Preface and a request: I wrote this roughly two weeks ago, my original goal was to get as many women as possible to read this blog and comment on the blog. I talk about this in the second paragraph. Unfortunately, this has not panned out as planned. So I decided to go a different route, if you read this and you want YOUR comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the blog I have included a downloadable copy at the end. Put your comments into the document in a color other than green and I will add them to an updated version of this blog, send to email@example.com. I welcome any and all comments that add to the conversation.
Allow me a paragraph or two to give you some background. As you may know, I recently lost a friend; I still value her as a good friend. However, she is not the first woman to exit my life at the behest of a boyfriend or husband. Part of the fallout from the loss of this friend was being forced to have a conversation with my son, over dinner, about why she would no longer be coming over here to visit. I know that my son does not understand everything that was said. I will be honest, I was not in the best of moods having to tell my son about how some (not all, by any means) women behave in regards to having a significant other, be that a boyfriend or husband. I was fully expecting my wife to step in, stop the conversation, and say not true. She did not stop me; she confirmed much of what I was saying both through personal experience and through the experiences of the female friends that she has had.
You will notice different colored text throughout this blogs. Each color is the thoughts of a different woman. I did not edit them. Those thoughts that were more content suggestion were removed, if I used them to expand upon content, otherwise all is as each woman wrote.
How do I explain to your son that there will be women who will stay with a man no matter what? That was the question before me.
The romantic music cues up, the man and woman clasp hands, their eyes meet, sexual tension is in the air, their faces slowly move together until they meet in a passionate kiss. The romantic music reaches the crescendo, and the couple walks off or fades off the screen. All is well. Love conquered all. They will live happily ever after.
Great. That is what Hollywood wants everyone to feel when they leave the theatre or finish watching a movie. Unfortunately, that is not the truth. Love is not…well…
I blame the word love.
Love is driven forth as the be-all-end-all for women. In fairy tales and Disney movies from the time we’re little girls, perpetuated in magazines and romantic comedies when we get older. Love is not the be-all-end-all. Love is a lot of things, but only looking for love usually leads to trouble. I wish I could count up the number of women I have known who have told me, or Barb, that they were in love after one or two dates, or even worse after a night sex. I don’t believe love works that way, I am sure that there are plenty of people that do. I know that being in love is the standard of being in a relationship and being in love is part of a lasting relationship, but before love should be compatibility, respect, and trust. I think women should find someone that they are compatible with, who they respect and respects them, and someone that they trust and trusts them instead of only looking for love. A person will find “love” many times, this is a fact, but those who only look for love rarely find love, they find faux love which leads to trouble. Too many women also equate sex with love.
I was taught the following about sex:
- Sex is great.
- Sex can lead to children.
- Sex is not love.
- Sex and love are compatible.
This seems to be what a lot of women are taught or believe about sex:
- Sex is love.
- You cannot have sex without love.
- Sex can lead to children.
- Sex and love are inseparable from each other.
- Having sex means that you are loved.
- Having sex means that all is right with the relationship.
I know and have known far too many women who believe that sex is love. Sex is an expression of their love and an expression of his love for her. If she is not having sex with him, then they are not in love, that there is a problem in their relationship. That if he is having sex with her, that all is right, they are in love, no matter the fights, the cheating, the abuse, no matter what.
Sex is an important part of any relationship, but sex should not be the only measuring stick of how good a relationship is or isn’t; a marker of the status of the relationship, by all means. I understand that sex is an important part of any relationship. I have had some great sex that I wanted to continue having, but I have never confused sex with love. Sex, is sex.
Part of the answer to the question is, there are women who feel that they have to have a man.
- Society tells them that they need a man.
- Parents tell them that they need a man.
- Other women tell them that they need a man.
- Cosmo tells them that they need a man.
I understand the desire to have a companion that is why we seek out connections with the opposite sex (or same sex). Remove the labels-dating, marriage, and sex- the primary reason is to make a lasting connection with another human being. This is where things split between men and women. Rarely do you find a man like this, but they are out there. My ex wouldn’t take the hint and go away no matter how crappy I was to him. But he was really stupid.
Men, well speaking as one, I never felt the need to have a girlfriend that no matter what she did or what she said that I would keep her around.
- If my girlfriend made unreasonable demands upon me, she was out.
- If my girlfriend and I fought all of the time, she was out.
- If my girlfriend and I were no longer compatible, she was out.
- If my girlfriend ever told me that I had to choose between her or another person that I valued, she was out.
The majority of men that I have known and bothered to pay attention to their dating life were the same way.
Women, well here is what I have seen and experienced a lot of:
- The boyfriend makes unreasonable demands, keep him.
- The boyfriend and woman fight a lot, keep him.
- The boyfriend and girlfriend have nothing in common, keep him.
- The boyfriend and girlfriend are no longer compatible, keep him.
- The boyfriend makes the girlfriend choose between him and other people that she values, keep him.
- Boyfriend rapes or beats the living crap out of the woman, keep him.
- Boyfriend criticizes/demeans/emotionally abuses woman, keep him.
- Boyfriend is a serial cheater, keep him.
- Boyfriend is a deadbeat/loser/piece of crap, keep him.
Some women believe that the boyfriend will change if she stays around- that she can ‘fix’ him. There’s a difference between a ‘fixer-upper’ and a money pit though, the majority of these women don’t know when or even how to get out of a bad or dangerous relationship. In my view there is no such thing as a person that you can “fix.” I am not sure where that term or belief came from especially in regards to the amount of effort that women supposedly put forth to “fix” a man, but this is another blog.
Lack of self-confidence. I have been teaching both my boy and my girl about self-confidence. To believe in themselves and their decisions no matter what other people say or tell them. To make a decision and stick by their choice until evidence comes along that causes them to rethink their original decision. Many women I know lack self-confidence; they do not believe in themselves, and they do not believe that they are worthy of someone better.
There are many reasons why women believe that they will not find another man or another man will not want her:
- Body image
- Personality issues
- Being told that they won’t
- Perceived Lifestyle
- and many more.
- ‘Can’t find a better man’ –Pearl Jam
These reasons, rarely if ever just one, leads a woman to honestly believe that she, that she is not good enough for someone better. Or that someone better wouldn’t want to be with her? In each woman, this belief has originated from a different place, but has internalized inside them and no amount of telling that they are good enough, that they do deserve better, will alter how they feel. –this self perception?
Self-perception plays a large role in self-confidence and the message from just about everywhere is that you are not good enough. I have been told this by many women, that the message from family, friends, media, and society is that she is not good enough; doesn’t look good enough, the wrong clothes, wrong body size, bad job, and so on. If that is the message that they are getting (I believe that it is), now wonder a woman’s self-confidence takes such a beating.
Then there are the women who need a boyfriend because that is what they have been taught. Not that they were taught about men or how to find a man that is compatible with them, just that they need a boyfriend. They are not a complete person if they are not in a relationship. Which leads to just about any boyfriend will do. I have known women will bounce from boyfriend to boyfriend. I have always hoped that they were learning what they really want with each new boyfriend, but the reality seems to be that they just keep moving to the next boyfriend because they have to like a shark; keep swimming or stop forever.
Worse than the need for a boyfriend, to me, is the need to get married. I, personally, have only known two women who had to get married. I felt bad for them. I really did, their boyfriends or fiancés knew how desperate these women were to get married and strung them along. The men would use the women for whatever they needed and the women would put up with the behavior because their end goal was marriage and this opportunity (boyfriend/fiancé) might not ever come along again. Even when the two women eventually broke up with their boyfriend/fiancé, both immediately began the hunt for a husband without taking any time to reflect upon what had happened.
All of the above is great, but where is this going, and what to do?
Watch, wait, and be there for any women that you are friends with is what I told my son. Do not try to intervene, that can lead to trouble. That is not totally true, but for my son and most people that is solid advice. Getting involved in a couple’s relationship usually does lead to bad feelings all around. However, you can be there for one or both of them to talk to for venting, bitching, advice, and most of all support when the times are rough.
All is not lost, at least in my book; a shift is needed for women. A shift in how women are raised, how women are taught to think about themselves, how to see through the non-stop “you are never good enough” bullshit that is constantly thrown in their way. A shift is needed in society and the media, the portrayal of women is outdated at best and harmful to women at worse.
That is where the long-term shift needs to start from, parents with their daughters. My daughter is learning how to be a person first; how to stand up for herself, how to make a decision, even if that decision is wrong. I don’t want her looking to other people for the answers or the clues to how she should think. I want her to be able to think for herself, make a decision, and then stick to what she decided. My daughter is learning now that she has self-worth. That a lot of what she sees on television is not true. Not accurate. Not a mirror for her to compare herself in, but an illusion that she should look past to find the Wizard behind the smoke. She is not learning or hearing that she needs a man. When that day comes, and that day will come soon enough, that she wants to know about boys, dating, and so on she will not hear from me that she has to have a man to complete her. She is complete as she is. That she should not settle for less. She should find someone that can run with her, keep up with her, challenge her, but never ever hold her back. This is beautiful. She’s going to know that she’s smart, she’s beautiful, she’s worthy, and though she’s not perfect, her imperfections are what make her the amazing person that she is.