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Can Exes Really Be Friends?

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This is an age-old question people have been discussing for years. I bet it’s one of those questions our grandparents used to talk about when they were young and carefree down at the juke joints of the world. Heck, it’s a question that is contemplated every time someone gets hooked on a sitcom or drama, on TV or Computer. And the issues surrounding this question are ones you tend to think more and more about as you gain more experience with matters of the heart. I typically feel very strongly about my answer to whether exes can be friends, but before we go there, let’s go back to this notion of seeing how this dilemma plays out on the small screen.

How many of you remember Whitley Gilbert and Dwayne Wayne from A Different World? When they broke up, they couldn’t be and weren’t friends. Heck, after they split, they went from “enemies” to Dwayne Wayne ruining her wedding to Byron. Now I could name several other fictional romances that all ended in couples not being able to maintain a real friendship after the relationship was over. Olivia and Fitz from Scandal, Christina Yang and Owen Hunt from Grey’s Anatomy, or Frank and Laurel from How to Get Away with Murder. Excuse the Shonda Rhimes theme, but you get the point. Friendship didn’t work for those characters after they ended their romance. Placed in the context of real life, do you see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out with each other? Or Nicki Minaj hanging out eating pizza with Safaree or Meek Mills? Are you hanging with Jim, James, Paul, and Tyrone from your past dating life?

If you haven’t guessed by now, I generally DO NOT believe a person can be friends with his ex. I just don’t. I think a lot of times when people try to remain, friends, after they break up, one of two things always happens. One, the exes can’t truly move on because they are constantly around each other. It’s difficult to get over someone if he is always in your space reminding you of what once was. It’s like claiming to be on a strict diet, then willing choosing to always be in a bakery. In both cases, if you’re used to eating cake, and then all of a sudden are told you can’t or shouldn’t eat it anymore, constantly being around the temptation is no good in an effort to move on. Most people exes need distance from each other in order to heal, grow, and find love somewhere else.

Or two, the exes can’t be friends because there is too much bad blood between them. It’s hard to be buddy-buddy with someone that has treated you poorly in your previous dealings with him. I mean, would you want to be friends with someone you know to be a habitual liar, or horrible communicator, or God forbid abusive? I would certainly hope not.

Look, while I don’t believe exes can be friends, I do think exes can be friendly. When you are just being friendly, you exchange pleasantries when you see each other, don’t bad mouth each other to other people, and can be cool and collected when at mutual friends’ get-togethers. There are no frequents texts and calls with one another, there are no frequent one-on-one outings, and there are no potentially compromising situations that arise. Again, friendly, not friends. I for one have always been able to remain friendly with anyone I’ve dated.
I know there are those that are folks reading this screaming how wrong I am, and that’s ok. But you’d be hard-pressed to find too many exes that have successfully converted their failing relationship into true friendships. I tried and found maybe a handful. I even thought about those couples that have had kids and broken up. Even in the best instances of co-parenting, it just looks as if the parents are being friendly toward one another in the best interest of the children. They aren’t hanging out like that.
So if you take anything away from this, remember this one point. In fact, tweet it, post it and snap it even. Exes can’t be friends, but can always be friendly.

Be sure to check out According to T for more tips on dating and relationships.

As always nothing but love,

Tavion Scott

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Advice

John Gray, We Are not Raising Men

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While looking through Twitter today, I came across an excerpt of Pastor John Gray on Sister Circle. What I saw disappointed me. A choir of sisters sat beside him advocating for women sidelining themselves to raise adult males. I was tight. Speaking about his wife, Aventer, Pastor John Gray said:

She’s a covering not a lid because if a man marries a lid she’ll stop your dream. But if you marry a covering, she’ll push you to your destiny.

To that, I say men who believe this are lids.

Not Your Mama, #NotYourMule

Women are burdened with confining gender roles that minimize the freedom women have in an oppressive patriarchal world. We are seen as lovers, maidens, mothers, queens, huntresses, sages, and mystics. Women are expected to be therapists, expert chefs, maids, and submissive to their significant others, at least in heteronormative relationships. We are expected to stay youthful, speak little, spend nothing, and be grateful for the opportunity. Not only are women subjugated to lives of servitude at their own expense, its due to the emotional immaturity of their spouses.

Men are particularly guilty of exploiting the maternal strengths many women possess. This notion that “a woman will inspire me to be my best self” is pure narcissism. Stringing women along with “I know I’m not perfect” or “I’ll make it one day” is manipulation. Judith Orloff, author of ‘The Empath’s Survival Guide’, says:

What narcissists see in empaths is a giving, loving person who is going to try and be devoted to you and love you and listen to you. But unfortunately empaths are attracted to narcissists, because at first this is about a false self. Narcissists present a false self, where they can seem charming and intelligent, and even giving, until you don’t do things their way, and then they get cold, withholding, and punishing.”

“I had to grow into her”

Empathetic people are patient to a fault and believe they can fix people with compassion. As John continued, he mentioned the pain he caused his wife because of his failure to heal himself.

My wife has endured more pain birthing me than both of our children. She has sacrificed these past 8 years, uncovering the painful areas of my manhood and covering the areas that could have exposed me.

That’s not her job! Toxic masculinity and the rejection of feminine energy has convinced men that they can wait until they’re in a relationship to deal with their baggage. While we frequently refer to this as a woman raising a man, its actually trauma bonding. Trauma bonding is when a victim and an abuser form a connection that makes it impossible to leave the relationship, no matter how much damage it’s doing. Much like the relationship between Michelle and Chad, these bonds are formed by the tactics narcissists use.

In situations like these, you just have to be prepared to say those people aren’t healthy for you. Let them go.

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Y’all Weren’t Going to Tell Me My Baby Was Ugly?

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After 28 hours of labor and an extra week of pregnancy, I was exhausted. That extra week messed up all of my plans! Having a natural birth didn’t happen. My husband had to leave in less than 24 hours after I gave birth for work. My sisters that came to help, had to go home. Not to mention the lack of breastmilk for the first 48 hours. The only help I had was from my 60-year-old father-in-law who hasn’t dealt with babies in over 25 years. Moments like this made me wish my mother was still alive. The stress of the situation didn’t really give me a chance to embrace my baby and motherhood. I looked at my son, but I didn’t really look at my son.

When I finally got a moment to soak in motherhood and embrace my baby, I thought something was wrong. Why does he look so old? I read overdue babies sometimes look a little wrinkly, but this was looking a little extreme. I could have sworn I saw a 5 o’clock shadow. I started to wonder if the Curious Case of Benjamin Button was happening to my child… Read the full blog at SimplyLizLove.com

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Yes, Check On Your “Strong Friend,” But First, Have You Checked In With Yourself?

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With the passing of celebrity fashion designer, Kate Spade, the dialogue around mental health and suicide prevention has re-surfaced. Also, it’s been a popular posting among social media groups and an overall cultural push in asking, “Have you checked on your strong friend? “I too believe it is important to reach out to those who would not traditionally appear to have struggled with mental health; Yet, I have a more pressing question to ask, have you checked on yourself? Too often, we become busy and caught up in everything around us and forget to take care of our own needs until we feel stressed and overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the world we live in.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), suicide was the 16th leading cause of death for blacks of all ages and the third leading cause of death for black males ages 15–24. Additionally, although research indicates that suicidal behaviors occur at a lower rate than their high school counterparts, attempts at suicide among black high school students is increasing at an alarming rate.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), suicide was the 16th leading cause of death for blacks of all ages and the third leading cause of death for black males ages 15–24. Click To Tweet

For many, especially within the black community, misunderstand the importance of mental health. Thus, many members of the black community are reluctant to discuss mental health out of cultural conditioning, shame, and stigma regarding the signs and symptoms as less critical than they really are.

Checking on friends and on those who are close to us is all fine and dandy, however, before you can be there for someone else you need to take care of yourself. And remember, it’s not selfish or crime to ask what you need, you just have to be aware of what your own needs are.

Now, don’t get me wrong, as humans we long for the connection and empathy from others, but before we can make sure we truly support others with their struggles, we need to make sure we are there for ourselves. So, I ask you, when is the last time you took time out for yourself? When was the last time that you honestly took care of your needs, not just physical, but emotional as well? When was the last time you intentionally engaged in self-care?

              

 

Let’s end the stigma and continue to have these courageous conversations. No one is exempt, anyone could struggle with mental health.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are options available to help you cope 1-800-273-8255. You can call the Lifeline at any time to speak to someone and get support. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

As always, bring your ideas and thoughts, let’s have a civil conversation. I would love to hear your thoughts. Emphasis on “civil,” because the block game is S T R O N G. Find me Instagram and Twitter @TheCarterReport, as well as [email protected] I am always interested in hearing about what you all what to hear about.

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