He Might Be Wealthy, But Is He Healthy? Why Health Should Be A Dating Priority For Black Women

July 25, 2013  |  


We don’t seem to get it. We all know (or think we know) what we want in a man. We’ve carved him out of stone in our minds and intricately chiseled every detail about him, standing back with our arms folded in admiration of our work. However, our artistry when it comes to our dating checklists include everything under the sun except one of the main traits that could guarantee a long-lasting relationship: a healthy lifestyle.

It seems that we don’t demand better health of our potential partners. It almost seems irrelevant as it is rarely included when we discuss the perfect man.  Somehow, regardless of how informed we are of our culture’s damaging health habits, some of us look for the money, the leadership ability, the good looks, the good taste and the chivalry – all of which absolutely are feathers in the caps of the men we date. But within the black community – the community with only 55.9 percent of its people expected to live in good health – it seems that we do not take health into immediate consideration when choosing a mate.

Why isn’t it a non-negotiable? How does that make sense in the black community?

It seems that as long as he wines and dines us, is ambitious and wealthy, we can let the detrimental sweet tooth slide. Though he might be on the verge of diabetes and barely drinks water, it’s cool as long as he makes six figures.

I’m not telling you to go out and run brothas down because they don’t actively advocate for their own health through healthy diet, exercise, and regular check-ups. I do, however, invite you as a fellow black woman to reconsider what you deem important/”good enough” to date.  Should you choose to move forward with a man who is decidedly and selfishly unhealthy, the negative effects can and will reach far and wide into your future.

If we decide to date, it is only a proper assumption that at some point, we are seeking a relationship. And if we are seeking a relationship, it is only a proper assumption that we are expecting that relationship to yield long-term commitment, most often in the form of marriage. But what happens when health is not discussed? What happens when neither party informs the other of their family medical history? What happens when consistent poor health choices begin to catch up with you?

You begin to date a handsome top level advertising executive with two nice cars, a home just paid for, a healthy benefits package, but a not-so-healthy lifestyle. He makes a lot of money and spends a lot on you but drinks heavily on the social scene, is dedicated to a number of fast food chains, eating out every other night, and sees no real reason beyond a few push-ups here and there to exercise. Nothing about that lifestyle suggests a long life. Everything about that lifestyle suggests a future spilling over with medical bills, depression, anxiety, and resentment. Poor health breeds poor health in one way or another for all involved. While money and material things are a factor in relationships, health trumps them all by leaps and bounds.

It seems that we don’t consider health until health begins to visibly fail. Why is the most important factor the least important on our lists? Do we shy away from demanding healthy habits of others because of our own unhealthy ways? Are we too deeply stuck in the cultural rut of greasy, highly concentrated, fatty soul food and fast food that we don’t really see the harm it has done/is doing to our people?

Black women have a very large and influential role in our communities. Much more influential than we realize at times. Not only do we care for our communities, but we set the standards and rules in a variety of aspects, especially when dating. Men will only be/do what we, as black women, allow. An abusive man will only try his hand at consistent abuse if the woman allows that behavior. It is the same with health. We do not have to accept a partner with a staunch allegiance to unhealthy living. We do not have to accept any behavior that will cause us heartache or grief – whether now or in the long run.

It wouldn’t hurt to take a second look at our relationship expectations now would it?

La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.

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  • Lihau

    Look how upset the ‘brothas’ get when a woman says she wouldn’t date him because he is overweight.

    Every darn day you all are preaching to women about how their standards are too high or that they should give men a chance who they are not initially attracted to. And now, you all want to preach to women about looking at things you all told them to ignore.

    There is no ‘we’ in this. I absolutely look at a man’s eating habits and whether or not he is physically active. I feel absolutely disgusted when I see men posting pictures of their latest fast food run or asking to have a ‘female’ come over and cook for them.

  • RemyDelite

    The problem with articles like this and the black community in general, is that when it comes too this issue(Black women), is that with women there always hint of bias behind it, and a unfair point of view of about health in our “community”. The moment you catch a black man saying the same thing about a black woman and her health, it’s a automatic problem, or he must be this or that, but when the roles are reverse, it’s okay. I’m sick of it!

    I even see this in black media today where it’s okay to crap on fat guys, but the moment fat women jokes roll in, everyone is DEAD SILENT! WTF? Obesity is a big problem today in America, and for people who are health conscious, I agree that you should find someone who just as much into their health as you, but I can’t FREAKING stand this one sided, and not the other side BS. Your credibility is flaw, especially if your not in shape or really have your life together to cast stones, but again! If the roles were reverse, it’ll be a problem.





  • Miss D

    I’m not perfect but my health is a priority. I find it concerning when someone doesn’t care for their body – regardless of size. No one’s saying you need to run a marathon or become a vegan, but you gotta look after yourself. If I have to sacrifice my favorite foods or spend more time in the gym to live another 10 years, that’s absolutely worth it.

  • sabrina

    I actually appreciate a man who lives a healthy lifestyle, because I’m definitely conscious about that as well. It hurts me that my family doesn’t understand, nor care about, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Then they’ll tell me things like “You don’t need to go to the gym. You’re already skinny!” I’m not trying to lose weight though, I’m just trying to stay fit and healthy! Then they’ll turn up their nose and say I’m doing “foolishness” when I use my almond milk instead of dairy, my flax seed oil instead of hot sauce, and so on and so forth. -_-

    So having a man around that actually understands where I’m coming from and practices such things too is definitely a plus for me!

  • bluekissess

    The women should be practicing good health also. Demand being healthy for yourself

  • OliveValleydotnet

    It is completely unfair and unreasonable to expect a potential mate to have a certain attribute (like a healthy lifestyle) that you yourself do not have. If I have a muffin top, what do I look like complaining about someone else’s keg? Accountability starts with SELF.

    • Lisa

      Then start accounting!

  • Ray

    Im a black man, and I do find, Black women, usually ONLY CARE FOR what he brings to the table, what he can buy her, where she would be going to eat, and how big his danglies are. Never had a conversation about my stressful day at work, upcoming dr’s appts, ect.- black chicks are VERY materialistic….

    • LoveIsLove

      I think that’s truly unfortunate. 🙁

    • Lihau

      You aren’t talking to the right women.