Now, this is an interesting topic to explore. If you're checking this out while you're actually supposed to be finishing up a project at work, the Cliffs Notes version answer to if it's OK to love a man more than he loves you is "yes". But if it were as simple as that, this wouldn't be an entire article, would it?
Let's begin here. A couple of years ago, while standing in a wife's kitchen and complimenting her on how well her husband appeared to love her, she said something that came across to me like she had a tinge of arrogance mixed in with a dash manipulation—"The key to a happy marriage, Shellie, is to make sure your husband loves you, at least a little more, than you love him."
Is it? Is it really? I mean, I'm not married and she is, so maybe that (somehow) works for her household. Although, I can't help but wonder what her husband would've said had she not been whispering so that he couldn't hear her say what she said.
I've known this couple long enough that I remember them when they were dating. On some levels, she really did run him through the ringer as she kept raising the ante as a way for him to "prove" his love for her. *sigh* I dunno. A quote that I made up years ago is "Love should be a gift, not a bribe" and so, to me, when we're using the word "love" in the context of plotting, planning and strategizing, something feels a little…off.
That's why I say that if there's a man whom you love more than he loves you, no, I don't think that it's wrong. It's simply how you feel. However, at the same time, I think the better question, the one that really gets to the core of the issue is, "How should you act when you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you love a man more than he loves you?" When you are totally into him and either he's not into you as much (yet) or he's not into you in the same way as you're into him (because there are different kinds of love, after all).
Now that we've unpacked what we're really trying to get at, let's dig in.
As a woman who has loved and watched other women love, I absolutely, totally and unapologetically LOVE the way we do it! When a woman loves a man, it's fully. It's thoroughly. It's intensely and intently. On so many levels and for so many reasons, it's one of the most beautiful things to witness on this entire planet. Because it is so precious, sacred and powerful, I fully believe that it should be esteemed as the eighth wonder of the world—something that requires effort to be seen so that it can truly be appreciated for what it is.
Unfortunately, because the love that we give comes from within us, even we as the vessels of love, can take it for granted. Whenever we go above and beyond to express how we feel, we don't see it as potentially being too much (or too much too soon) because, like breathing, we're just doing what we know to do.
What's the problem with that? It's this: When we take our own selves for granted, it sometimes sends the message to others that they can mistreat, or at the very least underestimate, what we're offering them. As a result, the care, the time, the forethought that we put into making them feel seen, adored and valued, they don't always revere it. And when a person doesn't honor love while it's in action, they typically end up doing the opposite—abusing it. And since the love comes from us as a primary source, this ultimately means that, on some level, they end up abusing us in the process.
Believe you me, I know of what I speak. There is one man from my past that I loved. Love, love, love, love, LOVED. Although he told me that he loved me too and some of his actions, some of the time, backed his declaration up, because I clearly loved him more, he received the royal treatment while what I got was more like…a guest of the royal court. On special occasions, he would do some pretty over-the-top things, but that really was far and few between. However, because I loved him so much, I found myself living for those, what I call "blue moon moments" and then "rewarding him" for what he did by going above and beyond the rest of the time…until the next time.
It took me quite a while to catch on, but what I eventually came to realize was loving him more than he loved me wasn't the problem. Treating him like he loved me as much as I loved him was.
Shoot, I'll take it a step further—acting like I should overcompensate for his lack of expression of love until he caught up (or caught on) was even more of the issue.
So now that we're here, what's the difference between loving someone more vs. expressing it? And why is expressing it something that you really should reel back in?
Here's an example. I once knew a long-distance couple who both loved each other. I had heard each of them express the sentiment. However, I saw some red flags coming from a couple of miles away when suddenly, out of nowhere, the woman picked up and moved to be in the same state as the guy. Two years later, she resented him because he didn't propose marriage. In fact, their relationship didn't make any more progress than it had when they were living states apart. She eventually moved, broke up with him and met someone else. She's been married to the new/next guy for over 15 years now.
My point? She could've easily loved the first fella from the comfort and convenience of where she was originally staying. She didn't have to leave her job, friends and the city that she also loved. If it was on the table to do that at all, it needed to be once she and the guy discussed together that her moving was something that they both wanted, with the intentions of taking things to another level—not eventually but sooner than later.
See what I mean? The fact that she moved without getting clear on if it was something that she and he could both get excited about meant that she loved him more than he loved her. However, the issues really only arose out of her acting on her love before it was truly time.
So, to me, the bottom line would be this—if you love a man more than he loves you, don't beat yourself up about that. You feel what you feel and, whether he realizes it or not, he is in the presence of greatness. But until he expresses the level of love that you have for him to you—on his own without any prompting, nagging, manipulation or ultimatums on your part—pull back a bit on allowing your actions to show him just how big and deep your love goes.
He's already blessed that you love him at all. Let him appreciate that by displaying some reciprocity—first.
In the meantime, while you're trying to exhibit some self-control so that you don't do more than you should, revisit the lyrics of one of my favorite DeBarge songs, "Love Me in a Special Way". It'll hold you accountable:
Love me now 'cause I'm special
Not the average kind who'd accept any line that sounds good
So, reach into your chain of thoughts try to find something new
What worked for you so well before for me it just won't do
Your love is special. Not average. Let him simmer on that for a while. If he's paying attention, he'll catch up…without you having to run after him (some of y'all will catch that later).
Featured image by Getty Images.
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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. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
It seems like 2023 was a whirlwind, flying by a bit too quickly for many of us. And now that we're approaching the last month of the year, there's a push to prep for a great 2024. I'm not a huge fan of resolutions---as I never keep mine, and I'm unapologetically not sorry for that---but I'm heavy into at least getting a head start on looking forward to the possibilities of a fresh start, finally achieving a few lingering goals, and embracing more adventure.
If you're ready to plan ahead, it's the perfect time to make December count in order to plan for a successful new year. Here are a few fun ideas to get you started.
1. Host a reflection party.
Hey, you could do this alone, but you could also make it fun and interactive by inviting friends or industry friends to reflect on the highs and the lows of the year. Create a theme, offer customized cocktails, and talk about what each of you has accomplished, reminisce on the fun times you've had, talk about the challenges you've faced, and set a few goals. Add in a few fun activities like vision boarding or career mapping.
You could also have one last girls trip and attend a conference or networking event together. After each session, take the time to put on pajamas and reflect on what was learned, who you met, and how you'll apply pressure in your careers next year.
2. Declutter and reorganize.
If you haven't been purging throughout the year, December is a great time to get a head start. All those old clothes or shoes that you don't wear? Sell or donate them. If you need help, have a consultation with a professional organizer or watch a few good tutorials on Konmari methods.
Still holding on to furniture, appliances, or other home decor that really isn't functional, doesn't scream home for you, or needs an upgrade? Go thrifting, shop around, or treat yourself to interior decorating services.
If you can't afford to do any of those, move a few things around, repurpose your household items, or try DIYs. Sometimes a bit of paint or moving your home office into a different room can be small changes that lead to big differences in mood or convenience at home.
And, as mentioned before, invite a few friends, family, or bae, and make it another excuse to close out the year with good drinks, laughter, and connection.
3. Create a bucket list.
From your career to your personal life, it's good to write down your dream or must-do activities to get clear on what you want to accomplish in the new year and to serve as a nudge for accomplishment. And it doesn't have to be grand goals like "Save a million dollars," (though, if that's a bucket-list contender for you, go off, sis, and get that money.) It can be places you want to travel to, concerts you want to attend, professional development courses you want to take, or new adventurous experiences you want to enjoy.
One thing I like about bucket lists is that I don't approach them in the traditional way, where I feel pressure to do these things before the Lord calls me home. I like to think of a bucket list as a fun guideline that will help me get clear on what excites me, what I need to do to grow, and what challenges me to push past self-inflicted boundaries.
4. Prioritize wellness.
If you've slacked off a bit or know you might be facing a few issues in the health and wellness department, now is the time to start prioritizing. Set those last appointments for a full physical, gynecological, or dermatologist visit, follow-up tests, or therapy for next year. Sign up for fun fitness classes and schedule a few visits to the spa while you're at it.
Block out time in your schedule for meditation, prayer, religious services, and exercise, and go ahead and change that calendar setting to "daily" or "weekly." Set email updates and other ways to remind yourself to put wellness at the top of your priority list leading into the new year.
If you're already pretty consistent with your fitness and wellness goals, try a new activity or incorporate new technology to level up a bit and challenge yourself more. Try a new skincare routine, join a running group, or learn a new activity that requires movement, such as dance, karate, or boxing. Mix things up a bit so that you can enrich your experience on the journey.
5. Take an honest look at your finances and adjust accordingly.
If you're reading this, I'm sure you know the importance and power of budgeting, no matter how much money you make. Getting into a habit of knowing exactly how much you earn and how you're spending those earnings is vital to your success and financial freedom. If you have goals for next year that will require a significant shift in your budget, you'll need to adjust.
Be realistic and account for the things you enjoy doing, your lifestyle, your debts, and your other financial obligations. If you have vacations or other big events planned, be sure your budget accommodates them or set goals in order to save up. If you've experienced a major transition such as a marriage, divorce, or addition to your family, take some time to reflect on how your income is impacted and what you might need to do to ease the transition when it comes to your pockets.
Research ways you can make residual income, how you can invest, start a side hustle, and prep for retirement. (As much as some of you would like to think you're too young to think about that, imagine how much more of a nest egg you'd have if you started saving for retirement in your 20s or 30s.)
And don't sleep on insurance beyond coverage for your car or healthcare. Life, long-term care, and disability insurance are important if you have children, want to be sure your loved ones are taken care of financially in the future, or if you want to protect assets such as your income, home, or business.
Think about your prep for next year holistically and start this December to ensure that you're going into 2024 with a mindset and intention for success.
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Featured image by Getty Images