Isn’t dating just “practice” for the real thing – marriage? According to Wikipedia, dating is defined as a form of courtship consisting of social activities between two people with the aim of each assessing the others suitability as a partner & is usually a pre-cursor to marriage. Dating is an opportunity to meet and get to know different types of people. The purpose of dating is to learn who & what it is you really like in a person. Dating should expand your view of what you find attractive in a potential mate. You can observe, notice and get to know different types of people and possibly discover things about yourself that you may have never known before. You can monitor your feelings & reactions, to different personalities and character traits as you meet different people.
Dating lets you practice how to relate to people of the opposite sex. If you need to learn how to open up and talk about yourself, your feelings, and your wants, practice it in dating. If you need to learn how to confront others and deal with conflict, practice it in dating. Or maybe you need to learn how to listen to others, and be less self-centered. Dating is a place where you can improve upon your own faults as well.
I see dating as a wonderful time to find out about myself. To find out how I need to change myself to attract the mate I am looking for. Dating is give and take. Dating is a time to show others what being treated well looks like. I use dating as an opportunity to love and serve others so that when it is time for me to get married, I will be well equipped to love & serve my husband.
Dating is a place to find a mate by experiencing, learning, and growing. But until that time comes, you can learn about what it is you like and don’t like, and best of all have fun.
It seems like almost every celebrity couple signs prenuptial agreements before getting married. But those are usually situations where the bulk of the money is coming from the man or both parties have individual wealth (think Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta Jones or Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick). But I wonder what happens when the woman is the breadwinner in the relationship. Does she make the man sign a prenup before marrying him?
I started to think about all of the female celebrities that have married “regular” men (or have gotten close to marriage). Here’s the list of some of the couples that came to mind and their net worth, according to www.celebritynetworth.com:
- Michelle Obama & President Barack Obama – As a VP of Community Affairs, Mrs. Obama was pulling in close to $300,000 / The then-Senator about $160,000 per year
- Teresa Heinz & John Kerry – Our Secretary of State only makes about $187K, and he’s married to an heiress of Heinz ketchup thought to be worth close to 1 billion dollars
- Oprah Winfrey & Stedman Graham – Okay, Oprah makes like a gazillion dollars a year
- Reality TV star Bethenny Frankel & Jason Hoppy – Last year Bethenny made 8 figures; I’m guessing Jason made about 6
- Jennifer Lopez & Mark Anthony – Jlo is worth about $250 million, whereas her soon to be ex-husband is “only” worth about $40 million (largely due in part to being married to her)
- Songstress Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon – Mariah’s net worth over $500 million, compared to a “paltry” $15 million for Nick
Surely, some men are willing to sign a prenup to be with the woman they love. They recognize that bringing less money into the marriage doesn’t make them any less of a man, and that money isn’t everything. But don’t men hold all the cards? For example, on the television show Real Housewives of Atlanta, Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Kandi Burruss has stated repeatedly that she believes in prenups. However, this was before she got engaged. Now if Kandi’s fiancé (Todd) doesn’t want to sign a prenup, then she may lose him altogether. There are plenty of women who would love to be with Todd and wouldn’t make him sign a prenup (grant it, most of these women aren’t millionaires but still, you get my point).
So if you are a rich woman, do you take the risk of losing a good man by making him sign a prenuptial agreement just so you can save some money? Or, do you follow your heart and marry the man of your dreams knowing that having money can’t replace a having a husband?
A while back, a friend of mine told me about how one of his recently married friends had an issue with his bride over the ring he bought her. After saving his hard earned money he was very proud to propose with what he thought was the perfect engagement ring. His girlfriend said yes, and then they got married. Shortly after returning from the honeymoon, his wife traded her wedding ring in for a larger ring without telling her new husband. A little while later, her husband noticed that she wasn’t wearing the ring that he had bought for her. When he asked her about the original ring she admitted to trading it in & upgrading with her own money. Needless to say, the husband was quite upset about this. How dare his wife go behind his back and purchase an entirely new ring! He felt betrayed and inadequate since his hard-earned purchase was replaced behind his back. The wife tried to defend her actions by saying the reason she didn’t tell him was because she didn’t want to hurt his feelings. By using her own money to increase the size of the diamond she was able to leave him out of the transaction & keep both of them happy.
So was she wrong to place so much emphasis on her engagement ring? Or was she justified because she wanted to keep the peace in her new marriage by not involving her husband in replacing her ring? I know that the ring is just a “symbol” and the focus should be on the marriage, not on the ring. But don’t we have a right to be in love with that “symbol”? As long as she wasn’t cashing in her 401K or selling a kidney to get a larger ring, I don’t see the harm. Sure, her husband’s ego may have been bruised a little bit, but the important thing is that she didn’t complain about her ring or rub it in his face that she had it replaced. I think that if a person has to wear something every day for the rest of their life, then they are entitled to be happy with it.
I mean, really why shouldn’t a woman be happy with her wedding ring?
So here I am in my early thirties, unmarried with no children. I don’t know when or if I’ll ever get married (not saying I don’t want to) and I’m getting to a point where I’m wondering if I should take matters into my own hands. Now don’t get me wrong – I date plenty, I just haven’t met “the one” yet. There have been opportunities for me to marry some pretty decent men but I’ve held out thinking that my Prince Charming will eventually come. I’ve been told that as you get older, your priorities change and the things that you originally wanted in a mate will change. Since it seems to be getting tougher & tougher to find Prince Charming (or for Prince Charming to find me) and don’t want to miss out on getting married I may just skip the engagement and head straight for marriage.
You may be wondering what I mean when I say skip the engagement and go straight for the marriage. I’m not referring to the period of time it takes to plan a wedding or send out invitations. I’m referring to the fact that I could possibly forgo the courtship & the engagement period to marry someone who has already expressed interest in marrying me. This will at least guarantee that I won’t always be single. I know of a few men who have offered to “put on a ring on it” based on their feelings towards me. These feelings aren’t necessarily mutual, but it’s an idea that I’m willing to entertain the longer I stay single.
I’m not saying that I’m going to run off to the courthouse anytime soon. I just understand why women say that “something is better than nothing.” It’s easy to find a man to marry even if he’s not quite the one I really want. There are quite a few men out there that are ready & willing to get married. It’s just a matter of finding the right one…..
I have a serious crush on somebody who doesn’t know I exist. Although he’s not engaged, I think he is dating someone that he may be seriously interested in. If that relationship leads to an engagement, I wonder if I’d have the guts to intervene & let him know how much I like him. I mean, after all, it isn’t over until the wedding, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t encourage women to break up relationships to satisfy their own selfish desires but I do believe that if you have an earnest interest in a man and honestly believes that there is a substantial reason for a relationship with him to prosper, then I think that you should go for it! I mean, you never know what can happen, especially if that turns out to be the right person for you (and for him!).
I wonder how many women have the guts to stand up to a man in a committed relationship that they don’t think is frutiful. Why am I so afraid to go beyond traditional boundaries to fight for a man that I know (or at least think) would have a better shot with me? Again, I’m not saying anyone should break up a happy home. Once a man is married he’s definitely out of bounds & off limits, but until then I think if a woman has a real chance with a man she should at least put her feelings out there. I fantasize about running into my secret crush & the things I would say to him. Even though he may or may not have a girlfriend, I believe that I should step up should the opportunity presents itself.
After all, wouldn’t you want someone to intervene in your relationship if it was in your best interest?
Between my male relatives, dating and having a lot of guy friends I have come across a lot of men. And I don’t know if I should just chalk it up to “it’s a new era” or something else but men just aren’t gentlemen anymore. At least not the kind my father taught me to appreciate.
I realize that this is the 21st century and new times call for new dating practices but there are certain things that are just unacceptable when courting a woman that a man should have been taught. So my question is: Who do I blame for a man not being a gentleman – him or his mother?
Some examples of being a gentleman include:
- Opening the door (all doors, including the car door)
- Paying for the date
- Tasteful conversation
- No pressure of intimacy
- Being considerate to a woman’s friends & family
- Offering to help when help is needed
Men don’t seem to offer these qualities anymore and I would dare say it’s because they probably don’t feel as though they have to. There are plenty of women that would allow a man to get away with treating her less than she deserves so the bar has been lowered for a lot of men. My contention is that just because other women have lowered their standards, doesn’t mean that I should accept less from any man. I still expect to be treated a certain way when dating a man (and yes, I treat him the way I want to be treated) but that’s becoming harder & harder to come by.
So, who do I blame – Other women for allowing men to treat them less than they deserve, the man himself or do I blame his parents for not raising him to be the gentleman I deserve?
I never understood why people say that you can’t help who you fall in love with. Really? I get that once you fall in love you’re in love. But how did you get there? Or rather, how did you allow yourself to get there?
You see, as soon as I meet a man and learn something about him that I don’t like or can’t deal with, I immediately distance myself from that man. There is no dating, no phone calls, and no contact whatsoever. So since I’m not communicating with him, it is literally impossible for me to fall in love with him. Do you see my point?
Not controlling who you fall in love with is like saying that the letter “C” is the first letter of the alphabet. But in reality before you get to the letter “C” you must pass letters “A” & “B” first. Which means that you have to get to know a person before falling in love with them – A & B always comes before C. Now do you get my point?
I have an acquaintance that ended up marrying a man that she least expected to end up with. When asked why she chose him, she said “I didn’t like him at first but we started dating and before I knew it, I was in love. You can’t help who you fall in love with.” I’m sure everyone has a friend like this. I don’t understand why you would continue to date someone you don’t like, and even go so far as to fall in love. All of these things are within our control.
All I’m saying is that the words “communication”, “conversation”, “dating” & “like” all come before the word “love” in the dictionary.
So, I have a close friend who is pregnant due any day now. I told her about a month ago that I am excited for her & her husband but that I would “give her space” once the baby comes. And for me, “space” means that I don’t plan on calling her for quite some time – months even. Just like all of my other friends with kids, I know that she’ll be very tired and won’t have much time to keep up with our friendship.
I also know that once she gives birth she won’t have much else to talk about. Since she’ll be on maternity leave and won’t be going out much, there won’t be any work conversation or any of the usual gossip. No offense to her but I don’t really want to hear about her baby. I have lots on my plate, plus baby talk is uninteresting to me.
Now, I know how awful that sounds – I’m supposed to be her really good friend & I am – but I’m in a different place in my life (read: no kids). Of course, I’ll be excited for her once the baby arrives but since I can’t relate I just have no interest in talking about her “little bundle of joy”. The issue is that I don’t think that’s unreasonable….I mean, people who are in different phases of life just can’t relate. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be friends any longer or that the friendship wasn’t genuine to begin with. When my grandmother got her dentures, I was excited for her but because I couldn’t relate the topic of dentures wasn’t discussed. I know that example may be a bit of a stretch, but the principle is still the same. Just because someone is in a different phase of life doesn’t mean that the other person is supposed to be thrilled to hear about it.
Ironically, before my friend got married she & I used to joke with each other that we never liked those women who ONLY talked about their babies and how un-relatable those women were now that they had become mothers.
Could I be jealous of her? Could I be jealous of her baby? Or am I just a bad friend?
I am over 30 years old & still single – you know, a typical African American woman. About half of my friends are married and some have even started their families. Although I am genuinely happy for them, I often wonder why others have found their husbands before me.
Why is it that one of my friends was lucky enough to find her soul mate right after college and has been happily married ever since and another girlfriend has been married twice, but I haven’t even been married once? Or better yet, why do women who have less education, more children and lower-paying jobs find their Prince Charming and I haven’t? All other things being equal, I just don’t get it….
Which brings me to my topic: What Is The Combination To My Safe? These women that I described had a safe that was easier to crack than mine. I have heard that there are a lot of reasons why some women are married before others, such as women with a lot of children are less picky (or have lower standards some say). Or that women who marry young don’t have the foresight to know what’s best for them. Some women marry for the wrong reasons altogether, whether it be for money, convenience, or what they think is love. Grant it, I could have a husband by now if I married for one of these reasons, but I want to be married for the right reasons.
Friends who share my plight tell me that “it’s just not my time yet” which may be true but I just don’t understand why it isn’t my time. And until it is “my time” what am I supposed to do? Yes, yes, I can always get another degree, explore the world, etc. but if it’s all the same I’ll leave the classes & traveling for someone else and keep the marrying for me. I know that God has a plan for my life but until that plan comes to fruition I’m having a hard time understanding my own combination.
…So what will it take for someone to “unlock my safe?”