Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why Do We Do This to Ourselves?

Recently, I had a conversation with another single mother near my age. She was talking about a trip she took to New York City to meet the man she had been online dating for several months. Their conversations on the phone and the internet had been fantastic. They had connected and things were moving along. She spoke of how she was so excited, and had taken off work for the week and arranged for her children to stay with her mother. It seemed like a dream come true, until the plane landed and the obvious disappointment was seen on the man's face.

He didn't have the guts to tell her what he was thinking, he took her home, and proceeded with their weekend. She kept getting strange vibes from him, as if something was wrong. He even retreated to his room a couple times during a dinner with his family. My poor friend was aware that something was off kilter, but she obliged his intimacies, and she kept to herself the devastation she was feeling. She was self conscious about her body, and didn't want to be seen. He made a comment after one of there moments together about how she couldn't help it, she'd be big forever, it was the way she was made. What he didn't know was that she had already lost over 100 pounds. Her weight bothered him, but he didn't state that to her directly. Instead, he took her shopping for her kids and sent mixed messages.

Finally, she boarded the plane and flew back home, at turmoil with her emotions and frustrated with his lack of communication about what he was really thinking. When she got home, she decided to email him and ask him about what had gone on in NYC. She asked him if her weight was an issue, and finally he admitted that it was. This made her angry. She promptly told him that he should've immediately addressed his disappointment when she landed, rather than drag her through a week of emotional hell, and let her go home to her family. She told him of her amazing weight loss in the past, and that she "didn't give a damn" what he thought of her size. She didn't need such a person in her life. She'd lived this long without him, and she could continue. She informed me that she was, in her own words, "a bitch" in her response to him. The results, however, were surprising. He immediately apologized for his insensitivity and inappropriate actions while she visited him. He begged her not to leave him, and said he would love a second chance to recover what damages he'd done when she visited.

She spoke to me for a long time about how we, as women, tend to think we need to settle. We get lonely and tired, and we think that means we have to give up on our needs. We tolerate bad behavior and excuse it, in the name of finding love. We are willing to overlook major descrepancies in order to have someone beside us at night. The biggest thing, is that we fail to see our own incredibleness! We fail to see that we are intelligent, strong, compassionate, independent people! We deserve the best! We deserve to have our needs met by someone who can see the whole of us, and love us as we are! We shed too many tears over men who don't deserve to be in our lives.

Our conversation made me think, too many nights I've tortured myself, believing that I don't deserve to be happy. I wait by the phone, hoping it will ring, devastated when it doesn't. I allow myself to make excuses for being treated as an afterthought. I place so much value on what "he" thinks, and fail to see the truth about myself. I recognize I have a pattern of settling. Due to the humiliation of two divorces, I believe I'm lucky if anyone ever loves me. Who would really want this single mother of four? That's what I continually ask myself, as I cry alone. I've become so used to trying so hard to make a man love me, that I sacrifice my own integrity. I give up so much of myself, in hopes that he can't live without me. I don't communicate how I'm really feeling on the inside, for fear it will chase him away. I put my needs aside, and I suffer the torment that churns inside me, as I wait for him to define me as acceptable. If he doesn't, then I figure he must be right.

What I fail to see is that I am incredible! I manage to work full-time, go to school full-time, parent four sons from the ages of 1 to 16, keep a roof over our heads, and all of this by myself! My body may not be perfect, but I'm not looking too bad for a mother of four! I am an awesome mother, who loves her children with all her heart. I have a great sense of humor. I love sarcasm! I am intelligent. I have a way of reading other's emotions and being sensitive to them. I am creative. I am good at my job. I am well-rounded. I have many great qualities to offer. I don't need to settle. I don't need to second-guess my worthiness or sacrifice my heart to someone who doesn't appreciate it. I don't need a man to define me. I want a man that can compliment my qualities, and grow with me. Come on ladies, let's stop the nonsense and wake up to how marvelous we really are!

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