JET Love

Love vs. Money…

Anyone who watched Think Like A Man sat on the edge of their seat when Taraji P. Henson’s character, Lauren, rushed onto that food truck and begged for her man Michael Ealy (Dominic) back.

Desperate to impress a woman that many would say was “out of his league,” Dominic went out of his way to show Lauren an unspeakable amount of love and affection. Despite having very little money, he adored her and gave her his undivided attention.

Truthfully, Michael was sexy, romantic, kind, understanding, an amazing cook, and clearly a remarkable lover. He was perfect for Lauren, until she discovered he was nothing more than a kitchen chef with a dream. He was broke. Disgusted by the fact that he was not financially successful, she left him and started dating a CEO only to find out this man was self absorbed, arrogant, dismissive, and selfish.

Lauren’s love life played out on the big screen with a happy ending. However, her dilemma is one that many women face with a not so glorious conclusion.

Society has us living in two extremes. We believe that a woman either has to be willing to date a man who is broke or be labeled a “gold digger.” There is no acknowledgment for those who fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. You know, the woman who doesn’t expect a man to have multiple commas in his bank account, but prefers someone who is stable and able to contribute financially should they decide to enter a relationship.

So, the question arises, are we too caught up in wanting a man who has it all together that we are overlooking the ones who are fighting their way to the top and simply need our support? If the answer is yes, here are five reasons why.

1) The idea of settling frightens us.

We live in a world that is more consumed with perception than reality. The angles on our photos hide our flaws. The ability to mass publish our accomplishments and dismiss our failures, and the constant ego stroke provided by social media has only increased our desire to be adored, and even envied by others.

Money, the accumulation of material things, and our desire to have the “American Dream” keeps us tied to the need to have the “perfect” mate. Broke does not meet the qualifications necessary to live a great life. Distracted from the importance of a person’s characteristics and looking like we have it all together can sometimes be more important than real love.

2) His worth is connected to his pocketbook.

Many women are taught that men are supposed to be the provider. Only an ignorant woman dates a man who can not do anything for her. For some, the only way they know how to evaluate a man is based on the amount of money in his bank account, whether or not his credit is in the green, and to what extent he can offer a luxurious lifestyle. For these women, success is directly correlated to income or the potential to earn. Once you remove these measurements from the equation, they have no way to evaluate a man’s worth.

Sadly, we are not taught that providing does not solely deal with finances. If a man is able to contribute to you spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, should he be dismissed because he does not earn as much as you do? Too often, good men are overlooked because they do not possess the means to “provide financially,” despite their ability to contribute to every other aspect of a woman’s life. Until women are taught that a driven man with relentless passion and a unmatched worth ethic is worth more than any paycheck, we will continue to demean men who have invaluable characteristics. Why? Because we have put a price tag on love.

3) They are afraid they’ll end up disappointed.

Believe it or not, for some women, their refusal to date a broke man is a decision made solely due to past experiences. A close friend of mine admittedly declined many offers to date men once she determined they were not financially able to contribute to her life. Her last relationship lasted for five years and it ended the same way it started—with promises and unfulfilled dreams. She fell in love with a man who sold her wild dreams of a life of grandeur, but did not have the ambition to support it. After five years of trying to be her man’s cheerleader and business partner, she realized he was never going to follow through on his promise and she was forced to start over. Unfortunately, it left her scared and scarred in the process.

4) Some women are not in the business of “building” a man.

The idea of walking into the store and purchasing an already assembled piece of furniture is much more convenient and less time consuming than transporting a box home, unpacking the merchandise and reading the instructions necessary to assemble the furniture. For some, the labor is the rewarding part. We all know that without Michelle, President Obama would not be standing in front of us as the first Black President of the U.S. For some women, knowing that she was able to contribute to her spouse’s success—and ultimately her success—brings a significant amount of satisfaction. For other women, dating a broke man requires too much work on the front end and they are simply unwilling to “assemble the furniture,” when they can purchase the piece straight from the showroom floor.

5) They make fear driven decisions.

Anyone who has dated the wrong person before knows how detrimental it can be to love someone who is not good for you. Some women don’t want to date a broke man because they fear their decision will somehow negatively impact their lives. They fear that they may end up carrying the entire load of supporting the family on their own. They are scared that they will live a life that is not stable, or will struggle in ways they cannot overcome.

A woman who is looking for a man to be established before dating is not wrong. She has every right to decide who she wants to share her life with and if her personal reasons do not align with investing in a man who is building himself up, that is a choice that should be respected. However, there is a huge difference between a man who is broke simply because he is unwilling to put in the necessary work to advance his life and a man who is the process of pursuing his dreams.  Sometimes, the right man simply needs the encouragement from his partner to transcend to the next level. If your heart is open to the idea, be more focused on the ways that you feel loved and empowered with your mate and less on the money. The bond established during the challenging times will be the very thing you two rely on to keep you grounded when the financial increase occurs.

Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jazzkeyes.