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By October 15, 2011

White Man Black Woman…Can it Work?

Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
I am a 34 year old white male, I am in love with a wonderful 24 year old black female. I was married previously for 5 years until my spouse decided recreational drugs, and party life were more important than our commitment to each other.

After my divorce I was fortunate to find an excellent counselor who helped me work through my issues. Fortunately we did not have any children, so a clean break was a lot easier than some divorces turn out to be. My girlfriend is in her last year of nursing school, has never been married, and also has no children.

This wonderful lady carries some very deep wounds from her past with regards to men as well as relationships. Her mother married and divorced twice and she has never met her real father. I am not exactly sure how many times she has had her heart broken, but I would be willing to bet it’s been more than once.

We’ve dated almost a year and I know she is the one I want to be with for the rest of my life. I have attempted to get her to open up and talk to me about her past, not to pry, but to make sure that I can always avoid doing anything that might remind her of past experiences that were hurtful. However, she refuses to discuss her past with me in detail, random bits and pieces thus far are all I have been allowed to know. From the little that she has shared with me I gather that she has had plenty of first hand experience with men who have attempted to control her every move, and know her whereabouts at all times.

When I tell her I love her its brings mixed results, she has shared with me that it is very important to her that I do indeed love her but when I verbalize such to her it makes her feel uncomfortable. I am always wondering if or when I should or should not share my affection for her in a verbal manner?

My lady has told me on numerous occasions that I am the only man in her life, the only man she desires or wants in her life, that I treat her better, with more respect, and that I understand her needs far better than any man she has ever known or dated. However, she also refuses to term what we have together as being in "a relationship" or that we are a "couple."

I am the patient type, however I do sometimes wonder if the fact that she does not wish to acknowledge what we have is real are her fears and past hurts too serious that merely allowing time and love to be the only remedy?

We both believe that me being white and her black is no different than one half of a couple having blue eyes and the other having brown, however is it possible that race could be causing her internal stress that I am not aware of yet? Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.

Ms. HeartBeat Responds:
The love you have for this woman is almost palpable through the monitor. For your devotion and commitment to her, I applaud you. However, its time for you to sit down with your woman and have a serious conversation about history, needs, future expectations and mutual satisfaction.

Start with an honest discussion of the race issue. It’s the least likely to cause her much upset because it is something outside of her feelings and history… skin color and race issues in the U.S. just are what they are. So an intellectual discussion on her thoughts about White men and Black men is in order. As you may be aware, the vast majority of interracial relationships in the Black community are between Black men and non-Black women.

Black women have traditionally and stubbornly clung to the desire to have a Black man by their side; however in recent years the high percentage of single Black women has become overwhelming and causing more African American females to open their options for love to men of other races.

Though some of what may be making her hesitant is her age (she’s only 24 dude!), your woman is probably wrestling with her desire for the love you’re offering, and her adherence to the expectation she’s had since childhood of marrying a Black man. As a matter of fact, I led a panel discussion on this very topic entitled "Should Black Women Seriously Consider Dating and Marrying White Men?"

After you two openly discuss the race issues, your next conversation (a few days or so later), delve into what it is you need from her. She needs to tell you if she can honestly provide that level of emotional connection either now or in the future. Ask her what she needs from you in return and let her know if you can honestly provide what she needs. You can give each other a week or so to figure things out, then talk again. Give her space and time to see what her life is like without you in it, just in case she has become complacent and is taking you for granted in some way.

Prepare yourself for the fact that you two may have to separate for awhile or even forever as she wrestles with acceptance of both herself and her relationship with a White man.

If she determines that she just isn’t ready and cannot provide you with the love you seek, you’ll be sad but you’ll also be free to go and find the love you deserve to have with a woman that is whole and healthy and ready to love you back.  

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Relationship and dating advice columnist of Ask HeartBeat! Has enjoyed dishing out insightful yet hilariously funny advice, tersely worded reality checks and "let me slap you upside the head" wake up calls to men and women around the globe since 1991.

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Relationship and dating advice columnist of Ask HeartBeat! Has enjoyed dishing out insightful yet hilariously funny advice, tersely worded reality checks and "let me slap you upside the head" wake up calls to men and women around the globe since 1991.

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