Tag Archives: love

Relationship Goals by Sophia Ned-James

Don’t let all these online images of “perfect’ couples fool you, Sis. There are no “perfect” couples! That’s because couples are people, and people aren’t perfect! You only get to see the good times on social media, the happy times people choose to share. You don’t see the hard work and the messy arguments. You don’t get to witness those long, awkward silences that occur in ALL relationships.

They’re not showing you the fights about bills and money. No one’s posting or sharing pictures of the unanswered texts, the ignored calls, or the insecurities that make them doubt themselves. All relationships have tough moments, but you don’t see them because we don’t share them.

So, judge your relationship on it’s own merits and stop looking for perfection. Stop seeing #RelationshipGoals whenever you see pictures or video of that seemingly “perfect” couple. Comparing your relationship to some celebrity couple’s fabulous public display of love and romance will always leave you feeling wanting. And holding your guy to some ridiculous standards established by some jet-setting media “influencer” will always leave your guy looking unnecessarily lacking, when in reality, your guy is absolutely wonderful to you and for you.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a relationship that’s built on love, respect, and friendship, and you’re truly getting all that you deserve and desire, then you’ve already achieved #RelationshipGoals. After all, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.

Sophia’s Sunday Uplift, March 23, 2019

The moment you stop looking elsewhere for love, acceptance, and validation is exactly the moment when you’ll find those things within yourself. Learn to love yourself as deeply and as fervently as you love those around you (especially the ones who don’t even deserve you). Trust me. When you begin to believe in your own beauty and brilliance, you won’t have any time for the naysayers or the negativity they bring.  You’ll be too busy basking in the warmth of your own light and truly living your best life! #SophiasSundayUplift #SundayUplift #SelfLove #Love #Acceptance #Validation #BelieveInYou

~Sophia Ned-James (Art is “Teenie Weenie Afro” by Melanoidlnk)




What’s Love Got To Do With It? Lessons From The FLOTUS

A few days ago, the first lady of the United States (FLOTUS) gave her first sit-down TV interview. When she was asked about whether the stories of the Donald’s infidelity bothered her, Melania stated, “I’m a mother and a first lady, and I have much more important things to think about and to do.”  What was conspicuously missing in her list of roles is “wife.”

When the ABC News’ correspondent pressed further and asked the FLOTUS if she loved her husband, Melania replied “We’re fine.” The FLOTUS did not say, “Yes. I love my husband.” The FLOTUS did not say, “Yes. I love the Donald.”

You know that’s right.

Many said the FLOTUS showed confidence during the interview. But, Suzy says the FLOTUS looked hurt and resigned… but determined.

Besides. What’s love got to do with it?

Lest the never-ending, rapid-fire White House scandals make us forget that it was only a few weeks ago after the New York Times published an anonymous op-ed by a White House insider claiming that Trump was amoral and inept, when an outraged Donald’s first response was he could only trust his children. Not his family. Or, wife and children. But, he could only trust his children.


Yes, Ladies. It happens.  The men we marry or chose to be with can turn out to be real vipers. Part-time or full-time. We may know from the get go they’re no good but we chose to be with them any way.  We’re not perfect. We may have some bad motives or conflicted thinking ourselves. (Look at Melania in her African interview wearing an insulting colonial pith hat talking about #BeBest to Africans. Really?)

Our relationships may be more about money, status, sex, children, security, family or a whole bunch of other things and for a bunch of reasons –  other than love. And, it can be hard to face this harsh reality, especially when we’re humiliated.  Melania provides us a few lessons:  When we are humiliated because of our men or partners we need to hold our head high. We need to carry on and focus on other parts or our lives.

Beyond these lessons, we do have to figure out where love fits in our lives and relationships even if the FLOTUS may not be there yet. Accepting a fake relationship or poor treatment from a spouse is accepting a life with unrealized potential.  What role are we playing in a relationship gone wrong? What issues do we need to address before we can have a relationship based on love? After all, life has everything to do with love.

Photo courtesy of People Magazine



Skills For Healthy A Romantic Relationship

Yes, ladies, there are lots of TED talks out there.  But, SuzyKnew! goes through them to identify the ones worth listening to.  Here’s a TED talk on how to build skills for a healthy romantic relationship that got over 1.5 million views. Given by Joanne Davilla, PhD, a professor of psychology and the Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University, the talk provides helpful points in a focused and concise format.

Click here for more about skills for a healthy relationship.


How Do I Get A Man To Commit To Me? ASK JANICE


I am crazy about this man I’m dating, but can’t get him to commit.  When we’re together, he’s totally into me. He treats me well and truly fulfills my needs in bed.  But, he always insists we’re not in a “real relationship”.  He says he’s not looking for a relationship right now, but that he does care about me.  Whenever I push him for more, he gets pissed.  And then sometimes I don’t hear from him for weeks!  What am I doing wrong?  How can I get him to commit to me?

Can you help a Sista out, please!


Hey Girlfriend,

First of all, you need to stop beating yourself up over this guy.  No woman can force a man to do anything he doesn’t want to do.  The only thing you’re doing wrong is accepting less than you want and deserve.

He’s already told you everything you need to know.  He cares about you, but doesn’t want a “real relationship”.  In other words, he’s just not that into you.

The bottom line is when a man wants to be with you, he’ll be with you.  There will be no excuses and definitely no going weeks without hearing from him.  You won’t have to pressure him or push him for more.  He will be with you, plain and simple.

Clearly, you want more from this man than just casual sex.  Sadly, you’re not going to get more from him.  He already knows that he doesn’t have to commit to you to sleep with you whenever he wants.  And since this kind of relationship works for him and you allow it, nothing is going to change.

My advice to you is that you end things with this guy.  You’re not getting what you want from him, what you deserve.  And that’s my point: you deserve the kind of relationship that YOU want.  You deserve to be with someone who will commit to you and really treat you with respect.

I don’t know if you’re settling for less than you deserve because you’re afraid to be alone, or if you’re truly in love with this guy.  But, you need to stop … NOW!  Men get away with treating us so casually because we allow them to.  You’ve given him all the power in this so-called relationship, and that’s just wrong!  You’re worth more than that, Sister.

I would also argue that your guy doesn’t really care about you, at all.  He obviously knows how you feel about him, yet he’s perfectly content to keep you dangling on a thread while he goes about his merry way.  If he really cared, he’d either give you the relationship you want and deserve, or he’d leave you alone.  But as long as you allow it, he’ll keep coming back for casual sex and a half-assed relationship on his terms.

This just isn’t the man for you, my friend.    The great Maya Angelou says that when someone shows you who they are, believe them.  Your guy has painted you a very clear picture of who he is.  You need to believe him, and cut your losses.  Let him go.  Walk … no RUN away as fast as you can.

Trust me, when you let go of this guy, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor!  Other than some occasional good sex, the only thing this man is doing for you is standing in the way of the man you’re supposed to be with.  As the Church Mothers say, “Girl, he ain’t doin’ nothin’ but blocking your blessings!”

Leaving this unfulfilling relationship would be an act of genuine self-love for you.  And like I always say, no one else is going to love you unless you love yourself first.

My dear, you deserve to have the kind of relationship that you want.  You deserve to be with a man who will commit to you.  Stop giving yourself to men who won’t give you what you want and deserve.  Stop selling yourself short.

Let this one go.  Let him be someone else’s problem.  Your King is out there, and this guy is just in his way.

How Do I Find A Good Man? ASK JANICE

Dear Janice,

I have a good job at a good company making good money. I just turned 31, and I really want a man – someone who can provide for a family. But, as a Black woman, I find it hard to find a Black man with a good salary. Also, I must say I haven’t received a lot of attention from non-Black men . But, the ones who are paying me attention don’t seem to be doing that well financially. Maybe I should just be looking for a good man, but it’s hard for me to seriously consider someone who makes less than I do for marriage.  

I would like your help in thinking this through. 

PS I love your articles and read them all the time.

Loyal Fan


Dear Loyal Fan,

First of all, thanks for your patience.  I’ve had some family and health challenges lately, which have prevented me from writing.  Things are a little more stabilized now, and I’m slowly getting caught up with everything.  So, thanks for your loyalty and patience.  It is much appreciated.

Now, about your situation … First of all, you are not alone.  The reality is that even though on average, women still make about 70% of what men make on the job, there are more and more single women who find themselves dating men who make less money.  This is a by-product of the great strides women have made in the workforce, shattering many of the glass ceilings which had previously held us back.  Things still aren’t equal, though.  We still have a long way to go.

However, while there have been changes in women’s salaries, our attitudes about who should be the breadwinner in the home should be haven’t changed.  Your own attitude about it proves this.  You admit that it would be hard to seriously consider a man for marriage if he made less money than you do.  And believe me, I understand how you feel.  I mean, we all grew up with stories about Prince Charming sweeping in and taking care of us, right?  And no matter how accomplished we become professionally, in the back of our minds, many of us still want that fairytale.

But we all need to get real!  Those fairytales were written when more women stayed home than were in the workforce.  And honestly?  None of those stories were really written for us Black girls.  So, we need to release those unrealistic and antiquated ideas about what marriage really is and face facts.  In today’s economy, it usually takes two incomes to live comfortably.  And if both of those incomes are coming into the same household, does it really matter whose is larger, the man’s or the woman’s?

Listen, the reality is that a wealthy man can be a wife beater, chronic cheater and low-down, pumpkin eater just as well as a hard-working, but lower paid man can.  Conversely, a hard-working, but lower paid man can be a sweet, supportive, loving husband, just as well as a wealthy man.  My point is that what you want is a good man, period.

A good man will take that less than huge salary and stretch it, save it, invest it and do whatever it takes to provide for his family.  A bad man can take a huge salary and squander it on other women, drugs, alcohol or gambling, leaving you with far less than what you started with.

Stop looking at paychecks and start looking at personalities.  Stop looking for someone to take care of you, and find a man who will take care of business WITH you.  After all, if a man is working and bringing home a paycheck (even if it’s smaller than yours), he is contributing to the household.  You still have more with his smaller salary than you do without it.  And with that smaller salary, you’re not sleeping alone.

Besides, just looking at dollars alone doesn’t give you the whole story.  Maybe he’s at the top of his field in an industry that just pays less than yours.  Or maybe he doesn’t bring home as much cash, but his job includes other perks like cheaper health insurance, better life insurance, travel perks and other things.  Maybe he doesn’t make a whole lot of money on the job, but he’s so skilled at mechanics or household repairs, he can make double that under the table on the weekends doing side jobs.  Maybe he doesn’t make as much because he works fewer hours, but that means you get to come home to a clean house, a hot meal, a hot bath and some good lovin’!

Money isn’t everything, my Sista!  Give me a good man with a moderate income and I can turn that into a lifetime of bliss!

Don’t get it twisted, though.  I don’t believe in supporting a man who isn’t at least doing his part.  You may not be making as much as me, Brother, but you’d better be making something!  I don’t believe in raising a grown man!  And if he is looking for a free ride from you, then he needs to go with a quickness!

You’re only 31, Girlfriend.  There’s still plenty of time for you to find the right guy, so stop fretting.  I just want you to focus on finding someone who is good to you and for you, and that doesn’t have anything to do with the amount of his paycheck.  You’ve got a good job with a good salary, and can take care of yourself.  You don’t need a man to do that for you.  What you need is a man who will enhance your life in ways that can’t be measured in dollars and cents.

Seek a man who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated; who will love your truest and most authentic self.  Find someone with whom you’re compatible … someone you enjoy spending time with.  And as long as you two are compatible socially, sexually, spiritually and intellectually, then a disparity between your salaries won’t matter at all.  Because if you find the right man for you, you will find a life partner with whom you can build a great life together.

Happy Hunting!


My Love; My Self-Esteem

Is our ability to love and be loved linked to our self-esteem? Is it true we can’t have a really emotionally satisfying romantic relationship unless we are happy with who we are?

This is what today’s relationship columns tell us. Even SuzyKnew did a piece on how our relationship with our mother affects our ability to find true love later in life.

But, who doesn’t have a friend who was constantly depressed and then got happy once she got a man? How many of us have seen women turn their lives around once they found a supportive partner who gave them the attention and compliments they craved?

We need to put some perspective around the advice we get from these columns. I mean don’t these columns also tell us that we should surround ourselves with positive people in order to stay positive? So, why not surround ourselves with some good-looking men who pay us compliments – and the bill?!

I’m just sayin’…

But, low self-esteem can hold us back from love.  Relationship experts on YourTango offer these indications that low self-esteem is keeping you back from the true love you deserve.

Do they have it right?

  • You end up with men who are not able to give you what you really want; they’ll be unavailable in some way, whether not completely done with an ex, they’re married to their work, they are emotionally damaged in some way, or they live too far away.
  • It can be challenging to simply receive love and acceptance from a man, without being in “produce mode” – I call it the “Me plus what I give or do equals good enough to earn love” syndrome.
  • The fear of being rejected can bring out the absolute worst behaviors – which often lead to being rejected; controlling men or circumstances, being unable to be vulnerable and open with them, rejecting them first, or, as I call it, the “You can’t fire me – I quit” syndrome.


“Honestly, Mom… Chances Are He Won’t Stay With You”: NYC’s Controversial Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Campaign

Love – and lust – can lead us to do some unexpected things.  Like get pregnant! Surprise!

We’re especially vulnerable when we’re young.

So, to wipe out that pesky teenage pregnancy problem, the city of New York has blasted its streets with a new campaign designed to highlight the true costs of getting pregnant while you’re still a minor.   Using billboards and subway ads with bright banners stretched across mournful toddlers, the messages claim “Honestly, Mom… Chances Are He Won’t Stay With You. What Happens To Me?” or “Dad, You’ll Be Paying To Support Me For The Next 20 Years” and my personal fav “I’m Twice As Likely Not To Graduate From High School Because You Had Me When I Was A Teen.”

The effort is giving New Yorkers something to think about. It’s also giving the blog sphere and social media something to blog about. Commentaries are coming in like crazy with critics saying “shaming” pregnant teens and their partners doesn’t work while supporters state a comprehensive teen prevention program, which includes increasing access to contraception,  does work. Interestingly, because NYC has seen a reduction in teen pregnancy after providing contraception, especially emergency contraception, in schools, critics and supporters of NY’s new campaign are from both the political right and left.

The idea behind the campaign is while many teens know getting pregnant before graduating high school and getting a job can mess up your life, many think it won’t happen to them. So, providing some in-your-face sobering numbers can help teens take different actions.  

But, we hope this sobering article still keeps you lusting for love… (despite all the numbers)

while still keeping your GOOD sense!


Keep Your Relationship Hot Like The Obamas: ASK JANICE INAUGURATION SPECIAL

Michelle Receives Kiss from Barack

While the whole world will be focused on the US President during the Inauguration, women everywhere will be watching how he interacts with the brilliant and beautiful Mrs. Michelle Obama.  Our eyes will be watching for those meaningful glances that often pass between the First Couple, those secret smiles they share, the way he holds her hand.  We will sigh and swoon as we watch how she watches him lovingly as he gives speech after speech.  And we will imagine ourselves in his strong, capable arms as he twirls his woman around the dance floor at the Inaugural Ball.  Single or married, in a relationship or alone, all women long for what the Obamas seem to have: an almost perfect, fairy tale romance.

And on Tuesday morning, when the alarm clock goes off and we have to return to work after a long weekend, we will roll over and look at our partners lying there, snoring beside us.  And, turning away from their acrid morning breath, we will wonder how we can have that amazing Obama love in our own lives.  We will continue to ponder this as we go about our day, drinking our coffee, styling our hair, putting on our make-up.  Maybe we’ll even get a kiss good-bye from our partner before we begin our work day.  Or maybe not.  Either way, we’ll still be longing for that spark the Obamas have.

Well, ladies, I have some good news for you and some bad news for you.  You want the bad news first?  Okay, here it is: NO relationship is perfect, not even the Obama’s!  No matter how great they look twirling around the dance floor together; no matter how sweet he looks when he pulls her into his strong arms for one of their signature hugs; no matter how cool and connected they appear as they fist bump their way through another four years in the White House … they are not perfect!  Guess what, ladies … Mr. Barack Hussein Obama has morning breath, too!  Yep, that’s right.  That tall, suave, romantic hero who willingly carries the weight of the world on his capable shoulders has stanky breath in the morning just like YOUR man does!  And he forgets important dates just like your man (only he has secretaries to remind him).  After all, he IS the leader of the free world!  You think he has time to remember every little minute detail about their relationship?  And he probably leaves the toilet seat up, too (although I think they have separate bathrooms at the White House)!  Or, if he is one of the rare men who does remember to put the seat down, I’m sure his “aim” is just as faulty as your man’s.  The only difference is that living in the White House, Mrs. Obama isn’t the one on her hands and knees, scrubbing his pee off the floor.  Some poor maid is.

My point is that, despite being one of the most intelligent, accomplished men to ever hold the Office of the Presidency, Mr. Barack Obama is still just a man.  And as such, he is not perfect.

That’s the bad news.  Now, here’s the good news: with a little extra effort on your part, you CAN have the kind of strong, loving relationship the Obamas have, especially if it something that you BOTH want.  Here are a few tips, culled from recent interviews with the Obamas themselves as well as based on distant observations of their dynamics that will help you achieve that amazing togetherness the Firsts Couple has.

Be his “ride or die” chick.  Obviously this only applies if your man is out there doing positive things to make a better life for you both.  In other words, if he is out there doing dirt or living on the wrong side of the law, then this rule doesn’t apply to you.  However, if your man is out there every day, doing his best to improve your lives and leave the world better than how he found it, then you need to be that ride or die girl.  In the face of Mr. Obama’s opposition, whether we’re talking Al Qaeda, the Recession or a Republican Congress, Mrs. Obama has her man’s back at all times.  Even though your man doesn’t have to face down opponents like Osama Bin Laden or even John Boehner, he may encounter opposition just as vicious on a daily basis at his job.  It could be a boss out to keep him down, a colleague trying to sabotage his work, or even a job that saps his soul.  Whatever his opposition, he needs you to be his rock, his haven, his light at the end of the tunnel.  That means that no matter how rotten your day was, you may need to hold your complaints and give him a chance to vent about his day first.  And when he does, really LISTEN to him … maintain eye contact with him, gently rub his arm or leg as he rants, don’t interrupt him and just be there for him.  If he needs you to pick up his dry cleaning so that he can be ready for that big presentation, OFFER to do it before he asks.  In being there for him … being totally present for him when he needs it, you are sending him the message that you have his back.

1. Keep the home fires burning.  I mean this literally.  I have a friend who has been married for over two decades.  Despite having advanced degrees and having had a successful (albeit brief) career in politics herself, she now spends a considerable amount of time making sure her household is running smoothly.  She figures that if her husband doesn’t have to sweat the small stuff like making sure the bills get paid on time, keeping their schedules organized and coordinated, keeping the fridge full, etc., then he will have more time to spoil her.  And he does.  He loves not having to worry about details like that.  “Men are more into the big picture, anyway,” he recently said.  So he spends his extra time finding ways to make more money so that he can take his wife on at least two nice vacations every year.  She gets flowers every week just because and he’s happy to do it.  He’s always bragging about his wife to his friends.  And most importantly, he races home to her every day just because he wants nothing more than to spend his time with her.  And he says it’s because she’s made it easy for him to do so by taking care of the home front.

2. Make “Date Nights” more than just a cliché.  I’ve heard President and Mrs. Obama both talk about how they carve time out of their busy schedules to spend quality time with each other alone.  Whether it’s taking in a movie or having a quiet, candlelit dinner at least once a week, they make being alone together a priority in their lives.  And hey, if the Leader of the Free World can find time to watch a chick flick with his wife, then surely your man can do the same with you.  But … you’re probably going to have to be the one to plan it.  Again, don’t expect him to be able and willing to focus on details like that every week.  Doing so is just setting him up for failure and you for disappointment.  Just accept that this is your job and do it.  He’ll appreciate your efforts, you’ll be happy and your relationship will grow stronger.

3. Keep yourself up (also known as don’t let yourself go).  I know we can’t all have Michelle Obama’s long, lithe, athletic body (although I’d kill for her arms).  And most of us probably can’t afford to have a personal stylist to ensure that our hair and wardrobe are always top of the line, either.  But, Michelle’s beauty goes way deeper than clothes, anyway.  I mean, Nancy Reagan had a fabulous wardrobe but even on a good day, she looked like a crone (okay, I’ll admit I’m not exactly a fan of the former First Lady).  Michelle Obama’s beauty radiates from the inside.  And let’s face it.  She’d look good in a potato sack.  You can achieve that same inner glow on your budget with a little effort, though.  Move more and eat less.  Make healthy choices.  Spend a little more time in the mirror and accentuate your best features.  Has your man always complimented you on your legs?  Well, keep them looking good by taking the stairs instead of riding the elevator.  Does he go crazy when you show a little cleavage?  Invest in a few good bras and keep those girls on display for him.  Is he a butt man?  Add a few more squats to your workout routine.  Be the best you and you’ll both benefit from it.

4. Finally, to quote the Queen of Soul, it’s all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  President Obama respects his wife, first and foremost.  He was raised by his single mother and his grandmother, both of whom were strong, hard working women of integrity, who pushed him to be his best.  It’s no wonder then that he chose a strong, brilliant, hard working woman of integrity to be his wife.  And so, he respects her.  If your man does not respect you, there is nothing you can do to save your relationship, and you shouldn’t even want to.  Demand his respect.  Expect his respect.  And more importantly, BE the type of woman he can respect.  If he respects you, he will applaud your efforts to strengthen your relationship and will definitely meet you half way.

No relationship is perfect because human beings are flawed.  However, it is in striving for perfection that we find our best selves.  Let’s keep working at it and one day, we’ll get there.  Enjoy.



Photo: Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images (The Griot, Oct, 23 2012)