Instead of giving you the dramatically low statistical percentage of the number of African-American women unmarried versus women of other ethnicities, I decided to give you a more realistic view on why there is more babies’ mama’s and single women than there are wives in the black communities. Aside from societal factors, it’s obvious our brothers are dealing with commitment issues. Primarily, those commitment issues stem from not wanting to give up the millions of other beautiful women in the world. The other part is the fear that marriage will require many changes and compromises. Most men believe that the more serious a relationship is, the more expectations there are. Therefore to prevent failing at the high expectations he opts to not commit at all. In an effort to aid my sisters in this non-committing crisis, I talked to five single men ages 25 to 40 and asked them the real deal about their thoughts and fears of marriage. Here is what I concluded….
Husband? How? – The majority of our black men have been raised in single parent homes with their mothers or grandmothers being both mom and dad. The role of a husband is foreign to them and may even seem unnecessary. Again the fear of playing a role that was never demonstrated can make him shy away from the responsibility all together.
The Half Syndrome – Kanye said it best when he talked about gold diggers and giving up half. With lyrics like this, brothers especially fear having a relationship that will destroy them financially. The idea of possibly having to give up half of their money or livelihood if the relationship fails can prevent them from legally committing to anyone.
Marrying Ms. Wrong – Men are afraid of marrying the wrong woman. They want to marry Ms. Perfect and are scared that they will make the wrong choice. A few of the brothers admitted that they fear that Ms. Right Now will turn into Ms. All Wrong after they say I do. Hence preventing them from jumping the broom until they are absolutely sure or figure out what the sure feeling will feel like.
Changing the Cohabitation – With many couples opting to live together before getting married, cohabitation has become more acceptable and convenient for many in this generation. However our men are often times spoiled by this arrangement and feel changing it by adding a “piece of paper” will destroy it.
Distrust – Just like a scorned woman, men have trust issues as well. It was revealed to me that oftentimes a man does not trust a woman enough to marry her. Mainly because he does not trust himself or he has been hurt in the past and fears going through the pain again.
Strong black women – I know us sisters are doing it for ourselves but at the same time our men are having a hard time finding their place in our lives. Brothers have repeatedly commented on how the sisters are not letting them be a “man”. Although this is not so much a fear it is claimed to be a reason why our men are not popping the question as often as we would like.
Money – Contrary to the half-syndrome, men often fear the thought of not being able to provide as a husband should. As a result they decide to wait until they are much older and financially stabile to marry and begin a family to avoid the feeling of not being a provider.
BeBe’s Kids - As hypocritical as it may be, men fear marrying a woman with children. Even though they may have a child, a ready made family to them usually means taking on a financial role and responsibility that he did not create. Many brothers also fear backlash from their family and friends for “taking in the next man’s baby mama”.
As enlightening as it was to hear a man’s perspective on the reasons why they can’t or won’t commit, these are by no means acceptable excuses. I know these fears don’t reflect how all brothers feel but one brother is too many. Let’s stop making and accepting excuses, and start giving each other what we deserve -Black love. Black love exists and it should be celebrated through marriage and commitment without fear. Ironically, as I’m finishing up this last paragraph Something New starring Sanaa Lathan begins and I was reminded that 42.4% of black women are not married. I know I said I wasn’t going to give you statistical percentages…but damn!