All Articles Tagged "standards"
There will always be debates on how to show a man you’re worthy of him keeping you around by doing certain things. I’m not too sure what works and what doesn’t work in terms of making a man stick around and showing him you’re not just wifey material but should be his wife. What I do know is, you should’t knock it until you try it and do what you feel is appropriate because every man– and woman — is different. Check out some of the most notable “make him keep you” advice around. What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?
“College-educated, six pack abs, and works in a career that requires a collared shirt and tie.” Whether it’s after a series of hell dates, another Valentine’s Day spent resenting romance and any warm-blooded mammal with pheromones, or allowing the vapors of a steamy shirtless sex scene with Michael Ealy video cloud your head, all women will at some point find themselves either mentally or physically jotting down a list of things they want in a man, especially when repeatedly being confronted with what you don’t want.
As broad or specific as that list may be, I think it’s healthy to know what you are seeking in a man. Knowing what you want may not necessarily be the key to finding your very own Dr. Morehouse Man pushing a Mercedes Benz, but it will at least get you in the neighborhood. Having standards is important because as the wise Malcolm X once said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Of course that saying had nothing to do with dating, but the adage works.
Somewhere along the way though, some women convinced themselves that having standards meant waiting for the first intelligent, attractive and financially stable man to come along and sweep them off of their Steve Maddens and carry them straight to a life spent between shopping malls and spas. It started to make less and less of a difference if that man was considerate, kind or respectful. Unfortunately, these same women thought it somehow made them better than women holding down the guy working part-time security to pay their child support, because at least they had “standards.”
The conflict I found with many women as of late is that they are confusing having standards with wanting to be saved. Most of us want a man to match our fly. Having someone on or at least close to your level financially, mentally and emotionally won’t make a relationship perfect, but damn if it doesn’t make it a little easier. There are less arguments about who’s paying for what, less pettiness and immaturity and less room for resentment and competition. Ideally, we would like to think love solves all these problems, but most women over the age of 21 know that real relationships are about more than those magical butterflies you get whenever he calls you, “Bae” (which I hate by the way, but ironically still use).
But let’s be real, are the standards you have more about wanting a man who’s your equal, or wanting someone who will do all the work for your life that you’re not willing to? How many times have I witnessed a woman making some contradictory statement like, “I need a man who can buy me nice things and afford to be able to take us to expensive restaurants,” when meanwhile they are living check to check and completely content with a minimum wage salary? Trust and believe that if what you really want is to be saved, there’s no shortage of caped crusaders waiting to fly in and upgrade you, but be honest about it. So often, women are walking around talking about how “classy” they are, mistaking the standards they think they have with what is really some kind of “Things I’m Not Willing to Do In My Own Life” wish list.
I’m not throwing shade at the housewives or the stay-at-home moms who are in marriages or relationships where they have come to a mutual agreement with their partner about the roles they both play. For example, a few months ago, when rapper Drake made a haphazard comment that Vanessa Bryant shouldn’t be entitled to a large divorce settlement because she “wasn’t with Kobe shooting in the gym,” she promptly responded, “I don’t need to be in the gym. I’m raising our daughters, signing checks and taking care of everything else that pertains to our home life.” And honestly, if that’s okay with Kobe, it’s okay with me. What I’m referring to are the thirsty Joe Camels parading their unjustified standards right through all of the good men that were, are one, digit short of the salary requirements of the relationship. Maybe he didn’t attend an Ivy League University, but does he make you laugh, stick up for you when it comes to his momma, work hard every day and know that being adventurous on a date is about more than choosing the Netflix movie with subtitles? Then consider yourself blessed.
I want to repeat that I’m not suggesting women settle for any less than what they want, but if you are constantly complaining about being lonely due to the lack of good men, it might just be that you’re lacking good judgment. That doesn’t mean date a guy whose biggest problem is getting Hot Cheetoes’ dust from in between his Xbox controller buttons, but if no man is meeting your standards, said standards might be unrealistic. Stop lying to yourself that you’re intimidating or that there are just no decent men in your city, because the truth could be that you’re actually just difficult and pretentious, even worse if you can’t even bring the things you claim you want to the table yourself. Save the capes for the comics. If a superhero is what you want then it’s time to admit that you’re really looking to be saved, not seduced. Meanwhile, for those of us who want a “real” man, it’s time to get realistic and understand that checklists are for The Fresh Grocer, not your love life.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog Bullets and Blessings .
We all have our dealbreakers. I won’t deal with a man who doesn’t have a college degree. I can’t work with a man who still lives with his mom. I really don’t want to date a man who has kids. Some are outlandish, some are personal preferences; but as Brande Victorian mentioned earlier in the week, there are two standards that are almost universal… at least in theory.
1. We won’t put up with a man who cheats on us.
2. We won’t put up with a man who hits us.
I wrote those in no particular order. Both are pretty terrible. And while we’ve heard women say that they won’t put up with cheating or abuse; when those things happen, exceptions are made. Sure, the relationship will never be quite the same but people work things out all the time. When it comes to love there really are no hard-fast rules on how to behave in any given situation. And if there were, we wouldn’t follow them.
If you ask me, I could see myself forgiving infidelity much easier than I could see myself going back to a man who’d put his hands on me.
Both are a betrayal , represent a lack of self control and hurt the other person, either emotionally or physically.
But there is something about a man, your partner, hitting you, especially in the context of marriage, that is so…unforgivable. I can understand that the dynamics in a relationship can and will change. People aren’t being fulfilled sexually or emotionally and they look to other people to meet those needs. But I just can’t understand why you’d feel the need to hit me in the heat of an argument or because I didn’t do something to your liking. That’s about power, you exerting power over me in a way you know you’ll “win.” That’s a type of sickness I couldn’t live with, eat with and sleep with every night. Who wants to live their life in perpetual fear of being beaten or abused by someone who’s supposed to be on your team?
I do believe that men who hit women and men who quickly resort of violence in general, seriously have some type of psychological issue. Those issues can be cured with therapy and what not; but how long does that take? How will I ever know that you’re truly reformed? If you hit me once, how do I know that the next time we’re having an argument, that you wouldn’t punch me in the face to shut me up? That’s a terrifying existence, yet there are millions of women, all over the world, who live this way.
What do you think? In terms of a relationship, which is a greater offense, infidelity or abuse?
Damali Elliott, the young entrepreneur behind Petals-N-Belles, an organization dedicated to the mentorship and guidance of young woman said,
“There’s a point for [boys] when they’ve ‘reached manhood’ and can say, “I’m a man.” There’s no definitive moment where a girl becomes a woman. Except a Sweet Sixteen which isn’t really womanhood. I think that’s something that needs to change. We need to teach girls that there are times when you have to become more serious about things. How to handle yourself in business. How to present yourself, just in general. Women stay in remedial positions and seem to accept that. They don’t reach for anything higher. No one really ever says, “You’re a woman, go for it! I want to help my girls [in Petals-N-Belles] to make decisions that will prepare them for that transition.”
I agree with that sentiment immensely. In observing girls, women my own age and even myself nowadays, the general consensus among many young women (black or otherwise) seems to be that in order to be a “grown woman” you need to have a few ideas of your own, any amount of income (stable or not) and a “relationship.” It’s funny to me because I never thought of myself as “grown” until I reached college, living outside of my mother’s household, making many more of my own decisions than I ever had to before. But looking back on those college years, I can see how ill-equipped I really was to deal with love, life and all the intricate matters in between. I thought I had it TO-GE-THER, honey. But I couldn’t balance a checkbook, had low self-esteem, didn’t know what my capabilities were in life, and had issues that prevented me from being functional within a relationship. I was a hot mess, but I thought I was “grown” and was just glad to be living on my own. Hmph. Life sure taught me a thing or two.
It’s fair to say our vision has been skewed, perhaps by the lack of examples. Or maybe society’s about-face toward materialism has stifled the standard that once was. There was a dignity and class about women back in the day that is absolutely RARE today. But perhaps it’s time to redefine what “grown” looks like and hop on the good foot to get back to it.
“Grown” has nothing to do with having your own place or engaging in sexual intercourse. “Grown” isn’t contained in how many men can buy you gifts and how many clubs you can bounce around to within a week’s time, or simply how many bills you pay and that you pay rent on a little somethin’ somethin’. “Grown” is a much more internal thing that can’t help but to be manifested outwardly. If you know your worth, that’s where it all begins. If you know and accept your responsibilities, that’s another step on the continuum.
I can’t allow my home to go lacking so I can purchase this season’s Louboutins. That’s not a “grown woman.” I can’t watch every trash reality show and comment on each character but refuse to find the time or will to finish my degree. That’s not a “grown woman.” So many young ladies whom I have mentored within past years have had grand ideas and flowing declarations of what they were going to do with their lives and also what they refused to do. I had to sit back in awe as I recognized so much of my younger self in them–a lot of brass but little brain to back it up. Becoming a “grown woman” demands that we count up the cost, get our ducks in a row, think ahead, be prepared, do the little extra, because in its very essence, that’s what it means to be a good woman, a GROWN woman. Grown women do what they can where they are even when they DON’T FEEL LIKE IT and they work to become whatever they need/want to become. We revel in our femininity but do not use it to seduce. We nurture and cultivate. We know and uphold our priorities. We go the extra mile and enjoy a few pleasures as a reward for their efforts. We choose the road less traveled when we’ve reached true “grown woman” status because we know that our lives are unique and we need to shine a light for those who come after us.
What constitutes a “grown woman” to you? How has your perspective changed through the years?
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change. Her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
“You’re so beautiful!”
“No, you’re so beautiful.”
“But you’re the fabulous one.”
“I only strive to be as fabulous as you!”
“Let’s do lunch?”
Is this the extent of some of your interactions with friends? Not that you don’t like each other, not that she isn’t fabulous and beautiful, not that you don’t wish each other well. Through the years, you may have made it a little past acquaintanceship, but fallen short of sisterhood. But somehow you know that you could never call her if you were having car trouble on the highway. You could cry with her over a movie, but you could never tell her about the past personal heartache you relived as you watched the film. You can’t be totally sure she wouldn’t judge you. She isn’t a bad person. That’s just the way she is. And you still consider her a friend.
When it comes to choosing and cultivating friendships, we all have that one friend who:
Has never been on time to a birthday party or spa date
Has always forgotten our birthday
Has betrayed our trust
Has made her life more dramatic and her problems bigger and more chat-worthy
Has trouble thinking before she lets rude things come out of her mouth
Shows up for the party, but is too busy to help us move
Just plain talks too much
Always criticizes our hair, makeup, or clothing, only “trying to help”
Never offers to pay for dinner or to pitch in for the movie
Only calls when she needs something
These offenses can range from annoying to unnerving to borderline unforgivable, but they are pardonable for some. They also affect a person’s ascension through our personal rungs of intimacy, rungs for which we can make adjustments: We won’t lend any more money to the friend who never pays us back, or we’ll tell our perpetually 30-minutes-behind friend that the 8:30 p.m. dinner reservations are for 8:00 p.m. Other misgivings, like betrayal, require a little more maneuvering.
The ideal definition of friendship has an easily- identifiable context, but I’ve learned that each individual friendship comes with unique expectations. As we get to know our friends, we recognize the ones to whom we can tell our secrets and the ones who are only good for superficial happy hour chatter. But how do we determine whether a friendship is toxic or tolerable?
In an article published in The New York Times, Alex Williams wrote about one woman’s assessment of “new friend candidates”
Thayer Prime, a 32-year-old strategy consultant who lives in London, has even developed aplayful 100-point scale (100 being “best friend forever”). In her mind, she starts to dock new friend candidates as they begin to display annoying or disloyal behavior. Nine times out of 10, she said, her new friends end up from 30 to 60, or little more than an acquaintance.
“You meet someone really nice, but if they don’t return a call, drop to 90, if they don’t return two calls, that’s an immediate 50,” she said. “If they’re late to something in the first month, that’s another 10 off.” (But people can move up the scale with nice behavior, too, she added.)
A bit harsh, I thought, since of the aforementioned friendship crimes, I’m guilty of at least five. It turns out that the older we get, the more aware we are of our own failings as a friend, and playing the grace card becomes a necessary component in our relationships. We cannot just cut off our friends lest we be cut. But what does a friend have to do in order for us to say, “Enough!”?
I’m not one for checklists like Prime’s, but I’ve learned that our propensity to keep track of how much we give when a friend is only taking is backed up by the social exchange theory of sociology; one that indicates the way we weigh risks and rewards of our relationships. We don’t keep track of our give and take relationships; it’s only when our giving trumps hers that makes us go “Hmmmm…”
There’s also what I call the theory of the psychic vampire: Do you feel better after you spend time with this person? Or has she drained all of your energy because the encounter (like most encounters with her) has a negative effect on you and your mood?
Psychology Today suggests, among other reasons, that healthy friendships end when “criticism and put downs are a regular part of your conversations [indicating] this is not a friendship that will enhance your emotional health,” or “when you have an emotional ‘growth spurt,’ and you…find that your old best friend isn’t able to go along with you into a healthier future.”
Then there are the total breakdowns. Your best friend shared your deepest secret, stole your man or committed another heinous violation of trust that makes you question whether she’s on your side in the first place. Are these types of relationships irreparable?
How do you set expectations in friendships? Which imperfections are you willing to overlook and which ones are absolute deal breakers in the way you maintain relationships?
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How important is sex to a man? Would he be willing to forgo sex in a relationship? A few years ago I decided to take a hiatus from dating to regain focus of my life as a single woman. I didn’t want to engage in any type of relationship with the opposite sex because I needed time to learn how to balance everything that was going on in my life. With this hiatus, I realized that I subconsciously and consciously made the decision to practice celibacy. I say I made this decision subconsciously and consciously because during this time, subconsciously, I did want to have sex, but I didn’t want to deal with the emotional and possible physical consequences that come along with it, and I didn’t want to have another meaningless sexual experience. Consciously, I had plenty of options and chances to indulge in sexual intercourse, but I didn’t, and that’s when I realized I was going to try and be celibate. After this realization, I decided to do some soul searching to really understand why I was celibate, and to decide whether or not I would stand firm on this decision.
During my soul searching, I reflected back on each of my relationships, and I discovered that I was sexually intimate with the men I was involved with before I had a chance to be intimate with them. I didn’t take the necessary time to learn who they were and develop a close and personal connection with them for the people they were before I developed a connection with them sexually simply because I was physically attracted to them. I also realized that I went into each relationship with my feelings and not my faith, which in turn led me to be misguided. After this discovery, I made the decision to forgo any sexually intimate interaction, and remain celibate until I am married. The beginning of this journey wasn’t difficult because I was on a hiatus from dating. It almost seemed easy and unreal, but when I decided to go back into dating, things got real. I met a wonderful man that I seemed to have everything in common with. We liked the same foods, we communicated well with each other, we share the same favorite color, and on and on. Most importantly, we both wanted to start our new relationship as friends.
I recall one evening when I was on the phone with my new male ‘friend’. We were engaged in a great conversation when the subject of celibacy came up. I shared with him that I have the honor of teaching a class on celibacy very soon, and I told him that I was nervous about it. He then told me that I would do fine, and as he started another sentence he abruptly stopped and asked if I was celibate. I replied with a nervous, yet firm yes. He immediately replied “Oh, oh no, I can’t do that…yeah, we are definitely going to be just good friends.” I said okay, no problem, and started to move forward with the conversation. While moving on to a different topic, I noticed the tone in our conversation went from upbeat and funny to slow and drab. Where there were no awkward moments of silence in our conversations before, there were now more than enough to make up for it in this one. I could tell my friend was uneasy about what I told him, but what did it matter? We were just friends anyway, right? So my decision to be celibate would not affect him in any way, right? Wrong.
I believe my friend thought we were going to develop a great friendship that would lead into an even greater monogamous relationship; and with a relationship comes sexual intimacy. Or maybe he thought we were going to be friends with sexual benefits, and with news of me practicing celibacy his thoughts were shattered. As much as I tried to move forward with the conversation it was difficult, because I knew my friends thoughts of me and our relationship had changed. After our phone call ended, my decision to be celibate and the effects of that decision stayed on my mind. Yes, things got really real.
After hearing and comprehending his reaction, I was slightly disturbed, and a little disappointed because subconsciously I thought we were going to develop a great friendship that would lead into an even greater monogamous relationship without having sex. But clearly I was wrong. And even though I was flabbergasted with his reaction, not once did I doubt the decision I made because I’ve learned to stand firm on the standards I’ve set in regard to my body and relationships even if it hurts.
I’ve also learned that I can’t expect someone to change their expectations to meet my standards, and not to change my standards (my non-negotiable standards) to meet someone’s expectations; they are who they are, and I am who I am. Although it is still slightly difficult for me to grasp the fact that my friend and I will only be friends, I respect his honesty, I look forward to our growing friendship, and I am looking forward to learning and growing on this journey through celibacy and dating.
Liz Lampkin is the author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.
Have you tried to be celibate? How did that affect your dating life?
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While talking to an older woman that I once worked with about relationships, she suggested that I write down all of the traits I wanted in my future husband. This list, she said, should even include those superficial things that I wanted in a man. She then told me to read over the list anytime I needed a reminder and most importantly ‘don’t bend’ on the requirements. Although I usually take heed to the advice given by older women, now two years later after revisiting the list that I had created full of superficial qualities and all, my single self has suddenly realized that a little bending won’t hurt; and most importantly there comes a time when a girl must learn to compromise, even on her precious list.
Although a firm believer in women, or anyone for that matter, not settling when it comes to relationships, there is a difference in settling and compromising. Settling means going against everything you feel, want, and believe in order to be in a relationship. Compromising means to bend a little on some things of lesser value (height, size, looks, etc.) and instead focus more on those things of greater value that a man may possess. And while everyone’s definition of settling will vary because we all place greater importance on different things, my basis for not settling means to not bend on those things that go against my values and my happiness. And at this point in my life, everything else is up for debate, even the Boris Kodjoe lookalike that I anticipated meeting one day.
I often consider three things before compromising my list of requirements. First, I ask myself how does he make me feel? There have been times when I actually enjoyed spending time with a man but blocked my feelings from progressing because he didn’t look good on paper.
For instance, he made me laugh and genuinely cared about me, but he was two inches too short from what I considered acceptable and he had a laugh that sounded more like a giddy school girl than a grown man. Plus he wasn’t the cutest guy out there. So although I enjoyed spending time with him, I let my superficial requirements persuade me otherwise. Of course, you can never base decisions on mere feelings, but now when someone makes me happy or I enjoy being around him, I at least open my mind to explore the possibility of a relationship.
I also consider if the things that I dislike about him are upgradeable. For instance, if I hate the way he dresses in public, is this something I can assist him with? If he at least has potential, there is room for compromise.
The other thing I consider before compromising is if he meets the core requirements I want in a man. These core requirements revolve around my morals and values. Basically, does he value family, have a spiritual background, and work hard, although he may not be rich in terms of wealth?
The reality is, if a man can make me happy, is respectful, and shares the same values that I have, I at least attempt to look over those superficial qualities that can’t solely make a relationship. It’s important to know that looks alone won’t make you happy, but a man whose goal in life is to make you happy will.
I am not trying convincing you to ditch your infamous list of requirements. Nor am I suggesting that you marry someone who adores you but you can’t stand the presence of him. I am only suggesting that you consider compromising on some of the things that won’t make or break your relationship, keeping in mind that it’s never a good idea to settle, but instead compromise. And trust me, there is a big difference.
You’ll have to forgive me. As a young lady in her early 20s who has spent a lot of time focused on school and work over the years, I haven’t done a whole lot of dating. Sure, I’ve had a few boyfriends, a serious one or two, but most of those men were friends first. Therefore, there was no “Let’s exchange numbers, go on a few dates, play coy about who was going to call who when, and finally either get booed up or the boot.” The rules and etiquette of the dating game have gone over my head for a good minute, but now that I’m in NYC, it’s something I see that I need to learn thoroughly. So maybe that’s why I wanted your opinion on a certain scenario that happened to me not too long ago…
So, I met this very interesting and pretty good looking guy whose air of confidence and good vibrations was pretty infectious. His mother was Jamaican and his father was Nigerian (Nice mix, right?), and he was tall, dark and handsome. On top of that, he was into writing too, but actually spent a majority of his time as a theater actor in smaller productions. As a transplant to NYC, he reminded me of a starving (though he wasn’t) artist from the movies and TV who could bring dope conversation. And he did. After exchanging numbers, we could talk for hours on end about a little bit of everything. He was one of those “Hey Beautiful, how are you?” type of guys, instead of one of those “Hey” or “Whats gud” types (yes, the error was on purpose..I’ve seen it). I was excited about the prospect of getting to know him better, but I laid out from our very first conversation (let’s say it was a Monday) that my schedule was no joke. I work pretty hard and pretty long on this site, so when the day is through, I’m ready to be through too. Because of that, I asked if we could meet up on Saturday until I could decide whether or not he was worth making some exceptions for during the week (I didn’t tell him that last part of course). He said he understood and agreed, but the reality was, he really didn’t.
In fact, every day for a week this guy called me or text me at work and asked if we could meet up on that specific day: “Hey, I cooked some food, you want to stop by?” “I have a show tonight, do you want to come through and watch?” I don’t mind being spontaneous, but during that specific week, I was working late most of the days of the week. With earlier notice, I possibly could have budged, but because I didn’t know him well enough (and wasn’t comfortable being in his place yet) and because we’d already agreed on Saturday, I politely said thanks, “but I’m still at work.” That excuse was used on on top of the fact that borough hopping after work and being far away from my own home late in the evening also didn’t excite me. Long subway rides when you’re tired suck. But he didn’t get the memo. He kept texting me each day about how he really wanted to see me, and at one point, I felt that I was being pressured rather than being politely asked. I would just say, “Remember, we’re hanging out on Saturday, right? Do you mind if we just wait until then?” He would pretend like he was okay with that. That was of course until Saturday came.
After the last thanks-but-no-thanks, I got the feeling he was perturbed with me. Therefore, when Saturday came around and the hours started passing, I wasn’t surprised that I hadn’t heard anything from him. When I called him, there were no more “Hey Beautifuls” for me, just straight up irritation: “What’s up?”
Oh, okay, I see how it’s going to be I thought to myself…
When I asked him if we were still kicking it or if he had other plans, SURPRISE, he all of a sudden had something come up. A friend that he does theater with needed his help with a screenplay, and for some reason, it became a last minute emergency. I giggled when he told me about his new plan, you know, because it was bulls***, and in a way that I knew we both would understand, I said, “Okay then, bye.” Bye as in, it was fun while it lasted. Kind of.
Now when I talked to my mother about the situation after-the-fact, she broke down that I probably came off too rigid for him. Because I wasn’t willing to eat pancakes at his house when he asked or stay out late when I had to get up at the crack of dawn for work, I was too stuck in my ways and wasn’t going to be much fun. For a minute there, I could understand what she meant. So for the next few suitors, I tried to make myself more available (although I would show up to dates exhausted…so tired that I would yawn nonstop). But then again, I thought to myself, “I asked him if Saturday was okay, and he agreed that it was!” Keyword: AGREED. As in, Saturday, was what we agreed upon together. However, when it wasn’t anymore (and he didn’t bother to just say that), he decided to try and pressure me every day to do what he wanted to do at the drop of a hat. When he couldn’t understand my reservations about doing so, or my schedule for that matter, he copped an attitude and was too through with my rigid a**. So now I’m trying to figure out if he was doing too much, or if I was doing too little? And oh yeah, us meeting, talking, and falling out, happened in the span of one week…
Should I have tried to be more flexible, or should he have stuck with our original plan?
It’s been said that love is a dangerous necessity, a world class mystery. No one is its master. Perhaps one can suppose that as doctors practice medicine and as attorneys practice the law, that individuals merely practice love. As people hop in and out of relationships in search of love, it can certainly be said then that there is no one right way to behave in a relationship. But while we acknowledge that no cookie cutter formula exists and that no absolute, definitive road to successful relationships has been paved, let us not be remiss in thinking that there are not approaches to relationships that we can absolutely and definitively file in the dead wrong department.
I’ve listened a lot lately to people speak about their relationships. And while I, frankly, am much more comfortable in the platonic lane these days, I love love. It creates great joy in my heart to see people who truly desire to be in committed relationships hopelessly and effortlessly in real love with people they’ve entrusted their hearts to. As such, I’ve been struck by how frequently people are admitting that they remain in relationships not out of love but out of fear—fear that although they are not truly happy, that what they currently have just might be as good as it gets for them.
Some women remain with men who they aren’t excited about because they treat them well and have the ability to be great providers for their families. Some men remain with insecure women who lack emotional maturity because they possess all the physical attributes that keep them visually and physically stimulated. I’ve had women admit that there isn’t much compatibility between them and the man they’re dating, but say, “But I’ve never had anyone treat me this well before.” I’ve also had men admit that it is hard to get past their woman’s childish and insecure ways but say, “But I’ve never had a woman who was on my level professionally AND came in a package that looked like this before.” These same men and women have been extremely apprehensive to walk away from relationships that really aren’t working because they’re afraid that they may not be able to find the highly desirable traits they have in their partners with other people.
I certainly understand that there are those who come along and break the mold. They are game changers, and once the game’s been changed, there really is no going back. But ladies and gentlemen, we have to acknowledge that the mere fact that someone is a good catch does not always make them a great catch for us. You can’t hold on to someone because they are the best you’ve had so far and you’re afraid that you won’t find someone comparable if you let them go. Well, you can, but you probably shouldn’t. Happiness is paramount, and if you aren’t truly happy…you can’t force it.
I am a firm believer that people can have whatever it is they believe they can have. If you believe a person that you really should leave is the best you may ever have, it’s likely you’ll never have better. But imagine what possibilities would exist if you’d rather choose to believe that if you had it once, you can have it again…and maybe even better? Imagine who could come into your life if you’d simply change your perspective? Instead of having the attitude that you may be losing out on a good thing, use your experiences with this man or woman as proof that people like him or her do indeed exist and that they happen to be attracted to you. Although your current relationship won’t last, you know now that a relationship with a man who treats you extremely well is possible. Or, you recognize that your bad chick game has just been upgraded. You can rest in that and move on with joyful anticipation of what is to come.
When you find the person who truly melts your butter, we’ve agreed and voted that you make your own rules in your practice of love. But, let’s agree right now that this whole staying in relationships because you’re scared of the what-ifs business is wack and should be filed away in the dead wrong department we talked about earlier. Why? So you can give yourself a chance to truly be happy. Pinky swear?
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By Jazmine Denise
“Your standards are ridiculous. The man that you’re holding out for doesn’t exist. You are going to die old, lonely, and bitter!”
This is what my ex from over three years ago said spitefully through the phone. “Okay. Thanks for the dating advice!” I calmly replied before ending the worst phone call ever. “Old and bitter. Oooh scary,” I thought to myself sarcastically. Old, lonely, and bitter is a kryptonite that looms in the back of just about every woman’s mind, because when we think of our futures, we like to envision love and happiness. As a result of this fear, many women are willing to offer up their time, energy, money, body, and God knows what else to men who aren’t actually worth their time. These relationships usually end in turmoil (and possibly with children in the picture) and the woman is left to pick up the pieces wondering where she went wrong. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It is my personal philosophy that this theory should be considered in all aspects of life, including dating and relationships.
Women are often accused of consistently assuming the role of the victim when it comes to relationships because we constantly put ourselves in the same types of situations with the same types of men, which ultimately deems us the same results. However, when a woman has an “AHA” moment, recognizes her worth, and sets standards for herself and the men she dates, she is accused of being bitter and too picky. Although these “AHA” moments often come after she’s broken free from a negative relationship, I in no way feel that this has anything to do with bitterness. Bitter could be used for the woman who sits around saying (and saying on social media platforms made to be soap boxes) that all men are dogs, but when a woman tries to raise her standards to increase her happiness, why is she bitter? It is my opinion that “bitter” is a derogatory term that is often used improperly and hurled at women to wound their self-esteem and make them doubt themselves and what they thought they wanted in a relationship.
While I am not encouraging anyone to go out and develop a ridiculous or unhealthy set of qualifications for the men that they date, it is my belief that standards are crucial. Standards are what set the foundation for any dating relationship. They set the ground rules for what you will and won’t accept. They help you to get what you actually desire instead of settling for whatever he wants and any old Johnny that comes along looking to waste your time. To take it a step further, it is my belief that it is not standards that make women bitter, but lack thereof. Can you imagine getting to the end of your life and realizing that you’ve never had success in the love department because you’ve been dealing with the wrong men all of your life since you never set any standards? You let them treat you any kind of way, do anything they pleased and talk to you every kind of way because you didn’t want them to leave. I could see it now. Someone’s old aunt sitting around on her front stoop drinking a Coke and smoking a cigarette talking about, “Child, none of these men ain’t no good!” Depressing, I know. But, honestly, are all men no good or did that person possibly make poor dating choices? So the next time someone accuses you of being bitter because you have standards, proudly reply, “I’m not bitter, I’m better, and I’m not looking back.”
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