You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'relationship'

Summer Lovin’

  • May 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

It’s officially summer! Time to break out your sunglasses, bathing suit and….your summer love! How can you do that when you couldn’t get a winter romance or even a spring fling? Well I’ve got five suggestions to get your summer sizzling…and it won’t just be because of the heat!

1. Unplug

As a technology addicted, Blackberry always in hand person, I totally understand how hard it is to separate yourself from your laptop, cell phone, MP3 player, etc. As much as these devices make our lives convenient, they have hindered our interpersonal relationships. We spend more time looking at the text our friend sent us than around us to discover what hottie might be checking us out! This summer, make it a point not to be distracted by these devices when out. Take time to be in the present moment and really enjoy the “scenery!”

2. Smile

Now that your technology is safely tucked away (it’s the #1 suggestion for a reason friends), notice everything great happening around you: the happy faces on a Ferris wheel, a child enjoying an ice cream cone, skateboarders doing stunts, and smile. When you smile, you look approachable. You become more attractive.  There’s a great quote, “Always remember to be happy because you never know who’s falling in love with your smile.”

3. Get Out

You’ll never meet Mr. or Mrs. Right in your house and there’s no need to. With the elevated heat comes less clothing so why not enjoy the view? Many cities offer great summer events which include concerts, outdoor movie screenings and festivals. Several of these events are even free so you can’t use lack of finances as an excuse. Google summer events in your city and see what you find. Then go out and explore!

4. Speak To Strangers

Ok, when you were five your mom probably told you not to speak to strangers which was good advice at the time. Now you’re old enough to know which strangers you should and should not talk to. The cutie by the bar with the drink in hand might be someone you should strike up a conversation with. How do you speak to a stranger? Use simple conversation starters or compliments such as, “Hello. Is it hot enough for you?” or “I really love your watch. Where did you get it?” Make sure the questions are open-ended (nothing that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”) and your compliments are genuine and G-rated (let’s keep it clean people.) Don’t use lines. Just say the things that you are naturally thinking anyway. After some small talk, find a way to close it, “I really enjoyed our conversation today. Maybe we can meet up again sometime soon. Are you on Facebook?” This is great, because most people are on Facebook and there is less pressure to give someone a name or email for Facebook than a phone number. However, if you’re really feeling the chemistry is there, then step it up and ask for the digits or offer yours.

5. Join an Online Dating Website

According to recent studies, 1 in 5 new relationships now begin on an online dating website. I personally know many friends who have met quality partners and even got married to someone they met from an online website. With such a high dating ratio, it’s no longer taboo to place your picture on a site to meet new people. It’s a great tool to pre-screen potential partners before you’ve even gone out on the first date. It will also give you the ability to go out on several dates, keeping your summer social calendar quite full.

Now that you’ve read these valuable tips, get off the computer and go enjoy your summer!

Photo: Lasana Smith

Creating The Space For Love

  • May 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm

We may think to ourselves or confide in others our desire to have someone special in our lives, but the question is are we truly ready for a mate? Have we created the space to share our lives with another? Many times we live such busy lives and say, when I meet someone, I’ll make the space. No, the time to create the space isn’t once you meet someone; the time to create the space is now. So when the person enters your life the transition is seamless. It feels right. Like a glove, the space within is meant for a hand to enter. The manufacturer didn’t think, “Well until I have the EXACT measurements of the hand, then I’ll make the glove.” Instead, they had the mentality, “If you build it, they will come.” You should have that mentality too when it comes to having a serious relationship.

One of my girlfriends was great at this! While she was single, she created the type of moments she wanted to share with her life partner. Oftentimes she would buy herself beautiful, fresh flowers or take herself out on a “date” where she would go on a picnic, the movies or even a romantic dinner….alone (which I know strikes fear in the hearts of many, but shouldn’t). However, she really took the time to appreciate herself. To acknowledge her value and self-worth during those times and the fact she didn’t have to depend on someone else to do it for her. When she did meet her husband, she was able to continue these great outings and share them with him. She didn’t have to find the space. She had already created it.

What can you clear out of your life to make room for your potential mate? What activities have you been putting off until you meet…the “one” that you should currently be doing? Think about the type of relationship you would like to foster with your mate and do those things now! What space can you create in your schedule to meet people and go on dates? Is your living space a welcoming, comfortable environment where you have the ability to nurture love and allow it to grow? Where would you like to share time with your mate: art museums, music concerts or a comedy show? Then don’t wait until you find him or her, go now! Maybe you’ll even meet someone special while attending one of these events! You will at least be meeting people who share common interests with you which could lead to a good friendship or a possible romance.

Creating the space allows you to realize that your enjoyment in life is not dependent on someone else but comes from within. No one else can ever make you happy anyway. Also, who knows, maybe your life partner will be perfect except he/she hates something you love: sports, the museum or never buys flowers. It will be ok, because during your singlehood journey, you have been assured that your happiness is not contingent on anyone else but yourself. This will take unnecessary pressure off your mate and give you the opportunity to simply enjoy being in love.

Photo: Mike Baird / 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

Let It Go

  • April 30, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Have you ever been out with a couple and thought to yourself, they shouldn’t be together? Maybe it’s because of how one of the partners treated the other, because they constantly argued or simply an energy you picked up on, but you didn’t say anything because technically it’s wasn’t your place to. However, what do you do when you’re the one in the relationship that’s not working out? Do you end it? Do you stay in the relationship hoping things will change or do you stay in the relationship because it’s easier to maintain the status quo than it is to leave?

Recently, I had dinner with a friend and his girlfriend. The girlfriend was very much committed to the relationship, even being willing to move to another state to sustain it. My guy friend on the other hand had clearly checked out of the relationship. He was seeing his future as a single man and longed for his freedom. Problem was he wasn’t quite sure how to end the relationship. He was too emotionally involved, his family knew and liked his girlfriend and he didn’t want to break her heart. So four years later as she’s contemplating marriage, he’s still trying to figure a way out of the relationship. Whenever the break-up does happen, it’s not only going to be devastating for her but both of their lives will be changed forever. Does this sound familiar to you?

It didn’t have to be this way. Usually within the first six months to year of a relationship, the parties involved are aware of where they see the relationship going. This is the point where the person who may not see the relationship going long-term should let the other person know how they feel. Breaking up with someone is never easy, but if it has to be done this is the time to do it. Before feelings become intensified and the other person can walk away with little to no baggage. However, when you stay in the relationship for an extended amount of time thinking you are “preserving the other person’s feelings” or because it’s easier to stay in it than to leave, you are not doing what’s in the highest good for yourself or your partner. If you really loved him/her, you would let it go. Let them have the freedom and opportunity to meet someone else who will love them in the way you are not able to.  It also gives you the freedom and opportunity to attract the type of love and relationship you truly desire and deserve.

This advice also works in reverse. If you are in a relationship with someone and within the first six months to a year into the relationship you sense your partner’s feelings are not as strong as yours or if you and your partner’s vision of the relationship’s future is not aligned, this is the time to have a serious conversation with him/her and gain an understanding of where he/she is. After having this discussion, it is up to you to give it some critical thought and decide if this relationship is right for you. Is it worth your time? Don’t allow guarding your heart to be someone else’s responsibility when it is yours.

Are you in a relationship where it’s been challenging for you to depart? Have you ever been in this type of relationship? Do you have any advice you’d like to share with someone in this situation?

Photo: Edgar Dacosta / Flickr

The 3 C’s: Chemistry, Commitment and Communication

  • April 23, 2013 at 8:45 am

If you’re a woman or an engaged or married man, you most likely have heard about the 4 C’s:  Cut, Carat, Clarity and Color. Although these C’s may be important to know if you’re about to embark on a marital relationship, are you aware of the C’s that will help you sustain a relationship before and during marriage? In my recent blog, “Why Do Americans Need To Be Married?” I shared with you what psychologist Steve Brody called the 3 C’s: Chemistry, Commitment and Communication. Let’s discuss why the 3 C’s are important in building and maintaining a healthy relationship:

  • Chemistry: It’s challenging for a relationship to thrive and flourish without chemistry. Chemistry is the emotional glue that makes you connect and want to stay with a person. Some people experience chemistry as a spark, that “being swept off your feet” feeling. Others experience chemistry as a feeling of connection or “knowingness” they are supposed to be with a certain person. However you experience chemistry, the important thing is for it to be present in the relationship.
  • Commitment: Everyone knows relationships can be challenging with two people coming together having distinct personalities, backgrounds and life experiences. Add to that life’s ups and downs along with spontaneous situations and circumstances and you can have a recipe for disaster to any relationship. Even if there is a lot of chemistry in the relationship, if there is no commitment the relationship will not last. Commitment isn’t just about staying in the relationship but truly being there for each other, supporting each other in reaching goals and becoming the best person each can be. Commitment is also about staying true to your partner. Safeguarding your relationship from outside influences. This could be from family members who don’t like your partner, friends who don’t get along with your partner or members of the opposite sex who may seduce you to cheat on your partner. Being truly committed gives your relationship the ability to weather the storms of life no matter how tumultuous they may become.
  • Communication: Effective communication is the “secret sauce” of maintaining a healthy relationship. It is a known fact that men and women communicate differently. Because of this, miscommunications within relationships happen frequently. A lack of communication is also harmful in sustaining a healthy relationship. So how can we get communication to work for us instead of against us? By having direct oral communication, we can easily stop making assumptions and thinking our partner can read our minds. Notice I stated direct oral communication. In this day and age, technology has made it easier and quicker for us to communicate, but text and email communication is still nowhere near as effective as oral communication whether in person or by phone. Communication allows each partner to share their needs, desires and expectations. This knowledge is necessary in allowing a relationship to survive and thrive.

Instituting the 3 C’s in your relationship will ensure both parties remain happy and fulfilled and your relationship will be a stronghold providing you with love and security for years to come.

Do you have the 3 C’s in your relationship? If so, what do you do within your relationship to strengthen them?

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography/ Flickr

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

If Engaged, Am I Still Single?

  • March 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm

“Lasana, I have a question for you” said my friend on the phone to me this week. “I was having a battle of the sexes debate with some friends a few weeks ago and someone asked the question, ‘If I am engaged am I still single?’ The pro-single debaters argued that on your taxes, it doesn’t say anything about engaged. The marital status boxes read ‘single, married, divorced or widowed.’ Further defending their point, they explained there are several people who will still engage in intimate activities with an engaged person who may not do so with a married person. The anti-single debaters criticized these comments responding if a person has told someone they want to spend the rest of their life with them, they should no longer see themselves as single and hold themselves accountable to their partners.” “So Lasana,” my friend continued, “in your opinion, which group is right?”

Taking the points of both sides under consideration, I decided I most agreed with the pro-single debaters. It is a fact that until an individual is married the government formerly recognizes that person as single. No vows have been taken and no official papers have been signed. Engagement is the final stage a couple enters before officially merging their lives and assets together. It is the stage when the relationship should go through a final evaluation. Any lingering questions should be asked. Arising issues should be discussed. Compromises that will benefit both parties should be made. Engagement is not a stage that should be taken lightly. Successful completion of this stage will yield a strong foundation for a fruitful marriage. Conversely, this stage can also cause the dissolution of a relationship. Although it may be painful, I strongly feel it is better for a relationship to disband during the engagement stage than deal with the complex emotional, financial and legal ramifications of a divorce.

The anti-single debaters did have a major point I agreed with. If an individual has told their partner they would like to spend the rest of their life with them, then emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually they should be preparing themselves to make that commitment. In doing so, they should be as accountable to their partner as they would want their partner to be to them. If an individual thinks it is still acceptable to date or see other people intimately while engaged, my question would be to this individual “Is your partner aware of this? Would you find this behavior acceptable from your partner?” If the answer to either of those questions is “No” then it is glaringly clear the behavior is unacceptable. The idea of “what my partner doesn’t know won’t hurt them” or “until I take those vows, I’m still completely single” is setting the future marriage up at a disadvantage because that individual is being deceitful to their partner. Secrets, lies and betrayal are not the types of foundation that will yield a strong and peaceful marital union. If an individual still finds dating and/or being intimate with other people of value to them, then they should remain single. It is unreasonable to partially commit to another person. In this case, engagement and marriage should be delayed until both parties are fully ready.

Which side are you on? If a person is engaged, are you pro-single or anti-single?

Photo: Lemonjenny/ Flickr

Real Talk with Brookshire

  • February 21, 2013 at 9:00 am


This Sunday I was fortunate enough to be asked to join The Oprah Winfrey OWN recap show, AFTERBUZZ TV host Brookshire Lafayette  on the “Real Talk with Brookshire” show! We discuss what men and women REALLY want in relationships, the most important value in relationships and of course my upcoming book…Get A Ring On It! Check it out here:

* If you are not currently a subscriber, you’ll want to sign up now for FREE (see the box on the right-side of this blog).  I will be sending out some great relationship tips to my subscribers soon including a free chapter or two from Get A Ring On It!


What Do Women Want In A Man?

  • February 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm

While looking at status updates on Facebook the other day, I came across one that caught my attention: “How do you date in 2013? It’s funny but we as people sometimes lose sight on the key ingredients of a relationship or a marriage. To find a mate anywhere, online, a club, etc. and be physically attracted to them and quickly jump in the bed but you really don’t know that person but because the sex is so good, then you overlook their faults. So what’s more important: physical attraction/good sex or moral values, let me know.” *

My first thought after reading this was, “Well I’d like to have all three!” However, as I read his comments, I started to think about my personal dating and relationship life. Which do I really choose first? There are several great guys in my life that I have platonic friendships which I greatly admire and appreciate their morals and values. They have the type of standards of the man I would want to marry. Unfortunately, I am not physically attracted to the majority of these guys and if there is no physical attraction, I’m not going to even look to explore the sexual chemistry. At one point, I tried to date a guy that although I wasn’t physically attracted, had the morals and values I was looking for. When asking one of my guy friends for advice on the situation, he told me, “Why would you want to date someone where’s there’s no attraction?”  I agreed and decided to look elsewhere.

On the other hand, I have dated men with great looks, whom I went on to have a powerful sexual connection, but after finding out their values and morals didn’t match up to mine, I broke it off. This was definitely harder, because then I would ask myself (and God), “Oh why couldn’t this work out? Why couldn’t he have had the same morals and values as mine as well?” Sigh!

I don’t want to come off as being picky and I truly want someone who is the entire package. However, sometimes it seems that the longer I’m single and the older I get, the slimmer the pickings. A friend of mine, Sharon, once emailed me this joke about what a woman wants in a man:

What I Want In A Man!     Original  List
1. Handsome
2. Charming
3. Financially successful
4. A caring  listener
5. Witty
6. In good shape
7. Dresses with style
8. Appreciates finer things
9. Full of thoughtful surprises

What I Want in a Man         Revised List (age  32)
1. Nice looking
2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
4. Listens more than talks
5. Laughs at my jokes
6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
7. Owns at least one tie
8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries

What I Want in a Man      Revised List (age  42)
1. Not too ugly
2. Doesn’t  drive off until I’m in the car
3. Works steady – splurges on dinner out occasionally
4. Nods head when I’m talking
5. Usually remembers  punch lines of jokes
6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
10. Shaves most weekends

What I Want in a Man     Revised List (age  52)
1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
2. Doesn’t belch or scratch in public
3. Doesn’t borrow money too often
4. Doesn’t nod off to sleep when I’m venting
5. Doesn’t re-tell the same joke too many  times
6. Is in good enough shape to get off the couch on weekends
7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh  underwear
8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
9. Remembers your name on occasion
10. Shaves some weekends

What I Want in a Man     Revised List (age  62)
1. Doesn’t scare small children
2. Remembers where bathroom is
3. Doesn’t require much money for upkeep
4. Only snores lightly when asleep
5. Remembers why he’s laughing
6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
7. Usually wears some clothes
8. Likes soft foods
9. Remembers where he left his teeth
10. Remembers that it’s the weekend

What I Want in a Man       Revised List (age  72)
1. Breathing..
2. Doesn’t miss the toilet..

I don’t want to compromise what I’m looking for just to find a potential mate. However, I don’t want to end up being single and alone because I wasn’t open-minded enough. I feel I bring an entire package to the table, is it too much to ask that my potential mate does so as well?

How do you date in 2013? What are the most important aspects you look for in a potential mate?

* Facebook quote originally written by TK Williams and used with permission.

Photo: Seekaltroutes’/ Flickr

Are Bad Dates Bad For Your Health?

  • January 18, 2013 at 5:00 am

There have been several studies done in recent years to determine if there is a link between romantic relationships and our health. One study suggests a healthy and loving relationship is good for the heart. The theory behind this is that people who are in a healthy relationship or marriage tend to have less stress and lower anxiety levels in their lives which can lead to positive effects on their cardiovascular system over long periods of time. However chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer are 20 percent more likely to occur in people who have been widowed or divorced according to University of Chicago sociologist Linda Waite. But what about while one is in the dating process? Can a good or bad date affect one’s health?

This question never occurred to me until recently. I was lying down on a hospital bed after being admitted in the emergency room for treatment. Two of my friends were supportively by my side as I was hooked up to a computer which monitored bodily functions such as my heart rate. To lighten the mood, my friend asked me to recall the details of a recent bad date experience. As I was retelling the story about the guy who invited me out never offering me anything and when I asked if he wanted to split an entrée replied, “Do you only want to split this because you can’t afford to pay for the meal yourself?” in addition to thinking I was playing mind games with him the entire night; my friend realized that my heart rate had elevated dramatically on the monitor. Surprised, I thought to myself, let me continue telling the story from a more light-hearted place. I took a deep breath, smiled and finished sharing the details. No difference, heart rate stayed high. Weird I thought. Maybe this is how people get caught on lie detector tests?

It led me to realize how much stress and anxiety this one bad date contributed to my life and how a combination of these bad dates could potentially affect my health. Does this mean that I’m going to stop dating so I can avoid bad dates? No, because I believe one has to go through the bad to get to the good. However, what I will do going forward is be more aware of how a bad date or an unhealthy relationship affects my life. I believe life is too short to live stressed out, anxious and/or frustrated due to finding or being with a romantic partner. Don’t you agree?

Have you ever felt the effects of a romantic relationship on your health?

Photo: Brykmantra / Flickr