I have a question that I would like for you to address in your blog: What motivates a single black male in a relationship to continue to “do the work” besides sex and nagging? lol. Here are the basics of my situation: I am young, single in a 1-year relationship with a wonderful man. I have met his mother and we are going to meet my parents this summer (he plans to ask my father for my hand in marriage). He is kind and thoughtful and does many things to make my life easier and of course I reciprocate.
Lets call these things love offerings (LO). For the sake of argument, let’s say I have not decreased my amount of LO (actually I have increased them b/c I believe in allowing a man to do the initial chasing), but he a las has gotten…well…not quite neglectful but certainly negligent. I know, I know tis the way of relationships right? To be perfectly fair, these LO are all things that I performed with varying degrees of success before my relationship and I am currently capable (and willing!) to perform them now. But what exactly would be the point of accepting a relationship without reciprocity? To wit, without nagging him….or going on a sex strike….what are some wise ways to motivate this fella?
One year in you say? It sounds like you 2 have just left the Peachy Phase and the real work is underway. The bit about y’all going to visit your parents and him asking your Pops for your hand in marriage after a year concerns me, but you didn’t ask about that so I’ll leave it alone. Actually, no I won’t. It sounds like you 2 haven’t worked your way through the first real issue in the relationship. This situation, regardless of how subtle it may be, could be symptomatic of a bigger issue that needs to be resolved before you commit to marrying this man. So basically, don’t jump the gun on jumping the broom. Now let me answer what you actually asked.
First things first, you 2 need to have a serious conversation. The only thing you can really motivate a man to do is have sex (or cheat which is still having sex). And the only reason that works is because it’s a temporary and time-limited (Unless he’s Zeus or Mandingo God) solution/incident. This doesn’t guarantee a sustainable and likable result away from the sheets, couch, floor, washing machine, or wherever else y’all get coital. So if you really want to see him do what he did when he was courting and in the peachy zone, you need to understand the reasons that he’s become negligent. You also need to figure out if you’ve really been doing all that you can to push the relationship forward or if you’ve been sitting back and waiting for him to take action. If you wait, it will fail. Based on the fact you sent this email, I don’t think you wanna fail.
Let me tell you a quick story…
I once dated this chick and we used to do everything for each other upfront. It was loovvvveee, and we couldn’t get enough of it. We were just like vampires and bloodsuckas. Once the real relationship started, we only took action when the other took action. There was never really an open conversation about why we were acting the way we were acting until it was too late. The relationship became a revolving door of resentment and expectations not met. You don’t want resentment and expectations not met. You want a nice house, a white picket fence, healthy babies, and the opportunity to shop for the growing children at Whole Foods. I’m shopping for myself at a bodega with low quality steaks and produce in Harlem. You don’t want that. Learn from my mistakes.
So as you noticed, I didn’t list any things that you could do to motivate him to take action. There’s no point in trying to do that when you don’t know what the root of the issue is. Your best bet is to talk to your man rather than try to manipulate him into action via your own. Once you do that, I think you’ll find all the answers you’re looking for. And if not, you can email us again and I’ll take another crack at this based on updated information.
What does the SBM fam think about this? Is there a way to motivate a man to do the things he used to do but won’t do anymore?
Single Black Male with Some Shitty Produce,
P.S. I’m scheduled to be on The Michael Baisden Show this Thursday to discuss monogamy in relationships. Stay tuned for more details.