I Don’t Have To Be In A Relationship With A Man For Him To Do Me Dirty
When I was 21 years old I met Jermaine through mutual friends. We immediately connected on our cultural similarities, taste in music and fine dining. Jermaine’s worldly aura had me shook; I was tired of my college’s limited choices in men and since Jermaine was established in his career and a few years older than me I thought he would be emotionally stable and ready for commitment. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
While we were dating, Jermaine purchased meaningful gifts for me — and for himself — but he often danced around the idea of us becoming exclusive. As things progressed between us, his behavior became manipulative and I would find myself on the receiving end of cold shoulder episodes. Those incidents occurred sporadically but frequently enough for me to know they were hurtful and unnecessary. When I would complain to our friends about his behavior and the nonsensical drama he would create, they wouldn’t believe me or reasoned he behaved that way simply because he wasn’t that into me.
One day when I thought Jermaine and I were on good terms, he snatched the rug out from under my feet. I logged onto Facebook and there it was, staring me in the face: Jermaine was in a relationship with another woman.
I would later find out Jermaine didn’t personally know this woman and actually met her on Facebook. She lived in Europe while he lived in Houston, Texas—their relationship lasted a week. I moved on, accordingly, but of course, my inquisitive nature would push me to take peeks at Jermaine’s public Facebook profile from time to time. That’s how I found out he met another woman who, again, didn’t live in Houston. She lived in Wisconsin and later uprooted her entire life to move in with him. Jermaine publicly showered her with praise and marital affirmations; they seemed genuinely in love. However, when she became pregnant he didn’t move forward with a proposal. When their son was still a newborn Jermaine decided he no longer wanted to live in Houston and became a traveling freelance producer, leaving his girlfriend in H-Town with their baby.
As you can guess, their relationship dissolved and now Jermaine is on a variety of social media platforms complaining about his parental and custodial rights. It’s disappointing that Jermaine’s son has to witness how static his parents’ relationship has become, but I’m curious whether our mutual friends now believe the claims I made eight years ago when I assessed him to be capricious, conniving commitment-phobe. No one took my analysis of him seriously and, eventually, a friend told me that was because Jermaine didn’t make me his girlfriend.
At the time I was shocked, but as I got older I realized in our culture there’s a tendency to minimize or dismiss the experiences of single or casually dating women simply because men have not claimed them. I asked one friend why that is and she told me she tends not to believe a single woman’s assessment of a man who didn’t commit to her because she’s probably just bitter about their failed relationship. This problematic reasoning perpetuates the idea that women are not emotionally sound enough to accurately evaluate what happened between them and an intimate partner. It also paints the man as the oblivious “nice guy” who never has to answer for the way he treats women he’s involved with, committed relationship or not.
We’ve seen examples of this with several celebrity men who left their significant others to run into the arms of Kardashian women. Kanye West, during a 2015 interview with Power 105, told The Breakfast Club hosts that he had to take 30 showers after dating Amber Rose in order to start dating his now wife, Kim Kardashian West. His damaging (and ironic) comments were never questioned, but rather taken as truth, and Amber was humiliated with countless internet memes and harassment. What was even more bizarre, when Amber tried to rebuttal his remarks female fans rushed to Kanye’s defense and called Amber a slut and a hoe.
Three years later, the public now is empathetic to and understanding of Amber’s version of the relationship because Kanye revealed his controversial beliefs on slavery, regularly has public meltdowns, and feuds with other celebrities. If it weren’t for the aforementioned, Kanye would still be supported and believed no matter how foul he behaved towards Amber. It was assumed because Kim got the ring she was the superior being and anything Amber said to the contrary were just the musings of a bitter ex who couldn’t get an official title.
Interestingly enough, men with lesser social clout are given the same beneficial treatment. For example, a past church member of mine was a serial dater and cheater. His mother, one of the head pastors, would draft religious soliloquy on why his relationships wouldn’t work and why he was rampantly unfaithful. When one of his exes aired his dirty laundry, his mother claimed the treatment the woman received from her son was due to God not revealing her as his wife. Nah sis.
I’ve learned no matter if you’ve never been a girlfriend or wife, you don’t need a degree in rocket science to know when a man is playing you for a fool. Most certainly, you don’t need to take heed of another woman’s questionable mentality to feel your experiences are valid.