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7 Signs A Great Boyfriend Could Be A Bad Husband

Love & Relationships

Not too long ago, I watched a video featuring relationship coach Stephan Labossiere. The topic was "A Lot of Women Will Run from Being with a Great Man" (indeed!) and his initial point was this: "A lot of times when you see these relationships be dysfunctional and people say that love just didn't win? No, it's because love was never there…love isn't what was driving your relationship, so that's why it failed."


"Love can conquer all, it really can, but it has to be real…people aren't operating in love. They are operating in infatuation, they are operating in fear…there are women who say they want that great man, but don't think they deserve that great man."

To me, when two people make the decision to have the title "boyfriend and girlfriend", a big part of the purpose of that time in the relationship is to see if love—rather than infatuation, fear or even just the obsession with being in some type of relationship rather than none at all—is really there.

At the same time, the reason why so many break-ups tend to be so brutal (to the point of sometimes being just as traumatizing as a divorce) is because folks assume that just because someone is great to date, they automatically are wonderful to marry. NOPE.

Listen, if the word "boyfriend" was a synonym for husband, there would be no need for the word in the first place. A dating relationship is very different from a marriage (just ask anyone who's married!). And as I'm about to share with you, it can be very easy to have a boyfriend who is all-of-that-and-then-some who would totally suck as your partner for life.

How is that even possible? You'd be surprised.

His Values Don’t Line up with Yours

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When you're dating someone, while it would be cool if you both were on the same page when it came to things like religion, politics and family, it doesn't have to be a deal breaker if you're not. If anything, not seeing things that same way can make for some riveting conversation and debates.

But when you're married, sharing core values is pretty important. What are both of your views on money? What are both of your expectations when it comes to needs in a relationship? Do both of you value intimacy the same way? What are both of your personal goals? How do you both want to use your gifts and talents? Does family matter a lot or a little? Are you both civil rights-minded and community service-oriented or not? Is God the top priority in both of your lives?

Be careful. These things may not seem like a big deal now, but a whole lot of people are in divorce court over not being able to get on the same wavelength when it comes to core value issues.

He Has Poor Boundaries with Family and Friends

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This. One. Right. Here. Shoot, even the Bible says that people should "leave and cleave" once they get married (Genesis 2:18-25), yet it's insane how many men are mama's boys and how many women still expect their daddy to buy them stuff (or financially bail them out of things).

When someone is just your boyfriend, you might not even know that half of his income goes to taking care of his immature and totally toxic family members. Then you marry the guy and your own heat isn't on because he's still making his family a bigger priority than his marriage.

While I'm not saying that you should automatically dismiss a man for having poor family (and friend) boundaries, I do recommend that you pay attention to how he moves when it comes to them. Oh, and that you gift him with the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life. If he doesn't set limits now, you'll both live to regret it…later.

He Doesn’t Plan Ahead

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Ask most relationship experts and they'll tell you that a clear sign of a commitment-phobe is he doesn't like to plan ahead. I'm pretty sure you can see where I'm going with this point, right? If you're dating someone who breaks out into hives at the very thought of setting a date more than three days in advance, you might want to look further into why that's such a problem for him. Unless he has the kind of profession that makes it difficult to stick to a schedule, it really shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Although a man who doesn't plan may seem all sexy and spontaneous when you're dating 1) if he doesn't plan dates, I'm not so sure he has plans for your relationship and 2) if he's not in the habit of being a planner, if you do somehow end up married to him, you're setting yourself up to always be in an unpredictable headspace right along with him.

How are we gonna pay the mortgage? No plan.

Are we going to your parents or mine this Christmas? No plan.

I'm ready to leave your no-planning-butt. Now what? Still, no plan.

He Isn’t Proactively Supportive of Your Goals

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If I could name one thing that I don't think single people think about nearly enough when it comes to choosing a spouse, it would be underestimating how important it is to have someone who sees you as a life partner and team member; someone who is truly interested in what your purpose in life is and personal goals and aspirations are.

If you've always wanted to be a book author, it might be hard to detect if your boyfriend cares one way or another because, unless you live with him, you can separate your writing time from the time you spend with him. But if you and this same guy don't discuss your vision and desires for your life before saying "I do", you could discover that, not only is he not the most supportive cat on the planet, his expectations may actually compete with what you want to do when it comes to time and resources.

Pay attention now to how much (or little) your boyfriend proactively rallies around your life plans. If he isn't doing it much now, you're setting yourself up for a real let-down if you think that somehow he's going to miraculously change once you become his wife.

His Lifestyle Is TOTALLY DIFFERENT Than Yours

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You like to travel. He's a homebody. He works out religiously. You can't recall the last time you set foot inside of a gym. You're vegan. He's a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. You're eco-friendly. He thinks recycling is being tedious. He's mad frugal with cash. You've got $200 in your savings account. He goes to church three days a week. You're more into lay activities at home. He likes the country. You're a city girl.

The cool thing about dating someone who has a totally different lifestyle than you is they can help to expand your perspective on things. But if you marry someone with these same lifestyle variances and neither of you are open to compromise, the same differences that were such a turn-on can become the very things that make both of you uncomfortable and resentful, just months into your union.

Hey, I'm not saying that opposites don't attract. I'm simply saying that you need more than attraction to make a marriage work. You need some symmetry and harmony up in there too.

He’s Inconsistent

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If you were to ask me right now to provide you with a list of five things that I wish I had required in my past relationship, chile, consistency would be mentioned twice! One of my favorite definitions of the word is "constantly adhering to the same principles, course, form, etc." When a man is consistent, he makes you feel like you can trust him. Like he's got a strong sense of character and integrity. Like his word truly is his bond.

When you're only dating someone, you might not interact with him enough to know how consistent (or inconsistent) he is about things—things like paying bills, showing up to events on time or remembering things that you mentioned were important to you. Or, if he does drop the ball, you might not think it's that big of a deal.

Ask any wife whose husband puts them on the roller coaster ride of inconsistency and they'll tell you to not overlook this blaring red flag. It's hard to sleep well at night when you don't know if a man is gonna do what he said—or not.

He Doesn’t Bring Up Marriage. Like at All. EVER.

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Le sigh. As hard as it may be to hear—and I know about this point better than most—some men make great boyfriends and bad husbands because they never intended to become more than a boyfriend. Although they like the idea of being in an exclusive relationship, what they want to avoid is the legalities of having an actual spouse. To them, that feels too locked in and permanent.

A while back, I penned a piece about the fact that if a man is truly husband material, he's gonna be someone who desires to be married. Not in maybe-someday-like-15-years-up kind of way. I mean the "It is a priority to find my wife and commit to her in the next couple of years" kind of way.

If you've been seeing someone for several months now and he hasn't said a single solitary word about marriage, it could be because he enjoys being no more than your boyfriend. If you're cool with that, cool. If not, don't feel the least bit guilty or pushy for asking him if—as Boris Kodjoe's character in Brown Sugar so cornily rapped—marriage is on his menu.

If he gives you a blank stare or tries to change the subject, the answer is probably "no". If you stay and then dish out ultimatums up the road, he very well could marry you, but if he wasn't ready (and a man can only get truly ready on his own), well, the title for this piece could end up being quite fitting—and super infuriating too.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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