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Category Archives: The Bad & The Ugly

What About Your Friends?

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Queenie K is new to the revolutionary concept of Love. As she grows and matures in the revolution, she looks to strengthen and refine her expressions, acceptance, and demands of Love. She hopes to apply the Love lessons learned not just to her dating habits but also to her interactions with family and friends in hopes of starting a cycle of healthy relationships for herself and those around her. Follow her on twitter @CocoaQueenK


tlc-what_about_your_friends(1)“So, she told you about what happened.”

Those were the words said, in the drunk and teasing voice of one my close girl friends, to my boyfriend.  Those were the words that pretty much ended his birthday kickback.  My friend didn’t realize the effect her words had.  When she noticed he wasn’t amused, she apologized and walked back into the kitchen with everyone else.

I, however, stayed in the living room to try to sort things out with him.

She didn’t need to explain the “what”.  Him and I had already discussed it before.  My past.  An evening with another guy. At another kickback she had attended with me.  Over a year ago.  And yet, to my boyfriend it could have been yesterday.


In the sitcom Martin, the young couple was able to pull their friends together despite the bickering between Martin and Pam.

I had laid my past out on the table to him once we became serious.  Laid it out in preparation for situations just like this one.  I would never want to find out something about him from someone else.  So, I provided him the same courtesy, offering up a brief account of my encounters. Except, he couldn’t seem to get over it.  And it didn’t help that my friends, after a few too many drinks, loved to reminiscence.  It also didn’t help that my boyfriend and I had already argued two other times in the week and were beginning to reach a consensus that we didn’t care much for each others’ friends. The words of the current argument, which began with him demanding to know why my friend would ever bring something like that up to him but especially tonight, spiraled into an alcohol-induced turbulent funnel.  At the eye of the storm was one recurrent theme: Our Friends.

For him, my friends were my past personified.  For me, his were often too uncouth.  At times, our friends seemed to be on two extremes on a scale of Ratchet–with the two of us meeting each other in the middle.

The party ended early, with each of us retreating to our own spaces.  It was the first time that we didn’t make up before going to bed.

How important is the relationship between your friends and your significant other?  Pam and Martin never got along and yet, they were both still there for Gina.  But, of course, that’s scripted.  How likely is that in the real world?

“I’d Rather Be Played By A Bad Guy”

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In the ongoing battle between thugs and nerds, it seems thugs win round 1. But who wins the overall fight?

In the ongoing battle between thugs and nerds, it seems thugs win round 1. But who wins the overall fight?

Always on the dating discussion roundtable is a question near and dear to my heart. Why do good girls like bad guys/thugs/playas? Whatever the wording, the question asks why women with good heads on their shoulders choose men that’d rather toy with womens’ hearts than give anything that even somewhat resembles real commitment. Admittedly enough, I started this blog because I’d made a few poor dating choices myself. Mr. Lies-About-Everything-But-His-Name, Mr. Too-Cheap-To-Pay-Attention, and Mr. Please-Lock-Him-Under-The-Jail, just to name a few.  I meet a lot of different men–good men–that complain they were raised to treat women with care and respect but most of us going around here singing “I love my Mr. Wrong” like a hero anthem. And as I mentioned before, I’m not exempt. And from what I’ve seen over the years from sister friends and not so friendly sisters, many of you ladies aren’t either. Women settle for and settle down with men that aren’t any good leaving the Mr. Rights bitter, rejected, or friendzoned. And then we complain there aren’t any good men left. But why though? Mind boggling, right fellas? Well, like always, I have a theory! Check out the real reason why she passed you over for that smooth-talking athlete or the street-witted thug on a guest piece I wrote for The Sexy Single Mommy blog: I’d Rather Be Played By A Bad Guy.

I Have A Confession to Make…

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I don’t usually do this. But tonight I am writing a post to help me release some inner turmoil related to a seldom talked about but often felt human emotion that I’m currently experiencing. So here goes the confession…

You see, I can be a VERY  jealous and envious person. And not necessarily in that traditional don’t-you-dare-look-in-my-boyfriend’s-direction way. Ironically enough, that kind of thing doesn’t bother me. No. I mean something more like assuming that everyone is happy but me, wondering what those happy people have that I don’t, putting myself down for not having said “thing”, and then longing for this mysterious x-factor that would supposedly make my life better.  When I was younger, I would go as far as looking at Facebook pictures of women that looked happy and wish I had whatever it is they had that made them so happy. Only I never found out what that was because I based my assumptions off faulty premises. I saw pretty, smiling faces and assumed happiness. But when it came to my life–which I knew in far more detail–I only saw the lack and I only felt the constant longing. As you can guess, I carried this trait into all of my past relationships and even, unfortunately, into the current one. Sometimes, the constant longing proved a good thing. It propelled me endlessly toward solutions when we had problems. It helped me accept and receive feedback and criticism so that I could become a better partner.  Finally, it encouraged me to speak up for myself and challenge the men in my life to meet my needs. But other times, envy made it harder to wait and to trust and to feel content where I am. Tonight certainly seemed more like the latter. I watched two people I don’t particularly care for do something that I’ve always wanted to do. And I became so suddenly unhappy with my situation. Why did they get to do this? And why did I have to witness it? Why wasn’t it me up there? The negativity multiplied and spread through my body like a sickness. Jealousy must INDEED be a disease because I caught a bad case of it. Despite the fact that Mr. Right-For-Now works overtime to ensure that I enjoy my relationship life and that I have no reason to envy anyone else’s, somehow I always find myself longing. I am not proud of my response. This isn’t me bragging. This is me feeling weak, sick, and ashamed. Even though I appreciate everything Mr. Right-For-Now does, I still felt the poisonous sting of jealousy because someone else got something I wanted. I still feel it now as I write these words. Envy is my vice and it has been for a long time. And I don’t have a list of thought-out solutions, clever fixes, or innovative suggestions for myself or for anyone experiencing this. After all, I don’t really think you can avoid feeling jealous.  But I will use this experience as information and an opportunity to grow. God revealed me to me tonight. I learned that no matter how much I may have grown to Love myself, grown to trust my partner, and grown happy in my relationship, someone else’s life and relationship can still influence me. So now I know what I need to work on to mature.

Thank you for letting me share! I feel oodles better just admitting this. You know what they say, “the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.” In that same respect, the first step to expelling envious emotions is expressing them. I hope to write again soon with news of my progress. Goodnight Loves.

An Intelligent Person Under 30’s Guide to Infidelity in the 21st Century


All the things you hear, see, and digest about infidelity would have you believing that it is the single most worst relationship sin in the world. Listening to Michael Baisden’s radio show a few weeks ago, I found out many black  mothers teach their daughters to leave a man as soon as he cheats on you. Don’t ask him any questions. Don’t give him any second chances. Just leave! Then, watching Oprah Winfrey Network’s Unfaithful–a show dedicated to telling the painful realities of infidelities–taught me that 69% of marriages do not survive a case of infidelity. Apparently even God has a cheating clause in the Bible, siting adultery as an approved reason for divorce and public stoning. And I’m sure many of you have experienced firsthand the debilitating effects of extramarital affairs, whether with aunts and uncles, your own parents, or maybe your own marriage/relationship.

Now I do not want to undermine any life experiences or religious beliefs, but I am here today to challenge the most commonly held ideas on infidelity and present you with a new–maybe even radically revolutionary outlook on the issue. Dare say I, cheating is just an unhealthy byproduct of negative feelings and patterns in a relationship and a healthy couple can completely overcome a case of infidelity. For men and women under 30, the chances are pretty high that you’ll either cheat or be cheated on at some point in your dating/married life (See “Truth About Deception“). So it’s high time that we face these situations with a bit more modern knowledge and know-how, hence  An Intelligent Person Under 30’s Guide to Infidelity in the 21st Century. Let’s begin with some cold, hard facts.

Myths on Infidelity 

(1) All Men/Women Cheat

I hear this one spewed around a lot by both men and women and it’s simply not true. One report I read stated only about 20% of men actually cheat on their spouses. Another report claimed a whopping 50% of men violate their wedding vows. The naked truth is that any clinical studies or research polls on infidelity rely on self-reports of it which can vary greatly depending on something as simple as the time of day you asked the question. So researchers can only estimate anywhere from 30 to 60% of married individuals will go looking for sexual gratification elsewhere. But no matter how unreliable the numbers, we logically know that no one group–male or female–make up all those cheating cases. We also know that gender is not the best means for predicting cheating behaviors. In fact, female cheating has almost completely caught up to male cheating. A 2011 university study saw 23% of men admitting to cheating to 19% of women (See “Is Female Infidelity on the Rise?“) Making us ladies what we’ve always wanted to be, equals–at least in the cheating department.


(2) Cheating Is/Isn’t a Big Deal

Interestingly enough, though 30 to 60% of the married population may engage in extramarital extracurriculars,  99% say their vows expecting full faithfulness from their spouses. And a significant majority 80% of Americans still believe adultery is wrong, a 10% increase from the 1970s (Check out “How Common Are Cheating Spouses?“). Wait wait wait, so what’s going on here exactly? More of us believe it’s wrong but at the same time more of us are doing it? So is cheating a big deal or isn’t it? It appears we haven’t decided. Alarmingly, that says we’ve become an increasingly hypocritical nation when it comes to this issue. For the 30 and under set, in particular, it seems we use our parents’ outdated rhetoric and beliefs to negatively judge behaviors we partake in more and more frequently. In short, infidelity expectations aren’t meeting infidelity realities. It might be time to modernize the expectation.

(3) Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’

At times, we are the get-over generation. On one hand, we often find innovative ways to do a task smarter and faster than generations that came before us. But on the other hand, we are always looking for a shortcut or loophole to something–like girls who technically remain virgins because they only have anal sex. -__- Infidelity proves no exception. Nowadays, every man and woman has a different definition of cheating and therefore ways to technically circumvent the whole thing so that technically you never did anything wrong (Peep “The Definition of Cheating In a Relationship“). I suggest adapting the simplest definition of cheating–behaviors and acts meant to mislead, fool, or deliberately break rules. That would expand cheating to include something as diminutive as chatting your ex-beau up on Facebook if you lied about it. But that definition simultaneously frees you from the burden of anything done in truth. So if your girlfriend allows you to have sex with another woman with her full knowledge and coherent consent (also known as a threesome), well, go for it!

(4) Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater

I don’t know who started this sack of lies and frankly I don’t care. This is almost as absurd as saying once fat, always fat or once a smoker, always a smoker. People make mistakes! All of us. And sometimes people learn from those mistakes and make changes for the better. Yes, cheating hurts for all parties involved but there are ALSO cases where couples work through the infidelity and find themselves closer and even more in Love than before. I can honestly say this is precisely what happened to me when Mr. Right-For-Now stepped outside. His cheating brought to light some issues we hadn’t yet been able to talk about. And when he expressed himself to me, I actually felt sympathy for him despite what he’d done. To go a step further, I even saw how my own actions contributed to the situation that drove him into someone else’s arms. That didn’t make him any less wrong or me any less hurt. But when those initial feelings dissolved, we made it out on the other end. So I can tell you firsthand some devastating affairs have extremely positive effects for couples who dare move beyond it (Not convinced? Also read “Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?“). This is not to minimize the existence of serial cheaters, playas, and sex addicts. I’ve dated some of those too. But you have to be able to distinguish between a Lover who made a mistake and a Lover who lives to lie to you. One of the first signs you have something worth saving is when your partner admits their wrongdoing to you.

unfaithful-man-and-womanDo’s & Don’ts (Your Infidelity Takeaway)

(1) Don’t write a person off immediately for cheating. The first phase is disbelief, shock, hurt, and anger. Try hard not to make any irrational decisions while in this phase. Because when the smoke finally clears, you might see things a little differently than you did during your fit of rage.

(2) Do take the time to explore the person’s reason for cheating. When you’re ready, it’s worth it to ask why. One way to help prevent future cheating is to figure out the factors that caused the past cheating. If you know why you made a mistake, you’re less likely to make that same mistake again.

(3) Don’t think yourself above cheating. This applies to getting cheated on or doing the cheating. People with this haughty attitude often find themselves falling victim to it because they weren’t ready for the possibility of it. A person who cheats isn’t necessarily a certain type of person. Almost anyone under the right or wrong circumstances can cheat.

(4) Do forgive a cheater. Even when you don’t stay with the person, forgiveness is worth looking into. If you don’t take the time to heal and forgive, you’ll just carry those trust issues into the next relationship.

(5) Don’t belittle the damage cheating does. One of the worst things the cheating partner can do is play the blame game, continue to lie and keep secrets, or shrug off the feelings and emotions of the hurting party. Emotionally, cheating IS a big deal. But it doesn’t have to kill your relationship.

(6) Do take the time to heal yourself. A person could read this and think I’m fully advocating for excusing all cheating partners. And I’m not. I’m advocating a less emotional and more intelligent approach to dealing with infidelity. This calls for balance. Take the time you need to heal and go through all the emotional phases you will go through. But don’t let your pain, which shall pass, keep you from seeing light in a dark situation.

1st Love: The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told Me (Pt. 1)

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1st Love: The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told Me (Pt. 1)

It’s funny how you can date and cry over somebody for three whole years and never truly see them for who they are. I know that’s why they say Love is blind. But what they mean to say is First Love is blind. Because you look in your First Love’s eyes and see a hologram projection of what you think Love is–a projection born from your early childhood experiences and messages, the media, and the people around you. You see almost everything BUT the person in front of you. How could you possibly see them? You are navigating a new sea of emotions, feelings, and chemical imbalances, a new relationship dynamic featuring a strange dependency, and a new awareness of self. Where exactly does the actual person you’re dealing with fit into that myriad of mess? I’m here today to tell you what no one told me. First Love isn’t meant to last because First Love is all about you.

I understand that I may have already lost many of you. Because life has taught us that First Love is this wonderfully great thing. Love  in and of itself is enough to carry a relationship through anything. And that oftentimes, you’re first Love is your only true Love. Many of us, despite moving on and dealing with new people, stay stuck in First Love one way or another. Sometimes, we physically go back to the person. Sometimes, we never really give up hoping that our first Love comes back into our lives so we don’t give new prospects a solid chance. Sometimes, we fall in Love again but we keep tabs on that First one. And many more of us haven’t even left our First Love yet despite that nabbing feeling that it’s over. I’ve been in all four of these predicaments. This post was born out of my personal grapple with First Love. And when I realized Mr. Right-For-Now had a similar debacle, I figured we can’t be the only two that have experienced this. So I wanted to make an argument that First Love is a very necessary experience because you learn so much about yourself. But there’s more to Love than First Love.

Before we go any further, let’s define the undefinable. What is First Love? It is not to be mistaken with Puppy Love or childhood Love, first longterm relationship, or the first sexual encounter. Although all of these states of being can produce similar mind-numbing effects, First Love, for our purposes, is decidedly a bit more adult and independent. It has more to do with who you are when you feel it than what you actually feel. First Love is the first time you really get serious about another person and are mature enough to know what that means. Parents aren’t really involved. You go out on dates. You may have even lived together or seriously contemplated marriage. It is the first time you say “I love you” and have an actual concept for Love in your head. I’d like to argue that many of us experience this Love within the ages of 17 to 25. And that the mindset of someone in First Love is that Love is all you need. People in First Love put up with a lot from their partner. But always end up back together. It is a resilient Love, a committed Love (lasting 12 months or longer), and a passionate Love. It is an intimate Love–I remember feeling like my First Love knew me better than anyone on the planet. He knew me in ways I didn’t yet know myself. We all know the expression “fall in Love”. I think that when it comes to First Love, that is precisely what happens to most of us. You are walking down the street, taking an unfamiliar route, when suddenly your tire slips into a deep pothole. You are jolted and startled–no prior knowledge of this pothole or what to do when you hit one. I mean sure you’d heard of potholes, even seen them before, might’ve known a few people–your parents for instance–who’d fallen into them while you were in the car. But this is your first time being in the driver’s seat and running into one. You get to make all the decisions about this situation for yourself. It isn’t driven by sex. It isn’t driven by rebellion and teenage hormones. It isn’t even driven by a mutual agreement to parent a child together. First Love runs on pure Love power. I do not want to put First Love in a box. I know women who haven’t experienced First Love until after they’ve already been married once. But I do want to present cases in which I’ve seen it frequently arise. It’s euphoric. It’s exciting. But it’s selfish.

First Love is selfish. It is all about me, myself, and I. This Love is not about the actual person that we fall in Love with. It’s more so about what that person does for us and how they make us feel. Why does First Love have to be selfish? Because it usually finds us in a very selfish stage of our development. As I mentioned before, it comes in the time frame where we have to start making decisions about our futures on our own. Am I going to go to college? Am I going to get a job? Am I going to continue living with my parents? Should I buy a car? There is a newfound independence that we experience as we age and wean ourselves from the support of our caretakers. We have just developed a new power to think and do for ourselves. And we try to exercise this power within the confines of a relationship as well. The relationship itself exists to ensure fulfillment of our personal needs–the need for consistent sex, companionship, and adventure. And our problems all have to do with how the other person isn’t meeting those needs. He doesn’t take me out enough. She’s always mad at me. He’s all up in my face, can he go home! She doesn’t do it how I like it. First Love is also selfish because oftentimes, it’s born out of selfish motives. I remember I was seeing several guys on and off Temple’s campus flaunting my ability to be with whomever I pleased whenever I pleased, when I realized that I cared for Mr. Lies-About-Everything more than I thought. We’d been hanging out and talking as friends. He’d made it clear he wanted more than a friendship. But it wasn’t until I realized he’d been talking to another girl I knew that I figured I should have him all to myself. I didn’t decide to be his girlfriend because I wanted to take things to the next level and commit myself to someone I cared about. I decided to be his girlfriend because I wanted to have the right to be upset about who he dealt with. I needed to validate my own feelings toward him. Finally, First Love is selfish because more than it teaching us about the other person, it teaches us about ourselves. You begin to learn what turns you on, what turns you off, what traits complement you, what traits you can’t stand. That first person usually becomes the template for your future mate. They teach you all about your likes and dislikes. First Love also reveals your true identity. Before First Love, you didn’t know that you were the slitting tires kind of person. Before First Love, you didn’t notice that you really have a problem being emotional and vulnerable. It took me three years to really see Mr. Lies-About-Everything for who he was because I was so busy projecting onto him who I thought he was–who I wanted him to be. Oh I knew things about him. A lot. I’d stood close by his side for many a day and night. So I noticed when he lied to me and acted unfaithfully. But I didn’t intervene. Because my interpretation of Love was that even when the two people in Love do unLoving things to one another, the Love itself would get them through. I didn’t put my foot down. I didn’t make any demands on him. Because I figured things would work themselves out. That’s what I thought I’d always seen. My Love for him simply reflected what I thought I knew about Love. I never accepted him and I never accepted us for what we really were. My eyes were wide shut as they say. And I wouldn’t have known who I was in a relationship if we hadn’t ever fell in Love.

No one ever told me that First Love wasn’t meant to last. And that Second Love could be so much better…

Silent Killers

Hope is a simple healthy relationship technique that we all forget to employ from time to time.

I sat upright in the bed, feeling alone–though he was mere feet away in the other room. Wasn’t I supposed to be happy today? He’d went out of his way to make sure of it. He’d booked a hotel downtown, rose petals on the bed spelled out a vibrant “I Love U,” and he ended the evening with a romantic dinner cruise aboard the Spirit of Washington. Our relationship had just turned a year old and he’d spared no expense. Since I met Mr. Right-For-Now, I’d been dreaming of this day. So why did it feel so empty? Maybe because I knew that we wouldn’t last too much longer than that year I’d desperately hoped for. A few weeks prior to, Mr. Right-For-Now explained he’d need to get more serious about his CPA (Certified Public Accountant) courses. The conversation turned sour very quickly. For him, that meant backing off of our relationship and taking more time to study. For me, that meant breaking up. How could we possibly fix all the problems we have if he’s going to spend even less time than he already is? I wondered. So I prepared to watch my relationship die. It couldn’t possibly work out. My move back home already placed undue stress on us. And I knew we weren’t ready for more. This was it. I could feel it that tense day at my house. And as we sat celebrating how far we’d come, I felt it again.

When I began blogging, I promised to share my relationship mishaps with you in hopes that you would find yourself in me and maybe even find help in me. So I want to make it more clear than it has been in other blogs that I’ve made a mistake that nearly killed my relationship. The idea behind any silent killer–whether it’s the ultraviolet rays of the sun, arsenic, or Ben & Jerry’s strawberry cheesecake ice cream (aka sex in your mouth)–is that you never see death coming until it’s too late. I knew that I could be very logical bordering on cynical in my approach to relationships. I knew that I had a lot of doubts about Mr. Right-For-Now and men in general. I also knew that sometimes it occurred to me that God might even want me to live the rest of my life with cats. But I never considered that these thoughts had the power to kill us.

In psychology, there is a term called the self-fulfilling prophecy. A self-fulfilling prophecy occurs when someone makes a prediction and it indirectly or directly becomes true. This prediction can be about a person or an event. We communicate that prediction with various cues in our body language. People will often respond to those cues and adjust their behavior accordingly. And the prediction becomes true. For example, a teacher meets her students on the first day and notices a girl with dark clothes, dark paint on her finger nails, dark hair, and dark lipstick. The teacher expects this student will exhibit some behavioral problems and won’t achieve. The student feels her teacher doesn’t believe in her or care about her education and consequently fails the course. Outside of psychology, many call this concept the Law of Attraction. The only difference between the self-fulfilling prophecy and the Law of Attraction is that the Law of Attraction involves a little more spirituality. It argues that we throw those cues out to the universe and the universe will respond to us in a way that fulfills that prediction. Whatever you choose to call it, the basic idea remains the same–“what we expect is what we get” (To read more on this idea, check out this article).

I expected that I couldn’t handle the sacrifice it would take for Mr. Right-For-Now to do what he needed to do, therefore I could not handle the sacrifice it took for Mr. Right-For-Now to do what he needed to do. The whole time I called myself “trying to make it work,” I walked around disgruntled, I felt unappreciated, and I cried a lot. I felt wronged. How could he do that to us? Why would he make a decision that forced him to choose between me or his dream? And I began to question everything that year had been about. Did he even really love me? How could he love me if he was so willing to lose me? Doubt attacked every cell in my body and multiplied. Debilitating self-absorption became my cancer of choice. And as my relationship lay sick in the hospital, breathing its last breaths, my heart filled to the brim with an anger I didn’t know I had. I was angry at Mr. Right-For-Now for killing us.

“Are you forgetting that you made the choice to break up?” he asked me, his own anger apparent. Though I didn’t tell him then, he was right. I chose death. I chose to believe every negative thought and feeling I had the day he walked through my doors and said that things were going to change. I believed we would spend less time together but our problems would escalate because of the neglect. I never once considered fighting. I never once considered HOPE. And now we sat in intensive care all because I willed it so–all because I didn’t believe. If something didn’t change, we were going to die.

Love and relationships, like all things in life, have a spiritual aspect to them. And when I say spiritual, I do not necessarily mean Christian if that’s not your thing. I mean they have an essence that’s larger than mankind and can’t be explained by science. I believe Love is a higher power, whether you call that power God, fate, the universe, or the Law of Attraction. It is the one factor that every major religion on Earth has in common. Doctors, teachers, and preachers don’t always have the answers. But Love, true Love, conquers all. When the odds stack up against you and the one you Love, the best thing to do is have HOPE in the power of Love. And the universe will respond accordingly.

“I’m sorry,” I cried, “I was wrong.” I took in sharp breaths as I tried to regain my composure. Even though the next year of barely being in a relationship would be hard, I was willing to hope for the best. Mr. Right-For-Now stood me up and took me in his arms. He squeezed me tighter than he squeezed me in months. He held on to me with everything he had inside of him.

“Thank you,” he whispered as he placed a simple kiss on my forehead. As the two of us decided to choose life, I vowed to always cling to HOPE no matter how small it may be. Because without HOPE, there’s only lack. If you want to fight off the silent killers in you’re own relationships–whether they be distance, communication issues, or actual sickness–invoke HOPE.

“The Reappearing Man: Why Men Always Come Back”

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Baby Boy Kind of Love

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The main character Yvette, played by Taraji P. Henson, confronts her boyfriend Jody, played by Tyrese Gibson, about his infidelities.

“You ain’t stupid, Yvette. You’re just in love with a man. When you’re in love with a man, he can make you feel high. So high you just be in outer space. But a man can also make you feel low. Real low. And he can keep you there. Keep you down. If you let him. Make you feel used. Don’t even worry about feeling used. It’s just temporary. Everyone gets used. Men use women, women use men. Just face the fact you’re going to be used. But if you feel so used, you ain’t got nothing left–if the man ain’t giving you no ‘act right,’ the energy you need to love his ass even when he’s acting like a bastard–you need to let it go. If you ain’t got nothing to give yourself or your baby, you won’t have it to give to him.”

I sat in the theater, eyes fixated and ears perked as Juanita explained the complexities of loving someone to her son’s girlfriend. A young and impressionable teenager, at least when it came to Love and relationships, I sat there sucking everything in like a Oreck vacuum cleaner with a bad filter.

This is kind of hard for me to admit. For a long time, Jody and Yvette’s relationship in the movie “Baby Boy” hailed as the quintessential black love relationship in my eyes. Not the Cosbys, not the Winslows, not the Banks, not even Martin and Gina. Though I’m not sure exactly why the “Baby Boy” characters stuck with me so, I have a hankering that Jody and Yvette were the closest thing to real my 12-year-old eyes thought they’d seen.They yelled and screamed, broke up and got back together, not to mention all the infidelity. This looked a lot more like the less-than-TV-perfect relationships I’d seen, heard, and experienced already in real life. My parents nor any of my friends’ parents had anything like what black couples in sitcoms had. I never knew any guys as nice as Theo, the dorky ones definitely didn’t turn into Stephons, and the bad boys like Will didn’t have nice families with huge houses in Bel Air. But it wouldn’t take long before I met the Jody types and felt like I could relate to Yvette’s “feeling stupid”–the feeling she describes before Juanita helps her decipher her real feelings. With all of those things as factors, I found myself drawn to Jody and Yvette–and consequently, though not intentionally, the many messages about Love in that movie.

I had no idea back then that the course of my relationship with Mr. Lies-About-Everything-But-His-Name would mirror the course of Jody and Yvette’s relationship–at least loosely. Only my story didn’t end happily. So I figure I’d share with you the relationship mistakes Yvette made and I mimicked without the fairytale ending.

Jody, Yvette, and young Jo-Jo relax on the couch.

(1)  Getting cheated on is more acceptable when you’re the “wifey.”

Although I have to acknowledge both experience and environment as teachers, I believe “Baby Boy” played a major role in my acceptance of men’s infidelity. The character Jody had two different types of women in his life–his main course and his side dishes. He loved his woman and wanted to marry her but this didn’t keep him from sleeping with other women from time to time. And Yvette mostly accepted this. She may not have liked it but it wasn’t reason enough for her to leave him because she reasoned that Jody loved her and NOT those other girls. He fixed her car, helped her pay bills, and picked her up everyday from work.  The other girls got nothing more than a wet back. So I learned to distinguish between girls that play wifey and girls that play side dish. And as long as I played wifey, I’d always fare better than the side dish girls because I, at least, had his love.

(2) Sex solves a couples’ problems.

As Jody walks down a flight of stairs to leave Yvette’s premises, she yells “I hate you!” at his back. She tells him how she’s tired of his cheating, his lying, his selfishness, and his arrogance. He ignores her initially but the insults get worse and worse. Finally, he responds with an emphatic “I hate you too!” and a handful of his own insults. 10 seconds later, they’re having sex–great sex at that. There’s never a real resolution. Or more accurately, the sex IS the resolution. It ends the argument and both parties are more than satisfied. Jody never acknowledges his cheating, his lying, his selfishness, or his arrogance. He doesn’t apologize. And Yvette just saves the arguing for another day. When she starts to feel frustrated again, they simply repeat the process. Argue, have make-up sex, cook tacos. Argue, have make-up sex, cook tacos. The stress-relieving properties of sex prove this can actually work for a while. This method has worked so well for Jody, in fact, after he hits Yvette his apology consists of an oral sex session. Then he leaves with her car, expecting everything to stay the same the next day.

(3) If you put up  with all his antics, he’ll get better and marry you in the end.

A frustrated Yvette eventually leaves Jody. Jody hitting her served as the last straw. And they stay broken up for a while but they both miss each other. The movie implies they do not communicate unless it has something to do with their son Jo-Jo. But after Yvette is nearly raped by her ex-boyfriend Rodney in front of Jo-Jo, Jody and Yvette get back together. Only this isn’t the same Jody. He moves out the house he lived in with his mother, moves in with Yvette, and proposes. He’s finally ready to settle down and stop acting like a little boy. YAY!

Now I’m not going to say that people don’t change. I’m sure there are people out there who lied and cheated throughout life and then one day saw the light. But my experience with a man like Jody ended in him leaving me for a woman who could better tolerate his cheating and lies. He never married me. I, apparently, wanted too much from him. I also found that sex doesn’t solve problems as effectively as communication and cheating isn’t okay–period. However, I don’t want this to sound like I’m blaming the media for my misconceptions. I think “Baby Boy” is a great artistic work (one of my favorite movies ever) and has plenty of controversial messages outside of these. I’m simply acknowledging something I realized influenced me and my beliefs at a young age–before I completely knew how to filter media. It is okay to have been influenced. At one point, I wanted what Jody and Yvette had because I thought that’s what true love looked like. I have long since learned the hard way that the Jody and Yvette way doesn’t work for me. As an adult, I understand which things I can take from that movie and what things I shouldn’t. So when I go back and watch “Baby Boy” again, it is Juanita’s voice that resonates loudest. She reminds me that I can only love a man up to the point where my love for him does  not impede upon the love I have for myself. But the point of this post is for you to do a little soul-searching. What movies, songs, and people have influenced your ideas on Love and relationships and in what way? I’d love comments.

Sometimes, Distance Makes the Heart Go Yonder

I tried desperately to lower my voice, the strain more evident with every syllable. This wasn’t the time nor the place. But it hardly ever was for these types of conversations.

“I think, maybe we shouldn’t talk for a little while, take a break from each other, get our heads together,” I’d said. “We can take some time to think and then decide how we want to proceed from there.”

His silence spoke for him. He didn’t agree. And I didn’t blame him. Hell, I hardly agreed. I just wanted to stop the incessant arguments that’d become a staple in our phone conversations. I liked to get my point across probably a wee bit more than the next woman but even I tired of bickering.

Statistically speaking, my life sucked. And so did my bound-to-fail relationship. I’d joined the ranks of some 25 to 40% of college relationships that were long-distance. Out of those 25 to 40%, only about 1 in 10 of those far-far-away relationships resulted in a ring, which in my case, is the end goal. If you include the laundry list of things that have rendered me completely dating challenged in the past, the odds fell in favor of a long life with cats. But we couldn’t call it quits. My last post taught me a little about relationship gumption and I’d developed a fair-sized pair of cojones since then. I’d be lying though, if I said I wasn’t feeling a little hopeless. So if breaking up wasn’t an option, what could we do?

We could always start with actually identifying the problems. What exactly makes long-distance relationships suck? Why are they even more prone to failure than most relationships? And most important, what can we do about it? Well let’s break it down.

(1) The distance

What I Read: Long-distance relationships actually defy science. Proximity, or how close you physically live and breathe to another person, is the most reliable factor for determining the development of close relationships. Did you ever wonder why all your college friends lived on the same floor as you? Or why you became best friends with the woman who works in the cubicle across from yours? The closeness effect applies to family relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. In a nutshell, you are closer to those who are, well–closer.

What You’ve Got To Do: Trick your brain into feeling a little less distant. How? This is where communication and modern technology team up to overcome the miles between two people.

What I’ve Tried:

Playing games together works. Me and Mr. Right-For-Now are avid “Wordfeud” players, an Android phone version of the popular word game Scrabble. Although nothing beats actually sitting down and playing a board game, playing together on our phones comes pretty close.

Sending pics randomly makes you both feel better. Not that my sweetie would ever forget what I look like but a reminder doesn’t hurt every once in a while.

Video chatting aka Skyping or Ovooing serves as a good alternative to talking on the phone mostly because you can see the other person’s face. Although for this one, I might suggest actually having something specific to talk about. Staring at each other can get awkward after a while.

(2) Communication

What I Read: When your relationship is largely based around this medium, you’ve got to be good at it. And if you’re not good at it, you better get good at it. You’ve also got to do it more than the average couple. Couples that see each other often get the luxury of not speaking to each other because they can spend time in the same place without communicating. But because you have to talk so often, sometimes you run out of things to talk about.

What You’ve Got to Do: The key here is balance. Understand that both too much communication and too little communication can be detrimental.

What I’ve Tried:

Varying the communication mediums keeps you guessing just as much as changing up the places the two of you like to frequent. Me and Mr. Right-For-Now have indulged in poetry writing, text messages, and phone calls, Twitter, Oovoo, and Facebook chat. The point is don’t get in a communication rut. If you don’t switch it up, one method may get a bit overbearing.

Debating gives conversing new meaning. Stay abreast with the latest issues, whether it be news or pop culture, and talk about the hot topics. Bring up an issue that the two of you can take opposite stands on and have it out. In addition to eradicating the dead space over the hotline, debating helps you learn more about your Mr. or Mrs. Significant Other.

Forget your pride. If you want to call, text, Oovoo, etc. then you don’t always have to wait for the other person to start it. Most likely, the person on the receiving end can’t wait to hear from you also.

Don’t be afraid to take days off. If you crave alone time and you don’t feel like talking, don’t be afraid of that either. And in those times, respect each other’s independence! This can actually be one of the benefits of being in a long-distance relationship. You usually have plenty of time for friends and independent activities while still having someone.

(3) Romance and Intimacy

What I Read: For some, this is the most vital component missing in their relationships. No kisses, no hugs, no cuddling, no sex, no dates. At least not always when you want it. And oftentimes, the lack of physical intimacy and romance makes the mind a target for temptation. In a far-far away relationship, thoughts still count but nothing beats action.

What You’ve Got to Do: Get creative. Find ways to supplement each other’s physical needs without being together.

What I’ve tried:

Surprises hardly ever fail. The internet makes it that much easier to send “Thinking of You” gifts and have it delivered directly to the other person’s front door.

Discuss the future and indulge in a little fantasy. I am famous for posing hypothetical situations that might come up during marriage or while living together. This opens the door for partners to think about what the future could hold. It gets your hopes up so that the two of you actually bank (and subconsciously plan) on being together. And it can be surprisingly romantic. One time Mr. Right-For-Now and I even went as far as finding a dream home on the HGTV website that we both loved.

Make the moments together count and last. If you get through a lot of the fighting and hard conversations on the phone, times together stay light and carefree. And doing extremely enjoyable and memorable activities together can oftentimes tide you over until the next encounter.

(4) Jealousy

What I’ve Read: The #10 reason for cheating on’s Top 10 Reasons Women Cheat and Top 10 Reasons Men Cheat both had to do with lack of sex. And when you’re both not getting as much intimacy as you’d like, the other men or women in your significant other’s life pose a much more viable threat. In other words, people who may not have jealousy issues typically might see them sprout up in a long-distance love affair.

What You’ve Got to Do: Establish some ground rules to insure each other’s sanity and comfort.

What I’ve Tried:

Reaffirming the relationship gives your partner less reason to worry. Try not to hold back “I love you’s” “I miss you’s” and “If only you were here’s” because they mean something to the other person. Even a more serious conversation about the reasons why you love someone gives the other person a solid foundation.

Honesty’s the best policy. Leave room in the relationship to talk about other men and women. Many of you are confused by this one. So I’ll explain. I often ask my beau who he finds attractive, if they’re were cute girls at the place he ventured with his friends, who he has a crush on at work, etc. Because the reality is, I’m not the only woman in the world and I don’ t expect him to find only me attractive. If he feels he can freely express those types of things and vice versa, a higher level of trust develops. And the more you guys get used to talking like this, the less hearing about other people will bother either of you.

Maintain mutual respect for each other’s wishes and that will ease the tense moments. If he wants you to delete that stalkerish guy from your Facebook, discuss why. It’s then up to you to weigh how he feels versus the thing he’s asking you to do. And if you decide his feelings outweigh the stalker’s potential ego-blow, concede to his wish. Of course this works both ways. On bigger issues, neither party has to completely give in but always be willing to compromise for the sake of the other person’s feelings.

After agreeing angrily to not speak, I went home and spent some time alone in mediation and reflection. And it didn’t take me long to realize refusing to speak for a week would solve little. We needed to talk now more than ever. We needed to go back to the basics, back to simply enjoying the sound of one another’s voice. He woke up that morning to a long voicemail message from me apologizing and asking to try another method. Later that night, when he got home from work, we delighted ourselves in a friendly debate.

Our friendly interaction that night permitted us both to relax. And relaxing helped us tackle the much more difficult issues next. With the issues promptly assessed, the two of us could move forward with hope and a positive attitude. As one of my sisters always tells me, “change your attitude, change your life.” In that same respect, change your outlook on your relationship and watch your relationship change right in front of you.

Everybody Plays the Fool

I never expected to learn anything from my little brother or his relentless obsession with the latest Naruto game–besides maybe the correct pronunciation of Japanese names–but I did. As a big sister, I committed the cardinal sin: I turned off his x-box console without saving his progress (insert gasp here!) This left little brother in quite a predicament. He’d managed to duke it out victoriously with his toughest enemy yet just before my mom called and reminded him to go to his piano lesson. But my mishap forced little brother to restart his gaming adventure at a much earlier checkpoint. With a fierce foe once again unconquered, little brother did a very noble thing. Masking his distress,  he picked that black controller up and went right back to it. But his determination didn’t stop there. I watched him lose at least 1,035 times (No exaggeration). He adamantly ignored my pleas that he just give up and pop in another game. Frustration never outweighing his resolve, he sat there and played until he won. What looked like a futile and foolish effort to me, eventually garnered him results.

So by now I know you’re wondering “Passion, what the hell does all this have to do with dating?” Well. The ideology behind little brother’s perseverance is one we’re all well-groomed in. Whether it was something cheesy and sing-songy like “winners never quit and quitters never win” or some celebrity’s E True Hollywood Story, life finds a way to drown us with plenty of don’t-give-up-you-can-do-it-isms. Why does life encourage this? Because people who never give up, will eventually know what winning feels like. In fact, at a very young age, we actually learn to despise quitters. It’s kind of like we associate quitting with a lower class group of lowlifes. We might as well round-up all quitters and force them to wear scarlet Qs. Despite our disdain for quitting, for some reason or another, this don’t-give-up-you-can-do-it philosophy doesn’t seem to apply to every facet of our lives.

At many points in my dating life when things turned sour, I simply gave up. Instead of just chalking those men up as isolated bad experiences, I applied rules and principles learned with one man to men in general. For example, I am very attracted to wit and intelligence. So I tend to go for the kind of guys who get good grades and read a bit more than the average joe. For the sake of time, we can call them nerds. So I dated this nerdy guy once who also turned out to be rather timid in situations where I felt threatened. And as if they could smell the fear on him, other men showed him little to no respect. After that catastrophe, I concluded  that in most cases nerds will also be timid. With this system, I find myself saying things like  “I’ll never date a pretty boy”, “I’ll never date a guy with daddy issues”, and “I just can’t date nice guys, I just can’t!” after each relationship. So after my first true love landed me in the penthouse suite at the heartbreak hotel, it shouldn’t surprise you that I quit men altogether. By then the thought of a real, loving relationship seemed almost laughable. Plus I had a laundry list of dating I can’ts, I won’ts, and nevers. So I folded my hand in the dating game and convinced myself I no longer had an interest in playing it. I just couldn’t handle looking and feeling like a fool again and again. Just the thought of how many more times I might have to lose before I won was enough to keep me benched on the sidelines of life.

(For more on avoiding healthy relationships click here).

By the time my Mr. Right-For-Now came along, I was pretty sure I finished playing the game for good. I’d actaully started to relish the thought of living with cats forever. And nobody spurned me for giving up. The American divorce rate shows I’d joined the ranks of plenty saying “down with Love” these days.  But I guess Mr. Right-For-Now saw a star player in me, a winner that I didn’t even see in myself. So he forced me off the bench, made me place a bet. And every minute on the clock has reminded me why I started playing the game in the first place. It never occurred to me back in heartbreak hotel that no matter your game, Love or Naruto, “everybody plays the fool, sometimes. There’s no exception to the rule.” You will not and I repeat WILL NOT win all the time. You’re bound to screw up, date some losers, and choose the wrong ones for the wrong reasons. But you’ll be happy to know winning all the time kind of defeats the purpose. Because your losses are what build character. They make you go home and reflect on how you can improve. And they prepare you for success. Nobody ever explained back then that you have to lose a few times to really appreciate that win. Why? Because then you can compare that high feeling to the low one, that Mr. Do-Dirty to Mr. Perfect-For-You. Add your love life to your list of things never to give up on and I promise you a W.

Check out this adorable oldie that I named the piece after!!! OMG! lol

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