7 Worrisome Things In Relationships...That You Really Shouldn't Worry About
Something that I grew up around were worry warts. It wasn't until I grew up and was able to create my own energy oasis that I realized how toxic that space actually was because worrying really does tend to create issues/problems that don't exist. I mean, just think about what the word means—"to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret". What about that sounds healthy, beneficial or productive? Exactly.
As a marriage life coach, I oftentimes see people literally manifest their own drama in their relationships because they worry about things that, at the end of the day, they really shouldn't worry about—either because it's not that big of a deal or they couldn't really change it if it happened anyway. That's what I want to touch on today. If you want to keep your relationship in a good space, long-term, start by not tormenting yourself—and ultimately your partner—by choosing to have fear, anxiety and/or doubt about things that…really aren't worth it at the end of the day.
Titles are an interesting topic. When it comes to romantic relationships specifically, on one hand, they can help to bring about clarity. On another, if you're too consumed with them, they can create a lot of unnecessary drama. As someone who has said, many times, that I am too damn old for a boyfriend (check out "Why I'll Never Call Someone A 'Boyfriend' Again"), a title isn't that big of a deal to me. What I need to know is that we're on the same page (check out "The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have"), that the page isn't a secret to those who know us, and I'm all good. Besides, titles typically only come up when folks are being introduced to other people, right? It's like the title is needed in order to validate the relationship and, trust me, if you're being treated well and right, you will automatically feel confident—both in and out of the presence of folks.
The only real caveat to this is when a man refuses to put a title on your relational dynamic when it's something that you actually long for. I know a married couple like this. While the wife claims that she and her husband were a couple for many years prior to jumping the broom, her man is adamant that nothing "official" ever transpired before they said, "I do". Hmph. That low-key sounds like, "If I say you were my girlfriend and you find out all of the dirt that I did, I can't excuse my way out of it by saying we were never a couple in the first place." SMDH.
Still, people like that tend to be the exception and not the rule when it comes to this particular point. Besides, a title means nothing if the actions aren't backing up the words. For instance, I know another guy who, when he's asked if he has a girlfriend, he sometimes says, "She might think I'm her boyfriend but I don't have a girlfriend." This ninja. So yeah, why spend a lot of time worrying about if there's a title to your situation or not? Because it has to matter as much to the person who you're in a relationship with as it does to you, anyway. Instead, focus on if your needs are being met. If they are, chill. And what if the "need" is to have a title? If so, ask yourself why. Then discuss it with your partner. You might realize that you wanted one only because it's so-called what everyone else is doing and not really because it's that big of a deal to you. Or, you might discover that you and he want different things and it's time to do some shifting because of it. Either way, you win.
2. Social Media
If any of you have been watching the current season ofReady to Love, you know that there's a two-time divorced guy on there by the name of David who said that he believes that long-term couples should give each other full password access. While I do think that a marital dynamic is different than two folks who are dating, this is still something that I've never personally desired in any kind of relationship. I mean, for what? When I think of other situations where passwords are shared, it's automatically parents and children that come to mind and it's usually because either a parent doesn't fully trust their child's online actions or they don't think that they're mature enough to handle social media without their guidance.
Adults aren't children, so what's all of the grown folks monitoring about? And if someone isn't your actual spouse, I really don't get why you should have that kind of access.
Being in an intimate relationship doesn't mean that someone has to give up their individuality or privacy. Besides, if you can't trust your partner when it comes to how they interact with people on Instagram (or they can't trust you), why are the two of you together to begin with?
Some folks cause worry to make mountains out of molehills when there shouldn't be one. That said, just because some attractive woman likes your man's page or he's friends with folks you don't know online, that doesn't mean that you need to hop into his DMs or "check" anybody. Geeze. Things grow when they have space (more on that in a sec). Not when they are being suffocated. Your partner doesn't need you monitoring them. If you disagree, the issue is probably way bigger than social media. Real talk.
3. Your Partner’s Opposite Sex Friendships
Do I think that men and women can be "just friends"? 1000 percent. I've got a few male friends—single and married—to prove it. When two people are truly platonic (check out "The Word 'Platonic' Is Sacred. Literally."), there really is nothing to worry about because a "spiritual love-based relationship" oftentimes takes on a very different kind of energy. Like me? I adore all of my male friends and they each bring something very special into my life. Yet lawd, the thought of anything sexual or romantic transpiring with any of them basically makes me want to throw up in my mouth. I'm not exaggerating. That's why I'm so over the myth that just because someone has a penis and you've got a vagina, there is an automatic temptation there—even if it's dormant—between two people. Who said?
Case in point. I just went out with a very close male friend of mine not too long ago. He is adorable and hella photogenic. And yet, we can talk about him and all of the women who want him 'til the cows come home because I can't even get my mind around us being anything more than what we are. He listens to me. I listen to him. We provide each other with a perspective that our same-sex friends are unable to provide and that's about the extent of our connection. That's all that it ever will be.
Unfortunately, some people get into relationships and think that a part of their job is to get their partner to "clean house" when it comes to their opposite sex friendships when what they're actually doing is putting an expiration date on their relationship (at least 8 times out of 10). Listen, unless "she's" hella disrespectful (check out "What If Your Guy Friend's Girlfriend Isn't Feelin' You?"), she seems to be trying to influence you man to distance himself from you or she's putting strain on him to the point where he can't take care of the other priorities in his life (none of these instances sound very "platonic" to me, by the way), who cares if he's got female friends in his life? If they were gonna be together…they would've been together. Don't create problems that don't exist, just because you've heard too many times that men and women can't be "just friends". That is absolutely not the truth.
4. Not Seeing Everything Eye to Eye
I personally think that one of the biggest mistakes people make in relationships is expecting their partner to become their clone. Shoot, worse than that, they put themselves in the position to become the "clone trainer" when no one (especially their partner) asked them to do so.
You know, a part of what comes with being emotionally intelligent in a relationship is understanding that people who are different than you are can help you to evolve in ways that folks who are similar never could. So, if you're out here worrying that you and your partner won't work out because you're not in agreement about everything under the sun, what is it that grandma used to say? You're just borrowing trouble.
How can you know if the differences are potentially problematic? That's a fair question. If you don't share similar values. If you don't have the same long-term goal(s) for the relationship. If you communicate in a toxic way. If you don't respect one another's religious and political points of view. If you don't complement one another. If any of this is going on, you shouldn't shrug it off. However, everything else? You're far better off being open-minded when it comes to why the two of you have different approaches to matters than assuming that you're doomed, just because y'all are not Bobbsey Twins. A lot of marriages end, unfortunately, because one or both spouses don't get this very point. Your partner isn't supposed to be just like you—again, they are to complement you. Oftentimes, differences are what do that because they challenge you to grow. RELAX.
5. Being on Other People’s Timetable
A couple of years back, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Experts Say You Should Date This Long Before Getting Married". If you're rushing and you want the bottom line answer, many relationship experts say that it shouldn't take longer than two years for two marriage-minded people (check out "One Overlooked Yet Obvious Indicator That A Man Is Husband Material") to date and at least get engaged. For the most part, I agree with that (by the way, it's also not the wisest thing to stay engaged for more than two years; engagement really should mean that you are in a period where you are planning your wedding not sitting around forever with a ring on your finger). What I will also say is this is a generalized conclusion—and each couple is different.
If you and yours live in two different cities, states or countries. If you and yours are trying to get your finances together (lawd, PLEASE get your finances together). If the both of you know that you love each other and still would like to take out some time to do some self-work (via therapy, etc.) in order to heal some issues before taking things to the next level. If there are certain things that you know would be easier for you to accomplish as a single person before getting married. If you've got kids and you want to make sure that things will "blend well"—don't let what relationship experts, your mama or your married girlfriends think deter you from what your gut instincts say is best.
It really is sad, how much a lot of us worry about things that we're really not all that worried about; it's just that people and their opinions come in and try to plant seeds of fear, confusion or doubt. So long as you and your guy are clear about your relationship short- and long-term goals and you're both working to meet them, give the clock a bit of a rest. Haste makes waste. That's not just a random saying. There is a ton of truth to it. Just ask a lot of the divorced people that you know.
6. The Need for Space
I honestly don't know anyone who doesn't want their own space from time to time. I take that back—yes, I do. Needy people. Controlling people. Insecure people. Folks with a low-key love addiction. Yet one thing that all of those individuals have in common is they typically look for their relationship to fill voids that they need to work on as individuals. So, if you're someone who knows that you kinda suffocate your partner, I say this in love when I say, "heal thyself".
While I get that sometimes there can be challenges in this area because, for instance, your primary love language may be physical touch when your partner's isn't or you enjoy spending as much time as possible with the ones you care about while your partner is cool with you only seeing each other a couple of times a week, tops, it's not fair to assume that someone who wants space is someone who doesn't care about you, isn't being on the up-and-up when it comes to what the two of you have agreed to do and not do out of each other's presence or that he can't be trusted on some levels. Right as I'm typing this, I can think of a woman who is constantly finding ways to not be out of her husband's presence. I mean physical presence, online presence—you name it. And you know what? It's taking a major toll on the relationship because while she's calling it "love", he's calling it "annoying AF" and "hella insecure".
I believe that we've all heard the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Deeper than that, being a couple doesn't mean that someone doesn't want their own "me" time.
Encouraging your partner to have time alone. Being cool with them spending time with friends when you're not around. Not feeling like all of your free time needs to be spent together—you'd be surprised how much that can make him feel like you are secure in the relationship. And that kind of confidence is sexy as hell.
7. That It Won’t Work Out
I've got a friend who, right at this very moment, is going through the grieving process of a break-up. Something that's a bit fascinating about the situation is he basically saw red flags in the dynamic and blatantly ignored them. And so, although he knew that there was an expiration date to the relationship, he kept putting off the inevitable which led to him becoming more attached, which caused the break-up to ultimately become more painful. Still, in the midst of it all, he's seeing some personal growth and lessons that he may not have learned any other way.
My point? I don't know many people who go into relationships with a plan to end them (some folks are narcissists, users or commitment-phobes which is why I couldn't say that I don't know any). So yes, if/when the relationship comes to an end, it can be really difficult. Sometimes, even devastating. I've been there. Believe that. Yet when it comes to myself and the folks I know who've shared their relationship and break-up stories with me, only maybe 10-15 percent have a lot of regrets. The reason why is because they see that some things naturally run their course after a season, that sometimes breaking up is a pruning process that helps us to grow and/or that if they hadn't ended that relationship, they wouldn't be with the person they're with—someone who is far better for them—now.
Besides, sitting around worrying that a relationship could end could play itself out to be a form of self-sabotage because you end up bringing so much fear, negativity, confusion, testing (you know, testing someone to see how loyal or committed they are; that gets old) and/or drama to the situation that it ends up running its course—even if it wasn't supposed to.
So, STOP WORRYING. As long as you bring your best self to the relationship, that's all you can do. Let the universe handle what you can't control. If you remain in this head and heart space, you'll realize that there really isn't all that much to worry about anyway. What will be, will be—and ultimately, it will be for your better good. If not immediately…eventually. Amen.
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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. ;)
Nazanin Mandi is never out of options.
About a year ago, the 37-year-old life coach and actress was navigating life after divorce and determined to experience homeownership for the first time as a single woman. She’d been married to the R&B singer Miguel for three years, following a long-term relationship that started when she was 18 years old. But, in 2022, she filed for divorce. It was certainly the most public change she made but, in reality, it was just one of many decisions to refocus and reach her full potential in recent years.
“During my 20s, I was not ready for more. I was living a really crazy life. It was unpredictable. I was helping somebody else grow. It was a lot, and it was intense. I was not pouring into myself the way I should’ve been,” she says in an xoNecole exclusive.
Still, as Mandi worked to get to know herself and her needs during this new phase of life, she realized the home she’d purchased wasn’t a good fit. Overwhelmed by the echoing of her voice in the spacious home, she had a breakdown and called her cousin, who immediately suggested she lease the home and live somewhere else. “I woke up in my house, and I was like, ‘This is not it for me,” she says. “All those years, I had been accustomed to living a certain way [and] in a certain house, so I bought myself a house like [my old home]. But my family was not the same. Waking up in that house by myself, it highlighted the divorce. I was like, ‘Oh, no, we can’t do this. This is not it.’ My life has changed, so my choices need to change.” At that moment, Mandi became open to the idea that there wasn’t one set way to achieve ownership on her own.
“I feel so much better. I’m in a smaller place. My best friend lives a minute from me and I can walk to her house,” she tells me during a Zoom interview from her home one recent afternoon in early February. In the past two years, she hasn’t just been advising other people on varying circumstances, she’s also been healing herself.
"During my 20s, I was not ready for more. I was living a really crazy life. It was unpredictable. I was helping somebody else grow. It was a lot, and it was intense. I was not pouring into myself the way I should’ve been."
Credit: Solmaz Saberi
If supporters began following Nazanin Mandi because of her conventional beauty or the contagious, bright, white smile she often wears in many of her photos, that’s likely not the reason they’ve stuck around. Instead, she’s amassed a following based on her transparency about her own anxiety and depression, along with the encouraging messages of self-acceptance, gratitude, ambition, and humility that are often sprinkled into her social media posts.
In an era where looking at Instagram photos of models can often lead to feelings of self-doubt and insecurity, Nazanin Mandi is determined to be more than eye candy. She’s food for her follower’s souls, too.
Since being recruited to model while dining at an In-N-Out at 10 years old, Mandi has worked in many areas of entertainment. The Valencia, California native has modeled for brands such as Olay, Savage X Fenty, and Good American. As a teen, she sang at Carnegie Hall and auditioned for season 1 of American Idol, making it all the way to Hollywood before producers disqualified her for lying about her age. (Mandi was 15 at the time, and contestants had to be at least 16 years old.) Mandi has acted, too, including appearing on Disney’s That’s So Raven as a teenager and on the BET+ series Games People Play and the Prime series Á La Carte in more recent years.
In recent years, though, she’s also expanded her professional goals outside of entertainment, too. After becoming a certified life coach in 2020, Mandi launched the membership platform You Bloome in 2022 with the hopes of providing wellness services to others, including her self-published gratitude journal. “I wish I had access to something like You Bloome earlier in my own life,” she writes on the company’s website. The actress, who has been forthcoming about her struggles with anxiety and depression, has never had a life coach, but credits therapy as a tool that “really, really saved me and it laid the foundation to who I am becoming.”
Credit: Solmaz Saberi
"I’m trying to find the balance between living life and knowing that whatever is meant for me is going to happen, but also know that I’m doing everything in my power to make those things happen and better myself."
While she’s always had a nurturing personality, Mandi says her interest in becoming a life coach was inspired by the women who would message her for advice on social media. “I would answer them back. It really sparked a fire within myself to help people,” she says.
You Bloome currently has three membership tiers, ranging in price from $2.99 to $39.99 per month. The highest tier offers a motivational text message twice a week, two live, group coaching sessions per month, and more. “We get emotional. We cry. We laugh. It’s really beautiful. I’ve built close relationships with my members through this. It’s been inspiring both ways,” Mandi says of the sessions. Still, the founder says she hopes to take on more motivational and keynote speaking opportunities in the future with the hopes of impacting as many people as possible.
And, she’s hoping to do all of this while continuing to explore a career as an entertainer.
At this point in her life, Mandi says she’s gained enough perspective on modeling, music, and acting to realize what she wants to prioritize moving forward. “We are going full force with acting,” she says, noting her goal is “to book a series regular or a film that impacts my career and the world.” She plans to continue to model, too, but has no desire to pursue music.
“I don’t want any part of that because I know what that life entails,” she says. “I don’t want to tour. I don’t want to do any of that. That is not where my heart is at.”
Credit: Solmaz Saberi
If you ask Mandi, she’ll tell you she feels most comfortable in front of a camera, but she’ll also admit that she’s recently experienced a lot of imposter syndrome when thinking about her acting career. “I think it’s a fear of not succeeding,” she says. If anything, she adds, she’s harder on herself now than she’s ever been. “There were distractions before. There’s no distractions now,” she says. “I’m putting pressure on myself for no reason.”
This is where the life coach’s own personal healing comes into play. Mandi says she’s learning recently that “slow progress is still big progress at the end of the day.”
“Currently, I’m trying to find the balance between living life and knowing that whatever is meant for me is going to happen, but also know that I’m doing everything in my power to make those things happen and better myself,” she adds.
Still, one of Mandi’s strengths is that she doesn’t feel the pressure to limit herself to just one passion. From working as a life coach to pursuing acting, she has given herself grace to explore all other dreams.
“We can be allowed to be many different things in this lifetime,” she says. “As people, our identities are allowed to expand. Don’t put us in a fucking box. I cannot live that way anymore.”
For more of Nazanin, follow her on Instagram @nazaninmandi.
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Featured image by Solmaz Saberi
As the winter flows through its final days, we encounter Pisces Season with a warm yet passionate embrace. Tapping into our innermost thoughts and emotions, we’re never really in the present, either reminiscing on the past or romanticizing our future. From our complex imaginations to concrete realities, those born as this particular water sign have a way of knowing exactly what we want and how we choose to represent ourselves, especially when it comes to fashion.
How to Dress Like a Pisces
Like our hearts, we wear our emotions on our sleeves, opting for clothing and accessories based solely on how we feel from the inside out. Independent by nature, we all have a distinct stylish approach to the world which cannot be defined or confirmed by anything other than how we decide to reveal ourselves to those around us.
Known for our dreamy disposition and outgoing personalities, Pisces tend to gravitate towards statement pieces with bold feminine attributes, never failing to possess main character energy. No matter one’s mood, you can always count on us to have fun, opting for colorful tones, design details, and carefully selected accessories we’ve collected over the years.
Most notable Piscean style icons such as Rihanna, Lupita Nyong’o, and Erykah Badu are all known for dramatic style, while confidently taking risks oftentimes in uniquely oversized garments with bodacious prints and artistic silhouettes. Never failing to make a look of one's own, now is when Pisces thrive most, even when it feels like the season of most resistance.
Dreamy Outfit Ideas for Pisces
As we continue to pace ourselves throughout this sentimental time of year, keep scrolling as we’ve gathered a few Pisces-inspired outfit ideas for those celebrating another year around the sun this season or who simply want to embody the dreamy aspects of this one-of-a-kind sign.
What To Wear to a Birthday Dinner
Hate it or love it but the birthday dinner is the most convenient way to gather our loved ones in the same building as we don’t care for organizing events. It’s not often we experience all of our closest friends at the same time so we take this moment each year to celebrate those who have stuck beside us in our highest of highs and dramatic lows.
To lessen the traumatic stress that comes along with planning a birthday, a classic little black dress is all we need. With a pop of skin and form-fitted detail, this ruched Norma Kamali halter dress is perfect for the thirty-something-year-old maturing Pisces. Paired with a chunky gold necklace, gold heels, and a classic clutch, this is a timeless look you’ll love forever.
What To Wear on a Wine Tour
As one who loves adventure, wine tasting is the perfect excursion for a spontaneous Pisces. For a daytime look within Napa Valley or caravaning throughout Malibu Hills, a beige trouser and lime green fitted vest may be more of a perfect pairing than the wine and cheese platter.
A sign who loves taking risks, off-white wide-leg pants just feel perfect for the moment, regardless of the potential for deep red wine.
What To Wear on Your Solo Date
Never afraid of solitude, we love to celebrate a special day by enjoying our own company. Independent, passionate, and sensitive to both creative expressions of the imagination, the perfect birthday consists of doing whatever we want on our own terms.
A day at the museum would be top of the list, as we have a tendency to be led by good taste in visual arts. Accessorize a lightweight co-ord set paired with a sneaker, minimal gold jewelry, and an oversized statement coat to embody Pisces energy while living your best life.
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Originally published on March 9, 2023