Another Sunday night, another time to chat on the phone with one of my best girlfriends about when I’m going to get serious about this whole catching-a-man business.
Her: Girl, you’ve been single for too long!
Me: Yeah, yeah, I know. But trust and believe, this is the year I’m going to get serious and make finding a partner a top priority; I just have to get some other things straight in my life first, like finding a better job and moving out of my parents home. (I relocated a few weeks ago and I’m staying with my parents until I find my own place.)
Her: Yeah, OK. Just don’t wait too long.
Me: Plus, I’ve finally gotten serious about not dating men with kids. I also don’t want to date someone who has previously been divorced, but I’m willing to budge on that requirement, seeing as how I’m not the newest model car on the lot anymore either. (At this point I’m mentally revisiting all of the men who I have been involved with who had kids: There was divorcing/married guy–obviously we didn’t work out and he eventually got with another women who did not have kids whom he promptly impregnated, out-of-wedlock I might add; there was the guy I chased for the better part of a decade–he had one kid and we never even got close to having a real relationship. Oh, and there was also that guy who had two kids by two different women and have never been married. And then there was….you get the picture, right?)
Her: *laughing* Don’t say that! You never know who God might send you, HE might send you a man with 9 kids, and then what are you going to do?
Me: Um, Jesus does not dislike me enough to send me a man with 9 kids. I don’t believe the Lord would do that to me. I don’t believe the Lord would do that to anybody, unless of course the woman has a whole heap of baggage of her own.
Me: You know what? I have finally come to understand and accept that the key to happiness in life is being a bit selfish. You have to keep your own interests first and foremost and begin asking of any person who enters your life, “Will this person a be source of long-term happiness and fulfillment for me?” If the answer to the question is no–and you should be completely honest with yourself when you answer–then you need to let that person go. I want to be selfish and self-centered right now.
Her: But you sound so superficial! You just never know who God is going to send you, so you have to be open to what comes your way.
We finally bid each other adieu, but the conversation had me thinking. I think my friend was joking–sorta–but honestly, how many women out there truly believe that God would send them a man with 9 kids? (Obviously there are people out there with a tribe of kids, but I’m not talking about people like certain Catholics who don’t practice artificial contraception and are happy to welcome as many children as are conceived. I’m talking about those other folks who just have a bunch of kids and a bunch of other drama that makes you want to call Eryka Badu up so that she can sing ‘Tyrone’ to that person’s face.)
At the end of the day we all have our standards, and when we adhere to those standards we feel good about ourselves. We feel consistent. When we don’t adhere to our standards, we will probably feel cognitive dissonance that makes us uncomfortable. And in order to resolve that sense of being uncomfortable we will do one of two things: Change our standards or change our behavior. Changing your behavior is the right option if you believe that your standards were out-of-wack with your true nature and intentions. But far too often we lower our standards in order to be consistent with our current behavior–this option usually leaves us feeling worse often and often we end up materially worse off in the long run.
Ladies, maintain your standards and don’t allow yourself to feel bad when other people attempt to get you to believe that your standards are too high, even if like me those standards dictate that you avoid dating men with children.
Jamila Akil is a Community Manager at Beyond Black and White. Chit chat with her on Twitter @jamilaakil.