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Hi Dr.Aesha,

Is it me or is the dating pool for black women getting pretty non-existent? A little background on me: I’m single, 31 y/o black female, traditional christian beliefs, no kids. I do love our black men, but have come to the resolution that maybe I am not meant to date them. This is not to bash them, but i feel like it is taboo to talk to even my friends about this because they don’t understand what it’s like to truly ” walk in life based on your beliefs. Most of my friends have my beliefs, but are very compromising, because they have men. For example, I believe if a man cheats on you then it’s an automatic breakup…especially since you (the woman have not cheated)…but these women are willing to have “half a man” than none. So I’m at a point where I’m being told by men ” no one is perfect”…and the women are saying “girl all men cheat”. To me being “perfect” and not cheating are two different things. It is very isolating (but I won’t let up) to truly live a life that is consistent with your beliefs. I have, however, noticed that when I talk to women from different cultures that they share my beliefs and are steadfast. In fact, having a “standard” is promoted by the family and is expected. It is so surreal to see and feel the difference in how women are valued..and how families nurture their daughters in other cultures. As I get older, I truly appreciate the value of being patient and letting God control my destiny. I guess I just wish there were more people that look like me that supported and nurtured those beliefs. I think our daughters need to hear it and be amongst women who walk the walk and to remind them that it is the right thing to do…..especially in my age group….that supportive group is hard to find. You can’t even express yourself without being labeled as “man bashing” or “self hate” or “sell out.”

-SACW

 

*****

Dear SACW (I”m assuming this stands for Single African American Christian Woman?),

You asked me, “Is it me or is the dating pool for black women getting pretty non-existent?”

It’s you.

And I mean that in the nicest, most kindest way possible. You see, I believe in telling the truth and shaming the devil around these parts. And based upon the fact that I’ve helped Christian women meet amazing men (and some them are engaged or married), I just can’t get with the “there are no good Black men out there” story you’re trying to sell me.

Oh, I know there are some toxic men out there. And I know that dating can be challenging because you meet a lot of them. But to believe that the dating pool is non-existent is essentially saying 1) out of millions of men around the world, not ONE man is good enough for you 2) out of all the women in the world, a Black woman can’t attract a man who is compatible with her.

These are limiting beliefs and they will absolutely stop you from attracting a husband. Let me shed light on how you may have gotten here and what you can do to heal this toxic thinking.

You’re telling yourself a story that pretty much makes you the only quality woman with standards out there. (I hear you say that not even your friends live their beliefs!) This story is rooted in limiting beliefs that create a self-fulfilling prophesy. You believe there are no good men. Therefore you meet no good men (see what I did there?)

The fact is dating is challenging because 90% of the men you’re gonna meet are not good matches for you. But that doesn’t mean EVERYONE is a bad person.

So let’s break it down:

You believe you’re the only one living with morals and standards. So you’ve surrounded yourself with friends who have a different lifestyle than you. I’m curious why these women are still your friends, and why you ask them for dating advice, if you don’t approve of how they live out their faith. There are many women who believe what you believe. I know, because I coach them every day!

For example, I know of a woman who was 45, traditional Christian, never married, no kids. She wore this title as a badge of honor and only had 3 friends on Facebook because she believed that she was the only one living according to God’s laws when it came to relationships. She also believed all men out there were “fornicators” and liars, yet she still wanted marriage. When she did meet a man who matched her values, was in his 40s and had never been married nor had any kids, she thought something was wrong with him.

Here’s why this can happen: sometimes we enjoy being the “good one” out of all of our friends as a way to cover up our own flaws. We can then say, “No one else lives like me.” Putting yourself in a category of one is also a sign that you believe there’s nothing out there that can help you (or that you don’t need any help at all.)

Creating an identity based upon your goodness while ignoring your badness, is a surefire way to stay isolated and to lack empathy which makes people around you feel like you’re better than them. You won’t be able to connect because you can’t see yourself as “one” of them. Drs John Townsend and Henry Cloud, co-authors who have written many books on Christian dating and relationships, say this is the hallmark of an unsafe person. They put it this way:

“This “I’m better than you” dynamic produces a lot of shame and guilt in people who are associated with this type of unsafe person. It significantly blocks intimacy because the two people are never on “even ground,” which is where human intimacy takes place. It sets up comparison, competitive strivings, defensiveness and alienation.”

I’m guessing what you call “traditional Christian beliefs” is partly responsible for how you got here. Traditional Church is based on legalistic views of God, instead of being rooted in grace and the work of the cross. It has done more harm than good in its teachings about “sin”, in essence teaching us that those people out there in the world are bad, and those of us in the 4-walls are good. In addition, their teachings to women is that they have to be “good girls” (while letting boys be boys) otherwise God will withhold their blessing from them. The teaching requires you to live up to some standard of perfection that not even God himself requires. I know, because I tried living this way throughout most of my 20s. But when I fell short, I received the punishment from the church in terms of being shamed and exposed while they attempted to restore and save the ministry of my boyfriend. Double standard? Yup!

But that experience led to one of the most spiritually empowering times of my life. I was closer to God than ever and came to understand the breadth, height, width and length of His love. My belief that I had to be perfect or else shifted to I am holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1). I understood in the depths of my soul that I was His Beloved. And it was from this place that my perspective on men changed.

I didn’t need a perfect man. I didn’t need to go around telling everyone I had standards. I just needed to live them and communicate my boundaries.

As a result, I met my husband who wasn’t perfect. We weren’t perfect when we were dating, and actually lived short of our standard of not sleeping together prior to marriage (GASP!) And we still aren’t perfect. But we grow together in love. We honor God with our marriage. We do our best and let God do the rest.

That’s the kind of relationship you need. But if you hold on to this belief that you won’t find a Black man who lives like that, when you do encounter men who could be a great partner for you, he will be turned off by the energy that you’re carrying that says, “I’m better than you.” Don’t believe me? Check out this quote directly from a man:

“Ladies, if you encounter a man whose prayer life isn’t as seasoned as yours don’t throw it in face verbally…. If he is giving a sincere effort to get to your level, be patient and encourage him! If you don’t he will run the other away because he feels your expectations of him are too high especially if he has other options.”

The trouble with impossible standards is that they invite shame and a feeling of worthlessness when we don’t live up to them. And the problem with limiting beliefs is they feel absolutely true. And so we look for evidence to support it. As you stated in your letter to me, you’ve encountered men who cheat on you and your response to this is to dig your heels deeper in your standards and to assert that the dating pool for Black women is nonexistent. That’s quite a stretch. The more appropriate response would be, I need to choose different men.

Would it shock you to discover that a man in his 40s wrote me a similar letter, claiming that there were no Black women out there who weren’t promiscuous and that he knew this was true because every woman he dated for the past 15 years had cheated on him. It’s interesting to me that you both have similar experiences in love and have come to the same conclusion. And it’s interesting to me that you both are struggling with finding a spouse. (Read my letter to him here)

No, you don’t have to share a man. No, you don’t have to tolerate men who cheat on you. No, you don’t have to only date Black men. But if you want lasting love and a marriage that honors God, you’ve got to stop believing that no more good men exist.

Just because you haven’t met him yet, doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist. If you don’t believe it’s possible to meet him, you’ll keep passing up potential partners.

Love,

Dr. Aesha