In last week’s column, I outlined four self-defeating behaviors that women do that hurt their chances of having a healthy relationship. Men, particularly Black men, seem to catch a lot of flack nowadays for their supposed universal aversion towards love and commitment. As much as we’re led to believe that they aren’t interested in anything more than a little bump and grind, men do want and need to be loved just as much as women.
Of course, women don’t have the market cornered on fear based ways of interrelating that I like to call “Dubious Dating Behaviors.” Given the expectation that a ‘strong Black man’ is in control of his emotions at all times, it’s no wonder that there is often a disparity between what they say and how they act. Men feel fear and anxiety just as much as women. However, due to the prevailing cultural expectation that real men “suck it up,” they are often uncomfortable expressing a full range of nuanced emotions that include vulnerability or tenderness, emotions which if acknowledged could improve their overall emotional health and that of the relationship.
So in the spirit of levity, I want to offer my brothers the following four common behaviors they I’ve observed them make when dating. Again, I know that missteps aren’t limited by gender, but I’ve seen many men actively sabotage what could be an otherwise healthy relationship by taking a largely passive approach towards relating.