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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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 (email@example.com) 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.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Your June 2023 Horoscopes Are All About Intuition & Love Leading You Forward
June is all about following your inner compass. Life is coming full circle, and both culminations and new beginnings are occurring. This month is a time of showing up for yourself, for others, and for your life- and about seeing things with more clarity. Gemini Season is underway in June, and Gemini is a wildcard. You never know what is going to happen when the Sun is in Gemini, and it's best to go with the flow right now. Check in to your inner compass for guidance on the path ahead of you, and feel the excitement of what is possible for you this month.
June 2023 Overview
There is a Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 3rd, and this is the Full Strawberry Moon of the year. Being that the Full Moon will be in a fire sign, this is overall a time of activation and empowerment. This is the time to overcome fears, gain the bigger picture, and experience a breakthrough in your life. A few days later on June 5th, Venus moves into Leo and even love is heating up. Venus in Leo loves loud. She loves being in this self-expressive and bold sign, and love takes on a more exciting, charming, creative, and dramatic tone over the next few months. Venus will be in Leo until October 8th, and there will be a lot happening when it comes to love, relationships, and finances over that time.
Saturn and Neptune are both in Pisces, and they both go retrograde this month. With Saturn going retrograde on the 17th, and Neptune on the 30th, although there is a lot of growth taking place in June, there is also a need to take a step back and process. Saturn retrograde makes sure your plans are sustainable and Neptune retrograde helps you take off the blinders. Both of these signs in retrograde motion facilitate a reality check, and as Retrograde Season begins, it’s better to learn lessons as they come, rather than having to repeat them later.
Saturn will humble, and Neptune will inspire.
On June 18th, there is a New Moon in Gemini as Gemini Season comes to a close, and there are some surprises in store during this time. Since Gemini is all about the mind, some important revelations are happening now, and connecting with others on many different layers is what this time is facilitating. Look out for new opportunities that are appearing this month, and back your intentions with excitement. Cancer Season begins on June 21st, and after a mentally active month, the heart takes more focus again. Overall June is a time of the skies clearing, perspective entering, and love leading you forward.
What's In Store for Each Zodiac Sign in June 2023
ARIESAriesKyra Jay for xoNecole
In June you are working on letting the past go, Aries. This is a month to choose your battles wisely, focus on more sustainability, and on putting your attention on what’s going to work for you in the long run. There is no easy fix to what is presenting itself to you this month, and it’s about standing your ground and not giving up on yourself in the meantime. You are more powerful than you know, and you will overcome any tests thrown your way this month.
Venus enters your 5th house of love on June 5th, and this is putting a positive tone on romance for you. You are attracted to confidence, emotional vulnerability, and joy in others more so than anything right now, and things are getting interesting for you in love this month. Saturn goes retrograde on the 17th and with Saturn currently in your 12th house of endings and closure, you are preparing for some big transformations this summer, and they start appearing for you now.
TAURUSTaurusKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about overcoming fears, Taurus. June is the time to take off the blindfold that has kept you safe and comfortable out of fear so that you can understand where true safety and power come from. You are releasing limitations from your life that have been self-imposed and are ready to let go of the people that keep you in this state of limbo as well. The Full Moon happening this month on the 3rd is when you gain the clarity and self-understanding needed to transform from these power struggles and reach your true potential in life.
Moving forward into June, your ruling planet Venus enters Leo and moves into an area of your birth chart having to do with home, family, inner well-being, and your foundations. You are getting some type of reality check in June but it’s helping you build more solid and stable ground for yourself to thrive on. Home is where you feel the love, especially so this month, and you are creating some new safe spaces for yourself in June and sprucing up your surroundings.
GEMINIGeminiKyra Jay for xoNecole
In June, your patience and persistence are needed, Gemini. This is a month where you will see blessings bloom, but when you also need to put more effort into watering your intentions. This doesn’t always mean taking more action, sometimes it means believing in yourself more and looking at your situation in a more positive and nurturing light. You have worked hard to plant your seeds and build a life that makes you happy, and the universe is nudging you to see that you are almost there.
The Sun is in Gemini until June 21st, and most of the month is about gaining self-confidence, being the leader of your life, and honoring your right to happiness. On June 11th, Mercury, your ruling planet, enters your sign and your mind is thriving right now. Communication is your strength more so than ever in June, and this is an excellent month to connect, engage, and keep an open mind. Before the month ends there is a New Moon in your sign on the 18th, and it’s time to believe in a miracle.
CANCERCancerKyra Jay for xoNecole
Gather your strength, and find your ground this month, Cancer. The Sun is in the sign just before yours for most of the month, and you are tying up loose ends in June. You often keep space for the past, present, and future all to reside in your heart, but this month you are taking a good look at how much you can really carry, and how much you really should be. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for support this month. You are always there for others, and sometimes it’s your turn for someone to be there for you.
Saturn goes retrograde this month on the 17th and over the next few months will be helping you gain a new perspective. Saturn will be retrograde in an area of your chart having to do with travel as well, and extra patience and planning will be needed when it comes to travel plans this summer. On June 21st, Cancer Season officially begins and you are feeling more freedom and excitement after somewhat of a heavy month. A few days later on the 26th, Mercury enters Cancer, and the spotlight is really on you now.
LEOLeoKyra Jay for xoNecole
June is a month of emotional renewal for you, Leo. You are beginning anew in many ways this month, and you are feeling the love and support. There is something exciting about what is presenting itself to you in June, and you can’t help but feel passionate about it all. There is a Full Moon in Sagittarius happening on the 3rd at the beginning of the month, and this Full Moon is bringing things full circle when it comes to love. Your intentions have been heard and you are seeing the benefit of going after what you want in life. You are protected and worthy, and it is safe for you to love, Leo.
Speaking of love, Venus, the planet of romance, love, and pleasure, enters your sign on June 5th and will remain here for an unusually long amount of time, until October. When Venus is in your sign, love takes on a bold, proud, and more charismatic charm. Venus in Leo has a dramatic flair to her so things will definitely be interesting for you over the next few months, but there won’t be a lack of love in your life that is for sure. Overall, June is an emotionally exciting month for you.
VIRGOVirgoKyra Jay for xoNecole
Your heart is free, Virgo. June is about feeling the love in your life from within to without, and feeling like things are in synergy. You believe in the power of manifestation, and this month you are seeing some of your manifestations appear, especially regarding the relationships in your life. You have moved through a lot of growth this year and you are ready to have some more fun and to see what other exciting and heartfelt experiences are in store for you.
Neptune and Saturn both go retrograde this month, and they are going to be retrograde in your 7th house of one-on-one relationships, love, finances, and enemies. Thankfully, the love you have been giving yourself will triumph over any hater that may come your way, and the community of support you have built around you will facilitate that. These retrogrades for you are more about being a better advocate for yourself and learning more about certain patterning and emotional experiences in love that play out for you so that you can recharge and renew.
LIBRALibraKyra Jay for xoNecole
Celebrations are in store for you this month, Libra. June is all about good times and good vibes. You have the support around you that you need to feel the emotional fulfillment you look for in life, and there are a lot of healing experiences to be had this month. It’s about letting go of what keeps you apart from others and focusing more on what keeps you together. You are finding your balance, having fun, and honoring your heart this month, Libra.
Your ruling planet Venus moves into your house of friendships at the beginning of the month on the 5th, and you are feeling new beginnings within your community, friendships, and your soulmates. Others are more willing to share the love right now and you are feeling more seen and heard. With Saturn going retrograde before the month ends on the 17th, you will need to take a look at your current routine and see what benefits and what overwhelms you, however. Taking care of your health should be more of a priority over the next few months but overall, June has a lot to offer you.
SCORPIOScorpioKyra Jay for xoNecole
Trust your intuition, Scorpio. This is a month of tuning into the universe and paying attention to the signs. You are inspiring those around you with your sound wisdom and advice, and you are stepping into your power this month. June is your time to get creative, tap into the divine, and create more beauty in your life. Venus moves into your 10th house of career on June 5th and will be shining the spotlight on you over the next few months. It’s all about showing up and allowing others to admire and appreciate who you are.
There is a New Moon in Gemini occurring on the 18th, and this New Moon is a transformative one for you. You are letting go of self-doubt and pain and moving forward into self-empowerment and healing. You are learning more about self-mastery right now and how to be the leader of your life, rather than someone who’s the result of their circumstances. June is an empowering month for you overall, and this is a game-changing time.
SAGITTARIUSSagittariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
June is all about letting go, Sagittarius. It’s about honoring your health, letting go of control, and focusing on what aligns with your well-being rather than hindering it. You are learning some important lessons on allowing rather than forcing right now, and are getting the opportunity to put yourself on a new path in life. There is a Full Moon happening at the beginning of the month on the 3rd, and this Full Moon is signaling to you where to let go, and where to dive in.
You are closing some chapters in your life this month. With Venus moving into fellow fire sign Leo on the 5th and entering your house of adventure, you are not in the mood to be tied down to anything that feels forced or smothering. You are overcoming some addictions and mental hurdles to feel more freedom in your life right now. Saturn goes retrograde on the 17th and will be in retrograde in your 4th house of home and family until November, and you will be defining and refinding what family means to you right now.
CAPRICORNCapricornKyra Jay for xoNecole
June is all about baby steps, Capricorn. You are putting one foot in front of the other, and paving a new path for yourself this month. Your finances, income, and synergy here are in focus for most of the month, and you are looking for new ways to see growth in this area of your life. You are putting the feelers out there, taking on new opportunities and responsibilities, and are seeing the results of your resourcefulness. With the Full Moon happening at the beginning of the month, you are letting go of what has been weighing you down from fulfilling your dreams.
Pluto has been in retrograde since May 1st, and on June 11th, it moves into your sign. Pluto will be retrograde in Capricorn until October, and during this time you will be finding your power, and owning your voice. You deserve to take up space, and you do make the great leader that you aspire to be. Your ruling planet Saturn goes retrograde a few days later on the 17th, and you will be experiencing growth when it comes to communication, neighbors, siblings, transportation, and connection.
AQUARIUSAquariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
You have the Midas Touch this month, Aquarius. This is an impactful and abundant month for you, and you are happy with the spaces you are finding yourself in right now. You have found the key to your success and are creating and living the life you dream of. With Venus moving into your house of love as the month begins, there is so much to be grateful for right now and you have it all right beside you. Remember to appreciate the gifts of today and not get so lost in the details that you miss the moment.
Saturn goes retrograde on the 17th and will be retrograde in your house of income until November. Create a strategic plan for your financial world, and focus on stability here. You have made some essential gains here recently, and Saturn will be serving lessons on how to maintain that. Saturn is one of your ruling planets and you especially feel its influence. Over the next few months take an honest look at your financial world, and create a long-term plan here.
PISCESPiscesKyra Jay for xoNecole
June is a new beginning for you, Pisces. You are in high spirits this month and are feeling the hope that you align so well with in life. New communication is coming to the forefront and you are getting the answers you have been looking for. You are seeing things clearly right now, and your heart is leading the way. The Full Moon on June 3rd will be happening in your house of success and achievements and you are spending the beginning of the month honoring how far you have come, and celebrating where you are now.
Saturn and Neptune are both in your sign right now, and they both go retrograde this month. Saturn first, on June 17th, and you may be feeling more restless than usual over the next few months. You could be feeling a little more anxious and pressured right now, and more compassion for yourself and your life path is needed. Neptune goes retrograde in Pisces on the 30th, and you are getting lost in the mystery of it all. Divine intervention will be at play for you over the next few months, and perspectives are shaking for you to see some new truths. Overall, this is a very creative and life-changing time for you.
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Featured image by Kyra Jay for xoNecole