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“I am strongly persuaded that black men are romantic – they just don’t know how to go about it.” Unknown
On a daily basis, I interact with African women who live in Europe complaining that their husbands are not romantic while western society is highly philosophical about romance.
The truth is an African man will justify the lack of affection to their spouses based on their cultural belief system, which doesn’t promote love language.
The urban myth that “African men” are not supposed to buy flowers to their wife is something I believe they have fabricated in their mind.
Famous pop singer Marylin Monroe beautifully said: “The real lover is the man who can thrill you just by touching your head or smiling into your eyes – or just by staring into space.”
According to research public display of affection like hugging and cuddling is not fully embraced in many African cultures across Africa.
By observing the way African men interact with women in public, I came up with three major reasons why they can be unromantic and have no fondness in a relationship:
- Culture: In an African home where culture and traditions are paramount, you will hear things like: “In Africa we don’t do that”, “If I was in Africa I could never do such a thing”, “In Africa we don’t tell them I love you, we go to work and provide for the home, that’s already a sign that we love them”. Such men argue that they were not exposed to this in their homeland. It could also be due to the fact of growing up in an environment where women are not told how beautiful they are. With such a mentality a woman is just
commodityand not an asset. They follow a pattern of behaviourthey saw which devalues the woman. They cannot understand why it is important to be affectionate because of social limitations.
- Childhood and upbringing: Some African men may have lived in hostile homes where women didn’t need to be shown public affection by their husband. The lack of a role model in the home could also be a negative factor which triggered this. They don’t know how a woman should be treated because of the unknown. If a man didn’t witness his father holding his wife’s hand in public or kissing on the lips, they are likely to repeat the same
behaviour. You will hear statements like” My father never kissed my mother, it is uncultured, how can you do such a thing”.
- Naïveté: This might shock you but a lot of African married men do not have experience in dealing with women. It could have been his first girlfriend, and nobody taught him how to treat a woman. You will see this pattern a lot because they will say things like “I don’t know how to do that”, “I have never had a wife before”. They will never admit that they need someone to learn the art of romance. The hard thing I have seen in African people is the ability to admit that they don’t know and can learn. Being romantic is not something you are born with, you can learn and develop it.
By Benita Owobi, Journalist, Author, Coach, Producer, Entrepreneur.
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