People are facing increasing difficulty expressing themselves- especially in ways that are conducive to maintaining a healthy level of mutual respect in our relationships.
A break in communication is often to blame for many of the relationship ills we are confronted with. When we cannot clearly communicate our needs and wants, people fail to understand that what they are doing, and not doing, is potentially damaging.
For instance, how do we tell a man, who claims to be vested in pursuing a relationship with us, that standing us up and not returning our calls is rude, inconsiderate and disrespectful?
How can we remind him that our time, along with our feelings and dignity, really are a big deal to us without sounding like a nag or a bitch?
Today’s post is a follow-up on the dilemma a reader wrote in about in “Conducting Yourself Properly: Tools to Avoid Being Called a Nag and a Bitch“. After reading the article, she sent in a reply expressing her position in full detail:
“What inspired me to write into you was a recent incident with a guy I had been seeing. He took me on dates, introduced me to all his friends and even some of his family. He made me feel as though I was his own little treasure (which felt awesome at the time).
Then he made plans with me for a Tuesday. I heard nothing from him all day. That evening I sent him a text message asking why I hadn’t heard from him all day and he replied, “I was busy all day. Don’t get weird”.
I texted back, “I just wish you would have told me you were cancelling on me instead of leaving me wondering all day”. He told me that he had forgotten he made plans with me and that he was sorry. He was really busy and he really did forget, but him jumping to conclusions and saying what he said revealed so much to me: his ideas about women.
That made me so angry.
Why is it “weird” that I should expect someone, even someone I am not romantically involved with, to at least tell me they are cancelling their plans with me?
Why is it “weird” that I would want to spend time with him when he acted as though he had strong feelings for me?
And does getting “weird” mean that I am getting over-emotional, like girls sometimes do? I feel that the action he took as me getting “weird” was actually emotionally mature. I didn’t accuse, I told him what I thought.
I deserve more respect than to be placed in this “weird” stereotype where he puts all the other girls who question his actions when he pulls the same with them. They deserve more respect than to be thought of as a “nag” or a “clinger” when it is he who has the distorted view of the opposite sex. He thinks women are all objects to be achieved and maintained.
My reaction should not be “weird” to him.
This got me thinking about where he could be coming from with an attitude like this. Men tend to write off the women who confuse them as “crazy”. How many times had his father told him this as a kid? How many of his buddies told him this over a beer when he started to explain his latest relationship failure?
I also agree that if you want to be treated like a lady, you have to act like one. That works for some people. I strongly feel that you only get as much respect as you expect people to give you.
But, I was utterly shocked when I had multiple friends, friends with educations and jobs and accomplishments of their own, “independent women”, tell me that I should have “played hard to get”. Why, because I am a girl, do I have to pretend that I am aloof towards a guy I really like? Doesn’t this lead men to feel like women are an object to be achieved instead of a person with a mind and feelings and opinions?
So screw being a “lady”. Screw being a “man”.
Why can’t we be respected by a person whom we are dating for being a generally good person and not on how much we act like society’s idea of a “lady”?
My idea of what makes a good man are generally the same ideas of what makes a good woman, things like honesty and integrity.
After a few days of these ideas bouncing around in my head, I was having casual conversation with my boss, a 43-year old lawyer, about some of these things. He felt that I should not have even texted the guy because if he wanted to see me he would have, and that I should never tell men my feelings because any type of “scolding” would, whether I was right or wrong, group me in the nag/clinger/ball-buster category.
Maybe I was barking up the wrong tree if I was looking for sympathy.
So in conclusion, the title of your article is “Conducting Yourself Properly…”. What is “properly”? Is it properly for how society thinks a woman should behave or is it properly for a human being? I have never wanted anything else in a relationship than to be viewed by him as a pure equal.”
The anger in her voice jumped out at me from every word right through the screen kicking me in the gut. Her frustration is palpable and she has every right to feel angry. I’ve been there. We all have.
We meet someone, we get all wrapped up in it, they start sending mixed signals on the side of seriousness and soon, the whole thing just falls apart.
No beans, the guy was an absolute turd. He was cruel to reenact Charming Ken decorating Barbie’s playhouse, introducing her to his friends and family, making plans and ending it with an inconsiderate, cowardice loser-type brush off.
It ended with some piddly excuse, an insincere apology and “the tables are turned blame game”, making her out to be the nag and the entire cause of the problem. He gets zero points for being a righteous dude- he is a wolf adorned in sheep’s clothing. He gets a stiff sadist boner toying with a woman’s affections.
When men and women do this to each other, they know exactly what they’re doing. It is intentional, don’t be fooled.
However, I reiterated to her precisely what her boss had said- I wouldn’t have given him the time of day, the benefit of the doubt, nor any effort. After all, he didn’t extend her any, why should she? In the relationship game, it’s 100% “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. It isn’t fair, it stinks and it’s a real pain the ass. But that’s the way the game is played.
Which leads me to “game-playing”, relationship etiquette, communication dodgers and the whole bit. While universal common respect and human decency towards your fellow man should be the golden rule of the game, it unfortunately is not.
Dating, especially in the early stages, is indeed comprised of game-playing. Games that we don’t necessarily want to play, but are an unavoidable and necessary evil (I’ll be covering “game-playing” in depth in my next post). We have to know how to play the game otherwise, we are going to lose. It’s just that simple.
So how would I have handled the situation?
First, I would have taken an objective look at the entire relationship from every angle. I would have anticipated each move like those in a strategic game of chess. I would have employed logic, not emotion.
If one can process what this man did logically, the rift in communication would have been readily apparent- enough to stick out like a sore thumb.
He stood her up and didn’t bother to call, and for Pete’s sake, did all this to her on a Tuesday (if you want to gauge a man’s seriousness, let him make plans with you on a Saturday, every Saturday). Now, I’m only getting her side of the story and I’m sure there are more factors to plug into the equation but…
What do his actions convey?
1. He is not serious about her in the slightest.
Tell me, when you are absolutely nuts and serious about someone, do you not make an ardent effort to be accountable? Do you not make painstaking, carefully thought out attempts to avoid jeopardizing and undermining the relationship?
We call, we plan, and we show up. And in doing so it is causative that we eliminate having to make really lame and ridiculous excuses altogether.
2. He does not see the relationship through the same lens in which she views it.
She saw something serious on the horizon, he did not. She saw an established mutual basis of respect and accountability, he did not. She saw the relationship one way and he did not- and he made no qualms in doing what is necessary to let it be known.
If it were me, I wouldn’t have done a damned thing. I would have instituted the preemptive strike. I would have taken the path of least resistance and I sure as hell wouldn’t have texted, called, or buckled under the pressure to lower myself to the likes of his weaselly lame horseshit.
I would have refrained from being confrontational because he doesn’t deserve my anger. He doesn’t deserve that kind of power- no man does.
She got her answer. He gave it her straight. Her ego just wouldn’t allow her to see the truth.
It’s easy to allow our hormones, our egos and our fully-charged emotions to navigate the driver’s seat in order to save face in a crumbling relationship. We believe what we want to believe and we make interpretations based on what we feel (at the expense of ignoring the truth) without looking objectively at all the facts. And we make assumptions based on where we want the relationship to go- not on where it’s actually headed.
It’s difficult to separate our emotions from our logic to allow us to look at our relationship through the much-needed lens of objectivity. We want what keeps us warm and cozy at night, not what makes us feel foolish, used and betrayed. We want to, at all costs, cushion and pad the pain with validation and an explanation, even if it’s one that doesn’t hold any weight nor make any sense.
The reader believes she and every other woman “deserves respect” and that “you only get as much respect as people give you”. Unfortunately, that is not how the world operates. People will only give you what they believe you deserve based on what you demonstrate you deserve.
We cannot expect people to be reliable when they are not.
We cannot expect people to be accountable when they are not.
We cannot expect people to reasonable to us when they are not.
We cannot expect people to see us an equal when they do not.
And we cannot expect people to respect us when they do not.
It’s up to you to know what you deserve and to demonstrate you deserve much more than what little someone has it in them to give. Saying nothing and walking away is befitting when that is what you are getting. That is the law of reciprocation.
You may also like:
- 99 Remedies For the Relationship Impaired
- Taking Risks – Ensuring You’re on the Path to True Love
- 25 Signals You’re Not Ready For a Relationship
- Are You Relationship Worthy?
- What Do You Do When He Pisses You Off?