I've never written to an advice columnist before. I was very excited to find you online. Did you know that there aren't any Black women in your field that have your experience and answer questions without talking about religion? So I trust you to answer my question fairly and honestly. Here goes:
I am a 25 year old San Jose State graduate. I have a great job, no children and am very attractive. I have been going out with a man for 3-1/2 years. He is 30, built like Tyson the model, but looks like LL Cool J with wavy hair. We live on the same street, but I just do not feel he's truly in love with me.
My family likes him, and his family can't wait until our wedding day. The problem is he still puts the street life and his friends before me.
I know I can't change him, but what advice can you give me about this situation? I do everything for him like a wife does, but I don't have that title. I don't want to leave him, but I think maybe he will realize what a prize he has if I do. Is this a good idea?
Please, please help me. I am in love with him, but I am unhappy. He does not give me the attention or affection I would like. I know that love is compromise, but it seems like I do all the compromising in this relationship!
What can I do or what should I not do to bring happiness to me in this relationship?
Sad and in Love
Dear Sad and in Love
It appears you are very confused about how to select a man for a long-term relationship.You have spent years of your life trying to change a wild animal into a tame house pet. Nothing about this guy or his behavior indicates that he has any of the qualities that would make him a great husband. He offers no stability, no dependability, shows no devotion to your happiness, and is not the least bit concerned with creating a strong bond and a future with you.
The problems are not his alone. You seem to have a mindset about mate selection that I've found in many African American women, and its very disturbing to me. That is that you all focus on what the man has materially, his looks and his sex appeal more than you do the inner qualities of the man.
I found it interesting that the only things you chose to focus on and tell me about him were superficial things, specifically about his hair texture and how he looks! You don't marry someone for how they look! A woman should marry a man that she can trust, that demonstrates he has the ability to be a life partner, that supports and loves her, that has similar values, and that wants more than anything in the world to spend his time and life with her.
Your boyfriend is extremely immature, proven by the fact that he is 30 years old and still caught up in teenaged 'running with my boyz' nonsense. Such an attitude is suspect 'down low' behavior anyway, if you ask me. It's not normal for an adult male to prefer hanging out with other guys over being around his mate. Something is very wrong with this picture.
From my perspective, nothing in your letter provides a suitable reason why you should even be THINKING of marrying this man. He treats you badly, doesn't do anything for you, and you give to him while all he does is take. I don't care how much HIS family wants you there serving him like Hazel, or how much your family likes him, he is not husband material. There's no reason for you to stay in a relationship that makes you miserably unhappy,
Once you let go and stop hanging on to a dream, you'll realize that fighting to hang onto this relationship is fighting a losing battle. I suggest that you get your mind together and get very clear on what you want in a man and a relationship, and what this relationship is offering. Write it down on paper if you have to. Make two columns and title them "What I Want/Need in a Relationship" and "What I Am Actually Getting in This Relationship," then make your lists. Perhaps looking at the facts in black and white will help you see things more clearly.
My second suggestion is that you start making plans to move. A woman should never, and I mean EVER live on the same street as a man she is seeing. Santa Clara County is huge and offers beautiful apartment complexes and even privately owned condos and townhomes for rent. Even moving to Alameda County (Fremont, Hayward, Pleasanton or Oakland) wouldn't be that horrible of a commute by car or BART to and from work.You need to put some physical and emotional distance between the two of you so that you can effectively break this off and move on.
Love is never enough and is not the sole criteria upon which to base a relationship. People fall in love for many reasons. My years as an advice columnist have proven to me that most of the reasons people say they are in love are unhealthy ones. Loving him when you are not being loved back, giving when you are not being given to, and working at a relationship where no effort is coming from the other party means you are caught in a dangerous web of codependency.
This was a difficult response for me to write because you, along with thousands of other young Black women need both a firm talking-to and vital information about changing your mate selection criteria. It saddens me that the older women in your family didn't sit you down and explain these things to you long before now. Since you've read my column, you know that patience and 'being nice' are not my strong suite. However, I wanted to give you step by step suggestions for how to move past this and create for yourself the future and relationship that you long for. I hope others reading your letter... that find themselves in relationships of a similar nature can learn from your mistake. Because you are still young, there is hope.
Young lady, you've already spent almost four years of your life on someone that isn't giving you the relationship you want, a relationship you have every right to have. The chief challenges I see ahead for you are (1) believing that you have the right to the relationship of your dreams; (2) understanding that a man should not receive the benefits of being your husband until you are married; and (3) accepting that what you want is not going to ever come from THIS guy.
Best of luck to you. Thank you for putting your faith and confidence in me.
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Category: Dating Advice