I make it no secret that, back in 2015, I went on what I call my "Get Your Heart Pieces Back Tour". Men who I felt I had some unresolved issues with, I purposely sought them out so that I could finally make peace with them and, more importantly, myself. When I think about where I currently am as a person overall, it truly is one of the best things that I've ever done.
I thought about that lil' tour of mine when one of the latest episodes of The Skin Deep popped up in my YouTube feed recently. It featured exes Steven and Krystal. After three years of not seeing or speaking to one another, they met up, face to face, to ask each other questions like, "What do you remember about the last time we spoke face to face before reconnecting?", "Do you miss what we had?" and "Would you ever consider dating again? Why or why not?" I don't want to give away too much of the dialogue or outcome; if you want to see how it all panned out, Part One is here and Part Two is here. What I will say is there is a line that was shared that was extremely insightful—"Once you realize you were the toxic person, everything changes." Sometimes, "interviewing an ex" can reveal a lot—about them, you and the relationship overall.
Although I know that some people would never dream of hittin' up their ex just to pull out a deck of cards with semi-uncomfortable questions on them, what the episode did remind me is how important—and necessary—relational interviews can be. I mean, who said that they should only be for professional purposes? After all, an interview is defined as being "a formal meeting in which one or more persons question, consult, or evaluate another person".
So yeah, I definitely think that exit interviews for couples who break-up can be helpful (so that clarity, healing and hopefully peace can manifest). More importantly, I think that pre-commitment interviews should transpire; just so, if two individuals are seriously contemplating taking things to the next level, they can be certain that they are both on the same page.
And just what kind of questions should you ask—and be willing to be asked—in said interview? Let's start here.
“Do you want a serious relationship?”
Something that will spare you tons of potential heartache and wasted time is not assuming that just because you've been giving a guy a lot of your time, heart and, quite possibly your parts, that you're both on the same page about where your relationship is headed. While you're thinking that three months of steady dating is going to lead to something long-term, he might be thinking that you are simply a cool person to spend time with. So yeah, right off the rip, the first thing that should be discussed is if you both want to be in a serious relationship. If he says "yes", the next question is what needs to immediately follow.
“If so, what does ‘serious’ mean to you?”
Definitely one of the hardest things about being in, just about any kind of relationship, is coming to a happy medium when it comes to different perspectives on things. Things like what? Things like words. Take the word "serious", for example. While you might think that serious means exclusivity and working towards marriage, the guy you're seeing might be more on the tip of seeing you more than once a week and making your phone calls a priority.
The reason why I know this is because I know a guy right now who's been seeing a woman for almost five years. Although he's not having sex with anyone else (according to him, anyway), he has absolutely no intention on popping the question; not just any time soon but probably ever. Meanwhile, she's out here believing that since they talk on the phone every day and spend holidays together, she's got a proposal in her future. SMDH. When it comes to dating, many times "serious" is relative. Get clarity on where you both are coming from so that neither of you are disillusioned or end up being disappointed (if not straight-up pissed).
“How do you think it would benefit us both to go to another level?”
Remember how I said that one definition of an interview is to evaluate another person? To evaluate is "to judge or determine the significance, worth, or quality of; assess". That said, even though all of us have great worth, that doesn't mean that all of us are designed to be highly significant in the lives of the people we come across. If you're going to go up a notch in your relationship with someone, you need to determine if they show the qualities and traits of being able to be significant and purposeful for you. What I mean by that is, by going beyond where the two of you are now, how will that benefit you both mentally, emotionally and spiritually? If you're not sure, maybe you need to take out the time to get to know each other a little better. Because, if someone can't help you to be better than you are without them, on the intimate tip, why exactly do you need them to be any closer to you?
“What are your personal relationship deal-breakers?”
Anyone who has ever been in a session with me knows that one of the things that I always recommend is them "knowing what their line is" in a relationship. I'm not talking about when it comes to things like abuse; hopefully, it's a given that you won't stand for that. No, what I mean is what are the things that are up for negotiation, to a point? Maybe you're willing to date someone who is still trying to figure out where they stand when it comes to their religious beliefs. Maybe you're open to testing out a long-distance relationship for a certain period of time. Maybe dating a broke guy while he's completing his education or is getting his business off of the ground is something that you're open to. At the same time, maybe these are things that you're willing to deal with for a season but not forever.
There are a lot of people who end up feeling blindsided, one year into a relationship, because they assumed that their partner was gonna be down with certain things about them for the long haul while their partner thought that it would be a temporary type of situation. Again, deal-breakers are things that people try and find a middle ground on but, if they can't, the deal is off. For you—and him—what exactly would those types of things be?
“What are your personal relationship expectations?”
I've got a girlfriend who absolutely hates the word "should". I get why too. Should tends to come with a whole lot of assumption and presumption. He should know to make a big deal about Christmas. He should know that he should pay for every date. He should know that after six more months, I want to be proposed to. Oh yeah? Why should he think that? Because that's the way you tend to process things?
It's not fair to expect anyone to meet expectations that you haven't verbally expressed. So, while you're in the process of your pre-commitment interview, while you might not want to hit him all at once with the 50 things on your list, it is a good idea to at least express the first 10. While you're at it, ask him what his "10" are as well. Expectations aren't a bad thing. Unspoken and/or unreasonable ones are. You can't come to a decision of what fits that list in your relationship without discussing them, upfront, as much as possible.
“Do you feel like you’ve had enough time since your last relationship?”
I'm not exactly sure who came up with the whole "You need half the amount of time of your relationship to heal from it" rule. To me, I think that knowing whether or not you're truly over someone depends on how profound the connection was and how/why it ended. But what I do know is you don't want to be out here being the rebound.
Another guy that I know? Although he's in total denial about it, he's been in an emotional affair with his first love, ever since they broke up, close to 20 years ago. I call it that because even though he's single, she's married. Plus, whenever they communicate, they sneak around in order to do it. Them still communicating is not only unfair to her spouse, it is keeping my friend emotionally stagnant to the point where he is unable to fully give himself to another person.
Some people, they don't even know they are still hung up on their ex until they are confronted with the notion (see "6 Reasons Why You STILL Can't Over Your Ex"). Even deeper than that, some people don't realize that they are not able to have a fulfilling present-day relationship because they are still hung up on their past (the second episode of David Banner's new podcast touches on some of this). The best way to enlighten someone to this kind of revelation is to ask. The best way to know that you are ready to be in something new is to have them to ask you in return as well.
“What would you expect to change should we decide to officially get together?”
Even with as much as I study and observe relationships, I'm not exactly sure why giving things a title or "making things official" can automatically alter the dynamic of two people. Maybe it's because whenever someone hears "boyfriend and girlfriend", "fiancé and fiancée" or "husband and wife", there are already preconceived notions about what comes with those words.
Whatever the case may be, during your pre-commitment interview, it's really important to not assume that just because the two of you decide to become something more that you both are on the same page about the "day-to-day duties" that come along with that.
I know my fair share of couples who end up feeling super frustrated, a few weeks into their commitment, and it's all because one thought that things were going to go one way while the other had something completely different in mind. While we're on this point, here's a heads up to my sistas—oftentimes a guy thinks that the only thing that should be different is what you will refer to him as in the future. That's it. So yeah, if you all are going to go up a notch, make sure you discuss what you both think should come with that. It will spare tons of WTF moments, moving forward.
“Are you cool with us being in the same place a year from now?”
A journalist by the name of Sydney J. Harris once said, "The greatest enemy of progress is not stagnation, but false progress." Although I'm personally not a fan of stagnation either (have you ever left a cup of water standing for like a week? It starts to stink), I totally get where he is coming from. What my 45 years on this planet have taught me is, one of the worst things that you can do to someone is waste their time. When it comes to relationships, one of the ways that can happen is give someone the impression that committing on one level will eventually lead to another one.
Translation—if you are currently dating someone, you desire marriage someday, and you both decide to be boyfriend and girlfriend, please don't assume that it automatically means you'll be engaged next Christmas. If you want to know where the two of you are headed in the next 12 months (take or leave a few months), ask your partner what their relationship goals are.
Just as sure as I'm sitting here and typing this, I can promise you that the answer to this one question can almost instantaneously help you to determine if you should commit to this guy—or not. Because if you are all about progress and he's not, why even get committed in the first place? Amen and hallelujah! Good luck on y'all's interview, sis.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. 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.
The Libra woman and Aries man are the divine feminine and divine masculine, coming together as one. The love compatibility between these two is one for the books. These two are opposite signs, however, their differences tend to complement each other well. This is a dynamic relationship where they know how to have a lot of fun together, but also aren’t afraid to deal with the more serious stuff that comes with a relationship.
The Libra woman is looking for her equal in love, someone who is willing to put in the same effort she is, and the Aries man sees Libra as someone he is willing to do that with.
The Love Compatibility Of A Libra Woman And An Aries Man
What attracts a Libra woman and an Aries man to each other?
There is a magnet of attraction pulling these two together, and things tend to move pretty fast in this relationship. The Libra woman is always open to love and her charming nature rarely has any challenges here. The Aries man fights for his independence and doesn’t sacrifice that unless he is completely enamored with someone.
Once the Aries man catches the eye of the Libra woman, he is typically the one to make the first move and this instantly wins the approval of Libra.
These two feel like they have known each other forever when they meet, and this spark between them doesn’t die down easily.
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What is the relationship like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The relationship between the Libra woman and the Aries man is one of balance and excitement. The Aries man tends to take on the more dominant role in this relationship and the Libra woman tends to be the more receptive one. Aries is ruled by masculine Mars, and Libra is ruled by feminine Venus. They understand they are coming from two completely different worlds, yet they also instinctively feel this underlying connection to each other and like they could be something each other needs in their lives.
The Libra woman can rely on the Aries man, and the Aries man never has to ask for the love that Libra already knows he needs.
This is a couple that is often reading each other’s minds and wanting to do a lot of the same things. However, not everything is rainbow in this relationship as well, and there are some major differences they have to overcome to make things work. One argument can lead to an explosion between these two, and addressing things when they come up rather than sweeping them under the rug, will be needed to make this relationship long-term.
What is the sex like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The sex between a Libra woman and an Aries man is adventurous. These are two cardinal signs with plenty of energy and stamina to keep things exciting in the bedroom. There tends to be a good give and take in this relationship, and their yin and yang energy benefits them when it comes to their sex life.
There is electricity felt between the two of them in this area of their life, and their power of attraction to each other is strong. These are two people who will want to do a lot of things together, including exploring sexually together.
The Aries man will have to be careful with being overly aggressive, however, as the soft Libra woman may not like this energy- it will completely depend on the two individuals at hand. The Libra woman wants to ease into things, the Aries man wants to get going right away. Learning about each other's bodies, and energy, and reading each other’s cues will help with this.
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What makes a relationship between a Libra woman and an Aries man work?
These two genuinely like each other, and that basis is a key factor for success in any relationship. The Aries man is straight to the point, direct, and inspired. The Libra woman admires these characteristics in others, as she is often herself finding her balance in this type of energy as well. Neither sign is overly emotional in a way that turns them off, and they both require a lot of the same things in a committed relationship. They want honesty, fun, good communication, passion, and to be moving towards a common goal together.
The Libra woman and Aries man don’t have a problem being real with each other and this is something they really value within the relationship. They are both very charming, and there is plenty of flirtation and attraction to keep this relationship going. Aries being the protector they are, Libra finds a sense of safety and ease in this energy, and like they have found their match. Overall, this is a well-balanced relationship and one where they don’t have a problem when it comes to compatibility or chemistry in the relationship.
What may cause a Libra woman and an Aries man to break up?
Libra is the lover, Aries is the fighter, and this energy may be tiring for the both of them after time. The Libra woman can be passive to a fault, and the Aries man who is not evolved, may take advantage of that. She will need to be careful with putting Aries’ needs above her own, creating resentment later down the road. The Aries man loves a challenge, and the Libra woman would be up for that game for a little bit, but if she is not being met in the middle, she will begin to look for other places. These two can have a difficult time keeping the peace in the relationship, and there could be a lot of arguments and disagreements here if they both aren’t willing to put their egos or self-pleasing attitudes to the side.
The Libra woman and Aries man are both more sensitive than they appear or come off as. They are also not necessarily the type to dive deep into their emotions and express them to others, even in their relationships. However, this energy can keep the relationship to a surface level than what is needed to progress and grow the relationship, and a sense of openness is required for this couple to work. Libra needs romance, she wants to be wowed. Aries needs to remember this and to always consider her love language.
Overall, this is a successful pairing. They will have their fair share of challenges in the relationship, but nothing they can’t overcome if they are willing to. The trouble will come in when it comes to the longevity of the relationship, keeping Aries excited and Libra in love. However, all in all, there is more power, attraction, and love to keep this relationship together rather than apart. No relationship is perfect, but this one is a little more blessed than most.
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