While tuning in to my favorite radio station a few days ago, I heard the song Back and Forth by the popular 80's group Cameo. I immediately reflected on the dating patterns of men; not all, but many of them. I thought of the men who engage in sexual relationships simultaneously between their present girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, and yes, the mother or mothers of their kids. And please don’t forget about the men who proceed "back and forth" between any female who will allow them the opportunity to have sex. Yes, I went there!
You cannot discuss the men without reflecting on the many sisters who are well aware of the behavior but allow it to continue. But what I have witnessed, this degrading behavior excites many of them and gives them a sense of accomplishment because they feel as though they’ve got somebody sprung.
I’ve heard women say, “He can’t get enough of me! That’s why he can’t let go!” Yeah, he's sprung alright. He's so sprung he cannot wait to get his hands on you; he's so sprung he envisions you while making love to his wife or girlfriend. He's so sprung that he refuses to allow you the opportunity to move forward in a new relationship even though he has done so himself. Notice how each scenario does not reference true love or long-term relationships? Don’t get me wrong, if you are HAPPILY involved in a back and forth relationship, of course this does not apply to your situation. I am referring to the many sisters who seek full-filling and committed relationships but find themselves entangled and unable to set themselves free.
Logically speaking, if he was truly into you, you would have been a married woman long ago. And if not married, at least engaged. Truth is, he IS sprung. But he is not sprung enough – enough to introduce you to his parents and other family members; enough to invite you on his job to parade around the office and introduce to his colleagues; nor is he sprung enough to stroll you down the isle and ask for your hand in marriage. No, he is definitely not that sprung!
Just as President Bush misused 9/11 to attack Iraq, some women misuse the back and forth behaviors of men to boost their self-esteem and self-confidence. This behavior should not empower you. It should motivate you to send a strong dictum that we will not allow men to carry on several sexual relationships at once –endangering our health both physically and emotionally.
If you were not aware, let me inform you of the facts. Overlapping relationships in the African-American community is a large contributor to the increase of newly diagnosed HIV cases among Black women. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 70% of all newly diagnosed HIV cases are Black women and HIV/AIDS is the number cause of death for African-American women ages 25-34. We allow men to go "back, back, forth and forth" just as Cameo. A study conducted by the University of North Carolina shows Black men are more than twice as likely as White men to have multiple female partners simultaneously.
I realized during a recent conversation with one of my best friends, Kimberly, how passionately I feel about this topic – the constant rise in newly diagnosed HIV cases in Black women. We were discussing men and their resistance to committed relationships when my voice began to rise. She finally said, "Mekee, calm down!" My voice had risen to a level where I was almost yelling. I responded, "If White women were dying at this rate from this disease there would be more people yelling like me!"
Soon after this conversion, I realized that I have work to do – empower Black women. Empower my Sisters to raise their confidence and self-esteem so they are able to recognize this demeaning behavior of overlapping relationships and remove themselves from the equation because the newly diagnosed HIV cases are not adding up properly. We are getting the short end of the stick. Yes, we are dying while the world sits back and watches.
My message to sisters is simple - stop the madness! The madness of allowing this unhealthy behavior to continue in our personal relationships. We should strive to progress forward Ladies; not back and forth.
Mikki Zimmerman is a writer, Louisiana native and proud sports-crazed member of the "Who Dat Nation" - supporting the New Orleans Saints since the age of 8. She is an animal lover, preferable cats and dogs, who is a dreamer with a HUGE imagination. Currently she is a graduate student working towards an MBA with a concentration in Marketing. Her first book - Can I Get a Witness? 21 Frustrations of Black Women (Including Me) is available online @ Xlibris.com, Amazon.com or by calling 888-795-4174.