Over the past few years now (yes, years) we’ve heard about “the single black woman problem.” You know, the fact that nearly every educated, ambitious, well-heeled black woman is (supposedly) hopelessly single. Despite the media’s attention to whether or not a man has put a ring on it, many of us know the truth. Black women, like all women, span the relationship spectrum from married and boo’ed up, to happily single or taking a much-needed mancation, either way, we’re everywhere—in spite of what some may think (or print).

But a recent post by Damon Young of the blog Very Smart Brothas, got me to thinking about whether or not relationships—or the lack there of—are actually overrated.

In his post, “Why Being A Single Man Is Kind of Overrated” Young shines a light on something we rarely see: an upwardly mobile, educated black man not reveling in his singleness. While I know they’re out there, many men (especially quality black men) feel absolutely no pressure to settle down because the odds are in their favor. They know that whenever they wanted they could comfortably slide into a relationship, but like Prince Akeem, they want to sow their royal oats and enjoy being able to hop from one woman to the next. But Young flips the script and shares why he thinks being single (although he’s happily so), is kind of over-hyped.

He writes:

Anyway, if I could sum up my seven months of singledom in one word, it would most likely be “interesting.” I’ve met some “interesting” people, done some “interesting” things, made some “interesting” decisions, and, most importantly, thought some “interesting” thoughts. The most “interesting” of these “interesting” thoughts? Being a single man is kind of overrated.

Now, as I stated on the day where I wrote about orgasms, “overrated” doesn’t mean “bad.” In fact, as the careers of Tupac and Derrick Rose continue to prove, something can be very, very good — even great — and still be overrated. I’ve enjoyed being single, and will likely continue to enjoy it. But, while it seems like many assume that being a single man (a single Black man, at that) is nothing but an utopic stream of easy popsicles, cold pancakes, and syrupy p*ssy, there are a few downsides.

Young, affectionately known as ‘The Champ,’ goes on to list the downsides of being single as experiencing bouts of extreme loneliness; having to use condoms because you don’t have a monogamous partner; having to get back into the dating game; being limited to superficial romantic interactions; and having the time to notice some very unflattering things about yourself.

Reading the post and the subsequent comments made me wonder if being single is overrated or if people don’t realize that flying solo is just different than being in a relationship.

Too often we set up these either/or dichotomies in our minds about things. If you’re single people assume you’re lonely, but if you’re in a relationship they assume you’re floating on a cloud of love. While this may be the case for some, you can also feel lonely within an unfulfilling relationship, and surrounded by love and support if you’re single. Like many things in life, it just depends.

Both relationship statuses—single or coupled up—have its pros and cons. While you may always have someone to share your biggest triumphs with if you’re in a relationship, you will also have to consider another person’s feelings before your own. Conversely, being single affords you the freedom to do as you please, but sometimes you’ll have to go at it solo—even if that isn’t exactly what you want.

There are trade-offs to being single or being in a relationship, but is one really better than the other? 

Speak on it! 

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