I'm starting this off with a heads up off the rip. If you're someone who gets easily triggered, you might not want to read this on your lunch break. The reason why I say that is because this isn't a feel-good piece by any means. This is the kind of article that has all kinds of "ouches" in it. But, the reason why I think it should be shared is because, as a marriage life coach, if there is one thing that I believe is the cause of so much breakdown between men and women, it's that a lot of us don't want to hear each other out. Well, there's that, then there's the fact that a lot of men assume how all women are while a lot of women spend—or is it waste?—time dictating to men how they should be.
I rock with the Bible pretty hard and Mark 10:6 (NKJV) tells us that, "But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female.'" (Some of y'all would pass out if you read what I Corinthians 11:1-16 said when it comes to the spiritual purposes of both sexes). To me, this means that 1) God makes us who he desires for us to be and 2) men and women are not supposed to be the same. We are different, by God's design, in order to complement one another; in order to balance each other out. So no, men aren't supposed to think or act just like we do. I think that if we accepted that reality more, there would be a heck of a lot less relational drama and conflict.
And because I witness so much of men overtalking women and women overtalking men (both approaches are pretty disrespectful, by the way), I decided to give some single fellas the time and space to share some things that they feel we as single women don't get, won't accept and/or totally ignore. Why? It's simple. If any of us want to have a healthy relationship with the opposite sex, hearing each other out is paramount. Take a deep breath. Let's begin.
By the way, first names have been changed so that the fellas would feel comfortable being as forthcoming as possible. (That was my choice, not theirs.)
1. “We can truly love you and not want to marry you.”—Allen, 35
A part of the reason why I wrote the article "Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?" is because, it's important to recognize and accept that a lot of people don't have marriage on their menu. Still, that doesn't mean that they aren't interested in love or companionship. It doesn't make them selfish jerks either. This is what *Allen and I talked about.
"I don't know why women assume that if a man cares about you but doesn't want to marry you that he is a commitment-phobe or is out to ruin your life or even waste your time. I actually came from a two-parent household and my parents have a good marriage. That is why I take it so seriously. I don't want children, so I don't really want to get married. I tell all of the women I date that, but for some reason, they think they will change my mind. Or worse, they think that if I say, 'I love you', that should magically change into 'Will you marry me?' up the road. The first shouldn't preempt the other and I think it's pretty unfair to think that love isn't possible without a wedding ring. It very much is. I love you. I just don't want to be a husband. Anyone's husband and that has nothing to do with you. It's just that marriage is not a desire for me. Why is that impossible to understand?"
2. “It seems like a lot of women want to be heard without actually listening.”—Jonathan, 30
Shoot, I'm a woman and even I agree with *Jonathan on this one. Take it how you will, but when I'm in my counseling sessions, it is most definitely the women who talk over the men (and me), more than the other way around. And a lot of men, because they don't like to argue and bicker (which is a good thing, y'all), they will simply shut down and let us have the floor…since we're so hellbent on taking it anyway.
"Sometimes I wonder if women really want to hear where we are coming from or if they only want us to agree with their thoughts. It's like some aren't open to a different perspective. To them, if it's not where they are coming from, it's wrong and that is arrogant as hell, not to mention exhausting. The greatest love I ever had was with a woman who listened. She let me complete my sentences and asked for clarity before responding. I now know that is really important in my future wife. Women who don't listen come across as being really controlling and defensive…and that is really unattractive. Hell, I'm happy to be given the opportunity to even say that."
3. “I don’t know if women realize how badly they speak on men…a lot. And how unappealing that is.”—Zach, 33
"I can't tell you the last time a week went by and I didn't either hear a Black woman say or see a Black woman post that Black men ain't s—t. Then, in the same breath, they want to talk about how much we need them and their love. I love my sistahs, but what I'm not gonna do is subject myself to verbal abuse, just to say that I am dating one. It's hard enough to be a Black man around white people without coming home and being attacked too. We have our flaws, but you know what? You all have flaws too. We need to be loving each other through them, not putting each other on blast for the world to see."
4. “We can spot someone who isn’t over their past relationships a mile away.”—Jason, 26
"You know what's the worst? Meeting an amazin' woman who constantly gives you a hard time. You know it's because she still has 'ex issues'. You're on your phone in her presence and she thinks you're talking to another woman. Or, after three dates, if you haven't professed your love, she says something slick about wasting her time and not taking things seriously. She doesn't know you well enough for something to be your fault, so you know it's got to be some other dude that has her paranoid. We need to learn from our past but that doesn't mean punish others because of it. I wish more women would make sure they are over their ex before starting something new because it's not our job to heal you. Man."
5. “We can separate love and great sex very easily. Just like women, we want both.”—Nathan, 42
"I wonder how many women realize, just how much they manipulate sex in order to get what they want. Then, when it doesn't work, somehow, we're the bad guy. Enjoying a physical situation doesn't mean that we're stupid. We don't fall in love in the sheets. We are really good at separating good sex from someone we want to build a future with and no, there is not something wrong with being able to do that. If you want more than a sexual relationship, say that and definitely don't lead with that. And definitely don't assume that just because you did, we're gonna somehow be so turned out that we will be your man. A lot of women claim that they don't want to be objectified, but they seem to treat sex like the 'cake' instead of the 'icing' a hell of a lot more than we do. Good sex won't keep us. A good woman will. Yes, we know the difference."
6. “Just because we won’t settle, that doesn’t mean we don’t know what we want.”—Derek, 34
"Get this. How would you feel if you went on a date with me and all I talked about is how great of a catch I was and how stupid you were for not seeing it? Do you know how many women do that? It's crazy to be out here believing that, just because we won't settle down when you want us to, that we're incapable [of] doing it. I just think a lot of men are more patient than a lot of women are. It's not that we don't know what we want; it's that most of us know exactly what it is and we can wait, forever, if necessary, until we get the total package. That doesn't make us confused. We are very clear. We're just not gonna get married, just to say that we did it. If she never comes along…oh well. We'll live."
7. “If we tell you where we stand and you stay, how is that leading you on?”—Corey, 28
This point is a trip because a male friend and I got into a debate about this very thing. Only, it was him who was saying that if a woman wants more than a guy is willing to give that it is the guy's responsibility to cut the woman off. Yeah, I give women more credit than that. A guy owes us honesty, but it is up to us to decide how much we choose to endure—or not.
"Look, if you want to get married, date men who also want to get married. I think only immature men have a problem discussing stuff like that early on. But don't be out here assuming that marriage is a priority for everyone and, if we spend enough time with you, eventually we'll want to take a stroll down the aisle. There are women who I've only wanted to have sex with, told them that, and they've stayed. Then [they've] gotten upset. There are women I've dated, even exclusively, told them that I wanted nothing more than that, and they've stayed. Eventually, they got pissed too. When I asked them why, they said it was because they thought that I would change my mind. Why is that my fault that you thought that?"
"A man doesn't lead you on because you've decided not to take him at his word. A lot of women would be far better off saying on the second or third date that marriage is their ultimate goal. If a guy says that it's not for him, move on. Because, believe me, if we wanted to get married or if we saw that you could be our potential wife, we'd position ourselves to never let you go. If we're not doing that…yeah."
8. “It’s amazing how many women think that we are the problem without any form of self-reflection on their part.”—Keith, 40
"You know what's refreshing? To have a conversation with a woman about why her past relationships ended and she takes ownership for some stuff. My marriage ended because my ex cheated but, to this day, she continually tries to justify the affair with stuff like being stressed and me traveling for work. Yeah, how about you cheated and it was dead ass wrong because you already know that if I had done it, those excuses wouldn't fly? Women who can own their s—t are very attractive to me. Women who don't show signs of not being very self-aware or hell, humble, that is a recipe for disaster, if you ask me."
9. “A lot of us love Black women. We just get tired of being told that we don’t.”—Erickson, 47
"Can somebody tell me why, when a Black woman dates or marries a white man, she gets roaring applause from Black women but when a Black man dates or marries he white woman, he's a simp? The double standards are crazy in the Black community. But let me just say, on behalf of my Black brothers, that just like it's an out-of-control myth that Black women never marry, it's also a myth that we don't desire our sistahs. Contrary to what y'all see on Black Twitter, most of us prefer Black women. Look it up."
(He's right. Based on an NPR feature that was published in 2018, "According to a 2015 Pew Research study, 75 percent of recently married black men were married to black women. In other words, black men who marry black women are the norm.")
10. “Many of us want to get married. We just refuse to be pressured or bullied into it.”—Nicholas, 29
It is rather interesting—and by interesting, what I really mean is hypocritical—that a lot of women claim that they want a man to be the provider, protector and leader of their home yet, they think that he needs to be coerced into a proposal or given an ultimatum in order to get him to jump a broom. Hmph. Sounds pretty emasculating, if you ask me. But that's just me.
"Believe it or not, most of my friends want to get married. It's not a matter of 'if' but 'when'. I think a lot of women don't realize that a responsible man wants to have certain things accomplished before becoming a husband and trying to push us before we are ready only makes us not want to do it. Every guy I know who chose to get married in his own time is a husband that I look up to now. But man, the guys who felt like they had no other choice but to do it, they are miserable, cheating, finding a way to get out of the relationship or all of the above. I don't get why a woman would want to 'make' a man marry her anyway. Doesn't that make her feel bad about herself? Trust me, when we're ready to say, 'I do', it shows. No pushing on a woman's part is needed."
What is it that Mary Poppins used to sing? A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, right? I know this is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, but when you know—rather than assuming or presuming— where a man stands, you can know how to move. That said, while you might not like all of what you read, I'd encourage you to not chalk it up to "whatever" or "b.s.". Doing that is one of the main reasons why there are so many communication issues between the sexes as it is. And if we want more, we've got to do better. Listening and taking one another seriously is a really good place to start.
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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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Featured image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images