Every few months, our community discusses the so-called epidemic of single and unmarried Black women. With the success of Steve Harvey’s Think Like A Man (adapted from his book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man), the discussion is back on. While Harvey’s best-seller aimed to teach Black women about male mentality, Hill Harper’s book, The Conversation: How Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships, offers self-reflection and communicative assessments as solutions for maintaining long-lasting relationships. I lean towards Harper’s expository work for my relationship education.
The decades-old query of why Black women are single and unmarried is a tedious, yet necessary topic. Responding to such an inquest calls for a series of discussions and posts. As a divorced Black woman exclusively involved with a majestic Black man whom I adore, I cite lack of substantive communication and undisclosed expectations as the major culprits of singleness and “unmarriedness.”
Communication, or lack thereof
If we’re talking, we’re communicating, right? Wrong. What are you talking about? Are you discussing the future of your relationship? Or, are you talking about those crazy chicks at the office or his baby’s mama? Talking to your man is wonderful, ladies. I’m all for that. But, before we hop in the bed with a dude expecting him to become our man, there are some serious inquiries that should be communicated. Questions like: What is your idea of commitment? (Because he could’ve considered his philandering father committed). What goals are you trying to accomplish in the next 5 years? (Because those goals might not include marriage or a relationship). What are your expectations of women you are involved with? It is imperative that such issues be discussed in order to establish and maintain a successful relationship.
Where there’s lack of communication, there’s undisclosed expectations. If we don’t ask our mates (or potential mates) certain questions, we are setting our relationships up for failure. Do you hold high the traditional roles of Black men? Do you expect your man to be King of the Castle? Is he expecting you to be Suzy Homemaker? Are you expecting your man to spend a considerable amount of time at home? Or do you encourage him to still hang with his boys on a regular? Are you all faithful churchgoers? Are you expecting him to help you raise your kids? These issues seem simple enough, but not disclosing your expectations of your man (and his expectations of you) could be a fatal misstep in your relationship.
While some of us independent women chime on about not needing a man, I don’t buy it. You might not need a man, but it certainly is nice to have one. And, if you’re going to have one, why not try to make it long-lasting? Communication and disclosing expectations will save you lots of time and heartache on your quest for your King.