You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'relationships'

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

Is Having A STD Better Than A PHD When It Comes To Dating For Women?

  • January 6, 2014 at 10:24 am

For the last three decades women have outpaced men in graduating from college in the United States. With women drastically outnumbering men in their age groups, it is having a tremendous impact on dating and relationships as most people prefer to marry equally educated partners. But it is becoming increasingly difficult for women to find eligible marriage partners. According to an American Council of Education report published in January of 2010, Undergraduate enrollment and degree distribution is 43% male and 57% female; however, women account for 60% of graduate school enrollment. So what does this gender gap mean for women who have attained graduate degrees? Has getting a higher education sabotaged their chances of finding a suitable husband?

The majority of my girlfriends (myself included) who have yet to be married, have obtained graduate degrees and have found finding “Mr. Right” to be a challenge. While several of them are open-minded and will date a guy at almost any academic level, many of them feel having an advanced degree puts them at a disadvantage when dating. They believe their degree intimidates men and makes them feel insecure. Rather than being seen as a strong teammate and companion, men see it as a threat to their manhood and would rather date someone who is not as educated. One of my girlfriends in particular hates for a guy to know in the beginning of a relationship that she has a doctorate degree and says, “It’s better for me to have a STD than a PHD. At least a guy knows what to do with a STD. He’ll say, ok well we can do some things, but maybe not everything. But a girl with a PHD, he doesn’t know what to do with that.”

As a woman who has many highly educated and open-minded male friends, I decided to ask them about this. Did they truly feel threatened by a woman who had an advanced degree? While some said, “No” and thought of it as an asset to the relationship, one man even stating, “Not only do I prefer to be with someone who is intelligent but she’s going to be the mother of my children. She’s going to be our children’s first teacher.” Others agreed it did intimidate them. Another man stating, “Yea, she’s going to expect more and demand more. I’m not down for all of that.”

What do you think? Does a woman’s education have an effect on her marital status? How much of a role does a person’s educational level play in your decision to seriously date or marry them?

Photo: Aprilzosia / Flickr

You Can’t Be Who You Aren’t

  • February 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm

As a dating and relationships expert and television host, one of my dreams is to have a show on Oprah’s new network OWN. Therefore when the network created the “Your OWN show” search for the next TV Star I jumped at the opportunity. At 6am I was on line prepared to display my talents at the first open call in New Jersey. Despite being there so early I still received the number 928. I waited for ten hours to be seen that day. It was hot and humid. Many of the participants sought the refuge of air conditioning in the sponsoring Kohl’s store. After a group interview, I waited until midnight to receive a callback notifying me about the next round. That call never came. Making matters even worse, I later discovered that two people I knew had received that coveted phone call. Did they not see my intense passion, great enthusiasm and bubbly personality? I thought to myself. Surely, there must be some mistake. Maybe I didn’t fill out something right on the application or somehow my name got overlooked. I was born to do this!

So when they came to California, due to the prodding of my friends and family, I tried it again. For a second time I stood for several hours in line to be seen. When I told other participants in line I had already been to the open call in NJ, one person asked, “So you’re doing this again? Do you not feel like they saw you the first time?” I explained that I hadn’t and had so much conviction that I should be on that show that it was imperative for me to try once more. Although this time I felt like I had better positioning (my number was 262) and got more time to pitch my “Love and Life” TV show idea, I still did not receive my desired result….a callback. It was extremely disappointing.

Reflecting on the interview that day, I remembered the casting assistant saying, “I’m glad you ended when you did. I already saw what I was looking for.” It reminded me of something my hosting coach, Maureen Browne, once told me, “Sometimes hosts get down on themselves for not getting a booking. They think it is something they said or did, but sometimes it has nothing to do with that. There are so many factors that go into casting. Maybe they were looking for a blonde, you’ll never be blonde. Maybe they were looking for someone taller, you’ll never be taller. Sometimes it’s politics. All you can do is go out there and give it your best and if it’s meant for you it will be yours.” I quickly thought about how much this advice also applies to dating and relationships. There are so many times we are really attracted to someone but for some reason, as the popular book and movie suggests, they just aren’t that into us! “Don’t they see how charming, intelligent, witty and good-looking I am? How can they turn all of this down?” we say to ourselves. Persistent, like I was with the OWN open call, we keep trying over and over again to make the person see it. Every once in awhile the person does wake-up to realize the beauty that is in front of them. However the reality usually is they already saw what they needed to see and for any number of reasons, you’re just not the one. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re still an amazing individual. It’s just that you are not for them and they are not the one for you.

As sad as that may seem at first, realize there is someone out there who will truly love and appreciate you. Not just for all of your pleasing attributes but also for what you deem to be your flaws: the freckle on your nose that always annoyed you they will think is cute, the way you snore in bed will be the soundtrack they can’t sleep without, and the goals that everyone else thinks are crazy they will see as ambitious.

Don’t change yourself to be someone that you aren’t. Love and embrace yourself. Become more of who you are. When the timing is right, the right person (and in my case the right television network) will effortlessly recognize and appreciate your brilliance. Just have patience. For those who have it can attest, a love like that is worth waiting for!

Photo: Lasana Smith

The Truth Is What We Decide It Is

  • January 29, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Normally I don’t watch court shows. However the other day I was flipping through television channels and came across this contentious married couple on Divorce court. The wife wanted a divorce as she was convinced her husband was cheating on her. Like a private investigator, she was relentless. She tracked down his movements looking for evidence to back her suspicion. Contrary to her claims the husband was adamant he never cheated, but was in fact still in love with her and wanted to make their marriage work. It was quite interesting watching the judge mediating between the two.  To uncover the truth behind the infidelity claims, the judge gave the husband a lie detector test. Before revealing the results, she asked the wife, “If it does indeed turn out that your husband was not cheating, are you willing to work on restoring this marriage?” “I don’t know,” was the wife’s answer.  I waited in anticipation for the verdict. It turned out the husband had been honest. The lie detector test proved he had been faithful to his wife. Undaunted by the test results, the wife was still convinced her husband had cheated. The trust in their marriage was broken and there was no space for reconciliation. It was unfortunate because this man was truly devoted to his wife but she was too blinded by her version of the truth to see the reality. As a result she was going to break a commitment, losing someone who deeply loved and cared about her.

This episode made me think about the many times in our lives and relationships where we believe our truth is the reality. Although signs may point to the contrary, we are blinded by our perception of the situation. Thus the popular motto, “perception is reality.” How many times have we caused friction or even sabotaged our relationships based on what we “thought” a situation was?  I like to call this “the story we create in our minds.” Beliefs are made and actions are taken based on these stories. But if these stories aren’t true, they can cause devastating effects in our lives and in the lives of others. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few suggestions that will affirm that our truth is in line with reality:

1. Ask yourself: Is this true? Is this based on fact?

You would be surprised how many times we go off on tangents without even asking ourselves these simple questions. If the answers to these questions are, “No,” then you know a new determination should be made before accusing your loved one of something.

2. Communicate

Communication is always key in deciphering the reality of a situation. The story you created in your head will be altered or dissolved once you gain more background information or understanding of your loved one’s point of view.

3. Trust your intuition

Once you know the facts and have communicated with your loved one, then it’s time to trust your intuition. Take time out to listen to your inner guidance system. This is not based on a feeling or a story you made up in your head, but a knowingness within. Some may call this God or Spirit, but too many times we overlook our intuition which is there to protect us along life’s journey.

Integrating these strategies will ensure that your truth isn’t merely what you “decided it is” but based on reality which will lessen unnecessary loss of love in your life.

Photo: JaeYong, BAE’s/ Flickr

The Thrill Of The Chase

  • November 8, 2011 at 7:18 am

If you are single today, have you ever truly taken the time out to examine why? I once started a book course called Calling In the One: 7 Weeks To Attract Your Soulmate to do just that. In the first week, the author recommends you outline all of your past relationship patterns. These are reoccurring themes that have surfaced themselves in more than one of your relationships. Digging through my mind’s memories of relationships past, I realized one of my underlining themes was that I liked “unavailable” men. No, I don’t mean married men. But men who were not fully available in some way to me such as they lived in another state (physically unavailable), were recovering from a bad breakup (emotionally unavailable) or engrossed in their careers (mentally unavailable). I thought to myself, why would I be attracted to an unavailable man? Why wouldn’t I want to be with someone who totally wanted to be with me? Well that answer came to me as I was reading an email from Coach Rori this morning. It’s not that I wanted to be with unavailable men. It’s that I placed value in relationships that had a “degree of difficulty.” Essentially, I enjoyed the thrill of the chase.

This never really occurred to me because normally it’s men who are attributed with being the ones who enjoy the sport of “chasing” after a potential partner. They are the known hunters who enjoy the prize of capturing their prey. However, it seems to be a little known fact that many women are just like me. They too enjoy the challenge of earning the attention and capturing a partner who may at first seem unattainable. Naturally as you can imagine, there’s a major conflict with this situation. If a man’s natural instinct is to “chase” a woman and that woman only values relationships that have a “degree of difficulty” how will a relationship ever form? This explains why there are so many “nice” men and women who remain single. Their ability to be totally open, loving, kind, trustworthy, consistent and most of all…available, is deemed unattractive by many individuals in the initial stages of dating.

I truly believe in order to change things in our lives we first have to recognize what in our lives need to be changed. Darkness cannot reside once there is light and I believe once we place a spotlight on the patterns preventing us from having loving and fulfilling relationships our lives will change forever.

What relationship patterns do you recognize as reoccurring in past relationships? What changes are you willing to make so you can attract a loving romantic partner?

Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon /Flickr

5 Tips for a Winning Online Dating Profile

  • April 22, 2011 at 5:30 am

Last week when interviewed on the BLAKstar radio show, I was asked about my dating tips for 2011. These tips can be found in my blog, Summer Lovin’. This week I wanted to explore what seems to be the most challenging tip, joining an online dating website. What is it about joining a dating website that makes so many people cringe? 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. Although it’s no longer taboo to place our picture on a site to meet new people, I believe what worries people the most about online dating is creating the profile. Many people don’t know where to begin. What type of pictures should be used? What should the profile say? How does one attract the right partner? What does one do to attract the right partner?

Here are 5 tips on how to create a winning online dating profile:

1.       Display Smiling Photos

Showcase photos in which you are smiling and/or doing a fun activity on your profile. These types of photos will make you appear more approachable, friendly, and fun. You should be alone in these pictures as this profile is about showcasing you. Also make sure to share at least 3-4 photos on your profile.

2.       Have a Fun Heading

Besides the photo, the heading is the next thing a person usually sees before opening your profile. It should be a fun statement that piques their interest. An eye catching heading could be a favorite saying, motto or phrase. Just make sure that it says something positive about you.

3.       Paint a Picture

Your profile says a lot about you. Therefore share your best attributes. But to really make your profile stand out from the thousands of others on the site, don’t just write them out. Paint a picture. For example, if you are a caring person, instead of simply writing that, share an example of how you volunteer at an animal shelter on Sundays or how you spent many years of your life as a caretaker. This will not only make you seem more real than just words on a profile, but will give the person reading it something to connect with.

4.       Create a Vision of Love

This is the most imaginative part of creating your dating profile. What is your love vision? What would your partner be like? What types of activities would you do together? How would he/she treat you? Craft a brief paragraph and describe this at the end of your profile so you can attract your ideal mate.

5.       Be Honest

The entire reason you are creating this online dating profile is to meet someone you are compatible with. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Being honest on your profile is the best way to attract someone who you may build a lifelong love connection with.

Although I have shared these 5 tips with you, I know there are still many of you who find the entire process of creating an online dating profile overwhelming or are simply too busy to create one. In fact, I recently gained a client who wanted to use my services to create her Match.com profile. If you are also interested in this service, e-mail me at lasanaonline@gmail.com. The first 10 people who e-mail me will get an initial online dating profile setup for only $50 (a savings of $25).

Do you have any successful online dating stories? What suggestions do you have for people creating an online dating profile?

Photo: Ed Yourdon/ Flickr

BLAKstar Radio Interview: Love and Happiness

  • April 14, 2011 at 11:02 am

Last night I had the honor of being featured on the BLAKstar radio show with hosts, Shene and MeaLee. We had a great time discussing various Love and Life blog topics including, “Are Women The New Men?,” “Dating Tips,” “5 Dating Tips For Single Parents” and “If Engaged, Am I Still Single?” amongst others. We had so much fun I wanted to share it with you. It was definitely a hot show! Enjoy!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blakstar/2011/04/14/blakstar-presents

Is Venus Affecting Your Love Life?

  • October 13, 2010 at 3:23 pm

“Wisdom is knowing when a relationship has run its course. Not everything lasts – letting go is a leap of Faith.

Wisdom is also putting your whole Heart into relationships that are worth cultivating!

To know the difference between which people to let go of & which to keep – ask yourself – if I loved me, what would I do?”

- Mastin Kipp, The Daily Love

There seems to be a lot of changes happening in relationships right now. This week the media shockingly released statements of separations by two seemingly solid couples: Courteney Cox from her husband of eleven years, David Arquette and Christina Aguilera from her husband of almost five years, Jordan Bratman. In my own personal life, several of my friends have been in a place of introspection concerning their romantic relationships. “Should I proceed?”  “Where is this relationship going?” “Is this person worth keeping in my life?” are the questions they have been asking themselves as they ponder their relationship’s future.  Even I have been more critical in my dating life wondering, “Why is this guy in my life?” “Can I truly see myself in a committed relationship with him?” “Is this the type of relationship I am seeking?” These kinds of questions are difficult to contemplate when we’re already in a tough economy. There are likely many other important things currently filling our minds. Yet relationships are an integral part of our lives. Feeling loved can help us to feel secure and confident whereas alienation and depression can be felt if we sense that love is slipping away.

One of my friends who studies astrology explained to me that we are currently in a Venus retrograde. The retrograde is from October 8 – November 18, 2010. As the planet of love and values, astrologers suggest that a Venus retrograde period is a time when we reassess what and who we value. Old friends and lovers may reappear possibly complicating a current relationship, and natural and spontaneous affection may be difficult to express during this time. Strong relationships will weather this storm, but others that may have already been strained may come to an end during this retrograde cycle. As a single person, this is the time to look critically at your relationship and evaluate your relationship needs and if they are being fulfilled by your partner.

Whether you believe in astrology or not, it is important to periodically take time out and re-evaluate the relationships in your life. Are they working for you? Are your needs being met? Is it going in the direction you would like it to go? If the answer to any of these questions is, “No” then this may be a good time to take some distance from the relationship (not necessarily break-up, but at least take time out) to truly love and nurture yourself so you may gain clarity on how to proceed.

Do you feel your love life has been affected by the Venus retrograde? If so, how are you handling it?

Photo: Fdecomite / Flickr

What Is Your SSB?

  • May 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE Sex and the City fan! I own the entire series, organize “SATC” ladies night viewing parties and am very excited about receiving my first pair of Manolo Blahniks. Even in writing this blog I like to think that I am the Yin to SATC main character Carrie Bradshaw’s Yang, as I am a fashionable African American woman who writes about her dating and relationships life in Los Angeles (although I am a very proud New York City native). Like millions of women, I am eagerly anticipating the release of Sex and the City 2 in movie theaters and plan to watch it in true SATC fashion…with my girls in New York City!

To prepare for this momentous occasion, I have been watching past episodes of the hit television series featuring Carrie’s on and off again long term relationship with furniture designer, Aidan Shaw as he has a prominent role in the upcoming film. For those of you not familiar with the series, Aidan was a kind and good-natured man who Carrie dated after the very emotionally unavailable and commitment phobic, “Mr. Big.” While dating Aidan, Carrie confessed to having an affair with Mr. Big which ended their relationship. A year later, Aidan and Carrie reunited, moved in together and got engaged. However once Aidan realized that Carrie was not ready to give him a marital commitment, he ended their relationship for good.

As I was watching one of the fourth season’s episodes of Carrie and Aidan’s romance, I became intrigued by a conversation Carrie was having with her girlfriends Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha. She had recently moved in with Aidan and was feeling claustrophobic from all of his personal items lying around. She also complained about no longer being able to indulge in SSB or her “secret single behavior” due to her lack of privacy. Having never lived with a man before, it made me think about what is my SSB? What habits do I indulge in when I’m alone that I feel would be embarrassing or distressing if my partner discovered them? Maybe the fact that I can literally spend an entire day in bed or that sometimes I like to have breakfast foods for dinner and dinner foods for breakfast? Maybe my beauty routine: facial masks, deep hair conditioning treatments and sleeping with a satin hair wrap?

I have always assumed that when you make the decision to live with someone, you see it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. I guess I just never gave much thought to the bad and the ugly!

What do you think is your SSB?

Photo: U-g-g-B-o-y-(-Photograph-World-Sense-) / Flickr