I like to think that I have dated the whole gamut of men out there. I had a boyfriend who made me feel like a queen and one who took me to what I like to call the deepest part of hell. Then there’s the man who makes you feel like you need to prove that you’re worthy of being in the relationship, that you need to give him a reason to love you and stay faithful to you. And there are others who sit back and let you do all the work leaving you feeling exhausted and worthless.
One of the things I learned from my interactions with these different guys is that if I ever found myself desperately trying to show a man what a catch I am then I needed to walk away, fast.
Knowing your self-worth i.e. what you bring to the table, is so important. It determines how others treat you and, most importantly, how you allow them to treat you.
Below are some signs that you’re trying to prove your worth to a man, and what you should do instead.
1. You treat compliments as a revelation rather than a confirmation
For a long time I didn’t know how to respond to compliments. I will blame it on my attitude when I was growing up; I was conditioned into thinking that compliments and being proud of yourself will make you vain. Then I met someone who showered me with compliments and I would just smile, brushing them aside. It wasn’t until I got involved with someone else who seemed to get his kicks out of putting me down that I realised the importance of knowing my worth, and being proud of myself and my accomplishments.
I’m not saying that you go around saying “I know,” anytime someone tells you how good you look, although I did tell someone this one time. He had pissed me off. What I’m trying to put across is that you need to have a running list of your strengths and accomplishments in your mind such that if someone should praise you for them, it’ll just be a confirmation of what you already know. You should never have to convince a man to take notice of your beauty, intelligence, talent, etc.
2. You compromise your standards, needs to please him
Just writing this makes me mad. I have been there actually, so I won’t point any fingers. There was a guy who I really liked, but I found that I compromised my needs to accommodate him so much that in the end, the entire relationship was about keeping him comfortable. I was so focused on showing him that I understood him and that he could be sure that I was ready to accommodate him and his needs that I failed to demand the same treatment from him.
Eventually I got tired, and wiser, and told myself that if we couldn’t meet each other halfway, I wasn’t going to drain myself trying to please him. I also wanted my needs to be met.
Before you start dating anyone, write down your needs, those that are non-negotiable and those that you can compromise. That’s why that period between relationships, when you’re single, is so important. You have time to regroup and get your priorities straight. And, don’t ever allow yourself to forget them even if you’re head over heels in love with your new beau. Remember, a good man will give just as much as, if not more than, he receives.
3. You seem to be the only one who wants to move to the next phase of your relationship
One of the lessons I have had to learn the hard way is that if a man truly wants you, he will do everything in his power to keep you. This rang true when I met a man who was terribly ambitious about his life goals. He would rattle off what he wanted in his career, the car he wanted to buy, the house he wanted to build. He would set timelines and I watched as he achieved his goals, one after the other.
But when it came to us, there was never a discussion about where we were going. We didn’t go out for too long but after almost a year together I realised that I needed to be straight with myself. He was quite happy to have me around but with no sense of true commitment and no clear view of the future, I knew that if I continued “hanging around” trying to move the relationship forward on my own, I was not only wasting my time but I was sure I would find myself, six years down the line, single and forced to start afresh.
Tough talk, you cannot be with a man for five or six years and he hasn’t so much as committed to you. Girl, you are wasting your time. If he wants to be with you, he will make sure of that as soon as he can, experts say two years but that’s not a rule. If he hasn’t so much as spoken about a future with you in it, pack your bags and leave. Know your worth. Don’t fool yourself by saying that if you stay a bit longer, try a bit harder, he will notice what a catch you are. There’s someone out there who won’t need convincing of how amazing you are.
4. You have forgotten who you are
You wear what he likes not because you want to but because you want him to take notice of you. You cook or eat only those foods he likes because you want him to see how accommodating you are. You only watch what he watches. His goals somehow morph to become yours. These are just some of the signs that you’ve forgotten who you are.
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that you should forget who you are as an individual. Even as you strive to get to know each other and possibly build a life together, you also need to have space to be your own unique selves. You don’t have to let go of everything that makes you you to prove you love him. Just as you love him and his individuality, he should also love you and yours.
The list above isn’t cut and dry but it’s a good place to start if you’re trying to judge how healthy your relationship is. Even as we say that some men give the rest a bad name, remember that how someone treats you will only affect you as much as you let it. Therefore, if you feel like there is a lack of respect or that you’re being shortchanged, be courageous enough to fix it where it can be fixed and to leave where it can’t.Would you rather have more money or more free time?