"Ready" is a great word. Have you ever looked it up before? When you're ready to do something, it means that you are "completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or us". It also means that you're "duly equipped, completed, adjusted, or arranged, as for an occasion or purpose". When it comes to the question of whether or not you're ready to be in a serious relationship, where a lot of people trip up is they only focus on another definition of the word—"willing". In other words, because they want to be in one, they believe that they are completely prepared and duly equipped when oftentimes, that's not even close to being the case.
So, how can you know if you're someone who doesn't just want a serious relationship but is personally at a point and place where the Universe agrees that you are truly ready in every sense of the word? Take a moment and run down this list of seven things. If you can relate to three or more, it's probably best to remain on your own a bit longer, do some self-work and revisit a little later down the road—for the sake of you, your heart, "his" heart, and both of y'all's oh so very precious energy and time.
1. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You Suck at Compromising
Back in the day, I knew someone who had her entire wedding planned…while she was single. I don't mean she had a cute lil' Pinterest account. I mean, she had folders, swatches, the whole nine. In short, she had, what I call, "wedding porn" (because anything done in excess can be considered porn). When I asked her, "How do you know if your husband is going to like all of this stuff?", she paused, looked at me like I was crazy and said, "I don't need his opinions. It's my day." Eventually, she did get married. Twice. The thing that both of her husbands complained about is she didn't know how to compromise. Hmph. Imagine that.
I don't know one single healthy or functional relationship that doesn't consist of daily compromise—of two people coming together to see how they can find peace and harmony, mutually so, in their relationship, even if that means they don't always get all of what they want…all of the time.
If you just read that and rolled your eyes, chances are, you struggle with compromising. And that's a HUGE sign that if you did attempt to get into something serious, you'd struggle. BIG TIME. (Think Molly and Asian Bae Andrew from this past season of Insecure.)
2. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You’ve Got Unresolved Past Relationships (or Situationships)
One of the absolute worst things anyone can do is to use a new person to try and get over a past one. It's not fair to either one of you because, until you get your past right, you're not going to be fully present in your, well, present. I'm not just referring to rebound relationships either. I'm talking about—if you know there is someone in your past who you're still tied to in some way (check out "6 Reasons Why You STILL Can't Over Your Ex"), even if it's just because you weren't able to get closure with them at the time (check out "How To Get Closure If Your Ex Won't Give It To You"), while you might not opt to go on a heart pieces tour like I did a few years back (also check out "Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour"), it can only benefit you to do some journaling and maybe even see a therapist about why, on some levels, you may be mentally or emotionally stuck on some levels.
Trust me, I know from very up close and personal experience that, when you don't get clear on your past relationships and/or situationships, you can go into another relationship expecting someone else to make up for what a past person has done (which isn't their fault or responsibility) or, you can find yourself constantly comparing them to your past (which isn't fair). You won't give the new relationship the kind of chance that it deserves. And that could prove to be a waste of time, both for you as well as for them.
3. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: The Thought of Exclusivity Totally Turns You Off
Yes, I know that as the world is ever-changing, the way people see relationships is shifting too. In this case, I'm speaking of a relationship that consists of two people only; two people who have mutually-agreed upon plans of turning what they've got into something long-term. That said, I know a woman who is always wondering why she's not in a serious relationship. Thing is, when I asked her about why all of her past ones haven't worked out, she admitted that she was either too flirty with other guys or too restless with the person she was in the relationship with. It was like, in theory, she wanted to be with someone but when it came to the day to day of what being exclusive required, she wasn't really interested.
Last fall, I wrote the article, "Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?" because I personally don't think there is anything wrong with not being the "date to marry" kind of person. But most people, when they think of the phrase "serious relationship", exclusivity is definitely a part of the equation. If you want companionship, you can still get that from dating multiple people. But if you think a serious relationship is one you're ready for, the other guys are gonna have to go. If that doesn't sit well with you—don't get into one.
4. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You’re Impatient AF
I dig a lot of quotes from the poet and theologian Rumi. When it comes to the topic of how to make a relationship work and last, one of my favorites is, "Patience is not sitting and waiting, it is foreseeing. It is looking at the thorn and seeing the rose, looking at the night and seeing the day. Lovers are patient and know that the moon needs time to become full." I try and say this as often as possible because, if you want a relationship to work, it's important that you know that patience isn't just about waiting. It's also about putting up with some things that you probably would prefer not to—like stuff that irritates, provokes or annoys you—without doing a lot of complaining, freaking out or threatening to end the relationship.
One way to know if you're this kind of individual is to ask your friends for their insight. If they tell you that you tend to be impatient with them, or even if you're someone who struggles with waiting calmly in a grocery line or you can't go a day without screaming at a car in front of you when you're in a traffic jam—while this doesn't totally mean that a serious relationship isn't what you need right now, it can reveal that you're gonna be triggered, A LOT, if you don't master some patience before getting into one.
5. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You’re a Low-Key Love Addict
This might seem like a bit of a curveball because, how can you really want to be in a relationship, to the point where you're basically consumed by the thought of it, and it be a sign that a relationship is the last thing that you need to be in? I say it often that, one of my favorite quotes is by Voltaire. He once said, "The excess of a virtue is a vice". This basically means, anything, done in excess, isn't good for you. And yes, even when it comes to love, it's not healthy to be addicted to it (check out "6 Signs You're A Love Addict"). If you're pressed for time and you want to know what some telling indications of love addiction are without actually reading the article I just referenced—you get into relationships too quickly; you overly romanticize connections; you always choose emotionally-unavailable people; you're codependent; you're needy AF; you lead with sex and every failed situation ends up totally devastating you.
Now that you see what some telling signs of love addiction are, you might have a clearer picture of why being a love addict made this list. Someone who struggles in this way doesn't need a relationship; what they need is to learn how to love themselves—first. Otherwise, they'll constantly be in relationships with people who aren't right for them which could end up harming and jading them to the point where they can never get healthy and right for the man who truly deserves them. Does this actually apply to you?
6. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Were by Yourself for Six Months Straight
Kind of on the heels of the point I just made, another telling sign that you're not ready for a serious relationship is if you can't remember the last time you weren't involved in something—dating someone, in a relationship with someone, just sleeping with someone, getting over someone— for at least six months. Does that sound drastic? I promise you that it only does if you're an individual who has never been intentional about not being involved with a guy, for a semi-long period of time, before. Take it from me, if you never take the time to enjoy 1) dating yourself; 2) fully healing from your past, and 3) even being abstinent for a while, all of the "residue" from the men who you've already been involved with can "taint" your perspective on what you truly want and, more importantly, what you really need. As a result, you could end up in a serious relationship that doesn't really serve you; one that ultimately ends up being a waste of your valuable and precious time.
There is nothing like being so whole and clear within yourself that you don't need a man; you simply would like to be with someone if they complement you and your life. It's so much easier to determine the difference between the two if you spend some time—at least six months—alone before considering getting into a serious relationship.
7. YOU’RE NOT READY IF: You Have Absolutely No Idea WHY You Want Something Long-Term
I don't care what the issue or scenario might be, if you want to get down to the root of what your motive is for doing anything in life, figure out your "why". Remember when I referenced journaling earlier? If you really and truly feel like you're ready for a serious relationship, take out a pen, open up your journal and jot down why. If answers come up along the lines of, because everyone else is in one, you're lonely or your clock is ticking—while those reasons are valid (because all feelings are), they aren't the best kind to prompt you to get into anything serious.
Contrary to what pop culture likes to shove down our throats, two halves don't make a whole and a relationship doesn't miraculously fix the internal voids or fears that we have. In order for a serious relationship to truly thrive, it's best that both individuals love themselves and find inner peace before getting together.
That way, not only does the relationship have the potential to go the distance, but it can be a healthy and happy one too. It's when you really and truly get this that you can determine if you're ready for a serious relationship—or not. So, take a deep breath and get really real with yourself…are you?
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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