In many ways, the mechanics of dating are universal, regardless of whether youвЂ™re black, white, brown or вЂњa colorless person,вЂќ as Raven-Symone famously described herself to Oprah in a 2014 interview. Still, race can color dating experiences in minute and major ways. Many say there are common, cultural threads, and weвЂ™re here to tease them out. Call it a labor of love. The following is the fourth of eight in this online series.
вЂњForty and fabulous!вЂќ
вЂњForty is the new 30!вЂќ
There are many phrases that sum up what it means to get older with style, but is there a phrase for dating over 40? If practice makes perfect, then by the time theyвЂ™re in the 35-and-older demographic, each and every dater should be a savvy pro, gliding easily into fulfilling partnerships, right?
Researchers argue in a 2015 study that a racial gap in marriage emerged in the 1960s, when black marriage rates started to decline, first slowly then steeply. Recent data suggest that, at all ages best looking asian girls, black Americans have lower marriage rates than other racial and ethnic groups. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data from 2008 to 2012, less than two-thirds of black women were married by their early 40s, compared with almost nine out of 10 white and Asian/Pacific Islander women and more than eight in 10 Hispanic women.
Michelle Williams, 43, of Carpentersville, has been single for two years and says itвЂ™s harder to date in the 40-something group вЂњbecause you kind of know what you want, and itвЂ™s not necessarily presented to you.вЂќ
What separates our community from others is I feel other races date with a purpose
вЂњOther races date for six or seven months, and then they get married. The purpose is to get married. I find, in the black community, a man will date you for 10-15 years and never marry you. I let one man take my 20s, another man take my 30s, so I think that I have to be a little bit strategic in my 40s.вЂќ
Bridgette Gordon, 48, of Lansing, thinks traditional courting has been replaced with вЂњa la carteвЂќ online dating. So whatвЂ™s different now that sheвЂ™s older and looking for love? Gordon says her patience level is different than it was when she was 30.
вЂњIвЂ™m not looking for Superman. You donвЂ™t have to be the richest man in the world; you just canвЂ™t bring the BS to the table,вЂќ she said.
Calumet City resident Roosevelt Shivers finds dating challenging because he says itвЂ™s hard to find someone who is loyal and honest. HeвЂ™s tried the dating apps but has had no luck. The 40-year-old hasnвЂ™t been in a relationship in two years. He says, вЂњItвЂ™s harder to find that one because a lot of women still play games.вЂќ Now his mindset is: вЂњIf it happens, it happens.вЂќ
Ventura, Calif.-based dating coach Dr. Aesha Adams-Roberts has heard all of these concerns in dealing with her clients, mostly professional black women.
вЂњIt feels like men in their 40s and women in their 40s have a hard time connecting with each other and finding each other,вЂќ she said. вЂњThe men who find women in their 40s attractive often are a little older, and those women donвЂ™t want those men, and the younger women donвЂ™t want the 40-year-old men.вЂќ
As a matchmaker and relationship expert, Adams-Roberts has built a career on helping people explore and question who they are attracted to. One of her methods: informing singles that lists of expectations should be thrown out in favor of blueprints with preferences and values that are negotiable and non-negotiable. She says that we have to unlearn cultural lessons that have been reinforced through our lives вЂ” such as the idea that love comes to us.
вЂњI believe, culturally, weвЂ™ve been taught from all the Disney movies, all the chick flicks (even in вЂGirls TripвЂ™), the woman ends up with a man, and she didnвЂ™t have to do anything,вЂќ Adams-Roberts said. вЂњWeвЂ™ve been taught that we donвЂ™t have to do anything. We should stumble upon him, and that equals love. So it feels weird to have to put in effort.вЂќ But when finding love is a priority, strategic effort is needed, she said.