Have you ever stopped to wonder how you developed your idea of what a contemporary relationship looks like? Have you ever thought about when you first started cooking, cleaning, buying gifts, and other related actions for the men you dated? When I say when, I mean at what age did you determine that this is what a woman did to nurture a relationship. Were these actions natural to you, or did you simply go with ideas you saw around you and accepted these actions as standard operating procedure?
I’m at a place in life where I question how much a woman gives in a relationship. Now, notice I said relationship and not marriage. It seems that women give and give, and when the relationship ends, we don’t have much to show for it but feeling like we were taken for granted. Why does that keep happening, and how can we prevent it in the future? From the books I’ve been reading lately and the conversations I’ve had with older women, I’ve changed alot of my viewpoints about relationships, marriage and motherhood. But those aren’t really the subject of this post.
An Interesting Perspective
Today one of my friends posted a very interesting video to her Facebook profile. Video: If You’re Not Married, You’re Single.
Do you tend to treat men the same, once you develop feelings for them and you both agree to be in an exclusive relationship? Meaning, once you are exclusive, do you automatically switch into wifey mode, to show him how much you adore him? Are you ‘campaigning’ for his affections, showing him that you’re worthy of his heart? Do you find it essential that he know how good of a homemaker, caregiver, and supportive woman you are? And are you still single, like me (i.e. not married)? Now my question is, if these actions aren’t generating the results we want, why are we still doing them? From my personal experience, “doing the most” (hahahahaha) for a man does not net a marriage proposal. This is my goal, and I’m motivated to reach that with a man who is ideal for me. I recognize that marriage is not every woman’s goal, but you know that I’m here for us to stay motivated while we’re reaching our goals.
Recently I came to the personal conclusion that having sex before marriage is not for me. I recognize that I open myself up to scorn from men by making this pledge to myself and my body. I’m prepared for that and I am confident that this is the right choice for me. I posed the question at the beginning of this post about your behavior in relationships, because it seems that we evolve into the women that we are without much conscious thought about what works. Sometimes we continue to perform actions (such as being ‘wifey’ without the benefits of being an actual wife) when they clearly are not working. And sometimes they work in one relationship and don’t work in others. But overall I see a lack of analysis when it comes to being successful in long term relationships, outside of “I should’ve communicated more” or “he cheated on me”. Outside of those things, what makes for a successful relationship? How does dating (being single, lets keep it real) differ from marriage? Why is it that we have scorned the ‘old fashioned’ customs that our grandparents followed, and yet we have a higher divorce rate and black women are not getting married in the same numbers as women of other racial groups.
Determining What Your Behavior Should Be
Of course I am not going to insult you by stating what I think your relationship behavior should be. I can only tell you what I have determined that mine will be from now on. But I’d really like you to stop and take some time and think about this. Start at what your relationship goal is, and work your way backwards. If you want to get married and start a family, then be serious about that goal and stop doing things in opposition to this goal. For example, stop having sex with men too soon because you ‘like’ them. I’m sure they like you too, but having sex early on does not lead to marriage the majority of the time. And honestly, if you’re banking on a minority possibility, then ask yourself what it is you really want. Because a person who’s serious about a goal will do as much as they can to ensure that they reach that goal, which does not include gambling on small odds.
Once you have determined what’s conducive to getting you to the altar once you’ve established a relationship, next work on how you should conduct yourself to establish a relationship. Do you have potential suitors in mind? Do you routinely meet new men who are marriage-minded? If not, then hey… you know what I’m going to say. Get serious about doing those things that will net you the results you’re trying to achieve. And I’ve been there too, of course, thats why I want to motivate you into action. Not too long ago I felt like I was turning into a crazy cat lady (and I don’t have any cats…). Its comfortable to stay in on the weekends and watch Pride and Prejudice… but it won’t bring potential mates into my orbit. So I’ve committed myself, now that I know what conduct I will take during a relationship, to go out and become a part of one. I’ve pledged to go out for the purpose of meeting men at least once a week. And gradually I will add more time as my schedule permits. I’ve also changed my mindset about ‘going out for the purpose of meeting men’. This is not time to be on the prowl. This is fun time for me to hang out, have some drinks (but not too many…lol), be cute and most importantly be seen and appear open to meet new people and be in a relationship.
I bring all of this up because I’m tired of women feeling like we have been taken advantage of. Yet we act in ways that are detrimental for us. We give and give and give and there’s no reciprocity. No one has asked us to give as much as we do, so its up to us to set the tone and make sure we have boundaries and are working toward our goals. No one will do this for us, ladies. So lets roll up our sleeves and get to it.