It’s Not You Ladies – The Truth About Men, Mid Twenties & Relationships
A look into the young Black man’s soul, the truth about Black love, particularly those in their late twenties to mid thirties
I would like to think that I get it. I’m a man approaching my thirties, with a dynamic group of friends, most of whom are young ladies. It goes without saying that these women are beautiful inside and out, knowingly or otherwise. These are some intelligent, business savvy, career oriented, degree having, dream chasing, savings account accruing, I can do for myself and got the receipts to prove it, picture perfect and not even just for the gram, Black girl magic leaving glitter in their tracks, women! Yet, far too often, the one thing they are missing is a man who is her equivalent, and up to the task to be her counterpart. That Barack to their Michelle. The complaints are generally the same and the options are seemingly few to begin with. But ladies allow me to explain for the men who can’t find the words. Allow me to provide you a look into the young Black man’s soul… because you’ll probably never get into his brain. Thread with an open mind, and remember, it’s not you ladies!
This piece is literally five months in the making, I wrote a lot of this as a comment on a New Year’s resolution type post back in January and my mind was set to make it into a larger story a couple weeks later, but you know, life got in the way. Nonetheless, it’s here, for you. To be clear I can’t speak for every Black man, and can’t claim to know everything he’s thinking or what position he’s currently in life, but I think I can guide you in the right direction of what a lot of Black men are dealing with when it comes to love, in those mid twenty to early thirty years of life.
The Truth About “Young Love”
Let’s keep it all the way real. That young marriage stuff was for the 1950s, 60s, even the 70s. Putting that in context, the women’s suffrage movement was the 1910s, and women (read that as white women) got the right to vote in 1920, but it took some time to adapt to where women and men were on an “equal playing field.” Equal pay wasn’t even a thought and there was a clear dominate role for the man. A guy could settle down whenever HE was ready, because girls, or young ladies were strictly for the taking/choosing. And while white women found equality to their male counterparts by the late 1950s or so, the Civil Rights movement set Black men and women up for a much longer wait, so it’s safe to say we didn’t get our bearings until the 1980s. And because of that we’ve always been pretty much on the same playing field.
Once a new generation of Black women came up and got up on that even plane, Black men had other things to worry about. Not to mention all the empowerment that came from the independent women movement. Now we had to keep up and work to stay ahead because to be chivalrous and all that, you need something to stand on. For Black men we had to figure out our life, fast, just to make things even with women. To this day, it still feels like we need a fast hustle if we truly want to be ahead, which is where we want to be in order to be “ready” to have a serious relationship.
I figure you don’t often hear these conversations/debates in “white people’s circles” about finding young love or a man who’s ready because for the most part they got long money. No worries, men are still doing better than women from birth. Don’t let them be a Jewish man, because that bar mitzvah money [13 year old becomes a man, so gifts galore] got the wedding taken care of!
Black folks though… For a young Black man, who is thinking about marriage when they are still trying to figure out themselves??? And trying to navigate this thing called life.
Black Women on the other hand are seemingly doing good. Women don’t pay for dates, or to get into the club or even for the drinks at the lounge (at least you shouldn’t be and aren’t expected to). So that’s all extra money to go into your savings. That’s not to say you don’t have expenses, obviously you do, but those things listed are just some things you can bypass that men can’t get around.
The truth of the matter is that Black women generally go for higher education faster than their male counterparts. Black women currently earn about two thirds of all African-American bachelor’s degrees, 70 percent of all master’s degrees and more than 60 percent of all doctorates, according to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Simply put, the Black woman is set, faster. They generally start working in a field they enjoy quicker and they are quicker to settle into something they like.
90% of Black men you’ll ever meet wanted to be a rapper/baller til he was 14, 15, 16… 21. (okay that’s not a factual statistic, but it sounds about right) Shit, by the time they realize that dream is DEAD, they have to start all over again with what their FUTURE looks like. Especially since most of those dreamers didn’t have an active back-up plan otherwise. Keep it real, for those of you that are actively dating, how many 30 year olds have you met recently that are still chasing a Hip-Hop career pipe dream? [Watch baby, when my mixtape drop, we gonna straight!!!]
It’s not your fault that we (I say that loosely) didn’t get our minds right. And you did your part so why should you settle for less. I’m not making excuses, just showing you our truths. The whole young love, married by 25 (or even 30) stuff is a bleak option for a lot of men and it’s not even a concept we can wrap our heads around.
And I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.
The Truth About Finances
I’ve already touched on it a bit, but REALLY, who paying for the wedding?! You know the whole tradition that the bride’s father pays for the wedding? Hate to say it, but daddies ain’t around for a lot of these women. And many who are can’t afford to pay that type of expense. Moms ain’t paying for it solo… So that whole bride’s family is paying stuff has been out the window for some time. So a Black man knows he’s gotta at least go “halfsies” on this spectacular event that she been planning since she was hopping out her huggies, so her expectations are usually HIGH. Again, I understand the exceptions here, however this is where your bridezilla counterparts and our own dreaming exes might get us in trouble.
If the man has done it right or even close to the correct way, he done paid for a lot of the dates. And all the money he has put to the side has to go to the ring, which ladies I don’t know if you ever priced one (you probably already have yours picked out so you probably have)… but umm… 52 weeks in a year, getting paid every two weeks, rent too damn high especially if you living in a city like New York, let’s just say a year of putting your coins in a piggy bank probably won’t cut it…
The Truth About Men Not Knowing What They Want (And The Misunderstandings That Come With It)
This wouldn’t be complete without a look into ‘that type of man’. The one that says he loves you, but cheats. The one who says he wants to be with you, but is distant. The one who makes an effort in spurts, but ultimately isn’t living up to your potential. Understandably these types of men can be instant deal breakers. Have standards, as you should. But understand that relationships can be tricky for Black men. (Women as well, but differently)
If I may be so bold, I’ll speak on behalf of Black men for this section, based on what I’ve been told and what I’ve seen. Do ask for verification from the men in your life because it’s not the same for all men, and that should go without saying.
Mindset is big and important. We certainly don’t enter into every relationship thinking this may be my wife someday and I will move forward as such. In fact, marriage isn’t on the brain at all until someday you’re removing crust from her eyes or you smell a fart and you think, ‘oh well… this may be the one.’
That said, every relationship is a fresh slate and every day you have a new opportunity to access your needs, wants, level of happiness and level of short term potential over anything. If a man can’t enjoy the day to day then do realize the long term is out the question. This is no different than for a woman I would like to believe. I think what makes us different is that a woman is quick to decide if it’s worth it or not because she’s looking long term and the thought process is that this man will also make his mind up on the long term by six months or so. While some men can make up their mind that quickly, I assure you the majority of men don’t work quite as fast.
And since he’s thinking more about the short term he doesn’t need as much to keep him interested in the moment. It truly doesn’t take much to keep a man interested. If he can watch ESPN highlights all day, with the same plays and same news being replayed and retold every hour, believe me, he doesn’t need much.
That said, commitment issues can be a real thing. For many reasons. Sometimes we sabotage ourselves because we can’t commit, intentionally or otherwise. I do think that can be worked through over time though, once we get past picturing that short term. But it takes time depending on how deeply rooted those commitment issues/fears are.
The lack of successful relationship examples are a big root to those fears. Men also suffer from past hurt that can linger into new relationships. The last factor in all that is how they’ve been impacted by life failures and rejections. I talked a minute ago about hoop dreams, and rap dreams and while those are small, they also represent a number of other possible dreams men pursue that they can fail miserably at. How many losses does a person take before they begin to question everything? And question the timing of everything. You love many things in life, especially in your teens and early twenties and if that love didn’t or doesn’t blossom into success—whatever that looks like to you—how can you look at a love for a person much differently? I don’t even think these are things we consciously even consider, but I think they impact us.
Need I go on ladies?! I’ma need ya’ll to go into the rest of 2016 with a renewed outlook on this now that you understand the truth about Black Love from the young man’s point of view.