Am I being asked to change or does he actually care about me?
Society presents us with all kinds of ideas on how to behave, what to wear, who to be friends with, etc. We also have to deal with our own feelings on top of it. It’s a tough battle, knowing that you are probably not doing what society says or what your family believes is right but your emotions are telling you to do something else. Where do you draw the line? Are you even conscious of this line? If you’re a man, you’ve probably never thought about it. If you’re a woman, you’ve overanalyzed it time and again. Especially when someone posts an inspirational quote with a beach behind it on facebook, telling you to live the life you want to live and do what you want to do.
I have gotten myself into romantic relationships in the past that have disturbed my image of what is right and wrong. One that I wanted out of for almost 2 years yet I kept trying to please him, hoping that it would work out eventually and it never did. The other I wanted to be in the relationship for life and simply did too much for him and jeopardized myself; making myself vulnerable. Either way, looking back, I realized that I did too much for the relationship than what I was getting out of it. When we discussed issues, independent of who brought them up, I was the person who was committed to making it work out. I was told that my ‘selfishness’ was getting in the way, so I moved him up in the priority list, I was told that my problem with his mother was my ‘problem’, so I threw myself in the pit and spent the weekend with her, etc. FOR YEARS I did these dumb things, thinking that it was the best way to go about these things.
Until I started to take into account all of those comments from women over the years about dating men who simply wanted to change them to fit their image of the woman they wanted. I dawned on me that I was doing that same thing. “Why don’t you wear lipstick?” I made an effort to wear lipstick… Or, “You use too many pronouns, I can’t understand you.” I thought I had a problem. Maybe I did use too many pronouns??? So, I tried to change the way I spoke around him. Which caused other problems in my daily life, in turn complicating life in ways I don’t want to even think about anymore. Little did I know it then, but, I was putting way too much effort into relationships than they were worth. I was honestly getting too little out of them for it to even be worth it.
This is not the problem however. The problem is that, NOW, I cannot distinguish between a legitimate relationship concern and a boyfriend trying to ‘change’ me. I am so terrified of someone compromising who I am to even think about their concerns from an objective viewpoint. I’ve taken the stance to be who I am, no matter who that is and who I hurt. Which is honestly very sad. Whenever a subject comes up that concerns the relationship or the needs of the other person, I refuse to listen. I’ve gone all the way over to the other spectrum where I cannot even listen to the other person’s concerns for my fear of being manipulated and ‘changed’.
Therefore, where do you draw the line? I don’t feel like I can trust my emotions since they’re the ones wreaking havoc on my heart in the first place. Yet, logic tells me to be aware of men and to be vigilant as to who is going to try to ‘change’ me. Emotional abuse is a real thing. I suppose Pat Benatar knew what she was talking about in “Love is a Battlefield”. For now, I’m going to focus on taking some time for myself, getting to know myself on a different level, without the manipulation or even the guidance of a man. Although, in the future, I hope to accept advice and constructive criticism from a boyfriend/partner without thinking they are trying to manipulate or change me; while still being aware of the malicious ones.
Thanks for reading!