You Just Started Dating Him. So, Why Is The Break-Up So Devastating?
Listen, I'll be the first to stand up and say that when it comes to getting over an ex, I might just hold one of the longest "titles" ever. I mean, getting fully over my first took a couple of decades (no joke. Check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour" and "Why Running Into Your Ex Can Be The Best Thing Ever"). But if there's something that I've noticed, is becoming a pandemic of the heart these days, it's women who struggle with getting over someone they've only been seeing for a short amount of time. Since I know that "short" is relative, let me just say that I'm referring to folks who've only been on a few dates with someone or it's only been a couple of months since they've been hanging out with them on a more intentional level. More and more, women are contacting me about how a potential relationship has ended and they are 1000 percent torn up about it. That concerns me because hearts are precious and no man, who you've only known for a hot-skip-and-jump amount of time, should earn your pain and grief. He really shouldn't.
If you know all of this in theory, but you still find yourself being damn near close to devastated whenever something new comes to a close, here are some questions that just might help you get down to the root of why that very well might be the case.
Can You Honestly Say That You Healed from Your Previous Relationship?
Lord. If there's one word that I've seen, perhaps more than any other this year, it's "normalize". That said, when I think about the top 10 things I would like to see normalized, "denial transference" would most certainly top the list. What is that? It's my way of describing what happens when someone, who doesn't do well at being alone, goes from one relationship to another, thinking that the new situation will fill their voids and/or heal them. Instead, what typically happens, is they take their pain, drama, and baggage from the old person into their new dynamic. And because they didn't properly heal from the first relationship, they end up being way too intense, way too pressuring—way too everything which ends up costing them their new relationship too (because healthy people like to be with other healthy people).
And since healing wasn't a priority before the new thing that they got into, sometimes that person ends up grieving it way more than they logically should. It's not because the new relationship was so impacting that they can't let it go—it's because they now have to deal with the pain of the former relationship, compounded with the rejection of the new one. It's not a case of the new relationship being "such a big deal"; it's more like they've never realized that they have a tendency to partake in "denial transference"—they deny that they are transferring the unresolved emotions of one relationship into another, all because they move too damn fast.
So yeah, if you've only been seeing someone for a few weeks or months, it's over (or heading towards being that way), and you feel like it's about as heart-wrenching as the break-up you had with an ex of a couple of years, ask yourself if you're someone who tends to be a denial transference person or a rebounder. Everyone needs time and space to process the end of one relationship before hopping into another. Otherwise, it's hard to tell if you are properly seeing each situation clearly without merging them together. And emotional mergers can oftentimes turn into big ass accidents with a good amount of wreckage as a direct result.
Did You Have Sex Way Too Soon?
This is perhaps the greatest pun that wasn't intended, but when it comes to deciding when it's too soon to have sex, it literally is different strokes for different folks. Based on your religious upbringing, your personal preference, your take on the purpose of sex, etc.—all of these things play a direct role in why some people engage sooner than others. What I will say is everyone, regardless of their value system and perspective on sexuality, needs to factor in that oxytocin is a natural hormone that is literally one hell of a drug. That's why, more times than not, I'm like, "Yeah…OK" when someone who had sex with an individual, within a month of meeting them, is talking about how "in love" they are.
While it can happen (John Legend and Chrissy Teigen say that is a part of their journey), that is a HUGE GAMBLE. The reason why I say that is oftentimes, what people fail to factor in, is the fact that oxytocin is triggered during kissing, cuddling and orgasms and oxytocin is designed to bond you to the person you have sex with. So "duh" and "of course", you're gonna feel like you're into them after doing-the-do.
A wise person once said that insanity is doing the same thing while expecting a different result. If you're quick to engage in casual sex, without processing that you are setting yourself up to give your heart with your parts, try dating without that level of intimacy for a while. The right guy won't mind, plus it could reveal to you if sex too soon is why you have a hard time getting over (or past) men you really don't know all that well.
Have You Ever Taken a Love Addiction Quiz Before?
A couple of years ago, I wrote "6 Signs You're A Love Addict" for the site. If you're skimming through this article and you'd like a quick definition of what a love addict is, it's basically someone who is so desirous for a relationship that they will overlook red flags, numb themselves to emotional pain and neglect, and/or create chick flicks and fantasies in their mind—all in the effort to feel "loved" by someone else.
Mind you, this isn't as simple as falling for someone and getting your heart broken a couple of times. No, a love addict has a pattern of choosing people who they put on pedestals while they typically receive very little affirming, reciprocity, or even respect in return—and they keep repeating this pattern over and over…and over again, usually until they seek therapy for their addiction.
If you really let what I just said sink in, it probably makes perfect sense how a love addict would be absolutely devastated after only seeing someone for a short period of time. It's because they probably said to themselves, after the first or second date mind you, that he was "the one". Then they started treating him as such, only to realize the pressure of moving too fast too soon sabotaged the connection or worse, caused them to realize that they were in their love story all by themselves, all along.
While it's perfectly normal to be disappointed when something that shows real potential doesn't work out, it's not exactly healthy to be so distraught that you feel like you're going through a divorce or something. If what I just said makes absolutely no sense to you, because that is typically how you feel, whether a relationship is new or not, do yourself a favor and check out LoveAddict.org's 40 questions to ask yourself to see if you are truly a love addict or not. If more than half check out, a therapist, counselor or relationship coach may be what you need in order to find balance, where matters of the heart are concerned. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But it is something to take seriously and get help for. Love addiction can be just as traumatizing as any other addiction. Please don't take it lightly.
Have You Never Learned the Art of Non-Exclusive Dating?
Interestingly enough, it was actually around this time last year when I wrote, "Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?". Since less people are getting married (and having less sex; we'll have to deal with the sex part in another article), it's important to also put on record that, just because people may not want "for better or for worse" for the rest of their lives, with the same person, that doesn't mean they don't desire companionship; it also doesn't mean that they aren't deserving of it.
Accepting this reality—especially if you grew up in the Church or have a family that's always pressuring you to start a family—can be difficult. So difficult that you might have programmed yourself into thinking that if you're not exclusively seeing someone, almost right off the bat, it's a colossal waste of time. Personally, I think that is a super false hot take.
While, on one hand, if you are the type of person who "dates to marry" (meaning, the only purpose that you see in dating is to find the person to jump the broom with), I get why you might not want to get into non-exclusive situations. Yet, on the flip side of that, something that can teach you a lot about who you are and what you really want in a relationship, still while having a good time and meeting new people along the way, is non-exclusive dating. No one is saying you've got to sleep with every guy you go out with (please don't). But since you're single…why not live like you are? Interact with a few folks. Enjoy different kinds of experiences with different types of people. Learn how not to "act married" with folks who aren't anywhere close to being your husband.
Learning the art of just dating is something that can help you to learn how to engage others without putting your entire mind, heart and soul into the mix. It's something that can show you how to not take everything so seriously, to live in the moment and simply have a good time. You're single. You should.
Did He End It for the Same Reasons Other Guys Have?
Yeah. If there's one question that only someone with a huge sense of humility (which is a superpower, by the way) is quick to answer, it's this one. In fact, something that I tell my clients, when we have our first session is, anyone who is quick to say what they need to work on as a person as opposed to running down the list of their partner's flaws—that is someone who is self-aware and has a far greater chance at their relationship healing and succeeding than the one who thinks things would automatically get better, so long as their partner improved and not them (SMDH).
When it comes to our exes, whether we like it or not, we've got to accept that the one thing they all have in common is…well, us. And so sometimes, when a relationship ends, what makes it especially painful is we oftentimes hear the guy say something similar that we've already heard from some other dude (or dudes) before. And when that's the case, the "trauma" isn't so much about "losing" the person as it is realizing that if we don't get a handle on our issues or flaws, we will just keep making the same choices and/or selecting the same kind of person and/or wasting our time.
That's why, it can only benefit you to ask yourself, "Am I hurt because this relationship is over or because I'm sick and tired of hearing about myself, just in different forms of human beings?" If the answer is Column B, the good news is you can take some time to do some real soul-searching and, if need be, habit-breaking. That way, when you are ready to date again, you can be confident that you'll be doing it…differently.
Do You Always Tend to Leap Before You Look?
To thine own self be true. The reason why I write articles like, "The Pros & Cons Of Creating A 'What I Want In A Man' Checklist", "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner", "14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners", "Are You Dating The Same Guy Over And Over Again? Maybe." and "These Are The Deal-Breakers You Shouldn't Hesitate To Have In The Bedroom" is because, it's really important to know who you are, what you need, and the kind of relationship that you are looking for, before getting involved, on any level, with another individual. If you don't, it can be really easy to become a relational chameleon—you know, someone who is more concerned with being what someone else wants/desires, to the point where you put yourself on the backburner and, quite possibly, end up losing yourself once the relationship ends. Why? Because you were more concerned with being with somebody than being your authentic self and letting the chips fall where they may.
What I mean by that is, if you make being in a relationship more important than getting the kind of relationship that you truly want, the first guy who wants to be with you, you'll accommodate him more than yourself. As a result, should he leave, you'll feel lost because it was more about having someone than being with the right person. Make sense?
The reason why we look down before jumping into a pool is so we can make sure that the water will "catch" us. Being discerning while you are in the beginning stages of a relationship—which includes asking the questions you really want the answers to, taking your time, not revealing everything about you until he's earned that information—is just as wise.
There's nothing wrong with meeting a guy and hoping that it will work out. But if it's only been a short amount of time, it doesn't and that damn near destroys you—I doubt it has much to do with him. Look within to see why those kinds of situationships are able to rattle you so much and so hard. I promise you that the more you focus on you in those moments, the more you'll realize that it was about you—NOT HIM—all along. And the truly wonderful thing about that is you can always fix/heal/change/love on yourself. Amen? Amen.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
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Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
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Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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