I’ve been blessed when it comes to relationships – whether because they simply existed or because they finally ended. Every experience teaches you something.

I’ve far from mastered this thing called love. I can only tell you what I’ve learned so far.


Love… Is reciprocal. Do your best to take care of me, I will do the same for you. That means everything from respect to affection to security. Love should be based on trust, and I have to feel secure in your love for me to give you everything and more. It’s a Capricorn thing, what can I say.

Love… Is not a power struggle, and not about roles. Who’s right, who’s wrong, who runs things, who has the upper hand. Femmes vs. Studs. None of those things mean a damn thing. Being hard or playing games to prove your studhood, or trying to use the femme upper hand in a relationship is not where it’s at. When I’m weak, I need you to be my strength, and vice versa. I’m not afraid to show you that, and you shouldn’t be either.

Love… Shouldn’t be harsh. Truth means tact. Remember that. Calling your woman out her name – don’t even.

Love… Isn’t love if my heart isn’t in it. One song, R. Kelly’s “When a Woman’s Fed Up,” rings so true when it comes to a female’s heart. A woman will endure a lot when she’s in love, but there’s always a breaking point. When she hits this level, there’s nothing short of a miracle that can make her –  femme or stud – get that love back. Once the bloom is off the rose, what more can be said? That’s why you should never take her for granted.

Love… Should mean my lover is my best friend. You laugh, you share, you make love – but on a deeper level, it should be built on a foundation of genuinely liking the person you’re with. How can you share intimacy with a woman that you wouldn’t be friends with outside of the relationship? If you wouldn’t, that’s a problem.

Love… Should last longer than the honeymoon. Here’s where love gets tricky. In the beginning, two people always put their best faces forward. Flaws may surface, but we’re blinded by the admissions of love, the spontaneous gestures, and the orgasmic sex that allow us fall deeper. This passion should continue after those sweet nothings become fewer, after you see her in the same undies over and over or she knows you drool on the pillow, after bills and work play a bigger role in your day to day lives. Which leads to my next point…

Love… Is craving her. If you’ve watched Kissing Jessica Stein, one of my favorite movies, there’s a pivotal scene where Jessica and Helen are breaking up while Helen packs her stuff.

Helen: I wanna be with someone who wants me.

Jessica, crying: I want you.

Helen: I wanna be with someone who craves me.

Jessica: Well, I crave you.

Helen: I want to be with someone who wants to rip my clothes off.

I must admit, there are going to be times when the clothes-ripping isn’t necessary, but I want someone who sees the sexiness in me, along with all my other good (and bad) qualities, of course. In other words, it’s the zsa zsa zsu, what Carrie Bradshaw refers to as “that butterflies in your stomach thing that happens when you not only love the person but you gotta have them.” Theoretically, when you’re with the person you feel is truly meant for you, that feeling should be there, even if it fades over time. Lust built on love is the best feeling.

Love… Is between two people. What goes on between two women is nobody’s business. Though Twitter or Facebook statuses permit you to see what is said between a “happy” or “dramatic” couple, it only paints a diminutive picture of their relationship. What someone says about their significant other is just as important as what she doesn’t say.

Love… Means making you and me happy. While I believe in sacrifice and unconditional love, one can’t compromise her own happiness to make her significant other happy. No one wins in that situation. The things I do for you are because I love you, but also give me some fulfillment. It doesn’t mean that I have to totally change myself to be with you.

Love… Is responsibility. Taking care of another person’s heart is a huge task. Ensuring that you have a future together is also a ginormous job. Be sure the one you’re with is worth this undertaking.

Love… Should always involve humor. What is love without laughs? Boring as hell.


Bad Boys, Bad Boys

There used to be a time I wanted a thug. Yes, that Timbaland wearin’, jersey-sportin’, jean-saggin’, swagger-havin’ stud that would just scoop me up and give it to me rough and sweet. (I drew the line at gold teeth. Yuck!) The perfect example: Felicia “Snoop” Pearson from The Wire. I used to have a small crush her – until I heard her talk. It was all over.

I’ve dated a couple of these women, ones who grew up rough around the edges but could hold a sistah down.

One such stud, “Redd,” was my first thug-stud. Really, she was my first everything: first lover, first real adult relationship. I shouldn’t say Redd was a bad boy, just that her growing up was far from a white-picket fence existence, and it hardened her attitude to the world. Redd was always in survival-mode from being ejected from her home as a teen for being gay, so she had that street-smart swagger that made her seem dangerous almost. When one of my friends first told me about her (as a set-up), I asked what Redd looked like.

Her words I would never forget: “Well, she looks like the kind of woman no one would mess with.”

And she did. With her muscled arms and stocky body, Redd gave off that “don’t fuck with me” vibe. That was until you got to know her, because then she would do anything for you. Especially me. With me, she could let her guard down and open up about the things she had been through. Redd was my my protector, I felt safe. Where I was more book smart, Redd was head smart, and it made for a great combination – at least until it ended. (That’s another story for another day).

The second and last bad boy was a stud I’d label “Nate Dogg.” Nate was a woman I met online, when I was going through a dating dry spell. Exchanging short emails, we got a good vibe going on the phone, talking about life and our past relationships. Although we hit it off, we were opposites in our backgrounds. Nate was a smoker, with hardly much education, and later I discovered, a convicted felon. A dark-skinned homegirl with blonde (yes, blonde) close-cropped hair, she wasn’t what I thought once we met, appearance-wise. But nonetheless we hung out frequently, not doing too much other than chillin’ at her apartment. She worked from paycheck to paycheck and her resources were tight since she had recently relocated to my town.

While there were a few spaghetti dinners here, and a few nightcaps there, we never really defined what we were doing. We weren’t exclusive, as I could tell by the inconspicuous phone calls she got. And, truth be told, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted a relationship with her. The felon thing freaked me out at first (although once she explained, it didn’t seemso bad; a white-collar crime). But the way she looked in her wifebeater and low-riding jeans with just a peek at what was underneath her boxers had me all flustered.

It was no-strings fun. Then after a while, it kind of fizzled out. The calls and text messages slowed down. She had told me she was planning to move again, and I just figured she followed through on her move. It was confirmed when she texted me one day.

“Deepdiva, this Nate. I’ moving to Georgia today. Ive transferred my job.”

We lost touch after this point. Then a month or so later, Nate called me, and explained the real reason she left. Apparently, Nate had been cultivating a relationship with another woman while seeing me. She moved in with this new chick and her houseful of kids. However, Nate’s bad boy persona had met her match when things went horribly wrong after a month – the girl pulled out a butcher knife on Nate during an argument, chasing and threatening to kill her. She was then forced to relocate again (her third city in six months), and now that that drama was out of her life, she was blowing up my phone. Nate wanted me to visit her. I declined.

By then, I had gotten those bad boys out of my system, and was looking forward to a new relationship with my soft-stud Lebron. I didn’t have time to go backward. I haven’t looked back since.