Are you willing to pay the ultimate price for love?

“Because if we’re going to go through this shit, it should be for a purpose. Right? Do we not love to be loved? Or have women like me mastered the art of being starter relation/situationships? Do we provide men like you with everything necessary to become the men you want to be—without us? Is that how this works? Who made these rules? I’m glad you’ve grown and are finding your way.I’m glad you’ve grown and are finding your way. But how am I supposed to celebrate growth that happened at my expense? What am I to make of a strength, nourished by food I cooked and dreams I fed, that I’ll never experience? There are far too many of us doing the emotional labor of birthing men we’ll never get to have and hold.”

In the name of love, we go above and beyond.   As a woman, it’s almost ingrained in us that our job is to sacrifice in order to help your significant other excel.  If you worked hard to further your education & then excel in your chosen career field, you are expected to give up your career, stay home, raise the children, & take care of your husband’s needs in the name of love & family.   You strive to always look physically attractive for your mate.   You need to support his dreams and goals.  You must learn to enjoy what he likes.    And many of us almost break our fucking necks trying to live up to what you believe his expectations are whether real or imaginary.

Ultimate sacrifices in the name of love usually comes at high cost.   Throughout the relationship, you are supporting his dream & goals while slowly letting go of your dreams & goals.  Forgoing advancement in your career & trading it all in for housewife status means becoming financial dependent on this person.  You are no longer expected to engage in intellectual conversations because housewives are only allowed to speak about diaper genies or some husbands want you to be seen only.   You walk on eggshells hoping not to arouse his frustration or anger, while sweating your ass off in the gym & then making sure your hair is just right in order to maintain your level of attractiveness to your mate.

Yet men can let themselves go physically, are congratulated on their drive & determination towards advancing in their careers, follow their dreams, & are seen as the only leaders of the household.    However, women are their cheerleaders, supporters, nurturers, & stepping stones & their love, efforts, and support are graciously rewarded either with infidelity, divorce, heartache, dismissal, or being traded for a piece of arm candy now that they have arrived either physically, financially, or emotionally.

I, unfortunately, know all about this sacrifice.   I know what it is like to continually put in work on a relationship where you are undervalued, unappreciated, & traded for a more acceptable model.   I know what it means to fight for someone because you feel obligated & like a failure for giving up on that person.   Because good women don’t give up on their man when the going get’s tough.  You dig your heels in and start fighting harder.  Right?   Because at no point is it acceptable to consider your own self respect, self worth, or self value, right?   We aren’t allowed to have boundaries, limits, and expectations.   We aren’t allowed to desire to be loved in return when we have loved you all along the way.   Because as women we are taught to be martyrs.  We are pushed to believe we aren’t complete without having someone in our life.  We are tricked into believing our self worth comes from the approval of others.  We are taught putting ourselves first is selfish, bitchy behavior.   Yet, men are continually praised and encourage to pursue these behaviors, thoughts, and needs.  So what do we get in return for so much?

“Depression. Suicidal ideation. Substance abuse. Retail therapy and maxed credit cards. Entertaining {men} we don’t even like just to feel wanted. So many forms of self-harm. We pay with our bodies. Sometimes our lives. And even in that trauma, we still find ways to sow deeper into the love we have for you, hoping it will get better. We cry out to God and give in to you. Our legs wrapped around your waist, praying yours don’t walk out of our lives. And then…when you’re done…we painfully watch you leave.”
I can honestly say when I was younger, I gave my all to one man because we told each other we loved each other. I knew I wanted to make this relationship work because he was the man I wanted to marry.   I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.   I didn’t see the warning signs that this relationship would be toxic.  I accepted his cheating ways & behavior of other relationships because I never expected to find a man that would find me sexually attractive.  I never thought I would be with a man who loved me despite being a fat, chocolate girl who had been told over the years she would never be good enough.   And definitely, not catch the attention of a man who I found attractive as well.   I had found my person & any sacrifice would be worth it, right?   Cause I should just be lucky to find a man who liked me since I didn’t live up to the standards of American beauty.

What did that sacrifice & lack of self worth buy me?  I gained weight, stressed about every little thing I did, weighed every thing I said, & eventually became a neurotic, insecure, emotionally spent woman.   I paid the ultimate price in the name of love despite doing the things expected of a fantastic girlfriend:  I supported his dreams & aspirations, I was sexually open, I tried to maintain some level of physical attractiveness,  I worked hard to not elicit his anger or make him frustrated.  My love, strength, and encouragement was rebuked not once, not twice, but three times.  Off & on, I spent 11 years seeking validation of my love only to be rewarded with an insufficient funds notice on my emotional investment.  And that feeling still lies dormant in my soul like a rotting plaque just waiting for the most inopportune time to flare up and cause me weakness and pain even today.

Yet, this person who is currently on his second marriage, is more confident than ever, a calmer soul, & 17 years later still emails, text, and calls because he still views me as his girl in some ways and a great friend.  The man who has committed to giving his all to another, but can just know without hearing my voice the mood I am in.  The person who still battles with his emotions when it comes to me, but couldn’t meet me even half way.  The person who has a partner who supports his all & has won the game of relationship roulette.  Sacrifices come at a cost for all involved. While my cost have been higher than I would like, others have paid financially, emotionally, mentally, &/or with their lives.   When are we going to start putting a higher market value on ourselves & not give ourselves away so cheaply.

Quotes from a writing blog by Carmen Benbow:  full article here – you should give it a read http://www.candicebenbow.com/blog/443  & PS: I know that all men are not like this!

 

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