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The Last Letter from the Editor: And It All Leads Up to This…

IMG950508To My Beautiful, Glorious, Courageous, and Intuitive Readers:

You read the title correctly. This will be my last letter directly to you on this blog :(…I know some of you are thinking it’s been months since I wrote a real post anyways and now I’m writing to tell you I’m almost done writing. Tis true. And that’s partly because of the summer. Something about the summer makes it difficult for me to buckle down and write. But the other part of me was debating whether I would continue this blog at all. Or pass it along to someone else. Just when it was starting to get good, just when I was starting to see so much growth and improvement, just when I started to take this blogging thing more seriously–c’est la fin! Well, nearing the end. I think I’ve got about two more solid posts in me. But I guess that’s life. And I’m not mad about it. Because all this debacle has been for a great reason. I promise!!! You ready for this? Are you sitting down?

Last month, Mr. Right-For-Now proposed to me under a glorious sunset by the water. I said yes! I’ll never forget it was on the same day of the George Zimmerman verdict–simultaneously the most beautiful and ugliest day I’ve experienced to date. We were at a bar celebrating when we found out the news. Fortunately, it takes more than one asshole running free for murder to put a stop to life, to put a stop to PROGRESSION. So we are planning an elegant broom jumping ceremony in my favorite season–Fall of 2014. Which makes me his future Mrs. Right Forever. And as I’m fully enthralled in this new phase of Love–engagement–it seems the old persona is gone. The woman who started this blog 3 years ago in search of something real after finding so much rubbish has found solid gold. And I plan to cash in while I can!! Therefore, I must say farewell and THANK YOU to all the LOVELY people who made this incredible journey possible.  You laughed with me. You cussed him out with me. You made up with him with me. You grew with me. You bettered yourselves as I bettered myself. You challenged me. You encouraged me. For 3 years.

100MEDIA$IMAG0325Now I’m here in this wonderfully beautiful new place. I am fully present–watching and learning STILL as engagement brings new things to light. I remember asking one of my girlfriends if I should do something for Mr. Right-For-Now in return–as a gift or as some type of gratitude for the proposal. And she said ever-so-wisely to me “no. I think you’ve done enough!” And I just smiled to myself. Because I understood her so clearly. The man got down on one knee and told me he couldn’t think of anywhere else he’d rather be than with me for life. I had certainly done enough–at least for now. No more improvements. No more strategies. No more working night and day on being the best girlfriend/fiancée/future wife ever. For now, I’m just resting in my excitement for us! I’m resting in my contentment! And enjoying planning a wedding (AHHHHHH!). I thought about doing a new blog series for you guys on engagement–and maybe I will write a piece on it. But it’s such an intimate experience and much of this blog comes out of my willingness to fully disclose my shortcomings and championships as they happen. Now, I want to focus on living in each and every one of these moments with my future hubby–staying grounded, attentive, and in-tune with myself. This is the last year I have as a “single” woman and I’d like to have it to myself as selfish as that may sound. Hopefully, you understand where I’m coming from though. Because it feels good to say I have done enough.

Of course I still want to continue bettering myself and learning as much as I can about relationships. Someone once told me, “marriage is not the destination. It is a journey”, suggesting that many women get the ring and believe that is the ultimate validation. I do not want to imply that at all. I’m definitely not done progressing just because he proposed. But my mission has changed just a tad from when I started on here.

I believe that Black Love is the cure for many of our community’s afflictions. So I would Love to transition to a blog talking about Black marriage, Black families, and issues related to how my Black community can achieve more wholeness. I did that IMG950509 (1)here. Somewhat. However, the time has come, I think, for a stronger platform–especially in light of things like the lack of justice for Trayvon! So this is goodbye for now. It is the easiest goodbye I’ve ever said. Not because I don’t Love you. But because our time is nearly up.  When you know your time is up, you’ve got to make room for new things. And because I’ve given you guys so much of me–so much of us–that’s always here on these pages for you to access, it’s not really a goodbye at all. From first date to proposal, I leave you my Love legacy. So when you’re having a rough dating day and you just want to give up, remember me on your Black Love journeys. Remember that Black Love is better when it’s real. And it IS real. We are proof. Remember that good Black guys sometimes win. And they win big!! Remember that Black women can and DO marry and stay happily married–even in the midst of social networks, people living like they’re auditioning for reality TV shows, and booty calls that come way too easily. Remember that no labor of Love goes unrewarded. The universe is waiting to unfold all it’s greatness on you!

Stay tuned for my last few posts. Enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Then, keep me in your heart as you guys are always in mine. Learning to Love like this has been my greatest accomplishment to date. And I hope I’ve inspired some of you to pursue that same path. Because Love never fails!

Sincerely yours,

The blogger formerly known as “Ms. Not-Right-Now” hehe

P.S. For my truest of fans, keep a lookout for my rebirth because there will be one. Suddenly, I have a new found understanding of why we all had to suffer through Puff Daddy becoming Puffy and then P. Diddy and then just Diddy. As I recreate myself and my brand, I will have to change names. Don’t worry though. Me and this writing thing, we go way back. And we ain’t done yet!


“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.

13 Reasons I Love Black Men

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I’m feeling a little Angie Stone-esque with this post. I concluded a few months ago that I really don’t show enough outward appreciation to my black brothas. In fact, I flirted with the line of hate and disdain. Why? Mostly because I held onto the negative advertised image of black men these days. I believed and perpetuated the lazy, violent, non-kid-raising, womanizing stereotypes that I’d seen and heard from the black men around me. But that’s not who the black man is at his core. And that’s not the only story I saw once I opened my eyes a bit wider. To all the black men I know who have touched my life positively, I want to say truthfully from the deepest depths of my soul, I Love You. I need you. I respect you. And I appreciate you. But that’s just the problem isn’t it fellas? I’m keeping it locked up and tucked away. Well, it’s time to let the world–and you–know how I feel and why. Because Love locked away and unexpressed might as well be hate. So consider this post a proverbial embrace–a kiss on the cheek just for being you.

I Love black men…

13. … for their cool

I’m going to tell you guys the real reason I voted for Barack Obama. Although I read up on them, it wasn’t completely because of his policies. It wasn’t because he reignited a belief in Hope or Change. And it wasn’t because he is an attractive guy. No. I voted for Barack Obama because he’s just so damn cool. There is something in the walk and talk of a black man that the world finds definable only by the word swagger. And even that word doesn’t quite do you justice. It is an indelible and endearing quality that’s got the world wanting what you’ve got in your back pocket. From politics, to sports, to entertainment, to business, to the pulpit–when a black man leads, people follow. He is the ultimate trendsetter. And it’s this cool that will continue to change the world.

12. …for staying good men even when we don’t believe you exist

You know how they say good guys finish last? That goes for brothas too. If black women are honest with ourselves, we laugh at the ones that are too broke, too short, too unendowed (or unblessed. Hmmm?), too ugly, too emotional, too nice, too Christian, too etc. Even if they are good men! As the black woman increases her education, gets a bit of money in her pocket, and navigates her dreams and goals, we find ourselves looking over the good ones while complaining about how lonely we are and how we’re the least unmarried. Because a lot of us women don’t know what we want. And I know a few good men out there who fight through the slew of black women who think they’re ready for commitment but always date the same kind of black man and then complain about black men as a collective group. I can only imagine how frustrating that has to be. Thank you for hanging in there with us and for putting up with our ignorance and misinformation.

11. …for your persistence in the face of an unjust system

I would like to propose a toast to the ones of you who know firsthand being black on a Tuesday is grounds for police harassment, having a car that’s a little too nice will get you in trouble even if you worked hard and honest to get it, and simply walking into an elevator can cause the old woman next to you to clutch at her purse with every bit of force in her feeble existence. There are parts of this so-called “black experience” that are uniquely yours. And I want to thank you for dealing with the facts of black American life with poise, grace, and a whole lot of comedy. And I give even more kudos to the ones of you who have managed to avoid jail time in spite of a system bent on giving you some.

10. …for your humor

Speaking of comedy, black men are hilarious! From listening to Steve Harvey in the morning to watching old comedy specials of Richard Pryor, I’ve watched and laughed with the black men who choose to fight injustice and racism with politically relevant jokes. Comedians have the right to do and say anything under the guise of humor. And some of them use those opportunities to talk about taboo subject matters. But as we laugh, bonds are broken, stigmas are torn down, prejudices are made light. The best part about it is, when everything’s all said and done, the only thing that hurts are our cheeks from laughing so hard. Thank you for lengthening my life with a much-needed laugh.

9. …for your enlightenment and spirituality

Black folk Love them some G-O-D. And at the head of nearly every church congregation or mosque meeting in our community stands a strong black man. Not every religious leader gets it right. Some are clearly called while others are made. But every once in a while, you get a truly blessed black man using religion as an opportunity to do some things in his community. One such man heads Zion Church in Glenarden, Md–Pastor Keith Battle. Keith Battle gives away offering money to the people in need in his church, makes services accessible and applicable for young people, and talks about topics that other people in the church don’t want to talk about. He is truly an inspiration to me so thank you.

8. …for your Fatherhood

You always hear about the good for nothing brothers who have as many kids as Samuel L. has movies. But you know what? That’s not always the case. Some black men know the truth–parenthood isn’t a choice but an obligation. I work alongside two very dedicated black fathers. Both of them have sacrificed time at work to be nearer to their households and help their wives out with their kids. They truly speak the language of the new black man, the 21st century black man, who does more than bring home the bread and butter. They are ACTIVE and ENGAGED fathers, involved in every bit of the child-rearing process. And I must say, I respect it–so thank you for showing me that.

7. …for your appreciation of us

Although not all black men appreciate black women, the ones who do appreciate us REALLY appreciate us. While mainstream society shuns our hairstyles, our butts, our lips, our walk, and our attitude–the black man has cherished those very same things. The black woman finds herself the object of admiration in many a hip-hop song, R&B album, and neo-soul croon. As Drake profoundly puts it, “…a little attitude problem? It’s all good, it’ll make sh*t last”. The “angry black woman” who might pose a problem for some is a prize for you. I Love it when a black man declares that there’s no other kind of woman that he’d rather have by his side but one of us. And not because there’s anything wrong with any other group of women but just because he prefers the kind of woman who raised him. Because he knows her strength, he knows her glory, he knows her pain, and he shares her story. There’s nothing on Earth like a black man’s Love. Thank you for hollerin’.

6. …for your leadership

From Malcolm and Martin to Medgar and Huey, the revolution has been televised and the Best Supporting Male Lead goes to you. Many of the fallen soldiers on the frontline of this war on racism, have been you. And you’ve lead us with peace, with God, with guns, with words, with art, with Love, with silent protest, with athletic excellence, with academic perfection. Thank you to the black men of the past that sacrificed their lives, their Loves, their dreams, their hopes, so that I could have opportunities not afforded to them. Thank you for always being Kings.

5. …for their entrepreneurial (aka “hustlin”) spirit

As Cassidy raved, a black man could “sell Raid to a bug”. Many a cover of Black Enterprise magazine features the black men who have finessed the world with their business knowledge and innovation. Some of them know how to make money and make it honestly. Although I’m no huge fan of Tyler Perry, the idea behind his monumental success is a brilliant one. Perry found it important to own his movie making studio so that people could never keep him from making movies by refusing him funding. And I respect the hustle.

5. …for your creativity

Andre 3000. Kanye West. Spike Lee. Will Smith. John Legend. Musiq Soulchild. Tupac Shakur. Louis Armstrong. Marvin Gaye. James Baldwin. James Van Der Zee. Aaron Mcgruder. Some say art is more real than life. And the black man has consistently and abundantly contributed to art for life’s sake. Our art forms have transformed the world one canvas at a time. I am inspired and humbled by the beauty in the things the black man creates with his hands. Thank you for your art.

4. …for our shared history

When black women stood up on those auction blocks, it was black men chained next to them. When black women were tired from a long day’s bus boycott, black men were at home to rub tired feet. When black women complained about the itchiness of weave, black men stepped in to take out our sew-ins. We have stood and fought alongside each other since as long as we’ve been on this Earth. I can’t say that about any other kind of man.

3. …for your intelligence

Everyone likes to talk about the brothas that don’t go to college. And I know and Love those black men. But this particular section is for the ones of you that pursued higher education in spite of all the obstacles. This is for the brothas who enjoy reading books and learning about their history, their culture, their contribution to this country. This is for the men who took the things they learned in school with a grain of salt because they understood that education doesn’t always come from a curriculum. I applaud you for educating yourself and for adding to my stimulating conversations–intelligently. Thank you for not being too cool for school.

2. …for your excellence

A person shows true excellence when they succeed in spite of setbacks. Few men in America know setbacks like black men. And yet our people have excelled in all aspects in this country with great help from you. As astronauts and engineers, as professional athletes and hip-hop moguls, as real-estate tycoons and entertainment powerhouses, as men. You have set a standard of excellence that I can only hope to follow. I love you for setting the bar so high.

1. …for being the other half of Black Love

This needs no true explanation. You are apart of me and I, you. To Love you is to Love me. And that’s why I do.

11 Famous Men I’d Legitimately Date…

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…If I were–you know–single!

11. Taylor Lautner

The Rundown

|age: 19

|sign: aquarius

|where you know him from: twilight saga

Admittedly, this one is completely superficial. Although I found Jacob’s immaturity a little obnoxious while reading the Twilight Series, Taylor “Hotner” brings a boy-next-door lovableness to the character and makes some of the movies (cough cough New Moon) a bit more bearable. It’s no wonder everyone’s #teamwerewolf! And I’ve always admired how he gained weight just for the role. When the new directors of Twilight threatened to replace him, he completely committed to changing his body. That’s true dedication to the eyes of women everywhere!

1o. Jamie Foxx

The Rundown

|age: 43

|sign: sagittarius

|where you know him from: the bench rider turned star player Willie Beamen in Any Given Sunday

Quite typical of a Sagittarius, Foxx loves to laugh and doesn’t take life too seriously. And in the looks department, let’s just say he’s come a long way since Bunz in Booty Call. So it wouldn’t be exactly love at first sight with Foxx. But the man is undeniably talented. Singing. Acting. Comedy. What doesn’t this man do–and do well? After his stellar performance in Ray, my respect for Foxx sky rocketed. In order to best portray the troubled, blind crooner, Foxx agreed to glue his eyes shut for the role. Which won him the 3rd Academy Award awarded to a black male for best actor in a leading role. He’s one man who knows how to use what God’s given him–and I will always Love him for that!

9. Nate Parker

The Rundown

|age: 31

|sign: scorpio

|where you know him from: the quick-witted bad boy Henry Lowe in Great Debaters

I don’t know much about this kid but I LOVE the roles he plays. He blessed the screen as book-toting nomad bad-ass Henry Lowe in Great Debaters, Alicia Keys’ stubborn love interest in The Secret Life of Bees, and the security guard with a conscious in Felon. He always plays this character who’s got the perfect blend of bad and good, masculinity and intelligence, strength and emotionalism. In other words, he’s  a good guy but he ain’t no pussy. And it makes me wonder if he’s like that in real life. It doesn’t hurt that he looks damn good in suspenders and driver’s caps! *sigh*

8. Will Smith

The Rundown

|age: 42

|sign: virgo

|where you know him from: your favorite womanizing police officer Mike Lowry

From his family life to his many talents in front of and behind the camera, the Fresh Prince turned out to be a rather respectable man–and a handsome one. I find it most attractive that Will Smith and family use their privileged position in society to teach the world and make it a better place. Movies like Ali, Pursuit of Happyness, I Am Legend, and Seven Pounds have a surprisingly profound positive message. And there’s nothing sexier than a man with a cause and the drive to change the things he sees around him. Smith is a true role model! If you’re wondering why he’s so low on the list, I can’t necessarily say that I agree with him and Jada’s arrangement. Even though they’re not really swingers, Smith admitted in an interview that they are allowed to cheat on one another to a certain extent. I don’t think I’d last very long in a relationship with that arrangement.

7. Common

The Rundown

|age: 39

|sign: pisces

|where you know him from:

Maybe you’re familiar with 1 of his 8 rap albums or you might know him for carrying Alicia Keys down 30 flights of stairs in “Smokin’ Aces” (a rather athletic feat if you ask me!)

Common reminds me a lot of my first real boyfriend. He’s the cool nerd. The kind of guy that probably studies more than you do but he can still dress his a-s-s off. And who doesn’t get weak in the knees for intelligent men with smart fashion sense? Unfortunately, since he’s a Pisces and I’m an Aquarius, I don’t foresee any wedding bells in our fake future. But I’d have at least dated him seriously for a while before I realized it just wouldn’t work out.

6. Wale

The Rundown

|age: 26

|sign: virgo

|where you know him from: as a member of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Ricky Rozay’s Maybach Music

This one may come as a surprise to some of you. Wale is hardly the most attractive guy I’ve ever seen but he may definitely be the realest. He’s the kind of guy that slips up on you–especially if he’s your friend first. Not only is Wale a poet (I LOVE poets) but he has a lyrical balance that I haven’t seen since Tupac. He creates a nice combination of music for  entertainment and music for life. And I all the way respect his hustle.

5. Shia LaBeouf

 The Rundown

|age: 25

|sign: gemini

|where you know him from: the alien activity and hot-babe magnet Sam Witwicky

Despite what it may look like, Labeouf has had to overcome a lot of adversity to get where he’s at today. He actually became an actor because his family didn’t have very much money. I’m attracted to a man who hasn’t had everything handed to him his whole life and knows the importance of a good work ethic. Labeouf definitely fits the bill. In addition to being an all-around interesting guy with an incredible background story. I’m sure the conversations would be amazing! And though he wasn’t much of a looker as a kid (remember Even Stevens?), he’s grown into a rather sexy young man.

4. Aaron McGruder

The Rundown

|age: 37

|sign: gemini

|where you know him from: the creator of everyone’s favorite black cartoon family, The Freemans

The Boondocks, particularly the first 2 seasons, is some of the strongest and most controversial satirical writing in history (yes, I feel that strongly about it). So it should come as no surprise that I have a mini crush on its creator. Though he’s dashingly handsome, I’d rather pick his brain. From remaining “cautiously pessimistic” about Obama’s presidency to calling Condoleezza Rice a mass murderer at the NAACP image awards in 2002, Mcgruder knows how to attract controversy because he has a hard time keeping his mouth shut when he feels strongly about something. I think debating McGruder on his politics and his methods would probably be the biggest turn-on of my life.

3. John Legend

The Rundown

|age: 32

|sign: capricorn

|where you know him from: the one who makes you get up and dance every time you hear “Green Light”

This one pains me a little because I don’t think it would work out between the 2 of us–at least not astrologically. But as a man John Legend, born John Stephens, is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Not only does he create some of the greatest music in history with a sound that would make you think of another time period but he’s also an avid humanitarian. Legend spreads his good fortune and faith all across the world through countless acts of community service.

2. Barack Obama

The Rundown

|age: 49

|sign: leo

|where you know him from: extending your health insurance coverage to age 26

I’m not going to debate his politics or what he’s done right or wrong as 44th President of the United States because at the end of the day–he’s just a man. But Obama has an unadulterated,  never duplicated cool. His swag might just be on infinity and beyond! From calling Kanye West a jackass in front of the press to fist-bumping his wife, there’s a certain part of Obama that clearly doesn’t give an eff about tact or cameras. And that makes him a genuine and relatable human being. But what I appreciate most about Obama, if nothing else, is his clear love and devotion to his wife–a strong black woman–and his family. He has set a tremendous example for men everywhere. And you gotta love it!

1. Tupac Shakur

The Rundown

|age: 40

|sign: gemini

|where you know him from: the troubled gangsta Bishop who wanted nothing more than to have the Juice

Tupac Shakur is one of my favorite people who ever lived. It hurts me that he’s not actually around today. I think a lot of things would change because unlike most gangster rappers, Tupac was a warrior. He understood the power of the spoken word and the power of influence. He understood the struggle of the black man and the black woman in America. He had a real voice, a controversial voice, an uplifting voice, an encouraging voice. Overcoming a lot of adversity to act as a voice for a people who had no voice, he embodied the spirit of a Black Panther. And though some of his beliefs and actions were questionable (like his womanizing), he also died very young before we got to see how everything would turn out. I would have loved to see a 30 or 35-year-old matured Tupac. I earnestly believe he’d be doing a lot of good in this world.

***Other notables include: Andre 3000, Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Idris Elba, Dwayne Wade, Eric Jerome Dickey, Black Ice, and maybe even Dr. Cornel West (you know–like 30 years ago)

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.

How to Catch a “Catch” in 7 Steps

Mommies warned us about them, Aunties wiped the tears they caused, and friends helped us burn all the things that reminded us of them over a small, contained fire in the backyard. Growing up among women, jerks have gotten just as much notoriety as the Boogie Man. And even though rumor has it they both like to hangout in girl’s closets from time to time,  the difference is jerks actually exist. By now I know all about the jerk’s  natural habitat, native language, and here-today-gone-tomorrow mating ritual. I earned my Master’s degree in who NOT to date long before I even graduated high school. But looking back on it, I can’t say that I’d accumulated the same wealth of information on Mr. Right. I’d only heard of Prince Charming in fairy tales that ended ubiquitously and ambiguously in happily ever after. And considering I never met a real-live Cinderella outside of Disneyland, I figured–like her–he must be fantasy. In other words, if the right guy fell out of the sky with wings, a halo, and a white robe with black lettering that read boldly “PASSION’S SOULMATE”, I’d still ask God for a sign. Mostly because nobody ever told me what to look for in a good man, only what NOT to look for. And maybe nobody taught you either. So I’ve compiled a list of what I consider the 7 habits of highly effective daters when it comes to spotting a catch. So I surveyed 100 people. Okay no I didn’t. I polled my friends in relationships and backed it up with info from experts. But I’d like to think its useful information all the same:

1) Obey the Laws of Attraction

Put simply, attraction IS  important. To some of you, this might sound like a no-brainer. But to others, like me, you might have wondered if turning down good prospects that weren’t too easy on the eyes makes you shallow. According to Aaron Ben-Zeev of Psychology Today, in his article “When Do We Fall in Love?,” he argues invoking romantic love requires the presence of both physical attraction to outward appearance and attraction to a person’s personality traits. So don’t feel bad about turning down the weirdo that sits behind you in Statistics drooling just because he’s probably a nice guy. If the sight of someone’s face makes you want to hurl, there’s little chance for compatibility.

2) Trust Basic Instincts

According to Dr. Sian Beilock , author of Choke a book that looks at the brain and performance, “even when our mind doesn’t realize we made a mistake, our body does.” So why not extrapolate this to the dating game? Well the good daters do! The people who meet their mates listen to that bad feeling, that anxious feeling, or that nauseated feeling (See “Safety vs. Passion“). And they run away from the drama. How many times have you heard someone say “I always knew in the back of my mind, it wasn’t going to work out.” So start bringing what’s in the back to the forefront! Dr. Beilock goes on to talk about how focusing on the outcome (in our case, a good match-up) is more important than analyzing the particulars of the method. Trust that at the end of the day, your body knows what it wants and knows whats best for it.

3) Remember: It Ain’t No Fun if Ya Friends Can’t Have None”

Although this phrase historically sings the praises of sharing sex partners as a means of camaraderie, I’m here to revamp it. For those of us who have made bad decisions in Love, it can sometimes be hard to follow through with step 2. So if you’re a little skeptic of your own opinion, why not look to those you Love and who Love you the most? Share your “catch” with the people in your world. Whether it came from Will Smith or some other notable, many of us are familiar with the saying “you are who you associate with.” In theory then,  you’re closest friends and family members would also get along with and like your most significant other. And it makes for a more drama-free, easy-going  relationship, when you don’t always have to decide between your family and your girlfriend or your friends and your boyfriend.

4) Everyone Loves a Comple[te]ment

In geometry, there’s  a concept called complementary angles (yeah, I know I didn’t do well in that class either). It involves 2 angles that always add up to a Right Angle (90°). That means if one angle equals 60° the other angle will equal 30°. And the amount of one angle always changes to complement the other. They work together. When looking for a mate, a good dater looks for their complement. Where you’re weak, the other person is strong & vice versa. This assures that you + them always = RIGHT! So even though you should come into a relationship already complete, a good complement gives a sense of wholeness that’s not accomplished on your own.

5) R-E-S-P-E-C-T

That’s all Aretha asked for–just a little bit. And I definitely think her head was in the right place. A loving relationship without mutual respect is like apple pie without the a la mode–not quite good enough. Sweet but not satiating. You’re always going to want more. Dr. David W. Edgerly says, “Often, in relationship counseling, I find that one or both partners believe themselves to be truly better than (maybe even superior to) their partner. Not just better at certain tasks or skills but better as a whole person. This is what leads to the idea that if only one’s partner could be ‘fixed’ then the partnership would be happy and successful.” But he goes on to say that true respect means earnestly seeing your partner as a more than capable human being.  And if he or she isn’t capable in your opinion,  than maybe he or she isn’t for you.

6) Delay Gratification

A study featured in October’s issue of The Washington Post from researchers at the University of Iowa suggests that couple’s who prolong the sexual part of their relationship tend to be happier than those who have sex early. Why? Well delaying sex tends to help a proficient dater weed out the mate who’s serious about taking things further and the one just interested in a one hit her quit her. So the next time you’re tempted to an undercover session, opt to wait a while and see what the person says. If the potential boo has problems following  your intimacy time line, this could be a sign of much more serious issues. Besides, good things come to those who go to bed horny wait.

7) Accept What You See & Not What You Hope to See

When dating jerks, I had a habit of looking past their jerkiness. I saw what Mr. Wrong could be and overlooked the red flags waving incessantly in front of me. If he possessed some traits I considered less than honorable, I wanted to help him or fix him. And eventually I fell in love–not with the individual but with his potential. This practice worked against us both. I kept falling for men that only existed in my mind and he missed out on someone who genuinely accepted him for him. It’s like going to a restaurant. If the menu says no substitutions, no alternatives, no changes, would you still order that dish? Your catch is someone you accept and that accepts you without hassle.

The Case of the Ex

I stood over him in quiet agony. Though the car door separated us, my slight height advantage allowed me to see easily into his lap. My eyes scanned the piece of paper lingering in his grasp. And I quickly deduced what I had feared: It was a letter—from her.

“Hey it looks like I’m going to be at least forty minutes,” I stammered over my words, though I doubt he noticed. And if he did notice, he couldn’t know why. “Ugh, the lady is giving another test. That’ll be twenty minutes and then my test will take 20 minutes. So you can go home.” The words took it upon themselves to form and make sense.  My mental energy was elsewhere.  I thought he told me he was over her?


Walking back to my class, I suddenly felt tension in my shoulders—the natural anxiety roused by a pending bartending exam, replaced by the first test of my freshly rolled off the press relationship. As early as our first date, Mr. Right-For-Now and I found it necessary to discuss our various pasts (see “Commitment Issues? Me? But Women Don’t Have Those” The then comical conversation turned into a much more serious one. Since (whether you want to admit it or not) the past shapes us, I’m always curious to know what ex-lovers have molded the person now before me. So he told me. His rundown of their life together finished with many assurances that he was over her. And I believed him up until I found him in the car re-reading a love letter—from her.

So the questions started. Why did he even still have this letter? And why was it in his car? What could he possibly be reading it for? Why would he be going back down memory lane? Did he want her back? And when he came to pick me up, it never occurred to me that maybe those were the wrong questions to ask. What I really wanted to know, what I really needed to know, was why her life and their relationship had any bearing on my life and our relationship?

In comparison with men, American society tends to assume women act far less competitively. According to psychologist Anne Campbell, author of “Female Competition”, since the 1980s, more psychologists have taken a real interest in female competition. Using an evolutionary perspective, they found that although women do not have to compete for short-term sexual partners, they do compete for the best long-term mates. And men compete for the same thing. When vying for Mr. Rights (or Ms. Rights), women compete on the basis of physical appearance (no surprise there), sexual reputation, and intelligence or competency. (For more information on female competition please read Anne Campbell‘s “Female Competition”

Suddenly, I understood why I knew exactly what Mr. Right-For-Now’s ex-mate looked like before I even knew her name; why I’d spent countless hours of conversation and Facebook searches digging up information on her—on them; and why it was even important for me to know in the first place. One word—competition. In essence, the case of the ex becomes good old-fashioned survival of the fittest. I had to know I was more attractive, less whore-ish, and more intelligent. And if I happen to fall short in any of those areas, I must face the question of doom: why is he with me?

I concluded that competing with her and making comparisons could only turn out one of two ways. She’d be crowned the better woman or I would. Only thing is, even if I won the title, it wouldn’t change the way he’d once felt about her. And her winning wouldn’t change the way he  felt about me. Winning “Best Girlfriend Ever” also didn’t exempt me from undergoing the next woman’s scrutiny. So in the grand scheme of things, did exes really matter?

My friend Confidence once told me the hardest part about dealing with her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend was that she “…might have seen her [the ex] as a lesser woman who didn’t deserve his love. But at the same time he still loved her and who am I to say who deserves one of the greatest things on earth?” And in that same respect, who was I to deem her unattractive? Or a slut? Or worthy of a dunce cap? At the end of the day, no substantial degree of idiocy or any insurmountable amount of slut behavior would ever make his ex-mate less deserving of love. And none of her inadequacy would ever make me more right for him.

After feigning happiness for most of the day, I finally rounded up enough balls to ask him about the letter.

“At the job fair we went to last week, I was cleaning out a notebook for [my brother] Thomas, the letter was in there so I ripped it out and threw it in the glove compartment real quick,” he’d responded, “and when you came out to the car I was preparing to throw it away.” Just like that, he solved the mystery. Case of the ex closed. My own thoughts had filled in the blanks, placed feelings where they no longer existed.

***Please enjoy the song that I named this piece after!

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