Dear Men: Here are 7 Dating Tips that We Need You to Follow Now! Part 1

by Rhonda E. Frost

I’ve been divorced since 2004.¬† I’ve had meaningful relationships since. I’ve dated and had countless conversations about expectations, love, dating and marriage. I’ve learned lots since 2004 and I will tell some of those stories and lessons¬†in an upcoming book. I feel qualified to offer this advice to men because I am a woman and I know what I need, expect and want. I also have had hundreds of conversations with women about their experiences with dating and how real the struggle is for the single woman looking for love and commitment. I‚Äôve heard every dating story known to woman! These 7 dating tips are just a start.

Before I go into my tips for you, let me just say this. I am one of the lucky ones, I get my fair share of dating opportunities. I get to talk to y’all regularly on social media and in real life. I see what you do and what you say, first hand. I also get to interview men as a writer, so I am privy to lots of stories and much raw honesty! To be clear, this advice applies across the board no matter the man‚Äôs title. I have dated men with different backgrounds, from IT professional, small business owner and retired, to Doctor, Sr. Vice President, and President of such and such. I’ve met assholes as well as some amazingly kind and good men along the way. And yes, I’ve also dated a married man (or two or three). So yes, I can advise you on what we need and want from you, unflinchingly. And age is not a factor, young or old, too often men still miss the mark, either on purpose or because you just don’t know better. So, allow me to reintroduce some rules.

1. Treat us like you would want someone to treat your mother, daughter, sister, or best female friend-I don’t think I need to add much to this. If you love and respect your female family members and you want the best for them, you know what this means. Talk to her and treat her like you want someone to treat your mama (in my India Arie voice)

2. Don’t lead with your wallet -That is unless your intentions are¬†to do the following: Contribute to her life (pay bills or buy her gifts), allow her to share in your good fortune, or unless that is what you want her to value you for.

I cannot tell you how many men I’ve met who start out in the first hour, or first week, by telling me how much they make, what their title is, how much is in their 401K, or how great their credit is. And while I want to know that you are financially stable and bring something to the table, if that is what you tell me first, it sends mixed signals. I am thinking you must want me to know for one of three reasons: 1) You are bragging (which is a huge turn off) 2) You want me to know you can take care of me or 3) You are about to add value to my life(see above). Other than that, I am not sure why that is what you tell me first.

If none of these are your intentions, why lead with that information? It’s the equivalent of a woman stripping naked at the end of the first date to reveal her beautiful body. I¬†imagine¬†you would immediately think she wants to give you the goods. But she instead simply puts her clothes back on, and continues the conversation. It would be perplexing, yes? My suggestion: Lead with your intentions, your character, realness, kindness and then go into your story.

3. ‚ÄúNo‚ÄĚ means no-If you are trying to get to know a woman or dating and she tells you “no” to sex, “no” to a date, “no” to staying over or anything else, remember that “no” is a complete sentence. Unless you want to end up in jail or be accused of some horrible crime, just accept it. Live to pursue her or someone else another day. It’s always best to indulge in what’s offered freely. Her body and her time are hers until she decides to share it with you. Period!

4. If you meet a woman who is in crisis, financial, emotional or otherwise-either be man enough to step in and see how you can help, or bow out gracefully before you become intimate or invested. The last thing any woman in crises needs, is a man who knows about her current difficulty and who acts as if it’s not real.

In recent months I had this experience. I met someone while gainfully employed (actually I had known them for over 30 years and they came back into my life), and during our “getting to know each other better” phase, I was laid off work. This person was delighted to be back in my life and I was happy to conversate and see where we could go. We chatted all day every day, he sent texts, and called at all hours of the day and night for months on end. Then I noticed that not once did he ever ask, “how is everything going with your job search”, or “how are you managing your bills and life in the middle of the layoff?”, or “is there anything I can do to help?”. But to be fair, he did take me on some trips and he did profess to “love” and care about me and stated he wanted us to grow old together.

This went on until I said something. He was in the middle of talking about taking me on yet another trip to some exotic island and while I absolutely love traveling, all I could think was, this person is disconnected from reality or selfish(yes, selfish!). Neither of which are good things. I wondered why he didn’t instead say, “hey, although I want to take you on another trip, what I think is smarter is to see how I can help you, maybe I can give you the money I plan to spend on the next trip to help you out a little, how does that sound?”. But he never did. So, I pointed all that out to him, and it went south from there. Here’s a hint, if I can’t see you as someone who will help me or care about me when I am down, I won’t see you as husband material and I won‚Äôt need you when I am up. I must feel cared for and covered in good times and bad.

Fellas, don’t waste a woman’s time if you can’t see her through bad times. Just go do you. As the old saying goes, “she can do bad by herself‚ÄĚ. Truer words have not been spoken. No one will blame you or be mad if you just tell the truth and bow out gracefully before you make her think you care. If you don’t want added responsibility, that’s understandable. Just don’t hang around and waste her time, pretending her crisis isn‚Äôt real and having “fun” is all that matters. And ladies don’t let him!

5. Keep your word-If you set a date, keep it and be on time. If you promise to do something for her, do it. If you say, “I got you covered”, cover her. Don’t say what you don’t mean, and don’t plan things you don’t want to do. Period! And if you must be late, or if a real emergency interferes with whatever intentions, be man enough to call, not text and tell her what it is. If that “emergency” happens more than once, it’s a game-just don’t.

6. Date with a purpose-If you simply want some a** without commitment or expectation, that’s cool, there are women who want the same, for a small fee. You can find them most anywhere. But for the most part, women I know are dating with the expectation to “go together”, or be married. After a few months of dating a woman, you know if she is someone you could spend your life with, and invest your time and money into. You know. Be up front about what you want and need and don’t waiver. I get that marriage isn‚Äôt for everyone and not everyone we meet is ready for that level of involvement but say that.

In the past decade I have had a couple of men tell me at the onset of meeting them that they didn’t want any commitments and they were simply doing them. One of them, I decided to date anyway. Bad decision! I wrote about him in my first book, “Why Do I Have to Think Like a Man?”, in the “Single Man” chapter. The other one I met years later, he had just recently gotten divorced, he was in full swing being single and free, I took him at face value and respected his position. I didn’t get involved. We are good friends to this day, boundaries intact.¬†I respected where he was coming from and I let him “do him”.

And finally,

7. If you are married and dating someone else, be ready to handle it-Yeah I know this will come as a surprise to some (sarcasm), but it happens every single day, all day long, check the dating site for married people, Ashley Madison, that site touts over 56 million ‚Äúdiscreet‚ÄĚ subscribers, even after the major security breech last year! People are about that life!

But I digress. If you are a married man and dating someone who is not your wife, please understand feelings get involved. Those women, will want your time, they will want you to do things with them, care about their lives, surprise them with gifts and show love and affection, just like any other woman or any other dating situation. Now I won’t say all “side chicks” or mistresses want you full time, or want those things, some just want sex and fun moments and to send you home, but many do. And the more time you spend with her, the more likely the water is going to get muddy, as they say.

In African cultures, I am told it is acceptable for a married man to have more than one woman or wife, but I am also told that he has to man up and care for them all equally. Listen to this audio clip from an interview I conducted with a West African man on this subject. So, my advice is, if you aren’t able or ready to give her much of what you give the wife (within your time constraints and within reason, of course), then you probably should rethink your ability to date on the side. Unless of course the agreement is “no expectation” and the woman is ‚Äúdown‚ÄĚ.

Even with that, I would caution you to be real and know that if you keep seeing a woman, keep making love to her and spending quality time, she will eventually fall for you and emotions will get involved. I would also caution you to think about everything you have to lose. This situation is akin to what I imagine drug dealing is like, the fast money, the high of beating the system, and the sexiness of the life (if I can use those terms), are all good, until you get caught or get shot.

And just like with drug dealing, in the long run, these situations usually end bad for all involved. But, if you do it anyway, man up and be ready for whatever. And whatever you do, don’t blame the “other woman” for the demise of your marriage or the spousal and child support you end up paying, or the house and cars you lose, after the sh*t hits the fan and your wife files for divorce. Take ownership! Grown men, do grown men things. All parties must handle the fallout with their grown-up panties and shorts on. Decide wisely and keep it 1000.

Of course there is so much more to say about dating and our current relationship status in the era of social media, and ‚Äúswipe left or right‚ÄĚ dating, but my hope is that these tips will give you something to think about. Let‚Äôs try the Golden Rule here, treat people how you want to be treated. Love people how you want to be loved. Respect how you want to be respected and be the type of person you want her to be or find yourself a toy and go play elsewhere. Sounds simple enough huh?

 

Advertisements

I Won’t Complain… Not About My Life, the Traffic, the Weather, My Setbacks-or Nothing Else

I won’t complain. Not today. Not about anything. And certainly not before considering all the suffering around me. There are wives who have lost their brave Veteran husbands in an ambush in Niger.¬†¬†These women woke up today forced to deal with the fact that they will be raising¬†their babies¬†without their spouse. There are people in Sierra Leone who’ve lost their family members in mudslides that buried their homes in the blink of an eye, and left the living in disbelief and despair.

There are families who recently lost loved ones at the hands of a domestic terrorist in Las Vegas, lives snatched from them by a man who decided to murder people as they simply enjoyed music, during a night out. There are hundreds of thousands of people without food, water, or medicine in Puerto Rico, and all over our world. These stories and images tear at my heart and render me unable to complain about my life.

Consider also, that there are people¬†struggling¬†and suffering everywhere, people with severe disabilities, cancer, sick parents and children and issues we can’t even wrap our brains around, and they keep¬†getting up and keep finding a way to live on. This video sums it up¬†and¬†forces¬†us¬†to¬†put¬†things¬†in¬†perspective.

So no, today, I won’t complain. And I encourage you to follow suit. Before you open your mouth to talk about how bad your life is, or complain about the traffic, your boss, the neighbor,¬†financial situations etc,¬†just give a moment of silence to others who are hurting and in need of comfort and basic necessities.

Today, instead of my own pity party, I will list the things I am grateful for and meditate on those things, while sending out heartfelt prayers, love and peace to others.

No, I won’t complain, because comparatively speaking, all of my good days, outweigh my bad days, and nothing that is happening in my life even compares.

Sending Light and Love

by Rhonda E. Frost

I woke-up needing affirmations, positive energy and love. I awoke feeling unsettled.  There’s an uneasiness and evil in the air right now in this country. I can’t seem to shake the heaviness. Surely many of you feel it as well. I feel like Marvin Gaye when he sings “What’s Going On?”.  I need intervention. I need an angel, like Alicia sings about, right here.

Have you seen the headlines lately? Are you watching the world like I am? Do you see what is happening in politics, in the NFL, in your hometown? Have you heard the voicemail message left on African American studies professor Jason Nichols phone just 2 days ago, in October 2017? If not, check out his Facebook page and take a listen, it will make you angry, it will make your heart hurt and it might make you cry. Every single day, there’s something more sinister, more divisive and more detached being said and done. The world feels whack right now! The leader of this country is insane! And racists are showing their true colors, sheets removed.

Having said that. I know there is still good out there. I know that love, a desire to heal and understand one another, is still the cure. And I know that we can stop allowing the negative energy to control our thoughts and words at any given time. But in order to allow peace and the good thoughts in, we have to step back, step back away from the darkness, and choose light.

So today, I’ve decided not to be consumed by the evil, stupidity, fear and hate. Instead of participating in the usual consumption of horrific news tragedies, or witnessing more of  the mind-boggling ignorance and disconnect in the highest office in the land, for just a little while, in my mind, I want to go back to the days when the world seemed less crazy-(like the past 8 years). I want to talk to my grandpa or grandma like the Judd’s mentioned in their great song, or have a long talk with my mama, and hear words of wisdom, hope and encouragement.

There is no better way to redirect negative energy and thoughts, than to look outward, and look for the good in others and in our lives.  So that’s what I am going to do. I simply want to acknowledge aka give a “shout-out” to people who make a difference. A shift in focus, if you will.

Special shouts out to our brave men and women in the armed forces who fight for our freedom every single day, to all first responders who spend their days and nights helping people and saving lives and to the self-less people like Chef Jose Andreas, who show up out of nowhere during tragedies, and do more than their fair share of giving, helping and feeding souls.

Shouts out to the parents who get up each morning and get their children ready for school before heading off to work, get home from work and go to their child’s sporting events or recitals, and then do homework, cook, clean and  somehow manage everything each day, before going to sleep and 6 hours later, wake up and do it again. You are hero’s and shero’s!

Shouts out to all the men who hold down their women and children, those who “cover” them, provide and protect. And to the men who show up daily, those who are in their children’s lives and provide for them, even when the relationship didn’t work. Men who say “I love you” and show it. And to all of the men who are emotionally available, vulnerable and real. The ones who love hard and openly,  the world needs more of you. You are appreciated.

Shouts out to women everywhere who are making it happen. Those who are rebuilding their lives after setbacks. Women who are starting or finishing college, starting businesses, taking care of children alone, trailblazing in their careers, lifting up other women, speaking positivity into the world, getting healthy, and finding ways to believe despite setbacks and heartbreak. Women who fight for human rights and are making a difference. We are better together. I see you and salute you!

Shouts out to those who wake up everyday fighting the good fight in this unpredictable world we are all living in-those struggling to feel safe, struggling to find their footing, feel connected and find purpose. I am right there with you. Keep praying, keep waking up, and keep believing that better is on the way. Don’t give up! As long as you keep getting up and keep taking steps forward, you will make it. We can do this!

And finally, shouts out to the brave truth tellers on race, the “woke” people in the world, the peace makers and those who want “justice for all”, those who know why Colin kneels and aren’t afraid to say it.  Those who use their platform daily to call out injustice, risking it all. And those who understand we all bleed red, and our hearts feel pain the same.

Though the world feels out of control, let’s take some time each day to find the good. There are good people, there are stories of redemption, forgiveness, success and hope that we can hold onto for inspiration. If each of us will take a little time each day to be kind, to show love, to lift someone else up, stop hate messages, and do something good for each other, we can make headway into this dark heavy cloud and maybe even break all the way through. Let’s get through these turbulent times holding on to each other.

As a country we’ve come a long way, but we have a long, long way to go. In 2017, I am clear that we aren’t as close to MLK’s dream as we had hoped(thanks Trump and Alt Right), but we can get there, together. As a people we must do better.  We can’t let the evil, incompetent ones lead us down the dark, divisive path and keep us there. We are better than this.

No, individually we can’t save the world. But we each can do something. Just do your part. Share facts and wisdom. Thank someone for what they do. Listen to someone else’s story. Control what you can. And once you’ve done all you can…pray, mediate and be still. And vote! Register to vote. Stay involved(I had to say it)!

It’s got to get better. We won’t be in this chaotic place always. The sun will come out tomorrow. I just have to believe it will.

Laid Off From Work: Sometimes You Just Have to Take a Chance and Trust the Process-in Business as in Life

Two years ago my sister Tawny was laid off from her job after 25 years of working for¬†her company. To give you a little backstory,¬†my sister is anal retentive¬†with her dedication, focus, professionalism, organization and drive.¬†¬†Her career was her life. She anticipated retiring from that company. She enjoyed her work and was good at it. But alas, companies don’t necessarily care about your dreams, retirement plans and goals when their bottom line is out of balance, they simply look for ways to cut the fat. And so, she and some of her colleagues¬†got their pink slip, and learned of their fate, during a conference call.¬†There are no words to describe her shock and pain. She was stunned and in tears after that call. Yes, she cried.¬†She cried at the loss of what she knew, she cried at the callousness in their delivery, and she cried because of the uncertainty of her future. I shed tears for her too.¬†I could only imagine what she was going through.

When I spoke with her, in the aftermath of this perceived crisis, she talked about being in¬†her mid-forties and starting a job search, and she expressed the reality that it wasn’t likely she would be paid what she was making, as she didn’t have a college degree, she had simply worked her way up and was paid according to her skill set with that company. After browsing some job announcements, and going on one interview,¬†she stopped looking. She decided if there was ever a time to pursue something she loved in an entrepreneurial sense, that now was the time.

Her focus turned inward. You see my sister is also incredibly creative, she always has been. She’s meticulous with projects. She has always had side jobs doing¬†creative things, like baking¬†personalized designer¬†type cakes for special occasions, making and selling gift baskets, doing space decoration for friends and family and other creative things. And she was good at that too.¬†So she decided that instead of running back out and just getting “a job” and being limited by what someone would pay, or risk being laid off again, she would use this break from corporate work and do what she loved creatively¬†and give it everything she had.

She sat down with her husband Hurlie, and told him her decision. He told her to “go for it” and assured her that she had his full support. Now mind you, Hurlie was laid off as well that same year from his college coaching position. Talk about life changing moments and bravery! But anyway, for a woman who had worked a corporate job her whole life, and was used to certainty, this was a big decision. But despite those fears, off she went. Using the severance the company gave her, she started IslandGirlNaturalBeauty in her kitchen, in¬†her home state of Florida. She researched,¬†put everything into place, established a plan and went to work making the items from scratch. My other sister Tamara and their mutual friend the masseuse, Cara, joined in to physically support the venture.

Today the business is growing rapidly and each event lands a new connection with a new spa or new client that wants to carry the products. The community in Merrit Island, Florida is as supportive as a community can be. The island and the business work in tandem. In my sisters words “it has truly been a blessing”!

IslandGirlNaturalBeauty, offers organic products for your skin and home, as well as¬†unique gift ideas¬†like¬†hand¬†made gift baskets and¬†jewelry.¬†And people are loving the products! Whether it’s the Creamy Whipped Body Butter,¬† the Oatmeal and Shea Butter soap, the silky Massage and Body Oils, the Natural Sea Salt Scrub, or the¬†beautifully scented candles,¬†there’s something in the store for everyone! Today, you can find IslandGirlNaturalBeauty at festivals, events¬†and fair’s¬†all over Florida, and at events in other nearby states. You can also order items directly from the website and have them shipped to your home or office.

In my sister’s words “sometimes it’s scary not having consistent income, like I was used to, and not knowing what amount of money each event will bring, but it’s so rewarding doing what I love, meeting people, building up my brand and offering a product that I can stand behind proudly”. She went on to say, “this wouldn’t have been able to happen, if I wouldn’t have been laid off. I would not have left my job to do this”.

To say I am proud of my sister and her brave venture, would be an understatement. She is an inspiration. Her company is on it’s journey. She is in the right place (an island), at the right time, with the right product and attitude. And she has the support of her community, her family and clients. My hope and prayer is that it will continue to thrive. She reminds me it’s more physical work than she’s ever done and that the days are long, but she is happy. Stories like this give me life. It just so happens, my sister, her bravery and her company,¬†is the topic in this one.

Little did I know that a year and a half later, I too would be able to relate to her fears and story. On June 1, 2017, I too was laid off from my job of 6 years. This was the first time I had been laid off in my life. And the fact that I am in my early 50’s made it especially scary. And though I am still¬†seeking the right opportunity back into main stream¬†employment to stabilize my life and retirement future, I took¬†my sisters lead and I¬†also started a company called “Empowered Concepts by Rhonda Frost, LLC” dba “All the Way Woke”, and though it is in it’s infant stages(website is under construction, logo being created and so on…¬†), I am excited about this project, I believe in it and look forward to it going live. I will sell t-shirts, coffee mugs and other gift items, with messages of empowerment and inspiration. I hope to be fully operational well before the holidays.

To all of you who have been laid off or fired, or those who started from absolutely nothing with no hope in sight, let’s remember others who have also been through the same and turned out to be not only OK in the aftermath, but super successful, like Mark Cuban, the billionaire who was fired from his sales job, Oprah, who was fired from her night time reporter job,¬†and J.K. Rowling the famed author, who was fired from her job as a secretary because she daydreamed and wrote stories from her work computer.¬†Talk about rebounding!

And let us be mindful of this quote by Eckhart Tolle,¬†one of the worlds leading spiritual teachers:¬†‚ÄúSome changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.‚ÄĚ Just think about that for a minute.

So don’t be discouraged. It’s ok to feel afraid(anyone stepping out of a comfort zone¬†can relate to that). And it’s Ok to cry or vent if you need to, but staying there isn’t an option. The next phase of your life awaits!

Use this as a time to reboot, take a little vacation and sort through your goals and dreams. Then get your resume together, if that’s your intent, and get back out there. And if you’ve always wanted to be free and pursue a different career dream, now might be the time to do that. Gather your circle of friends and family members who love and support you, check in with your soul, put a plan together in plain sight, and become who you were meant to become and¬†do what you were meant to do.

There is life after a “lay off”, and “termination”, it’s up to us to seek it, and pursue that next best thing, vigorously. And while at it, let’s support the small business, dreamers and visionaries by purchasing from them and sharing their story. Blessings! The IslandGirls

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to Kevin Hart…Why?

By Rhonda E. Frost

9/19/2017

Kevin, this is not a letter about judgement. It is not a letter to tear you down and tell you what you already know. In looking at the comments on Instagram, and other social media, you are getting plenty of judgement, so I don’t need to add to that. Nor can I judge you even if I wanted to, because the skeletons in my own closet are so real, and so tightly squeezed into their own space, it would be hypocrisy for me to say a negative word in this situation. But I do have a question. I just want to know, why? Why did you get married a second time, when you clearly don’t want the confines of traditional marriage(I say this only because you have admitted to cheating on your first and now your second wife). So why?

And this “why” goes out to anyone who is married and not able to be faithful, those who are married and miserable, married and more unhappy than not, married only for money, financial stability and status, married and not in love, married but not to their best friend, married and desiring another person, married and dreaming to be free, or married “just until the kids grow up”…etc. Why? Why sacrifice the only life you have(and they have), being half-way in?

Sadly, I know way too many unhappily married people living this way. They are barely alive in spirit. Desperately seeking connection elsewhere. Lying their way through life. Why?

But back to the story at hand. Kevin, I saw your apology video and it showed a man in distress, a man apologizing for the pain he caused his family for infidelity, and a recognition of the massive mistake it was to allow himself to be put in that situation. Or maybe the video simply revealed how “sorry you are because you got caught“( in my Rihanna voice), and the frustration with the manner in which you got caught. I don’t really know which it was, but either way, according to you, you had to come forward, or be extorted. Whew! That’s f*cked up! For real! The days and hours leading up to the truth telling video, had to be excruciating!

Because of this incident, all the married men who have mistresses, or “side-chicks” in your inner circle, and married men all over the world, are paying attention to what is happening to you and how you handle it. Some are likely taking a time out, from their “other” woman, until this blows over. And afterwards, there may be a camera check point at the door, and/or confidentiality disclosures signed, before any activities take place in their side-coupledom future. So the good news is, you could be the cause of significant procedural changes in this area! Time will tell.

In all seriousness, you aren’t the first and won’t be the last to be caught up. Infidelity didn’t start with Kevin Hart and won’t end with Kevin Hart.

That being said, there is no doubt, in my ex-mistress, ex-law enforcement, and ex-being-cheated-on mind, the magnitude of this moment on your life and the manner in which it unfolded, is truly a game changer, a wake up call of epic proportions and a time where you will need to find a way to laugh at your pain and naivet√©, for real.

In your apology, you stated that you aren’t perfect, and never said you were. And you have already admitted in many of your comedy routines, that men just do “dumb sh*t“, and you’ve admitted to cheating before and you’ve made it clear that marriage is “work”, so all the disclaimers are covered. So again, I ask, WHY bother getting married? And why do it a second time if that isn’t your really your thing? To be clear, I don’t mean for you to answer that, rather I want it to hang in the air. It needs to be thought about, not responded to. Not now. And that question isn’t just for you-it’s for all of the aforementioned married people in paragraph two.

This moment, like all the exposed and unexposed cheating moments in real folks lives, is bigger than you and this incident. It’s about the narrative. The daily, monthly, yearly, and moment to moment narrative of balancing being married and faithful, and being happy and excited about our married lives and the mates we choose, “til death do us part”. It’s about trying not to feel imprisoned and restricted, while contained within the parameters of married life. It’s about the never ending discussion on how to keep all of our forever unfolding, growing and changing parts of us and our primal desires in sync, and finding a way to walk that tightrope over the Grand Canyon of love and commitment, with no safety net, and no real training or plans, hoping not to fall off and kill yourself (proverbially speaking) or hurt someone else in the process.

To be honest, I don’t know how we are to do it. If many “regular” people can’t do it, how are celebrities, the uber rich and successful, world traveler type of people supposed to do it with temptation everywhere and the world at your fingertips? How? Some say it’s purely a character thing and a decision, I say I just don’t know. Love, lust and desire can sway even the strongest person.

But not to let you off the hook, you made the commitment and again you violated it. The first time you said you were “young and didn’t know better”. Now you are older and the same thing happens. Does it cross your mind that marriage may not be for you? And if you say yes, that is OK. No one can hate you for saying marriage doesn’t work for you. But you have to do that before getting married or you have to say that before you cheat. In the words of a William Shakespeare, “to thine own self be true”.  Or in the words of people I know “just keep it real”.  Because it’s clear that monogamy doesn’t work for you at this point in your life, so WHY force it?

So again, I ask why? Why get married? Why put yourself and her through that? Why stay in a marriage, when you would rather be free? Why stay in a marriage that doesn’t meet your needs, doesn’t allow you to breathe, doesn’t fulfill sexual fantasies, doesn’t give you what you want and doesn’t feed your soul? WHY? And why pretend when you know you can’t do it?

And don’t tell me it’s because of love or loyalty, or the kids. “Love should have brought your ass home that night“, if that’s the case and it didn’t. Loving someone has nothing to do with your ability to stay monogamous. Clearly it doesn’t. I would venture to say most men who cheat might say they love their spouse. In fact I’ve heard that first hand from many a married man who wanted to be my man. So in the words of the immortal Tina Turner, “what’s love got to do with it”, especially if this is how you show it?

And if it’s about your children and extended family, they know, or they will know. And for all the people who have children and use this excuse to stay in broken marriages, your children and your other family members, see your unhappiness and likely know of your infidelities or they experience the breakdown and pain from the aftermath. Wouldn’t you rather they see you happy separately if that’s the case? And wouldn’t you rather speak the truth to your mate and your family and put yours and their mind at ease in a respectable way and just be single? Either way it’s gonna hurt if the family breaks up, but which pain is better?

I will tell you like I told Usher in my Open Letter to him, this too shall pass, this story will fade out and the world will move on to the next breaking news story about the next person who makes a mistake or the next tragic world event,  but in the interim, I hope this event brings about change in you as a man and a husband and more importantly, I hope it gets you closer to your truth.

I am sure you and Eniko have much to sort through. The road ahead is going to be bumpy in the area of trust. Personally, I hope you can survive this and make your marriage work for the sake of your children, but if you can’t remain monogamous and happy for the rest of your life, say that. Be the “grown man” you say you are and tell her and yourself the truth. Your wife, as we might imagine, is in the middle of her own defining moment and pain. And the fact that she’s pregnant makes it 100 times worse. She too has some soul searching to do and decisions to make. And there’s no doubt you both will survive this and life will go on.

The good news is, if you’ve watched “BLACKLOVEDOC” you will find there is hope in these kinds of stories and you will see that marriages can survive it. Just ask JayZ and Bey. I will warn that the commitment after infidelity, is a much harder thing. But it’s up to you to be willing to deal with the chaos you’ve created and stay with it, no matter what. And yes, I speak from a “chaos created”, life perspective. I get it.

This is also a wake up call for men(and women) all over, to evaluate whether you really want to be married, to examine what you have in your marriage and to be honest about what you want and need. It’s an opportunity to be clear about whether or not, you can be faithful and whether or not you love this person enough to stand in your commitment, faithfully.

At the end of the day, if these stories and exposures don’t make you pause and examine your life and marriage, nothing will. The greatest gifts in all the world are real love, unadulterated trust and a true committed partnership. If you get that, it’s worth more than gold. Don’t sacrifice that, to live a lie or test the water. And conversely, don’t miss out on having that, to maintain an inauthentic, unhappy married life, that drains your soul and kills your joy. We have the power to love better and smarter. It’s up to us to do it.

 

 

Why Do I Have to Think Like a Man? -The Book

Written as a poignant response to the male-tainted advice in Steve Harvey’s best-selling relationship hit Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, this revised and updated book is a fitting rebuttal on men, sex, relationships and women getting what they really “reeeeally” want. As a current CBS Personality on Atlanta’s V103 and Former Sirius Radio host on Jaime Foxx’s ‘Foxxhole’, former NFL wife Shanae Hall does not shy away from the difficult conversations in life. In her own funny, fresh, and bold way Shanae prides herself in telling it like it is. In Why Do I Have to Think Like a Man?, which is co-written with her mother Rhonda Frost, the two women hilariously chronicle their experiences of marriage, divorce, and the dating pool, which has included bad boys, professional athletes, ‘the nice guy,’ the married guy, and powerful businessmen. You can get your copy by clicking on the link below!

An Open Letter to Usher Raymond…I am Sorry

By Rhonda E. Frost

Usher, I am sure this is likely one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to endure. Confessions must pale in comparison. The past two weeks have had to be hell for you and your family. To have a deeply personal incident with your medical privacy violated and a previously settled lawsuit plastered all over the news, on social media, blog posts and gossip outlets, is unfathomable. My heart breaks watching it unfold.

I read one of the first stories to get the gist of it and then I saw the memes that were meant to be jokes, pour in on my social media feed. I read one or two of the comments with tears in my eyes. I simply couldn’t read them anymore.

I am ashamed that people turned this life altering situation, involving real people and a real disease into something entertaining. For that, I apologize to you. I apologize for the judgement, harsh words, the jokes and insensitivity. This story hurts my soul on many levels.

On behalf of our people, I am sorry.

I am sorry that its unfolding like this. I am sorry that someone gave herpes to you. I am sorry for the woman(or alleged women) who you exposed to it (knowing or not). I am sorry you couldn’t find the courage to tell them. I am sorry that now they want your money and that you will likely pay the hefty price for that secret. And I am sorry for the millions of people who have herpes and other STD’s that they have to live with, and who fear what you are going through.

Too many black folk in particular find this situation joke worthy. I apologize that our community finds humor in disease and in stories that hurt others. I am sorry that we have become disconnected to the point where we don’t stop to think before we pass along hurtful memes, videos or news clips that expose our people suffering. I apologize that basic humanity is no longer present in this social media, disconnected world that we live in. It’s all about the “comments”, “likes” and the “check” one can potentially get from a story.

Do the sharers of this news not realize that 1 in 6 Americans have herpes and that anyone can have it and not know because they are asymptomatic? Do they not know that statistics show almost forty percent of African Americans have this disease and that almost fifty percent of black women have it? Someone else gave it to these people too. Do they not realize that if these numbers are true(and apparently they are), that when they post these articles and jokes on their page, they are shaming and making fun not just of you, but also some of their own friends and family members who are also suffering? These millions of sufferers didn’t get a million dollar check when it was given to them, they simply had to keep it moving and figure out how to live with it. The lack of connection is mind-boggling.

And although not the same circumstance, I am reminded that just a week or two ago our people did the same with the Maia Campbell situation. Some clown(for lack of a better word) made a video recording of her at a gas station here in Atlanta, exposing her in one of her low moments. In the video, she is seen talking to the man recording and she tells him she wanted some “crack”. She looked disheveled, she was missing a tooth and was in a bra and panties(shorts?) at a gas station. It was painful to watch. The “brotha”(dubbed a “male friend” in one article),  added further insult to injury and said to Maia, “pump my gas” in pimp-like fashion, disparaging her further while continuing to record and mock her broken state. This black man thought it necessary to post this event on social media, I suppose in an effort to become relevant. The video went viral. It was shared thousands of times amongst our own. People thought it funny. According to reports, she has a crack addiction and suffers from mental illness. How the f*ck is addiction and mental illness funny? Shame on us! Shame on the man who made the video.  And shame on everyone who shared it to get a “like”. But I digress…

The callousness in our people at times is baffling. Did slavery, Jim Crow, lack of opportunity, lack of education, lack of nurturing and poverty make us into insensitive human beings? Can we blame those real conditions on our current spirit? As if we don’t have enough issues and obstacles to fight, we have to deal with our own village frenemies as well. These are the same people(your fans), same magazines and news papers that applaud your music and talent, that showcase your success as an artist, your love as a father and who have honored you as a member of the black community. And poof! Just like that, you are reduced to simply a story line, and your business is all in the streets. Oh, what a fickle world we live in!

Social media can be like shark infested water, all they need is a little “chum” or for someone to fall off the boat, and the mindless feeding frenzy begins. Black folks in particular feed off of this kind of thing. We always have. We are the kings and queens of tear downs, demonstratively hateful gossip, and finding ways to shame one another or point out our brothers and sisters mistakes and missteps. I believe it gives those telling someone else’s news, a moment where they don’t have to think about their own misery, ugliness, vulnerability or pain.

Confessing an incurable disease is risky for anyone, but exposing it as a celebrity has to be the scariest thing ever. It’s another level of risk. People pay money for that kind of news story, whether you’ve infected someone or not in today’s “sell a celebrity story to TMZ for a check” climate. I am not excusing failure to disclose, I am simply pointing out the obvious. All of that aside, disclosing isn’t an option.

Living with disease, navigating dating and relationships with a diagnosis and trusting someone with that information has to be the highest level of risk out there. But to be clear, numbers don’t lie. Others are also keeping the secret for whatever reason and by doing so, are infecting other people in our community at an extremely high rate. We cannot continue like this! We have to find the courage to share the news. We have to talk about it openly and do forums that help ease the stigma and that provide a way to share the news safely. Millions of people carry this STI. You, Usher, have an opportunity, like Magic Johnson did back in the day with his HIV diagnosis, to make people aware of the disease and impact lives. The conversation has already started. It’s a wide open opportunity. You have this difficult moment to reflect and teach. Use it to be brave, to stand up and to create something meaningful. I will be happy to help you.

The good news is, herpes is not life threatening. All involved will find a way to keep going forward. You and all involved will bounce back and keep living. You must. Life surely goes on. The victims in your case will be a little more financially secure at your expense and though that doesn’t fix the life long condition, it certainly makes life a little easier for them. Again, millions upon millions of people have it, who never were given money to ease the pain or shame or give them the means to buy medications, pay bills or take a vacation to clear their head.

The statistics with STD’s and it’s impact on our community are real. We have to care enough about each other to have the honest discussion. We have to get tested. We have to set aside our own discomfort to protect others. And we have to hold those discussions in confidence on both sides. We have to care enough about our bodies to use protection especially, if we aren’t brave enough to talk about the elephant in the living room or ask for test results. We also have to do better at becoming caring human beings and not using these stories to bolster our own numbers(“likes”, “friends”), or to gain notoriety by furthering the pain.

The moral to the story is: if you have a disease and you don’t tell someone, you put them at risk, and they don’t get to decide on the act or relationship with all the facts. That is a costly decision. And this applies to every aspect of our dating lives, not just STD’s. We have to have the conversation(s) about things that aren’t pleasant as well. It’s the only way to know if what you share is real. It’s what grown people who care, do.

At the end of the day, this story will give way to the next big news story. Soon and very soon, it will become just another blurb in the social media news spectrum and the sting of the jokes and the headlines for this will fade. Let this be a wake up call about dating, relationships and our sex lives. This isn’t so much about you as a celebrity, as it is the cost of not speaking up and the reality of how hard it is for us to talk about issues to our own people.

And for the people with all the comments and jokes, let this be a reminder to return to compassion and to remember that just because something hasn’t affected us yet, doesn’t make us exempt and that we need to be mindful that even though we may not be impacted, we might have a friend, or family member who is(go back and look at the statistics then look at how many “followers” you have, it’s a given that some of them have it). Words are powerful. Use them to uplift, to improve your people, to offer guidance and advice, to make positive change, not to be the antithesis to that. We have enough mess in our community to overcome, let’s not add to it by jumping on the popular mean-spirited bandwagon.

Usher, my sincere hope is that you will rise from this moment better than you were before, to care more about the people in your life, to protect women and to be open and honest. My hope is that you and the women involved in this unfolding story will all be able to live happy and full lives and that when it’s all said and done, our people will do better.

Let this be our Magic Johnson moment of truth on this topic. Let us be brave enough to keep the conversation at the forefront in an enlightening and honest way and let us be better for it.