Real women, real romance

Real women share the most romantic thing someone’s ever done for them… And you’d be surprised at how much of an impression the little things make.

Confronting interracial relationship issues

When Kristin met Will, she knew they were going to have something special.

“It was pretty much serious from the start.”

Even though their relationship was wonderful, Kristin was nervous about telling her parents about her new boyfriend.

“He was the first black guy I had ever dated–not because he was black, but because we liked each other and were attracted to each other,” she says.

She knew that her mom and step-dad would be caught off guard, but one of Kristin’s biggest concerns was telling her grandmother. “For two years she knew all about him, but didn’t know he was black.”

Her grandmother has always been supportive of everything she had done with her life had been really proud of all she had accomplished. Kristin was her only grandchild and she didn’t want to disappoint her grandma. Part of Kristin believed that she would be accepting of her relationship, but she knew that at 85, her grandma’s view of the world was quite a bit different than her own.

Kristen knows that she is really bad about not wanting to talk about controversial things or deal with confrontation. “I let issues grow until they are something that I can’t manage alone. In the end, the things that usually seem to be such a big deal turn out to be nothing. Sometimes the worrying is worse than the actual event.”

Through this experience, Kristin learned that despite generational gaps and differences in life outlooks, everyone understands what it means to be in love. She shouldn’t have agonized over telling Granny for two and a half years; instead she should have bitten the bullet and dealt with it.

Her one regret is that she could have been more open about things, as a family and as couple.

If you have problems with confrontation, Kristen offers these 4 things to keep in mind.

1. It’s okay to be afraid. Ask for help.
2. Consider other people’s life experiences.
3. Give it time.
4. Do it sooner rather than later.

Visit this forum for opinions, discussions and articles on the subject of interracial relationships, courtesy of WordPress.

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

We’ve Come a Long Way
Did you know that interracial marriage was legalized only 40 years ago? Visit Loving Day, where free and open love is celebrated.

A Lifelong Commitment
You said I do, but what if you realize that’s harder than it sounds? Find advice at Marriage Builders.

Story of a Secret
Learn more about “Secret Daughter,” a PBS documentary that tells the story of a mixed race girl and the mom who gave her up.

Secrets for making love last

Real life love. It’s not easy, watch to see how these women work at creating love for a lifetime.

The right way to test your man

Wendy was single for a good ten years in her 20s and early 30s and admits she learned about dating the hard way.

“I met the full range of the male species, and after one very late night of making out with Dennis Rodman, I decided it was time to sit back a take a look at what I was doing,” she laughingly remembers. “I got a Ph.D. in psychology, and ultimately, since I’m a communicator, I decided to write a book to help other young women navigate the mean streets of dating.”

Her book, The Boyfriend Test, helps women keep a close watch on how their relationships are developing — from the first phone call to the first three months. According to Wendy, this is “test time,” the period of dating where you should critically assess if he’s worth more investment or if you should cut your losses and look for a better match.

The Telephone Test

As you’re getting to know someone, you should study them like you would a book. In chapter one, you talk on the phone and see what signals they give you. Some things to look for:

1. How long does he take to call?

When you first meet somebody and you give him your phone number and he calls you 10 minutes later, that should raise a red flag.

“I used to think, ‘Oh, he must really like me,'” Wendy said. “What I learned was that he really has no ability to delay gratification. If he can’t be cool and wait a day for a simple call, what will he do if I’m not in the mood after having a baby? Of course we’re not there yet, but if that’s where we’re headed, we have to pay attention to all the indicators that tell us what that will be like.”

Be careful of a guy who takes too long to call too. That indicates a whole other set of issues.

2. What time does he call?

According to Wendy, a socially appropriate hour for a first time phone call is about from 9:30 to 9:30, that 12 hour span. He doesn’t know your work schedule, he doesn’t know if you’ve been up all night nursing your mother with chemotherapy, he doesn’t know if you’re a night owl or early bird.

“Ladies, anything after 9:30, especially if you don’t know somebody, that’s called a booty call,” Wendy said. “That is not, ‘Would you like to go out?’ That is not calling to chit chat. That’s a guy who’s not thinking, and we need a guy who thinks.”

3. What are some of his issues?

As you’re talking you want to pick up on the little clues about his personality that he’s giving you.

“I was talking to a potential date once, and I asked him if he could ask his ex one question what would he ask her. He said, ‘Why are you such a gold digger?'” Wendy said. “Right away I thought he had an issue with money. When I mentioned my favorite restaurant, he said, ‘Well, that restaurant’s really expensive.’ I knew everything I needed to know about his psychology of money at that point. I ended the call by saying, ‘Thanks, but I don’t think we’re a good match.'”

The telephone is a safe way to make a connection with someone from a safe distance. If you don’t see something you like or if you see too many things that just aren’t right, you have no obligation to take it any further. Trust your intuition, and you’ll find your match.

The First Date Test

Wendy is not a full-on traditionalist but looks for a guy to be a gentleman and use old-fashioned manners on the first date. But, she cautions, it’s also important to recognize the difference between good manners and a controlling personality.

She tells of a guy she used to date once who insisted she stay inside his giant SUV until he could run the 18 feet around and open the door for her.

“That made me feel more awkward than if he had just had bad manners and left me to open the door myself,” she said.

“Manners are designed to help people feel more comfortable around you, but if someone makes you feel controlled or put down, end it after the first date,” Wendy said.

The 5-Date Consistency Test

Five dates is the point where the show stops and the personality is revealed. After five dates, Wendy says you’ve had enough time to gauge his consistency and to see if his early actions were based on character or based on the thrill of the hunt.

1. Does he play phone tag?

“If you’re calling him and he’s calling you back at work when he knows you’re at home, or at home when he knows you’re at work, don’t let that heighten your ‘go after him’ tendency,” Wendy said. “Drop it, he’s sending you a message.”

2. How does he use e-mail?

Sometimes e-mail can be a way into somebody’s soul, especially men, because it’s really hard for them to express themselves verbally. But email can also be used as a separation device. “What do you mean? I sent you an e-mail. I didn’t think I had to call.” Is he using email as a tool to get closer or a tool to separate from you?

3. Is he still making and consistently keeping plans?

“Early on, we like a guy to have a plan and make the plans,” said Wendy. “Don’t make the woman social director on the first few dates. Five dates into it, he should still be actively engaged in making plans.”

If he’s collaborating with you in making plans, that’s also a good sign.

4. Has he followed up on the little promises he’s made?

If he’s offered to hang that mirror for you or fix that speaker in your car, has he done it? Five dates is plenty of time to turn words into action.

5. Has he displayed any anger yet?

Wendy said five dates is still too soon for him to have lost his temper.

“He’s still a peacock, showing his feathers, being the fantasy prince for you,” she said. “If he cannot hold his anger for five simple dates, this man has an anger management problem. Not to say that we won’t get angry and he won’t get angry and you won’t get angry in the future, but not at the beginning during the sales pitch.”

Pay attention. If it’s not working after five dates, don’t try to make it better. Five dates into it he’s telling you if he’s worth keeping around.

The 90-Day Consistency Test

After the five date mark, it’s important to keep an eye on consistency, and that’s where the 90-day test comes in. Start by answering these questions:

1. Do his acquaintances know you?

At this point, the people who are a part of his daily life should know who you are. Whether it’s the lady who fluffs his latte, whether it’s the concierge at his building, whether it’s his mechanic because he sent you there to get your car fixed. Do they know who you are and have singled you out as his one?

“These people are not his closest friends and family, but they’re where we practice showing ourselves as a couple to the world,” Wendy said. “If he’s uncomfortable sharing you with his dry cleaner you’re going to have trouble sharing him with mom.”

2. Where does he keep your toothbrush?

“If he’s stuffed your toothbrush deep down in a drawer somewhere, you know he has other people over in between,” Wendy said. “The same is true if he keeps photos of you or the two of you deliberately out of sight.”

3. Does he always reserve Saturday nights for you?

It should be assumed after three months of dating that you’re going to do something on Saturday night, and he should tell you if he can’t.

He doesn’t have to ask you out anymore, but he does have to let you know, by Wednesday according to Wendy, if he’s making other plans.

4. Has he begun to reveal any of his addictions?

“Let’s face it, we’re all addicted to something,” Wendy said. “It could be the gym, it could be video games, could be drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, whatever. It’s going to come out. He can’t hide it forever. What you want to do is figure out if you can live with it.”

These tests are ultimately about boundaries for women. While doing research for her book, Wendy found that one out of three women have had some sort of abuse as a young child, either physical, emotional or sexual. That abuse has beat up their self esteem and made them insecure about the boundaries they set for themselves in dating.

“Don’t spend your time selling yourself rather than realizing that you’re the one taking applications,” Wendy said. “If a guy’s not able to keep you happy for 90 days, you can’t expect him to do it for the rest of your life.”

MORE TIPS & TOOLS

A Good Dose of Wendy
Visit Dr. Wendy’s official web site for more insight on how to find yourself in a healthy, thriving, long-term relationship.

Interplanetary Conflict
Source of advice and counsel from the author of the iconic “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”

Making it Work
Follow the path to healthier relationships in your life.

Love 101
Nothing’s better than a weekend getaway with your mate… to the Smart Marriages Annual Conference.

Cohabitation Nation
Read “Happily Un-Married,” a self-proclaimed fitness guide for people who live together-or are just thinking about it.

Just For Women
Tune in to Capessa Blogger Alissa Kriteman’s weekly podcast for insight on understanding your man and more importantly, yourself.

A Long-Distance Leap for Love

Roberta met Josh through one of her best friends. They broadened their relationship on Myspace and LiveJournal, where she would comment and post blogs.

“I’d post about being single in Los Angeles and living on your own without a roommate for the first time,” she said. “He started reading my blogs because they were funny, and he thought my user picture was cute. He said to my friend, ‘Who is this girl?'”

Before long, the two started emailing, and it was interesting, innocent and pure. He lived 2,000 miles away so Roberta thought, “This guy can’t hurt me, so I am just going to have fun.”

Then they decided to connect over a cal. In a “conversation that lasted forever,” Roberta started to develop feelings for Josh.

“We just laughed, and we tried to top each others’ jokes,” she said. “Every time I hung up the phone I wanted to call him back. I was so giddy and school girlish.”

Soon enough, the long distance calls made the distance between them more and more unbearable, and they decided to meet.

Roberta had been planning a trip to Atlanta, where Josh lived, in October, but he said he wanted to meet her sooner. A mutual friend was coming to visit so Roberta said, “Why don’t you piggy back on that trip and that way if it doesn’t work out and our peak was on the phone, you won’t be alone in a big city?”

Their first meeting was better than expected. He had a bunch of pink daisies for her, and their friends were as excited for them to meet as they were. He saw her and immediately hugged her tight.

“I was so nervous for some reason,” she said. “I felt like I had known this person my whole life. It was what I expected and 100 percent not what I expected at the same time. It was the weirdest, best feeling ever.”

Coming together felt completely natural, but the reality was that their lives were thousands of miles apart. To be together, one of them had to move across the country.

Roberta decided to say so long to Southern California, where she’d lived her entire life, and head to Atlanta… all in the name of love.

“I had to do what was best for me, I had to live for me now,” Roberta said. “I can live anywhere. You can always find your favorite pizza joint, park, bar, your favorite everything. It just takes time.”

Roberta had a best friend who lived in Atlanta as well, and she found that everyone in the South was incredibly nice. Josh made it a lot easier for her because he prepped everyone. Meeting all his friends was the easy part.

“I wasn’t nervous because I was like, ‘If they love you, I will love them. That is just the way it is,'” she said.

Roberta said moving across the country was one of the best decisions she ever made. Not only is she saving money on long distance phone bills, but her and Josh have really grown together as a couple.

“The last time I went to visit L.A., I missed my friends, I missed my bed, I missed Josh, I missed my dog, I missed the weather, I missed everything,” Roberta said. “I missed the familiarity of my own thing. I am not a native Georgian, but this is where I belong now.”

If you’re trying to make long distance love last or thinking of making the move to togetherness, take a look at the resources below:

Long Distance Lovin
Learn how to be sensible and realistic in the face of a long distance relationship.

Caring, Packaged
Try these 10 tips for cultivating a strong bond across a multitude of miles.

Charming, But Single
This jaded-by-love Southern Belle likes both her drinks and her men tall.

Cohabitation Nation
Read “Happily Un-Married,” a self-proclaimed fitness guide for people who live together-or are just thinking about it.

On the Move
Sylvia Shipp brings up the issues, offers solutions and suggests bond-building activities for all the long distance lovers out there.