Single Black Professional Women: Are You Being Forced to “Settle” in Love?
By Kariba Williams
Let me start by saying that my friend is awesome. She’s gorgeous, intelligent, independent, and works for a major television network. She comes and goes as she pleases and takes exotic vacations at liberty. As Ne-yo would say, she’s got her own. What she and I can’t wrap our minds around is the fact that she’s still single. She’s conquered everything except for her love life. At 21, we would talk for hours about the type of men we would marry. At that time, her ideal mate was tall, handsome, had a career, owned a nice vehicle, had his own apartment, good credit and no children. Once she found her own career path, she was more than confident that the man she wanted wasn’t too far from her reach. After all, she does have a lot to offer and Mr. Right was probably two office buildings away, right? Fast forward to 2012 and at age 30, my friend will now settle for a man with a good job (maybe a city job if he’s passionate about it), no car, has a roommate, and can still afford to take care of his children while courting her. How crazy is that!? With all of her accolades, my friend now believes that her previous desires in a man may have been too much.
In my opinion, what she wanted at age 21 is certainly more attainable at age 30. Theoretically, she’s right on par with the societal trend. Women are definitely putting more focus on career first and family second. Some women are opting not to have children in the interest of the rat race. However, my friend is not one of those women. She comes from a close knit family and most of her friends are married or in a relationship with at least one child. That alone shouldn’t be an issue, but couple that with her mom’s constant grandbaby rain dance and you have a recipe for a boatload of stress. Outside of the ticking of her own biological clock, she has to hear the question, “When are you going to have children?” The answer to which she always half jokingly answers, “When I get a man.”
The old adage is that you don’t go looking for love. You’re supposed to let love find you. In my opinion, those words are reserved for recital by the people who are already in relationships or trying to get out of one. As a married woman, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said that to people that are single. To be quite honest, I say it out of habit. Its the same thing that was said to me when I was single. Even then, I remember thinking, “Shut up, you have a man.” However, it’s pretty true. I was not looking for love when I met my husband. I was actually on a man fast (nothing religious, just pissed). I wasn’t initially open to his advances and his shoes were turning me off. Yes, we were so young that his shoes were a factor. Unlike my friend, I didn’t have a serious list with regard to the opposite sex. My husband and I just sort of helped each other develop. Neither one of us had a career at that point and we pretty much just figured stuff out. We did it right, in the traditional sense (marriage and then children), but I feel like my friend has the formula down to a science. Her formula is career and steady finance, marriage and then babies. Where could she possibly have gone wrong?
Logically, she should have men at her beck and call, but it almost seems like she’s being punished for her chosen path. Why is it that she, as a professional black woman, would need to lower her standards to find love? I’ve even considered the intimidation excuse. The single successful black woman usually brings that up as a factor, but that has never been a topic in our conversations. I know that whenever her dating life (or lack thereof) comes up in conversation, I tell her until I’m blue in the face, “DO NOT SETTLE.” I understand why she tweaked parts of her list. She wanted what she believed to be a better chance of finding someone. What I need her to understand is that now, she should expect more. The more a man ages, the more he should’ve attained. It is time for her to up the ante and expect a man with maturity, financial literacy, and a provider of the utmost respect. I know it’s redundant, but I tell her to be patient because the man for her is worth the wait. She’s that project girl that worked her way up and shouldn’t have to feel compelled to keep one leg in the barrel. She’s the bomb and Emmy nominated. Trust, a great man should, and is going to recognize.
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