From a pretty young age, people have been telling me that I needed to lower my standards when it came to dating. Apparently, they thought I was asking for too much or what I was looking for was unattainable. So, I did. I was too young to believe that a man could rise to meet me and I didn’t value what I had to offer. I dated many men who even though they had some redeeming qualities they were not who I wanted for various reasons. Some had never experienced life, others didn’t value my interests, and some while they might have made a good living had nothing else to offer me. Now that I’m single I understand that my so called “list” is not meant to keep me unattainable, but it is meant to protect me.
As a Black woman, I am constantly told and reminded that society deems me undesirable. We are least likely to get matched on dating apps, and the least likely to get married. So, we are led to believe that to rectify these statistics we must lower our standards. Instead of a man who is college-educated what about a man with a good job? What if he has kids, but he has a great relationship with the mother of his child? I wonder if it has ever occurred to anyone why we set these standards in the first place? I know the kind of life that I have and I also know the kind of life I am looking to create for myself in the future and with a partner. What I am looking for in a mate helps me to ensure that future.
Yes, I have an actual list of what I am looking for in potential spouse. Not so that I can check it off like a grocery list, but so that way I can protect myself and my emotions. I know how I am and I know that I can let my feelings get in the way of my mind. Once this happens I start to rationalize red flags away instead of listening to the little voice that is telling me that this is not what I truly want. What I am doing is essentially making sure that less of my time is wasted while also ensuring that I’m not wasting anyone else’s time. I’m looking for more than just a relationship and that requires more from my significant other. It requires more from me. I think a lot of times people want Black women to lower their standards because they know they cannot reach them. Funny enough that’s the point. Not everyone is supposed to.
Now that I’m older, I understand that access to me is a privilege. Not everyone is supposed to be around me and not everyone should have access enough to date me. I think I always knew that, I just so desperately wanted to feel love and desire that I entertained anyone who showed me interest. It’s taken me a long time to see that I control who can date me and I know what I want. I know my own mind and I alone know the dreams that I have for my future. And with time my list might change. It has changed since I’ve gotten older and it will change as I grow and mature. I also know that no one is perfect, and I’m not looking for perfection. But I don’t believe I’m asking for too much. It’s taken me years to come home to myself and see that I am worth so much more than I had been settling for. And I want my future spouse to know that neither of us has settled in love. No, we’re not perfect. We will be too deeply flawed individuals, but we will be in this knowing that our standards have been met.