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How Stereotypes About Black Men Gave Me Trust Issues and How I Overcame Them

By: Joy Caracciolo

“All men are cheaters” “Guy are dogs” ” Men only want one thing”…. These are things that women in my family and friend groups have said to and around me since I was a young teenager; It’s like I was being prepared for heart break. I never wanted to believe any of these generalizations because I didn’t want to turn into a bitter man hating woman like so many of the women in my life were.

Once I started experiencing different relationships I started wondering if these stereotypes about black men were actually true and if I would ever find black love. After struggling with relationships and eventually believing these stereotypes I realized I needed to let go of my past pain in order to be prepared for love in the future.

In my nine years of dating I’ve dealt with a handful of men and more drama then I could have ever imagined. They all started so perfect, yet somehow they all ended with me looking dumb. My first serious relationship happened to be my longest and most dramatic out of them all. It was an ongoing cycle…he would lie to me, I would find out the truth and break up with him, then somehow he would charm me into wanting to be with him again.

When I would vent to my friends about our issues they made it seem like this cycle was normal and that all men did the same thing. Was I really supposed to accept that this is just how men are? Is this what comes with black love?

Once I got to college I made up my mind that the generalizations couldn’t be true and that wasn’t what love was. Trying to be optimistic I told myself that I would find an amazing man in college that would treat me how I should be treated. Needless to say that optimism went out the window quickly. There were three different types of men I dealt with while being single. There were the guys that wanted to hook up with a different girl every weekend ; I tried to stay away from these men.

Next there were the guys that appeared to be single because they were always trying to hang out but I could clearly see from their Instagram page that they were in a relationship; another type that I avoided. Lastly there were the guys who were actually single and pretended to really be interested in being a relationship with me until we had the “what are we” talk, at which point they would say they were not ready to be in a relationship. This third type drove me crazy because they wasted so much of my time and really got me to like them before telling me that it wasn’t going anywhere.

To make matters worse at the beginning of my senior year in college I found out that a male family member (that I was very close with) who had been married for over twenty years had been cheating on his wife. This news hurt me to the core because that was a relationship that I had on a pedestal. I couldn’t believe that the relationship that I had admired my whole life had been ruined just like that. This was the breaking point. I let hatred take over my mind and didn’t give anybody the time of day for the rest of the year; I had become the bitter man hating woman that I had always tried not to be.

By the time I was 22 years old and had graduated from college, I was actually exhausted from the hate I had been holding onto. I was so over all the negativity I had bottled up inside towards men. I had to force myself to change my mindset and refuse to perpetuate the stereotype that all black men are unfaithful, sneaky, or insincere.

I realized that if I walked around with those negative thoughts already in my mind no man would even have a chance with me and I could potentially run off Mr. right with that attitude. I knew that I was way too young to give up on love and that I just needed to be patient and believe that the right guy for me was somewhere out there .

As crazy as this sounds I met somebody within two months of this attitude adjustment. We hit it off right away and after four dates we started hanging out everyday after work. I was completely infatuated; I couldn’t believe that my luck had turned around so quickly and I had finally found a good guy. After about two months of dating each other we discovered that I was pregnant.

This news came as such a shock to both of us that I didn’t know whether the tears I was crying were happy or sad tears. We really hadn’t been together that long so I was scared that this pregnancy would run my boyfriend off. I let the negative stereotypes about black men creep back into my mind. Would he try to say he wasn’t the father? Would he run away from his responsibilities and leave me to raise this child alone? Thankfully we made the decision to keep the baby and he was by my side throughout the entire pregnancy, even when we decided that things were not working out and that we should take a break from the relationship.

I’m not going to lie, after we broke up I expected him to go out and pursue other women and act like me and the baby didn’t exist. To protect myself from heartbreak I tried to push him away and tell myself that we didn’t need him. To my surprise he refused to let that happen; he showed me that those predispositions that so many women have about black men don’t apply to all of them. He proved to me that all black men can be sincere, loyal, and trustworthy. I was so thrilled to have a child with a man that cared about us and was actually excited about his duties as a father.

Today me and my boyfriend (the father of my child) are back together, living together, and raising our beautiful baby boy because I didn’t let the negative stereotypes about black men deter me from love. In dating and relationships there will always be ups and downs but it isn’t fair to any man or yourself to go into dating with preconceived notions about men. To all my single women who have given up on finding love and given in to the, “black men ain’t sh*t” rhetoric my advice to you is to let all your hurt go, change your mindset about men, and don’t let negativity block your blessings.

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