This discussion has been a long time coming. Periodically something would happen among friends and I would think about it but never actually followed through. But in the past couple of months, several of my friends that are female have told me tales of their treatment by men that are so far from the mores of the culture in which I grew up as to leave me with little point of reference. I’ve been blessed to number among my friends a number of female friends who are dynamic, intelligent, powerful ladies. All of the women in my family were like that and they were the critical models for my sense of what females are really all about. To see time after time how these really amazing people have been disrespected, lied to, used, abused, and hurt by men they trusted and gave their hearts to is maddening. Finally some critical mass has been reached and I’m going to put down my thoughts on it and direct some choice comments to other members of my gender and then a few to the other gender.
Perhaps back in pre-historic days up through medieval times it was socially OK to treat women like beasts of burden or simply a sub-par type of humanoid whose only valid role was to “service” men and stroke their egos and keep the species going. But except for certain cultural backwaters and individual morons rising to astronomical heights of insecurity and immaturity, the time finally and belatedly arrived when women were seen for the inner power and incredible asset they really were. And as their stature rose, a new definition of “Love” was allowed to bloom: the idea that to love someone meant to respect, honor, and cherish them because they completed you. This ideal was not to be confused simply with “lust” and certainly not with ‘ownership’ in any sense of the word. Saying you love your lady ought to mean far more than saying you love your car or even that you love your dog.
Nor was “love” related in anyway to someone’s “need” because that is an inward directed problem of a person’s own insecurity and low self esteem and not of any outward directed affection. it was not the swooning drama of the victorians brought on more by tight corsets than a tight grip on emotions. Nor was it the fawning trauma of maudlin gothic romances nor the idiocy of movies saying it means “never having to say you are sorry” when in reality it makes you ready to acknowledge error and profess sorrow for mistakes. It is not the desperate controlling of a dysfunctional and uber-needy co-dependent personality nor the manipulative machinations of someone seeking to use the other. Rather, love, real love, is about respect and trust.
From respect flows honesty and integrity, an honoring of the loved one for their willingness to spend another moment with you because that same honesty, turned inward, forces you to realize you really do not deserve such a blessing. And from trust comes release to allow them to grow and flourish and become all THEY want to be and can be not just all YOU want them to be especially if that really means to be a servant to you. If you truly, deeply love someone then your life in relation to them is governed by two simple rules: (1) SHOW UP and (2) PAY ATTENTION.
To “Show Up” means you will be there for them whether or not it is what you would really like to do at the time. if it is important to them then love will make it important to you that you do all in your power to support them in their passions and desires.
To “Pay Attention” means you will be so “into” them and their personas that you will be able to detect even the subtle clues that reveal when they are unhappy or lonely or in need of a hug and support. Trust me on this one guys because I know what I am talking about here. I failed in both of these rules and lost the most important thing in my life back then. Especially at my age now I don’t really expect to ever get that replaced and I am far the poorer for it.
Sadly the term “love” is tossed around quite loosely these days. Everyone talks about how they just love so and so… but they don’t mean it literally. For the most part they have no clue what that actually means. It is said that men profess love to get sex and women provide sex to get love but in neither of those cases is the love real. If you hurt or lie to or act in any disrespectful way toward your lady and yet tell her you love her then the truth is that you are a liar. You’re not mistaken, you’re not confused, you’re not just weak. You are lying, pure and simple. You are lying certainly to her and probably to yourself as well. And any relationship built on such a cracked foundation will not last, barring mutual dysfunction gone to seed, for very long. Because the sad truth is that to build a truly deep profound lifelong relationship, love alone, even real love, is a critical element but is not enough. If it is not built on the foundation of real friendship then it is a sham and will end badly. So how can you tell? It is very simple: how do you act toward them? At least for a moment be honest with yourself here and answer these questions…
Do you lie? Do you cheat? Do you use them? Do you hurt them in ANY way (physically, emotionally, psychologically) and keep doing it even after you have been made aware of it? Do you discourage them, much less keep them from pursuing their own passions and growth? Do you try to control their lives and actions? Do you not trust them to be true to you? Do you impose your values, needs, wants, even discipline on her and claim it is for her own good? Do you think that because she is “just a girl” she will be too stupid to see through your actions? If you do any one of these things alone, much less several of them, then whatever it is you are feeling toward her it is not love and it is not a friendship being formed because those things simply are not done by someone who truly loves and truly offers friendship. No, they aren’t. Using the words doesn’t make it real.
There is no maneuvering room here Buster, no room to try to weasel out of it. No fast talking, charismatic personality, roguish smiles, or cute boyish charms can change the truth of it to your favor. It is a non-negotiable issue. Bottom line: if you do thses things — or any of them — then you cannot, by definition, truly love the person you do them to. Real love simply won’t allow it. If you have to say you are sorry for the same action more than once then you are not sorry at all (except that you might have been caught) and therefore you are lying and someone truly in love simply is not capable of that. That is not to say that you might, in some way care a little about them and like them and lust after them… but you do not love them. Loving them would prohibit such actions. So quit tarnishing the word and making it as cheap and meaningless as you are.
So you may sail through life playing your little macho games, high-fiving your buds, and bragging about your conquests like some high school retard with a grade school mentality and think you just have it made. Man, you think you are sooooo cool. A legend in your own mind. Why, woman after woman has passed through your life and bed to various ends and isn’t that what the books and movies and TV seem to imply is what men should be after? Isn’t that what was meant by the tee-shirt that said, “So Many women, So Little Time!”?
Let me disabuse you of that notion, and, again, as one who was there (I’m very sorry to say). Lust satisfied is great, to be sure; but being deeply in love with the woman in your arms who deeply loves you back is beyond wonderful; it will take your spirit to highs no drug can hope to match. If a woman’s body is simply a toy for you to play with yourself get a blow up doll… or a sheep… they will be less damaged by your childishness. Quit playing around with an adult body in a boy’s mind; grow up, and learn to really love that lady or cut her lose instead of ruining one more day of her life. If you really do love her, and mean it, and live it, and show it (which will all happen naturally if the love is real), I promise you life will get really good and you will quickly wonder why you didn’t come to your senses long before.
And to you ladies, before you think I am aiming only at men, think again. If you are out there wondering why on earth someone you love would treat you as they do, let me give you some hard-edged facts as well. They do it because they do not know any better and no, you are not going to ever be able to teach them or change them unless you were able to start on them at a very young age. The Bible was dead on when it said that if you raise up a child in the ways he should go when he is old he will not depart from it. It was true for a mud-hut society and it is true for our industrial one as well. But it works the other way too. Raise up a child in a ways that are hurtful and dysfunctional and when he is old he will not depart from them either.
Men become jerks because they had male jerks as important male models and that is all they know. They learn the right words from each other, the smooth moves from equally sleazy fathers, family, friends, or skin magazine, get their training on techniques from the web’s sleazy videos, and not a bit of it is real or has the slightest emotional connection or meaning for them. It may not entirely be their fault. Scott peck wrote that we are all victims of victims; but it doesn’t matter, they are who they are. The best they have to offer you comes at the very first when they are on the prowl. But as they grow in comfort and feel in control in the relationship, it is all downhill and you cannot turn it around or make them into something they are not: that is a fantasy that will never come true. no matter how deep your love for them the sad fact is that love will not change them because it, to them, has no meaning or relevance in their lives or thinking except as a word that works manipulative wonders.
For the jerk, however, their monstrous approach works. Because they have such low expectations they are rarely disappointed. And because the lady facilitates it and allows it they assume with some reason that the lady must like it. And they are having fun. And the lady claims to also be having a good time and expresses love in return. Why would a jerk who saw that played out as a child and is now living it and getting all they think is of value, think anything is wrong with that? And if you try to show them real love they just think it is because of how they have acted to that point. it is a trap for you with no good ending.
The good news is that there are some really good guys out there who were brought up with good values and a core respect for women in general. Not many perhaps, but some. But accept this as gospel or deny it at your own peril: any man that will hurt you in ANY way, no matter how sorry they say they are, will do it again. A man that will lie to you once will do it again. A man that will lie FOR you will have no problem lying TO you. Men are not “wired” the same as women. If he will cheat WITH you he will readily cheat ON you. You can try to rationalize it that it is just not that big a deal to him and therefore not truly meaningful… after all he did come back to you. I’m sorry but if you think that your reality check just bounced. Is it important to YOU? is it hurtful to YOU, painful to YOU. if so then if — IF — he truly loves you it will be important to him too. If he wants to leave the comfort of the home you provided, your care, you, then he can do that honestly. If he lies and cheats he does not, CAN NOT love you at the same time because that love, if real, would keep him from allowing himself to hurt you.
Read that paragraph of questions above for men starting with “Do you lie?” If the man in your life does ANY of those things he does not, will not, and cannot love you. Here is what should be a chilling truth. Despite what they say, and despite the temporary euphoria they feel after having sex, down in their core these men do not like, much less think highly of women. Most of them, if you could only hear them talk among themselves, think women are stupid or hysterics, hormone driven manic-depresssives that are simply not comprehensible by rational beings such as themselves… so why bother. Pat them on the rear, now and then do something nice to confuse them, and use them as long as you can. You may think i’m kidding here but unfortunately I am not.
In their minds the male jerks expects that in the end you will turn on him as those before have done and because of their old modeling and upbringing it will never occur to them it is their own fault. So they will blame you for all of the ills in the relationship including how they “had” to hurt you for your own good or because you made them do it (by not being the patsy and slave they demanded). Are you already getting blamed for problems? Do they already get angry when you ask of them some small thing far less than you give to them constantly? Stand by, it is only going to get worse.
Men do not take oaths lightly; if that oath of fidelity they gave before God and one they claimed to love will not bind them then no other promise will bind them either. A man will be honest and faithful and good to those he truly respects; if he lies to you or is unfaithful to you or hurts you or thinks you are stupid then he does not respect you. Period. End of story. And if he does not respect you he cannot possibly love you. Carve that line in your heart: if a man does not respect you then he cannot love you because men cannot help but show respect to the people they truly love. When it comes to 95% of men, words are simply tools and sometimes weapons. It is only sustained, consistent actions and behaviors that are reliable clues to their real feelings.
Because as a culture we have generally thrown away our core values and standards, we are left with a hole in our spirits that makes us often feel alone and adrift. It is terrible and unfortunately makes us think that the hole can be filled with the company of someone professing to care about us so we gravitate to those charismatic smooth talkers that seem to promise an end to the loneliness and stopping the drift. But it won’t work. it wouldn’t work even if the expression of care were real because that is a solution to a different problem. But when those slick words are false, it not only won’t fill the void, it creates new ones that are even worse. Loneliness is joined by the equally nasty siblings of betrayal and hurt.
So give it up; don’t make any more excuses for them, don’t cover for them, don’t forgive them even one more time, just move on and get on with your own life. Because if you do not, it will only get worse. Is that truly what you want out of your life? Is your self esteem so low and your self loathing so great that you would allow one of these jerks to control you much less hurt you? Get over it, get out… while you can. Because what you feel, the reason you keep giving for accepting the nonsense and the abuse, or for returning to it over and over, is not love either. You can call it whatever makes you feel better about it as an excuse but the fact is that you cannot truly love another if you cannot love yourself and you cannot love yourself and accept such treatment and disrespect. You may have some deep psychological itch that the abuse scratches but quit calling it love; it is not. You may be co-dependent and desperately need someone to love you so much that even hearing an abuser say they love you satisfies the need at least for a while. But that is not love. And by staying with it, returning to it, accepting it, all you are doing is facilitating it and saying in a perverse sort of way that it is OK.
It is not OK. And it sure as Hell is not Love.