I got this comment from recent ex. Just how does a woman who LOOKS like she doesn’t need a man look?
Hmmmm… I’ll come back to this in a bit.
I read a wonderful book on Labor Day called My Cat Won’t Bark: A Relationship Epiphany by Kevin Darne. I was able to read it on my Kindle in a matter of hours and I recommend it to anyone–male or female–who is unhappy in their relationship. The first point that got me was, “By staying put [in the relationship], you’re saying, “This is the best I can do.” Another excellent point the author makes is to ask for what you want from your partner and then make a decision: “If it’s a deal breaker, get out. If not, learn to live without.” And a third gem: “If you ask your partner for something multiple times and you s/he won’t give it, either they don’t have it in them to give, or they don’t think you’re worth the effort.” See why I couldn’t put it down?
This book confirmed some things that were nagging me about my own relationship. And you know what? The next day, it was over. Or so I thought.
A simple question (I admit it may have seemed like a confrontation too) turned into me getting yelled at, hung up on, and cut off in a matter of minutes. The next morning, I got a *text* with a quasi-apology (when you say “I’m sorry, but,” the “but” negates the apology in my eyes), but no phone call. Nevertheless, I had already seen the writing on the wall. Not to mention, this happened right before a big, nerve-wracking presentation to foster youth. Then to add to the confusion, he started texting me two weeks later, while I was on a trip to Memphis, as if he had never told me to leave him alone! So are we broken up or not? (I thought so…)
I’ve heard many people advise that you don’t enter a relationship with any expectations of the other person. I don’t get that (please comment below if you can help me). Let’s not kid ourselves–everyone has expectations. Even if it’s just that you don’t expect your partner to hit you or cheat on you. Or that you expect to hear from your partner at least once every couple of days. We all expect something. And if you don’t know what your expectations are, you will find out once someone unwittingly crosses or violates your personal boundaries. It could be something as simple as calling you before they decide to drop by your place.
My Relationship Epiphany
After the unexpected texts I received from my ex after two weeks of silence, he called me (on a Monday) and we argued about the argument from two weeks prior. I told him I had already moved on, but he didn’t want to and for some ill reason, against my better judgment and comfort, I implicitly agreed to resume our dealings with each other. I can’t say I felt any different or better after any of our conversations that week. We spent several hours together on that Saturday, but my spirit was not at ease. I was thinking about how I felt–things he hadn’t really apologized for or agreed to work on in himself. I didn’t feel supported with my current endeavors, and I didn’t feel loved or cared for.
The final straw was on the following Monday when he once again mentioned some personal projects that he and two of his co-workers (one was a female author like myself). He had given me his word months prior that he would help me do a project–something he is very good at and helps others do all the time–but he really wasn’t trying to do anything. I felt myself getting angry after I brought it up and he brushed me off. I got off the phone in the best way I could without getting loud or going off. This is especially disheartening because he knows how frustrated I was before we met, dealing with unreliable contractors for my first book. His response was to text me with: “I will work on it this weekend. Don’t ever ask me to do this again. Have a nice day.”
I called him and told his voicemail that he didn’t have ever do anything for me, and that it’s over. [Cue the opening of Chrisette Michele’s song Epiphany, she declares in a whisper, “…and then it comes to me like an epiphany.”]
You Don’t Need a Man
This dude and many others have told me that I don’t look like I need a man. I’ve been divorced for 7 years and I’ve gotten that comment numerous times. What is with all these men who think that because I don’t need to be “rescued” from a situation, that means I don’t need a man? Do I have to go live in a shack and drive a hoopty in order to qualify for a decent relationship? (Again– enlighten me in the Comments.)
I needed my man to come through for me. I told him on many occasions–not just for this project–that I needed him. [I was also going to do a project for him as well.] And for this, I needed him to deliver, and months later, he still hadn’t. He also hadn’t learned to deal with his attitude from the weeks prior. Patience was not the issue. His attitude was. His pet peeve was being talked down to, but he did it to me more often than he cared to acknowledge.
Did I have a part to play? Yes. I should never have answered the phone when I came back from Memphis. I should have held to those dealbreakers I have–the ones Kevin Darne reminded me of. I should have evaluated my ROR- return on relationship* – and saw that it is what it is without waiting for things to change. I’ve since decided to invest my love in people where it counts most– with my daughter, and with the other youth that I inspire and influence.
What are your dealbreakers? What kinds of behaviors and attitudes do you refuse to tolerate in a relationship? What does it mean to not have expectations from your mate? And what does it mean to “look like you don’t need a man?”
*- Reference from It’s Not Just Who You Know by Tommy Spaulding.