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Do you find it beneficial to go to your friends for relationship advice?

So, to start, let me just say that this is a topic I have mixed feelings on.  There is really no right or wrong answer. It is truly a matter of preference. There are many factors to consider when going to your friends about your relationship: are they in a relationship? If so, is the relationship healthy? Does this friend genuinely want what is best for me? Will they be honest with me?

  1. It does not actually matter whether a friend is in a relationship or not. Some of the best advice comes from single people who have made their fair share of mistakes in relationships and aim to prevent others from going down a similar road. But if they are in a relationship, we should probably find out if they are in a healthy one. A healthy relationship is not one void of problems and hardships; the couple was just able to overcome the difficulties using positive coping mechanisms like communication. If a person who is in an unhealthy relationship gives us advice, we could be less likely to take it because it could be ungenuine. We may even find ourselves paying attention to how it is they handle their problems, and if they aren’t following their own advice, we probably wouldn’t follow it either.

Disclaimer: Anyone is capable of giving great advice; it’s just harder to take advice from people when their water is not clean.

  1. We all have friends who genuinely want the best for us and some who would try to sabotage our relationship because they are not happy in their current situation. The hardest part about knowing this is determining if our friend is the former or the latter so we know who we should and should not take advice from (we obviously would not want to take advice from someone who has bad intentions)! Then, we have to consider that among those friends who genuinely want the best for us, are some who find it hard to be honest for one reason or another. For instance, one of my closest friends recently revealed to me that she could not stand the person I was dealing with a few years ago. Her exact words were “I never told you this, but I could not stand him.” When I asked her why she did not tell me then, her response was “You were not ready, but I knew you would have gotten it right someday.” A few years removed from the situation and no longer defensive, I was able to meet that statement with understanding instead of holding her decision against her. I know she is a friend who wants what is best for me, but sometimes those kind of friends get caught up in the line of fire if they tell us the truth about the person we are dealing with WHILE we’re still with them. At that point, our minds are clouded by our emotions, and a friend giving us sound advice before we are ready to hear it or come to terms with what the situation actually is could be detrimental to a friendship. I had other friends who I pushed away for that exact reason. They refused to enable me when it came to my dealings and rather than looking at the guy as the enemy, I pushed them away to save face.

I polled this question a week ago and 58% of voters said they DO find going to their friends for advice beneficial versus 42% who selected no. One voter messaged me and explained why she was against seeking advice. She said that she never listens to her friends even if they’re offering logical guidance because at the end of the day, the heart and mind will not accept what it is not ready to. She believes people ask for advice hoping we will get cosigns for what we say or think; we need validation and I agree. We usually go to people to vent until we finally come to terms with what we need or want to do. We only take advice when we want to.

This topic is not black and white for me. I have arguments for going to your friends and arguments to keep your business private. However, if I had to choose a side, I would say it is not beneficial to go to your friends for their input. While some advantages are that they may be able to see in your partner what you cannot and can help point out if and when you are sabotaging your own relationship, the majority of the time, we are not taking our friends’ advice until we are good and ready. By that time, we realize that we don’t even need their help anymore because we came to an ultimate decision on our own.

Editor: Sweenie Nicole; Instagram: sweenie.nicole; Twitter: @simplysweenie; Blog: Relishn’Rise

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The Love I Was Not Prepared For

I’ve always heard that women do not know what they want, but never believed it. Any time a male friend of mine would say this, I would always brush it off and think “women certainly know what we desire, it’s men who struggle with knowing what they want.” Of course, women have their specific preferences, but generally speaking, most of us want a man who is handsome (in our eyes), loyal, honest, caring and treats us well. But what happens when we actually meet a man like this? Do we appreciate him for who he is or do we take him for granted?

I personally believe that women are unable to recognize when there is a good man in their presence, and 9 times out of 10, it’s because the man is not coming in the package we had hoped for or desired. The reality is that the man who would treat you the way you want could come as the total opposite of everything you envisioned. If he does come as you hoped for, it’s possible he could lack in a specific area that would cause you to pause and make you reluctant to deal with him.

Trust me when I tell it, I almost missed out on a great guy all because he fell short in an area that is extremely important to me: stability. I did not realize God was giving me everything I needed and wanted in a man because I was placing so much emphasis on his one shortcoming that I let it affect the relationship. I focused less on the positive qualities: that he was loving, supportive, genuine, funny, and gave me a lot of attention. Though I was grateful for it, I lacked full appreciation because highlighting his shortcomings helped to compensate for my own. My man lacked stability, but he was working on that.  I knew he was working on it, but I kept harping on it.

Now that I am a little wiser and more mature, I understand why. Prior to him, I was not use to guys treating me in the way in which he did. I was emotionally damaged. I had become fairly cynical and looped all men into one category. His love made me uncomfortable and because of that, I used the one thing he lacked to push him away. I knew he made me happy but because I was not used to such a feeling, I tried to do what I would normally do which is run.

Sometimes I wonder how I’d react if he was treating me like shit and had the same shortcoming he had. While the “logical” thing to do would be to leave or not deal with him, that is not always the reality of the situation. Women tend to gravitate to what is familiar and we like to believe we can tame an asshole. Simply put, women like assholes. If my boyfriend came in the form of one, I think that I would’ve been less inclined to push him away because he would have been treating me in a manner that I was familiar with.  As much as we don’t like to admit it, the truth is women tolerate a lot of shit from men who don’t do much for us and oftentimes, they don’t come as the package we anticipated either. We gravitate to them because converting an asshole and getting him to commit is a task we all like to believe we can complete.

I was going to keep this post specific to women and emphasize how this attitude could cause us to miss out on our blessings, but why limit it to women when men are notorious for doing this as well?  A man would have a good woman and would leave or cheat on her because she is not “bad” or for some other superficial reason. Although I am aware that not all individuals think this way, for the ones who do, the superficial things are not the things that actually keep us happy when we’re with someone. Certain things shouldn’t be a deal breaker if you really like a person. Their fundamental core makeup, who they truly are as a person, is what truly matters because circumstances could change and people can overcome their shortcomings. If you have someone who is perfect in many ways but has things that they are lacking that could be worked on, my suggestion is that you try not to dash them away for superficial reasons, and give the relationship a real chance. I am happy I did because my man turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. To try and to fail is a horrible feeling, but to regret is even worse.

Editor: Sweenie Nicole; Instagram: Sweenie.Nicole; Twitter: @simplysweenie

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Dreams to Reality

I don’t know how many of you are fans of urban fiction, but it is my genre of choice. There are a lot of relationship issues that occur in these books that are thought provoking and often times, insightful. Most of the issues that occur in these books parallel real life. Art imitates life anyway. While reading a book the other day, it triggered a thought. The main character was in a relationship with a guy who consistently cheated on her and even got other women pregnant. What took the cake was when he ended up having a secret relationship with one of her childhood best friends. Yet he claimed to love her. How could you say you love someone and betray them in that way? Upon learning about his and her best friend’s deceit, she caught sense and moved on to another man. As a result, the ex-boyfriend got jealous and found several different ways to convince himself that she fucked up and was wrong for leaving him to be with someone who he knows would treat her better. The whole scenario just triggered the thought for me: why do men treat women wrong and then when she moves on, they look at her like she is the one in the wrong as opposed to acknowledging their flaws and what it is that they had done wrong?

I actually posted this question on social media looking for male insight as to why they become angry with the women they mistreat for moving on. One of my male friends answered with multiple comments. He first stated that “the woman is suppose to stay and be loyal” and after asking for further explanation, he said “because men know they’re not shit but as a woman, you’re suppose to hold it down”. A female commenter thought that women are the cause of why men treat us like this. We make excuses for the men and then when those excuses are not valuable or useful to us any longer, then we wake up and begin complaining. It turned into a debate with my male friend stating “as a man, it is their job to sell dreams”. At first, I rolled my eyes for two reasons: why should you as a man think that it is ok to sell dreams but furthermore, did it even have anything to do with what I initially asked or what the young lady commented? I wrote it off thinking the comment did not apply but upon further thought, I see what he means. Men are going to tell you exactly what you want to hear to keep you there. Men believe women are suppose to continuously buy the dreams they sell knowing that they’re not shit and will not change, BUT if they do decide to change, they expect you to be there after many years of being used and abused. To them, it is like ‘how dare you not believe what I say anymore? You did for so long.’ Yes, we are going to blame the men and hold them accountable for their actions, but I agree with what the young lady commented.  IT IS OUR FAULT AS WOMEN FOR ALLOWING THE MAN TO CONTINUOUSLY DO US WRONG. Yes, rightfully the man should be upfront and honest about his intentions, but we know that is not how the world works. Some men, the users, the cheaters, etc. can see women’s weaknesses and prey on them selling them dreams and as a result, we fall for words and not actions. However, the actions were there all along and we ended up selling ourselves a dream. Men should not be mad because they knew they were playing games and hoodwinking us, but it is our fault for allowing it to begin with. When the signs are there, believe what is being shown and not the fantasy that is created in our heads. Mostly all women fall victim to this behavior at some point or another. When we realize what is happening and words and actions do not match up, we should try to escape the situation as soon as possible. We stay hoping that things could change or get better and we end up wasting more time. No matter how much time you have invested, there is always strength in leaving. It is never too late. The man you want is out there and will treat you like the Queen you are. I have been in a situation like this and after a lot of reflection and self-evaluation, I had to acknowledge that it was my fault for staying and ignoring signs that other women would have run at the first sign of. You cannot change anyone who does not want to change or who does not see an issue with their actions. No amount of talking can change a person who does not want to change. The best apology you can give yourself for tolerating toxic behavior such as this for so long is to leave and move on.

PS: If any of you are interested, the book is “Trust and Issues” by Danielle Marcus.