He’s Not Your Man – Part 1

The other night I had dinner with my best friend. I’ve mentioned before that I have two best friends (a man and a woman) that I have known 30 years this year. We are ecstatic because honestly how many people keep in touch with people from 30 years ago? We remain constant and our communication is consistent.

My male best friend works nights so we don’t spend as much time because he just got full custody of his two children in January (I’ll write about that soon) and he’s busy ripping and running with his children. My female best friend and I get together a couple of times a month. With or without our children, we find time to get together and have girl time.

That being said, my male best friend decided to come over and hang out. We ended up going out to grab a quick bite to eat at Friday’s. I was catching up with him and we laughed and joked and had a real good time. Before dinner was served he looked up and said that he sees someone he knows, excused himself and went to greet his friend.

After dinner, a woman approached our table and began talking to him. I was paying no attention as I had looked at my phone. I heard him say “Listen, I’m not doing this here. I’m having dinner with my friend and you can either have a seat or leave.” He then said “T, this is C” and I waved at her and said “Hello.” She looked at me and said nothing.

Okay, I realized that this may have been one of his women and girlfriend was mad that we were spending less than two hours catching up. I continued to look at my phone and he repeated what he said. She left. I put my phone away and asked “What was that about?” He responded that it was one of the women that he is dating and she was mad because we were hanging out. He said that the woman that he spoke to earlier is her sister and her sister must have called her and said that he’s up here with another woman and she rushed up to check it out.

What? I was floored. Really girlfriend? I couldn’t believe that in this day in age with a woman in her 40’s that she would just show up and show out over a random.

A random is a man that you are dating and you have no actual relationship with. You may claim him, but he doesn’t claim you. He sleeps with you and he may or may not sleep with other women. 

In my friend’s case I asked him what was up. Was he sleeping with her? He said “Yeah, she’s cool but she has a lot of trust issues.” I asked “Does she know about me?” He responded “Yeah, I’ve told her about you and have had conversations with you in front of her so she knows that nothing is going on.”

Uh huh.

I began to ponder why women are threatened by other women and the process by which we assume that we are the only woman because we are sexing a man the majority of the time. I wanted to talk to this woman because I wanted her to know that there was no need to be threatened by me, but furthermore to let her know that she played herself. She played herself in front of me and in front of him.

Dating is a game. You need to learn not to play yourself. Now, I don’t think they are on the same page, I think she wants him to court her and he’s dating her. Jay talked about it in his post:  Courtship vs. Dating: The Breakdown

I gave him my two cents. I’m his best friend. Want to know what I told him? I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow.

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-To Be Continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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The Power of Constructive Conflict

Continuing from yesterday’s post entitled Cursing and Conflict

 

Mr. C is probably the best person for having healthy conflict. He believes in fair fighting. In case you didn’t know, Mr. C is a Beta male. I’m an Alpha female. We get along well. I’ll discuss the Beta Male comparison in another post, but the point is that Mr. C doesn’t believe in a whole lot of arguing, fussing, fighting or cursing. He isn’t disrespectful or cursing me out my name when we are in disagreement. He believes that two adults should be able to have a conversation and work through their issues. Sounds simple right?

In reality, it is simple with him. I spend a lot of time researching ways to effectively communicate with my love. I do this by investing in quality conversations. We discuss our feelings and we do relationship check-ins. Remember my fear of telling him that I didn’t want to marry or the fact that I didn’t want to buy a house or adopt children? It was an enormous amount of adjustments that he had to accept, but I had to make sure that we could communicate through it all without harboring negative feelings.

I’m a business woman and I think in terms of black and white. There are no shades of gray. Gray is indefinite and I need definite answers for everything. Yes, I know that I can’t always get what I want that way, but you can give me a time frame. Things need to be time bound and relevant to work with me.

That’s when I learned about constructive conflict and started using it in our relationship.

Constructive conflict refers to conflict in which the benefits exceed the costs; it generates productive, mutually beneficial, shared decisions. In constructive conflicts, the process becomes as important as the end result. Individuals come together to redefine or strengthen their relationship for the greater good of the parties involved. – Differences Between Destructive & Constructive Conflict by Colette L. Meehan

I was dealing with our communication and conflict from the only logical way that I could think of…the business sense. In constructive conflict we both see the benefits of communicating our needs effectively no matter the cost. We understand that no matter what we say that we will be able to work through it. We don’t argue, yell or curse each other out. There is no disrespect. Only a strengthening of our desire to make sure that we are tackling our issues together because together is the only outcome we want.

So, we focus on the process. It was weird at first because I never knew that you could have healthy conflict in relationships. Hell, I grew up in a loud and disrespectful environment and I was embarking on something I never had…peace. Peace of mind to know that the person you love isn’t your enemy and they can disagree with you without cursing you out or calling you out your name.

That’s it. He’s not my enemy. He’s my love. He’s my best friend. He’s the person that I trust with all the pain that I’ve endured to not belittle or discourage me. He’s my supporter. Knowing and accepting that allows me to understand how conflict can work and apply it in our relationship.

I’m not perfect. Neither of us is perfect, but we we are committed to focusing on our relationship and keeping it strong and healthy. We know that it is a process and we’ll keep working on it. Why? Because we’re worth it.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Cursing and Conflict

One of the things that I’m trying in my relationship with Mr. C is to make sure that we have constructive conflict. Conflict happens as part of any relationship. It’s normal. It’s natural. But, many people (myself included) either avoid conflict or we aren’t taught how conflict is supposed to work.

My marriage was an example of this. We didn’t have healthy conflict. We saw many therapists and one relationship therapist turned us on to Gottman’s method for couples :

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The goals of the Gottman method are “to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.”

It sounds awesome in theory, but it was hard to do.  We didn’t get too far. It wasn’t our therapist fault. I got put on bed rest and couldn’t continue in the therapy sessions. My pregnancy was high risk so I didn’t want to discuss stressful things that could endanger my baby. So, I chose to stop it. The baby’s life was more important to me than working on my marriage.

I stifled the pain and frustrations of my marriage and focused on my baby. I was determined to carry my pregnancy to term so we in essence avoided the conflict. It wasn’t healthy. It was unsettling. We didn’t fight fair. Our foundation wasn’t built on solid ground and it began to crack after Munch was born.

We couldn’t communicate to save our lives. Neither of us had learned how to effectively communicate in relationships and that has moved into a major reason why we don’t communicate well now. Good communication is essential to anything you want to do in a relationship and let’s be real…co-parenting is a relationship.

I realized that I couldn’t do it alone with co-parenting, but I had to shift how I let things affect me. However, in my relationship with Mr. C this shift in poor communication was not something that I was willing to sacrifice. I was okay being alone. Learning how to communicate mainly through texts and emails was something I’ve gotten used to in co-parenting, but I needed a man that would talk to me, lead me and love me through our issues. Especially those that involved communication.

I am learning to be more open with Mr. C. To express my discontent on issues or frustrations in a way that he will hear me, but not make me feel as though I’m blowing things out of a proportion. I needed to make sure that we are practicing healthy communication behaviors. So, I did what I do best and began to research effective ways to communicate and how to have healthy conflict resolution.

I focused on my communication skills and wanted to research “fair fighting” and healthy conflict. I needed to know how to communicate my dissatisfaction in a relationship without it escalating into World War III. I wanted to be able to increase intimacy, respect and affection like in the Gottman method without either of us cussing each other out and I wanted to make sure that we understood our end goal was always to be heard and respected.

-To Be Continued-

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.0

Too Scared to Jump

In yesterday’s post entitled I Don’t Want That, I told you that I didn’t think I ever wanted to get married again and I knew that I loved Mr. C.  I was confused because I knew what I thought we wanted, but I was hesitating. I thought that we wanted forever. But, was that reality? Could I still have that and not be willing to compromise my belief about being a wife again? I was unsure and I still had some more declarations to make.

I told him that I didn’t want to adopt any children. I stayed firm that the little six year old girl he wanted us to adopt wasn’t going to happen. At least not with me. I didn’t want anymore children. The custody battle has taken a toll on me and I didn’t want to bear or raise any more children other than the ones we bring into a relationship.

I reminded him that we agreed to raise our boys and adoption wasn’t mentioned. I explained that I respected that his opinion may have changed and if he wanted to break-up then I would understand. He laughed and said “That was before you decided you didn’t want to marry me. I’m not bringing a child into an unmarried home. It’s okay.” I sighed. “Thank God.” He said “It’s like you’re always trying to break up with me.”

“No.” I firmly stated. I would never want this love to end. It provides some of the best nourishment for my soul. It does. I’ve met the man that my soul longs for.

But, this man never seems to surprise me. A couple of nights later we were talking about a house deal that he was considering and then he asked me “Are you going to buy a house with me?” I stuttered “Umm, yeah”. I got off the phone and called my best friend. I was freaking out now.

She laughed at me and told me to tell him how I feel. Share with him my thoughts and insecurities. I did. I called him back and said “Yes, someday, but there were still some relationship milestones that I wanted to achieve before we lived together – the main one Munch.”

I needed him to develop his relationship with my son first and foremost. I needed him and Munch to truly know each other before we lived together as I was a package deal. This child of mine mattered more to me than anything in the world and although he really liked Mr. C, he didn’t know him. I accept my role in that.

I actually slow walked that greeting and even alone time. I just announced a couple of months ago that they could hang out without me. Yes, it’s true. We’ve been dating for over two years and I was just now ready for them to spend some time alone without me.

I needed to be sure. Sure that he understood how much I loved him, but sure that he understood that my priority to my son was of utmost importance. He understood.

The thing is though, I think that his feelings were hurt. We had dinner last week and I was sitting there smiling and holding his hands and telling him how much I missed him. He responded “Yeah, cause you told me that you didn’t want to marry me or buy a house with me.”

I knew then that I had hurt his feelings. I told him how I felt and we’ve since worked it out. He understands now. I never wanted to hurt his feelings, but I knew that I still had some work to do on me.

I am working on me. I’m working on us. Good, bad or indifferent this is where I find myself. Standing on the mountain top with the man I love – afraid to take the jump.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

I Don’t Want That

Last week, in my post Marriage Isn’t For Everyone I told you that I’m freaking out because I’m not sure that I want to get married again. EVER. Not that I’m unsure about Mr. C.

He’s actually the only thing that I’m positive about when it comes to imagining my future. He’s the known. It’s the unknown that scares me.

In that, I’ve been having a lot of anxiety around our future. Last week we had a conversation and I shared with him how I was unsure of whether or not I wanted marriage again and asked could he be okay with that. I explained that I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, but I didn’t know if I was the marrying type.

I told him that we’d essentially been there and done that and I asked would he be willing to be with me and live with me at some point with no prospect of marriage. He paused. He always pauses when asked deep and introspective questions, but this pause seemed to drag on for eternity.

He asked “What will we tell Munch?” I responded “The truth. That families come in all different forms and that we are a family and the love we have for each other supersedes. I’ll tell him that we love each other and maybe we’ll get married some day, but at this point, I don’t want too. I want to live and build a home and a family with you.” He asked could he get 24 hours to think about it. I agreed.

We resumed our conversation and he said that he could accept that I may never want to marry one day. He wanted to know would it be one-sided. Basically, if I woke up one day and said “Hey, let’s get married now and he didn’t want too would I be okay with that.” I paused. I hadn’t thought about that. I assumed that he would be okay with a “Hey, let’s get married now announcement.” But was it really fair? No. So, I told him “Yeah, I have no choice. It’s both of us. It’s about our family and our legacy.” He said he was fine with it.

I didn’t know if I believed him or not. I gave him a lot of information to process. I prayed that he understood that I loved him, wanted to be with him, raise my son with him and grow old. However, the male ego is precious and I didn’t know if my declaration about not wanting marriage would roar it’s ugly head in another way. Was I really being fair to him if we wanted two different things?

– To Be Continued –

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

 

Marriage Advice From A Divorcee

Late last year I read on Facebook a post from a “friend” that stated that he didn’t want to hear marriage advice from a divorced person. I was stunned. Wow! Since when did being divorce mean that you couldn’t give advice and probably better advice since you’re away from the responsibility of marriage?

But, I realized he wasn’t alone. Many people feel that way. They see divorced people as pariahs with no real value or definitely not advice that could be imparted on those that are married. What could you possibly have to say to me seeing as though your own marriage failed?

Honestly? We can say a lot.

See, I recognized the failure of my marriage. The marriage between two people that should have never gotten married, but believe that love would make everything alright. Love would sustain us. We were delusional. Love is never enough.

I had this awakening of spirit last weekend as I watched my brother marry. It was a beautiful wedding surrounded by beautiful people who loved the couple. The preacher encouraged them to keep God first because love wasn’t enough.

That’s where I find myself today offering these words to encourage/inspire you to take my advice and use it as you please. Moving from a wonderful moment to an epiphany of hope for people who want to marry. Words of wisdom and advice are all I have to offer and I pray that you are encouraged by these five pieces of advice:

5 Pieces of Advice for Your Marriage:

  1. Keep God First! This is the biggest and most important advice that I can give. I literally sat there in tears when my ex-husband and I talked to the pastor at the end of our marriage. He asked “Where was God in your marriage?” I sat there crying. We left God out. We had literally turned our backs on our faith and chose to do it alone. That is the worst thing you can do. Sometimes all you can do is just pray for your spouse. Get on your knees and cry out “God we need you. Something is going on and we need you to protect our house and our family.” Keep God first.
  2. Don’t leave. You can’t leave your house and stay out overnight if you are mad. No way. No how. Your marital home is a place of safety. If you leave the home and stay out all night you are literally inviting trouble into your marriage. You have to trust that whatever is happening, that you two will get through it. If you are a man leaving and staying out all night? How are you leading the family if you are leaving them unprotected? Nothing is solved by staying out all night. Stay and fight for your family.
  3. Keep the established routine. Some couples have a “No going to bed angry” and others have a “We don’t spend more than 3 days away from each other” policy. If your spouse travels a lot how do you keep it fresh? Your marriage? How do you make time for each other? How do you find the time to pour into your marriage what he/she needs. If you have a weekly “anything goes in the bedroom routine” you need to keep it. Everyone likes the established and agreed upon patterns. Keep your routines.
  4. Don’t say all you can say. This was the best piece of advice that a girlfriend of mine had given to me after I told her that I was divorcing. She said “I’m sorry to hear that. Don’t say all you can say.” I was confused and asked her to clarify. She said “Don’t say all you can say because you can’t take it back no matter what.” She was right. So, fight fair and focus on the issues. No name calling and remember don’t say all you can say. No amount of apologies can repair that damage.
  5. Do marriage check-ins. You need to do this. Preferably outside of when you’re discussing bill money or tough issues. I suggest quarterly. I suggest that you go into couples therapy quarterly to make sure that all is well with both of you. Make sure you are sharpening your skills to listen and advocate for a deeper and stronger connection with your spouse. If your spouse says that you are not meeting their needs be okay with it. Listen to what their concerns are. Hear what they are telling you and ask follow-up questions. Be willing to take the good with the bad to improve the overall health of your marriage.

There are obviously many more things that I could suggest, but trust me your marriage is a business. You get paid (whether literally, emotionally or spiritually), there may be acquisitions (children or parents moving in) or restructuring (death of a family member) and furloughs (someone could lose their job).  How you deal with these issues by building a strong foundation will let you know whether or not your marriage will turn a profit that year or not. Love is only the beginning.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

 

 

Holding Crazy Accountable

I’m in a lot of Facebook groups and one thing that I come across a lot is that “women are crazy” comment. Whether it be in a dating situation that’s gone bad or in co-parenting situations – women are the root cause of the problem. LOL. Are we always the problem or do people not hold themselves accountable for their choices?

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I’ve always believed that there are three sides to every story. His, hers and the truth. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. But, many people don’t accept accountability for their actions and like to blame everyone else for their shortcomings instead of looking back at the man or woman in the mirror. Are you that type of person?

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I hate when men say that women are crazy. Heck, men are crazy. People are crazy and in reality anyone can have a crazy moment and just lose their minds on you. These are called traumatic events, love.

No, for real, we all have the ability and power to lose our minds occasionally. Haven’t you done or said something you’re not proud of out of anger? Does that make you crazy or just annoyed and out of bounds? I think there is a difference.

When dating men that say that their ex is crazy, I ask a lot of questions. You should too. I ask some of the following questions:

  • What types of things did she do that were “crazy”?
  • What did you do preceding these “crazy outbursts”?
  • Did you break-up after she showed you her “crazy” side? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe that you are an enabler?
  • Did you seek therapy after the break-up?
  • Did she experience trauma that changed her mental health? Was there a death of a parent, child or close friend/relative?

You can learn a lot about a person just by asking questions. You can learn whether or not they take responsibility or accountability for their actions? How many of us do that in dating and/or in our relationships? Go deeper when getting to know someone. Men can be vague, but you have to know who you are dealing with so you can get beyond the surface.

You know how I feel about accountability. I know that many people will tell you to not ask about prior relationships, but I want to know. How a man talks and treats women in his life: his mother, his ex wife, ex girlfriend or child’s mother gives me an indication of how he views women. Does he talk about her always in a negative light? Why? Is he taking accountability for his part?

I’ve always said that it takes two people to get married and two people to get divorced. Two people make a conscious choice to have a relationship and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but rarely is one person truly blameless. If you are is it that you ignored the cracks in your relationship hoping and praying that ignorance is truly bliss? Then when the relationship disintegrated around you did you lose it?

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Playing the blame game doesn’t get you far. Accountability is important not just in life but in our relationships as well. How can you strengthen your relationship if you are not holding yourself and each other accountable for the success and/or failure of it? You can’t and maybe just maybe you are the crazy one.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.