Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

A More Mature Me

Posted: December 1, 2008 in Life Lessons, Relationships

[Disclaimer: This post was originally started on Nov. 8]

One of the toughest challenges for any guy is trying to understand and connect with the female species. Even in our best efforts to please and make women happy, there will forever be a disconnect simply because we are wired.

That’s life and the sooner we as men realize this and understand that, the better our friendships and relationships with the opposite sex will thrive.

However, in many cases, whether having grown up with sisters or having numerous close female friends some of us already are aware that there are contrasting differences that, no matter how much we read and how hard we try, we just will never think the same, react the same or take the same approach to any select subject.

Because of this, many of us men use that excuse in relationships to cover up for the real problem — our lack of maturity.  That fact is often times much more damaging than the problems that our emotional and psychological differences can create.

At 26, I certainly fall victim to this. While I have definitely “grown up” and am much better than years past, I recognize that there is work to be done. They way I handle situations, they way I react and the way I live in general.  And perhaps most important, it’s affected my relationship.

The Moose is a tad older than I. It’s something that has been in the open since the day we met. Fortunately, it was something that was never held against me — to my knowledge at least. But over the course of our friendship and relationships, there have been times were my maturity, or better yet lack thereof, has caused speed bumps.

The problem is, many times I don’t even recognize it …and she does. To me, my thoughts are my thoughts and I believe strongly in them. Perhaps because of my lack of maturity I don’t see the “big picture” which can be frustrating to her and any other woman.  So no matter how stubborn I may be, I have to realize that there’s room for improvement — room to get better.

It’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes to know that there’s room for improvement. It’s even harder to accept that your immaturity is frustrating someone you care about, whether it’s your friends, family or the woman you love.

But I accept it. Aside from relationships, maturing should be an everyday goal in life. And, it’s one of my daily goals — to become a better, more mature man. I do this to better myself, and in return, people, including her, will hopefully see the results.

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Friend or Foe

Posted: August 6, 2008 in Men vs. Women, Relationships

“I’m not a biter, I’m a writer for myself and others…”  Jay-Z

In the blogosphere, it’s not uncommon to get an idea for a post by reading someone else’s blog. For me, when I’m experiencing writer’s block, I sometimes scroll along my blog reads in search of some inspiration to get started.

For a better part of the summer, the first lady kept a poll on her blog asking the question: Can men and women truly be platonic without attraction? The choices we, the reader, had were 1. Absolutely, 2. Hell Naw, 3. Perhaps.

The poll was open for at least 20 days and I was always curious as to how the voting was coming along. While she doesn’t have a huge following on her blog, it’s a enough to generate good traffic and ignite healthy discussion. So when the polls closed a few weeks ago, I was curious to see the results.

Hell Naw: 9 votes

Absolutely: 7 votes

Perhaps: 5 votes

Interesting.

While voting was and still is confidential, I’ll admit I voted for “Hell Naw” and am not at the least surprised by the results.

From a man’s perspective, since the beginning of time, we have been attracted to females. We like the way they look, talk, walk, smell and umm…taste.  Heterosexual men spend a lifetime chasing women, often succeeding and often embarrassing ourselves in the process. But we want what they’ve got and I’d like that think, in many cases, the feeling is mutual.

So I believe that it’s extremely difficult to maintain a platonic friendship with the opposite sex without attraction. To be clear, by “attraction” I don’t mean sexual tension or even the idea that you want to have sex with said person. I believe that attraction in this situation is the acknowledgement that you find said person interesting and good looking and, if the situation presented itself to “take your friendship to the next level;”, you wouldn’t turn it down.

I’ve discussed and debated this subject with the Moose on several occasions and she believes women are easily able to differentiate the two than men are. And I tend to agree. I believe women are able to maintain the “just friends” tag and leave it at that. Whereas us men, always ignorant, tend to think that if a woman wants to hang out with us and spend time with us, she’s “in to” us. This may totally not be the case, but that’s how a lot of us think, even if we know said female may already be in a relationship and she may be just cool with us.

So when men are skeptical about their wives/girlfriends/SOs having “serious” platonic relationship, it can often be perceived as jealous or possessive, when if fact we are just viewing the situation from a man’s point of view and are simply warning the female to be cautious and not be naive.

Because for both men and women, every smile received from the opposite sex is not given with good intentions.

I have about a 20 minute drive to and from work. In the morning, that time is used to first of all, wake up, and to get in the mindset to start my day. I spend  of that ride listening to the radio, either the Tom Joyner Morning Show, or the local station. You never know what they will be talking about from one day to another.

Thursday, the topic was sex and relationships  – a very generic discussion, but interesting nonetheless. The debate centered around how much does sex matter in relationship, or does it matter at all.

One of the morning show ladies was adamant in her opinion that before she gets ‘serious’ with a man, she must have some idea of what he’s working with. To her, if she catches feelings and then, he comes up short in the bedroom, there’s a problem. She’d have a hard time (no pun intended) getting past that.  This particular day, one of the guests was a local pastor who is on the radio from time to time. He tried to get the panel to think outside of the box and understand the importance of getting to know a person and how making love spiritually and mentality can be “more appropriate alternatives”

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Many relationships have crumbled because there was no substance, just sex. And while the satisfaction was there for oh 20-25 minutes, after that many couples have been left with a feeling of emptiness because there was nothing else to relationship.

As for me personally, I, like most guys could have sex everyday, but I don’t.  As beautiful as it is, I recognize the importance of getting to know the significant other on many different levels, not just in the bedroom. The greatest stimulation can be conversation, non verbal communication and especially non-sexual intimacy. Because you’re in tune with more than a person’s body, that enhances the sex, in my opinion. So I don’t get blinded by the nookie, you can’t get caught up.

Sometime ago, the Moose and I were having a late breakfast at one of our favorite spots in town. Nothing out of the ordinary, just one of our usual weekend outings. As is the norm, along with our brunch came a side of deep conversation.  It is not unusual for this to happen. Because of our schedules, we rarely get to engage each other in “intense” conversation during the week. So, whenever we get a chance, we take advantage.

This particular day, the conversation centered around faith, spirituality and church. At this particular time both of us were struggling with each and were looking for support and reinforcement as we continue to improve and grow spiritually and in life. As the conversation progressed, she asked me something to the effect of why it is I am reactive versus proactive when it comes to church. Basically, she wanted to know why I always wait on her to mention church and seemingly only go when she suggests it.

Admittedly, there are times when I get like a cat in a corner and get defensive when I feel like I’m being attacked. Especially when I feel strongly about something. And while I have good intentions and only want to express my point of view, sometimes when I respond, my approach is not as appropriate as it could be.

Nonetheless, I expressed to the Moose that I did, prior to meeting her, did go to church on the regular and that she nor our relationship impacted my church going. Whether she brought in up or not, in the end, it was my decision to go or not to go. She understood.

I grew up in the church. In the words of Steve Harvey, it was church all the time. And, as a child, I had no choice. I was exposed to church and after a while, I got used to it. It wasn’t until I left home for college that it was truly up to me whether I attended or not. It wasn’t until then when I really became able to realize and decipher my opinions on church with out feeling the “pressure” of family to make it feel like I HAD to go. This is not to say that I stopped going altogether, because I tried and still do try to attend and worship on the regular.

But on this Saturday, I opened up to the Moose that where I am now, it’s just as important that I live my life in way that people I encounter on a daily basis will see something positive in me and will be impacted in a good way. To me, that’s just as important as being in church every Sunday morning. There are some in church all the time, yet I see no sign of Jesus in their daily walk. To me, that’s the challenge of my ministry. I want to be able to show through my life, that there’s something about me that some people may want to emulate to make their lives better.

If I can help someone or be a positive influence on my brother or sister, that’s spreading to gospel in my opinion. So when I laugh, joke and am being happy-go-lucky, yes I’m being myself, but also I’m hoping others will try what has worked for me. Because when I see others blessed, I want to find out their secret as well.

 

Love Handles

Posted: April 20, 2008 in Relationships

Today after church, the Moose and I went to grab some lunch and talk about the sermon and what we have coming up this week. It was perhaps one of the most beautiful days thus far in the Northeast and the restaurant wasn’t crowded, which allowed us to enjoy a peaceful setting while we enjoyed our food and each other’s company.

One of the many things I love about the misses is how she engages me in conversation. To give a brief history lesson, I haven’t always been the most open person, especially in relationships. In the past, I’ve tended to keep a lot of things and thoughts bottled up inside, which isn’t condusive to a relationship or in general. But, thanks to her, I’ve improved drastically in that area.

In the past couple of months, as we continue to learn each other and become more comfortable with each other, we have had several “intense debates” on various topics. I can’t speak for her, but I love them, because she challenges my points of view and in turn we learn about each other and our beliefs/points of views.

Today, the “subject” was how we as men and women keep our physical appearances up and how that, or the lack thereof, affects our marriages, relationships, etc.  In general, it’s often interesting to see how men and women maintain their physique/figure once they get “comfortable” in their relationship and if they don’t, what, if anything, does that mean for the couple.

Obviously, I was speaking from a man’s point of view and my position was that I found it strange that sometimes women “let themselves go” and fail to maintain their figures and stay in shape. I questioned, as a man, aside from the inner beauty that every man admire first and foremost how am I supposed to be physically attracted to my girl/wife when she isn’t doing her part to “preserve the sexy” To me, physical intimacy is very important to any relationship and if nothing I see is “turning me on” things will be doormat.

To save my ass from the beautiful women who may read this and get offended, I said this bodes for men as well. If when said women meets her sculpted, attractive SO, I’m sure she expects him to stay in some sort of shape and not be a couch potato with a beer belly. What’s sexy about that? I shared with the Moose that I can’t expect my woman not the “shop around” if I’m not giving her something good to look at when’s she’s home.

The Moose, not disagreeing with me, played devil’s advocate and questioned how much should we even put on physical attraction anyways. Speaking from a woman’s standpoint, she advised that men should be careful if they choose to bring the subject up to their girls because that can be very troubling for a woman to hear that, especially if she’s not aware you feel that way.

So with that said, how much weight should we put in physical appearance. Once we “caught” our mate, should we not care how we look and whether our mate thinks we’re sexy anymore. Or should none of that matter?