I typically don’t care for the goings-on in Celebrityville. Who’s dating who, who’s laying up in whose bed, who’s shacking up behind the scenes of X reality TV show or scripted melodrama. It’s all too exhausting to keep up with, especially considering my own life is full of enough what-the-what?! moments to fuel a few blog posts a day. But I’ve noticed J. Lo and Halle Berry always seem to have themselves a boo. Always. And it’s pretty obvious it’s not necessarily a cavalier matter of choice, but that they’re two of those women who actually think they need a man. Maybe to be validated, maybe to chase away the lonely, maybe to keep them from feeling things they may not be ready to emotionally confront.

Whatever’s at the root of their perpetual partner-dom, neither one of them like spending too much time alone, as demonstrated by a string of disposable relationships with romantic shelf lives that redefine the on-to-the-next-one spirit. You can’t really fault the guys for volunteering themselves to be the newest additions to the Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry Collections and grabbing quick rides on the 15-minute celebrity gravy train. When opportunity knocked, they answered and hit paydirt in the process. Ka-ching.

One of the most dangerous fears that swirls around in the minds of many women — too many women — is the fear of being man-less. “Single” might as well be a transmissible disease because it’s frantically avoided and keeps them stocked with either an endless supply of dudes or the same ol’ dud who has proved himself unworthy year after year after year. Either way, he’s not the most glimmering example of upstanding manliness, but he fits the bill out of necessity because he’s got the biological qualifications and physical accoutrements to boot. With no chance to go into the next relationship refreshed and renewed because there’s just not enough time, compulsive man-seekers sacrifice a lot for the sake of having a warm body in their beds or a new beau by their sides.

Trouble is, most of these ladies don’t recognize their addiction to that new boo euphoria or the reliance on having a man at their disposal. And so it goes on unchecked for ages, all the while chipping at their self-worth and, sometimes, their personal health and safety. Still, there are signs, indications a woman is more crazy about the idea of a man than the man himself. Nothing personal against the boy toys who will continue to parade in and out of J. Lo and Halle’s lives. It’s just that even more empowering than landing a man is learning how to live without one. At least for a little while.

How can you tell if you’re desperate just to have a man?

You’re constantly defending him from your family and friends (or not telling them the whole truth about your situation).
Suddenly, the people around you can become purveyors of wisdom and pick up on some points about your love life you’d never see because, you know, you’re too busy living it. But even if they do you the favor of presenting their findings, you dismiss the cold, hard facts because you don’t want to have undeniable justification to cut your dude loose and end up single. Better to make your loved ones feel like they’re crazy than accept that your man may not be the good thing you’ve worked exceedingly hard to make him out to be.

You regularly let his inconsideration and indiscretions slide.  
He cusses at your kids, he rolls his eyes at your mama, he breaks promises to you with a systemic regularity. You, in turn, apologize for problems you didn’t create or shoulder responsibility for issues that aren’t yours. He gets away with it all because he knows, just like you know, that you are too afraid to rock the boat and risk his leaving than to cut his fool tail loose and hand him his walking papers in a hand basket.

You’re always making excuses for him. 
I’ve known women obviously getting beat down by their men on a regular basis and others who’ve been mollywhopped by rants and raves about their worthlessness. But they still find a reason to defend their man’s honor — not only because they’re conditioned to put him on a pedestal, but because they’re so scared of him, they’d rather pardon the behavior than confront the obvious fact that he’s not worth the emotional and mental investment. Just to have a man.

You haven’t been single longer than a week in your whole adult life.

Some experts say it takes two years to bounce back fully from a previous relationship, maybe longer depending on the circumstances of the situation and the emotional condition of the folks doing the bouncing back. But one thing’s for sure: If you have to recall periods in your life according to the man you were with at the time, a la Bryson when you graduated from college or Tyjuan when you bought your first new car, that might be a sign you’ve spent too much time up under a dude. How can you get to know yourself if you’re always splitting time with a guy? Then again, that might be one of the reasons why.

You reason, “Well, it’s better than being alone.”  
He’s cheated, he’s lazy but breathing, and lays a pretty good piece of pipe, so you opt to make it work with him instead of running the risk of staying drenched in singleness like the rest of us in that 42 percent. But sweetie pie, I’ll take single over settling any time. I think we all should. Even J. Lo and Halle.

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