Dear Demetria: My Married Friends Invite Their Husbands When We Hang Out

single-black-woman Dear Demetria:

"I'm single. A lot of my friends are married. I'll suggest getting together, and they'll say yes, only to hit me at the last minute with, "Hubby will be with me; is that all right?" Is it unrealistic of me to expect to still see my girls without their men tagging along?" —Anonymous

Your married friends are tripping and should know better. I mean, they weren't born married, and they've been in your shoes. So, no, you're not being unrealistic.

Single or married (now), this has happened to most of us. We're looking forward to a good kiki with the girls, and one of them shows up with her man. Even if he's the coolest partner ever, an unexpected husband (or beau) can be a mood killer for a ladies event. It's like, why is he here? The game ain't on? He doesn't have any friends? And real talk: We don't always converse the same when men are present.

It's bad if he just sits there looking like bored lump, and even worse if he wants to jump into the conversation, requiring a long-winded backstory to bring him up to speed or offering unsolicited advice about how to fix your issue, when all you wanted was your girlfriend to listen. Even worse than that is what happened to you. You showed up for one-on-one time with your girl, and ended up as the “plus one” on a date with your girl and your husband! That is not OK.

Some married couples take that "we are one" thing way too far. Yes, you're one family, and you're supposed to think in terms of what's best for "us, not me" and proceed as a unit, but that doesn't mean the couple has to be attached at the hip for every occasion. This may be how your friends operate, but this is not a universal outlook (by far).

That said, your friends are not entirely to blame here. Yes, they need better social skills, but you need better communication skills. When your friends have called last minute and asked to bring their spouses, you haven't been honest with how you feel. You've said yes and pretended that everything was cool when it is not. You're encouraging their behavior by pretending that it doesn't bother you.

Before you bail on your girls for asking you to be the third wheel, have a grown-up chat with each of them about what's bothering you. Admit that you haven't been completely honest about your feelings when it comes to hanging out with your friends and their husbands. Individually, remind your friends that you like their husbands and support their marriages. Say this first so that no one thinks what's coming next is a passive-aggressive way to diss their husbands. Then add that you miss having girl time, and sometimes you just want to hang out with your friends one-on-one.

Read the full article: HERE

Ask Demetria: "I asked my husband to move his former wife's urn."

"Why don't you love me?"

"My husband’s first wife died. They had two kids. We live in his house. He keeps his wife’s urn in the living room. I requested that “she” be moved, and he and the kids are upset. Am I wrong?" —Anonymous

So when it comes to relationships, it’s not always about right or wrong. Sometimes it’s “Am I happy, and/or is my partner happy?” Or “How do I keep or restore peace and get my needs met, too?”

But if you want an answer in terms of rightness or wrongness, I don’t think you’re inherently wrong for asking. I do think it’s a sensitive subject that you may not have handled in the best way.

For starters, I’m not sure why the kids were involved in this discussion, given its sensitive nature. This should have been a subject that you broached with your husband and worked out between the two of you and then approached the kids as a united front. That would have gone over better than having you—whom they may not have taken to as a second mother yet—approach the topic with them on your own.

I also think that while you’ve chosen to focus on the urn, the urn isn’t really your issue. You used some interesting language to refer to the home you live in with your husband: “his.” You’re married. You live there with your husband and stepchildren, to whom you are a full-time mom. It’s curious tome that you don’t consider your dwelling your home. But I can also understand how that could be.

You moved into a home that your spouse once shared with his previous wife. Unless he and the kids did some major renovations and interior decorating, that house has his ex-wife’s stamp on the furniture, the decor and maybe even the dishes (hopefully y’all got a new bed). If this is the case, I’m not surprised you don’t consider the place “ours.”

I’m choosing to believe that you’re a reasonable person. And I’m going to guess, based on your query, that you may feel overshadowed by the memory of a deceased woman, which is understandable.

If you feel that your new family isn’t making room for you in their lives, then that needs to be addressed, not just the urn. The urn is just a symbol of a larger issue, and even if it’s moved to a place where you don’t have to see it daily, your feeling of being an outsider won’t change.

When you asked about moving the urn, your family didn’t hear “There’s not enough room for me here.” They heard, “You don’t respect my ex-wife and our mother.” Given that, I get why they are mad.

Read the full story on The Root 

Ask Demetria: The Mother of His Child Wants to Come to Our Wedding


Dear Demetria:

I’m getting married later this year. My fiance’s son is in the wedding and reception, and his mother wants to come to the reception. I said "yes" to the wedding, but she and I aren’t friends. No hard feelings toward her, I just don’t want her at my reception. My fiance said it’s not a big deal. How to handle this? —Anonymous

There’s no “right” answer here. I’ve thought about it a lot, and even I can’t settle on one. Let me present you with some ideas to consider that may help you make a final decision.

First, I don’t get why the ex would want to come to the wedding. It’s not for the kid, no matter how old he is. His father is present, and since it’s a wedding where his father is the groom, there likely will be grandparents, aunts and uncles and maybe even godparents present—i.e., plenty of family and “like family” people to watch over the child. So safety isn’t a valid concern, and surely the child has been alone with his father before.

Maybe this is some sort of closure for her? If she still has feelings for her ex, it could be like when a casket is closed at the funeral. Maybe there’s another way of looking at this. She may be over her child’s father, and her asking to attend the wedding is her way of showing support for the union—and for you, as the soon-to-be stepmother of her child. Not all exes sit around pining for what was.

The ex has been bold enough to ask for an invite, which is supremely bad etiquette. So you should be bold enough to ask her why she wants to come. Don’t be rude, but do be curious. It is a valid question.

Speaking of etiquette, it’s also rude to extend an invite to the wedding but not the reception. “If you invite someone to your wedding, they should be a part of the entire event,” says Lauren Beamon of Elle’s Couture Events (who was also my wedding planner). “Inviting someone to just the ceremony and not the entire wedding is like asking someone to come to a dinner party but telling them they can’t have dinner.”

But beyond the rudeness—and maybe you don’t mind being such on your wedding day—the ceremony is actually the sacred part of the wedding events. The reception is a celebration. You don’t know why your fiance’s ex wants to attend (which is why you should ask, to judge her motives), but on the off chance that she has some ill intentions, what you really don’t want is someone with bad energy sitting there and sending bad juju while she witnesses your vows—or, better yet, objecting to them when the minister asks.

Maybe you’re concerned about paying for her plate at the reception, or just unwilling to do so on general principle. Maybe you just don’t want her there because she’s an ex. I get that, especially the latter reason. But if you’re going to invite her to any part of the festivities, opt for the reception over the ceremony. The ceremony is really the part you need to have go off without a hitch.


Read the full story on THE ROOT 

The Backstory: The 40 y.o. Woman Who Married Herself

  Yasmin Eleby and her bridal party. (Courtesy of Black Art in

I interviewed the 40-year old woman who married herself. This is the "behind the scenes" version of how it came to be.

So, seemingly every Black new site ran the story of Yasmin Eleby, the 40-year old woman who married herself on January 3. No one, except the person who published the original story, thought to track her down — including me.

I wanted to write on this, for the obvious reason that nearly all I write about is dating and relationships, and well, it was so damn fascinating. Like I'm looking at the pictures, and the decor, and as someone who just had a wedding and knows how much everything costs (at least in New York), I can tell she dropped some dough on it. And I'm wondering, what was she thinking? But not in the outraged way, I really wanted to know. I'm ashamed my first inclination was to ask.

I guessed that she was 40, really wanted a ceremony since a lot of women dream of one their whole lives, and said something like, "f--- it! I'll just do it myself." I took as a way of claiming what she wants-- or at least part of it, since I assume the dream probably included a man standing at the altar with her. If her logic was "F-- it!", I thought maybe this was empowering as opposed to desperate, as many people who read about it took it as.

So I pitched the story to my editor at The Root (I have two weekly columns there), about viewing this act through a different lens. I mean, she looks happy in the pictures floating around the Internet, and it's not like she was hurting anyone, so...

My editor had another idea. "Would be great if you could interview her", she wrote back. Oh. Why didn't I think of that?

So I tracked her down on Facebook, and sent a message. I noticed that her page hadn't been updated since her nuptials, and guessed that maybe she was taking a break from social media. I mean, she's not a celeb who's used to the attention, she's the center of a viral news story, and most sane people would be overwhelmed by all the interest, and shattered by the comments.

I searched for any friends we might have in common. There was one, a woman I'd met at a networking event I attended in December 2013. So I sent her an email to see if perhaps they were more than Facebook friends, and she knew how to get in touch with her.  She did. After a bit of back and forth-- people are always skeptical of journalists-- Yasmin agreed to do the interview.

Her friend called me on three-way with Yasmin on the phone. Now, I hate doing interviews with an "audience". People tend to be much more guarded when someone they know is in the room and honestly, much less resistant to journalist's "skills", i.e., the way we ask questions to get the people we're interviewing to say things they don't always want to say. (Its' for that reason, I always keep a publicist in the room/on the line when I do interviews.)

This was Yasmin's first interview. Ever. Some people get all tongue-tied and nervous. But she'd been reading the comments and had a LOT to say.


Check out the (mostly) COMPLETE interview:

Bridal portrait of Yasmin Eleby.

Me: Where did you come up with the idea to marry yourself?

Yasmin: For a few years I’d been joking f that if I didn’t have a weeding by 40 that I would just have one myself without a groom. And the closer that it got,  I realized Ihad to put up or shut up. I thought having a wedding ceremony would be a unique way to celebrate my 40th with my family and my friends.
When you told your friends, like “hey guys, I’m going to have  a wedding and marry myself!”, what did your friends say?
Some of them didn’t believe me. They thought I was joking, but once I explained to them what it would be about, they were supportive
And when you say what it would be about, what exactly do you mean?
The ceremony is not about me being bitter for not having a man. It wasn’t like, "Okay, I’m upset that I’m 40 and don’t have a man”. That's totally not the purpose. The purpose was, I wanted to show others as well as myself, my self love, my self worth and my self respect. It was always about me loving me. And not having to seek attention from others, knowing that’ I’m okay with just me. When God sends me my husband, he will come, but until then, i’m okay just being with me.
How long did it take you to plan the ceremony?
I started planning in August.
Was this the wedding you’d always dreamed of, but like without the groom, I guess?
 I didn’t have a dream wedding in mind. When i was talking with the planner, they were like what is your vision. I had two criteria, no pink, and no tall table decorations. It was pretty open.
How much did it cost?
I haven’t [added up] the bills yet. I had enough money to pay for what I wanted.
How many guests? 
*Her friend interrupts to note there were three ministers: sister, neice, and a friend*.
What were your vows like?
Oh, it was beautiful. The first one was about forgiving myself. We’ve all made mistakes. I have to realize that if I ask for forgiveness then it's done. I don’t have to keep dwelling on the past. I can let it go. My second vow was to honor myself as a beautiful, fabulous being conscious of making decisions for myself and to honor my self worth. The third vow was love. The promise to love myself and to know that more love I have for myself, the more love I have to share with others.
How many bridesmaids? 
So you have this wedding ceremony and press covers it. 
I didn’t invite press, someone invited someone and that person wanted to write about it.
So that magazine writes about it and 3 weeks later, this whole thing goes viral and every major publication is  talking about. What’s been your reaction to all of this?
I am totally shocked how me loving myself is offending somebody else. What I did wasn’t meant to disrespect anyone else, to hurt or offend anyone else. It was just a way to celebrate with my friends and my family 40 years that I’ve had on this earth, that God has granted me. And some of my friends haven’t made it that long, some of my classmates and my family haven't. I have been blessed. And I wanted to celebrate that blessing. And I’m really shocked that made some people upset.
Do you have any regrets?
Not one.
Did you buy yourself a ring?
What’s it like?
My favorite color is purple. One of my favorite gemstone is amethyst. It's an amethyst and diamond eternity band.
What do you do for a living?
I teach kindergarten.
What did people say when you said, “Hey, I want you to come to my wedding for myself!”
Not very many people knew it was a wedding. It was kind of a surprise. The invitations just said come celebrate my birthday in a unique way. But I invited my exes because we had a serious relationship, and we were very good friends, it just didn’t lead to marriage. Even though the relationship ended, it ended ambicaly and we are still friends, we talk, we keep in touch. I invited them and they came. They were happy for me. They were excited about it once they got there and realized what was happening.
Do you think that— your version of this is very sweet. Do you  think it’s been blown out of proportion in what people have been reporting in the media?
Yes. It has been blown way out of proportion. From the few comments that I’ve  read, and I try not to read very many... They’re trying to paint me as crazy or bitter about not having a husband and that is so not the case. I’m not bitter, I‘m not crazy. I’m just a fun loving, unique individual and I just wanted to do something special and different.
Have you ever done anything like this before? There was a picture on your  FB profile of you in a wedding dress with an effigy of Idris Elba in a tuxedo. There was a golf cart that said “Just Married”
In my community there are a lot of people who drive golf carts, so I came up with the idea to have a golf cart parade. Everybody decorated this golf carts in different themes, so that year my theme was “Just Married.” The year before was Mardi Gras. And before that, Easter.
I get the sense that you like to do it big when you do events. 
 Yeah, I do.
When was your last relationship? 
My last serious relationship? 5-6 years ago. Ive dated, but..
Do you still want to get married?
Do you think this will create a trend? A couple other women have done this. 
That wasn’t my intention to start a trend. But I would love it if other people—men and women— had enough self love and self worth and they wanted to commit themselves to themselves, I would say go for it. It will only make you a better person. you can not be with someone else if you don’t love yourself.
I agree. Would you recommend this to others?
I would. At the ceremony, the feedback that I got is that it really gave them something to think about. Everybody left that place feeling  better than when they came. Like at the end of the ceremony, I was singing “I Believe I Can Fly”and I got to the second verse, there’s a line that says, “I know that there are miracles and life that I must acheiecve, but first it starts inside of me..." And after I sang that, I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. I just broke down, boohooing. I’m looking around, everybody else is dabbing their eyes, and some of the people in the audience had to finish the song for me.
It was beautiful.
When did you go on your honeymoon?
I”m not calling it a honeymoon i havee some trips planned that I’m going on with some friends. Dubai,  Cambodia, and Laos.

Ask Demetria: My BFF Was Inappropriate with My Husband

Jill Scott's "husband" and "bff" in "Why Did I Get Married?"

Dear Demetria:

My best friend and I grew up with my now-husband of five years. Their relationship, as far as I know, has never been substantial. It’s the hi-and-bye type.

The first two years of our marriage, she lived with us. An incident occurred during that first year when he was showering and she went in for her morning rituals. (There was another bathroom in the house.) I told her I wasn’t comfortable with that scene; we talked about it and resolved it then.

Circle back to a few days ago (four years later): She tells me she called my husband for advice on a new phone (I knew this), and he didn’t seem to want to get off the phone with her. She says that they could have been great friends if I wasn’t insecure, and that she thinks I am insecure because she is smaller than I am. (My weight has increasingly gone up.) She also explains that she never saw him in a sexual way before.

I can understand that I may have handled the situation poorly, as far as making them uncomfortable or on guard with each other, and for that I do feel bad. But in my defense, she was never close to any of my boyfriends before, none of them had ever moved in with me or anything of the sort, and it never occurred to me that she wanted to develop a more substantial relationship with him. Their friendship had always been how it is now, touch and go. But now I’m partly confused and hurt as to why, four years later, she would basically hit me where it hurts about something that shouldn’t matter. Should it? —Anonymous

You’re a good friend. Or a really naive one. I can’t figure out which just yet. Maybe both.

Something about this story reminds me of Jill Scott’s character in Why Did I Get Married?—specifically the part about the best friend and the husband creeping. I’m not saying that your husband is up to something. I am directly, blatantly, saying that your friend is, and chick gotta go. You (and your husband) may have grown up with her, but she ain’t living right, boo. What does she mean, she never saw your husband “in a sexual way before”? Before? Does she see him that way now? I need answers. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Your bestie probably shouldn’t have been your bestie anymore after she entered the bathroom when your husband was showering. Anybody with basic common sense knows you don’t go around someone else’s husband when he’s naked. This is 2 + 2, not algebra. At best, you should have had a conversation about inappropriateness and suggested she find another place to live, because clearly the current situation isn’t working out too well. But really, the friendship should have received the ax and she should have been kicked out. That episode was no mistake. I mean, there was another bathroom in the house. Her actions were intentional and sloppy.

If you want to feel bad about how you handled it, feel bad that you were too tolerant. Most women in your position would have unceremoniously asked her to leave the house.


Read more: here 

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.


Read more: here 

Humans Suck: Some People Bashed Solange Knowles's Wedding Day Hair

solange-alan-wedding-group-zoom Ugh. Because some humans are absolutely awful.

Yesterday, the Huffington Post ran an article, "Solange's Bridal Afro Upsets Beauty Standards" on the backlash about Solange Knowles's choice to wear he hair the way she always wears it and the way it grown from her head, on her wedding day. Apparently, this was bad. Writer  compiled a series of screen shots from commenters who called Knowles hair "ugly", "horrific",  and  "scary". And before you assume "white girls don't get it", half of those unfavorable comments were from  Black women.

I knew this was coming.

I recall when Wendy Williams knocked Viola Davis's natural hair on the red carpet for the Oscar's as not being "glamorous" or "formal" enough, and how enraged I was. Apparently, natural is tolerable for day-to-day, but when it comes to a Moment-- capital M--we're supposed to break out the pressing combs and flat irons like 80s kids on Easter Sunday.


I was SO PROUD to see Solange rock her beautiful big hair at her wedding. SO SO PROUD!! She looked beautiful, iconic. Just lovely. A walking statement of beauty and confidence.

The textured hair we were given, the CROWNS that we have been graciously bestowed with, is acceptable for any and every occasion. My (unofficial) motto is," the bigger the occasion,  the bigger the hair!" I never considered straightening my hair or flipping a straight weave, or even rocking a kinky one for my wedding day. I wanted my big, frizzy, kinky, curly, coily (because it's all of those things) hair to be my halo (and I needed something fancy going on up there because I  don't  do veils.)

People are mean. And stupid.

If you're a naturalista, would/did you straighten for your wedding day?



MJB Says Only Same Sex Friends for Her x Husband of 11 Years

marry-j MJB'S celebrates her 11th anniversary on Dec. 7.  Congrats, Mama!

I remember, like everyone else, when she got married and started singing happy songs and people were like, "um, can you be single and more importantly, miserable? Your music was better."


I've seen her perform live multiple times -- annual perk of a former job-- and for years, in every performance she would have a full fledged breakdown (not for performance sake. I knew a woman who was a background singer for her tours and she said the breakdowns were entirely real and she would even do it in rehearsals). And mid-breakdown, MJB would say something like, "if you knew what I been through and what it took, you would never say that!"

Anyway, during a recent interview with The Telegraph’s “Stella Magazine,” married Mary re-ignited the 'can men and women in relationships and/or marriages be friends with the opposite sex?' debate (which was reignited by Steve Harvey a few years back.) She says, "no". Both she and hubs keep their separate circles of friends, all of the same sex.

“All females for me, all guys for him,” MJB explained. “There’s none of that, ‘Oh, that’s my female friend. Oh, that’s my guy friend.’ No. Not in a marriage, I’ve never seen that work.”

That wouldn't work for me and mines, but more power to her and her husband and what works for them.


Would that work for you and your mate? If you don't practice it currently, would you prefer it this way?

The Root: Stop Lying to Women About What It "Takes" to Get Married

Future First Lady Michelle Obama with husband and  One Day President Barack Obama Lincoln University President Robert R. Jennings stirred up a lot of trouble for himself when remarks he made in September to female students insinuating that women lied about rape went viral this week. After much public outrage, he apologized on Tuesday.

 “My message was intended to emphasize personal responsibility and mutual respect,” Jennings wrote. “I apologize for my choice of words. I certainly did not intend to hurt or offend anyone.”

He added that he would “choose [his] words more carefully” going forward.

I’m glad that people rose up to condemn that inflammatory portion of his speech about rape. And I’m glad Jennings had a “come to Jesus” epiphany, or at least followed the advice of the university publicist, and apologized for his remarks on rape. But there was another segment of the speech that deserved some ire and an apology: the segment about guys liking to have fun with women in short dresses, but going on to marry the women who wear the long ones.

“Men treat you, treat women, the way women allow us to treat them,” Jennings told the young women. “And let me let you in on another little secret. We will use you up if you allow us to use you up. Well guess what? When it comes time for us to make that final decision, we’re going to go down the hall and marry that girl with the long dress on. That’s the one we’re going to take home to Mom.”

These comments are minor in comparison with the ones about rape. But they caught my attention because they uphold the Madonna-whore stereotype, that women of worth have to be covered up and asexual. God forbid a young woman of legal age with the body to show off in a short dress wears one and explores her sexuality with another consenting adult. This somehow makes her unworthy of marriage.

The young man in this equation? He gets off scot-free. Boys will be boys, right? So what if he’s exploring his sexuality, too, and so what if he explores it with as many women as possible? The conservative woman down the hall with the long dress on? She should be happy to have him, no matter how messy he’s been, right? I would love to hear Jennings’ speech to the male students. I wonder if there was any mention of “No means no,” “Don’t rape,” “Don’t have sex with just anyone,” “Respect your coeds” or “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

I’m baffled as to why a college president feels the need to focus on the social and sexual lives of his female students. Why are we talking to college-age students about marriage instead of, I don’t know, their education, their interviewing and networking skills, and their readiness to enter the professional marketplace?

But I’m even more baffled at the lies we keep telling women, that if we do things by the letter, then we’ll get the reward: marriage. There are heaps of educated, hard-praying, knees-covered women who leaned in to that theory and are single. I hear from them daily and they ask, “Why?” and “What did I do wrong?” They all know married women with kids—who might have dropped out of school, might still have their cleavage exposed and a short dress on—and they just don’t get it.

These single women bought the hype about the “type” of woman who gets married. They didn’t know that the only “type” who marries is the type who wants to be and who finds someone she loves and who loves her back. It happens to all sorts of women, no matter the length of the dress they wear or how closely they uphold the Madonna archetype.

The truth is, the game is rigged against women. If you explore your completely healthy and normal sexuality as an adult—and don’t let people actually find out that you do—you’re not marriage material. Want to “save yourself” for marriage? At 22 and inexperienced, those women are often called prudes. I hear from them daily. The guys they want to date want to have sex, and as soon as those guys find out that this particular woman isn’t having it—literally and figuratively—they bail.

We tell women to focus on building a career. That’s fine with everyone until those women at the ripe age of 25 don’t have a husband, at which point everyone and their mom asks, “Why are you single?” It’s also fine to be professionally driven ... until she has too many titles and owns her own stuff, at which point she’s told she’s “too independent,” and has left no room for a man to provide. The New York Post writes articles about the “scrubs” she’s forced to date because she’s risen too high and too fast. And if a woman doesn’t have her own money? She gets called a lazy gold digger trying to profit from someone else’s sacrifices.

It’s an evil catch-22.

Read more: here 


The Root: Stop Blaming Black Women's Success for Black Men Not Marrying

black-graduation-600x400 “Why are you single?”

It’s the single’s girl most hated question. It’s usually asked as a sort of a backhanded compliment, a way to acknowledge that the person asking acknowledges her awesomeness and is stumped as to why she hasn’t paired off. But it often comes across as a sideways accusation that sounds like, “You seem normal, you look attractive. What’s wrong with you that I’m unable to detect at first glance?” It leaves a woman either debating whether to unload her life story in a stumbling rant or repressing the urge to start screaming with rage.

It seems that the tables are turning and men are starting to bear the burden of this question, too. It’s—honestly?—kind of nice to know that the guys are getting a taste of the bitter medicine so often served to women. It holds the promise that since they are beginning to know how intrusive and belittling that question is, maybe they’ll stop asking and find a better way to acknowledge a woman’s awesomeness. (Hint: “I think you’re awesome”—period—will work fine.)

Apparently writer Terrell Jermaine Starr has been on the receiving end of the “Why are you single?” question enough times himself. In the essay “Well-Traveled, Intelligent Black Man, 34, Seeks ‘Sista’ OK With Him Making Less  Money,” written for The Root, Starr—who sounds like a pretty interesting guy (yes, I looked up his picture; he’s attractive)—laid out his complicated story: “[M]y income isn’t as high as many would expect, and it makes me feel insecure about how women may view my current professional station in life.”

I applaud his honesty about his perceived shortcomings. I wish he had stopped there. Or, at least, continued to explore that thought. Our culture judges a man’s worth less by who he is and more by what he earns. It’s oppressive to men in a similar way that it’s oppressive to women that culturally, we judge them solely by their looks and ignore everything else they bring to the table. I wish Starr had gone more in the direction of exploring his own issues instead of blaming women—and reaching far to do so.

In addition to his own insecurity about his finances, Starr relies on the go-to argument for why he’s single: by blaming black women’s professional success. He speaks of his circle of six-figure-earning friends and their perceived reluctance to date a man who, at 34, is just getting his résumé together (despite the informal poll he took on Twitter, where most women said otherwise). I respect his perspective, but from mine as a dating and relationship coach, it just doesn’t add up.

To start: Where are all these six-figure-earning people coming from? An individual earning $100,000 or more outearns 92.6 percent of Americans, according to a 2012 analysis released by the Social Security Administration. In fact, just 20 percent of American households bring in $100,000 or more in income. Six-figure earners of any race are an extraordinary minority, and while they absolutely exist among black women, they are an even smaller percentage than in the population at large.

Just from Starr’s essay, it sounds as though one of the compelling reasons he is single—in addition to his insecurity, which is the prominent reason—is that he is limiting his dating prospects to outliers, all of whom he perceives as finding him undesirable. That’s simply not the case for every high-earning woman.

There are definitely women in that group who want a man who is their financial equal or better. I respect their preference. But there are also plenty of women in that group who want a man who loves them hard, communicates well and keeps the bed warm (or hot!) at night. Those are the women I hear more from in my line of work.

Not that this would address the core issue of Starr’s insecurity—that’s an inside job best managed between him and his therapist—but perhaps he would be better-suited dating women who are more aligned with where he is financially. Surely there are fellow writers and editors, social workers, nurses, teachers, etc., that would be happy to combine salaries with him or have a man who brings more to the financial table than they do.

Maybe he might be best-served not to focus so much on the salaries of women he encounters but, rather, to seek a like-minded woman who shares his passion for writing, travel, languages and education. (Yes, such women exist, and yes, among black women.) I wish him the best in finding her.

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Ask Demetria: Is a BF Responsible for Covering Emergency Bills?

Your boyfriend is not an ATM Dear Demetria:

My best friend, who lives with her boyfriend, got into a car accident. Via mass email, she asked all her friends for money to help with the expensive repair. I said to her privately that her boyfriend should be handling that, not us. She called me judgmental and unrealistic, then we fought about my high expectations. In this instance, was I wrong? —Anonymous

It depends. There are two separate issues here. One is your response to a friend who was asking for help; the other is whether her boyfriend is responsible for covering her repairs.

Your response to a friend in need wasn’t wrong per se, but it also wasn’t right. Your girl is in need, and what you were supposed to do as a friend was let her know whether or not you could help, period. Telling her that her man is responsible for her finances wasn’t really your place. It sounds as if you didn’t want to cough up any money—and it’s your right to say no—but instead of just being honest about that, you tried to pass the buck to your friend’s man. That was overstepping the boundaries of your friendship.

Your friend may have asked her man for money and he didn’t have it or didn’t have enough to cover everything. Or maybe he said no to her request, too. After all, as a boyfriend, he isn’t obliged to cover her car repairs—just as you aren’t. The only person financially responsible for the car is your best friend, along with her insurance company. Speaking of which, why aren’t they covering the expensive repairs for her car? (If there was any question to ask your friend, this was it.)

But back to her boyfriend. I find many people these days have husband or wife expectations of their boyfriend or girlfriend. Covering or contributing to a major bill is a spouse duty, not a significant-other obligation. It’s nice when a boyfriend wants to pitch in to help, even though that can come with its own headaches, but he certainly shouldn’t be your primary option for bailing you out of a financial mess. Your man isn’t your personal ATM or a financial plan.

Your friend’s situation is a little tricky in that she and her partner live together, sort of like husband and wife, but without the primary benefits of that commitment. Their situation is a gray area, one in which couples get to pick and choose which traits of a spouse they will take on. This is one of the complications of living as husband and wife without actually being such. It seems that the boyfriend here has chosen not to cover the cost of the car repair as a husband typically would. And that’s fine, since he is, in fact, not a husband.

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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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The Root: Should I Snitch On A Cheating Friend?

p185490_l_h6_aa Dear Demetria:

I have a friend who recently confessed to me that she slept with a mutual friend’s husband. The same mutual friend invited everyone over to her house, and my friend came, acting like everything was OK. I thought it was inappropriate for her to be there and didn't speak to her other than to say “Hi” and “Bye.”

I do not feel comfortable watching her smile in this woman's face, and I now question if she could or would do this to me. I don't want to judge her, but I just don't feel comfortable being around her right now. Should I tell or be quiet? —Anonymous

I have a feeling many readers are not going to like the gist of my answer, which is, essentially, be quiet and mind your business. It’s unfortunate that you’ve been drawn into this drama by being made privy to a big secret. I imagine that the friend who told you feels guilty about her actions and needed someone to talk to. She may even be hoping that you will do her dirty work for her by telling the wife what her husband and the “friend” are up to.

Don’t make it easy for her or put yourself in the middle of a battle that’s not yours to fight. This is for the wife, the husband and the alleged mistress to hash out whenever they get around to it. Surely you have enough to deal with on your own plate.

It’s clear that the friend isn’t ready to fess up, largely based on the fact that she hasn’t. What I don’t want from you, who have no proof of the affair, is to run to your friend to say, “Guess what!” and when the wife follows up with the mutual friend and her husband about what’s going on, they both adamantly deny the truth and blame you for being a messy or jealous friend. It’s their word against yours.

Without any proof, the wife is more than likely to go with the version of events that creates the least amount of upheaval in her life. That means you’re more likely to be cut from the circle of trust than the alleged mistress or the husband.

Another possible scenario here is that the mutual friend is jealous or has some issue with the wife or maybe bad blood with the husband, and she wants to upset their relationship. She may not have even had sex with the husband. You don’t really know what’s going on here, which is why I advise you to keep your mouth shut.

Maybe she did have or is having an affair with the husband. If you believe something is up and you must say something, pull aside your cheating friend and speak to her about your discomfort with what she’s told you and with being around her. Add that you don’t appreciate her involving you in this drama, and encourage her to end the affair and confess to the wife about what’s going on.

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Ask Demetria: My Husband Says Birth Control Is My Problem...

tosser-condoms-ad Q: My husband and I are discussing stopping at baby No. 2. I’m fine with that, but not his solution. He wants me to get my tubes tied or get on birth control. I told him I don’t want to and suggested instead that he have a vasectomy or wear a condom. He said he’s not having an operation and he’s not wearing a condom. He says my body is already used to trauma since I give birth, so why not add the tubes to the operation?

It’s not fair that I have to carry his kids and then, on top of that, get on birth control just because he won’t wear a condom. I don’t know how else to explain to him that I’m not getting my tubes tied. I already gave up my body and career for our family and feel he’s getting the good side of stuff. How can we resolve this? —Anonymous


A: Consider this your heads-up that you’re not going to like my answer. Your husband’s point of view here is crass. There’s an issue that needs addressing, and he’s decided that you alone are the one who needs to address it. He’s not willing to take the most simple solution—a condom—because he doesn’t want to lose any pleasure. He is, however, comfortable placing the onus of solving this issue on you, since you’re “used to trauma” even though it requires significantly more sacrifice from you than it would from him.

Your husband is way too comfortable shucking the responsibility onto you. You’re right. It isn’t fair. But life isn’t.

Your frustration is understandable. That said, he’s made it 100 percent clear that he doesn’t consider family planning his problem. So unless you’re going to stop having sex after kid No. 2—it actually solves the current problem and addresses all concerns but raises an even bigger one—you’re going to have to pick up the ball he’s decided to drop in your lap.

The bottom line is that when it comes to childbearing and rearing, the primary sacrifice—body, time, energy—comes from you. If you want to ensure that you don’t have a house full of kids with someone who, I can tell by your question, you already don’t think pulls his weight, you need to make sure it doesn’t happen. That means you bite the bullet and go to your ob-gyn and have a conversation about your best options.

Now that we’ve addressed that, can we get to the real issue? You feel that you’re getting the short end of the stick in your marriage and you’re sick of it. You’re arguing about what’s “fair” and what you’ve “given up” and “his” kids, not “ours.” Family planning is just the battleground on which you’ve chosen to fight an ongoing war. If it wasn’t this, it would be something else, and it will become everything else until you feel that your husband is making sacrifices equal to yours.

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Ask Demetria: Threatening to Leave Won’t Stop Him from Cheating


My husband has cheated on me a couple of times. I told him if anything happens ever again, I'm going to divorce him. My heart is broken, and I have nightmares about this chick. I don't know how to trust him. I love him and want it to work, but I don't know how this can be fixed. Do I move on? —Anonymous

Your husband has cheated two times that you are aware of. Unfortunately, he could have cheated more than that. And despite his pattern of infidelity, you’ve decided to stay in a marriage in which both of you are clearly unhappy, since he’s cheating and you’re having nightmares and don’t trust him.

Plenty of couples choose to work through infidelity in a marriage, which is their choice. But I’m curious as to what, if anything, you and your husband have done to actually work on the issues in your relationship. You’ve decided to stay and have threatened to leave if it happens again, but that’s not fixing the problem. And if you want to be happily married and have the potential of a faithful husband, then both of you are going to have to do more than just agree to stay married and issue ultimatums.

So while you very well may mean, “If I catch you a third time, I’m out!” you have to understand that from your husband’s point of view, the threat is idle. You didn’t leave the first time, and after that incident you probably threatened to go. You didn’t say what, if anything, changed in your relationship afterward, but the core issues were still there if he repeated his behavior.

And when you caught him a second time, you stayed again. The message you’re sending him is that you will make a lot of fuss, but when it boils down to it, he can cheat and you’re not going anywhere.

Even if you don’t trust your husband, you obviously love him and want this marriage to work. If you want an actual shot at continuing this union without him seeking other women, both of you will have to do some work to get this marriage back in order.

Notice the emphasis on both. Your husband is solely responsible for his cheating. That is not on you. But both of you are responsible for whatever breakdown there is in the marriage that led to his infidelity. Both of you will have to make changes. You and your husband are in this relationship together. It takes two to make a marriage work—and two to make it a mess.

Tina Campbell, from the gospel group Mary, Mary (and TV show of the same name), is going through a similar situation with a cheating husband, and I like the example—minus the attempted assault—that she is setting. In the current season of her TV show, she and her husband are dealing with the aftermath of his infidelity. In a recent interview, she owned up to her responsibility for the breakdown of her relationship with her husband, but not for his affair.

“I, Tina, assume full responsibility for the issues that I contributed to the relationship,” she told “I have to work on myself.”


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Ask Demetria: Should I Give A 'Cheat Pass' for His Birthday?



“My boyfriend and I have been discussing marriage. He says he wants to marry me but doesn’t want to be limited to having sex with one woman forever. He asked me if I would consider parameters for him to mess around, like on his birthday or other special occasions. He doesn’t want me to do the same. I’m not totally against it.

“The exact terms—the frequency of the ‘passes,’ the consequences for additional violations—are something he and I are trying to work out. I see this often with celebs, but I’m curious about whether you’ve seen this work for everyday couples.

“Also, I would like to clarify, I’m not that pressed to get married, just simply thinking and discussing what my potential marriage would look like. Does this work for couples ever?”—Anonymous

I’m going to applaud you and your boyfriend for discussing what your expectations are for a marriage before you move forward. I’ve always been alarmed by the number of people who don’t talk about it, make assumptions about their partner’s outlook or think that marriage is a magical “happily ever after” that requires no work. It does explain the divorce rate, though, doesn’t it?

There’s no one way to make a marriage work, and you and your boyfriend are entitled to do your marriage however you like. But as you consider the terms he’s set forth, I’d also like you to consider some things you may not have thought about while caught up in your bubble of love.

The glaring issue with what he’s proposed is that it is grossly unfair, in that it benefits only him. I’m not so much a fan of open relationships, but people have them all the time, and they say they are happy. But in all the cases I’ve heard of, it wasn’t the one-way street your man suggested. Both partners were able to enjoy the benefits of an open relationship.

The expectation that you should be committed to him all the time, while he’s committed to you on nonspecial occasions, isn’t OK. If he get the “passes” you speak of, you should have a set of your own.

But maybe you don’t want any “passes”; you just want him. That’s cool, but I don’t think you’ve really considered the full repercussions of what you’re “not totally against.”

Whatever your stance is on “passes” or “cheating,” do understand that even if you are sexually monogamous, if your partner is not, you’re still at risk for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Although everyone likes to focus on the joys of sex, the act can also come with some unintended consequences. You may give your could-be husband a pass to cheat, but how will you know if he uses condoms with his side boo? Are you OK with the possibility of catching a STD, even a curable one? What if it’s herpes? What if it’s HIV? Are you going to use condoms with your husband to protect yourself from whatever he’s exposed to on his “pass” days? How often do you plan to take HIV tests to make sure you’re healthy? Will your husband take them regularly, too?


Say that one of his flings gets pregnant. Will you and your husband pay for an abortion? What if she wants to keep the child? Are you going to help him raise the kid? Are you OK with money from your home going to the new child? Will you raise your children with your husband and any children from his mistresses together as one family?

On his birthday and other special days that you’re “not totally against” him spending with other women, is it OK if he has celebratory sex with you that day and then leaves to be with his mistress? You know it’s his pass day, so you know where he is. What will you do while he’s gone with her? Will you sleep comfortably? Iron his shirts? How long until you have sex with him after he’s back from his “pass”? Immediately? A week? Just curious.

If you’ve got answers to all these questions and you’re fine with these scenarios, I still can’t recommend that you take this offer.


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