The Unexpected

Marriage is a beautiful thing. However, it can also be a challenge. Like everything else we accomplish in life, our support system is critical to the success of it. It is imperative to surround yourself with people who will “clap for you,” cheer you on, visit you and never tell you to give up on your marriage. In my previous marriage, my ex-husband and I were tested in ways unimaginable. If you’ve ever shared any ounce of your relationship woes with a family member or a friend, you may get feedback like, “You knew what you were getting into when you got with him/her.” Truth of the matter is, you probably didn’t. You knew what you expected. None of us know what we’re getting into until we’re actually in it. It’s like buying a house, the walkthrough is always nice but after moving in, you will become very familiar with it’s sounds, the neighborhood and all that comes with it. When I started this blog, I was married. My marriage came to an end fall 2019. However, my vision, expertise, or “know hows” hasn’t changed. My ex-husband and I made it beyond the walkthrough. While we didn’t make it to the finish line, I learned great lessons along the way. Let me share some of those with you…(posts are best followed from reading earliest to most recent)

Living Alone & Keeping a Social Distance

With the world taking precautions to avoid the spread of Covid-19, many of us are in a state of panic. We’re worried about contracting the virus if we step outside; worried that we can’t see our friends or loved ones as often as we are use to, or concerned about the pressures of keeping distracted, running a household, managing and educating children, keeping a stock of food, while the government figures all this out.

Here’s a twist: What if there are no children to keep you distracted? Or a spouse to cook for or entertain you while you “Tik Tok” to your favorite songs? What if your friends and family are located in another state or town? What if, it is just you? You’ve defined yourself by your career, a career that now encourages you to work from home. You find solace in the social life and the “turn-up” with strangers because you are just that confident in your “single” strut. What has keeping a “social distance” done to you?

While the latter may sound lonely, dreadful or even sad, it is not; neither does it have to be. There is something special about someone who is comfortable in their skin. More importantly, there is something brave about one who can stand by themselves, and create a safe space with their aura.

Here are 5 ways to embrace living alone while keeping a social distance…

1. Catch up on rest

If you’re a “mover” and a “shaker” such as myself, chances are you sacrifice good rest. Take this time to get sleep, move slow on purpose, stay in the bed and let the phone ring. Take your time to respond to crisis. The upside to all this is, no one is going anywhere, any time soon and there is absolutely nothing you can do about a problem you don’t own.

2. Binge watch good television

If your career is everything, you may not spend time a lof of time watching television. Or if you’re like me, you start a season of a show, that looks interesting, then you forget about it. Take this time to indulge in a show you’ve never seen before. There’s something about watching a good show from beginning to end, without commercials that makes it better than seeing it when it first aired. So far, I’ve enjoyed,  “All American” and “Little Fires Everywhere…”

3. Get physically fit

With fitness centers closing, limited mobility to and from, those muscles can get real stiff and the parts of you that were once flexible,  may not bend as well anymore, if you sit too long. Get up and move! There are plenty of workout routines and physical trainers online who can get that heart rate pumping. They can also help you maintain that strength and endurance without leaving your home. Take advantage!


4. Flirt online

Since you can’t go to the party, let the party come to you. Show up to any live DJ session on social media and flirt with another single. Send that extra “kissy face emoji, the eye wink, and “heart” a photo or two. Let someone of your liking, stroke your ego as well. Play a game of “Questions” or chat back and forth about all the things that make you smile. We are all in this together. Who’s to say, you can’t find friendship in chaos?

5. Learn a new skill

I don’t care how talented you are, there will always be a skill you don’t have. Take this take time while keeping a social distance to learn something new.  Make-up tutorials, crocheting, a new meal recipe, making candles, changing motor oil, are all good skills to master right now because everyone seems to be closed. 😉



This post was written to provide insight  on ways to embrace living alone while keeping a social distance.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, speaker and adjunct instructor in Behavioral Health and Sciences. To learn more, follow her on IG @author_nya_b or check out her website at http://www.nya-b.com.

Life After: Finding Joy After Divorce

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If you’ve recently ended a marriage, you’re probably thinking one of three things: 1: “Marriage will never happen again…” 2: “For now, I just want to be alone” or 3: “Where’s the mutha-f’in party?” I am a firm believer that each thought comes with the divorce process. I’ve bounced back between one and two quite often. Transitioning from married to single has its challenges. Especially if you reach too quickly for the “pain killer” or that person who eases the symptoms associated with grief. We all need support when we’ve lost someone. However, when a grieving ex-spouse moves too soon, he or she may find themselves comparing the present with the past and ultimately make premature decisions that aren’t healthy for their growth.For those of us, (I mean, those of you 😉) who believe getting under another is the best way to get “over,” think again. Let’s say the rebound sex is horrible or dissatisfying, chances are you will remember a time it wasn’t, and want to go back to that moment. That doesn’t mean that the moment in the past was healthy for you either, it just means we find comfort in what’s easy and familiar. Both are viscous cycles that stunts true growth and healing. The best way to avoid this is to have options. Get to know you, by getting to know others. Go on many dates and be comfortable not adding sex to the category. There is joy to be had on the other side of divorce.

Here are 5 ways to find joy after a divorce…

1. Live for yourself

When a person gets married, they become one with another person which means that every belief, every habit, every idea and every movement can not, and should not be made without their spouse in mind. This is completely different from the single life. If you’re the type of person who often gives more than you receive, chances are there is guilt or shame about putting yourself first. Post divorce is the time to do it. In the event that you should ever be ready to get back out there, living for yourself makes the process of choosing the “right” mate easier. Living for yourself looks like going back to school should you choose, applying for that job you’ve always wanted, or taking that trip without consulting ONE DAMN SOUL! When you get to know you, there’s less to bargain with. For example, you may be less flexible with cooking everyday, now that you’ve realized that you actually like dining out 2-3 times a week. Time alone will afford you the strength to tell the next person who you are with confidence. Similarly, it will allow you to walk away from adversity, all the same.

2. Get a therapist!

There is no greater joy than having someone to talk to in a confidential setting who will listen, give insight and not judge you. There can be so much shame that comes with divorce, no matter who filed. Deal with it. With the right fit, one may learn that deep within lies internal healing that needs to take place for him or her to move forward. So many times people walk away from marriages pointing the finger and blaming, when in fact, a divorce takes two people.Therapy helps us step outside of ourselves and see how we contribute to the demise of our relationships. While we may not be the one who cheated or the one who neglected our spouse, we may be the one who ignored the signs or for the sake of conflict, didn’t say anything about what made us uncomfortable, or the one who thought we were perfect because our demons weren’t as loud as our spouse’s. Either way, two people played a part and therapy gives insight and clears residue.

3. Date! Date! Date!

I always say that those who are unhappy being single, are just unhappy. Being single or in a relationship shouldn’t dictate one’s state of being. Whatever lifestyle one chooses, their goal should be to be the BEST at it. According to 2018 U.S Census bureau, 45% of American adults over the age of 18 are recorded as single. Of course this number doesn’t specify people who are casually dating, or in a relationship, but lets be clear, if you aren’t married, you are SINGLE. Records also indicate that since 2018, this percentage has increased. So, my suggestion to you is, if you are single, GET OUT THERE AND DATE! There are other single people in the world. You don’t have to limit yourself to just ONE person either. I believe for a lot of people, this is where being unhappy presents itself. Many people, particularly women, find one person, put all their “love expectations” on them, then stop dating. PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT! There is fun in variety. Date more than one person. Get to know people before committing. Be safe and be honest with potential prospects that they aren’t the only ones you’re seeing. Don’t allow single life to be a reason you’re unhappy. Let it be a reason you feel good about yourself.

4. Set boundaries with people

Going through a divorce can be emotionally draining. You will feel alone at times and want to talk to someone who isn’t so formal. Remember this: As you move on from your marriage, people will become very nosy. People you’ve never spoken to before; people who never prayed for your marriage before, or never supported you or your ex-spouse will find themselves asking you, “what happened? Who did what?” And my favorite, “Oh you guys looked so happy, how could this be?” No matter how important it is for you to be heard or get your side of the story out there, DON’T! Not with those kind anyway. Some people can be “messy” and more often than not, just want to be in the “know” of everything. Their new found concern, has very little to do with giving a damn. Trust me. These are the same people who all of a sudden will remember seeing your spouse out on a date with someone else during the marriage, or held on to some pertinent information that they just couldn’t share while you two were married because they didn’t want to get “involved.” Let them stay uninvolved, please. Add them to the “you look familiar manual.” You don’t have to share any information you aren’t ready to share and furthermore, you definitely don’t want to share with “fake support.”

5. Develop multiple streams of revenue

No better time to “Boss Up” than post divorce. If your marriage ended like mine with you having to cover major debts, developing multiple streams of income is a for sure way to find joy after a divorce. Not only does this keep your mind and body occupied, it keeps you financially secure and gets you out of debt faster. Not everyone is designed to be “entrepreneurs” and that’s fine. However, I do think we are all designed to take control of our finances and are born with talents that make it easier to do so. If you are great at baking, have a small bakery or catering service, outside of your 9-5. If you are talented at drawing, showcase your art somewhere on the weekends. The world is full of ideas and platforms. Tap into them.

This post was written to decrease symptoms of depression by teaching others how to find joy while dealing with the loss of a marriage.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, speaker and adjunct instructor in Behavioral Health and Sciences. To learn more, check out her website, nya-b.com. Follow her blog here, and follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b. On Facebook, find her under Nya B or @94thRacine

10 Things You Can Do to Deal With Grief and Loss This Holiday Season

Losing the people we love or those who were once close to us is one of the most unfortunate circumstances life throws our way. A big misconception about the process of grief is that it is limited to death. While, death is a permanent loss, therefore capable of being more traumatic to the spirit, there are those who grieve people who are actually still alive. This article is for all of us. I’ve been in the field of mental health long enough to know that the holidays are one of the most difficult times for those dealing with the loss of a loved one. Whether it’s death; divorce; a prison sentence; the ending of a friendship or romantic relationship; a family bond that you wanted but never recieved, the process of grief is still a process.

Here are 10 Ways to Deal with Grief and Loss this Holiday Season…

1. Develop and utilize a strong support system

When someone initially passes, the calls, the texts and reaching out will seem endless. Far too often, this slows down after the funeral. Loved ones are left to grieve on their own while the rest of the world has moved on. Find a support system that does not end. Join a support group, make plans with friends weekly, call and let others know when you don’t want to be alone. This will help soothe the pain of the loss.

2. Study a quote or spiritual readings daily that gives reassurance for the future.

The Bible has several scriptures to help loved ones cope with grief and loss. Similarly, there are inspirational books and quotes that give insight to new beginnings. Use them daily.

3. Write a letter to the deceased love one.

Though it may seem weird at first, writing to our deceased loved one can be very powerful. Sometimes, we don’t get the proper goodbye and other times we have guilt for the things we did not do, or say when our loved ones were alive. Writing a letter to the deceased, gives us that closure. It’s healthy to express to them the impact they had on your life and how you have managed since they’ve been gone. Place the letter in a place that is spiritual to you and has a connection to them.

4. Adopt a new hobby, or implement a new tradition or venture.

When someone passes, going forward can seem like you’re living a new life. Your patterns will change and you will find yourself thinking about the things the two of you used to do together. Challenge these times and find a new venture or hobby. Learn to crochet, ride a motorcycle, or write that book you’ve been procrastinating on.

5. Create a play list of inspirational music.

Music can be the reason we laugh or the reason we cry, either way, it has an impact. Let music be your guide to healing. Listen to music that gives you hope, makes you dance and takes you to a level of acceptance with this major change.

6. Create a workout plan and a meal plan.

Living healthy is very crucial to feeling healthy. Some foods can be heavy, increasing symptoms of depression (bread, junk food, pasta, and other foods high in carbs), while other foods provoke fast metabolism and better moods (salmon, berries, almonds, greens, and other foods high in antioxidants). Working out increases endorphins and can be a great way to distract from the symptoms, loss and grief comes with. Go for that walk, take that swim, ride that bike or hit that punching bag. If you don’t want to leave the house just yet, YouTube offers a multitude of workout plans. Check it out.

7. Volunteer for a charitable organization

Sometimes when people are depressed, they tend to believe they don’t have a purpose. If you provided a lot of support for the deceased loved one, you probably will “lose” it trying to figure out what to do with your free time. Volunteer work or contributing to a charitable organization can fulfill the need to have a purpose. Check out your local churches, YMCA or community centers for more answers.

8. Develop a collage or a slide show of all the good memories you shared with that loved one.

Sometimes, people believe the healthiest way to grieve is to avoid all things reminding them of the one they lost. This is not true. In fact, avoidance can be the most unhealthy way to grieve. The reality is, your loved one existed, and they left an imprint, so embrace it. Flood yourself with their pictures, videos, and symbolic gifts, so one day, you will be able to walk past their picture and smile because you remembered that there was a bond unique to the two of you.

9. Improve or get creative with your style or look.

There is truth to the fact that if you look good, you feel good. Spice up your wardrobe, dare yourself to wear that color you swore you’d never wear, change your hair color, or just chop it all off. Your deceased loved one would be shocked, yet proud.

10. Indulge yourself in arts and crafts.

Journaling, coloring, painting and completing 1000 piece puzzles can lighten the soul of someone struggling with, grief, loss, depression and/or anxiety. Imagine your feelings had a face, what would it look like? Draw it, color it, deal with it. Allow your brain to expand and go places it didn’t know it could go. After all, it is the ONE thing that controls how you feel.

This article was written to offer healthy tips on grieving the loss of a loved one during the holidays. If someone you know is grieving, do not leave them alone or unattended this holiday season.

Nya B is a mental health clinician, author, speaker and adjunct professor in behavioral arts and sciences. To learn more about her, follow her on IG @author_nya_b and check out her website, nya-b.com

Embracing The Change: Dealing with Loneliness After Divorce

Who knew that when I started this blog about sustaining marriage, I’d be writing about how to heal through a divorce? I suppose divorce is also one of those unexpected outcomes of marriage, so it fits. However, that doesn’t change the shock of it all, and the idea that divorce wasn’t suppose to be MY TRUTH.

I don’t care who you are, NO ONE gets married to get divorced. Couples do not enter into a marriage with all the tools necessary to build a strong union. In fact, many of them don’t know that they need a hammer until, they need a hammer. For that reason, it’s unfair to suggest that couples, “see things coming.” I most certainly did not.

No matter how challenging my marriage became, I did not foresee me readjusting or being in our marital home alone. I always knew…no, I thought, or maybe I hoped that he wanted the marriage as bad as I did. Maybe he did want the marriage, but for different reasons than I did. Nevertheless, here I am, embracing the change and living this new life.

The most challenging part about embracing this new sense of ‘self’ is getting through the loneliness. To spend almost 6 years or any amount of time, with someone traveling, dining, planning, living, talking, working, praying, arguing or whatever we did, can be almost traumatizing to one day wake up and not experience it anymore.

Some would argue that actually being “alone” and feeling “lonely” are two different things. I would argue the same. I know that I’m not alone. I have friends, some family, and even some strangers who wouldn’t allow me to walk this journey by myself.

However, when they are busy or not at “arms reach” or better yet, when they aren’t the partner I thought God assigned to me, it creates a sense of ‘loneliness’ or feeling like I am walking this path by myself. Loneliness occurs when what a person wants does not align with what they ‘get.’ I could have a million people call me in a day, but if the call is not from the one person I want it to be from, it’s like the phone never rang…THAT IS LONELINESS.

Loneliness is irrational, it is self-sabotaging and it is quite typical to experience during ANY grieving process. It is important not to let the feeling of loneliness prevent you from prospering and most importantly, put you in a position to choose the same type of partner again.

Here are 5 ways to embrace loneliness after a divorce…

1. Accept It

Like any emotion, when we allow our body and spirit to ‘sit’ with it long enough, it passes. This is the theory behind, “time heals all wounds.” I still debate about that “all” part, but it is true, that when one does the internal ‘work’ as they heal, the unpleasant emotions and desires to act on them will go away. It doesn’t happen over night, but with each moment of meditating, praying, ignoring and replacing, the loneliness begins to fade.

Throughout this process, there were countless nights when I wanted to give “IN” (and some nights I did) to loneliness. I wanted to call him, see him one last time for old times sake, let him stay the night because I didn’t want to feel like anything changed, and for a minute, I convinced myself that even AFTER the divorce, he and I could date again. See how loneliness will have a person right back where they started?

Being back where I started was NOT an option. Therefore, I had to start accepting those “missing him” moments as typical, temporary states and not traits.

To avoid giving “IN,” to loneliness, change the logic or thought process associated with why you need that person to be there. Instead of telling yourself that “you’re going to be alone,” tell yourself that “you’re preparing yourself for better, and that you’re not alone.” Tell yourself that “YOU being with YOU makes you stronger” because it does. Also, tell yourself that “not all change is bad.”

It is highly likely the marriage ended for reasons more intense than loneliness, which means “those lonely moments” are much easier to get through than you think they are.

2. Get closer to your higher power

If you are spiritually inclined, then it should not be hard to fathom the idea that “things” happen for a reason and that no experience comes without a lesson. Sometimes, we put so much of who we are into “people” that we forget what our purpose in life is. Yes, serving others is a great gesture and it can be rewarding. Because of this, it is easy and quite addictive to get caught up in the accolades of pleasing others, so much so, that we lose ourselves.

Serving “people” allows us to become blind to the fact that people are flawed, therefore capable of hurting us, increasing the deceptive thought that all we need is “someone to do right by us…”

“Naw,” we need to do right by ourselves first, and the only way to do that is to get closer to God. God has a way of getting us by ourselves to prepare us for our next journey. This sometimes looks like parting ways with people we thought would be in our lives forever. Key-phrase: “WE THOUGHT…” God never told us this person would be with us forever, but when we live according to the plans of “people,” those plans almost never work out.

You ever seen the memes on social media that says, “Be her peace or be his peace?” It’s all deception. The only peace you can have is internal peace and that is provided by God. People CAN NOT be another person’s peace (read that again). People can be quiet while you’re with them, but they can’t bring you peace.

A very good friend of mine (M.E 😘) reminded me of this during one of my vent sessions. I was speaking on how I become so ‘chill’ around certain people. She immediately said, “Nya, that’s your problem, find chill in yourself and do it through getting closer to God. That way, no matter what you’re going through or who you’re with, you will have peace…” She was absolutely correct.

Shortly after, I embraced distance from people and I began to pray. I started doing daily devotionals, journaling more, and having ‘talks’ with God, every time I felt lonely. It is still a process and sometimes irrational thoughts arise, but that is when I pray harder, re-read the devotionals and carry out acts of faith. Believing in something you can’t see is everything.

3. Create new memories

A lot of times people experience loneliness because they are longing for what ‘use’ to be. Now is the time to do things differently and be OK with new results.

There is a lot of fear surrounding the act of change and for this reason, most people don’t do it. There can not be any growth without discomfort. There is no better time than post-divorce to find out who YOU really are.

Create new memories by breaking or modifying old traditions. For example, instead of thinking about Thanksgiving with your ex-spouse, have Thanksgiving with just friends and/or your family. The holidays can be difficult for a lot of people who have lost loved ones, so use this time to adjust. Staying in the past, increases the likeliness of depression and prevents us from moving forward.

Live your life!! Make plans to get out of the house more; find local concerts, comedy shows and events and just go; travel to different cities; flirt with someone; go dancing and don’t forget to scream and shout when the DJ asks, “Where are all my single people?”

Don’t be afraid to do things alone. There are more date-nights to be had, especially if you can master dating yourself. Confidence never gets old and it will always, attract others.

4. Find a support group

People grieve every day, which means there are support groups that help cope with loneliness. Group therapy is very powerful. Its main purpose is to challenge the irrational thoughts associated with being “lonely.” Imagine sitting in a room with 15-20 people who share the same experience, no judgment, only solutions and healing. The positive feedback empowers you and validates the path to being independent again.

The process of group therapy is very similar to individual therapy except, the group is considered one entity. It doesn’t focus on one person. It focuses on the group and how members can collectively resolve a significant concern together.

To find group therapy sites or agencies that provide group therapy, check with your local hospitals, churches, mental health and community centers.

5. Create an inspirational playlist

Just like the food we eat, what we listen to is very influential on the soul. When we feel lonely, it is so easy to turn up that “same sad song…” We want validation that our pain is real and what better way to get it, than to hear someone we don’t know sing about the same thing? Lets not do that. Time out for the “yeah, that’s right…” Create a playlist that inspires and instills hope for the future. The goal is to move forward, not backwards and anything that stunts the growth of the healing process should be avoided.

Some songs I’d recommend are “I’m You” by Leona Lewis, “First Love” by Kirk Franklin, “Even Angels” by Fantasia and “Firework” by Katy Perry, just to name a few.

Podcasts are just as influential. I like Joel Osteen’s and Andrea P. Jackson’s, “Our Mirror’s Reflection.”

The important part is that in times of loneliness, we find what elevates and not deflates. It is never about what happens to us, as it is about how we heal. Poor coping skills and repetitive negative thoughts can have a major impact on how we progress. It’s like breaking a leg and still trying to walk around on it. Be kind to yourself. Sit down, let the broken heart heal and don’t rush its mend. I promise, you will be stronger than you were before the marriage even began.

Best wishes to all who are on a healing journey…

Love,

Nya

This post was written to decrease feelings of loneliness amongst those who are grieving or experiencing a loss.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, speaker and adjunct professor in Behavioral Arts and Sciences. To learn more, check out her website, http://www.nya-b.com. Follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b and on Facebook under Nya B.

He’s Not On Your Level, Sis: The Downfall of the Successful Black Woman

According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (2019), there are 2, 670,000 Black women who hold a 4-year degree or higher, compared to only 1, 909,000 Black men in the U.S who hold the same degree. This is not to say that Black women are “taking over” and running households more efficiently than Black men. However, it does suggests that when it’s time to share the load, the “pickings” for successful Black women of other successful Black men, may be slim.

By default, a woman can easily be nurturing, caring, loving without hesitation and passive in her efforts to put her needs first. Black women in particular have an aura about themselves that not only exudes the default qualities, but emanates a symbol of strength. Black women can make things happen, with very little tools. They can be fierce and unmovable when it comes to their life planning and most importantly, they have the ability to take a man who has absolutely nothing, and build him to BE and HAVE everything.

While some may see a Black woman’s ability to make a man great a strength, it can very well be a weakness. In fact, it can be the shortest pathway to her downfall.

A woman who helps her man is admirable and sometimes, helping a man short term, is neccessary. However, taking care of a man long term is not only unhealthy, but should be avoided at all costs.

There are many levels to taking care of someone. I’m not speaking of the day-to-day operations such as cooking and cleaning or household obligations while the “better half” pays the bills. That’s called teamwork.

I’m speaking to the women who DO IT ALL; the cooking, the cleaning, the organizing, the planning, the providing, the compromising, the structuring and the sacrificing while HE gets his shit together. He’s not for you, sis.

No matter how compassionate a woman is or how much she is use to taking care of everything, there will never be a reason to build a broken man.

Here are 5 Ways to Avoid Building a Broken Man…

1. Look at where you got him from

Ladies, the key to having a man on your level is paying attention to how he came packaged. Where did you find him? And what was he doing with his life during that time? Did he have his own living space or did he live with someone? Was he in between jobs or fully employed? Was he in a relationship or was he single? Did he have reliable transportation or was he using his mom’s bus pass? All those factors play a significant part in the foundation of your future with him. If you are a woman who has it altogether, you need a mate who has it altogether as well. Compromising who you are in the courting phases is a strong indicator that you will be compromising for the rest of that relationship. If you have to pick him up and drop him off at work, reconsider. If he’s complaining that the couch he sleeps on hurts his back, reconsider. A man has to be able to bring something to the table, especially if you bought it.

2. Pay attention to how he thinks

Cognitive Behavioral theorists are huge on thoughts influencing a person’s emotions and by way, their actions. I actually swear by it. When getting to know someone, especially a man, it is very imperative to understand his thought processes. Is the glass half-empty or half-full? What does he think of being “equally yoked” or being a team player? Does he believe in marriage or casual sex for the rest of his life? Is his mindset “poor?” Is he angry with women? Does he have “mommy issues?”

Get to know how he views the world because it will be a factor in how he navigates through the relationship. For example, if a man has “mommy issues,” one of two scenarios are likely to occur:

1. He is likely to be a womanizer, having strong mistrust or disregard for women or…

2. He could still be on the “tit,” hanging on to his mother’s every word and defending her every action because he still needs validation from her.

Nothing is more frustrating than being with a man who only has room in his heart for his mother. It’s like sweeping sand.

3. Is there “baby-momma-drama?”

A man who has “baby-momma-drama” is a man who most likely can’t control his kingdom. I’m not suggesting that all men who have issues with the mother of their child or children, are incapable of managing their kingdom, because some women can be “doozies.” What I am suggesting is, if drama constantly arises, he either hasn’t closed the book on that chapter or he is not respected and doesn’t demand respect either. A man who doesn’t respect himself, or protect his peace, WILL NOT respect or protect his woman’s peace. In many cases, the woman may find herself fighting battles that aren’t hers because of the boundaries, the man refused to set. A man’s primary duty is to protect his household, and if he can not manage conflict, he can NOT and will NOT protect.

4. Explore the way he manages money

More often than not, people in general want more than they can afford. This in and of itself, is not a problem. The problem lies in the refusal to take care of needs because of those wants. Traditionally, marriage and courtship was all about money and the man needed to be a good provider or the woman’s family did not approve. Contemporary relationships have created a shift in those roles and women are picking up more of the “slack.”

Like I mentioned previously, general help from a woman is not a problem, especially if the man is trying. However, if he needs $40 every week to fill up his gas tank because he spent his money on “weed,” you may want to reconsider. Ask yourself, “Is this man a liability or an asset?” In other words, are you losing by being with him or are you gaining?

The climate of a prosperous relationship comes from the idea that two people work together to have an abundance of resources. If you’re a woman who’s creating, while the man is taking, you’re not in a relationship. It’s called co-dependency. He needs to be taken care of, and you need to feel needed.

5. Measure his maturity level

According to the Telegraph, UK (2013), men fully mature at the age of 43, placing them 11 years behind the maturation age of 32, for women. While some level of immaturity is inevitable, (lack of effective communication, improper handling of emotions, and defensive responding), there are other signs of immaturity that should be avoided such as changing behaviors in front of his friends, disrespecting women or talking down to his woman, blaming his woman for his actions, or competing with her accomplishments.

Loving someone who isn’t ready can be the most damaging thing to a person’s spirit, especially, the spirit of a person who likes to help and save others. Be mindful that everyone doesn’t perceive “help” the same and everyone isn’t looking to “grow.” Some people are perfectly happy where they are, therefore incapable of progressing to the next level or shall I say, your level.

Dear Black Woman,

You can not save a broken man. He will pull you down, before you pull him up.

Similarly, in more cases than not, it’s the “helper” who wants to see the change, more than the one being helped. Explore which side you’re on and make sure YOU as a “helper,” find love with another “helper.”

This post was written to improve the courtship process amongst successful women. It details the signs and symptoms to avoid becoming enablers to potential suitors, decreasing divorce rates and improving household dynamics.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, speaker and adjunct professor in Behavioral Health and Sciences. To learn more about her, check out her website, http://www.nya-b.com, follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b and FB, at Nya B.

Leaving It In My Rearview: When It’s Time to Divorce

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am one of the most dedicated and committed women when it comes to anything I say, “Yes” to. I will give any task my “all” and work just as hard to make sure all parties involved are sure of my efforts and abilities, whether they acknowledge it or not. On the flip side of that, anyone who knows me, also knows that when I decide that I no longer want to commit or just never intended to engage from the beginning, there is nothing ambiguous about how I “move.” They will know that my interest is not there and feel the absence of my existence. It could be a “Nya” thing or an “Aries” thing, either way, it is embedded in me.

Marriage is valuable to me. My current marriage WAS valuable to me and I’m sad to say, it will all be over soon. The idea of committing to someone, or being there for someone when the feelings, and terms and conditions aren’t always pleasant, TO ME, is what life is all about. I don’t believe people are put on this earth to be alone. My heart aches for those whose circumstances, condition them to believe that they are meant to be by themselves.

I hear people say that marriage isn’t for everyone and it probably isn’t. It’s not for the ‘weak,’ it takes a substantial level of maturity, and hard work. While my profession allows me to help people navigate through life’s challenges, I can’t tell them who to love and in what capacity. I do know that whenever a couple comes to me for treatment, my intent is and will always be, to keep them together. However, there comes a time when staying together isn’t feasible. In fact, staying in any unhealthy relationship of any kind can take years from one’s life. Be kind to yourself.

Here are 5 Signs It Is Time to Divorce…

1. You are unhappy.

Being unhappy and being uncomfortable are two different things. (Please read that part again 🤔) Relationships should make you uncomfortable because they promote growth. However, loving someone should not make you feel sad, depressed, alone, and overall unhappy. Keep in mind that happy moments do not equate to a happy state of mind. (Please read that part again 🤔)

My “soon-to-be ex-husband” and I had a lot of happy moments. We hung out all the time and as I stated in previous posts, we enjoyed each other. You’re probably asking yourself, “Well, what happened?” Whenever someone asks me that question, all I can hear is a verse from “Come and See Me” by PartyNextDoor:

Things change, people change, feelings change too…Never thought the circumstances woulda changed you…”

I found that while I was happy with myself, my sons and my career, I often felt alone in my efforts to maintain my marriage. This made me unhappy and the longer it continued to be that way, the more unhealthy the dynamic became. I don’t know about the rest of you but when I am unhappy, the entire household becomes fully aware and that is not good. When a leader of a household isn’t happy, the unhappiness becomes a disease that can be transmitted to its members, just by walking into a room. All of a sudden, the children are upset when they go to school; the meals don’t taste as good; the participation in family-time becomes less and passive-aggressive behaviors and defensiveness becomes the primary form of interaction amongst the couple.

If you are unhappy in your marriage, it is your obligation to identify the source and rectify it. Do not allow unhappiness to linger. It will literally make you sick. Continue to have the conversation, no matter how much the other party avoids it. Seek resources that are FOR the marriage for support and don’t let anyone downplay your feelings, thoughts and ideas. Being unhappy long term in any circumstance is not healthy. Life is too short for that.

2. You find yourself physically ill often.

When the mind decides to do what it wants, the human body has a way of intervening and telling it that “it’s being hard-headed…” This reminds me of something my mother use to say to me when I disobeyed her as a child: “A hard head makes a soft behind…” Ironically, this is still true in adulthood, except “natural consequences” become the tools that holds us accountable. I know this sounds bizarre but in the past two years, I’ve had multiple colds, the flu, sinus infections, ear infections, and migraines. Some may argue, “Well Nya, it could be allergies; it could be the change in the weather; it could be that you’re around new people every day...”

In return, I’d argue, “While there may be some truth to that, there was a time in my life that my immune system and spirit was strong enough to fight off the germs and at a later time, my immune system became ineffective because I was STRESSED…”

I don’t care what anyone says, stress can and will, kill you. Stress weakens the immune system making it difficult to fight off germs and bacteria that we come in contact with every day. Alleviate your stress levels by minimizing all things that alters your heart rate. If you are stressed in your marriage, get a healthy outlet. Don’t be afraid to ask for space from the things that trigger you. It is OK to take a break from the arguments, the misunderstandings, the hypervigilance and the shame of things not working out in your favor. Never stop seeking solutions. Be kind to yourself.

3. You become mentally unhealthy.

In my almost 2 decades of counseling, I’ve learned that a lot of people resist marriage and commitment because they fear their hearts won’t be taken care of. Most people play “games” to protect themselves and I understand it. Marrying the wrong person can turn a person insane. If you find yourself unhappy, stressed and insane in your marriage, it may be time to part ways.

What many people don’t realize is that relationships are meant to promote you, not demote you. Depending on what a person may have experienced in their childhood, he or she may truly believe that drama and being in the trenches in a marriage is normal. I am here to tell them and anyone who believes that, IT IS NOT!!

Constant exposure to anything that hurts your feelings or upsets you, is emotional abuse. Just like physical abuse, emotional abuse can lead to mental health issues. If you’ve been following this blog since 2017, then it’s safe to say that you have an idea of some of my experiences. Having emotional and physical protection by my spouse is highly important to me. Unfortunately, I was missing that in my marriage or at least I didn’t see proof of it.

Staying in something that didn’t meet my emotional needs CONSISTENTLY, caused me to have high levels of anxiety. I found myself having frequent panic attacks, skipping meals because I couldn’t keep food down, and being hypervigilant about everything. I saw things as happening that probably weren’t happening but because my mind was conditioned to go without, I was convinced I was ‘without.’ I eventually began to take Ativan to get through my toughest moments, but then it dawned on me, “Before this marriage, I was fine. I had control over who I let in my life. I had mental stability. I was surrounded by people who wouldn’t dare let anyone speak ill of me, disrespect me or ostracize me…” The most important person in that group of people though, was ME. I was an expert at protecting ‘me’ and my ‘love’ for my husband, allowed me to bargain with all of that. So much so, it drove me insane. I stopped taking the ativan and started taking care of me. I put myself first and I literally had to stop giving a “fuck.”

If you find your mind slowly leaving you in your marriage, get help. Find a counselor, hang out with your friends, pray and ask your higher power for strength to hold onto yourself. You need you…

4. You’ve compromised so much of yourself that you forgot who you were.

It is very natural to compromise some things in a relationship. Healthy relationships are all about give and take. We know going into a marriage, we’re not going to get all the things we want and truthfully, we shouldn’t. We don’t learn anything beneficial about ourselves when we get everything we want in our relationships. However, what happens when a person has given EVERYTHING to their spouse and have nothing to show for it?

When you love a person, you unconsciously give them power over you. You can only hope that they use that power for good and nothing more. Unfortunately, some spouses are great at manipulation and chipping away at their loving spouse, one day at a time. The compromise doesn’t happen simultaneously. It happens gradually over time.

First, you accept the circumstances. Then you accept the behaviors. Next, you accept the excuses, then you find yourself making excuses too. Lastly, the entire situation has become one “big ball” of disrespect and there is no longer proof of your strength or existence.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I had to look up and ask myself, “How did I get here? I would have never accepted this shit years ago…” I clearly forgot who I was. I allowed things to occur in my marriage that I would have never accepted upfront. I shouldn’t have accepted it on the back-end either.

If you find yourself compromising so much of yourself that you forget who you are, find a mirror. Look in that mirror and ask yourself, “Did I just give or take a last name or did I get rid of my first name too?” There is a difference.

If there are things that you enjoyed and you don’t enjoy them anymore, that’s a problem. If you find yourself spending more time making excuses for behaviors that you know are wrong, that’s a problem. If you can’t list at least five things that you get from the marriage, that’s a problem. Find yourself, immediately.

5. You’ve tried everything you could to save it.

I strongly encourage any couple who comes to me to exhaust all resources before considering divorce. I am a firm believer that anything worth having is worth saving, but it takes two people. I am a mental health professional and it is very true that we are always assessing something. I can, without a doubt and whole heartedly admit that I assessed my marriage and exhausted every resource before filing for divorce.

I communicated; I listened and changed behaviors that were hurtful to him; we did counseling; I reached out to his religious organization; I even attempted to make amends with relationships I didn’t even dismantle; I prayed; I journaled, and we even separated for a while, but none of it proved sufficient. Truth of the matter is, you can’t make a person want, what you want, especially if their desire isn’t genuine and possibly based on survival.

If you’re a wife like me, you’re probably an enabler and a compromiser. Chances are you’ve made life very comfortable for your spouse and it’s probably because all you wanted to do was see them WIN. Unfortunately, because of where a person may be mentally, they don’t always see the value in what someone else brings to the table. Sometimes the best resolution isn’t counseling or “sticking” it out just one more year. The solution is to recognize what the marriage is costing you. Think about what you could have done differently, get your ‘shit‘ and sit it at a table that is already made for you…

This post was written to give insight on when it’s time to move on from a potentially toxic situation. This post was not intended to support divorce or advocate for it. Nya B will always be an advocate and support of marriage.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, adjunct professor and speaker. To learn more, follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b or on Facebook at Nya B. Check out her website, http://www.nya-b.com

When Your Spouse Is No Longer Who You Married

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of marriage? Is it “forever? Love? Or for “better or worse?” I think of all of those things and then some. I will also be firm in reminding you that each one of those concepts, especially “better or worse,” isn’t pretty. Sticking it out is so easy when things are for the better. ‘Better’ means that things are most likely working for the couple and not against them. It can be so beautiful and feel so good. There are no threats of health problems, no signs of infidelity, and/or nothing that suggests abuse.

I’m not certain how everyone interprets that ‘worse’ part. However, I do know, the experience is different for every couple. Some couples’ ‘worse’ may be financial problems, while ‘worse’ for other couples may be greed or selfishness of one or more parties. I always tell couples to decide what their ‘worse’ is and develop a crisis intervention plan to get out of it. An intervention plan can be a breeze when the problems are behavioral (staying out late, hanging with friends too much, etc.) or environmental (loss of employment, relocation etc.) However, a behavioral intervention plan can be a challenge when a change seems permanent, in other words, your spouse is no longer who you married.

People change and the reality of it all is, they should. Your spouse shouldn’t be comfortable being who they were on your wedding day. They should be better than the person they were on your wedding day. Unfortunately, the cookie doesn’t always crumble that way. Some people lose themselves in marriage, become depressed or become comfortable doing the same things everyday and guess what? In the true spirit of marriage, you have to push through.

Here are 5 ways to Cope When Your Spouse is No Longer Who You Married

1. Explore

Sometimes we get caught up in who our partners were when they were courting us that we don’t consider that who we met, may not even be who they really are. Maybe they engaged in sex all of the time and after a year or two of marriage, they stopped. Maybe they took the time out to groom themselves and now, they don’t even care if their socks match. Inquire about the change and exactly when it took place. This doesn’t have to be done by asking your partner what happened. Exploring can be done by observation, paying attention to what they respond to and when they do engage in something, then speaking on it. Exploring will allow you to gather facts and make correlations when the two of you finally sit down to talk. An example of this is as follows: After about 30 days of exploring his wife, a husband notices that she only wears dresses when it’s girls’ night and sweatpants when it’s the two of them. In conversation, he finally asks, “Darling, I notice two Fridays in a row, you dressed up for girls night, then on Saturday, we went out to dinner and you wore sweats. I’d like to see you in a dress too.” After speaking with her, he learned that his wife believed that wearing dresses for her husband, often led to sex, and she didn’t want to run the risk of getting pregnant. How we explore and communicate the differences in our marriage has a big impact on how we resolve them.

2. Get to know them again

Change is hard, but inevitable AND sometimes, (actually most times) change is not even about the person no longer wanting the marriage. It’s about them, no longer wanting themselves. When someone doesn’t like something about themselves and they are brave, they change it. The unfortunate part is, they don’t always feel comfortable sharing that desire to change with others because the change may not be supported. For example, if a couple started out in the marriage as, ‘smokers’ and later, one of the parties learned the benefits of being smoke free, he or she may decide to stop. I’ve seen this happen plenty of times with couples. Most of the time, the change occurs in the face of a pregnancy and the wife decided to change her habits for the sake of a healthy baby. The best way to handle something like this is to get to know your spouse as a new person. Treat them as you would meeting them for the first time without the trait or characteristic you remember. In the example of the ‘smoker,’ the husband may go outside to smoke, or make sure his “smokey” clothes aren’t where the baby sleeps or others can smell them. He may have to change his thought process and tell himself, “my wife doesn’t smoke…” It is hurtful to disrespect the change and refuse accommodations because of what ‘use’ to be. Similarly, it is also unfair to force change on your spouse because you decided to do things differently. Sure it’s amazing when a couple can embark on a journey of change together, but the best changes are those that aren’t forced.

3. Re-invent yourself

Relationships were never designed to get to know others. They were designed to get to know who we are with others. While we are exploring our spouses and their changes, it’s almost more important to explore what their change is bringing out in us. Are we triggered with bad memories by their change? Are we annoyed? Are we better people? What happens to you as the spouse when your spouse is not the person you remember, is worth looking into. No matter how bad a situation becomes, there is usually something good to see in that. A spouse who decides to shut down and no longer communicates can be a time for the other party to learn how important communication is to him or her. Similarly, the distance may allow time to self-actualize or be more congruent with self. Marriage is great but it’s even greater when two people who have the life they want, come together. A healthy marriage wouldn’t require one person to give up their dreams so the other can be happy. Similarly, it wouldn’t imply that one suffers while the other gains a sense of euphoria. When one party has chosen to take away the air that a marriage needs to breathe, it is neccessary for the neglected spouse to use that time to find an airway that allows them to breathe on their own, as long as it isn’t a threat to the marriage. Sometimes a spouse changes because there is too much pressure for them to be EVERYTHING to one person. As a result, they too shut down and restrict their emotions and physical presence. Sometimes the lesson is simply, finding your own air then sharing the breathing space with your spouse so your being ‘ok,’ doesn’t take away from their ability be present in the marriage.

4. Strengthen your spirituality

If your spouse has changed for the worse, this is that time to build your closeness with your higher power. Changes in our spouse, (especially if they aren’t the type to take responsibility) can make you feel like you’ve done something wrong or you’re the reason for the negative change. Don’t fall victim to that. While there may have been factors that contributed to negative feelings, one person can not be responsible for another person’s permanent actions. Getting closer to your higher power, whether it’s praying more, meditating more, or change of interpersonal connections will allow you to still be happy with yourself, despite the obstacles in your marriage. When you pray, pray for your spouse as well. Their change in personality is a clear indicator that they aren’t strong enough just yet to fight adversity. Take care of yourself and protect yourself. Don’t let the negative spirits of others, turn you to darkness.

5. Don’t try to fix it

If you’re a problem solver such as myself, chances are your approach to things is about fixing them. While “fixing” is a great gesture of help, every problem isn’t ours to fix. The solution to struggles our spouse may be having, is within them. Marriage triggers a lot of ideas, thoughts and feelings for most people. For example, marrying someone with traits like your parent can spark unresolved issues with one’s “internal child” (that child part of someone that just didn’t get what it needed). Since, we probably weren’t present when our spouse was younger, it’s not on us to make it better. All we can do is encourage our spouses to get help and let them know that we will be in their corner throughout the journey, so long as it doesn’t cost us our sanity.

This post was written to give insight to personality changes within the marriage. It provides coping skills and tools to help understand and deal with such changes.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, speaker and adjunct professor in behavioral arts and sciences. To learn more, follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b and check out her website at http://www.nya-b.com