Lessons for Life

Finding the right relationship is an inside job

Actress and comedian Niecy Nash offers relationship tips in her book, 'It's Hard to Fight Naked'

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Finding love

Finding love (Michaela Rehle / Reuters / February 10, 2012)

If you think there's no such thing as a good man, Niecy Nash is ready to set you straight.

"When you believe that there are good men out there, you will draw them to you," said Nash, a comedian and actress who dishes out relationship advice in her book, "It's Hard to Fight Naked" (Gallery Books). "What people don't realize is you attract the kind of person you are inside, so if you are broken and damaged, you're going to attract someone who is broken and damaged."

Nash, who married her second husband, Jay Tucker, in 2011, said you have to heal your wounds before you can be in a healthy partnership.

"Wanting love doesn't make you ready for it," she said. "If you want to get a ring, it starts by being comfortable in your own skin. Once you start working on your healing process if there needs to be one, the more whole, the more sound you are — the better the people are who show up."

Here are some of Nash's tips for relationship success:

No partner can complete you.

"You have to remember that a relationship is like money, it's only going to enhance what you already have and what you already are. It's not like this man or woman shows up and they are your cosmic bellhop giving you whatever you want or need and desire in life. You can't have your happiness and your well being contingent on what a partner will or won't provide. That's too much pressure."

Honesty really is the best policy.

"I told my husband in the first five minutes — he asked me, 'Do you want more children?' and I said, 'I got my tubes tied sir. I can't give you nothin' but a good time!' 'Do you want to get married?' 'I was married for 16 years and I would do it in a heartbeat for the right man.' Then he said, 'Let me get your number.' When you are honest, what you will find surprisingly is there is always someone out there who is going to want the same things you do."

Speak softly if you want to be heard.

"We have been socialized that if you talk loud, yell, if you're antagonistic or aggressive, that this is the way to be heard. But if you go back to the title of the book, when you are naked, you are your most vulnerable. Emotionally, you are exposed. In that place, there is no need for the carrying on."

Don't be something you're not.

"There is so much societal pressure to be a certain thing, to look a certain way, and it makes people insecure. Some women think they need to go out and look like a stripper because they think that's what men want. That may be the woman a man's trying to sleep with, but it's not the woman a man's trying to marry. Don't deviate from who are you are because you think you have to be something else to make someone happy."

jweigel@tribune.com

Twitter: @jenweigel

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