top of page

A Young Woman’s Guide to Hypergamy & Dating Up

To describe the current dating land scape as confusing would be a description generous in civility. We are in the age of questioning everything from whether pineapple should go on pizza to whether our partner was born in the gender they are presenting. This transitional phase our society is going through is certainly a mark of progression. However, social change often leaves in its path befuddled individuals straddling between a world they were raised in and a world they are living in. Before the advent of super computers that could fit into one’s pocket, one would typically speak to one’s parents or older members of one’s community to get advice.

But it’s no secret that in the black community many of our immediate elders are individuals whose actions we would rather not imitate and whose advice appears more detrimental to our growth rather than helpful. Now, many of today’s young adults turn to Google and YouTube for answers. Scouring the internet for dating advice isn’t an inherently poor idea. There are lots of writers, social commentators, and forums for getting honest, informed, and well delivered advice on finding love. However, I’m seeing a growing trend that concerns me and that is women ages 18-24 making poor attempts to practice advice that’s mostly meant for women ages 25 and older. This is particularly true for topics in hypergamy.

Hypergamy is a dating mindset in which a person seeks to marry an individual that is of a higher social standing than them. It’s traditionally a woman’s way of partnering up with someone who does better than her financially so that she can have access to better resources for her and her children. There is nothing wrong with this style of dating and it is a mindset long overdue for black women to practice en masse. Far too many of us have been raised in broken homes or watched our mothers do all the cooking, cleaning, childcare, and still work a 9 to 5, while our fathers came and went as they pleased. If you even had a father.

But it’s important that young women develop themselves before demanding that their 20-year-old boyfriend commit to them for life. It’s also important that as young women, you explore the dating scene before committing to that 37-year-old CEO who wants to scoop you off into the sunset before you can legally drink alcohol or haven’t even lived long enough. Or worse, shacking up with the 30-year-old McDonalds worker because he has more money and assets than you’ve ever seen, but your lack in foresight blinds you to the fact that by the time you’re his age you could be doing twice as good as him. So, with this article I'm hoping to part with you some advice on how to explore the modern dating world, develop as a human being, and still get the high-level relationship you’re hoping for in the end.

Guard Your Womb Like It’s Your Life

Dating is difficult, and few things make the dating scene a more complicated space than bringing a child into the mix. Starting a family when you’re young is risky behavior and the odds of you remaining with the child's father are extremely slim. This is even true for more mature couples. The American Psychological Association did a study in which they examined the effect of a first child on over 200 couples.

The study revealed that the transition to parenthood for these couples resulted in a “sudden deterioration” of their relationships. The control group without children experienced a gradual deterioration of their relationships. In other words, children will not make a relationship, but they often are the breaking point in relationships. And once you’ve separated from your partner, dating while co-parenting or as is most often the case, a single mom, increases your difficulties of success in the dating world. Having a child does not decrease your value as a human being, but it does negatively impact your chances in the dating up market.

Women who have children at a young age are less likely to attain a higher education, and this often spells out being kept out of higher paying jobs where high caliber men are most likely to be. Your young adult years are for nurturing, supporting, and making oneself skilled. Having a kid requires that you pour all your attention and focus into the child which leaves very little room for you to develop yourself. There is a plethora of social propaganda that pushes this narrative that childbirth and being a mom is one of the highest achievements a woman can make and that it is the next step every girl must take at some point take in her life.

If you desire to be a mother this is great! There are some women who would describe having a kid young as one of the best things that happened to them. It assisted in them developing to a mature young woman however, reality is that everything is easier when kids aren’t in the mix. Guard your womb because your life will never be the same after having a kid and it’s often for the worst if you haven’t properly vetted you partner. And acquiring skills in properly vetting men comes with experience. Which leads me to my next bit of advice.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up for Dating That Artist, Rapper, or Otherwise Bummy Dude

It is said that experience is the greatest teacher and that couldn’t be truer than when it comes to learning about what kinds of people you wish to share your life with. I know that we’ve all been instructed to steer clear of men of no means and the women telling you to run the other direction from bummy guys are absolutely right. But when you’re young it can seem that these are the only kinds of men around you. College breaks everyone’s banks who aren’t filthy rich. And if he’s not in college I say give it a conditional shot. The condition is: do not commit to men that do not have a regular source of income.

It is said that some lessons are better learned by listening but there is nothing more disillusioning than having a jobless, unmotivated, child of a boy as your man. You might feel a connection to the guitarist in your area who keeps writing poems for you, but struggle love will soon crush those rose-tinted frames that miraculously appear on the bridge of your nose every time you’re around him. His perpetual state of broke-ness will eventually become a major turn off and you’ll realize that mom/auntie was right: love doesn’t pay the bills. In fact, studies have shown that finances are one of the major causes for divorce.

But if you find yourself interested in a nice young man whose biggest red flag is that he’s financially challenged, you aren’t necessarily selling yourself short. There are many men, particularly those in college or picking up a trade, who will be worth the investment of your time. I’d also like to add that while it’s ok to date guys with potential it is not ok to fully commit to potential. And dating up doesn’t always translate to dating a man that is making more money than you, especially while you’re still a young woman yourself.