By J.J. Smith:-
We've all heard on Oprah, CNN, ABC News, and the Washington Post that 70% of black women are single, and 42% are unmarried. We've even recently heard a young black women (Helena Andrews) say that she is successful, black and lonely and that “Bitch is the New Black”. Helena's story is probably the most heartfelt as I can relate to her, when I was in my 20s that is... but now at 40, I can say that there are many things that I have learned about Black men and 2 that stand out the most are that:
1) “Being a bitch” was never going to get me the love I desired from black men. (Note: Being a bitch as in being mean, argumentative, hard to get along with, bitter, etc.)
2) Our "credentials" don't attract men! Just because WE feel that we are successful, independent, professional and educated doesn't mean that's we're attractive to men, or even datable for that matter. I have learned that it is our EXTERIOR that gets a man's attention (smile, look, personality, non-bitchy attitude, confidence and overall attractiveness) and our INTERIOR (our love for God, family, friends, being honest, supportive, respectful, emotionally stable, goal-oriented) that keeps a man coming back for more.
Even though many news organizations have provided the statistics I mentioned above, I've rarely seen these media outlets offer any real solutions. In fact, I've yet to hear anyone really explain the REAL reasons so many black women are single, as its much more complicated than the “numbers.” I personally don't believe in allowing the media to exploit this issue and give an appearance that Black people have issues and challenges that we cannot solve on our own. As a single, successful black women, I refuse to allow the media to make me feel bad or desperate about the plight of the “single black female,” especially given the personal and professional success sistas have made in a male-dominated world. So, Black men and women, WE can facilitate our own discussion on this challenge and identify real solutions that work for us. I'll begin by offering a 2-part article to address this challenge. In Part 1, I will discuss the real reasons why so many Black women are single... because you know the media isn't telling the whole story and in Part 2: I will offer 10 practical solutions for women who are looking to find a “good man.” Please feel free to share other suggestions!
The Real Reasons So Many Black Women are Single:
*Note: Some of the reasons could apply to women that are not black, but the focus of this article is on Black women because that's all we keep hearing about in the media these days.
There are many factors that have lead to why so many Black women are single, but I believe the most significant factors are listed below:
1. The Black Man Shortage (as I read on Essence.com):
42% of Black women are unmarried. 70% of professional Black women are single. The numbers don't lie and there is a real gap between “datable” Black women and men. Even if there is some degree of inaccuracy in the numbers, if you just talk to Black women, many will agree that there are some challenges finding a “good black man, ” that is... one that is not behind bars, gay, or with other races. I'm also fully aware of this challenge due to the number of Black women who write me about it every week. So, the statistics do play a role in this challenge, but it does not tell the whole story. Please read on!
2. Too Many Black Women Have Bought Into the Stereotypes On Who They Are:
The perception that Black women are hard to get along with, mean, bitchy, argumentative, bitter, etc. has become a reality for too many black women. I know, because I used to be that way (and still have relapses on occasion but irrational behavior and constantly “going off” on people, especially your man, is not an attractive quality to have when trying to maintain a relationship with a man. I had to LEARN that just because I was running things at work, didn't mean I was going to run things with my man. So, I had to “check my attitude” at the door when dealing with my black man. Maybe a man really needs to be the head of the household, and if you don't trust that he can be, then leave him alone and move on. A wise man once told me that anything with two heads is a monster, so only 1 can be head of the household, and for me, I prefer it to be my man. Sistas, we know we have carried too much of the financial and emotional burden of raising our families alone, but we should use that to draw strength from and not allow that to make us emotionally weaker. I remember being in my 20s at a management consulting firm I worked for and this brother told me that I would definitely make Partner but no one would ever like me because I was so damn mean, and I actually was naïve enough to take that as a compliment; not realizing that my “meanness and bitchiness” had spilled over into my personal life and keeping me from attracting and keeping good men in my life.
3) Many Black Women Have Made a Conscious Decision To Be Single:
I know you're saying yea right. But this is actually true. I know personally for me, I have been married before, but I prefer to be single, especially since I don't want to have children. Personally, I am not looking to get married again, but I'm not opposed to the idea either. If I meet someone who makes me feel that being married to them is better than my freedom and the luxuries of my single life, then I would consider getting married again. The most important thing to me is to have quality, meaningful relationships with men with similar dreams, goals and interests in life. People fall in love and marry because it's the tradition. Men and women have been getting married since before recorded history. Until recently, America was the most “married” nation in the world. But now many ask, “Do I have to be married to live happily ever after?” In today's society, people have a strong desire to simply be happy, whether that means being married or unmarried. Being single is not synonymous with being “alone”. Many single people do have a meaningful love relationship in their life. Society makes people think that end goal of two people who love each other is a “traditional monogamous marriage” but I don't believe everyone fits that model. Whoever said dating has to end in marriage? If marriages were so great, why do more than half of them end in divorce? So, there are really some women who are happy being single... Seriously!
4) Black Men Don't See Many of the Qualities That They So Much Admire in Their Mothers and Grandmothers:
To say it's just a shortage of black men is only a small part of the problem, but as Black women we have to re-evaluate who we are and who we've become today. Black men don't see the strong, quiet strength of their mothers and grandmothers; neither the homemaking/cooking skills either. In my book Why I Love Men, I have a section called “Never Underestimate the Relationship Between a Man and His Mother” that discusses this further. A wise woman understands the precious bond between a man and his mother. You're not going to change it nor would you want to. A mother is very proud of her son, especially if he's a good man. His mother values him. His mom and grandmother has loved him unconditionally all his life, and well, you, not so long. If you want a smooth relationship with a Black man, be sure you understand WHY he loves his mom so much and it will help you build a stronger relationship with him. And, if you don't know why he admires and loves his mom so much, ask him. In fact, a huge red flag for me is when a guy doesn't have any relationship with his mother, and she is still living. Or if he speaks to his mother in a disrespectful or harsh manner, he will likely treat you the same way.
5) Black Women Have Spent Their Best Years Pursuing Their Education and Career Goals not Realizing that Their Strongest Assets (e.g., Looks, Fertility) Decrease With Age:
I know this may be unpopular, but it is the truth. A woman who wants to have a family should capitalize on her looks, age, and fertility while she is young instead of only focusing on chasing the high-powered career. I believe (and of course I could be wrong) that a man would more likely be with a young, fine woman that is less educated and makes him feel good (in terms of stroking his ego) then an average looking woman with a great career and education.) If marriage and having children is important to you, you may want to NOT focus as much time on pursuing your career goals, but spend more time pursuing and developing meaningful love relationships while you're young, perky and fertile. If you want a husband and family, you have to pursue it with the same focus and attention you did to achieve your career goals, and by all means, don't let you looks, fashion sense, and overall attractiveness go downhill. Note: In my book, Why I Love Men: The Joys of Dating, I share insider secrets, practical advice and techniques that any woman can use to maximize her physical beauty without cosmetic surgery, because as shallow as it may sound, how physically attractive you are is very important to men, and should also be to you if you are seriously looking to attract and keep a man.
6) Black Men Struggle More Than Any Other Group of People in Society and in the Workplace:
You have to ask why are there so many black men in prison and under-educated? Why is the unemployment rate so high for black males? Why is the suicide rate so high for black males? Why are so many black men absent in their child's life? Why are black males struggling more than other group of people? We have to better understand the struggles of Black men to really increase the number of “datable” black men...and I'm no expert on the answers to these questions and I know when I'm out of my lane, but there are others who have studied Black males and written on this topic and could surely provide some answers to these questions.
7) Black Women Haven't Adjusted to the New Hypercompetitive Dating Environment That Exists Today:
Many of the traditional rules of courtship don't exist, for better or for worse, Black women have to do things differently to attract and maintain a long-term relationship with a man. And, if you think about it, most of us have never been taught how to date to find a compatible partner. There was no college course for it. Yes, many women have received advice from family or friends. We may have taken advice from other single women. But most of us are winging it as we go. There are some women who are obviously better at it than others. In Why I Love Men: The Joys of Dating, I've consolidated the best strategies that I have learned from friends, relatives and my own experiences and frankly some of the best practical advice that I have ever received and successfully applied to attract the type of men I wanted in my life and they did show up. These strategies have worked for others and they can work for you. You can't continue doing the same thing and expect different results. It is time to change your approach to dating!
So, those are my thoughts, I'd love to hear why you think so many Black women are single and please be sure to read Part 2: 10 Things Single Black Women Should Do to Find a “Good Man.”
Also, check out “Real Talk with JJ and The Fellas” see www.jjsmithonline.com, as we will dedicate our radio shows the entire month of January (1/13 and 1/27) we to discuss this topic so that Black men and women can have real dialogue and discuss real solutions. You can check out the show nationally, so please join in the discussion!
J.J. Smith is a Dating and Relationship Expert, Author, Radio Host, Life Coach and Corporate Executive. J.J. is also the host of "Real Talk with JJ and The Fellas," a radio show that provides advice to single women looking for real answers on love, dating, sex and relationships. J.J has appeared on NBC, FOX, NewsChannel8, Glamour Magazine, Ladies Home Journal. the Jamie Foxx Show, Montel Williams Show, Michael Baisden Show, HOT97, KISS 98.7 and many others. J.J. is also the Dating and Relationship Columnist for Black Star News. J.J.'s engaging personality, and no-holds barred dating books offer sometimes controversial guidance that has been grabbing readers and listeners, both men and women alike, and keeping them coming back for more!
J.J. Smith is available to discuss this topic on print/radio/TV. Feel free to contact her at email@example.com at 202-230-7195 or visit her at www.jjsmithonline.com to view her demo reel and media clips.
Twitter/Facebook username: jjsmithonline
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