If you’ve been reading for a while you know that I haven’t had much success in the romance department. I thought I’d found love with a guy I started talking to long distance in late 2009 but that ended last year and sparked the Love and Learn series. Since then, things have not gone well with other guys I’ve talked to. Because I’m a chronic over-thinker, it has occurred to me that maybe I’m the problem. Since I’m the common denominator in those situations I need to examine my habits and patterns very carefully.
I like to be straightforward, especially when it comes to romantic relationships, because I don’t ever want a guy to feel like a breakup came out of nowhere. I let him know how I am feeling, even if it could hurt his feelings (but not because I want to hurt his feelings—there is a difference!). So I’ve told guys that I’m not happy with how things are progressing, that I don’t feel like they’re making me a priority, or that I don’t like them the way they like me. I always tell them (and thankfully it has always been true) that they are a great person and I’m sure they’ll meet someone who’ll love them exactly as they are. I don’t tell them to change. I don’t get emotional, I don’t yell or scream, I just say what I think, what I feel.
The majority of the time, I get the response most guaranteed to slay me. The moment a guy hits me with the following one-two punch, I know the male ego has been activated:
- if tells me that I’m not getting any younger (bonus points if he calls me 40 even though I just turned 34)
- if he tells me that I’ll be single for life because I’m too picky
Ouch. It always hurts – a lot – because it echoes fears that I sometimes have.
My reaction to the above is to say ok, and let them know firmly that it’s over and that I wish them well (and I do because I’m glad I saw this side of them before I got deeper into the relationship! I learned a long time ago never to get down to the level of hurling insults.)
I’ve asked friends the best way to let a guy down, and I’ve been told that we ladies must protect their ego at all costs (barf!). I’m told I should just stop answering their phone calls and eventually they’ll get the message that I’m not interested. That seems cruel, but whenever I’ve been upfront, men have showed their ego and left me feeling hurt and insulted, so maybe the “protect-his-ego-at-all-costs” method makes sense.
Update on my love status
I’m still single and I’m hoping to find a good man soon. I am demanding. I expect a man who has decided to pursue me to make me a priority. I want to be adored (all I mean by that is I’d like him to be smitten, and be unafraid to show me that he’s smitten: a man who plays hard to get will not be ‘gotten’ by me). I consider all of the following bad behaviour:
- irregular (or no) calling, emailing, or texting (he doesn’t have to do all of these all the time but he does have to keep in regular contact) or not responding to calls or texts from me
- calling while clearly doing something else such as eating, hanging out with friends (unless it’s because he wants me to talk to them), driving (it’s dangerous!), teaching his sister to drive (yup, it’s happened and I’ve called him out on it!), or any type of multitasking
- disappearing because he’s going through a hard time (hear me out: even if he can’t or won’t talk about something, he should be able to send an email or a text saying “Going through something right now; I’ll be in touch soon…take care”. Disappearing acts are not a turn on!)
Avoiding these bad habits are so much more important when one is in a long-distance relationship: things are hard enough without wondering what’s happening halfway around the world because someone is incommunicado.
Maybe my dad spoiled me, but to me, a man (or any person of integrity, really) keeps his promises, his actions speak louder than his words, he finds a way to keep up with his responsibilities, even if he’s having a bad week or month. If he can’t do something he promised to do, he’s upfront about it and doesn’t blame others or circumstances. He takes responsibility, asks for forgiveness if necessary, and moves on. If he’s platinum level, he finds a way to make up for any missteps.
I’ve been more protective of my heart since last year, but I know I have to let my walls down a bit if I want to let someone in. I don’t think I’m asking for too much (but I’d still like a Yoruba man who’s older than me and who loves God more than he loves me). I know how much love I have to give, and what I’m willing to do for someone I love. I also know how susceptible my heart is: I grew up on romance novels and romantic movies, and regularly get goosebumps after hearing particularly touching lyrics in a song. I have countless examples of men who have pursued women in the way I wish to be pursued so I know what I want is out there, that it’s possible. (And fine: I may have to compromise on my future man’s nationality and age but please let me give God my wishlist for now!)
Ladies: How do you deal with the male ego? Men: Has your ego been stung before by a straightforward woman?