We live in a man’s world, whether we want to admit it or not. Somewhere between the feminist movement and breast implants, we bestowed this power on men.
Society has ruled that it's up to men to send the first text, ask for the date and buy the ring, therefore placing women on the receiving end of the waiting game. However, instead of trying to change the dynamics of the dating world, women have accepted them.
Therefore, since men inevitably have the control to decide whether they wish to advance a relationship or not, we tend to over-invest ourselves in making sure they grant us these rewards. And, naturally, when the relationship fails, which most do, we blame ourselves.
Though my dating experience is limited as a 21-year-old, I have certainly had my fair share of disappointments. I’ve dated the immature, the overly emotional and the emotionally unavailable, but somehow, I still accuse myself for being the reason why each of these relationships fail.
As I dive headfirst into my Ben and Jerry’s after each breakup, I ask myself what I did wrong. Was I too honest? Did I expect too much? Did I let go of my appearance? But, eventually, like most women post-breakup, I decide the relationship ended because it just wasn’t worth it.
After witnessing my friends go through the same cycles with the men in their lives, I realized that despite how different we are from one another, the men with whom we've been involved have the power to make us feel like we are the problems, and in effect, cause the breakups ourselves.
We suffer through mistreatment in hopes that eventually, the men we're dating will realize what we deserve and give us what we want in order to achieve our happily-ever-afters.
This is the only way to explain why we continue to allow ourselves get hurt by the same people over and over again, or by different people in the same way.
However, as much as we wish we could change men, the task is simply and entirely impossible. In fact, we’d be more likely to create a calorie-free chocolate bar.
So, when we’ve finally taken enough of the hurt and call it quits, we decide that if we had been smarter, funnier, prettier or a few pounds lighter, they would have treated us differently. But, this is where our logic is flawed.
In our new age of social media, where it’s impossible to tell if an Instagram is filtered or Facetuned, competition is everywhere. We’ve let ourselves believe that we need to appear perfect in order to get a man’s attention, and most importantly, to keep it.
I can only imagine the early feminist’s reactions to this superficiality.
It’s time for us women to stop believing we are the problem. We need to realize that the problem rests with the men who make us feel as if we aren’t enough.
Instead of blaming ourselves for doing something wrong in the relationship, we need to acknowledge that we are picking the wrong people to get involved with in the first place.
If the men we date make us feel "needy," then clearly, they are not willing to give us what we know we need. We need to stop allowing a man’s inability to appreciate us influence our self-perceptions because we are worth so much more than someone's skewed opinion.
Our self-worth should be based on things like our accomplishments in the workplace or the small acts of kindness we display when nobody is watching, and we should not think less of ourselves because someone has failed to acknowledge our strengths.
Instead, an outsider's inability to appreciate us should simply change the way we view him.
Once we change our mindset and realize we are not the problem, we can toss aside that Ben and Jerry's therapy session.
The right person will come along, but until then, we must trudge our way through the jerks and the assh*les, with the understanding that their jerky, assh*le tendencies are not the result of our flawed belief that we are unable to measure up.