(The Root) —
"I seriously want to get married, but I'm dating a guy I know is not marriage material. He's a 'street guy' who has kids but doesn't seem passionate about them. He 'works' in the local club scene, so he parties most nights. He's a lot of fun. Is it wrong to spend my time with him until 'marriage material' comes along?" —L.K.
Your actions don't match your words. You say you want to be married. And I'll interpret that to mean, based on what most women want when they speak of husbands, that you want a healthy, stable relationship with a responsible, reasonable, educated and emotionally available man who would make a great father and provider. But I'm curious what you are currently doing, if anything, to attract that sort of man.
The type of man you are currently allowing into your life, and to whom you are likely giving the benefits of a full relationship, implies that you aren't serious at all about being married — at least not to any kind of stable man who could be considered a prize.
I hear what you say you want, but your actions show that your real focus is on having a good time. You describe the man you are currently dating as "street," which could mean a thug, uncouth or uneducated. It's definitely not a positive trait.
You also describe him as not showing passion for raising his children, which makes me wonder why you would even hang out with him. If he shows little concern for blood relationships, what do you think he will do for you, if anything, when you are in a jam, even if it's on his watch? (Answer: keep partying.)
And by trade, he parties all the time — you put "work" in quotes as if his job isn't one that he takes seriously, based on what you've seen. You can make great money throwing parties, but your perspective implies that his focus is more on being seen at a party than reaping financial benefits. And yet you enjoy partying with him so much that you will overlook these massive flaws to have "a lot of fun."
You may want to be married, but you're not acting like marriage material right now. No man of quality meeting you in your current state of mind with your current standards will think, "Ooh, wife!" If that's what you want to be, you're going to have to make some demonstrable changes in where your focus is. Step 1: Leave the current guy alone.
I don't want you to think that I am picking on you, but your mindset is a problematic one among some women, and men rightfully take the ladies to task on this one. Men complain that women will waste time with men who are of little value, giving them relationship benefits with no titles, and then suddenly decide they want a good guy and want him to put a ring on it. And the guys are rightly thinking, "For what? You want me, a man of substance, to step up to the plate, but for a man of less quality you have no requirements? Please."
If you honestly want to be married to a quality man, you need to raise your standards, and part of that means you stop associating with men who have little or nothing to offer you. Get your priorities in order — fun by any means necessary should not be at the top the list — and you'll have a better chance of finding a man who's worthy to be called a husband.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at email@example.com.