Top 10 Strategies You Need to Ditch Dead-end Relationships Today

Still feel like the first time?

At some point everyone desires change. How much change varies, but the need for change does not. Maybe it's something as simple as a new outfit or something as serious as divorce.  The beginning of the year is when most people want to implement change in their lives, and relationships are no exception. Does this sound like you?

Sometimes people feel lost in their relationships. Close friendships and romantic relationships are the most difficult relationships to navigate.  Maybe you are growing closer, or further apart. Good or bad, it is worth examining. When you encounter continual challenges in your relationship it can feel like you are doing something wrong. These feelings could signify a couple of things.

Perhaps you are dealing with change, new experiences, new emotions, new expectations, or even a new reality.  You may even feel like you are creating these situations.  You may be, but that does not mean that you shouldn’t be.  Be strong, each challenge will teach you something new. As you experience change, it makes sense for you to be increasingly dissatisfied with your reality.  Once you recognize your source of dissatisfaction, start implementing micro-changes or small adjustments to ease feelings of stress, and allow feelings of peace in your relationships.

I didn't sign up for this

Remember this familiar phrase? "He just isn't the man I married anymore" or "They used to be cool but now they are just so negative".  Both statements are true, but not in the way you think. Look at it this way.

  • If either of you is exactly the same after many years, the problem is bigger than the relationship, get help.
  • If you still want exactly what you wanted when you started being friends or when you started to date (in the case of romantic relationships), the problem is bigger than the relationship, get help.

Notice both scenarios end in the same place? They end the same because both ideas center on irrational expectations.

This next bit is crucial specifically for romantic partners.  If your relationship is rock-solid and both of you are on board with your relationship remodel, awesome, you guys plan to grow together. If not, you should speak with a certified counselor before you prematurely burn it down. Altering your life drastically is very difficult. Make sure that you are completely clear about what you want.

Still hanging on

Try these 10 Tips

It is common for people to not like change.  It's strange how familiarity is comforting, despite the familiarity being unsatisfying or even dangerous. A bad situation will sometimes feel better than doing the work to change it. You will want to quit but don’t. When life gets hard or complex, those are the times you must follow through with evacuating the B.S. from your life.

It is normal to dread the future. You remixed everything you do normally. You feel like you don’t know what to do next, and that is scary, but that does not mean that it is OK to stand still. So far, you’ve questioned your life and circumstances. The people in our lives are either our support system or our hurdle. Your job is to find out who is which, and permanently bench the bad and keep the good.

This is quite a bit easier to accomplish with friends than with romantic relationships. There is a different type of desire driving your decision-making.  Although the dynamic is different, the principles are the same. Most people expect a similar level of commitment from their partners as they do from their close friends, specifically when it comes to emotional support.  If you are the only one growing, they will not understand your journey, and that is OK.

You don’t need a dramatic exit, just lose touch with them or let them know you have gone as far as you can together. Keep it simple. Basic folks only understand basic shit.

Being alone is OK and necessary

Changing your situation is hard, and a lot of work.  It will take a toll on you emotionally and physically.  During this time, it is important to have some sort of exercise routine, a healthier diet, or some form of practical and positive alternative.  Take time to enjoy your own company. Odds are, you are not going to be fun to be around right now.  If you schedule some time to be alone on purpose, you will minimize the impact on those relationships you intend to salvage.

You cannot change your life in a significant way without experiencing loss.  Your changes may be minimal, or great like quitting smoking or, trading in a car you can’t afford.  You will feel the loss, and that’s OK.  The important part of this change is to get what you came for.  Don’t mourn the loss of things that were not good for you.  Letting go is hard, not impossible.






Mighty Lark

Mighty Lark

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis, (AKA The Mighty Lark,) began painting, drawing and illustrating professionally in the summer of 2003. He holds a BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University and an MFA in Studio Arts from Maine College of Art..

The Mighty Lark's work has appeared in magazines, coloring books, zines, and journals as well as on logos, t-shirts, phone cases, and tote bags. He has taught 2D Design, Digital Foundations and Illustration at Southern Maine Community College since January of 2013.


Mike's whimsical sketches are both fantasy and reality. His sketches have both a cartoon and photorealistic quality. Check out the self-portrait here.


Mike became obsessed with the idea of spinning drawings, images seen through kaleidoscopes and the way that recreation of an object blurs, like a visual game of telephone. As the drawing is shaded multiple times, each individual item is the same, but different.

A Gentleness Practice

"John," the first piece in his new series of Sud Busters. He is in love with the subject matter and the colors. "I was able to really paint and get lost in the environment. The making was a success, and the time that it took to finish it just sort of appeared here and there in and about the space in the timeline of my life".

Mike Lewis

Mike lives and works in Portland, Maine with his wife, Courtney, his son, Austin, and their two cats Jasper Johns and Momo. He is found either at his studio in the State Theater building or at home with a cat or toddler in his lap or working at his drafting table. A native Northern New Yorker, Lewis is the son of a Forest Ranger and a substitute school teacher. Mighty Lark is an avid reader and a prolific audiophile.



It's Time to Give Up Your Reasonable Excuses

Insert excuse here

This evening I was sitting on my sofa, getting ready to catch up on the latest episode of "Ray Donovan". This season has been sad, so I watch it while I am in a good mood. My phone rings, and it’s a friend who has tried to work through a plan to make life a little less awful. I prepare myself for what I know will be emotionally demanding, and perhaps deplete my limited patience. Excuses sound reasonable because they give us what we need in times of complacency and fear, but what are we afraid of.

How it started.

Like normal, he starts out talking about work. Here we go. “When I get two more raises, I'll be able to focus on me. Then I will be able to get back in the gym, if I lose 25 pounds then it will be easier to be in a relationship”. He has "been losing" the same 25 pounds for the 5 years we have been friends.

Not to judge, it's hard, but knowing what I know about him, this is the latest effort to remain stagnant without feeling guilty about it. Most, if not all his excuses sound legit and feel real. Whenever we finish talking, I always ask myself why? Why do some people insist on standing in their own way? I think that some of this even applies to me, even though I don't make calls to announce my doubts to others, I do use stall tactics.

Consider some of the things below, if this sounds like you, it's time to implement some changes in your life.

Fear of failing

Never be afraid of failing. Believe me, I know it's far easier to say than following through with. The best thing you can do for yourself is to decide what it is you are trying to accomplish, and take it all the way. I am as guilty as the next guy, of trying to make sure that my perfect planned results become reality, despite having no control. Imagine that. Think of the willingness to admit that you have no control of the outcome of your efforts, all the while you are still willing to try. Allow yourself the room to grow and change, and fuck up if that’s what happens. Better to fail, than to be ignorant of your true ability.

Comfortable with "right now"

I know what it feels like to be comfortable with what you know. It's so scary to put your “right now” in jeopardy for what could be. It also seems like the more we age, the less we are willing to make some of the changes that are necessary for us to continue to evolve.

Just the other day, I was saying to another friend, how I would love to do exactly what I went to school to do. At the same time, I don’t feel like it is fair for me to elevate my dreams to a level of importance that supersedes that of my children’s sense of stability.

What that means in my life, is some of the things that I envision for myself must wait until they have launched. Is that an excuse not to change my “right now”? Of course, it is, I know what to expect today, and my unwillingness to change, even though the reason is substantive, does not mean that I can't change and grow. Plenty of people change careers while their kids are at home, you just have to plan and execute appropriately.

Think about where you are "right now". Decide if your “right now” is on the path toward the future you see for yourself. Don’t be afraid to decide that what you thought you wanted is no longer what you really want.

When I am feeling complacent and reluctant to pursue my dreams, this always helps me:


Today is ours, let's live it.

And love is strong, let's give it.

A song can help, let's sing it.

And peace is dear, let's bring it.

The past is gone, don't rue it.

Our work is here, let's do it.

The world is wrong, let's right it.

The battle is hard, let's fight it.

The road is rough, let's clear it.

The future vast, don't fear it.

Is faith asleep? Let's wake it.

Because today is ours, let's take it.

B. Richards



What This Professor Thinks about Blogging: Other Conversational Topics

What This Professor Thinks about Blogging

Thank you so much to those of you who frequent my site regularly.  So far, I have talked about a variety of things and topics.  I have been very fortunate in my writing journey thus far, and most recently was no exception. Want to know what this professor thinks?

Crowdfire, more specifically, Cara the Crowdfire podcast series host sat down with me for a chat.

Things were so comfortable talking with Cara (Social Page), that often we strayed from the topic, but most importantly, we had an awesome time.  Have a listen to the interview below.  I think that you will enjoy it.  The topics we discussed will give everyone an opportunity to get to know me a little better and hear some of my live randomness first hand.

You can hear other great interviews from their series here.


What Do You Wish Women Knew About Men

What do you wish women knew about masculine respect?

I wish women knew more about men than what they learned on Tv or through media outlets. If women conceptualized men as people first, and men second it would lead women to a greater mutual respect both for and from men. Ladies, please understand there is no single definition of masculinity. Expectations and preconceived notions that women bring to the relationship can annihilate the relationships they share with men.

"The Black Marriage Movement (BMM) in cooperation with Black Men Who Blog, asked the following questions. The goal is to give some perspective on what some men wish women knew about them. Below, along with the questions, you will find my candid responses".

What does it mean to you? ( What is respect? )

Respect is a mutual behavior. It's the authentic act of displaying your care through words and deeds. It is a continuous cross-functional behavior that impacts all aspects of personal/interpersonal relationships. From feelings to communication, consideration, and expectations.

Respect based decisions and interactions decide how I receive your intentions. Your behavior affects the way I receive intentions,  the way your words are heard, and even my assessment of your character. If I do not respect a person, even their good deeds are suspicious. Copious amounts of respect should always be displayed and enacted in romantic relations. It fosters an environment of hope, longevity and mutual affection.

How can women show respect and honor you in a way that makes you feel it?

There are all sorts of ways to show honor and respect. In fact, respect is as various as each personality. Think about the way I receive information from others. Use previous conversations I have held with you about others, unrelated gripe sessions, or scenarios that they have described.

When you have a picture of what the desirable behaviors look like, try to adopt those behaviors for yourself.  This does not mean being inauthentic. Honor yourself with authenticity. Always be an asset to your team. Respect me by showing the world your best self and modeling behaviors we value.  Most importantly I feel respected when you honor my desires, dreams, and aspirations. Relationships can't grow together without a sense of mutual honor and respect.


We Need to Talk

Have you heard about...

One of the perils of having men having female best friends is that you often get caught in the conversational crossfire.  This catty conference covers a conversation where "Woman A" has said something that "Woman B" does not like and "Woman C" who is not involved in the conversation at all, takes offense to the comment.  Although "Woman C", aka your bestie, is not involved, she is inclined to bring the topic to you and discuss it at length.

My face during the latest debate

Regardless of your interest level (believe me its low), you are required to participate.  Word to the wise, when your friend wants to have a conversation with you, and you are not interested in what she is saying, you better damn well act like it or you will never hear the end of it…ever! Especially with the latest trend of keeping receipts for behavior, there is always physical evidence that resurfaces to put the final nail in your coffin of condemnation.

How do men really feel about women with "natural hair"

Why didn’t I realize that this would be a controversial topic?  If I knew I would be on the hot seat, I would have just nodded and kept my lips zipped.  I don't know why there is a perceived or actual conspiracy about natural hair. Do men really care one way or the other?

The way style and fashion are set up these days, hairstyles are as varying as clothes, even when worn by one person.  When I think of the all the different styles women wear, it's really cool.  Your personal style is an accessory to your personality.  The way a woman styles her hair can vary according to her mood, her political affiliations, beliefs, customs or any number of things.  Most of all, women should have fun with their style, not trapped or confined by convention.

Can you pick it

According to my good friend, a deeper conversation is going on behind the natural hairstyle movement. There is an automatic judgment that comes along with claiming this otherwise innocuous style for yourself. I have heard the conversations.

From the workplace to the casual stranger in public everyone has had something to say. Everyone judges everyone, it is the only way to facilitate understanding.  The problem is when people consider their assumptions as fact rather than a starting point for understanding.

The odd thing is, it works both ways.  The "chemical free" women reclaimed something lost to them during the relaxer revolution. The relaxed ladies accuse naturalistas of no longer caring about their appearance.  Natural hair requires much more time and effort than relaxed hair. The relaxer rangers say the naturalistas accuse them of encouraging a disingenuous appearance. Both sides believe men force them into style templates created by the media, templates focused on European standards.

There are other things to look at

From a male perspective, I don’t think that it matters.  I know that men have varying degrees of interest in the female appearance, but I believe most of that has to do with weight and style more than hair.  That is a completely different article and we are not inviting Pandora to dinner tonight.  The hair is part of the total package.

That is a completely different article and we are not inviting Pandora to dinner tonight.  The hair is part of the total package. I would like to encourage all women regardless of their hair choice, to focus on what works for them, their values and their lives.  Interested suitors will come.

I can't help but laugh

I must admit that I get unlimited entertainment from the YouTube natural-hair care tutorials.  The hosts tell other ladies to put everything from ketchup and mustard to olive oil and mayo on their hair.  Sometimes, you can't tell if you're doing a hair treatment or a salad. Best of all is when they show up to work or a date after one of those fails without being able to salvage the style! Check this out


Warning: Do not laugh while they are around if you want to live or not be verbally accosted.


If you create a style for yourself that suits you and allows you to exude the confidence you deserve, I am all for it.  If you, are unsure and need constant validation about your choice, you just keep on showing up at the salon, or popping into the CVS to get "The Cream". My advice, do what makes you feel best about you. Give up on trying to please people who are gonna think something very different from you intend at almost every turn.