By Candice Adewole
As an African-American woman in America, I was feeling the sting of romantic segregation. After getting divorced and going through my healing journey, I decided to get back out there and start dating again.
As a feminine arts educator and certified relationship coach, I spend a great deal of time teaching marriage-minded, single women all the things that I have learned about love, marriage, male and mating psychology in order to navigate the murky waters of American style dating. As a black woman who has always kept her romantic options open to men outside the African American community, I quickly realized once I started dating again, the American dating scene really wasn’t my cup of tea, and so I grabbed some of my single sister friends and headed overseas to see what our options for love were abroad in Paris, France, Barcelona, Spain, and Rome, Italy.
1.) Men abroad are open to black women. Contrary to popular belief, there are more than just African American men on the planet, and while I am not saying black women should eliminate all African American men from their dating roster, I am saying that African American women should expand their dating pool outside of them as a means to alleviate being romantically segregated.
According to the most recent online dating statistics, African American women send out the most requests for contact but receive the fewest responses. So what’s a girl to do?
I have learned from my European romance journey that there are a variety of men, including Afro-European men who are open to dating and marrying African American women. And for those worried about the men with Black P@@y fetishes, or getting used for sex, aren’t there already plenty of American men trying to use women for sex? I highly suggest keeping your legs closed until securing a commitment, then you don’t have to worry about getting used by anyone for sex.
2.) European men (including Afro-European men) have better manners and are more romantic. In general, European men are still chivalrous and I believe this is mostly due to traditional gender roles still being intact, but when dating a European man, you should expect doors to be opened, chairs to be pulled out, and for him to pick up the check without question. In fact, in some places like Italy and Hungary, men will get offended if you even attempt to pick up the check.
3.) Men outside of the United States tend to take relationships more seriously. Due to cultural expectations from family, and the generations of men in the various cultures who take pride in being able to take care of a family, men abroad value building with a woman a bit more, almost a rite of passage to display their manhood.
4.) Deal with men who are a bit more westernized. To avoid serious culture clashes, my friends Delilah Marie, Chez, and I realized that it’s best to make sure that the man is well traveled (not hard to find in Europe), and somewhat familiar with western world thinking.
5.) Be culturally fluid. While it is wise to find a man, who is a bit more westernized, you also need to be culturally fluid and learn a thing or two about the cultures you could potentially marry into. Case and point, in Europe it is common for grown men to live at home with their parents in their family home until marriage, and sometimes after. This doesn’t mean they’re broke or lazy bums, it’s simply a different cultural practice.
I encourage Black women to learn languages, read up about different religious customs, try different foods, and understand what makes other cultures function. This well-roundedness will allow Black women to have more life and romantic choices on a global scale.
6.) Be Feminine! European men are very masculine and respond to a soft, feminine woman. Being feminine is more than just wearing a dress and heels, so if you feel uncertain as to what being energetically feminine is all about then I suggest you learn. (Visit links above for more information)
7.) Learn how to date intentionally. When I was younger, I knew nothing about men, game, relationships, and how men are genetically hardwired for commitment. Learning the inner workings of men and healthy relationships allowed me to create a method in which to date specifically for marriage so that I wouldn’t be wasting my time on duds. Matter of fact, while abroad I received two legitimate proposals (which I am considering).
8.) Find out where the fellas are at. While in Barcelona and Paris, my friend Delilah and I did careful research and found the hotspots to meet local professional men (yes knowledge of the French language does come in handy, especially in Paris). We went kizomba and salsa dancing, and we also turned on our Bumble dating app, and was able to connect with a few nice gentlemen for dinner dates.
In Rome, Italy, my friend Chez and I secured the assistance of an international matchmaker. Although we weren’t particularly thrilled with the matches presented to us, we enjoyed the process of having someone else set us up on dates with men who had their backgrounds prescreened. I also used our Bumble dating app and was asked out on a few dinner dates.
9.) Download WhatsApp. Everyone abroad uses WhatsApp to stay connected and avoid international calling fees. Make sure to save potential suitors contact info in your phone first, then add them to WhatsApp and/or add them as friends on Instagram or Facebook. We all found that WhatsApp can be weird sometimes and contact information seems to go missing.
10.) People will stare, and it doesn’t mean they’re racist. Truthfully, due to geographical location (and African Americans not traveling often), some people don’t see African Americans that often. People will stare at you because you are Black, and they admire your unique beauty. For some, it may be the first time they’ve seen an African American woman in real life and let’s face Black girl magic is some powerful stuff!
11.) Be Safe. Make sure to take the same safety precautions you’d use at home, abroad. I suggest adding an international data plan to your cell phone to ensure you have internet and gps service on your phone. Also, meet in public, tell someone where you are, take your own taxi to and from the meetup location, and verify that the meet up location can be found on Google Maps.
Listen to your feminine instincts. If you don’t feel safe or comfortable with a man, then speak up and don’t hesitate to cut a date short or cancel.
12.) Enjoy the process! Exploring options abroad is so fun and meeting new men around the world is exciting. Will every man you meet be the one? Of course not, but you will never know what romantic opportunities await you if you stay closed.