“Know your place”

I like to think of myself as the kind of woman who will give you enough rope to hang yourself.  Said another way, I like to allow people to show me exactly who they are. First impressions are lasting, whether they prove to be wholly on target or completely off base.  If mother wit tells us that “your first mind is your God mind” then it only makes sense to make note of any seeming red flags during the first encounter or conversation. Subsequent interactions (should they occur) will show the truth in those observations. That said, follow along for a “boy meets girl” narrative:

Boy and Girl meet at party, exchange numbers. Boy asks to meet up with Girl,Girl obliges. Boy talks….ALOT. He talks about his dating philosophy, he talks about his job, he talks about his belief system, and about “the man’s role” in a relationship. Boy and Girl are having playful banter when Girl interjects an observation into the conversation:

Girl: ” So you have to have the last word?”

Boy : ” EXACTLY! I’m the man, act like it. Know your position!”

Girl: “My position is not child.  If anything, it would be partner.  I have no idea what world you live in.  I’m trying to decide if you are out of your rabid ass mind.”

So many things going on in that interaction. When it comes to knowing one’s place in a relationship, it is important that each party understands what it is they want and expect. Some men (and women) feel that a man is the head of the relationship, and as such is the provider, the decision maker, the receiver of the big pieve of chicken. In that case, the woman is content to  be subjugated to his dictates.

Girl in the example above does not seem to be of that camp at all.

Others feel like a relationship is a partnership where both parties should be heard, where there is give and take and mutual agreement about the course of action that should be taken in certain circumstances.  That give and take likely involves discussion and compromise, wherein if neither party feels that they have gotten 100% of what he or she wanted, the biggest need concern was addressed to his or her satisfaction.  I’d venture a guess that girl has more leanings toward this view of a relationship.

Whichever camp you find yourself in -even if that place is somewhere closer to the middle- it is worth nothing that there is a power dynamic in every relationship. From the woman who wants ” a man to be a man” to the man who wants to “be the man” to the woman who “doesn’t need a man”, there is an often unstated expectation of what each person’s role in the relationship will be. While some women want a man who takes charge and pays the bills, she might at the same time want a man who listens to her and values her input. While a woman may want a man who is in touch with his feelings, she might not want a man who is so in touch with them that he sympathy cries with her.  The key thing is to know what those expectations are and to be able to recognize when they are and are not being personified.

Earlier I said I like to give a man enough rope to hang himself with. I can give a man all the rope I like and it won’t matter at all when I don’t realize when he has tied the noose. Allowing someone to show you who they are also means believing them when they do, recognizing what you can and can’t tolerate in love, and having the courage to act on your convictions.

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