Have you or one of your girlfriends ever said the following words?
“Black men are intimidated by my success”
“I’m beginning to believe there are no men out there who are serious about marriage…”
“All the good men are marrying outside the race”
These sayings feel true, but in reality they’re myths that are messing up our relationships! Let’s deal with them, one by one, so we can get to the truth and strengthen our relationships.
Myth #1: Black men are intimidated by successful women
Sisters, if a man is intimated by your success, the answer is simple. He’s the wrong man!
But not all men are intimidated by your accomplishments. Many men report that they don’t have a problem with a sister’s success. They just don’t know where they fit in within her world. They aren’t intimidated. They’re feeling isolated!
It’s true that some men are carrying around outdated ideas about gender roles, family, and what their responsibility is in a relationship. Others are just confused about what the sisters really want.
For example, many men still think they have to be the breadwinner in the family or else they feel less than a man. Their whole sense of manhood is linked to what they do in the boardroom (and in the bedroom too!)
Some accomplished black women still have this expectation of men. In one breath, these sisters will tell me they just want to build a life with someone, but they still require a man who is as ambitious, as successful and as financially independent as they are (and in some cases, they expect him to do better than they do).
We can’t have it both ways, sisters. He’s either your provider or your partner in success.
Myth #2: Black men aren’t serious about marriage
One of the biggest complaints sisters share with me is that they wasted years with a man who made them believe in the beginning that they wanted love, commitment and marriage. But in the end, didn’t ever put a ring on it.
These sisters feel like men were just lying to them. The truth is, the guys may not have been lying. They just changed their mind but didn’t know how to tell you.
They didn’t love you enough to commit to you and they were afraid to say it. That hurts, I know, but embracing that truth can help you move on quickly.
So what do men think about love and marriage?
I’ve had men tell me they feel the pressure to get married and they’re often stigmatized for being single. But they also have fears and insecurities that can keep them from committing fully.
On the one hand, they feel like they don’t have it all together enough for a sister to want them. They have a home, but they’re still in debt. The’ve got a career, but they don’t feel like they’re successful enough. So they keep pursuing the moving target called “Good Enough” and they won’t settle down, because they don’t believe they can make a woman happy.
You may feel like a good man is hard to find, but the bottom line is there are many men who are serious about marriage. You just have to know where to position yourself to be found by one.
Myth #3: Black men don’t want black women
The census data does show that Black men marry women outside their race more than any other race of men. However, that doesn’t mean that ALL brothers prefer to date and marry interracially. The census data also shows that 88% of married Black men have African American wives.
If a brother is married to someone outside his race, don’t take it personally. It’s just his preference!
What should we do about these myths?
First, we need to do the work of sorting out what the modern shifts in gender roles mean for us in 21st Century dating, relationships and marriage. Guys, you can’t let a sister’s success shape how you define yourself as a man. Sisters, we have to open up and let the guys in. Make him feel needed and appreciate what he does contribute.
Second, both men and women need to replace all these sayings with one simple phrase: “All men aren’t like that.”
Third, let’s keep the lines of communication open and stop making assumptions about each other. Clarity is power!