Wednesday, 21 August 2013 15:36

Love + Dating | Making Time for Your Boo

Love + Dating // August 26, 2013

I spend most of my days volunteering in the greater Atlanta community and running a local non-profit program, while my fiancé is a busy graduate student earnestly working toward his PhD. My days as filled with youth outreach, giving presentations, Bible Study, and sometimes girl’s night. Add family obligations and daily chores into the mix and planning date night goes from candlelit dinners to “do you want to meet me at the grocery store?” Learning to set realistic expectations, plan ahead, be flexible and enjoy the simple moments of daily life can help you make the most of your time with your beloved.

  • Prioritize: Work together with your significant other to determine priorities for both of you. You might have to reschedule yoga class, or skip happy hour with your office mates to make time for each other. Similarly, there might be times when you have to forgo a lazy afternoon of cuddling in front of the TV in order to meet work deadlines. The point is that you work together on a weekly basis to schedule time with each other while respecting the practical demands of daily life.
  • Communicate:  Communication is the best way to make the most of your time with your boo, especially if you both have busy schedules. Discuss your schedules and call ahead if you have to cancel plans. Also, make time to focus on one another and talk about the day’s events, even if it’s just 10-15 minutes before bed each evening.  These heart-to-hearts are even better in person, so find time to talk face-to-face whenever possible.
  • Plan Date Nights:  Since face time is so important to healthy communication, planning a regular date night is a great way to ensure that you spend some quality one on one time with your significant other. Date night does not have to involve the expense of dinner and a movie. With help from resources like The Nest and a little imagination you can also plan some great dates at home and on a budget. 
  • Stay Present: Ambitious people can get lost in the workflow and forget to come up for air. Yes, things may be hectic but don’t check out on your relationship completely. It takes two to make it work. If you’ve been buried at work for long stretches, take a night off to get some quality time with your partner. You probably need the rest anyway.

Whether you are dating, engaged or happily married, busy couples have to work to keep their romantic relationships healthy. Finding time to be with one another is hard  and it doesn’t get any easier as you progress. The extra effort will go a long way towards making sure your relationship is just as successful as your career.

Published in Relationships

Dating // August 12, 2013

Most women take a lot into consideration when choosing a mate. Do they have a job? Are they motivated? Ambitious? Do they work out? Do they like dogs? And if you consider yourself a spiritual woman -- meaning you live your life with self-love, compassion, and an understanding of a power greater than yourself -- I believe it is imperative that you unite with a partner who also has a spiritual mindset. By doing so you will create more alignment and harmony in your life, allowing the master plan to unfold as easily as it was designed to.

Just think about it. We can often throw a wrench in things when it comes to love. We are doing all this great work on ourselves -- meditating, praying, reading spiritual books, whatever the formula may be -- but it quickly goes out the door when we start to chase after love with the wrong person. If your potential partner’s values aren’t as deeply rooted as your own, it can throw you off track. They definitely won’t be able to aid your spiritual growth. Now imagine a relationship where your spiritual goals are aligned. Where you both can help each other grow in your beliefs, whatever those may be. As a spiritual advisor and life coach, I want you to be happily united with your spiritual mate. So here are my tips to help you manifest your ideal spiritual partner:

Do Your Own Work: Whether you go to therapy or meet with a life coach or pastor, work through your issues and let go of the past. Get to a place where you truly feel a sense of acceptance with yourself and an understanding of the greatness created within you.

Clarify Your Beliefs: Figure out what you believe. Your perfect spiritual partner cannot align with you if your don’t know what your core beliefs are.

Create a Daily Spiritual Practice: 15 minutes a day is all you need to quiet your mind, reinforce your self-worth and connect with the power greater than yourself. This can be God, Universe, Source, Nature, Love or anything that resonates with you. Take this time to remind yourself of your greatness, your purpose and that you are not alone. You can do this through prayer, mediation, gardening, hiking, journal writing or anything that quiets and centers your mind.

Know What You Want, But Be Flexible: Create a clear picture in your mind with the specific qualities of your ideal partner. Spend time daily thinking about them and telling the universe your are open to give and receive love. Remember to be open and flexible, because love doesn’t always come in the package you expect it to.

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Be Present and Stay in the Moment: This current moment is all that is real. Stay conscious and engage in it. Don’t wallow in past hurts or try to control the future. When you get to the future it will be now! Your perfect spiritual partner can be standing right in front of you, but because you are avoiding eye contact with your head down or glued to your cell phone, you may miss the connection.

Talk the Talk: While there is no need to be a religious fanatic, don’t shy away from conversations about your beliefs. You may be surprised who will connect with you because of what you believe.

Invite and Engage: Once you have set up a rapport with a potential mate, invite them to take part in your spiritual practice. Maybe it’s church or yoga or group meditation. If they say no, don’t force the issue. If they say yes, it may become another great way you can spend time together.

No relationship is perfect. But the basis of every good relationship is compatibility. Shouldn’t you be compatible on the things that are most important to you? Start with your beliefs and the rest will follow.

Published in Dating

Dating // July 29, 2013

Dear Made Woman,

I have had a crush on a friend of mine for a few years now and I can't take it anymore. We hang out a lot but I've been relegated to the friend zone and I want to get out! He's always been the perfect gentleman to me and has never made a move. As our friendship grows, I realize more and more what a great guy he is and I don't want another woman to snatch him up. At the same time, I'm terrified of being rejected and making our relationship awkward. Can you help me out?

Sincerely,

Secretly in love


Dear Secretly In Love,

I have good news for you!  Either way this works out, you’re going to be fine—you just need to go for it and get some resolution so you know where you stand! There are three possible scenarios that might be happening right now in my opinion, so let’s narrow in on it and take the appropriate action.

One, he might be like the tarantula. What do I mean by this? While we are all scared sh**less of tarantulas, think how much they must be frightened of humongous humans. The truth is that they are way more scared of us than we are of them by comparison. With this guy, it could be the same way—that he’s been just as frightened to make a move and disturb the friendship as you’ve been (if not more). In this case, if you test the waters, tell him how you feel and if he feels the same way, he will be hugely relieved, and undoubtedly a non-platonic relationship will form.

Two, he might be like the nerdy video game programmer (just stereotyping here -- I’m engaged to an amazing one). There are men out there who are the type of guys who just don’t read social cues as well as they read Java code. You know this particular guy better than I do. Is he one of those guys who,when you’re out with him at a bar, is completely oblivious to the girl across the room shooting him adoring glares and batting her eyelashes?

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If he’s a cutie who just doesn’t process the signs and signals people (including you) send him, you’ll have to take a more direct approach to see where he stands. And while it may be intimidating to ask him out for drinks just the two of you, this is the only way to find out where you stand with this type of gentleman. Best case scenario is that he’s game for your invitation and you go on a date; but also good is scenario B where, if you ask him and he’s not game for more, it’s okay because you’ll still be good friends. Why? Because if you really are good friends and he is a great person (otherwise why would you be friends with him/like him in the first place?), he will still care about you and still be friends with you the same way he was before you asked him out. He will understand your feelings and it won’t be awkward long-term. He’ll just take it as a compliment and move on without any prolonged weirdness.

Three, he might be like the frog and not the prince. Going back to our early scenario about observing him in a social setting, if you’ve seen him “work a room,” interact well with the ladies and perceive flirtations easily, and you’ve tried this approach of subtly (or not so subtly) flirting with him already to suggest your feelings, in this case signs point to the fact that he may be “just not that into you” (like that rom-com movie we girls all love so much). And that’s okay because there are millions of people in the world and sometimes you just can’t explain why something is or isn’t there. You’ll have clarity and be able to move on knowing where you stand. The worst thing is never doing anything about it and never knowing because it will always be a “what if.” Just know that even if he is a great guy, he’s just a frog out of a lot of frogs that will come up in your life, but that things truly do work out for a reason. When the right person comes along, you’ll know when it’s your prince.

Hope this helps, and keep us all posted on what happens!

All the best,

Courteney

Made Woman Magazine

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Published in Dating

Dating // July 15, 2013

This article was originally published on Danielle-Dowling.com

So what is it about the woman that always gets the guy?  You know who I’m talking about.

Every guy you know thinks she’s cool/smart/funny.  Men get giddy around her.  Conversations stall when she walks into a room.
What does she know that the rest of us don’t?

Girl, it’s not about what she has – so much as what she doesn’t have.  It’s pretty likely that men are attracted to her not only because of the things that she does, but because of the things that she doesn’t do.

And I can guarantee you that our Girl Wonder does not exhibit any of these three traits:

Neediness:


Ahh. The mother of all un-sexiness.

Sometimes (and this has probably happened to the best of us) we might feel a bit incomplete without a man or believe a relationship will solve our problems.  The man in your life will smell this desperation a mile away. And desperation?  It’s not a good look on anyone.

When you’re carrying around the (totally false) idea that you need a man to be complete, you’re giving away your power.

Pause right there.

Think about it – when you place your contentment + happiness in the hands of another individual, you’re at their mercy.  Are you willing to gamble your well-being on his actions or in-actions?

Besides, consider all the unnecessary pressure it puts on him! The pressure to live-up to your expectations of the perfect mate will be exhausting + a sure-fire way to incite disinterest.

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Want to reclaim your power?  Brilliant.  Start by putting the kabosh on these actions:

1. Needing his approval of how you look
2. Incessant emailing, texting and phone calling.  (not to mention obsessive checking of your own email or vmail–mmmhmm….we’ve all done it…)
3. Insisting you know where he is, was + will be 24-7
4. Too many whiny “I miss you’s” in that little girl voice

Insecurity:

The number 2 way to send your man running for the hills.

It sounds like this:

“Do you still love me as much as before?”
“Do you think I look fat in this?”
“Am I pretty enough for you?”

Insecurity is rooted in another false idea – the idea that you are somehow not adequate. You’re only human and self-doubt is a very real emotion that we all feel from time to time. Totally normal.

However, staying stuck and investing in the idea that you are “less than” is a slippery slope. The key to being desirable is to allow yourself to have the feelings of insecurity but not indulge in them! (Easier said than done.  I know.  But practice makes perfect- so give ‘er a shot.)

Simply notice when those feeling come up and reflect…. "Hmph.  There is that thought again. Interesting”…and then redirect your attention to what you’re doing at the moment.  Imagine sitting by a babbling brook and noticing how the leaves glide across the surface of the water past you.  Think of your insecure thoughts as those leaves.

You always have a choice.
You can either invest in your insecurity or your sexy.
You decide.

Overly critical of others. Especially of other women:

Let’s get straight to the point, shall we?  It is flat-out ugly when you
are outwardly critical, especially of other women.   Imagine this:  A beautiful woman walks into the room + your perfectly pleasant conversation with your sweetie quickly spirals into a sarcastic, snarkfest of gnarly criticism.

Why is it that women find it so difficult to compliment another gorgeous, accomplished woman? (Especially, in the presence of their honey?)

Answer: Yup, you guessed it–False ideas.

Somewhere we believe that by tearing other women down our man will not notice their attractiveness.

Reality Check: He probably noticed her 10 seconds before you did so it’s a waste of time.  Not to mention that being critical paints you as jealous, insecure + really, kinda mean.  And who wants to be That Girl?

Take notice of your energy level after such a barrage…does it feel heavy or light + airy?  Eventually you will recognize that the ill-will is draining.  On you + your man.

Personally whenever I see a hot, sassy mama I say to myself “You go, girl.”  I’ve even been known to call my boyfriends attention to her killer shoes, stylish dress or confident ways.  This way we both get to enjoy her shine + it fosters open dialogue between us. (Never a bad thing)

I will often stop a woman and tell her she looks great in her dress, or that her hair looks awesome and ask where she gets it cut.  The appreciation + gratitude bestowed on me are rewarding and she walks away feeling just a little more shiny than before.  Win-Win.

Let’s talk about how to amp up your sexy instead!

1. Take stock of how often you check your text/email out of a sense of desperation. This is your one and only life – slide back into the driver’s seat and reevaluate a better use of your energy.  What is an action you can take right now that will focus your attention on your overall well-being + happiness? Yoga at lunch?  Manicure with a girlfriend after work? Perhaps making that long put off phone call to your local graduate school or headhunter.

2.  Feeling insecure cause you don’t fit in your skinny jeans from 11 years ago? Get-rid-of-them!
Honestly, how realistic is it that you’ll be that size again…have you considered that it’s cruel to keep them in your closet?  That you are dismissing your present-day deliciousness? I am not suggesting that you pack on the lbs and ignore your health.  I’m encouraging you to honor + dare I say…celebrate your womanly figure.

Toss the jeans.
Seriously.

3. When you see a stunning women, immediately catch INSECURITY + CRITICISM, and silently take notice of what you admire about her. Say “good for her.” And if you’re feeling real bold + saucy get her attention and give her the gift of a compliment.

The universe loves that stuff!  I bet a compliment is already on its way to you.

Published in Love + Dating
Saturday, 29 June 2013 01:11

Relationships | The 5 Love Languages

Dating // July 1, 2013

We’ve all heard the saying, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.".  Love, sex and romance are usually interpreted differently between the sexes and it affects every part of our relationships. Maybe you are good to your partner, but don’t feel appreciated. Maybe when you argue with your partner they always say, “I don’t feel like you really love me.” The problem is, we express love to our partner the way WE want to receive it, not the way they want it. One way to get on the same page is to start speaking our partner’s love language and showing them love the way they want to receive it, and encouraging them to do the same!

I have been with my man for 15 plus years now. Our relationship is not only surviving, but THRIVING, because we search for ways to communicate our feelings in ways that the other appreciates.  Recently, we read a great book, The Five Love Languages,” by Gary Chapman. As the title suggests, the book explains the five primary ways people communicate love to each other. It is a great tool to use in your relationship to identify the best ways to convey your emotions to your partner.  Here’s a breakdown of the Love Languages, see which one is yours and ask your partner which fits them:

The 5 LOVE LANGUAGES

Love Language #1: Words of Affirmation

Verbal compliments, encouraging words, kind words and humble words. Only positive words, no negatives.

Love Language #2: Quality Time

Time spent together giving undivided attention. This includes quality conversation and quality activities.

Love Language #3: Receiving Gifts

It is not about the cost of the gift; it is the intention behind the gift. Gifts can be purchased, made, or can be as simple as the gift of physical presence when your partner needs you.

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Love Language #4: Acts of Service

Doing something you know your partner wants you to do for them. This can include any daily task that requires thought, planning, time and energy.

Love Language #5: Physical Touch

This is any form of physical affection, including holding hands, massaging, kissing, hugging and sex.

My love language is “Quality Time” and my honey’s is “Receiving Gifts.” Who knew? Since gifts are not important to me, I never thought they were to him. Now, I make sure once a week to give him a small token of my love to fill him up!

Make use of this cheat sheet and have some fun figuring out which love language you both are. Or, if you are having trouble figuring out which category either of you falls into, take the test here and read the book by Gary Chapman. Then take your relationship to an even better place by giving and receiving love the way you both appreciate it!


Published in Love + Dating
Monday, 17 June 2013 01:25

Entertainment | Best Breakup Songs

Entertainment // June 17, 2013

Sharon and Ozzy. Chris Brown and Rihanna. Katy Perry and John Mayer. Something is in the air but it certainly isn’t love. The music world is uncoupling at a staggering rate. With these couples heading for the door, we couldn’t help but put together a comforting list of the Top 5 Best Breakup Songs. Whether breakups make you want to seek isolation in a dark room for a good cry over a carton of Ben & Jerry’s, or they make you so angry you could throw some sh*%, we have the best of both worlds right here.


5. MoneyGrabber - Fitz and The Tantrums

Money. Success. Both are notorious relationship-killers. You can kiss your sponge of an ex goodbye with this Fitz and the Tantrums tune playing as your own personal soundtrack. With a sound that masterfully marries Motown and new wave, lead singer, Michael Fitzpatrick, warns, “Don’t come back anytime / I’ve already had your kind / this is your pay back, moneygrabber. Don’t come back anytime / you’ve already run me dry / this is your pay back, moneygrabber.” Oozing with soul and an unforgettable melody, the heat from this track is palpable. Let Fitz and the Tantrums show your ex the door the way you had always wanted.


4. Go Your Own Way- Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumors is a veritable vinyl pu pu platter of break-up songs. The 1977 album was the soundtrack for the divorce of members John and Christine McVie, for the breakups of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, and for one succession from the band. All of this added up to a lot of broken hearts and one of the most critically lauded records of the latter half of the century. From “Dreams” to “Songbird,” the album is rife with breakup songs to choose from. Buckingham penned the track “Go Your Own Way” about the dissolution of his relationship with Nicks. While thoughtful and honest, the song comes up just short of sentimental, and is his final emotional and driving release of Nicks. Quality time with this seventies classic rock anthem will get you through some tough times.


3. F**K You - Cee Lo Green

When you’re really angry, you may as well just come out and say it. Radio edits aside, there is no way to hide from the title of this Cee Lo summer groove. “F**K You” might just be the most uplifting song about a breakup you will ever find. If any song can help you dance your way out of your post-breakup funk, it’s this one. If your ex is too caught up in the superficial to see what a catch you really are, then maybe it’s time to make like Cee Lo and say...uh, “goodbye.”


2. You Oughta Know - Alanis Morissette

Before Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, and Fiona Apple, came Alanis Morissette, serving as the creator of the “woman with a bone to pick” genre. Jagged Little Pill was 1995’s open letter to double-crossing men from Morissette. Power, anger, and biting language was - in the music scene - foreign coming from a woman at that time. The brash Morissette burst onto the scene with more than just irony. I still remember the day I found out Jagged Little Pill’s most potent track, “You Oughta Know”, was about Morissette’s soured romance with everyone’s favorite Uncle Joey - Dave Collier. I never watched Full House the same way again.


1. Love Is A Losing Game - Amy Winehouse

Regardless of mood, music is the soundtrack to our lives. Few singers or songwriters have the emotional vulnerability or resonance of Amy Winehouse. In her songs, much like in her life, she was not afraid to paint an honest, and sometimes unpleasant, portrait. “Love is a Losing Game” is a beautiful, heart-wrenching love song drenched in melancholia. Its arching string arrangements are breathtaking. At only 2:49 in length, this brutally honest look at love and loss is epic. This track comes off her Black to Black album, which chronicles her turbulent relationship with not-quite-then-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, and is thus stacked with breakup songs.  If you’re looking for a good cry, however, look no further than this timeless song from a timeless voice. No one understands your pain quite like Amy Winehouse did.



Published in Entertainment

Relationships // June 17, 2013

This article was originally published on Water Cooler Convos.

You may or may not watch Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta. You may or may not have any idea who Porsha Williams is. And, you may or may not care who her soon-to-be ex-husband Kordell Stewart, former Pittburgh Steelers football star, is. But, the gist of the story here is Kordell Stewart has filed for divorce from his wife of less than two years citing that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” But this post isn’t about the two of them. It is about marriage. It is about black marriage, white marriage, purple marriage and everything in between. But, most accurately, it is about having a successful marriage ahead of everything else.

Why should you care about this? I know, stars break-up all the time. You are thinking this is not news. But, the only reason I am writing this is because black women had embraced Porsha as the princess she portrayed herself to be on RHOA. Many women had publicly taken to her seemingly idiotic commentary, simple-ness, need to play dress up, and overall lack of depth as an ideal. In essence, they were saying, “black women don’t need to be strong, smart, witty, and bright. Look how well Porsha has done for herself.” Well, I am sure some of those same folks are eating their words right now.

On the “Subservient Wife” Trope

Now, don’t get me wrong, black women do not have to be geniuses or cure cancer to be legitimate mothers and wives. That is certainly not a requirement. Porsha actually seems like a great person. She seemed like she really wanted to be a good wife. And after dealing with a devastating miscarriage, which we recently learned of on the show, she had been rocked to her core. So, she deserves credit for keeping her household together for as long as she did. But, was it genuine or veneer?

This is not an “I told you so” post. Why? Well, because when all the ladies in the blog-o-sphere came out in support of Porsha’s attempted “homeliness” and propensity toward subservience in her marriage, I didn’t say a word. Did I agree that black women (and women in general) should strive to be the “Proverbs 31” good wife type? Certainly. Did I agree that Porsha’s efforts to have it all while catering to her man were admirable? Of course. But, where I found the Stewart marriage a bit disturbing was on the lack of accord within the partnership. They never seemed to be on the same page.

Porsha wanted to work. Kordell wanted her to cook and clean. Porsha wanted to reach the stars. Kordell wanted to reach up, grab them for her, and put them in a nice little Tiffany’s box for her birthday. From my vantage point, it was a union doomed to fail.

Women do not have to be strong all the time. Similarly, women do not have to be Beyoncé and “run the world.” But, the opposite is also true. A subservient woman doesn’t have to pretend to be simple-minded to make her man feel more masculine. Neither should any woman cower or lower herself for a man’s comfort. It only leads to demise.

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What Real Marriage Requires

What is the key? Women have to be equally yoked with their husbands. Any partnership requires give and take. And both partners have to be willing to traverse the delicate tug of war that is married life. Now, I am no marriage expert. I have only been doing it successfully for seven years now with a relationship that has lasted almost a decade. And, while I am extremely proud to say that I was blessed enough to find my match at 18 years old, that won’t be the case for everyone else. While we have weathered the storms of parental and familial acceptance, open heart surgery, miscarriage and difficult pregnancies -- and a host of other life issues -- we have always stood in lock-step on our desire to be married and stay married. Divorce is not an option in the Jackson household.

Before we said our vows, we talked about every minute detail of the rest of our lives (at least as much as we could being college kids with limited insight). We talked about kids and agreed that we both wanted three. We talked about where we wanted to live and what kind of home we wanted. We discussed working arrangements, who would or wouldn’t stay home and how we would save up for retirement. We talked about grad school. We talked about our parents and if they would ever live with us. We. Talked. And talked. And talked. We talked till we were blue in the face. And every word was worth it.

Instead of wearing our marriage like a badge of honor to boast about, we have always presented it as a blessing we had and have to work our butts off to maintain. Porsha often came off as if she was better than someone single because she had a man to take care of her. She never seemed to realize that that isn’t the real point of a marriage in the first place. Partnership is the proposition. But, all the fun stuff is just gravy.

A Bunch of “Real” Housewives Indeed

Watching Porsha cry on national television when asking Kordell for help with their future children was heart-breaking. She mentioned a nanny and Kordell grimaced. And, it was just a preview. His expectation of her as a mother was different from her expectation for herself. And no woman should compromise on her dreams or wants for herself without willing consent. If a decision about kids -- who don’t even exist yet -- drives her to tears, something deeper needs to be addressed. A man should love, cherish and respect his wife. He should allow her to shine and thrive regardless of his own personal preferences. If the two of them are equally yoked, he should be able to trust that she will make the best decisions for their family, household, and children. And, honestly, I never saw that between the Stewarts.

So, in the end, I pray that the both of them are able to find happiness whether it be with one another, alone or with other people. But for all the Porsha cheerleaders who said that black women should model themselves and their relationships after her, be careful of the advice you dole out to those seeking a lifelong partnership. There is a whole lot more to marriage than pretty dresses, big houses, and expensive catering. And if they don’t get that deeper message first, they are setting themselves up to feel the same pain poor Porsha is experiencing today.

Published in Love + Dating

Dating // June 3, 2013

Many movies and books have attempted to explain the confusing world of dating.  You would think that men and women would understand each other by now.  But despite all of the commentaries, many of us are just as confused now as we’ve ever been.

But this conversation is different, because it doesn’t come from some out-of-touch TV personality.  This information comes straight from the source.  If you ever wanted to know how a Made Man thinks, I’m giving you the real unfiltered inside scoop. You can thank me later.

So, to set the record straight, here are five more myths that women often believe about men (catch up on the first five here).

Myth #6: Nice Equals Soft.

I’ve heard some women say, “I like him, but he’s too nice for me,” as if being nice is some fatal flaw.   I understand why very few women like the spineless pushover.  Lacking strong beliefs and character is unattractive in anyone -- male or female.  But it’s a mistake to equate “nice” with “soft”.  Behavior that may come off as “too nice” might actually be a telling sign of a man so secure with himself that he doesn’t feel the need to defend who he is. And when a girl thinks she’s walking all over her man, his compliance may be him displaying patience as he waits for her to mature and grow out of her bad habits.  Mr. Nice Guy might actually be humble and strong.  Is that somebody you want to write off? 

Myth #7: Money Equals Security.

Many of my female friends have expressed to me that it is important that they feel “secure” in their relationship, and that their man needs to provide that feeling of security.  With that, many women equate money with security. Financial security is comforting, and something that everyone should aim to achieve, but even the most fiscally stable people aren’t protected from money-draining personal disasters and a fluctuating economy. Many of us are one unexpected accident away from a major financial setback.  Stability comes from a lot more than money.

True stability lies within the mind and heart of a man. It’s in the man that is quick on his feet when life throws him a curveball.  It’s in the man that’s calm when the storm comes, and can lead you when it’s hard for you to see.  Security is found in the man that has solid plans, sticks to those plans because of his discipline, and sees his plans to completion.  Stability is found in the man that makes wise decisions, and has earned your trust because of his consistency.  True riches are often invisible, and you’re going to need to use your X-Ray vision if you want to be with a guy that can provide peace of mind for the long haul.

Myth #8: It’s Harder for a Woman to Find a Man than it is for a Man to Find a Woman.

Actually, this is partially true.  We all know about the woman/man ratio.  And to many women, it doesn’t seem like there’s enough good men to choose from.  But in reality, as difficult as it may seem for a woman to find a good man, it’s just as difficult for a man to find the woman that’s best for him. Almost every man is scared of choosing a woman who is wrong for him.  No man wants to be miserable for the rest of his life.  The stakes are just too high to settle, no matter how beautiful a woman is on the outside. Which is why it’s important for women to know that...

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All Men are not Only Into a Woman Because of Her Looks (Myth #9).

Most men are, indeed, visually driven.  But Made Men are not blinded by beauty.  They appreciate beauty and and value it, but they know that in the end, what’s most important is the character of their woman.  Made Men know that a woman can either be a “ride or die chick” or a “bust the windows out your car” kinda girl (or somewhere in between).  Most men prefer the loyal companion over having to replace a windshield after every disagreement.  There’s a fine line between the anchor that keeps you grounded and the dead weight that prevents you from flying, and Made Men want to make sure they get this right.

What men really want is to be continually attracted to, captivated by, and stimulated by their girl.  And this is not only achieved visually. Physical beauty may attract a guy, but it won’t keep him.  He’ll become bored because the relationship lacks depth and growth, which creates the much needed sense of adventure.  Men are drawn to women that keep them on their toes, can connect with them intellectually, and have a great sense of humor.  If you already have those qualities, you’re in good shape.  If that’s not you, don’t worry. You can get there.  Just listen to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill a couple more times and lighten up a bit.

Myth #10: He’s Sending Mixed Signals Because He’s Indecisive.

So, you can’t tell if he’s really into you or not, and you’re frustrated.  Don’t be annoyed.  Real men go after the things they want.  Other guys are so unsure of themselves that they seem to change their minds with the wind.  You probably want to steer away from guys like this and let the really desperate girls fight over them.  But if a real man is sending mixed signals, it means that he sees enough to keep him intrigued, but not enough for him to seal the deal.  In this scenario, he’s holding out until he gets more information. Tread lightly and figure out what you can do to address any doubts or hesitations he might have.  If he’s mature enough, he’ll be in touch with his concerns and will tell you directly.  Remember this: the cure for this type of indecision is not him becoming “more decisive.” It’s about you both locking in on what you want, being able to communicate your needs, and being able to change and grow.  If it works out, great!  If it doesn’t, you’ll become a better woman in the process.

On the flipside, many men have a hard time committing to a woman, not because they’re unsure about the woman, but because they’re unsure about their own identity.  It’s hard for him to know if a woman’s right for him if he doesn’t know who HE is and what HE needs.  If you’re a woman who has been blessed with the gift of patience, you can wait for him.  If not, it’s probably best to let him figure this out on his own.

These myths are just some of the misconceptions women can have about men and how they think.  Are there others?  If you know of any other myths that didn’t make the cut, share them with us by commenting below.  And are there myths that men believe about women that need to be cleared up? Feel free to add those too.  Bridging the gap between the sexes is going to be a team effort and we can’t rely on Steve Harvey’s Think Like a Man to fix it for us.  We need real dialogue, and it starts here.

Be sure to check out Part One of 10 Myths Women Believe about Men!


Published in Dating

Dating // May 20, 2013

In many ways, I'm quite the typical guy.  I like football, fast cars, and I love a good home-cooked meal. I quote Coming to America whenever I get the chance.  And I love to turn things into a competition, just for the fun of it.  Like I said - typical.

But because of my unique journey, I'm also very different.  Growing up in Oakland makes you develop a little faster.  As a young entrepreneur, swimming in an ocean full of sharks will teach you some cold, hard lessons about business.  Searching for meaning in a world full of chaos tests your resolve.  And getting your heart broken time and time again will challenge what you really believe about love.

Because of culture, media, and our experiences, we can fall into the trap of believing in myths instead of seeking the truth.  If the truth has the power to set you free, myths can keep you stuck in patterns of dysfunction.  This is especially true when applied to relationships between men and women.  While men could stand to learn a thing or two about women, that’s not what I’m here to talk about right now.  I’m here to help squash some of the long-standing beefs women have with men in the dating scene, and it starts with killing some of these myths that keep us at odds. I know it’s hard out there, but I hope these insights help you navigate your relationships with the men you meet.


Myth #1: All Males Are “Men.”

A Made Man operates under a different code than other men.  He’s a leader that lives his life according to clear principles and values.  Men like this stand out and you notice one when you meet him, not because he’s flashy, but because he commands your respect.  And a Made Woman won’t be satisfied in a relationship if she’s not with this type of man.

Myth #2: If He’s Single, Either He’s Gay, Crazy, Or He’s Lying.

If I had a dollar for every time a woman asked me why I was single, I’d be waking up in that new Bugatti that Ace Hood raps about.  I often talk to women who are puzzled by the single man that isn’t actively looking for a wife.  They assume there’s something wrong with him or that he’s afraid of commitment. To me Phonte from the rap group Little Brother said it best: “A woman’s life is love. A man’s love is life.”  For a Made Man, to find a good woman is one of the best gifts he could receive.  But the ultimate pursuit and prize lies in that man finding his purpose and passion, establishing himself in his work, and leaving his mark on the world. The great Steve Jobs talked about “making a dent in the universe.” All Made Men have this inherent desire to make an impact.  It’s how we’re programmed.  We don’t view women as less important than our passions.  They are to be our companions and partners as we go on our journey towards meaning and significance.

Myth #3: There’s No Such Thing As A “Guy Friend,” And If He Says He Wants To Be Your Friend, He’s Lying.

This is a tricky one because there are a few ways guys can act when it comes to friendship with women. Many women can remember a time where they thought they had built a solid friendship with a guy who just genuinely seemed interested in being their friend.  But in the end, it turned out that he was trying to figure out how to use his charm to get past her defenses and make his move.  This cunning scheme has broken the trust of women around the world, and it has ruined it for men that value platonic female friendships.  Some men are mature enough to enjoy the company and energy of a woman, and some men aren’t.  It’s too bad that the wolves in sheep’s clothing ruin it for the good guys that just want female companionship.

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But there are, in fact, some men that want to establish a solid friendship with a woman before taking it to the next level.  These men need to get know the real woman before they consider them as a potential suitable life partner.  They need to see the woman as she really is, and without the veneer that’s often put up during courtship. There is nothing conniving about this.  In fact, with the divorce rate what it is, it's probably smart for him to do his homework in this way. Women need to be able to identify this man, and appreciate the fact that he cares about his future and his family enough to choose his mate wisely. The difference between this guy and the wolf in sheep’s clothing is that instead of just saying he wants to be friends he proves it over time by showing he cares about you.

Myth #4: Men Are Intimidated By Strong Women.

Men can be just as insecure as some women are, and strong women can scare them.  But a Made Man is never intimidated by a strong woman.  He’s excited about her.  Because he’s secure in his identity, he isn’t threatened.  Instead, he’s excited to see her grow and thrive.  If you find yourself scaring off all the men you encounter, you could possibly be around a bunch of fragile boys in men’s clothing.  Steer clear of them for now.  But a word of caution: don’t confuse the word “strong” as a license for you to be disrespectful or insensitive.  It can be easy slip into cynicism, but don’t give in to it.  You might miss a Made Man when he appears.

Myth #5: Age Equals Maturity.

Just because a guy is older doesn’t mean he has his life together.  I know some 40 year-old guys who look for a  girlfriend that will take on the role of  their mother.  And I know some 20 year-olds that are ready to be the head of their household. From an emotional and psychological standpoint, some guys never leave the nest. They expect their woman to be compliant and always able to fix whatever mess he gets himself into.  Every man wants a woman who will be his biggest supporter and cheerleader.  But any guy who would rather have an enabler more than a co-pilot is not a Made Man.  A Made Man knows that every power couple is made up of two strong individuals.  He’s not looking for his mom.  He’s looking for his match.

These are just a few of the myths that women believe about men, and we’ll explore a few more in the next column.  But I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think these are myths?  Or are these realities that men will never be able to escape from?


Next Issue:  10 Myths Women Believe about Men (Part 2)


Published in Dating
Monday, 06 May 2013 01:53

Dating | Dating Mr. No Ambition

Dating // May 6, 2013

This article was originally published on Bauce Magazine and was written by Ahyana King.

I don’t know how the dating/sex/marriage conversation went for most of you. But for me, it was this dance between random guerilla education tactics by my parents and the church. Then, it  was my human sexuality class freshman year, every Tuesday and Thursday, and church. Then, it was my work as an HIV tester and counselor, advice about relationships among my friends that had gone awry, and church. You get my point.

A pretty big influence on how or whom I dated was church. What impacted me most from the various church experiences was not so much “Don’t have sex while you’re dating, wait until your married,” but “Don’t be unequally yoked.” And whether you believe in God or soccer balls, I think there is something very practical about the idea of not being unequally yoked.

What does the saying mean exactly? Well, as a Christian, it means: if he or she isn’t a Christian, don’t get involved, and definitely don’t marry them. In a more practical sense: if he or she isn’t on par with who you are or who you are becoming, don’t bother dating, getting emotionally involved, and then being disappointed later and conflicted about how to end things because “We don’t want the same things.”

Ladies, we do this A LOT,  especially when it comes to men and their ambition. We are eternal hopefuls, fully convinced that we can lead by example, partner with him, and encourage him. And when we have two degrees and he’s still struggling to get the one he was working on when you met six years ago, you’re baffled, and resent him and his good looks. Therefore, in the case of ambition, do not be unequally yoked. Here’s why:

1. You risk getting stuck. Slowly, but surely, you will find yourself re-adjusting your own goals to fit the comfortable space he is in. You will find yourself not looking for the dream marketing position at a firm in San Francisco because all he’s known is Prince George County, his family lives there, and you already moved there from New York. “Be stable with him,” is what you will tell yourself. That will sound good at first, until your ambitious friends are uprooting, globetrotting, and out living their goals.

2. You risk your happiness. I have yet to meet the who is truly happy with herself and accepting of her lifestyle, while being resentful and bitter toward someone. However, I have met the woman who has “sacrificed” her dreams to stay with a man in hopes of changing him, motivating him, and being his “ride or die chick,” so that together, they can become the next Barack and Michelle. When she realizes that he is not into the responsibility that comes with managing a team at his job, starting a business, owning instead of renting, or going back to school, she often becomes hurt and bitter toward him and disappointed and unhappy with herself. You can do bad all by yourself. No need to be in a relationship with a guy who is not interested in doing anything more than what he was doing before he met you or since he met you.

3. You risk not being in the healthy relationship you want and deserve. When his lack of ambition frustrates you, the dynamics of the relationship will change. The likelihood of you being less understanding and forgiving will increase. The likelihood of you continuing to value and appreciate what made you fall for him is likely to decrease. Granted these dynamics can happen for a variety of reasons, even if your man is just as ambitious as you, your frustration with his lack of ambition can hasten and heighten the intensity of such changing and challenging dynamics.

When I posted the question, “Why shouldn’t you date someone who isn’t as ambitious as you?” to my Facebook page, the feedback came pouring in. Most people were writing some variation of the three reasons I listed above. However, one responded with a reminder that I think is important to share.

While he may not be as ambitious as you, you may carry enough ambition for the two of you. Lack of ambition is not the same as being uneducated, incapable of being a supportive loving partner and provider, or having the other qualities that are important when considering a potential mate. If ambition is one of your non-negotiables on your list of desirable qualities in a mate, then don’t negotiate it. If it is negotiable, consider the three risks mentioned above, as well as all of the great (and they better be great - Made Women deserve great) qualities he has before deciding how important his lack of ambition is.

For more great content, check out Bauce Magazine.

Published in Relationships
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