He’s Not On Your Level, Sis: The Downfall of the Successful Black Woman

According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (2019), there are 2, 670,000 Black women who hold a 4-year degree or higher, compared to only 1, 909,000 Black men in the U.S who hold the same degree. This is not to say that Black women are “taking over” and running households more efficiently than Black men. However, it does suggests that when it’s time to share the load, the “pickings” for successful Black women of other successful Black men, may be slim.

By default, a woman can easily be nurturing, caring, loving without hesitation and passive in her efforts to put her needs first. Black women in particular have an aura about themselves that not only exudes the default qualities, but emanates a symbol of strength. Black women can make things happen, with very little tools. They can be fierce and unmovable when it comes to their life planning and most importantly, they have the ability to take a man who has absolutely nothing, and build him to BE and HAVE everything.

While some may see a Black woman’s ability to make a man great a strength, it can very well be a weakness. In fact, it can be the shortest pathway to her downfall.

A woman who helps her man is admirable and sometimes, helping a man short term, is neccessary. However, taking care of a man long term is not only unhealthy, but should be avoided at all costs.

There are many levels to taking care of someone. I’m not speaking of the day-to-day operations such as cooking and cleaning or household obligations while the “better half” pays the bills. That’s called teamwork.

I’m speaking to the women who DO IT ALL; the cooking, the cleaning, the organizing, the planning, the providing, the compromising, the structuring and the sacrificing while HE gets his shit together. He’s not for you, sis.

No matter how compassionate a woman is or how much she is use to taking care of everything, there will never be a reason to build a broken man.

Here are 5 Ways to Avoid Building a Broken Man…

1. Look at where you got him from

Ladies, the key to having a man on your level is paying attention to how he came packaged. Where did you find him? And what was he doing with his life during that time? Did he have his own living space or did he live with someone? Was he in between jobs or fully employed? Was he in a relationship or was he single? Did he have reliable transportation or was he using his mom’s bus pass? All those factors play a significant part in the foundation of your future with him. If you are a woman who has it altogether, you need a mate who has it altogether as well. Compromising who you are in the courting phases is a strong indicator that you will be compromising for the rest of that relationship. If you have to pick him up and drop him off at work, reconsider. If he’s complaining that the couch he sleeps on hurts his back, reconsider. A man has to be able to bring something to the table, especially if you bought it.

2. Pay attention to how he thinks

Cognitive Behavioral theorists are huge on thoughts influencing a person’s emotions and by way, their actions. I actually swear by it. When getting to know someone, especially a man, it is very imperative to understand his thought processes. Is the glass half-empty or half-full? What does he think of being “equally yoked” or being a team player? Does he believe in marriage or casual sex for the rest of his life? Is his mindset “poor?” Is he angry with women? Does he have “mommy issues?”

Get to know how he views the world because it will be a factor in how he navigates through the relationship. For example, if a man has “mommy issues,” one of two scenarios are likely to occur:

1. He is likely to be a womanizer, having strong mistrust or disregard for women or…

2. He could still be on the “tit,” hanging on to his mother’s every word and defending her every action because he still needs validation from her.

Nothing is more frustrating than being with a man who only has room in his heart for his mother. It’s like sweeping sand.

3. Is there “baby-momma-drama?”

A man who has “baby-momma-drama” is a man who most likely can’t control his kingdom. I’m not suggesting that all men who have issues with the mother of their child or children, are incapable of managing their kingdom, because some women can be “doozies.” What I am suggesting is, if drama constantly arises, he either hasn’t closed the book on that chapter or he is not respected and doesn’t demand respect either. A man who doesn’t respect himself, or protect his peace, WILL NOT respect or protect his woman’s peace. In many cases, the woman may find herself fighting battles that aren’t hers because of the boundaries, the man refused to set. A man’s primary duty is to protect his household, and if he can not manage conflict, he can NOT and will NOT protect.

4. Explore the way he manages money

More often than not, people in general want more than they can afford. This in and of itself, is not a problem. The problem lies in the refusal to take care of needs because of those wants. Traditionally, marriage and courtship was all about money and the man needed to be a good provider or the woman’s family did not approve. Contemporary relationships have created a shift in those roles and women are picking up more of the “slack.”

Like I mentioned previously, general help from a woman is not a problem, especially if the man is trying. However, if he needs $40 every week to fill up his gas tank because he spent his money on “weed,” you may want to reconsider. Ask yourself, “Is this man a liability or an asset?” In other words, are you losing by being with him or are you gaining?

The climate of a prosperous relationship comes from the idea that two people work together to have an abundance of resources. If you’re a woman who’s creating, while the man is taking, you’re not in a relationship. It’s called co-dependency. He needs to be taken care of, and you need to feel needed.

5. Measure his maturity level

According to the Telegraph, UK (2013), men fully mature at the age of 43, placing them 11 years behind the maturation age of 32, for women. While some level of immaturity is inevitable, (lack of effective communication, improper handling of emotions, and defensive responding), there are other signs of immaturity that should be avoided such as changing behaviors in front of his friends, disrespecting women or talking down to his woman, blaming his woman for his actions, or competing with her accomplishments.

Loving someone who isn’t ready can be the most damaging thing to a person’s spirit, especially, the spirit of a person who likes to help and save others. Be mindful that everyone doesn’t perceive “help” the same and everyone isn’t looking to “grow.” Some people are perfectly happy where they are, therefore incapable of progressing to the next level or shall I say, your level.

Dear Black Woman,

You can not save a broken man. He will pull you down, before you pull him up.

Similarly, in more cases than not, it’s the “helper” who wants to see the change, more than the one being helped. Explore which side you’re on and make sure YOU as a “helper,” find love with another “helper.”

This post was written to improve the courtship process amongst successful women. It details the signs and symptoms to avoid becoming enablers to potential suitors, decreasing divorce rates and improving household dynamics.

Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, speaker and adjunct professor in Behavioral Health and Sciences. To learn more about her, check out her website, http://www.nya-b.com, follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b and FB, at Nya B.

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