One of my favorite things about being a relationships writer is that I meet all types of people with all kinds of different perspectives; sometimes ones who totally challenge the status quo. Take the assumption about marriage, for instance (check out "Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?"). What I mean specifically is the fact that a lot of people seem to believe that most women want to be married.
Hmm. First, did you know that the divorce rate is currently on the decline because less people are strolling down the aisle — and a good amount of those people are indeed women? Second, contrary to what some of these male relationship coaches are saying out here, the reason why many ladies aren't exactly thrilled about marriage isn't as black and white as they like to presume and promote. There are indeed many reasons why some women have cold feet at the mere thought of taking a stroll towards forever.
They deserve to speak for themselves. So, I asked 15 of them (middle names were used) to do just that. One, so that we'll stop seeing views on marriage as one-dimensional and two, because if you're a woman who is basically terrified of marriage yourself…you won't feel so alone. Because you absolutely aren't.
Jocelyn. 37. Haven't Been in a Relationship in Three Years.
"I come from a long line of people who didn't know what the hell they were doing when it came to marriage. While oddly, there is very little divorce on either side of my family, a lot of folks are together and totally miserable. It's like they would rather have the bragging rights of staying together than being happy."
"I think that's what scares me the most — getting with someone and staying, even if I don't like it. Is it really something to be proud of to stay until death if you're miserable?"
Hadassah. 29. Been Exclusive for 10 Months.
"My boyfriend wants to get married. He wants to marry me, more specifically. He said he knew it about three months ago. I'm the one who's been dragging my feet because people change. It's not fair to expect him not to but I want to be with the person I know now. If he switches up on me, I can't guarantee that I'll stick it out. I like consistency and hate surprises too much to sign up for that. I haven't told him any of this. Should I?"
Alexe. 40. Divorced for Five Years.
"Shellie, I know. I can't tell you how many times you saying that 70 percent of divorces are initiated by women rings in my head; especially since I was one of them. No, it wasn't because my husband abused me or cheated on me. He's still a good guy. I just like love with space in it. I don't want to share my house. I don't want to sleep on only one side of my bed. I don't want to deal with someone else when I don't feel like it. I'm selfish and I own that. I think it's more selfish to get married when you know you don't want to be what marriage requires. I talked myself into doing it the first time. How stupid of me would I be to do that all over again? No ma'am."
Kiran. 33. Been Casually Dating for Three Years.
"I'll watch a movie if I want to be moved by marriage. I dunno. It's just so serious…and predictable…and needy. Whenever this topic comes up with people, they assume I come from a broken or single-parent home or something. My parents have been together for almost 40 years and they love each other to death. I've just always been a free bird. Like I respect their relationship. I even like watching them. But do I want it? No thanks. I like getting to know different guys, learning from different people and not having any pressure or expectations on me. Marriage nixes all of that and the thought of intentionally signing up for that kind of lifestyle is worse than any horror flick I've seen before."
Alyssa. 42. In a Sexually Exclusive Situation.
"It might sound strange, but I have no problem with sexual monogamy. It's emotional monogamy that I struggle with. I want the option to be able to reach back out to an ex, flirt with someone on Instagram or go out on a date with a man I just met."
"A lot of times, when people talk about being scared to get married, the focus is on never having sex with someone new. There's too much going on out here for me to want to care about that. I just want the option to have new experiences with new men. Marriage prevents that from happening and yeah, that's pretty scary."
Rachele. 48. Divorced for 10 Years.
"Taking care of a man. That's what I did for seven years when I was married. I'm not talking about money. He made that. I mean, cleaning the bathroom. Cooking meals. Running errands all of the time. It wasn't that he expected me to do those things. I was raised that being a wife comes with taking care of a man. Once I no longer had to do that anymore, I can't imagine going back to that. Submission isn't a bad thing. You've just gotta really want to do it. I don't. I doubt I ever will."
Maya. 25. Interested in a Relationship — Not Marriage.
"I'm not sure how much of the minority I am but I think marriage should be for couples who want to have kids so that their children are in a structured environment — the kind that comes with some serious consequences if you just decide to up and walk out one day. Since I am fine being the 'play auntie' to all of my friends' kids, I want to be with someone who feels the same way about being an uncle and we just take it one day at a time.
"Signing on a dotted line feels like a contract that comes with some loopholes that I'm not interested in. Let's just love each other and leave it at that."
Imani. 34. Recently Ended a Two-Year Relationship.
"I just got out of a relationship with a mama's boy. Don't ever do that s — t. He's a good man. He also needs to cut those apron strings because when it comes to his money and his time, he thinks that his mother should get first dibs. Who wants to get married and be the second priority to a woman who has her own husband? I'm afraid that I'll get married and realize that I married a man's family more than him. Been there, done that. Hated it."
Natalie. 44. Been Exclusive for Six Years.
"I'm about to lose the love of my life, if I'm gonna be real about it. [Name withheld] has asked me to marry him twice now. I didn't say 'no'. I said that I would accept his ring if we could stay engaged indefinitely. What I'm scared of is marriage automatically changing our relationship like it has for so many of my friends. It's like, when they were dating, it was all good. Traveling. Lots of sex. Fun. Then they got married and it's watching movies at home, sex on the weekends and fighting all of the time. Why would any sane person choose to be miserable? I'm not saying it's marriage's fault. I'm just saying that a lot of people don't make marriage appear all that attractive to me."
Helen. 31. Divorced for Almost a Year.
"I cheated on my husband…with an ex. He was willing to stick it out, but I was so conflicted that I ended it. To this day, I'm not sure if I made the right decision or not but I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't get married if you're in love with two people. The crazy thing is, I don't want to be with my ex either because how can you trust someone who will help you cheat? I might not be the right person for this question because my divorce is still pretty fresh. What I will say is if you're not totally loving with your whole heart, you shouldn't get married. I've never just loved one person at a time. There's always been some 'residue' from someone else. I've just now accepted that as my reality. So, the thought of getting married again… 'terrified' is the right word."
Kendele. 28. In a Very New Relationship (Less than Three Months).
"Marriage is beautiful. Marriage is spiritual. Marriage is awesome. I'm just not sure if it's for me. It's like there's this assumption that all women want to be married and if they don't, they've got some sort of 'issue'."
"I'm not so much 'terrified' about the idea of marriage as I am reflective on if it serves a real purpose in my life. Can't you respect the institution without wanting to participate in it? I think so."
Lanelle. 39. Been Exclusive for Two Years.
"I'm afraid that my man's sex drive is gonna be too low. It damn near already is. Since college, I can easily have sex every day and in my 30s, that hasn't changed. So, if I sign up to only have sex with him for the rest of my life, that's already freaking me the f — k out. But then he's gonna not be in the mood when I want it? It might sound shallow, but I'll leave a man for that and never look back. Why take the risk? Why not just stay single?"
Perri. 27. Never Been in a Serious Relationship Before.
"How do you say at 25 that you'll stay with someone until you die when you don't know who you'll be at 40? What kind of arrangement is that?"
"The married people in my life tell me that I only feel this way because I've never been in a long-term relationship. Maybe. But predicting the future when you don't know what the future holds sounds pretty crazy in my book."
Brecala. 40. Recently Engaged.
"Yep. I'm engaged and yes, I am terrified of getting married. I think it's because I watch too many Lifetime movies because although my fiancé is the best man I've ever met, a part of me wonders how long you should really know someone before pledging to spend the rest of your life with them. Pray for us, y'all!"
Danyele. 36. Been Exclusive for Five Years.
"Losing my man. Losing him is what terrifies me. I'm not talking about to another woman or even getting a divorce. I'm talking about death. I love my man so much that I think I've been holding off on the marriage thing because that means I'm all in and if he beat me to the punch [died first], I have no idea how I would take that. For me, staying dating is kind of like a wall to protect myself. I know some widows and losing their husbands close to destroyed them. Death is inevitable but I'm still not sure I want to take that risk."
Like I said, marriage — and the hesitations about marriage — are vast. Hopefully, this confirmed that, gave you some things to think about and maybe will even give you the "push" to share some of your own insights in the comments. Marriage is beautiful. It's also OK to have some real concerns or not want to do it. It really is.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If you’ve ever wondered what type of mindset it takes to reach icon status like Oprah Winfrey, it’s probably best to start by knowing which one she’s managed to avoid over her long-standing career.
And let’s just say imposter syndrome didn’t make the cut.
While promoting her new book, Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier, with her co-author Arthur C. Brooks, Oprah shared in an interview with People that when it comes to imposter syndrome, it’s one emotion she hasn’t experienced.
"I don't have any of that imposter feelings that so many people have," she says. "I didn't even understand it, I had to look it up."
According to the acclaimed talk-show host and media mogul, she attributes this to her early life experiences, specifically the impact of her father's influence as a child. "I remember as a young girl being a strong orator in the national competition for speaking and winning the local championships, then the state championships. And then placing, I think it was No. 3 or something, in the nationals," Winfrey shares.
"And I remember after every contest, the families whose kids were just in the contest were going to celebrate and their families were all excited. My father's thing was, 'Get your coat.'"
She continues, "I learned, in all these years, every exciting thing that would happen to me it was always, that's good, get your coat. Get your coat. I don't know if that was ingrained in my personality or I just learned that nobody's going to be excited about it, so you might as well just get your coat and go. I don't have high highs and I don't have low lows. Which is a good thing, because no matter what I'm going through, I know I'm going to come out of it and be okay."
Impostor syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon, is a psychological perspective of persistent self-doubt and the feeling of being a fraud despite evidence of one's competence, skills, or accomplishments. People experiencing imposter syndrome often believe that their success is due to luck or external factors rather than their own abilities and fear that others will eventually discover that they are not as capable or knowledgeable as they appear to be.
With over 40 years of accolades and history-making impact, it’s clear that Winfrey doesn’t shy away from the fact that her success is due to her hard work and diligence, with everything in her life being that of what she earned — which she finds deep value in: “the ability to live in the space of true appreciation for a life, not just well lived, but well-earned."
From coming from the lineage of an enslaved great-grandfather who earned 80 acres of land in exchange for labor, to becoming the first Black woman billionaire in the world without the foundation of generational wealth, Winfrey beams proudly at her ability to shift her and her family’s legacy for the better.
"I didn't have a grandfather, a great-grandfather who could give me land. But now...I am able to have my own and to know that I work for it. And it wasn't a husband that did it. It wasn't a brother or an uncle, or whatever did it, but I did it," Winfrey says.
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