Yesterday, a FB friend of mine posted the following statement: "A woman needs a man who will make her feel beautiful & loved every day." I was all like 'yep', liked it and moved on. This morning, I read the comments.
Oh, don't worry. No one's gone after her for the whole binary thing. (Although I did see that elsewhere in a different post sharing the venom a certain writer is receiving because she defended someone else's right to have an opinion and the opinion was that there are only two genders or some such verboten truth. But I digress...) The comments were mostly guys talking about being good men and not finding women who actually want them. Or finding women who say they want a good man, but then treat those good men badly.
One comment struck me... He said something along the lines of having to get past women's self-doubts and that no matter how many times a guy tells a gal she's beautiful and loved, she won't believe him. Been there, done that. And I'd like to address why.
Okay, so I'm not exactly sure WHY why. But I do know that by the time I reached dating age, my self-esteem was so screwed into the dirt, I not only couldn't actually tell a good guy from a bad guy, but I didn't think I was worthy of a good guy. How that came about is the why I can't quite put my finger on, but I'm pretty sure it's not all that different from the majority of the women out there. Or maybe it is.
Beyond that, I was such a rube. I was so busy trying to find a mate, because the culture says you have to find a mate or be worthless, that I hung my hopes on the slightest positive attribute and ignored any negative attributes. If he was nice to me and actually WANTED little ol' unlovable me, I was all for him. I learned the hard way that sometimes the biggest shits are the nicest guys... at first. And then when things went bad, I put it all on me. I believed I was at fault and I was the reason they turned into shits.
Between 16 - when I was allowed to date - and 33, I went through a tragic amount of bad relationships - good guys and bad guys, them fooling me or me fooling myself or both. The central failing all along was that I didn't like myself. Over the years, I got better, but not better to the point where I stopped the cycle.
After the last relationship before Hubs, I worked on being happy being single. Loving myself and my own company. Once I got there, I waded in again, because being single is lonely and man was not meant to be alone. I got lucky and found Hubs. Now, there's a good man.
Even then, though, the self-doubt crept in. That first year, I was terrified I would do something or say something and everything would fall apart. I'd be the stupid one again. He was very patient with me. He's always very patient with me. And I was patient with him. Because that's the way a real relationship works. Patience and understanding, setting aside your baggage and helping them set aside theirs. Until you've been together long enough that the baggage fades away.
Yes, there are good men out there. There are good women out there, too. Finding them is as easy or as difficult as wading through the bad ones, and the not-quite-right ones, until you make it. But the first step is loving yourself, recognizing your faults and working to either fix them or make peace with them. Loving yourself is the ultimate path to find someone else who loves you, too. I discovered that being okay with being an individual alone is the best way to become part of a duo that endures.