Sorry, This is Why You Can’t Be Friends With Your Exes

This topic comes up every now and again, and although I have my strong opinion about being friends with an ex, I always like to do research to see what others say and experience when it comes to compartmentalizing and realigning matters of the heart.

I found numerous articles, but the one that I’m sharing today is a great article to read, especially for those of you who have tried and failed to remain friends with exes. Personally, I choose not to remain friends, that’s a story for another time, but I do know that in rare cases it is possible.

I found Jen Kim’s article “Sorry, But This is Why You Can’t Be Friends with Your Ex” online at Psychology Today.

If you have a healthy, platonic friendship with clear and distinct boundaries, that never or rarely impacts your current love relationship—then this article isn’t for you.

It’s for the 80-plus percent of people out there (that’s my random unproven calculation by the way) who have struggled and failed, or are currently struggling to maintain connections with people they once thought they would love forever (or longer than a season of their favorite tv show).

—

>Screening of Prospective Black Husbands: The No-Win Negotiation Table

>So a guy I know, posted this video/movie from YouTube on Facebook and I have to admit that it is beyond hilarious and sad at the same time. While I laughed, I also felt uncomfortable because I know that this has been the problem with me, friends, relatives, associates, and complete strangers for quite some time. 

We’re taught to set high standards for ourselves and for those that enter our lives, but what we overlook is that these lists of prerequisites are oftentimes too long, too complicated, and highly illogical. We play up our lists with these romantic undertones, while at the same time we lace them with arsenic that destroys any chance of us not only finding these men, keeping these men, but being happily in love with them for the long-term…and having this love reciprocated. 

We’ve stepped our game up in our educational and career pursuits, but then dumbed ourselves down with superficiality. We’ve ignored our personal list of flaws that make us undesirable. We want to be selective as to which of God’s commands and examples we want to follow, not wanting to “honor and obey”- wanting to call ourselves ‘virtuous’, but living the life as anything but the proverbial virtuous woman! We are determined to call ourselves ‘independent’- yet we want a man to basically take care of us. We want his money to be our money, and our money to be…our money. We want to question what he does, when he does it, and who he’s doing it with- but we refuse to “answer to him”. Our children together, that he helped in conceiving, somehow become “my children” because we spend more time with them than he does (even though the nanny most likely spends more time with them than anyone). 

We want our husbands to bring in the six and seven figure loaves of bread, keep us in the latest fashions and cars, splurge on us, but we want him to be home with us the majority of the time, that doesn’t make sense! Make up your mind. Heck, when I look at this movie I’m no longer surprised that Black men are running scared, hiding away, doing dirt behind our backs, or now raising their standards to trump us and say, “now what are you bringing to the table Miss Independent?”

I’m no longer trying to be independent and I’m definitely not dependent. I’m interdependent. Refer to my earlier posts when I wrote the series on relationships, and the types we fall into. Independent means you stand on your own, don’t want or need help, and you’re closed off to the idea of a relationship being a true partnership- but with the man as the leader. Dependent means you want someone to take care of your every desire and whim, and you have no desire to handle any real responsibilities because you are the ‘queen’. It’s all about you and what you’re getting out of the exchange. Your husband becomes the daddy you used to have, or worse, the one you never had- so he’s getting added pressure to perform. 

Interdependence is the reality that sometimes you need to breathe, sometimes you need help and need to lean on someone (and they can do the same in return), but you can also carry your own weight in a relationship. An interdependent person is a giver, not a taker. They look for opportunities where both people can grow together as a team, they are the co-pilot, but not co-dependent. That’s me! I’m not going to say I want a husband, then treat him like a roommate. At the same time, I’m not going to dump all of my responsibilities on him either. He’s your husband, not your servant. My student loans are not his, so while we have a household budget, any additional income that I bring in must go towards paying off my debt, not adding to my wardrobe or taking a trip with my girls, and definitely not expecting him to pay them for me. Bring me a man that’s cool with that, and I will make him the happiest man alive! 

Let me also address one other thing…if you don’t want your man’s eyes and feet to wander to another bed then I’d suggest you handle your business whenever, wherever, and however you can…get over yourself and what you don’t like, and “won’t do” because there are thousands of women who would jump at the chance to get their nasty little claws wrapped around him, and what you “won’t do” they will, happily!

Watch this video and see for yourself. Be honest sistas…if this is you, keep it real with yourself and with these men or you will forever be miserable and lonely. Because even if you find someone who you think meets your long list of must-haves, you will never truly be satisfied, and most definitely, he won’t either!   

Hey, I’m just keeping it real, all of the time!


Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved. 
Rights exclude attached video footage. 


>The Complexities of Relationships: Part Four

>I am learning a great deal about how others view male-female relationships, and the individual roles we assume within these unions. Some people see clearly defined roles, while others such as myself see autonomy in relationships as the healthy balance of both sides chipping in to do what it takes to get the job done. Well let’s continue where we left off yesterday. I stopped and looked in the mirror…


I saw that what these men said about me was accurate. I had awful communication skills, rudely chose to give my attention to my cell phone rather than the man I was dating, and I had a habit of “scheduling” men in to my life rather than having free time available to date. There’s a big difference when you have a “date night” scheduled than sending a man your calendar and telling him, “the highlighted time slots are when I’m available, so let me know when you want to hang out”. 

Ouch! Yes I did that.

Sounds similar to what my male counterparts are notoriously known for, but 
it’s seemingly more acceptable when they do it. I was so focused on my career, reaching my goals, and slowing down for no one, that I failed to give my ‘all’ in any one relationship. The less I regarded a man as being a serious ‘candidate’ for marriage, the less I gave of myself. When I look back it is clear to me that this wasn’t just my competitive drive to succeed, but it was also a defense mechanism to avoid from being hurt and taken advantage. 

For years I dated men mostly for their looks and charm, as my prerequisites became more fine-tuned I began to notice that there was something missing in my relationships but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It didn’t help that I was a habitual rebounder…break up, next month I’m dating someone new. I also had a low tolerance for game playing by men. I’ve never had a problem putting my cards out on the table and making it clear what my intentions were, and what I expected from men, so I couldn’t understand why the men I was dating weren’t mature enough to do the same thing. So I developed a “three-strike rule” which gave men three times to screw up with me and then I’d give them the ‘boot’. Basically the average relationship never went beyond three months. 

So it should be no surprise that when I didn’t feel like being tied down to any one guy that I would date several at once (no more than four of course). When I was around 19 or 20 I had my “Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Crew”…one guy would meet me for breakfast somewhere, another guy would be my lunch date, and a third guy would take me out to dinner; not necessarily on the same day- although I did have that happen a few times. I felt that since they all knew about each other I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Looking closely at the situation, I wasn’t…I was dating. I was open, honest, never double-booked, and my intimacy wouldn’t go beyond kissing. We were hanging out, getting to know each other…we were ‘friends’. 

The end of last year I attempted to go out on dates with three different men, talk about exhausting! I struggled going on three separate dates in one week. I don’t know how I had the time and energy to do that 15 years ago! Then again, I don’t know how I had the energy to also go to the club three to four days a week, take 18-20 units a semester in school, work full-time, volunteer in the community, tutor part-time, and still hang with my family (especially my sister who was around 5 years old).

Over the years I kept wondering what was wrong with me that I kept attracting men that weren’t compatible with me. Why was I picking eye candy? Or why would I pick highly intelligent men who spent most of their time with me proving how smart they were, quoting facts and figures, throwing trivia curve balls my way whenever given the chance? Why was I picking men who couldn’t be faithful if you paid them?


God tests us daily. God wants to see what we’re made of and whether He comes first in our lives or if we’re part of the “all about me” and “I did it myself” crowd. So we are given lessons. Until we get the lessons right we have to keep repeating them. That means until I figured out why I kept attracting, being attracted to, and picking men that weren’t compatible with me, then I would have to continue dating guys that clearly weren’t meant for me. 

Then it hit me last year. I had called off my second engagement. Yeah, the second one. Long story that I won’t go into, just know that it was for the best and no worries, I don’t plan on collecting engagement rings! Okay I digressed…as I analyzed what went wrong, what took so long for me to end things,  and what the lesson was in this almost four year relationship, the answer came to me….

I had spent 15 years dating men who were opposite of my dad. Many women look for men who remind them of ‘dad’, yet I spent my time looking for the opposite. I was so busy being a rebel swearing I wouldn’t be like him, that I purposely dated men that were his polar opposite. Dad was anal-retentive; he was a stickler for giving and doing your best in everything, pushing to win every time, and would scrutinize things that I didn’t think were important- such as cleaning. Growing up I had chores and my dad would go behind me to check my work. He would say, “is this the work and effort of an ‘A’ student or a ‘D’ student?” I had to re-do the work until it met his standards. Yes, he did the exact same thing when it came to my school work. I simply thought he was an uptight, stubborn man and there was no way I would be like him. Loved him, but he needed to chill out.

Guess what? Guess who I modeled after when I grew up? Yep, you got it right, my dad! The irony, and more proof that God has a great sense of humor. By the time I was 21 I became more like the man who had grown to work my nerves. As I got older the more anal-retentive I became. I couldn’t believe it, but it was true. I know for a fact that I work my family’s nerves. Talking about passing on a legacy; thanks dad! 

So although opposites attract, what I have discovered is that the work it takes to put two pieces of a puzzle together (that clearly are not supposed to fit together) can result in a great deal of time and energy being wasted. Some people find that dating and marrying their opposite is exactly what they need and want. I now see that instead of dating the opposite of dad, also the opposite of myself, that I need to be with someone more like me. 

Let’s start at my foundation. Dating a man who isn’t spiritually grounded, who doesn’t attend church or read his Bible regularly, and doesn’t place God first in his life isn’t the man for me. Dating a man who doesn’t keep a clean home, is content with mediocrity, and doesn’t have high ambitions isn’t the man for me. Not a change agent working to improve the socio-economic conditions globally? You aren’t the one. A man lacking confidence, humility, respect for self and his family can’t possibly be the man for me. Enough children to have the starting line-up for the Lakers? We won’t work out. 

For over 15 years I have dated men who weren’t equally yoked with me. I dated men who could never hold their own as my honorable husband and father of our children. I had to date numerous guys all of these years just to figure out that I needed to date someone more like me on deep, meaningful levels…not the superficial ones! It had to be more than our love of sports, movies, music, or a desire to have children. I needed to go deeper, I needed to align my puzzle piece with the man whose piece matched my edges. 

It seemed easy enough. But I know that this process would require focus and commitment on my part; it would require me to seek God’s guidance to see past the top layers of prospective suitors in order to see their true nature. I would have to identify warning signs sooner and avoid the ‘loser trap’. 

Tomorrow we’ll explore this more as this is the sticky point in life that many people, especially women fail to pull through successfully. We keep facing this lesson time and time again, never learning and graduating to a new lesson, just staying on this merry-go-round. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about today’s post. The feedback so far for the past three posts is amazing. I humbly thank those of you who have taken the time to not only read this blog series, but also share your thoughts and opinions about what I’ve written. Thank you again.

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.