Recently, I checked out a YouTube post of a live conversation that Joe Budden and Eboni K. Williams had. The part of the clip that stood out to me the most was when Eboni broke down what, in her opinion, is the difference between companionship and partnership. Starting at around the 2:00 mark, she gets into this:
"Companionship relationships are a great kind of relationship. You enjoy each other's company. You're probably involved sexually. You enjoy doing things together—traveling, going to see the movies, going out to dinner…going out to parties together; you enjoy time with each other. You genuinely enjoy each other and you guys are companions in that way. But it stops short of [a] partnership relationship because partnership relationships are, 'I am trying to do life with you.' I am trying to plan my life with you, whether that is purchasing a home and living together, whether that is having to bring children into this world and co-parenting them together. Whether that is marriage, potentially, or anything of those things that look like a joint life."
The reason why I think what Eboni said is so vital to this particular piece is because, before we explore why more people may find having a successful career to be more fulfilling than being in a successful marriage, her points are a great reminder that a person has to first decide if marriage is even something that they desire to begin with (check out "Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?", "He Loves You. He's Just Never Gonna Marry You. Now What?", "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife" and "The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have").
The reason why I say this is because, we only tend to be successful at the things that we actually want to be successful at.
Now with that foundational point laid, let's get into a Pew Research survey that I checked out where 57 percent of men and 46 percent of women say that having a great career is essential when it comes to leading a fulfilling life while merely 17 percent of men and 16 percent of women feel that way about marriage. Interesting. Very interesting.
Why Do You Think So Many People Prefer Careers over Marriage?
OK, let me start this part off by saying that, while I always welcome comments, I would really like to hear your feedback on this one. One reason is because I know that the myth of the Black woman never getting married is just that—a myth. Studies actually reveal it's not that we don't ever become wives, it's just that we prioritize things like education and career-oriented goals first which results in us getting married later on in life. So, since I'm most interested in what Black women have to say about all of this, a part of me wonders if it's not that we find our careers to be "more fulfilling than marriage" so much as we tend to put marriage on the backburner until we check some other things off of our life's to-do list.
Another reason why I want to hear your thoughts is because science is revealing that the marriage rate is dropping overall, in part because, at least for women, more and more men are, as one article puts it, "economically unattractive". Could it be that a lot of us find our careers to be more fulfilling because there is a fear that if we do marry a man, we'll have to take care of him more than he takes care of us—financially or otherwise?
Still, another reason that I think should go into the mix of contemplation is the fact that I am well aware that about half of marriages end in divorce which tends to have a doozy of a domino effect on children; including adult children (check out "What Some People Regret About Their Divorce"). Therefore, a part of me wonders if some of us (because I fall into the "child of divorce" category) have so much PTSD from our parents' marriage (or marriages) that we're somewhere in the lane of, "I can't control if someone breaks my heart, but what I can control is thriving professionally. So, I'll guard my heart and focus on my career instead."
Another thing to throw into the equation of possibilities is the fact that, a lot of married couples only spend around two hours a day with their partner in comparison to 8-10 hours (on average) at work. If you're spending most of your waking hours working, could that be what makes you care more about "being fulfilled" (I'm coming back to that phrase in just a sec) in your workspace over a long-term relationship?
Taking all of this into consideration, this is not to say that some people happen to choose a career over marriage, simply because marriage isn't on their menu (understood). At the same time, with data out in cyberspace like "Marriage Tied to Longer Life Span, New Data Shows", "A Good Marriage May Help You Live Longer. Here's Why." and "Want More And Better Sex? Get Married And Stay Married.", we can't be out here acting like marriage is obsolete for all and/or doesn't still have some pretty major perks.
Whew. OK. So, if you've read even three articles on this platform that contain my byline, you know that I'm all about word definitions. That brings me to the word "fulfilled". A pretty big amount of both men and women find their career to be more essential (absolutely necessary, indispensable) than marriage and also more fulfilling.
Fulfill: to carry out, or bring to realization, as a prophecy or promise; to perform or do, as duty; obey or follow, as commands; to satisfy (requirements, obligations, etc.); to bring to an end; finish or complete, as a period of time; to develop the full potential of (usually used reflexively)
Wow. Amazing what a definition can reveal, right? I can't tell you how many times I've sat with a married couple and heard either one or both spouses say that they want out because there is no pleasing their partner. The expectations have shifted. The requirements are unrealistic. Their attitude sucks. But at work, unless your boss is a total jerk or you are an impatient perfectionist (which is a double whammy), things tend to be much easier—or at least, more manageable. You know what's expected of you. You are equipped to perform the duties at hand. There are constant "finish lines" whether that's the end of a work day, a payday, a vacation or even a promotion. You feel yourself growing professionally. All of this brings about a feeling and sense of satisfaction. In marriage, things may not always be so…obvious, definite or even guaranteed.
Ah. So maybe that is why so many people are more fulfilled by work rather than marriage. And, since we need money in order to survive, maybe that is why careers are seen to be more essential/absolutely necessary than marriage is too. Got it. But what about the fact that reportedly a whopping 85 percent of people hate their job and how, according to one article that I read, "120,000 deaths a year could be attributed to work environments"? Meanwhile, it's reported by many sources that married couples live longer and the sex is better. Shouldn't that be factored in? Doesn't that kind of marriage data bring its own type of satisfaction? Do you now see why I'd like to get some of your insight into all of this?
If You Had to Choose Career or Marriage, What Would Be Your Choice?
According to the Pew Research data that I checked out, something else that I found to be interesting is 31 percent of the women surveyed said that marriage IS NOT important for a woman to live a fulfilling life while only 24 percent of men felt the same way. Taking all of this into account, I'm curious about the following questions.
- What do you value more—your career or your marriage? Or, if you're single, the desire to be married over your career? Whatever your answer is—why?
- Do you even think that marriage is essential to you living a full and satisfactory life?
- What fulfills you about your career?
- If you're married, what fulfills you about your marriage?
- Do you believe that women can have both and be satisfied in both?
If you're curious about what my stance on this is, a part of my career focuses on marriage, so yeah—I think that being fulfilled professionally and relationally is not only possible but necessary. No, I don't feel like marriage is or even should become obsolete and, I also believe that, so long as your partner complements you (which includes complementing your purpose), they can actually make your career more satisfactory than ever. But that's just me. The data says otherwise so, when you get a chance, hit me up and in comments and sound off. I can't wait.
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- Black Women Choosing Careers Over Marriage - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Black Women Choosing Careers Over Marriage - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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