Sex and Money: Vulnerable Conversations


There are many reasons that people cheat, and usually sex and money are two things that are high on the list of reasons for someone to step outside of their relationship. I’m taking a step back in advising you on how to get beyond the hurt of finding out your partner, straight or gay, has cheated on you. When you get wrapped up in the emotions of love, there usually isn’t a conversation about money. You’re probably already engaged in sex, so no conversation is usually needed unless you aren’t open minded to new positions or you’re just lousy at it. (There are people that are lousy at sex.) You can get so involved in the emotional part of the relationship that you forget about your own needs because you’re usually more involved on making your relationship work, which means you’re being accommodating. This is a big mistake. You can’t keep it up, and as time goes on, you’re going to feel very unfulfilled.

Sex should never, ever be a one-way street. You want your gratification just like you’re try to give gratification to the other person. When you forgo your needs to please someone else, you are asking for a huge problem as time goes on. Sex needs to be part of a conversation you engage in, so you know that mutual needs are being met. If it’s bad, but you really feel that this person is someone you would like to invest time and energy in, then you have to speak up. No, it’s not easy to say to someone, “You should do this or that to satisfy me,” but think about it, if you don’t in the beginning, then as time goes on, you will be looking for this gratification outside of your relationship. Then you will want to have the conversation that you should have had months ago. You have to introduce the sex conversation slowly, and doing a show and tell is a perfect way to approach the subject. There’s also the after sex glow, when you’re both relaxing and enjoying the moment; a perfect time to have the discussion. Intimacy is not sex, but intimacy can lead to sex. Make sure you have intimacy. Intimacy would be kissing, holding hands, anything short of actually engaging in performing a sexual act, therefore you can be naked and have intimacy going on. You just have to realize that intimacy is also the ability to have delicate conversations that may hurt the person’s feelings, coming from you in a way that is loving and shows that you understand how that person is feeling. How would you like someone to break it down to you if you were on the other end of such a conversation? 

Money is a very, very, very hard conversation for two people to have. Unlike the sex conversation, which should happen in the beginning of any and all relationships, money should be discussed as soon as you feel that this person is the one. There’s no reason to do this with every person you get involved with because then your business will end up just out there to be talked about by everybody. (If you’re rich, you might not care.) If you feel every relationship is the one, then you have a problem that needs to be addressed before you have any relationship. The only way you will know how to progress in your relationship regarding financial items is to discuss what each of you are bringing to the table. Actually, if you’re going to the movies and dinner, who will pay? A conversation does not need to happen until you know each other well enough to know that no one feels that he/she is being taken advantage of. This conversation is much different from a what you have in your bank account conversation. That’s a deep conversation that exposes you financially, so you must be so sure that living together or marriage is on the horizon before having this conversation. If you’re giving, giving, and giving, and the other person is just taking, this will almost certainly lead to cheating. The person that’s taking will be the one that cheats because that person doesn’t have to work on the financial aspects of a relationship. The giver will not be the cheater because all of their time is spent trying to keep the other person financially happy. There is, for certain, a financial aspect to a relationship. If there isn’t, how could you buy things like a house or have any type of living arrangement? 

No one wants to feel used, and if you get nothing in return, either in sex or money, that is how you will feel used. It might take you some time to actually realize what’s going on because you are so busy trying to keep the relationship going that you get blindsided when the truth of what’s really going on hits you. Conversations in the beginning of a relationship can save a lot of heartache as the relationship progresses. It is not easy, and the longer you put it off, the more vulnerable the relationship will be.

Blogs
The Art of Cheating
Surviving The Art of Cheating
Breaking Out After the Breakup

Next blog: Dating After The Breakup.

Surviving The Art of Cheating

Surviving The Art of Cheating 

You are ahead of the game and you don’t even know it. It takes a lot of strength to get out of a cheating relationship. Surviving takes a lot of time and though the first thing you might think of doing is something impulsive like having sex with the first person available, it is the wrong thing to do. You just want to feel something, anything that will make you forget about your cheating partner;, you want to forget that feeling that is slowly eating you alive, you want to stop the fight between your heart and your mind, which are both trying to control your emotions. But getting involved with someone else, even just for a night, is not the answer. It would be a selfish deed, because no matter how hard you try to justify it, all you would be doing is using another person – not healing yourself.

Your unhealthy relationship is over, and it’s time to heal yourself even if you don’t know where to start from. It’s okay to be angry, but you need to channel that anger; you cannot simply dismiss it, because that is what would happen if you were to engage in one-night stands – you may think it would help, but it would only be a numbing, useless harmful practice that definitely would not assist your recovery. You need to address your anger, and direct it at the cheater. Don’t fall into a trap, do not harbour that vicious feeling unless you somehow physically or mentally contributed to bringing that into your relationship. I want to explain what I mean by that. Did you really, deep down in your heart, know that the relationship was nearing its end, but couldn’t voice your emotions and say you were not happy out loud? Does this entail that you consequently stopped to actively participate in the relationship? The only thing you knew was that your partner had stopped caring and all you wanted was to get that person back. If you’re angry, throw something, scream or watch a lot of mindless TV. Reality shows are good for this. I wouldn’t even recommend you tell your friends about what happened yet, because what they are going to do is bash your cheater, but that would not benefit you at all. You have to be like a turtle, with its head tucked in its shell – wait a little longer, there’s no rush to get out of that shell. 

That shell is your shelter, it’s where you can’t get hurt, where you can let your feelings flow freely. It’s where your heart and mind fight. And the battle is long. The heart wants you to find any excuse to call the cheater and to take the blame for this situation. The mind tells you it’s okay to move on, it tells you that you knew what was happening but you didn’t do anything to solve the problem. The mind tells you that it tried to warn you, that suggested you get out, but you would rather listen to sugarcoated lies than to the bitter truth. This is a fierce battle, but that’s all it is – the war is yet to be won. Stay right there in that turtle shell and let you heart and mind battle it out until you can declare a winner on your terms. When you are ready, you will slowly come out and face the outside world. It won’t be easy. The first thing you might do is just taking a shower or zapping from channel to channel on the television. The point is that you do something, no matter how insignificant it may seem. And if doing those little things is not enough and you feel like going back inside your shell, that’s perfectly okay. You just weren’t ready as you thought, but don’t beat yourself up, just keep trying and every time you will get a little farther out of the shell. One thing you should be able to do before you are completely out of your shell is thinking about that person without bursting into tears or getting so angry that it makes you want to do something stupid. You have to be able to say the person’s name and look at your situation for what it really was. When you decide to get out of your shell, it doesn’t mean you are necessarily whole again, but it does mean that you will survive. Breaking up, for whatever reason, is hard, but it has happened or will happen to each of us. What matters is what you learn, not just from surviving the breakup but from the relationship itself. There are lessons to be learned from every situation, you just have recognize each situation and act upon it. 

The Art of Cheating is the first blog post you should read before getting to this point.

The next blog post will be about facing the world as a survivor.

Retirement: Introverts vs Extroverts

Retirement: we can’t wait for it. We count the days, the months, and in my case, the years. I didn’t have a monthly calendar; I wanted a big yearly calendar so I could see each day as it went by. When we are young, we start thinking about retirement when it cuts into our activities at night. It’s hard as hell to go to work after partying into the night. You end up dragging yourself to work, only for the boss to yell, “You have to stay late because you’re late!” The years go by, and retirement is front and center in conversations at the water cooler. Retirement is the reward after spending years having a boss to tell you what to do. 

We can’t wait for the retirement party and the well wishers wishing you good luck. Then one day, it’s time. You gather your belongings, and off into the retirement world you go. 

We hear all the time about the money aspect of retirement (“you need x amount of money to retire”), but we don’t hear a lot about the mental aspect of retiring. Retirement is great for the extroverted person who has lots of friends beyond work. It’s great if you are a social person who likes to go out on a regular basis. Retirement might not be so good for the introverted person whose only social outlet is work, whose coworkers are their only friends, and who at the end of a work day is going home to a lonely house. That person who can’t wait for the next work day should maybe pump those retirement brakes. The retiree who lines up at the bus stop for that trip to the casino could just be lonely, and that is their only way to be around people. The casino-bound retiree might have never gambled a day in his life, but sitting on a bus surrounded by people is better than sitting at home all alone. You can usually tell these people because they start a conversation with anybody who takes that seat next to him/her. This does have ramifications because gambling can put a retiree on a fixed income in a financial crisis. 

The main conversations we have while working are about work; we talk shop. When we retire, that conversation stops; you aren’t in the loop anymore. The people you worked with could have moved on, and there are new people at the job whom you don’t know. One day, you realize the telephone is no longer ringing from the people you worked with, so you call. The conversation is strained; these’s a lot of silence. This is when you realize that your relationship with your work friends is over. For the extroverted person, this is no big deal because they have an outside life, but for introverts, this could be a horrible realization. You think, “What should I do now?” You clean the house on Monday, you clean the house on Tuesday, you clean the house on Wednesday, you clean the house on Thursday, you clean the house Friday, you clean the house on Saturday, and you clean the house on Sunday. The house is white-glove clean, but with nothing else to do, you start the ritual all over again. The next week, you watch every show you had meant to watch but couldn’t because you were working. There are times you wish you never retired because this isn’t all people make it out to be. 

Retirement is hard on the introverted person. If you know someone who was a introvert at work, more than likely that’s not going to change with retirement. It’s not some much that the introvert wants to be alone as that the person has to get comfortable in a new setting. If they start to go to the casino, the first time might be awkward, but as he/she goes more often, their comfort level increases, and so do their interactions with other people. The conversations might be casino-related; for introverts, that could be all that’s needed to make themselves comfortable. 
I’m just using the casino as a example, but it could be senior groups, YMCA programs, cruises, anything that can that bring about social interaction. 

Retirees have enough to worry about, like money (unless you’re rich) and whether Social Security will be around for their entire lifetime. Money is a big issue because it comes monthly instead of biweekly or weekly. You have to stretch the dollar to last for a month, and with the price of food, there’s no room for goodies, just the necessities. Your savings start dwindling because the price of everything keeps going up and your check goes down faster. There are also more health issues as you age, and dealing with those alone is never good. You begin to realize that death is a closer reality than life because the people you know are passing away at an alarming rate. There is an overwhelming sense of loneliness if you’re an introvert.

Retirement is great if you’re an extroverted person who is very sociable, but if you are an introvert, think about it. You should prepare not just financially, but also mentally. You need to think about what you are going to do, and start doing that before you retire. If you don’t have a hobby while working, it doesn’t just come about when you stop working. Start pursuing that hobby while you’re still working. Join a club, or better yet, create a club. Join a group to get the feel of what it’s about. You should visit family, but don’t make yourself a pest. Take care of the grandkids until they get on your nerves. The point is to plan ahead and be honest in your assessment of yourself and what you’re capable of doing. There’s only so much house cleaning to do.

Pull Off The Label

We are not cans of vegetables in a store that require a label to be stacked in the same area. We are people, so why do we need so many labels? There are so many labels that seem to define people that I’m starting to think that it’s made up. I’m black, female, gay, and married, but none of those define me just like those words or similar words don’t define you. One of the reasons you label vegetables is so that when you open them, you know what’s inside. Labeling people tells you nothing about the person inside. Labeling is very broad way of saying “This is me”, but why do you need to say that? It would be so nice if we could pull off the labels and people were just that, a person with a name for identification, and that’s it. “I am Anita” – that’s my identification, and that has nothing to do with who I am inside. We have got too hung up on these labels without knowing the person who is assigned a label. When you meet someone, you should look at the person, not if he is gay, straight, transgender, or anything else, just the person. We have a superficial world that looks too much at looks before seeing the person inside the body. It doesn’t matter if you are beautiful or ugly as hell if what’s inside should count more than what you look like and what label should be attached to your person. Why is it so important that you give yourself a label or a label is given to you? Does that label tell the person about you? I hope not because this world is worse off than I thought if all we are is a bunch of people trying to fit in a label like string beans in a can. When I was a kid, I saw these two people walking down the street. They were gay, I assumed. I wondered why people can’t just love who they wanted, as they were not hurting anyone. I learned as I got older that labels are used as a way to hurt people, and labels are used to define people as a certain sexual being. Again, why do you need a label to describe your sexuality? If you’re transgender, great but I rather know the person inside that transgender body. I don’t care if you’re transgender because that’s not what drew you to me. It’s that person inside that body that I want to get to know and love. I’m just saying I would rather just know your name. This doesn’t just apply to gay people but straight people as well. I don’t care if you’re straight, I just want to know your name and get to know that person inside. We are all different inside, and that is what makes us special. If you were to put all the Anita’s in the world together, we would still be different because of the person inside: there is no need to label that Anita as straight or that Anita as gay, what is the point? I really hope one day that people will stop with the labeling because it’s a false way to define someone.  It would be so much better if we pulled off the labels and just looked at the person. Maybe that would make the world a better place. It might help with all this divisiveness that is going on. It might help people to truly understand the next person without making assumptions. It could put love in the world and get rid of some of the hatred we have for certain groups of labeled people. Please take the time to pull the label off and look at the person inside before you judge. The next time someone says I’m pansexual, ask them who are they really inside without the label.

No Shame in Going to a Trade School


For some kids, the stress of whether to go to college is a pressure cooker waiting to explode, especially if they do not want to go. College is not for every kid, but parents often put their ambitions for their children on them. We are well aware of the extent some parents go to to get their kids into a university. Is college for the kid or for the parents? There was a time when the military was the go-to source of jobs for kids, especially African American kids. Parents looked at the military as a way out of the ghetto, which could eat their kids up and spit them out on the nearest-drug infested corner. That seems to have changed somewhat as military standards have changed. It wasn’t so much that parents didn’t want their kids to enlist; rather, it’s more that kids weren’t being accepted so readily.

There is an alternative out there that most parents fail to push, and that’s work that’s done with your hands. These are the construction workers, electricians, and plumbers, just to name a few. These jobs offer good salaries with much less cost to the student. I believe it’s how these types are jobs are perceived that makes them seem on the surface less important than the professions of a doctor or lawyer. Doesn’t it sound so much better to say “my child is a lawyer” than “my child is a garbage man”?

There are many kids out here who have no desire to attend college, but feel that they have no other option, so they go. Years ago, getting an associate’s degree was a sign that you’d made it, but that is no longer true. You need a bachelor’s degree, and with some occupations a master’s degree, to have a chance of getting that high-paying job. There are also cases where high-paying jobs still elude students because they haven’t scored high enough for Corporate America to even consider them. For some of our next-generation kids, high school is all they can see; they see nothing beyond that. It’s a strange thought that when you were a kid, you wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, anything that was glamorized on television. When the drug craze came about, television started to glamorize that quick money, and then kids started to go in that direction. I’m not saying this happens to every kid, but enough kids get drawn into easy money and a flashy lifestyle. Then the technology craze hit, and now we have some kids sitting in front of a screen before they can even talk. In a sense, they are raised by screens. They have little if any ambition and college, is a definite no-no. 

My grandson is in the eleventh grade, and I often ask him, “What are you interested in”? Because everything I suggest is a NO! When he was small, he had dreams; what happened to them? He isn’t a bad student, but is an average student who won’t be getting into any Ivy League school. That’s OK because there’s an alternative: a trade school. A trade school occupation is something to be proud of; it’s like building a house, something you put your back into. In this type of profession, you can look at your hands, and see the ability to take something from nothing and made it real. There are trade school jobs that aren’t labor-intense, like web developer or dental hygienist, that a person can learn to do, and they can be proud of what they have accomplished. 

Parents, I think that you have to be honest in evaluating your child. Don’t try to make your child a college student when they have shown no desire, or when they’re just barely making it out of high school. It should be about giving them choices, and trade schools should be among the options that are discussed. I checked online, and these are some of the best jobs for trade school graduates: 1. Elevator Installer/repairer, medium salary $77,806 2. Radiation Therapist, medium salary $69,504 3. Web Developer, medium salary $58,448 4. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, $55,106, 5. Electricians,$52,527. These salaries aren’t too shabby for a person not going to college. 
College is great for students who are going for themselves, not for their parents. However, college often involves a lot of debt, and offers no guarantees that graduates will be employed in their chosen field after they’ve sweated for multiple years to earn their degree. A trade school involves a lot less debt, and offers better chances of employment are better in one’s chosen field. Don’t sell your child short; give him/her every opportunity to succeed, even when college isn’t in the equation.

My Secret Is Out

There’s this concept online called crowdfunding. In basic language, crowdfunding is a group of people that buy into another individual’s/company’s idea. I mean buy as in money and buy as in you like what they are selling. I actually can’t tell you how I got involved, but believe me, it had to be something I saw online that made me say, “Wow!” I was working then, though money was tight, but what I saw made me say, “I’ve got to have this!” The problem was my spouse, who wasn’t my spouse at the time, but we were dating and living together. I knew that spending money on a watch was not going to fly. Yes, the first geeky item I pledged to was a watch. This watch connected to your phone and you got notifications. This was before smart watches were the rage. What I did was to first talk up the watch by saying how it could keep me from missing messages on my commute from New York to New Jersey. Well, that didn’t work, so I did what I knew was fail proof: it was an early birthday present to myself. While I was wheeling and dealing with my spouse on this watch, I went to a newfound website of geek items and saw another watch. This time, not only could I get notifications but I could talk into it. Dick Tracy here I come! Now, I’m talking about two watches. Well, I only have one birthday, so how could I get her to see things from my point of view? Nope, it wasn’t going to happen, so I did the unthinkable and just kept my big mouth shut. The website that had grabbed my attention that I was not mentioning was Kickstarter. 
Kickstarter

Kickstarter
was started in April 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler. The Kickstarter headquarters is located in New York City. Kickstarter is a very user friendly site for project owners and backers. Kickstarter responds to questions and problems about their site very quickly and you can communicate with the project owner by clicking on the comments section or emailing him/her through the website. The comments area is also a place to interact, not only with the project owner, but with other backers, during the course of the project.
Kickstarter has a global community of people from more than 220 countries and territories. Roughly 35% of successfully funded projects now come from outside the United States, as do 45% of backers. Together, these backers and creators use Kickstarter to reach across borders and shape culture into what they want it to be, rather than accepting it for what it is. And as ideas from different cultures collide with one another, they inspire new conversations, creative approaches, and cross-cultural connections.
 

Kickstarter Project Manager 
I will discuss the technology area of Kickstarter; however, there are many types of projects that you can back, such as films, music, and books. The Kickstarter site enables people to discover and back as many projects as they believe will become a reality. When a person, or groups of people, decide to start a project on Kickstarter they must first build a project page, which includes a video with a description explaining their project. The next step for the project owner is to provide information about their budget and a timeline from beginning to end of the project. The project owner must then decide what kind of rewards they will offer backers, such as a choice of item color or engraving the item with the project name and year. These rewards are given when the project funding reaches certain milestones. Project owners have to keep in mind that they pay for all of the rewards offered to backers. When project owners think about the funds necessary to bring their project to fruition, they must consider everything because Kickstarter will not let their project become a reality if the funding goal is not met. A very important part of the project is promotion. A project needs active promotion because a project no one knows about will never get funded. Kickstarter’s fee is 5%, with an additional 3 to 5% for processing payments. If the project owner doesn’t meet their funding goal, they owe nothing.

Kickstarter Backers
There are different tier amounts that a backer can pledge. When a backer pledges early there is usually a perk from the project owner as a way of thanking a backer for coming aboard early. The different pledge tiers not only tell you the item, but an estimated month and year that you will receive the item. The shipping information will also be listed in each tier box, along with any accessories that might be given. Once he/she has met the project funding level, the project owner will give their backers updates as the project develops through each stage. Backers like to know they’ve made a wise decision in backing a project and hate it when shipping has to be pushed back time after time. My experience with Kickstarter is that projects are always pushed back for different reasons. The project owners try to give realistic shipping estimates, but often a project of this magnitude is new to many of them and they are not prepared for the problems that arise. You, the backer, have to be aware that there are also scam artist that will go through the motions of creating a project, but once funding is met and they receive their money, you never hear from them again. There is really no recourse for backers when a project owner takes the money and doesn’t fulfill his/her part of the deal. Kickstarter backing is partially about being first to get an item that no one might know about or have even envisioned. As I stated, not all projects make it to the backers. An example of this was a watch that I pledged for my daughter. It was supposed to be the thinnest watch out in 2013. The company wasn’t able to make the watch because they encountered too many hurdles that they weren’t prepared for. I recently received a letter informing us that after liquidating all of their assets, there was no money to give to backers

Some might think this is throwing money away because these projects aren’t cheap, and if a project fails you can’t get your money back. I think of it like this: It’s no riskier than the lottery or going to the casino. You never know when you’ll hit the jackpot. There is a certain rush you get as the months go by waiting for your reward to make it from the project owner’s vision to you.