One of the things I enjoy doing most as a Relationship Life Coach is exploring the differences between the sexes. I recently had the opportunity to have an uncensored, unfiltered, honest Q&A session with a group of single women on dating in 2016. Let me just say that the struggle is real.
I had absolutely no idea some of the dating challenges single ladies deal with today. This Q&A was a real eye opener for the “Relationship Rescuer.” My panel consisted of a diverse group of women, including: Ishalah Sneed (36, Educator & Make-up Artist), Felicia Phoenix Taylor (50, Business Owner) and Stephanie Williams (45, Corporate Executive). Their personal interests and hobbies ranged from poetry and running, biker and Harley Davidson enthusiast to photography and stepping.
Detailed below are their joint perspectives on the good, bad and ugly of single life in 2016.
Question: What do you enjoy about being single?
Ishalah: I love the freedom of being able to do what I want to do, at the time I want to do it, and how I want to do it. I love the freedom of discovering who I am and everything I like. In relationships, you have to compromise and seek permission or at least agree on things. I don’t have to do that as a single woman.
Stephanie: I was married before, so I had to find myself again when I became single. I was a happy single person before I married, and I am happy now. I am not that depressed single woman. What I’ve found to be true is that once I reached my 40s, things opened up. I’m more at ease with me, I speak more and breathe more. I know how to be tactful and know how to let go. Now, I don’t spend time with anyone whom I don’t have a direct interest in. I recognize that I am built for a one-on-one relationship, but I am happy with where I am right now.
Felicia: I am very happy being single. The biggest thing is that I’ve learned to say to “no.” When you’re in a relationship, you sometimes say “yes” to things that you should and want to say “no” to. I’ve learned to say “no” and not feel bad or guilty. If I don’t want to do something now, I simply say “no.” I do miss the intimacy of companionship. I do know that when I get married again he is going to need his own outlet because I have mine and that’s important to me. I love both worlds and want a mixture of both.
Question: What turns you on in a man?
Stephanie: I love a sense of humor. We have got to be able to be silly, laugh and cut up together. Appearance is important to me. I definitely admire a man with a good fashion sense. I do a lot, so he can’t come stepping up in some 80s gear. It doesn’t have to be name brand, but it has to be well-put together. I love facial hair. I am beard gang all day. Another thing, I don’t need a man to grow on me; the attraction has to be instant. That keeps me focused on you.
Ishalah: I also like a man with style, but what I really love is a man that smells good. A man that smells good does it for me. I’m a touchy feely girl, so I like a man that shows a lot of affection. I like to write poetry, so if you have inspired me to write, you’ve certainly touched my heart in the right place.
Felicia: What turns me on is a man that can touch me with his words. I love a man that can touch me without touching me. I love for him to put cologne on and come to bed. A man has to understand my freaky side. I don’t bring it out often, but when I do, it comes full force, and he has to be ready.
Question: Is financial and educational equity a prerequisite for dating?
Stephanie: No, my father was a blue-collar worker, and my mother was corporate. I need to know that he can take care of himself and that we can build together.
Ishalah: No, those things don’t matter as long as he comes to the relationship being able to take care of himself.
Felicia: No, I am okay with whatever your career choice or educational status is. I just want you to be able to contribute to the relationship, so we can grow together.
Question: What team are you on, Team Michelle and Barack or Team Oprah and Stedman?
Ishalah: I am team Michelle and Barack. I want to get married one day. I want to work toward something greater than myself.
Stephanie: I’m team Oprah and Stedman. I want to be in a committed exclusive relationship. I am divorced, so I would prefer someone that has had the same experiences that I have; that helps to relieve the pressure of marriage and kids. I am definitely open to marriage, but I’m not going to kill myself, trying to get married. If I remarry, it’s important that I know your family history. I need to know is marriage important to your family, and do you have good marriage role models.
Felicia: I am team Michelle and Barack and team Oprah and Stedman. They represent the best of both worlds. To me, they are both married. I like the open affection of the Obama’s, but I admire the privacy and mystery of Oprah and Stedman.
Question: What turns you off in a man?
Ishalah: A huge turn off for me is a man with bad breath. That for me is a deal breaker; I can’t deal with that at all.
Felicia: A turn off for me are men who say they are still finding themselves. What they mean is that they are still looking to play but want to keep you in reserves on the side…ummm, no thank you.
Stephanie: The ratio of men to women in Atlanta is like 20:1. They don’t want to put in the work to get you because there are 10 women over there that don’t require anything. You also have those men who just want to be loved by many, which can make the right woman feel like she is not enough or unlovable.