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  • Writer's pictureDr. Speshal Walker Gautier a.k.a. Dr. Spesh

Sis, Be a “Choosey Lover.”

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

If you are a single Black woman looking for love and/or marriage, then chances are you have come across some gloomy statistics about how unlikely you are to find lasting romance. The messages often indicate that you are significantly less likely to find a partner as a Black woman and that these odds further decrease as you become more professionally successful. When I was single, I recall feeling discouraged by these messages. My White friends were either partnered, married, or enjoying what appeared to be a plethora of viable options for lasting love. Meanwhile, I was showing video clips to one of these friends about the statistics on single Black women. The clips were from a TV special where one of the panelists entitled this dilemma “the Black girl curse.” I kid yall not, I can’t make this up. I was mentally preparing for my life of singledom as we were literally packing and prepping for this friend’s upcoming wedding.

At some point when you keep hearing about the statistics about single Black women, you may start to internalize the belief that it will be nearly impossible for you to find romance. Somewhere along the way, you might even forget that you are dating and choosing a partner rather than merely hoping to be chosen. Not to mention these dating narratives for Black women are often centered around getting and keeping a partner. How many times have you heard “(Insert Black woman’s name here) can’t keep a man?” On the contrary how often do you hear “(Insert any man’s name here, hell anyone’s name) can’t keep a woman?” I’ll wait. The underlying message communicated through this common statement is that somehow it is a woman’s responsibility to both attract and keep a man interested. The sheer heteronormative notion contributes to the erroneous assumption that women are chosen by men, rather than actively choosing romantic partners for themselves (who may or may not even be men by the way).

It’s time to change the narrative to reflect our agency and our worth as Black women. Contrary to this toxic narrative around being chosen, you in fact get to choose Sis. The Isley Brothers knew what it was when they sang the classic “Choosey Lover,” later covered by the late Aaliyah. On this track, they acknowledged that women indeed make decisions about their lovers. If we have yet to adopt this idea in 2020, I wonder how radical of a concept this was back in the early 1980s, but I digress. Imagine shifting your mindset from “getting someone” to “choosing someone.” Remind yourself that every time you plan, accept, or decline a date that you are in fact making a choice. Who do you want to spend your time with? More importantly, who is worth your time? Based on what you have learned about yourself who is a good fit for you and how do decide whether someone is a potential fit based on what you learn about them during the dating process?

It is very easy to get caught up in the stats but at the end of the day “all it takes is one.” I say that in quotes because one of my beloved advisors and mentors said those same words to me as I rambled on to her about the “Black girl curse.” She is a Black psychologist and my assumption was that she too would be convinced by statistics. Instead, she responded so practically. Back then I wondered if she was just overly optimistic and perhaps a bit minimizing. In reality, she was right. The truth is that Black women do face unique challenges in dating AND there are nearly 8 billion people in this world. If even a tiny percentage of them are viable dating options, then the odds are in your favor for meeting someone who is a good fit for you. As you learn to date wiser and more intentionally, then you increase your odds of finding the right fit for you. So forget the hype and be a “choosey lover” Sis. Most importantly don’t forget to choose yourself first.

*Dr. Spesh is an Atlanta based Clinical Psychologist, blogger, and diversity consultant.*

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