“This is one of the reasons I stopped saving people’s numbers in my phone…”
Bare with me because I’m sure I’m about to tug on some heart strings. If your heart strings are tugged, more than likely, you’ve experienced the things I’ll be writing about at some point in time or even right now.
The topic of relationships is one I sort of teeter-tot around when I write. This is mainly because I’ve been scared to be honest with myself and writing it down would make it real. But it is real. I was watching Yvonne Orji’s TED Talk called, “The Wait is Sexy” that was released in 2017. I know I’m about a year and a half late on watching this but I’m glad I did. Her “idea worth spreading” was her story about being a virgin as an adult Black woman. Obviously, that’s not my story, but what she discussed towards the end of her talk resonated with me. She left us with 5 main points that you should be ready to wait for when it comes to a relationship. Those points were:
- Wait for someone who sees you, for you, and loves you regardless
- Wait on the one who sees value in what you value
- Wait on purpose and not on fear
- Wait on the one who makes you a priority
- Wait on the one who meets your standards
I’m not eem gonna lie, I felt some type of way because my own heart strings were pulled when I listened to her explain the points. The reason I decided to write this piece was to hopefully encourage single Black women who find themselves giving more than they receive when dating, to have a safe space to process. Many of the things I’m going to cover are personal experiences and things I’ve talked about with my Black women friends – most who are single but also a couple that are married. Some of the points were hard for me to come to terms with once I finally allowed myself to reflect on my past relationships or guys I currently “talk to” or “text with”, rather. Nonetheless, Yvonne’s points clearly communicate things that I’ve neglected in my experience with men. So, here goes…
It’s almost been two years since my last relationship ended and this has been the longest I’ve ever gone without being in a relationship since I was 18-years-old. Now, at age 29, dating is very hard, in my opinion. Yvonne address this slightly, in her 3rd point about waiting on purpose and not fear. She briefly said that we have fear that we may be single because the ratio of Black women to Black men in America is disproportionate due to mass incarceration and there are differences on educational levels. This very well could be a fear for most Black women. It’s sort of one of my fears. I do believe there is a shortage because of our prison system and the numbers get even smaller when I think about men who have have the same number of degrees or at least one degree as I do. The world is big but depending on your situation or geographical location, you may not find a Black man that has a degree and if he does, more than likely he’s engaged or already married. Every serious relationship I’ve been in, I’ve been the one with a degree or two and my partners only had high school educations. Now, I value a person’s hustle and I totally agree that college access and a desire for a post-secondary degree is not in everyone’s future, so dating someone who did not have a degree didn’t bother me too much when I was in my early 20s. It started to get more difficult when I was trying to explain something and my partner was unable to connect with what I was saying. Or when I wanted to help my partner do something but was nervous to do it because I didn’t want him to think that I was smarter than he was because I had more educational experience. It started to get a little overwhelming sometimes.
Point 4, wait on the one who makes you a priority, I think struck me the hardest out of all 5 points. I don’t think there’s been a time where I’ve fully felt as if I was a priority for any guy I’ve dated or have talked to or are talking to now. I’ve never received the same energy back from guys that I put in. I’m always the one asking how things are going without the person asking me it in return. Or I’ve noticed that guys have only tried to make me a priority when they’ve come to the decision that they may want to sleep with me. I’m a grown woman who has lots of things going for herself but guys will literally meet me, ask me for my number, text for a brief moment and pretend like their interested, and then nothing for some weeks, and then he come out the blue saying he miss me. It’s getting old and one of the reasons I stopped saving people’s numbers in my phone. I’m now smart enough to sense when the conversation isn’t going anywhere after the first few minutes of us communicating. Anywho, many of my friends that talk to me about their situations with men, all have similar stories. They feel as if the guys they are interested in aren’t making them a priority but they continue to let him back into their lives. I still don’t know what we do this.
When I accepted my first job out of graduate school, it was at a school about thirty minutes away from my hometown. I did this because I was trying to make things work with my boyfriend at the time who was back home. I had finally given up on job searching out of state because I knew he didn’t want me to go because he couldn’t come with me, one of the main reasons was because he had a child. He knew he couldn’t take his child with us because how would his child’s mother see her kid? I remember him calling me selfish for wanting to move out of state knowing he had a child. I felt guilty so I stayed close to home so we could be together. We ended up breaking up like four months later. I made him and his situation a priority over what I desired to do to advance my career.
Same thing happened with my second job. I took my second job because it was in the same city as my next boyfriend. I wanted to live in the same city because I felt like he was the one. Again, I made someone else a priority over myself. He didn’t ask me to move there, I assumed that moving would make us closer and I later found out I was more invested than he was. Annddd that was my last relationship…two years ago :).
I think that we don’t spend enough time making ourselves a priority when we’re single. We spend so much time dwelling in our singleness and slight envy for others who are in seemingly happy relationships. It’s been instilled in us that our purpose in life is to find a man (I’m speaking from the perspective of a heterosexual woman) and that if we don’t have a man by a certain age that means nobody wants us or we’ve done something wrong. We have to move away from that mindset and love ourselves first. Do you know who you are without that man? What’s your value outside of him? If it’s tough for you to answer those questions, that probably means you truly don’t know. You have to do some self reflection. During this time of being single, I recently realized that I want more than just sporadic text messages here and there or guys only being interested in me for the physical and nothing past that. Now, that I’m getting all of this down, I guess I’ve been working on making myself a priority longer than I thought. I met this guy this summer when I was interviewing for jobs around the country and I was instantly into him. Long story short, I decided to accept a job in Florida and not in the state he lived in. I took the Florida job for many reasons but I knew that if I took the job where he lived, part of me would have been doing it just so I could see what was up with him. A job that I felt was right for me was my priority at the time. I found it here in Florida :). Figure out your worth and value and I truly believe that the one is going to come who is going to make you his priority.
Wait on the one who meets your standards, is point 5. Social media has disgusting way of trying to make Black women feel guilty about having expectations. I’m one who has felt like I sacrificed many of the things that I desired in partner. Why do we feel as if we have to lower our standards for someone when we are the actual prize to be won and valued? For Black women with degrees, we’re told we’re too picky because there’s certain things we won’t budge on. Society places the blame on us for our singleness. Yvonne said that sometimes when people can’t meet your standards, they try to diminish them, “you’re still single because your standards are too high”. I see nothing wrong with recognizing what you’re willing to accept and not accept. And no longer should we feel guilty about it.
I think what I’m trying to say is always keep yourself first, stop trying to do wife-like things for someone who texts you every three weeks, and know the value you hold.
❤ Queen T