Women are controlling…but please don’t tell us that

This is one blog that will start with the declaration and disclaimer that I am not a Psychologist. I base nothing I say here on scientific facts that I have tested and proven. I am simply a woman who has had quite a bit of experience with women – all types of women. So this is just my exploration and exposition of what I have learnt, through observation of and experience with my gender, inclusive of myself, in the past forty years.

I have learnt that women are controlling…but don’t dare tell us that.
If it is one thing women will tell you that they hate and resent, it is to be called controlling. It truly eats away at our core and is a sure-fire way to unnerve us in one single blow. The back of our eyes are on fire, the veins in our necks feel as though they will burst and a thousand responses come to mind in a huge jumble, but little can actually come out. The anger at being called controlling is in a category by itself.

Now don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for our children, families, friends; or wanting to perform optimally at work. In fact, I believe that most people have OCD tendencies in certain areas. I do. I won’t eat my meal if my food touches. I am highly trypophobic. I prefer to eat every meal with a knife and fork. The list goes on. Being controlling of yourself is one matter – I believe that we are entitled to be who we are, regardless of its supposed absurdity. However, when we start to want to change and control the behaviour and tendencies of others, it will be deemed as controlling, no matter how prettily we justify it.

Being controlling can be just as damaging to a relationship as adultery. It erodes a relationship from within and promotes a feeling of condemnation, emasculation and defeminisation, loss of trust. Moreover, it encourages lying and hiding, for fear of an argument ensuing, if one person does something of which the other one would have disapproved. Sadly, being controlling seems an inherent part of our nature as women, and vary in intensity among us.

Controlling behaviour can often reach the point of telling your partner what he should wear; taking out his clothes and laying it out on the bed; demanding that certain outfits, jackets, jerseys etc. not be worn with you. This control way surpasses wanting what is best for your partner, your equal. It reaches the point of dictatorship. This genre of control can take the form of convincing you that you are helping him to be better, look better, and feel better. But what you are doing is sending the message to your partner, that he isn’t good enough, smart enough, and capable enough to dress himself. So, as a result, you need to dress a grown man.

Control also rears its ugly head in the families into which we marry. Many women believe that as they take on that spanking new last name, that it entitles them to a whole new barrage of opinions and dictations about their in-laws. When I say ‘in-laws’ I do not only mean their husband’s parents, but their siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, as well. I believe that we need to be very cognisant of our roles in our newly conjoined families. As an in-law, we do not automatically have rights and control that we think, or should think. A woman’s role in her husband’s family is to support her husband in his decisions and relations with them; not to dictate what those relations should be. Marrying into a family can put you in a very precious or precarious position – it’s all a matter of choice.

I know someone who has used her husband’s love for her, and his willingness not to displease her, against him. She was single-handedly able to turn him against a family member, because she didn’t approve of the person’s choices. She proceeded to involve herself in related matters in his family, speaking one-on-one to other family members, in an attempt to sway their opinions as well. Therefore, the role she took in that family is one of being divisive, destructive, dangerous. Regardless of our personal and sometimes self-righteous opinions, it is our duty to do all that we can to keep our husbands family intact, and as close, if not closer, than when we met them. Even if this means swallowing some pride (which, by the way, never choked anyone to death), turning a blind eye to what does not directly concern us or at least, ensure we are not the reason for any dissension. Ironically, in that same family, another in-law did the opposite. She used her influence on her husband to ensure that he understood that emotions make fly high for a while, but family is family. She encouraged relations that entailed no cutting of ties, drama or discord. She decided to take on a completely different role.

Control in a life-partner’s family can become dangerous, especially when it comes to a man’s relationship with his parents. Unfortunately, controlling women in such scenarios are unable to see a parallel, should the same occur in their families; or worse than that, they find a way to justify it quite differently. It is hard, very hard when your partner’s parents don’t like you or don’t approve of your union and to some degree, I believe everyone can relate to this. The hurt is raw and there is always a need to feel that your partner should defend you and stand up for you. That does not seem too unreasonable. What becomes unreasonable is when we dictate HOW he should stand up for us and when we tell him that he should have nothing to do with them until they respect his choices. Standing up for you is quite different from ending relations with one’s parents, temporariness and ‘all for the better good’, aside. If a man decides this on his own, that is his decision and not one that I would personally support in such a situation. But demanding it, threatening that it has to happen is also a dangerous level of control. It is just as ludicrous as telling him exactly what to say to his family in their family matters. Advising and suggesting should be just that. They should not be manipulative tools used in control. Manipulation is the most deceitful form of control.

Control then has a flip side. It can be the result of being controlled. I have noticed that when women have lost all semblance of control at home, with no voice in their marriages, that they need to exert control somewhere, somehow. Sometimes this ‘lashing out’ can occur in various forms in the workplace. Women who are controlled at home by a situation over which they have no control, tend to need a victim to bully. Someone who represents all that they are losing; or someone who represents all that they want and cannot achieve because of their current circumstance. Other times they are desperate for recognition and validation in the workplace and will do anything and trample over anyone to achieve a position or promotion, so that something in them is fulfilled and they feel in control of something. I usually stay far from these women. I know what it is like to go through a terrible divorce and feel as though your world is crumbling around you in a whirlwind and you have control over nothing but your bowels. So I try to empathise and remember how hard it is, and I let these women be. We have to heal ourselves. But first we have to recognise.

Controlling men with whom we are in relationships is my favourite topic of control. Its predictability and genericness make it quite entertaining to me. These are the women for which I pathologically cannot feel sympathy or empathy. From the beginning of time we have known and witnessed first and second hand that we cannot change men, yet we somehow think that our relationship is different and he can and will spontaneously combust and turn into all that we wanted him to be.

The control here is frightening. The worst form of control that a woman can exert on a man is getting herself pregnant in order to keep him. Ladies, if he isn’t stepping up to the plate and committing or giving you what you need from the relationship, the universe can assure you that trapping him into fatherhood, isn’t going to get you what you desire either. What it will do is trap yourself into a resentful relationship with someone who will and should never trust you. This control move is also an extremely selfish and desperate one. You have completely taken away his right to choose the path he wants HIS life to take. Should a man try to control us in an even lesser way, our girlfriends would not just be up in arms, but nag you to leave him, forthwith! Yet, if our friend traps her boyfriend or husband (and yes, you can trap a husband into unwanted fatherhood), into parenthood, we pacify her that he gave her no choice.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been there. Making all the wrong decisions, unaware that one of the reasons my relationships weren’t working was because I was trying to control its path. Open communication is essential for a healthy relationship. But if you air your concerns once, twice, three times and he shows no interest in compromising, what do you think trying to control him, give him ultimatums would do? I learnt that answer the hard way. You cannot make a man love you, threaten him into taking you out, bargain with him to treat you better or beg him to give more. If love, respect and compromise don’t happen spontaneously or with as little prodding as possible, the problem is no longer him. It’s you. You need to make a decision – fish or cut bait. You need to stop vacillating, either decide to stay and accept it or leave.

What I have learnt in the past forty years is that control damages relationships, all relationships. It has no place in the same arena with love and respect. It is an opposing entity, one that is destructive and divisive. If we don’t want to be called ‘controlling’ then we need to stop trying to control everything and everyone around us. Some years ago, I let go. Mostly because I was going through so much at the time that I couldn’t keep all the balls in the air. For my mental health, I had to rearrange my life, my priorities, my purpose. I had to start from the beginning because I was at rock bottom and didn’t see a light to work towards. In finding myself, I re-defined as well. I realised, in the process, that many things that I thought were important for my sense of importance were actually fickle and insubstantial. I learnt that I had control over me, but it wasn’t a control that I was willing to relinquish to anyone. Therefore, in the same way, I could not try to take away someone else’s control. Who I am and who I have become has been a hard road travelled and now I treat important relationships carefully, with a little more and sometimes a lot more patience and understanding.

I always resent when relatives and friends ask me why I allow my husband to grow his beard so long. It’s his face, his beard, his appearance, his choice – none of which affects why I love him. I love his beard because I know he loves his beard – it is how he feels comfortable. And I am comfortable with the man that he is. Even with sillier matters, like when my brother-in-law would ask me to ask my husband to let him work the next day instead of them both being there, and he asks me to just use my influence. My answer is always the same: I tell him to work it out with his brother because it had nothing to do with me.

I am not an extremist and if I find my husband is being impatient or hard on my brother-in-law, or in any other family matter, I try to get him to calm down, relax. Think about it more clearly when he’s less upset. I remind him that this feeling is temporary but they’ll always be family and whatever you say and do today…there is always a tomorrow in which you feel differently. His final decisions are his because he is his own person, bad decisions and all. We all are. But controlling him is not an option. Maybe it is as a result of me being non-controlling and non-nagging, he encourages me to be all that I want to…blogger and all, even when it’s a topic he isn’t comfortable with. He encourages me to be me, accepts me for being me and I try to do the same. He’s a little bit nagging, always feeling the need to tell me the same thing at least three times, but I can’t control him. So since that’s my biggest problem in the world with him, I decided to fish rather than cut bait.

Vaneeta

No one says that they want to grow up to be a step-parent

Every step-parent’s experience is as different as apples and oranges. Approaches differ tremendously. Expectations are oftentimes unreasonable. It is often as thankless as the teaching profession. One thing is common to each step-parenting experience – when blame and resentment are to be delegated, it starts and stop with the non-biological parent.

 

I was a step-parent for 13 years, and not a very good one, at that. Ironically, during those years I felt that I was a pretty good step-mother: dedicated, caring, willing and selfless. Now that it’s all over, along with the marriage of which the children were a part, I realised that I failed at the role thrusted on to me; a role that I, all too willingly, accepted.

 

They were young children at the time and perfectly lovely: fun, excitable, willing to accept me for the sake of their father’s happiness. I was close to them, I thought. I loved them, spent almost all of my time with them. I thought and felt that they loved me. I looked after their school work and other education matters, being the teacher in the reconstituted family. For many years I felt that we were all happy together. We all knew it was not the most ideal situation, as children should really be with their biological parents. We made the best of it. Their mother and I got along better than she and their father did, which was ironically funny for us all.

 

It may have been happening much earlier than I had realised, but somewhere in the last five years of an extremely tumultuous marriage, all had started to go awry between me and the children. They witnessed every nasty argument, accusations of infidelity, physical abuse and generally unbecoming behaviour from the two adults who should have been setting the example. Even if their father did not know better, I should have. I should have stopped. I should have left sooner. I should have done something different.

 

In retrospect, I see the many mistakes I made:
– I should not have been so involved in their academia. Being an educator or not, it should not have been my primary role.
– I should not have participated in their discipline. If their parents were fine with certain things, then I should have been as well. If their parents were dissatisfied with certain things, I should have been neutral.
– I should not have involved myself in their babysitting when their parents could not be there. They were not my children. I was reminded of that many times.
– The gifts I bought them were because I never had siblings and I was thoroughly excited about special occasions like Birthdays and Christmases…it was how I was raised. So even when their father discouraged it, I should have listened to him, that they could do without.
– There should have been a separation between my life as an individual and my role as a step parent. I should have travelled more to visit my mum, rather than be solely financially responsible for the raising and maintaining of children who did not love me the way I loved them.
– More importantly, I should never have been responsible for paying off the debts of their mother, when their father couldn’t.
– When money and clothing was stolen from me, and clothing was damaged repeatedly, and their father said he couldn’t do anything about it, I should have let it go. The battle was not worth it between me and him and me and them. They were just material things.
– When I found out that they were complaining about me bitterly to their mum’s family for years, I should not have been devastated and depressed and hurt and betrayed. I should have shrugged it off. They weren’t my children, after all.
– When their mum’s family told people I treated them badly and that I instilled too many rules, I should have stopped. Wanting the best for them was not my responsibility.
– I should never have gotten into uncountable arguments with their father about him having a better and closer relationship with them; even after he complained that the girls remind him of their mothers and he just couldn’t. These were not my battles to fight.
– I am sorry I pushed a university education and exposed when lies occurred – that really was not my business. Only my money was.

 

This list goes on and on, full of mistakes I made. The general rule I broke as a step parent was that I became over invested in something that was never mine and was never going to be mine. You can’t be a good or successful step parent by yourself. You need parental support just as they do, from whom they do, as well.

 

Children learn so many things from us, adults. They learn how to give or withhold respect, honesty and integrity. If children see a parent disrespecting the step parent, they learn from example. If a parent doesn’t appreciate all that a step parent tries to do, then failure is destined. Being a step parent was very hard for me. I tried with everything within me, but failed every step of the way.

 

Loving children that are not yours is no easy task. Parents and children can judge all they want, but unless you actually are a step parent, you truly do not have a clue! You can easily make a thousand assumptions…but you are still a step parent dunce until you become one. Nothing you do is right. Nothing you do is enough. You are always deemed as having ulterior motives. You are blamed for every problem under the sun.

 

Yet, the hurt you feel, is the same as a parent; the worry when they go out is the same; the panic when they don’t answer the phone is the same; the nervousness during exam time is the same. Their feelings were always of the utmost importance. It was until after the divorce I even realised how much feelings I had. Hurt was the most overwhelming one when they decided after the divorce that I was the devil’s spawn.

 

Life is so funny…for thirteen years they were the reasons I never wanted children…because I was so happy to have them. Now the reality of parenting that they taught me, is also the reason I don’t want children. This blog entry is by no means a pity party…just my experience – apples or oranges.

 

If I had the chance to do it all over again, I’d pass on the experience. Being a step parent is emotionally overwhelming and complicated. It entailed way too much responsibility – emotional, psychological, and physical. I understand that reconstituted families work well for many – I’ve seen it in our first years together, and now in my profession. But being a step parent isn’t for me. I tried it. I loved it. I hated it. But I wouldn’t want to do it again.

 

Despite my influence, they turned out well…all credit to the real parents.

 

Vaneeta

The things I would have told my younger self…

Never waste your time on a man who doesn’t commit to you 100%. He’s not doing it because he doesn’t have to. You aren’t worth it to him. But you should be worth it to yourself to walk away.

Never be with a man who doesn’t compliment you every single day.

Never be with a man who doesn’t have eyes for you and only you.

There is a difference between a man who likes you and one who invests in you. Never think it’s the same thing.

Your friendships will never remain the same forever. People change. You will change.

It’s ok to outgrow people. Never allow them to think the problem is yours.

Never ever settle for less than the best possible treatment from everyone in your life.

Never be ashamed of who you are.

Never be around people who want to change you – moulds are for cakes.

Do what you love, the money will come.

Don’t let society dictate the course of your life – again, moulds are for cakes.

Never underestimate or undervalue chivalry, good manners and ambition.

Enjoy every stage and phase of your life, understanding that they are just that: phases.

It is very true that he doesn’t have to buy the cow if he’s getting the milk free. But the milk is NOT sex. It’s your self-respect and self-worth.

Make mistakes. Make many. But learn from each one of them.

Men aren’t all bad. But there is no need to repeatedly choose to be with losers.

Don’t try to change people – you just can’t…and shouldn’t.

Always wear nice shoes. (wait…I always knew that one)

Let people say all that they need to about you. That isn’t your concern. They tell themselves what they want to think about you, rather than the actual truth anyway.

Do as much as you can to help others – you may never get it back, but that doesn’t matter. Do it anyway.

Stay away from negative people. They really are like a wet and heavy blanket. A pain with no purpose.

Drink wine….lots of it. It’s great for celebrating and mourning. It’s just great.

Yes sure, learn to happy with yourself and by yourself. But don’t be fooled by pseudo-feminism and believe that we are creatures who are meant to be alone. People do complete you, they do bring you joy.

Who is meant to be in your life, will find their way in, they will stay, and they will make everything whole.

Quoted from Wayne Dyer….

I was preparing to speak at an I Can Do It conference and I decided to bring an orange on stage with me as a prop for my lecture. I opened a conversation with a bright young fellow of about twelve who was sitting in the front row.

“If I were to squeeze this orange as hard as I could, what would come out?” I asked him.
He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, “Juice, of course.”
“Do you think apple juice could come out of it?”
“No!” he laughed.
“What about grapefruit juice?”
“No!”
“What would come out of it?”
“Orange juice, of course.”
“Why? Why when you squeeze an orange does orange juice come out?”
He may have been getting a little exasperated with me at this point.

“Well, it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside.”

I nodded. “Let’s assume that this orange isn’t an orange, but it’s you. And someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you. And out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, fear. Why? The answer, as our young friend has told us, is because that’s what’s inside.”

It’s one of the great lessons of life. What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. It doesn’t matter who does the squeezing—your mother, your brother, your children, your boss, the government. If someone says something about you that you don’t like, what comes out of you is what’s inside. And what’s inside is up to you, it’s your choice.

When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside. Once you take away all those negative things you don’t want in your life and replace them with love, you’ll find yourself living a highly functioning life.

Thanks, my young friend, and here’s an orange for you!

Don’t follow me…blaze your own trail

Oscar Wilde said that Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I have tried to use this as some consolation in the past year. However, as time has passed and the imitation has continued, relentlessly, I find no solace in being paid homage by mediocrity.

 

It may sound silly and superficial on my part that I am irritated by people following my actions to suit themselves, by buying the same shoes and clothes and brands and crap that I buy, and using it unapologetically around me. While I understand that I don’t have patented rights to any one brand or product, the reason behind the imitation is the real annoyance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with genuinely liking something and buying it etc. But to buy something just because it’s something I like is somewhat pathetic. Likewise, suddenly blogging and writing things that I write is a clear indication of an identity crisis.

 

I am who I am and I am where I am based on my journey. It is based on all the pain and heartache and tribulations I have endured. My life is a reflection of my experience. So when you adopt all that I am, you are simply a copycat. You have not lived through my experience; you don’t know how I have reached here.

 

Finding yourself is a journey, not a destination…it is never something that is finally reached. Imitation cannot be the method of self-discovery. Find who you are and why. Know what YOU like and why. Don’t be someone you think you should be. Be who you were meant to be.

 

Imitation is simply the flattery that the mediocre pay to those they consider better than them.

 

Vaneeta

Women are liars as well…

Men have always gotten a really bad name when it comes to lying. And truth be told….they DO lie…a whole lot, probably even more than women do. But women lie too. The hypocrisy lies in the justification. Women lie for the very same things that men lie for, yet when we do it, it somehow seems ‘justified’.

 

If a man lies to us to ‘spare our feelings’, he’s an ass. If we do it, we are compassionate.

 

If a man lies about the true nature of his current relationship status, he’s dishonest. If we do it, we are just trying to sort things out.

 

If a man lies to make himself look better, he’s a chauvinist. If we do it, we’re well-marketed.

 

The list goes on and on. But what I have realised is that we can’t want to be considered ‘better’ than men when we are doing the very things that make us condemn them. We are no better, in fact, it makes us worse, because we claim to know better.

 

A lie is destructive to any relationship or friendship and is no foundation upon which anything wholesome should be built. If lies are essential for a friendship or relationship to run smoothly then it’s definitely a friendship or relationship that needs to be re-evaluated.

 

Vaneeta

The Teacher. The Stereotype.

Sixteen years ago as I was about to enter the Teaching Service, I called my high school teacher, to whom I looked up for so many decades, even to this day. I asked her if she had any advice for me as I finally started the career I dreamt of. Her advice was simple and spontaneous. She said that everyday that I go to work, I should dress up and look good; never be dowdy and boring and don’t be afraid for the students to see who you are.

 

The image that teachers project is created by teachers within the service. There seems to be a horrid stereotype of what teachers should and shouldn’t look like. None of which I subscribe to, of course. For those who know me well, conformity is not my strong suit.

 

So many teachers decide to dress ultra conservative with a dowdy twist to it, as though trendy fashion would somehow render you incompetent. Needless to say, I took a massive bashing while teaching at an all-girls Catholic high school, because I stuck firm and hard to who I was and who I wanted the girls to know. I wore trendy clothes and anklets and nail polish and make up and designer shoes with matching handbags. This was a major problem there. The older ones especially felt that I didn’t fit the mold of what a teacher should be.

 

There is a particular teacher’s group on a social media site, to which I am a member, that often post pictures of teachers and ask if their outfits are appropriate. I’m always thoroughly appalled that colleagues could diminish our value as they do, thinking that their fashion commentary is somehow meaningful.

 

Why can’t teachers look good, trendy, fashionable….even sexy? My skirts are never too short and my 40 year old boobies always stay hidden. What else can the problem be??
I am already disgusted that we must make every effort to hide our ink, as though a student under 18 is going to get a tatt because her teacher has one. Ludicrous much?

 

No student has ever disrespected me because of my clothing, hairstyles, make-up, shoes or tattoos. In fact, these things are excellent launching pads for discussions with them about how choices made in youth, stay with you forever; about what self-image really is; about how attractive the profession is.

 

Teachers are so often our worst enemies. But I have to say that no male teacher ever jumped on this ridiculous band wagon. Go figure!

 

Vaneeta

Whatever men can do, we can do better

Needless to say, I disagree with this statement in so many ways. I am all for equal rights for men, women, alternate lifestyles, pro-choice activists etc., but I really never burnt any bra in the name of feminism. Equality doesn’t make me a woman – being a woman makes me a woman.

I understand and agree that we can do almost anything that men can do and vice versa. But do I really WANT to do all that they do? That would be a definite, no. I can change a tyre, I can change a cooking-gas tank, I can wash a car, I can fill my tank (well, kinda with that last one)…but really, I don’t like doing it. And if a kind gentleman, usually my indulging husband, does these things for me, I am always truly relieved and grateful.

I am quite capable of opening a door for myself, but any man that LETS me, is not a man I would waste a second glance on. I don’t have to do everything for myself to be independent or self-sufficient, and a real man wouldn’t allow me to.

I like make-up and dresses and dressing up and being treated like a princess, Princess Margaret according to my very facilitating husband. He says that I am high maintenance, spoilt and princess-like in my taste, behaviour and lifestyle. I deny none of these things and I am not ashamed either. But he also knows that I am high-maintenance because I am capable of treating myself that way, whether he is or isn’t part of that process.

I don’t feel less independent because he physically puts gas in my car whenever it needs. Rather, I totally appreciate that he does it because he knows I don’t like to do it. Of course the list goes on and on, of all the ways he indulges me by helping me with all the things I hate doing.

I am quite capable of doing everything for myself and I WILL do it if need be. But I do not need to be in constant competition with men in order to feel strong in body, mind and character.

I love that some men still understand the value of chivalry and I think more women should expect it and enjoy it. Whereas I don’t consider us to be the weaker sex, I like considering myself the softer gender. Soft doesn’t make me weak or dependent…it simply makes me a woman.

 

Vaneeta

Wise parents listen as much as they speak

We were all taught while growing up, the importance of listening to our parents. Not to mention how detrimental to our physical being it would have been if we didn’t. We were always told that parents know best and because they always wanted better for us, that we should heed their never-ending advice.

 

Likewise, we are always told about the realness of intuition – that we all have it, we should listen to it and that it should never be ignored. It has even gone so far as being said that not listening to our intuition is why things sometimes go wrong in our lives.

 

As an educator, I have noticed that many parents haven’t learnt how , or don’t want to mesh the two concepts. We were all born with intuitive qualities, some sharper than others, of course. So why do parents not ‘listen’ to their children about the path they want to take. I have realised that the answer is simple. It is fear. In most cases, parents are scared that if they leave big decisions to the child, a bad decision will result and a life-path would be wrong.

 

However, I am in contact with teenagers day in and day out, and some are very clear on what they want to do. When their dreams differ from the path already planned for them by their parents, the result is usually a very unhappy teenager.
It is worth the effort to get to know your children for who they are and not for whom you hope they become. So many of them have a sharp sense of intuition that shouldn’t be ignored. Dreams can and do become reality and sometimes they know what they want to do with their lives. If you force them down a particular path, they may achieve some of what you want, a certain lifestyle and salary, but they may not achieve the happiness and job satisfaction that their intuition has them seeking.

 

The last thing we want to do is kill a spirit, that fire, that enthusiasm and passion for what they believe in. We tend to nurture that curiosity and enthusiasm when they are toddlers and infants, but then want to quell it, even chastise it as they become older and their intuition sharpens.

 

A particular student stands out. She desperately wanted to choose business subjects so that she can get her Business degree, get herself further qualified, because she wants to own her own spa. Her mother insisted that she must choose the sciences because if her spa ‘fantasy’ falls through, what good job can she possibly get with those qualifications. Her argument was that since the student was young she always wanted to be a doctor. The child’s response was that she was 4 at that time. I tried in every way I knew to convince the mother otherwise. As I looked at the student, having failed in my attempts, the child silently mouthed to me, ‘Thank you, Miss, but don’t bother. It’s ok.’ I saw a look of defeat and dejection on her face that I felt inside of me. Her life flashed before me. A successful doctor, unhappy but rich, resentful every time she went for a mani, pedi and facial.
Sometimes it’s worth listening to the younger ones because they may actually know better than us at times. And what is success really?

 

Women’s role in wanting the perfect man

During my younger adult life, I always wondered, and of course hoped that I would meet the perfect man. For so long, and even during my first marriage, I would often hope that my partner would be more ideal, more of the picture I had in my head of what a perfect man should be.

It took a long time, and some failed relationships, for me not to just accept, but to accept gracefully, that there was no perfect man. The ideal only existed in my head. Not only did I accept this, I actually started to question my role in the quest for the ideal.

After some painful and embarrassing reflection, I saw in multiple instances in my past where I would have been the catalyst for deriving somewhat tarnished behaviour from my partner. Things, for which I would have blamed them, could have occurred so differently, and possibly more ideal, if I had behaved differently, if I had reacted better, if I had been more constructive and less destructive.

Being single helped me to discover and uncover different and new truths about myself. I realised that instead of concentrating on meeting or being with the ideal man, I should work on being the ideal woman…the ideal me. The woman I had become was not the woman I wanted to be or was meant to be. She wasn’t necessarily the woman I always even liked.

The mistake I made and the bad habits I had gotten into were at dear prices. The battles I thought I won along the way were not even worth it. Therefore, the onus was now on me to improve who I was as a person, and then as a partner.

I did the work I felt I could have done, given everything I was dealing with, and I finally felt like I have made some improvements. What I realised as a result of all of this self-realisation and self-reflection, is that being a better mate tended to bring out the best in your partner.

I am recently re-married to an amazing man. He used to ask me, I believe jokingly, how come I’m so perfect. It is a question that quietly and repeatedly embarrasses me, knowing how many mistakes I have made in the past, and how many I am probably destined to still make.

But recently, soon after our marriage, I realised something new…Yes, I may have tried to make improvements in who I am and who I want to be and who I no longer want to be, but that may not necessarily be the sole reason for who I am to him.

Being a better partner has come from being with an amazing partner. When you are with someone who trusts you, you become more trustworthy; when you are with someone who respects you, you give respect freely; when you are with someone who puts your needs first, it is effortless to put their happiness first…and the list goes on.

If we all try to be good mates, we can only hope that those with whom we share our lives are moved to do the same. There are no guarantees of this result, but it’s our best plan.

So to answer to my husband’s question is simple….I am by no means perfect….but you truly bring out the best in me.

 

Vaneeta