Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I am a successful, black, single woman and I am looking for someone who matches my financial potential. I make six figures and have a good quality of life. Like so many other sisters, I am finding it more and more difficult to meet men who are on my level. I am open to dating men who do not make as much money as I do, but I am not open to dating men who do not make at least $70K a year.
Given this, I often find myself offending men when I ask how much money they make. I do not understand why they get so defensive. Anyone in there right mind would want to make sure that their financial foundation will not crumble by dating the wrong person. Please help me. Why Do Black Men Get So Defensive When I Inquire about Their Income or Money Making Potential?
Financially Stable Sister
Dear Financially Stable Sister,
As a black man who has encountered what you are describing, I can say that some of us get so defensive because a large percentage of women place more emphasis on our money making potential than on our personal qualities. We understand that personality does not pay bills, but we also understand that money and status cannot ensure or buy love. With this in mind, I highly recommend that you take the time to get to know the men before you size them up financially.
Some men understand that we have to provide for and/or help our ladies; but we also want to feel like our ladies are invested in us, not our wallets. Also, you might be surprised to learn that men with money do not like to be sized up. They may not react as strongly because they are probably more comfortable with being approached in this manner. Generally speaking, if a man perceives that you are solely about securing money and financial stability, he will guard his investments, savings and everything else. He might let “you in,” but he will not be transparent.
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Do not get me wrong; I believe that you should look for financial stability. I just do not think that you should look for it in a man’s wallet. In our society, we have difficulty with role reversal. If a man makes more money and takes care of his lady, everyone cheers him on. However, if he makes less money than his lady or fails to contribute in a significant manner financially, everyone chastises him.
Instead of inquiring about his income or money making potential, simply pay attention to how he lives his life. Regardless of how much money a man makes, he will not be any good to you if he does not know how to manage it. For example, a man who makes $120K can live the same quality of life as a man who makes $65K if he manages his money poorly.
Remember that people become defensive in an attempt to protect themselves from perceived or actual harm. Also, remember that inquiring about a man’s financial potential is not bad as long as you do it in a timely and thoughtful manner. Inquiring in a timely and thoughtful manner can reduce and/or minimize defensiveness. As the saying goes, “Its not what you do, but how you do it.” Lastly, please keep in mind that black men are under attack in most aspects of life and our money making potential has been and continues to be a sensitive/soft spot.
Continue to be a good steward over your finances and pay attention to the men you date; but do not forget to be a good steward over your heart. What a man makes financially is different than what he will share with you. Just make sure that you select a man who makes good money and does not allow his money to make him. If he guards his money, he will probably guard his heart as well. You probably do not need a man for his money, but you will definitely need his love.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to email@example.com
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.