When it comes to falling in love and keeping it, some Black women experience the burden of being labeled an "alpha personality."
According to expert matchmaker Jasmine Diaz, some of her female customers believe that being successful is a disadvantage when it comes to dating. Some bemoan how dominant Black women "are hemmed in" for passionately building their careers.
The president of Lincoln University, Brenda Allen, asserts that social and historical causes have a significant impact. According to Allen, the concept of an alpha Black woman is founded on a masculine stereotype.
The notion that you can only be powerful or weak is another dichotomy that many alpha Black women encounter. In her theatrical play The Light, Chicago-based playwright Loy Webb explored the path of an alpha Black woman in resolving this duality.
The main character, Genesis, tells her new fiancé, Rashad, that after going through a horrible incident, she had only two choices: to be weak or to be strong. "We are Black women; we are not weak," she says. Genesis claims that a Black woman has never been given a third option since any flaw in her foundation is considered to be weakness.
Rashad queries what a third choice might entail. According to Webb, Genesis' response is "one that says yes, I'm a Black woman, and I have vulnerabilities, but that doesn't make me weak, it makes me human."
Being both strong and vulnerable is difficult to balance, said 42-year-old Nashville resident Kenisha Rhone. “You can compartmentalize and find small pockets to be vulnerable, especially when it’s difficult to be your whole self because of a demanding career. You can develop this mindset of ‘this is how I behave in one moment versus the next.’ It’s hard to shut that rote memory off when you’re with your partner.”
In fact, the most difficult thing just might be allowing yourself to be vulnerable at all. Know that being "feminine" does not mean being weak — in fact, it's the opposite. It takes boldness, strength and courage to share the most tender parts of yourself, mentally, emotionally and physically.
"It's difficult to step back and be vulnerable with someone when you're used to taking charge and directing the show. If you're unwilling to open up, dating will be difficult. It's challenging to take your hands off the steering wheel, but courting requires some risk-taking.
"Because it's a partnership, you can't control your love life the way you might control your career." Diaz advises being realistic about your search and finding room in your life for someone who balances yours.
Never give up on hope, no matter what. "For alpha Black women, the hardest part is that (being one) has a terrible reputation, and that may be demoralizing. You don't have to fully alter who you are. Do not place demands on yourself to be married and have two children by the age of 35,” Diaz continues.
For alpha personalities, failing to meet those objectives can deflate their spirits. But be patient; finding the ideal spouse takes time.