Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with some women who said that they were tired of online gender wars when it comes to relationships. I simply said, “It’s not a ‘war’ if what it’s doing is calling people to a state of accountability, and if it’s getting to a point where women are telling men what they need, men are doing the same, and both sides are listening, that can only be beneficial in the long run.”
Sex is not exempt here. Yeah, it really is time out for men and women (in general) thinking that simply showing up, butt naked, is all that’s required for their partner to have, not just a good time but a deeply satisfying one.
That’s why today’s article is all about sex as it relates to men specifically — things they do, things that happen with them, and things that they like. My thought process is that the more we know about them, the more in tune with them (and their needs) we will ultimately be. Ready?
1. Yes, Some Men Fake ItGiphy
Just recently, I was talking to a male friend of mine about men faking orgasms. When he told me that he’s done it, more than just a few times before, and I asked him why, he said, “Because a lot of women think they are killin’ it and I don’t want to hurt their feelings.”
It would appear that he’s not alone. Reportedly 1 in 4 men have faked orgasms before due to things like what he said along with not wanting to disappoint their partner if they want to stop sooner or wanting to get things over with for…all kinds of reasons.
I know some of y’all might not want to believe this one but, if some of us can pull off an Oscar-worthy faking it performance, why would we think that some men can’t do the same? Hmm…
2. There Are Three (Physical) Things That Turn Men on the Most
It’s no secret that men are stimulated visually more than just about anything else. However, if you’re wondering what parts of a woman draw them in the most, a popular survey revealed that, hands down, it’s the face, followed by a woman’s butt and then her hair.
When I asked another male friend about the hair thing he said, “Healthy natural hair especially is super sexy. It sends a nurturing message that men are drawn to — whether men realize it or not.” Definitely some food for thought.
Something else that’s fascinating about this survey is it confirms something that a lot of my male doula clients tell me: “I don’t know why women think that we’re hung up on stretch marks and breasts that aren’t as firm as they used to be,” one man told me. “A woman who brought a baby into the world is sexy as hell and a natural body is always for the win!” There you have it. Straight from the source.
3. Men Appreciate Affection More than Some People Think They DoGiphy
Something that comes up in my counseling sessions with couples quite a bit is how much husbands wished their wives would touch on them more — not just sexually either. One husband shared with me, “Just because men, especially Black men, don’t talk about how hard it is out here, that doesn’t mean that it’s not. There’s nothing like coming home and getting my head rubbed, my neck kissed, or having my wife cuddle with me on the couch…especially if she lets me watch something that I actually want to see. We as men want to feel safe sometimes too and touch gives us that. That’s why it’s sad that people assume that ‘physical touch’ just means foreplay. It doesn’t. Even cuddling in bed can meet a need that a conversation can’t.”
He ain’t lyin’. Check out The New York Times piece “The Power of Touch, Especially for Men” when you get a chance. It confirms how much physical touch is king to a man and his intimacy needs.
4. Penises Get Bigger During Fellatio
Honestly, it can’t be said enough that all of the rah-rahing about needing a big penis in order to feel satisfied is borderline ridiculous (yep, I said it). With the average penis being somewhere around 5.5” erect and our most intense vaginal nerves being 2” inside of our vagina, a man who is attentive and smaller in size can get the job done just fine (check out “BDE: Please Let The ‘It Needs To Be Huge’ Myth Go”).
Yet if for some reason, you want to see how big your partner can get, fellatio appears to be the great revealer. Yep, there is plenty of intel out in cyberspace to back the fact that a man’s penis is in its greatest form, size-wise when it’s receiving oral attention. Just one more reason to check out “Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits Of Sperm” and then take it seriously. Very seriously.
5. Men Want to Go Down on Women More than They DoGiphy
Although there are always going to be some people who will take a hard pass on oral activity (check out “Sooo...What If You HATE Oral?” and “Okay. So, This Is Why Oral Sex Is Probably Not Satisfying You (Fully).”), I will forever die on the hill that you should only be okay with not receiving if you’re not expected to give either. In other words, if you’re with someone like DJ Khaled (the real ones know)…that's a PROBLEM.
That being said, if you’re someone who thinks that most men don’t like partaking in cunnilingus activity, I’d be super curious about what brought you to that conclusion. The men in my world are more than happy to please their partner in that way; plus, there are studies to support this claim as well.
For instance, check out “Study finds straight men want to perform oral sex on their partner more often” whenever you get a chance. Because going down on a woman significantly increases the chances of her experiencing some sort of orgasm, that is a huge part of the reason why men are such a fan. “Because really, Shellie, if she’s not gettin’ hers, why should I feel good about gettin’ mine?” That’s what one of my male friends said to me regarding the topic. If you ain’t got a man on this kind of vibration — sis, what is you doin’?
6. Men Also Reciprocate Oral Sex Less than Women Do
On the other hand, while doing some research on oral sex for another project, I found it interesting that some studies said that men are less likely to reciprocate oral sex. Meaning, if a woman goes down on them first, they will pass more often on returning the favor.
I ran this up the flagpole with a few men in the social media space and the general consensus was what one of them said: “If we’re into you, you’re getting it regardless. If it’s more casual, once we get a nut, oftentimes we just lose interest. Not to mention the fact that we go into sex knowing if going down on a woman is on the menu or not. Plus, it can’t be said enough that if she’s a pro on the head game, sometimes we need some re-up time before returning the favor.” Interesting.
7. Men’s Nipples Are As Sensitive As Women’s AreGiphy
While in a session with a married couple who’ve been trying to get out of their current sex rut, something the husband said to his wife was, “I wish you would give my nipples as much attention as I give yours.” He’s got a valid point because the reality is that men have the same nerves, glands, and tissues in their nipples as we women do. So, if nipple play gets you off, it’s a fair assumption that your man will dig it too (you won’t know until/unless you try!).
8. Yes, Men Like It When You Talk Dirty to Them
If you’ve heard somewhere that the brain is the largest sex organ that we have, it’s true. This is a part of the reason why the thought of having sex with one person can be the ultimate turn-off while the thought of doing the same things with someone else can be the ultimate turn-on. And since our brain is where we process words and it’s where our libido comes from, are you really surprised that men like “dirty ones” being said to them?
In Medium’s article, “Why Men Love Dirty Talk? Based On Science,” check this out:
“There are two area in hypothalamus, the preoptic area (involved in mating area) and the superchiasmatic nucleus. Men preoptic area is over two times larger and contains two times more cells than women…”
“Larger hypothalamus for men means more circulating testosterone to stimulate the desire of sex. Men’s brain[s] are also responsible in determining both sex drive and sexual pleasure. This is why dirty talk can be so arousing to man.”
A husband once told me in a session that dirty talk can be a great way to release stress because there is so much that a man has to worry about on a daily basis that dirty talk can be a form of escape. So, if you’re someone who has been minimizing the impact that it can play in your own bedroom — while you should run it past your partner first to confirm how he feels about it — please don’t (minimize, that is).
9. Men’s Views on Kissing Are Kind of All over the PlaceGiphy
I’ve consistently been talking to people about sex for over two decades at this point and if there’s one thing that continues to ring true, it’s that men prefer to experience long and deep kisses with women they are totally into (emotional connections included). However, I did peep an eHarmony study that said about half of men will have sex with women without kissing (only 10 percent of women would), that kissing is much more important to women and that guys prefer wetter, tongue-thrusting kisses much more than we do (one guy told me that it’s because it mimics sexual intercourse). Oh, and that they will put up with a bad kisser more than we will as well.
Bottom line on this one, ask your partner their thoughts on all of this data. Their answers might surprise you.
10. Men Have a G-Spot Too
If you never knew what the G-spot’s “real name” is, it’s the Grafenberg spot and it’s located 1-1.5” inside of the vaginal opening in the area that faces your belly button. It’s usually described as feeling like a small button or walnut and it’s popular because, when it is stimulated, it triggers strong sexual arousal.
Thing is, men have a G-spot too. It’s basically their prostate which is located within their rectum. While the reason why that spot is so sexually pleasurable is still being “investigated,” the amount of nerve endings that are around that area probably plays a big part. Yep, we’ve actually got an article on this too. Check out “I Found My Man's G Spot And He Almost Lost It” for some additional points (and pointers).
11. There Are Definitely Certain Sex Positions That Men PreferGiphy
Several years back, Men’s Health published an article entitled, “What Your Favorite Sex Position Says About You.” I thought it was interesting that it said that while the missionary position is romantic, it’s not very adventurous and that women being on top is more about men caring about pleasing their partner than just about anything else.
However, as far as mass surveys go, are any of us surprised that doggystyle continues to reign supreme as far as positions go (with missionary and cowgirl being in second and third place)? Apparently, the view along with the deep entry make it the perfect go-to every time.
One of my boys (male friends) said that a woman’s legs over a man’s shoulders shouldn’t be overlooked either: “Deeper penetration with a limber woman is always a win in any man’s book. Ask him. Any him.”
12. Men’s Orgasms Last Between 5-20 Seconds
When it comes to women and mountaintop seeing, while it used to be assumed that our orgasms lasted somewhere between 3-15 seconds, it’s now thought to be somewhere between 20 seconds and two freakin’ minutes.
For men, it’s more like between 5-20 seconds which is why some of them actually DON’T prefer to climax with their partner; it’s because, once they are finished, the continual stimulation can go from arousal to uncomfortable (hey, if you’ve ever had a partner try to keep stimulating you for a long time after you’ve had an orgasm, you get just where these guys are coming from!).
13. Men’s Ejaculate Can Really Go the DistanceGiphy
Honestly, I didn’t even plan on adding this one until I read an article that reminded me of the scene (from Insecure) when Daniel came into Issa’s eye during fellatio (remember that?). Although I definitely knew that you can get an STI/STD from oral sex (please remember that!), I never even thought about if you can get it from getting ejaculate into your eyes (hmm…). Apparently, the technical term is ejaculation inter conjunctiva, the chances of it giving you an STI/STD are very low although you can get pink eye from the bacteria that may be within your partner’s semen.
And that led me to wonder about what the chances are of this happening on any level (shooting ‘n all). Bottom line, some ejaculate can travel over six feet and move at almost 30 MPH, so…if face action is your thing, always keep all of this in mind.
14. Uncircumcised Men Give More Vaginal Orgasms
I remember seeing a Twitter clapback for the ages that consisted of a woman trying to clown uncircumcised men for having "turtlenecks” while a man showed a diagram of different women’s vaginas that had a variety of skin amounts when it came to their vulvas and clitorises. Yeah, we all need to lay off of teasing people based on how they were born.
Besides, studies actually reveal that if you’re looking to increase your chances of experiencing a vaginal orgasm, you’d be better off with an “uncut” man anyway. That’s because the extra skin tends to stimulate the most intense nerve endings inside of your vagina. Hmph. If you add to that the fact that uncircumcised men typically have more intense orgasms than circumcised ones too — yeah, you might not want to clown one until you’ve actually had one.
15. Blame Science for Why Men Fall Asleep Right After SexGiphy
There is one thing that (some) women wish men would do more and another that (some) women wish men would do less — both need to be blamed on science, not men. The first is crying. No, it’s not always or automatically a sign that men need to get more “in touch with themselves” if they don’t cry more often. The reality is that more testosterone and less prolactin in their systems are a huge part of the backstory.
As far as why they don’t want to have a deep conversation or stay up and watch a rom-com after gettin’ it in? The uptick of oxytocin, vasopressin, and (interestingly enough) prolactin following an orgasm all work to lull men to sleep. Also, since sex is a major de-stressor and fear-reducer, it’s easier for men to feel more at ease following sex which is why oftentimes the sleep that they have afterward is what they consider to be some of their favorite.
There you have it — 15 things about men when it comes to sex that, now that you know (or have been reminded) could make for some better sex or at least some interesting conversation if you forward this to him. A win in my book either way, chile. Enjoy!
Featured image by Giphy
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 post is in partnership with Ulta Beauty.
Gone are the days where we prioritize “the grind” over our own wellbeing. #Teamnosleep is canceled. Millennial women are prioritizing themselves and their rest above all else, and we love to see it. We’re seeing proof of this powerful shift everywhere we look, but especially in the #softlife hashtag that’s been trending all over social media. The soft life movement is all about pursuing the path of least resistance, choosing ease over struggle, and relaxing in your vulnerability.
xoNecole and Ulta Beauty have identified six beauty influencers who are fully embracing the “soft life.” They’re rejecting the notion that their worth is measured by their professional output, how many followers they have, or how hard they’re hustling. Each of these creative powerhouses has learned to make self-care a non-negotiable in their lives while walking into the fullness of their most authentic selves. There will always be a demand for more content amidst the ever-changing algorithms, but as influencers like Tiffany Renee, Caitlyn Davis, and Alanna Doherty know all too well, you can’t properly show up for others until you fully show up for yourself first.
Read all about how these six beauty influencers are approaching the soft life on their own terms.
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
As a full-time content creator and founder of the college clothing label HBCU Yearbook, Caitlyn Davis is no stranger to hard work. She started gaining followers while attending undergrad at FAMU, filming natural hair tutorials for YouTube in her dorm room. From there, she steadily picked up ambassador gigs for popular online fashion and beauty brands. “[They were] paying us around $300 a month,” she remembers. “I thought I was doing something with my money. I was like, ‘What? I'm getting paid to do something that I love?’ It became a snowball effect.”
After linking up with a cousin who had just become a makeup artist, Caitlyn fell in love with the idea of creating beauty content. “Beauty just elevates your personality,” she tells xoNecole. “And because it does that, you just feel better about yourself. And when you do that and show other people and they start learning and getting better at makeup and beauty, their personality and confidence starts to elevate as well.”
Caitlyn admits that maintaining a healthy work-life balance doesn’t come easy for her. She’s a self-proclaimed workaholic who takes pride in her business. “[I’ve learned] the soft life is working hard for what you want but knowing we're deserving of the best life has to offer, including rest.” When life gets overwhelming, she turns to the great outdoors. “I go on hikes,” she says. “There’s something about being in nature, being grounded, hearing birds, the trees moving, and water [flowing] that immediately de-stresses me."
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Tiffany Renee grew up on a farm in Tennessee, where her first introduction to the world of beauty and fashion came via Tyra Banks. The smizing supermodel’s competition series “America’s Next Top Model” drew this southern girl in. “Beauty wasn't really a thing [in the environment I grew up in],” she says. “So I've got to give it to Tyra. A lot of my posing and wearing my makeup a certain way had a lot to do with Tyra and how she coached those models. As I got older and started experimenting more with makeup, I just grew to love it more and more.” Tiffany says she sharpened her makeup skills by learning one thing at a time, starting with winged eyeliner. Next brows, and then lashes. Along the way, she made it a point to develop the techniques that worked for her face rather than copying and pasting from YouTube tutorials.
After moving to Atlanta in 2012, Tiffany began to rack up followers on Instagram with her beauty, hair, and fashion content. She even created an online community called “Curl Gang,” which celebrates the beauty and versatility of natural hair. With all she’s accomplished, Tiffany says she’s most proud of shedding her tough exterior and learning to be vulnerable. “My life has been pretty tough, so that made me a tough woman,” she tells xoNecole. “In my relationships, I've always had this tough persona on the outside, but really, I'm internally very much a soft person.
“For me, taking on the soft life was doing the work to break that mold, and accept that it's okay to be vulnerable,” she continues. “It's okay to be expressive. It's okay to love people. It's not just about the tasks of my life, but more so about my well-being. I’m actively deciding not to hold onto things that make me [have to] be tough.”
Hometown: Napa, California
They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Kinya Claiborne is living proof. This lifestyle influencer has a professional resume that would make any recruiter salivate. She’s worked in print, television, and radio, and has even overseen public relations for billion-dollar projects. But like all creatives at heart, there came a point in her career where she felt a calling elsewhere. “My job wasn't sexy,” she admits. “I still loved my job and I loved working in corporate America, but there was a void. There were other things that I also loved that my job wasn't fulfilling.”
Inspired by the DailyCandy newsletters she used to read in college, Kinya launched her own lifestyle magazine called Style & Society which covers fashion, beauty, health, wellness, entertainment, travel - all the things Kinya loves. What started as a creative outlet turned into a booming business. Her readers wanted to know more about her, which led her to posting photos of herself inside her stories. “I started Style & Society back in 2013. The term influencer didn't exist back then. Brands started contacting me and wanting me to do product placements and campaigns. That's how my social media following started growing. Then eventually, the term influencer came about, and at that point, I had already been doing it.”
As you can tell from her Instagram, Kinya is always well put together. Her early beauty memories include getting her hair done at the salon with her mom and wearing different lipstick colors to school. Kinya says she’s always been a girly girl. but she’s as resilient as they come. The Northern Californian survived the Route 91 festival shooting in 2017. She also lost her brother to suicide. From her perspective, being soft isn’t just about pampering yourself, but showing up for those around you. “You can't just look at someone and know how they're feeling,” she says. “It’s so important to check in, because even a phone call, text message, or just saying hello to a stranger could really change their path.”
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
For Taylor Winbush, presentation is everything. Embracing that belief has gotten her far. “My mom would always say ‘dress how you want to be treated,’” she says. “She would always dress up to go to the grocery store, making sure her hair was always done, and she was fresh-faced. She taught me that when you look better, you feel better.”
As a dancer and theater performer, Taylor got to hone in on her makeup skills early. “I remember even from a young age, when I used to take ballet classes, they would make you do your makeup way in the back of the mirror to make sure you'd be able to see it [far from the stage].” After moving to Atlanta in 2019 to pursue a career in acting and commercial modeling, Taylor discovered she could book more gigs if she added “content creator” to her resume. As a beauty lover, it came naturally to her, and it’s paid off tenfold.
At the start of the year, Taylor stepped out on faith and decided to work for herself full-time. She acknowledges that it’s a risk, but nothing a little discipline can’t manage. “As long as I'm doing my part, then I truly and firmly believe that God will handle the rest.”
Aside from constantly developing her self-discipline, Taylor says she’s embracing the soft life by taking care of her physical and spiritual temple. “I'm a super giving person, so I would give a lot of my time to friends and family, making sure everyone else is taken care of before me,” she says. “There's a saying that if you help someone build their sandcastle first, then what will you have left to build? I’m learning you have to take care of yourself first in order for you to help someone else.”
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
Fashion and beauty haven’t always been a welcoming world for curvy women, but that hasn’t stopped influencer Thamarr Guerrier from accepting her rightful seat at the table. This bubbly and effervescent content creator started her lifestyle blog, Musings of a Curvy Lady, back in 2012 on her lunch break working as a nurse. “I started [my blog] as a way to promote personal style and beauty in this body of mine,” Thamarr shared on her site. “Visibility matters and you’re going to see me. I’m going to take up all the space and bring my own chair to the table.”
Thamarr’s beauty memories stem all the way back to childhood. “I was obsessed with watching my mother do her hair and makeup in the mirror,” she says. “I played dress-up in her clothes and would sneak and put on her mascara. I just couldn’t wait to be old enough to wear lipstick.”
If you peep her IG feed, you’ll notice Thamarr documents her globetrotting in head-turning looks that will make you want to book a one-way ticket to your nearest island. But it’s actually not her extravagant travel experiences that bring her the most peace. It’s the little things, like sipping a glass of wine during her skincare routine as Kacey Musgraves plays in the background. “After a shower, I always feel a little better, especially after a crummy day,” she tells xoNecole. “It’s also my favorite place to shed a tear or two. After my literal and sometimes emotional cleanse, I feel renewed. I talk positively to myself as I pamper myself with my favorite products. Taking the time and being purposeful as I go.”
Thamarr’s interpretation of “the soft life” is to live and love in a way that makes her inner being the happiest. “If it brings me peace, it’s the soft life for me.”
Hometown: Bridgetown, Barbados
It’s hard not to feel a spark of joy when you browse through Alanna Doherty’s IG page. It’s chock-full of Alanna dressed to the nines in bright psychedelic patterns. Her lush ‘fro bounces back and forth in all its glory as Alanna jams to her favorite tunes. Alanna is happiness personified, but her initial introduction to beauty was quite the opposite. “I started loving makeup and beauty products because I felt they were necessary in order to cover up my insecurities,” she tells xoNecole. “I’m finally starting to truly fall in love with them this year. I no longer need a full face of makeup to make me feel good. I’m perfectly happy going without any at all now, but love that I have the option to play with makeup. It’s more of a creative process now and I LOVE that!”
Alanna’s bold and colorful aesthetic is brave and inspiring. And when it comes to the soft life, she’s honest enough to admit that she’s figuring it out along the way. “For years I’ve been putting my own self-care behind work and I’m now starting to realize its importance in my life,” she says. “I’ve still got a long way to go but ‘the soft life’ to me would be creating the space to focus on myself and taking the time to enjoy it. I see long walks along the beach, spas, more hot yoga, and relaxing on the balcony.”
Featured image courtesy of Tiffany Renee
(Some of y’all) can hate on the Tubi app if you want to, but if there’s one thing that it’s gonna do (for free, I might add), it's bring up some memories of shows that you haven’t thought about for a hot minute. Take the Black indie seriesSexless and its spin-off,Chef Julian, for example. The realness of the writing, along with the way the shows overlap, is truly a — pardon the pun — chef’s kiss.
So much, in fact, that the character Wendy had me triggered all over again as I binge-watched both shows recently. I mean, c’mon — who dates best friends and then tries to play victim while doing so? Yeah, accountability is a lost art in both reality and fiction, in art and in life. SMDH.
As again, I watched her try and navigate through both relationships as she strived to figure out which man would truly be the best fit for her, I thought about a question that I get emailed on a semi-regular basis. When you’ve been with someone for a while, when you have deep and profound feelings for them, and when you’re not sure if you’re just being “extra” or something really is “off” in the relational dynamic — how do you know if it’s time to stay vs. when it’s time to go?
Before we get all up into this, let me just say that I’m addressing this particular topic from the angle of NOT being married. Because I personally think that the covenant of marriage is way more sacred and serious than a dating situation, I would be giving some different advice for husbands and wives. Also, I’m not including the topic of abuse (neglect included) because I’m hoping it goes without saying that if any type or level of that is transpiring, you definitely need to bring things to a swift and permanent end.
With all of that out of the way, today, we’re going to explore seven questions that you should ask yourself in the instance that you just can’t seem to “scratch the itch” on whether you should remain with your bae…because while nothing is actually “bad,” things are not as good as they used to be either. And since time is precious and you don’t want to waste it, you want to make sure that you’re right where you’re supposed to be.
Are you ready to (hopefully) gain more clarity than you had before clicking on this article? Let’s do this.
1. Do I Get That Even Relationships Have “Seasons”?Giphy
Ecclesiastes 3 starts out talking about the fact that there are times and seasons for everything. And you know what? Relationships are not exempt. The reason why I’ve written articles for the site like “The ‘Seasons Of Sex’ That Married People Go Through” is because everything in this life has seasons — you know, periods when things shift. When it comes to the weather, whether we like the season that we’re in or not, we simply adjust because…what choice do we have?
Oh, but when it comes to relationships, so many of us have been conditioned to think that things are supposed to remain one way (usually the way we want it to be), without fluctuating, the entire time, that when there is a season of distance, disconnect or misunderstanding, we automatically believe it’s our cue to bounce instead of taking some time to process if it’s simply a period for communicating, maturing and learning more about our partner.
Listen, there is no way that people can grow without it affecting those around them, especially the ones whom they are closest to. So, before you decide to end things with your significant other, talk to them about what’s going on so that both of you can figure out if you’re going through an unfamiliar or uncomfortable season or if things are transitioning in a way where the relational dynamic no longer serves one or both of you.
Because I’ll tell you what — the people who have mastered longevity in relationships know that just like the weather, sometimes there are things that you have to learn to be flexible about…because even if you’re not thrilled with how certain things are at the moment, just like the weather, oftentimes, those things will change. Just like summer isn’t forever and fall comes in due time.
Plus, if you’re someone who can adapt well, there are pros and cons with different seasons, too. For instance, if this is a season when your partner is working more hours or traveling more than usual, if the goal is to get promoted or stack bread, the extra time that you have for yourself could help you to create some more long-term or short-term goals, pick up a hobby or do some self-work. Then, by the time things level back out, you’ll both be better people because of the “season.” See what I mean?
2. Did I Go into This with Unrealistic or Unfair Expectations?Giphy
I’m gonna tell you, right out the gate, what an unrealistic or unfair expectation is: If you thought that things were always gonna go your way or you were gonna get what you want right when you want it. I can’t tell you how many people have pretty much worn me out in counseling sessions, and it’s all because they thought a relationship was a catering service — that them being happy all of the time was to be the top priority and non-negotiable goal.
Something that wisdom, maturing, and self-reflection will teach you is that one of the main purposes of a relationship is to be with someone you love, respect, enjoy, trust, and can rely on to help you become a better person as you do the same for them. And no, that is not always going to be a fairy tale. In fact, I have said on many occasions that I loathe fairy tales (for adults) because I know what they mean: a story told to children and/or an incredible and misleading account. And don’t even get me started on the women who profess that they are waiting on their Prince Charming. After all, the Bible tells us that “charm is deceitful” (Proverbs 31:30).
Does this mean that you shouldn’t expect to have your needs — and even some of your wants — met? Of course, you should. Yet your needs need to make (reachable) sense. And honestly, a lot of folks could stand to ask themselves if they are able to give their partner all of the things that they expect from them (because many cannot).
So, what are some examples of unrealistic/unfair expectations?
- Expecting your partner to think just like you do
- Expecting your partner to read your mind
- Expecting love to mean that you won’t have to compromise
- Expecting your partner to give above their means
- Expecting your partner to be the sole source of your happiness
- Expecting your partner to love you more or better than you love yourself
- Expecting your partner to put their own needs in jeopardy just to meet yours
- Expecting your partner to always agree with or concede to you
- Expecting your relationship to always have good times and no challenges
- Expecting your partner to be the only one to make sacrifices
- Expecting every expectation to be met
I really was on a roll while writing these out, yet I’m sure you get the gist. Being in a relationship with another human being means that they have their own opinions, perspectives, and expectations — and they aren’t always going to match yours. And so, if you think that the sign of a healthy relationship is that they should, you really should be alone instead of trying to be with someone else. Because that way of thinking is the most unrealistic of them all.
3. Are We Incompatible or Am I Just Impatient?Giphy
When you get a chance, please read, “If He's Right For You, He Will COMPLEMENT Your Life.” In another article, I’ll be addressing why love is not enough in relationships. For now, one of the reasons why that is the case is because you can LOVE a lot of people who you simply cannot DO LIFE with. That’s why it really is important to seriously ponder if you and he are compatible or not.
To be compatible means that you share similar values, have like-minded relational goals, want the same long-term things out of life, have at least some of the same interests, and complement each other well when it comes to things like communication and meeting each other’s needs.
Listen, I’ve loved a few men in my life where these boxes did not check off, and because of our feelings for each other, we stayed together far longer than we ever should’ve.
At the same time, what if you are compatible with someone, but you’re just impatient as hell? I’ve been watching the current season ofReady to Love, and there are some women on there who are mad pushy when it comes to the clock. Personally, I don’t even know how you can hop on a show where you just met some dudes and roll up on them talking about how you want to be married by the end of the year. Yeah, it’s another message for another time, the amount of people who are tied to a goal more than a person.
Anyway, sometimes your partner can be in the same chapter as you (love story-wise) yet still not necessarily on the same page. Meaning, say that you want to be married this year, and he wants to wait until this time next year — are you contemplating ending things without considering his frame of mind? Maybe he wants to save money. Maybe he’s trying to secure some things professionally first. Maybe he wants to give you the kind of wedding (and ring) you want without relying on credit to get it.
It's one thing to end a relationship because you both want different things out of life. Oh, but it’s completely different to bounce because you’re used to folks giving into your pressure, ultimatum, or time frames. I’m not the one who thinks that a good man is hard to come by; I know many. I do think finding YOUR FIT isn’t as easy as you might believe, though.
A Canadian writer by the name of Janette Oke once said, “Impatience can cause wise people to do foolish things,” and, to that, the Good Book says that “Loveis patient” (I Corinthians 13:4). If you’re gonna end something, make sure it’s because the puzzle pieces don’t fit; not because you’re too impatient to see how the pieces will create a beautiful picture…when the time is right.
4. Do I Still Love, Like and Respect Him?Giphy
The married couples whom I work with know that I live by a certain, I guess you can call it a motto: “If you still like each other, you can get back to love.” Liking someone is about enjoying their personality, wanting to spend time with them, and having feelings that are rooted in friendship, acceptance, and appreciation. When those things are present and accounted for, all of the butterflies, googly eyes, and sheer lust that the feelings of love may provide — they can usually get you through the seasons when those feelings seem to be missing.
And respect? Listen, a lot of women get triggered by the fact that the Bible instructs husbands to love their wives while telling wives to respect — respect, not love — their husbands (Ephesians 5:33), yet you know what? If you’re gonna be real with yourself, you know that it’s hard to love a man who you don’t respect — who you don’t esteem. We’re simply not wired to trust a man who we don’t think will be a good provider, protector, and leader on some level.
Confession time: I stayed in a relationship with someone who I really liked, kind of loved, and absolutely did not respect (as a man) for quite some time, once upon a time. And all it did was make me resentful and him insecure — and that was a form of mental and emotional torture for both of us.
You’re not doing a man any favors by staying with him if you don’t respect him. And it doesn’t make sense to try and build a future with someone who you don’t like a ton. As far as love goes, love is a beautiful thing — very. All I’m saying is, like, love and respect are a package deal when it comes to how we see a man. If one of those things is missing, ask yourself why and then be honest about if anything can be done to change how you’re feeling or…not.
5. What Would Improve About My Life If I Leave?Giphy
This right here. Although this article is for people who are dating and not married, I do think it would be beneficial to put on record that, on average, somewhere between 30-40 percent of people regret getting a divorce. I think one of the main reasons is because the person you were when going into a marriage isn’t the person you are leaving it. You’re older. Dating dynamics in society have changed (and are ever-changing). You probably have a different set of life circumstances that may make dating more challenging (for instance, you may have kids now, and it takes a very special person to be a good potential stepparent).
Unfortunately, a lot of people will leave a relationship without considering this, only to have the ice-cold water of reality hit them smack dab in the face.
Now listen, I will be the first person to say that one of the major perks of dating is you don’t have to try and put the same effort into your relationship as married folks do. In fact, all of these non-engaged folks who spend months and years in couples therapy to try and make things work? Unless you’re someone who is in a long-term relationship with no desire to ever get married (check out “12 Couples Reveal Why They're Happy With A Long-Term Commitment Instead Of Marriage”), I don’t even get why you’re going through all of the trouble (or is it drama?). Some people have acted married before marriage so often, they don’t take marriage seriously enough when it finally does happen for them. SMDH.
This is where this particular question comes in. When you’re just dating, you really don’t have to hold on for dear life. You’re not “failing” if you realize that someone really is awesome — just not the right or best fit for you. And the reason why you know this is because you can actually name more than three ways that your life would get better if you left them alone.
Maybe you’d feel less stressed out. Maybe you’d have more time to focus on some personal ambitions. Maybe you’re compromising some core values that you want to get back to. Maybe they have you questioning some things about yourself that you know you shouldn’t be. Sometimes it’s as simple as maybe you’re feeling like something/one is better for you, and you know you won’t find them while you’re still…where you’re at.
This particular question really is underrated on a lot of levels because, while a lot of people are out here ending relationships on an emotional impulse, when you know that you’re leaving because you have a literal list of how your life would improve if you did dip out, that makes grieving the relationship less painful and finding closure, on some levels, less necessary (as far as dragging things out are concerned).
6. What Would Be Beneficial If I Stay?Giphy
If something (or one) isn’t making you better, it’s either keeping you stagnant or making you worse, and you know what? Neither of those are good. So yeah, it’s also wise to ask yourself how you would benefit — mind, body, and spirit — to stay where you’re at. And honestly, one of the best ways to figure out the answer to this question is to fully take in a relationship-based quote that I have shared on the platform before:
“As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming.” (Leo Buscaglia)
When something (or someone) benefits you, they are helpful, they are useful, they are constructive. No, this does not speak to transactional dating (which is oftentimes very self-centered and mercenary); what this means is they are improving your quality of life — prayerfully, on several levels. And no, this does not mean that everything is easy all of the time, either.
Sometimes, what helps you is constructive criticism. Sometimes what’s useful for you is being challenged in ways you’ve never been before. Sometimes what’s constructive is learning how to be more flexible, understanding, and forgiving (umm, like you would want your partner to be towards you…right?).
So, just like you should ask yourself how you would get better if you left, be real about how you are becoming better by staying. This is where a good old-fashioned pros and cons list comes in super handy. If the “improve” outweighs the “beneficial,” if you know that you are not becoming more of who you need to be thanks, in part, to the influence of the relationship…well…I’m sure you get what I’m about to say…about that.
7. Have I Been Here Before?Giphy
A wise person once said, “Everywhere you go, there you are” and boy, can it be a hard pill to swallow sometimes. Something else that I’m a firm believer in is that the universe will keep you in the same “life class” for decades if needed, until you learn whatever it is that a particular lesson is trying to teach you. So, one more question: Before you decide to call it quits, how many times have you been in this same spot — the same kind of relationship? The same type of guy? The same kind of issues? The same type of break-up?
Because there is absolutely no point in abruptly chalking it up to, “It was all his fault…again,” just so you can find another man to say this about in another six months or a year. If you’ve been here before, take some time out to do some serious self-pondering as to why.
Every action has a reaction; I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard that saying at least once before — and when it comes to ending a relationship, it is most definitely true. If you’re wondering if you should, honestly, that’s already a feeling that is trying to tell you something. However, now that you’ve read all of this, hopefully, you can take some actions that you will feel at peace about…and won’t regret.
Because if you’re gonna end something, it’s a good idea to know why, so you can feel truly at peace about doing it — and yes, I’m speaking from very up close and personal experience here. Get your internal answers. Move wisely from there, sis.
Featured image by Lyndon Stratford/Getty Images