First off, thank all of you for making last week’s release of The Unicorn Delusion a Kindle best seller. I’m taking a short vacation (I know, I know, but you can still email me here, plus you have the archives and my books to keep you on your Spartan toes).
Anyway, I have a great Guest Writer filling in this week who I hope many of you can relate to…
NEFARIOUS BLISS aka @PleaseImpressMe, a young woman who runs the website Nefariousbliss.com. Today she will open herself up to give you the female perspective on a question most of you are struggling with:
Should You Keep Working Through It
or Are You Wasting Time?
What is it about change that is so intimidating? While some people embrace change, be it by design or the unexpected, others curl up and hide from the thought of their status quo being rattled. I get it. Life is unpredictable, and the universe has a way of flipping your whole life upside down in a matter of moments. So, of course, to not feel completely powerless to forces outside our control, we hold on tight to the things in our lives that remain constant: familial ties, a career, friendships, relationships, etc. The issue here is that we can get so comfortable in these situations that it is easy to become blinded by the familiarity and stagnate ourselves. So many preach about “Staying Woke” to what is going on in the world yet are deeply asleep when it comes to their own lives.
Romantic relationships are a great example of people getting comfortable and resisting change. Why stay committed to a relationship that no longer fulfills you? The answer is simple: the thought of starting anew with someone else is terrifying. While men go through this too, so many women have an underlying fear of being alone. There is a stigma associated with women being perpetually single. It’s stupid, but it exists nonetheless. Don’t do yourself a disservice by letting a comfortable situation impede your happiness. Comfort does not equal fulfillment. Change is hard, but looking back on your life ten years from now and realizing you wasted your best years on a dud will be much harder.
Leave, sis. Does not apply to women in abusive situations or other scenarios where leaving isn’t as simple as just throwing up the peace sign and rolling out, but it that shoe does fit for so many others who can literally cut a man off tomorrow but have chosen not to. There is no point to enslave yourself to a toxic or bleak situation just because you are afraid to be alone or to be seen as a cat lady. Still, a large chunk of the population remain slaves to relationships they can walk away from but refuse to. Stay for the kids. Stay for the finances. Stay to keep up appearances. Stay because maybe…just maybe…things will go back to how they were in the beginning. No matter how you try to rationalize staying in a failing relationship, you possess the intelligence and the power to move on and start over. The insanity is that you refuse to use either to better your life. Now or in the past, you were guilty of staying in that comfort zone despite claiming that you love yourself too much. Now or in the past you were guilty of giving out one too many chances to someone that didn’t deserve you. Now or in the past you allowed “I wouldn’t put up with that,” to morph into, “I can’t believe I fell for that.” It’s time to break that cycle.
It Is Not 1918
If Kanye West argues that slavery was a choice, imagine what he would say about women of the recent past? Some of our mothers and grandmothers were forced to stay with a man they couldn’t stand; abusive men, no-good men and so on and so forth because they did not have the freedom to control their own destiny as we do today. Maybe your own inner-Yeezy is currently swearing that those women had the freedom to walk away, so allow me to enlighten you. Prior to World War II, the average woman did not work. It was not socially acceptable, as a woman’s place was in the home and a man’s out in the workforce. This was possible due to the economy of the time. If you could not support yourself financially without a husband, what were your options for leaving? Zilch, unless you were into homelessness. Imagine being a Black woman; even after women in the workforce became normalized, the jobs still went to White women first. Either way you were underpaid and undervalued, so the husband remained the breadwinner.
Let’s add insult to injury: divorce was often not an option, whether you had the means to make it on your own or not. You couldn’t just run to the court and file for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. The courts wanted a valid reason, such as adultery, abuse, mental illness, etc. You proved your reasoning to be valid? Great. Now you have to prove that you did not contribute to the issue. Even if you were lucky and the courts granted you a divorce, what are you going to do with yourself? I am convinced this was the birth of the “Stand By Your Man” logic. Having any husband was better than having no husband and being judged by the outside world for leaving said husband. Really think about this. It didn’t matter if he came home drunk and slapped you up every night, leaving seemed much scarier. Women of the time made the best of the situation because they had minimal options to enact change. When you’re forced to stand by your man, you convince yourself maybe his irresponsible or abusive behavior isn’t so bad and carry on for the sake of the children. Although it wasn’t intentional, these macabre traditions became ingrained in the minds of women generation after generation. Our situations are not the same as the women who came before us, we truly have a choice—so what’s your excuse? Your great-grandmother’s fear of leaving stemmed from a need to survive. Yours comes from having to go back out into the dangerous world of dating.
Working Through It
or Wasting Your Time?
Broke Brian has been struggling since you met him and the loyal woman in you keeps helping him out of jams, but it’s caused resentment on both sides. Do you keep working on it or walk away? Moody Mark has a habit of raising his voice and throwing insults at you, but it doesn’t happen all the time. Do you keep working on it or walk away? Naïve Nate keeps putting everyone from his mother to his friends before you, he doesn’t mean any harm, but you are constantly treated like #2. Do you keep working on it or walk away? How do you decide which traits are worth working through when you’re in love with a person? The loyal woman inside of you will convince you that real love doesn’t give up, and that’s where 99% of you will mess up. Few men will put up with a woman’s negatives, but the majority of women will compromise their own happiness to keep that same man comfortable. Smells like a hustle to me.
An essential part of being an adult is doing what is best for yourself, even if it’s hard. A smart adult can discern who and what deserves her energy, effort and patience. No relationship is perfect, but perfection is not the goal. Humans are inherently selfish, and when entering into a romantic partnership, difficulties will arise no matter how madly in love you are. You are managing your own wants and needs while also trying to attend to someone else’s. This dynamic is bound to cause friction every now and then. Have your “every now and then’s” turned into “all the time’s?” So many relationship problems stem from just plain ol’ incompatibility. If you are not compatible with the person you claim to love, there is no amount of working through it that can be done to salvage the relationship. We have been brainwashed by these sappy love songs and movies to think love is supposed to hurt and you will come out stronger together once you’ve fought off all the demons plaguing your union. This is fake news, beloved. Love is not supposed to be 15% happiness and 85% agony. Stop subscribing to the madness. You can’t work through problems such as habitual cheating, narcissism and general disrespect. It is not your job to take a person of low character and turn him into a stand-up guy.
Whoever coined the phrase “experience is the best teacher” was no liar. To this day, my mom tells me that if I would just listen to her, I would save myself a lot of trouble. As I’ve gotten older, I know this to be true, as she has amassed copious amounts of wisdom throughout her life. However, every now and then, I still have to learn the hard way and try things out for myself in the hope that my outcome will somehow differ from what she told me I could expect. Most of us do not listen to our elders when it comes to making choices, it’s just a part of growing up. The harder lessons come when we fail to learn from our mistakes and refuse to listen to our own gut feelings.
There have been so many times where I ignored red flags, shrugged off inappropriate behaviors and allowed myself to be used and taken for granted. By failing to speak up and create boundaries, I became a star contributor to my own unhappiness. After all, people will treat you however you allow them to. I assumed that by being verbal and commanding respect, I would just end up pushing him away and end up alone. Of course I knew that being alone was preferable to not being treated in the way I deserved, but I didn’t walk it like I talked it. In a nutshell, I was all bark and no bite. I have taken many trips down the rabbit hole of naivete, and after many detours and mishaps, I finally found the exit. I no longer try to force things to work that aren’t working. I no longer give multiple chances. I have ceased giving people the benefit of the doubt. You have to know when you are fighting an uphill battle and let it go. I’ve been in the dating game for 10 years now, and through all the frogs, here are the main red flags (in no particular order) I run from like I am Usain Bolt, and you should too:
Inconsistency: To put it simply, if a man is inconsistent, he just doesn’t like you, beloved. It does not mean he does not like you as a person, but romantically, he’s just not vested. I spent way too much time listening to and accepting excuses when I should have just told him to kick rocks. Wishy-washy people have the ability to drive you mad because their unpredictable behavior takes away any semblance of control you may have had over the relationship. You can’t trust an inconsistent person with your feelings, time or emotions.
I’m not looking for a relationship: As a grown ass man or woman, it is essential to have the foresight to determine if the person you are infatuated with has you headed for a Situationship. This line is usually the one that lets you know you have failed at uncovering his true intentions. If you truly spend time getting to know a person, 9 times out of 10 you will be able to discern if they are just here to spread your legs and play with your time or if they are as emotionally open as you are. There was this guy I really liked several years ago. I knew he wasn’t someone I would be compatible with long-term, yet I continued to test the murky waters. He was inconsistent, flaky and told me he just wanted to be single. 3 months later he entered into a relationship and had a child. He just wasn’t into me and I should have accepted that instead of playing myself.
Attitude Problems: Attitude problems are a HUGE no-no. I’ve dealt with men who had volatile attitudes to the quieter, passive-aggressive type, and for a long time after I got rid of each one, I asked myself why I didn’t run for the hills at the first sign of danger. You can’t fix someone’s poor attitude, and it is not your job to. There is no amount of talking, reasoning or fighting back that will cure assholeness. Not a walking soul on this flawed earth is worth throwing your peace of mind to the wayside in exchange for mental, physical and/or emotional abuse. If you have any type of support system around that can assist in transitioning out of a toxic environment, use it without shame!
Everyone’s deal-breakers are different, and I have others that I won’t go into because it would possibly span 10 pages explaining my reasoning behind them all. Long story short, if you become involved with someone, only keep them around if they contribute to your joy, not rob you of it. It doesn’t mean you cut him off because he leaves his socks everywhere or snores too loudly. Everyone has their quirks. Listen to that little voice in the back of your head. Your consciousness is always trying to connect with you and keep you aware of when you need to enact change and do what is best for yourself. Dwelling on the fear of loneliness, fear of being judged, or fear of starting over is futile; you only get one chance at this life and time flies. Protect your energy and only allow those who have proven themselves worthy to experience all the wonderful things you have to offer.