By Chloe Cambridge
There’s an epidemic of settling in this generation
Women everywhere are dipping far below their standards just to find men who appreciate them. They are giving up things they thought they wanted, for nothing more than a simple “he’s good to me.” Where’s the man who was supposed to challenge you and understand you? Where’s the man who was supposed to support you?
To be frank we’re dealing with a major crisis
With missing ‘black fathers’, ‘high numbers of young black men incarcerated’ and ‘a general lack of accountability’, it has become the norm for men to refuse to commit until well into their 5th decade.
The gradual decline of eligible and mature-minded black men ready for marriage, explains the rise of black women below 40 being unmarried today, including 70 percent of professional black women. I’ll be the first to admit, black men have indeed been stigmatized no end — buried under stereotypes of being criminal, absent fathers and womanizers.
Not all men are the same
Albeit over time, these sort of statistics, plus the explosion of trends like, ‘Friends With Benefits’ will start to chip away at anyone’s self-confidence, creating doubts that align with the harsh realities.
Sadly plenty of beautiful and educated women are single and lonely
Either we’re stuck in a complicated situation, trying to figure out where we stand, or we’re left distraught in the wake of a painful break up, wrestling to let go of feelings for someone we loved hard, going back and forth whenever he makes the slightest effort, sleeping with him, then resuming the healing process all over again, and during our weakest points, we may even initiate contact ourselves…
Circumstances don’t fair better for single moms, who often end up doing everything by themselves, running the day to day chores as well as providing for their kids, generally operating under an exhaustive schedule without a man in sight. The temptation to return to the baby’s father, or date multiple men – just for the sake of ease – must be enormous.
Then there are those of us who get little to no action
Women like myself, who’ve been single and celibate for yonks – and are kind of enjoying it, okay well maybe not all the time, but overall we’re happy that we can live life without too much emotional havoc.
For the final category
Let me take you back to Yvonne circa 2012: the girl consumed with her love life. Aside from work, family, and friends, I spent my spare time discussing prospective dates, preparing for upcoming dates, or whining over the lack thereof.
I longed for the weekends to glam up for the next party, or birthday dinner, each time filled with a glimmer of hope, that maybe, just maybe, I might meet someone who would knock me right off my feet!
I didn’t necessarily want to meet the one, because I knew I wasn’t ready for marriage, but I did crave attention from someone who could soothe my feelings of emptiness, and add a bit of oomph to my otherwise monotonous life.
My obsession fascination with guys extends back to my college days, right after my first relationship fell apart at 19, I got into the pattern of speaking to different guys, at any one time, trying to figure out what made them tick. I relished the challenge and upon closer inspection, my behavior had a lot to do with seeking love and validation. But where did all those calls and dates get me?
They certainly didn’t make me happier or more confident in the long run
I can honestly say the hours spent on the phone, going out, dating, talking about men, were a waste of time
Yes it is a privilege to share my experiences with you, and I’m not complaining, but all I can think of is how much I could have achieved and achieved sooner, had I known better – particularly when I think of what has happened in the past 24 months, and all while I’ve been completely single. It just amazes me that I never had the guts to make this decision before.
Being single will make you feel insecure at times
Accept the fact that you’re bound to feel insecure now and then – it’s only natural.
Insecurity thinks short term | Confidence thinks long term
Insecurity thinks: if I do this today I will get my desired feeling now.
But what are the repercussions of behaving that way a year from now?
Confidence thinks: if I do this today how will my actions affect me in 5 years time?
This rule can be applied to any area of life.
Don’t get stuck using short term fixes, to try and get your long term goal – love. It won’t work; you’ll attract attention for sure, but you won’t gain the love you seek, and you’ll incur so much emotional baggage, and trust issues in the process, that you won’t be able to recognize a good man when he comes along anyway.
Before anyone can make you happy, you have the repsonsibility of making yourself happy
Singles are inaccurately assumed to be lacking in some way, when in reality, the wisest of females use their single years to become more well rounded.
On top of that, many women are miserable in their singleness, and seek a man to complete them instead of complementing them – as if his entrance will automatically make them happy. Remember that man is human.
Even though he deserves your love and admiration, there’s no two ways, he will definitely let you down at some point in your relationship, so it’s unfair to set him up as a savior.
Being single can be viewed as a disadvantage or an opportunity
- To build a strong network
- Devote yourself to activities that you’re passionate about
- Develop a sense of self-worth and identity that is not attached to a romantic partner’s love and approval
These experiences will serve you well if and when you find yourself in a relationship because, if you feel satisfied and happy with your life independent of your partner, you will be less likely to have unrealistic expectations (as mentioned above) that your partner should meet all your needs, plus you will have the dignity and security of knowing that you have created a life before him and that he hasn’t made you, therefore it will more difficult for him to break you, in the event of a separation.
Your single season should be the busiest and most fun time of your life, as you prepare for a mate by working on all aspects of yourself so that you have something worthwhile to offer besides your beauty, education and possessions.
A list of things to consider:
1. Save money
The top reason for divorce today is not infidetility – it’s arguments over money. That said, the women who at least try to rectify their financial matters, or invest their funds, will have a head start. Considering the added pressures attacking healthy relationships, becoming more astute in this area will relieve stress and give you room to actually love each other, even if you’re still in school.
2. Build self-confidence and self-esteem
Self- confidence: is whether you believe in yourself. (Overall)
Self esteem: is whether you believe you’re worthy of respect from others. (Foundation)
We all struggle from low self-confidence. All sorts of outside factors can affect you and send you into an emotional tailspin where you start to lose self belief, which in turn has a knock on effect on how attractive you feel, creating doubts in your mind over whether you can attract someone you desire.
The amount of self-esteem you have determines the level of abuse garbage vs love you’ll accept; insecurity acts impulsively and doesn’t weigh up the consequences until afterwards, whereas confidence thinks over the repercussions in 5 years time (as mentioned above).
3. Set standards
Setting standards really comes down to what you believe you deserve. It has nothing whatsoever to do with your looks, or level of education – see this is where we get it so wrong, it all starts with a deeply held belief which is none of anyone else’s business.
For instance: Would you date a thug? Would you date a man with no job? Your answers to these questions shouldn’t be taken lightly as you are setting a standard.
On the other hand if you believe you deserve a professional, or corporate guy then there’s no reason you shouldn’t get him. Unfortunately some people will do their utmost to shame you into settling for less.
Keep in mind, none of us are perfect, as my sister always says, “we all have a past” but seriously think about what you will and won’t accept.
4. Travel abroad
I can’t stress enough how traveling is probably the best education you can ever receive besides reading (go alone if you have to) because visiting different countries and interacting with various cultures elevates your mind for what you believe is possible in your own life. Look if you can afford that brand new purse or shoes, you can afford to travel abroad.
5. Pursue different challenges
Live alone. As hard as it is to live alone, you get to know yourself in an extreme, intense, and deeply satisfying way. It teaches us to live happily alone. It provides quiet to think. It allows us to become self reliant and provides a great deal of confidence in our ability to survive.
And lastly be completely, utterly, wholly single for at least 6 months. Stop trying to date someone constantly. Fast from going on the hunt, and from the hope, of another person coming into your life.
Sit fully into your singleness and see what you find. Hopping wildly from one relationship to the next can do us a disservice. You’re never more ripe for self-reflection than when you’re on your own — and the more you know yourself and your passions, the more likely you are to find someone who’s right for the real you.