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

Sis, If everyone you date is “trash,” then it’s time to adjust your picker.

I remember when I met my husband. Within a few months of dating, I told my sister that I had finally figured out the difference between the guys you date and the guys you marry. Now at that time, I didn’t know that he would be my husband per se. We still had plenty of dating to do before I knew he was the guy I’d marry, but I could tell he was the marrying type. Yes, I was attracted to him, his intellect, his humor, etc., but there was also a level of ease and transparency in our communication and our connection. There were no games, just pure honesty about our relationship and how we felt every step of the way. He was reliable and consistent and despite the challenges that came up, I knew he was invested.

By now I had many points of comparison. I had plenty of single dating under my belt, and Sis, I had a time. Much of it was a fun flirty era of living in the moment and coming of age. Then at some point, I was ready to sit my ass down. I knew I had to date more intentionally because the fun flirty dudes seemed to be casual and non-committal. See it’s all good when you’re in the market for casual, but not when you’re ready for that Monica “Love All Over Me” kind of love (minus the pre-love black & white life because remember we're not waiting for partners to live a colorful life). That’s dope that Monica “stepped right on in it,” and I love that for her. But let’s be real many of us aren’t out here accidentally slipping and falling in love with our life partners.

In reality, dating is an active process. Being actively engaged means holding yourself accountable for how you show up in this process. Dating intentionally and finding enjoyment throughout the journey are not mutually exclusive. You can have fun AND choose wisely as you decide who to invest your time and energy into. You know, that person you’re attracted to and have a great time with but they have already told you explicitly or showed you that they aren’t looking for anything serious? - They ain’t the one Sis. Or how about that other attractive person who is down to hang or hook up but regardless of what they tell you they continue to show you that they are emotionally unavailable? - They ain’t the one either Sis. If you feel like you are perpetually dating the same type of person then the issue isn’t the dating pool, it’s who you are choosing to swim toward in said pool. It may be time to take a look at your relationship patterns and work on adjusting your picker. Remember the types of relationships you choose are often indicative of your relationship expectations.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can relate to that feeling of scarcity and hopelessness that can creep in when it comes to Black love and wondering if it will happen for you. There was a time when I was single and one of few Black people in a Ph.D. program, while living in a predominately white city known for its history of racism. Trust, your girl was out here googling the best cities for single Black women and plotting an escape plan. But remember all it takes is one person. I met my husband in the midst of plotting my escape, thanks to the fact that I was dating intentionally while also being called on my shit by my therapist. I welcomed the introspection and held myself accountable. If you’re looking for love, I’m imploring you to hold yourself accountable too. The next time you feel inclined to make some version of the following statement: “These (insert pronoun or expletive of choice) are trash,” just remember that you are not a helpless passive passenger along for the ride in your love life. Empower yourself by remembering that you can learn to choose differently. You deserve that Monica type of love and when you empower yourself you can choose partners that are willing and able to to love you in the ways that you deserve. And I love that for you Sis.

*Click links for related Sis Blogs.*

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

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