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The new man sharing: why Black men find breaking up so hard to do
Essence, Jan, 2005 by Taigi Smith


http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1264/is_9_35/ai_n8698047


Here's a common scenario: You've been single for longer than you care to admit, and a brother finally walks into your life and rocks your world. He makes you laugh, has a college degree and a solid job, and most important, he's single or at least he seems to be. A few months into your relationship, you begin to see that there's something wrong with Mr. Right. He stops spending weekends with you, becomes "too busy" to return your calls, and casually begins dropping the names of other women who are "just friends." You suspect that your man is seeing his ex and possibly several other women too, but he's not 'fessing up, and you don't confront him. Instead, you tacitly begin man-sharing.

It's the rare sister who hasn't been there, mired in a relationship that saps her dignity because she knows she's not the only woman in her man's life. Many of us enter relationships instinctively looking for evidence of another woman. And if it seems that the likelihood of there being one is higher when dating Black men, it's because research shows it's true. A recent study conducted by University of Chicago sociologist and professor Edward Laumann suggests that Black men are more likely than White men to start sexual relationships with a new woman while maintaining physical relationships with old girlfriends, a practice Laumann calls concurrence or overlapping. In fact, the relationship overlapping period for White men lasted about ten days on average, while the overlap period for brothers spanned an average of 250 days, says

Laumann, who published his findings in the book The Sexual Organization of the City. Almost 40 percent of the AfricanAmerican men Laumann surveyed admitted to maintaining long-term sexual relationships with at least two women, a practice he calls serial polygamy. Laumann's study formally measures and puts a new label on a concept that gained national attention almost 20 years ago when relationship therapist Audrey B. Chapman penned Man Sharing: Dilemma or Choice: A Radical New Way of Relating to the Men in Your Life. Chapman's book sparked heated debate, particularly among Black women who "didn't want to hear about it," says Chapman. Writer Taigi Smith brought Laumann and Chapman together for a candid conversation about the causes and effects of overlapping relationships and man sharing in the twenty-first century.

Taigi Smith: Audrey, you wrote your book more than two decades ago, but it seems even more relevant today. What inspired the book, and why has man sharing resonated with us for so long?

Audrey Chapman: I did the first workshop on man sharing in 1982 because I felt that there was a crisis. Women were coming into my office depressed and in one case suicidal. These women complained that they were monogamous only to discover that the men they were seeing had not one woman but often two or three others on the side. I also counsel men to talk about their fear of commitment. Many have had a serious relationship fall apart, and they are devastated. Others were traumatized by the breakup of their parents. These men end up protecting themselves by not making any commitments at all. I wrote Man Sharing not to advocate the practice but to help women manage the situation.

Smith: Why do you think there is such a disparity between the ways White men and Black men begin and end their relationships with women?

Ed Laumann: It exists primarily because most African-American men are not pursuing marriage. In the White community, close to 70 percent of the population are married or in mutually exclusive relationships. In the Black community, the marriage rate began to plummet between 1970 and 1975, and now only about 40 percent of Black men are in monogamous relationships.

Smith: So should Black women just be prepared for the possibility that our men will be involved in concurrent relationships?

Laumann: I think they should certainly expect it. All men tend to be more liberal about sexual behavior than women. In the White community the gender difference in attitudes about sexuality is about 20 percentage points with regard to reporting religiously motivated or traditional ideas about sex. But in the African-American community we're talking about a gap of nearly 40 points. More Black men believe that sex without love is okay, whereas African-American women tend to be much more conservative on these issues.

Chapman: I tell women not to assume that because they meet a man and he takes them out, he's single. It's more than likely he was not sitting alone in his apartment waiting for her to show up in his life.

Smith: Dr. Laumann, your study also found that African-American men with higher levels of education were more likely to be serial polygamists than any other group surveyed. The implication is that men who are better off financially have their pick of sexual partners.

Laumann: The men with higher education are extremely attractive because they're successful and have good incomes. Some women are willing to accept them without any level of commitment at all so that they can gain access to a man with these resources.

Chapman: Some sisters feel as though having a piece of man is better than having no man at all. I hate to say it that way, but that's what it boils down to.

Smith: So describe the kind of Black man who is willing to be monogamous.

Laumann: It's the high-school graduate who has a regular job. My research found that he's substantially more likely to be interested in sustaining a monogamous relationship.

Chapman: African-American women want men who have the big salaries and big cars. By the time the women get through their grocery list of the ideal prototype, they have eliminated the common ordinary guy who's just holding down a routine job. They don't want him, and that's got to change.

Smith: What signs indicate that a woman may be in a man-sharing situation?

Chapman: She should be on alert if he is hardly available, only gives her a cell-phone number, and does not want to do quality things with her. She has to use common sense and pay attention to how he's relating to her. If the way he relates to her is superficial or highly sexualized without intimacy, then there is a big chance that he is stepping out on her.

Smith: So could marriage and monogamy be a thing of the past?

Laumann: We need to understand more clearly what conditions allow marriage to happen and be sustained. The stresses on exclusive, long-term relationships are very high. And it's unfortunate that the African-American population has experienced this form of serial polygamy first, but it's not going to stop there. It's something we have to come to grips with in American society as a whole.

Chapman: African-Americans are the most unpartnered group of people in America. There's a real need for a movement that would help African-American men and women improve their relationship skills. Those in the Christian community are marrying and making commitments, but those in the larger group are not. And when Black women marry and this is the other sad part--their marriages are most likely to end in separation or divorce, and they are least likely to remarry.

Smith: Some people may feel that this is simply a lifestyle choice. Besides having hurt feelings because of dishonesty, are there any real consequences for the people involved?

Chapman: Finding out that her man is a serial polygamist makes a woman feel violated and enraged. It lowers her self-esteem in a way that is just incredible. There are women who stalk the men, hunt them down and play forensic detective. Other women become very passive-aggressive. These women internalize their anger and become depressed. Unfortunately, they end up taking it out on other people who come into their lives.

Laumann: And there are some interesting bad effects on men that arise from serial polygamy. For example, it's well known that Black men have very poor access to kidney transplants. One of my hypotheses is that acquiring a kidney is very difficult to negotiate; it usually requires another highly committed person to run the system for the sick person, to try to keep his name on the list, and so on. Many Black men in these situations are paying for, in a sense, the lack of commitment on both sides. They don't have women who are willing to go the extra mile.

Chapman: Men do a whole lot better when they are in exclusive relationships. They're healthier, they live longer and they are wealthier. And children, obviously, benefit when they have two parents who are appropriately relating to each other.

Smith: A lot of this information can be rather discouraging for single Black women. How should we use it in our approach to relationships?

Chapman: Women have to be more realistic. A Black man is a commodity these days, and men make good use of that. A book published a couple of years ago made the case that women need to date like men. That means you shouldn't claim a man as yours from the start, and you should not become exclusive until you both agree that you have a viable relationship that you want to develop into something that is more serious. This happens over a long period of time--after about 24 months.

Laumann: Men get support from other men for being able to play the field. It's an adolescent fantasy that one can just move on from one woman to the other without any consequences, and that's been projected into the adult population. There needs to be a collective response from women to say they're not going to accept it on those terms.

Chapman: Black women are so afraid that if they do that, they won't have anybody, Their whole world is built around getting married and finding somebody. I suggest they get a life, have friends they can do things with. We're all responsible for our own mental, social and physical health. So you have to take responsibility and evaluate the choices you make.

RELATED ARTICLE: What smart sisters know about love.

Finding a meaningful, committed relationship means establishing boundaries and setting standards for the kinds of behavior you will and will not accept. Spelman College professor Beverly Guy-Sheftall, coauthor of Gender Talk: The Struggle for Women's Equality in African-American Communities (Ballantine), and relationship therapist Audrey B. Chapman offer these tips to keep you from falling for somebody else's guy.

START FROM A PLACE OF POWER

"The first thing single women have to do is overcome the sense of desperation," says Guy-Sheftall. Although it may be difficult to find a suitable partner, it is still important not to operate in desperation mode. When you give in to a sense of hopelessness, it becomes impossible to maintain any power in relationships, and that often causes us to stay in relationships that just aren't working. Believe that you are a person worthy of being treated well.

BOOST YOUR SELF-ESTEEM

If you have a pattern of involvement with unavailable men, make an honest self-assessment, and decide if you're emotionally ready to enter a healthy relationship. "Many women attract unavailable men because they themselves are unavailable," says Chapman. "Because they have been so used and abused, they have shut down inside, and they're getting back what they're sending out into the universe." If you've had some tough experiences, take time to work through that history, with a counselor if necessary, and wait until you are truly loving and valuing yourself before you seek a relationship with someone else.

SET NONNEGOTIABLE STANDARDS

"Black women should have a set of criteria that they stick to, and some of the criteria should be nonnegotiable," advises Guy-Sheftall. Don't accept a man on the "waiver plan": He's not beating me, so everything's all right. "We have such a minimum number of requirements, which comes from our experience and knowledge about how much worse it can be," she adds. Beyond not being abusive or having another girlfriend, what other kinds of behavior do you expect?. Communicate with your partner about what you need, and stick by what you say. If your partner sees that you'll accept whatever he does despite your protestations, there's no incentive for him to change.

TUNE OUT NEGATIVE MESSAGES

"Young Black women have to tune out the messages they get about how difficult it is to find a good man," says Guy-Sheftall. That kind of bleak outlook leads us to accept behaviors that shouldn't be tolerated. Guy-Sheftall adds that women in her Baby Boomer generation "didn't hear that all Black men were in prison, don't have a job or are dating White women." "My mother told me that men were like buses: Another one will come along," she concludes. "Despite all the statistics, it's much more problematic to tell women that you have to hold on to the one you find no matter what. We have to know that it's better to be in a healthy relationship or wait until it comes along."--T.S.

Taigi Smith is a frequent contributor to ESSENCE. She is the editor of Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues: Young African-Americans on Love, Relationships, Sex, and the Search for Mr. Right (Seal Press).

COPYRIGHT 2005 Essence Communications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group
Original Post

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I agree with a lot of the things mentioned here in this article.


quote:
Smith: Why do you think there is such a disparity between the ways White men and Black men begin and end their relationships with women?

Ed Laumann: It exists primarily because most African-American men are not pursuing marriage. In the White community, close to 70 percent of the population are married or in mutually exclusive relationships. In the Black community, the marriage rate began to plummet between 1970 and 1975, and now only about 40 percent of Black men are in monogamous relationships.



My problem is, if i mention this to a black man, he gets upset.

No need......i have no issues with a black man 'pursuing his options'. I just have a problem when black men, want me to sign on to man sharing.........and thats not happening. nono
quote:

My problem is, if i mention this to a black man, he gets upset.


If the article says that a lot of black men do this I'll take your word for it. I don't date men and so I have to take the word of someone who does date men or who has studied men. And I agree that this is a problem with a lot of men that needs to be addressed.

Where I begin to get upset is when women talk and behave as if we're ALL behaving like this - notice that even the article says "most". Even then, many of us do NOT and I personally condemn this type of behavior. I think its cowardly and dishonest.

Respectable women don't like being treated like hos and honest men don't appreciate being treated like playas.

If the glove don't fit you must acquit

Smile
I agree that serial polygamy is a big problem for us {Black folk in the US). Basically the ramifications of slavery and the welfare state continue to kill us as a community.

Frankly I don't blame brother's for doing what they are doing. They have time on thier side. What is unfortunate is that sisters have paid a price for thier liberation that white girls do not have to pay.

I know if I were a Black man I would continue to have sex with women that were willing to give it up with me putting very little into the relationship. Why pick one when you can have it all.

As for the sisters, well sex for pleasure has a price, for your heart, for your mind and for your legacy. Like I indicated earlier, white girls have options we simply do not have and just because they can do it does not mean we can.

I saw Memoirs of a Geisha. These women have great lives of liesure, look good all the time, are revered and admired by everyone but happiness is not thiers. They will never be wives, never have children.

We in the US still think that the story always has a happy ending. That may be true for white women. But what I am coming to find out is that we as Black women have to change our definition of happiness based on the facts. I for one will not go into 2006 dreaming about a fantasy, I will set realistic goals that are acheivable. Time will reveal reality and you can be happy as long as you keep it real.
not all white women want to share any man either sis. Wink well not this one anyhoo.

I think there are the playas, and the stayers.

Most people with a hint of self-esteem know that sharing a man equates to LOW self-worth. Sure a lot of people 'play', but a lot more people (of any race) want the 'real deal'.

Forget trends and what 'everyone' (whoever 'they' are) do, you gotta do what feels right for you. Coz I believe that's the only way you'll meet someone who is on the same page as you. Even if it seems to take forever. Better late than never. Wink
.
.
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
quote:

My problem is, if i mention this to a black man, he gets upset.


If the article says that a lot of black men do this I'll take your word for it. I don't date men and so I have to take the word of someone who does date men or who has studied men. And I agree that this is a problem with a lot of men that needs to be addressed.

Where I begin to get upset is when women talk and behave as if we're ALL behaving like this - notice that even the article says "most". Even then, many of us do NOT and I personally condemn this type of behavior. I think its cowardly and dishonest.

Respectable women don't like being treated like hos and honest men don't appreciate being treated like playas.

If the glove don't fit you must acquit

Smile



Well of course its not fair, when we speak of 'most' black men..............and i really try not to put all black men in the same box..........But when I see the stats/behavior concerning black men in monogamous relationships........It causes me to think differently.

I've learned to accept a mans right to do whatever he feels is right for him, its his life........but hopefully i'll run into a nice guy, that wants to be a part of the 40%. Smile
I believe in due diligence, so I did a bit of research on Dr. Laumann's findings (run a Google search on The Sexual Organization of the City):

2,000 people in Chicago, IL were interviewed over three years (1995-1997). The interviewees were Black & Hispanic heterosexuals & homosexuals. The interviewees were male & female.

1) How do you extrapolate from 2,000 people in Chicago to a nationwide phenomenon? Doesn't this information simply describe the Chicago dating & marriage scene?

2) Is < 2,000 men (remember, the survey population was male & female and included non-Black & non-hetero respondents) statisically significant? Can any conclusion drawn from this number of respondents be considered valid?

3) Is there current data (2000 or later) to suggest that the early findings are a continuing trend?

Just providing some perspective on the "facts" before we decide all is truly bleak & hopeless.

With heart (as always)
quote:
Originally posted by qty226:
I agree with a lot of the things mentioned here in this article.


quote:
Smith: Why do you think there is such a disparity between the ways White men and Black men begin and end their relationships with women?

Ed Laumann: It exists primarily because most African-American men are not pursuing marriage. In the White community, close to 70 percent of the population are married or in mutually exclusive relationships. In the Black community, the marriage rate began to plummet between 1970 and 1975, and now only about 40 percent of Black men are in monogamous relationships.



My problem is, if i mention this to a black man, he gets upset.

No need......i have no issues with a black man 'pursuing his options'. I just have a problem when black men, want me to sign on to man sharing.........and thats not happening. nono


I do not feel the subject matter is exclusive to black men. Nor the "sharing" part. ( gross). It is another indictment on peoples morals.

"Play" till your next toy comes along. terrible.
quote:
Ed Laumann: It exists primarily because most African-American men are not pursuing marriage. In the White community, close to 70 percent of the population are married or in mutually exclusive relationships. In the Black community, the marriage rate began to plummet between 1970 and 1975, and now only about 40 percent of Black men are in monogamous relationships.


IMO
I have stated this before, some Black men are not being raised to marry. I have long observed white men who finish college, get the job and after dating for 2 years, get married. I have seen this happen over and over again in the work place. White men do this as though they have been raised "this is what a man does" school of thought. I see more young Black men having more than one child out of wedlock and angry about the child support. My own nephew is on his third child out of wed-lock. The differnce this time is, the girl is his official girlfriend. I have mentioned marriage to both of them with "Oh,no." responses. As you can see, we have moral issues in the mix too.
quote:
Originally posted by ronin10:
The new man sharing: why Black men find breaking up so hard to do
Essence, Jan, 2005 by Taigi Smith


http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1264/is_9_35/ai_n8698047




dang bruh, you stealin my style....jackin my link for articles!!!

just kidding.
Smile

"Here's a common scenario: You've been single for longer than you care to admit, and a brother finally walks into your life and rocks your world. He makes you laugh, has a college degree and a solid job, and most important, he's single or at least he seems to be. A few months into your relationship, you begin to see that there's something wrong with Mr. Right. He stops spending weekends with you, becomes "too busy" to return your calls, and casually begins dropping the names of other women who are "just friends." You suspect that your man is seeing his ex and possibly several other women too, but he's not 'fessing up, and you don't confront him. Instead, you tacitly begin man-sharing."

my take


*Sounds like a weak woman with low self esteem. I guess she's willing to take 'half of him'...like the old Brownstone song says. Maybe she can divide up the days of the week with the other women so that she can get him every thursday and sunday. Mansharing is the best thing for a woman who wants to be in a relationship, but has little to no self worth*
Last edited {1}
quote:
Originally posted by ddouble:
I believe in due diligence, so I did a bit of research on Dr. Laumann's findings (run a Google search on The Sexual Organization of the City):

2,000 people in Chicago, IL were interviewed over three years (1995-1997). The interviewees were Black & Hispanic heterosexuals & homosexuals. The interviewees were male & female.

1) How do you extrapolate from 2,000 people in Chicago to a nationwide phenomenon? Doesn't this information simply describe the Chicago dating & marriage scene?

2) Is < 2,000 men (remember, the survey population was male & female and included non-Black & non-hetero respondents) statisically significant? Can any conclusion drawn from this number of respondents be considered valid?

3) Is there current data (2000 or later) to suggest that the early findings are a continuing trend?

Just providing some perspective on the "facts" before we decide all is truly bleak & hopeless.

With heart (as always)


great points and, as always, You and I agreeing on something will get these point ignored. Good try, keep up the good work Smile
quote:
Originally posted by Nikcara:


Frankly I don't blame brother's for doing what they are doing. They have time on thier side. What is unfortunate is that sisters have paid a price for thier liberation that white girls do not have to pay.

I know if I were a Black man I would continue to have sex with women that were willing to give it up with me putting very little into the relationship. Why pick one when you can have it all.




So if you were a Black man you wouldn't have any morals??

I'm glad that you seem to, at least, take my point about a woman's age being a factor under your consideration.

Very telling and interesting take on this article. Happy New Year
Just to be a devil's advocate.

Why is it that everyone believes in the monogamous construct of a relationship as opposed to a poligamous relationship such as has been tradition in African and Arab States?

Is not monogamy the white (European) man's way and his law so should black men follow this tradition?

Considering that there are are more single black women than black men and this trend is also true for whites, perhaps in the distant future some of these shifty black men will be hailed as trail blazers (ecluding the Mormons in Utah and British Columbia).
Not likely to happen Blacksanction - I like the thought process though. We're too westernized (you wouldn't expect that from all the self-professed radicals around here! lol )to acknowledge the long standing traditions of polygamy; traditions that were in place long before European notions. Brothers would have to step their games up though - You have to be able to provide for all those wives & children!
ohsnap
quote:
Originally posted by Blacksanction:
Considering that there are are more single black women than black men...


It's interesting how whenever a discussion about polygamy comes up and the possibility of Black men having more than one wife is being considered, men are finally willing to admit that there are more single Black women than there are single Black men. Roll Eyes
quote:
Originally posted by ddouble: Brothers would have to step their games up though - You have to be able to provide for all those wives & children!
ohsnap


My thoughts were the same.....and then i thought.....hhmmmmm provide? Nahhh, the brothas would evenually make all of their wives get jobs, outside of the home........Roll Eyes Razz
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
quote:
Originally posted by Blacksanction:
Considering that there are are more single black women than black men...


It's interesting how whenever a discussion about polygamy comes up and the possibility of Black men having more than one wife is being considered, men are finally willing to admit that there are more single Black women than there are single Black men. Roll Eyes


That point was never up for debate - I believe there are more women (regardless of ethnicity) than men on this planet. The sticking point is on the number of available, desirable Black men.
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
quote:
Originally posted by Blacksanction:
Considering that there are are more single black women than black men...


It's interesting how whenever a discussion about polygamy comes up and the possibility of Black men having more than one wife is being considered, men are finally willing to admit that there are more single Black women than there are single Black men. Roll Eyes


there are more women in america than men. that's true for every race as well. More white women than men, more hispanic women than men, etc. Polygamy comes into play when we focus on a point I made awhile ago. What we have here is the 'rage of the undesireable black woman'. A 'ratio' man shortage allows Ms. Weigh2Much and Ms. 3 kidswith3differentmen to feel that their singleness is not related to their choices. The 'world is against us black women' mentality helps sell alot of Essence Issues.
quote:
Originally posted by ddouble:
You are too funny! Big Grin I will say unless you believe most women are dense, it should be pretty easy to figure out that you're sharing a man. Men are nowhere near the skilled prevaricators that women are! Did I just type that? Oh Oh! Maybe prevericate will slide under the radar...
lol



I cant share, what i dont have.... Razz

And yes i read what you typed... spank You know that both men/women are skilled, when it comes to lying, etc.....

*But me, im different.....i never lie* Big Grin

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