Saturday, August 31, 2013

Either You Want Me Or You Don’t

Summer is almost over, as well as the time for you to enjoy the last holiday of the season. Hopefully, you have that special someone to share and enjoy the long holiday weekend with.

Isn’t it good to know that you and the woman or man that you love are engaged in a trusting and monogamous relationship? Isn’t it also great to know that it is ‘just the two of you’ without lies or outside infiltrators? I am sure that it is even more exhilarating to know that you and your boo are in a dyad and not a triad!

But wait a minute!  We know that in 2013, for too many couples, the above is the exception and not he rule…IT’S A FAIRY TALE! There is something inside of many of you (men and women) that keeps you from being honest, open, true, and loyal to your mate. In other words, cheating for many of you seems to be a way of life. And you have every excuse in the world as to why you should engage in a situation of infidelity, rather than engaging in a healthy relationship that involves fidelity! And don’t believe the hype! It is not easier to cheat than it is to be loyal…YOU CHOOSE TO CHEAT and cheating is a burden and a liability!

You often enter into relationships with others hoping and expecting that your relationships will last forever and a lifetime.  Along with love, we expect loyalty, fidelity, compassion, commitment, healthy communication, and above all, relationships that are the envy of everyone. In other words, you want relationships to die for.  Not only do you enter relationships to have the aforementioned, you also expect (and rightly so) that your relationships will only exist between you and your mate. You expect a dyad and not a triad. You expect a relationship where two is a couple and three is a crowd!  You basically want a monogamous relationship and you don’t want to share your mate with anyone else.  Why should you??? You deserve to have and expect to have healthy relationships!
However, monogamy and fidelity are many times the exception, rather than the rule. Our expectations of ‘just the two of us’ are often shattered by the reality of the existence of three of us in the relationship, rather than two of us. As a matter of fact, most infidelity in relationships didn’t just start during the relationship; cheating was probably taking place before you entered the situation. It just escalated to the next level.

If you were being cheated on, you probably knew the truth all along. However, you entered into a state of denial (and I don’t mean ‘da Nile’), believing that the longer you stayed with your philandering mate, the greater the chance that the cheating would stop. You were constantly hoping and believing that your mate would change. As a matter of fact, you foolishly thought that you could change your cheating mate.  As a cheater, the more you get away with cheating the more you will cheat!  Why stop??

Women you must stop believing that you can change a man or make him over. PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE…THEY GROW!!! As women you often try to justify the reason your mate cheats, as well as the reason you stay with a cheater year after year. You also tend to blame yourself for his infidelities. Come out of your denial and recognize that his cheating has nothing to do with you, but it has everything to do with him.  CHEATING IS A CHOICE, and he chose to cheat! If he didn’t cheat on you he would’ve cheated on someone else!!
Further, as a woman, you are more than likely to forgive your mate for cheating on you, without consequences and without demanding that your mate develops and engages in an action plan to redeem himself. Men, you are not as forgiving when your mate cheats on you. You tend to believe that your mate is your possession, and you see her infidelity as a betrayal, and your infidelity as a right!  The bottom line is that cheating is not right in any relationship, whether you are a man or a woman.

Also recognize that cheating is not just a result of you sleeping with someone outside of your relationship; cheating is also indicative of you lying and betraying your mate, whether it’s involving texting, emailing, talking on the telephone, or other forms of communication with another individual, without your mate’s knowledge of your involvement with the other person. Cheating is you living a lie! Your emotional involvement with someone else outside of your relationship is just as dangerous as your physical involvement with someone else outside of your relationship.

Cheating is cheating and there is no excuse for it!  It is time for you as a woman or man to stop accepting acts of infidelity, betrayal, and outright deception in your relationships. To live with cheating is to live with a lie. When you live with a lie, you are a lie; you don’t even exist!   

Men and women cheat for various reasons. Cheating is nothing new, but it doesn’t mean it’s okay.  In order to understand your philandering ways, you must come to recognize that although cheating is a problem, it really is not the problem!  A greater problem is how you became involved in cheating in the first place. You have been in denial about your cheating for some time. In essence, you must come to understand why you cheated, or why you continue to cheat. If as a cheater you don’t understand the what, the who, and the why of your cheating, you will cheat again.  But, in all actuality, you DO know the ‘who’ and the ‘why’ in the reason for you cheating…YOU! Therefore, it is imperative for you to go back and assess your pattern of cheating in order for you to confront your cheating behaviors.

Here are some of the reasons mean and women chat:

Five Reasons Women Cheat
1.     Many women cheat because of their low self-esteem.   With low self-esteem you continuously seeks validation and approval from others, especially men.  You are unsure of yourself, not as satisfied with yourself, including your physical appearance.  You need to know that someone else sees your beauty and that men find you attractive.  If your mate does not validate you, you will seek validation from other men who will say what you need and want to hear, while temporarily making you feel beautiful and worthy…allowing you to feel good about yourself.  This cheating is a crutch and not a cure for your low self-esteem.

2.     Some women cheat in order to gain control.  If you believe that you have no control in the situation that you are in with your mate, due to abuse, disrespect, and a lack of recognition and equality, cheating will give you a false sense of security. If you are this woman, you will often have affairs to show your mate that you have some level of control in your life.  Even though you were abused and disrespected, you claim victory by cheating, which you believe is the ultimate form of disrespect. Again, you created a crutch and not a cure.

3.     Some women cheat as a form of payback. You are still hurting from your mate’s infidelity.  You also have difficulty forgiving him and you believe that you have to show your friends and family that you have not been defeated. As a result, you punish your mate for his infidelities against you.  It comes down to, ‘two can play this game.’  ‘You cheated on me…I will show you that I can cheat on you!’ But in this game, no one wins, especially you. Cheating is truly a choice and not an option.

4.     Many women cheat because they believe they are smarter than men.  You believe that men are not as smart, don’t know how to lie, don’t know how to cheat, and can’t keep up with you. And you are probably right!  Therefore, cheating becomes a game that you believe you can win. Anytime a game is being played in a relationship, both of you lose and nobody wins! As a matter of fact, your relationship is no longer a relationship; it is a situation.

5.     Still other women cheat because they cannot and do not want to or are afraid to commit, because of a lack of trust in men.  As a woman, men have hurt you too many times in the past.  Therefore, you have decided that you will not be hurt again. Hence, you decided to ‘beat him to the punch’ and cheat on him before he can cheat on you.  And if he decides to reciprocate the behavior, the pain won’t be as harsh…you cheated first.  You sabotage an opportunity for a potentially healthy relationship for fear of it working out.

Five Reasons Men Cheat
  1. Most men cheat because they CAN cheatThe average man cheats because society gives him permission to cheat. Cheating for most of you as a man is seen as the American ‘rite of passage’ and an American privilege. Here again, cheating is a choice, not an option!

  1.  Many men cheat because women allow them to cheat. Many women believe that men are God’s gift to women (and they are not God’s gift to men). Further, many women are so desperate to have a man, and many women believe they can’t find a man. They believe they have to put up with a cheating man.  As a result, many women are willing to share a man, allowing you to cheat, just to say she has a man.  Her adage: ‘a piece of man is better than no man at all.’ And just because your mate is weak and insecure, it doesn’t mean that you have to take her up on her weakness and engage in cheating. Cheating is a choice and not an option.

  1. A lot of men cheat because of their ego, believing, ‘it’s a man’s thing.’  You have a need to make other men and women believe that you ‘have it all together,’ based on the number of women you can include in your harem, and the number of women you can conquer and brag about to your friends and family members.  The more you cheat, the more arrogant, cocky, and secure you become in cheating.  Even though you believe ‘I’m the man’; in all actuality, cheating makes you less than a man!

4.     Some men also cheat as a form of payback. You have difficulty accepting the fact that your mate has cheated on you.  As a result, you have difficulty forgiving your mate and you become bound and determined not to lose.  Therefore, in order for you to feel as if you have won and your mate has lost, you cheat. Again, cheating is a choice and not an option; it is a crutch and not a cure!

  1. There are men who cheat because cheating is the behavior of non-commitment their fathers modeled for them.  You probably grew up in a home with a cheating father or no father at all.  Growing up, cheating was the norm rather than the exception in your home.  As a result, you took on the characteristics of your father, who showed no respect for women and no commitment to women (especially your mother).  Even though you like being with women (especially sexually), you are never fully committed to one woman!

In reality, cheating doesn’t have to exist!  Cheating is a choice and should never be an option in a healthy relationship!  If for one reason or another you find your relationship going awry, it is important to remember that cheating will NEVER fix your situation. Cheating is crutch and not a cure!!!

If you don’t want to be with the person you are with, be man or woman enough to leave!  Leaving might hurt for a minute, but there will be even greater hurt for all concerned if you stay, especially for children. The only one who seems to benefit from a cheating situation is the cheater.  But, the reality is, even the cheater loses. It’s hard for you to see the reality of your cheating ways when you are in the midst of cheating. And if you cannot deal with your philandering, or if you don’t know how to stop enabling your philandering mate, seek professional help.

If you are in a relationship that allows cheating, you are no longer in a relationship; you are in a situation! You don’t have to cheat and you don’t have to be cheated on! There is a choice in the matter! And if you believe that you have to cheat, remain alone and decide to stop stepping on and breaking the hearts, minds, and spirits of others!  Cheating truly is mind over matter. If you mind the relationship you have, infidelity will not matter to you! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Don’t Hit the Snooze button…You Haven’t Arrived Yet!

As I listened to the disappointing verdict of “not guilty” a few weeks ago, which was rendered in favor of George Zimmerman, who was on trial for murdering unarmed, seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, my mind was taken back to my childhood and teen years growing up in south Florida. My memories of the racism, segregation, and unfair treatment as an African-American growing up in Florida, began to infiltrate my thoughts, my emotions, and my spirit, that rainy Saturday night after the verdict was reached by only six jurors...all female, five whites, and one who considers herself a ‘black Hispanic.’  

I can vividly remember living on the ‘other side of the tracks’ while growing up in south Florida. As I listened to the verdict, my mind also reflected on the school buses that were filled with white children as they rolled past us, as we walked to school; and we were young children; having to make our way to school, by foot. The verdict brought back memories of the used and tattered schoolbooks that were passed down to us at the all black school after the white children no longer had use for them. And there is no wonder that I have never had the urge or the desire to return to the state of Florida to reside.

As I participated in one of the many rallies across the nation in protest of the unbelievable ‘not guilty’ verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder case, my mind again drifted back to the late sixties, when as a teen, I participated in a march and rally to take a stand against forced busing. I recalled the food that was thrown in my face, and my picture being on the front page of the Hollywood Sun Tattler newspaper. And here we are, decades later, living in a country that is still not integrated; a country that for the most part, still engages in unequal treatment of people of color, and the poor and disenfranchised.

Somehow, we have forgotten to remember the struggle, the lives lost, and the strides made in this country to eradicate racism, mistreatment, and maltreatment of those who do not fit the American status quo. Sadly to say, the history of discrimination is not just being repeated in this country; it never stopped! The problems involving race relations have existed since the invasion of this country by Columbus and his men hundreds of years ago. 

It is evident by the presence of black, white, and brown people across the nation who participated in the marches and rallies, as well as the cries of outrage by the American people for justice, that an injustice was not only committed by the murder of Trayvon Martin, but that a further injustice occurred when the imbalanced jury rendered its ‘not guilty’ verdict. The alarm has been sounding for sometime, but we keep pressing the snooze button.

Why are we still stuck in this place of the privileged few?  How did we allow the voting rights amendment to be repealed?  How is it that there are still so many Americans who are filled with hatred and intolerance for people who are different from them? How do we sleep and snore as the rights afforded all people through the Civil Rights Movements of the sixties slowly die? Somehow, we seem to forget on whose backs this country was built!!! We have become so caught up with the material gains of the big houses, the expensive cars, the fancy clothes, and the political games of our nation, that we seem confused as to what is important! As in the words of Malcolm X, we have been bamboozled and thrown amuck! As many of us have fought to live the American dream; too many more have wound up living an American nightmare! As African-Americans, too many of have fallen asleep, forgetting those who heroically died to ensure that the dream is realized and that freedom and justice holds true for ALL Americans, and not just for the privileged few!!

“…With Liberty and Justice for All?”  Here it is, 2013, and neither liberty nor justice is made available to and for ALL citizens of the United States of America. Even in the grave, there doesn’t seem to be justice for Trayvon Martin, a seventeen year-old unarmed African-American male who was gunned down, without cause. It is sad that Trayvon had to pay the ultimate price for the race relations alarm to sound in America. He paid with his life!!!

For too many Americans, a lack of regard and a lack of respect for black and brown people seem to exist. Although they are important, the lives of animals seem to be worth more than the lives of people of color. Michael Vick, an African-American pro football player was stripped of his football career, jailed, humiliated, and still wears a scarlet letter on his chest for dog cruelty. But George Zimmerman, a white man, was able to (as juror B-29 stated), ‘get away with the murder’ of an unarmed African-American teenager, based on a “stand your ground” law, which was seemingly created to keep the status quo of the have’s and have’s not’s, and the privileged few. 

And then there is Marissa Alexander, a black woman who was sentenced to twenty years in prison in the state of Florida for defending herself against an abusive husband. She shot into the air, and not into the body of a human being.  However, Florida’s “stand your ground” law did not stand for her! We can also remember the groom, Sean Bell, who was shot sixteen times in a hail of fifty bullets, propelled into his vehicle, the nigh before his wedding in NYC. Like Trayvon, Marissa, and too many others to name, ‘stand your ground’ has not been an option for people of color like Sean; but it has been for the privileged few. These victims were denied the opportunity to ‘stand their ground’ in situations that not only brought fear to and for their loves, but in many cases, ended lives. Something is disturbingly wrong with these inequities!!

When will America come to recognize as Marcus Garvey once stated, ‘hurt the nose, the eye cries?’ When an innocent unarmed child is murdered, it hurts us all…no matter what color. We must remember that the face of death has no color! We would like to believe that people of color have arrived. But, until everyone has arrived, none of us have arrived.

I can only imagine the pain and heartache that Trayvon’s mother, father, brother, friends, and other family members have carried during the past seventeen months. In the midst of their loss and pain, Trayvon’s parents have ironically been able to use their losses as stepping-stones, instead of stumbling blocks.  They have been able to show love, instead of hatred. They have managed to take a stand not only for justice for Trayvon, but justice for all children, especially children of color.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated, ‘when a fire is raging, the emergency vehicle moves at great speed, running through every red light in order to get to the emergency.’  America, we must realize that we have a fire that has been raging in this country for as long as I can remember, and hundreds of years before my birth. This raging fire is based on color, breeding racism, hatred, ignorance, bigotry, fear, and discrimination, which has gone on far too long.

It is past time for the citizens of the greatest country on earth to STAND ITS GROUND against racism hatred, ignorance, bigotry, fear, and discrimination. Either you stand for something or you will fall for anything. Juror B-29, who was one of the six to render the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the George Zimmerman murder case, relinquished her opportunity to ‘stand her ground’ for truth, for justice, for Trayvon, as well as all other black and brown boys in America!

When will America move past making everything from jobs, housing, money, education, TV, radio, beauty, freedom, etc. be about black and white, and focus on doing what’s right?  When and only when each of us decides to get our heads out of the sand, STAND OUR GROUND, speak up, speak out, and not only deal with our own issues surrounding differences; when we begin to practice tolerance and stop playing games of intolerance, we will begin to put out the raging fire that has divided this country from its inception.

Yes, the murder of Trayvon Martin and the ensuing murder trial of George Zimmerman not only alerted us to the realities of the fire that has been raging in this country for over five hundred years, the alarms were sounded loud and clear!  And yes, the sound of the alarm was quite revolting and shocking; but it is imperative that we no longer go under ground in dealing with the racism that divides us, and that we no longer push the snooze button on the alarm. We must form coalitions within our homes, and within our neighborhoods to move at great speed, running through every red light, until we can guarantee that no more unarmed black boys who are where they are supposed to be, on their way home from the store, with a pack of Skittles, and a can of ice tea, will be cut down like bamboo shoots!

As Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated, ‘until justice rolls down like mighty waters,’ until ‘stand your ground’ laws are repealed, until gun control laws are enacted, until the lives of African-American males are valued, until education becomes a priority and not an option, until we build more schools than jails, until we stand for truth, until we stop pressing the snooze button on racism in America, we will remain hostages to our own fears and inner hatred of people different from us.

I challenge you today, to ‘STANDYOUR GROUND!!’ Take your hands off the snooze button and answer the call to stamp out injustices, unfair treatment, unjust laws, and instead of focusing on black and white…focus on what’s RIGHT!!!!  Until all of us have arrived, YOU have not arrived!  Answer the alarm!!!