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Girl, Why Is He Living With You????

Thursday, June 17, 2010 , Posted by JD at 6:00 AM

Yesterday on twitter I started a discussion about a trend I’m noticing among young black men and women. I was too lazy to blog it at the time, but then the replies got OUT OF CONTROL. I simply could not respond to them all. So people suggested I blog about it anyway to give people an opportunity to comment. Therefore if this post gets no comments, I will be throwing MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF SHADE. And when I throw shade I break windows (and get all up in your mental).

Now to the post…
Lately, I’ve been noticing an uptick in college educated black men who are living with their girlfriends because they cannot afford to live on their own. Obviously, if two people make a mutual financial decision to live together (as many do in expensive cities like LA, NY, and DC) that’s fine. But I’m noticing this in my friends across the country even in cheaper places.
What initially made me want to write about this is the fact that many young women aren’t aware that their men are remaining in relationships with them ONLY because they provide a household. Whether that means he gets to come over to your house to escape his roommates or whether it means he moves in with you and contributes to the household to the extent that he can.
Once again, if two people decide that it’s financially better for BOTH of them to move in together, that’s one thing--especially in a recession. But I’m worried about the increasing number of men I see who move in with women they KNOW they will break up with as soon as they get on their feet.
Clearly, both sexes can be users. But I’m concerned about this dynamic in particular. I’ve been thinking about this as I see so many of my college educated male friends meandering about doing nothing in particular and my college educated female friends buying houses and getting promoted steadily up the chain. I don’t think this lopsided dynamic is particular to my circle.
If this is actually is a real trend its consequential and women should take heed. For example, men complain every time a celebrity male gets divorced and has to pay alimony, but in real life, especially in the black community, women are the ones who suffer more in divorces because they typically have more to lose.  In fact, women are also suffering more in the marriages because the men may have multiple children and therefore the new, possibly childless, wife’s income may be considered for child support purposes depending on the state/circumstances.
 Two things:
 I just want women to be more aware of REALITY. The meme is always that black women are out to get something from someone else, but that's not what's actually happening by and large. Modern women need to not only protect their emotional assets but their financial assets as well. 
The flip side of this is to ask why is it that black college educated black men take so long to figure out a path? I asked a few men and they had varying responses. On twitter @isportpolitics said that he believes many men are getting degrees to say they have them or because it’s what you’re supposed to do and then there’s no action. Another friend said that he believes women think more about establishing themselves early because they have to be prepared to have a family younger where as men can wait forever. Of course this has nothing to do with the propensity to use people, which to be fair I think and hope is rare. 
On a side note, I wonder if black men are not getting the support they need to thrive whether as a child or at institutions of higher learning...just a thought.

Currently have 19 comments:

  1. aisha08 says:

    why/how did I miss this conversation on twitter? I must have been beefing with my Haitian nemesis, lol. In any event, I feel like I've been preyed upon by shiftless, lazy, careerless, boys (that I thankfully have not succumbed to). I feel that we women don't discuss financial security enough when it comes to romantic relationships. Granted, I am early in my career (only 3 yrs in practice) but I feel like many men pursue me in search of stability. I am not here to offer anyone stability. Have your stuff in order, and THEN, come check me. I flagrantly discriminate against men with credit card debt and whose student loans are in forbearance

  1. aisha08 says:

    by the way... I hate blogger. it always deletes my comments (thankfully, I copied what I wrote, pasted it on a word doc & then clicked *submit*)

  1. ShugAveryPee says:

    I haven't heard of any stories like this, even though that I am a college student myself (possibly because of the type of institution that I attend). I can, however, see this being a trend with my generation of... Uhm, adults?

    I agree that most black men obtaining degrees do nothing with them when they get them. Yes, I have some friends who have dated men with college degrees but they do not have the post-college jobs that you would think. Normally they work in a warehouse or promoting clubs, so yes, black women do have a lot more to lose.

    I'm not sure why there is such a lop-sided weight on the end of the women pursuing and obtaining "respectable" careers and making a decent salary versus the men pursuing and obtaining careers and making hourly wages.

  1. Mercedes says:

    men are lazy! if they can get away w/something, they will. i just got out of a situation like this. we broke up, but have remained friends. but i just cant look at him as a MAN because he feels his way to move on is, in his exact words "guess ill just have to find another chick to stay with" smdh!. like, hes before even workin on getting over the emotional part of the relationship he'll be w/another women just to have somewhere to stay. its like, how long will this go on? is there always gonna be a woman somewhere willing to put up w/mediocre shit just to have someone THERE? woman want security. i agree with aisha, we as women dont discuss finances enough in relationships, mainly bc soon as you do, bam you're a "gold-digger". ive come to realize that only broke and/or cheap men use that term. i've yet to figure out where this problem roots from. but i think its basically laziness and out of convenience.

  1. Courtney says:

    I don't want to jump on the men are lazy bandwagon. While I agree that some men exhibit predatory behavior, most men don't. Here's what I see happening:

    You man is raised in a family where he is NOT the sole provider. He then goes to college and has roommates for any given number of years. He then graduates and go out into the world. Even as a professional, many men don't live alone until they are well established or some crazy mess happens.

    I think what we're really seeing is that men don't know how to live alone. The sad part is that good guys are becoming hard to distinguish from the not-so-good guys. Also, we're seeing women who just don't want to be alone.

    So while it's easiest to say that men are predators, I'm going to throw out that at least half of the women know they're being taken advantage of. In my opinion, nothing beats a woman's intuition.

  1. TLC says:

    This definitely sounds familiar. I have family members and friends who've been in the same boat.

    @aisha08 - Um, yeah, the part about discriminating against men with credit card debt and student loans in forbearance, co-sign all day and day!

  1. JD says:

    Aisha - Blogger is the devil and the bain of my existence. Great comment, and I'm still laughing at the nemesis.

    Courtney - I had a guy who was 40 years old tell me that he had NEVER lived by himself. He came to deliver my couch and was asking me if I lived alone and I said yes. And he said "don't you feel weird." LMAO I'm like hell no! I feel GREAT.

    But the thing is, women also have roommates throughout college, so why don't we have the same urge to room with others?

  1. A.Smith says:

    It's the same gap we see in other areas.

    I think it's just a fundamental lack of preparation. We, from a young age, prepare our girls to "make it by themselves" and don't do the same for men. Not that men can't and don't, but the lesson for young black girls is "be prepared to do this life thing solo dolo..." while men are implicitly taught they will always have the option to be with someone if they want.

    We tell boys that they have the luxury of dragging their feet. And honestly, they do. Take your time, feel your way through this. FIgure out what you want. Meanwhile we imply to our girls that they don't have that. Know what you want to do from jump. Go, go, go after it.

    That's why women get to a point and don't understand why they're lacking the last check on the checklist. We're ill-preparing both our girls and boys.

  1. JD says:

    I know quite a few people (male and female) who went to graduate school just to defer their loans so ahh...discriminating based on that might be difficult. lol!

  1. JD says:

    Asmith - I agree, and then as wives we get to pick up where someone's mamma left off. Then we do the same thing they did with the boys we raise and then someone else comes in and takes up where we left off. It's a vicious cycle. We're creating a bunch of codependent men who don't even appreciate the support. lol

  1. Nonie Muss says:

    Forewarning, I'm going to make a bunch of generalizations.
    I think a lot of men have bought into this "Black Superwoman"/"She Got Her Own" myth, and figure, if we're doing so well, why shouldn't they benifit from it?
    Simplified, this sounds a lout more lecherous than it plays out in real life.
    It probably sounds cliche, but without consistant, positive male role models and providers in many homes, boys grow into men who are used to be taken care of my mothers, autinues, cousins - why wouldn't it transfer into girlfriends and "wifeys"? Black women are told that we are supposed to do it all, and be able to take care of ourselves with or without a man (which, honestly, is smart), and find ourselves falling into caregiver/provider/head of household that we saw growing up. All of this is just a translation of behavior we've already seen, into a more modern realm.

  1. Courtney says:

    JD (I can't figure out how to reply directly to you),

    It is simple: Women don't live with other unrelated women for too long because of bathrooms. Okay, I'll be nice and include all territory.

    I know that I will NEVER have a roommate again. I'm picky about how things get done and I don't want to feel like I have to explain to a roommate why it's necessary to not cook pork in MY frying pans. I also hated coming home after a long day and having to clean a kitchen just to cook. Never again. That's shit you deal with when you have kids and my uterus has never been occupied!

  1. Courtney says:

    Did my response comment not post?!?! What in Sam Hill? I'm on my phone.

    *spazzing ends*

    Oh...women don't live with roommates because we get sick of that shit. Wait...that's me. I don't live with other unrelated people because I get tired of coming home and having to clean my kitchen to cook my dinner. I get tired of throwing pans away because someone has cooked something that I'm allergic to using MY cookware. I get tired of having to share my space and seeing my roomates' trifling male friends sprawled out on my furniture. I get tired of taking out the trash, leaving notes to take out the trash, getting migraines because of some incense, etc.

    Women live alone because communal living gets old...QUICK!

  1. N. Wilborn says:

    I'm fortunate to have friends, that either have it together by the time they get their degrees or at least if they don't they have too much pride to be that dependant on a woman for their survival. Most would rather go live in shack on their on feet than move in with a woman and not be able to afford to carry his own weight in her home.

    I was raised to always be self sufficient, as man I should be able to do basic repairs, change a tire, oil, lawn care etc. But in that I also learned how to sew I'm no pro but I can put my button back on my shirt if it comes off. Also learned how to cook, do my own laundry etc.

    Point I'm making is that my family made sure I was equipped to be able to make it in the world without having to depend on anyone. Sadly I'm learning that most men in my age range and younger haven't learned how to be self sufficient and seem to be actually raised to depend on others especially their woman.

    I also saw some of the males(and i use that word intentionally) in my family that bounced from living with whatever sub standard woman that would take him in. In fact a lot of times all she had to offer was a place for him to reside. But he had to accept it because he had even less to offer a woman of any worth.

    So I made a decision that I would never live that life. I would never be forced to be with someone just because I had nowhere to go. I personally would rather live in a shelter and have(another story for another day) than live with a woman that I couldn't provide for. The men in my family that I did look up led their homes, provided for their families, had children that respected them, Had respect and admiration in the home and in the community and were married to wonderful women.

    To make my rant somewhat short I think broth as that put themselves in those situations lack pride. But it's deeper than just pride.

    It's a lack of being equipped to succeed it starts early. A lot of investment has been rightfully made in the success of black women in our community. Now their needs to be an investment made in ensuring the next generation of young black men are successful.

  1. and1grad says:

    "For example, men complain every time a celebrity male gets divorced and has to pay alimony, but in real life, especially in the black community, women are the ones who suffer more in divorces because they typically have more to lose."

    You must mean "specifically in the black community." SMH at your typos. Anyway, I agree with Courtney...on everything but the existence of "woman's intuition." Yall CANT POSSIBLY have that given what I've seen. LOL!

  1. JD says:

    Nwilborn - I love the last part of your comment. I'm seeing a lot of articles by white people speculating about whether they invested too much into making women successful and thus boys fall behind. This isn't just an issue in the black community.

    Grad - oh hush! And I agree re: intuition. I was gonna comment on that. I don't think people should be responsible for knowing that they're being used. Sometimes you accuse people of stuff they're not doing which in some ways is worse than having someone use you and not knowing. Does that make sense?

    At any rate, I think a lot of women are clueless, sometimes because they are just blind to reality and other times because the men are just that good at hiding their deceit. I don't think men or women have any more intuition than the other in these situations unfortunately lol

  1. JD says:

    Nonie Muss I agree re: the superwoman trap. I have fallen into it myself. RED ALERT RED ALERT

  1. Margaret says:

    I have 2 rules when it comes to other adults. 1) I WILL NOT co-sign for a loan for anyone & 2) You WILL NOT move in with me with no lease agreement. I watch too much Judge Judy to not know the power of a lease agreement.
    Another issue is that for some women, this type of arrangement is ok (I know 1 that has been the 'stepping stone' for 2 different guys).
    IMO, I think it shows insecurity on both parts, she because any type of relationship is a relationship (most times mistaken for love) and he because he's taking the 'easy way out', and not even attempt to go it alone.
    Like I told my friend, "If that's what you want to do, that's what I want you to do, and live with the consequences."

  1. SE says:

    Unlike Aisha08, I don't really get the shiftless, lazy men. They tell me I'm too intimidating, so they have to wait until they get themselves together to come at me. *side eye* By that time, it's usually too late, because I've moved on.

    I have 3 girlfriends who've been in similar situations. Except that the men weren't shiftless, they were doing it because it made financial sense. The only problem was the women thought it was the precursor to marriage and were all devastated to find out that their respective BFs weren't thinking the same way.

    I think couples should discuss expectations before moving in together, and decide whether they're doing it for financial reasons, convenience or the precursor to something more serious. If it's financial then they should agree on splitting rent, utilities and all that good stuff BEFORE they move in...that way if dude is trying to sponge, he'll know up front that it ain't happening.