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Ask Dr. Sherry: Do I Have to Date Outside of My Race to Find What I Want?

A reader wonders whether or not her standards are too high.

You’ve seen celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, author of The Single Married Woman: True Stories of Why Women Feel All Alone in Their Marriages, keep the Braxton sisters calm on the hit show Braxton Family Values. Now it’s your turn to sit in her chair…

Q: I am a 21-year-old virgin. I’ve never had a boyfriend and I haven’t had any real men approach me either. Instead I’ve had the knuckle-headed boys try to approach me and simply got turned off after being called ‘lil mama’ or being whistled at. I set the bar and set my sights on a honorable, God-fearing, responsible, family-oriented, goal-oriented, and loving man. But, I have not been able to find a man with half of the things on my list. I’m really starting to lose hope and have really turned away from the idea of marriage because nothing around me displays a loving, lasting relationship. I’ve been really careful about relationships because I was raised in a very unhappy and miserable marriage, and I’ve always wanted more for myself. All of my friends tell me that my standards are too high, and that I’m probably not going to date a Black man because of their unfaithful tendencies. They say that I live in a fairytale land and there is no ‘perfect’ man. –- Ruth S.

A: Ruth S., it is great to hear that you are a 21-year-old female with high expectations and high standards. Sometimes it is difficult for a woman to remain a virgin, given the pressures of society. It sounds like you are really hoping to find “Mr. Right,” from the “fairytale land.” Once you find the perfect man, please let me and my readers know. No one is perfect; not even Mr. Right. You will find that Mr. Right is not right in all areas.  Everyone has their strengths and their weakness, including you. One of the weaknesses that I am hearing is that you are holding on to the “list.” The list includes a woman’s hopes and dreams of finding one man who is financially secure, intellectual, hard working, good looking and who has a great personality.

Many women expect and wait for one man (Mr. Right) to have all these things, but they never find him. Your list included a man that was “honorable, God-fearing, responsible, family oriented, goal oriented and loving.” At age 21, it may be difficult to find someone in your age range that has all of these qualities. It is not that your list, or other women’s lists, are impossible to fulfill, it just may be that many men may not have all of these qualities at once until they are older and have had some life experiences. This does not mean that you give up on love or having a boyfriend. If you do not start dating, how will you find out if a guy that is interested in you has any of these qualities? You may discover that he has two or three out of the six qualities from your list initially and has the potential of acquiring the others.

Dating is important because it becomes a time of discovery. You discover things about him and he will definitely discover things about you. Writing off every Black man is a big mistake! There are many Black men with all the qualities that you want, and there are many men of other ethnicities with none of the qualities that you want. It is not about race. It’s about being honest with yourself. While you have a lot of expectations, what do you have to offer in return, other than your virginity? Sex is not the basis of a solid relationship.  So I must ask, what would a man get if he gets you? — Dr. Sherry

Email us your questions for Dr. Sherry now and be sure to include “Ask Dr. Sherry” in the subject line.