When I was 17, I had my first child.
He was 19.
He was a nice boy – kind-hearted and genuine – but he didn’t have a clue about how to take care of himself, let alone be somebody’s boyfriend. I remember on our first…I’ll call it an outing, because that was hardly a date, we wandered around the city of Atlanta sightseeing and getting to know each other. It was perfect.
[bctt tweet=”Looking back, I should’ve known what I was in for.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Then we got to that part of the “date” where we get to sit down, share a meal, and see if we have the spark—or so I thought. He said he didn’t really have much money, so I humbly suggested that we get some sandwiches from a nearby grocery store. I wanted to show him that I wasn’t bougie or high-maintenance. We got all the way to the register before I found out I was paying for my own food — and his.
This little boy picked up his own sandwich and chips and a drink and had the nerve to look at me expecting me to pay for everything. Looking back, I should’ve known what I was in for. Giving him money, buying him clothes, advising him on every life decision.
I was his girlfriend, but also his mom. I was constantly breaking up with him because I knew that I deserved better, but I always took him back. I chalked it up to him just not having a father figure and it wasn’t his fault for not knowing what he didn’t know.
[bctt tweet=”I was his girlfriend, but also his mom.” username=”wearethetempest”]
It’s no secret that there isn’t a father present in most black homes. CNN reported there are more than 72% fatherless black homes to be exact. Many children are raised solely by strong women who have to play the role of mother and father. For black girls, we’re more likely to turn out okay. We’re taught to be strong and independent and to get our education.
As for black boys, they’re more likely to turn out spoiled or lost. A mother can only do so much to raise a man. There’s a point where boys need a male role model in his life. Young black men are learning how to be men basically from their peers and years of trial-and-error. For the young black women looking for mates, it’s up to us to teach prospects how to be the man we need them to be for us.
You see, black women date black men based on their potential. You take what you can get and the rest, you can work with. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a man who’s loyal but really can’t do shit for you. As long as he’s not out there cheating, you have a “good man” and you can push him to get an education, a job, and do better for himself.
[bctt tweet=”You see, black women date black men based on their potential. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
But it often happens that after you’ve invested love, time, money, counseling, encouragement, and literally built this man from the ground up you’re either completely drained, or the relationship is tainted by constant “nagging.”
Or there’s always outcome number three, said best by Kanye: “But when you get on, he leave your ass for a white girl.”
Did you know that 42% of black women are unmarried? It’s been the talk amongst black women since it was reported on ABC Nightline. Those women who are married, marry down in terms of education and pay grade. Black women are thriving in every industry and our male counterparts are struggling to earn a bachelor’s degree. And we all know how easy it is for a strong, educated woman to bruise the male ego. Then there’s infidelity…. then there’s divorce…. So really, black relationships are doomed for failure because of generations of broken family structures and the shortage of compatible black men for black women.
[bctt tweet=”I didn’t have anything left to give him” username=”wearethetempest”]
About that guy, we dated for a year before I finally had enough. I didn’t have anything left to give him, and he wasn’t making the necessary changes fast enough. He’s doing well now, though. He now knows to bring money to a first date, open doors, walk on the outside of the street, and sit facing the door. He’s back in school and doing well. He got his license and saved up to buy himself a car. I’m not taking credit…but I’m taking credit. I consider it my service to the black community. He’ll be better for the next girl. But sometimes I wonder, should I have stuck around and been patient so that he could have been better for me?
I’m worried about falling into that 42%.