As a single woman who is [somewhat] actively mingling, I have met my fair share of [supposedly] single dudes in the dating pool. I like to consider myself to be an open-minded person with a wide-array of experiences and tastes and is willing to try new things–thus making me a fairly easy person to interact with in social settings. I don’t exactly have a “type” of man that I typically date (though I have my preferences, I rarely meet men who obtain all of them) so I am certainly willing to “give a brotha a chance” even if he doesn’t meet my preferences or standards or I have initial reservations. So, in general, I meet and have dated a lot of different men, with widely varying physical appearances, personalities, educational backgrounds, life goals, theologies, salaries, family medical histories, pr0n affinities, etc. My point? I appreciate diversity (and no, not the old, old wooden ship) in the men I let court me just as much as I do in the workplace and classroom. My dating history is its own model of affirmative action.
Yet, even with the diversity in my dating, the one thing that remains painfully consistent is the level of immaturity the men I’ve dated possess. Now, by immature I more or less mean a lack of maturity as it specifically relates to dealing with grown a$s women (like moi) and engaging in adult relationships. And also, I’m not talking about ALL of the men I’ve dated, just a vast majority. We’ll call them the Relationally Immature Brothas (or RIBs… no Chilli’s baby back). The reason I say they are “relationally immature” is because they can never seem to admit to their faults and/or reasonably engage in a discussion with difference of opinions without taking it personally.
For example…. Say I’m having a communication issue with a RIB I’m dating and I express my concern about our lack of effective communication (which is key to sustaining any relationship, romantic or otherwise, right?). Or perhaps the RIB did something I didn’t like or said something that made me feel some type of way and I made known my disapproval. The RIB would respond, “Well if YOU would just [such and such and such]” or “But YOU’RE the one that said [this and that and this]” or “I only did [x, y, and z] because YOU did [a, b, and c].” So what the RIB is basically saying is that he can’t be responsible for his behavior because he was simply reacting to something I did/said. (o_O) This just doesn’t make rational or mature sense to me.
Perhaps it’s wrong of me to assume all people over the age of 25 have gotten out of their high school and/or college way of thinking (read: acting before/without thinking) and have allowed their years of living in the “real world” to spark a change in them to grow wiser and become aptly able to provide appropriate adult responses to adult situations. It’s been quite some time since I subscribed to this idea that it was okay for me to behave in a certain undesirable fashion simply because I thought some one else’s undesirable behavior gave me the permission to do so. Sadly, the RIBs I’ve dated don’t subscribe to the same practice. There’s always an excuse as to why they’re incapable of admitting fault or holding themselves accountable for their actions. They let the blame and fault all fall on me. And yes, I recognize I can be difficult to get along with sometimes. But when I act out of order, especially when it directly impacts a suitor, I am [more often than not] woman enough to admit to my wrong(s), apologize (if necessary), and make a point to improve my decision making the next time around.
Is it possible that I really am the common denominator of all this and that I, in fact, am the root of all evil that arises in these RIBs? Am I Eve? Hell, it’s completely possible and I haven’t ruled that out. But there have been numerous occasions when I had to consult my close male friends who always give their unabashed opinions and are quick to let me know when I’m suffering from “chick logic”. And since having a uterus apparently makes me more prone to making illogical leaps in thinking, over-reacting, over-analyzing, and over-emoting, I value their opinion about how I deal with particular issues with men. The general consensus from my male friends about RIBs is usually, “Drop him–he’s whack.” #kanyeshrug
In the end, all of this “it’s not me, it’s you” finger pointing has caused me to be a bit paranoid about how I handle interpersonal relationships. While I still maintain these RIBs are in fact relationally immature, perhaps I play a part in why I don’t get along with them. I am becoming increasingly more obsessed with what I say/do and how I say/do it so that I can get along with men I date. After all, I want a life partner. But I’m not sure it should be like this. I mean, on the one hand I feel like if we don’t get along, if you can’t handle how I operate, then perhaps we aren’t meant to be. I’m a grown woman and I am who I am, take it or leave it. But on the other hand, I don’t want to be so stuck in my ways that I’m inflexible to change and won’t be able to get along with any man in his right mind. So… Is it them? Or is it me? I’m not sure I know…
Saying no to RIBs and yes to ribs,