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You’d think young black successful women would have their pick of the litter when it comes to men right? Wrong! I’m sure everyone has heard the stories and statistics associated with young unmarried professional black women. It almost makes you want to stifle your success and underachieve just to find a man.

Many women in this predicament start to compromise, for example by dating outside their race when they would prefer not to or finding nontraditional ways to meet men like shady online dating sites. But when is it time to compromise on how successful your man has to be?

I would assume that for most women marrying a man of equal or greater financial, educational, and career status would be ideal, but many times this pool of men is already taken. For example, in my graduating MBA class at Howard a large number of my male classmates who went on to become investment bankers and corporate managers, were either engaged while in the program or already married. Among the women in the class, I was the only one engaged, while the rest of the women in the class were single, and many not in a serious relationship at all.

So the saying the “good” guys are already taken, might have a bit of merit. But we might be overlooking the brothers who are late in the game with starting a career. I’m referring to the guy who may have gotten into a bit of trouble in his youth, or chose not to go to college and as a result has a slow paced career progression. Now don’t confuse the man with a slow start with the man who has no ambition. I’m not talking about him. Unless you are comfortable with being the indefinite breadwinner and/or sole provider I’d stay away from that guy. No, I’m talking about the guy with mounds of potential and ambition that hasn’t quite found his path to a lucrative career. In a recent MN feature Camille Edwards, VP at ABC, advises women of color to be more open about the man they are seeking, stating, “Just because they’re one thing today doesn’t mean they’ll always be that.”

I’d have to agree with that comment. According to the Journal for Blacks in Higher Education, black women account for over 58 percent of African American college graduates, meaning black women are graduating college at a faster rate than black men. So there are more black women of the world educated and career advancing, while many black men are getting slower starts to their careers.

I have to admit, my husband was one of those men. He chose not to attend college, but the military instead and chose a career that likely would have a modest earning potential. However, he has always been ambitious, which is something you can’t learn and carries a lot of weight. After we linked, I was able to leverage what I knew about business and with support and a bit of nudging, he has a well-paying career and even higher earning potential.

I’m not quite sure if I would do this all over again later in life. It took a lot of time investment and if I’m a woman of a certain age and want to start a family, I might be searching for a more established man to get cooking with. As one of my closest friends, a marketing executive at a large beverage company, said at 30, she’s “not interested in a project.” But at this rate that may be her only option.

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