“But I also understand that these defense mechanisms are unhealthy and I had to shed them in order to be prepared to meet my husband.”
I just started watching Own’s new show Ready to Love and I am intrigued. It’s a show about people in Atlanta who are ready to find love. Everyone on the show is black and most of them are between 35 to 45. Everyone seems to be established in their careers and in life itself. They did a great job picking eligible male and female bachelors. They are all good looking individuals and very nice. I was shocked that they had all been single for so long, especially the women! These are independent, beautiful black women with amazing careers and spectacular bodies. Black don’t crack is evident when watching this program. So I sat back and watched and by episode three, my question of “Why are these women single?” was answered.
The setup of the show is 3 men, 12 women. It reflects the reality of dating in Atlanta where the ratio is 21 women to every 1 man. Cattiness is expected on a show like this but surprisingly, there isn’t much. These women are developing real friendships. But my answer came as I saw how each woman interacted with the 3 very different men. There’s Aaron, a complete jerk. I’m wondering how he even made it so far because I saw how big of a jerk he was on episode one but the ladies love him. Then we have Alex, a genuine down to earth guy who is pretty good with communication and really seems to want love. Lastly we have my favorite, Mike, a very attractive but humble and goofy guy who really wants babies. Each man requires different things but what I’m noticing is these women aren’t paying attention to what the men need; they’re too busy using their defense mechanism to avoid being hurt.
Granted, this is a competition so I can see why they don’t want to invest too much. But I’ve noticed they are sabotaging their connections with the men because their defense mechanisms are leading while their true feelings are taking a backseat. This, in my opinion, is what has kept them single. As a single black woman in Atlanta, I TOTALLY get why the defense mechanisms exist. I have been hurt just like the women on the show. But I also understand that these defense mechanisms are unhealthy and I had to shed them in order to be prepared to meet my husband. The last thing I want to do is make him pay for my stupid ex’s mistake. It’s not fair to me or him. Watching these ladies reminded me of the many defense mechanisms I used in the past in an attempt to avoid heartbreak.
“What she doesn’t realize is that a man shouldn’t have to jump through a ring of fire just to reach the front door of her emotions.”
- I don’t need a man for nothing…Most are familiar with this defense mechanism. This young lady is quick to use “all” when referring to men. Her conversations usually sound like “All men are trash” or “All men cheat”. She has most likely experienced a plethora of bad dating experiences that has left her depleted of vulnerability. Instead of being open to seeing any positive characteristics in her male counterpart, she’d rather believe that “All men suck” to avoid opening up to anyone and risk being hurt. Deep down, she wants love badly and hopes that a man will take on the challenge and prove her wrong. What she doesn’t realize is that a man shouldn’t have to jump through a ring of fire just to reach the front door of her emotions. Most men don’t want to deal with that, no matter how great she may be. He actually shouldn’t have to.
- Men do it, so can I…This is a newer defense mechanism that has developed within the last few years. Women have become tired of the restless mind games men play and have adopted the “If you can’t beat them, join them” mentality. You now see women openly dating several men at once, bragging on being a savage, detaching emotions from sex, and even saying they don’t desire marriage or true intimacy, just a good time and maybe some cash to go with that. The biggest issue I see with this mechanism is ,in most cases, these women don’t really want to do what men do. Deep down, they actually want true intimacy and love but they’ve been wronged so many times that they’ve become hopeless. They feel their only way to deal with men is to beat them at their own game.
“Some men deserve the swift cutoff because they may actually have ulterior motives; but some men just need communication and a little mercy because they are getting to know you and they may not understand what you need just yet.”
- It ain’t nun to cut that man off…So this was my defense mechanism for years. I still have a little bit of it left inside of me but God is working with me daily to tear down these walls. This woman is no nonsense so please don’t try her. She blocks people for a living and takes pride in her ability to swiftly cut men off if they show any sign of misbehavior. The issue with this mechanism is it is very uncompromising and doesn’t leave room for understanding. Some men deserve the swift cutoff because they may actually have ulterior motives; but some men just need communication and a little mercy because they are getting to know you and they may not understand what you need just yet. Speaking from experience, most women do this because they would rather cut a man off before they get a chance to hurt her. Fool her once, shame on her and you because you aren’t getting a second chance to do it again. Even if the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, you’re still getting a swift dismissal.
- Oh, me too…In my younger years, I was this person. The woman who just goes with whatever the guy wants in hopes that he’ll recognize that they want the same things and would eventually give her the commitment she wants. If he says he doesn’t want a commitment but he’d rather take things slow and see where it goes, she responds “Oh, me too.” He says he doesn’t believe in titles, as long as he knows it’s real why define it, she responds “Oh, me too.” He says he doesn’t think monogamy is natural and he thinks every couple should have an open relationship, she responds “Oh, me too.” She sounds crazy but I think many women have done this a few times, maybe not this extent but you get my drift. This is the woman who feels that she has to adjust her wants to his wants in order for him to want her bad enough to make the commitment. She feels that if she stands firm in what she actually wants, he won’t stick around. She doesn’t want to deal with that heartbreak so she’d rather convince herself that she actually wants what he wants rather than being alone.
- I’ll just keep my ex around for now…There has been this confusing meme going around that many women share with great pride. It baffles me because they repost it as if they have no other option than what is written in the text. It says “While yawl are out here smashing new guys, I’m still giving it to my ex to keep my body count low.” I get that body count matters to many women but there is another way to keep your body count low and leave your ex alone…just don’t have sex. There are a few issues with this defense mechanism. One, many women are lying to themselves saying their ex is just for sex. I can’t see how you can continuously have sex with someone you love or used to love and not fall back into love or the routine the relationship you two once had. Two, how can you expect a man to come into the picture and respect this situation? You’re most likely going to lie and that’s starting the relationship off on the entirely wrong foot because what’s in the dark will come to light. Three, you’re not giving yourself time to get over your ex. A new man shouldn’t have to fight that battle. Would you want to be dating a man who is still having sex with his ex to keep his body count low? Exactly! This defense mechanism just doesn’t work.
Now that I have explained each mechanism and why they aren’t beneficial, I want to give a few tips on how to protect your heart without defense mechanisms. I would never tell a woman to just drop all defenses and date every man openly with no emotional protection. I wish the world we lived in was that easy but it isn’t. Men aren’t always honest and upright with information so we must be alert. But in our alertness, we don’t want to put walls up so high the even the right man can’t get though. Here are a few tips to help you protect your heart but not continue to use unhealthy defense mechanisms.
“I would never tell a woman to just drop all defenses and date every man openly with no emotional protection. I wish the world we lived in was that easy but it isn’t.”
- Be honest with yourself and him about what you want…Stop lying about what you want and just be real. It has to start with you though. It is okay to want to be married. It is okay to want five kids. It is okay to want to be friends first because you fear moving too fast. Your wants are okay but you have to be honest with yourself. Once you discover your truth, then you can tell the man you’re dating. The quicker you guys get on the same page, the better. If he seems hesitant about your truth, then that could be a sign that you guys just aren’t compatible and that’s okay. Be nice about it and let him know that you guys just aren’t looking for the same things. Maybe he can be your friend or help you with a business venture. Not every person you meet is meant for love. Don’t waste his time or yours, just move on.
“Just like God made all women differently, he made all men differently as well.”
- Don’t go in with preconceived notions…Do you think all women are the same? If you’re like me, your response will be heck no, I’m a unicorn. Just like God made all women differently, he made all men differently as well. Although dating is tricky because there are many men who use the same manipulative tactics to get what they want from women, not all men are like that. Stop going into every situation thinking he is just like the last guy. Let him prove himself first. Go in open to hear him and observant so you pick up on things that may be a deal breaker. This works in reverse too! Just because he is tall, fine, and successful, doesn’t mean he’s automatically perfect for you. Don’t go in thinking he is your future husband. You’ll ignore all red flags because you’ll be stuck in infatuation. Snap out of it, pay attention.
- Communicate…I think communication is our biggest issue. Most women think they’re great communicators because they talk a lot but most of us actually suck. It’s not what we’re saying, it’s actually what we’re not saying. Most times, we don’t know how to communicate what we actually feel. For example, a man didn’t call you back like he said he would. You wait until he texts you or calls you another day so you can communicate how wack he is and how he’s just like everybody else. But honestly, that’s not how you really feel. You’re really just sad that he didn’t keep his word because him keeping his word meant that he likes you as much as you like him. Instead of yelling at him, try being honest and communicating your true feelings. This takes vulnerability and soul searching so you know how you actually feel. It works though, I’ve tried it. I got great results really quickly. Men don’t like when we yell, they prefer us being vulnerable. And if you fear being vulnerable with him about how you feel because you think he will use it against you, that is a sign that he isn’t someone you should be dating.
“The only way to really know someone and their true intentions is to take your time getting to know them.”
- Pace yourself…I will say this until I’m blue in the face. The only way to really know someone and their true intentions is to take your time getting to know them. Think about it like your job. When you first started working there, you were on your best behavior because you wanted to do a good job and you wanted to peep the scene so you know what you had to do at level ten versus what you could take a shortcut on. So for the first three to six months, you were perfect. But then you started seeing coworkers taking longer breaks so you realized you could too. Then you learned which boss to ask what. Then after a year, you caught your flow so you could tell other people how the job really ran and the secrets many didn’t know about. The same goes with getting to know a person. In the beginning, you can’t make a sound decision on how great a person is because you haven’t spent time getting to know them. Yo have to pace yourself. You aren’t showing them all parts of you and they aren’t showing you either. If you see red flags, discuss them if you can but if you can’t, be okay with walking away because some red flags are deal breakers. But you won’t be willing to walk away as quickly if you invest too much of yourself too soon so take your time.
I know this post was long but I just know I helped many people today. If you feel I tugged on your heart strings to help you make a change, please share this post and subscribe.
Be sure to get your copy of Single Woman Chronicles: An Atlanta Love Story…Kinda.