Many men often talk about the depth of issues our African-American women possess and how they impact our relationships. To be honest I am also one who contributed to this interactive male dialog without giving respect to the entire picture of duality in relationships. Generally speaking, the issues we possess may not seem as deep as those of women on the surface, but our issues appear in so many shapes, sizes and forms that I can now understand why women have a difficult time figuring us out. The way we present ourselves to women can serve as a disguise masking what our true intent or purpose is. Some of us approach women with an outward appearance of desiring a serious relationship. However, the outward appearance is a mask to the true desire of only wanting to have sex with them. In the end it leaves our sisters isolated, frustrated and confused. More importantly, someone has to deal with the result of our negligence.
In thinking through the categories, I bounced thoughts off of both men and women to ensure that my perspective was not totally out of line with reality.
- Mr. ‘Insecure’ – Contrary to popular belief, many of us possess characteristics that allow us to be associated with this category. Depending on who you are, it may be difficult to identify the extent to which you suffer from insecurity. Because of the negative perception of insecurity, we often try to only associate insecurity to individuals who are stalkers, those who pop-up unannounced, or those who have obsessive control issues. These are the extreme cases! However, insecurity in its more subtle form makes you ask questions like ‘Where are you going?’, ‘Who are you going with?’, ‘Why did you stay out so late?’, or ‘Why did you not call and check-in?’ Now these questions in their innocence are not bad questions, but when we ask them with an underlying insecure feeling in our hearts, then it demonstrates an insecurity issue. Let me be honest, we all fluctuate in and out of this category at various points in our lives.
The signs of insecurity are individuals who display outward outbursts of abuse, excessive desire to control women and intimidation when women make more, have more or seem more successful than you. Also remember that the ‘little’ signs (hidden jealousy and inquisitive questioning) of insecurity are also detrimental to relationships. Placing full trust in the Lord, increasing self-confidence and opening-up the lines of communication are the best ways to overcome the vice of insecurity.
- Mr. ‘Good Guy’ – I feel for those of you who fit into this group of individuals. Not because there is anything wrong with being a ‘good guy’, but because I used to be a part of this group and remember the frustrations. I clearly remember the day my high school sweetheart ‘broke-up’ with me because I never did anything wrong in her eyes as it related to our relationship. That one experience scarred me emotionally and it took considerable time for me to NOT intentionally provoke wrong-doing in my relationships :). It also contributed to my belief that all women like men that have some sort of ‘bad boy’ in their character (my view has since changed).
If you ask most women about men who fit into this category, you will find that most have nothing negative to say about them. If you continue looking underneath the surface, men who get the label of ‘good guy’ find it difficult to maintain serious long-term relationships. The real source of relationship issues for Mr. ‘Good Guy’ stem from the fact that women do not view them as strong leaders who they trust turning over the household to. They make decisions from the perspective of making people around them happy and not based on what is best for their relationships. They allow the requests of family, job and/or friends to override the needs of themselves and/or their relationships. They will typically do things that make other people happy, but inconvenience themselves in the process. Is this you?
If you fit into this category, then there is hope for you. Become more assertive in your decision-making and refrain from the desire of trying to make everyone around you ‘happy’. It will sometimes require you putting your foot down and making decisions that disappoint people. However, women love men who are able to make firm decisions and stand by them.
- Mr. ‘Bag Man’ – Mr. ‘Bag Man’ can be best defined as the individual who brings luggage into a relationship with no tag identifying what’s included in the bags. You are considered Mr. ‘Bag Man’ if you bring a child or children into a situation while having no intent on being a father or accountable to them. We all have made bad decisions in our lives and no one is exempt from the healing power of Jesus Christ. However, women deserve to know who you really are and have the right to make an informed decision whether to let you into their lives. They DO deserve to know if you have children and how many. They DO deserve to know if you are currently involved with someone else and to what extent. A major complaint from women is that men withhold key personal information about themselves with the intent of disclosing it at a later time. Here is a newsflash, if you have children, if you have a girlfriend or if you are in the middle of a divorce, then it’s relevant to disclose this information upfront. Life events are points of interest that should be disclosed early because they are concealed grenades capable of blowing-up relationships.
There is hope if you fall into this category. The first step is to ask God to step into your life and take control, the second step is to forgive yourself for feeling victimized, and the third step is to forgive those who have hurt you in the past. I have undergone this process and it’s extremely therapeutic. You will continue struggling with relationships unless you yield to yourself and turn control over to God. He forgave you despite your disobedience and transgressions toward Him. Because of the love He showed, you have an obligation to forgive others…no matter how much they hurt you.
- Mr. ‘Superficial’ –I think many of us have gotten caught-up in the whole superficial phenomenon spurred on by television and society. Men have been conditioned to believe beauty is defined by the women shown in the latest hip-hop videos. As a result, men are now on the prowl for the next gorgeous woman he can put on his arm in order to receive external praise and affirmation from his peers. It took me a while, but I figured out that it takes more than beauty and sex to make a relationship worthwhile. I have had my share of beautiful women. I have had my share of ‘good sex’. I have had my share of women with corporate resumes people would kill for. However, at the end of the day, it takes much more than beauty and sex to make a successful relationship. Mr. and Mrs. ‘Superficial’ contribute highly to the divorce rate that our community is currently experiencing. I remember my mom emphatically telling me, “Don’t be blinded by the package things come in! Pretty packages sometimes contain nothing of substance on the inside.” If beauty and success are the chief cornerstones of successful relationships, then why do Hollywood celebrities, athletes and entertainers have trouble with marriages? You have to be open to women of all backgrounds because you never know what package God has created to provide a perfect relationship for your life.
Beauty and career achievements are great for resumes and social acknowledgements, but unconditional LOVE supersedes all. Don’t allow yourself to get caught-up on things of limited importance. Pay close attention to God and a person’s character. When unconditional love is added to the mix, you have the ingredients for a successful relationship.
Kenny Pugh is a coach, speaker and Manager of KTP Financial, LLC. He leverages his expertise to help clients improve their businesses, finances and relationships. Kenny Pugh has over 17 years of business experience primarily in the financial services industry. He has worked with many of the world’s top companies includingAccenture, Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, SunTrust, LendingTree.com, Microsoft HomeAdvisor,Wachovia, Washington Mutual, AT&T and a number of others.