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And in being realistic about my partner expectations, I had to acknowledge that my dating pool needed a major revamp.I had exclusively dated Black men up to that point, finding commonality in the fact that we were both Black and both American-born, but my perception of marriage and relationships had undoubtedly been shaped by my West African father and my American Baby-Boomer Uncles.

And when they couldn’t measure up to my unrealistic expectations, I blamed them for their shortcomings.I had dated men who thought marriage wasn’t necessarily a bad idea, men who thought marriage was a take it or leave it type of ordeal, and men who felt like marriage just wasn’t for them.It’s no secret that over the years the collective opinion on marriage and it’s perceived value within the Black community has shifted tremendously.As women, no one sits us down to have the conversation about why just desiring marriage isn’t enough.We have this idea that we’re born marriage-ready while men must go through some reformative period in their lives where they come to the realization that marriage ain’t such a bad idea.I mean I was the quintessential Black Woman on her journey to self-rediscovery. Iyanla would say, my therapist and I agreed it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get back into the dating scene.

Sure, I had developed some great communication skills, learned a lot about compromise and partnership, and even more about realistic partner expectations.

We research program offerings, campus life, tuition costs, etc.

before selecting which university to attend, why wouldn’t an equally important personal commitment require just as much evaluation?

Whatever we attribute this to, many Black millennial men do not consider marriage to be a personal milestone.

This sounds something like, “Sure I’ll get married, if I ever come across the right woman” or “Marriage ain’t for everybody” or my personal favorite, “Marriage is just a piece of paper.” If we applied the same philosophy to any of the other milestones acknowledged in our society, it would sound pretty absurd.

And as we reviewed my list, one thing became clear, and that was that I had no business dating Black American men.