It seems to be an epidemic: women willing to settle in relationships, regardless of how unhealthy it is.
He noticed her. He told her she was beautiful. He told her that she was different from the other girls. He told her that he wanted to bring her home to meet his family.
She told him that she was scared to let her guard down. She told him that she had been hurt really bad before. She told him about the emotional abuse that she tolerated in the past.
He assured her, “I’m different.” He even referenced his past about his own hurt. He told her that he understood. He stared at her intently and even dared uttered the words, “I love you.”
She believed him. She allowed him to come into her life. He was happy. She was happy. It was perfect.
Until it wasn’t…
She wondered why she kept having feelings of uneasiness. She wondered why she was feeling lonelier than ever before. She wondered what she had done wrong. She shared this with him.
He assured her that he would be better. And he was.
Until he wasn’t…
“Why am I feeling hurt?” She was told that she was overreacting and that she was being too needy. It troubled her in that she thought that her feelings were wrong.
She tried to mold herself to become what she thought he needed her to be. She began to lie about her feelings to him, as she believed if she told him the truth he would leave.
She could not shake the feelings of the hurt and loneliness she felt. She held it in as long as she could and when she could no longer hold it in, she expressed herself to him. She told herself he was safe. He would understand. He would not leave.
Until he left…
This is not the story of just one woman, but many women. The many women whom I have talked to over the years who have struggled to find stability in a relationship. This is what I have found as my years as a therapist, a sister, and friend, year after year it is the same trend for many women. They seek to find a happy and healthy relationship. Some find that happiness. But for many they settle or get into a lot of dysfunctional relationships.
I began to ask the question, “Why do we as women choose to settle?” “Why do we continue to pursue a relationship that we know is not healthy?” I received many responses. But the one response that I kept getting from an overwhelming amount of women was the fear of being alone. Are you surprised? I’m not.
In this society it seems that we have to follow what we know rather than what is right for us. It isn’t what we want, but it is what we know.
We know as women what we do in order to make a relationship work. What we do often time is try to mold ourselves to fit an unrealistic expectation that we make for ourselves. This in turn almost always results in crushing consequences. Maybe by doing this you are still in the relationship, but you do not even recognize yourself. Or the relationship ended and you are left feeling foolish for compromising yourself. Or you are in complete denial and are onto pursing the next relationship. No matter the result, when you try to become someone you are not in order to fulfill someone else’s needs, it is devastating.
Now is the time to stop this trend. It has been going on for way too long. Some would like to say that this trend exists due to how men treat women. I would argue that point and take it a step further and say this is how women are allowing men to treat them.
If we say that we are this way because of men, we are saying that we have no control. And that is not true! We all have freewill. As a woman, you have to decide what you will do with your freewill. Are you going to allow the status quo to dictate your life?
I don’t know about you, but I grow tired of hearing women blaming men for their low self-esteem, lack of ambition and unhappiness. We all have a past. We have all endured some type of trauma at some point in our lives. My question is: When are you going to stop using your past as an excuse to not move forward?
The story above is about a relationship. It can be so easy to blame the man in the story. I may receive a lot of criticism for this; but the woman in the story repeatedly allows this behavior. She ALLOWS it.
Another commonality of failed relationships that I have noticed is that we as women make it too easy for men to come into our lives. We allow them to charm us. They, somehow, become the object of our affection. We allow ourselves to fall for them. We do not protect our hearts. Instead we give our hearts like we are handing out fliers.
We don’t want to admit it, but we believe in the love we see in movies. How many of us need a reality check? As Alan Jackson eloquently put it in a song, “If life were like the movies, I’d never be blue.” This is not the movie, this is real life.
If you are truly being honest with yourself, what are you allowing in your life? What are you compromising? Are you protecting your heart?
I truly hope that if you are in a relationship that is not serving you in a positive manner your story includes:
Until she left…
Women, you know what you are worth: demand it!
Originally published at medium.com