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18 Dec

To Share or Not to Share…that is the question!

Every relationship has ups and downs like your favorite roller coaster. They are exhilarating and fun, they make your heart race, they can make you smile and laugh, and they can leave you yearning for more. Yet at the same time, these same coasters can make your jaw drop, you may scream or cry, or they can feel like death making you just want to get off and run away. Now, if you love the coaster, more than you hate it, you’re bound to end up right back on the line, excited to take another ride. That being said, it is very important what you chose to share about this coaster, aka your relationship, to other people.

Communication is Key” in a relationship. However, for communication to be effective, it must be between you and your partner.

 

people-2594319_1920The more people you bring into your intimate circle, the less intimate the circle becomes. That which is private becomes public. Some degree of sharing can create warmth and a feeling of love and support in and surrounding your relationship. However, if sharing goes wrong, animosity and resentment can begin to breed inside of your relationship as well as around it.

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It is impossible to make everything between you and your mate private. As humans, we feed off of sharing our joy and troubles with others. It helps us connect and allows us to grow. However, everything must be done in moderation, and you must always consider the consequences. Before you begin to share with someone outside of your relationship, here are some things to consider.

Know your audience!

Is this someone who cares about you? Many of us choose to share intimate parts of our lives with the people closest to us. This is definitely a catch 22. Most often, your close friends and family have your best interest at heart. The problem is your best interest may not be the best interest of your relationship. When you are married, the latter actually takes precedence. Truthfully in any relationship, the latter takes precedence if you want the relationship to work. Make sure if you share information about your relationship with a close friend or family member that they aware of this. Please note, thinking about the best for your relationship does not mean you do not think of yourself. It just means you do not think ONLY of yourself!

Is this a neutral party? A neutral party does not have a preconceived bias towards either you or your mate. Often times a neutral party is a person you go to receive counsel from because their opinions are free from judgment and they do not have a predisposition to take one side over the other. Just be careful of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Is this someone with their own agenda? This is definitely a wolf! Someone people do not have your best interest or the best interest of you relationship on their heart. These people tend to have their own interest at heart. For example, if you know your co-worker has a crush on you, do not ask him for relationship advice. It is in his best interest that your relationship does not work, and the information or support he provides may be detrimental to you and your current relationship.

Is this someone who likes a show? One of the worst viruses in a relationship is gossip; it’s the “he said, she said” syndrome. This allows other people’s feelings and perceptions to enter into your relationship. It often starts with you choosing to share personal business with the wrong source. Be very wary of someone who just wants the information to broadcast the latest news feed.

Is this someone who is overly pessimistic or optimisitic? More often than not, you know who to go to when you want someone to agree with you. You know who is going to be pessimistic 90% of the time. You know who is going to be optimisitic 90% of the time. Be very careful of choosing someone who is predictable. It not only invalidates the information being provided, but it also points to a bigger issue within you. If you already know the answer, why are you asking the question? What is the answer feeding you?

Know the intent of your communication and be clear about it!

Are you throwing salt into a wound? Sometimes, communicating with someone outside of your relationship is done just in spite. In the new technological era, it is easy to be spiteful. In an argument, someone might write a facebook status geared at their mate: “I just wish I didn’t have to repeat myself.” Now, not only does your mate know who the side comment is geared at, but also has the opportunity to see how all your friends, family, acquaintances, and random FB people feel about your relationship. For example :”Is that boy getting on your nerves again.” Or “Girl, just leave that alone. I know I wouldn’t repeat myself all day everyday!” Again, one of the worst viruses in a relationship is gossip; it’s the “he said, she said” syndrome. Avoid this intent because it is always destructive.

Are you venting? Sometimes we just need to get the crap off our heart. It is natural. Just pick someone who understands the purpose of venting. Also, be cautious of always venting to the same person. What occurs is that person gets a one sided view of your mate. So when you get back on line for that coaster, they look at you like you are crazy. Try to balance venting with praise. You want to make sure you are not always focused on the negative. Remember something about this ride exhilarates you!

 Are you sharing good news? Yeah for good news! We love to share it! Just make sure it is okay with your partner. Also, make sure you are sharing with someone who is open to receiving it. Not all people are able to share in your joy. Mr. Pessimistic mentioned above, still may have something negative to say even when you happy. This is the time you choose to share with Ms. Optimistic, right? J

 Are you providing info for info sake? Sometimes we share intimate business just to share. Be cautious of just giving information for information sake aka diarrhea of the mouth. If it doesn’t serve a positive function in your life, then it’s not worth all the energy and possible repercussions on your relationship.

 Are you gathering information? In general women do this more often than men. Sometimes, we share information, to obtain information and share notes. We learn at a young age that sharing is caring, and we know that sharing notes is a good way to learn and grow. Again, just be moderate and take in to account everything that has been mentioned.

 Do you need advice? Advice is defined as providing alternatives that you may or may not adhere to, but help you in making a decision. Be careful from whom you seek advice. At the end of the day, it is still your decision, but some advice tends to have a powerful pull on your spirit. Make sure the person has the best interest of your relationship at heart.

 Are you asking for help? Help is defined as someone stepping in and taking an active role in the resolution of a matter. If you and your mate need help, the best source of help is a neutral party. This allows both you and your mate to maintain your dignity and to be heard equally and without judgment.

To share or not to share?”

There are both good and bad consequences for sharing. So, the answer is totally up to you! Again, I just urge you to know your audience and take in account the intent of your communication. If you decide to share, make sure your intent is for the growth and betterment of your relationship.  It is okay if you need to vent or if you need some advice. We all go through those moments in our lives (more times than not). Just strive to pick a trustworthy confidant.

Lastly, remember to always return to the source of the emotion. The only way to deal with how you are feeling and build a strong foundation to your relationship is by communicating with your mate. Don’t forget that is who you should always be sharing with!

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So what is the moral of the story?

“Shakespeare’s question reframed,

To share or not to share

The answer goes unnamed

For you to put it there.”

Happy communicating!

Signing off,

Nadine G.

10 Dec

Waiting on the Ring

There is much talk in media about the single black woman syndrome, like it is a disease that is contracted. I have SBWS! It’s almost as bad as the herpes commercials. Everyone is chiming in about why black women are struggling to find Mr. Right, and the mockery of reality television is simply stated “a hot mess.” I will not join in on the band wagon of lumping all black women’s situation into a blob of nothing. Just like all women, black women face a variety of situations that affect their dating life. Moreover, the truth is that not every woman is waiting on a ring. Whatever your culture and where ever you are in the relationship realm, these two strategies should help obtain what you want. You must know who you are and know who you are dealing with. Sounds cliché, but it is true.

Know who you are

Focus on You: Sometimes we spend too much time worrying about an addition to self instead of focusing on self. It is a hard lesson, but you cannot love anyone else if you do not love yourself. If you choose not to spend time on getting to know you, all the time you spend on getting to know someone else is wasted. I say this because once you do find out who you are, that person may no longer match. More dangerously, this choice may hinder you from ever finding your true self, and you may find yourself caught up in everyone else’s definition of you. Make the wise choice to love and spend time on knowing you. Remember this is not a quick fix and does not happen in one “ah ha” moment. It should be a lifelong lesson.

Be self aware: There is no reason to learn a lesson if you do not use the information. If you discover that you are sarcastic 80% of the time, be aware of how that affects you and the people around you. This is true about any character trait, moral standard, like, dislike, strength, talent, weakness, etc.

Know what you want, need, and the difference between the two: I know it sounds like a personal ad: “6’3, bald, athletic, with a high paying job. Must like long walks in the park, be supportive, have a good sense of humor, love to talk, and love God!” We often joke about this, but it is true. You don’t need to take your list on a clipboard to every date, but you must know what you want physically, financially, socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. After you make that list, think about what you need. Needs are things that fulfill your spirit. It’s like food, it is essential to your well-being. For example, “I need someone who will communicate and work with me to solve a conflict.” Wants and needs are both important, but different. Needs are a fact and unchangeable. Again like food, you need it to survive. However, wants are preferences. Wants are subject to flexibility and change as necessary. Don’t get stuck on the fact that you want someone who is 6’3 and think that is a need.

Know what you can and cannot tolerate: If you were allergic to peanuts (and there was no Benadryl around), would you eat it? It the same with personality traits and behaviors. If you know yourself well, you will know what you can tolerate. I love to debate, but I totally dislike a man who loves to debate. It gets under my skin. We would make great friends, but in a relationship, it would be disastrous. If you want to try the peanuts for the fun of it, that’s a chance you are taking. However, the safer option is to opt for some fruit instead.

Know who you are dealing with

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Distinguish between Right and Right Now: People come in and out of your life. However, everyone is not meant to be in it for the long haul. Don’t be mistaken. Right Now is very tricky. He or she often looks like they could be Right, but you always have to maintain a discerning eye. How did you and this person begin dating and what were the parameters set? Are you just playing? Is the relationship serious? Are you on the same page in terms of what you want from each other? Are we growing together or are we on individual paths? By answering these questions honestly, you will be able to determine if the relationship is just for a season.

Dealing with WHO you are dealing with: If you meet a sanitation worker, do not be mad when the man comes home smelling stinky. If you are dating a make-up artist, don’t start complaining that she wears too much make-up. It is illogical. We often make the mistake of trying to make the person we are with the person we want them to be. The better option is being with the person who is what you need them to be (or is at least willing to grow in a positive way). Note: You cannot change anyone. If you cannot accept the person for who s/he is, don’t get into the situation. Wouldn’t you want someone who accepts you for you?

Be Flexible: Learn from your past, but don’t make it your present. If your last boyfriend cheated, don’t hold the grudge that all men are cheaters. If you last girlfriend liked to argue, don’t make the case that all women want to do is fight. It is unhealthy for a new relationship. Take each new relationship at face value, and allow the person to establish their own worth in your life. Also don’t make the mistake that all people operate the same way. You must be flexible. If cooking dinner worked as something special in the last relationship, don’t be disappointed if that doesn’t really matter to the new guy or gal. Maybe the new gal would like fast food and the new guy sees playing the Wii with you as more special. If you become stagnant in your relationships, growth will halt.

Be honest with yourself: Don’t act like a lion can be a pet dog. You may want to see a lion at the zoo for entertainment, but don’t bring it home. Do I need to say anything more?

Communicate: Talk. Talk some more. Communication is the foundation for any relationship. Once you have a strong foundation, you can move onto construct the rest of the house. If the foundation is shaky, see if you can fix it. If you can’t make it solid, find a new plot of land before building a house. Do not build a relationship on shaky principals and expect it not to falter. Again, this is illogical thinking.

Prioritize what is important: What is more important? Is it the wedding? Or is it the marriage? Let’s use pop culture as our example. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries spent an exorbitant amount of money on an elaborate wedding which ended in divorce not even a year later (72 DAYS TO BE SPECIFIC). Where should have the focus been? On putting on the show that everything is beautiful? Or on building a life that is beautiful? In any relationship, stay focused on the true goal of that relationship.

So what is the moral of the story?

“Knowledge is power,

Know you, know who you are with

Build strong foundations.”

Ps – If you are waiting on that ring, remember: if he likes it, he’ll put a ring on it! Don’t wait! Be confident in your choice and allow it to manifest naturally!

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Signing off,

Nadine G.

02 Dec

Tis The Season

As the warm cloak of summer fades, the cold begins to tempt the mind and body with supplements for the sun. One of the most natural forms of heat is body heat. There seems to be an insurgence of skin hunger – the craving for body to body contact. In urban communities, it is often called cuffin’ season. It’s the time when the handcuffs come out, and you get locked up in the house with your partner. This is a figurative statement. You don’t have to go out to Ricki’s and get some cuffs unless you’re into that sort of thing! In general, it is a time when people begin to go out less and stay in more. Sounds fun at first glance, but navigating cuffin’ season can be treacherous for the single person. Dating in general is complicated, but dating during this season is even more troublesome and filled temptations. So if you happen to be single, here are some words of advice:

Put the handcuffs away

Seriously!

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Pick Up a Hobby

Do you like to dance? Find a dance class! You want to get a workout? Join a Gym! You want to get creative? Go to an art class! Like sports? Join a team! Think about what it is you like and go for it!

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Get Social

Go out and be social. Put down the Facebook and E-harmony and go outside. There is no need for you to go into hibernation! Spend quality time with your friends and family. If you are dating, this is a great way to get to know a new person. If you aren’t dating, it’s a great way to meet a new person. Go to special events, go dancing, or visit a museum. There are a million things to do in NYC. Make the best of your city and say thank you by exploring it!

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Don’t get stuck inside

If you have a prospect, dating during this season often starts to take a turn. You’ll begin to hear, “It is cold outside. Why don’t you just come by my place?” You may even begin to hear those words come out of your mouth! Do everything in moderation. Remember staying in the house too much, starts to lead to other temptations and if you are not ready to get muddy, do play with pigs! Don’t forget that there are really fun things to do in the winter outside of your house. If you don’t mind the cold, go ice-skating. It can be a fun and an intimate experience. If you rather be indoors, check out a movie (at the theater), go to dinner, or check out a holiday show.

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Avoid taking the shortcut to relationships

If you just met someone, don’t rush into a relationship. Hormones are high, and making a decision when hormones are high is never a good choice. Remember women and men think differently. You may think you’re falling in love, and he may just be falling in lust. You may be excited to get her a holiday gift, and she may just be a gold digger. Don’t get discouraged by the above caution; there are healthy relationships that start in cuffin’ season. Just make sure you think before you act and take your time.

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Don’t be afraid to be alone

It is okay if you are not dating during this time. Do not be sad! Take the time to explore YOU! Do things that make you happy. Reflect on what is that you want and need. The law of attraction definitely works. By taking care of you, you will be putting excellent energy in the air that will lead your Right to you. Just be patient and Do You!

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So what is the moral of the story?

“Though the winter chill pricks your spine

Remember in relationships to take your time

The warmth of the body may be alluring

But it is the mind and spirit that is enduring.”

Tis the season! Make it a happy, productive one!

Signing off,

Nadine G.