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Dating

We've all been there. You meet this amazing person. Establish a solid foundation as friends. Decide to take things to the next level by becoming exclusive. Only to, sadly realize that it is no longer working, causing you to go your separate ways. And while we would all love to hold onto those feelings for a little longer, it's best to just cut the cord and move on. But what do you do with those leftover feelings? How do you move on, knowing that a central piece of your world is now gone? Or what do you do when you crave their presence?

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Back when I used to mentor teens via a high school program that I was a part of, something that used to trigger me to sigh, incessantly so, was the fact that they had absolutely no idea what a date was. To them, having some guy hang out at their house when their mama wasn’t home and then having sex with him before she came back qualified. Low bar. LOW. DAMN. BAR.

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I’m willing to bet that it comes as absolutely no surprise to most of you that the most popular day to get engaged is Christmas and the most popular time of the year to do it is between November and December. And just why am I bringing all of that lovey-dovey stuff up when this title clearly indicates that we’re going to be discussing the total opposite of a man getting down on one knee? Well, interestingly enough, guess when the most popular time of the year is when it comes to people (70 percent of which are women, by the way) filing for divorce? That, my dear, would be January.

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Yeah buddy. Let's do this. Not too long ago, while in an interview, someone asked me if, due to my age and because I've never been married before, would I be open to dating or marrying a younger man. While I personally think that what qualifies as being any real significant age difference is a guy who is more than five years younger than I (or you) and since I've never done that before, I had to give the question some real thought. The main reason is because I know a lot of people, both in my family and out, who have done this and boy — has it been quite the roller coaster ride.

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Do you ever experience moments where, after the day is done, you reflect on certain conversations that came up and you're like, "How did I find myself so passionately involved in that?" Since I work in the field of relationships, while all of this is kind of an occupational hazard for me, I must admit that a recent two-plus hour discussion about the Dwayne-Whitley-Byron (you know, from A Different World) triangle was IN-TER-EST-ING. The bottom line is a guy was talking about how much Whitley would've been better off with Byron; that even Dwayne said so. Meanwhile, I was like, while their lifestyles may have complemented one another better (at least at the time of the engagement and wedding), no one should ever have to convince themselves to be with someone else and, while Whitley was dating Byron, she did that, more times than not — including the night before and day of her (attempted) nuptials to him.

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I grew up in a home not knowing what a healthy and loving relationship looked like. And I know countless other women may have experienced the same. The same goes for men too. We gravitate towards partners that resemble what we know or what seemed to be normal when it never was. The saying is true - what is not healed in your childhood later affects your adult relationships. We ignore red flags, settle for yellow flags, and most times miss all the green flags when it comes to dating. Why? Because it's a feeling that is foreign and doesn't register as normal. So, we run towards toxic and ignore the signs of what a healthy relationship may look like. And I was definitely the type to stay longer than I should in a relationship that wasn't for me. But my dating standards have leveled up. I learned the lessons and cut my losses.

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