if you’re always puzzled about the lack of romance in your relationship.

If you DON’T call, date, ask out or have interest in someone throughout the year, DON’T post Valentine’s Day greetings, pictures of flowers, candy, teddy bears, kisses, or jewelry on their Facebook wall, Twitter or send by text message. This is NOT sexy, NOT romantic and if you’re over 18 years old, NOT mature. Instead, try the REAL thing. If the person isn’t important enough for you to spend the money, don’t waste the time it takes to sign on to the computer and go to their Facebook or Twitter, or go to your phone and send the text in the first place. That is not genuinely romantic.

If you give a gift, DON’T expect to receive sex from the recipient in return. All gifts should be given based on what you think the person is worth, what the person likes and from your heart. Expecting sex in return cheapens the gift and the gesture. It doesn’t matter if the gift was the $1 million Victoria’s Secret bra or an Aston Martin. Give the gift because you wanted to.

DON’T believe that you can give an intangible gift for Valentine’s Day and that it should be appreciated by the recipient because it’s “the thought that counts“. The other person is thinking that you’re a selfish, cheap ass.

DON’T give a person something they give themselves all the time. Although it is beautiful to pay attention to what a person likes, if they treat themselves to a movie every week, taking them to the movies for Valentine’s Day is not going to earn you any cupid points.

DON’T forget the phone number to 1-800-FLOWERS. Unless someone specifically doesn’t like flowers (I know some women who don’t), this is a good number for any man who is truly a romantic at heart to have and keep stored in his phone. And guess what? They have other things besides flowers now. So if you’re a woman or your sweetie happens to have allergies or just doesn’t like roses, you can find something else there that they may like.

DON’T forget to think about what a person truly likes. If someone is an avid reader of a particular author (like Super Woman for instance), they might really appreciate the current or next book released by that author – autographed. If a person loves a particular music group, get them concert tickets or a gift card to a venue where that group is going to perform that year. This is called planning and preparation and requires paying attention to the person that you’re with. Procrastinators will have the hardest time pulling this off. They will be the ones buying big bags of candy and single roses on the street corners on February 14th.

DON’T buy big bags of candy and single roses on the street corner on February 14th. The nicest candy gift I ever received was from a guy who didn’t have Godiva Chocolatier money, but he knew that I liked colorful, assorted M&Ms, chocolate covered nuts and Raisinets. He mixed them all up in a decorative jar with a cap so that I could enjoy them at my leisure. I ate all the candy eventually, and I still have the jar.

DON’T be insensitive in your gift giving. Sometimes people are dealing this issues that no romantic gesture can solve. If a person is having a difficult time financially, and they’ve expressed it, but you give them a gift that is valued at the approximate amount of money they needed to resolve, or ease, their financial difficulty, they will probably look at you like you’re crazy because you could have just given them the cash instead. So consider the person’s needs versus trying to impress them needlessly when giving a gift. This is a good principle all year round, not just on Valentine’s Day.

DON’T overlook obvious gift possibilities. If the person has a favorite dish that they rarely have the opportunity to enjoy, and you’re a pretty good cook, or there’s a restaurant in your area that is known to serve that dish, there’s your Valentine’s Day gift! If a person is über busy and complains about not having time to get certain things done, find a service that will accommodate them or help them personally to get that task completed. DUH! Some people are simple to please but in our efforts to impress them, we over think the simplest gestures that will put a smile on their face.

DON’T give a gift that will result in additional work for the recipient. Avoid buying your girlfriend a dog if she’s never at home or travels for work. Who’s going to feed and walk Snookums? Plus, if the relationship ends, you’ll be on Judge Judy fighting over who gets to keep Snookums.

DON’T wait until the last-minute. People can tell when you didn’t put any thought or feeling into your gift and you bought the gift on the street corner that same day. You lose cupid points immediately for “forgetting” because it means that it wasn’t important enough for you to remember.

DON’T forget about the gifts that people will remember most. Sometimes people want to feel appreciated more than anything else. If you have an interest in someone or have feelings towards them, try expressing that – verbally. Cards are nice, but unless you made the card and it contains your original words and feelings or poetry inside, that card will be thrown away eventually. However, people always remember kind words and heartfelt sentiments. So tell someone what they mean to you and how you feel about them face to face. That will earn you huge cupid points and you might discover that they also have positive feelings towards you.

DON’T be selfish in your giving. DON’T be surprised, angry or bitter if you don’t receive a gift in return. It really is better to give than to receive. Giving with the expectation of getting something in return is selfish. Also, it’s possible that the recipient of your gift was surprised to get something from you to begin with and therefore, they don’t have anything for you in return. Personally, as a single woman who rarely receives gifts, I’m always surprised when I do receive one and therefore, I never have anything to give in return.

DON’T forget that old school romance still works. Romance has been put on life support by technology. Texting, Facebook and Twitter have made it not only popular, but too easy to forget about doing things the right way. Real romance comes from being attentive towards the other person’s interests, hobbies, career, thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, needs, wants and moods. One thing I find romantic is someone who is a good listener and hugger, that I can talk to, who will simply understand and support my creative, overachieving and ambitious nature.

So, this upcoming Valentine’s Day, step away from the computer, smart phone, social networking and street corner vendors, and do something different that will separate you from today’s romantically challenged norm. I even suggest that you Google “romantic gestures” and see what sparks your creativity. If you are single and you don’t have someone in your life worth the effort, or even the money, be honest with yourself about that and spend the day by yourself, loving yourself. It’s much better than “poking” someone on Facebook.

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥

Smooches