Dating While Black | Adventist Today

by Dorcas Daboni | 21 May 2019 |

As I placed my empty potluck dish into my bag, my coworker mentioned that my boyfriend must be a lucky man. I reluctantly admitted that I was unattached. Immediately I was surrounded with other nurses giving me advice on dating, and relationships in general. I chuckle to remember the scene. It didn’t bother me, but it did make me hyper aware of my own situation: I was indeed very single.

Family members, friends, and coworkers have all asked how a “girl like you” could possibly be single. Eventually the question started to resonate more and more in my own head; why was a “girl like me” single? What was it about me so different that made it difficult to date?

Being single was never due to a lack of putting myself out there. Though I’m not the type of girl who chases guys, and I tend to live happily in my own space, I do consistently go out of my comfort zone to meet people. Yet that has not always yielded fruit. In fact, rarely has it yielded anything at all. A “girl like me” is single because dating as a black, educated, outgoing, Christian woman, is more daunting of a task than most people would believe.

Here are real situations that I have been faced with.

Situation 1: This guy was in the military. We met through mutual friends who thought we had a lot in common. He was handsome, black, and had a decent job. We clicked well and bonded over our similar backgrounds and our love for God. As we sat eating one day on a restaurant’s balcony, he casually mentioned how he believed a woman’s job, biblically, was to please a man and raise a family. He also mentioned that if a woman did not know how to cook, she was not really worth marrying.

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BOYFRIEND APPLICATION: DENIED.

Situation 2: He was a Caucasian man, older than me. We met online. We had pretty much the same religious views and we both shared a passion for history. He was a high school dropout and a divorcee with a child, but he seemed to have a good heart, and spent a lot of time volunteering. We went on a couple of dates and I was really impressed by his extensive knowledge of scripture. During one of our conversations, I mentioned how I was ready to put my natural hair into braids for winter. He asked me to show him other hair styles I’ve had before. I went through a list of styles and he pointed out a specific one and exclaimed, “I love this one, you should do your new hair like this!”. The picture was the only time in my life I had ever done a weave that resembled Eurocentric straight long hair. Not wanting to judge him, I asked him why he liked this specific style so much. He responded while plunging his fingers into my afro, “I just think it’s not as ghetto as the one you have now.”

BOYFRIEND APPLICATION: DENIED.

Situation 3: This man was an immigrant who came to the States with very little and managed to make a decent life for himself in only two years. We spoke the same African language, and he seemed very open minded. We enjoyed talking about sports, which I love. And also praying together. On our first date he mentioned how he could see himself possibly marrying me in the future. Though I thought that was a presumptuous statement, I looked past it as I felt he was genuine, and that he was indeed a sweet man. Yet within the next few weeks, I had to endure multiple calls during the day and non-stop texts from the moment I woke up. To make matters worse, within two weeks of my meeting him he told me that God spoke to him and revealed to him that he had to marry me–immediately! I told him that God had not, unfortunately, revealed the same information to me.

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BOYFRIEND APPLICATION: DENIED.

This is just a taste of what I’ve dealt with. From being told that you are pretty “for a black girl” or that you are “exotic,” to being faced with outdated views of womanhood, dating as a black woman is hard.

Though I focused on solely my experiences, I am not alone. A study done by OkCupid, a popular dating site, found that black women are lowest ranked in attractiveness compared to their female counterparts by every single male race. They also saw that although they are the least to be talked to, they are the most likely to respond to contacts, 25% more than others. Another study done by an online dating website called “Are You Interested?” found that Black men responded mostly to women from other racial backgrounds even though Black women are 75% more likely to respond to them.

So what has happened to me is only a reflection of what is already happening in society.

All things considered, dating while black has oddly taught me to love myself more. It has given me an opportunity to spend more time focusing on my relationship with Christ and personal growth. I know that no matter what experience I have while dating, ultimately whoever God has planned for me is the person I will end up with. Though I can’t say that I have mastered the dating scene yet, I know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. Single or not, I am grateful to be happy in Christ.

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Dorcas Daboni is a nurse and a student. She is passionate about serving youth and young adults, and also empowering communities to make better health decisions. She writes from Pittsburgh, PA.

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