I know, I know. I hear this one everywhere, because guess what
almost everyone does. Almost all of us have experienced a broken heart because
of love gone wrong, or the passing of a loved one, or plain old uncontrollable
events that come along, and cause us to guard our hearts, and think 2 or 3 times
before getting involved with someone. But the truth is, when you build walls to
protect yourself, those same walls keep love out, and you never get the very
thing you want the most. 

Here are my tips for healing some of those trust

 1.  Recognize where those issues came from originally.
 Think back to that painful situation that caused  you to develop those
really helpful defense mechanisms. Maybe a parent who  wasn’t around,
 maybe never being chosen in high school, or someone who said they
loved you, but really didn’t. The thing is those defense mechanisms don’t serve
you anymore. Realize that they were created in a time of crisis, and that crisis
no longer exists. Begin to let it go.

 2.  This is not that. Or, Now is not then.

 Following point #1, because  I know you’re thinking, “but how can I let it go?”
 Release old issues even if it  means therapy, coaching or prayer. Seek
support. You are doing this for you, and forgiveness and purging are
necessary for your own healthy life of wellbeing.

 3.    Discernment

 And then there is this one.
Of course you have heard that it is best to learn from past mistakes and
misjudgments so as not to repeat them. Well, in relationships this applies to
having a keener sense of who you are, knowing what you want, and paying
attention to what the person is actually saying and doing as opposed to what you
want them to say and do. Don’t make excuses for bad behavior. Better discernment
pays off in having better relationships, and helps build that trust muscle

Love & Light
This is a common question that I get frequently. Usually, the
conversation begins with a woman expressing concern that she is not meeting the
quality of man she would like to be with. Or, she may say that she is not
meeting any men at all. The latter is not usually true, but it has to do with
the eyes she is looking through. (Another subject for another day).

 In the search for your Perfect Mate, it may be helpful to
remember that we attract people and circumstances to us that reflect our mindset
about relationships, baggage from other people we have been involved with, and
our fears and vulnerabilities from childhood.

 Here are a few things to keep in mind along your journey:

 Be Clear, Very Clear --  not only about who you would like to
have in your life, but also you have to be clear about who you are, and what you
really are willing to contribute to the relationship. It is always our own job
to clean up our acts, and be willing to bring as much happiness as we want to receive.

 Vulnerability Factor -- Are you really willing to be emotionally
vulnerable and trusting with another person? How are you at releasing or sharing
control of the details of your life? Do you like to have other people in your
space? What about all up in your emotional space, asking deep questions? Are you
able to tell the truth about uncomfortable things in your life? This is not easy
stuff for most people, and the Vulnerability Factor often stops people dead in
their tracks from having truly meaningful relationships. As a result, most
people only have surface relationships which break under pressure. This leads me
to my third tip…

Relationships Will Rock Your World -- Know that relationships
will challenge you at all levels of your being. I teach that this is the true
purpose of relationships, to help us toward growth and maturity. Of course love,
passion and romance are in there too, but really from a spiritual perspective,
the universe uses relationships to propel us forward into emotional places we
would otherwise not likely go. Think about a couple of your previous
relationships, or consider your current one, and think about the ways in which
you felt pushed, challenged, annoyed, and maybe even angered, and in ways that
no one else could reach you. Also, think of the depth of emotions you experienced,
the feeling of falling in love, being totally distracted by  thoughts of the other person.
EXACTLY! Relationships get your attention and put you into emotional places that
spill out into every other area of your life. That’s the way it is supposed to be!

I’ll wrap up by saying that these are just a few things I help clients move through.
Most people have challenges in these areas, so don’t worry  if you felt I touched
a nerve. It’s not just you, it’s everybody. It’s just that not everybody will take action
toward healing even when they want their perfect partner more than anything.

If this is you, and you feel stuck, email me or leave a comment below. 

Photo courtesy of TheJasmineBrand.com.
The adage money can't buy you love rings true yet again. It can, though, buy furs, nice homes, exquisite vacations and an enviable lifestyle. In all that, the sacrifices to keep it may seem reasonable, a give and take so to speak.

What about when the comfortable lifestyle is punctuated with physical, emotional, or sexual abuse? Is either marrying or staying for money worth it?

I like to say that if you marry for money, you earn every penny for it. In cases where money and a sense of security are the sole reasons for a marriage, often so many other parts of the relationship are defunct that it just seems like undesirable work. Often the sacrifice made to live a lush lifestyle when more substantial reasons for marriage are absent result in unnecessary emptiness and pain.

For relationships that have been built on the foundations of love, trust, loyalty, and commitment, sometimes things deteriorate. Of course, there often are red flags that something is wrong early on, but down the line, it seems that out of nowhere, things go awry. Is staying for money worth your wellness and that of any children you may have?

Each person has to determine the answer for that. After all, living with the consequences of staying or leaving sit with the person IN the relationship. Contrary to popular belief or even the intention to leave an unsavory relationship regardless of income, some times there are reasons a woman chooses to stay. Consider two examples.

Just over two weeks ago, we saw two women, in very different circumstances, but stuck in a similar mentality that led the public to question, why stay. The first, an unnamed woman who wrote into Essence magazine to inquire what she should do because her Caucasian husband calls her racial slurs like "Nigger bitch" and tells her he purchased her freedom. She explained that she loves him and he treats her better than any black men ever did, and they live a lavish lifestyle as if to say, though what he does is not okay , this lifestyle kind of balances things out so that she doesn't REALLY want to leave. Needless to say, when reading her experience, I was floored.

Another, more public relationship, that of Tashera Simmons and her husband, famed rapper Earl "DMX" Simmons, gives us a different angle on the staying for money option. Tashera who has been in a relationship with DMX since their preteen years is no stranger to entertainment news sites and reality TV having had to endure children out of wedlock, verbal abuse, her husband's drug addiction, and criminal activity, and most recently, public shame from the televised manifestation of it all on the season premier of Iyanla, Fix My Life on the OWN network.

On the show, Tashera explains to spirituality coach, Iyanla Vanzant that she loved and was loyal to Earl despite his addictions, in a conversation where Vanzant proclaims, "You married your father," whom Tashera had been a caregiver for and who also had been drug addicted. As for staying in the marriage after two decades, Vanzant clearly outlines that there was financial benefits that kept Tashera there. She closed with the advice that sums up this article--you can't sacrifice your overall well being for money.

What both these women, the writer of the Essence article and Simmons have in common is the belief that money trumps self-love and self-advocacy. This seems to happen in persons with a history of enduring abuse so it's hard for them to separate abuse from love, and by extension the things that money brings from wellness on a nonmaterial level. This is not to say that all relationships where there is a monetary benefit are superficial and harmful, but it does beg the question that those who are seeking the financial comforts over their physical, emotional and spiritual well being are making a very pricey sacrifice.

After all, they will in fact, earn every penny that they get by means of being subjected to things that are not present in a healthy relationship. Women and men, should not make that trade off for money and only learn the hard way that their doing so is regrettable and leave them feeling empty and used. The only choice that should be made is to be treated well by means of being assigned a high value in the other's life, or not be in the relationship at all.

What are your thoughts on this subject? What value does money place in your life? Are there circumstances you feel that would require one to stay for money? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Getty Image Courtesy of TMZ.com
Divorce comes to The Housewives of Atlanta! This time the split is between newcomer Porsha Stewart and her soon to be ex, Kordell Stewart, a former NFL player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. As the season started, all looked idyllic and rosy for the fairly newlywed Stewarts, and we began to get acquainted with them and shall we say Kordell’s rather old-school model of marriage. In one episode he apparently set rules over who could come to the house in his absence to visit Porsha. In another episode he seemed to be limiting the amount of time Porsha could be away from the house. In yet another episode where the girls all went to Las Vegas, Porsha made the comment that Kordell “let” her go on the trip, much to the eyebrow raises of the other ladies in the group.

Despite the play by play of various episodes, I am more interested in the red flags along the way, that led many of us to give the side eye to Mr. Kordell Stewart, and how Mrs. Porsha Stewart seemed to be losing her own identity. As the season progressed (and continues to air at this date) Porsha began to have some ideas of her own about having a career, and how she wanted to incorporate having a child into that plan. Kordell said that she must do one or the other, and that a nanny would not be acceptable.

Now, ladies, I talk all the time about how successful, independent women can have relationships and not lose themselves in the process. As I watched this drama being played out, I saw signs of Porsha attempting to live that out. She wanted things for herself; she wanted to craft an identity other than Mrs. Kordell Stewart. Yet, I also saw that she was trying very hard to conform to his standard of marriage in order to please him. I recognized then that the cost would be very high for Porsha if she continued along that path. It is always costly to give oneself away in order to please another person.

Allow their story to be a cautionary tale in all of our relationships. Compromise is often required in a marriage, but neither partner should feel compelled to give up pieces of who they are, or the things that he or she believes to be important.

Although divorce is never easy or pleasant, sometimes one has to save oneself.

You can tell a lot about a person by their relationship lives. People play out their emotional, psychological and spiritual dramas most clearly in relationships because they are highly emotional and intricately connected to emotional pain, conflict and expectations from our pasts. 
You  are the common denominator in your own life. It’s not him, it’s not her, it’s not them. It’s you!
Universal  principle matches you exactly with who you are, having been informed by your experiences and belief systems. The track that plays in your mind, unconscious or conscious is attracting your circumstances and your mates or lack thereof.
You get what you are and think about most, not what you think you want or simply  hope for. If those things do not align, what you want, and what you think, you get what you think, over and over…Repeat  Performances.
“But  my anger is justified, it’s true that every man I’ve been with has mistreated me or taken from me.” You  are carrying a program of expecting and accepting this as “normal.” It may have been true that those things happened in the past. Do you want this in your future?

At  a certain point, transformation is a yes or no answer. That is all.

People are starving for intimacy. Our society has become one of limited personal intimacy. Oh, we are all very busy, and involved with a lot of other people, but we are not in fact connected in deep ways. Consider our love of social media. We communicate in sound bites with people we know and some people we don't know. The success of Facebook  says to me that we long to share, want to be connected, desire friends, want to be liked. But, why are we on the computer seeking these things instead of nurturing the relationships we have with people up close in our lives? Why? Fear of Intimacy that involves more than getting naked and hooking up.

Isn't it interesting that some people have no problem being physically naked with near strangers and casully engage in an act that is actually an exchange of spiritual energy, and that sometimes has the potential to create a new life, but when asked to be emotionally naked with that same person or another, they freak out entirely. Why is this? Fear of Real Intimacy, which involves being vulnerable, being present, caring with an open heart, loving through thick and thin, and dare I say it, being committed. Real Intimacy scares the bejeezus out of people!

Funny thing is, everybody wants it, but a lot of people will not allow themselves to have it. The risks of rejection and hurt feelings are too much. Instead, we have become a society with epidemic addiction rates: sex, drugs, shopping, gambling, food, and the list goes on. What these addictions suggest to me is that there is an internal void that people are feeling in record numbers,
and they have nowhere to turn. They do not feel safe enough to share themselves fully with any other human being.

Here's my challenge: For your own sake, and so that you can enhance your own relationships, stick your neck out, or should I say stick your heart out. Share something personal and intimate with someone you know and trust. Open yourself and experience what it is like to be authentically you without regard to how uncomfortable you might feel in the moment. That is to be
expected. It is only the ego doing its job to protect you from perceived risk and harm, but as you know, nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you want real, you gotta bring the real.

What are your intimacy issues?

Let The LoveAttraction  Workbook be your guide.
Courtesy of LoveMyBlack.com
After following the mega-couple Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith throughout their 16 year marital journey, we've remained enamored with what appears to be a loving, trusting and outright gorgeous family. It's like we've grown up with them, like they are our family, and we only want them to stay together and keep that ideal blazing as a sterling example of what we want our love to be. Except there are rumors.

For years, while we admiringly gazed upon shots of them at premiers or on the Oprah Show, there has been rumor after rumor surrounding the couple. First, that they were swingers, and both bi-sexual, now, that Jada had an affair with Hawthorne co-star, Marc Anthony (we all know how well he respects marriage), that they are getting a divorce, and with her latest interview that Jada unwittingly "confirms" that Will is gay.

Instead, what I derive from Jada Pinkett-Smith's interview with Marc Lamont Hill on HuffPost Live which most recently pushed the couple under a microscope is that the Smiths have a trusting relationship. After being asked about speculations that the Smiths have an open marriage, Mrs. Pinkett-Smith confidently asserts, "I've always told Will, 'You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be okay, because at the end of the day, Will is his own man. I'm here as his partner, but he is his own man. He has to decide who he wants to be and that's not for me to do for him. Or vice versa." Does it sound like they have the perfect, monogamous relationship?--No. From this, does it sound like they have a trusting relationship?--Yes.

What I've come to learn is that not every relationship is based on our personal ideals of how it should be. I prefer a monogamous relationship and was raised in a time where that was the basis of a solid family structure. Today, however, polyandrous, open, homosexual and other romantic classifications exist, and that may be another family's truth and normalcy. The Smiths may value openness or not, but they may still be very happy.

I don't believe that Jada's statements made any clear attestation to what the Smith family model is, but it appears that it works for them, at least thus far. Jada has gone on record here publicly affirming that she gives her man enough room to do what he wants, allows his conscious to guide him, rather than behaving as an insecure, untrusting spouse. That may mean she gives him enough room to hang himself, or it may mean that if he enjoys extramarital affairs, she'll be cool--as she walks out the door and moves on with her life.

There's a certain confidence that must come with that. She has confidence that her man will have good judgment, confidence that if he doesn't, he'll live with the consequences, and confidence that she'll be okay with however things turns out. That seems to make for a more grounded approach to a lasting love.  After all, when did being paranoid prevent a man from doing what he wanted to do?

My hat’s off to them and their relationship. Whether the divorce rumors are true, we'll stand to see. However, let's hope like the good old days, they value fighting to the end as their tradition.

Courtesy of Clutch Magazine
Do you keep up with the Kardashian's? How can you not with such a popular empire surrounding fashion, sports and entertainment. Adding to that, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are hot on the tabloids and with baby Kimye on the way, we're seeing more and more of them. Is this a brand or another of Kim or Kanye's stunts?

Whether or not their love is real or "reel", some speculate that this is a "brand" move. It's hard to dismiss that West is known for very public outbursts and outlandish wardrobe. We can't forget Kim's notorious sex tape, or that in 2011 Kardashian held an elaborate wedding only to have it annulled 72 days later, in what some think was merely a stunt to have a grand, fairytale wedding.

Although we know they are both known for unsavory antics, but how do you feel about Kanye's lyric in the song "Clique" where he says of Kardashian, "My girl a superstar all from a home movie"? This doesn't seem like a particularly endearing thing to say about your child's mom, to me anyway. As a woman, would you be okay with this? Perhaps she is.

I can't say I know how to feel about this. After all, Brooke Crittendon, West's former girlfriend, spoke in The Sun about the relationship between West and Kardashian. She says that West has always had a thing for Kardashian, wanting to be with someone who is desired by many men and that she fits into West's "brand". What a lofty reason to be with someone! Pardon my sarcasm.

Kardashian seems to also want something, fame and fortune, and lots of it. An enterprising young women, to her credit, she and the Kardashian brand is a multi-million dollar empire. It can't hurt to add mother of the child of a world famous rapper to her credentials.

The two really may be in a passionate, healthy relationship, but something about the characteristics and public persona of both seem like it would leave much to be desired. That's IF they desire a real relationship at all. Perhaps it's as critics claim, a brand decision for the public's consumption.

You are likely familiar with the concept of being “equally yoked,” meaning people who come together in relationship who are similar, compatible or at least flexible, in their views on life’s most important questions. I always teach that compromise in relationships is important, and always necessary to some extent. However, I also firmly believe that some things can be so important to a person that they should not be compromised. Of course, everyone must decide for themselves just what that non-negotiable is. For some, having children is a given in a marriage, for others not so much. Some people expect to share all or most of their time together, and again, others not so much. Below, you’ll see a few more examples on three aspects of life that I have found to be the most important in terms of relationship compatibility.

Dr. Darnise’s Top Three:


Does my partner have to be the same religion that I am? Sharing the same faith tradition is VERY important for many people. It can likewise be VERY important to someone who is not committed to any particular faith or spirituality not to feel pressured to join one. My answer to this question when dealing with people of different faiths is actually a question directed back to them, can you be flexible enough in your belief/nonbelief to allow the other person to do what he/she needs to do without ridicule or disdain? If you feel it is imperative that your partner join you in religious/holiday observations you should probably seek someone who shares your faith.


How much is enough? This is a question that should be discussed honestly between people. Sometimes people assume that their “normal” is their partner’s normal also. Not usually. Take the time to find out how much is enough, and what is desired from both parties. Consider the impact of different schedules, physical ailments, menstrual cycles, kids or parents in the house, whatever the particulars of your life. This issue can likely work out with open communication, and a willingness to be flexible.


Your money or your life? This is an area that wrecks more marriages than anything else. I believe it is because people do not want to talk about it. Money brings up so many issues like shame, guilt, entitlement, and security, that often times people will avoid it as long as possible, and just hope everything works out. Well, even if money is abundant between the partners, it is best to discuss how money will be spent, saved, invested, donated, and splurged. The money issue is one where I have to say being equally yoked is very important. It is quite difficult for savers and big spenders to co-exist in a relationship where money is shared.

Keep an eye out for my new series on Love and Money. These aspects of life are big for everyone, and I’ll be doing some important teachings on it soon.

I’m definitely interested to read what you have to say on the concept of being equally yoked. So, reply to this email, and let me know what you think.

Everyday we seem to see more and more evidence that we live in a society that accepts certain ideas about women, girls, sexuality, power and well, rape. We still have concepts such as "legitimate rape," "slut shaming," blaming a woman for where she was at a certain time of day or night, or maybe what she was wearing as the cause for another person assaulting her. In 2013, we as a society are still needing to have discussions about what is real rape. It is deeply disturbing. To add to this distressingly slow train to the land of civilized humanity, we are also inundated with popular culture including some music that reflects the rape culture that is being so prevalenly discussed in the media these days. (Again, the train moves slowly, but at least it is moving, I guess.)
My immediate case in point is a rap song in which rap artist Rick Ross is featured on a song by Rocko, in which he celebrates giving a woman some kind of date rape drug in her champagne "she didn't even know," dragging her off to his place, "enjoying that," all while "she didn't even know." I don't think that I have adequate words to express how reprehensible this is! I'll just share my questions.

For one thing, how on earth did this man think that this is a good idea in life?? Is this your idea of a good time Mr. Ross, raping a woman on the DL, so she can't prosecute you? How is it that you thought it is a good idea to make a song about it???!!! You don't want her to know, but you DO want your boys to know??!! Do you have NO respect for women AT ALL???!!! Did it occur to you the impact this assault would have on this woman, and how you might devastate her ability to trust any other man for the rest of  her life? Do you have NO sense of community responsibility to young people listening to your "music," who might think this is acceptable behavior and therefore emulate your lyrics? How did DefJam records think that it is an acceptable message to send out into the world on their label, as a representation of their company?

Am I just hip hop bashing? NO. Be responsible and don't promote violence and rape, PERIOD.

I'm thinking that it is only a matter of time before some artists gets sued by a victim or victim's family for influencing a crime that has been committed according to their "instructions." I'm thinking that it is only a matter of time before a perpetrator on trial for a crime is going to point to an artist and his/her song lyrics as the reason for that crime. I'm thinking that said hot mess is going to be an episode on Law&Order in one of their "ripped from the headlines" story lines. I'm thinking the accused artist will be shocked and dismayed that somone would actually think that he or she should be held accountable for their lyrical content.
If this song, in any way, to anyone, seems like a good idea or "harmless," I can only give you a train schedule and ask you to please proceed to the line that boards the train to the land of civilized humanity.

Meantime, here is a video response by hip hop activist Rosa Clemente to this atrocity called a record.