I once broke up with a guy who wanted some pretty weird things from me and our relationship with these words, “If your own daughter came to you and told you that her partner had asked her what you have asked of me, what would you say to her?”
Needless to say, the answer was not satisfactory and he has long been on the long-gone trail. But a conversation with a wonderful girlfriend this weekend reminded me of this and that I have never made it too far down the road of a not-so-great relationship before something – my DNA, my upbringing, my incredibly lucky and full life or sage words from my Dad – kicks in to allow me to rescue myself… Often with more than a little help from my family and friends…
Sometimes we will want to give in to the endorphins rushing through our systems, the insecurity of being alone or ticking biological clocks (or all three) and start making excuses for why Mr. Seemingly Perfect (who would, OMG, make such a cute breeding partner!) doesn’t call or write or ever whisk you off to a surprise dinner, never buys you flowers… Why his clothes smell like perfume – not yours – and why he’s evasive… Why he never comes around when you’re ill… Why [insert the thing making you uncomfortable here]…
The next time you find yourself with an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach, or you find yourself at the short end of the stick when you should be feeling utterly loved up, secure and supported, be your own Momma Bear (or Poppa Bear for that matter). Fight. Be brave for yourself. Stand up for yourself as only a mother or father would for their child and ask yourself the question, “In the same situation, what advice would I give to my own daughter?”
Then take that advice! If you answer honestly, I promise you, you wouldn’t let your daughter make the same excuses that you are making for a dead beat and, as hard as it is, you will make the move for yourself and get the hell out of dodge. The wrong guy will let you run (although some of the wrong guys will call you and beg you to return up to 17 times a day, but this is also known as stalking and abuse and is not to be confused with L.O.V.E) and the right guy, well, he’ll make damn sure he becomes and stays the right guy.*
My Dad once wrote to me when I was feeling particularly afraid of being dealt another blow: “Don’t feel insecure if a man wants to go to the back of the queue for your attention, that’s his hard luck. You have got to realise that you are the grand prize in this particular competition, not the other way around. The guys must make the effort, not just for three weeks but for three months at least before you even contemplate being serious. You are so involved in so many things. They must prove that they are worth your attention.”
It might over-simplify the complexity of relationships and the roles of genders in them, but the bottom line is that you should at the very least try to think as much of yourself and want as much for yourself as you would for your own child. Perhaps the best advice is, as another friend succinctly put it, “Until you are certain that the person you’re interested in is similarly vulnerable to you, that the stakes are as high for him [or her], go slow.”
So relax, if you’re being your honest and compassionate self, you’re not doing anything wrong and can’t do anything better. Just, whatever you do, don’t settle! You wouldn’t want that for your daughter, would you?
* I know that vulnerability is not the domain of women alone. Men also end up in destructive relationships that they stay in too long for fear of hurting or being hurt. Ladies, you know deep down if you’re being a bee-atch to your man so be the “grand prize” and walk the talk.
This post was written by Cisca. Do you have a story? Submit it here.