Men Lie, Women Lie, Iyanla don’t…

I’m a huge fan of Iyanla Vanzant. As a young girl, I received her book, Don’t Give It Away  as a gift from an older woman. Iyanla (and Tina Turner) taught me what an a-f-f-i-r-m-a-t-i-o-n was. I’m excited that she has a show on OWN (Oprah Winfrey’s Network) and even more excited about the work that she is doing to help others fix their lives. 

This past Saturday she interviewed Real Housewives of Atlanta cast member Sheree Whitfield and her ex husband Bob Whitfield.

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Iyanla told Bob to tell her the story from the beginning and it came down to Bob basically saying that he married Sheree because she was pregnant and he felt the “right thing” to do was to marry her. Two days after their wedding, Sheree said that Bob was “spending the night out” or away from home.

Sheree-whitfield-drama1

It was obvious that these two people who disliked each other. So much so, that it has interfered with their ability to co-parent. Although their drama is playing out on the big screen, it is all too familiar.

(A) Men can be manipulative and dishonest about the nature of their relationship with a woman. When a woman realizes the truth, or as Iyanla told Bob, “Sheree was never in your heart” it can lead to bitterness and anger.

(B) Women manipulate men by using their children as pawns & bargaining chips. Bob wanted to establish a relationship with his children. When Bob calls the cell phone of his children, Sheree picks up… The children are old enough to both answer their cell phones & should be encouraged to build a relationship with their father independent of the mother.

(C) Women have to have standards for both themselves and their partners (and vice versa). While a man may be financially well-off, it is not worth sacrificing happiness and one’s soul to pursue those financial benefits. When a woman lowers her self, it literally causes her to lose self-respect, the respect of her children and the respect of the “man” who has made her drop the bar.

(D) Both Sheree & Bob were holding on the past and at some point one has to let the past go. The baby (or in their case babies) are here and growing. They don’t have time to wait for mother to get herself together because she’s angry with the father. They don’t have time to wait for the father to stall another weekend or another month. They need advice, they need direction, they need love and they need good examples to follow. While two co-parents may not be best-friends, they have to get along enough to make decisions together for the child that they BOTH created.

The moment we start being deceitful about our feelings (loving someone versus loving what they do) and/or our intentions (internally looking for long-term but externally looking for one night) , is the moment we invite a lot of pain, frustration, stress, drama, guilt, resentment and so much more into our lives.

My Spin on “Why Wasn’t I Good Enough”?


Why Wasn’t I Good Enough
, was a particularly interesting post for me because many women feel that way. For whatever reason when a relationship goes sour women often blame themselves.

When I was single I used to say “God is preparing me for something better and protecting me from something worst.” I only had one situation where I “jumped out of my body” for a man and it was for my first love (read the full story here: http://dearlittlesis.com/2011/06/20/first-love/. That’s another story for another day.

When it comes to relationships, I do feel like women:

(a) Can sometimes be delusional and go against what we KNOW to be true. Stuff that literally pokes us in the eyeball and I’m not talking about a man that can pull a mean Whodini! I’m talking about blantant – broad daylight – flashing lights stuff.

(b) Act more liberal than we really are – ESPECIALLY when it comes to those cloudy love connections (e.g. friends with benefits, long distance relationships, etc.). Then we get angry when we have to face the consequences of our false liberalism.

(c) Blame, blame, blame for the failure of a relationship but rarely take responsibility – (even if the responsibility is simply making a bad choice or having the wrong timing). Male family members and friends are particularly good at pointing this reality out.

(d) Have a sense of entitlement when things fall apart. I’m sorry but some people treat bad (or unhealthy) relationships like peroxide. They want to let it bubble & fester. I’m more of the pour the alcohol on it – let it burn and MOVE ON type.

What was most disturbing for me was that the young lady asked “Why wasn’t I good enough?” Inherent in the question is a fractured sense of self-worth and therein lies the problem. While Slim may not have wanted to admit it – it may have been her insecurity that turned him off and often those who are the most judgmental are the most insecure…

You CANNOT force a man to be with you!!! You CANNOT will a man to be with you. Men are pretty independent creatures and they do whatever they will including commit.

Now this does not let men completely off the hook because men stretch the truth, make false promises and literally make women fall in love with them in order to be intimate. I’ve been told by several men that they quote “will do anything to have sex with a woman” unquote. So my best piece of advice is to pay attention to his actions and not his words.  If he stops calling, he doesn’t want to talk to you. If he moves all of his stuff out of the crib – he doesn’t want to be with you or live with you anymore. While it is easy to say “I love you,” it is an entirely different thing to show it. While it is easy to say “I want to spend the rest of my life with you” it is an entirely different thing to propose, pick a date and walk down the aisle. While it is easy to say “I care about you” It is an entirely different thing for him to always be accessible including day time hours. If he is only available by text or e-mail you should be concerned!

Ultimately a man’s actions LITERALLY speaks more truth than his words…

Just my 22 cents…

Why Blacks Should Love Oprah

“Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism.” – Oprah W.

In a war you need snipers but you also need close range shooters. There are some individuals who directly impact black culture like Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman. Those individuals are close range shooters. There are others who are black that indirectly impact black culture like Jack Johnson (first black heavyweight champion of the World – you must see the documentary Unforgiveable Blackness) & Cathy Hughes (owner and founder of TV One/Radio One). They are “snipers.” There are some who would suggest that those who directly impact black culture are more important than those who indirectly impact it but I beg to differ.  There are some individuals who make an explicit impact on black history. We credit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We know that Harriet Tubman helped to free over 300 slaves. It is important that we acknowledge those who also work in other fields (pun intended) (outside of social activism) and by sheer virtue of the color of their skin and their individual success make huge strides for the race and culture as a whole.  These individuals may not necessarily commit to a prominent, public role in advancing the social causes of blacks – but their own individual success helps to change the perception and capacity for what we ourselves and others believe are the parameters of possibilities.

I cannot tell you how many black people I have come across who “don’t mess with,” “don’t like,” or “can’t stand” Oprah. For whatever reason they feel she has not done her “part” for black America/black Americans. Rarely do these individuals acknowledge her contributions including:

  1. Motion Pictures – Oprah Winfrey either Executive Produced, Acted In, helped fund etc.: The Color Purple, The Great Debaters, Precious, Native Son and The Princess & The Frog. Not to mention the influence she had in promoting movies like The Secret Life of Bees and Akilah and the Bee.
  2. Legitimizing The Candidacy of Barack Obama – It was a huge risk for her to “stick her neck out” and endorse the candidacy for a first-time President. This to me showed her integrity and despite all of the criticism that she endured for “getting into politics” she was one of the first to financially and morally support then Senator Barack Obama.
  3. Mentorship/Support of Black Entertainers – Oprah has featured hundreds of black celebrities on her show in order for them to “tell their stories,” sell their products, promote their movies and sell their CDs ultimately exposing them to 7.4 million individuals.

Finally, as the media mogul & 3rd most powerful woman in the world (according to Forbes behind Michelle Obama & Irene Rosenfeld CEO of Kraft), she is a shining example for excellence in business, media and philanthropy.

Abusive Vs. Strong Man – Part 1

While watching Real Housewives of Atlanta I was baffled by the relationship between the beautiful model Cynthia Bailey, 43, and her live-in boyfriend Peter Thomas. The two were planning a wedding and in one episode, Peter told Cynthia he had closed his restaurant Uptown and he wasn’t sure how they were going to come up with the $20,000 for the wedding. She started to cry, and he went on a rant about how he wasn’t going to tell her anything anymore.

Cynthia had a 10-year-old daughter, and her husband Peter is perceived to be one of the “strong” men compared to other women’s partners. He is very vocal about how we feels about the other women and he believes very strongly in traditional gender roles with the man as the provider and the woman as the nurturer. As he said in an interview “If I need her to do something for me again, she better step up. That’s part of her duty as a wife. Because she’s never gonna call on me and I say no – never.” Anytime a man refers to “wifely duties” he subscribes to traditional gender views.

He does help in domestic responsibilities, and is often the one cooking and washing dishes on most episodes, so his gender views may only be related to the financial realm.

Cynthia’s sister and another housewife, Nene Leakes whose own marriage fell apart this season discouraged Cynthia from getting married and it all lead me to think about two things. (1) What is the fine line between a strong man and an abusive man? and (2) When is it time to get married or to break off an engagement?

So this blog is going to cover the strong man vs. the abusive man. Next week, we’ll discuss when is it time to get married.

Strong Man vs. Abusive Man

A strong man is confident in his decision making process. An abusive man is stubborn in his decision-making process.
A strong man is willing to be vulnerable. An abusive man exploits the vulnerabilities of his partner.
A strong man is open to suggestions or criticism. An abusive man uses suggestions or criticism to fuel his abusive behavior.
A strong man supports his partner’s friendships. An abusive man tries to isolate his partner from other relationships (both male and female).
A strong man values his partner’s opinions and desires. An abusive man is very selfish and is only concerned with his own needs.
A strong man makes his partner proud and she glows with happiness. An abusive man makes his partner apologetic and she overcompensates for his behavior.
A strong man is motivated by his convictions and is not afraid to communicate his truth. An abusive man is motivated by his aggression and is afraid to face the truth of his problematic behavior.

While we only saw a “slice” of Cynthia & Peter’s relationship, the fact that her family members and those around her were concerned is a major red flag. While I’m not willing to label Peter as abusive, his behavior certainly made me uncomfortable for her. While there is a fine line between a strong and abusive man – there is a clear distinction between how someone makes you feel and if they make you feel sad, worthless, unattractive or uninspired there is no question what type of man you’re dealing with.

Every Man Wants Peace At Home

I was watching a reality show the other day, and a man entered his home. Before he could even get his shoes off his wife started yelling. They went back and forth for a while and finally the man put on his shoes, grabbed his coat and walked out the door. His phone started buzzing, beeping and binging, alternating between text messages and voice calls. It was his wife blowing him up. The camera then showed her at home, pacing the floor, mumbling and cursing under her breath. Rapidly dialing on her phone to unleash her fury at no only the initial problem, but now the physical absence of her life partner.

I looked at my sweetheart. He shook his head. He said, “When will women understand that all a man wants is peace in his home and when there is no peace he won’t be there?” He then talked about past relationships where he was in a similar predicament as that character and the last place he wanted to be was home… It seems like people all around us are suffering from a lack of peace and my husband and I decided that in the beginning, no matter what, our home would be our refuge. Even when we’ve been very angry at each other, we’ll go to separate rooms of the house (like boxers going to our corners). Eventually we come back together when we’ve cooled off. Our home is a place of respect, tranquility, warmth and familiarity.

Last night I was watching an episode of Basketball Wives (don’t ask!). Jennifer Williams and her husband Eric Williams, a former player for the Celtics and other teams, had a huge disagreement that eventually lead to a discussion about divorce. He had been out all night, and wouldn’t answer his phone. When he finally came home, they started talking about how unhappy they were and he told her that she had a choice to either leave or stay, and that “if you ask me to come home, I’ll come home.” While there argument was much more civil (no yelling or cursing) than the other couple, it highlighted similar problems.


No man wants to be with a nagging woman. To nag is to annoy or irritate with persistent fault-finding or continuous urging. How do you curb nagging in your relationship?

  1. Choose Your Battles – You do not have to argue about every single thing that bothers you. Really ask yourself is it worth arguing about?
  2. Timing is Everything – Sometimes guys need some emotional distance before they address an issue. After a long stressful day at work, the last thing you want to do is compile more stress on top of that. This doesn’t mean that your concern will disappear, but you should find a time when the emotional tension isn’t so high to address it.
  3. Sandwich Your Sourness – When criticizing your partner be sure to introduce something positive (e.g. “I love you with all my heart”), put the sour stuff in the middle (e.g. “Sometimes I feel like I’m doing all the housework and I’d really like for you to pitch in) and end with something positive (e.g. “You know, we’ve built an amazing home together, look at how far we’ve come.”)
  4. Be specific! – Be specific about whatever is bother you, and discuss the behavior, not the person. (e.g. It really bothers me when I call you repeatedly and you don’t answer because I feel like I’m being ignored). Rather than (“You’re ALWAYS ignoring me.”)
  5. Know When It’s Time To Let Go – a la, Basketball Wife Jennifer Williams. There is such a thing as an irreconcilable difference! If you can’t communicate, don’t have trust, and one person seems to be the only one concerned with improving the relationship and continues to disregard the other’s feelings and desires, then the relationship is unhealthy and it’s time to go! It’s takes two willing people to make a relationship or a marriage work.

And finally, one for the road. Make sure your moments of happiness, celebration and comfort outweigh your moments of disappointment, frustration and agony. You have to invest time and energy into your relationship and being married or moving in together is not an excuse to abandon the building process. Go on dates, flirt, send sweet texts “just because” and hang out as friends. Peace doesn’t just happen, sometimes you have to sign treaties, engage in a lot of dialogue and compromise and/ or involve outside counsel to make it happen.

 

Huge Announcement…

Soooo…. remember that HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT that I promised you guys last week?

Drum roll please…

I will now be writing for ThisIsTheDream.com! I will have a weekly post over there and my first one was published today. It is called “Dating Malpractice: Is Your Vision Failing You?” Here is an excerpt:

Some of us need to sue our friends, family and “relationship” experts for malpractice. They have prescribed the wrong lens on our vision of what we are entitled to and what we “deserve.” They have told us to make a list of “the perfect man,” have run off perfectly good choices for partners and our heads have been so filled up with compliments that we have literally lost our minds.

When looking at the dating pool, we must be a bit more realistic and open-minded about who we do and do not date… Read the rest here: http://www.thisisthedream.com/2010/12/14/dating-malpractice-is-your-vision-failing-you/

I need you to do two things for me… (1) click on the link & (2) leave a comment. Please? Even if you can’t read it, just click it so that I can at least have your “hit.” Am I that desperate? Yes!!! I am!!!!

*Throws Confetti*

Married To The Game: The Wives of Professional Athletes

Divorce between regular people is ugly… add cameras and millions of dollars and it gets downright disgusting. Tiger Woods finalized his divorce from Ellen Nordegren this week and it made me think about the marriages and divorces of professional athletes and other celebrities/high profile individuals. I don’t want to get into the debate about whether we hold athletes & public figures to a higher standard, there is no question that we do, but as a woman who has experienced divorce, I understand how love can transform into extreme dislike, how material goods become symbolic ornaments on the fallen tree of a broken relationship and how children become pawns in the never ending quest of mate checking.

While there are certainly perks of being married to a “baller,” (someone who plays professional sports), there are also drawbacks. Pre-Tiger, Ellen was a nanny and “model,” and because of that, the public is quick to throw the “gold-digger” title on her. That is the first drawback of being married to an extremely wealthy man. Many people assume that the relationship is not based on real love, whether that is because (A) the woman is labeled a gold-digger or (B) the man is accused of wanting a “trophy wife.”

  • Tiger Woods & Ellen Nordegren
  • Married: 5 years
  • Children: 2 (3 years old & 18 months)
  • Tiger’s Net Worth: $900 million (with an annual salary of $85 million)
  • Divorce: Due to infidelity (over 10 women publicly admitted having an affair with Woods)
  • Divorce Settlement: an estimated $100 million and the two will share custody of their children (neither Tiger nor Ellen will confirm this)

Ellen enrolled in school and plans to earn a Master’s Degree in Psychology in order to work with children in broken families.

  • Michael Jordan and Juanita Vanoy
  • Married: 17 years
  • Children: 3 (one teenager and the others young adults)
  • Michael’s Net Worth: $500 million
  • Divorce: Irreconcilable differences (including infidelity).
  • Divorce Settlement: $168 million (largest ever divorce settlement publicly recorded)

  • Mike Tyson & Robin Givens
  • Married: 1 year
  • Children: None
  • Mike’s Net Worth: $50 million (at the time he & Givens wed)
  • Divorce: Irreconcilable differences (including infidelity).
  • Divorce Settlement: $8 million

  • Mike Tyson & Dr. Monica Turner (sister of Michael Steele – of Republican fame)
  • Married: 5 years
  • Children: 2
  • Mike’s Net Worth: $50 million (made over $300 million as a boxer)
  • Divorce: Irreconcilable differences (including infidelity).
  • Divorce Settlement: $6.5 million (+ $4.8 million home & custody of the kids)

Mike remarried in June of 2009 and is still married to Lakiha Spicer (the two have a child together and lost a child together). Publicly, he is very appreciative of his wife and has filed bankruptcy.

From the outside looking in, there are many perks to being married to a pro-athlete including: being able to travel, having the money to live a good lifestyle which provides free time for the wife to be able to pursue her own interests.

Steven Ortiz, who has interviewed over 40 pro-athlete wives for his project discussed some of the drawbacks which include:

  • Having to be guarded about emotions and personal lives (no privacy)
  • Having to relocate at any moment (no real stability)
  • Single parenting while husband works
  • Infidelity (many wives discussed not being able to “control” husband while away from home)
  • People don’t take them seriously (often labeled gold diggers or not considered intelligent)
  • Can have trouble transitioning to life after husband retires (many pro athletes have health issues and deal with depression once they are no longer in the spotlight)

Rita Ewing (Patrick Ewing’s ex wife) who wrote a novel called Homecourt Advantage said in an interview “the sporting world is conducive to infidelity… the mentality of the teams and the management condone infidelity. There are team rules that prevent wives from traveling on the road…” She goes on to discuss that many teams hold family workshops/classes encouraging the married couples to have “safe sex” and she remembers walking away from one session with a “condom on a keychain,” as a visual reminder to have protected sex with her husband. Several wives also discussed the “public persona” that the husbands have and while they get to know all intimate aspects of their husbands, the public is mostly exposed to “1/100th” of who they are as people.

I have incredible sympathy for Ellen and other professional athlete’s wives because they have to go through the pain and embarrassment of divorce in the public eye. While most women can walk away from a failed relationship, these women are forever “tagged” to their high-profile husbands and the divorce is like an open wound that is constantly exposed. I agree with Rita Ewing, who says the best thing that we can do is “give them the space” to work out their personal problems. Being married to the game has it’s perks, but it also has it drawbacks. While it is “cheaper to keep her” in many cases like Ellen says, “without trust and love” a relationship is doomed to fail.

There are support groups for these women as well including “Behind the Bench: The National Basketball Wives Association” that helps the women cope.

The Unisex Guide To Knowing When You’ve Found The One 

Remember that scene in Love Jones where Larentz Tate aka Darius Lovehall (talk about faces from the back of the milk carton) was telling his homie that “He thought he’d found the one.” His friend Savon said “The one?” And Darius turned it into a big joke. He said, “When that Jones come down, it can be a motha-effer.” So how do you know when you’ve found “the one”? Here are my thoughts:

  1. There is usually some type of resistance in the beginning. It can be fear or paranoia. You can feel like the timing is off (you’re either falling too fast or things are progressing too slowly for you). You may experience anxiety (because you’ve never felt this way before).
  2. The person gets a nod from the people you most trust. This can be your parents (especially if they are overly critical of your relationships) or your best friends (who can also be overly critical).
  3. You are more compatible with this person than you’ve ever been with anyone else. Now there is no such thing as the perfect couple, but if you and your partner are compatible on most things (especially the nonnegotiables like religion, politics and gender roles) then you’ve literally found your match.
  4. You’re more willing to resolve conflict and don’t want to walk away. When you’re really emotionally invested in someone and you can’t imagine “breaking up” or “moving on” it can be a sign that the relationship is long term. Please believe that if you’re not with the one then you’re going to bounce faster than a one-hit wonder and something small will be just the excuse you need to make a clean break.
  5. Your facial expressions & the warm gushy feeling at the mention of their name. Your boys ask you “How is ____” and all you can do is blush and gush about your latest conversation or visit. Your man’s name is mentioned and your eyes light up, you giggle. If just the thought of a person makes you glow, then you’re definitely on to something.
  6. You can picture the person in your future. Kind of similar to number 4, but perhaps you start having daydreams about ____ as your husband or wife and can imagine him/her parenting your children. This visualization does not happen unless your heart and mind are willing to go there (do not confuse with sexual fantasies and wet dreams lol).
  7. The bad times are few and far between. You love more than you fight and you have weaved a collection of beautiful memories to ponder in their absence.
  8. You trust the other person with your most valuable possessions. When you can give him/her keys, passwords or even let them care for your children, then you’ve probably found the one. This person has unprecedented access to many areas of your life (including your thoughts and your emotions – perhaps you share secrets that you’ve never shared before and for guys you show an emotional vulnerability that you’ve never shown before).
  9. You enjoy spending time with this person and they are truly your “friend.” You hate when you have to be apart, they are the first person you call when you have news to share and they periodically pop up in your mind throughout the day. Whatever or whoever you spend the majority of your time with/on reflects who/what you love.
  10. You’re willing to do things for this person that you’ve never done before. This could include loaning money, attending a funeral or “couples” event or bailing the person out of jail if they call you. You go help them out if they have a flat tire, call a connect to help them get a job or go out of your way to buy a gift or a present on a special occasion. You’re not likely to push the “ignore” button on a call from them and you’re responsive to most forms of communication (texts, social messaging, emails etc.)

DISCLAIMER: Usually finding “the one” results in a long term commitment (for many marriage). Do not mistake the novelty of a new relationship (when everything looks promising) for finding the one, this is especially true if you experience similar feelings with every new relationship. The key with “the one” is that it’s something new/something different incomparable to anything you’ve felt or experienced before.