Sunday, December 12, 2004

Can You Be Friends With Your Ex.?

Up until recently, I’ve always maintained friendly relationships with my ex-girlfriends. My rationale was, and still is, that it took a great deal of time to develop a friendship with them and why should we throw our friendship away because we failed at dating?

According to Nancy Kalish, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at California State University, it's better to just hang up when an old love calls. Her reason is that “it usually breaks up a marriage," she cautions. "Someone is going to get hurt."

According to her study, if it does not result in dissolution of the relationship, it often leads to adultery. In fact, her study sites that one forth of extramarital affairs are with old lovers.

Most attempts to reunite are made within 10 years, but the re-connection is most likely to last when it is made after a much longer separation. After a long separation, both parties have forgotten the reasons they ended the relationship or the reasons are not important any more. Overall, 60 percent of reunions between old loves endure. This is both good and bad.

The good news is that reunions between old loves that result in marriage have a divorce rate that is a mere 3% to 4%; much less than the national average of 45%. The bad news is these re-unions usually result in a break up or a divorce for the current relationship.

My advice, if you value your current relationship, be on guard for the old-flame that calls your boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife out of the blue. Learn how to strengthen your relationship by contacting me at FREE seminar.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Relationship Rules

It's clear from the discussions I have that lots of folks have no idea what a healthy relationship even looks like. So I'm using my BLOG as an attempt to remedy the problem.

Choose a partner wisely and well. The selection process is the most important step in establishing a relationship. We are attracted to people for all kinds of reasons. Evaluate a potential partner as you would a friend; look at their character, personality, values, their generosity of spirit, the relationship between their words and actions, their relationships with others.

Know your partner's beliefs about relationships. Different people have different and often conflicting beliefs about relationships. You don't want to fall in love with someone who expects lots of dishonesty in relationships; they'll create it where it doesn't exist.

Don't confuse sex with love. Especially in the beginning of a relationship, attraction and pleasure in sex are often mistaken for love.

Know your needs and clearly speak up for them. A relationship is not a guessing game. Many people, men as well as women, fear stating their needs and, as a result, camouflage them. The result is disappointment at not getting what they want and anger at a partner for not having met their (unstated) needs. Closeness cannot occur without honesty. Your partner is not a mind reader.

Know how to respect and manage differences; it's the key to success in a relationship. Disagreements don't sink relationships. Name-calling does. Learn how to handle the negative feelings that are the unavoidable byproduct of the differences between two people. Stonewalling or avoiding conflicts is NOT managing them.

If you don't understand or like something your partner is doing, ask them about it and why he or she is doing it. Talk and explore, don't assume.

Solve problems as they arise. Don't let resentments simmer. Most of what goes wrong in relationships can be traced to hurt feelings, leading partners to erect defenses against one another and to become strangers. Or enemies.

Learn to negotiate. Modern relationships no longer rely on roles cast by the culture. Couples create their own roles, so that virtually every act requires negotiation. It works best when good will prevails. Because people's needs are fluid and change over time, and life's demands change too, good relationships are negotiated and renegotiated all the time.

Listen, truly listen, to your partner's concerns and complaints without judgment. Much of the time, just having someone listen is all we need. It opens the door to confiding. And empathy is crucial. Look at things from your partner's perspective as well as your own.

Work hard at maintaining closeness. Closeness doesn't happen by itself. In its absence, people drift apart and are susceptible to affairs. A good relationship isn't an end goal; it's a lifelong process maintained through regular attention.

Take a long-range view. A marriage is an agreement to spend a future together. Check out your dreams with each other regularly to make sure you're both on the same path. Update your dreams regularly.

Sex is good. Pillow talk is better. Sex is easy, intimacy is difficult. It requires honesty, openness, self-disclosure, confiding concerns, fears, sadnesses as well as hopes and dreams.

Some dependency is good, but complete dependency on a partner for all one's needs is an invitation to unhappiness for both partners. We're all dependent to a degree-on friends, mentors, spouses-and men have just as many dependency needs as women.

Maintain self-respect and self-esteem. It's easier for someone to like you and to be around you when you like yourself. Research has shown that the more roles people fill, the more sources of self-esteem they have. Meaningful work-paid or volunteer-has long been one of the most important ways to exercise and fortify a sense of self.

Enrich your relationship by bringing into it new interests from outside the relationship. The more passions in life that you have and share, the richer your relationship will be. It is unrealistic to expect one person to meet all of your needs in life.

Cooperate, cooperate, cooperate. Share responsibilities. Relationships work ONLY when they are two-way streets, with much give and take.

Stay open to spontaneity.

Maintain your energy. Stay healthy.

Recognize that all relationships have their ups and downs and do not ride at a continuous high all the time. No relationship is perfect all the time. Working together through the hard times will make the relationship stronger.

Make good sense of a bad relationship by examining it as a reflection of your beliefs about yourself. Don't just run away from a bad relationship; you'll only repeat it with the next partner. Use it as a mirror to look at yourself, to understand what part of you is creating this relationship. Change yourself before you change your relationship.

Understand that love is not an absolute, not a limited commodity that you're in of or out of. It's a feeling that ebbs and flows depending on how you treat each other. If you learn new ways to interact, the feelings can come flowing back, often stronger than before.

Following White Social Movements

For the last decade, I’ve warned against following social movements of White People. They were able to resist the war, have sex, do drugs and become partners in relationships, and yet, White society has not been too adversely affected. Let’s examine the affect on Black people following White social movements.

Our leaders who resisted the War were thrown in jail or killed. Martin Luther King – killed, Malcolm X – killed, Ali – thrown in jail, Black Panther Party – members killed and thrown in jail. As history bears out, war resisting has not been our crowning accomplishment.

The sexual revolution provided light for all of the dark and taboo aspects of White American sexual life. For Black people, our sexual revolution shifted the landscape of Black America from adults producing children to teenage girls producing most of our children (62%). Un-wed teenage mothers are the norm and not the exception. Children raising children is the legacy of our sexual revolution.

The drug revolution brought forward the destruction of families and communities. We currently have more Black men in jail than we do in college. Most are in jail for drug related charges. Drugs have destroyed our families, our streets and our communities. White people can puff on weed, but not inhale, and become President. A Black man…well you know how the story ends: jail or death.

Of all the failed social movements, Partnering may be the most dangerous of them all. I have an audio that explains why Partnering is bad for the Black family and the Black community. Please visit

Black Men In Prison

In 2003, 44 percent of state and federal prisoners were Black, compared with 35 percent White, 19 percent Latino and 2 percent other races.

Black men have experienced a startling reversal of fortunes in the span of one generation. In 1980 African American men enrolled in higher education outnumbered those incarcerated by a quarter million. In 2000, black men behind bars exceeded those on campus by 188,000.

Equally startling, the risks of prison incarceration rose steeply with lower levels of education. Among blacks, 30.2 percent of those who didn't attend college had gone to prison by 1999 and 58.9 percent of black high school dropouts born from 1965 through 1969 had served time in state or federal prison by their early 30s.

The problem of black men in prison is not going to be solved by government programs, church, or tougher sentencing by judges; the problem will be solved when Black men learn to build basic relationships that foster respect, honesty, trust, and consideration. Author JR Stewart addresses this problem in his seminar Becoming King. Any man interested in turning his life around may request a free copy of Becoming King at email:JRStewart@Openess.Com

Friday, December 10, 2004

Speaking Engagement

I have been invited to speak at Kwanzaa in Shreveport on December 26, 2004. The theme for the opening celebration is Unity. I will be speaking on the importance of building strong families through strong male leadership.