If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that statement, I would be a rich woman and wouldn’t be worried about these soul-sucking men. But seriously, how many times have you seen this quote? Do you honestly believe it? There has to be some truth to it if it’s constantly being used.
I had a very interesting conversation with an older woman today and she told me this exact statement. “A man will only do what you allow, which isn’t always right, but it’s always true.” The moment she saw I was about to argue back with her, she asked me, “So why aren’t you in a relationship?”
It took me a minute to come up with an answer. I had to honestly reflect back on all of my past relationships and that’s when I realized that my last one was well over a year ago. I have dealt with a few men since then, but they never wanted to take that extra step to commit.
So I lied.
“I’m too focused on my career right now.”
There are two things I dislike about talking to older folks. One, they always know when you’re lying and two, they will always tell you what’s on their mind. This older woman managed to do both.
“You’re single because there’s something wrong with you and the men you’re picking. Figure it out, child. And I mean that from the sincerest part of my heart.”
With that, she changed the subject to her son and how he was doing well in college.
I have to be frank, she hurt my feelings. It took all of me not to knock all of the things off of her desk. It’s one thing to ask a woman why she’s single. It’s another thing to tell her why. To be quite honest, I probably would’ve laughed had she and her sincere heart croaked right there in her office.
Too far, I know.
But she struck a nerve. I haven’t been in a relationship since 2016 and that’s a tough pill to swallow. I’ve dated several men, but once the topic of relationships comes up, they quickly disappear. Or they stuck around only for me to find out that the whole, ‘I don’t want a relationship’ spiel was just code for ‘I have a roster and I’m not giving it up for you.’
Yikes, that last sentence hurt to type.
It’s true though. I have a history of picking men who would rather settle into situationships and shy away from being in a fully committed relationship. It’s frustrating and it’s easy to blame myself. At the end of the day, I am the common factor. I’ve dated men as young as 21 and as old as 33, men with and without kids, tall men, short men, big men, small men, yellow men, brown men… but the moment I say relationship, they cower and hide.
The last man I dated who didn’t want to take that extra step, pissed me off. I was so angry he didn’t see me worthy of a girlfriend, that I decided to play the game as well. I told him I was okay with his decision and proceeded to date other guys, while still dealing with him. Not one of my proudest moments, but I was fed up. I was tired of dating men who thought I was only good enough for a situationship and wanted to hide and protect their feelings behind ‘I’m not ready’ and ‘You’re not even my girl’.
I don't think they really understand how much it hurts to be put in that position. You can't celebrate anniversaries, you can't tell anyone about them without having to explain why you're not together, you can't bring them around family, post them on social media, celebrate Valentine's Day or any other holiday for that matter, nothing. It's a relationship without the perks. You're pretty much a glorified fuck buddy. It's not a good feeling at all.
Eventually, we ended it once I got tired of the games. It reminded me that dating multiple people at one time isn’t as fun as everyone makes it out to be.
So what’s really up? Is it me? Is it the men? Am I just terrible at finding men? Or is it what a lot of people seem to put the blame on, our generation?
I wish I could give a good, thoughtful, quotable answer like I do in my other blog posts but I don’t have one. I have all but given up on the idea of men committing and accepted my L. At this point, I’m so engulfed in my work and career, I hardly have time to wonder what ifs and I honestly need all the time in the world to figure out exactly what it is about me that seems to attract commitment-phobes.
What I do know is that once I stopped tying my worth into these temporary men, I started to feel better. I'm awful at giving my all to people who don't reciprocate and it has often left me broken. Thankfully, I've learned to give what's given to me and protect myself until they've proven their worth. I've slipped up a few times, but I've managed to pull myself back together once it's all said and done.
There was actually a time in my life where all I dated were men who wanted to marry me. Funny time, actually. I was so irritated that they all saw me as safe and ‘wifey’. Crazy how life works.
For now, I’m going to go by what Ms. Old Lady told me, but I'm going to remix it until I come up with a better answer.
Much, much better.