Dear ‘Broke’ Men: Don’t punish a woman for not wanting to date you

“I have standards; step up or step out.” – Steve Maraboli

You ever meet someone, man or woman, romantic or platonic, real or fake, that makes you feel bad for having standards? I’m talking about those folks who take “humility” to a whole other level (i.e. one that shouldn’t ever be reached)?

Yeah…

Recently, I was talking to a male friend of mine who isn’t in the best—but also not the worst—situation financially. We were talking about the qualities we’d like for our significant others to possess and the usual characteristics came up. You know, stable employment, a kind and generous heart, someone who is funny, intelligent, consistent and faithful, etc. Then he went into self-deprecating mode:

“See, that woman right there [insert random acquaintance he knows] is my type of woman. But a man like me can’t get a chick like her. She won’t date a regular dude. She wants a dude who has it all together.”

Whenever my friend gets in this mode—which I still have yet to determine if jealousy or a self-esteem issue is the culprit—I cringe. It’s like a combination of complaining, not being confident enough in what he brings to the table and judging women based on their preferences equate to this annoyance of a concoction. He says things like, “She needs to get her a regular dude” or “That type of woman won’t mess with a blue collar guy. She’s probably all about the money.” Keyword: PROBABLY. In other words, he counts himself out of the race for her heart before the “Go!” shot is even fired.

Each and every time I ask him to elaborate on why he feels this way, it all goes back to how she looks, how she dresses and the life that she appears to live from the outside looking in.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend like we all don’t want that ride or die mate. But perhaps, if you are running into women who aren’t interested in dating you due to your financial status, maybe you should work on becoming a bit more stable in that department.

Granted, gold-diggers do exist, but every woman who does not desire to “struggle” with a man does not fit into that category. I’m not saying that blue collar men struggle. I’m smart enough to know that your intelligence, connections and work ethic—not the type of work that you do—is what truly leads to wealth and success. But it seems like a growing number of men, hell people, don’t seem to know the difference.

My friend is one of many men I’ve encountered who thinks a woman won’t date them because they’re not rich. In their minds, not being wealthy means their “broke,” which just isn’t the case. And while this may be true in some instances, sometimes a woman has already struggled with a man. Sometimes, a woman knows how her heart is set up and she will end up taking on said man’s emotional, physical and financial burdens instead of functioning cohesively as a unit in the relationship. And honestly, sometimes she doesn’t want to revisit the “land of hard times.” It’s usually no different than any other preference someone has regarding a potential mate.

Let’s revisit my friend for a second. The problem isn’t his paycheck, it’s his confidence. Granted, for the most part, folks do well by staying in their lanes, so to speak. He’s decided to date women he believes will date and accept him, “broke” and all—and acceptance is a big part of a healthy loving relationship. Requiring that which you are willing to give is also a key factor.

But then there are those who do not allow themselves to be defined by “lanes.” Usually, confidence is a big determinant of where you fit.

Women aren’t obligated to date a man who is struggling. If we prefer someone who is more financially stable, that does not mean that we are heartless, gold-digging and superficial. It simply means that maybe your paycheck isn’t the issue, but your character and confidence is. A woman isn’t always disinterested in you because of your pay grade. Sometimes she just isn’t interested. And instead of finding reasons to discount yourself or calling her greedy, fake and/or selfish, maybe you should remember that she doesn’t owe you an explanation.

Shantell E. Jamison is a digital editor for EBONY. She moderates various events centered on love, relationships, politics and wellness and has appeared on panels throughout the country. Her book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction” is available now.

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