Ask Demetria: How Do I Get My Jump Off to Open Up More?



Dear Demetria:

"I’m having sex with a man that I would like to get to know better. I’m not trying to rush into anything; I would just like to be a little more knowledgeable about the person who is sexing me. I’ve invited him over when we talk, but he never comes. However, when he wants to have sex, he’ll ask me to meet him in various places, such as his mother’s house. I would like to be somewhere comfortable, but he seems at ease with risky places. I’m confused and not sure how to communicate with him. Any advice?" —Anonymous

I’m in support of single, consenting adults having all the safe, consensual sex they desire, whether it’s an established relationship or a one-night stand or a friends-with-benefits scenario. Your body and with whom you share it is your business.

That said, you’re hustling backward here. You want to get to know the person you’re sharing your body with now? That’s a matter that should have been worked out before you hopped into bed—or wherever y’all are having sex. Also, don’t lie to yourself about what you want here. You’re not having sex with this man because you only want a good time. You also want an emotional connection—hence, you’re inviting him over to talk and get to know each other.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a connection. But what is wrong is trying to use sex to get it. A lot of people make that mistake, and they quickly realize that the connection doesn’t last beyond the sexual engagement, if even then.

When you began this situation, you were offering sex with no strings attached, and he accepted. Now you’re trying to change the rules midway through the game. You have the absolute right to change your mind about what you’re looking for, and he has the absolute right to want to keep things as they are.

You have to start paying attention to what’s going on, though. This man has made it clear that he is interested only in having sex with you, not building a relationship with you. It’s why he’s never available to talk or spend time when there’s no sex involved, but he can quickly find the time and a corner in his mama’s house when he’s ready, willing and able. Is he even that available when you’reinterested in sex, or is sex also solely on his terms? I’m guessing that he isn’t, since he won’t even compromise to have sex in a place you would find “comfortable.”

You’re selling yourself way short here, hon. Not only does this guy sound uninterested in you beyond sex, but it also sounds as if he may be committed to someone else. Is it that he doesn’t have his own home in which to have sex with you? Or is it that there is someone else—his girlfriend or wife—who lives in the home he has, which is why you can’t go there?

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Ask Demetria: Should I Wait 'Til His Divorce Is Final to Date?


Dear Demetria:

I’m currently in a seven-month relationship with a married man who is separated from his wife (it’ll be a year this October). They don’t live together but are co-parenting a child. I’ve met the baby, wife, immediate family as well as close friends. Also, he took me on a trip out of the country for a wedding that he and his wife were initially invited to. While I love how things are going, entering a new season (mid-20s), I am reassessing this. Should I back up because his marital status isn’t “divorced”? Let me mention that he wants one and his wife doesn’t. Or should I give it more time (two years) to see what happens? —Anonymous 

The man you are dating is married. Period. He might be separated from his wife, but he is still married to her. “Separated” does not mean “single.” You’re right to reassess this one in your new season because this is a bad situation.

You don’t realize it, but you are a rebound from his marriage. If you’ve been in a relationship with him for seven months, that means you likely met him when he’d been out of his marital home for a few months. This other woman’s husband didn’t take hardly any time to process separating from his wife before he took up with you.

Maybe he was deeply unhappy in his marriage and knows for certain that he wants out. I can fully understand that. But he still has to take the time to process the end of his marriage and assess what went wrong and the role he may have played. (It does take two.) Unless he does that, it’s impossible for him not to bring the baggage from his relationship with his wife into the relationship with you. He needs to “do his work.” You’re a distraction from that.

Also, they are still in a relationship. This isn’t like dating, where you say “It’s over,” move out and, just like that, the relationship is over. It has to be legally dissolved. Many states require a legal separation of a full year before couples can even begin divorce proceedings. There’s a reason for that. The hope is that if spouses take the time to consider their situation thoughtfully and with clear heads, they can work out their issues and reunite.

He says he wants out. His wife says otherwise, which makes this situation very messy. They have history, memories and a child together. And while the marriage is rocky, it isn’t over. He has unfinished business with his family.

It’s also not just another random woman who wants him; it’s his wife. That holds more weight than you seem to give it. At any moment, he could decide that he acted too rashly, wants to give his family another shot, and return where his wife and child are waiting with open arms. If you told me he’d been separated for years, I’d wonder what the holdup was, but I’d think that a reunion was less likely to happen (even though I know of couples who have been separated for years and worked things out). But a guy who got in a serious relationship three months after he moved out? Anything’s possible at this point.

I’m wondering why, in your mid-20s, you’re willing to take on the complications of a married man with a wife and child. What is so compelling and urgent about this relationship that you can’t wait for his divorce papers? Is there some sort of ego boost, knowing that he has a wife but he’s choosing you over her? Do you feel that he’s giving you the wife treatment because he’s taking you to events that he planned to attend with her?


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Behind the Scenes with Belle at GMA

Demetria does "Modern Romance" on Good Morning America "Don't forget the graphic."

"Smile, so you don't have RBF." 

"Get to the point, so you get to the fourth question."

"Sit up straight so your boobs aren't on the table." 

"What's my first line again?" 

"Be clear, concise." 

"Not too much about New York or Black folk. This isn't a New York or Black audience."

"MRS degree. MRS degree. Don't forget MRS degree." 

"We don't depend on men for survival."

"60s housewife. You have to say 60s housewife. If MRS doesn't stand out, this will." 

"Remember to breathe." 

"Oh sh--. We're live!" 

"She's talking to me."



The build up for doing live TV is more scary than actually doing it.

I did a pre-interview with the Good Morning America producer yesterday. He asked me a million questions. The call lasted 30 minutes. All that chat has been boiled down to a segment that lasts 1:45. I'm in and I'm out. Fast and not so easy. As soon as I get warm, the segment is over. Warm is not enough. Hot. I gotta be hot.

In the green room, the producer rehearses the segment with me four times. I keep forgetting to mention the graphic. I'm talking too much. We're at 2.5 minutes. We need 1:48. Again. 2.20. Again. 1:48. Again. 2:00. It's fine. The fourth question is the advice. The good part where I tell women to shorten their lists. 3-5 must haves, everything else is about communication and whether you're compatible. Be "aggressive", ie, do something when you see a fine man. Say "hello", smile, ask a question or pay a compliment. And stop listening to all these doomsday statistics. You are one woman looking for one man. This is entirely feasible. I need to get this part in.

The producer's not gonna force the time. I just need to remember the graphic. "If you forget, it's not the end of the world, but my boss wanted the graph, so try hard," he says. What he means is: whatever you do, do NOT forget the graph.

I walk on set and there are three sets in one big room: a news desk, a half moon table, and a living room. There are 50 people: producers, sound men, cameramen, a director, other talent, the host. Fans. Kids. There's a gigantic window where people walking thru Times Square can watch from outside. It's a crowd. 50? 100? I don't judge crowd size well. And big a-- cameras. That are moving. I'm in the way. I move. Now I'm in the way of another camera. I move again. The graphics on the wall keep changing.

A lady who was in the green room with me enters the set. She came down after me, but she's going on before. She walks over to her set and takes a seat. She's a natural. She's done this a million times. I want to do this a million times too.

I'm up. I'm not seated on the side a junior producer said I would be on. Hold up. Which way do I point to indicate the graph? I look out into the 50 or so people milling around. I don't see my producer. I get distracted by Robin's shoes. Are those Sophia Webster?

The intro video is playing. All my directions are playing in my head. The video is wrapping up. It's almost time.  I replay instructions in my head. "She's talking to me."


image1 copy


I talked. I almost forgot the graphic, but then the the wall screen moved rapidly and I caught it in my peripheral vision. I think, hey, look at that! That's cool, but I mention the graphic out loud and give commentary. I honestly don't know what I said, but the hosts are laughing and applauding. I smile because I've done something good. And, you know, no RBF. We're going to commercial. I missed the fourth question. Sh--.

I'm being guided off set by the producer. He says I did great. I'm disappointed. I say, "but I missed the fourth question." That's not hot.

Producer: "But you remembered the graphic!" He's happy. I hope his boss is too.

I check my Instagram. No one watching knew there was a fourth question. (Almost) Everyone's happy. I know from experience that social media will not hesitate to rip me a new one if I weren't better than good.

I get a text from my father, by far my hardest critic, and the only opinion I really care about. Weird that nothing came thru from him before now. He usually likes to text me while I'm on air live with instructions. Smile. Pause before you answer. Don't cut off the question. Don't nod out of nervousness because it might be something you don't agree with. Don't fidget. It doesn't matter that I can't see any of this until after the cameras stop.

His text reads: "outstanding." Period.

My PR sends me the link. I refuse to watch it. I hate looking at myself on TV.


Ask Demetria: "How Do I Get Her Back?"

Kanye West "Heartless"

Dear Demetria:

Help me out, D. I was dating a woman long distance, and things started to head into relationship territory pretty fast (three months). I felt pressured and basically stopped hitting her up as much and being less responsive to slow things down. She reacted terribly and cut me off for being inconsistent. I was relieved at the time and let her leave, but now I regret it. She ignored me last time I tried to reach out. How can I fix this? —Anonymous

Honestly? I don’t know if you can fix this—or, if you can, that you should. You thought things were moving too fast, and you’re entirely entitled to however you felt about that. But the correct and respectful thing to do was to have a conversation about how you felt about the pace of the situation, not be passive aggressive and distance yourself from her. You seem to care now, but you’ve been disrespectful of her feelings, and your past actions demonstrate that you’re a consistently poor communicator. I can’t say that I blame her for ignoring you, given these circumstances.

I also wonder, what has changed now, and why you are suddenly interested in her again after being consistently uninterested? Are you reaching out to her because you are lonely? Bored? Or is this your ego in the sense that you’re only interested now because you reached out and she didn’t bother to respond? Do you want her back, or do you just want the satisfaction of knowing that she may want you?

I’ll be honest; if this query came from her about a guy she was dating who demonstrated that he wasn’t interested in the same way you have, I would tell her to keep it moving and don’t look back. I would advise her to know her worth and not waste her pretty on a man who has shown her how easily he can disregard her feelings and not care enough about her to respectfully say, “Hey, I like you, but this is moving too fast for me,” or even, “Hey, this isn’t working for me.”

If you had said that to her, she might have been disappointed by your perspective, but at least she would have seen that you cared enough about how she felt to communicate like an adult. Because you had treated her feelings with respect, there would have been a better opportunity for you to circle back if you were ever willing to rekindle something with her in the future.

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Ask Demetria: Should I Meet Up With An Abusive Ex Who Owes Me Money?

stock-footage-new-hundred-dollar-bills-money-burst-with-alpha-matte Dear Demetria:

"A guy I was in an abusive relationship with owes me money. We lived together and he didn't uphold his part of the bills. We got evicted. He says that he will pay back the money, but only if I see/meet up with him. What are your thoughts? (He owes thousands.)" —Anonymous

The money isn’t worth meeting up with him. If he really wanted to do the right thing, he wouldn’t hold stipulations over your head for him to do it. He knows he was wrong for not paying the bills over time (and it was a long time, because a landlord has to get a court order to have someone evicted, and that’s not a simple or short process). And he knows he owes you money. If he only wanted you to have the money and just wanted to be an upstanding guy on the back end, he would put a check or money order in the mail, send the money via PayPal or transfer it to your account.

He’s still playing games with you. Saying he’ll only do X if you do Y is just another way to manipulate and control you, which I’m sure he made a habit of doing throughout the abusive relationship.

But I get why you may want to meet with him. “Thousands” of dollars is nothing to scoff at, and if the situation got to the point where you were evicted, you didn’t have the funds to cover the bills on your own. I’m guessing that you spent what you had to stay in your place and came up short. And if you were evicted, you need the money he owes to get back on your feet. You probably also still care about him, despite the abuse.

Your best course of action is to gather what evidence you have that he owes you money and take him to small-claims court. If you insist on meeting up with him—and I do not suggest that you do—it needs to be in a public place (like a police station). And take with you the biggest man you have in your life—someone who will intimidate your ex and make him think twice about being abusive.

Under no circumstances should you meet with your ex alone. Again, to be clear, I prefer that you not go. Your safety is worth more than the money.

If it sounds as if I’m making a big deal about this meet-up, it’s because I am. At best, you’ll meet up with him and he’ll try to sweet-talk you into reigniting the relationship. Maybe he’ll apologize to you. And just maybe you’ll actually get the money he owes. At worst, he’ll become abusive during the encounter.

The most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is when she leaves it. In domestic-abuse cases, 70 percent of the violence happens after the woman leaves the relationship. A friend shared with me something that happened to a friend of hers: “The guy asked to see her to talk. He shot her four times, then killed himself,” she said. “Thank God she survived.”


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Ask Demetria: "My BF Comes to My Job to Argue With Me!"

Diana Ross as "Tracy Chambers" in Mahogany


Dear Demetria:

My boyfriend of four years nags me about the same thing: my work schedule. I work long, sometimes outrageous hours, but I love my job. He can’t get past it and sometimes argues with me via phone when I work late, other times in my office (door closed). Other than this, our relationship is fine. Help. —Anonymous

Everything isn’t fine in your relationship. It’s one thing for your boyfriend to want to spend more time with you. It’s great to be wanted and desired and missed. But when he shows up at your job and argues with you, he’s crossing the line. He is displaying a fundamental lack of respect and a deep resentment for you and your job. Don’t confuse his antics at your workplace with a sign of affection and passion. Let me be clear: There is no situation in which it’s acceptable for him to come to your place of employment and argue with you.

Just so you know, your bosses, colleagues and subordinates can all hear you two arguing, in person and on the phone. You two are the good office gossip, and they think how you’re carrying on is unprofessional and messy. I don’t care how much you love your man and how long y’all have been together. You should have told security to ban him from the building after the first time he showed up.

Actually, you still should. And if he’s going to badger you and argue with you at work, then you don’t need to take his calls while you’re on the job.

I’m not sure you’re aware, but your boyfriend is also putting your job in jeopardy—and it’s intentional. If you allow him to keep this up, that job you love so much isn’t going to be around much longer.

You need to have a long chat with your man about boundaries—immediately. Tell him point blank that interrupting your work or showing up at your job is unacceptable, and he will be single if it happens again.

I know he wants you to change your work habits, but acting a fool at your job isn’t the right way to go about it. There are more effective ways to get a point across (like asking and, if the answer is no, accepting that and moving on, even if it’s to find another relationship). I imagine that his ridiculous behavior makes you resent him and want to avoid him, which makes the situation worse.

You love your job, and I’m going to assume that you love your man, since you’ve been with him for four years. But four years is a long time to be with the same person, especially when he’s pulling shenanigans like this. You need to have a long chat with yourself about this relationship and if you want it to continue.

You’re encountering a conundrum that a lot of women face, one that Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie mentioned in her TEDxEuston talk, “We Should All Be Feminists” (which was excerpted in Beyoncé’s “Flawless”):

We say to girls, “You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful—otherwise you will threaten the man.” ... Because I am a female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important.

Your man is unquestionably threatened. If you want to keep him around, you’re going to have to accommodate his ego and make more time for him. That doesn’t mean you slack off on the job or do anything to put it further in jeopardy. It does mean you leave “on time” a few nights a week, whenever possible, and spend those evenings with your boyfriend (which includes staying off work email).

Do keep in mind that you have the option to be single and focus on your work. Contrary to the theme of the film Mahogany, success still means something even when you have no one—at the moment—to share it with.


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Ask Demetria: My Boyfriend Stood Me Up for Thanksgiving

Angry Bird. Dear Demetria:

“My boyfriend of four months was supposed to come to my parents crib [for Thanksgiving] and he never did. I was embarrassed because I told my mom he would [come]. It’s important to me to meet his people and vice versa, but he acts hesitant. We’ve had issues before where he kind of stood me up and I always had an excuse. Am I being dramatic for being upset?”

This is my least favorite time of year to give advice. As I type, just before midnight on Thanksgiving, my Ask.FM inbox is overrun with messages from women who were disappointed today when their alleged boyfriends didn’t show up for family dinner.

Here’s another current one:

“My whole [Thanksgiving] was effed up. Boyfriend had to work. Told me he would be there all day. We were texting through out the day. Around 5PM, I asked if he wanted me to bring food to his job. He was at his sister’s. My blood was boiling. I asked he would stop by. He said he’d try. The f--- they do that at? I am so feeling a certain type of way about this. He’s been inside me THIS WEEK!”

Some version of this happens every year… to a lot of people.

You can tell a lot about a person’s interest based on how they act/ show up for the holidays. And a lot of people who think they are in a committed relationship, or at least a situation “going somewhere”, find out otherwise. People also tend to have a lot of expectations for this time of year (those Hallmark commercials have done a doozy on everyone) and get profoundly let down when they’re not met.

Too often, those disappointed people come to me, asking the obvious (see above and below). And some of them get very upset when I answer with the stark truth that they’re trying to avoid, which is exactly what happened here.

That first woman asked, so I answered:

You’re asking if you’re being “dramatic” because you are upset after you were stood up again? You’re not being dramatic enough. He stood you up on Thanksgiving and embarrassed you in front of your family. This is level 10.

It’s also at least the SECOND time he’s stood you up. He shoulda been gone after the first if there was no VERY valid explanation for why he couldn’t show up for you. Dude’s at best unreliable. At worst? Uninterested. Call this a wrap.

She wasn’t so pleased with this answer. I get it. No one wants to hear someone they care about isn’t that into them. And because she’s not ready to let go, she was trying to justify his behavior.

The same woman wrote back:

“I’m not a silly girl and I’m not blaming myself. And there was a lack of communication on both our parts at times. We are together nearly 85% of [the] time. I just wanted to know if 4 months is too early to meet parents. I’m ready, but I feel he isn’t. I feel we should have been together today.”

I responded:

If you’re in a relationship, it’s cool to meet parents.  You don’t have to, of course, but you can. (Everyone doesn’t agree with that, I know. To which I ask: if after the dating process—i.e., vetting—you don’t know if he’s suitable to meet your parents, why did you commit to him?)

But whether it’s too soon or not, he agreed to show up. And if he thought it was too soon, then he should have said that instead of just skipping out on you.

Stop making excuses for him, especially since it’s not the first time he stood you up, by your account.


She responded again:

“I write to you because I feel that my entire family judges and ridicules me. I know for sure that love isn’t entirely black and white. There are grey areas and I know you’ve lived through grey areas at some point in life. I just ask that you take that into account when people reach out to you.”

See now? This is the part I hate, when readers don’t want to handle the truth, and want to accuse me of being judge-y or ridiculing them or not understanding the concept of grey.

In this case, what she doesn’t know is I’ve been stood up by a boyfriend on Thanksgiving (something I’ve written about repeatedly). And because I was so into him, I wanted to pretend against my better judgment that it didn’t mean what I knew it meant: this is the wrong mofo for me. But I was in what I then-thought was love, and I wanted to believe the BS excuse he gave me (which was really, really bad) because I wanted him.

And you know what happened not even two weeks after I forgave him? He sh—ed on me again. We made plans to take a road trip, and I was all prepped and ready and he actually called that time— the day before—and said he thought it best if I didn’t go.  Why did he do that? Because 1) he was apparently the giver of no damns; and 2) by sticking around after the first time he’d completely disrespected me, I’d made it clear to him that I would put up with that. *Cue the sound of my heart breaking.*

That is when I accepted what I’d been trying to pretend otherwise about: that man didn’t want me. Period. And if I accepted it the first time, I wouldn’t have played myself a second and been hurt as much for getting played by him as for playing myself. Again.

This was my response to the woman’s last response:

You asked what I thought and I answered, on. You came to me for my opinion.

Because you don’t like the answer doesn’t make it wrong.

Standing your girl up— and not for the first time—and on Thanksgiving is a red flag.*

Everything ain’t grey, babes. Sorry if your feelings are hurt, but take that out on the guy who didn’t show.


*And as commenters who saw the question noted, is also a sign that you’re a side chick





Ask Demetria: I Think I Missed My Sexual Prime. Help!


Your sexual prime is now.

Dear Demetria: 

I am against cheating. I won’t do it, but it feels like I haven’t truly lived. I went to school, got married, had a baby. I feel like my husband’s had a full life. He’s traveled all over the world, done two deployments and is settled. I haven’t even started. I feel like I missed a part of my prime, especially sexual prime. Help! —Anonymous

I’ll answer your question, but can I tell you a story first?

My mom came to visit me in New York City once. It was about 10 years ago, and I was bummed about a bad and very colorful breakup. Actually, two. I’d broken up with a guy a year or so prior who wanted to marry me. He was great, but like you, I felt like I hadn’t “lived.” I told him as much when we broke up, and he told me I’d never find someone as good as him. Ouch.

So I went and “lived.” I traveled and I partied, and I met someone else and he broke my heart. And while I usually didn’t regret that first breakup with the great guy, in my funk that weekend, I did. Maybe, I thought, I should have just gotten married.

My mom was in town to cheer me up. I asked her what she wanted to do during her visit, and her request was, “Nothing special, just the things that you usually do.” Um, OK.

It was a Saturday, so we went shopping in Soho. I introduced her to some of my friends, then we grabbed a late lunch at my favorite restaurant with cheap but amazing food. It was far from fancy.

My mother was giddy and wide-eyed the whole time. I didn’t get it. She’d been to New York plenty of times, so it wasn’t as if she was awestruck of the city. She explained, “I didn’t get to do this.”

By “this,” she meant live largely unencumbered with the freedom to spend Saturdays window-shopping and wandering aimlessly, gabbing with friends without anything major to worry about. When she was my age back then, she’d been married for five years and had a 2-year-old: me. She pointed out that I didn’t have to worry about keeping up with a child (or husband) or doing laundry or grocery shopping or any of the other thousands of important and sometimes very mundane things a wife and mother does to keep the household running smoothly.

She added that she wouldn’t trade me or my dad for the world—OK, maybe put us off for a year each to have lived in New York—but she wanted me, in all my breakup funk, to know just how good I had it.

And she was right. There are extraordinary perks to being single, even if a lot of people, especially women, take them for granted. It took my mother, married by then for almost 30 years, to point it out to me.

So, yes, I get where you’re coming from. And yes, I won’t lie, there are things you missed out on. But you’ve got a stable home, a solid man and a child who I’m sure adores you both. You’re looking at someone else’s grass, and while your own yard might not be landscaped the way you like, your grass is green, too. Cultivate your lawn so it stays that way.

You’re married and a mom. Your life is not over, it just comes with more responsibilities and requires more advance planning. You want to see the world? What’s stopping you? Kids and husbands are both allowed on planes. And that settled family man you have at home is entirely capable of parenting his own child if you want a solo getaway or a weekend with the girls. Finances? That’s what planning ahead and savings accounts are for.


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Ask Demetria: My Friend Introduced Me to a Guy She Slept With (but Didn’t Tell Me)

 Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 8.36.50 AM

Dear Demetria:

I’m dating a guy I met through a friend. She introduced him as a friend only but admitted that she used to find him attractive. When he approached me about spending time, I asked her if it was cool and she said, “Of course. Why wouldn’t it be?!” He later tells me they had sex once, but she never told me. Do I ask her about it? —Anonymous

Ooh. Just so you know, this is about to get so messy. You may need to let this fish go back to the pond if you want to keep your friendship.

It seems that your friend was more than just a friend to the guy she introduced you to. If what he said is true and they did have sex, I wonder why she just didn’t say that or at least tell you, “We hooked up once,” which implies a range of possibilities, when you asked about him. It’s something that most women would want to know about someone they’re dating.

Of course, there are some women who can have sex with someone with no feelings attached. It’s just sex. Those women also tend to be the type who would say, “Yeah, we had sex, but that’s all” if you inquired about dating someone they knew, and they would say it as matter-of-factly as they would an observation about water being wet. Your friend who breezed right over that interesting information is not that woman.

She liked him. She found him attractive. It didn’t work out, for whatever reason. That doesn’t make her a bad person. It does sound as if she’s trying to be that cool friend who’s pretending to be OK with her friend dating someone she slept with. I respect that. And she will be, too, until the guy takes a real interest in you—a direction he’s already moving in.

The guy you’re dating told you that he slept with your friend because it became apparent that you didn’t know. He knew that if you found out on the back end, you might bail on him. He wanted to be transparent, which your actual friend should have been.

You can ask her about it if you want. I don’t know what you hope to gain by doing so, however, other than possible confirmation or a fall deeper into the rabbit hole of this soon-to-be-crazier situation. The solution here boil down to this: Stop dating the guy and keep your friend, or keep dating him and watch things get messy. Those are your only two real choices.

I’ve been through this before. Many, many years ago my friend casually introduced a man to me by saying, “We’re just friends.” As he walked off, she snickered that he was her “former jump-off.”

Read more: here 

Ask Demetria: "My Ex Abandoned Me (and the Kids), But Now He Wants A Second Chance"

"You abandoned me. Love don't live here anymore" — Faith Dear Demetria:

My boyfriend cheated and abandoned me and my kids. I didn’t even know he was leaving. I came home and his things were gone. I started dating a great guy, but after a year my ex has returned and wants to get married. The new guy has been there for that year, helping me with financial issues and me. Would I be wrong for going back to my ex? I still love him, and he said he needed time to give me 100 percent like I gave him. I don’t know what to do, but I feel like I never should have been without my ex. —Anonymous

Don’t be a fool for love. You’re in love with a man who, from what you’re telling me here, doesn’t deserve what you want to offer him. The guy who deserves it? He’s the one who’s been doing the most, pitching in to help financially and taking care of you while you’re a mess, pining for a man who doesn’t appreciate you. Just as you hope your ex will appreciate you the second time around, I wish you could appreciate the man in front of you. You’d be so much happier in the long run.

Your ex is no good for you. He walked out on you and your kids, and for a year he never looked back. He didn’t care how the rent (or mortgage) got paid or how you would explain his absence to the kids or the emotional toll it would take on you. He wanted to go and didn’t even have the decency to say goodbye. This is not the type of man you give a second chance to, much less marry. If you go back to him, he will do it again. He fundamentally does not respect you or commitment.

Let me tell you where your ex has been. He wasn’t sitting up somewhere in a monastery, praying daily and taking vows of silence and abstinence to find the God within himself. While you were trying to figure out how to take care of your kids on one income again, he was finding himself laid up with the woman (or one of the women) he was cheating on you with. While you were crying your eyes out about him leaving, he was taking her to dinner and buying her trinkets and whispering sweet nothings. While your kids were asking, “Where’s so-and-so?” he may have been splurging on this other woman’s child, trying to win that child’s affection and more of his or her mama’s. You’ll never know what he was up to because while you were holding it down, he was not there anymore.

Because some version of this question comes up over and over and over in my inbox, I’m going to safely say that the woman or women he was with all this time either bored him or got rid of him. Now he needs some attention, and he’s shown back up at your door begging and promising the world and everything in it. It’s a mirage, hon. Don’t be fooled. Either he needs a place to stay or he’s jealous of your happiness and wants you to want him.

If you leave the new guy for your ex—exactly what your ex did to you, so you know—you will soon find yourself back in the same spot you were a year ago. Your ex isn’t staying this time, either, and when he leaves again, the new guy likely isn’t going to be as forgiving to you as you are to your ex. You’ll be on your own, again, which you probably need to be anyway. If you could skip all the drama to reach that point, it would serve you better.

So about the new guy: You’re using him—again, just as you were used by your ex. You’re keeping the new guy around while you piece yourself back together, and spending his money. It’s not fair to him, and you know exactly how unfair it is because you’ve been in his position.

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Ask Demetria: He's Not Getting Me the Engagement Ring I Asked For

If you like him, just be happy that he's putting a ring on it. Focus on what really matters. Dear Demetria:

My fiance told me to pick out an engagement ring. We found one that we both liked and was within the budget. He asked for specifications and pictures. I sent them to him. I asked if he was going to get it and he said I would get what I wanted. Now I think he got me a totally different ring, which would be fine. But now I feel like he's going back on his word. Help! —Anonymous

As I was reading your query, I fell into the same trap you did for a second. I wondered, "How is he her fiance, but there's no ring?" The truth is, though, you don't need one to be engaged or even married. You need a wedding license. A ring is a romantic gesture. I wasn't focused on the right thing for a second; neither are you. Let's both check ourselves here.

A male relative of mine put it this way:

The concept of a wedding ring has been indoctrinated [into] women as a sign of status/level of love to the point where they poison their relationship by focusing on something that is not important. Marriage is about the everyday, not about what you can show to your girls.


If you're calling him your fiance, I'm guessing he has already asked you to spend your life with him and you said yes. I'm hoping that since it appears you've agreed to this, your man is a good guy who has your best interest at heart and wants to make you happy. If he isn't, you've got a bigger problem to focus on than the size, design or cost of the ring he purchased.

I'm going to be optimistic here and guess he's a good guy. If he is, you're focused on the wrong thing. The man you love loves you, too, and is committing to building a life with you. The bottom line here is, "Do you want to marry him or nah?" If you do, stop focusing on the ring.

If he purchased a different ring, it's either because his budget changed or he genuinely thinks you'll like the new ring better. No man who genuinely loves his woman sets out to get her a ring he doesn't think she wants. If your fiance is a good guy, he’s doing his best, even if he makes a detour with the plan. Is it also possible that the potentially new ring is bigger and "better" than what you asked for? Change isn't always bad.

You're talking about getting married. A universal truth held by nearly every happily married person I've ever spoken to is this: Choose your battles. On this one? Your best move is to stand down and smile. You want to marry him? Whatever he produces, your answer is "I love you!" "Thank you!" and/or "Yes!" You will seem entirely ungrateful, controlling and selfish to complain about the possibly different ring. Each of those qualities is a big turnoff that could make a man rethink his commitment.


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The Root: "I Got A Tattoo of My Man's Name, He Got My Initials"

I guess she was over "George". #womp Dear Demetria:

"I got a tattoo of my man's name. We were supposed to do this together. He said he would write mine. Instead, he does initials. I'm pissed and feel quite stupid because I think he tried to make it vague. My initials are A.S.K. I asked him why he didn't write out my name. He said, 'It's only for us.' Do I have a right to be pissed?" —A.S.K.

You have a right to feel any way you want. As Bobby Brown once explained, that's your prerogative. But being "pissed" doesn't solve anything. You are still branded with the name of a man who isn't even your husband. You've made a permanent mark on your canvas denoting a man who is temporary in your life and probably won't be around very long. Ouch! I know. But it's true.

If he planned for only you to see him naked in the future, then he would have gone through with the prior agreement. He half-wayed it because, while he likes you, he's keeping his options open for the possibility that this might not work out in the long run. It's not a bad compromise, but he should have told you what he was doing beforehand.

To be clear: This was a bad decision from the beginning. Inking your partner's name on your body shouldn't have been a consideration or discussion until a marriage license was signed and you'd both put a few years into the marriage. Even then, it's kind of crazy, but if both spouses are onboard? So be it. But marking yourself permanently without so much as a ring doesn't even make sense. You can't commit to forever with a partner, but you're willing to commit to a lasting reminder of the relationship on your body? Where, oh where, do they do this at?

I shared your dilemma with some friends online. A woman remarked that her tattoo artist once told her that she hated doing art with significant others' names. Why?

"Most of them end up being covered up," the artist said.

This situation also tells me a lot about your relationship. You're all in and see this as forever ever. Your partner is around for the time being. The communication is also off. You both agreed to do something; he didn't hold up his end of the deal. Instead of telling you, "Hey, I'm uncomfortable with this," he went ahead and did what was best for him and filled you in on the back end. That is not OK.

It sounds like he likes you—if he didn't, he wouldn't have gotten even your initials—but you're trying to push the commitment level of this relationship beyond what he's ready for and in the wrong way. You just found out the hard way that you can't force someone into a commitment that he or she isn't ready for.

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The Root: "Everything You Were Afraid to Ask About Love"

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If you ask Demetria Lucas what she thinks, be prepared for a jolt of raw reality. For the past few years life coach Lucas has dished out advice on everything from bad BFFs, falling for your FWB (friend with benefits) and freaky sex at her website, A Belle in Brooklyn, and in her column, Ask Demetria, at The Root.

She pulled together some of her favorite questions, and no-holds-barred responses, for a tantalizing new book, Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love.

The Root: What does the title mean: Don’t Waste Your Pretty?

Demetria Lucas: “Pretty” is shorthand for all the resources that women take for granted in the dating marketplace and often give away to the wrong person. Your “pretty” is your energy, emotional investment, time, listening skills, nurturing, sex, sacrifices, cheerleading, hand-holding, etc. The “pretty” I refer to in the book title is also a resource, but it’s the least important of what you bring to the table. Pretty gets you noticed across the room, but it’s everything else you bring to the table that keeps a potential partner calling and coming back.

TR: A lot of what you teach is old-school values: respecting yourself, protecting your health, your well-being and your money. Do you feel your message about values is getting through?

DL: I do. A lot of women—and men—didn’t get much guidance about how to date or create healthy relationships. They don’t know what they’re supposed to do, or not. They’re just doing the best they can.

I’ve had countless people write in to say they were skeptical of my advice, but what they were doing wasn’t working, so they figured, “Why not try what Belle said? I’ll speak to my mate a little softer. I’ll ask for what I want. I’ll stop looking away when a guy makes eye contact and I’ll smile instead.” And it worked. All people want is results, and if values get that, they’re happy to embrace it.

TR: You credit your parents and their marriage a lot with your ability to sort out the rights and wrongs of relationships. Do you think most women—or most of the women you counsel—are still looking for marriage? Or do they just want a relationship, even if it’s without the ring?

DL: Absolutely, for the vast majority of my readers and clients, marriage is still the ultimate goal. The single ladies want a relationship, then a ring, then a husband and then some kids. The women in long-term relationships still want a ring. The “mothers of child” want to become wives, if not to the father of their child, then to someone. There’s great fretting about the possibility of never getting married. “Just” a relationship is not enough.

TR: When you’ve met some of these women at book signings or other events, what kinds of things do they tell you about the advice you gave them?

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5 Lessons in Dealing With a Crazy Ex


My ex broke up my last relationship, but I forgave him and we became cordial. When we were together, he treated me like crap, but in the spirit of forgiveness, I moved on and told him we could be friends but we were never getting back together. He kept spending money on me, insisting that he was doing it from the heart because when he was down and out, I was there for him in the clutch. He then began asking for sex. I said, “Hell no,” and that we were never getting back together.

I went away for four months to study abroad. He would say, “I love you,” “Can’t wait to see you,” “I miss you,” etc. I missed him, but not in the same way. I asked him to pick up things while I was away and told him I would pay him back. I got back; he insisted it was a gift.

Long story short, a guy I fell madly in love with last year (but things never worked out) tried to make things work again. He asked me to be with him, and I said, “Yes.” My ex snapped. I feel bad for hurting him because I never want to hurt anyone. But I told him that we were not getting back together. What do I do? —Anonymous

Sigh. There is so much wrong with this story. I’ll begin with the bottom line: You should move on

with the new guy and stop speaking to your ex for good. The relationship with your ex, the ongoing back and forth, the hazy gray area you’ve both been playing in? All of it is done, unless you want to sabotage your current relationship, too.

Now, let’s go back to the beginning and discuss the myriad bad decisions that led to your ex flipping out. Hopefully you can find the (many) teachable moments in your story:

1. When a guy treats you like “crap” as his girlfriend, you don’t befriend him. It’s one thing to not want to be in a relationship anymore. That doesn’t make anyone a bad person. But the guy strings you along and dogs you on the way out? That is not a friend. You don’t give him the privilege of remaining in your life. He had his shot. He screwed it up by treating you poorly.

2. Forgiveness does not mean friendship. You should forgive the person or people who wrong you. Not for them but for you, so you’re not walking around bitter and angry at someone who may not even care. But there is no part of “moving on” that says you have to forget how someone has treated you and pretend everything is fine. You can forgive and love from afar.

3. Men who aren’t related to you do not make a habit of buying you things just to do so. The vast majority want something in return. Your ex wanted to continue the sexual relationship. When you didn’t respond to him implying it, he straight up asked like you were a prostitute. Any ego stroke you were getting from his attention should have disappeared then.

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Ask Demetria: Exclusivity Is For Relationships

117___Selected Dear Demetria:

I’m not in a committed relationship, but I am dating someone (nothing physical). Another guy has asked me on a date, which I accepted. My friends are giving me grief, saying I should date one person at a time and give it a chance to grow. Am I wrong?” —Anonymous

Your friends are good people who are giving bad advice.

Exclusivity is for committed relationships, and since you aren’t in one, you shouldn’t act like you are. If the guy you’re dating doesn’t want you to see other people, then he should offer you a commitment and a title. And so you know, if he hasn’t asked you to be in a relationship, he’s not exclusive to you—and he shouldn’t be. He’s single.

Here’s the thing: What if you date this guy for months, finally ask him, “Where is this going?” and he comes back with, “I like things the way they are” or “I just want to be friends.” Then you’ve invested months getting to know someone who’s never going to be your boyfriend, and you’re left disappointed with no options on your plate. You’re stuck either sticking with a guy who doesn’t want to commit, and maybe trying to convince him to change his mind (pointless), or starting over from scratch after months invested and no commitment to show for it. That’s a waste of your pretty.

Exclusivity is also a resource. One of the many reasons that men commit, other than “just” liking you, is that they see you have a lot to offer. A man knows that if he sees it, other men will notice that, too, and he doesn’t want you entertaining other men.

A commitment is an attempt to keep you all to himself. When you give exclusivity away, you’re giving away one good reason for him to commit. He’s got one of the big bonuses of a relationship (and likely others, too) without actually being in one anyway. What’s the incentive here?

I challenge you to rethink what dating is—not a relationship status but an activity. Your goal while doing this activity is to have fun and evaluate the person you’re dating to see if you actually like him. That’s it. After you’ve spent a few months—you need to see his ups and, more important, his downs—then you discuss a relationship.

When you meet a man, even if you like him, don’t shut yourself off from other men. Keep going out, keep flirting, keep meeting people, and keep going on dates with anyone you find interesting and/or attractive. He is.


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