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.
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)
Scrap your Mr. Perfect list.
What if I told you that when you annihilate the borders of restriction you allow in a tide of eligible men?
Would you be willing to release and let go of what you think will make you happy in a man?
Yes? Cool. Stay with me a minute.
Courage is key here.
Up until now, your checklist has been a self-erected barricade to love and probably held you back from getting precisely what you want – and more. Is it possible that your list has become a convenient excuse allowing you to dodge the challenge and closeness of a real relationship?
Often it can seem easier to remain single and independent, than to expose ourselves to the vulnerability and intimacy that is inherent in love’s blind faith.
So with fear at our backs – what do we do? Seconds after meeting someone, we compare him to our Mr. Perfect list and judge him as not “the one.” Sound familiar?
(I’ve been guilty of it too, ladies.)
Who is Mr. Perfect anyway?
He is an idealized vision you have of the man you should be with for the rest of your life. He’s an illusion – a fictional character you’ve created based on limited, crumbling, and faded information from your past. It will be impossible to find the right man for you now – in the present – while your check list is based on an old, less brilliant version of you.
Take notice of where you are anchored.
Is it in the past, in fiction, or in reality?
Get to the pulse of your consciousness.
Let’s use me as an example. I am 35 this October, and about 7 years ago, I sat down and wrote out my perfect man checklist. I sealed it in an envelope and put it in a wish box under my bed.
My Mr. Perfect looked like this: 6'2", sandy blonde/brown hair, and boyish, all-American good looks. Think Matt Damon, but taller. He would be a power executive at a major firm who had VIP meetings on his cell phone, while drinking a wheatgrass juice on the way to the gym. He had to live in the city, and have an impeccable sense of style.
Four years later, I still hadn’t found him. Why? Because I constructed this list based on old thought patterns, reactions, and judgements. I was unable to see that anyone else existed.
And I was lonely.
I needed to create a new normal for myself – pronto.
I set out on a mission to penetrate the present. I ripped up my perfect man checklist, and immersed myself in discovering what was true for me now. I began investigating the way I dated. I let go of the stale ideas of what I thought would make me happy in a man. I was petitioning the universe to bring me something completely new and fresh.
Today, I’m in love with an amazing man who brings me complete elation. He is 5'11", with dark and thick black hair, sexy ethnic eyes, hates wheatgrass, and has an obsession with coffee. He is passionate about his career, which is prosperous, but he’s certainly not wheeling and dealing major real-estate ventures. He owns his home out toward the desert, and to my lovely surprise, I enjoy listening to the rustle of the trees at night rather than honking horns.
See the contrast?
My ideas of the ideal man were so pale and so restricted compared to his shine.
Are you short-changing yourself?
Is it possible that your vision of the perfect man is way too narrow?
Why confine yourself to some fantasy idea of who you think you should be with?
Love is art, and art is risky.
Take a risk.
Torch self-limiting dating concepts.
Love is waiting for you on the other side.
And she is pure and she is encouraging.
Thirty. The big 3-0. Dirty 30. What exactly is it about this number that makes it synonymous the word “married” when mentioned in relation to a woman’s age? Who decided that the minute a girl is no longer a twenty-something, she must be, better be, should be married? It’s as if a secret memo was sent out to everyone in America stating:
Since most women are no longer getting married in their early 20’s, we’ve decided to increase the female marriage ceiling to age 30. Please make this information known throughout the land—from advertisements and word-of-mouth marketing to incessant Facebook posts from happy newlyweds—we need all ladies under 30 to be aware of this expectation so they can find Mr. Right prior to leaving their 20’s. So, if you happen to know a girl who is 27-29 years old, do pressure them to think about getting hitched for life ASAP.
The Powers that Be (Creators of social norms and customs that are rarely updated to reflect changes and growth within society. While some of these “rules” might not feel right or make sense, just go with the flow until otherwise notified.)
I live in LA, a city where both men and woman tend to marry a bit later in life, and yet I still spent the last years of my 20‘s feeling that somehow, I’d messed up. I had followed the wrong trail and thus, my “important-life-moments” timeline was off. It began slowly at first, when I was 27 ... an engagement post on Facebook, an invite to a wedding—it was happening. People I knew were beginning the next stage of life and saying “I do.”
For a minute, I too was part of the engaged-before-30-crowd. Nearing 28, I pushed the issue of marriage with my then-boyfriend of two years and he gave in, asked my parents for my hand and ... we waited. A year later when no date had been set and more importantly, I’d realized he was not my Mr. Forever, we broke up. Now, at 31, I look back and realize that while I was heartbroken, I was equally distraught thinking that I had just lost my chance to get married before I was 30.
But my 31-year-old self, still unmarried, knows something that my 27-year-old self did not. I am worth waiting for. My genuine happiness is worth waiting for. As fabulous MADE women, we deserve to get married when, and only when, we find the man who makes us glow from the inside and fits the detailed description of what we want in a life partner ... and then some. I’ve seen too many friends settle for Mr. Right-Before-30 and frankly, they are either not that happy, or worse—divorced.
Today, I believe I have found my Mr. Forever. We’ve been together for three years and because I am over 30 the pressure to get married is SUPER intense—my parents, my friends, my Facebook page now booming with babies and the little voice in my head asking, “When will it be my turn?” And let’s face it ladies—if we want to have babies, there is a real timeline—but, that should not change the fact that your dream life will never become your real life if you settle. So to the twenty-somethings who are panicking because there is no ring on the horizon and to the thirty-somethings who have yet to walk down the aisle, remember this:
1. MARRY BECAUSE YOU BOTH WANT TO - not because you’re about to be 30 and you force an ultimatum. Come on. We’ve all been there, girls! A nudge is fine, a subtle hint, sure. BUT DON’T BE THAT GIRL. If he doesn’t want to marry you, you DESERVE TO FIND A MAN WHO DOES.
2. MARRY WHEN YOU FIND MR. FOREVER - not because you’re turning 30 next year.
3. NEVER SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOU WANT - in love, in work, in health, in life.
When you finally say “I do,” if you ever do, there is a good chance that you’ll only say it once. And you’ll be saying it to the right person, not just the person you found right before you turned 30.
What is it about Valentine’s day that brings out the haters in full force? I mean for real, it’s like as soon as the red boxes of candy and heart-shaped Hallmark cards hit the shelves everybody and their stank-faced aunty suddenly has a problem with the “forced commercialism” of the holiday. These people have never even said the word “commercialism” before in their lives and buy every new Chanel bag that comes out -- and suddenly they have a problem with it. Then there is the “I show love everyday so I don’t need to do anything special on Valentine’s Day” crew. I mean, I feel this. If you really are sending your sweetheart flowers just to say “I love you” every other week, OK, cupid gives you a pass. But I think this is highly unlikely. What’s more likely is you count the effort you put in for your significant other’s bday and your anniversary as enough work and then proceed to hate on V-day. My question is why? Why all the love-hate?
Cue the 5th grade book report intro: Valentine’s day began as a celebration for Saint Valentine who was supposedly imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers and ministering to Christians. Today, Valentine’s day is the most celebrated holiday in the world after New Year’s Day. And yes, for many it’s lost its meaning. February 14th causes more heads to ache than it does hearts to beat faster. There are dinner reservations to make, outfits to buy, gifts to give… But this holiday, like all the others, is only as meaningful as you make it. If all it means to you is “Damn, I better hit up See’s Candy on my way home from work” or “hmm… maybe I’ll get some nookie tonight,” then just go ahead and give up on V-Day. Because just like the original St. Valentine, the day should be about expressions of love for love’s sake. They say “keep hope alive” for a reason: values take work. It doesn’t even have to be about you, boo boo. Send your best friend and her new fiancé some expensive champagne. Hug your roommate and bake him/her some cookies. Bring candy hearts or chocolate to work and attach a note of appreciation for your co-workers. Basically for one day show the world you have a beating, bleeding heart in your chest and that you are capable of expressing love.
If you do want to keep the day romantic, maybe instead of going out to eat it would be better to, I don’t know, talk to your significant other about their hopes, dreams, and (dare I say it) future. If you V-Day haters out there are so against the superficial, then let’s get real! Light some candles, turn on some Sade and talk about feelings, damn it. Who is this person you are dating anyway? If it’s real, if you are going to go the distance, you should know each other and know how to communicate. Better to work out issues with V-Day dinner in your belly and a smile on your face than to wait until there are real problems.
Still not convinced? Consider the alternative. The other 364 days of the year when the main topic of conversation isn’t “love” but war/famine/Chris Brown /Real Housewives of [insert city]/discrimination/injustice. As anyone who watches the local news can attest, sh*t is real out there. Maybe if we loved ourselves up a bit more some of these problems (hopefully CBreezy) would go away. Maybe expressing love and light for a day instead of hate and shade might make you and those around you feel better. Maybe if we treasure this one day of love, the other days on the calendar will get a bit brighter. Love works. Love lasts. But I’m starting to sound like a Hallmark card. I’ll just let Stevie tell you…
“Love’s in need of Love today…” Stevie Wonder
The 1960s: the era of mod, The Beatles, beehive-shaped hair... and idyllic dating. Dates were formal affairs where guys picked you up, dropped you off and, most importantly, always paid. If you’ve seen the 1963 musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” you know all about “getting pinned,” which is where a boy bestowed upon his love a club or fraternity pin to indicate that the two were “going steady.” “Going steady” led to engagement, which led to marriage and picket fences and the pitter-patter of little feet. There was no hanky panky before there were rings placed on fingers. The rules were definitive and clear-cut. Oh, how things have changed…
Forty-something years later, there are no murkier waters than those of the modern dating landscape, and “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are no longer the only labels that today’s daters have to contend with:
1. “Hanging Out:” You’ve gone on three or four dates (probably only for drinks), you text every so often and you’ve maybe even hooked up once or twice, but both of you are keeping your options wide open, not putting all of your eggs into the other’s basket.
2. “Friends with benefits/Booty Call buddies:” You hook up on a regular basis but there are no plans for the long term. He’s never met your friends or your roommate, but you have him on speed dial for those after 11pm emergencies.
3. “Boo’ed up:” You’ve been hanging out for a while. You’ve been on several dates: dinner, daytime and otherwise. He’s your plus one but not quite your boyfriend. You talk often. There’s still been no discussion of exclusivity, but it’s becoming more and more clear that you like each other and enjoy spending time together.
4. “Exclusive:” You’ve had a talk, but not “the talk.” You like each other enough to agree to stop seeing/sleeping with other people, but have yet to DTR (define the relationship). An exclusive relationship looks a lot like a bf/gf situation. You’ve met each other’s friends and spend a lot of time together, but you wouldn’t necessarily introduce the other as “my boyfriend” or “my girlfriend.” Maybe it’s because this brings up thoughts of marriage (which may freak either one of you out) or you are just too cool for labels.
It’s not just the initial stages of dating that have changed drastically over the years; the later ones have transformed as well. Back in the day, engagement always came before cohabitation. Now, since “shacking up” is no longer socially forbidden, couples can “play house” for years before deciding whether or not they want to get married. “The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right” by dating coaches Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, published in 1995, stressed that no girl should date a man for longer than two years. If by that time she had no ring on her finger, the book suggested that she move on. The goal was marriage. Daters of today don’t feel the same way.
Marriage rates today are the lowest they’ve ever been in the history of the United States. While 72% of all American adults were married in 1960, only 51% are married today. Is this because daters have become so used to the lack of labels that they feel overwhelmed at the prospect of being someone’s “husband” or “wife”? Has our culture of hookups sans commitment conditioned us away from the traditions that used to be so important to us? And the real question: does it matter? We, the daters of today, define our dating landscape. Maybe it’s okay to leave labels behind and focus on connection instead. Because in the end, the path to love and happiness may have changed since the 1960s, but our desire for it has definitely remained the same.
Dinner plans, check. Appropriate manly-yet-romantic gift for the man you love, check. Candles and music for the...ahem...after party, check. But the day of love is approaching and you haven’t answered the million dollar question: What are you going to wear!? Here are some classy suggestions for outfits sure to make his heart beat a little faster:
This floral sheath from Aqua hugs you in all the right places. It is sure to brighten up any evening outing. And since it’s on sale for $75.60, the price is right to buy now for V-day and wear through spring.
Keeping your Valentine’s day low-key? Or just not the type to dress up? Then I recommend wearing your favorite love story. From the romantic Great Gatsby to the sensual Lolita, Out of Print clothing carries a variety of T-shirts, fleece, and totes featuring famous book covers. Wear one of these T-shirts under a blazer and pair with high-heels or boots for a casual look that is timelessly chic.
Planning a long walk on the beach? This jumpsuit is a stylish and cute way to strut on the sand. The red rose print is also very fitting for Valentine’s Day wear.
If you’re going somewhere a bit more formal, this dress by French Connection has great movement and is a fun but classic option.
These tanks by Haute Hippie are playful and perfect for V-Day. Wear with leather leggings to make a flirty statement.
These d’Orsay pumps by Jean-Michel Cazbat can be worn to work and to play. The mint and pink choices are perfect for making a V-Day outfit pop. Oh, and that back detail – walking sex!
I am not really a Hello Kitty kind of girl. But even I have to admit these heart-print Hello Kitty pumps I found on JustFab.com are quite cute.
Going somewhere glitzy? If you’re visiting a local hot spot or going dancing, these glittery sandals by Kate Spade will have you standing out and feeling good.
If your taste is edgier or you are looking to bundle up by wearing some cute booties, these studs are the perfect mate. The toes are capped with spikes and crystals, and the boots come in red or black. Who doesn’t love a hot shoe on sale? For only $70 you can have a trendy boot to wear with a LBD or some great skinny slacks.
This studded heart bag will win yours over. And for $48 this deal is no heart (or bank) breaker.
Jacquie Aiche shows us how to show our love: by wearing it on our ears. The ear cuff is a new, trendy way to wear jewels on the ears. I love how this piece peeks out at the top of the ear, so unexpected and fresh.
This necklace from JustFab.com is a true gem. It has every color on it, so it can go with anything! In fact, you may want to gift yourself with this beauty come V-Day.
Don’t wait for a guy to put a ring on it. You can do that yourself. Stack and layer this cute bow ring also on (JustFab.com) for a truly pretty sight.
Whatever your plans may be for February 14, show yourself some love and indulge in a wardrobe update. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about just lingerie. Buy something that you will actually wear on other days of the year and that you absolutely love.
No one really likes doing it (at least, I hope not), but the truth is that fighting is inevitable in any relationship. It just comes with the territory. If the gloves are going to come off, it is best to fight clean. Yes, there is a right way to fight in a relationship, and here’s how to do so without hitting below the belt:
1. Know what you’re fighting for.
Even if it starts out about something silly, like not putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, you need to know what is at the root of the conflict. Maybe the real issue is you feel that your man doesn’t help out enough around the house; maybe you’ve asked him to clean up time after time and you are feeling that he is just not listening to you. The key is communication. Make sure you understand what the deeper issues are and whether or not it is worth blowing up over. Once you have identified that, communicate it to your significant other. Give him a chance to see the big picture so that he knows you are not blowing your fuse over something small, even though that may have been the catalyst.
2. Know the rules.
I would hope that the days of punching each other and name calling were left on the playground, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Being physical is never the answer. And sometimes words can hurt even more than any slap in the face, so choose them wisely. Odds are, you know which buttons to push that are sensitive for your partner. Don’t push them just to see what happens. We all have our baggage and issues that are off limits. Stick to what is relevant and don’t ever say something just to be hurtful, no matter how hurt you are. Be the bigger person and turn the other cheek. If your partner is constantly pushing those hot-button issues and going where you told him not to, it might be time to walk away and not become a fellow mudslinger.
3. Know who to involve.
Being in the middle of a lover’s quarrel is never fun. It is a fast way to lose friends, so never involve them. Of course, we all confide in our besties to hear us out and blow off some steam, but they should never be called upon to do your fighting for you. Don’t force them to choose sides. And for the love of all things holy, don’t post/tweet/Instagram about these disagreements. That is TMI for everyone else and just plain inconsiderate of your partner’s privacy.
4. Know how to walk away.
A dramatic exit is great for a wedding or a theatrical performance, but when in the middle of fighting, it is never wise to leave kicking and screaming. Don’t slam doors or kick someone out of a car. If you truly need to leave the situation to deal, then explain calmly that you are angry and need to take a walk. And don’t leave in the middle of your partner saying their piece – as ridiculous as it may be. If you want to be heard out, you have to hear them out. Even if things end in a break up, try to walk away with grace so that you will always be remembered as the one who got away – not the drama queen who slammed doors, screamed, cried and ended up single.
5. Know how to deal.
Fighting never feels good, but you need to handle this dispute like an adult. If you are feeling really angry, I recommend a hardcore workout to get that aggression out of your system. Any sort of meditation or maybe a spa treatment or massage are a good idea. Maintain your calm and focus on you, and your health. Take the time to hang out with friends and family and cherish the other relationships in your life that are important to you.
6. Know how to change.
They say you can’t change people, and maybe sometimes you can’t. But if you really love someone and are getting to a point where you are fighting over the same issues again and again, think about what you can do differently. Change doesn’t have to mean reinventing yourself or being brainwashed. Sometimes it just means bending a little. Try offering up healthy compromises when you and your honey are fighting. Sometimes it’s about what you can do to help rather than just pointing out how the other person is not helping.
Remember, you are ultimately fighting for your relationship. Everyone has the right to be heard. Don’t worry about “winning” or “losing” your arguments, just be willing to work towards a solution together. If your partner is not interested in solving things, then question what you are doing together in the first place. And above all else, don’t ever be afraid to say “I’m sorry.” It doesn’t negate everything you said or make the fight null and void, but it does show that you are mature enough to admit that you care about your significant other and their feelings. Some things are worth fighting for, and some are not. Regardless, finding common ground is the best way to win someone over or maybe even win someone back. And that’s how everyone wins.
Fortunately for Made Women, marriage today is a joyful choice we make instead of a societal tradition that is expected of us. With this choice comes the question, “How will I know if I’m ready to get married?” Only you will truly know if you are ready, but here are a few signs that may help you understand whether or not to-have-and-to-hold is the right step for you.
(Much credit to my supportive husband who brainstormed with me about how we knew we were ready to get married!)
1. You know what works for you and what doesn’t. The dating journey is the time to learn what you desire in relationships; what makes you swoon and what makes you crazy. When you realize what your deal breakers are and what you cannot live without, you’ve taken a huge step toward knowing what you want in a lifetime partner.
2. You’re ready to share your experiences. At this point in life, you’ve likely written a bucket list or two. When you begin to think those experiences would be even more special if you had someone to share them with, you may be ready for that “forever” step. Whether it’s a new puppy, a European adventure or taking on a new hobby, matrimony may be the right choice if you’re longing to share life with someone else.
3. You’ve lived your young, free and single years to their fullest. Have you had enough wild girls’ nights out, dancing till dawn and shamelessly flirting to get you free drinks at the bar? Have you been truly single and satisfied and pursued your greatest ambitions? If so, you can move toward wedded bliss knowing you lived it up during your single life.
4. You stand on your own two feet. You are confident in your own success and you’re comfortable doing things on your own. Maybe you moved cross country or traveled the world or lived by yourself, and you know that you don’t need a man. When you do find someone who complements that strong sense of self and supports your ambition, he’s likely the right type of guy for the long run.
5. You stop expecting perfection. We all need standards, and we should not settle for anything less. But to make it down the aisle successfully, it’s important to understand that everyone has their own history, experiences and flaws. If you are ready to love someone, flaws and all, you may be ready to say “I do.”
6. Doubt doesn’t creep in. Instead of analyzing every conversation, you are completely secure with where your relationship stands. There aren’t any “what are we?” questions. Though the phrase has been said a million times, it’s true: When you’re with the right person, you’ll know.
7. You don’t try to justify your relationship. We’ve all had those relationships that other people just couldn’t understand … or so we thought. The type that usually makes you defensive when those close to you express their concern. When you’re in a healthy relationship, your family and friends will most likely be the first to see that it brings out the best in you, and they will be nothing but happy for you.
There is a lot more to being ready for marriage than these tips, but these are some of the ways I knew that I was ready to marry my husband.
When do you think a Made Woman is ready for wedding bells? Share your signs and tips in the comments section!
We women can be a host of emotions, instincts and insecurities, which influence our behavior on a daily basis. Think about image alone: We sacrifice comfort to wear sky-high heels because we like how they look. We spend crazy amounts of money on products that add colors and contours to our face that nature never intended to be there. When it comes to dating and relationships, things can get even more absurd. When I consider my own history -- along with things my friends have done -- there’s no lack of evidence that even the most level-headed woman can lose her cool when tangoing with the opposite sex. The following is a list of things that I’ve either experienced or witnessed that aren’t just “dating don’ts"; they’re straight up crossing the line.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr... As strange as it is to say, a certain level of stalking has become commonplace with the insane variety of social media outlets available. In fact, it's damn near impossible not to stalk people (Facebook feeds, anyone?). Of course you’re going to check out pictures when your man posts them to Instagram, and notice statuses he puts up…and maybe who commented on them. But don’t become the internet police. Unless you’re ready to shirk all of your social networking accounts, you’re going to have to learn to exercise a certain level of restraint. You know what I’m talking about: don’t go rifling through every virtual detail about the life of the chick who wrote “LOL so cute!” on a picture of your guy’s puppy. I know firsthand how easy it is to stalk someone on the internet *cough*, but I also know that if you go poking for trouble, you’re probably going to find it. The truth is, if you’re that tempted to investigate every detail of your man’s accounts and everyone interacting with them, there’s probably a bigger issue in the relationship…or you seriously need to work on your trust issues before it ruins the relationship altogether.
OK seriously, don’t go through his dresser drawers. Don’t do a drive-by at his house in the middle of the night because he didn’t respond to your goodnight text at 11:30. Don’t go through his phone when he leaves it unattended next to you while he takes a shower. For all the same reasons as #1, you should not be disrespecting his privacy by going through his things. Again, if you don’t trust him, why are you with him to begin with?
Maybe you hate his one friend who’s always playing girls and talking about it in detail in front of you. Maybe you don’t appreciate that pretty girl from high school that he still goes out to lunch with occasionally. These feelings might be warranted, but if you attempt to dictate who he’s friends with, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Unless this friend is causing SERIOUS issues in your relationship, you need to let it slide. Even if he does cut this person off at your request, he’s likely going to end up resenting you for it.
Things are going great in the relationship. You’re staying over his place a few times a week and rainbows shoot out of your eyes when you see each other. It’s totally fine to leave some of your clothes in his bottom drawer, right? It’s definitely not a big deal to leave a toothbrush in his bathroom, and maybe suggest he take down his favorite (hideous) Han Solo poster…right? Slow down, sister. Men, much like independent women, appreciate their space. Don’t just assume he’s feeling as relaxed about sharing his space as you are. Communication is key here – make sure he’s okay with you leaving your personal touches around his apartment before you do anything.
To a certain level, money issues are hard to avoid in a relationship as a couple becomes closer and their lives become increasingly intertwined, but we’re talking about crossing the line here. You should never, ever, ever spend his money without permission. You shouldn’t even ASK. If he wants to buy you something, great! Go for it. But putting your palms out and asking for a handout isn’t just unattractive, it’s a surefire way to get labeled as a gold digger. Same goes for telling him what to do with his money. Maybe you think he shouldn’t be spending all of his extra cash on take out and building up his movie collection, but unless your finances are linked, it’s not your place to step in. You wouldn’t appreciate him telling you to quit your spa days and online shoe shopping, so let him decide what to do with the money he earned.
You know what kind of physical I’m talking about. No matter how mad he may make you, there’s never any excuse to lay a smackdown on your guy. I’ve heard girls laugh as they admit they raised a hand to their boyfriend’s face before, but whether he shrugs it off like it's a fly buzzing around his head or you legitimately do some damage, it’s not funny and it’s not okay. Never dole out OR accept violence in a relationship. Starting a cycle of violent behavior is to be avoided, period.
There’s obviously no one-size-fits-all guide on how to act at all times in a relationship, but these are things that you should avoid at all costs. Hey, we know no one’s perfect and sometimes we can get tempted to cross the line (I’ve broken a couple of these rules before -- with heinous results, I might add), but just ask yourself if conducting yourself inappropriately is worth the inevitable fallout. Sometimes lines are drawn for a reason.
When we think of honeymoons, we imagine ourselves reclined on a sunny beach and fully submerged in a state of pure bliss. The pictures we paint for ourselves are so naturally calming that we easily forget the effort that goes into creating such an unforgettable experience. Yes, it would be lovely if the perfect honeymoon came gift wrapped with a pretty bow and a bottle of champagne. But unless you have a personal assistant and thousands to spare, you should prepare for your upcoming honeymoon with certain practicalities in mind so your journey through paradise goes off without a hitch.
1. You might have always dreamed of spending your honeymoon on a yacht in Ibiza, but it is important to be realistic about your budget when choosing a location. Not only is this fiscally responsible, but it will ultimately spare you unnecessary stress. The wedding undoubtedly set you back thousands of dollars and your honeymoon is the time to unwind from the months of planning and spending, not to be guiltily fretting about the ever-mounting expense of the vacation. Ways to save money include choosing a destination that is closer to home or lesser known, or traveling during the “shoulder season”, which is right before or right after peak season. You can still have fun with your new spouse while also saving a penny or two, leaving you more relaxed and able to enjoy your new lives together when you get back home.
2. Understandably, you are going to be very eager about the honeymoon; not only are you having a romantic getaway with the love of your life, but you’re probably going to a locale you’ve never been to before. Go, see, conquer, right? While this excitement and a sense of adventure is a positive thing, it’s crucial that you don’t become overzealous when planning the itinerary. What do I mean by this? The first day of your honeymoon should not start with the two of you waking at the crack of dawn to rush to a tour bus, followed by a rushed breakfast and then racing from one museum to the next. A honeymoon is the ultimate opportunity to live in the moment and truly enjoy your partner, so plan for a leisurely pace. While it’s a good idea to anticipate a few highlights you’ll want to experience during your trip, plan on having plenty of late brunches and relaxed, site-seeing strolls with your new spouse.
3. Make sure that all loose ends are addressed prior to boarding your plane. The last thing you want to do is waste precious vacation time dealing with a forgotten prescription or an unresolved work situation. Try making a checklist of things that need to be taken care of before you leave and knocking them out one at a time. You should also pack responsibly and plan for worse-case scenarios. One good idea is to carry your money and forms of ID in two different bags in case one is lost or stolen. Be prepared for all types of weather, as nothing can quite ruin a romantic evening like violently shivering in the rain.
4. When planning things to do during your honeymoon, take the wants and needs of both people into account. If an afternoon of zip lining might sound fantastic to you but your hubby is afraid of heights, skip the entire affair. While marriage is about compromise, your honeymoon shouldn’t be; he might be willing to begrudgingly concede to your preferences, but this is a potential setup for resentments and bickering. Instead, find activities that interest both of you and, if you have a hard time pinpointing such opportunities, perhaps reconsider your selected location. Activities will be more fun together anyway.
5. Be flexible and have a sense of humor. If your romantic beach side getaway is seemingly “ruined” by unusual amounts of rain, laugh it off and find fun, indoor alternatives. If the two of you get hopelessly lost on the way to a concert and miss the entire event, open your eyes to the beauty in what is immediately around you rather than focusing on what you missed. If you’re spending your time complaining about the concert, you might miss out on the cute boutique on the corner or the fun bar two blocks away. With your new husband by your side, I’m sure there will be a silver lining to every bout of bad luck.