The Chicago Sun-Times last week ran a four-part series on single-women and relationships. Last Wednesday’s feature was on the difficulty some successful black women have in finding a mate.

The piece included a number of black women?”some CEOs of companies and owners of their own businesses?”talking about not being able to find available black men. The problems they cited are nothing new?”black men in prison, black men lacking finances or education, etc. The women didn’t come across as hostile, but they conveyed frustrations probably a lot of black women have.

And I must say, I didn’t feel sorry for any of them?”not that they were looking for me or anyone else to feel sorry for them.

We’ve heard these complaints before, and they are true. You can find plenty of statistics about the high number of black males incarcerated, the low number of black men in college compared to black women, and on and on.

The Sun-Times article also noted a figure we’ve known for years: Black women?”that is, available black women?”outnumber available black men. Just 89 black men for every 100 black women, the piece cited.

The hard truth is that all of these issues do contribute negatively to relationships between black men and black women. But are these successful women looking for men in prison or the unemployment office? I don’t think so. I’m not coming down on these women. In fact, they even talked about some men being intimidated by them and how they’re tempted to downplay their successes. I don’t think that’s fair for these women to do. Pretending to be something you’re not is not the answer.

But I don’t feel sorry for any black woman who uses the plight of black men as a reason why they can’t find a mate. That’s like black folk blaming “the white man” for all of our problems. There is racism in America that affects black people. But the majority of problems plaguing black people involve what we do to ourselves, not what others do to us. The same is true in relationships.

Relationships in this day and age are difficult, period. More people are getting divorced. Fewer people are getting married across all racial lines. Anybody can find a mate; it’s finding someone you’re compatible with and staying together that’s tough.

I’m not downplaying the problems sistas face with the black men, and too many black men don’t treat black women right. But maybe, just maybe, some black women can’t find a man because of their own faults, and not those of the brothas.

Black men are told all the time by sistas what we need to do: Be more responsible, honest, hard-working, patient, understanding of her needs, better fathers, more attentive, and so forth. No problem with that list as far as I’m concerned. But if black men shaped up and just got their act together, then there would be no problems with black women finding and maintaining good, healthy relationships? Hmmm.

The bottom line is that you can blame anybody and everybody for your own personal problems. Black men?”and women?”each as a group need to eliminate some bad attitudes and behaviors in order to have healthy relationships.

There are good, hard-working black men out there. Some black women unfortunately aren’t interested in them, unless he is “Mr. Right,” and there is no such thing. This isn’t about black women being “too picky” or just accepting any man that crosses her path. It’s about being realistic. If you’re a successful black woman, that’s not a hindrance to finding a man. If you’re materialistic and judge a man’s worth by how much money he has, you may have a problem. Also ladies, you can’t turn your bad behavior into good behavior. What do I mean? I’ll give you an example:

That Omarosa woman from The Apprentice; she was conniving, manipulative, self-centered and obnoxious. But she said, like a lot of sistas with those same traits say about themselves, “I’m just being a strong black woman.” No, you’re being a conniving, manipulative, self-centered and obnoxious bitch. None of those things are traits of “a strong black woman.” If you think they are, then you deserve to be alone.

We all can share “war” stories about bad relationships. Some stories are downright tragic. But I can’t stand women or men who say they can’t find a mate because of the opposite sex. If you’re dating a fool, who’s the bigger fool, the fool you are dating or you for dating that person?

And whenever I hear sistas bashing men?”and they may very well deserve bashing?”I think to myself, “But what did you do? Did you do anything, at any point?”

Do you always tell your mate the truth? Do you always treat them with respect? Are there any parts of your behavior, personality or way of thinking that hampers you from finding and keeping a mate?

I think black women and men should ask themselves those questions before pointing a finger elsewhere.