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Women must learn to value themselves

Not fair: a reader says men are very critical but expect women to settle for the minimum they have to offer

Dear Dr Nekia,

Why does it seem like men are so critical of women but want us to settle for the bare minimum they have to offer? Men are very picky about everything a woman says, does, has, and even looks like but they are bringing little to nothing to the table. Why is this?

Sincerely, Bringing Nothing To The Table

Dear Bringing Nothing To The Table,

Welcome to a patriarchal society. What this means is that males dominate and are at the centre of most, if not all, facets of society. Their point of view is taken as fact and the scales most often are skewed in their direction for their benefit.

So in the context of male-female relationships, a lot of males have a sense of entitlement. This is partly due to the belief that women outnumber men.Why settle with one woman when you can have more than one willing to do and be what you want?

What happens is that women lower their standards. They feel that they must do certain things to keep the man’s attention or lure him into commitment. It is quite easy for men to go along for the ride but, in fact, they lower their respect and value for females in general because females neglect to value themselves.

In the event that a female comes along who values herself, she risks losing out on the male who is used to getting what he wants when he wants it with minimal effort or investment. Such a woman will only gain the affections of a man who is ready for commitment.

On the other hand, females are socialised to want marriage and commitment far more than males are. Little girls are told fairytales of princes, encouraged to play with dolls and taught good girl behaviours; little boys are taught to express themselves in games while suppressing emotion and dependency on human connections. These lessons carry on into adulthood.

Some men would rather play the field and have the freedom to do as they want. Such males have not yet come fully into manhood and will reserve committing themselves to someone they see as being near to their ideal or someone who puts up with their shortcomings.

There are most certainly other reasons why males require so much more of women than women do of males, but these are two very strong arguments.

Yet in both scenarios it is the woman who has to realise her value and learn not to accept such men into her heart.

A woman of value can have more than one man wanting to commit to her if she is in tune with herself as a woman.

When we lower our expectations, we lower ourselves because we carry around the burdens of rejection, inadequacy and guilt that comes from the heartache and unfulfilled desires that result from being with half a man. If we are not careful it gets worse with each friendship or relationship that we enter into until we are depressed or bitter from all of the pain and frustration.

Do not concern yourself with men who require much more of you than they are willing to give to you.

Dear Dr Nekia,

I’ve been married to my husband for 25 years and I am ready to see other men. My husband has had his share of indiscretions and has lived a selfish life of destructiveness with his health.

He is getting sick and I am angry that he expects me to be the wife that takes care of him. Really, he cannot even hold a full-time job or get an erection anymore and I am fed up.

I warned him about his drinking and smoking for years but he refused to listen. I’m ready to live my life but everyone says that I am being selfish and not honouring my marriage. Am I wrong?

Sincerely, Fed Up

Dear Fed Up,

You are carrying a lot of resentment towards your husband for decisions he has made over the course of your marriage.This is normal if these issues were never properly dealt with or resolved.

Ideally, a couple should tackle issues as they come so that their relationship remains strong, however, this is not the case in so many marriages.

Furthermore, it is very common for men to lead lives filled with irresponsibility towards their health while giving little to no consideration of illness and the emotional and financial strain that it will put on their loved ones.

It is selfish and it is no surprise that you have reached your breaking point. But it is unfortunate that your breaking point has come at the time when your husband seems to need you the most. This is what makes people frown upon your desire to exit the marriage.

We are taught that when our significant other needs us we are supposed to put aside disagreements and personal feelings and stand by them. This is a nice sentiment and has much truth for couples who are solid in their relationship, however, this is a big burden for individuals in shaky or unhappy unions.

What you are feeling is understandable. Your level of commitment through multiple betrayals and being unheard over the years has built up tension, anger and other negative emotions.

Everyone reaches a point where they have had enough. Do not expect others to understand this, as far too often women are taught to suck it up and perform their wifely duties no matter what.

It is up to you whether or not to stay. You need to do what is best for you, but since you have been married for such an extensive period of time it is my guess that other people related to you both will be affected. Should you choose to leave your husband, be very aware of all that comes along with this decision and be sure to separate in a way that is not spiteful or selfish and will cause the least hurt and disappointment to family.

Dear Dr Nekia,

Is there an age where people should stop having sex? Do you get too old, where sex is harmful to your health?

My mom, who is 80, said that if she met a man, she would have sex. I was shocked. I pictured broken hips and things but she told me I am being silly.

Sincerely, Age Limit On Sex

Dear Age Limit On Sex,

Age is not the issue as much as health. You can be any age and not be healthy enough for sex. Proper health surrounding sex is an unspoken topic except for in the cases of serious illness, but it should always be considered.

Do not overextend yourself. Practice proper sex habits of not having sex on an empty or overly full stomach, refrain from sex when tired, stressed or under the weather, and have more sex during daylight hours rather than night. These practices help to ensure that you are not depleting it of valuable energy and nutrients needed during rest for recovery.

Older persons should take caution as to the positions of sex and the amount that they have so that they can avoid injury and exasperation of any illnesses. Consideration should also be given to flexibility and strength as well as the ability to become erect or lubricated.

But there is no reason for healthy, vital persons of elder years to refrain from sex. Sex should be enjoyed as much as and for as long as possible if it does not cause harm. Mental and physical health are related to having a satisfying sex life and intimacy may play a bigger role in the prognosis of ageing diseases than we might think.

Want relationship advice? E-mail nakedtruth@royalgazette.com