10 Things My Mom Taught Me About Relationships and Some I Learned Along the Way

(Image: “What Men Love” by Slay)
what_men_love-by-slay.jpg1. Never make love to someone you like.        
Well, not until you know s/he (or it) loves you.
I wouldn’t advise having plain old sex with them either, but if you must, be certain that you are able to follow the Law of Separation (see below). Because you can bet that once y’all do it, you’re gonna start thinking your like is love (at worst) and at best, you won’t be able to consider the situation objectively.

2. Observe the Law of Separation.
Sex and emotion are not mutually inclusive.  One does not require the other to exist.  Therefore, if you can’t separate sex from emotion, you shouldn’t be having sex at all.  Because you can bet that once you do it, you’re in imminent danger of mistaking your like for love (at worst) and at best, you won’t be able to consider the situation objectively. 


3. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
We are physical beings; part of the physical world; therefore, the rules of physics apply to us.  Simply stated, Karma is a bitch.   Full disclosure is not necessary much less desirable in primal (read: casual) relationships but lying by omission is just unacceptable because it is deceitful.  If all you want is a primal relationship but you keep telling the primal partner that you are just not ready for a real relationship, you are lying by omission.  You are willfully omitting the truth about what you seek: sex.  And covering that truth up with a statement that may or may not be true.  That makes you a liar.  So just know that your action—lying—will be rewarded with an equal and opposite reaction.  You will probably find yourself lied to later—when you have something at stake or else with a full set of slashed tires and some very ugly text, email, and/or voicemail messages—at your Mama’s house.   On the other hand, if you choose to be honest about it, your equal and opposite reaction may just be a response from the opposite party: All I want is sex, too.   At least provide the choice; don’t be so arrogant as to make it for your partner or so stupid as to have that decision made for you by your partner. 

4. You can have whomever you want.
When you review what you want in a mate—sexy eyes, ambition, romance, spirituality you can get that.  You just gotta know what price you’re willing to pay.  Much like shopping for boots.   You go to the store:  You say, “Ew, I sure like these boots; they’re the right color, right size, look good on me.” 
Then you look at the price: 
“Well I have $50 to pay for them but they’re $80.  Should I wait until they go on sale (though by then they may not have my size)?  Should I shop around and see if another store offers the same style for a better deal?   Should I put ‘em on layaway, or make the sacrifice—pay a higher price to get everything else—style, fit, et al that I want?”  When you date, do the same thing.  Decide what you want and the price you wanna pay.  Don’t be an impulse shopper, accepting poor quality for a good deal or buying stuff that just ain’t worth that big of a price.For example, one of the qualities I wanted in my boots, err, partner, was ambition.  Well, Ambition is selfish and when I let her have her time, it takes away from mine. That’s the price I’ve paid to get who/what I wanted.  For some that is costly; for others it is cheap.  For me, I got what I wanted for what I thought was a reasonable fee. 

5. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
There are so many euphemisms for “sex partner” these days.  My favorite is that “friends with benefits” one.  Adults, that is, mature and consenting people, should be able to use mature language, not silly code words that say just as much as they imply.  “Friend” and “sex partner” are technically mutually exclusive, largely thanks to the Law of Separation (see above).  Since we have emotional investments in our friends (otherwise they are “acquaintances” or “people we know”) then having sex with them is breaking said rule.   


If you just wanna be sex partners, be a grown up and SAY SO.  Because if you are devious, dishonest, or otherwise childish about the affair, you needn’t be participating in adult sex any-damn-way.  And if you insist on participating under such guises, there are equal and opposite reactions to your pathetic actions (see #3).  


6. Two entities cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
The Law of Separation revisited.  Sure, we are complex beings though we have that regrettable penchant for seeing each other in very singular and therefore constricting ways.  So believe me when I tell you this, very few of us are able to HANDLE such complexities in ourselves much less in others.   Unless you have found yourself capable of following the Law of Separation, STOP trying to be a Homey-Lover-Friend.  Pick one and be that to the best of your ability.  Hell, the term wasn’t even believable enough to be released from R. Kelly’s 12 Play album as a single; a forgettable track about a forgettable term. If you seek a sex partner, get one.  If you seek a friend, get one.  If you seek a homey get one.  Do not try to combine them for convenience. 



A side note for how to apply this rule to relationships and not just to sex: if you want to be married and ol’ girl is just trying to kick it then you are wasting your time. A decent wife cannot and will not fit into a slot that you’ve filled with a person who has no intentions of being one (or at least not being one for you).  Mind you, you can put ol’ girl in a special temp folder to be deleted from your hard drive when the need arises but at the expense of the physical law of actions and reactions (see #3).  You see, like putting crap gas in your car; you’ll find that it begins to run like crap and you have to replace it sooner than later anyway.   And yet another way to consider it: temp folders get full and slow your whole computer down.  Just be patient and create a permanent folder to be filled when the right file, err, partner, comes along.


7. Rules are made to be broken.
On the books, oral sex is illegal in many states.  As is driving over the speed of 55 mph on many of the country’s busiest highways.  My point: break the rules if you must.  Not just as a matter of course, but rather as an effort to get what you want or need (and to give it back in all fairness). I once received a card that reminded me that it’s not the destination that’s important, but what you see, eat, taste, touch along the journey.  We cannot discount every experience at first blush.  So many times they are what give us something to laugh about, blush about, and most importantly, learn from.  I am not advocating free love here, but I am suggesting open-mindedness. 
Particularly for all of you relationship seekers, think of it this way: nobody would make the “cut” if they had to go through the check off lists we make for folk.  Not even us—and we’re the ones who wrote the lists in the first place!  Decide what you don’t want, can’t take, will just not have under any circumstances because it would kill you inside (and out).  Everything else should be a crap shoot.  Break your rules!  Nice eyes but bad teeth?  Are they so bad that you vomit at the mere sight or are you so focused on the eyes you forget about them?  Give her a whirl; you might be surprised.  He’s Christian; you’re not.  Does he go to church 3 times a week, wear a collar, and rub prayer oil on your forehead before you enter his place?  Maybe you should reconsider.Or maybe you could learn fo’ sho’ fo’ sho’ what you absolutely cannot have in your life. 

8. If it feels right, trust it.
Thanks to the scare ‘em up bent of our media, we have been socialized to believe that we are in constant danger.  We can’t travel because the terrorists are gonna blow up our plane.  We can’t eat at fast food joints because the employees handle our food improperly.  Our children cannot play in the yard due to the threat of pedophile kidnappers.  And we can’t microwave our dinner in a plastic container because it will probably cause us to
develop cancer in 10 years.  We must be sure to ask everyone we date about their stalker exes, credit scores, and the results of their most recent pap smear and AIDS test.  Because all the men are on the dl. And all the women are having unprotected sex with them.     

We have to unlearn this socialization that stifles us in every way and most especially in how we develop relationships—not just intimate or sexual ones, even though that’s all I’m talking about.  This is not a mandate for acting a fool; however, it is important that YOU make your decisions—that they’re not made by what’s in your drawers, nor by all of the censors the media and your homies’ horror stories provided for your benefit; not even those well meaning diatribes from your pastor or priest. 

Now, this might be a little deep for some of you, but read slowly and with an open mind.  Intuition, our feelings (not be confused with emotion or the physical sense of touch) is directly connected to the Universe, God, the spirit, Jah, Allah, Yahweh, Ohm, whatever you call it.  When you start basing your decisions on anything other than it, you’re going against the natural order.  Going against natural order is where problems arise.    

If it feels right to do it on the first night, do it.  Not as in the physical sense of touch where you base that decision on the physical pleasure you will derive from the experience. And not as in emotion or reason where you base your decision on how s/he will perceive you in the morning.  Make the decision based on what truly feels right.For those not in touch with your spirit, DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE.  Stick with the Law of Separation until you are in a position to get what I mean by feeling. 

9. Be aware of the Law of Full Disclosure.
Anything you say can and, in fact, will be used against you.  So save something for yourself.  Recounting random acts of kindness you’ve shared or received from random folks in your long ago (or not so long ago) past is poor bedside manner.   Kissing and telling is immature and certainly doing more than kissing and then telling it in graphic detail is tacky, inconsiderate, and can make for an awkward or even discouraging situation for a partner who feels that s/he does not measure up (no pun intended).  Save your memories in scrapbooks and memory boxes—that have keys.  Many a myth have been shattered by the loose lips of the very ones who started and perpetuated them.  

10.  You can be talked out of your socks when you never planned to take off your shoes.
Most of us fancy ourselves excellent purveyors of game.  Well sometimes it don’t take game to find ourselves at the bleachers—or under them!  Have some plays lined up for yourself just in case you end up going a few innings.  I am not just talking about keeping a cache of condoms, either.   Answering the door in your tank top and capris in the dead of a Wisconsin winter does not say, “I think you should take me out for coffee and dessert.”  It says, “I’m staying in for the night; would you like to join me?”  You will likely find yourself relieved of both garments before the night is over.  Not because a brother came with game but because you provided the bat, mitt, and ball.If you would like time to consider your feelings—those other than the physical ones (see #8), create an environment in which to do that.  Which is not to say that sometimes you will not be relieved of your socks, shoes, and even that cute little toe ring but rather that the decision will be yours, not your crotch’s.


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