I almost didn’t want to tackle this topic as I believe one article post can’t fully capture the issue in its entirety. I’ll keep it as short and to the point as possible…here goes…
Contrary to what the media will have you believe is the current state of Black love and Black marriage I’ve seen many of my peers (in the 20-something age range) either getting married, getting engaged, or making very serious moves in their relationships towards marriage. However, when I look at the women in the 30-something age category, I see a totally different trend. It’s the trend that many Black women have grown tired of hearing about the single, highly successful Black woman who must either date outside of her race or lower her standards if she wants a chance at getting married.
What exactly is the difference between the 20-somethings and the 30-somethings that has one category in happy marital bliss and the other in a state of single girl woes?
I look at the different outlook me and my older cousin have when it comes to relationships. Her philosophy is similar to what I hear from lots of older women when giving me advice on the men I encounter and will encounter. It goes as follows: “Carla, you’re young and you need to have all the fun you can have now. Be completely selfish and don’t get too wrapped up on one single guy. You have time for all of that.” The problem with this logic? When exactly do I no longer qualify as young? Is “being selfish” and “having all the fun I want” that easy to turn off one day and enter into a committed relationship the next day? How exactly does one make the transition from selfishness to being able to completely cohabitate and get along with another person on the level that is required for a serious relationship?
The questions I can ask on this are endless. The answers I’ve seen go hand in hand with what a woman interviewed on the Oprah Show said in regards to an unrelated topic. Basically, she said that in your youth you are setting the foundation for who you become. The mistakes and bad habits you make early on in life will follow you as you age. I’m applying this to this topic and making an observation that the 30-something year old has a hard time coping with sharing their already established lives with someone else.
For the 10+ years they have had in the dating realm they have been living by the same advice they are giving me. For those 10+ years they have focused solely on themselves. Their careers, their wants, their dreams, their well-being. At 30-something they find themselves in a predicament where they have the house, the car, the job, the pets, but not the man because they have been their only concern.
The 20-somethings, on the other hand, are trying to find a balance between focusing on their careers and on the relationships they have had for over a year. Many of my friends, both males and females, have moved out of states, prolonged moves to other places, transferred schools, rejected job offers, and ultimately altered their lives in some way to make a relationship work. Sounds crazy to an older generation of relationship naysayers but what I have witnessed is that this group and way of thinking has worked and I have gotten more wedding notifications than I even want to address right now.
Long story short, I think the difference is the approach and outlook. The media blames the men for not being good enough or for being locked away in jail or for being gay or for whatever silly reason they have but I was never an advocate of that excuse as I know many single older men who aren’t any of those things but are also focusing on themselves because they have given up on finding the right one.
I blame the mentality and ask the question is it really appropriate to leave a relationship because the other person may be facing a struggle in their lives that yes, affects the relationship and time spent together negatively, but is something unrelated to how that person feels about you? Is it really okay to want someone to support you through whatever you may be facing but run for the hills when a bit of trouble heads their way. The 30-somethings may say yes it’s okay and that it’s on to the next one with less drama while the 20-something may seek to be that person’s support system and stick it out with their guy despite what others may tell them. While the 20-something may be more prone to being hurt and may even be a bit foolish at times, if the right man does come along for them they are, in my opinion, more equipped to handle the complications and downs of what comes with both a serious relationship and a marriage.
About Carla Clunis
You can find more of Carla’s musings on love and relationships at www.theheartmalfunctions.com where she blogs about the ups and downs of dating and relating.
—— By: Carla Clunis