After a few dates, he told me his last “jump off” was pregnant. He knew it wasn’t the ideal situation, but he really thought we were the real deal and wanted me not to give up on him. After some contemplating, I agreed to continuing the relationship, and in the beginning things were great. We ended up taking a break right before his son was born because he was stressed and couldn’t handle it, but eventually got back together and things went full speed. We were so in love, and he wanted to move in. I wasn’t ready, but I eventually gave in. Seems like from the time he moved in things went down hill.
I would cook dinner and do his meal preps because he is a fitness freak. I’d keep his daughter at any given time so he could run errands or go to the gym, but he never kept my daughter. I was supportive with his career, custody battle, fitness endeavors, and anything that made him better. After awhile, I started feeling so drained, and I realized I was doing all this giving and he wasn’t giving anything back. I finally told him how I was feeling and just as I thought, it turned into the biggest argument. He kept saying things like, “I appreciate what you do but, all you do is watch my daughter sometimes and cook a couple of meals.” That comment hurt! meal prep is not easy! Measuring and cooking from scratch for three days at a time, and making sure I’m home from work on time to make sure he eats! I loved his daughter like she was my own. I bought her clothes and everything, so for him to say that to me feel so unappreciated. So, basically, what I learned is that appreciation and consideration are a must from my next relationship.”
I’ve heard, and experienced, many cases where the woman feels underappreciated, used, taken advantage of and for granted in her relationship. As women, we some times compromise our own values and beliefs just to keep the man in our life happy. Because we are natural-born “fixer-uppers”, we reason with ourselves, on many different levels, in the attempt to “fix” a broken man. Most times when we give so much of ourselves to a man that has no more room left to equally give as much as we do, we are the ones who are left heartbroken, confused and feeling abandoned. It’s not enough to be a “good woman”! I have learned that it is better to be a good woman with standards and expectations for how a man is to operate in a dating relationship.
A woman, who I have observed to be resilient and uncompromising, shared with me her story about the man she had been dating (which has been told above). She told me that she held her tongue so many times in the relationship, just to keep the peace in the household. She cooked his meals and took care of his daughter, when it was necessary, not because she thought it would keep him, but because she wanted to support him in every way possible; she wanted to keep and see him happy, but it turned out to be at the expense of her own happiness. I’d like to note, that It is okay to want to make your man happy, to support him, and to show him that you care for him, but when it’s not necessarily reciprocated back, it does take a toll on our own happiness as women.
Just like men, women want to feel appreciated; like their investment in the relationship is paying off in a way that benefits them also. When a man shows a woman that she is the best thing that ever happened to him; that she has enhanced his life, it makes a woman feel like she’s floating on air. The thing is, many times we allow men to take from us without depositing anything back, and we end up empty with nothing else to spend on the man we’ve been putting all of our energy into. We end up blaming ourselves for the actions of a man who is obviously broken, and we need not to blame ourselves any longer! A real man appreciates and shows his woman that he is, and will, take her feelings into consideration. Sure, some compromising is in order in every relationship, but the compromising should not be one sided. If as a woman you feel you are changing and shifting more than the man you are involved with, a conversation needs to be had. And if he doesn’t respond to the requests that you are making pertaining to his actions towards you in the relationship, then he isn’t ready to be in a relationship. Simple as that.
A good woman doesn’t need to prove to a good man that she is a good woman! A good man will recognize and appreciate a good woman for who she is! We all make mistakes in our relationships. Learning and adjusting to someone else’s ways can be extremely challenging, but the road towards love isn’t designed to be a one-way. I think as women we need to learn how to love ourselves more than we love the idea of being in love. We are exposed to signs and red flags and we easily ignore them. Now, I don’t think that a broken man can’t be fixed. And if a woman is willing to work with a broken man she needs to be aware that it will take a lot of time and a whole lot of patients. The change, you won’t see over night. Hell, you may not witness a change for years. But just be prepared to place more into the relationship than he is, fore when a man is broken, he may not acknowledge it right away. You may just be enabling him to remain in a broken state by trying to make him whole on your own. A man that doesn’t appreciate nor acknowledge your effort to make him happy is so consumed with pride, that he is unable to see what you have to offer him; something that no other woman can. By the time he does realize what type of woman you truly are, it’s often times too late to do any type of mending within the relationship. I know that letting him go may be difficult, but in many cases this is the only method that allows a man to see and admit to the error of his ways.
I, myself, have tried to please a man and felt like I was compromising too much of what I stood for. It is never a good space to be in when you feel conflicted within your heart and soul being with someone. I may have wanted that man to be “the one” so bad, but in my heart I knew that perhaps he didn’t feel the same way about me. I think in our own little way, we try to manipulate men some times into thinking they should stick around, knowing that that’s truly not what they want to do. The under-appreciation comes from expecting a man to do for you what you do for him, and if it’s not in his heart to return the feelings, than there is no way his mind will allow him to go the extra mile. We sometimes set our own selves up for heartbreak, to be quite honest. There are plenty of good women here on this earth. One that is willing and ready to share their world with a deserving man. A woman finds pleasure in pleasing her man and making sure his needs are being met. The first thing us “good women” need to realize is that a man is only ready for a good woman when he is ready to be a good MAN. Until you meet a man who is willing to be a good one for you, you will find yourself lodging in heartbreak hotel.
Kara Warner is an upcoming author, blogger, and educator from Omaha, NE, by way of Hammond, IN. She has placed much emphasis on supporting, and becoming an advocate for women and youth who struggle with self- esteem, image, and perception issues.
In 2009, Kara founded a program entitled, ‘Beauty Is Skin Deep Movement, Inc.” in order to reconstruct the perception and image of women of color in American society. She has conducted classes for the YMCA, Urban League of Nebraska, Middle School Learning Center, and Girls Incorporated of Omaha.
Kara is currently working on a book titled, ” False Feelings Appearing Real”, a compilation of experiences and stories by women who have, throughout their life, struggled with understanding their feelings and are now learning how to cope with them.
Follow Kara @Conquistanoir (IG) Livelifwpurpose (Twitter)