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Are Women The New Men?

  • January 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm

There is a new trend that is slowly impacting romantic relationships as we know it. A societal shift so monumental, it is changing the way women and men relate to each other. Gender roles now cease to exist as women are more likely to graduate from college, maintain their jobs and are increasingly becoming the breadwinners of their households. Conversely, Fox reality channel featured a series entitled, “Househusbands of Hollywood.” What’s going on? Are women becoming the new men?

While working on my Masters  thesis, I realized how much the Women’s Liberation Movement impacted the roles of women in the 20th and 21st centuries. What started out as a movement to eliminate gender inequality in our laws and culture soon became a complete transformation of gender roles as women were taught to be independent and strong. Women could do anything a man could do; possibly even better than they could. But where did these beliefs place men? What’s now their role in the romantic relationship structure?

It seems men are totally confused: “Do I open the car door or do I not?”, “Do I buy her flowers or do I not?”, “Do I pay for the date or do I not?” Every woman’s expectation of men differs when it comes to dating. However it seems there are still several women like myself, who prefer the old fashioned gender roles, especially when it comes to courtship. Let me give you a personal example of how this plays out today:

Recently, I met a man who volunteers with me in a group. He approached me about going on a date which I positively responded to. We settled on a day and time and I text him suggestions regarding restaurants we could meet. He text me back saying he couldn’t decide and that he trusted me to pick the place and he would meet me there. Being attracted to decisive men, I text him back stating I would prefer him to pick the place as I was just making suggestions. We went back and forth on this minor detail until finally I just ended up picking the place. He then asked for the address which I sent. Then he asked for the cross street. Infuriated, I explained to him that I was not 411 or Google Maps. I was trying to be helpful, but I felt like I had to spoon feed him everything and it was becoming a turnoff. He responded that he “liked a woman who could make things happen to her with her own ideas and plans. He could take directions too as it’s a modern world.” But is it? I don’t want to be with a man with whom I have to be the head decision maker. I like the role of the woman being the support and the help mate! Am I setting the Feminist Movement back by feeling this way or am I restoring order to gender roles in romantic relationships?

Please also check out a video from the Mo’Nique show that touches on this very same topic and let me know your thoughts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF-2L7rBdmo

Photo: gcoldironjr2003/ Flickr

When Being Great Isn’t Good Enough

  • May 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I don’t have a short list when it comes to the attributes I look for in a potential mate.  However, my list of “must haves” and “nice to haves” are not based on quantity but quality. Some may think my standards are too high, but the traits I am looking for in another are ones  I believe are not only attainable but ones in which I also possess. Being spiritual, educated, open-minded, loving, supportive, cultural, fun and handsome are just a few of the characteristics I seek in my future husband. For me, marriage is not just about love but a lifetime partnership. This man will not just be someone I live with but an integral part of my life. He should be adding to and enhancing my life and our future. Therefore when I date a man I can’t foresee in this position, he either gets placed in the “friend” category or we cease being in contact.

The challenge becomes when I meet a man who completely fits my potential mate criteria, but there is still something missing…chemistry. It’s the most frustrating thing. Recently, I’ve been dating a great guy who on paper is my ideal man. However, after several dates, I have come to the conclusion that I am missing an emotional connection with him. How is it possible to kiss someone and feel nothing? To be caressed and feel numb? I don’t even dream, fantasize or long to spend time with him.

I mentioned my dilemma to a girlfriend who suggested I give it more time, “Maybe he’ll grow on you” she said. After a few months of trying, another friend seeing how frustrated I was getting said to me, “Why are you even still trying? As a dating and relationship expert, you should know better than anyone else that chemistry is either there or it’s not. You can’t create it if it doesn’t exist.”  Oh, but how I wish I could! Would dating a guy who has the majority of the attributes I’m looking for in a potential mate although I’m lacking an emotional connection with him be considered a form of settling or a mature decision for a secure future?

Do you also have a list of characteristics you look for in a potential mate? Have you ever dated someone who possessed the qualities on your list, but with whom you were lacking chemistry? How did you handle the situation?

Photo: Lasana Smith

Nice Girls Finish Last (So Do Nice Guys)!

  • April 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm

You don’t get it! You’re loving, kind, conscientious, accommodating, caring and hospitable, yet you still find yourself alone. Why is this? Maybe you’re just too nice.

It’s great to posses the characteristics listed above. It’s also great when we share them in a relationship with someone who deserves and appreciates them. Unfortunately we often share these attributes too early during the beginning stages of a relationship hoping the object of our desire will revere us for it, before they have even shown us if they are worthy. In doing so the reverse happens. We get taken for granted, the relationship ends and/or we get placed in the “friend zone.”

For years, I never understood this concept. I always thought being nice would make me more attractive and desirable to a mate. For the first few months, my charm would seem to work. Boyfriends would be mesmerized by my sweet and agreeable nature. Then all of a sudden, disturbing thoughts would creep into their minds, “Can she really be this nice?” “Does she really never get upset?” “Can a relationship be this smooth?” A few weeks later, the relationship was over and my heart was broken.

After watching this pattern repeat in my life and the lives of others over and over again, I finally realized that what we were doing was unnatural. We weren’t being nice because we were “just that nice.” We were being nice because we were putting the other person’s thoughts, needs and desires before our own. We didn’t want to ruffle feathers or come off as disagreeable for fear of losing the person. So in some ways, we were changing ourselves to become more accommodating. If he was a vegetarian, on dates we stopped ordering meat or if she liked romantic comedies, we wouldn’t even suggest seeing an action movie. What we weren’t realizing is that by doing this we were alienating ourselves by displaying insecurity, lack of self confidence and the perception of trying too hard. None of these attributes were sexy. People wanted to date who we authentically were and we were giving them the image of who we thought they wanted us to be.

Over the years I have learned that most individuals appreciate the differences and even the disagreements because it makes life interesting. So be yourself. Say what’s on your mind even if you feel it may be an opposing view point. Feel free to be who you truly are. Being your true self allow others to have an appreciation of the real you and gives them the opportunity to asses who they are actually dating. Whereas being too nice will assure that you end up as someone’s emotional doormat or alone.

Do you feel like you have been “too nice” in previous relationships? What was the result? What ways do you feel you can be more of your true, authentic self in relationships?

Photo: US Army Africa / Flickr

Going From Simply Single To Wife Material!

  • February 14, 2012 at 7:22 am

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

I’ve got some great news to share with you on this day of love! I am in the process of finishing my 1st online book on dating and relationships: “Get A Ring On It: 10 Secrets To Go From Simply Single To Wife Material.”

Because you are my loyal readers and are always supportive of my blog, I wanted to give you a sneak peak of the book to be released this month. More details will be shared in the near future.

Enjoy….

Secret #3: Be Loving

At my friend’s bridal shower, the soon to be groom was asked why he decided to marry his future wife. His response was, “She loves me so much. I didn’t think I would ever find someone who would love me as much as she does.” His comment always lingered in the back of my mind. He didn’t say he was marrying her because she was the most beautiful woman he ever met or because she had the best body he had ever seen. No, he was marrying her because she was the most loving woman he had ever dated.

Men want to marry women who love them. Women who show them acts of kindness and are nice to them are the ones who they choose to take relationships with more seriously.  The first woman who most men have any interaction with is their mother. Who is more loving, gentle, sweet, kind and thoughtful than a mother? As boys grow into men, they look for women who can replicate this loving figure in their lives.

Initially a man is not able to tell right away how loving a woman is so he looks for clues: Does she smile often? Is she playful? Does she like when I touch her?  When a man can say, “yes” to these questions, the woman starts to peak his interest more. Then he looks for the woman to show she loves him in more deeper and meaningful ways. It could be making him dinner or ordering in food and having it ready for him after he’s come home from a long day of work. Picking up his medication and taking his temperature if he is sick. Even simply giving him a massage on a sore body part after an intense work out shows a man he is being cared for and loved.

But what about when the man makes the woman upset, does he still expect her to show him love then? Yes. A woman who truly loves a man will still find ways even while arguing to show love. She will try to fight fairly and practice not throwing personal shots at him. She will attempt not to go to bed angry as she will try to resolve their disagreement beforehand. In marriage, all things will not always be rosy. I have seen several examples of married couples at times when the wife did not feel her husband was worthy and deserving of her love. Maybe he made a major decision without consulting her, was dishonest about a personal situation or worst yet unfaithful to her in their marriage. But the amazing thing I discovered was regardless of these mistakes; underneath it all the wife still loved him. That kind of love is what truly holds marriages together. A man realizes this from the beginning. So he is looking for a woman to show him she can give him a love that is deep. A love that is unconditional.

Wife Material Lesson

 As a woman of wife material, it is important for you to practice being loving. Find ways to show your partner you love and care about him throughout the relationship. However, you don’t have to wait until you have a partner. You should first practice being loving to yourself. Because how can you ever love anyone else if you don’t love yourself first? It’s in loving yourself that you gain self-confidence and a feeling of self-worth. So book a spa day, enjoy a manicure and pedicure and even have flowers delivered to yourself. Whatever you need to do to help yourself feel loved do it. The more you feel loved the more you will attract love and once you attract that love you will be able to give it back in return. Thus is the circle of love.

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography /Flickr

Should I Mix Business With Pleasure?

  • October 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm

When my business coach, Natasha Allrich, called me a few months ago to take advantage of an opportunity to partner with Organo Gold coffee company, I thought it would be a great way to create an additional stream of income while maintaining flexible hours so I could continue to write my blogs, audition and work on other creative projects. The concept was simple, sample out coffee to people who drink coffee and then follow-up with them and see how they liked it.

As I have been sampling people I discovered a form of payment I didn’t expect: admiration from men. Many of the men I have sampled or followed-up with have asked me about my relationship status. They comment on how they can see I’m a go-getter and want to know if they can take me out on a date. I knew that men liked women who were ambitious and brought something to the table, but I had no idea that seeing those qualities in action would be such a turn-on for them. Although flattering, it has presented a two-fold challenge for me: 1) When I’m working, I’m working. I’m not really one to mix business with pleasure and 2) If I was to seriously date any of these men, would they become insecure that I’m out flirting with other men instead of working?

After brushing off the last man I met with to discuss business, he reminded me that at the end of the day when I have the money, the nice house and everything that comes with it, what will it be worth if I have no one to share it with and I’m still going to bed alone? That hit home. Along with that, my mom is telling me I need to take my dating life more seriously. It just puts me in an awkward place. Do I expand my focus past business and date business prospects or should I continue to separate business from pleasure?

Has your love life and your business life ever intersected? How did you handle it? Was it worth it?

Learn more about the Organo Gold opportunity

Photo courtesy of Flickr

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  • October 5, 2011 at 10:46 am

One night I was at a networking event and met a man I felt could be my perfect match. Over a pan of peach cobbler, we talked and I discovered that besides being tall, dark and handsome, he was also intelligent, ambitious and owned his own business. I was delighted to exchange numbers with him and even more excited a few days later to go out on our first date. He seemed to possess so many of the qualities I was looking for it was almost too good to be true. I didn’t want to let a great guy like that slip away. So instead of displaying my equally amazing attributes so he could also recognize how lucky he was to be with me, I focused on being an adoring woman he would never want to leave. Rearranging my schedule to meet, going out of my way to do personal favors for him, and initiating intimacy sooner than I normally would were several of the ways I thought would show him how great I was and why he should want to build a relationship with me. However it was too early in the relationship and he didn’t earn any of those privileges, so instead of feeling honored he took them and me for granted. Very soon I noticed that he was taking my kindness for weakness. It was at that point I realized what I was doing. Because I wasn’t respecting myself, he was also not respecting me. It wasn’t long before I started making myself a priority in the relationship also taking my needs and wants into consideration. After that not only did he start respecting me but our relationship began to flourish. Although we’re no longer together the one thing I know I have from him is his respect.

How many times have we compromised ourselves, values, beliefs and ideals so we could be perceived as attractive or valuable to someone we really liked or in order to maintain a relationship? I’ve seen so many friends be taken for granted and/or be used by others because they did not respect their own personal needs and wants. Therefore they were not respected. What we have to realize is people want to be held to a standard. They want to be held accountable. We as women and men alike all want to have something to work towards, build and achieve even in our romantic relationships. People treat us the way we allow ourselves to be treated. When we don’t acknowledge and honor ourselves we rob others of really getting to know and love who we truly are.

Also once we are respecting ourselves, if the person we like (or in a relationship with) does not respect us then we have to honor ourselves enough to let them go. It is not worth holding onto someone who doesn’t treat us the way we deserve to be treated. Disrespect only continues to increase over time if not handled accordingly. It will never become respect on its own. Now is the time to consider what it is we really want out of a relationship and from the person in that relationship. Once we are respecting ourselves it sets the stage for a relationship of mutual love and respect.

Are you respecting yourself? Are other people respecting you? If not, what changes can you make today to increase the respect for yourself and from others?

Photo Credit: Nycstreets/Flickr

DWT- Dating While Texting

  • May 26, 2011 at 8:11 am

Everyone knows about DWIs. In case you are one of the few who has never taken a driver’s education class, a DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. If you’re found in violation of operating any motorized machinery after or during the consumption of alcohol or other drugs the penalties including jail time and fines are heavy. However lately I’ve been wondering if the consequences for another “DW” should be heightened. Although this “DW” has nothing to do with driving, instead it has to do with dating. I’ve decided to call it, DWT or dating while texting. In several states, driving while texting is illegal, and I’m starting to feel like maybe dating while texting should also be banned.

The popularity of sending brief messages via cell phones to other cell phone recipients has rapidly increased over the past several years. It’s a major convenience when you don’t want to talk but just share information or a quick thought. Unfortunately, it has started to become a fixture in the dating culture and no one has come up with etiquette or rules for DWT. For example, how soon does one text a romantic interest after receiving their phone number? Right away? Several days later? Do you call before texting? Do you even call before the first date or should this all be handled via text? And once you start dating, how is a relationship maintained via text? Is text appropriate to discuss relationship issues? What about break-ups via text?

I realize that I’m quite old-fashioned when it comes to dating. I like for relationships to be inter-personal and feel that open communication allows for the best success. Texting can hinder this type of communication because the messages have to be brief (usually 160 characters or less) and you can’t always pick up the person’s tone (are they angry, sarcastic, joking, etc.). This leads to potential misunderstandings which can cause stress to a relationship or at worst, its dissolution.

In my own personal dating life, this has been displayed in many ways. I have met men at an event and given them my phone number. I’ll receive a text message, a few days later stating, “What’s up?” or “Hey.” No introduction. No, “Hi Lasana. My name is (insert name here). It was nice meeting you at (insert event). Would love to chat with you sometime. When’s a good time to reach you?” Nothing. Therefore, I’m left clueless as to who the text message is even from until we’ve gone back and forth a few times. I’ve also had arguments via text only to find out when speaking to the person later that I misjudged their message or its intent.

It just seems that DWT is now used as a way to be passive-aggressive or to give one “technological courage” as it often provides the texter confidence to contact or say certain things they would never be able to over the phone or in person. As DWT continues to increase, it is important that we as a society figure out how to best fit this new technology into our dating practices in a way that works best for all parties. Until that happens, if you’re dating me, please pick up the phone and make plans to see me in person.

What do you think of DWT? How has it affected you in dating or in your romantic life?

Photo: Mr. Thomas / Flickr

Am I Being Cyber-Stalked?

  • August 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

Last year while a contributor for the Tyra Banks show’s “Single and Fierce” section, I wrote an article entitled, “A Facebook Surprise” and shared a vlog entitled, “A Facebook Surprise Update” where I mentioned how stunned I was to receive a friend request from a now married, ex-boyfriend. I wondered after not speaking to him for several years, was it appropriate to regain contact with him? After much deliberation, I decided that I should let the past remain in the past and to ignore his friend request. Balance was once again restored in my life.

That is until I received a request on LinkedIn from another ex-boyfriend. This time it was a bit more personal. I dated this particular ex for about a year. We had a great relationship as we seemed to have a lot in common, enjoy each other’s company and even started talking about marriage and a future together. All that came to a screeching halt, when I received a voicemail from a woman one night claiming that she was his girlfriend and felt suspect about a text she saw I sent to him. “What?” I thought, “How can this be?” This guy and I had spent nights together and even took a week trip away abroad. Hesitantly I called her back to uncover that we were both being played. He was in a “relationship” with both of us and when we confronted him about it, all he could say was, “I lied to you both and I’m sorry.” I was extremely disappointed and heartbroken. Were there signs of infidelity? A few, but he was excellent at covering his tracks. Also when you’re in love, sometimes you look past certain details as you are looking at the world through “rose colored glasses.” This must be how the term, “love is blind” came to be. Months after his indiscretions were exposed he asked if there was any chance for reconciliation. As far as I was concerned, I could forgive him, but I never could forget and I would never be able to trust him again. That was the last conversation we ever had.

Now years later, through the popularity of all the social networking sites, he keeps popping up to request me as a friend. First it was LinkedIn, which I blocked. Then yesterday, it was Twitter, which I also blocked. I’m sure he’s also tried to find me on Facebook, but my privacy settings are so high that he probably hasn’t been able to discover me there. We don’t have any friends in common so I know I’m not being “suggested” for him to friend by these websites, which is starting to beg the question, am I being cyber-stalked?

It’s very difficult for any of us to hide in this day of technological transparency. We have voluntarily given up our privacy in place of sharing our lives online through status and location updates, photos, videos, etc. with our friends and even more often than we realize the rest of the world. But what happens when there are certain people out there that we would prefer to exclude from seeing our information? We have very little control over who can see much of what we share. Is this the price we pay in the age of social networking?

Have you ever been contacted on a social networking site by someone you would rather not be in contact with? Is there anyone you would like to prevent from seeing the information you share through your social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn or Foursquare?

Photo: Lasana Smith