Two of Hearts

I3D-book-promo want to dedicate my first novel to all of you that have been following my blog since I started writing.  Completing this novel has been one of the best experiences of my life and not because I feel good about the content, but because I’ve accomplished a goal that I set for myself.  This novel was a labor of love and not just for me but for my followers as well.  I thank you all for your support from the bottom of my heart!  “Two of Hearts” is a complicated love story that really explores how secrets and lies can be detrimental to any relationship.  The story follows KYLA CARTER, a successful entertainment attorney who is newly engaged to the man of her dreams. VINCENT PRESTON is a successful financial analyst and romantic at heart who spares no expense to show Kyla his love and dedication. Things are seemingly perfect between them until the day that SALVATORE ROCCO reappears. Salvatore reminds Kyla that she can’t escape her past, no matter how hard she tries. He was her first love and they share a long history and an unbreakable bond. Although Kyla has blocked him from her memory and moved on, he is determined to win her back. Salvatore’s re-emergence opens up a pandora’s box containing secrets and lies that could be hard to close. Kyla is faced with a difficult decision before her wedding day. Should she come clean to her fiancé about her haunting secrets and risk losing him or should she keep them all buried away for good and go on with her plans to become Mrs. Preston? Does Salvatore deserve another chance? Will her secrets and lies cost her everything? If Salvatore has anything to do with it, there will be no wedding. What Salvatore wants, Salvatore usually gets but will Kyla give it to him this time? Two of Hearts twists and turns to the very end as Kyla tries to decide which heart she must choose.

Available NOW on Amazon.com on paperback and Kindle and Barnes and Noble on paperback and NOOK.

Maintaining Your Dating Sanity in the Age of Social Media

Imagine turning on your computer and going to Facebook to update your status and read a few status updates from friends and THERE IT IS…the red “1” on top of the friend request icon.  You click on it only to discover that it is a request from an ex that you had a bad break up with over five years ago.  What do you do? For the moment you ignore it to make a decision on whether or not to accept the request and just start reading friend’s status’ and going about your normal Facebook routine.  At this point though, there are so many things going through your mind about that relationship and how it left a bad taste in your mouth.  Suddenly your eye is drawn to the inbox icon where there is another illuminated red “1”.  Now you start getting butterflies because you wonder whether it will be a message from your ex.  You click on the icon and see you your ex’s name and now you have a full on anxiety attack and begin pondering whether to click the name or not.  Of course you can’t resist because you really want to know what they want, so you take a deep breath and click on the inbox message that reads: “I hope all is well with you and your family.  I was just thinking about you and I hope you don’t hate me.”  How the hell are you supposed to respond to that?  You’ve been waiting for over 5 years to get a bunch of stuff off of your chest about the relationship if you ever had a chance to talk to them again but you’ve since moved on and don’t really want to give them the satisfaction and can’t believe how they set you up with this inbox because you would look crazy sending them hate mail back after such a cordial inquiry.  This is too much to handle right now, an innocent hello from an ex is ruining the rest of your day.

Social media has changed the dynamic on dating tremendously.  It is truly a gift and a curse because in one instance you can reconnect with people but in another you can lose some as well.  Social media can cause people to go insane when they are in relationships because people put too much stock into what is being posted on there.  There are times when people break-up over relationship status on Facebook.  You think you are in a solid relationship and then you go on Facebook and your significant other has changed their relationship status to “single” or “it’s complicated”.  Social Media makes your life accessible to the world and often there is too much disclosure, particularly around relationship discussions.  Social Media also makes finding you and uncovering your life very easy because these days, everyone has a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account.  Posting on these sites also makes it easy for people to take your comments and the comments of others out of context and get you accused of things that you aren’t really doing.  We will explore the three main reason that your sanity can get compromised when you are using Social Media.

Too Much Disclosure

How many times have you gone on Facebook or Twitter and read status updates or tweets about some extremely intimate details of someone’s relationship? I’m not talking about surface comments like, “Date night with my boo was fun”.  I’m talking about too much information like, “Last night was the best sex I’ve ever had and my man is hung like a horse.”  These types of comments open up a Pandora’s box.  If you are “friends” with hundreds or even thousands of people, you are giving that “thirsty” follower a reason to go after your man.  There are people who follow you or request you as friends just to find out what is going on in your relationship believe it or not.  Never talk about what is going on in your relationship publicly on social media because people tend to use that against you.  I’ve seen an instance where a woman’s friend was using Facebook to keep tabs on what she was doing with her recent ex-boyfriend because her friend started sleeping with him after they broke up.  The status updates allowed her friend to try to convince her to leave him alone because he was no good for her so that she could keep him for herself.

Another instance of too much disclosure is “relationship status” change.  This is becoming popular for people to play around with this feature going in and out of relationships and fake engagements.  Strangely, divorcing people over Facebook has become popular.  Changing of relationship status without forewarning your partner has become much like the scene in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married Too?”, when Janet Jackson announced that she and Malik Yoba were divorcing but he was totally clueless.  It is very inappropriate to use social media to let your partner know that you want a divorce or to end the relationship.  Communication IN PRIVATE on this subject is the key because it is totally disrespectful to do it on Facebook, Twitter or by making a break-up video on YouTube.

Lastly, when you are single and looking for a mate, be careful of the things you say on social media.  No one will take you seriously if all of your postings are about how many people you slept with, how drunk you always are or how much you hate your child’s deadbeat parent.  Social media gives people a lot of insight on your life and they can put the pieces together to see what kind of person you really are.  If the things you are talking about on social media has no substance, your dating stocks can begin to plummet if you are the type to “friend” or “follow” everybody you meet.  Be strategic about accepting friend requests from people you just met and are interested in dating.  Are you really ready for them to see those scandalous pictures of you at the strip club, with your ex or you upside down over a keg at a frat party?  Clean all of that up before you go accepting them into your social media circle unless you just don’t care how much they know about your past.  There is much to be interpreted in a photo.

Doing the Research

Social media is an excellent way to research people who you meet.  It used to be a time when running a “background check” was hard to do without paying but now you can just “Google” people and you can find out if they have any social media accounts.  It is very easy to meet someone and want to know more about them so you go on Facebook to see if they have an account.  If they do, you pray that it is not private so that you can see at least their profile.  You can find out where people work, went to school, if they met are married, in relationships or have kids and even see pictures as proof just by checking social media sites.  There is nothing wrong with checking social media for a background check.  There IS something wrong when you are using social media to stalk people.  Social media stalkers are those people who get fixated on a person and like or comment on their every status update, comment on every picture posted and stalk their twitter timeline.  These people are trying to establish a dominant presence on your social media networks to create a suspicion amongst other followers or friends that you might be dating them by making hard to interpret comments.

It’s easy to get bored and start to Google ex’s.  We’ve all done it, including myself.  You don’t really care about them or what they’re doing but social media makes it easy to find out what has become of their life.  Something inside of you secretly hopes that they fell off in the looks department or married someone ugly and when this is the case, you feel a sense of satisfaction.  Be careful though, doing this can cause old feelings to resurface when you see their picture on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and they look amazing and you find out that they are single and still living in the area.  You could be motivated to send them a little note to say hello and ring a bell that can’t be stopped.  Now you’ve opened up a line of communication with someone in your past and if you’re in a relationship it can be unhealthy to start rehashing old memories with a lost love.  If you’re single, rejection could be a possibility if you reach out to them with a friendly hello.  They may not want to be bothered and still feel wounded or they could actually be in a relationship, in which case beware of their significant other sending you a “get lost” message.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with “friending” an ex but if one or both of you are in a relationship, your significant others may have an issue with the two of you communicating.  Consider this before you do it.

Taking Things Out of Context

It is very easy to take things out of context that are posted on social media sites.  You can’t really check somebody’s temperature (so to speak) through the words on the computer.  There was an instance when a woman posted something on my husband’s Facebook wall about how she couldn’t wait to see him.  Now if I was insecure or didn’t know what was going on with him, I might have snapped and commented on her post and accused him of cheating.  I just happened to know that his Homecoming weekend was approaching and he was selling shirts and tickets to a party that was in high demand.  There are only 140 characters possible on twitter so reading an abbreviated tweet can be misleading if you are the type to always jump to cheating conclusions.  Posting on Facebook walls are often brief and unassuming but can be taken out of context when outsiders who are not in the conversation reads the posting.  Be careful not to blow these things out of proportion because often times they are innocent.  Do recognize that sometimes there is a cause for concern when postings on YOUR man’s wall are clear and obvious violations like, “Last night was the best sex I’ve ever had and you are hung like a horse.”

Social media is great for connecting with people whom you would otherwise never talk to without it.  The one-on-one personal element of communication has been taken out of society with the invention of social media.  We now have more access to the private life of people than we ever had.  We know when celebrities are hooking up and breaking up just by reading their tweets.  We can find out who is “in a relationship” or “single” by status updates.  People have to start to learn to keep their private lives private and not give the public so much insight into their lives.  Just remember to use these sites responsibly, otherwise they will drive you insane!

Love Will Lead You Back

While driving home the other day from dropping the kids off at school, I threw on my iPod to enjoy a much-needed break from the radio and the 20 questions from the kids.  I turned to my “Love Songs” playlist, which is packed with nearly 200 classic love songs from “Adore” by Prince to “Heaven Help Me” by Deon Estus and suddenly, “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne came on (video provided).  Now of course I’m dating myself a bit but this was my song in the late 80’s (when good music was colorless on the radio).   The lyrics to the song got me thinking about a twitter friend of mines who I have been giving advice to regarding his lost love.  There are a few questions that I pondered while listening to the song such as, “Can you ever get over a lost love? and Can you get a lost love back?”

Getting Over A Lost Love

Have you ever had a relationship that you felt was rock solid and you were truly in LOVE?  Your whole world practically revolved around the other person.  You didn’t make many moves that didn’t involve your other half.  You thought about your love constantly and could complete each other’s sentences.  There might have been times that you picked up the phone to call them and they were already on the line because they called you first.  Some would consider this a “Soul Mate” (a concept we will explore in a later post) and you just knew that it would last forever.  Of course in every relationship there are problems, arguments and blow ups.  This is just a part of the natural course of healthy communication in relationships.  Somehow though, you don’t see that the love is fading or that the two of you are growing apart.  You probably stayed in the relationship going through the motions because no one wants to be the first to admit that the flame is burning out.  Finally, one of you decides to call it quits or take a break until you can sort things out.  Either way, breaking up with someone you TRULY love HURTS!

When a break-up of a serious relationship occurs, people tend to go through a range of emotions similar to grieving the death of a loved one.  Those emotions can consist of shock, denial, loss of sleep or over sleeping, loss of motivation, social withdrawal, guilt, intense sadness and crying or indifference.  We sit around listening to sad love songs that reminds us of our relationship and try to keep the memories alive.  Will this wound ever heal you ask?  My best answer is ABSOLUTELY, but you have to give it time and stop obsessing over it.  Yes you are going to think about that lost love a lot in the beginning, but over time those thoughts will diminish and they will only pop into your mind when you see or hear something that reminds you of them because something or someone WILL INEVITABLY remind you of them.  What do you do to start moving past it and begin the healing process?

  • Come to terms with what happened to end the relationship.  –  Many times, we aren’t willing to accept the responsibility for our part in a break-up or even acknowledge that we saw it coming.  We like to blame and point fingers at the other person because it is easy to do but it really doesn’t allow us to adequately assess ourselves.  Don’t spend a lot of time BLAMING YOURSELF either because it is easy to fall into self-loathing. If a person wants to leave, there is nothing you could do to stop them even if you lose weight, change your hair color or get a different job.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings with other people or a professional. – I’m not saying to stop random people in the grocery store to pour your heart out but talking about it is healthier than holding it in.  People are very afraid of seeking the help of a counselor but we can be very effective at helping you cope and giving you strategies to move forward.
  • Get a journal or a blog. – Putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard is also another healthy way to get your feelings out if you are not a talker or don’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with other people who might possibly judge you.  You will be surprised at how you can see your growth by going back and re-reading your past journal entries.  It is like looking at yourself in the mirror.
  • Get to know yourself better. – Spend some time with yourself and get to know who YOU are and what you have to offer in a relationship before jumping RIGHT back into another situation.  People tend to believe that the best way to get over an old love is to immediately find a NEW one but that is not the best idea.  A rebound love will more than likely not be genuine simply because you haven’t discarded the baggage from the old relationship.  If you TRULY loved someone, they can’t be REPLACED.
  • Begin dating again and don’t try to compare EVERY person to that lost love. – Go out on casual dates without expectations of finding “THE ONE” again.  Just let things progress naturally and have a good time.  If things start to get more serious, don’t start making comparisons and looking to recreate your previous relationship.  This new person WILL NEVER be the old person reincarnated!

Getting A Lost Love Back

How many times have we gone through the motions of breaking up with someone we truly loved only to find our way right back to them?  It happens quite often but it isn’t always a success.  I’ve always operated on the notion that an “ex” is and “ex” for a reason and those reasons usually don’t change when you get back with them but sometimes they do.  Is it good to go “backward” or should you just move on? That really depends on why the two of you broke up in the first place and whether they are worth fighting for.  If you are someone who is contemplating a return to your love, there are a few things to consider in doing so.

  • Gauge the willingness of the other party to reconcile. – This is very important because you will be fighting for nothing if you aren’t sure whether the other party is willing to give it another try.  I know of a situation where a guy went out and purchased an engagement ring to carry around with the hopes of running into his ex-girlfriend and proposing to show her how serious HE was about making amends for the mistakes he’d made in their tumultuous relationship that ended in a bad break-up.  When he finally ran into her, the woman was NOT hearing any of it and told him NO and that she’d moved on with not an ice-water’s chance in HELL that they’d EVER be back together.  He’s still single today.  Rejection is always a possibility here if you go in blindly.
  • Don’t try to force a friendship on them right after the break-up. – Many people try to pull the “Let’s be friends” card after breaking up but you REALLY can’t be friends with someone you have intense feelings for because the motive is fake.  You will always want more than a friendship from them so don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that you can separate your “friend” feelings from your “lover” feelings.  Give them their space to heal and it’s okay to talk to them occasionally but to pick right up where you left off in the relationship as ” just friends” is a recipe for disaster.
  • Write down the pros and cons of being with them. – I know this seems textbook but it works if you ACTUALLY listen to yourself.  If the pros outweight the cons then perhaps they are worth fighting for but if they don’t then let it go, cut your losses and start the healing process.  The problem here is that when people start seeing the cons outweighing the pros they start exaggerating the pros to make them win because they REALLY want the relationship back.
  • Can you REALLY put the past behind you? – If you decide that you are going to move forward with a reconciliation, you must decide whether or not you can put the pass behind you.  If trust was broken in the relationship due to cheating, lying or abuse (for which I don’t recommend a reconciliation), can you really trust their word that they won’t do it again or will you always be suspicious of their every move to the point that it ultimately breaks you up again?  If these issues aren’t resolved, they will ultimately rear their ugly head as soon as you two are back together.  I had a relationship once where the guy just COULD NOT let go of something that I did in the very beginning of our relationship and he just didn’t trust me at all and we broke up over it at least four times in the span of four years.  Ultimately, we weren’t right for each other but every time I went back, he had never gotten over that situation.
  • Don’t become a STALKER! – No matter how much you miss the person and want to be back with them, don’t try to stalk them into being with you again.  Calling or texting excessively and constantly sending them gifts or flowers will only make them annoyed by you.  They won’t think that it’s cute or you really love them.  They’ll think that you are acting irrational and it might give them a new perspective on why the two of you broke up in the first place.  Trying to guilt them into being with you will only get you but so far.  They may feel sorry for you and take you back because they sympathize for your broken heart but their heart isn’t really into it so it will be a farce.  I can’t stress enough how important space is in a serious break-up.  It gives you both a chance to think clearly and to miss each other if you really care for each other.  Be patient and if it is meant to be it will be.  As the old adage goes, “If you love something set it free and if it comes back it’s yours, but if not, it was never meant to be.”

Love is an action word and it takes both parties to be active for it to flourish.  I will leave you with my favorite love scripture usually read at weddings and hope that it feeds your souls:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

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