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Are You Super Selective? Or Unrealistically Picky?

When it comes to your future him, make sure you're not self-sabotaging with your "list".

Dating

Folks really can be a trip. There are certain people who, when they find out that I'm the never-been-married-before kind of single person who works with married couples for a living, the first thing they want to ask—which is usually in the form of a judgment—is "How can you advise married people on how to be married when you've never been married before?". Moving forward, I think I'll just start referring them to the married folks I work with because you know what? Knowledge is knowledge, regardless of the status of the source, and marriage is always something I've been passionate about. Serious about it too. That's why I actually take the information/insight/tips that I get and apply them, even now, to my own life, because I'd much rather say I've never been married before than to be in a miserable union or a broken one, just so that I can say I've been someone's wife—and qualify to speak to skeptics.

The follow-up question that oftentimes comes? "OK, but why aren't you at least in a relationship?" You know what's a trip about that? A lot of relationship coaches/counselors/therapists aren't and it has a lot to do with the topic for today. When you spend a lot of time studying the intricacies/nuances/missteps of relationships, you oftentimes find yourself being 1) very intentional about becoming a whole and healthy person in your single state and 2) at peace with not being with someone…just to have someone. In short, you find yourself becoming quite selective. To me, that is a good thing.

Yet what is the difference between being relationally selective and picky AF? Sometimes, the lines are quite thin. So, if you're someone who desires to be in a long-term relationship, I wanted to spend a little time exploring both sides, just to make sure that what you are doing is actually working for rather than against you.

If You’ve Got a Wish List. Where Exactly Does It Come From?

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Last summer, I wrote an article for the site entitled, "The Pros & Cons Of Creating A 'What I Want In A Man' Checklist". I know some folks (mostly women) who created a list of what they wanted in a man and ended up marrying someone who had most of what was on it. That's definitely a "pro". A "con", though, is sometimes those lists are filled with so much of what someone wants, that they don't really factor in what they need—or shoot, even why they want what they want. And yes, this is a pretty relevant point when it comes to figuring out the difference between if you're super selective or unrealistically picky.

Say that you want a man who is over 6'. I'm not gonna knock that in the least because it's certainly a personal preference of mine. So is a man who is Godiva chocolate in his complexion (the darker, the better chile). Here's the thing, though. Did you know that only around 15 percent of men are actually that tall? That means 85 percent aren't. So, are you really going to pass up say, 10 opportunities to date someone who is 5'10", hoping to run into one 6' guy? And if so, what made you decide that under 6' is an actual deal-breaker?

The reason why this first point is so critical is because a lot of us have this idea of what we want in a partner without really exploring the reasons behind it—and oftentimes those reasons are not too much more than surface-level lust, dreams that came out of watching too many rom-coms or even something that is rooted in our own low sense of self-worth.

What I mean by that last one is sometimes we will choose qualities that we think will evoke "ooos" and "ahhs" from people we know, hoping that it will somehow make us feel better about ourselves. That's not a good enough reason. Folks are fickle. Besides, you've gotta live with the guy that they are only around in fleeting moments.

A wise person once said that if you don't have a map, you don't know where you're going, so again, if a wish list is totally your thing, I'm not knocking it. Just make sure that you have a clear "why" behind your list. And that you then take my next point into some serious account as you're putting said list together.

Be Honest: How Realistic Is It?

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I once heard a man say something that triggered a lot of women. He said, "I think it's interesting that women will be quick to say that a man should have no issue with a size a lady should be and yet, a lot of bigger women aren't with bigger men." Be triggered if you want, yet I found that to be quite a checkmate. I personally know some women who are just like that—they think it's insulting for a man to not want a large woman yet they turn their nose up at the mere idea of dating a large man. Here's another point to ponder. I know some single moms who think guys are the devil incarnate for preferring not to date them yet the last thing they want to do is date a man who has children himself. What are the right words for this? Hypocritical? A double standard? UNREALISTIC? What?

No one is saying that you can't or shouldn't want what you want. However, there is something to be said for taking a practical approach to your mindset. To be practical is to apply some logic to your way of thinking. Is it logical to say that you want someone who doesn't have a lifestyle that is like yours? Is it really? I'm in my 40s. I have decided I don't want to have children. I tend to prefer younger men. Is it realistic for me to only consider men in their mid-30s who desire children when I don't want to have any? Why not a man in his late 40s who feels the same way? A lot of people miss out on some bona fide opportunities because they don't look at things from a practical/realistic angle. Definitely a point worth giving some serious consideration.

Have You Considered If You’re the Kind of Person You Desire?

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Whenever I work with singles, this question is what seems to piss them off a lot. Almost to the point of being funny. I can't tell you how many times someone has told me that they want someone who not only doesn't have any debt but makes a good amount of money (at least $80,000-90,000) too. When I ask them if they have both of these things, 7 times out of 10, they look at me like I'm crazy. So, your standard is to be with someone who is financially stable and responsible when you're not? Another example. I know a woman who, after two marriages and two kids (one from each marriage), required the next man to be someone who had never been married and had no children. They got married. Their marriage has been hell on wheels too because while she was out here thinking about all of the things that a man should be, the husband got the short end of the stick in many ways because his wife did not take time to heal, resolve issues with her exes and make sure that her children were in a good space before saying "I do". So yeah, she got what she wanted yet she wasn't prepared to be what he needed because she was more focused on what she desired than actually being what she desired.

Real talk, that's a part of the reason why I'm choosing to be single in this season. Sometimes folks forget that singleness is oftentimes a choice and because of a lot of what I experienced in my childhood and adolescence, followed by some choices that I made as a young adult as a result of the trauma, I needed to make sure that I wasn't looking for some man to fill voids, fix issues or be more to me than I was willing to be for myself. Listen, it can be a hard pill to swallow yet if you're not taking the time out to ponder if you're not putting in consistent efforts to be the kind of person that you want to have, you are being kinda ridiculous—on a few levels.

How Pickiness Can Cost You in the Long Run.

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Let's talk about picky for a minute. My late fiancé was a very picky eater. An unhealthy one too because all he would literally eat was hamburgers and cheese pizza about 98 percent of the time. His mom even cosigned on how challenging it was to get him to try anything else while he was growing up. Whenever we would discuss it, he would share with me that he found what he wanted and there was no real reason to try anything else. While we were dating, he and my mother cultivated their own bond. Sometimes, she would talk him into trying out something she had made and while he wasn't always or automatically thrilled, he would admit that certain dishes weren't "half bad". The more he opened up, the more he experienced.

I'm pretty sure you can see where I'm going with this point, right? Remember how I said that a literal tall, dark and handsome man was my preference? My fiancé was 6'. Not dark in the least, though. To-date, he's one of the best things to ever happen to my life. My last boyfriend wasn't tall or dark. I emotionally healed on a lot of levels because of the relationship.

There are a lot of people I know who take the stance of my fiancé when it comes to what they want in a person—I want what I want. Yet this resolve can sometimes cause a person to be narrow-minded and that can limit possibilities.

And just how can you tell if you're picky? Your expectations are superhuman high. You have a very all-or-nothing mindset. You are never open to compromise. You are known for sabotaging potential. You claim to not like things without being able to explain why. You are so "married" to your list that you never deviate. And the real catcher—you think that perfect actually exists.

There's nothing wrong with having standards, values ands certain needs. That's what it means to be selective. Yet when you're the literal definition of picky—"extremely fussy or finicky, usually over trifles"—that is when things start to become highly challenging. That is when you can find yourself on the path to always being in short-term situations or…constantly finding yourself alone.

Here’s How Not to Settle Without Being Ridiculous in the Process.

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So, what are you saying, Shellie? Throw all caution to the wind and just accept whatever? C'mon now. Absolutely not. I am a huge advocate of people not settling, in pretty much any area of their life. At the same time, when it comes to being selective vs. being picky, the main thing to keep in mind is selective tends to choose from options while being picky is very limited. Does a man have to make six-figures or are you open to someone who is ambitious, financially responsible and has good credit? Does a man gotta look like Kofi Siriboe's twin or are you open to a man who is well-manicured, has nice style and takes good care of his holistic health? Is it not up for question that a man must be uber romantic or can he simply be thoughtful and attentive? Does his Johnson have the be the largest thing ever (check out "BDE: Please Let The 'It Needs To Be Huge' Myth Go") or is it cool if he's smaller and a good lover? Does a man have to be your exact same faith or does he need to have similar spiritual values?'

Cause here's the deal. A lot of times, when people take on the "I won't settle for less approach", what they're really saying is, "My desires are non-negotiable". That's kind of ridiculous because if your list is 50 things and none are open for compromise, your "non-settling" could actually be keeping you from a really great guy. Bottom line, when it comes to a man's character and standards, stand firm (while making sure your desires mirror those things). Everything else, be open to some addendums. Moving this way is the difference between being selective and getting a good man and being picky and quite possible, never finding one at all.

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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
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