Everyone single person hates this question, but we’ve all probably been asked it at one time or another: So, why are you single? I like to respond that I just haven’t met the right guy yet. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the real reason I’m single is because I’m poor–hardworking and ambitious, but poor all the same.
Danielle C. Belton, asks a perfect-on-paper friend of hers why he has never been married. His response is mostly what I expected–he’s not opposed to marriage, he has hasn’t the perfect woman and the perfect circumstances come together in such a way as to make marriage a possibility. However, the one woman that this gentleman did want to marry didn’t want to marry him; in her words, he needed to “make more money.”
Danielle’s piece barely even brushes the surface of what kind of effect it can have on a person to find themselves in love, to have a desire to spend the rest of your life with that person, only to be rejected because your love isn’t enough–your beau seeks the stability of having a financial cushion; you feel as if your beau cares more about the ‘Benjamin’s’ than he or she cares about.
I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that the the primary reason Danielle’s friend isn’t married is because of that rejection years ago for not having enough money.
I’ve been rejected twice by men whose reasoning was basically that I didn’t have enough money. The first rejection came from a black guy, the second from a white one. I tell you this to head off any arguments that one group of men is any more concerned with finances than another group.
The first guy asked me–while we were on the phone–“what made me think I was ready to be in a relationship?” when I questioned him about our relationship status. I had though things were going well; actually, I thought we were in a relationship. He had come to my home and hung out with my family for a while during the holidays. My Dad liked him and gave him a present. He and I saw each other everyday and on the days when we didn’t see each other we spoke for hours on the phone. We could stay on the phone with each other for hours. What man stays on the phone with a woman for hours if he doesn’t really like her and see a future for them together? This man apparently.
I had decided to query him on the status of our relationship because, gushing about him to a friend, she had rather pointedly asked me, “So it’s official, you two are definitely in an exclusive relationship?”
“Well, of course! I mean, he hasn’t actually come out and called me his girlfriend, but look at how much time he spends with me.”
She gave me that side-eye look that only one of your best girlfriend’s can give you. At once, that look simultaneously makes you angry with your friend and thankful for them all at the same time. Nothing says everything that needs to be said without a word being said like getting a side eye from a bestie.
So I asked him what was the deal between us and I got my answer. He went on a rambling response about how he didn’t feel like he was in the best position to be a good boyfriend right now, and besides, what did I have to offer as a girlfriend, I was living with my parents?
The next occurrence of being rejected on the basis of being too broke occurred years later. This time, the man told me that “perhaps I needed to work on other things right now besides trying to get into a relationship.” Later he would tell me that his new girlfriend was totally different from me–she had really “helped him out” a lot when he struggling financially.
Perhaps the worst part of having been rejected for being poor is that I believe this has hardened me. Whereas I once had no problem with the idea of being with someone as poor as I am–as long as he had a plan and was working towards it, I was fine with that–now, I feel as is perhaps I am just unworthy of being in a relationship until I have x, y, z accomplished. And then I will be relationship material. Because I’ve already been rejected on the basis of not having enough money I am fearful of putting myself out there to be rejected again.
Furthermore, now that I’ve been tossed in the ‘break-in-case-of-emergency, or when she gets a job at a Fortune 500′ pile, I feel as I will be less trustworthy towards any men I’ll meet when I finally do get that great job and the money starts rolling in. Would these men have been interested in me when I was working to get to this place, or do they find the New and Improved Jamila more worth their while than the Old Jamila, who is actually the same person, just with a more expensive purse and less worn clothing?
So am I avoiding dating because I don’t have the time, or because I don’t have the money? I can’t say for sure.
Follow Jamila on Twitter @jamilaakil.