200145994-001I recently ended a short relationship with a guy who was not living to his full potential. This guy is handsome, thoughtful, intimate, kind and very sexy. Brought me flowers and rubbed my feet. Kissed me passionately and knew my every move. Every time we were together, my attraction grew more and more but it suddenly began to fade once the infatuation wore off and reality kicked in. While in the process of my looking for a teaching position we began to spend almost every moment with each other. We were either out and about or lying around at my home talking. We have many things in common, our activities, our idiosyncrasies and some moments of our lives paralleled. He was into me as I he, and practically we were a couple. BUT there was something in me that would not allow myself to commit to him. He had no self-value and no matter how I tried to explain it to him, he felt I was attacking his manhood and demoralizing his character and he would turn the conversation into why we had not had sex.

When my infatuation began to fade, I began to listen to him talk and was perturbed when he said that he knows a lot of people with degrees and had not seen anything great come from them. I questioned him on his future goals—he replied I plan to buy a house and married with at least two kids in the next two years. This would have sent my spirits flying five years ago, but instead it raised an eyebrow. He said nothing of how he was going to pay for the house, the wedding, the children. I asked him about career goals and he in turn asked me to share my 5-10 year plan in order to get a few ideas about how to answer the question. Red flag. Among other incidents that occurred, it was clear this thirty-two year old man’s priorities were not in order. He was not taking care of his life business and it was showing through his insecurities, lack of motivation and extreme sensitivity. His weaknesses were beginning to show or maybe they were already there and I just thought they were cute.

I asked a few of my male friends about this guy’s potential and if I should be cautious of getting close to him. Each of them asked the same questions:

1. What happened in his last relationship? Why did they really split?
2. What is his social life? Who are his friends and what do they do?
3. What is his relationship with his mother?

I found out his last girlfriend gave him an ultimatum to get his life together, even if that meant moving back to his mother’s home, or she’d leave. She had been carrying the both of them for over a year because he made little to no attempt to find a job worth having.

I noticed that he had little to no friends. Maybe six to be exact and one in particular he belittled every chance he had. When I finally met the guy, it was evident that he was merely a self-esteem friend and nothing more than the guy my guy could feel good around. My lover didn’t seem to have a solid circle of friends to uplift him, support him or simply release the day to day stress. Instead he fed them lies of his stability, living big and perfect relationships; all which doesn’t leave any reason for questions.

As for his mother . . . he never talked about her so it’s tough to know exactly how their relationship is. He lived at home until 27 as the good son who takes care of the house and loves his mama and may not have been asked to do more than what was needed. Transfer that to a relationship and you have a yes man who does what’s needed to keep the woman happy and oblivious to the nothings he does in the rest of the world. A mama’s boy without the skills to survive out in the real world who finds a mate who’s just like moms to continue his lifestyle.

Then it dawned on me; where there is he, there are a million just like him. Black men who do not have goals, nor ideas as to what the hell they will be doing at forty or fifty years old. I fear being with a man who does not take care of himself and are too prideful to acknowledge it. It is these same men who will tell a women their long term goal is to marry and have kids and buy a house without mention of a career or financial backing believing it will suffice women. It’s insulting to women. I am not speaking of all Black men, I am speaking of the men who are one paycheck away from being on the street and don’t see anything wrong with it. The men who are in their thirties and beyond, able-bodied and healthy, who does not push themselves. These are men who are not sure of themselves, their wants and needs and don’t see anything wrong with living day to day. These are the men who are afraid of tomorrow and believes deeply that he’ll still be doing the same thing he’s doing today if he doesn’t do find what it is he wants to do. Sadly he doesn’t know what that is. These are the men who have a thousand and one skills that make him experienced in any entry-level position but lack the education or capability to take on a management role. These are the men who choose to just be instead of just doing it. Maybe it’s a lack of nurturing at a young age, parental issues, self-esteem issues or just plain careless, but these men are in denial of living. Putting fliers on freeways in the middle of the night and calling yourself an independent promotions consultant is an example of denial.

Fellas must have more than penis, sperm and a ring when they come knocking on doors nowadays, because women have not only the vajayjay, circus tricks and exceptional felatio, we have degrees (plural), homes, bank accounts—savings, checking, money-markets, 401K’s, cars, businesses, we have responsibilities to take care of and a lifestyle to maintain so its only natural that we require the same of potential mates. I love my beautiful Kings and embrace them in all of their glory, but my lover’s list specifically states he must have at least what I have or is in the process of getting that and more. It is unfortunate that he has all of the physical qualities and attributes I requested but does not see value in himself to be a man I want to invest my time in. I could blame society, but it’s his individual effort. He has to want more for himself. I refuse to settle for someone who treats me good and doesn’t believe he’s worth the same love.

Self-love is a key factor in relationships. I’ve learned from this experience that I love myself so much more than I did five years ago, hell last year. It’s important to have inner strength because it makes sure that you do not limit yourself, you don’t settle even when the playing field seems to be overwhelming. We’re over and yes I miss his touch, his conversation, I miss his companionship, but I know that I am stronger for not trying to force it to work. Maybe he’ll get it one day, maybe he won’t but either way I’m a stronger person, a stronger woman and I am ok with my inner works still being in progress. Piece by piece I grow closer to my view of perfection.

Don’t block your blessings and don’t forget to Barack the Vote!

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  • Great article Angel! I’m glad you touched on this common yet silent issue. Just think if every woman was to raise their standards like this..how different the men will be in this world..black or white!

  • Keta

    This article came right on time today. I’m a few weeks from being married for 10 years to a man who’s never been motivated to do anything more than live for the day. When I think over the comments read here I recognize that the signs have been there all along and I ignored them for one reason or another. Ten years ago I was in college and working full time, owned a home, and established. The one thing I didn’t have was love and was out of the dating game for at least 2 years. I guess you can say that I wanted it all. Today I wished I would have waited just a little while longer. This man came into my life and was sweet, funny, made me feel like I was THE one. After 6 months we were married. It was a struggle from the very beginning. Trying to finish college, changing majors, changing jobs a few time to keep the same income (this is me). Although we were both young ( at the time I was 26, he 24) and had to learn what it truly meant to be in this partnership and make compromises, what was really required to set the foundation for a successful marriage was never there. The first 3-4 years saw him going from job to job every couple of months. Each time I’m still trying to be encouraging asking him to really think about what he wants to do with himself. Once he remedied that job situation, the infidelity started in. I never had a problem with him not being college educated and even told him that as long as he keeps some type of employment we would make it work. I knew my husband was good with his hand and could anything he set his mind too. I’ve watched him go thru taking a trade to better his chances of changing employment two years in a row only to not finish and decided he didn’t want to do this kind of work after all (althought he started out very enthusiastic about it and many in his family are successful in this field, the end result was he was only thinking about the money and not the long term career investment). It seems every year for at least the last 4 we find ourselves separated because (as he puts it) he’s not happy with this life and doesn’t really know what he wants. Each time after some time and tension he tells me he does know what he wants and it’s me and our life, I take him back, try to work through it and we start to live out lives again. This has become a pattern that now is so old it’s unreal. Each time this has happen he tells me the usual he’s stupid, he’s sorry, his parents didn’t give him enough attention as a child, he was always the ugly kid in school, he’s weak, he’s imperfect, you name it and then he turns around and tells me he loves me and wants to change and to just have faith in him. Then I dig in work thru my feelings as best I can and just when I’m ready to let my guard down again, we are back here. To date that I know of there have been as many women as the years we’ve been married…Well the last time was last week when I found out that the latest female he’s cheated on me with he had continued to see and lied about it. How can a man who irons my clothes, sews my missing buttons back on, ties my Nike’s after I’m dressed, holds my hand while walking around across the street, snuggles me so tight at night, tells complete strangers how much he loves his wife so much, and hold my face in his hands and profess the deepest love to me, actually not feel that way at all? I’ll tell you how. It’s a routine he learns to keep you. This type of man views life as a game and women as a means to an end. What he really wants is the newest chic with the largest breasts and biggest butt to bed when he feels the need because this is what he considers “the real life”. Not someone who takes care of his home, building businesses so that they can have a secure future and something to pass on to our children. I recognize that he did all these things because he knew that I wanted them and he wanted to pacify me. And the deceit he’s been showing me really are his true colors and I need to pay attention and move on with my divorce proceedings. My heart and my mind can say that I truly don’t want him anymore and I need to stop inviting this pain into my life and that I will be much better off without him. But how do I stop mourning the marriage I thought I had? What about this man that I love that apparently only existed in my mind? Sisters and brothers take a lesson from me. Never at anytime settle for being with someone who cannot match what you are bringing to the table. If you sit down and have a conversation with someone who you are considering getting into a relationship and you run down you goals for the future and they don’t share with you dreams that are outlined in color walk away. This person does not deserve your love and your efforts. This will save you much time and heartache later. Real love while not perfect will not be this much work. It just is. Real love is built on respect for yourself as well as your partner. It means keeping your word and not hiding behind excuses why you don’t give what you get in a relationship. It involves two people working toward the same goals and while occasionally one may fall and the other has to pick that one up it will not forever be that way because it will be reciprocated. This article was very well written has given me a lot to reflect on while my heart and my mind heals. When I think about the possibility of love again I will definitely keep everyone’s points in mind and learn from my own mistakes next time around.

  • you are what you attract.

  • Janelle

    Great piece. Been here before…