Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘dating’


For a long time, dating was kind of the center of my life. I always had someone I was interested in, usually someone I was emotionally invested in to some degree, but I haven’t even gotten laid in close to six months. This is an all-time record for me. Honestly? I had never counted more than a couple weeks between hump days since losing my virginity. Between December 2009 and February 2011, I started and ended four separate relationship with people I cared deeply for. And actually, as I begin to type this, the reasons for my not getting any should become more and more glaringly obvious–dating was the center of my life. And I needed to fix that, fast.

I’d like to think that this is a realization most people will come to at some point or another. Forgive me as I go on something that will undoubtedly sound completely jaded, like it’s being written by someone who has been single for way too long (which it probably is): I see a lot of people, regardless of age, who have their lives built around and subsequently destroyed by a constant goal of receiving romantic attention. When things are good, they’re great, but when the going gets tough, well, the world is over. And I get it. I’ve been that person before and I can’t say I won’t be that person again. But, I can’t help but feel that it gets a little frustrating to see people I care about get hurt over and over again for the same reasons (often by the same people). And, again: I get it. I’ve been that person before. But honestly, I hope a lot of people get their wake up calls before I did, because it took a lot of time wasted for me to reach the six-month mark–and to be quite honest, I have never felt more fulfilled, confident, and less alone ever before in my life. How the fuck does that work?

Step 1: I stopped putting up with bullshit. Easier said than done, right? And, well, this isn’t a fool-proof rule, either. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when to draw the line, whether it’s a long-term partner or a friend bearing benefits. No one is perfect. However, I did come across this quote from The Crunk Feminist Collective recently which I will probably reference from here on out in life as my words to live by when it comes to dealing with lover’s haterade:

‎”Patriarchy conditions men to use emotional extortion and passive aggressive behaviors –saying hurtful things and then claiming them as innocuous opinions … then accusing the woman of picking fights or being emotional; demanding your silence in the face of offensive behaviors in exchange for love and affection–as a way to gain control over women who intimidate them.”

Okay now, this quote in context relates to a much more complex issue of WOC with educations dealing with egos, but I think that a lot of people–regardless of gender, race, or education–can relate to the above sentiments. You know when someone gets mad at you, even though they’re only mad as a reaction to your emotions and their anger serves as a means to manipulate you in place of a legitimate apology? Yeah, that’s what I’m getting at. That’s some Bullshit with a capital B.

Step 2: I claimed my body as my own. This is probably usually where the Pop Psychology blogger will start talking about the glories of masturbation, physical exercise, and getting in touch with some sort of spiritual obligation that involves meditation and consuming copious amounts of tea. I’m not knocking any of those practices, but my approach was a little more straight forward–I got over the pressure to have sex, and I stopped measuring my worth by how recently a dick had been inside me.

I think this is something that a lot of people–especially those around my age–struggle with. Sex is everywhere, and when we’re not seeing it on TV or in magazines, we’re listening to our friends disclose their recent erotic adventures. Even in the feminist community, there is so much going around about being sex positive and not letting anyone judge you for making your own choices that it’s easy to forget that you can choose to be choosey. It’s not about who you should and shouldn’t sleep with or how often–it’s about what feels right, acceptable, and deserved.

Step 3: I got over my fear of rejection… that is, rejecting other people. This goes into Step 2 to some degree. Sometimes it’s easier to be compliant and say “yes.” Avoiding confrontation is often the easier option, especially if it’s someone with whom you already have a sexual history. And I’m not going to lie, denying romantic attention to those who wanted it in the past couple months has often led to some really uncomfortable situations. But here’s something that sounds simple yet is easy to forget: You are never obligated to sleep with anyone, or go on a date, or indulge someone’s flirtations. You have the right to call them out on causing your own discomfort. And even if it’s not a matter of feeling uncomfortable or objectified, if it’s just a matter of it not being the right time/place/person, you are entitled to your feelings moreso than the other person is entitled to your compliance.

Step 4: I learned how to be patient. This is probably the most important thing. It’s not that I want to be single, or think love is a waste of time, or don’t enjoy dating. Based on my previously stated history, it should be pretty obvious that I find all of these things to be important in my life. However, especially after going through so many serially-monogamous relationships, I’ve come to accept that holding out for someone who fits my standards is going to have a way bigger pay off.

I have found myself seriously crushing on a couple people during my sex drought. But even when I knew the attraction was mutual, I’ve come to recognize that you can’t really fall in love with someone if you don’t know them all that well. And often times, taking the time to get to know some of these objects of affection has proved that they weren’t right for me or had different expectations. If someone isn’t willing to meet you in the middle and make some effort before jumping the gun into sexual or romantic territory, chances are it isn’t going to be worth it.

It’s not that I’m not totally awesome and have a body I love and kick ass at everything I attempt and couldn’t get it in every night of the week from someone totally delicious and equally as badass if I wanted. I just got over that and decided that I had done enough of rushing into things before feeling out the situation enough and getting totally burned (or doing the burning) because of it.

Instead, I remembered how the best relationships I ever had happened when I least expected it or, more accurately, felt that I needed it. RuPaul’s twist on the old cliche rings very true: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” What’s more, the most important thing to remember is that this expression goes both ways–and unfortunately, not too many people are often in a place in their life where they are willing to love as freely as they can.

In the end, remember when enough is enough, when it’s time to say no, and that no matter how much you want it, you have to prioritize your own needs, boundaries, and standards if you want to find happiness. That way, it won’t matter if you’re alone or not–you’ll have your own happiness to keep you satisfied.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


How many times have you heard a guy say this: “Women like you better when you treat them like shit.” Or: “I never get the girls I like because I’m too nice.” Or: “I’m a functioning alcoholic, and a complete asshole. Let’s date?” Okay, maybe that last one isn’t so popular (outside of my world, at least) but really, now, I’m sure all of us have heard the first two from multiple sources, usually men fresh from a break-up or another form of rejection. Really, it’s surprising that, being as gung-ho about gender equality as I am, that I’ve known so many men so eager to explain this rational to me.

The fact that many men categorize themselves/their behaviors toward dating women, unconsciously or not, as being “bad boys” or “nice guys” speaks less to the idea that women actively seek out men of either types and more to how society views women. “Bad boys” treat women like shit because they’re either to subdued or too stupid to know any better, while “nice guys” treat women well and get dumped because women are sex-starved bitches who do better when they’re treated like objects or children. Never does it cross their minds that they may not be treating their partner with respect. To avoid making sweeping generalizations as much as possible (since, after all, it’s these types of generalizations about women that really piss me off), it seems like, all too often, these guys are one in the same. These men never recognize or admit to their own flaws when it comes to dating; when a woman leaves, it’s always because “all women are whores,” “all women are bitches,” etc etc etc, instead of “maybe she has her reasons.” It’s always the “nice guys” claiming that women get turned on by being treated disrespectfully. Turns out they’re not really “nice guys” at all.

Now, again, this is with avoiding generalizations. As WhatEmbersConsume, a self-proclaimed “former Nice Guy,” points out, there are key differences between “nice guys” and “nice people.” A “nice person” will genuinely care about you, but also respect your boundaries and limits, and take responsibility for their faults and actions. On the flip side, here’s a few tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with a “Nice Guy:”

  • Often clingly.  May ask you far too frequently where you are, who you are with, what you are doing, etc. out of a supposed regard for your safety.  In reality, the Nice Guy™ wants to know where you are because he wants to keep tabs on you, like any other one of his possessions.
  • Easily prone to jealousy.  Doesn’t like you hanging around other people of your preferred gender and age group (or even your friends outside of your preferred gender).  This is because he is afraid of loosing you.
  • Will likely be upset when you try to put up healthy boundaries when it comes to personal time, space, etc.
  • Will often want to get involved with your family/friends as soon as possible if you have a good relationship with them.  This is because he thinks – subconsciously or not – that if he forges relationships with those close with you it will be harder for you to break things off.  The same goes for the reverse of this: he will likely want you to meet his friends and family for the same reason.
  • Will often talk about how important you are to him, how he couldn’t live without you, etc. especially as things get more serious.  He either really believes this, in which case it is because he has become dependent on the ideal of you; or is deliberately using it to manipulate you emotionally.
  • Will affirm you/praise you for your physical characteristics and accomplishments.  This is because these are the only things he cares about: things that others will notice and things that he can take advantage of.
  • Easily put off by arguments; not inclined to initiate serious conversations.  This is because he views differences between you two as freedom from him he does not want you to have.
  • Is not willing for you two to be anything less than he wants you to be.  If you maintain your boundaries, he will hightail it out of your life or seek revenge.
  • Will try to make you feel special.
  • Will never admit to making mistakes unless you threaten him with something.  He is always right, and even if your threats get him to concede that with words he will maintain that he was right in his own mind.

Looking over this list really startled me, because not only did it remind me of dating patterns I’ve witnessed, but also those my friends and I have experienced first hand–more than once.  And, what’s even scarier, is this lists’ similarity to that of an abusive relationship.  In fact, many abusive relationships–physically, emotionally, verbally, or otherwise–start off in the realm of the self-proclaimed Nice Guy and get that much more extreme as possessiveness worsens. The fact that so many men self-identify as “nice guys” is quite startling–even the OP recognized this trend in his dating choices (although he claims to be reformed now–we shall see).

So what’s the fucking deal? Why do so many men equate possessive behavior to genuinely caring? And why do so many guys think that they can’t get a date because they’re “too nice” when really they completely fail at seeing a woman as a human person with autonomous feelings and decision making capabilities?

It makes me really sad, to be honest. Some of these guys have serious issues.  This type of misogyny can often be a product or a side effect of other problems such as alcoholism, poor self-esteem, post traumatic stress disorder, or other serious mental/emotional limitations. Really, who’s to blame? The guy who thinks he’s supposed to treat women like shit, or the culture that says if he doesn’t manipulate her into submission, he’s not masculine enough?

Either way, it’s not an issue to brush over, and what’s most important is who this outlook affects the most—women.  Ladies, how many times have guys tried to guilt into dates, sex, or staying in a relationship, just because someone was “nice” to you? Probably a lot. Probably all the time. And chances are, when you reject these guys, it’s probably not pretty. He probably gets mad. He might use misogynistic language to describe you, like “bitch,” “cunt,” or “whore,” whether it’s to your face or behind your back. And a lot of times, he probably won’t back down after the first rejection.

What’s most important is to remember that you have control over your body and decisions first—no one else. I know a lot of times it doesn’t feel that way, but we must keep reminding ourselves. By owning ourselves first, before any ideas or cultural standards, we are taking a giant step against oppression every day. Don’t let anyone tell you whether or not they’re a “nice guy”—leave that to your own judgement calls.

Read Full Post »