To start out, I’m just a regular woman. I don’t have a multitude of degrees covering my walls just to make myself look like I’m some guru or master of things. I’m just me. I’m not what someone would call anything special. So why do I feel I can talk about this? Simply put, we’ve all been in the same place that I am. These days it’s not easy for women. So, you’re welcome to agree or disagree with me. What I do know is that since I was 18 I’ve had 5 long term relationships (they qualify that as being a year or more so we’ll use their definition). I’ll occasionally use them for reference, but I won’t bore you with learning all about what I’ve been through. They will have their own connotations through things. I will say that I have pretty much closed all my dating sites down. That’s for another day, but I will touch on those. My experiences with the ones I’ve been on. They may mirror yours and they may be a warning.
Now I have said that I’m tired of being the definition of insanity when it comes to relationships. I keep trying expecting different results only to have the same results each time. I’m not the type to hang out in bars unless I’m in a mood for playing pool or darts. I met the Ogre (my ex-husband) in a bar. Well more like a pool hall, but they’re pretty much the same thing. Besides it’s expensive to spend hours upon hours in a bar with nothing to show for it. Not to mention after the Ogre I haven’t been much of a drinker. Not to mention, the last place you want to be to enjoy coffee is a bar. Most just look at you funny when you try.
So, I did something a bit crazy. I put into Yahoo search “I’m terrified of relationships” and all the dating advice sites all came up. The first thing that I noticed about them all is they all said the same thing. “Learn from what you did wrong in the relationships and move on.” Okay, to me this is a little insulting. My marriage was great the first year or two. After that is the first time that my husband began to abuse me. He continued for seven more years off and on. If someone was living with us, he didn’t. The rest of the time he found a reason to. Yes, it was my own fault for forgiving him over and over but in my logical mind as with all women faced with the same there were reason to not leave. Also, many of us grew up in the day and age that you made things work no matter what. The Ogre cheated multiple times and each one that came forward all said the same thing. I must be lying because he never laid a hand on them. Of course not, they didn’t live with him. Now, in most cases I will say that there’s blame on both sides when relationships end. To say that both aren’t at fault is folly, but in this case (where abuse is the central point) no woman is at fault. Now I will say that I blame myself for the abuse and always have. I’ve been told enough that that thinking is “wrong” and I should change it. Honestly though, unless having been there no one can honestly say what is what in your own head. Many times, there’s singular fault for a relationship ending. The one cheated on that breaks things off isn’t at fault. There’s nothing to learn there. With abuse, you don’t ask for it. Not like any of us have gone to our SOs and said “abuse me”. So again, there’s nothing to fault there. So, don’t listen when they tell you to learn something. Abusers and cheaters both can seem like great guys until it finally happens. Then they’ll tell you it’s all your fault because you didn’t _________. (Fill in the blank, we’ve all heard plenty.) You can’t fault yourself for believing what you see at first. One thing I will say, if your gut is telling you something’s wrong, it’s usually right. Time to have that talk with him. Be straight forward and whatever you do DON’T be emotional. Lord knows we’ve heard for years that men want women to be more emotional but the minute you do they all freak out and attribute it to your period or some other female malady that’s hormonal.
Another thing that bit me in the butt was each one of them saying that we’re not feminine enough. Okay, this is a big issue with me. I’ve been a tomboy all my life. So, telling me that that’s making a man feel less like a man is just ridiculous to me. If you’re independent for any reason that’s a flaw, but wait aren’t we taught that being independent is a GOOD thing? We’re told that we should be happy with ourselves and comfortable in our own skins but then doing that is a BAD thing? Anyone else confused here? Let’s be honest for a minute. A guy is supposed to fall in love with you for being YOU. That means if you’re independent then he would accept it. It’s a part of you. So no, it’s not a flaw. On another note? Blah blah blah can’t love anyone else unless you love yourself. For many years, I’ve not loved myself (going back to childhood here) and was taught that you hide that stuff from everyone because you’re crazy. You’re not crazy. Anyone who says this has never looked at their child or do not have them. I love my kids with all that I am. Does that make me love myself more? Not really. Too many years of being told the bad stuff as opposed to having anything good said about me. Oh, simply just stop listening to that stuff. Really?! Anyone that’s had to put that into action has never been there. That’s up there with looking at a depressed person and saying “stop being depressed” expecting it to work and be that easy. Really, it’s not. To get through years of being told you won’t amount to anything, you’re never good enough, you’re not perfect enough, you don’t clean enough (one small piece of paper on the floor but you can eat from every surface in the house), and on. You don’t just drop it and think it will just go away. Doesn’t work that way. You’re okay. You can have those thoughts. No one wants to hear them, but they will always be there. It doesn’t always go away. You can do your best and that’s all that matters. Good days and bad days. If you can love yourself again, go you! For those still working at it, you’re okay too. For those that don’t think they ever can, go you! You do more being honest about it than trying to constantly think that you should hide it. Isn’t that what they say? The first step is admitting it?
Another thing that chafed me was be what you want to attract. Okay you can be a good person (even if you don’t like yourself much) but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to attract anyone. They’ll tell you to date multiple guys and narrow them down, but don’t you dare have sex. So, what they’re saying is live the reality show? First off, not every woman lives in a big city. Some live in rural parts where it isn’t easy to meet someone without driving miles to do so. It’s great advice to say just go out when you live in a big city. Rural areas cut that down dramatically. Go out by yourself? Okay this brings to mind the “Ray Don” episode in Designing Women. “There’s no need for introductions, Ray Don, we know who you are. You’re the guy who’s always wherever women gather or try to be alone. You want to eat with us when we’re dining in hotels. You want to know if the book we’re reading is any good, or if you can keep us company on the plane. I want to thank you, Ray Don, on behalf of all the women in the world for your unfailing attention and concern. But read my lips and remember, as hard as it is to believe, sometimes we like talking just to each other, and sometimes we like just being alone.” This has been known to drive us from doing things alone because of men like this. Again, I’ll go into online dating sites another time, especially since there’s plenty of material there. I know some have gotten lucky on those sites, but let’s be honest the clear majority of the time that’s like digging in your nose looking for gold. I grew up with morals. You didn’t date multiple men at once. Even when you’re not having sex, it still makes you look easy since most all of them are telling their friends they bagged you to make themselves feel better.
There was little that I found that wasn’t well there’s this then there’s this. Contradictory many times. I’m jaded and guarded from the things I’ve been through in this path of ‘dating’. I’ve been there for family and cared for everyone in my life even when they didn’t deserve it. I’ve stood up for friends that wouldn’t do the same for me. I’ve done what’s right to me and my morals through the years. All the while I’ve hated myself. Does this mean that I’m going to find the same? No. See the guys that I’m attracted to don’t find me the least bit attractive. The ones attracted to me? Not my thing. Online, offline it makes no difference. Heck I got a dissertation that I’m a racist because I’m not attracted to black men. Does that mean that I can’t be friends with them? Nope. My idea of friends is basically based on what the person does and how they stand, not anything more. I just am not attracted to black men in a romantic way. I laughed when I read it. Ironic huh? If you’re doing the best you can, but you’re not exactly perfect you’re cool. We aren’t all meant to be perfect even though some of us believe that we are. I still love my ex, The Lion, and always will. He was good to me and I ruined that. I own that it really was all my fault. I let him lead me to believe that jealousy was a good thing. When I did become jealous when he was spending what I felt was too much time with another woman online, he didn’t like it. I slapped him. I shouldn’t have and it wasn’t right. Instead of working through it or talking about it, he kicked me to the curb and threw me out of his house with 2 weeks to make it happen. So, in the spirit of those advice sites, I asked to be abused by the Ogre. I asked for the emotional abuse from the Dragon (there’s more but keeping this simple). I asked for the Hermit to pretend that something just physical was something that I stupidly emotionally invested in. I asked for the Lion to emotionally cheat on me. All the while each one of these focused on the body or the money, not the fact that I’m intelligent, that I have emotions, or anything else. The kicker? While I’m alone and most likely will be for the rest of my days (I’m getting to be okay with that), they all are happily ever after with new women. So, they can be how they were and get rewarded, but I try to do nothing but good and I get the short end of the stick. I can see the lesson there, even though I, because of my morals, can’t put it into practice. So I’ll let you think of who’s right.