On the season two opener of my podcast, I had a in depth conversation with my ex-boyfriend about why our relationship ended. The conversation was insightful at times and unnerving during others. All in all, I learned something new about myself during that conversation. The lesson was to “Listen to Understand” and not to respond.

I don’t know too many people, friends or family, who can truly attest to the fact that they listen in this way. If you’re too quiet of a person, then people perceive you as sneaky. If you’re too loud of a person, then people perceive you as aggressive and overbearing. Either way, you’re being perceived as something that you might not even be. Those people never listened to understand who you are.

What I discovered about my listening skills is that I too often listened to judge. I was usually right in every situation or so I told myself. I already had an attitude and had mapped out everything that I would say during a disagreement. I was not listening with my heart and mind, yet with my ears and mouth. I was listening to prove a point! A point that was not even factual.

Our relationship ended for one simple reason. There was a lack of everything. A lack of listening, compromise, understanding, love, connection, etc. Just because he/she/they make you laugh does not mean that it’s meant to be. It could simply mean that the person is funny. THAT’S IT!

In order to truly listen to understand someone, you have to possess empathy and sympathy and place everything you know in a separate bag. Grab a new bag and place all of the new and fresh information in it. Then, use your empathy and sympathy to dissect what you heard and you will be able to understand it differently. I know I did! I learned something about our relationship that I never would have known.

Love is in the air and people are breathing it all in. Or maybe that was just a thought of mine! More and more, I’m beginning to see that a lot of millennials are getting married. The pictures seem to prove a thousand different words with images that appear to capture the pure essence of love. That or either it’s simply just a picture.

On three separate occasions, I have been informed of the truth of what looked like a “Happy” marriage. This time, it’s the men that are proving to be unhappy. When asked why they went through with the marriage, each man responded by saying that “He thought it was the right thing to do”. All under thirty, each man admitted to feeling miserable in his marriage.

Each guy said he felt pressured by his or her family to go through with the wedding. He didn’t want to disappoint anyone. Neither man ever thought about whether or not he was disappointing himself. Going into a marriage based on pleasing others can lead to a destructive union.

When I think of marriage, I genuinely think about the rest of my life. I imagine myself to live until I’m ninety-nine years old. I visualize myself resting in a hammock near a great body of water at the age of fifty. I know for a fact that I will take my retirement money and cruise around the world. When it comes to marriage, I simply want to do all of these things with someone who satisfies my soul.

I was also told that marriage was a business. Although I’m not married, marriage should not be a business. If you enter into a marriage with that concept then that’s how it will turn out. Sometimes, businesses fail and you don’t always want to resurrect them. You might have a new idea and move on to it. Is that how you’re going to treat your marriage?

When marrying someone else becomes the “Right thing to do”, it becomes the wrong life to live. What happens when you’re no longer physically or emotionally attracted to your partner? You stay and then what? You live in misery and then what? You fall into a deep depression and then what? You lose yourself and you believe that love does not exist.

Before you propose, because it’s the right thing to do, think about the rest of your life. How long do you see yourself living? What are your plans for when you turn sixty-five? Do you truly want to spend that time with the person that you’re either married to or plan on proposing to? If you’re in a marriage now because it was the right thing to do, are you happy? Have you ever been?

It’s OK to admit the truth to yourself. That’s where you have to begin. It’s OK if things don’t work out. That’s you taking steps towards your own happiness. It’s OK for you to do what’s right for you. That’s living your best life! 

What is the right thing to do? Societal pressures and familial traditions! Often times, we think that following in the foot steps of family or proving to be better than someone else is what’s right. Only you can determine what’s right for YOU because YOU know yourself better than anyone else. What feels right to you? When you figure it out then you will understand that that’s the right thing to do.

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There is a true complex when it comes to dating. There are the issues of communication, honesty, faithfulness, etc. Sometimes, you have all of these things and yet something still feels as if it is missing. That something is usually a real connection.

Inclusive of myself, the struggle with dating the nice guy is that there is usually a lack of connection. This is not to blame on the guy or girl but rather an issue that is self-reflective. Sometimes, you simply know what and who you are looking for. All of the time, you should know what you are attracted to.

Turning away the nice guy can seem very trivial to most because that is usually the guy who meets all of the criteria on your checklist. Your closest friends and family may even begin to judge you for your lack of consideration and letting go of a “Good Man”. However, you are the only person who truly know’s what it is that makes you happy and you will know when you feel it.

The nice guy pays for all of the dates, he picks you up, he sends flowers to your job and he is very respectful to you at all times. He plans ahead, he makes himself available when you need help and even wants to be the person you call first during trying times. It sounds perfect, except for the part where you simply don’t connect with him emotionally or physically. What do you do?

So many people force themselves into relationships because of the materialistic offerings. Also, so many people are miserable in these same relationships because they never really truly connected with their partner.

Don’t feel like you’re broken if you continue to date but usually are not interested in any of them. You’re not broken, you’re unique! You are one of the few people who really know what love is because you feel it before you see it.

Don’t settle for the guy because he is nice! Wait for your love! There is no telling how long the wait might be but when you feel it, everything is brighter. I’ve figured this out about myself. I’ve been on plenty of dates within the last eight months and not once have I felt connected to any of them. I thought something was wrong with me at first but I realized that I’m just a rare commodity.

I do not enter relationships based on what I see but rather what I feel. When I feel it, I will know.

When you think of growth, you think of all sorts of things. Particularly, I think of the growth of one’s edges. I often like to welcome them back. In this instance, the type of growth that I’m referring to is maturity. When you look back on your younger self, are you embarrassed or ashamed of who you were then? I’ll raise my hand for all of you.

Being that I’m still young and under thirty, some people (Older) would probably disagree with growth at this age and reference that “I still have a lot to learn”. I won’t disagree with that part, however, I have learned a lot in the past five years about myself. Relationships, whether they are friendships, partnerships, or personal relationships, have been quite the area of growth for me. Let’s do a little bullet point presentation of some of the things that I’ve simply grown out of over the past five years.

  • Pleasing people
  • Caring
  • Fake friends
  • Broke ass dudes
  • Dudes with several children
  • Dudes with no jobs
  • Dudes with no ambition
  • Did I mention “Not giving a f**k about other’s opinions”

This list can literally go on into a dissertation entitled “How I Stopped Giving  A F**k and Stacked My Money Up”. Honestly, five years ago, I was a complete mess. I was very naive and easily manipulated. I was quick to please and slow to catch on. I wanted to please everyone around me and I wanted attention for all the wrong reasons. Fresh out of college, I found myself doing a lot of things that I now regret. I was dating the wrong guys and befriending some of the wrong people. Fast forward to five years later and I’m absolutely enamored with the woman who I’ve become. I know better and I do better; not because of wanting to please others but because better feels good to me.

I’m better in my friendships, partnerships, and I’m still growing in the relationship area. However, I know I’m better in that also. I’m doing better with those things. Maturity is one hell of a drug!

If you could give your 22/23-year-old self advice now, what would be the main point that you would want your younger self to know?

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you’re almost or over the age of thirty. Why would I assume this? Simply because I hope you know that you’re ALMOST THIRTY.

Everywhere you turn and every post that your scroll past, there it is. It stares you right in the face and sometimes it even taunts you. The simple hashtag “Relationship Goals” can undoubtedly ruin your day. Why is that? Why do we have such low expectations of partnerships? Just because you see a picture that portray’s happiness does not mean that it’s actually true. I simple despise that hashtag! Not because I’m jealous or scorned but simply because it’s just another marketing tool.

So many young people or people in general yearn for a relationship. Social media increases that desire with all the perfect pictures. That’s when things start to go left. Examples of “Relationship Goals” are plastered all over the internet and is reeling everyone in. Why do you have the same relationship goals as someone whom you’ve never met? I understand that we as a society idolize celebrities. I understand that celebrities are influential. However, I’m a bit confused as to why I would want the same kind of relationship as Drake and Rihanna or Ciara and Russell Wilson. I don’t personally know either of them and I don’t know what they do or how they interact with each other behind the camera’s.

You basically want someone to take pictures and stunt with on social media. You want to be seemingly happy. Does that mean that you’re OK with being alone while Facebook or Snapchat is not live? Do you actually know what you’re looking for in a relationship? Do you know who you are with or without a relationship? Who are you trying to impress? Do they even know you?

People have invested their time in your relationship via social media by liking all of your posts. Four months into the relationship, every picture of “Him” has vanished. You may not think it’s anyone else’s business but you owe every invested follower an explanation. What happened? I thought you all were “Relationship Goals”. Soon after, you find yourself in another relationship one month later and the hashtag resurfaces. It becomes a ploy. People start judging you and your social media becomes a platform for bullying.

It’s rarely about goals when you simply want to “Make Pretend”. If that’s the case, you should simply take a picture everywhere you go and make it #Lifegoals. Figure out who you are and what you like to do. Find something that sparks your interest and implement it into your life goals. Go traveling (around the world and not just to Miami), start a support group, write a book, direct a webseries, become a famous blogger, go back and finish school, reconnect with your childhood friend, etc.

Again, you’re almost thirty! Stop with the #RelationshipGoals and plan some #Lifegoals. It’s not cute nor attractive. Know who you are and what your limits are before you enter a relationship. Be sure that its REAL and then decide whether or not to share with the world.

There are millions of people on social media but there are a million more people who are on social media ALL DAY LONG. There is that one person, one follower, one stalker, who comments and likes everything you post. You could be asking a rhetorical question while on a ranting spree and that person has what seems like a real life answer. Please, sir/ma’am, go and sit down somewhere! Also, remove yourself from social media for the remainder of the week.

Usually, if you have children (because no one just has one child anymore) one would expect you to be tending to your children or any family involved activities. Usually, if you have jobs (because no one person has one job anymore) one would expect you to actually be productive with completing work tasks during your allotted work hours. However, these same people with full time jobs and families find time to dedicate ALL DAY of their lives to being on social media. Every post, every picture, every flyer, every Facebook memory; you manage to be there for all of it. GO AWAY!

Please help me understand why you have nothing else to do during the day? WHY ARE YOU NOT RINGING MY ITEMS AND CHECKING ME OUT? WHY AM I STILL IN THIS LINE FOUR HOURS LATER WITH ONLY TWO ITEMS? Girl, please put down the dumb (smart) phone and check me the hell out before I walk the hell out.

I’m literally baffled that people spend so much time in other people’s business. You don’t even know Jonathan or Stephanie yet you find ALL of THEE TIME to criticize their every move. Why does your niece on your father’s side know about Stephanie’s business. Does Stephanie even know you?

Since I’m not a biased person, one would also wonder why Stephanie and Jonathan are sharing their entire lives on social media. I don’t care that you just left White Castle’s to get a twenty-case of burgers. You will also have a twenty-case of the shits! I’m convinced that people who post their every move to social media have no real friends or support system. They have no one to talk to, no best-friends to vent to and no shoulder to cry on.

I challenge all (everyday all day) social media users and stalkers to go and find a LIFE. Get a hobby! Go to WORK!  STOP COMMENTING! Get off of his page! Stop forming opinions! Finish that paper that is three weeks overdue! Mend a broken relationship! Just do all of this while being off of social media.

ONE MORE THING:

Please refrain from commenting on all of my pictures and status updates.

Sincerely,

We’re not even friends on here

Dating these days is like believing that you have a talent but you keep failing at it. You continuously are trying to figure out if you’re any good at it. For us women, it’s even harder trying to weed through the bad guys just to “settle” for a decent one. Sometimes, we simply give in and give up on finding that realistic match.

For an educated woman, we want to simply find a partner that is independent in his financial stability and inclusive in his emotional and physical support. This sounds complicated but it’s actually quite simple. Its simple enough for you to google what it means and figure it out.

I have been on numerous dates within this year and they have all, with the exception of maybe two, sucked major ass. I have either not been physically attracted to them or extremely turned off by their ignorance and narcissism. I have even questioned myself as to whether or not I was a good match or even good at dating. I started to question myself because I noticed that I attracted certain men. I either attracted older men, who have been married twice and are near their first heart attack or I attract guys who are fascinated by a woman’s body image and his own selfishness.

So, I’ve decided to just be upfront while on a date to save time and effort from introducing myself to an asshole. Here are the five essential questions to ask while on a first date.

  1. How old are you? (Age helps with understanding his mentality)
  2. Who do you live with? (Understanding independence)
  3. Where do you work and is it full-time? (Understanding values)
  4. Do you have any children? (Possible baby mama issues)
  5. Do you drive and own a vehicle? (Understanding dependability)

I have often not asked these simple questions and have been bamboozled while in the relationship. There are different types of women and all women date differently. Some women are more tolerant of certain men and some women cringe at the thought of “taking care of a man”. I fit in the second category. This is not an attack on men because they are also women who fit in the same category.

If you are a no non-sense, take action kind of woman then this article is for you. You have goals, tasks to complete, people to network with, appointments to get to, homework to do, work (employer) to catch up on and errands to run. You have structure in your life and you really don’t have the patience to teach a “Man” how to date you. So, just weed through them all with the five essential dating application questions. You’re Welcome!