Don’t Microwave It. Put Your Dating Experience In the Slow Cooker

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Microwave Love Isn’t For Me

No wonder relationships don’t last, and dates are so short-lived. A lot of us want that microwave love. It’s all pre-packaged and ready to go within 30 seconds. In our fast-paced lives, we don’t want to slow down, mute the distractions, and cultivate our relationships. We don’t want to invest the time and effort needed to really learn and understand someone. As a result, once you open the package, the picture on the box is hardly the way it really looks inside. Yet we’re shocked. It was a 30 second meal! What did you expect? We want slow-cooked taste, in 30 seconds or less. We want a 5-star restaurant feel, in drive-thru efficiency. And, we will keep getting the same bad tasting, falsely advertised, negative results… until we learn that nothing worth having comes pre-processed.

Slow Cook Your Dating Experience

When it comes to dating, most of us want the result to end in companionship (or marriage).  So why in the world do we expect symmetry to occur without doing the, “work” involved?

You know what? Let’s not use the word, “work.” Let’s say, “process.” Because, while dating, you are going through a process.  A process that cannot be on microwave speeds.  This process is slow-cooked.

Remember, you are getting to know an entirely new being that comes with new experiences, personality traits, pet peeves, habits (good and bad), etc.  So, that process takes time.  The amount of time is relative, but no matter who it is, they will need, “time” to get to know, and understand.  A rapport needs to be built.  Channels of communication need to be established.  You simply cannot get to know someone on microwave speeds.  Slow-cooking is the only way.

Step 1: Let It Marinate

Like Martin Lawrence says…”let it marinate.” Let your dating experience, “soak.” Let all the seasoning absorb.  This way you will have time to process what you’re doing, and what you’ve learned. As a result, you will make better decisions about moving forward.

Also, this will give you the necessary time to appreciate the process of getting to know a new person. So many people say…”I can’t stand starting over.” Trust me, I totally get that. However, if you make dating fun, it can be a worthwhile experience.  Enjoy the conversations before the date. Get as much information as you can to learn about the other person (make sure you ask the necessary questions listed here )… then, “let it marinate.”

Step 2: Pre-Heat Your Oven

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Photo Credit: Taylor Kiser

Now is the time where you will prepare for the first date.  If you did your homework, asked questions, provided information, shared and opened up freely, you should have a good idea of who it is you are about to go on a date with.

If you spent enough time in marinate-mode, you should feel a bit more at ease about spending time with this person.  Anxiety will always be there, don’t worry, it’s normal.  However, the amount of time wasted on dating will be limited since you are on slow-cooker speed, vs microwave.

As daters, we tend to have a few conversations and jump straight into romantic situations (microwave speed), when, we need to cultivate first, to see if this person is even a good complement for us.  They could be a good person, but this doesn’t mean they are a solid match for us.

Step 3: Slow Cook The Process

When I say, “slow,” I don’t necessarily mean, “go-slow.” I mean, take your time.  So, the time that it takes is totally up to you.  Just don’t microwave through the process and expect the results to be same as slow-cooking.

When you slow-cook food, the seasoning is allowed to penetrate.  The meat becomes tender and more flavorful.  We all know, there’s nothing like a slow-cooked meal.

That being said, make sure you don’t let the, warm-and-fuzzy feelings get the best of you.  Stay focused on the goal, and always keep things in perspective.  Discuss your goals and aspirations, pet peeves, your family, and most of all, talk about how a relationship looks to you.  Give the other person a detailed account of what you need (and some of what you want).  You probably shouldn’t do all of this on the first date, and hopefully you’ve discussed a lot of these things before going out.  However, if you didn’t, make sure you ask some of the most important questions, and generate conversation around them.  Don’t get, too serious.  Do what feels right in the flow of the dialogue between you two.

Lastly, laugh, and laugh some more!

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Stop Rushing Me

Can I just say that I don’t understand what the rush is? I had my therapy session a couple of weeks ago and had two good things come out of it that I need to work on, but one of the things that came up was my relationship with Mr. C. My therapist wanted to know a little bit about him. Not much. She said we’ll delve into that in future sessions.

But, the first thing I said was “He’s wonderful. He’s kind. He’s patient. He’s smart. He allows me to grow into this space feeling safe and secure and doesn’t push me to do anything.” She laughed. I told her that we’d discussed marriage, but that I had explained that I needed a couple more years of dating and being his girlfriend before I wanted to take that walk down the aisle again.

I began to explain all the points that I mentioned to my friends in the last month:

  • Even though I was separated over 3 years, the ink just dried on my divorce papers.
  • I’m enjoying being a girlfriend. The longest that I’ve ever been a girlfriend is 1 year. I need about 3 years.
  • There are definitely things you have to do when you’re a wife that you don’t have to do being a girlfriend. I’m not ready to do those things.
  • We’ve both done this before so we’re in no rush.
  • I have goals and things that I want to accomplish prior to taking that walk down the aisle again.
  • We are both seeking God and not man’s opinion on what He believes we should do in regards to our future.

Yep, I’ve had to say those things to well-meaning friends who think that I should just jump back in the married category. Um, no! I love the fact that my friends think so highly of marriage that they want to see me in it, but why are you rushing me? He and I don’t want anymore children so my biological clock isn’t ticking and we just want to enjoy this state. Our way. In our time.

My therapist said that it is biblical that we get married after two years. One year of courting and getting to know each other and one year to prepare for that wedding. I told her that was whack! I said that he and I are seeking God individually and collectively for confirmation on anything with our relationship and not relying on man’s interpretation to decide what’s best.

I’m exasperated. I’ve been married and now I’m divorced. Let me love the man that God has sent and just enjoy getting to know him. I’m not alone in this package. Munch is with me and so is Mr. C’s son. We, have to take the journey in our time. So, why the rush?

 

We’re Self-Destructing

This is a continuation from my post on Friday Raising Our Girls

What happens when you grow up witnessing a woman conquering and doing everything she can by providing for her family? What happens when there is no man in the picture to help you see that there are roles and rules to a relationship? What happens when you are a girl and you have a strong woman as your role model, but not a strong male to look up to?

Now, before you go all in on me about T, there are different types of relationships, let me stop you. You’re absolutely right. I’m just talking about my experience and the experience of many women like me who saw the strong woman taking care of her family but an absentee father.

This is for us…

We are self-destructing in relationships.

I said it. Don’t be ashamed. Just breathe.

We need to understand that in the dating world we are self-destructing ourselves with this independent woman attitude. There’s nothing wrong with being able to financially support ourselves and our families. There’s nothing wrong with independence, feminism or anything designed to keep us equal.

The issue is that we’re sending the wrong message when we start referring to men as scrubs and counting off our money and accomplishments to men as though we’re better than them. We didn’t fight for equality to brag. We deserve everything we’ve earned. But, where are we letting our men know that we want and need them?

You want a man to chase you? Chase what? Your money? Your titles? Your accomplishments? No. Of course not. You want a man who wants to be with you. Just you and all of your multiple personalities.

Because ladies, we have them and we want to find someone who will love each and everyone of them. But, we have to treat him right. We have to make him feel as though we are partners. That we are truly his rib and we will work along side him to provide a wonderful opportunity for our family and community.

Don’t hide your successes, but don’t make him feel like he would be another accessory to your already busy and successful life. Let him chase the woman behind the make-up, business meetings and countless awards. That’s the woman that he will fall in love with. The woman that lets him look inside her soul and love that piece that no one knows is there.

We need to be clear of what we want from our men. Our expectations. Our hard lines. All these things need to be discussed. We also need to respect the role of our men. Don’t have an attitude that says “I can break or buy another you in a heartbeat. Heck, I can buy a better version of you”. It may be true, but trust me that attitude will get us left and heartbroken quickly.

Men need to feel wanted. Appreciated and respected. Does he have to be the breadwinner of your relationship? Nope. But, both of you need to have a clear understanding of your needs and wants. If you’re like me and you need more of an emotional supporter, you need to tell him that. You need to court him and find out can he provide you with that need. If not, keep it moving.

Stop saying you don’t need a man. Nope, no one needs a man. But, if you want a man, you’re destroying your chances by proclaiming to everyone that you don’t want a man. A man doesn’t want a woman with a wicked tongue. I know. I’ve had some of the slickest things come out of my mouth and they can destroy a man’s self-esteem.

I had to learn to step out of my own way. I wanted a good man. I wanted a man who would court my spirit. I wanted a man who could provide both financially and emotionally. I wanted a partner who understood my needs and could articulate his own needs to me. Roles have changed today. We all need to adapt.

No longer is the man the sole provider for his family. He could b a stay at home dad to his children. He could be going to grad school while you are a practicing attorney. He could be a man who works hard but doesn’t make a lot of money. Whatever package he comes in sis, I need you to stop the self-destruction of your relationships and start appreciating the man you choose.

Please note that I’m not telling you to give the 35 year old man that is unemployed and peddling his rap Cd’s at the corner store a chance. Unless you want to. No judgement. But, be open to the man that God has destined for you. He may not come ready to use out the box. You may have to assemble him some.

Love is fluid and kind. We have to practice being more appreciative and demanding respect. In our speaking, in our dressing, in our beings. Let us speak life into our men and in our relationships. Be vulnerable. Share the painful stories. Open up. Trust.

Go deep and let him know your insecurities. When it is all said and done, I promise you that he will love you even more. That he will truly look at you. See you and know that he has found a good thing.

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The Lost Art of Courting

Check out this great post that I wrote in 2014. I still feel the same and I think we should all realize what we want when dating.

A Thomas Point of View

A couple of days ago I posted a piece about Dating vs. Hooking Up and what that was like. Now, I want to focus on the art of courtship. I’m from the south. Yeah, Tennessee! A small town in fact. I was raised with all kind of rules and regulations about the things that southern ladies don’t do. But, somewhere along the line, we have seemingly lost our ways in continuing this tradition. Why and how did this happen?

Some may blame it on reality TV, social media or the news, but is that really accurate? Can’t we still teach our young lady and men etiquette by utilizing the technology we have today? Can’t we educate them on the importance of courting before doing the “hook-up”? How about creating hashtags called #courting, #wooyou, #nohookups or is that a pipe dream? Everytime someone did one of these things, you would hashtag…

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The Beginning

It always starts off nice. You know when you meet someone and they seem to be a good person? An admirable, stand up, good looking man with a sense of humor that just gets my quirky and nerdy ways. You laugh, you flirt and you speak constantly. The ebb and flow of the conversation is perfect. It is just how you imagined.

You see him share pieces of his childhood, bear his soul about his last failed relationship, discuss his dreams and you stop, smile and daydream that this could be happening. That you could actually find someone that you want to spend quality time getting to know. That you could have found “the one” who you could introduce to your girlfriends, your family and your son.

Your smile is infectious over dinner. Your laugh is contagious when you go bowling. You enjoy being in his presence while smoking a cigar at the bar sipping your champagne slowly. You look into his eyes and see that this…this could be the beginning of happiness.

Then you stop. You stutter. You catch yourself because you know that you’ve been here before. You’ve watched a man “woo and court you” only to end up where you started. Alone. Alone is not bad. Alone is just lonely.

So, I will just enjoy the ride and go with the flow. I might be staring into my future or living in the present with someone designed to bring out the best in me. It gets easier to determine which is which when I take my time. Patience is the key.

Because dating sucks!

The Lost Art of Courting

A couple of days ago I posted a piece about Dating vs. Hooking Up and what that was like. Now, I want to focus on the art of courtship. I’m from the south. Yeah, Tennessee! A small town in fact. I was raised with all kind of rules and regulations about the things that southern ladies don’t do. But, somewhere along the line, we have seemingly lost our ways in continuing this tradition. Why and how did this happen?

Some may blame it on reality TV, social media or the news, but is that really accurate? Can’t we still teach our young lady and men etiquette by utilizing the technology we have today? Can’t we educate them on the importance of courting before doing the “hook-up”? How about creating hashtags called #courting, #wooyou, #nohookups or is that a pipe dream? Everytime someone did one of these things, you would hashtag it on social media. It could create a firestorm of getting back to the basics of dating. What’s the rush? Why not want to take your time and get to know people before rushing into something to only find out that the person is not the one for you? Wouldn’t it be simplier to just take a stroll hand in hand down by the harbor instead of going to Morton’s? How about ice cream after a friendly game of basketball? Have men and women lost their ability to be simple and take time courting each other before going out to expensive restaurants with dessert (aka sex) at home?

A couple of days ago, I got into a very friendly and informative back and forth discussion with a gentleman about the problems with black men and black women when it comes to dating. Some things are universal regardless of race. Both men and women want decent people that they enjoy spending time with that are loyal, honest, respectful, etc. You can add more to your list. But, what we discovered in our own conversations that there are a lot of things that men and women both do in the dating process that has created a culture of hook-ups and not courting. Men have lost the art of courting and women don’t know how to be courted.

Courting as a verb is defined as “to seek the affections of; woo”. So, what does it mean to woo someone? Woo is defined as “to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage.” Now, that we are all clear on the definitions, can someone please tell me how we lost the art of courting someone and began hooking up? How is a hook up ever going to lead to marriage? If marriage is not your final destination, what is so good about a hook-up? Isn’t that one tracked mentality destroying us as women and men?

When Steve Harvey’s book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” hit shelves in January 2009, women were suddenly awakened to all the things they were doing wrong and how men react. Now, I’m not judging the opinions of Steve’s assertions or suggestions, but some of the fundamental lessons were taught to me by my mother and grandmother before I even knew who Steve was. All of this information wasn’t new. But, now that a man was reaffirming these lessons, it must be true. What happened to using common sense ladies? All men or women weren’t created equally, but did we somehow lose the ability to think for ourselves?

I will keep saying it: courting takes time. Slow things down. Be simple and stop hooking up. Let’s go back to respecting each other and having morals when it comes to dating. Let’s be respectful, honest and of good character. Courting is a symbiotic relationship between two people and it doesn’t mean that the man has to spend all of his money dating you to figure out whether or not you’re good enough. Cheap dates, walks and exercise are great ways to tell if the person is someone you would like to even see on a regular basis. Find ways to court without the drama of hooking up. We’re too old to be “hooking up” anyway.

Oh and for all you men out here who think you know what the majority of women want, here’s the truth:

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