So I met this man. What else is new, right? Those of you who have been reading for a while know that it is normal for me to meet men, it is just abnormal for me to like them after a date or two. But I like a lot about this man mostly that he seems devoted to his family and has a similar outlook regarding spirituality and how to live life – some really important and apparently rare to find qualities. Anyway, I am catching myself thinking about him throughout the day which means I am starting to like him which traditionally means that I am about to sacrifice my goddess power to a mere mortal man.
But not this time.
Although this guy seems great and I like him and all and other women would bend over backwards for him (and some have, I am sure, because he is good looking, nice, and has worked hard and been successful so that now, at age 50 he can relax a little and not work so hard and anyone who has tried to find a sane, nice, fiscally comfortable person to date in the middle of life understands how utterly RARE all of the qualities are in one person), I refuse to set my self up for later misery by letting him get away with treating me the least bit shabbily. Twice in five days he has said he would call within a certain time frame and failed to do so not contacting me for more than 24 hours after each incident. This is a problem for me – A BIG problem.
Because I am searching for a long term mate, a partner with which to navigate life, it is imperative that any candidate possess traits and demonstrates habits that are conducive to creating a happy day-to-day existence. Showing respect for my time and practicing good communication skills including communicating information at an agreed upon time is one of those important habits that contributes to the achievement of daily harmonious co-habitation. If I fail to convey that standard now, then I am cheating myself and this man. I am giving him the green light to treat me differently than the way I desire, require and deserve.
According to Steve Harvey, men want directions in how to treat you and if you give them up front, when you first meet, then the man can decided if he is willing to adhere to your standards or not before anyone’s time is wasted and emotions are at risk. Harvey writes:
“Men are very simple, logical people; if you tell us what you like and what you don’t like, we’ll do anything we can to make sure we live up to your expectations, particularly if we’re interested in forging a relationship with you. … But really, we’re not programmed to figure it out. It really makes us quite happy when you lay out your requirements for us. And we need you to do it up front, so we can decide if we’re up for the challenge – not two weeks into the relationship, not two months after we’ve had sex, not two hers after we’ve said “I do” in front of the preacher and our respective families and friends. Heck, we’ll take them while you’re standing at the bar, sipping on the peach martini we just bought you, so long as you’re laying them out. Because now you’ve given us a road map for how to conduct ourselves, especially if we’re truly interested in a relationship with you.”
This is sound advice for everyone. How can we possibly find someone we can go through life with if we fail to share the roadmap of our standards and values OR fail to get their roadmap.
In my previous dating life, I never wanted to rock the boat. I would put up with all kinds of crap, particularly if a sexual relationship had started, to keep the relationship in tact out of fear or laziness (what a bother to have to find someone else to have sex with, right?). Then later after I felt like things were comfortable and it was time to move into a more serious commitment I would start to map out the parameters or became super resentful and blamed the man for being stupid. I now recognize that I was the one being stupid. No wonder I ended up with badly behaving men! If I had mapped out my standards for treatment up front (or even taken the time to understood what they were) the losers would have taken off long before I had become emotional/physically attached and the goods ones might have stuck around rather than quitting the dumb game I was playing early on in search of someone who had their personal act better put together.
Part of this issue was my own low self-esteem at the time but another part of the problem is how I was raised. I remember my authority figures squashing my attempts to express my needs by telling me to stop complaining rather than teaching me better language or training me to suppress any undesirable emotions like anger, resentment, fear or jealousy because they were not “nice”, saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. In Southern homes of the time, young ladies were trained that your guests (read anyone who is not family) ruled and you responded to their every whim with compliance and never gave criticism or set a boundary. You were supposed to be pretty and compliant. Entire generations of women were trained to be doormats. Southern literature is full of depictions of these women like Stella and Blanche from “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Every Southerner knows the description of the little lady who, “Tells you to go to hell in a way that you thought she was paying you a compliment”. This type of suppression is a twisted disease that has been passed down from generation to generation and hopefully in my lineage stops with me.
So this time with this guy I put it on the line, up front, confidently and boldly. I left him a message politely but firmly describing my annoyance and how I expect to be communicated with from this second on. Maybe his phone died but there are other ways to get messages to people nowadays. He can either work within the parameters of my standards or take a hike because respect for myself far outweighs need for a person in my life who treats me disrespectfully.
Thanks, Steve Harvey. We will see if this guy is sport fishing or looking for a keeper very soon. His reaction to my message will speak volumes.
We will see if he is worth investing my precious time in pursuing a relationship or not.