We see it all the time in TV shows; episode after episode the protagonist ignores all the warning signs that her boyfriend isn’t right for her, or doesn’t really love her. It starts with small signs, where the girl says to herself or her friend “that’s odd, I wonder why he did that” or “I’m confused, what did he mean when he said that” and it builds into flat-out denial of “I know he didn’t mean that” or “he was just stressed” or “it was just the circumstances” or, the one I hate the most, “it will be different this time”.
There is something about women and the way they ignore warning signs; something about the way our heart works that allows us to dismiss whats right in front of us, even though logic dictates otherwise. My cousin does that all the time: chooses men that are self-destructive for her, that don’t value who she is as a person, and then ends up surprised when the relationship doesn’t work out.
It pains me to see this, to hear young women justify the behavior of the men in their lives by saying things like “he isn’t that type of person (to celebrate anniversaries, or go out for dates)” or “he thought these were the only ways he could do something, so his actions are justified”. Why do we make such pathetic excuses for our boyfriends, when clearly, there are men out there, somewhere, even if they are hard to find, that will treat us with respect and compassion?
The women here at The Wonders of Womanhood have a theory: we allow men who aren’t right for us in our lives because of our own insecurities. Men, despite how wrong they can be for us, make us feel good. Even if they don’t really love us, they still make us feel loved and that makes all the difference. When everything else feels wrong in our lives, when we feel lost because we can’t find a job, or are doing poorly in school, or just can’t lose those 10 pounds we’ve been starving for, those men are a fixture in our lives, and we will put up with a lot, because they give us security, even if they can’t or won’t give us much else. It is only when we feel confident in ourselves that we are willing and able to say “I deserve someone who loves me”, “I deserve someone who respects me”, “I deserve someone who makes my life easier and better”, “I deserve someone who takes joy in celebrating me as a person, who takes pleasure in making me happy”, “I deserve all these things and more, and nothing a guy could say will ever make me settle for less. Maybe there isn’t such a thing as a perfect guy, but I will find the one who will spend their life trying to make me happy”. It is when we will insecure about ourselves that we use men who are wrong for us as validation. We use them to ignore what’s really bothering us, to avoid the true fears that haunt us, hoping that the identity of being someone’s girlfriend will give us a sense of direction. And worst of all, though we are perceptive enough to see how wrong someone’s boyfriend is for another, we often have trouble seeing the very same thing in our own relationship.
I think part of the issue is, we don’t know how to face what we already know, that we are afraid of the pain of being alone. It’s hard for me to watch the women I love fall into the same destructive patterns, and not be able to do anything. When I can see their minds are closed to my warnings, what are the options? Do I push, acting as a true best friend, who will show you the side of yourself you have been hiding from? Or do I wait, hope that she will come to her senses, and be there when I know that wasp hat was doomed from the start finally comes crashing down?
These are the questions we pose to you today, and we leave you with an important message: trust your instincts, and heed the warning signs, whether behaviour from your young man, or skeptical looks from family and friends. Your intuition will guide you far better than anyone else ever could.