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Why Some Professional Black Women Still Struggle to Find Equal Partners

Professional Black matchmakers reveal what their clients' biggest relationship hurdles really are. Does your love life fit the bill?

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ESSENCE dating columnists Kelli Fisher and Tana Gilmore are best friends and professional matchmakers who quit their corporate careers to set out on a mission to help Black women find the love they deserve.

For four years, the ladies, known professionally as The Matchmaking Duo, have been working together to help bring love into the lives of countless clients and they understand firsthand just why true love can feel so far out of grasp for some sisters who otherwise have it all together.

So, what is the problem here?

The professional “heart hunters” kept it real on the latest episode of ESSENCE’s ‘Yes, Girl’ podcast revealing exactly why the successful, professional Black women they’ve worked with have such a hard time finding an equal partner.

“What we’ve uncovered is women have taken the fast track,” the Duo explains. “They’ve gone from high school to college to graduate school or even onto medical school or law school and they have just taken the fast track through life and they look around all of a sudden at 35 or 40 and they don’t have a husband or any children because they’ve allowed their career to take over their lives.”

A large part of that fast track mentality has come from our cultural upbringing, they say, which places a focus on prioritizing school, employment and success with the pursuit of passion and romance coming as a secondary focus. 

“If you think of it culturally, a lot of our parents and grandparents are like, ‘ok, get your education and worry about that later.’ And how many people have not heard that? You have to get yourself positioned and you’ll find someone else later and then later comes and you have the accolades and dating might not be as intentional. You’ll meet a great guy but say you know, I’m not focused on that and you’ll let a lot of good ones get away.”

Senior Digital Love and Relationships editor Charli Penn does some deep digging; inquiring as to why so many women struggle with being bossy in the boardroom and the bedroom as well as answering the lifelong question of “am I asking for too much?”

“A lot of women feel like they have so much power during the day. They have major roles during their careers, they’re bosses all day and so it’s hard for them to flip the switch after 5 o’clock and become the girlfriend. It’s hard for them to pass the baton over to a man and allow them to lead.” 

Now, make no mistake: Most “boss” women do still want a man to lead sometimes, they add. The problem comes when women don’t know how to let their man take the lead and they don’t know how to appropriately voice that desire.

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“They forget to communicate that. Even when they’re dating, they forget to say, ‘Ok, I do all these things but I really don’t want to. I don’t want to lead. I want you to take some of these things off my plate.’ They don’t know how to communicate that in the right tone or delivery.”

One of the Duo’s specialities is helping women identify what they bring to the table as they address what they’re looking for in a partner.

“It doesn’t matter what location you’re in or what city, even if you’re at a bar or having drinks with friends you have to be open to saying hello which is unconventional but you have to smile and be willing to make a move as much as men are willing to make a move.”

For more gems on the dating struggle many Black women face and details on how a matchmaker can help, check out this week’s full podcast above.