Expert psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake knows a thing or two about the up and downs and needs and wants of a relationship. Her book The Single Married Woman has received great reviews for inspiring, empowering and equipping women to find a way to thrive in their relationships without losing themselves.
Mind soother to NFL players and celebrities, Dr. Sherry makes it clear that everything is a process and as long as you never settle you’ll be happy in life and relationships. In Part I we got the scoop on her book and celebrity couples.
VIBE VIXEN: What do you think the fascination is with interracial relationships and everyone wanting to taste the different colors of the rainbow?
DR. SHERRY BLAKE: That’s one of those questions you have to look at very carefully. Sometimes it’s genuine love and it’s not about race or color; it’s about the fact that they fell in love with that person and they really care about the person. Many times, it’s about curiosity and stereotypical images African Americans have about other cultures, especially with African American men and white women. I had men tell me that they exclusively date white women or women of other races. The reality is that man has a lot of views from his past and baggage he is dragging and he won’t give African American women a fair shot. Anything she does is going to be connected to whatever his view is of black women.
Can you tell us a little about Toni Braxton’s obsession with white men? What do they have that no other ethnicity doesn’t?
It’s so funny, because I can’t comment on any individual person, but I know it’s been highlighted several times with her comments about white males. I think a lot of it, again, is curiosity. Just like there are views that work stereotypically for males viewing white women, there are some females that have views of men of other races. I think it works both ways. For Toni, in particular, I don’t know. Maybe she just wants to explore and maybe her mind is open at this point in her life where it really doesn’t matter. For many people, it’s okay and it doesn’t matter because they’re not holding on to all of the views of the past, so they’re going to find people that are going to treat them right and do what they need to have done and love them for who they are regardless of color. I think that in today’s society, interracial relationships are more accepting, and given that it’s become more common, it’s not as big a deal.
Are the problems that you see in relationships among celebrities any different than those of average every day people?
The problems remain the same. It’s not that the problems are different, it’s the issues surrounding the problems that make them unique. For example, we all sometimes have issues with communication, or we may have issues with trust or issues with other things. The issue with a celebrity is that it’s magnified and everybody knows about the problem. Once it hits the media, it gets blown out of proportion to the point that it makes it very difficult for them to really work through issues, because everyone has an opinion and everybody is making a comment. They may still love one another, but they don’t want to be viewed certain ways in the media, so they can’t allow themselves to remain together.
One couple is Rihanna and Chris Brown. It makes it very difficult for them to work out whatever is going on with them. Everybody is in their business and has an opinion. There are some people who are for Chris Brown and others who are for Rihanna. Yes, we saw some things, but we don’t know the gist of everything. Now that they did a project together, people were like, ‘Oh, my God! They’re going to get back together,’ and we don’t know how they feel about one another. No one takes to count the emotional part, so if I could recommend anything for the two of them is that they really do need to get into therapy and find someone that they can trust that’s not going to leak their business.
VV: If a man has a child with another woman and the child is younger than a year, should a girl keep it moving because he is still involved with his baby’s mother?
Not necessarily so. [Laughs] I say that because it depends on all the parties involved. If the man has a relationship with the woman and he has a baby that is less than a year old, it really says something in terms of his investment with the baby’s mother. But different things may happen for different reasons, whatever may be the case. If you are a new person, I would approach that relationship with caution, because how he treats that other woman may be the way he treats you. A lot of times we can learn so much by not talking but by observing. If the child is going to be a part of his life, at least until he or she is 18 years old, you really need to take a look at the mother, because like it or not, she will be involved in your life to some extent because she’s the baby’s mother.
When one person wants out of the relationship and the other wants to stay together, what steps do you take to resolve that?
I remind people that it takes two to make a relationship. You can want a relationship all day, but if someone doesn’t want you, you don’t have a relationship. You can jump hurdles and do back flips for the person and try to please them. But if they really do not want you, you’re just going through exercise. So I say, start with honesty and really explore the reasons 1) why the person wants to be there, and 2) explore why the other person wants to leave.
Would you say being honest with yourself is the key to being happy and finding someone you can be content with?
Absolutely. Being brutally honest. Sometimes you have to hear things you don’t want to hear, and you have to take time to really process what you’re about and what you really want in life. If we don’t know, someone else will give us direction and tell us and that may not be what you want. Don’t settle and never lose your voice. Often times we start settling for things because we are desperate, and we feel that if we don’t settle, we’ll never have. But when your settling you’re doing just that. You may have to compromise with some things, but that’s entirely different than settling.
Do you think sex changes things for a man when he sees that a girl may give it up too fast?
You know men and women view sex differently. For many men, sex is just sex. Nothing more and nothing less. But for women, it has a whole different meaning. Sometimes they think, ‘I’m in love,’ and unfortunately that’s not the case. When you are sexually active very quickly in a relationship, I do think that it changes the perspective for the man because he knows, without question, that you’re going to give it up to someone else very quickly.