Given that I’ve always been concerned about the breakdown of black families, I thought I would reach out to a woman who’s made a career out of speaking to the challenges of black relationships. Her name is not Steve Harvey, so she’s not a comedian. Instead, she’s serious about figuring out what it takes to make our relationships work and she’s even asked if the black church keeps women single and lonely. We can’t let either black men or black women off the hook when it comes to the breakdown of our families, for both parties react in ways that are reflective of hundreds of years of societal abuse. As a result, black men and women end up angry and hurt by one another with both sides pointing fingers. But at the end of the day, you are the one who is responsible for your own behavior, so if your relationships are all falling apart, your journey must start by glancing into the mirror. While simply choosing better people to date might be part of the solution, that can also be a copout (since you spend your life searching for "the one" who can manage all of your own dysfunction). Instead, honest reflection on the manner by which you go about loving people who come into your life is probably more important. It is because of my concern on this issue that Deborrah Cooper is today’s Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight for AOL Black Voices.
1) What is your full name and what do you do?
Deborrah Cooper is my given name. I’m a dating expert, writer/columnist and broadcast journalist. I’ve been writing controversial relationship based articles and dating advice columns under the pen name "Ms. HeartBeat" since 1992. As a matter of fact, I served as the relationship columnist on AOL’s "other" Black channel (NetNoir) in the mid- to late 1990s.
I was supposed to get married last year, but my fiance called off the wedding weeks before the ceremony. He said that I was not passionate enough, but he refuses to leave, constantly telling me what I don’t do and what I can’t do and what I won’t do. There is so much animosity between us that I don’t think we could ever get past it. Do you have any suggestions on how we could make it work or if it is even worth it?
Calling off the wedding the month you are supposed to get married is a sign that your fiance was not ready, and he is now blaming his uncertainty on you. Pointing the finger at your spouse is a surefire way to create division and animosity in a relationship. These are all tactics used to push a person away, and it seems that your fiance has no intention of truly saving the relationship. His decision to stay in a mini-marriage and not be married, all the while verbally and emotionally abusing you, sounds like he wants you to end the relationship so that he will not be responsible for its failure. If you want to heal this relationship, you will need a relationship couples coach, and if you decide to end it, I would recommend that you work with a coach to heal the wounds created by all of this emotional turmoil. In the meantime, ask him what his true fears are concerning marriage. Any emotionally stable person knows that you cannot change your partner; you can only change yourself. Taking responsibility for his role in the type of relationship he helped to create would have been the empowering way to address this situation. He could have chosen to approach you differently and been open to sharing his needs for passion and other forms of intimacy with you instead of laying the blame on you for his own cold feet.