What no one tells you about dating a Black man

We’ve all been fed the narrative about how relationships work. If you grew up in church like I did, we know that the man is the head of the household and the woman submits to his decision-making.

We’ve binged on Game of Thrones to its anti-climactic end, so we know how king-and-queen dynamics should work. Even Ms. Fix My Life herself, Iyanla Vanzant talks about how the “man is the head of the household and the woman is the heart.”

But when you have two grown-ass’d men, does that mean that our relationships have no heart? Think about it. No matter how much bacon one man brings home, eventually somebody has to put on that apron, pull out that cast iron and start frying.

Or no matter how many soccer-mom-esque errands one runs, eventually the car has got to be serviced, the tires have to be rotated, and the exterior has to be washed.

For every self-proclaimed vers guy reading this–and the vers guys that don’t know it yet–there is a give and take. And the more we understand that give-and-take, that is, our vers-ness, we’ll discover the real motivation behind our love, and the authentic power of our relationships.

My last relationship ended because my boyfriend and I tried to become our parents. Fun fact, my parents are divorced and his parents were never married. We wanted the other person to be the woman–to submit–and we spent the life (and death) of our relationship puffing up our ego to become the clear ‘man’ in our relationship.

But who submitted had less to do with bedroom activity and more to do with the idea that we were trying to live out this idealized version of relationship that, if we were honest, we had never seen nor knew could exist. Somewhere along the way we stopped being partners and started being competitors. Our first and last mistake.

The real motivation behind a same-gender love connection is not an attempt at forcing the other to submit. Nor is it trying, ourselves, to submit to the other. The goal of our relationships, and of all contemporary relationships, is to manifest our best expression of both masculine and feminine energy in a way that compliments our partner/ship.

I’m in a Facebook group for Black fathers (because my biological clock is ticking), and the posts that get the most traction are usually Black fathers stepping outside of the stereotype to be everything they need to be for their family. That’s the dad who learns how to French braid his daughter’s hair, or plays tea party. Or the mom that plays football with her 7-year old. These displays are the deepest form of self-awareness–where my self is not violated for being the woman in a football jersey or the man with painted nails at a kid’s tea party.

For gay relationships, these steps out aren’t as obvious, but I’d argue they’re 10x more critical to our success. We must seek the deeper self-awareness that we share with our partners: bae-awareness. For us, as same-gender loving men, we must set aside all our stereotypes of what men should do in relationship to become what our relationship needs us to be.

Perhaps your dad worked hard all day and your mom had dinner waiting, but you’re the breadwinner and the best cook. Or perhaps your married brother opens all the doors for his wife, but you’re the top who belongs to a bottom bae that’s chivalrous.

Bae-awareness is set up to where you can be both top and wear your freakum grey sweats. You can be a chivalrous bottom who opens doors. You can be twerking vers doing the Partition dance. But more importantly you can be a partner who listens with his heart. You can be masculine and compassionate. Or feminine and strong. You can be everything your relationship needs you to be without violating your pride or ego. You can be a self-aware bae–bae-aware.

Photo Credit: Dwayne Crawford on Facebook
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