I have a bunch of 30 and 40-something year old friends who are single and want to eventually be married. These ladies are not losers. They’re awesome, fun, happy, smart and gorgeous. I’m not a relationship expert (thank goodness, we really don’t need more of that). But I have a very clear perspective from which to speak from when it comes to barriers I see to meeting and keeping that special someone. I’ve been very happily married for almost 18 years to a man I wasn’t even looking for, who is not just like me, and who gets on my last nerve sometimes.

My husband and I

My husband and I

Gone of the days of the tired old tactics to trick or capture some unsuspecting dude and attach a ball and chain to his ankle and calling it a relationship. I am not offering the same stupid advice that we are so nauseated from hearing from well-meaning but clueless male celebrities, people outside our culture, and unhappy single spinsters. I’ll mention but I’m not going to address the common stereotypes and media myths about single black people who are unhelpful and just plain ridiculous such as:

•There’s a black man shortage because of jail, homosexuality and women of other races
•There’s a lack of men in our economic (materialism) level
•Our men are intimidated by our education, income, or confidence
•We’re too damaged to attract healthy men into relationships
•Our men are commitment phobic
•Black women need to be more like [fill in the blank with another race] women to get a man

Instead, how about focusing on the real issue at hand, which is that there is a great guy out there who is looking for you to be his special someone? You can so easily change the tone from crisis and desperation to relaxing into things and being open for romance to just happen. I am quite simply offering observations that I hope will be fresh and helpful for all the fantastic black women out there who would like to share their lives with a very special man someday soon, and who don’t buy into the negative media hype.

Always remember to have fun

I met my husband at a difficult time in my life when I was kicked out of undergrad for lack of funds, moved back to my parents’ house only to be told that they were moving to a state I didn’t want to live in, and so had abruptly moved into a townhouse with 3 other young people. I had a cool but low paying newspaper job and drove a Volkswagen Beetle that was a year older than me. Despite my difficulties, I was not miserable. I did things to enjoy myself that were within my tiny budget, which is how my husband and I met, just hanging out with friends. You’re probably in a different part of life right now, not the early 20-year-old peasant stage, but in the vibrant professional stage but the advice is the same. Don’t be too busy to have fun.

Don’t scrutinize compatibility, just relax and let friendship happen

We met through a mutual friend and hit it off immediately. We became very good friends before we became exclusive. (And btw, I was not looking for a man, because I already had one…ooops! scandal!) I hesitate to say that we ever “dated” because the term brings up images of a series of stressful, evaluative job interviewesque meetings that are never lighthearted or fun. We just hung out, grabbed cheap food, and laughed and goofed off together. Who knew I’d be married to him for 17 years and counting, despite the fact that I’m Bahai and he’s 7th Day Adventist, that he’s old skool blue collar, or that we’re both Capricorns? I have seen women looking for a man who has all the same interests she does. But difference keeps things interesting! I (still) introduce my hubby to new things, he introduces me to new things, and we make new discoveries together, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes opposites make practical compliments. I met a hardcore badass activist who only considered hardcore badass activist men. I asked her, who is gonna hold down the fort while you’re out changing the world?

Don’t waste time forcing yourself into social events with the hopes of meeting him on the spot

The truth is, you never know where or how you might meet him. “Put yourself out there”, they say! Yeah yeah yeah, they say he might be at the grocery, a pretentious-ass professional happy hour or a painting and wine drinking class, but you might just meet him because you attended an all ladies knitting group and hit it off with his sister, who then invites you to a cookout where you meet him. It’s a mystery and an adventure. Just go with doing whatever you like. And keep in mind that your meeting might not be direct, but through a series of other people. My mother married my stepfather, who was my grandmother’s neighbor’s brother, who came to visit from another country. True story.

Look at the big picture when considering whether or not to keep him once you meet

He’s only human. He will annoy you and you’ll annoy him. You will disagree. But how important are these things in the long run? It’s obvious that if the two of you don’t have a similar enough value system, or relationship expectations it may not work. But less obvious is that there are always going to be things that you and he just put up with. I hate the way my cute husband eats corn on the cob. He’s a hoarder (ok, I’m exaggerating). He hates the way I (don’t) take care of my car. So we hired a housekeeper. He takes care of my car (after much fussing or some special “favors” – oops, TMI). I just got over the corn cob issue. Sometimes either of us make a bad decision that wastes too much money. So we work it out together. Ok, you get the picture.

Being single and black is not a crisis. The man of your dreams may be right under your nose, or around the corner. Just don’t become discouraged or bogged down by all the negative hype and things will work themselves out.

Regal Resource: For another awesomely positive perspective on single black womanhood check out Happy Black Woman.

I want to hear from you:

  • Do you agree?
  • Were these tips helpful?
  • Share your own experiences with love whether single, dating, or married