I don't know about you, but when I stop to think about the guys that I was actually in a relationship with—meaning, we weren't just sex buddies and the fact that we were exclusively together was a mutual decision—when it comes to the ones who make me purse my lips and roll my eyes, it's not really due to the relationship itself. It's mostly because the break-up was insensitive, a complete blindside or handled very immaturely. It was like no honor or respect was given, and that's what made it hard to heal and at least be at peace with those jokers…I mean, men.
I can't do anything about how badly those break-ups went. The best I can do about the past is forward this along to my exes in hopes that they'll "learn better, do better" (and yeah, that's probably not gonna happen). But what I can do in the present, in honor of all of those who have a break-up coming (hey, it happens), is offer up a few suggestions on what you can do to make the ending of your journey with someone as kind, respectful and maybe-just-maybe-we-can-be-friends-or-at-least-friendly-someday as possible.
Think About If You Want a Friendship or Not
Granted, if you're about to break up with someone because they treat you like dirt or refuse to meet your needs, there's probably not much of a friendship to salvage (shoot, there may not have been much of a friendship there to begin with). But if you think it's time to go separate ways on the romantic tip simply because the timing isn't right, you both want different things or you don't see much of a future, you may want to end things on a super amicable tip.
If this is the case, come at them in a way that would make them not want to block you on social media or ignore your calls. Try and avoid the whole "It's not you, it's me" or "I still want to be friends" line, even if that's the truth because it's too cliché to be taken seriously. But do come at them open, kindly and real. Let them know that you value them and, even if they need time to think it over, you still want them in your life; you just don't want to stand in their way of getting what they really want in a relationship.
I can speak from personal experience that when my relationships ended with dignity, friendship—even if it was "friendly-ship"—was able to manifest. Eventually.
It's my personal opinion that ghosting is cowardly. Oh, it's mad disrespectful too. Maybe I feel that way because a childhood best friend did it to me. Maybe because I'm a communicator (some might even say an over-communicator). Whatever the case is, I don't like it.
If you were man enough to talk yourself into the relationship, please be man enough to verbalize your way out.
Besides, unless someone is low-key loco, I can't think of one good reason to think that going radio silent is a wise or compassionate thing to do to anyone you once cared about. Unless you didn't, which would be another article for another time.
Give Them a Bit of a Heads Up
The only thing I hate more than ghosting is blindsiding. That said, it's so not a good look to call someone you're dating and be like, "Hey! How about we meet up for dinner?" sounding all happy 'n stuff, only to drop the bomb on them once they arrive. A heads up of what's to come is uncomfortable but it's the right thing to do. Something along the lines of, "Do you have some time this weekend? I really need to talk about our relationship" is good. If they follow it up with "What's wrong?", be honest but not super-detailed. "I've been doing some thinking about where this is going, but I think it's better to discuss it all in person." If they've got an IQ in the triple digits, they're gonna get the gist. They might even push to do it over the phone but don't agree to that. This brings me to the next point.
Do It in Person
There's a guy I know who is in his 40s and completely notorious for breaking things off with women in text. It doesn't matter if she was his girlfriend for two years or a jump-off for five (he's quite the "recycler" too), according to him, when he's done, he's done and the courtesy (?!) of a text should be enough. When I gave him push back on that, he said, "Shellie, my showing up at their house to look them in the eye isn't gonna change things. I'll just stand on their porch, read the text verbatim and leave." Ugh. Sounds to me like 1) he doesn't want to deal with the fallout of break-ups (which is why he's texting in the first place) and 2) at the very least, he is super-emotionally immature and/or narcissistic.
OK. So that look that you're giving your monitor as you read about ole' boy. Uh-huh, keep that same energy if you're even close to considering breaking up with someone in text, via email or over the phone. Yes, it's insensitive. Yes, it's rude. And yes, you are no better than the guy I just told you about if you up and decide to do it. Unless they were abusive to you, they deserve your presence. Give it to them.
Be Honest. And Empathetic.
You aren't doing anyone any favors by sugarcoating, or worse, withholding reasons for why you want to end your relationship. Remember, if we're all doing this relationship thing right, each one teaches us lessons that can make us better for the next one that we decide to get into. If you're unhappy, tell him why. If the intimacy (any kind of intimacy) was unfulfilling, put that on record. If you don't see a future, share that too. Is it mean? That doesn't depend on what you're saying but how you say it. That brings me to the next part of this point.
I don't think that a lot of us have a hard time hearing someone's truth. It's their delivery that can put us on the defensive. I still think that honesty is important, just so everyone is crystal clear, moving forward. At the same time, it's a sign of emotional maturity and intelligence to take a moment to process in your head what you are about to say and think about how you would feel if it was delivered in a harsh, flippant or totally insensitive manner. Empathy is a close friend of honesty. Make sure that they both show up in your break-up conversation.
Encourage Them to Fully Express Themselves
It's not right or fair that you're able to get everything that you need to say off of your chest, but you won't allow your soon-to-be ex to do the same. Although you might be the one who's officially calling things off, don't be so delusional, presumptuous or (worse) arrogant as to think that everything on their end was blissful or that you didn't have a few missteps that they tolerated along the way as well.
Yes, when someone is getting broken up with, sometimes pettiness can come into play, simply because their feelings are/may be hurt. But so long as he is being respectful, be willing to hear him out. If you really want to grow as a person, take it a step further and ask him what his thoughts are. Just by offering this kind of platform for him to share, it can soften the blow and help things to end in a more loving way.
Back It Up with a LetterGiphy
Although this might seem a little odd, this is where I'm coming from. There's a pretty good chance that at least one of the reasons why you're ready to end your relationship is that you don't feel as connected as you once did or as you think you should be at this stage in the game. That usually happens because somewhere along the line, there was a breakdown in communication. As far as poor communication goes, if there's one time when all kinds of things can get misconstrued, it's when you're letting someone go.
I can't tell you how many times something that I said in the heat of the moment was either quoted back to me incorrectly or was totally taken out of context. That's why I'm known for backing up deep convos with a letter or follow-up email. That way, we both have a copy of what I said, it can be processed and, if needed, clarified later on—whether that's next week, next month or a couple of years from now.
Again, this is not a "mandate recommendation", but when I tell you that it can spare all kinds of potential future drama, I ain't neva lied.
Commit to a Clean Break—at Least for a Season
On the surface, it might seem odd to say that clean breaking with someone is classy but look at this from my perspective. When you know someone isn't right for you (even if that means they aren't right for you right now), it only complicates things—which is a nice way of saying it's super-duper messy—to keep talking on the phone, flirting online or (worst of all) having sex. There needs to be a season when the two of you are completely apart so that you both can process, heal and know what you truly want and need from each other (if anything) up the road.
So yeah, if you really want to be a grown-and-classy woman in your break-up, BREAK UP. Completely up. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say may hurt him for a while, but after the dust settles, you'll gain (or maintain) his respect. Which is a nice thing to have once a relationship finally comes to an end.
Featured image by Getty Images
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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. ;)
When Megan Thee Stallion dropped “Hiss,” a shift happened. From the audacious lyrics to the striking visuals, there was no doubt that the song and video would go viral. The opening of the video shows the H-town hottie rocking a barely there Shibari red dress, showing off her voluptuous frame. It was a sexy moment created by Timeekah Murphy of Alani Taylor. The designer exclusively tells us how the opportunity came about and what it was like seeing her design on Megan for the first time.
xoNecole: How did the opportunity to create such an iconic look for Megan Thee Stallion's "Hiss" video come about?
Timeekah Murphy: The opportunity came from a DM from celebrity stylist Zerina Akers. She asked for a unique Shibari piece for Megan, and I needed to get it done in two days. So, of course, I did everything in my power to make it happen. I've always wanted to design for Megan, so this was an awesome opportunity for me.
xoN: What was that initial feeling of seeing the dress on her for the first time?
TM: I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
xoN: Did you meet her? If so, how was that moment?
TM: I didn't meet Megan during the shoot, but during my time in LA, I got the opportunity to meet her at LA Pride with Tiffany Haddish, Common, and EJ King (stylist). Megan is such an amazing person, so it made it even better to know that my designs were going to be worn by her. I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
"I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her."
xoN: Walk us through the creation of the dress. How did you come up with the look, and how long did it take to make it?
TM: I was the co-designer for a brand called Deviant in 2018-2020, and we used to make custom Shibari pieces. That's how Zerina knew me. So I'm very familiar with making these types of pieces. We made plenty for Beyoncé, Cardi B, Tiffany Haddish, Tyra Banks, and so many others. So Zerina knew exactly what she wanted.
To get it done, it took me a day and a half. It's very intricate and time-consuming, so I spent about six hours making it then I sent an image of it to Zerina, and she didn't approve the first one, so I had to start from scratch again after getting my guidance and understanding of what was needed. The next day, I went to The Lab and created another version, and she approved it. I had to get it shipped overnight so that she would get it in time and fast forward to seeing it on the big screen.
xoN: What's next for you?
TM: Everything. The sky is not my limit, so the Alani Taylor brand is expanding into so many different avenues. We are getting involved in the community more, offering sewing classes to the youth. I've opened up a store for my brand in Atlanta and now preparing for fall/winter Fashion Week.
Megan Thee Stallion "Hiss" video/ YouTube
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In the dynamic world of food and culture, Pinky Cole shines as a beacon of innovation and passion. As a fellow alumna of Clark Atlanta University, she embodies the spirit of our motto, "I'll find a way or make one," with a twist of her own flavorful magic. From her roots at CAU to the bustling streets of Atlanta and beyond, Pinky's journey with Slutty Vegan has been nothing short of electrifying.
Picture this: Homecoming 2018, where the scent of sizzling burgers mingled with the air of celebration. It was here that many of us first encountered Slutty Vegan, then just a humble food truck dishing out plant-based delights. Fast forward to today, and Pinky's brainchild has blossomed into a national sensation, with over 10 brick-and-mortar spots tempting taste buds coast to coast. Her brand isn't just about burgers; it's a movement, a statement that says veganism can be bold, unapologetic, and downright delicious.
Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with Pinky at the TV One Urban One Honors, where her presence was as magnetic as ever. Among the glitz and glamor of the event, she remained grounded, a testament to her authenticity and humility. As she continues to trailblaze in the culinary world and beyond, Pinky Cole reminds us that with passion and perseverance, anything is possible.
As a proud alumna myself, I understand firsthand the transformative power of the CAU experience—a whirlwind of growth, discovery, and unforgettable moments that shape us for a lifetime. Pinky, too, knows this journey intimately. With a knowing smile, she delved into her own CAU chronicles, revealing the pearls of wisdom she gathered during those illustrious years.
“I learned to find a way or make one.” She continued, “That means in the face of adversity, that means when your back is against the wall, you're going to pick up and find the resources to be able to do what it is that you need to do to get to the next step. So when they teach you that at CAU, it's more than that. You gotta walk it, live it, breathe it. I’ve had so many situations, and I’m like, listen, if I can make it through my college experience, if I can make it through Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, I can make it through life because I've been able to always find a way or make one.”
But Pinky's story isn't just about business; it's about love, family, and the joy of shared dreams. At Essence Fest 2022, amidst the excitement of wrapping up a panel on stage, Pinky's heart swelled as she said "yes" to Derrick Hayes, her partner in life and in business. Together, they've welcomed three beautiful children into their world, with the youngest one joining the family just a few months ago. These little blessings add layers of joy and meaning to their already vibrant lives, creating a tapestry of love and laughter that defines the Cole-Hayes household.
When the spotlight shifted to the topic of self-care, Pinky offered a glimpse into her world, where nurturing her own well-being takes center stage amidst the whirlwind of entrepreneurial pursuits and personal triumphs. “I've been raw vegan since the day that I gave birth. I've been eating all raw fruits and vegetables and I lost 39 pounds. I'm getting fine again. Getting my lashes done, okay, getting my little microblading, okay, cut my hair," she revealed.
"There’s a rejuvenated spirit in me for 2024, and I believe that every woman who goes through the transition of giving birth and going through postpartum should just really find a shift in energy so that they can find themselves again. So, I'm finding me again. I know that I'm a mother, I’m a wife, I’m a girlfriend. I’m dating, okay, I’m a sister also, I gotta come first because if I don't, how can I possibly pour in anybody else's cup.”
There’s a rejuvenated spirit in me for 2024, and I believe that every woman who goes through the transition of giving birth and going through postpartum should just really find a shift in energy so that they can find themselves again. So, I'm finding me again.
We caught up with #PinkyCole as she stunned on the red carpet of #UberOneMusicHonors and she dropped a whole word! Whew! #BlackCouples #FYP #Explore #CAU
As 2024 ushers in a wave of promise and revitalized energy, we couldn't resist tapping into Pinky's infectious optimism, asking her to sum up what she wants 2024 to be in one phrase. “2024 will be mind, body, and spirit. For a long time, I had mind and spirit, okay, so I got a good mind, I got a good spirit, but the body piece– I'm not talking about weight loss. I'm talking about being mindful of the things that I consume and my physical,” she explained.
“When we talk about mind, body, and spirit, that’s the whole package. You think about Angela Bassett, mind, body, and spirit when you think about Viola Davis, mind, body, and spirit. So, now, when you think about Pinky Cole Hayes, you’re going to think about mind, body, and spirit because that is the motto for 2024.”
As Pinky's journey unfolds, she epitomizes the modern-day superhero: a dedicated mom, a culinary trailblazer, and a relentless force for change. Amidst the whirlwind of motherhood, she found herself again, not just as Pinky Cole but as the visionary behind Slutty Vegan and an expanding empire. Her evolution resonates deeply with the balancing act many mothers face—nurturing families while nurturing dreams.
Personally, I find myself inspired by Pinky's ability to leverage her network, community, and social platforms to drive her business forward. She's not just building a brand; she's fostering a movement—one that celebrates inclusivity, innovation, and the boundless possibilities. Her recent expansion into ventures like Bar Vegan and American Sesh signifies not just culinary innovation, but a profound journey of collaboration and empowerment. As she navigates the delicate dance of entrepreneurship and motherhood, Pinky's story serves as a beacon of inspiration for us all.
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Feature image by Derek White/Getty Images for TV One