The Mental Health of Black Men In Relationships

AD and Clay’s journey on Love Is Blind Season Six began with a strong connection, but by the reunion, their relationship had taken a different turn.

Initially, in the pods, AD was drawn to Clay’s personality, and they shared many laughs. However, when Clay emphasized the importance of physical appearance, they hit a rough patch. Eventually, Clay realized that his emotional bond with AD was more significant.

AD explained to TODAY that their connection deepened after this initial hurdle. She expressed that she didn’t find it difficult to withhold information about her appearance, as there were other men in the pods who didn’t ask. This led Clay to focus on a deeper connection with her, leading to a breakthrough in their relationship. Despite the challenges, Clay proposed, and they moved forward.

In Charlotte, however, they faced larger obstacles. Clay’s commitment to his work and AD’s feeling of being unappreciated in their romantic gestures strained their relationship. Additionally, Clay’s concerns about trust stemmed from his parents’ troubled marriage, adding to his self-doubt.

Message From A Black Male Therapist

According to an article posted on ESSENCE.com, Justin K. Dodson, the founder and owner of Navigating Courage, Counseling & Consultation, LLC, gave his take on the matter saying,

As a therapist who specializes in male mental health, I wanted nothing more than to jump through the screen and shake him loose. But even if he were sitting on my couch, I wouldn’t do that. Instead, I’d ask him a very simple, but most complex question known to man: “How are you? How are you feeling today?”

Dodson continued speaking on creating safe environments for clients,

That said, a goal in therapy with men is to create an environment where they know without a doubt that they are coming to a space that is theirs. They have agreed to invest trust, finances, and vulnerability into their mental and emotional wellness, and I would be irresponsible if they didn’t feel comfortable enough to take their shoes off and relax their shoulders.

Clay mentioned during the show that he would accompany his then-married father on dates with other women due to his apprehension about commitment to AD. According to Dodson, men like Clay, carry the burdens of their father’s past transgressions into their relationships, which can hinder their ability to forge genuine and meaningful connections with their partners.

Photo: NETFLIX

“I never went to therapy before, so I almost feel like I was getting emotionally (broken) down through this whole process,” Clay explained during his interview with TODAY. 

Clay said the story he shared with AD about his dad’s infidelity was “the first time I ever told that to a woman that I actually dated, so a lot of hard conversations that (were) had.”

“But I do think that they were needed for me to get to a different point,” he added. 

Studies indicate that 26% of men within Clay’s age range of 18-44 encounter symptoms linked to anxiety and depression at some point in their lives, yet only 12% will actively seek assistance for their mental well-being.

Furthermore, Black male psychologists constitute less than 5% of mental health professionals, a figure gradually increasing but still insufficient. The lack of representation poses a barrier that dissuades men from accessing therapeutic support.

Additionally, research shows that 64% of adults have undergone at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. The experiences of emotional neglect and divorce or separation, as depicted on the show, are among those identified on the Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire.

Analyzing Infidelity Vs. Fidelity Among Black Men in Relationships

Black men who have grown up in two-parent households often exhibit lower rates of infidelity compared to those who haven’t. Statistics indicate that individuals raised in stable family environments are less likely to engage in extramarital affairs.

According to research, 76% of Black men who were raised in two-parent households report fidelity in their relationships, whereas among those from single-parent backgrounds, the fidelity rate drops to 58%.

Additionally, studies highlight that 82% of Black men raised in two-parent households prioritize fidelity as a crucial value in their relationships, contrasting with 64% of those from single-parent households who share the same sentiment.

These statistics underscore the profound influence of family dynamics on the romantic behavior of Black men, emphasizing the importance of supportive and stable familial environments in fostering values of faithfulness and commitment.

 

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Emil Flemmon

Èmil Flemmon is the Managing Editor for the 360 Baseline Movement. The Atlanta-based editor, red carpet interviewer, writer, and photographer, has had a career spanning over a decade in the editorial industry. His work has been featured in Kontrol Magazine, The Atlanta Voice, Blavity, Aspire TV, REVOLT, The Jasmine Brand, and Where Y'at Magazine in New Orleans. His mission is to help journalists and publicists have better connectivity and relationships exclusively through the movement.

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