Friends with my ex

Should you be friends with your ex? Hmm let’s talk about it. I think it depends on you as a person and the ex as a person. Outside of a relationship, Im good at being friends with my significant other first. Shockingly, I am literally friends with all of my exes. Even the ones that we have had bad break ups, we still communicate today. Back in my immature days, I may have messed up an ex clothes. He told me to never contact him again. Well he lied and still calls me 🤣🤣. The married ones, the ones currently in a relationship, the singles ones, they all call.

When I start dating someone, I am very upfront about my friendships with my exes. In return, I make sure to keep them up to speed when I am dating someone. They adjust to the rules and boundaries. Listen, dont call me after a certain time and we stay away from certain topics. They give me advice about dating and I provide my perspective to them. It just works. They all served a purpose in my life and were there at pivotal points. Im not ending a relationship that was important to me for a new one. When my mom passed away, they showed up. When I started this blog, they supported me. They like, comment, and give their opinion. Oh and give me ideas to blog about when we argue.

One time, I tried to cut off a friend for a relationship because he felt uncomfortable. That friend was there for me when my best friend died in college and when my aunt died. But my current boyfriend at the time felt uncomfortable. So I distanced myself from the friend. Clearly the guy and I ended up breaking up. I felt like a fool for cutting my friend off. Lesson learned, I will never do that again.

Can you be friends with your ex? Let me know

-B

Is my baggage over 50lbs??

I promised to write this post a while ago but my thoughts wouldn’t align. I already know this one will be real vulnerable for me. I promised to write about the intimate conversation that I had with my mentor. Although I will share some things, others I will keep to myself for obvious reasons. I had this conversation with her more than a week ago and I just couldn’t figure out how to write this out.

I couldn’t get my thoughts together to make this post come full circle in my mind before typing. I still haven’t been able to do so; so let’s wing it 😊

We all know how I despise the dating scene right now. That’s for sure not a secret. Let’s be clear, I enjoy a good hot girl summer but I am NOT for the streets! I’m trying to be in the house before the street lights come on. Anywho, I met my mentor for breakfast one morning. I haven’t seen her in more than a year, definitely before COVID.

She asked me how dating was going because, well, the people know ya girl is not for the streets. I told her my concerns and how my friends share the same sentiments. Some of these guys just don’t date anymore. Every once in a while you might find one who will actually plan a date and do the reservations but mostly from what I hear that’s not happening. She literally sat across from me, looked me right in my face and told me, well why don’t you plan the date? Excuse me what ma’am?! You would like me to do what? You mean me… you want me as the woman to plan the first date. What part of the game is this?! And when did married women start giving out this atrocious advice?

Guess what? Married women definitely give out this advice. Very often. I’m pretty sure my married cousin gave me this same advice in July. Of course I didn’t do it; I’m hard headed. My other married mentor I met with in the middle of august said the same thing. But here’s the thing, married women aren’t speaking on large platforms to give this advice out. Culture would have us to believe that we are the prize and the man is supposed to do this, and do that.. and if he doesn’t… girl pack ya stuff and run because you deserve better. If he won’t, the next man will! Isn’t that what culture says? Isn’t that all over social media. We’ve been brainwashed.

Gotta Go!!

Culture would have us to believe everything comes in a pretty bow and if it doesn’t, move on. No one stays planted to do the work anymore. That definitely has been my problem. I had this false narrative that sir you have to come in the complete packaging. I don’t want to assemble. Here’s another gem she shared. She said everyone comes with baggage. Being married is finding your person to keep helping you unpack your baggage. She repacks it sometimes and her husband is right beside her unpacking it. I’m sure she does the same for him. Yup, I had this thing all wrong. Don’t call me for advice. I’m trying to figure it out too LOL

-B

Healing is a Journey

For the past couple of weeks, actually a couple of months, I’ve been in a transition in my life. I haven’t felt grounded. I’ve felt an increase in my anxious thoughts. Fast forward, I concluded that my anxious thoughts were tied to friendships and dating. I was talking to my mentor about this guy I was dating and how things were more challenging than I was willing to sign up for. We talked things through and she helped me look at the big picture. She stated, this guy is in your life for a reason and you have to ask God to show you why.

In the meantime, I have been following a trauma therapist on TikTok (somymomsatherapist) and she has great content. She talks about anxious thoughts and how things are uncomfortable in the beginning of dating someone. She helped me realize that I was having anxiety because my body was holding onto pain from past experiences. To be transparent, when I would text or call this guy and wouldnt hear back for hours, my body was going into protective mode. My brain would run negative scenarios and my body would believe that to be true. She (the therapist) explained how our body holds on to trauma history. So if in the past, a guy was unfaithful, you will fill in the trauma history at this moment. (This does not mean you arent over your past relationship either). This is exactly what I was doing. So she talks about regulating your body. You have to recognize that overly thinking about it wont help so you have to engage your brain elsewhere.

This has definitely been quite a challenge for me. I’ve noticed that lately one sign of discomfort and I am out. When people talking about fight, flight or freeze I am taking the flight every single time. I also like this therapist content because she is realistic. She talks about how everything isnt black and white. I love that because it sure isnt. Most people will post on social media to run at the first sign of a red flag. There are usually a ton of people in the comments sayin YASS sis! Thats RIGHT! They know what they are doing! In actuality, running at the first sign of discomfort is actually a trauma response.

Im pretty impulsive at the beginning of dating until I feel security and honestly that takes time. I’ve done some things and said some things that I should have thought through. Because my anxiety says NAH WE OUT, RUN! But Im learning to stop and give it time. I have to train my mind to look at the whole picture and not just the solo situation. To see if I feel the same way two days later. Most times I dont. To come full circle, he’s in my life because I needed to heal this part of me.

Hope this can help you.

-B

Date ‘Em All SIS!!

There’s this saying going around. Date em all sis. I get it. The women just want to level the playing field with the men. I truly understand. To a certain point, I agree, you should date them all. But Im also practical and realistic. My question is, who exactly are you dating? Because I like to date men who are in my league. I like to date with intention. So when I add those factors, I just cant date them all. At the beginning, it makes sense. Maybe the first 2-3 months you are dating multiple people. Eventually, I would think you would start making some cuts. At this prime age, why keep people around who you dont want to build and grow with. This guy said he was talking to multiple women but most of them are annoying. Excuse me what sir? Why keep annoying women around? To say you have a roster? I dont get it . Furthermore, don’t keep people around for place holders. That’s how people get hurt.

If I’m dating multiple people past 3 month, eventually someone is going to take the number one spot. Then I will get annoyed when the other person calls because what do you want? LOL That’s why it’s important to be honest and just let people go. I have literally read desperate text messages from women begging men to spend time with them. If you know you dont see any type of future with them, just say that. We dont give people enough credit. The person will respect you more for your honesty. Unfortunately, its a dog eat dog world out here for these and women are sticking around for a lot of stuff. That’s another story for another day.

Back to my point, if you are dating with intention, then Im not sure how date em all sis will play out. I dont have the answers Sway, I just know what works for me. Typically I know by the second date if I can keep you around or not. Otherwise, lets not waste each others time.

-B

Im Not Gonna Be Able to Do It

I usually list my emergency contact as my sister or my best friend. In my mind it would be my husband by now but we know how that story went. Its not just my story. I love sharing my friends stories. It makes me feel like less of an outlier. It allows you to understand the common themes that take place. My brother drove 2 hours to mount my TVs. Probably should have been my husband. My friend had a nail in her tire. Her dad took her car to go get it fixed. She said she would have preferred it to be her husband. My friend said she was looking up someone to hang her curtains. She said she would have preferred it to be her husband.

I see and hear men say there arent quality women to date. I dont want to hear it. Miss me with the non sense. From where Im standing, there are too many quality women to go around. I was discussing with the girls about how we were taught to just do this the right way. Dont worry about a husband. Dont worry about a man. We all graduated college. Most of us have masters degrees. Some of us have doctorate degrees. We are at the height of our careers. Everyone makes at least 60k and even more. No children. Own place and can financially support ourselves. Emotionally intelligent. Beautiful. Well traveled. Selfless. Did I already mention no children? So nope I dont want to hear that there arent quality women. We did it right. We did it how our Moms and Aunts told us to do it. So why does it feel like its at a disadvantage? My friend said sometimes it feels like a disadvantage that we dont just turn a blind eye to the games and BS in dating. She’s right. As soon as we see a couple red flags, we cant stick around. Clearly the number of men vs women is already unbalanced. Then when you add in your preferences and standards, the options get fewer and fewer.

My aunts and uncles seem to have healthy marriages these days. But I know from the stories, it wasnt always like that. My aunts had to deal with a lot to get there. I asked my uncle when do men get it together and stop playing games. He literally looked at me and said around age 40 with a straight face. 40. He said 40. Nah I dont even have it in me to twirl my fingers for the next 8 years. * Big Eye Roll*

Team “Do Too Damn Much”

I seriously do the most. I didn’t learn this about myself until recently. Have you seen that meme that says “I dont like how I act when I like somebody.” That is definitely me. This year I’ve learned a hard lesson of staying true to who I am. This mantra does come with some cons. Staying true to who you are can also bring about some hurt. Nope, no one talks about that part. Story time of course…

I am a giver. I always have been a giver. My mom was a giver. I learned that from her. Any time she thought a person would love something, she would for sure buy it. Man, this has come to my detriment in some situations. For instance, last year, I was dating this guy. I love to get stuff for the man I’m interested in. *insert big eye roll here* Im annoyed with myself. Anyway, birthdays and holidays are a big deal for me. It’s always weird buying stuff for someone at the beginning. You cant go too hard because you arent at the level but you feel like you have to do something right? Well I just bought a couple small but thoughtful things. Chileee why in the world would I do that? Homeboy started acting up literally on his birthday. Acted up so bad, I had to just drop his gifts off. I should have just bought a dollar store card and called it a day!

I have a couple friends who feel that same. We are just givers. I have a guy friend who goes all out for the person he is interested in. I don’t ever get those type LOL. But again, sometimes it comes with disappointment. I get excited to get a person a gift. Especially if its thoughtful. Lets jump to present day. I bought this guy a gift for Father’s Day. I remember him showing me his favorite picture of his kids. So for the gift, I got the picture put on a dog tag for him. Man I thought the gift was superb. I checked with all of my guy friends. They said oh he’s going to love it, thats dope. This dude literally said “Oh thank you for the gift.” That’s it and that’s all. Welp after two lessons, I think I’m done on the gift giving. Clearly the guys I choose don’t appreciate it.

Date and Have Fun They Said

It will be fun they said! I dont know if you have been in this dating scene the last couple of years but its not as fun as you would imagine. This is not only my opinion but the opinion of most of my friends. Maybe dating in our younger years was easier but when you are dating with intention, this comes as a challenge. I dont have the girlfriends who are just dating men to get a free meal. We dont do that. Power to those who do but that’s not us. We can afford to feed ourselves. Honestly. My girlfriends and I are looking for men to have fun with, share experiences and build a genuine connection. Sounds easy but it has been everything but easy.

Lets use some examples shall we?? I will change all names to make sure all identities are protected. Ashley went on a date with a guy. They matched on a dating app. This guy showed up and didnt have any teeth. He literally didnt have any teeth!! Like seriously. Now before you go judging asking how did she miss this? Who at this tender age is thinking someone doesnt have teeth! Lets move on.

Jackie went on two dates with a guy. After the second date, she felt pretty comfortable to invite him in her house for a glass of wine. As they are sitting on the couch talking, he takes her shoe off and attempts to put her big toe in his mouth! This is the second date. Yup.

My friend Brandy was dating a guy. The third date he goes to her house. She asked him what movie did he want to watch. This guy says Pinocchio. Yup no typo. It is the year 2021 and he is well into his 30s and suggest Pinocchio as a movie. Yes she watched it because she said she hadn’t seen it but girl! I should have warned you, that wasn’t it sis. Of course that didn’t work out.

Sometimes you find yourself going on date after date after date with men and it gets beyond exhausting. You have to weed out the weirdos and weed out the guys who just want to have sex. Ill share a personal story. I went on two dates with this guy. He was ok. I was still trying to fill him out. It wasn’t deep chemistry or anything. We had not kissed. Barely touched. The second date, he asked me “What’s the craziest thing you ever said during sex?” Excuse me what sir? Nothing about our interaction should have suggested he should feel comfortable asking that. Nope he didnt make it.

Some of my married friends say they wish they could date again. Ma’am no you do not. This aint what you want.

-B

Tools for Your Toolbox

As promised, I am going to give you guys the scoop on some of the activities we did while in couples therapy. Obviously, communication was a big part of our problem. Although we talked often, we weren’t communicating effectively. Man we received soooo many tools. This part of therapy was awesome. These are skills I will keep for the rest of my life. I dont remember the order of the activities of when we completed them, but they were all useful. Lets divulge.

  1. We had been together so long that things just became complacent. We were well into year 5. We were basically just doing the every day things to go through life. One of the first activities we did while looking at each other, we had to list reasons why we loved the other. I know I know. It sounds cliche. But you would be surprised how much time you can let pass by without telling your partner specific reasons why you love them. This was hard for me because I was in a state of Eff him Lol. But it can really soften your heart. When is the last time you said to your partner, “I love ___ about you.”
  2. We were challenged to be intentional about dating. Prior to this task, we were in the habit of hanging with friends, or just hanging at home. We barely left the house to hang out with each other. Maybe once every 3 weeks. We started being intentional with date night again. Thursday night movie nights were our thing for new releases. We started to have so much fun by including things like bowling to bike rides to jazz clubs. This is how we built the friendship again.
  3. We had to practice being intentional about our words. Sure its easy to say, I appreciate you. But it means so much more when you say I appreciate that you cooked dinner tonight. Thank you for ironing my clothes. Even just saying Im sorry. Sure its easy to say, Im sorry. But it means so much more when you say, Im sorry for yelling at you. Im sorry I wasnt listening. I apologize for not calling those people when I told you I would. Man this part is so humbling. Its so next level. You are forced to put your pride to the side.
  4. Speaking of apologies. Did you know that people receive apologies different ways? There are apology languages just like there are love languages. https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/apology-quiz/ Heres the website. My apology language is to accept responsibility. Yes and that was spot on for me. You have to admit that you were wrong for me to accept your apology. The other ones are 1. Requesting forgiveness 2. Genuinely repent 3. Expressing reget and 4. Make restitution.
  5. The Five Love Languages is always paramount. My love language is acts of service. I think my mom created this in me. My mom used to help me with everything. Even in adulthood, my mom would cook for me and help me pack. When people help me out, it means the world to me. Take that quiz also. https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/
  6. We were challenged to serve each other. Who can out give each other? This was so good. It changed my mindset into working with a partner. This isnt about gifts at all. Its about being a helper to your partner. We started to love doing things for one another. It didnt feel like one person was doing more than the other. It felt equal. It was small things like getting my charger when my phone was dying or me getting up to get him a bottle of water. This was such a raw expression of love.
  7. Lastly my all time favorite. The Four Horsemen from the Gottman Institute. Dr John Gottman is like the godfather to relationships. The Four Horsemen is an approach to identifying conflict in relationship. These are the 4 things you need to identify like right now in order for your relationship to survive. They are 1. Criticism 2. Contempt 3. Defensiveness 4. Stonewalling. The last one was big for me. It means shutting down and withdrawing. I did this all the time and it was causing a major tiff between us. I had to work through which was not easy. I had to allow my partner to call me out when I would resort to this behavior. That was difficult too. Here is the link. https://www.gottman.com/blog/category/column/the-four-horsemen/

I hope these tools have been helpful. Put them in your toolbox and pull them out when you need them! Comment below and tell me what you think.

Lets Talk Couples Counseling

Get you a man who goes to therapy

I came across this video posted by comedian David Arnold on Instagram. He told a story about how he ended up in couples counseling over an argument about oatmeal! I laughed so hard because that is seriously how it happens sometimes. The last straw may seem so petty!

I ended up in couples counseling over toilet paper! No lie. The toilet paper was the argument that broke the camels back. Let me paint the picture. We were watching a movie and he went to the bathroom. He went to grab the toilet paper but was annoyed that I accidentally bought paper towels instead of toilet paper. Oh Baby! He was sooo mad. He wanted me to leave the house at 8 at night in the winter to get him some toilet paper pronto. Nah fam. I wasnt doing that. You all know that its gets pitch black dark at 3p in the winter. Besides, we were watching a movie. So I suggested that he go downstairs to the lobby and use the restroom. Nope, homeboy wasnt having it. So we ended up arguing because I wouldn’t go to the store and he wouldn’t go downstairs. Needless to say, the night was ruined. And that, ladies and gentlemen had us in front of a therapist.

I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into when we went to therapy. Therapy was his idea actually. Im a social worker so I was totally in agreement with going. But chilleee someone should have told me to buckle up for that ride. I literally had no idea that our relationship was in such turmoil. Hanging on by a thread. Im pretty sure I cried at every darn session for months. I thought we would go, talk about feelings, chat it up. Nah son. Sis had us pulling back layers and layers. Hurtful things were said. But a lot of healing was done.

You have to be emotionally prepared for this. I was not. Its a safe space for both partners to express how they feel. Ask yourself some questions before going. Give yourself a pep talk that you will be receptive to what your partner says even though it may cut deep. And most importantly, you have to commit to doing the work. In the future, Ill talk about some exercises we did. Keep tuning in.

Do your work beloved

Should I stay or should I go??

I’ve had my share of tough break ups. But as I get older, things arent as black and white as they used to be. When I was younger, I could walk away from a relationship and not even think about looking back. My cut-off game was REAL. Now, things arent that easy. My friends and I have had countless of conversations about when should you be patient and when should you let go.

We talk to each other about weighing the pros and cons. Finding compatible people seems to be extremely difficult these days. Yeah, you could go on countless of dates but that gets old. And fast. In my time of singleness, I started to get annoyed sitting on the other side of a table with a guy and Im thinking WTF is he even talking about. Or what is he looking at because his eye contact is horrible. BORING.

That brings me back so our discussion of how do you make the decision of being patient with someone verses just letting them go. One of my friends has a really good connection with a guy. The conversation is awesome. It flows freely. The connection is there. Boom. The drive to push each other is there. Jackpot. They have fun and can share intimate details. That’s also a win. So what’s the problem?! BABY! These men have commitment issues. You can check all the boxes and still find that something is missing. So should she walk away or stick around and be patient for him to get it together? Walking away may be easy for you to say unless your heart is involved.

Here is my take. I don’t have all of the answers but I know for sure my peace means the world to me. If you are disrupting my peace, then I cannot wait. Losing sleep, feeling unsure of myself and all the rest that goes with that AHT AHT. Gotta go.

Also I have to step back and assess the internal work you are doing. I ask myself, what am I waiting for you to do? Where is the goal mark and what does it look like? Is that something I want to wait for you to do? Or are you just stringing me along with no real end goal? After asking and answering these questions, things become more clear.

Regardless, you can talk to your friends to get their opinions until you are blue in the face. But let me tell you, when you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough. Your heart will scream, its time to go.