Monet Bell has gone to great lengths to find love and marriage.
First, the 34-year-old participated in the FYI reality show, “Married at First Sight,” where complete strangers are matched by relationship experts and agree to get married without laying eyes on their future spouse until the moment they walk down the aisle.
But for Bell, “happily ever after” was short-lived. She and her husband Vaughn Copeland called it quits after five weeks of marriage. Since then, Bell has tried and failed at finding Mr. Right.
“I feel like I deserve something better than what I’ve been getting from the men I’m dating,” she told “Nightline.”
Ericka Souter, an editor for CafeMom.com, told "Nightline," “It is very hard for black women to find love. In fact, just about every black woman you ask that question will say that it’s almost impossible.”
According to the most recent census, black women are far less likely than their white counterparts to get married.
Now Bell, still on her quest for love, is on a new reality show on FYI channel called “#BlackLove.”
“#BlackLove” is self-help meets “Sex in the City” show, that gives viewers an inside look at the dating and drama of five single black women living in New York City, all attempting to discover what’s keeping them from finding love.
“On ‘Married at First Sight,’ I wasn’t cooking,” Bell said. “It was a huge issue in our household, but I also was working a lot as well. So I’ve got to do all of these things and I’m enrolling in therapy sessions to see if I can correct behavior that might be getting in my own way from achieving love or finding a spouse.”
As on “Married at First Sight,” “#BlackLove” includes relationship experts and therapists to coach the women along the way.
The show’s title was born out of the overwhelming social media use of the hashtag during the first season of “Married at First Sight,” as viewers rooted for the ultimately doomed marriage of the two black participants.
“A lot of the African-American community would tweet in support of us. They wanted to see a healthy African-American couple,” Souter said. “We are all (hungry) to see a healthy black relationship on television and there are more and more.”
Whether black women really do have a harder time finding love is a provocative subject, and one “Nightline” has debated before. In 2009, Chato Waters was a 32-year-old high school counselor and she and her friends participated in the “Nightline” held discussion. It seemed like all four had it all with successful careers and a college education but all four were single.
Since then, Waters has gotten married and had two kids. But still, even though the census reports that 75 percent of black women will eventually get married, finding the right partner can take years.
Stanford professor Ralph Richard Banks found black marriage statistics so troubling, he wrote a book about it called, “Is Marriage For White People?”
“There's a social catastrophe that we're in the midst of with respect to black men,” Banks told “Nightline.” “Imprisonment numbers, the unemployment numbers, under performance academically. These are crises not only for African-Americans, but for the nation.”
“Black women have fought the good fight,” he continued. “They have engaged in a noble endeavor of trying to lift black men. That strategy hasn't really worked.”
The idea of black women giving up on black men only served to anger some commentators, but Banks argued that the numbers show there is just a shortage of eligible black men.
“Black women, faced with a shortage of black male peers, would do well to expand their options in the same way that people of other races have, and to look beyond black men in their search for a partner,” he said.
Monet Bell said she was open to dating outside her race.
“I just really want love,” she said. “I just want to be happy, and if it comes with a black men that would be amazing. But if it came in a different, something other than African-American, I would be okay with that as well.”
So her search continues both online and in-person dating. In the meantime, she is making plans to freeze her eggs.
“The moment I made that decision [to freeze my eggs] was the moment it alleviated so much stress and pressure on me, and so then the urgency about marriage kind of disappeared,” Bell said.
And if she doesn’t find true love, she is learning to be fine with that too.
“I finally am coming to the place to realize is that I’m OK, and that I’m enough,” Bell said. “Whoever this man is, if he doesn’t like it, I’m done. I’m just at a place where I’m tired -- it’s too much work.”