No matter what your personal or spiritual views are on sex, I think if there's one thing that we all can agree on, it's the fact that if anyone should be gettin' it in, hot 'n heavy and on the regular, it's married folks. Yet, as a marriage life coach, I can tell you that most of the married clients that I have? They've got less than stellar sex lives when it comes to the kind (off the charts) and consistency (more than once every 6-8 weeks or so). Why is that?
I think a lot of it all points back to their wedding night. Did you know that reportedly only 48 percent of couples copulate on the same day that they say "I do"? Somehow, they make sure that their outfits are flawless, the DJ has an unbelievable playlist and the napkins on the tables match, yet somehow, once the wedding and reception is over, sex is not a top priority. Here's the thing about that. The word "consummate"? It means "to complete (an arrangement, agreement, or the like) by a pledge or the signing of a contract", "to complete (the union of a marriage) by the first marital sexual intercourse" and "to bring to a state of perfection; fulfill". This means that a marriage can be annulled if two people have not consummated their union (had sex after getting married). Back in the old school Jewish days, a reception didn't even get underway until the bride and groom went into a back room and had sex first. Why? Because only after sex/consummation were they considered to be "truly married".
My point? Sex is a big freakin' deal in a marital union, from the very day two people decide to become life partners. Yet unfortunately, there are way too many people who seem to agree with (or at least act like) the results of a survey I read on married sex—"6 out of 10 couples stated that marriage had completely ruined the excitement of having sex." (Wow and SMH.)
So, in honor of the beauty of marriage and the powerful-and-still-extremely-relevant purpose that sex serves in it, I wanted to take out some time to share 10 reasons why every married person reading this should be taking full advantage of their bed and the spouse that they share it with, just as often as they possibly can.
1. Sex Cultivates Oneness
It's always interesting to me whenever church folks try and say that the main purpose of sex in marriage is procreation. While that is a purpose (and benefit), there is something that came first in the Bible. What is it? Oneness—"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:24-25—NKJV) If you pay close attention to how things went down in the Garden of Eden, Adam and the Woman (her name wasn't "Eve" until after they left the garden—Genesis 3:20), while it does appear that they had sex, they didn't have children (that didn't happen until Genesis 4).
So yeah, oneness is what's paramount. A word that comes to mind when I think about two people becoming one through the act of sex is fusion—"the act or process of fusing or melting together; union". Union. Marital union. The tripped out thing about the fusion process is, even if you aren't big on the Bible, science backs this up too. When you get a chance, check out "We Should Really Rethink the Term 'Casual Sex'" and you'll see where I'm coming from. Singles, oxytocin is nothing to take lightly, and married folks, if you want to feel closer to your spouse, if you physically desire to "become one" with them, the transmission of oxytocin via sex is one way to make that happen.
2. Sex Is Great for Your Health
You can read articles like "Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits of Sperm" and see that sex will definitely do your body good. However, even if you're not the biggest oral sex connoisseur, there are still a ton of benefits that come from sexual intercourse too. Sex reduces stress (more on that in just a sec), boosts your immune system, strengthens your pelvic floor and bladder, lowers your blood pressure, burns calories and can help to prevent prostate cancer when it comes to your hubby too. And that really is just the tip of the iceberg!
3. Sex Is the Ultimate De-Stressor
It is a proven fact that sex has a powerful way of reducing stress levels. For one thing, it releases endorphins and oxytocin so that you feel better. Sex also lowers the stress hormone cortisol in your system so that your blood pressure drops, you are less anxious, and you feel calmer. Deep breathing and climaxing also aid in making it so much easier to relax.
Being that heart disease, diabetes, headaches, depression, asthma and obesity are all health issues that are directly connected to stress, and because stress also affects our levels of productivity, concentration and effective communication, you can see why using sex to lower your stress levels is such a wise thing to do (especially morning sex!).
4. Sex Strengthens Communication
A few weeks back, I penned a piece on here about how to have a simultaneous orgasm with your partner. There are a few tips and tricks that are included; one of them is making sure that the both of you communicate with one another. What do you like? What do you want more of? What gets you there and what is a totally turn-off? (Another article that can make achieving this easier is "10 Sex Resolutions Every Married Couple Should Make".)
While it might be true that not everyone is a "dirty talker" in the bedroom, dead silence—even if it's before or after the act—isn't encouraged. For some couples, life is so hectic that the only time uninterrupted conversations can happen is in the bedroom. And sex? Sex is a form of intimacy and a gateway to feeling warmth, affection and nurturing from your partner. So, even if there's no dirty talk during, be open to some pillow talk afterwards.
Something that leads to divorce is poor communication. Something that can enhance communication is sex. This is a reality that definitely shouldn't be taken lightly.
5. Sex Is a Relational Responsibility
This is a point that gets overlooked way too much. That said, I'd venture to say that if there is one thing that having sex as a single person does, it's that it sets us up to be very sexually self-centered. For the most part, we only think about sex as it relates to what we want and our needs. But when we make the decision to join our lives with another individual, their wants and needs become extremely important too. Sex is no longer solely on our feel-like-it-only terms; in many ways, it becomes a staple and necessity in order to keep the bond between us and our spouse healthy, solid and strong.
A married guy that I interviewed last year on this very topic probably said it best: "When I was single, gettin' some was more like a challenge. Now that I'm married, it's a responsibility. It's not just about me or when I'm in the mood for it. It's about genuinely caring about the wants and needs of my partner too."
I've read before that a sexless marriage can sometimes be grounds of divorce based on what is known as "constructive abandonment" (I recently read that a lack of sex can cause a spouse to feel not only abandoned but betrayed too). So long as both people are physically able and there is no abuse involved (of any form), I can get why someone who has sex less than 10-15 times of year—especially year after year—would consider calling it quits. A sexless marriage is not a healthy one. In it, reciprocity is severely lacking. And in many ways, that is an irresponsible approach to marriage.
6. Sex Discourages Infidelity
I remember a woman once said to me that so long as you give a man two different pieces of something, he will never stray—a piece of a good meal and a piece of well, you know. Although she was married for close to two decades, she's divorced now. One reason why is because her husband ended up cheating on her. So no, by no means am I saying that sex will guarantee an infidelity-free relationship.
What I will say, though, is many husbands have told me that the difference between looking at another woman and thinking, "Hmph. She's pretty" vs. "Hmm, I wonder what she's like" is what their sex life is like at home. As one husband once said, "You tend to not want anything to eat unless you're hungry." Hey, you might want to push back on that, but most of the couples I've dealt with where infidelity was involved, very little bedroom action (on the front end) was a common thread.
Even the Bible acknowledges that sex can keep "outsiders" out of a married couple's bond. If you don't believe me, check out I Corinthians 7:1-5 sometime. It's quite…enlightening.
7. Sex Is a Source of Healing
Healing is such a soothing kind of word. It means "to make healthy, whole, or sound; restore to health; free from ailment" and "to free from evil; cleanse; purify". As I was reading an article by a licensed therapist and author entitled "The Three Kinds of Sex", healing is exactly what came to mind. Basically, what she said is "sealed-off sex" is basically about you gettin' yours, "solace sex" is sex that you have when you're looking for some type of reassurance and "synchrony sex" is the kind of sex that provides the type of wholeness, restoration and purification that married couples should strive for. It's about the kind of sex that bonds you to your partner, makes you feel safe in their presence and provides you with a combination of both eroticism and joy. It's the type of sex that makes you feel loved, desired and completely nurtured.
Who doesn't feel better—mentally, physically and emotionally—after an experience like that? And, who doesn't want to feel that way, just as much as possible?
8. Sex Is a Form of Worship
Roll your eyes if you want to, but I know married couples who say grace before engaging in sexual activity. And yes, I mean a literal, "Heavenly Father, for what we are about to partake of, we are truly grateful. Please bless this entire experience. Amen" kind of prayer. If that seems sacrilegious and if you're a believer of the Bible, I don't know how it could be because the Good Book has sex all up in it. Even if you're not religious, science co-signs on sex being a spiritual experience as well. There are studies to support that the bonding hormone oxytocin actually causes men to feel connected to a higher power whenever elevated amounts of it is in their system.
Since oxytocin is at its peak during an orgasm, sex is definitely a spiritual experience; probably one of the most powerful ones that there is. Don't @ me on this. The Bible and science have my back. There is absolutely no need.
9. Sex Conveys Love, Desire and Selflessness
I know some pretty "'bout it, 'bout it" fellas who, not only have absolutely no intentions on ever settling down, they probably couldn't figure out how many partners they've had if somebody offered them a million bucks to do so. Still, every single one of them admit that sex with someone they care about tops sex with a "random" any day of the week.
An article entitled "The Differences Between Hook-Up Sex, Marital Sex, and Making Love" sheds some light into why. According to the author, with hook-ups, it's all about using someone else's body for your own pleasure; marital sex comes from a place of emotional connection and intimacy (although conflicts and disagreements can sometimes get in the way), and making love is "…when you treat each other as equal human beings within your daily relationship, and you're transparent about your inner life and emotions, you automatically feel more stimulation and excitement with each other. When you feel connected as equals and yet engage each other as separate, distinct individuals as well, that generates new energy and it enhances the sexual energy between the two of you."
I think the reason why virtually all of us prefer sex in a committed relationship is because when someone stands before you and declares that they've got your back, through thick and thin, no matter what, there's a safety in that. It goes beyond desire, to love and the purest form of selflessness. Commitment doesn't get any realer than when it comes to marriage.
10. Sex Can Get You Through “It”
Another interesting read on the topic of married sex is "How Often Married Couples Have Sex After 5, 10, 20, 30 Years Together". There is a wide range of answers, for sure. As I was reading that some couples still get it on 3-4 times a week, even after many years have passed, I thought about what I tell husbands and wives in my sessions—"With all of the responsibility that comes with marriage, married folks deserve sex!" Do you know what a lot of them tell me in response? Sometimes it's the pure pleasure of sex that gets them through the tough times.
"I've never understood why wives will withhold sex to make a point," one wife said to me. "Sounds to me like the sex isn't that good because if there's one thing I'm not gonna do in my marriage bed is deprive myself of what goes on up in there!" Good for her.
And when you think of all that was shared about marital sex in this lil' write-up, hopefully more of you can relate to what she said than not. Again, if sex is for anyone, it's married folks. It's pleasurable. It's fulfilling. It's also extremely necessary. For all of these reasons and more.
Wives (and husbands) reading this, from the very bottom of my heart, GET. YOURS. OFTEN.
Trust me, if I was married, I would be. Straight up.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Maintenance Sex Could Be The Key To A Successful Marriage
10 Sex Resolutions Every Married Couple Should Make
What 5 Men Had To Say About Married Sex
Featured image by Getty Images.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Three Influencers Show Off Their 2022 Holiday Hair Looks Using Their SheaMoisture Faves
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
For Black women, there’s one compliment that will boost our confidence like none other: “Come through hair!” You know the vibe! Walking into a room with folks acknowledging that your hair is laid for the gawds, and the effort that it took to get it there, is a top five feeling. And with the holiday season just weeks away, you’ll be hearing that quite often. Between Thanksgiving gatherings with the family, Friendsgiving, company parties, and Christmas get-togethers, the opportunities to let your hair show up and show out aren’t too far away.
Apart from the holiday stuntin’, the end-of-year slow down is also the perfect opportunity to reevaluate the year your hair has had. Whether you kept it cute with protective braids, went big with blowouts, or let loose with textured twist-outs, this is the perfect time to give your hair the gift of TLC - tender lovin’ curls. Like the weather, our hair goes through seasons and has different needs depending on what we’ve put it through. Perhaps the transition into fall/winter has left your curls a bit parched and in need of some serious hydration. Or maybe your strands could use some restorative conditioning after taking it down from a convenient protective style. No matter what category you fall into, SheaMoisture has hundreds of ways that you can clean, treat and refresh your hair for a healthy shine that will bring you into the new year right. Bring your curls back to life with the nourishing and fragrant Coconut & Hibiscus line. Boosted with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, neem oil, carrot oil, and shea butter, this line is the antidote to reviving thirsty, dehydrated hair. Even better - with SheaMoisture’s custom quiz, you can get a hair analysis that will lead you to the right products for your hair needs. Say hello to sleek edges, and moisturized, stronger strands.
In need of a little hair-spiration? We got you covered! xoNecole and SheaMoisture have teamed up with three natural hair influencers to debut their holiday hair looks. Meet Ambrosia Malbrough, Jasmin Moses, and Daye Covington - beauty bawses who’ve created some incredible holiday looks that are stylish and easy to achieve. They also gave us the scoop on the SheaMoisture products they’re loving right now, as well as their 2023 hair goals.
Read on for more:
Daye Covington Kicks Her Twist Out Up A Notch With A Voluminous Updo
“I wanted to create a style that was super cute but also easy to pull together, so I went with a puff and tendril combo! It's a style that can be done on freshly washed curls or one that can be done on old hair. [It’s perfect for] when we're short for time but want to add a little razzle-dazzle to our hair before a special occasion. It's very versatile!”
“My favorite Shea Moisture product hand's down is the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie! That is definitely a #TeamNaturalHair staple. Coconut is one of the ingredients that my hair favors. I also find that medium/light creams absorb best in my hair, so it's no surprise that I get amazing definition and moisture when I use the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I love it for twist-outs, braid-outs, and rod set styles. Any product that can give me versatility when it comes to styling plus added moisture, that's what a staple is for me!”
“I would love to dye my hair back to blue! It was my favorite hair color, but unfortunately, my 9-5 now prohibits unnatural hair colors. I'm pushing it with this dark plum color, but I look forward to the day where I can transition into a new stage of life and go back to blue. In the meantime, I'm focusing on length retention. I've been doing well for 2022 and have had no major cuts so I'm hoping to stay consistent with my routine in 2023.”
Follow Daye on Instagram @dayelasoul
Ambrosia Malbrough Made Magic With Poppin’ And Defined Finger Coils
“[Finger coils] is a style that I don’t do often, it takes much more time than my usual wash and go. But that extra time put in makes it extra special and so worth it. The results are beautiful. It’s a style that offers many days of wear, too!”
“[Earlier this year] I did my 4th big chop. This time around hit different as a mom of two. I don’t always have the extra time on my hands to put into my hair, so the short ‘do has been convenient. I’ve realized that not all wash days are created equal even if I use the same products. However, my 4c coils are loving the products I'm using now”
“Since I’ve been having my hair dyed, I’m looking forward to trying Shea Moisture’s new Mongongo and Jojoba Oils High Porosity Moisture Replenish Hair Masque. I am currently growing my hair out and plan on having fun with more highlights and a new shape - possibly a shag cut in 2023!”
Follow Ambrosia on Instagram at @brosiaaa
Jasmin Moses Shows The Secrets To Her Jaw-Dropping Curly Ponytail
“I love doing a sleek ponytail with my baby hairs laid to a T! It helps so my hair isn't in the way when I am cooking and running errands, but it's still snatched to provoke anyone in the room to stop me to say 'girllll your hair is laid!'. I like to add a little razzle dazzle by adding my cute, naturally curly ponytail extensions. It elevates the look perfectly for the holidays.”
“It took me from my freshman year of college to now, almost seven whole years, to know what works for my hair. I love protective styles like wigs and braids because my hair thrives when I don't mess with it. When I leave my hair alone, it grows the best, so I love taking off my wig when I get home, oiling my scalp and putting my bonnet on for bed! When I do wear my natural hair out, what helps me maintain the health of my hair is to get in a rhythm with my hair. [I do] my wash days on Sunday, wear it in a wash n’ go all week, and repeat the next Sunday.”
“My 2023 hair goal is to get back to my 2021 hair length! Recently, a hairstyle damaged my hair causing me to lose 4 inches in length, which was not fun. So I’m working on getting [my hair] back to its original health and keep growing from there! I am also looking forward to trying the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a one-product wash n’ go! I hear such great things about it and I think it will give me hold while also keeping my hair lightweight and voluminous. I’m also excited about the Coconut & Hibiscus Defining Styling Gel and Edge Gel.”
Follow Jasmin on Instagram @slimreshae
Ladies, This Is How To Date Smart Instead Of Hard
While recently talking to a couple of early 30-something never-been-married-before women about how much they want to settle down, and yet, at the same time, they’ve gotten to the point where they almost loathe the thought of dating, I got inspired to write this article.
Now before getting into some tips that I’m hoping will help a few folks out, let me first say that I think it doesn’t really matter if someone is 24 or 54, is a single mom or has no kids, is an extrovert, introvert or ambivert, wants to get married someday or is simply looking for companionship (check out “Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON’T Desire Marriage?”) — dating definitely can be a bit of a challenge right through here.
In my opinion, some of it is because we’re still dealing with the aftershocks of the pandemic. Another reason is that things have become so damn transactional these days that I’m not sure if folks even get what the purpose of dating is anymore (mostly, it’s to get to know individuals better so that you can determine who is your right fit). Still, another reason is that when we do step out into the dating waters (that are sometimes raging), some of us are already a bit jaded due to our past experiences, our friends’ stories, and/or those (oftentimes) horrible tales that we hear on TikTok.
Let’s simplify it all a bit, shall we? Although online dating and long-distance relationships are continuing to thrive in their own way, the reality is that if you want to establish a solid connection with someone, chances are, you’re going to need to participate in some old-school dating on some level. So, in order to increase your chances of those encounters being truly successful for you, here are some things that I advise you to do along the way.
Be Clear About Why You’re Dating in the First Place — and Communicate ItGiphy
A woman recently told me that what’s pissing her off (her exact words) about the dating scene is, while she’s personally looking for her future husband when it comes to the kinds of men that she keeps running into, although they’ve wanted more than just a casual sex partner, marriage wasn’t on the menu. Not even a lil’ bit.
Yeah, one day, we’ll get into why more and more men are shying away from marriage — quite possibly more than ever before. For now, I’ll just say that if a person feels like they are meeting the needs of their partner while they’re also being told that theirs aren’t important, only for their partner to initiate divorce (over 70 percent of women do) and then take half of their earnings…I mean, I get why many guys are hard passing on the notion.
Anyway, because the men she was going out with didn’t want what she did, she’s been finding it discouraging to continue her dating journey. As she was talking to me about all of this, I asked her how long she would wait to bring her ultimate goals up.
Her: “I mean, I don’t want to scare men off, so I don’t really mention it at all.”
Yeah, that’s not good. Even though I get where she’s coming from, if you want to date in order to find your potential mate, you should never assume that the people you’re seeing automatically know that because not everyone is dating for the same purpose and reasons.
So, when should it come up? Not the first date because that’s basically a meet-and-greet to see if there’s anything “there” at all. However, if the second date goes well, it’s okay to say that your motive for dating is to ultimately find your life partner; that you’re not moving in fear or impatience, but you don’t see the point in dating indefinitely either. If a guy is on the same page, he’ll be fine with that.
If he’s not, he won’t — but at least you’ll both know where each other stands which can spare you from finding out that he was cool being with you but never wanted you to become his wife…three years down the pike.
Value Your TimeGiphy
When it comes to valuing time, some of my favorite quotes include "Trouble is, you think you have time" (Jack Kornfield); "Time and effort can get you anything you want in the world. But nothing in the world can get you more time" (Matt Fox); "Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it" (M. Scott Peck); "The one that values his time can value the time of others as well" (Sunday Adelaja); and "Time is the wisest counsellor of all" (Pericles).
Keeping all of these in mind, another benefit of knowing why you do what you do is that it can help you to value your time better. For instance, I have no interest in dating someone who has young children. This means that it doesn't matter how fine or funny a man is, if I meet you and that is what you have going on, why would I waste your time or mine by continuing to date you?
I can't tell you how many single people have come to me all distraught because they ignored their own preferences, got emotionally caught up, and now they are trying to figure out if they should totally ignore the very things that they said they did — or didn't — want in the first place.
Bottom line, please value your time and feelings enough to know what are non-negotiables and then not go further with people who fall into those categories. It's not a selfish act. When it comes to valuing another person's time, too, it's actually a really thoughtful one.
Learn a Few Current Dating TrendsGiphy
At the end of the day, trends are simply something that's popular at any given time. As far as dating goes, knowing some current dating trends can prove to be beneficial because it can 1) provide some insight on how to potentially approach dating at any given time and/or 2) help you to detect some things that might be going on with someone while you're on your say, first, second or third date with them.
That said, some trends that are, well, trending this year include open casting and infla-dating.
As far as open casting goes, the best way to describe it is it's all about stepping out of your "type" (check out "According To Experts, We All Have A 'Type'") and instead being willing to date individuals who may not look or even act the way that you're accustomed to. Now for the record, this doesn't mean that you should compromise your standards, deal-breakers, or boundaries in any way. It's more about not being so rigid in wanting a guy who is 6'2" and chocolate that you're not willing to even consider 5'10" and caramel. Because the reality is that a good man (if that's truly what you are after) may not look exactly like you prefer, yet if he's truly right for you, making that kind of compromise really won't matter much at the end of the day. Trust me.
Another dating trend is known as infla-dating. Can you guess what it's all about? Basically, it's the kind of dating that takes into account the fact that a lot of us just don't have the coins that we used to. For instance, I live in Music City, and an article came out recently that said you basically have to work somewhere around 60 hours a week in order to afford the ever-skyrocketing rink of this place. SMDH. I wish I could say that Nashville is the exception, but it's not. So now folks are finding more creative ways to date so that they don't have to tap into their rent money or their savings account in order to do it.
And for the record, that kind of approach isn't being "cheap." It's being wise. Shoot, I know a lot of couples who are on the brink of calling it quits as we speak because one or both of them aren't financially savvy. So yeah, dating people who can think outside of the box and still create some awesome dating memories while also being able to handle their financial responsibilities and obligations in the process? That reveals a thoughtful individual who is good at adulting too. If that ain't a solid potential long-term partner candidate, I don't know who is.
Keep the First Date BriefGiphy
Listen, I'm a woman, and even I don't get all of this $200 first-date nonsense. If I was a guy, I would see that as a peak hustle, too, because there is no reason why a man who barely knows someone should be shelling out that kind of cash right out the gate. Know what else? There's no reason why a woman who values herself should want to automatically give someone the privilege of 2-3 hours of her time initially, either.
Honestly, unless you already know the person you're going on a first date with (for instance, a friendship is transitioning into something more or you've been talking to someone online or on the phone for a while and you're planning on meeting up for the first time), a first date needs to be light and not expected to go over more than an hour or so. Why? Because all that you're initially doing is trying to see if there is some chemistry and even a mutual interest to take things further — and you don't need more than a meet-up at a coffee shop or a bar for a glass or two of wine to do that.
If your immediate response is, "that's frugal AF," — I mean, if all your motive was is to get an expensive meal or reenact something you saw on some dating show on television…maybe. Yet, if you genuinely want to maximize your precious moments (not to mention energy and effort), a brief and semi-casual first date is the way to go. Besides, if there does happen to be a mutual spark, it's not like the two of you can't book a second date…hell, the next day if you want to.
Ask. Don’t Interrogate.
Reply to @jwillis808 Here’s my list! #datingtips #listofthings #dating #datingadvice
Listen, this woman said that she has a fiancé, so clearly, this method worked for her. THAT SAID, although I am a big fan of people knowing what they desire in a partner, I will say that if you plan on also coming up with an Old Testament scroll of characteristics and qualities, just make sure to keep in mind that sometimes what you want may not be exactly what you need — which is why it's a good idea to be flexible on some things. Also, the goal is not to find the perfect person but someone who is a great complement to your life (check out "If He's Right For You, He Will COMPLEMENT Your Life").
That’s why it’s also a good idea to not treat your dates like they are an interrogation. While it’s cool to touch on points that are of great importance to you, no one wants to feel like they are being bogged down with tons of inquiries.
So, how do you avoid wearing someone out on a date? Per date, think about 3-5 things that are a priority to you and ask about those. For instance, if you've had a pattern in the past of doing most of the work in your relationships, ask him about how he values reciprocity in a relationship. Or if spirituality is of the utmost importance, ask him what his spiritual practice is and how long it's been that way.
The reason why I provided these as examples is because…did you notice how they were worded in a way that still gets the results that you're looking for without someone feeling like they are being put on the spot?
I'm gonna be real, some folks end up self-sabotaging their dates, and it's because they come all anxious and hurried. You can't get to know everything that you need to know in two hours. Ask some questions, sure, yet also enjoy just learning someone's vibe too because it also reveals…quite a bit.
Expect Them to Have Expectations TooGiphy
On the heels of what I just said, it never ceases to amaze me how some people think that they can have a book of what they want in a person and then act shocked when someone comes with their own comprised list. It’s almost like the “book person” is on some “You need to be everything that I expect and more, but you shouldn’t expect anything more than me showing up because I am enough automatically.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure you can hear all of the ego that is just oozing out of that sentence, not to mention how unfair and even unrealistic that way of thinking is.
So, if you’re someone who thinks that you “are the table” (insert eye rolls here) and so there should be no questions asked of you — I already see why dating hasn’t been working in your favor.
Just like you want to see how a man can add to your life, men want to know the same thing. Going on the defensive only causes them to build up walls. In other words, prepare to be a lot of what you expect. If that’s a challenge for you…maybe shorten that list — or at least don’t articulate as much of it — up.
Emotionally Pace YourselfGiphy
What happens if, after the first date, the guy checks off all of your (initial) boxes, and you’re ready to call your mama and tell her that you think that he’s the one? Yeah, PLEASE DON’T. While it’s cool to be excited about someone, if you don’t emotionally pace yourself, the elation can have you coming off as rushing things or even being too pushy if you’re not careful.
How? Well, if you really do think that he’s a great match for you, you could start emotionally processing him that way which could cause you to have expectations that are premature: “You think I’m awesome, and I think you’re awesome, so why haven’t you texted me this morning?” or “You said that you want to do this again, so why has it been four days and you haven’t booked another date yet?” GOODNESS.
I once read a study that said that when it comes to cultivating a true friendship, it takes 40-60 hours to create a casual friendship, 80-100 hours to become an actual friend, and 200-plus hours to become good friends. And that’s friendship, so why would you expect a relationship to miraculously unfold after three dinner dates?
Almost any emotionally healthy person is going to gravitate to an atmosphere of calm and serenity. So, while it’s okay to express that you’re looking forward to where this could go, as Benjamin Franklin so poignantly once said, “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” In other words, try not to allow your feelings to override the reality that everything has a time and purpose, and, as a wise person once said, “Time prevents everything from happening all at once.” In other other words, pulling on flower petals, trying to get them to hurry up and bloom, only ruins the flower.
Listen, if you don’t get anything else out of this article, please get how important it is to date from a place of mindfulness. And just what does that mean exactly? A simple explanation is when you are being mindful, you’re intentional about remaining in the moment. You’re not caught up in the past or consumed with the future.
When it comes to dating, in particular, mindfulness can be super beneficial because you’re not focused on comparing the current person with the people you’ve dated before, and you’re also not causing unnecessary anxiety and/or stress and/or drama by applying pressure on yourself or the person you’re getting to know by being obsessed with the possibilities of the future.
If you’d like to be more mindful in theory but you’re not exactly sure how to put it into practice, there are mindfulness principles that we all can stand to put into practice more often:
Reality. Reality is about what is rooted in truth and facts, not what you want or wish something to be. You can sho ‘nuff spare yourself some drama and trauma if you are someone who lives in reality while you’re dating instead of some rom-com or fairy tale that you’ve conjured up in your mind.
Accept. How would you feel if someone tried to change you? Exactly. Some people have a really bad habit of trying to “tweak folks” so that they can “make them fit” into their dating/relationship/marriage narrative. Avoid this, please. Accept people for who they are. If you can get wit it, awesome. If not, maybe they are just meant to be a friend — and that can be a blessing too.
Relax. To relax is to be less rigid, which speaks to being more flexible. When it comes to dating, this can help because if you’re willing to just let things reveal themselves as they come, that can help you to avoid overthinking or putting more stress on yourself than you should.
No one said that dating was easy. Still, if you’re a bit easier on yourself and the people you choose to go out with, each date can be an opportunity, a lesson, or a win. And all of these can be beneficial — if you choose to date smart instead of, well, hard.
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Featured image by Westend81/Getty Images