It’s bad enough that as women, many of us have to deal with cattiness, jealousy and envy amongst both friends and foes alike as soon as we step out the door each day; but resentment within your own bedroom can be extremely cancerous to an otherwise solid relationship. I remember a serious relationship I had with a guy who would fight me over the mirror. And don’t let us go out and a stranger, man or woman, compliment my hair or outfit, suddenly I was bombarded with sarcastic comments like, “Oh, so what you think you’re the ish now?” Instead of being proud of having me on his arm, he was offended that he wasn’t the main feature in the random flattery. It was almost as if it could never be just about me.
It’s natural to feel a little slighted when it seems as if life goes so well for others, while you’re always dealt a bad hand. It can even be hard to be happy for others when you’re unfulfilled with yourself, especially when that success is close enough for you to sleep next to. But a relationship is about supporting the person you care for, and in many ways being a part of their happiness should make you feel the same way by default. Mismanaged jealously and competitiveness can cause cracks that can eventually make a relationship crumble.
If your guy regularly displays the following signs, he may be too busy attending his own pity party to celebrate your success:
1. He trivializes your accomplishments.
In any good relationship, one of the first people you can’t wait to tell about that big promotion or your new status as a homeowner is your partner. But if that excitement and enthusiasm is only met by vacant praise and sarcasm, you have to wonder why the person you love is sabotaging your shine. Any good man should be proud to be with a woman who is making major moves, not trying to block all of her attempts at success.
2. He discourages your attempts to improve your life.
If there’s anything worse than a man who likes to downplay your achievements, it’s one who tries to discourage you from attempting anything at all. He’ll tell you that you’ll never be able to do anything with that Master’s degree (since he only has a Bachelor’s). He’ll try to convince you that you can’t afford a Range Rover (especially if he’s driving a Ford Fusion). The best relationships include partners who push each other to do the best and uplift each other. Method Man once rhymed he wouldn’t let his woman hit the ground, even if he was falling himself. If he is always finding something wrong with you wanting to do something right, he may be pushing you off that cliff instead of helping you climb it.
3. You’re only allowed to shine in his presence.
There are some men who want their women in the kitchen frying chicken and looking pretty at Sunday dinner while he mesmerizes the guests with his quick wit and charm. And even though you may be a social butterfly in your own right, the only person he wants you to flutter around is him. If a man constantly avoids bringing you to social functions with his friends and family he’s either A) Married B) Ashamed of You or C) Feels that you’re a threat to his “Most Popular” status. Having a big ego is all fun and games until it’s the third wheel in your relationship and you don’t have to accommodate it. It’s like Fabolous said, a man may be a movement by himself, but the both of you can be a force together. If you suspect that the little green-eyed monster is making a way into you relationship take a few minutes to ask yourself: What would Barack and Michelle do? Our President and First Lady are a prime example of a couple that are both successful in their own right but don’t have a trouble shining alone AND sharing the spotlight.
4. He tries to take credit for your accomplishments.
You know how you basically remodeled the kitchen from backsplash to bar stool all by your damn self? But as soon as his boys point out how nice it looks this fool suddenly turns into Extreme Makeover’s Ty Pennington. Relationships are about working together cooperatively for a common goal, not just showing up for the credit. If it’s painful for him to give props where props are due he may have issues handling the glare from all of your bright ideas.
5. He always has to steal or share your spotlight.
This may be completely biased and if you’re not into astrology it may go completely over your head, but I happen to believe that water signs like Cancer and Pisces are the most narcissistic signs ever. See whenever I’ve tried to share any kind of good news with either of those signs it somehow always turned around to being about them. For example, when I reminisced with a male Cancer friend about my crazy college schedule making me a better multi-tasker, he had to point out that part of the reason it was possible was because of the all of the rides he gave me. When I started working, I would get nervous to tell him about any promotion I received since I knew I would instantly have to hear about progress in his own career, no matter how minute it was. It was almost as if he was keeping score. And don’t let me share my excitement about my work being featured in a new publication with a Pisces family member; it was always met with a twenty-minute rundown of all of his past artistic accomplishments.
If there’s one thing I’m really big on, it’s allowing people to have their moment. It’s not fair to force your experiences into a moment that should really be just about them. Unfortunately when some men feel that someone else’s success is a blow to their confidence by comparison, they immediately have to fill that void by reminding you that at one point they were great too. If it’s hard for him to say, “I’m happy to hear that, babe. Good job,” and leave it at that, he’s reeking of insecurity.
6. He handles defeat immaturely.
The only reason I had a Christmas tree last year is because I beat my boyfriend in Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” playing Just Dance on the Wii. See he’s not particularly into the holidays and even though I won fair and square he refused to be a team player. He never watered my tree, refused to participate in decorating it and every time I turned around there was an insult being thrown my evergreen’s way. Fortunately for him this wasn’t frequent behavior, but if losing at anything to you suddenly turns your guy into tantrum-throwing toddler, it could be because he has issues with you coming out on top. Grown men realize you win some, you lose some and even if the latter is to “a girl” that doesn’t reflect poorly on his manhood.
7. He repeatedly mentions he doesn’t deserve you.
This sounds great at first, but when a man truly believes this, it really makes a statement about his own self-esteem and there’s a chance that this mindset could eventually turn negative. If he believes that he is not worthy of you it could actually mean he feels threatened by you and that could turn into resentment.
8. He redirects his resentment to completely unrelated conflicts.
I’ve had my share in witnessing men who are jealous of their women and I’ve seen arguments over who drank the last of the milk turn into all out battles about how inconsiderate and selfish a woman is when she focuses on her career and not the home. If your guy is flipping out about the small stuff and then slips in his true feelings about all the reasons your success is hurting the relationship, it might be time he focus on how to improve his own situation so he’s not catching feelings over the contents of the refrigerator.
The male ego can be a very fragile thing, but that doesn’t mean a woman should have to dim her light so her man can shine. Have you ever suspected that there was a jealous guy in your town?
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 .
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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