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We Talked To 9 Men About When They Know They’re Ready For Love

The fellas from OWN's second season of Ready to Love are here to fill us in on all things love and relationships.

#xoMan

Have you ever wanted to know if your man really loves you? I mean really, REALLY loves you. Have you ever found yourself asking: 'How will I know if he really loves me?' Well, I have some comforting news: you're in good company.

The truth of the matter is: so have I. So has my best friend, probably your best friend; so have many other women. And believe it or not, so has Whitney Houston. So much so, that she wrote a whole song about it. And it's in that vein that I'll let you in on a little hard truth: we won't ever know. Our feelings can be misleading, our blinding love can be deceitful. We can say a prayer with every heartbeat but the fact of the matter is until that man backs up with actions what he says with his lips, women will never (and I mean never) know if a man really loves them. Or if they're even ready to love in the first place.

Courtesy of OWN

But, fortunately, all hope is not lost. Our favorite love show where black people get to meet and potentially find love in a hopeless place (known as Atlanta) is back for another season! The series, produced by Will Packer and hosted by Thomas "Nephew Tommy" Miles, has a new roster of highly sought after singles and has once again solidified a spot in our Saturday nights.

I got the chance recently to talk with 9 bachelors from the second season of the OWN Network show Ready to Love (airing Saturdays at 10/9c), where they let me in on their thoughts about love, commitment, and everything else in between and they did not disappoint.

Here's what they had to say:

Chimuka "Chika", 42

Courtesy of OWN

On the concept of courtship...

"Courtship is primarily on the man, however, I feel as if some women nowadays demand courtship and aren't worthy of courtship. And by that, I mean this: just because you're a woman, it doesn't mean you possess the qualities that a man is looking for in the 'woman for him.'''

On finding a compatible partner at this stage...

"Finding a partner at this particular stage in my life is easier for me. I know what I want, what I'm willing to tolerate, I'm financially stable, very aware of the red flags. I still leave room for mistakes or for things taken out of context. But I also know who I am and what I bring to OUR table."

On the things to know from the first date...

"Some things I'd like to know on the first date: are you separated or divorced? Where do you see yourself in two years? How ambitious are you? Do you have kids or do you want kids? Do you have a job or a career? On a scale of 1-10, how supportive are you—1 being horrible and 10 being superb."

Terrell, 42

Courtesy of OWN

On catering to the needs of your partner...

"I had the pleasure of growing up with sisters older and younger, with me as a middle child. I am very emotionally aware when it comes to expressing my needs but it becomes an awesome challenge to wake up and think, 'What can be done to add to my partner's happiness?'''

On how to revive courtship...

"The microwave mentality of dating has to change. Courtship is a true art of showing your partner creative romantic ways of how special they are. Courtship ultimately is a preview of what is to come, which is marriage."

On evolving to meet the needs of your partner...

"When in a committed relationship, I no longer live for myself but [for] us. Living for us will create change of old habits and create new ones. Selflessness is evolving one's mindset."

Jimmy, 40

Courtesy of OWN

On how his outlook on love has changed...

"I make better choices on who I decide to spend my time with. I secretly place them in top picks and bottom picks. A woman who I get to know will move to bottom pick in the event we just aren't vibing. I also spend more time on the phone now with who I really vibe with because I feel like a woman really doesn't vibe with you unless she gives you phone time. That texting mess is all smoke and mirrors."

On making your partner feel loved in a new relationship...

"I think public displays of affection are necessary when it's someone you really like. Holding hands, dancing together, and occasional kissing is dope. It usually makes her feel special."

On what the last relationship taught him...

"I've learned to love myself more, love taking care of me first, and that peace of mind starts with self-care."

Darin, 35

Courtesy of OWN

On how to impress a woman on the first date...

"I would advise not trying to impress a potential mate. Be yourself and take them to a place you enjoy or ask them what they enjoy doing!"

On making your partner feel secure in a new relationship...

"No one can make anyone feel any way at all. True happiness and love come from within. I would advise being secure with and loving yourself before dating anyone!"

On his love languages...

"My love languages are words of affirmation and physical touch."

London, 42

Courtesy of OWN

On what he looks for on the first date...

"Good vibes, energy, and chemistry."

On being vulnerable with your partner...

"I'm ready to get outside my comfort zone."

On what his love languages are...

"My love language is quality time."

Kerry, 51

Courtesy of OWN

On being vulnerable with your partner...

"Vulnerability for me happens when I feel I can trust someone who I [feel] genuinely cares about me as a person and future mate."

On what’s missing in today’s conversation of courtship...

"Belief systems, sharing clear expectations and boundaries, timelines, and shared goals for the relationship."

On what will sustain a relationship...

"It is the compatibility piece that sustains the relationship. I realize how easy it is to have quick surface connections with people who also have connections with other people as well."

Mario, 41

Courtesy of OWN

On being emotionally aware with your partner...

"I am very in-tune when it comes to catering to my partner. Communication is key when it comes to being open to their needs as well expressing my own. Closed mouths don't get fed."

On his love languages...

"My love language is acts of service."

On changing for love’s sake…

"Changing traits about myself will most definitely depend on who I'm changing those traits for and if I care to change those traits."

Mike, 40

Courtesy of OWN

On positive indicators on the first date...

"What I look out for is for her to not be so serious. I don't want our date to feel like it's an interview. Let's laugh a little bit let's joke some, I'm sure we'll get to the serious conversation when we were talking on the phone."

On what he’s learned from his last relationship...

"I learned how to not be so closed-off. I need to open up more when it comes to talking instead of walking away all the time."

On where to take a woman on the first date...

"I want to do what's going to make her happy, so I would ask her what's her favorite restaurant and start there."

Brent, 40

Courtesy of OWN

On what he looks for before committing...

"I look for a woman who makes it easy to trust her. She's open and honest about her past and her shortcomings. I also like a woman that's thoughtful and doesn't mind showing you how important you are to her life."

On the indicators of a compatible partner...

"I can't be with anyone who doesn't have a spiritual foundation or who doesn't believe in the economic empowerment of Black people in America."

On what to do to get to know a woman on the first date...

"I like taking a woman to the gym and putting her through one of my workouts. I want to see her effort, her drive, or if she'll complain or persevere. I'm big on fitness and a woman that can keep up with me and pushes past her own limitations is definitely a turn-on."

Be sure to catch Ready to Love every Saturday at 10/9c. And if you haven't already, watch the first full episode here.

Featured image courtesy of Instagram/@sellyourhomejimmyjones.

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

Featured image by Shutterstock

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