I 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.
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!
How many times have you taken a look at yourself in a figurative mirror while you were in a relationship or immediately after a break-up and asked yourself, “Who am I? or Who have I become?” I ask this because a lot of people often get annoyed when friends and family tell them that since they’ve been in a relationship, they’ve changed. Change for the better is good but change for the worse is bad! When I say change for the worse, I mean that you’ve strayed so far away from who you were as the person that people knew and loved, into an ENTIRELY different person that people can’t stand to be around since you’ve been in that relationship.
Many times, people don’t even know that they are changing or have already changed. It’s after others bring it to their attention and they start getting defensive, that they realize that it just might be true. Some people are just chameleons, blending into the relationship and changing to fit every different situation that they get in. Then there are the conformists who basically will conform to whatever their mate “expects” them to be. Finally, there are those people who like to adopt an “alter ego” to keep evolving in the relationship to keep it spicy. No matter the type, these people CHANGE for relationships!
Chameleons are beautiful lizards that are able to change colors to blend in with their surroundings for social purposes with other chameleons and for survival purposes to protect themselves in their environment against harm. There are some people who will do these things when they get into a relationship. I’ve seen women go out and meet a guy and once they get to know his likes and dislikes, they start to try to adapt their lifestyle to them because they think it will be pleasing to him. In reality, it’s not who they really are and when the lights come on, they will be exposed. You can only hide behind a farce for so long. In one relationship, you’re “Holly Housewife”, cooking in the kitchen dressed like “June Cleaver” with an apron on presenting an apple pie to guests because your mate is a straight-laced, no-nonsense, dinner party type of guy. The next relationship, you become “Hip Hop Harriet”, dressed like video vixen “Melyssa Ford” with nothing but a push-up bra on posing for pictures next to a Bentley because your new man is a gun-toting, drug dealing, pretend rapper who smokes weed all day. This is very dangerous behavior, especially for the person who constantly changes for every new relationship. You will become unrecognizable to your friends and family but most of all, YOURSELF! If you are in a volatile relationship and have adapted for survival, it can be very hard for your family and friends to help you because you have blended in to the situation by making excuses for the abuser, masking bruises and going along with his abuse.
The definition of conforming is to act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes or practices of society or a group of people. When you meet someone who you really feel a connection to and can see a future with, you can easily start to conform to their expectations because you want a relationship with them. How many people do you know that ended up in a unfulfilled relationship because they tried to conform to a lifestyle that their mate wanted to have? One good example of this is a woman who meets a guy who CLEARLY states that HE DOESN’T WANT KIDS and she pretends that she can live with that and she marries him. Ultimately, in the back of her mind, she resents herself for going along with this because she really wants a family and starts to “act out” her frustration by trying to change his mind, which causes problems in the relationship. When someone gives you a clear understanding of the things that they value and their expectations in a relationship, they aren’t just saying it for the sake of conversation, they usually mean it. Sometimes we hear things that we want to hear but we aren’t “listening” to what’s clearly being said and we think that we can change what we don’t like about them. Most of the time, WE CAN’T change them as a person or their minds about something that they feel strongly about so we end up conforming to their ideals, ways of thinking and to the direction that they want the relationship to go in. Sometimes, their thoughts become your thoughts and every response to a situation warrants the question, “What would he/she do or think?” When you find yourself in this situation you must consider the question, “Have you lost who you are to be what they want you to be?” If the answer is YES then you are not going to be happy in the long run with the relationship or yourself when you realize that you’ve given up your own beliefs, principles and practices. The signs that you are a conformist is when your mate tells you to wear your hair a certain way, weigh a certain amount and cut off certain friends because they’re bringing you down and YOU DO IT. Conforming for EVERY person that you date will only distort your TRUE self.
It’s hard to uncover all of the layers of a person because people are multifaceted. People show different sides of themselves around different people for obvious reasons because everything is NOT for everybody! Men like to say that they want a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed. The “freak” is essentially her alter ego, the one that she pulls out only with him. There is nothing wrong with having an alter ego until your real personality and alter ego start interfering with one another and become indistinguishable. This commonly happens, for instance, when cops go undercover and live a double-life, they can’t separate the two in reality and it becomes detrimental to their relationships. Alter egos can make you start to believe your own lies. I can recall an ex-boyfriend who started chatting online using an alter ego to get attention from women. He made up a fake identity and biographical information. I started getting weird phone calls to my house asking for a guy all of the time and I would tell them that they had the wrong number but I quickly realized that he was CRAZY enough to give out the REAL house number with his FAKE name. After we broke up, I had a friend call his cellphone and ask for the fake name and HE TALKED to her. People who claim to have an “alter ego”, tends to really have an IDENTITY CRISIS. Get to know yourself and be who you really are and stop using the alter ego to portray who you WISH you were.
The bottom line is that you DON’T need to completely change who you are to be with a person. If they can’t accept you for who you are, flaws and all, then they’re just not the one for you. There is a HUGE difference between compromising and caving. Compromising on some of your rigid ways may be necessary to balance the relationship but don’t cave in to all of the things that they request that you change about yourself just to be with them. Take it from Mary J. Blige, she said it VERY succinct: “Take me as I am, or have nothing at all!”[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzNiE3ZUHdk]
Talking to my single friends, they tell me that the dating pool is very “shallow” these days. According to them, there really aren’t many “quality” single men out there to choose from when you are over 30. Is this really true or do women have TOO MANY standards that ultimately disqualifies a lot of single men that could be a good catch? I’m not saying that women shouldn’t have standards because everybody (both men and women) should but if they are impossible to meet then you’ll continue to find yourselves single. I once went out with a guy who told me that his ideal woman had to have, long real hair, real nails, a college degree, light-skinned, never been on welfare and a good job. Well I guess I was HIS PERFECT MATCH because I met that criteria but just hearing it, made me want to gag! I thought to myself while listening to him spew off his ridicules list, “you think WAY to highly of yourself because you DELIVER THE MAIL for a living and your arms are too long for your body.” I NEVER went out with him again. What I want to explore are some common standards that women have and when it IS and IS NOT acceptable to lower them for a relationship.
He Doesn’t Have A Car
Not having a car is an acceptable reason to lower your standard. A man is NOT defined by the car that he drives but many women place a particular emphasis on this standard for some reason. You could be ruling out a lot of good men who don’t own a car. If he doesn’t drive, he should be honest and up front with you about the fact that he doesn’t have a car and shouldn’t try to make it seem like his car is “in the shop” indefinitely. What is wrong with picking him up for a date if you have a car? First you need to explore the REASON he doesn’t have a car. Did he get into an accident and total his car and is awaiting insurance money or a settlement to buy a new one? Perhaps the payment to fix the totalled car is too high right now and he’s saving money to get it fixed. Does he even have a driver’s license? If he does not, you could always encourage him to get one and LEARN how to drive so that he’ll eventually buy a car. He could be saving money to buy the car of his dreams but you just shot him down at the initial sign of him not having a car. There are plenty of men who will pay for dates if you are willing to take the bus, drive or catch a cab. Some women think that they are better than a bus ride. Will him not having a car keep him from coming to see you or spending time with you? Some men like to use this as a test to see how shallow you are when it comes to this topic. They will say that they don’t drive to see your reaction. I once had a guy refuse to tell me what kind of car he drove (as if it mattered) because he didn’t want me to be enamored with his “Lexus ES 350”. Clearly he missed the memo that cars are not that high up on my priority list since I have always had one since I was 16. When I met my husband, he didn’t have a car and he told me up front and I offered to pick him up for our first date and he bought a car during the course of our dating.
He Doesn’t Have A Career
This can go both ways depending on how old they guy is. It is acceptable if the guy is 35 or under and has not established his career but still has a job. Statistics show that the average person will have 7-10 jobs before establishing a solid career. With that being said, you need to evaluate the direction that he is going in with his life. When you met him did he have goals that he was actively working toward accomplishing such as going to school, starting a business, etc.? It is not acceptable if he is over 35 and has only worked odd jobs here and there and has no real career pattern or any plans of getting one.
Many women like to put men in employment boxes such as doctor, lawyer or executive but there are many other career fields that are just as acceptable and lucrative. The goal here is to meet someone who you can grow with and perhaps you can push him to his full potential by being supportive and encouraging. If you rule out the guy with the average job such as a “camp counselor” when you first met, you could be ruling out the next CEO of the camp organization in a few years. You have to know what his aspirations are and see that he is working toward them before passing judgement on him as a good catch.
He Has Kids
When I was under 30, this was an ABSOLUTE deal breaker for me. Once I passed 30, I realized that the likelihood of finding a man WITHOUT a child would be like finding a needle in a haystack. It would be acceptable to lower your standard in this case IF only one mother is involved. If he has multiple mothers of his children then NOT ACCEPTABLE! When you don’t have children, being involved with a man with children takes a special kind of women because women are generally catty. The mother of his children will inevitably give you a hard time unless she has moved on and is COMPLETELY over him, which is why you should only deal with a man who has ONE of these women! Having to deal with two or three different women and different attitudes toward you can get exhausting. The other thing to consider in this case is that he will have to split his time between you and his children if he is a good father. If you do decide to get involved with a man with children and HE NEVER spends time with them or talks about them, that is a red flag and you should consider that when you are looking for a more serious relationship with him.
He Doesn’t Have A College Degree
There are many men out here in jobs that don’t require a college degree so this should be acceptable. The only caution is that he might not be able to relate to your enthusiasm for “homecoming” or your “sorority life” because he doesn’t have those experiences. Blue collar workers make very good money and often are in business for themselves so they should not be overlooked. Being a barber is also a lucrative business since people will always need a haircut and they are unlikely to be out of work but do tend to work long hours. There are jobs in the medical field that don’t require a degree such as radiology technicians, medical assistants etc. The key here is not hinging your hopes on a man with a college degree because that doesn’t necessarily make him a good catch. There are many men with college degrees who are TERRIBLE boyfriends or who are bums.
Dating these days is hard enough without all of the added pressure of a checklist. When you meet a guy, don’t start going through your checklist to rule him out right away unless you see OBVIOUS red flags. Consider being open-minded and broadening your horizon. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If you keep sticking to your standards so hard, you may drive yourself insane trying to find the right guy. You have to step out on faith and try something unorthodox. Give that younger/older guy a try. Take your contractor up on his offer for lunch. Go out to dinner with that not-so-attractive guy. You may find your hidden treasure in the one that you would never consider.
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