I'm starting this off with a heads up off the rip. If you're someone who gets easily triggered, you might not want to read this on your lunch break. The reason why I say that is because this isn't a feel-good piece by any means. This is the kind of article that has all kinds of "ouches" in it. But, the reason why I think it should be shared is because, as a marriage life coach, if there is one thing that I believe is the cause of so much breakdown between men and women, it's that a lot of us don't want to hear each other out. Well, there's that, then there's the fact that a lot of men assume how all women are while a lot of women spend—or is it waste?—time dictating to men how they should be.
I rock with the Bible pretty hard and Mark 10:6 (NKJV) tells us that, "But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female.'" (Some of y'all would pass out if you read what I Corinthians 11:1-16 said when it comes to the spiritual purposes of both sexes). To me, this means that 1) God makes us who he desires for us to be and 2) men and women are not supposed to be the same. We are different, by God's design, in order to complement one another; in order to balance each other out. So no, men aren't supposed to think or act just like we do. I think that if we accepted that reality more, there would be a heck of a lot less relational drama and conflict.
And because I witness so much of men overtalking women and women overtalking men (both approaches are pretty disrespectful, by the way), I decided to give some single fellas the time and space to share some things that they feel we as single women don't get, won't accept and/or totally ignore. Why? It's simple. If any of us want to have a healthy relationship with the opposite sex, hearing each other out is paramount. Take a deep breath. Let's begin.
By the way, first names have been changed so that the fellas would feel comfortable being as forthcoming as possible. (That was my choice, not theirs.)
1. “We can truly love you and not want to marry you.”—Allen, 35
A part of the reason why I wrote the article "Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON'T Desire Marriage?" is because, it's important to recognize and accept that a lot of people don't have marriage on their menu. Still, that doesn't mean that they aren't interested in love or companionship. It doesn't make them selfish jerks either. This is what *Allen and I talked about.
"I don't know why women assume that if a man cares about you but doesn't want to marry you that he is a commitment-phobe or is out to ruin your life or even waste your time. I actually came from a two-parent household and my parents have a good marriage. That is why I take it so seriously. I don't want children, so I don't really want to get married. I tell all of the women I date that, but for some reason, they think they will change my mind. Or worse, they think that if I say, 'I love you', that should magically change into 'Will you marry me?' up the road. The first shouldn't preempt the other and I think it's pretty unfair to think that love isn't possible without a wedding ring. It very much is. I love you. I just don't want to be a husband. Anyone's husband and that has nothing to do with you. It's just that marriage is not a desire for me. Why is that impossible to understand?"
2. “It seems like a lot of women want to be heard without actually listening.”—Jonathan, 30
Shoot, I'm a woman and even I agree with *Jonathan on this one. Take it how you will, but when I'm in my counseling sessions, it is most definitely the women who talk over the men (and me), more than the other way around. And a lot of men, because they don't like to argue and bicker (which is a good thing, y'all), they will simply shut down and let us have the floor…since we're so hellbent on taking it anyway.
"Sometimes I wonder if women really want to hear where we are coming from or if they only want us to agree with their thoughts. It's like some aren't open to a different perspective. To them, if it's not where they are coming from, it's wrong and that is arrogant as hell, not to mention exhausting. The greatest love I ever had was with a woman who listened. She let me complete my sentences and asked for clarity before responding. I now know that is really important in my future wife. Women who don't listen come across as being really controlling and defensive…and that is really unattractive. Hell, I'm happy to be given the opportunity to even say that."
3. “I don’t know if women realize how badly they speak on men…a lot. And how unappealing that is.”—Zach, 33
"I can't tell you the last time a week went by and I didn't either hear a Black woman say or see a Black woman post that Black men ain't s—t. Then, in the same breath, they want to talk about how much we need them and their love. I love my sistahs, but what I'm not gonna do is subject myself to verbal abuse, just to say that I am dating one. It's hard enough to be a Black man around white people without coming home and being attacked too. We have our flaws, but you know what? You all have flaws too. We need to be loving each other through them, not putting each other on blast for the world to see."
4. “We can spot someone who isn’t over their past relationships a mile away.”—Jason, 26
"You know what's the worst? Meeting an amazin' woman who constantly gives you a hard time. You know it's because she still has 'ex issues'. You're on your phone in her presence and she thinks you're talking to another woman. Or, after three dates, if you haven't professed your love, she says something slick about wasting her time and not taking things seriously. She doesn't know you well enough for something to be your fault, so you know it's got to be some other dude that has her paranoid. We need to learn from our past but that doesn't mean punish others because of it. I wish more women would make sure they are over their ex before starting something new because it's not our job to heal you. Man."
5. “We can separate love and great sex very easily. Just like women, we want both.”—Nathan, 42
"I wonder how many women realize, just how much they manipulate sex in order to get what they want. Then, when it doesn't work, somehow, we're the bad guy. Enjoying a physical situation doesn't mean that we're stupid. We don't fall in love in the sheets. We are really good at separating good sex from someone we want to build a future with and no, there is not something wrong with being able to do that. If you want more than a sexual relationship, say that and definitely don't lead with that. And definitely don't assume that just because you did, we're gonna somehow be so turned out that we will be your man. A lot of women claim that they don't want to be objectified, but they seem to treat sex like the 'cake' instead of the 'icing' a hell of a lot more than we do. Good sex won't keep us. A good woman will. Yes, we know the difference."
6. “Just because we won’t settle, that doesn’t mean we don’t know what we want.”—Derek, 34
"Get this. How would you feel if you went on a date with me and all I talked about is how great of a catch I was and how stupid you were for not seeing it? Do you know how many women do that? It's crazy to be out here believing that, just because we won't settle down when you want us to, that we're incapable [of] doing it. I just think a lot of men are more patient than a lot of women are. It's not that we don't know what we want; it's that most of us know exactly what it is and we can wait, forever, if necessary, until we get the total package. That doesn't make us confused. We are very clear. We're just not gonna get married, just to say that we did it. If she never comes along…oh well. We'll live."
7. “If we tell you where we stand and you stay, how is that leading you on?”—Corey, 28
This point is a trip because a male friend and I got into a debate about this very thing. Only, it was him who was saying that if a woman wants more than a guy is willing to give that it is the guy's responsibility to cut the woman off. Yeah, I give women more credit than that. A guy owes us honesty, but it is up to us to decide how much we choose to endure—or not.
"Look, if you want to get married, date men who also want to get married. I think only immature men have a problem discussing stuff like that early on. But don't be out here assuming that marriage is a priority for everyone and, if we spend enough time with you, eventually we'll want to take a stroll down the aisle. There are women who I've only wanted to have sex with, told them that, and they've stayed. Then [they've] gotten upset. There are women I've dated, even exclusively, told them that I wanted nothing more than that, and they've stayed. Eventually, they got pissed too. When I asked them why, they said it was because they thought that I would change my mind. Why is that my fault that you thought that?"
"A man doesn't lead you on because you've decided not to take him at his word. A lot of women would be far better off saying on the second or third date that marriage is their ultimate goal. If a guy says that it's not for him, move on. Because, believe me, if we wanted to get married or if we saw that you could be our potential wife, we'd position ourselves to never let you go. If we're not doing that…yeah."
8. “It’s amazing how many women think that we are the problem without any form of self-reflection on their part.”—Keith, 40
"You know what's refreshing? To have a conversation with a woman about why her past relationships ended and she takes ownership for some stuff. My marriage ended because my ex cheated but, to this day, she continually tries to justify the affair with stuff like being stressed and me traveling for work. Yeah, how about you cheated and it was dead ass wrong because you already know that if I had done it, those excuses wouldn't fly? Women who can own their s—t are very attractive to me. Women who don't show signs of not being very self-aware or hell, humble, that is a recipe for disaster, if you ask me."
9. “A lot of us love Black women. We just get tired of being told that we don’t.”—Erickson, 47
"Can somebody tell me why, when a Black woman dates or marries a white man, she gets roaring applause from Black women but when a Black man dates or marries he white woman, he's a simp? The double standards are crazy in the Black community. But let me just say, on behalf of my Black brothers, that just like it's an out-of-control myth that Black women never marry, it's also a myth that we don't desire our sistahs. Contrary to what y'all see on Black Twitter, most of us prefer Black women. Look it up."
(He's right. Based on an NPR feature that was published in 2018, "According to a 2015 Pew Research study, 75 percent of recently married black men were married to black women. In other words, black men who marry black women are the norm.")
10. “Many of us want to get married. We just refuse to be pressured or bullied into it.”—Nicholas, 29
It is rather interesting—and by interesting, what I really mean is hypocritical—that a lot of women claim that they want a man to be the provider, protector and leader of their home yet, they think that he needs to be coerced into a proposal or given an ultimatum in order to get him to jump a broom. Hmph. Sounds pretty emasculating, if you ask me. But that's just me.
"Believe it or not, most of my friends want to get married. It's not a matter of 'if' but 'when'. I think a lot of women don't realize that a responsible man wants to have certain things accomplished before becoming a husband and trying to push us before we are ready only makes us not want to do it. Every guy I know who chose to get married in his own time is a husband that I look up to now. But man, the guys who felt like they had no other choice but to do it, they are miserable, cheating, finding a way to get out of the relationship or all of the above. I don't get why a woman would want to 'make' a man marry her anyway. Doesn't that make her feel bad about herself? Trust me, when we're ready to say, 'I do', it shows. No pushing on a woman's part is needed."
What is it that Mary Poppins used to sing? A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, right? I know this is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, but when you know—rather than assuming or presuming— where a man stands, you can know how to move. That said, while you might not like all of what you read, I'd encourage you to not chalk it up to "whatever" or "b.s.". Doing that is one of the main reasons why there are so many communication issues between the sexes as it is. And if we want more, we've got to do better. Listening and taking one another seriously is a really good place to start.
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