Ah, the Valentine's weekend is upon us and a young woman's thoughts turn to love. But what is the Black woman really looking for? Why is love fleeting for some and near impossible for others? How can the Black couple keep love strong?
"One of the biggest differences between Black men and women is we, as women, still hold onto fantasies," said LaDawn Black. "We meet a man and in 15 minutes, we're gonna marry him and have his baby."
Mothers teach daughters what to look for in a mate and together, they create a long laundry list of qualifications for the perfect guy. Boys, on the other hand, aren't usually educated about love, they're just thrown out there.
"Which is better in a way," Black said. "They get to find out on their own what they like in a woman--someone who he's attracted to and who can be a partner. Men don't have a long laundry list."
Black, a native of Washington, D.C., is a relationship expert, author and radio personality. Five nights a week she is the host of Baltimore's number-one radio relationship show, "The Love Zone" on 92Q. Black is also the author of two top-selling relationship guides: "Stripped Bare: The 12 Truths That Will Help You Land the Very Best Black Man," and "Let's Get It On: 15 Hot Tips and Tricks to Spice Up Your Sex Life."
Despite these credentials, Black is the first to admit that love is not easy.
"Because we all come with baggage," she said. "Do we want to be loved, because we need to be the center of the universe? Or do we need 'when I call you, pick up?'"
When looking for love, Black suggests some alone time to get know yourself and be honest with yourself, weighing wants versus needs. But don't throw the laundry list out entirely.
"Sometimes the list keeps you out of situations that are not good for you," Black said, noting that some women take the list too far, though, and kick so many guys to the curb, because they don't meet unrealistic criteria.
"When it comes to the list, don't be so steadfast," she said. "Be willing to be open, to bend the rules a tad."
Black is an online relationship coach for match.com, blackandmarriedwithkids.com, essence.com, blackpeoplemeet.com and blackmeninamerica.com.
In addition to her own radio show, books and articles, Black has been a relationship expert for "30 Dates in 30 Days," Essence magazine's online dating show, "The Tom Joyner Morning Show," and National Public Radio. She is also the resident relationship expert for Fox Morning News in Baltimore. Her syndicated radio feature, "Relationship Workout," continues to add new markets.
"Women have to be open to men who are around them, men you come in contact with every day, but you just don't see them, because they don't fit the mode or model," Black said. "I tell women all the time that blue collar workers often make just as much money as professional women, sometimes more."