Lemonade, Lies & Cheating

Ashes to ashes,  dust to side chicks”     -Beyonce

It usually all starts with a lurk. When I found out the person I was in a relationship with was talking to other girls on Facebook, I didn’t have any burning suspicions about it. I also didn’t expect to not find anything, but you know what they say happens when you go looking for trouble. I surely did find it. It wasn’t anything horrible, but I did find it highly inappropriate. The thoughts that came with finding out your significant other has been entertaining others are typical of what most people probably think when this happens. Feelings of inadequacy; what did I do wrong or what did I not do altogether? Is it my looks, is she smarter than me? Funnier, maybe? I eventually let it go and we moved past it, but I never trusted him again. Whenever he would be on his phone laughing about something, my side eye game grew stronger. Now that Beyonce has released the masterpiece that is Lemonade, talks of infidelity have been stronger than ever. Whether the album is themed around Jay Z’s cheating or not, it has sparked some interesting conversation. Of course all relationships come with problems, but to get such an intimate view tumblr_o6as866jc31r4poono1_500into a relationship that many thought was unbreakable put a little fear into the hearts of couples everywhere. Looks like Hov and Bey aren’t the #Goals everyone thought them to be. So where does that leave us regular folk? If someone so beautiful, ridiculously talented and famous can get cheated on, are any of us safe? Our generation already has very low levels of trust in the opposite sex. Most people expect to be deceived, so when it happens they just shrug it off. Side chicks don’t hide anymore, and popular music constantly reminds us that no one is to be trusted. Despite my bad experiences, I have not allowed myself to become jaded to the concept of love and relationships. Not everyone has bad intentions, and when a person cheats, it usually is not because of the other person’s inadequacies. This was a very important lesson I have had to learn in my early 20’s. People aren’t against you, they’re just for themselves. That doesn’t mean you have to tolerate disrespect, but it will help you from blaming yourself in case you ever end up the victim of a cheater. If you’ve ever cheated, why did you do it? Were you not feeling fulfilled in your relationship or were you just fueled by lust? Is it worse when women cheat? Many men say that women cheating is worse due to the emotional aspect of it, as opposed to men who cheat out of excitement. Of course women cheat for physical reasons at times as well, and men are capable of forming emotional bonds while sampling other appetizers. So who cheats more often? FullSizeRenderIs it that men cheat more, or is that women just hide things better? We all know men are generally terrible liars. When it comes to the little details, they leave loose ends and that is usually how they get caught up. Women are much more methodical. We forget nothing, and because of our tendencies to overthink, if we’ve plotted a lie, there are probably about 10 backup lies to cover our bases. Kind of twisted isn’t it? A woman who is a good liar has probably been cheating for months, maybe even years before she gets caught. According to this site, women cheat just as much as men do. The reasons differ, but the rate is about the same. Since each sex gets stepped out on as much as the other, why do men have such a hard time bouncing back after they’ve been betrayed? They will forever have “trust issues” and be emotionally unavailable because their high school girlfriend cheated with his next door neighbor. I’ve heard plenty of theories regarding this. The most common one is that men love harder than women because they are more selective about who they choose to open up to. So you put yourself out there and got stepped on; I think its time to cry a river, build a bridge and get over it.

Why Did He Do This To Me?

The thing someone wants to know most of all when they’ve been betrayed is, “why.” I always thought this was intriguing because does it really matter why? If your boyfriend has been cheating on you, would the logic behind it help you sleep better at night? I think it would make you feel much worse to hear “I’ve been stepping out because you’re boring as f*ck and this is getting old.” Usually, cheating does not indicate a lack of love. It is more of a lack of respect and/or discipline. A relationship may be lacking fun, passion, sexual gratification, etc. or as Kanye said, someone may just be unable to stay faithful in a room full of hoes. Human beings are selfish by nature. The majority of our thoughts are motivated by ‘self.’ When I was 21 and in a relationship, from time to time I would text and flirt with other guys every now and then. I was bored, and I’ve since matured, but in the moment I wasn’t thinking about how my significant other would feel. I also didn’t like him any less just because I was exchanging heart eye emojis with other guys. I was just motivated by my own desires and failed to think how this would affect him if he were to find out. This is how cheaters operate. Unless you’re being petty antumblr_ndehti0ip61qgm5xfo1_500d seeking revenge, you turn off the loyalty switch in your mind. When Jay Z was out with Becky With The Good Hair, he wasn’t thinking about how beautiful, loyal and kind his wife and mother of his child is. The novelty of someone new is intoxicating to some people, and they’re willing to risk it all for a little excitement. For some people, they aren’t sure what counts as cheating and what doesn’t. Some people are ready to slash tires over liking Instagram pictures, others won’t see an issue until you’re meeting up and/or being physical. First of all, boundaries should be established in your relationship so you should know what’s inappropriate. Liking IG photos is extreme, but a good rule to go by is if you feel you need to hide it, you shouldn’t be doing it. No one can read minds and none of us have the power to control other people, so stressing yourself out over the where, when, why and how’s your love cheated on you will just frustrate you even more. Their bad decisions are not a reflection of you. It does not make it okay, but don’t lose sleep at night thinking that their infidelity is your fault. Loyalty is an expectation, but definitely not a guarantee.

Second Chances?

So they cheated, and you decided to stay. People love to judge those who forgive cheaters and take them back. This isn’t the first time there have been rumors of Jay not being faithful to Bey, yet she chooses to stick around and work on her family. It is easy for someone on the outside looking in to call another woman stupid or weak for not kicking a cheating man to the curb, but we don’t know the uniqueness of every situation. It really isn’t anyone’s business why you decide to forgive, but I do not think it is wise to just blindly forgive and forget without going deeper. I said above that the ‘why’ does not matter, but that is on a surface level. It is not as simple as she’s prettier or has a better body. People, men in particular, will cheat with a woman who looks like a gremlin. If it were based purely off attraction, no human being on Earth would be able to be monogamous. When my now ex-boyfriend was flirting on Facebook, I was too immature and inexperienced at the time to attempt to get a better understanding of his actions outside of “why are you talking to other girls?!” Looking back on it, I should have been more focused on where the lack of discipline was coming from. “I don’t know why, I just do it” is not an answer. It is an example of how some people are unable to communicate their motives, or they are not courageous enough to be honest. When this topic comes up,
tumblr_o6ax5w2v511tfbqd3o1_540I always think back to the scene in Baby Boy where Yvette is trying to get Jody to explain to her why he cheats. His attempt at honesty was futile, and he basically just told her to deal with it or kick rocks. If your significant other is unable or unwilling to be totally open and honest with you about their actions, I don’t think they are worthy of forgiveness. You have to be real with yourself in order to be real with others. Unless you lack relationship experience or life experience altogether, you have got to be mature and strong enough to hold people accountable for their actions. You can’t get mad at Becky With The Good Hair. She owes you no loyalty. The person who agreed to be exclusive with you is responsible. Who cares if she knew that was your man? All is fair in love and war. Things happen, and people sometimes do things they regret. At the end of the day, we’re all human. If you have cheated or are currently cheating, you’re not a horrible person. People make mistakes, but if you’re willing to take those risks, you have to be able to accept the consequences. If you are the person who is currently pulling the knife out of your back, only you can decide how you want to proceed. If you would rather put all his stuff in the box to the left, nothing is wrong with that. If you’re working it out, do it in a way that is most conducive to long-term success. Sweeping things under the rug because they gave you a weak “sorry, I won’t hurt you again” is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. Once someone sees you let everything slide, they’ll start figure skating. If you are starting to get to second, third, and fourth chances, it is probably time to accept that this person is incapable of being the partner you deserve. You can forgive from a distance and move on with your life. The beautiful thing about life is that you are in control of it. If you want to reconcile, reconcile. Don’t let the opinions of your friends and family get in the way of what you believe is your happiness. Just also be willing to accept responsibility for the downfall if things do not work out the way you had hoped. Trust your instincts and stand your ground. It will work in your favor every time.

It Doesn’t Cost $200 To Date Me

“Chicken wings and fries, we don’t go on dates” -Future

If you are familiar with Twitter, at some point you have surely seen the debate on the $200 date. I have no idea where the notion that a proper date is at least $200 originated from, but apparently if you can’t afford to take a woman on a $200 date you’re broke, and if a man has never dropped that much money on you during a date, you aren’t worth the investment. During my time on Twitter, I have never seen the logic behind this dollar amount, but I have deduced that a fancy dinner and drinks at a commendable restaurant adds up to about this much. Dating is not just a black and white process, so you cannot realistically place a dollar value on a date. It will all depend on the area you live in and what you choose to do. With house dates becoming so popular, I have been amazed that this is even a topic of discussion since so many women are content with Netflix and Chill. I have been on cheap dates where wtumblr_nl27yzhfpq1spnc0yo1_500e have done simple things such as go-karts and grabbing a bite and had an amazing time. I’ve been on fancy dinners where even the taste of a $50 steak couldn’t stop me from being bored to tears over how dull he was. An expensive dinner can’t make up for a lack of chemistry, so I cut ties and decided not to talk to this person again. Go Kart guy and I went on to have more fun together and he spent much less than $200. So how do we find the happy medium between $200 dates and Netflix and Chill? Does a man see you as less valuable if he invites you over to his house instead of the Metropolitan Grill? I would say no. At the end of the day its a tactic to get into your pants, some just put more effort into it than others. Of course as a man gets to know you and likes your personality he will want more than sex, but we can be realistic and accept the fact that men are creatures of conquest. Does it cost $200 to date me? Absolutely not. Will I go over to your house to eat Pizza Hut and watch reruns of House of Cards? There is a better chance of it snowing in hell. With that being said, lets break down the cost of what I feel is a reasonable date.

A Date With Me

First things first, I enjoy food. Going to dinner is a great chance to have a conversation with a person. You can obtain information that is important to you, like their occupation, how they treat the server, etc. It doesn’t have to be a 5 star seafood restaurant, but I’m also not going to Popeye’s. Let’s say we end up at The Cheesecake Factory. The food is pretty good, not too expensive, and it is close to where our next activity will take place. I place my order, he places his:

  • 2 beverages – $20
  • 2 entrees – Pasta for me, ribs for him – $48
  • 1 slice of cheesecake – $8
  • Tip – $15

Total for dinner = $91

We both enjoy live music, and not too far away there is an outdoor concert. The only cost is a small donation for whatever charitable cause they are performing for. I throw in my own $5, he puts in $5. Boom. There is a date for under $200. For $96, I have enjoyed great conversation, had a good dinner and an activity was included that barely cost any extra money. All it takes to have a great date is some creativity and effort. The dinner scenario was just an example. There are plenty of things two people can do together than can cost a
lot less than a $96 dinner. Dinner and movie dates may be cliche, but it is important to choose something that allows you to see how a person is when they are out of the comfort of their own home. If a man wants to take you to see a Broadway show and follow it up
tumblr_ng2fr8cycl1su7a71o1_500with lobster tails, there is nothing wrong with that. If instead he suggests something that involves barely $5, like a hike followed up with a stop at the frozen yogurt shop, the important part is that someone is willing to put in the effort to create a bonding experience with you. If you like someone, how can you truly get to know them if you don’t ever do anything but sit in their house and watch movies? You’ll end up moving too fast and everything will fizzle out before it even gets a chance to get started. Don’t sell yourself short. I have seen tweets that say things like “girls expect $200 dates but aren’t even worth Burger King.” Whether you agree with the concept of a $200 date or not, every woman is worth being shown effort. Don’t fall into the Twitter propaganda of settling for McDonald’s and Redbox because you’ve been made to feel bad for expecting a real date.

Why Don’t Men Want To Date?

To be real, I can see why a lot of men these days are unwilling or skeptical to take women out on dates. Why would you fill your car up with gas, put on nice clothes, pick her up, pay for a dinner, then have no guarantee of a reward at the end when you could call over 1 of many options who would drive to your house, have drinks, maybe even bring you food, then give you a happy ending? That’s like going to Pizza Hut to pick up your pizza when instead you could have all the goods delivered right to your door. Men are winning nowadays. So many women are so thirsty for attention they will accept house dates when they know they want to be taken out and treated like the queen that they are. In a nutshell, men have been spoiled. For arguments sake, lets say Brian has met two women this week. Cassie is smart, pretty and seems to have standards. Nina seems to be a lot of fun, looks average, but they seem to get along pretty well. He currently has Adriana on the back-burner for when none of his more appealing options seem to be cooperating. It’s Friday night, and Brian is bored. What better to do than to call up one of these new ladies he has had his eye on? Cassie is busy, he doesn’t feel like dealing witdateh the complaints of Adriana tonight, so he calls up Nina. She is excited to hear from him, and suggests that they check out a happy hour near her place and maybe catch a movie. Brian does the math in his head. Drive to her area, pay for the movies, happy hour and movie snacks. He thinks “I just met her, do I really want to be spending money on someone I might not even like after its over? Nope!” Brian does what these new age savvy guys do and says “I’m pretty tired from work, but I’ve been wanting to see you. You should come to my place and watch (insert popular show) you said that you liked and we can have drinks here. I can pick up the Crown Apple you said you liked.” In the mind of a girl desperate for attention, this doesn’t seem like a bad trade off. She agrees, and Brian has just gotten everything that he wanted and all he had to do was stay on the phone for 90 seconds. Nina begins to like Brian and he thinks she’s cool to keep around, but he now knows that she will lower her standards for sweet talk, so from here on out all she gets is house dates and cold Crown Royal Apple. Soon, Brian will meet someone who won’t settle for cold pizza, and Nina will be pushed out the door. Men respect standards. The good thing is that there are still plenty of men willing to date. Just don’t be surprised if they try you with the basic chick act first. If I was a man, I probably would. If Future is telling me you can still get what you want by giving women chicken wings and fries, I’m gonna offer you chicken wings and fries.

Men-Get Creative!

Some men are intimidated with the art of dating because of the monetary importance that is placed upon it. If you are in college and you are being asked out, it is silly to expect a young college student to have fancy date money. If you are talking to a man who has a moderate income, don’t offend him by turning your nose up at his suggestion of doing something that doesn’t cost a lot. As I’ve said previously, the most important thing is that a person is puttingnf and cill in effort. That doesn’t mean you are expected to pay for your own meal on the first date, but keep things in perspective. Is he making time for you and showing interest? During the date, did he pay attention to the little things like opening your doors and making sure you got home safely? If you’re dating someone just to see how deep their pockets go, you have a totally different objective. The point should be to create a bonding experience with someone to see how compatible you may be. If you have no idea how to date on a budget, check out Pinterest. You can find plenty of cheap date ideas on there. Picnics, hikes, paint nights, carnivals/fairs, there are plenty of things you can do that will not make you go broke.There really is no excuse for accepting little to no effort from the person you are interested in. Dating is an investment of your time and energy. If you spend your time and energy sewing seeds of nothingness, you are going to get nothing in return. Realistically, dating costs money. If you are involved with a man who doesn’t even have the money to take you to see The Revenant, he clearly can’t afford to date. Men may ask you to come over and chill because it’s easy, but it also may be because they are struggling financially. This is when you have to start analyzing behavior. Sure, the funds may be low, but this is when you have the opportunity to get creative. If someone is really interested in you, time, money, or Donald Trump’s Mexican Wall can’t keep them away. Your company is priceless, so don’t be afraid to make your expectations known. If they flake on you or make you feel bad for having standards, they are simply not the person for you. No, you will not cook for him. No, you will not check out his favorite show on Hulu, but yes you will accept his offer to treat you like the queen that you are. Fellas, you can date on a budget! Don’t be discouraged. Is there a special lady you’ve had your eye on but student loans or a low paying job is holding you back? Here is your answer:

The Trendy Picnic

I am not the only woman who loves to eat. When a woman gets asked out, her mind usually has visions of sitting down at a restaurant. Well, you might not have restaurant money. Plan a picnic! Here is how to look like you’ve gone all out without having to make a payment arrangement with AT&T next week.

date idea

  • Step 1: Check the weather and choose a location that you know won’t be overly crowded. Try to have a nice view. You’ll be able to converse and enjoy your food without distractions. Don’t forget a nice blanket and appropriate utensils. Borrow it all from your mom.
    • Cost – $0
  • Step 2: Figure out what she likes to eat. You don’t have to eat turkey sandwiches just because its a picnic. You don’t even have to know how to cook. Go to Costco and pick up a small meat platter, pasta salad, fruit, cheeses, something to drink and a few chocolates.
    • Cost – ~approx $30, maybe less
  • Step 3: Bring music to set a nice mood. Bring a game you both likes, like dominoes, cards, etc. One great way to gain insight to a person without feeling weird is to bring The Book of Questions. It’s very engaging and interesting. You can order it on Amazon. You still get to eat, enjoy her company, and learn about each other.
    • Cost – $8.95 for the book

Total for your date: approximately $38.95

Not only did you just do the smart thing by not putting yourself in a tough spot by shelling out money you don’t have, I can guarantee that you have impressed this woman. You didn’t take her back to the same old place she’s been 100 times, you stepped outside of the box. This has shown that you know how to plan, be creative, and engage a person without feeling inadequate because you are not making six figures.

 

Death To Trust Issues

Let me guess… You have trust issues. You have been done wrong, lied to, taken advantage of, manipulated, cheated on or all of the above. Welcome to life. It always amuses me when I read or hear people say “you can’t trust anyone nowadays.” Maybe I have been living in the twilight zone but was there ever a time where people didn’t deceive other people? Cain killed his own brother and they were supposedly the first family on earth. Jesus was snitched on by one of his own disciples for a few pieces of silver. Bill cheated on Hillary in the White House, right under her nose. Times may change, but people sure don’t. Trust is extremely fragile. Once it is broken, oftentimes it is irreparable. One lie can make you question everything. Before someone is traumatized from the side effects of dealing with a liar, he/she generally gives most people a general level of trust until they have reason to revoke it. Once they’ve had some life experience and have been burned a few times, some people develop serious trust issues as a defense mechanism. They can’t hurt you if you don’t let them in, right? With popular culture co-signing the anti-trust movement (Dratumblr_inline_o1quutbge21t144kg_500ke-“Trust Issues” Future “If Young Metro Don’t Trust You…”) it seems logical to keep your heart locked up with no key to open it in existence. With this type of mindset, are you protecting yourself or are you really just hurting and limiting yourself? One day I had to wake up and smell the Starbucks; people are not out to get me. The times I felt like I was made a fool of, it wasn’t necessarily personal. People are inherently selfish. Their actions aren’t motivated by you. That guy who was dating my friend behind my back when I was 17 didn’t have a secret vendetta mission to break my high school heart. He was fueled by his own desires. Was it wrong for him to do me like that? Of course it was. We should all be honest regarding our intentions and upfront about our actions, but we don’t live on planet Morals and Kindness. This world is brutal. The funny thing is that many people I talk to don’t have issues with trust because of what they’ve been through, but because of what they witness. Guy friends tell me all the time how many women in relationships they’ve slept with. Not very reassuring if you’re still on the market, hoping for someone trustworthy. I have men in relationships try to take me on dates all the time. Why anyone would entertain someone who is blatantly disloyal is beyond me, but that’s neither here nor there. What I find especially sad is that the expectation is to get played. So many of us meet someone new and because things are going well, we just wait for the other shoe to droWait For Him To Lie Memep. Jenny meets Bob and so far he meets everything on her checklist. Handsome, ambitious, great sense of humor, all that good stuff. Jenny thinks to herself, “something is wrong with him, I know it.” Jenny then finds out Bob has 3 kids he failed to mention and still lives at home with them and their mother. After awhile you have to ask yourself if you’re just having bad luck or if you’re failing to do your research on these people you so quickly become smitten with. Time to take some accountability!

Know Yourself

We are all our own worst enemies and biggest critics. I believe most people have trust issues because it is themselves they don’t trust. They don’t trust their own instincts or their taste in people. If you close yourself up because you have been scorned in the past, its because you are too afraid to take your chances again. Fear hinders growth. Instead of feeling the sharp sting of betrayal again, you would rather scroll through your timeline and wonder how all those other happy couples are making it work. The cute guy at work keeps asking you out, but he wears the same Gucci cologne that the last guy who hurt you wore, so he must be a creep too. Simply jaded by fear. Once you realize that no one can hurt you without your permission, you can possibly begin to open yourself up again without walking on eggshells around someone new. Trust doesn’t always have to do with betrayal and infidelity. Can you trust someone with your feelings overall? What can be equally as hurtful as cheating is dealing with someone who disregards your feelings and can’t keep your business private. Have you ever felt like you could trust someone with your private thoughts and then they throw them in your face later on? Or even worse, in my opinion, is when you try to communicate your issues with a person and they brush you off with no interest or acknowledgement. This is a violation of trust that not many people take note of. Being able to trust someone with what is on your mind is essential to any relationship. One of the most important components of happiness is removing toxic people from your life. Trusting your instincts is key, but betrayal is tricky. Sometimes you never see it coming. While Caesar was in the midst of getting stabbed to death, imagine his surprise to see Brutus grab a knife too. I’ve had friends stab me in the back, but did I decide I was never going to make friends again? I would have been the one lonely while everyone else was busy making memories. My life would have become some bitter Facebook meme about “trust no b*tch.” The internet has made it seem like everyone is out to get you. It spreads fear like ratchets spread rumors. Stop relying on memes made by some salty chick in a basement to give you guidance on your own life. Most of us are a lot more resilient and capable than we give ourselves credit for. If your bullsh*t detector starts going off, listen to it! There is no way you would have made it this far in life not being able to trust your own instincts. tumblr_m1m2bkmtnj1qfdwsio1_500There are levels to trust, and new people in my life are given just enough for me to feel comfortable that you won’t go fatal attraction on me once you find out where I live. As the friendship grows, I become more open as you continue to prove yourself trustworthy. If you’re paying attention and keeping your wits about you, a person’s true interior will start to show sooner than later. Is there anyone (aside from my lovely mother and sisters) that I trust 100%? Absolutely not! I put nothing past no one. However, trust can only be broken to the point where you allowed someone to reach. Only allow people as much privilege into your life as they deserve. Your boyfriend couldn’t have had 25 chances to cheat on you if you had picked up his signs of disloyalty early on. Your so-called “friends” tell all of your business because you divulge private information to any woman who shares your love for Sephora. No one likes to be made a fool of, but don’t let fear stop you from forming relationships with people. It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where you never know a person’s true intentions, but you can prepare yourself and use your common sense. People will screw you over, but life must continue to go on. Death to trust issues!

Does Social Media Ruin Relationships?

 

“It goes down in the DM’s”

You’re addicted to your smart phone. I don’t blame you, because phones aren’t really phones anymore. They’re handheld computers that allow you to make voice calls when you can’t text, email, or FaceTime the person you’re trying to reach. They’re a crutch for when you don’t want to be bothered or don’t want to interact with people. It is a safety net you use when you’re surrounded by an unfamiliar crowd. Bored? Open up YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, Periscope, Buzzfeed, or the latest game you’ve downloaded and immerse yourself. Forgetdmting your phone at home all day is a torture you would wish upon no one. Forgetting your charger leaves you in a slight state of panic all day. You better turn that brightness all the way down, close out every single app and keep all unnecessary usage to a minimum. Dropped it in the toilet? I bet you’re running to the nearest store to buy all the rice you can find. I hope you didn’t forget to pay your bill and now you’re shut off, because you’re not gonna be able to respond to the 2 text messages you received until your service has been restored. Your phone is not only your best friend, it is your lifeline and you can’t imagine what you would do without it. Not only are you provided with endless entertainment and up to date news at your leisure, you are also exposed to numerous platforms to interact with people whom you find interesting. Who needs Match.com when you have Twitter? Who needs BlackPeopleMeet.com when you have Tinder? Most social networking sites are free. There is no need for dating questionnaires or paying a monthly subscription fee. Your profile on the social media sites you engage in doubly serves as a dating platform, whether you want it to or not. Sure, you’re at family dinner but you just got a new match on Tinder and the chit-chat about your sister’s promotion can wait 90 seconds until you’ve responded to this new slice of opportunity that found his way into your inbox. You’re hooked and hopelessly attached to the internet. 

 

Charged Up

The ironic part about social media is that while the premise was to connect people, it actually disconnects us from those close to us. Go to a restaurant and notice how many couples and family members sit at a table together, but are actually absent because they are too distracted by their phones. We often don’t think about how being so engrossed in technology can affect our familial relationships in addition to our romantic ones. When I’m with family, at times I notice how while we are all sitting tumblr_o4er2qmppa1rpr5lvo1_500in the same room, we aren’t spending time together. Two people are on their phones, the others are watching TV, someone is on the laptop and the kids are on tablets. Rewind 20 years to when I was a kid and I was outside climbing trees, riding bikes and playing made up games with my sisters. My parents did not allow us to sit in the house all day, eyes glued to a television. How do we disconnect our kids when they use the same technology at school? With the direction the world is going in, I doubt anyone knows the answer to that question. Fortunately, my family is so close that we are never too far away from each other, mentally or physically. For a family that is not so close, I can’t imagine how weak the bonds must be with phones building up even bigger walls. Am I the only one who is afraid at how minimal human interaction will become as technology continues to advance? It really has gotten so ridiculous that I will be carrying dual conversations with the same person on two different apps. Weird, I know. You can’t use the excuse of calling someone and never getting a call back because if it is truly urgent, you not only will call but you can choose to Facebook Message, Tweet, email or do anything short of sending out a smoke signal. There are literally no excuses these days. With all these modes of communication, how has this damaged our romantic relationships?

“It’s Just Twitter”

Does social media ruin relationships? Do guns kill people, or do people kill people? Instagram didn’t ruin your relationship. Your cheating boyfriend did. It’s not Twitter’s fault that your girlfriend responds to every man that slides into her DMs. If social networks sabotage healthy relationships, why were people breaking up in the 90s? The only influence social media has had on modern relationships is that now a person has more avenues to cheat if that’s what they want to do. Everyday we are exposed to attractive people online who seem intriguing in some way. You don’t even have to leave your house to meet someone new. Once you hit the add or follow button, you can tune in all day. We have evolved, folks. Gone are the days when you can only talk to your side piece at work or late at night. Nowadays, you can be lying in bed with bae while he’s Snapchatting Becky. That’s scary. On the flip side of that, it is also much easier to get caught up. How did women back in the day find out their man was living foul? The classic lipstick on the collar or phone number was found crumpled in his pocket. If the lady was really bold, she would call your house phone. Scorned side pieces don’t have to resort to that anymore. Screenshots have solved that problem. Cheating aside, lets address pure speculation. If you’re caught flirting on the timeline or if some suspicious person keeps leaving heart eyes under your significant others photos, what is our classic response? “It’s just ____ (Twitter, FB, IG, etc).” mjI’ve said that several times. Sure, I saw those people as harmless, but the person I was involved with clearly didn’t. Why are we so insecure when it comes to our significant others online interactions? I think it has to do with having to visually see our romantic interests flirt with other people. When they’re not with you, you don’t know who they are interacting with, so it can’t really hurt much. For an insecure person, refreshing their timeline and seeing 15 tweets between you and Mr. Random could ignite some fury. Be aware, there is a huge difference between setting boundaries for your relationship and dealing with a person who can’t control their jealousy. I remember years ago when I first made my Twitter; I had absolutely no idea what I was doing so I was barely on it. My boyfriend at the time found out and acted as if I had signed up to be an escort on Backpage. Serious red flag.If you’re dealing with an insecure person, they will always find a way to let their issues shine through. You can’t hide your true colors for long. It will spill over from trivial matters on Facebook to who you’re texting, where you’re going, and is your Pizza Hut contact really for pizza or is it actually Betty. 

Addicted to Attention

While I do think it’s absurd to blame social media alone for ruining relationships, it does indeed play a part. It is apart of most of our daily lives so of course it would have an influence. Some people are so addicted to their online personas that they do not feel validated unless they have strangers telling them how good they look or co-signing their opinions. This reeks of insecurity. You can never love these types of people enough or give them enough reassurance to make them feel good about thtumblr_nzicgzchdl1u6b5qdo1_500emselves. This type of insecurity just leads to the jealous behavior that I spoke of above. I don’t think we realize how damaging it can be to depend on the internet to reaffirm the way we feel about ourselves. Not only is this sad, it is very annoying to be around. I’ve met men who are so caught up in their timelines, snapchat, and Instagram that I felt like I was basically hanging out with myself. Every 5 minutes he was making snapchat videos. That was followed be a selfie. In between, his phone was constantly going off. All the while I’m thinking to myself, for someone to be so social, he sure is acting anti-social. When you are getting to know someoneyese new, put your online interactions on hold. Not everything you think needs to be composed into a tweet. The vast majority of us are not Maya Angelou where our thoughts are so profound they must be immediately documented. The more you get to know someone, the easier it will be to tell if they are just the typical, engaged person, or if they are using social networks to boost themselves up. All you can do is take your time to peel back the potential layers of the person you are getting to know. Maybe the constant need for attention won’t bother you. Just be aware that a person who is an attention whore will most likely become your headache before it is all said and done.  

I Have a Confession. . .

“Keep your lust locked up in chambers, only those who pass your gates of love should be allowed to enter such levels.”

Celibacy. Self-imposed, maybe by default. After the months continue to go by, does it really matter the origin of the circumstance? I would know. I’ve done it. I’m currently doing it. Is it easy? No. Is there pressure? Duh.

I didn’t wake up one morning and have an epiphany that made me want to lock up the goods and hide the key. No one broke my heart, I didn’t have a rebellious phase that made me want to calm down. Before I knew it, it had just been awhile. And then an even longer while. Eventually I noticed that I  didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything so I figured why not keep going? Choosing to be celibate doesn’t mean you can’t date or enjoy the company of the opposite sex. We’re grown ups, it isn’t offensive to know that a man wants to have sex with you. However, knowing you aren’t giving out what’s so highly desired actually makes you feel powerful.


What’s The Point?

You’re not a virgin. He’s not a virgin. What are you waiting for? Everyone lately has had an opinion of Ciara and Russell Wilson’s vow of celibacy. Whether you believe it or not, this is what they are portraying. Why would two people who are attracted to each other and clearly have already established a bond put sex on hold? Apparently it was Russell’s idea, and after his previous marriage didn’t last duecc to infidelity, perhaps this was his method of ensuring his next relationship was the real deal. We’ve all had our hearts stepped on at least once and it sucks, to put it lightly. When you’re involved with someone and take sex out of the equation, you’re forced to view them as the person they are. Your judgement isn’t jaded by lust. Most people view celibacy as an undertaking of a single person so it is hard to understand why you wouldn’t want to connect with someone you’re in love with on such an intense level. I’ll admit, I don’t know how they’re doing it. It’s natural to want to get physical with someone you’re attracted to only on a physical level. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be totally in love with someone and remain hands off until marriage. What if you never make it to that point? What if you get there and realize you aren’t sexually compatible? Would you feel as if you wasted your time? If it doesn’t work out, do you leave the relationship feeling a sense of pride because while you invested your full 100%, he still didn’t have the privilege of sampling your most sacred possession? As a man, is this going to make someone’s true colors show faster? Most men would laugh at the idea of being celibate. If it isn’t for religious reasons, why would you voluntarily subject yourself to an indefinite period of horniness and sexual frustration? Furthermore, why would you continue it once you actually find the person who makes you want to settle down? Maybe we put too much emphasis on sexual gratification. A person has so much more to offer than what’s hidden in their jeans. Perhaps we should take more time to uncover what is in someone’s mind instead of trying to uncover what’s underneath their clothes.


 

Be Choosy

pin3

 

You may have heard about how sexual energy can be transferred between two people. If you haven’t, click here. The more you interact with someone, the more you take in their energy. Think about that. If you’re dealing with someone that seems to be of low morality, questionable character, etc., you are allowing that energy into your body. I am a firm believer that negative energy impacts your life in negative ways. Is sex important enough that you will cloud your aura with negativity? There are people who have sex on the first night or in the early stages of meeting someone and have gone on to have successful relationships. The article in the link above explains that you must find a way to release the sexual energy of those you’ve engaged with that may not be very desirable. Until the person you are sexually involved with finds a way to cleanse their sexual energy as well, you will carry around all of their prior partners. Give it a read. It’s quite interesting.


I Have Needs!

Hormones are tricky. One day you’re feeling strong and like you have everything under control. Next thing you know, Mr. Potential texts you and asks about dinner and drinks. You start to feel a little weak. What do you do? Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Do you wlustant to sabotage all of your progress for one night? It really isn’t worth it. The majority of people that you come across will never make it past the stage of casual dating, so hold out. What’s even harder? Falling into a moment with someone and having to refocus yourself. I think that at times we overestimate our willpower. I also think that we are professionals at lying to ourselves. If you end up alone with someone you are attracted to, the temptation levels skyrocket. Add in alcohol and they shoot through the roof. In a perfect world, we would never put ourselves in a situation that would deter us from our goals.Don’t even allow yourself to be put into a situation that you know you’re not strong enough to resist. But do you ruin the moment by backing out once things get heated? Yes, that’s exactly what you do if you know this isn’t the right time. On the flip side, this could be a person that is passing all of your tests and meeting all of your criteria. In your mind, you could easily justify this the next morning. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that you allowed your horniness to cloud your judgement. You haven’t taken the time to reevaluate this person on your own time to decide whether or not the time is right. Furthermore, if this person begins to pressure you, then you already know it’s a dead end. A person who cares for you will never pressure you for sex. Period.


It’s Been Fun But…

When is the right time to end a period of celibacy? Do you wait until you find someone worth it or do you end it when the drought has become too much to bear? It really is a personal decision that should only be influenced by you. Personally, it will continue until I know I have found someone worth my while. No amount of horniness is worth several months of self-discovery, reflection and empowerment. While the opinions of others have never been a deciding factor on how I choose to conduct myself, people tend to respect any type of decision that is helping you better yourself. If your hormones have kicked you in the A and the vibrator just isn’t doing for you anymore, that’s fine too. Everyone is different. In no way am I putting down those who choose tkisso fully indulge in their sexual freedom. The beautiful thing about the time and place we live in is that there are no holds barred on whom you can be intimate with. The thing with women is that we often lie about what we want. Sure, a no strings attached arrangement may sound good, but deep down many of us know that we would always desire something more. Men catch feelings too, but unless you’re showing signs that you may be different, when they say they don’t want any of the extras, they usually mean it . Since that is normally the case, how about we take the time to expose someone’s true intentions by thoroughly getting to know them. Not having sex with someone won’t keep you from getting your heart broken. You can’t use celibacy as a shield from the scary world of dating. If you’re choosing this route, use it to empower yourself. Learn about what you want from someone without letting your hormones kick things into overdrive too quickly. Lust is controllable.

You’re Still Single?!

“The moment you realize God had greater plans for you that don’t involve crying at night or sad Pinterest quotes.”

A pretty, smart thing like you, why are you still single? I know the boys should be lining up at your feet!” The more I progress into my 20’s, the more this question is asked, as if pretty and smart should be a shoe in for a healthy relationship. Not only am I asked this from family members and old friends, I ask myself this question quite frequently as well. Even though I ponder over my relationship status, it is not done in a mind frame of loneliness, desperation, or fear of my biological clock running out. Society tells us that after you finish your education and secure a decent job, the next step should be a serious relationship and thoughts of settling down. So, like anyone who is continuously exposed to something, these thoughts do surface from time to time.

The pressure on young women to settle down seems to be a consistent nagging voice in the back of our heads. I have made it a habit to tell these thoughts to shut up. Men typically do not face this external pressure from society to settle down and raise a family. They are encouraged to grow into their careers, date at their leisure, and finally choose their Cinderella. The terminal bachelor is not looked down upon with the same disdain as the old cat lady or spinster. If a man is single for substantial amounts of time, people believe the “I just haven’t found the right one” rhetoric. Chronically single women must have something wrong with them, right?

ny

Where’s Your Man At?

We see it on reality TV and probably in our own lives all the time. A taken woman’s favorite insult to throw at a single woman is “where’s your man at, though” or any similar phrase that is used to undercut a female because she is not in a committed relationship. Let’s break down all of the things wrong with this argument:

  1. Being Single Is Not A Character Flaw
    1. If you need the validation of a man to make you feel better about yourself, please reevaluate your self-esteem. You should be happy with yourself whether you are in a relationship or not.
  2. Alone Does Not Equal Lonely
    1. Believe it or not, there are people who choose not to date in order to better themselves personally, professionally, etc. It is better to bring what you feel is your best and to be happy with what you have going on before diving into serious relationships. If you’re unhappy, no one else can make you happy.
  3. Not Every Relationship Is A Healthy One
    1. All that glitters isn’t gold. Not everyone in a relationship is happy. We’ve all witnessed dysfunctional relationships. Being single is better than participating in a dysfunctional relationship just for the sake of saying you’re in one.

attention

Your Business Is Your Business

As we all know, people act like if you didn’t broadcast it on social media, it didn’t happen. Don’t give in to the pressure of wanting someone to show off on Facebook and Instagram. Even once you start dating someone, there is not a requirement that says, ‘must post one selfie of you and bae weekly to show its real.’ No matter your age, do not allow the internet to make you feel left out. This creates desperation and desperate people do desperate things! You will never yield the results you want this way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship, but chasing a relationship just to prove you are wanted is extremely shallow and it will not work.

If you put too much pressure on something, it will ultimately break. Do not break yourself in an attempt to prove you are worthy. If everyone seems to be concerned about your relationship status, ignore them. You owe no one an explanation. If you do not ever want to get married, that is your personal business. If your relationships never work out, who cares if people speculate about what your issues are. Of course the world would be a much better place if people minded their own business, but since they don’t, let them assume whatever they choose to. External pressure will never cease, so if you find that you’re 33 and still alone, so what! If you’re happy, be happy. If you’re not, then you have the power to change your circumstances. Do not allow Tumblr’s #ForeverAlone quotes to make you think you’re doomed to an eternity of only you and Netflix.

The Quarter Life Crisis 

  “The years between 18 and 28 are the hardest, psychologically. It’s then you realize this is make or break, you no longer have the excuse of youth, and it is time to become an adult – but you are not ready.”
-Helen Mirren

It’s finally here. Your 18th birthday. “I’m finally an adult now!” is what you think to yourself. You are “grown” and you will make your own decisions. No one can tell you what to do anymore. You may not smoke, but you feel a small surge of power because you can buy tobacco products. You can buy lottery tickets. You can get into a few clubs. For some of us, moving away to college is now on the horizon. You are finally free.

Oh, how naive you were.

Adulthood is not something you transition into overnight like Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30. Sure, there are perks. The independence of adulthood is always novel, but with independence comes responsibility. With responsibility comes stress. Stress over choosing a career, where to settle down; fear of failing and disappointing those close to us.

Our 20’s are spent trying to figure out what we want to do and where we belong. Turning 18 is just another birthday. We are sort of shoved into adulthood without even realizing it. If you are in your mid to early 20s and feel lost, stuck or just plain confused about life, you may be experiencing your quarter-life crisis.

toon

What am I Going to do With My Life?

If you are cool with mediocrity, you may never experience a quarter-life crisis. If you do have ambitions and having personal success is a goal, you will be able to relate to this post so keep reading!

Choosing a career or educational path may be the hardest component of conquering your quarter life crisis. Even if you went to college and earned a degree, you may graduate still with thoughts of “what am I going to do with my life” haunting you. Many of us aren’t lucky enough to know our passions from Day 1, so to find where our interests lie can take a bit of work through soul searching and exploring new hobbies and interests.

Figuring this out can prove to be quite challenging when the majority of us are stuck at a 9 to 5 job that is utterly dissatisfying. Yes, it pays the bills and the money may be decent or even great, but if sitting outside watching grass grow sounds more appealing than your job, it may be time to venture into greener pastures.

Take a class that sounds interesting, read a few books, travel a little more; anything that exposes you to new viewpoints and allows you explore mentally and socially.

The amazing thing about traveling is that it has a way of undoing that “stuck” feeling. If you are content with your job and not really interested in finding something new, or if where you live doesn’t offer the things you would like in a location, being able to travel gives you the opportunity to absorb the culture of other areas without having to commit to a move. If money is an issue, save! It is much more fulfilling to spend money on experiences rather than material things.
tumblr_mgh14lp3Mk1rthen3o1_400

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

 

Social media can be a self-esteem depressant. If you let it. Each day we hop on our phones and scroll through Twitter, Facebook &/or Instagram and have the accomplishments and accolades of others shoved in our faces. Aside from the typical online Debbie Downers, no one shares their lows. If you are not where you would like to be in life, personally or professionally, this can easily make you feel left out or as if you are failing at life. STOP. THIS. NOW. You may not even realize you are doing it, but if you scroll by Ballin’ Betty’s Instagram post of her new home purchase while you’re still living with 3 roommates, you may feel some type of way. Process those emotions and let them go. You are running your own race and are exactly where you are supposed to be in life because you are learning whatever lesson you are meant to conquer. Measuring yourself using someone else’s yardstick will never elevate you to where you hope to be. However, do not become complacent. Yes, you are where you are supposed to be but never stop striving to better yourself.  Just make sure you are doing it for your own personal growth and not to compete with everyone else. The grass is greener where you water it.

Life is not a race. Life is not a competition. People love to say “I’m not worried about what the next person is doing,” yet say to themselves, “I’m already 25, shouldn’t I be married or have a kid by now?” Thoughts such as those are indicative of a need to fit in with what society tells us are appropriate milestones for our age group. How boring would life be if we all did the same exact things as everyone else? Variety is the spice of life. We are able to learn from others who are experiencing different things from ourselves. Instead of comparing where you are to what a friend, acquaintance or random person is doing, channel that frustration into inspiration. We are all equipped with our own unique talents and abilities that can never be discovered unless we take the time to explore our own minds. You are your only competition and the only person you should compare yourself to is the person you used to be.

 

Fear

tumblr_mmugziojto1sqymqfo1_5001

Fear is an emotion that has allowed human beings to remain a species over the course of time. Without fear or a sense of danger, we would have been extinct long ago. In our personal lives, however, fear can paralyze us from taking risks because the fear of failure seems too great a burden to bear. During a quarter-life crisis, you have vivid visions of how you would like your life to be, you just have no idea of how to get there. Success takes work and risk, but what if you fail? You want to enroll back into school to study fashion design, but your research has told you this is a tough field to make a living in and you don’t want to rack up a bunch of student loan debt to end up unemployed. This is fear. You want to start over in a new city. You’ve done your research, taken a visit and can imagine yourself there, but in the back of your mind, you’re skeptical. What if you can’t find a job? What if you have to move back home and end up embarrassed? Fear strikes again.

The bright side of the confusion that comes with being in your 20s is that this is the best time to take risks and make mistakes because time is on your side. Mistakes are blessings if you learn from them. You can’t grow if you never screw up. Life is nothing but trial and error. There is only failure if you allow the disappointment you feel from a few bad experiences stop you from getting up and starting again. A large component of growing is the ability to listen and learn from the mistakes of others.

Many people lack the ability to listen. Thinking you know it all will keep you boxed in and you will continue to fail. The more you fail the more you will be held back by fear. It is a vicious cycle that will not stop until you can put your pride aside and take the wisdom from those who have been in your shoes before. If you do not have a positive role model in your life whose wisdom and advice you trust, pick up a book. Go online and search for the answers you’ve been looking for.

You are in a transitionary period in your life, but it does not have to a mental prison. The anxiety of not having any idea what to do with your life can take its toll, but it all depends how you choose to look at it. You can choose to feel lost, confused and scared. You can choose to see the adventure of what the unknown has to offer. You are an artist and the world is your canvas. Create your own masterpiece.