Getting Into Character Part I: Play the Role You Desire In Relationships

Are you satisfied with the role you play in your relationship? Recently, social media has been exposing some controversial acts about relationship roles and responsibilities. Constructed norms are being warped, expectations are getting questioned, and perspectives are changing… 
              
We all have our own thoughts about who should be doing what in a relationship.  Yet, we don’t really talk about it with others.  When I say others, I’m placing a massive emphasis on those that we identify as significant others.   I can remember many conversations where some people felt men should be the providers, and the women, housewives.  What year is it again?  Remember that many norms are set in place based on society’s attitude “at the time“.  Thankfully, we’re living in a period where individuality is praised and highly encouraged.   You set the stage for your relationship, and the role(s) both individuals play can make a huge difference. 

 

Whether you are married or in a serious relationship, it’s important to establish roles and responsibilities.  The reasoning is similar to that of a workplace or country.  Could you imagine going to work where you didn’t know what to do? Or living in a place of complete chaos?  In other words, everything works together for the greater good when there are roles and responsibilities.

 

Realizing that they are needed in relationships is easy.  The real task is actually establishing them within your own relationship.  It seems like society drafts up these master plans for everyone to follow that becomes norms.  As a result, we are constantly being influenced.  It happens so often that we don’t realize how easily movies, television shows, family, and even friends shape our perceptions of relationship roles/responsibilities.  

 

Although we all may have ideas about how relationships roles should be characterized, no one knows us better than ourselves.  Seeking to imitate a role that wasn’t created to fit you specifically doesn’t make any sense.  However, establishing a role you desire along with responsibilities that align with who you are as an individual within the relationship is more than a possibility.  Some individuals tend to adopt the practices of parents/family, jump on the bandwagon of society’s norms, and/or figure it out as they go when it comes to relationship roles and responsibilities.  Whatever category you fall into, have you ever thought about why you have actually made the decision to function the way that you do in relationships?  If you don’t know why, you may have some thinking to do…

 

Relationship roles are deeper than just the identification of wife, boyfriend, mother, companion, lover, friend, etc.  It is common to have these titles, but what does the role entail?  I begin to question roles when individuals become more burdened with responsibilities than satisfied.   As children, many of us were taught certain roles/responsibilities through colors, toys, and even role-playing activities.  I’ve always felt that just because someone is a certain gender or make the most/least amount of money in the relationship for example, that shouldn’t determine how the roles and responsibilities are formed.  

 

There’s many ways that people choose to function in a relationship, it’s not just one right way.  As long as the relationship is functioning in a healthy way, you’re on the path to satisfaction.  Roles and responsibilities are essential to relationships because they make life with your partner better.  The role you you choose to play in a relationship is completely up to you.  In collaboration with your partner, it should be harmonious for everyone.  Take the time to think about the roles you and your significant other play in the relationship.  Is it providing more ease or difficulty…? Create the role that fits for you and your relationship. 

 

You won’t want to miss Part II of Getting Into Character as I lay out how to establish the role you desire in relationships.

The Secret to Fulfillment in Relationships

Seeking others to fulfill our wants and needs is unrealistic.  One person can try to fill the voids of the other, but it will never be enough.  If we expect fulfillment in our relationships, it takes consideration, planning, and heart.

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Everyone knows that the honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever, but that doesn’t mean its not possible. All relationships continuously change with new needs and desires that must be met in order for growth. Throughout the years, I’ve noticed that the longer you’re in a relationship, the more you learn about your significant other, yourself, and what the two of you share together.

 

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Although everyone would love to be filled with pure bliss 24/7, we still live in the real world. Somehow concerns always seem to appear in relationships. Sorry, but there is no way around that fact.  Whether it’s disappointment, miscommunication, habits …and sometimes it comes from people/things that aren’t even in the relationship.  You’ll be forced to deal with it at some point. There have been times where my husband and I have found ourselves in the same situation where there‘s this feeling of disconnect within the relationship. We later identified it as a gap of dissatisfaction.  A gap in the relationship that’s dissatisfying, but grabs your attention with the need to be filled.

 

Don’t think that being dissatisfied in the relationship always means its the end.  As the saying goes, “It’s not about what happens, but how you handle it”. When there is love, respect, and desire for each of the individuals as a couple, there is hope.  

 

The secret to fulfillment in relationships is all about filling those gaps to regain fulfillment.  You can’t attempt to reach fulfillment alone so its going to take the two of you to make this happen.  Take a moment and think about your relationship, what are those gaps that cause dissatisfaction?  It’s difficult to work towards changing anything when you’re not sure about what it is that needs to be changed for your happiness.  Once we are able to finally tackle identifying the gap, we work towards focusing on solutions of what will bring the satisfaction.   Here’s the fun part…now you just focus on the positive!  

 

 

Whether you are dating or already a couple, after being with someone for a while, coming up with new anything can be a challenge. The 3 ingredients to fulfillment are Consideration, Planning, and Heart which always helps us in our relationship.  Consideration for one another’s feelings, desires, and needs is important because that means you respect your partner enough to put forth effort.  Of course you need heart which is love.  Love is the fuel that gives us the motivation that we need to make our relationship progress.  Last, but not least there’s planning.  As simple as it may sound, planning just might be the gift that keeps on giving.
Although my husband and I have been together since our college years, planning is a task if it’s beyond our norm. There is so much that goes into planning something special with your significant other. You have to think about each person’s schedule, work/home/school obligations, and even finances.  However, planning will help you fill those gaps by providing what your relationship may need.

 

After almost ten years together, we are approaching another anniversary in the beginning of August. Similar to any special occasion it can be challenging to come up with something new that will make everyone happy.  It became easier when reflecting on what our relationship needs at the time.  Some people may enjoy relaxing in the comfort of their home together, heading to a romantic dinner, or a passionate getaway. The relationship may need romance, passion, communication, relaxation, seclusion, comfort etc. There are always events, locations, and activities that offer what you’re seeking.   Instead of struggling to find the right date or special occasion plans, remember the secret to fulfillment.  Fill those gaps with the 3 ingredients. 

3 Habits That Can Distract You From Finding the One

Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others.

Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval.

Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her. 

Lao-Tzu

 

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Being single in today’s society can be different for everyone.  Some people are single by choice while others may have been bumped into the category by default or simply still trying to find that special someone.  Whether you are a male or female, do you remember that one person that you just couldn’t stop thinking about…or two…or three?  I can remember all of the chats with my friends about people that I was talking to/dating at the time.  When I was really into someone new, it was so easy to get caught up in the dream world where nothing really needed to make sense. The only thing that mattered was being with them.  Although we think everybody will be the one because we’re so in love at the time, these are the moments where some habits can really hinder us from actually finding the one.

 

1) Fitting Someone Else’s Desires 

How many times have we found ourselves reading posts, articles, books or watching shows about how to get into the opposite sex’s mind?  While seeking to change how we talk, dress, or behave to attract that special person, we lose a little more of ourselves each time.  The beauty of being unique and our own person becomes tainted when trying to fit what someone else is looking for in a person.  Once I stopped trying to be the person that my crush desired, I was able to realize my worth.  I began to focus on what I desired from someone and not settle for less.  Instead of trying to fit someone else’s desires, why not find what makes you happy.  Is it really too much to ask that we love ourselves enough where we aren’t willing to change who we are to accommodate someone else’s wishes?  

 

2) Accepting the Unacceptable

I would say that I’m ashamed to share that I’ve been in this situation, but it would be a lie.  Some true growth emerged from accepting the unacceptable.  Although I have tried just going along with a situation, it’s definitely a habit that shouldn’t be repeated.  It has been said, that you get exactly what you accept and it’s the truth.  Reflecting on those moments where I decided to accept the unacceptable made me realize I was settling. Why?  I was fearful of the result from saying something or felt insecure where I wasn’t confident in myself.  

 

Regardless of the situation, no one should ever allow someone to treat them any kind of way or to settle when there’re morals/standards that you believe in.  Concerns about labels, sex, and even expectations are all examples that may mean something to you.  However, they can be up for debate and determined by your mate when you just go along with a situation. It’s easy to let one thing slide that appears to be small, but it opens the door to allowing everything else. Bottom line, accepting the unacceptable is a habit that can not and will not end in a healthy way.   

 

3) Falling for Potential

Falling for potential is the classic just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.   Have you ever experienced creating these ideas in your mind of what you feel the person could become? I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one forming whole future plans that were never discussed with the other person.  Realistically, many individuals can run with the ideas without any evidence that would support the dreams.  Don’t get me wrong, anyone can change…but remember that you can’t make an adult want to change when it’s not their desire. Oh…how experiences can change you…for the better.

 

Then there’s the thought of “you” being the reason that they change. I believe I’ve been on both sides of the fence in this category.  Falling for potential occurs with both men and women.  If they have not shown you any proof that this can happen…you may need to re-evaluate the situation.  When you begin dating someone seriously, it is very possible that you both may fall for potential along with other things.  It’s always that 50/50 chance of whether the potential will be fulfilled or not.  After being with someone for a while, you should be able to tell if it is merely the sale of dreams or actual goals that are being pursued.

5 Ways Pets Can Prepare You For Parenting

Life can change so drastically when you aren’t prepared. Many people say that it’s impossible to prepare for something that you haven’t experienced.  I disagree, we all have other resources that can give us the taste that we need for success.

As a twenty-something year old female coming close to thirty, I can’t help but notice family members and friends that have children in their twenties or younger.  Even my best friend keeps talking about the ticking of the legendary biological clock.  

 

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However, I don’t feel any pressure to make a decision that wouldn’t be best for me, my spouse, or a child at this time.  I respect everyone’s choices when it involves planning or letting things happen, but I prefer to make sure our child/children are provided with the best life possible.  If that means making sure we are in a stable position, financially fit, and ready then it’s better to prepare than just take the risk.

 

Don’t forget that one of our resources is learning from others.  Whether you have a sibling, friend, or co-worker that is experiencing something, you can always learn something from them.  Another resource that helps is pets.  Of course an animal is not equivalent to a human being, but there are many similarities that can give you some insight into life as a parent.  

 

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About three years ago, we met our oldest fur baby, Simba.  We had absolutely no intention of getting a dog or pet after just moving into our first apartment together.  It was an unplanned situation that quickly taught us about the decision we made.  Fast forward through many challenges and more years to this past March where we expanded the family with our 8 month old puppy, Lyla.

 

If you are getting the itch for a baby, but not quite confident in the decision, try experimenting with a pet for practice.  It’s been an interesting learning experience with our two dogs and they continue to teach us something new all the time.  After three years with Simba and only a few months with Lyla, we were able to lay out some of the lessons that they’ve taught us through time.  After getting Lyla, we were told that we may as well have children.  Although pets are the gift that keeps on giving, they can always be returned or given away to better homes.  It’s a completely different story when you partner with someone to bring a life into the world.

 

5 Ways Pets Can Prepare You For Parenting


1. Teach You Time Management

Changes in your schedule and daily routines can be a rude awakening. Depending upon the pet that you and your partner choose, they will have needs that may interfere with your time. Making yourself available for feeding, allowing time for ‘using the bathroom’, playing, and cleaning are just some activities that will need to be scheduled.  Although some pets require more than others such as dogs, they all have needs that should be addressed.

 

We had to work Simba into our already busy schedules and then Lyla.  You will learn a lot about your partner as well as yourself when managing your time with a pet.  We had to make sure that we were on the same page with how we would handle our personal obligations such as work, household task such as errands, and our pet obligations to care for them properly. You will quickly find out about how your relationship would be if you added a child during the time and be able to explore what you may want to work on before making that decision.

 

2. Prove That Your Attention Is Needed 24/7

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If you aren’t watching, you’ll regret it.  I can’t remember how many shoes, cords and rugs Simba chewed.  Right now, Lyla is still  potty-training so like clockwork, my husband and I are stepping in puddles when we aren’t attentive.  Similar to a child, they are always getting into something until they get to a reasonable age.  The outcome can be minor or extreme depending on what actually happens.  In our case, the dogs are teaching us to make sure we dog proof the house until they become more mature.  We also have to keep a close eye because when dogs are bored, they’re just like kids and will get into anything that seems fun.  Having a pet will prove that you definitely need to be attentive at all times.

 

Being prepared before having children can be a huge benefit because the unthinkable can happen with an actual human being.  Stories may be endless concerning what happened while you weren’t being attentive.  Children can get lost, taken, or even hurt…I won’t say the absolute worst thing that can happen.  I believe this is one of the most crucial lessons that can be taught for preparation with real-live human beings.  Again, all pets have their own level of difficulty where they may not need as much attention, but dogs are on the higher end of the scale.  If you aren’t ready to take care of a pet, 9 times out of 10 you are not ready to handle a child.  Being able to tend to their needs 24/7 even when you don’t want to is a significant lesson that we learned.

 

3. Show How Expensive Babies/Children Can Be

If you thought you were going to continue having the same lifestyle with a child or children without being prepared, you are sadly mistaken.  Children are expensive and so are our pets.  Thank goodness Simba and Lyla are not as expensive as babies/children, but they can be costly.  As a quick example, I’ll show you how fast pets and children can range from $30 to the $1000’s.  In a span of 4 months, we have spent well over $1200 for Simba and Lyla in medical costs.  A minor rash on one dog turned into some type of disease and finally resulted in an allergy reaction.   In comparison with children, you may never know when health issues arise, but you will be expected to tend to it regardless of your situation.

 

It was an intense lesson to learn, but needed in preparation for having children.  It has taught us that we should always have some money saved because anything can happen and it is our responsibly to tend to the concerns.  Gone were the days where you could spend frivolously because you never know when your children will be in need.  Our pets have encouraged us to think more about budgeting others into our finances and being more selfless in order to provide for a family.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn this lesson because financial stress can be a strain not only on an individual, but relationships which can trickle down to the rest of the immediate family.  

 

4. Provide Opportunities For You To Learn About Parenting Styles

Okay, so this may be a touchy topic for some people.  We have been observing ourselves and each other as we raise our fur babies.  Having pets such as dogs will help you see what type of parent you and your partner may be with children.  I’ve noticed that I am extremely strict and my husband is more lenient.  An important aspect of the parenting style that we identified while having pets, is how well we work together.  We strive to be consistent where we are both on the same page so the pets aren’t confused.  We also make sure that they see us both in the same perspective as equal.  I feel that parenting styles are important because your pets and children will reflect how you parent them.  Meaning, if there is no discipline most likely the children will be less obedient.

 

Our pets are helping us become more self-aware where we can begin to work on the areas that we would like to change.  We all can tell people about our idea of what type of parent we would be, but you’d never know until you are in that type of role.  Also, if you and your partner are wondering how you would parent with each other try it out on a pet.  Everyone comes from a different upbringing and may not feel the same about how they would like to raise children.  Practicing with pets can give you all the opportunity to come to a consensus on the upbringing of your children.  Pets/children are always the individuals that will benefit or suffer from the practices of their parents so it’s nothing like being prepared before being in the actual situation.

 

5. Give You Practice With Making Sacrifices

Oh sacrifices, I saved the best for last.  Having our pets has shown us that the sacrifices you make will come in all shapes and sizes.  Being able to do anything spontaneously is not really an option anymore unless you have endless money without having to work.  I love to travel, but then there’s a reminder that two fur babies are at home which we wouldn’t want to leave in just anyone’s care overnight.  In our situation, we could probably just pay for a kennel with a company, but I’m still too worried that something may happen.  Babies/Children are a different story, you may want to make sure they can stay with someone you know and trust if you plan on leaving them overnight.  Here’s my thoughts on sacrifices, our pets and our future children will be the priority.  Bottom line, although sacrifices are made, it should always be in the best interest of the children which is worth it.

 

(Jumping onto my soap box) If an individual is not ready to make imperative sacrifices for their children, perhaps a pet would be better until they’re prepared.  After bringing home two dogs, we are not ready to provide the lifestyle that we’d like for our children yet.  Pets have taught us to really reflect on the choice before just getting into a situation that will continue for the rest of our lives.  Also, it has helped us become more aware of what we want for ourselves as a couple and a family.  If you have the option to prepare yourselves for a family, a great option is using pets and specifically dogs.  I’m learning that situations are so much better in life when you plan and prepare.  Although having children is not all about the parents, they are a huge reflection of how you will live and what type of family you will have together.  Use all of your resources, reflect, and plan for your future.

 

Fighting Fair: Being Mindful of What You Communicate

Every relationship has its share of disagreements and misunderstandings. We focus so much on the situation at hand, that we forget about the one thing that can make a huge difference  – communication.

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Being in a relationship with two completely different personalities can be quite a challenge.  Although we may share similarities with our significant other, the way we think, feel, and act are all unique.  It should be embraced and appreciated because each person should want the other to be themselves.  However, I believe it is due to these differences that there may be times where disagreements occur or even arguments with one another.  

 

In the beginning of relationships, it seems as if each person is so eager to please the other.  You both go along with most things to keep the peace like what to do in your free time, where to go for a date, and how to spend the holidays.  Over time, more of each personality is introduced and here is where there tends to be communication concerns.

 

I can always tell the difference between a disagreement and an argument.  Disagreements are the civilized conversations that allow each person to speak and be heard without any harsh feelings.  Whereas arguments typically cause tension with verbal abuse, anger, and/or yelling which result in hurt feelings.  Of course, like any couple, my husband and I have experienced both.  Arguing can be so exhausting for both individuals and it definitely creates a strain on the relationship.

 

There are many ways to decrease arguments, but there is one strategy that we work on using in our relationship.  Most times, arguments occur when you all are not on the same page or can’t see eye to eye.  When you aren’t able to get your message through or connect to your significant other, you need to “refresh your page“.  It’s a simple process that takes time, but you will see a difference if you keep at it. Instead of engaging in unhealthy arguments with your significant other, here is a break-down of what we call “refreshing your page”.  The more you think about it, the more you will begin to change what you say and how you say it in conversations with your significant other.

 

Refreshing Your Page 

  • Think about the “WHAT”  –  What are you saying?

    What message is being sent to your significant other?

    The phrase, “Think before you speak” is still very relevant in today’s society.  When in the heat of the moment, sometimes we really don’t think about what we are saying to our mates.  Are we considering their feelings or them at all for that matter? It is important to take the time to think about what we say by taking them into consideration before speaking.  If we request this consideration and respect from them, why should we not have to do the same?

  • Think about the “HOW”    –   How are you sending your message?

    How do you think your message is being delivered to your significant other versus how they actually receive the message?

    Knowing what you are saying is the first part, but then you must understand how it is being delivered. Your tone and body language can all affect your original message.  Your words should match your tone/body language.  Is your tone serious, sarcastic, playful…etc?  Check to make sure that your body language compliments what you are saying.  Is your body language showing that you are concerned or irritated?  Thinking about the little things such as facial expressions, closeness and movement of body parts are really helpful.  You may think that what you’re saying is enough, but without matching it to your tone/body language it can be interpreted another way by your significant other.

  • Think about the “WHY”    –   Why are you sharing it?

    What is the intended purpose for sending the message?

    “If you have nothing ‘productive’ to say, don’t say anything at all.” Reflecting on your intentions for saying something is the most important part of the process to me.  Sometimes things are said out of spite or to press buttons.  We must be mindful of our intent before we share what we want to say.  If what you want to say has no real purpose for a need, desire, change, or awareness then there is no reason to share it.  Typically individuals are so considerate of strangers such as co-workers, but we treat our significant others worst.  It helps for me to think about how much my husband means to me when I speak with him.  I know we all are not perfect, but the more we engage in practices the better we will get at making them a part of our lifestyle.

 

How To Regain Romance In Relationshipss

There’s nothing like some  R & R –  ‘Random Romance’ that is….to keep the passion alive in your relationship. 

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After spending years with your significant other, it can be challenging to keep the romance flowing.  Without romance, the feelings of being desired, needed, as well as loved seem to fade away with the everyday commitments and obligations of life.  It is due to these changes, that we should incorporate more romance into our relationships. 

Definitely easier said, than done. Being romantic, allows couples to express their thoughts and feelings about one another.  An act that is much needed in a relationship when coping with stressors that may stem from jobs, children, family, finances and so much more. In efforts to sustain romance in our relationship, my husband and I use these 3 easy Random Romance Tips.

 

 

1) Getaways & Staycations


In the midst of our busy lives and responsibilities, there is the need to get away with your significant other whether it is mentally, physically, or both.  It doesn’t need to be a special occasion for you all to take some time for yourselves – with just yourselves – together.  Booking a getaway or even arranging a staycation can allow time to focus on the desires and needs of one another without the distractions of daily life.  You’ll find that many establishments provide accommodations, dining options, and services to woo couples.  Although time, obligations, and/or finances may not permit frequent getaways and staycations, they can still be done. Below are a few places that we’ve visited and were very pleased.  Go ahead and book a date, each moment of intimacy will be well worth the wait.

Historic Hotel of Lake Geneva – Maxwell Mansion

Boutique Hotel – Lodge on the Desert

Prestige Club – Ambiance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Partner Pastimes


Partner pastimes are activities that both individuals enjoy and engage in together routinely.  I would classify “partner pastimes” as a form of expert level dating.  During partner pastimes, there should be opportunities for more communication (verbal/nonverbal) and bonding amongst the two.   Are you and your significant other doing things together that you both enjoy?   Most importantly, are you bonding? It is nothing like spending time together while doing things you enjoy, where you can bond as well as see the benefits of your teamwork.  There is an endless list of activities that you two can engage in together.  Posted below are a few examples of our partner pastimes.

 

Convo. & Collaboration -Activities that allow for some conversation and collaboration will make a huge difference in your relationship. We chose to garden since we both have green thumbs. However exercising, engaging in book/tv discussions, or even making things together are great!

Interests – Whether you all jump on a game system or participate in indoor/outdoor activities, it’ll be a blast once you both find something that interests you. My love introduced me to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, but I grew up a Sony Playstation girl.

Skills/Abilities –  Finding activities that compliment the abilities/skills of each individual will be a great start for engaging in parter pastimes. Don’t be afraid to try things out, you never know what you all may really enjoy.  Both of us used to dabble in art so we attended an amazing party at Bottle & Bottega – Art Uncorked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Putting the “Extra” back into Ordinary


 “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.”  Instead of recking your brain trying to find something new to do, put your own spin on the basics.  Think about the everyday things that you all do together.  What would make those moments more special to share with one another?  You can add your own touch by changing the location, doing something new, or even making something.  I transformed the ordinary ideas of dinner/dessert, lounging, and memorable events into something extraordinary.  By adding your own touch to the ordinary, you can bring new and refreshing ideas for romance back into the relationship.

 

Dinner & Dessert – Get down and dirty in the kitchen making a delicious meal together.  We decided to create a seafood feast and chocolate covered strawberries as a dessert. Dimming the lights and lighting candles brought a romantic end to the evening.

Lounging – Couples need “alone time” too. Get cozy and cuddle up with your love in style. No one relaxes better than my husband…so I decided to create a fort/tent in the living room for an intimate movie night at home.

Making Memories – Introduce your significant other to something new and explore it together. You’d be surprised by what you or your love hasn’t experienced yet. Something as simple as getting a real Christmas tree, making snowmen, or volunteering can bring you two closer together.

Invincibility Is An Illusion

 Have you ever had that moment in life where you feel like everything around you is in motion but, you’ve suddenly stopped?  It’s during this time, you begin to wonder how you even arrived at this point. 

Credit: Tough Love Series – S2, Ep.5 (Written by – Roni Simpson / Directed by – Caleb Davis )

Typically, I am in my most vulnerable state when this occurs.  The feelings of being exhausted, unappreciated, stressed and hopeless seem to overcome me.   As I was struggling to manage household duties, coursework for grad school, working, my marriage, our dog (which is similar to caring for a child, but definitely not the same), and family concerns my world stopped for a moment which encouraged me to write and share with others that may experience these times.  It is possible that you are fulfilling many more roles with the mentality of “I’m doing what I have to do”, “What will make them happy?”, “I can do it all by myself”, and/or “I can’t fail”.  These are all common thoughts that run through many of our minds.   

 

We’re living in a world where the norms for women that were created in the past continue to follow us into the present.  As controversial as this may be, I still believe the roles of women are above and beyond those of males.  It appears to be some type of juggling act that we experience on a daily basis.  The balance of being a partner/spouse, parent, professional, son/daughter, sibling, friend etc. can be an extensive part of your life.  It’s evident that everyone has their own roles and responsibilities based on family structures as well as circumstances.  There are endless responsibilities that are carried with these roles which are enough to literally last a lifetime.  Although we may make it all seem effortless, this is in fact an art.  However, it should not to be confused with a superpower.  At the end of the day we are all human and that’s okay.  Remember to live, you’re not invincible.

 

Being aware and accepting that this happens is a great start to finding true harmony & balance.  There are levels to this whole life balance art.  I believe each stage of life provides new challenges for you to experience. The more you experience, the better you will become with your art of balancing life. When I was single, I learned to become independent and essentially an adult. Being able to manage your own finances, relationships (family, friends, coworkers), professional aspirations, and personal goals is the first step of balancing life.  

 

Okay, so I’ll break this part down because it is important for balance in the future.  I believe that if we want our relationships and children’s lives to be well off, it takes balance there too because we are the individuals that will provide the foundation.  If we can’t find some type of appropriate balance on our own, how can we do this with others? Whether you choose to live life alone or with others, everyone needs balance.
 Once I was dating, it was clear that balance was important for the success of the relationship.  I remember when we were in college, we’d meet up after our day was done.  There would be times where I would have a great day but, he would have the complete opposite (and vice versa).  I could notice in his tone, body language, and overall demeanor that the day got the best of him. 

 

In the beginning I would get irritated because he would be so over his day that he seemed distant with a rude tone and nonchalant attitude towards anything.  His emotions would bounce off of him and onto me.  Now his bad day has become mine and we result in arguing.  We went through this pattern for a while before realizing something had to give.  Instead of feeding into the negative behaviors, we needed balance.  It is amazing how balance plays a role in something as small as a simple discussion.  

 

When using my positive energy from my day to shift his feelings we were using balance for a more productive situation.  Then I was able to understand his feelings and how it affected his communication which helped me provide what he needed to move past the bad parts of his day.   I’m not saying to put yourself on the back burner…but I am saying that everyone/everything has needs and desires.  As we progress through life, our balance scale will continuously tilt.  Giving more opportunities to master our art of balancing life.

 

Now that I have entered new stages of being a professional and married in addition to my previous roles with the expectation of adding more roles in the future, it requires even more balance than before.  It is beneficial to become aware of the fact that you may be perceived as somebody’s superwoman, but you’re human.  Once we are aware that we aren’t invincible, It’s about how we handle these moments that matter most.  Walk  forward knowing that you may not be invincible, but in the words of Maya Angelou you are still a phenomenal woman.

3 Essentials for Successful Dating


Dating in today’s society is an experience that can make you completely reconsider being single for the rest of your life.

 

Seriously…what happened to actually planning dates to get to know one another?  Now it’s either “Netflix and Chill” or “I’m going here, you should come through”.  I’ve been hearing crazy stories about dates where the person finds out the other individual’s intentions are nowhere near getting into a relationship.  What? I thought that was the point of dating.  I guess I’m living in the past where relationships were valued.  

 

It’s understandable that some people are simply dating for fun but, that should not discourage others that are dating for the sole purpose of a serious relationship and/or marriage which was the intent from the beginning.  Whether you are looking for love or something else, I’m going to give you the must-have essentials for successful dating.  

 

I’ve had my fair share of dating which felt like an endless elevator ride.  After speaking with various men and women about their dating experiences, I came up with the perfect solution,“The Successful Dating Starter Kit”.

 

Using these 3 essential tips in your process will help you weave through the nonsense and find exactly what you’re looking for in the chaotic world of dating.  

 

1) Self-Check

Before anyone can step into a relationship where you’re managing the feelings, needs, and desires of two people, you must first manage one, YOURS.  

 

www.devotion-epitomeoflove.com

Do not think that by obtaining validation from another person, it makes you better and/or whole, this is
completely false.  If you are seeking the approval from someone else to confirm your decisions, but don’t know who you are or what you want from a relationship, hit the brakes.  There are many times that I’ve seen individuals become exclusive in the beginning with one person as if it were a serious relationship.  Of course, they had no idea of where they stood in the “date-ship” I call it.  Date-ship meaning a period of time where individuals act as a couple while bypassing the significant dating aspect of getting to know one another and just see where it goes. This is an unspoken trend that will only further complicate a relationship and confuse you.

 

First you must have a deep understanding of who you are in order to know what you even want from a man/woman and relationship.  Once you know who you are, you will not only become confident, but comfortable with applying that knowledge when seeking to find Mr. or Mrs. Right.   Knowing yourself will help you lay out the basic ideas of what you would like to find.  We know what’s best for us more than anyone so, don’t allow someone else to dictate who you should be with or how your relationship should be.  Get in control of your dating/relationship life by knowing exactly who you are before starting a journey with another person.   Without this essential, you are basically wasting your time and/or someone else’s.

 

2) Screening Check

You’ve bumped into someone that seems to have an interest in you and piques your curiosity. Why does this tend to happen at the most unpredictable times?  On your way to work, out with friends, or pumping gas here comes a mysterious treat. Typically it has been the norm to ask the person out and get to know them on a first date.  However, be careful with mindless exchange of digits or social media names.  I can’t count how many times I’ve ignored, erased, and/or blocked people due to this common reflex.  Remember you and your time are valuable.  

Credit: How to Be Single Movie (Directed by – Christian Ditter)

Do a quick screening to see if they are worth the time and effort.  If businesses take screening people seriously before offering a job, why shouldn’t your love life be just as important?

 

Presuming that you know who you are and have some basic idea of what you’re looking for in a man/woman as well as relationship, here is the opportunity for you to gauge what type of individual they are and what they’re looking for in a relationship.  Regardless of if you’re looking for a person for marriage, company, or sex, you still need to know who they are and if they fit your general requirements.  Think of your love life as a business, what are your non-negotiables?  Ask questions that would help you determine if you’d be willing to get to know the individual on a more personal level.  There is no need to wait for an official date to ask those critical questions that could basically make you lose interest.  Being straightforward from the very beginning provides a clear understanding of intentions and expectations.  Which in return prevents misdirection as well as wasted time. 

 

3) Reflective Check

www.devotion-epitomeoflove.com

You’ve met a potential someone and began the screening process.  If they make the cut for an actual date, this is where the real work begins.   As easy as it may be to get caught up in the moment while dating, it’s hard to make up for lost time.  Here is a tip that will not only help you reach your relationship goals, but provide positive results in your dating experiences.  Reflection. Yes, reflection.   It is priceless and can make a huge difference in your life.

 

Nothing changes for the better if you continue to follow the insanity method which is essentially doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.  Take some moments to assess your situation in order to know what should happen next.  Flying aimless while dating could produce a variety of results.  However, they may not be the positive results you’re dreaming about in the beginning so find some direction to reach your relationship goals.

 

Reflection is an important part of successful dating.  Anything worth having is worth waiting for so, take it slow.  During your time with the person, you should be thinking about how everything is going as far as meeting your desires for being with an individual on a personal level.  Dating was initially known as time to get to know one another in order to see if the individual would be someone that you’d like to be serious with for possible marriage.  I don’t care what anyone says, this cannot be done in a few days, weeks, or months.

 

There are various components that make a person who they are in this world.   Take the time to understand one another on a deeper level.  As you date, start doing your reflective checks.  Think about the progress or lack there of with the person you’re dating.  The more you think about actions, feelings, and goals amongst those that you date, the better your decision making for the next steps with or without them will be.

Having Real Conversations to Avoid Awful Situations

The holiday season is quickly approaching and of course, I’m still  just trying to remember today’s date. It’s supposed to make people happy about a day off work (which it does), but most importantly spending time with family. I’ve been to family dinners all my life, so it’s not that bad, (I thought to myself). However, once you have a partner or spouse, the way the holiday is shared may or may not be what you expected when you were single.

 

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Credit: Almost Christmas Movie (Written/Directed – David E. Talbert)

The conversation about how you and your mate plan on spending the holiday is one of many arguments that you have as a couple. I think that there is this unspoken rule when you start getting serious in a relationship, where you’re expected to attend family events. Everyone gets a chance to meet you and in return, you’ll get the opportunity to see what you’re getting into if you commit.

 

When you’re in an exclusive relationship, you make the decision about attending or not for yourself. Once you commit, that’s a different story. By the time my husband and I got married I was over  the countless family dinners, especially when they were one after the other. There is so much energy, time, and effort that goes into attending family events. If you are best friends with your in-laws and it’s effortless, then congratulations because some of us are just trying to hold on.

 

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Credit: Black & Sexy TV – RoomieLoverFriends – (Season 3, Episode 3)

Instead of looking forward to the holiday, I was just trying to rush through it. I knew that if I didn’t speak up soon, nothing would change and I could expect the holiday to always be the same. The stress that I felt each year for the holidays was the final factor that helped me open up to having “real conversations” with my husband. I am the type of person that tends to beat around the bush, so it was difficult to be so straightforward. 

 

I kept thinking of ways to make how I felt sound better, but there was no way around just being honest. So, I approached him by starting off with how I genuinely felt. My husband had no idea that I felt that way. The honesty was so real  that the conversation became more of a learning discussion. It opened up an opportunity for us to talk about our upbringings in relation to the holidays and how we want to spend it in our own household together with children.

 

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Needless to say, we were able to come to a decision that we both liked and could agree upon by communicating our true thoughts. Sometimes we are thinking so much of our significant other’s feelings, that we forget to take care of own. It’s important to be open and honest when communicating with your significant other. Learning and growing is capable of coming from real conversations. Don’t expect to get to the root of an issue by only providing buds of truth. Those awful situations that seem to catch you at every turn, could be turned around for your good. Are you having “real” conversations with your significant other? If so, what are the benefits or challenges that you have with your significant other? If you aren’t, why not?
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