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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Normally when people stress the importance of being “equally yoked” with a romantic partner, they’re referring to the need to have an equal stature in life. You know, like Beyonce and Jay-Z. In human terms, this most notably refers to each person’s money-making potential. But this term is also in the Bible (our reference most definitely came from it but of course we’ve twisted the meaning) and refers to a likeness in faith and purity of heart. And it applies to all the company we keep-not just the romantic ones.

I think its most important to spend your time with people who feel good about themselves and are constantly on a journey for self-improvement whether that be emotionally, financially or spiritually. Being in a relationship with or married to a person who lacks faith means you’re unequally yoked. Having a negative friend who can’t ever see the bigger picture means you’re unequally yoked. And I’m not just talking faith in a higher power but faith in their own capabilities. Low self-esteem leads to an array of problems in a relationship- abuse, cheating, boredom, dissatisfaction- making it the number one relationship deal breaker. Just ask Jesse James, Sandra Bullock’s ex, who is now pleading his case on the media circuit.

Just after Bullock took home the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in The Blind Side, news broke that her husband had been cheating on her with a tattoo artist. James admits that he threw the marriage away, that he had a lot of demons stemming from childhood abuse and basically felt that he was unlovable.

“I grew up with a huge amount of shame and fear and abandonment on my shoulders from a very young age and I think, you know, the way my mind rationalized [cheating], ‘Well, you know, I might as well do whatever I can to like run her off cause she is going to find out what I am anyway and leave me anyway,'” the biker, 41, said in a Nightline interview that aired Tuesday. “The struggle within myself for the things that I did …to damage marriage and my life and everything else, it’s all me. I’m doing it because, you know, I’ve basically never felt good enough for anyone.”

Whomp. Whomp. If he loved her so much he should have gone to therapy to deal with his issues before his shortcomings embarrassed her on a national level. Bottom line? If someone doesn’t love and respect themselves how do you expect them to be any good to you?

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Respecting Tiger Woods as a public figure, outside of his golfing talent has always been a problem for me. From his confusion over race to his most recent cheating scandal, Tiger has always come off as a spoiled, uninformed brat. After his harem was revealed no one really thought his wife, Elin, would stay and we were right- she’s done everything she can not to be seen with Tiger anywhere. And who can blame her really?

Tiger has more problems coming his way though because not only is Elin divorcing him, she wants to take him for more than he’s worth. $750 million to be exact. Reports put Tiger’s net worth at about $600 million. Sorry but I don’t think cheating constitutes a $750 million payday. Yes, Tiger embarrassed Elin in front of the entire world but $750 million? Sounds like she was a gold digger hiding in the open waiting for Tiger to mess up.

In the first reports shortly after the scandal broke, Elin stood to get around $200 million, so how did this new figure even come up?

Elin isn’t a total victim in this situation although her pretty face makes it easy to paint her as one. Jim Carrey said it best on Twitter: “No wife is blind enough to miss that much infidelity.” Sure, Elin’s support and love of Tiger as well as the picture perfect family she helped him to create contributed, in part, to his success, but she, in no way shape or form should run with all of his money. She can’t live on $200 million?

I’d hate to see a former nanny who just happened to marry the most famous golfer on the planet make out like a bandit just because she turned a blind eye.

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Marriage. It’s one of those words that makes men squeamish and a word that can be downright depressing for women if they attach their pinnacle of success, acceptance and body clock to it.

It’s interesting to me how boys are raised to play the field and delay marriage as long as possible as if its some prison sentence that you commit to once you’ve lived the rest of your life. Girls however, even though we’re waiting longer and longer to commit, are given a million reasons not to play the field and often start to feel… shall we say inadequate when the people around them begin to take the plunge. The messages for each gender just aren’t stacking up.

Which is why, perhaps, America’s marriage rates are (and have been) on a serious decline. In a very general sense we don’t seem to be ready for the same things at the same ages.

I’ve often heard references to Chris Rock’s stand-up on marriage as well as his film I Think I Love My Wife. Both are hilarious by the way but I’m not sure these representations are helpful.

(If your ears are sensitive, don’t listen.)

Instead of talking about the benefits of marriage: tax breaks, stable home for children, double income and all around support, we as a society dive into this litany about what we’re giving up. It just seems that the more life choices we have, the more complicated we make things.

Yet we’re more willing than ever to consciously have babies out of wedlock. No judgment ethically but I’m interested to know why we’re ready to have a baby but not ready to get married.

Diddy, the bachelor with five biological kids, three baby mamas (one of which is his girl), and a well-known side piece, recently gave an interview with Extra saying he hasn’t married because he hasn’t found “the one” yet.

How can you have so much reverence for marriage but yet be so willing for your kids to grow up without ever having a clear picture of what a healthy relationship is? In Diddy’s case it’s downright selfishness.

“As far as me and marriage and finding true love, I haven’t found that,” Diddy said. “The whole thing of marriage has been, to me, abused. It’s something that looks good for the tabloids. You make $2 million selling your wedding pictures, and it makes you look cool to your girlfriends or guy friends. But are you happy inside?”

It seems like we all (Diddy included) directly tie our happiness to the person we decide to commit to, which makes me wonder if humans really do have an innate need to feel emotionally (maybe even spiritually) connected to another human being. Only that would explain to me why we can have a baby with someone and even love them but not be sure we want to be with them for the rest of our lives.

We’re just afraid of making the wrong choice. Even though it’s the marriage you can always get out of and not the baby. Yes, I know it’s not the way to go into a marriage but you have to admit the reality of its confinement.

Sure, some people are perfectly happy in a committed relationship but feel no need to marry. Fine. I’m not the marriage police and that’s not what this post is about. I’m just asking the questions.

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Of course I’m going to see Sex and the City 2, probably a couple of times with various friends over the course of its first week (which is why the first movie grossed so much, everyone did the same thing I did). As the sequel’s opening day (May 27th) gets closer, its television trailers have gotten a little longer, they’re releasing a book to showcase all the fashion and now, nine clips have popped up on the Web.

You can only expect so much from the movie versions of the hit HBO show namely because the franchise itself has become so commercialized. I miss the HBO real-life advice Sex and the City where the characters had epiphanies, made terrible mistakes and summed up life over brunch with their friends. The show reminded me of the woman-talk sessions my mom used to have with her friends and sisters. I was so little but there was something so intriguing about those conversations that I’d do anything to be able to eavesdrop. I remember listening through the vents downstairs to the kitchen- yes, it was really that serious. And as I got older, I learned those conversations- with your girlfriends- was where you decided to break-up, get divorced, get married, dish about sex and find out if the things you were experiencing were normal. The guys watched football and played golf and the girls chatted.

Even though Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda didn’t look like me or like the vast majority of women (I looked up to and eavesdropped on their conversations)- they had substance. Seasons 1-6 cultivated countless situations and slogans that beg for reference in real life. I can’t tell you how many urban relationship myths, Jack Burger’s and “Big” loves my girls and I have come across. We learned that while waiting for marriage is quite noble, it could also land you in a divorce. We learned the type of guys we wanted, hello Smith, and the type of guys we’d dump…like the one who raped Charlotte’s face.

We could see that while Samantha’s sexual inhibition was funny and applaudable on screen, her behavior in real life meant she was a whore. Not because she liked sex but because, if you’ll remember, she didn’t always protect herself. We learned that the guy you think you want might not be the one who’s best for you…Big vs. Aidan or Harry vs. Trey.

In the new movie franchise (1 and 2), friendship becomes the selling point trumping men and babies, making them merely accessories in addition to the lives we already have. HBO’s version was more realistic to me in which the girls were on a mission to “have it all” after all, having it all is what makes being a woman so much fun.

Notable clips

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French model Noemie Lenoir, 30, who turned herself into a household name in the UK after landing an advertising campaign for Marks & Spencer, was found unconscious in the forest on the outskirts of Paris near her ex-boyfriend’s house. She was found lying next to a pile of pills and an empty liquor bottle and is recovering from her suicide attempt in a hospital.

Why, you ask? All of the reports speculate that her unhappiness stemmed from some drama with a man. Whether it was her ex-boyfriend and father of her five-year-old son, Claude Makelele (the ex-Chelsea football star) or her new love, multi-millionaire Carl Hirschmann, who is currently battling his way through a sex and extortion scandal in Switzerland— Noemie had boy drama.

And while I know that being beautiful and rich doesn’t equate to happiness, I have a hard time comprehending how a woman who looks like this (see below) can have such little esteem that she would attempt suicide, possibly leaving her little boy without a mother. It would have been a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Recently another beautiful woman by the name of Naomi Campbell went on Oprah to talk about her drug abuse and how at one point she didn’t know if she would make it to her 40th birthday. Her story and tears about her own insecurities proved that once again, sometimes the most successful people can end up being the most unhappy.

No one knows what goes on in the recesses of someone’s mind or what happens in their personal lives, but what I do know is that a strong sense of self-worth is paramount. And that self-worth has nothing to do money or other external factors.

But apparently, it does have something to do with the men one allows themselves to get tangled up with.

Claude says he had no idea of Noemie’s state of mind but while she drowning in alcohol and popping pills, he was picking up a lifetime achievement award in central France.

I wish Noemie a swift recovery and the wisdom to re-evaulate the people and things in her life. Sounds like it was a cry for help and I hope someone’s listening.

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Through the transition from high school to college to grad school and then back home to L.A., I’ve met a plethora of different women who I can proudly call my friends. Not associates or clubbing buddies, but actual real friends who are content doing the things I also enjoy. I might not see most of them as often as I like… they live all across the United States, but when I do see them we’re able to pick up right where we left off without missing a beat.

In the grand scheme of things friend compatibility can be a major life hurdle but for those who’ve mastered the art, or just got lucky, having a great group of friends to count on is essential. But I think that in order to be a good friend or to know the type of friend you want to have, you have to determine what your friend style is. Forging a friendship can be likened to dating, thankfully most of us have had to “make new friends” since preschool, so while we might have some practice relating to others, it doesn’t make the process any easier in adulthood.

As a child, your requirements for friends entails categories like: how many dolls they have, how fun it is to be at their house versus your own and what movies they like. As a teen, it’s about who understands you the best, who doesn’t get you in trouble but is still fun and whether or not they have a car. In college, your best friends will hold your hair back when you puke, jump in a fight if necessary and don’t judge you (at least outwardly) as you “find yourself.” As an adult? The list infinitely grows mostly due to the long distance factor. When friendship has to forge time zones, 8 hour work days and relationships with a significant other, priorities change and thus the friendship does too. As an adult, you’re more likely to be friends with the people who are the most like yourself. It all depends on lifestyle choices. How does the person spend their time and does that match up with how you want to spend yours?

Some fall by the wayside during this period, while others work around it and get back in touch when they can. Whether or not this works for you, is all dependent on your friendship style. Are you the kind that needs/wants daily updates or are you the type that’s content with a once a week gab session or even a once a month catch up? The point is that friendship comes in all different varieties and just like dating, you have to figure out what you can deal with and what you can’t.

Me? I’m quite content with the once a week or once a month variety mainly because in dealing with long distance friendships, I’d prefer the long catch-up to the daily occurrences. As far as friends who live in the city? I see them often, but I’d still rather do that than gab on the phone where most of our talks get put on pause due to the outside influences either one of us is experiencing at the moment. Cell phones were a genius invention for convenience, but for friendship? Not so much.

Everyone’s not going to fit inside your definition of friendship and if you aren’t getting what you need then…find a new friend.

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“As far as I’m concerned, as long as men look at me that way, I’m earning my keep.”-Betty Draper, Mad Men

I just started watching Mad Men on DVD, delivered right to my door by Netflix. I’d heard how ingenious the show was and considering my friend Raechal’s excitement for its third season last August, I knew I had to tune in. Knowing that it was written by one of the writers of another one of my favorite shows, The Sopranos, made it that much easier to get my boyfriend on board. All that to say, we’re hooked.

In my opinion, one of the most thought-provoking elements to me about The Sopranos and now Mad Men, are the relationships between powerful men and their women. In the case of Mad Men, we have Betty Draper, the petite beautiful wife of Don Draper- the main character and advertising executive of the uber successful Sterling Cooper (I’m still only on Season 2). The social dynamic of the kept woman is interesting to me maybe because my mother was one until I was five but more likely because from TV to magazine articles, the plight of the financially secure, yet “profoundly sad” woman who is often placed, untouched, on a pedestal by their husbands, boyfriends and male partners is always a source of reflection.

In May’s issue of Marie Claire, I read about Jillian Lauren’s experience as one of forty girlfriends of the Prince of Brunei who was, at first, excited about her new life but then quickly became dismayed by the cycle of interest and disinterest that became commonplace. Granted, she knew the deal when she got there but it goes to show that even when you’re prepared, the treatment can be damaging. In VH1’s, Basketball Wives viewers are given access to the life of a wife, girlfriend or ex-whatever of a NBA player.

And what do these women have in common? A man to take care of them, who’s shockingly inept at delivering the makings of real lasting love. And I know what you’re thinking (woe is them) but, if you consider that at the end of they day, everyone just wants to be loved and appreciated, imagine how sad a life like that could be. On Basketball Wives, the common athlete practice of playing single while on the road is reiterated which is no different from Don Draper who experiences the best part of his life at the office, away from his perfect wife, where he takes lunch breaks for romantic interludes and drinks all day. I guess perfection and a hot meal waiting at home is boring.

And in questioning the male rationale, I don’t understand how they’re willing to financially support someone who’s obviously not enough. Maybe it’s just the male nature of the chase and because the wife or girlfriend is already “won,” he’s on to the next. Perhaps a wife is like an accessory and if you have enough money you have lots of wiggle room to accessorize.

Still there’s strength in sadness and sadness doesn’t always have to mean defeat. In Betty’s case, she’s no pushover. She might smile and kiss her husband everyday when he arrives home but there’s something in her that allows his boss to grope her in their kitchen after dinner. Gotta say, I appreciate her gall.

Still, she and perhaps other kept women like her are treated like trophies- after the thrill of winning is over, they’re often left alone on the mantel piece, forgotten by their owners and admired from afar by others. Talk about being duped.

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