Category Archives: Marriage + Love

Please Stop Trying to Psychoanalyze Me!!

Yeah, I am not a normal person. I have short, passion-filled, exciting relationships–more like flings. I get it. The sex will be good, we’ll become good friends, but in the end, you will either want to screw me for life (even when you get your new man) or you will hate my guts. Seemingly intelligent, rational women will turn psycho on my ass. They will stalk me. They will call my mother. I, in turn, depending on how we break up–will whip your new man’s ass every time I see y’all together. It’s the nature of dealing with the type of guy that I am.

No, I am not a cheater. I don’t scream at or mistreat my women. I won’t use you or invade your space, nor will I accuse you of sleeping with other men or go through your phone. When you threaten to leave me, I will actually breathe a sigh of relief. It’s almost like I expect my relationships not to work, so when they don’t–they don’t hurt.

There are many like us, people who are strongly desired who will crave you back. We are often accused of things we don’t do and thoughts we don’t have. No, I am not checking out your sister. No, my client has zero chance of sleeping with me. At the same time, the more you get angry at me, and make me (quietly) angry at you, you’re going to seal our doom. I live off adrenaline, I make bad decision, and this is just how I am. My old ass is 45 and I’ll probably always be this way. What will it take to hold me down? I wish I knew. But I know that there are some things that will send me away, and I always communicate what they are. One of the worst things you can do with a guy who’s been married 7 times is threaten to break up with me and think it will make our relationship stronger. Let’s start with that one thing.

All I ask for is reciprocation.

So, I had a lady from years back I was dating. Strangely enough, she was my pediatrician when I was a child and I ran into her as an adult at the gym and we dated for a few years. I took this test and she used the results against me every chance she had. That shit was not fun. Recently, I dated another medical professional who asked me to do the same test. Again, she kept referring to the test to tell me what I was going to do, what I was thinking, and what I wanted to do. We didn’t last nearly as long as the last one. Today, a friend of mine asked me to take this damn test again lol (no, we’re not dating) I have no idea if the results are the same as the last two times I took it…

I thought I would share the results with my readers. Maybe whatever is within these lines will help you understand the stuff that’s in my articles and my poetry. Enjoy! And that’s for visiting my blog!

ENFJ Description

by Joe Butt

ENFJs are the benevolent ‘pedagogues’ of humanity. They have tremendous charisma by which many are drawn into their nurturant tutelage and/or grand schemes. Many ENFJs have tremendous power to manipulate others with their phenomenal interpersonal skills and unique salesmanship. But it’s usually not meant as manipulation — ENFJs generally believe in their dreams, and see themselves as helpers and enablers, which they usually are.

ENFJs are global learners. They see the big picture. The ENFJs focus is expansive. Some can juggle an amazing number of responsibilities or projects simultaneously. Many ENFJs have tremendous entrepreneurial ability.

ENFJs are, by definition, Js, with whom we associate organization and decisiveness. But they don’t resemble the SJs or even the NTJs in organization of the environment nor occasional recalcitrance. ENFJs are organized in the arena of interpersonal affairs. Their offices may or may not be cluttered, but their conclusions (reached through feelings) about people and motives are drawn much more quickly and are more resilient than those of their NFP counterparts.

ENFJs know and appreciate people. Like most NFs, (and Feelers in general), they are apt to neglect themselves and their own needs for the needs of others. They have thinner psychological boundaries than most, and are at risk for being hurt or even abused by less sensitive people. ENFJs often take on more of the burdens of others than they can bear.

TRADEMARK: “The first shall be last”

This refers to the open-door policy of ENFJs.One ENFJ colleague always welcomes me into his office regardless of his own circumstances. If another person comes to the door, he allows them to interrupt our conversation with their need. While discussing that need, the phone rings and he stops to answer it. Others drop in with a ‘quick question.’ I finally get up, go to my office and use the call waiting feature on the telephone. When he hangs up, I have his undivided attention!

(ENFJ stands for Extravert, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging and represents individual’s preferences in four dimensions characterising personality type, according to Jung’s and Briggs Myers’ theories of personality type.)

Your Type Preferences

Extravert(1%) iNtuitive(62%) Feeling(25%) Judging(1%)

Because you appear to have marginal or no (1%) preference of Extraversion over Introversion, marginal or no (1%) preference of Judging over Perceiving, characteristics of more than one personality type may apply to you:
ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP and INFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

Functional Analysis Of The ENFJ

Based on Jung’s framework of mental functions – by Joe Butt

Extraverted Feeling

Extraverted Feeling rules the ENFJ’s psyche. In the sway of this rational function, these folks are predisposed to closure in matters pertaining to people, and especially on behalf of their beloved. As extraverts, their contacts are wide ranging. Face-to-face relationships are intense, personable and warm, though they may be so infrequently achieved that intimate friendships are rare.

Introverted iNtuition

Like their INFJ cousins, ENFJs are blessed through introverted intuition with clarity of perception in the inner, unconscious world. Dominant Feeling prefers to find the silver lining in even the most beggarly perceptions of those in their expanding circle of friends and, of course, in themselves. In less balanced individuals, such mitigation of the unseemly eventually undermines the ENFJ’s integrity and frequently their good name. In healthier individuals, deft use of this awareness of the inner needs and desires of others enables this astute type to win friends, influence people, and avoid compromising entanglements.

The dynamic nature of their intuition moves ENFJs from one project to another with the assurance that the next one will be perfect, or much more nearly so than the last. ENFJs are continually looking for newer and better solutions to benefit their extensive family, staff, or organization.

Extraverted Sensing

Sensing is extraverted. ENFJs can manage details, particularly those necessary to implement the prevailing vision. These data have, however, a magical flexible quality. Something to be bought can be had for a song; the same something is invaluable when it’s time to sell. (We are not certain, but we suspect that such is the influence of the primary function.) This wavering of sensory perception is made possible by the weaker and less mature status with which the tertiary is endowed.

Introverted Thinking

Introverted Thinking is least apparent and most enigmatic in this type. In fact, it often appears only when summoned by Feeling. At times only in jest, but in earnest if need be, Thinking entertains as logical only those conclusions which support Feeling’s values. Other scenarios can be shown invalid or at best significantly inferior. Such “Thinking in the service of Feeling” has the appearance of logic, but somehow it never quite adds up.

Introverted Thinking is frequently the focus of the spiritual quest of ENFJs. David’s lengthiest psalm, 119, pays it homage. “Law,” “precept,” “commandment,” “statute:” these essences of inner thinking are the mysteries of Deity for which this great Feeler’s soul searched.

Famous ENFJs

by Joe Butt

David, King of Israel
U.S. Presidents:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Barack Obama

William Cullen Bryant, poet
Abraham Maslow, psychologist and proponent of self-actualization
Ross Perot
Sean Connery
Elizabeth Dole
Francois Mitterand
Dick Van Dyke
Andy Griffith
James Garner
William Aramony, former president of United Way
Gene Hackman (Superman, Antz)
Dennis Hopper (Speed)
Brenda Vaccaro
Craig T. Nelson (Coach)
Diane Sawyer (Good Morning America)
Randy Quaid (Bye Bye, Love; Independence Day)
Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive)
Kirstie Alley (“Cheers,” Look Who’s Talking movies)
Michael Jordan, NBA basketball player
Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Oprah Winfrey
Bob Saget America’s Funniest Home Videos, Full House
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Seinfeld”)
Ben Stiller (The Royal Tenenbaums)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts quarterback
Matthew McConaughey (The Wedding Planner)
Pete Sampras, Tennis Champion
Lauren Graham (“Gilmore Girls”)
Ben Affleck (The Sum Of All Fears)
John Cusack (High Fidelity)

Fictional ENFJs:

Joe Hackett, Wings

Typology of Westeros: personality types of the characters from A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novel series (you may have seen its Game of Thrones TV adaptation).

4 Comments

Filed under Marriage + Love

I Want You Back… #regret

I learned to use these #hashtags thingies on Facebook. Cool stuff, huh?

Anyway, periodically–and it never actually stops–one of my exes will call/email/text/send a message through mutual friend(s)… something to the effect of:

I’ve been going thru somethings (sic). I want you back

By the way ^^^ that was a real text. Don’t worry, this particular ex doesn’t read this blog. In fact, she never did; and that was one of the problems in our relationship. Her friends and family read it–but she didn’t have enough interest in me and the things that were important to me to ever read it. And let me tell you something. Through this blog, I have had groupies, fans, crushes, fall in love with me through this blog. My last blog totally endeared my ex to me, she is now a blogger who also takes public speaking engagements–and it began with her reading my work. I had given this ex a copy of my CD (a spoken word CD, if you want it, send $12.00 through Paypal using the “Donate” button on the main page sidebar) and she NEVER listened to it. Imagine that. You’re in love with someone and want to be with them apparently, but you don’t listen to or read their work. And keep in mind, this relationship lasted 18 months. Ain’t nobody that damned busy.

All kinds of signs, and boy can we be stupid. Oh boy can I be stupid. We do see them, don’t we? Just don’t heed them.

But enough about her. This article is about this very real lesson, that many just never learn from. It goes like this:  “The grass is, in fact,  greener on the other side. But only because that guy waters his grass.”

We could have the best thing we ever had; they could be beautiful, a great cook, intelligent, attentive, affectionate, caring, selfless, considerate, sensual, good for the ego, and most of all… They love us. They love our dirty draws, and nothing we do bothers them enough to discard the marriage or relationship. Yet for some strange reason, all we seem to notice is that their gut is getting a little big, her tits aren’t as nice as those the girl at the job has, their feet are crusty, his hair is thinning, her finances are thin… So we long for something–someONE else. Somebody we think is better, somebody more fun, a chick with a fatter booty, a guy with a bigger dick, somebody with a great credit rating. Our loved one is no longer a “loved” one, she now gets on our nerves. He spends too much time at your house, you wish the fool would go home, my favorite show is on. There’s all them cuties on Facebook and Tagged, and they require my attention…

Then one day, the one we love is gone. Yeah, now I’m free to smash. Smash the next door neighbor’s sister who’s been up on it since I moved in. Smash that security guard from the job who keeps buying you lunch. Smash that ex who swears the sex will be a marathon like “that one time”…. Life is good, isn’t it?  😉

It isn’t. At 1 a.m., when that new, exciting fling has gone home–or never spent the night because the newness of YOU wore off (just like the newness of your own ex)–you start to thinking about how badly she loved you. You feel bad about how you guys broke up, how she didn’t deserve it, or how happy he really made you. You think about how the quality of life has actually gone down the pipes because you no longer have someone who would sleep in the rain for you, give you their last dime, or how you were their Superman or Wonder Woman. You realize, like many, many exes:  “I fucked up.”

Yes, you did. You had a good thing and you ruined it. And don’t you dare say “I didn’t know what I had”, asshole. You knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it. You thought you could toss it aside, mistreat it, take it for granted, put it on ice–and then go back when you were ready. I’m sorry, life doesn’t work that way. One broken heart turns another. I’ve had my share of breaking hearts, and I’ve paid for it every single time. I’ve had mine broken more than anything, and I have foolishly dismissed playing with others because “After all I’ve been through, I deserve the right to play the heart-breaker this time.” Pure bullshit. That is the lover’s version of Israel’s foreign policy, I get to hurt others because others have hurt me. But like I said, life doesn’t work that way. Get it right the first time, because true love rarely affords you a do-over. Just learn from it, and get it right the next time.

We cheat, we ignore, we abuse mentally/emotionally/physically, we simply take them for granted. In the end, we dispose of a great relationship with someone who loves us deeply in favor of something where love may not even be a factor at all. We aren’t guaranteed to find this level of love again. In fact, if we betrayed our loved one, we probably don’t even deserve another true love. But what the hell do I know? I’m just a guy with 7 failed marriages.

repair a broken heartSo to answer my ex’s question (Mustafa, what do I have to do to get us back like it was before?), which she’d asked many times since we parted ways: Baby, you can’t. My heart is made of very fragile glass and once it breaks you can’t tape it back together with the excuse, the words “I’m sorry.”  Forgiveness is a strong part of relationships, but betrayal is not part of this equation. You can be forgiven, but that doesn’t mean you get to have the same benefits you had before just because you apologized. Murderers apologize, but their crime is permanent, and so is the punishment.

Good luck on your next relationship. Make sure it’s done right the first time.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Marriage + Love

I Was Halfway There (Poem for Alicia Khan)

A good friend of mine lost his wife.

He’s an old friend, an old martial arts student. When he married, he asked me to pen a poem–so I wrote two. One an ode to him, the other, one to his wife. This was only a few years ago, and earlier this year I hear that every man’s fear occurred… That “Till-Death-Do-We-Part” is pushed. I’m dropping tears as I write this, because while I don’t know his wife–never met her in fact (they live out of the area)–but I know and love him, and my heart hurts for him.

Those “lady-killers”/polyamorous types long for what he found, and my friend Kashif has never suffered the misfortune of looking for love in the wrong places, chasing dream after dream after dream, and then 7 marriages later you find yourself still alone. Waiting to be swept off your feet as some woman did, years ago, and like a cocaine addict looking for that first high that will never come back–and alternate between having your heart  broken and breaking someone else’s heart. Then one day, you look around. You’re no longer good looking, you’re no longer young, no longer traveling baggage-free, you’re no longer desirable, and you’re no longer capable of finding that perfect woman because even if you did, she wouldn’t want your old, broken, tainted-history ass.

But enough about me.

My friend Kashif found the woman of his dreams at 25, and traded in the bachelor’s life happily because he knew there was nothing else he wanted but to be in her presence. And he asked me to take his feelings and describe them in ways he could not.

So Alicia, you perfumed Kashif’s life and your memory will leave him forever defined by the fact that he was fortunate to have been your husband. It breaks my soul to know that you will now only be held by him in his dreams.

Poems take our thoughts and feelings and are a way for others to enjoy them. This is for Kashif and Alicia.

i was halfway there

existing somewhere

between boy-meets-girl

and baby plans

you’re my wife, i’m your man

raising babies and

baby, i want to spend my life with you

it is between a boyhood crush

and everlasting love

between sold on the idea

that she is the one

and i would sell my soul

to keep her on this earth one more day

it is the space in time

somewhere between “how do you do?”

and “i do”

it is the place that lovers seem

to forget when they fight

the days when a man longed

to be with her for long days

and during sleepless nights

the days when a man checked

his cell phone and email

every five minutes

and while most who are already there

take this time for granted

it feels too good to let it end

i’ve got to keep it going

for the long haul

it’s bordering obsession, i greed you;

i want it all

and we

have yet to evolve to the level

where individual souls conjoin

to form one unit

i dare not call this love yet

but lust is just to primitive a work

to describe it

she has yet to experience

what it feels like to to have her soul

penetrated by true manhood

i anxiously anticipate the arrival

of opportunities to show her

how heavily and heated heartfelt works

can hold down her heartache

till it subsides

i want to ride her dreams into reality

fulfill forgotten wishes

so that the next time she’s in bed with a man

she’ll be laying with

a man.

and the next time she’s in bed with a man

she’ll be laying with

her man.

a man who does not give in

to his mind when his body lies

a man who can look into her soul

seeing past breasts and thighs

a man who appreciates the beauty existing

behind her eyes

i’m feeling her like a good massage

i can feel her thinking of me

i can read her mind

i can hear her before she calls me

when she’s hungry

i feed her my time

leaving me never thirsty

i drink the juices poured from her heart

every time she speaks to me

when i sleep, i dream:

KA

Keep her Always

KA

Kneeling At her feet

KA

King of her Affection

KA

Kindly Assure me she’ll be mine forever—

forever sweet

KA

Kashif and Alicia

my greatest accomplishment

the achievement that brings me the most satisfying sense of completeness—

i adore you

i was found between the like

and the love

down below

and above

but it was temporary;

and it felt too good to end

i needed us to get out from between that place

evolve to the next level

because, baby, you complete me.

Kashif and Alicia Khan

© Mustafa Gatdula 2006

Leave a comment

Filed under Marriage + Love, Poetry

Two Types of Lovers

I always say that in love, there are two types of lovers:  Givers and Receivers.

Are there levels in between? I think so. Just as there are those on the far right and far left of this balance. But most people, in my observation, as either Givers or Receivers.

Giver–likes to do for his or her mate. Not just material stuff, but the one who does most of the initiating for sex, for affection, gifts, compliments. This person is often confused with being the one who is “more” in love than the other. But Givers are also the one who most likely will leave a relationship. Givers generally do not ask for what they want. Givers are preoccupied with what they can do to keep and impress their mates, while Receivers, their opposite, are preoccupied with what their mates can do for them.

Receiver–like being “done”. Likes to receive the attention, asks for stuff in the relationship more than the other, seems to be the less affectionate one, seems to be less attentive, less involved, and always gets accused of being uninterested. Receivers have no problem asking for what they want, and are prone to asking for too much. They are not bothered by inconveniencing their mate, and rarely take into account how their mate feels about something because the receiver wants it. Receivers are huge on communication, since it’s important that they let their mate know what they want, but contrary to what they believe–receivers almost never hear what their mates communicate. Most likely to get dumped.

In a relationship or marriage, roles can be reversed. For whatever reason, someone who is normally a Giver may shut down and refuse to give, and take the role of the receiver. It could be out of pain of a past relationship. It could be “retaliation” for some hurt that a past lover inflicted, so the natural Giver is determined not to “give” too much of himself/herself again. It could be out of fear or caution. It could also be a reward for being a “good” woman or man in previous relationships, they feel like Hell, spoil ME for a change. Likewise for the Receiver who ends up being the older mate in a relationship, or the more prosperous one, or perhaps they fall in love harder than in previous marriages, and they want to show the mate the kind of love they normally liked to receive in their past.

And we have the extremes. I call them the True Giver or the True Receiver. The True Giver is one who gives so much of himself or herself, they lose their identity in the relationship and even give up their own desires in the relationship. Things they usually want in the relationship are forgotten, or they convince themselves that they really don’t want it because their mate won’t give it. So rather than face the reality that they are unequally yoked, or that their mate is disappointing (even hurting) them, they pretend not to care just in the name of keeping their mate, and keeping them happy. True Givers will not say what they want, even deny what they want because they don’t want to be refused by their mates. True Givers expect their mates to be mind-readers. They will say what they like and dislike once–and then never ask again. After all, I am here to please you. So tell me what you want, baby, I love you…. And that shit gets old. If the True Giver is never heard, someone will come along and talk sense into the True Giver’s ear and make the True Giver feel that they are being taken advantage of or that their mate is ungrateful. True Givers only appear to not want anything; they are easy to take advantage of, and easy to take for granted.

On the opposite end, we have the True Receiver. The True Receiver–and I have only had the misfortune of being with one once–appears to be perhaps the most selfish person you can meet. The True Receiver only focus on their wants, and almost never thinks about the feelings of their mates. Even if their mates share their desires, the True Receiver has no problem saying “absolutely not”, and refuse the request. Anything asked of the True Receiver is an inconvenience or seems either unreasonable or outrageous. The True Receiver is motivated by pleasure–having fun, feeling important, receiving attention, and feeling wanted. They are the kind who overtakes conversations, cuts their mates off in disagreements, loses their tempers, and threatens to leave. The True Receiver feels as if their mate should be happy to have them, and expect their mates to suppress desires in order to give them what they want. True Receivers are great communicators, and do not hold back feelings, unlike their opposite–who hold back so much, they have nearly a paranoid view of everything they think they see. The True Receiver’s compliments and gifts seem extra special to their mates, because they rarely give them, and in relationships, the True Receiver give pleasure because they have the power to seduce their mates by the mixture of pleasure and pain. Being so self-focused, even when the True Receiver is madly in love, their mates rarely know it and they are prone to being cheated on or dumped because their mates rarely know the deepness of their affections.

In relationships, you must know what kind of person you are and what kind of person your mate is. On top of that, you must also know who is assuming what role in that relationship, regardless of what kind of lover you each naturally are. We have to recognize the signs, talk them out, and learn to read the minds of the mates and decipher what they do and say. Givers seem to be desperate and needy. Receivers seem to be selfish. But the opposite could be true. Receivers could be self-involved because of past experience and they do so as a reward for themselves for past “good behavior”. Givers may give attention and gifts in the effort to force their mates to control them or be indebted to them. Knowing the kind of mate you have will tell you how to manage them and their style of loving you. Knowing yourself will help you modify your own actions so that you do not sabotage your relationship.

And you know, there must be a Part II, Part III and whatever else comes to mind. Stay tuned y’all!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Leave a comment

Filed under Marriage + Love

The Glue That Binds, pt II: REAL Forgiveness

I really need to add an important subtopic to yesterday’s article. I started to just edit and add the piece in, but I thought it needed it’s own article.

The key element in the whole Mistake + Apology + Forgiveness + Penance = Stronger Relationship is “Forgiveness”. In the same way an apology can be only in words and very superficial, one can commit the same disservice to your mate by offering a thinly-veiled plan to get revenge by accepting the apology. Just saying the words “I forgive you” can be as meaningless as the apology if there is no intention to truly forgive your mate. The offending party has duties, and so does the offended party.

When you forgive your mate, you do so with the hope of salvaging a relationship and wanting to make your bond stronger. This will not happen if you are holding a grudge, still angry and wanting to punish your loved one for committing the offense. When you forgive, forgive. Don’t hold the grudge. Don’t try and punish your mate. And don’t hold him or her hostage at finger-point. The feelings that linger will fester like a sore on your love for each other–both ways, in fact–and when it crusts over and seems to heal, it will leave a nasty blemish. Honestly, if you don’t have it in you to truly forgive, then do so. But if you will just badger your mate with reminders of where he/she went wrong, taking revenge (“Well, since you stepped out, I’m going out every chance I get!”) on your mate, and bringing up those old salty feelings every time you think of it–you show that you are still resentful and you are ensuring that your mate’s apology will eventually be taken back.

Think of our justice system, in which those who are convicted of crimes supposedly pay their dues to society, get out, and then can’t get a job because every direction they turn they are discriminated against. Why? Because although the penal system has “forgiven” them (by letting them out), society holds their crime over their heads and won’t allow them to enjoy the benefits of being truly forgiven. And what happens to him then? Society forces him back into the life he led that caused his imprisonment in the first place, he has no choice. Because he was told that he was forgiven, but he wasn’t.

When you are benevolent enough to keep your relationship together by allowing your loved one to get a second chance, give them that chance. Don’t cripple his or her efforts to make it right by not letting go of the pain. If you have a good man or good woman, believe me the guilt alone is tormenting them. Last thing needed to help in the healing process is for him to regret being given the second chance, and for you to stay diseased with resentment. Give it a chance.

In addition to this process is the process of healing. So you were wronged. The anger or hurt is there, and it won’t go away overnight. You may have to discuss it often over time in order for the pain to subside. You might need extra reassurance. It may help to take a trip somewhere and escape the stress of the world around you, and just envelope yourself in your mate’s presence. Do what you need to do in order to heal. Because if you don’t heal, you won’t be able to fully forgive your lover and get past the pain. Most of the time you are able to heal and regain strength with the assistance of your loved one. Sometimes, you must do it alone.

I am sitting next to a gentleman (edit:  His name is “Raymond”. Good luck brother!) here in this coffee shop, whose estranged wife lives in Atlanta, and he is here in California. He loves her. I heard him on the phone with her, telling her what he was up to (she called him), hoping she was okay. And just when they were about to hang up, he rushes to tell her how much he loves her, how important she is to him, and that he thinks of her all the time. I hear in this brother’s voice the sound of pain, but overpowering the pain is the presence of love–and that heals all. I don’t know their situation, but all of us men have been there at some point in our lives. No doubt this woman loves him, as he does her, and her scent is all over his soul… to the point that he talked to a complete stranger about the woman he loves, who is 3000 miles away from here. And not a single good-looking woman who walked into this crowded cafe even drew a glance from his eyes while he spoke.

If that isn’t the makings of a good reason to salvage a relationship, I don’t know what is.

Regardless of what you and your man, you and your woman are going through, if you both love each other, you can get past it. But it will take some serious work and reflection to make it happen.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Marriage + Love

The Glue That Binds

There are many of us–mostly men–who try and use the words “I’m sorry” as glue to mend a broken heart. It doesn’t work very well if you lack sincerity, or the character to make that apology a real, lasting change. Cheaters, those of us who neglect our duties, liars, abusers… Apology is often undeservedly accepted, over and over. And each time we abuse our mate’s indulgence, we weaken the words “I’m sorry” until it no longer has meaning.

Apologies, repentance, and forgiveness are the glue that binds relationships together. And like a bone that breaks and heals, a relationship that has undergone stress and near-disasters–and overcome–will always bounce back stronger and stronger. The important word here is “bounce back”; when a couple decides to stay together, one apologizes and the other forgives, they have made the decision to stick it out where others would flee. A relationship that has not experienced this is as unstable as a prizefighter’s untested chin–no one knows if your ship will withstand the storm if you’ve never seen and survived rough waters.

We are imperfect beings. God did not make us perfect. He allows man to have free will and make mistakes, and this is why we have a heaven and hell, good and bad. Sometimes we forget that our lovers make mistakes. No, sometimes we forget that WE make mistakes. And regardless of how “perfect” we try to be in relationships, we are all carrying some type of baggage. Some of us carry anger, some carry suspicion, some carry the worry that what the last one did to us will appear in this new mate. People mess up, and even if one cheats, it can all be overcome if both of you want to give it a shot. The anger or disappointment in relationships that end them is often due to the realization that this woman or this man isn’t perfect. When we see that mistake, we are so upset that our mate is not as stain-free as we’d hoped, some of us move on not realizing that we had just missed an opportunity to see this person grow into the kind of person we need. Understand and expect there to be these conflicts, but also know which kind of conflicts you will work through and which ones you won’t.

When we mess up, we must approach our mates with complete humility. We have to. The Prophet Muhammad likened humility in asking forgiveness as a worker would approach his boss after being caught not doing his job. You don’t approach with an argumentative demeanor; you do it with the real worry that you will lose your position if your boss chooses not to keep you. Often when we violate our relationship’s rules, we have too much pride to be truly humble when we apologize. And in this case, it is no longer an apology, is it? Understand that when your mate decides to accept–or not–the choice is his or hers, and if you want this relationship strongly enough you must be willing to do whatever it takes to keep it.

Doing “whatever is takes to keep it” is not just for semantics. This means we may have to give up some freedom and privacy, if that’s what it takes to keep her. We may have to agree to lose a friend or two. We might have to change our routine, give up something we like to do–whatever it takes. In my marriage to my 4th wife, who was seriously insecure, I was performing at local poetry events and among the most requested poems were my erotic poems. When I recited them, the ladies in the audience reacted in a way that made her feel uncomfortable. Regardless of what kind of marriage she and I had, she was my wife. So of course, it was requested–and I obliged–to stop doing those kinds of poems, and eventually, stopped performing. Whether or not this request was unreasonable (it seemed unreasonable to me) was immaterial. You can’t leave your woman feeling insecure if you love her. Remember that when you have been forgiven, the work is not over. You will be asked not only to not do the ill deed again–you’ll be asked to change something. The fact that you were forgiven was a mercy from your mate, and you must be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work or you might as well not apologize at all. Baby take me back, and I will X, Y, Z. I promise. Make sure you mean it.

On the other side of this is the forgiveness part. God does not expect you to reconcile with a cheater. However, there is an extra blessing and protection given to those who will. See, as imperfect beings, we aren’t like God; He will forgive a murderer. One of the main differences is that He has the power to punish eternally. We don’t. The only thing we can do is break up, cuss em out, and make their life hell. Or we can forgive. When you forgive your mate, and your mate is a good man or good woman, you now have a few extra points on them because you extended this to them when you didn’t. If they are a good woman/man, they are indebted to you to make things right, to pay penance for the hurtful act. I am convinced that when you forgive your mate, and they truly want to regain your trust and restore your edification of them, you end up with a better husband or wife than before. A man who is truly remorseful for lying to his woman or cheating on her, will do all he can to: 1. Show her that he is trustworthy, and 2. Make up for the pain her caused her by being more of a better spouse to her than before. It pays to forgive where others have not, because of the change that comes with being the forgiven on:. One who received the merciful blessing of finding a mate who loves them so much they have forgiven us.

And there is no penalty for not accepting your mate’s apology. The only benefit is that you get to “get them back” by breaking up with them, and that you get to have the wonderful experience of going through this crap with someone new. Because, believe me–the next guy or gal will. Everybody will mess up sooner or later. We aren’t perfect. Some people discard relationships over and over because of forgivable acts, thinking the next one won’t make any mistakes at all.

The million dollar question is this:  Do you love him or her enough to allow the words “I’m sorry” to glue a broken heart back together? Only you know.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

2 Comments

Filed under Marriage + Love

Why I Hate 80s Soft Rock

I know that I said I would focus the love articles on marriage, but I think since I have so many friends who read this blog–as well as women who once claimed or claim to love me now–I am somewhat compelled to address something I am asked frequently: what happened in my love life that made me appear so callous in my relationships.

First, let me give you a song to play while you read. If you’re as old as I am, you might recognize it. I recognize it and it brings up bad memories, so when I heard it while driving this afternoon it led to a chain of thoughts and recollections. One subject and event led to another, from 1985 and the 15-year old me through the next 6 or 7 years; and what happened to make me the way that I am today. First, the song:

I grew up in Chocolate City, Washington, DC. I attended a private high school uptown with the wealthier folks, but had to commute across town from Southeast DC (the hood) to the Dupont Circle neighborhood, where a poor kid of color like me doesn’t belong. Anyone I met was not allowed to come home with me, although I did violate that rule and I paid for it once they saw where I lived. But some things you can’t hide, from the ghetto English I learned to speak living in the neighborhood I’m from, to the choice of clothing that differed from what the kids uptown wore, to the music we listened to. The kids I met around Mackin listened to soft rock; I grew up on DC Go-Go and rap music. The kids from Dupont Circle were warned by their parents not to venture too far down the Orange and Blue lines (away from Northern Virginia), and forget about befriending kids from my part of town.

And dating? Shiiit….

I was sexually active. The girls I met were not. I knew guys who drank, used drugs, committed crimes; the girls I met did not. This was a terrible mismatch. But I was not your average kid-from-the-hood. I was a mixed kid who had lived abroad and grew up reading books, encyclopedias and National Geographic magazines. I spoke several languages, lived in several countries, knew the difference between a British accent and an Australian one, and was a little more worldly than your average DC Black kid. On top of that, I had the hoodie confidence that came with knowing that the world would fear walking the streets I played on. This made me attractive to teenaged girls, despite that I wore old clothes and had never heard of Duran-Duran.

Every teenaged boy who meets a girl (at least in those days) had two goals:  get laid or fall in love. There were girls from my part of town I could sleep with, even at 15 years old, so getting laid wasn’t a big deal for me. I wanted to fall in love, and like most people–I wanted girls who really didn’t want me. In my neighborhood (two from my hood actually read this blog), I was the popular boy. Of the prettiest girls in my age group, only one got to adulthood without spending at least part of her life as a “Miyagi Sweetheart”. But silly old me–I kept falling for grown women and “preppie girls”, as we called them. Problem was, I was a gimmick for them and any interest they had in me was short term.

Lord, why am I telling you all this?

Anyway, let me tell you who they are. Lauren Kelly-Washington, Malaika Smith, Kama Lucas, Violeta Alvarado, Ivy Reyes, Evelinda Acevedo, Terri Stoney (some of these chicks were 15, 20 years older than I was!)…. oh my gosh–I can’t think of the rest of them. And each one of these courtships ended up with lil confident Moe, heartbroken and more and more in resentment of girls from that part of town, hating soft rock more and more, and turning more and more into the kind of guy I grew up with. While I never really listened to this music, I liked it while I dated the girls who did. But just as quickly as I met them and started dreaming of what was next, it was over and I promised myself I would never, ever go down that road again. Anything remotely familiar in a new relationship would turn me off, and by the time I was 17, I was a freshman at University of MD, College Park–and so opposed to the idea of “falling in love” I became the kind of shitty guy every nice girl’s mom warned her of. And you know what happens to an insecure guy pretending to be confident as a defense mechanism? I went overboard with it, and kept this false confidence all the way into adulthood.

Let me say this:  I am in no way blaming me being an asshole on those girls. We were all kids, albeit young adults, but it does explain what is in my past that made me what I became and why I am the way I am today.

Us guys all have our “things”. Some guys screw for sport, some are looking for wives, some are looking for arm candy to make themselves look good. I had become the kind of guy who would pretend not to love the women I really did love, and would break up with a sister I completely was enchanted by if I thought there was a remote chance she might break up with me soon. Better I hurt them than to let them get me first. I adopted the belief that any girl who was of the caliber I could fall head-over-heels for needed to be far away from me. I needed women I could easily walk away from, because it would make my life happier, I thought. At 42 years old I am just starting to get rid of that policy.

I use to threaten my ex-wives with “don’t push the buttons of a brother who had been divorced 2/3/4/5/6 times”. I gave a specific list of “don’t dos” and “better NOT dos”, and if they violated those rules, I was out. Each time I strayed from my philosophy and allowed myself to fall madly in love it always bit me in the butt. So as the pages of my life turned, it became harder and harder to be a normal person. Each of my wives had to threaten me with a break up to get me to marry them, and we entered each marriage with me saying to myself “I’ll try, but you better not fuck up.” The one thing I have never done was to drop on one knee and ask a woman to marry me. I had never married a woman I pledged undying love to. I had never dove head-first into a relationship the way I had done as a teen, because the last time I did I wound up hitting a painful hidden rock. And as a result I ended up hating an entire genre of music and swearing I would never date another Asian/White/Latina/preppie girl. I would swear another pretty girl wouldn’t “get me” again. Talk of damaged goods…

I say all of this because each of us over 30 who is unmarried probably have similar stories. Of course, you’re probably not as psychotic as I seem. But you are all damaged by something in your past, and the bruises of that something is showing on the way you treat your relationships–just like me. I had this bad habit of sabatoging my own relationships if I felt I was not secure enough in a relationship to just take off the training wheels and trust my own balance (or lack thereof). We all have those lovers in our past that we always return to, or someone who reminds us of them–or those lovers we try with all our might to avoid. We all have a certain way we react to heartache too. I used to track down some exes and their new boyfriends to fight; others I avoid and try to never see, speak to or think of again. I don’t even want someone who reminds me of her. And even very recently, I didn’t even want to love anyone with the same intensity and limitless boundaries I once did as a foolish, confident teenager. During my 20s, I even relocated each time my heart was broken in the silly effort to “escape” the experience. I would change my (nick)name, change my appearance, open a new business or get a new job, take a trip or go into seclusion, and when I emerged–I pretended to be some happy new person, and would try to live a completely different life.

I’m no psychiatrist or therapist, but I bet an expert would tell us we have to let go of all our fears and just do it, lest we become hostages of our past. I wish I had someone shake me 20 years ago to keep me from going down this road; I lost a lot of time–but it’s not too late. And it’s not too late for you too. Find out what in your past is being repeated. We have to break the habit.

Whatever you’re doing is not working; and if we fail to understand our past we are doomed to repeat it. I still proclaim to hate 80s soft rock. But here in this hotel room, where no one is listening to my laptop and my thoughts, I am enjoying Bonnie Tyler, Foreigner, Paul Young, Berlin and Madonna. The next time you all hear from me, I should return back to the trusting and naiive kid who wrecklessly trusted his heart to anyone who promised to care for it.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

2 Comments

Filed under Marriage + Love