“I have had about three relationships and I ended them because they simply weren’t working,” she said. “There was tension in a few of them because of my demanding job schedule and ambition. Right now I am single. I have no candidates. I’m not sure I totally believe that’s because there aren’t any available men who have my standards.”
Dickens said she and several other successful Black women are waiting for their “Barack Obama” to come and find them.
President Obama has become the new model of a charming Black prince for most Black women who see his strong family values and affection for Michelle Obama as renewed hope that they can find their own someday.
“For so long people have pretended as if it was close to impossible to have it all, but the President of the United States and Michelle shattered that glass ceiling,” Dickens said.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey of 2006 showed that 45 percent of Black women in America have never been married compared to 23 percent of White women.
That fear of being alone, whether it is during the holiday season or other special occasions forces some women to make rash decisions resulting in unsatisfactory relationships, and unfulfilling marriages that end quickly in divorce.
More recently the gender roles of women have changed, making them more demanding in professional fields traditionally held by men, which consequently affects relationships.
“I’ve heard a few men say that women nowadays just don’t know their ‘role.’ Being a woman in the work force, I work to tear down ‘roles.’ My coworker just said women fight for their rights and roles at work and then bring that same attitude into a relationship and it doesn’t work,” Dickens said. “I can see this happening, but I don’t think that is me. I think I can be a good mate but I don’t baby and coddle men. I will, however, be your number one supporter.”
Portia Roberson, who heads the U.S. Justice Department Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison, is not only a successful lawyer, but the native Detroiter is also a rising star in the Obama administration.
When reached on her cell, Roberson, who has turned 40, agreed with Kimberly Hill that Black women should expand their dating options.
“We need to widen our scope of dating and relationship possibilities. However, we are often convinced that only a certain type of man can be our soul mate,” Roberson said. “We recognize that men may seem to have a myriad of dating options, but they must challenge themselves to recognize that there remains real value and happiness in being in committed, loving relationships.”
Recounting her dating experience, Roberson said it’s never been an issue for her to date men of different status and income levels.
“I’ve dated men who made significantly more than I did and men who’ve made less. Black women, like all women, are looking for men who treat us respectfully, love us, and have healthy relationships with their families, friends and their God. Men who are confident, open and secure with themselves,” Roberson said.
Lonette McKee, actress and filmmaker, said it is a new day for Black women.
“Throughout my entire adult life I’ve always been in a live-in relationship with a man. I’ve been happily married and gleefully divorced. I’ve enjoyed great relationships with wonderful men and some, well, not so much. But things have changed. It’s a new day,” McKee said. “Women nowadays are holding down jobs, earning their own paychecks and taking responsibility for their own happiness and emotional well-being. We realize we’re capable of taking care of ourselves and don’t necessarily need or want men (or anyone else) to provide for us. There’s power in independence.”
C. Paschal Eze is author of the allegorical “Divorce Appetizers: All You Shouldn’t Eat and What to Do When You Eat Them,” that offers methods for maintaining a healthy marriage.
“I won’t be surprised if in the future you find many more diverse families where John is Brown, Mary is Yellow and Steve is White and their Mama is my lovely Black sister whose current husband is Yellow. I won’t be surprised if that same future produces more Black fathers of mulattoes who do not really care about our traditions,” Eze said whose book is being released on Amazon.com.
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