Monday, August 29, 2011

It Ain't No Fun...

We all know the story; boy meets girl, boy dates girl, boy and girl break up, then the boy’s friend starts dating the girl… I say we all know this story because it’s safe to say that we have all either experienced or at least known about this happening. When a relationship fails, what are the guidelines, the protocol if you will, when a friend wants what you had?

This comes from a question posed to me recently. A man was seeing a woman for a short period of time, (a fling) after they stopped dating his friend then began dating her. The kicker, he made sure to go where and when he wouldn’t run into his friend. Now the fact that he has to duck and hide shows his obvious guilt, but is he wrong? Do we really get to plant a flag on someone?

It’s easy to make claims of disloyalty, but do those claims stand up if he was mistreating or abusing her? If there was cheating, disrespect and neglect going on do we have the same right because we were there first? How about if she just flat out didn’t want him? How much weight is given to her wishes? I pose these questions because it’s not always so black and white. Many of us go through a string of flings and bad relationships we throw away quality men and women frankly because we or they weren’t ready. Does that mean that everyone we call a friend can never have the opportunity that we passed on?

Women are a little different in this department. A woman will take her “friend’s” current man if his market value is high enough. (See “What’s Your Number?”) If he’s got a high score, even her sister better watch her back. That’s right, she better take him to the bathroom with her like he was pork chop in a room full of starving orphans. If you don’t agree find any woman with a man she values and ask her how many of her girlfriends would she trust alone with him? Let me know when you find one. Don’t worry I’ll wait…

When it comes to women and their old flames there is a certain degree of possessiveness. She can have a great man now and will still stake her claim on a prior. Primarily because so many women go back to old flames in some capacity that they don’t want to share him with another woman they know if even only on booty call status. (See “Ignorance Is Bliss”) To women’s credit, that’s often not a friendship deal-breaker. If one of her girlfriends gets with her ex she may call her all 31 flavors of a hoe but in the end they can be friends again. (That is only if the relationship doesn’t work out) If they get married, she’s a backstabbing hoe for life!

Men, we handle things differently. Since a man is nearly never allowed to have deep expressions of emotions we have to take a different stance. A man’s response is really based on the way that his “friend” goes about it. If the friend approaches him like a man and informs him of his intentions, the man will often acknowledge the respect and say okay. The woman herself is not really the issue it’s the respect shown to the man. The male ego sets precedence over almost everything. As long as he doesn’t feel lied to or disrespected most men don’t care. Many have babies by the same woman, can compare notes because they’ve all had the same girl, pretty much men “share the wealth”.

There are of course exceptions to every rule; if the man truly has feelings for the woman then he will do what we affectionately call, “hate”. (See “A Cold Cup Of Coffee: Haters”) He will harbor feelings of resentment and hurt. Everything from name calling to a fist fight can be the result. This is when his emotions get the best of him (something frowned upon when speaking on male behavior) which can lead to verbal and physical outbursts. Usually something immature will happen then the two men can move on.

In the end we are all free to do what and be with whom we choose. Friendships are wonderful, but so is love. We have to make the decision if our friend’s pain is greater than our pleasure.

If you are the one calling out your friend or labeling them as disloyal because they want what you had, you might want to ask yourself why? You had a chance and every opportunity to be with that person, it didn’t work out…it’s over. They may be the match that you and him/her weren’t. We need to ask ourselves, “Are we the ones being the bad friend, trying to keep our friend from potentially finding true love just because we’re uncomfortable with it?” If you are interested in a friend’s ex, are you showing the proper respect to the friendship? If you have to sneak, hide or lie to your friend there are problems that go way deeper than this man/woman.

Dating after a friend rarely goes smoothly, there’s a lot of emotions and feelings involved, step wisely. Relationships end for a reason, hopefully you took notes.The last thing you want is to risk a friendship just to find out what they already learned.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ignorance Is Bliss

It seems that that throughout history there has always been a price for knowledge; from slaves being murdered for being taught to read, all the way back to Adam & Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden after eating the fruit and gaining worldly knowledge. Even children are fearless until they’re told what to be afraid of. It seems as if sometimes the acquisition of knowledge comes at such a heavy price that we may not really want to know.

One area in particular that we often like to remain in the dark is when it pertains to our partner’s past. We want to know the basics; have you ever been to jail? Do you have any children? Ever been married? Can you read? We want to know the real-life necessities, but when it comes to sexual history sometimes we prefer the question marks.

Women are a little more inquisitive than men in the department of wanting to know sexual history. They often do want to know the "number", men…not so much. Asking about how many people your woman has slept with doesn't usually go well. As men we know there is no correct answer. If the number seems too low we think they’re lying and if it’s too high we’re upset. That’s one that we just throw out and accept. If it is truly an issue for the man, he’ll choose drafting over free agency when looking for a mate. (See Player, Player)

Women are much more accepting when it comes to the "number”. If his is high, a woman can rationalize that “he must be good in bed” or is “experienced” if so many women have slept with him. However not all areas of his past are met with such understanding. Something I’ve learned recently has opened my eyes to one area of zero tolerance from women. I don’t like superlatives, (always & never) but in this case 100% of the women asked all came to the same conclusion and response.

The question:
Which would you prefer, that your current man, had slept with 30 women before he met you (you don’t know them, have never seen them, don’t even know their name) or only 1 woman in his life before you, but you know her very well?

Every woman responded with 30. None could deal with the feelings of being around and knowing the woman who had been with her man. To take it a step further, I raised the number…it didn’t matter. 40, 50, 60 they could all deal with their man having been with these “phantom hoes” over knowing just this 1 woman.

There were mixed reviews from men; some wanted their woman to have been with the lowest number possible so they could see themselves dealing with the 1, others weren’t too concerned over “where she’s been”. Very few were hung up on the knowing the other guy part. Guess it really is, “ain’t no fun, if the homies can’t have none.”

It's difficult learning those things about the person we love that we don't want to really know. Hearing about those old encounters or knowing he/she has done some of things we're doing now can sting. We just have to be more concerned with creating new memories and pushing those old thoughts and stories to the back of the closet.

Relationships are all about acceptance. We have to learn about and truly accept who we’re with. All of their past experiences are what made them into the person we love now. I know it’s hard to want to think of them being with anyone else, we just have to remember, that needed to happen in order for them to find their way to us. That’s every lost love to random booty call, every broken heart to drunken threesome, all of it. To love someone is to love every bit of them including their past, and with it create a future.

I am a firm believer in "don't ask questions you don't really want the answer to." Yes we need that tolerance and acceptance but too much too soon can be an overload to the system, inquire when you're ready. You may find that it's really not that important to know.

The past is just that...the past. Learn it, accept it, deal with and move on. You don't want "knowing" to keep you from "learning", and really that's where relationships get fun.

You may even find yourself saying, "I don't know", just to "learn" something again.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Cold Cup Of Coffee: Bitter Single-Parents

This is a special edition of A Moment With Morris. This is part of an ongoing series I affectionately titled "A Cold Cup of Coffee". Bringing you real life without the sweeteners, a cold and sometimes bitter, but always necessary sip of reality. This time we're looking at, Bitter Single-Parents.

This truly is, “A Cold Cup of Coffee” edition, some of you will be angry, some upset, some confused. All of which is okay, these are my thoughts…read responsibly.

Let me first begin by saying, that I myself spent my adolescence and teenage years in a single parent household. I believe that my mother did the best job she was capable of doing. To her credit, she had a lot going on within herself and still managed to raise me into being someone I am proud to be today. We made it through some rather tough times, and some low points, but we DID make it through. I appreciate her for everything, the good and bad, all helping me to be who I am today.

My parents couldn’t make it work but my mother never kept me or turned me from my father. Regardless of what happened in their relationship she made it clear and stressed his importance to me and my development.

Now have a seat at the bar and take a nice big swig of this cup. We’re pouring cold and sugar free all night…

Growing up in a single parent household, (divorce, baby mama/daddy, death) is a very difficult place and space for a child, and by child I mean under 18. Please don’t think that you’re 16 or 17 year old goes unaffected by a change like that. We’ve become so accustomed in this society to people having children and not staying together that I feel like we have become desensitized to the damage it creates. If you’re under 35, most likely you and many of your friends are products of a single parent home. It’s so common that I believe we take on the notion that since “we came out fine” we don’t see the problems that surround it, and yes there are problems.

Children of single parent households are drastically more likely to suffer from emotional issues (depression, anxiety, low self esteem) than if their parents stayed together. They also have a tendency to be more aggressive and disruptive. Girls are more likely to be in abusive relationships and experiment sexually at a younger age. This coincides with increased probability of molestation. Boys are more likely to drop out of school, get involved with drugs and alcohol, and engage in criminal activity. Close to 70 percent of male inmates in this country come from single parent households.

In other words, children need active involvement from both parents. This isn’t designed to throw statistics at you, let’s look at real life…

A man’s first relationship with a woman is with his mother. Her presence or lack of will set the table for the type of relationships he involves himself with. A boy with no mother will have him dating every emotionally distant, damaged or unavailable women, all the while trying to fill the mold of a woman that wasn’t there.

His father is there to teach him behavioral traits. We learn how to respond and deal with things from our same sex parent. A boy raised with a mother but with no father will have him reacting more like her; emotionally. Women have become the new male role model in our society, and it is killing us. Men need to learn how to be disciplined, and responsible in a way that a woman can’t teach. It’s a visual lesson.

Girls need both parents even more than boys. Girls without a father, grow up with incredible insecurity issues. (See “Daddy Dearest) They grow up in a state of panic, exhibiting high levels of anxiety which are often expressed through aggression or sexual behavior. In real life, they are more likely than not to be in abusive relationships, have issues with drugs and alcohol and battle depression. They attach themselves to men quickly and create non-existent relationships within their minds to fill that void. It’s a damaging process often leading them to experience extreme highs and bitter lows. Girls that have a father but no mother tend to grow up with trust and intimacy issues. They are being raised by men… They need their mother to teach them how to respond and process emotionally in ways that a man can’t teach…a visual lesson as well.

Let me top off that cup for you…

A lot of you are selfish. You let your own feelings of hurt, anger, betrayal and pettiness cloud your judgement when it pertains to your child. You made the choice to have a child with the person that YOU went out into this world and found. If you no longer love them, want them, whatever, those are YOUR feelings. You don’t get to make that decision for your child. If the other parent is difficult, if you can’t stand their new girlfriend/boyfriend, if you can’t stand to look at them, if you hate the fact that they’re still breathing…suck it up! Don’t take that parent away from that kid. Your child’s best interest is not contingent on your comfort.

This “Moment” is brought to you by the self-centered, immature, and bitter parents, (men & women) that with-hold their children from their ex’s because of their own issues of hurt. If she cheated on you with an NBA player, she still has the right and need to be with her child. Yes it sucks seeing them in matching jerseys, but so what. It’s not about you it’s about what’s best for your child. If he left you for your best friend, he still has the right and need to be there for his son or daughter. I know it hurts to know the three of them are at the park, but you don’t get to remove him and his importance in that child’s life. (However, I’m not saying you should beat her down…but I understand).

Get over this belief that a child is the rope in your little game of emotional tug-o-war. In your quest to hurt your ex, you are preventing your child from growing and being all they can be. Your B.S. is stunting their growth.

Personal responsibility goes all the way around…understand that if you screwed her over, maybe she’s going to make things a little difficult for you. No it’s not right, but neither is what you did. If you lied to him and he left you, understand that maybe he doesn’t believe you when you say you need him to come over “for the baby”. Your credibility is garbage, and you have to accept that.

There are so many men and women out there who are struggling day to day who wish for nothing more than for the other parent to be involved. If you are fortunate enough to have that option and opportunity, don’t waste it on your own petty non-sense. You will never get the response or satisfaction you are looking for and your child will be the one to suffer in the end.

I would like to hear from the B.S.P’s out there or even just the Single Parents, so leave a comment.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

How Many Of Us Have Them?

From Stevie Wonder letting us know “What Friends Are For” to Biz Markie warning us when we hear they’re “Just A Friend” music has educated us on the need and importance of friendship. Friends are the family we choose as opposed to the ones we are given. They allow us to express sides of ourselves that aren’t often shown and are usually the influence that has us trying something new.

I can say that I have been fortunate to have met some incredible people and have had some amazing friendships, most I still maintain. I didn’t fully appreciate how important they have been in my life, until I got older. When we are young, friendships are simple. “You like Transformers and Spider-Man? Me too!” And a friendship was formed. I can however also remember one of my best friends growing up came from our initial dislike for one another. It was 1st grade, I remember like it was yesterday…

He had just moved from out of state and transferred into my class. We had a lot of the same interest, maybe too many. We were so similar that we “had” to fight. After a quick altercation of two shoves, no punches thrown, and 5 minutes of circling each other, we were cool. Our friendship had been forged in battle. From then on we were unstoppable teammates or arch enemies. (Depending upon how kick ball teams were picked) Our friendship/rivalry helped to fuel my already forming competitive spirit. Truth be told, his love for the Mets is what made me a Yankees fan. Thank you for that. Yes, it was that deep.

As I got older I would make friends with many different kinds of people. Being surrounded by different cultures and backgrounds I couldn’t help but expand my understanding and way of thinking. Learning about foods, music and customs became so common, I was no longer even aware that I was doing it. I may have taken 2 years of Spanish in high school, but I learned more in my friend Miguel’s kitchen with his mother, than I ever did out of a book in class.

Now I say friends are the family we choose because I have made some friends that I view as being as much a part of my family as those I share blood with. Those types of bonds were so necessary in the process of becoming who I am now. Granted some of those friendships may have had an expiration date, they were important. It’s funny to me when I hear from my friends that I “know everybody”, because I don’t. I just appreciate everyone who has been in my life, and I refuse to forget them. Whether the experience was good or bad, everyone I have ever encountered in some way affected the sculpting of who I am. For that, even my “enemies” have a place of relevance in my mind.

I know some people that say they only need a few really great friends. That’s all they want and need. I understand the concept. It usually comes after having been burned. Fear is however a horrible reason to not try something. Just don’t close yourself to the idea of knowing or growing with new people because mentally you feel you’ve reached your quota or are afraid of being hurt. In this day and age you can’t just let everybody “in”, I get that. Just remember that when you close yourself off, it is you that stops growing. Others just don’t have the time or want to maintain multiple friendships. “It’s too much work”, and I understand that as well. Hey, Bert had Ernie, Will had Grace, even Tom had Jerry; sometimes one is enough.

Family may be blood and are often expected to be there for us through the thick and thin…usually out of obligation. We’re “supposed” to be there for our family. This moment is for all the ones that are there for us…just because. Our friends get us through failed relationships, school, family issues, they help us get jobs & sometimes offer places for us to say. I know I have had to depend on my friends more than a time or two in my life and I appreciate them all to this day.

Whodini put it best; “Friends. How many of us have them?” Well I’m thankful to say that I’ve got quite a few great ones…

And to my old buddy…I’ve got $20 on the Yankees if you’re interested.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

A Different World

“Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.” – Gil Stern

The Earth has been around for millions of years; its tendencies have been the same, existing within a cycle of biological checks and balances. It continues to regulate itself through climate and with the creatures that inhabit it. In other words, the planet is a constant…then why do we all live in such different worlds?

“Our” world is the one that we create and exist in for ourselves. How we approach and view the world is entirely up to us. Some people choose to see every day as an opportunity to be better than they were yesterday, while others see it as the next 24 hours of a lifetime sentence. In any event, we can have drastically different experiences to the same thing based solely on our outlook.

Now some think that money (with or without it) is the determining factor in how our world spins, deep down we know that’s not true. There are those with insane amounts of money that are miserable just as there are those with meager monies that are enriched, enlightened, and happy. Money doesn’t make the world go ‘round, it only dictates our mode of transportation on it. The scenery however…is the same.

Even our opportunities and “luck” is within our power. Ever notice how lucky people don’t stress? How happy people are seldom sick or how negative people are hurt or sick all of the time? We choose how we feel. We choose the world we live in. We may not have been born in the best location on the Earth or even into a horrific situation, but from every place of darkness someone has risen and shined…why not you…why not us? What was in them that was not in another? Thinking “happy” thoughts won’t do it alone. It does however start the thought process of putting us on the path to the better outcome. Once we remove the idea of “woe is me” we shift into a clearer state of thinking, and that allows us to make the better decisions. Remember, “The darkest hour is only 60 minutes.” You have to believe that you’ve got at least 61 minutes of fight in you to get to that focused state.

“Pessimism never won a battle.” Our need to make our world better has to come with the belief that we can. We need to accept control over our lives, our feelings, actions, behaviors…our world. If you think the mountain is too high, then it is. I’ve never heard of a marathon runner hitting that last 5 miles and making it through by saying “I can’t do this”. Get up! Shake the cob webs of self doubt and fear! Where is the gain in putting down yourself and circumstances? I would rather believe in myself to the fullest and fail gung ho style like “Thelma & Louise” over the cliff than whimper and limp to mediocrity or even victory. My world needs my belief and conviction, it can't exist in the space of blind hope or “why me?” thinking.

“The optimist already sees the scar over the wound; the pessimist still sees the wound underneath the scar.” I say remember the wound by the scar and try not to add more. Accept, learn and keep it moving.

This moment is directed at those that may not know the power that they wield. We can change our circumstance right this second. The way we think is what directs and guides us, change the way we think and we change where we’re going. It’s not about faith, or hoping or wishing; this is about understanding and assessing the ideas and thoughts we have. We need to know that we can take charge of the world we live in, and make the decisions necessary to be better instead of conceding to bad times and negative thinking.

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” We can start by simply looking at what’s real as opposed to what we feel. From there we can base our next move on where we want to be instead of getting hung up on how we got there. Let go of the need to focus on what brings you down and redirect that energy into lifting up. We need to value what we do have and who we really are…

…and If you’re still hung up on your glass being half empty…pour your drink into a smaller glass.

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