I went on the Relatable Things with Mack and McBride Podcast to wrap up Black History Month with a talk about black love.
I’m always surprised that people balk at the idea of involving an expert in finding someone who is compatible with them. We’ are willing to pay a personal trainer to motivate us for fitness. We are willing to pay a great deal of money for education in preparation for our careers, but most of us leave our relationships to chance. And yet when you are in a relationship if it is the wrong fit, the cost is mental, physical, emotional, and financial anguish. Who you choose to be in a relationship has a significant impact on your life emotionally, financially, and spiritually.
People don’t seek therapy because it’s taboo. Mental health and relationships issues can be seen as a source of shame or a sign of weakness. Most of us think we’ll just ride it out and hope the problems will go away on their own. Then we wonder why we keep going through the same issues with the people in our lives.
In the African-American community, some of us come from single-parent homes or from homes where we may have witnessed and observed poor relationship models. The ‘normality’ of how we may have grown up is not necessarily healthy and carries over to our relationships with our significant others. And if you’re raised in survival mode or around dysfunctional relationships, you’re going to need to do the healing before you can think about entering and maintaining a happy relationship.
On top of that, African-American women are groomed to be strong, independent go-getters, which is not always conducive for the team dynamic of a couple. Men want to feel needed. How you are successful in your career is different from building a successful relationship. Men naturally want to be the leader and may have trouble defining their role in a relationship with a self-reliant woman. And some African-American men don’t always have someone in which to model being a father, husband, or partner. This can impair or distort their perception of how to be a good team member and leader in their relationship too.
There is also the temptation of getting involved with someone who has issues because you think you can save them. This is a recipe for misery. People are who they are at their core. You can’t save anyone, and if you are drawn to this kind of person, there is something within you that must be addressed.
A good woman cannot make a man change. A man changes because he wants to change.
Love is unconditional. When you love someone, you don’t look for reciprocity. If you have the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mindset or you find yourself competing with your partner tit-for-tat, then it’s not a real relationship.
That is why you must figure out who you are first. Love yourself. Do your own healing. Then you place yourself in the right position to find the right person where you’ll be able to thrive together.
It’s difficult to find someone compatible with you who is willing to work at a mutually satisfying relationship. Marriage is a long-term challenge that takes skill to navigate. But if you find you’re repeating the same cycles in your relationships, and are too close to your own drama getting an outside, objective perspective from a specialist, like a relationship coach, is helpful.
Listen to the full discussion…