They are in line in front of us, they are at the checkout stand, they are there when we find things to buy off of a social media marketplace or Craigslist. They are there when we go out to eat together or when we go on vacation.
I see them look at him and he look at them or him doing everything he can not to look at them. When I’m not around, I know that it’s even worse, it’s just all happening behind the scenes.
People say that it’s okay to look as long as you don’t touch, that as long as you don’t touch, no harm is done.
Another common phrase that gets thrown around is “it shouldn’t matter, as long as I come home to you at the end of the night.” We have all heard that line a few times. It’s as if we should be thankful that they had the courtesy to take one for the team by putting their true desires aside and dragging themselves home to the old ball and chain each night.
Here’s another good one: “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”
Women aren’t stupid.
They quickly figure out when a man is losing interest, and women don’t want to be the obligation that you drag yourself home to each night even if you are trying to do the right thing or to stay with the mother of your child/children. Women take notice when you stop chasing her, stop pursuing her, stop texting her and flirting with her like you used to. She can also feel whether someone wants to be around her or not or starts to avoid her.
Why Women are Tired of Feeling Like They Aren’t Enough
Women are becoming frustrated with a pattern. The pattern of being everything a man wants until you have us. From personal experience, every single friend I’ve ever had that had a boyfriend or husband- he tried to hit on me. Not one or two or three, EVERY single one past and present. That’s not a compliment or a bragging statement towards me- it has nothing to do with me.
What was my magic alluring quality?
Simply, that I was NOT who they were with at the time- so I was attractive and enticing to them. (See- new cow theory for a depressing and comical take on this, as played out in the movie Someone Like You 2001).
I am not alone in my experiences, many other women go through the same thing. Everything that their girlfriends or wives were to them- all down the drain and out the window when the sight of something different comes into their view.
A new set of body parts happened to be passing by. And when that experience with other women’s partners continued to play out again and again, on top of everything that I had experienced in my own dating and relationship life with men- topped off with extra sprinkles by celebrity men’s constant screwups, even when they are married to supermodels. Well… there was where my journey of awakening began. I began to notice that most, if not all, of the women I knew, including myself, were all putting in an incredible amount of effort and worry into grabbing a mans interest, keeping a man interested, and investing in the relationship- only to have their hearts broken.
I never felt I was enough
I suddenly realized that I hate even going to the store with him, going shopping with him anywhere, because there are always other beautiful, attractive, younger, different women. They are new and exciting and different, and this is me at my best- I’m dressed up with makeup on, legs shaved, a cute outfit and the baby weight is gone. I’ll never be younger than I am right now and I at my very best is never enough.
It was never enough in all of my previous relationships when I was even younger and more carefree. And it’s still not enough now. Nor is it enough for the women around me, or enough for the supermodels, the women with boob jobs and Botox- they aren’t enough either it turns out. They all work so hard to gain and keep a man’s attention and love, and I watch the same outcome every single time.
At this point in the game, I’m beginning to feel disillusioned about the entire idea of love and marriage, and I get sick at even the preview for a romantic comedy. I am not a feminist- far from it actually. But I can’t help but think that women have been dealt a bad deal in this game of life. I’m not just talking about being the weaker sex, dealing with periods, hormones, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, biological clocks and timetables of fertility, ridiculous beauty standards, threats on our safety wherever we go, and a career/family life balance conundrum that can never seem to be solved.
Women have been hoodwinked!
Putting all of that aside, We’ve been hoodwinked into throwing all our efforts, hopes, and dreams into finding and keeping a man and raising a family, which turns out to be a rigged carnival game that isn’t in our favor at all! Little girls grow up dreaming of that crowning moment when a man gets down on one knee and her whole life is supposed to fall into place. Good luck! And then the women blame themselves when it falls apart.
I devoted so much of myself to the men in my life and these relationships that I lost myself. I did what all the magazines, books, talk shows, and other experts advise women to do. I made sure to fix myself up, give plenty of sex, plenty of self-sacrifice and giving, plenty of domesticated housework and cooking and service. I even managed to get beyond just the physical aspect of it all with a couple of men to create a deep love and admiration for one another (just like the movies) and we had memories, inside jokes, common interests and hobbies, and a true connections to each other.
Surely then, the movies and books would say, that you have found what you’ve always been looking for, so work really hard to keep it and don’t forget to keep up your breakneck efforts to keep that man in your life!
Make sure you keep him interested, fed, and fully satisfied sweetie or he might stray!
So women continue on their daily quest- living this way in constant and unending desperation-level efforts to either find a man or keep him happy and hold the family together, until one day…
She realizes, “what is the point of me spinning my wheels?” Constantly chasing the wind and pursuing something that slips through my fingers like sand. There’s nothing she can do to be enough, and she’s tired of trying.
She is beautiful- but it’s not enough.
She is funny and friendly and compassionate, she is smart and helpful and a great mom- but it doesn’t matter.
Because years of investment, having their child, cooking their supper, getting fixed up for them, giving enough blowjobs, overlooking the lies, working through the fights……all gets washed away the second a pair of big tits walks by or thick thighs or a girl with her hair put up into little twists while you’re on vacation together.
It is all in vain, and when the woman finally decides- screw this- I’m into the strong, independent woman narrative now… she’s got a long, difficult road ahead of her to try and navigate childcare, working, running a household, paying bills, nurturing the children, and living alone (aside from having a roommate or living with family). She needs protection, so she might buy a gun, security cameras, and a big dog.
She can replace the physical company with the options of one night stands or the purchase of any number of her own self-love tools. The loneliness and loss of companionship and intimacy can be replaced with meaningful quality friendships, quality time with family and her children, and most importantly the peace, intimacy and understanding she draws from her time spent in prayer and relationship with God- the One who never lets her down, who loves unconditionally, and who knows and sees her perfectly.
I believe so many thousands of women can identify with this because they live it daily.
Women are tired of feeling like they aren’t enough.
I’m tired of being every man’s not enough.
Every mans desire for a few months or even a few years, only to become each man’s obligation or ball and chain.
Then, back on the dating scene again as only a picture to be traded, judged, and objectified into nothing more than a temporary physical release until the next shiny object catches their fleeting interest.
Whether you’re the single lady, the wife, the girlfriend, the fiancé, the side chick, or the one night stand- it is not uncommon to feel that you’re just being used and exploited- to keep around as long as is convenient or out of “duty” and obligation, all of which fall short of our hopes and dreams.
So, what am I saying with all of this complaining and ranting?
Do I have any suggestions beyond just adding my voice to other frustrated women who seem bitter and jaded?
I am not advocating for women to become feminists, sluts, man-haters, or celibate nuns or shut-ins that never go out on a date.
I’m simply saying that we could stand to change the narrative by allowing women to be defined by more than just their relationship status. If women could help each other to shift their focus from hoping, wishing, praying and needing a man to come into her life so that she can live happily ever after, have the dream wedding, wear the dress, have that romance and intimacy that she has always dreamed about…. to instead focus on everything else life has to offer her, women everywhere would begin to feel more empowered and encouraged.
A change of perspective changes everything. And above all, it is my hope that women would stop stop stop blaming themselves.
Read that again, and let it sink in.
If women could stop thinking that there is something wrong with them or that there is something they could have said or done that would have made their boyfriend or husband want only them forever- think of the amount of relief and empowerment that one simple statement of truth could bring.
Maybe we should be teaching our young women and daughters to focus on their futures, on their careers, on their education, on their dreams and ambitions- and not to get caught up in the fairytale princess narrative of being discovered or rescued by Prince Charming. My daughters and I watch every Disney movie and romantic comedy just like everyone else. We are doing a great disservice to ourselves and our daughters by continuing to feed into this scheme.
That we would teach our daughters to fall in love with themselves first, and to love their personalities and their bodies without judging them based on what a man said he liked or didn’t like. That women’s Pinterest boards would be filled more with their passions, interests, dreams and achievements and less with their dream wedding or endless weight loss/fashion/tips.
If we, as women, could back away from the all-consuming romance obsession, then I believe that we could not only soften the blow when things don’t turn out as planned but also think of what we could achieve in our lives if we even invested half the effort we all put into our romantic endeavors, with much better returns on investment!
In a twist of irony, it turns out that many men are attracted to women who aren’t too desperately concerned with needing a man to fulfill their lives. It’s like a game you win when you decide to stop playing.
Make up your mind that your life isn’t defined by your relationship status. You don’t need a man for your life to begin or for your dreams to come true.
Get your hair and nails done and go shopping for yourself, let everything you do be something that feeds your soul and makes you happy, not just to please or attract a man
Always know that you are enough, as you are. You have value that goes far beyond your body type, bra size, education level, cooking skills, employment status or relationship status. You are enough. When the obsession with needing and pleasing a man fades to the back burner, the rest of what life has to offer has a chance to shine through.
Start enjoying life on your terms.
Do you know that amazing feeling you get when you nestle into your bed just right, or
when you are watching a movie at night with your family, and it’s raining outside…
when you hold a puppy’s paw or a baby’s lips up against your face right between your eyes…
When a smell or a song takes you away to a happy memory…
when you belly laugh so hard that you cry and can barely catch your breath and you might even pee a little…
When you are reading an amazing book that you can’t put down or looking forward to the next episode of a great TV show, with snacks on the couch!
When you have a conversation with someone and they “get it” they understand and validate your point and experience back to you in a way that brings such a relief.
When you enjoy a perfect piece of chocolate, a cup of coffee, a plate full of spaghetti (sub any other comfort food that hits the spot)
When you pour your heart out to God in prayer in your car and find the most amazing sense of peace, reassurance, faith, comfort, love and encouragement (followed by being mad at yourself for not coming to God sooner or communicating on a more regular basis and a renewed commitment and determination to be less distracted)
When you finish a great work out… spend time in nature… pass a test… pay off a credit card/loan/car or any other debt… get an amazing night’s sleep… take a hot shower… get a haircut… you get the point.
As women, we tend to let the men in our lives and the relationship we have with them become so all consuming, that we put all of our eggs in one basket (no pun intended). We give the relationship or lack thereof the power over our happiness. Let’s start the paradigm shift and take back control of our own happiness, regardless of his opinion. You are more than just a pretty face.
Kristi Johnson is a recent summa cum laude graduate of Texas A&M University-Central Texas and proud mother of three daughters. Her educational background is focused primarily in teaching, liberal studies, and sociology. As a divorced single mother who has experienced the trials of marriage, separation, infidelity, and blended families she is passionate about helping others.