Want to settle but my woman gives me attitude
Dear Dr Nekia,
I’ve been out there playing the field for a few years but I have met somebody that I feel is worth settling down with. I really do care about her even though we are not together but she has some messed up ways towards me that I just cannot take. She gives me attitude and says hurtful things when things do not go her way or we disagree. And she doesn’t respect me when I say I am not comfortable with her friendships with some of her male friends. I don’t mind her speaking to guys and being friendly, but she goes overboard with it. She invites them to her house, goes to lunch with them and hangs out with them no matter how I feel about it. I mean, I get it, when I was out there I did my thing too but I’m not out there any more and I’m willing to give this girl everything if she would just pay attention. Isn’t that what all you women want? A good guy who will give you what you want and need? Why is she acting up?
Ready To Settle
Dear Ready to Settle,
Dating can be complicated. This is especially true when we feel that we are not getting what we want from someone we are interested in or from someone who we are, at least on some level, involved with. It sounds to me like after all of your playing you have found a woman who piques your interest and holds your attention.
The thing is, she may not feel the same way about you. And even though this may be a hard pill to swallow, I am sure that you can understand this because while playing the field you undoubtedly came across a woman or two who had more feelings for you than you did for them. It is not hard for us to understand situations when we feel as though we are the ones in control but the truth is that none of us want the shoe to be on the other foot. It does not sound like you both have reached the commitment stage of your relationship, therefore I will not speak to her specific actions that are provoking you, but rather to her general attitude and seemingly unfavourable behaviour. Rather than putting in work, potential partners like for things to go smooth, to be fun and easy. Approach this situation the same way that you expected others to approach you when you were not serious about them.
Ask yourself, is she keeping her distance or creating unnecessary space as a sign for you to not get too attached? Has she explicitly told you that she wants to settle down with you? Has she defined her male relationships to you? Do her actions show that she cares about you? Does she respect you and your feelings? I’m sure you get the picture. If your answers to these questions are yes, then you really don’t have much to complain about; open communication can go a long way as you work towards solidifying your relationship.
However, if you answered no to some of the questions then you are probably dealing with someone who is not too sure about you, who is leaving her options open or who is not considering you for the long-term. Yes, all women want a man who is willing to give them everything they want and need, but they want this at the right time and with the right man of their choosing. This is not too different from how many men act while dating.
Generally speaking, a man will not be faithful to a woman he is not ready for or does not truly want to be with. Women are expected to know this, accept this and play along with it. Men don’t seem to like being treated this way but the truth is that women play the field too. Define what you are ready for and find someone who is compatible for you who is also ready for the same.
Dear Dr Nekia,
My daughter is 14 years old and is very much into finding herself. She has her own style of hair and dress that she is comfortable with and I am proud of her for following her own mind instead of what everyone else believes is popular. However, some people — including her dad — seem to think that my letting her wear make-up and nail polish is inappropriate for a girl of her age. In other countries this wouldn’t be a problem, but here in Bermuda it seems like people always have things to say. She is not out there having sex with boys, is very intelligent and has a beautiful personality. I see nothing wrong with her expressing herself in a way that is not harming herself or anyone else. She is a very colourful person so she likes colourful clothing, nail polish, make-up and even hair. What’s so wrong with letting a young woman find herself?
Back Off Mama’s Got This
Dear Back Off
Mama’s Got This,
Sadly, in our society our young girls are not given or allowed the freedom to explore and express themselves. The emphasis is placed on them being instilled with religious morals, educational goals and male-centred desirable behaviours. While there is nothing wrong with morals, education and agreeableness to the opposite sex, we should always take the personality, will, and spirit of a young lady into consideration.
So I understand completely your endeavour to allow your daughter to explore the possibilities of who she is and applaud you for it.
Many mothers would rather have their daughter conform to societal expectations in order to protect them from harm and unnecessary negative attention. However, it is very important for us as women to realise the harm that is done to our girls when they reject or compromise who they are in order to be accepted by others.
Despite that, we cannot ignore the ugly truth. Make-up is largely seen to be a tool of sexualisation. In some cultures, it is seen as a rite of passage into womanhood. In western patriarchal societies, women are objectified and over-sexualised so, quite naturally, anything that serves as an indication of sexuality in young girls will be frowned upon. This is why such things as make-up and even factors beyond your daughter’s control such as developing breasts and hips, will cause her to be a target for teasing and sexual harassment. Sadly, this is only the beginning of what she will have to endure as a woman and there is nothing much that we can do to protect girls from this reality no matter how hard we try.
Generally in our culture, girls are ushered into womanhood feeling ashamed, guilty, uncomfortable and uncertain of themselves and their bodies. Until society changes to embrace females for who and what they truly are, rather than sexual conquests and exploits, the negative attitudes that you and your daughter are experiencing will not change. I cannot tell you what is best for your child but I can say that you should follow your instincts, listen to what she has to say to you and make your decisions as a parent based on what you know to be best. Be sure to continually check in with your daughter to make sure that she is not expressing herself in certain ways simply because she is feeling bad about herself and that she is not enhancing her appearance in an attempt to mask her insecurities. Also, teach her about the kind of attention she might receive because of her choices.
Do your best to teach her how to avoid unwanted attention and how to deal with it should it occur. So, in essence, do not restrict her personal growth but do not fail to prepare her for all of the truths that come along with womanhood. Even though our society tends not to see preteens and teens as women, these are the years when females begin to define themselves as such. Stunting growth during this time leads to delayed psychological maturation that affects us into our adult years.
Dear Dr Nekia,
I hear women talk about keeping guys around for when they want to have sex. These are not guys they are interested in, just guys they can call whenever they want. They say they do it because they can have sex without being in a relationship and not drive up their numbers. I’m all for a woman not wanting to sleep with a whole bunch of guys, but isn’t it still a bit immoral that they keep these guys hanging around just to use them for casual sex?
Along Is Wrong
Dear Stringing Dudes
Along Is Wrong,
Whether or not this situation is immoral depends on your personal view. We each have our individual morality, the characteristics and values we see as important, and we have a collective morality, those characteristics and human values that society holds important. Usually, our individual morality is greatly influenced by our collective morality.
In this case it would seem that society would consider a woman who keeps a man around purely for sex as being immoral. This depends on how important the number of sexual partners is, however. Is it important that a woman refrain from having men in her life for the sole purpose of casual sex or is it more important that she limit the number of sexual partners that she has in her lifetime? Or is it both? Should women be chaste and refrain from sex until marriage or, at the very least, in a committed relationship?
What I find interesting is that you are all for women keeping their numbers low but you seem to frown upon them having casual sex. Why should women keep their number of sexual partners low? And, what do you propose these women do? I would be curious to know how you feel about men who have sex without attachment.
While a man’s reason for keeping women around for casual sex is highly unlikely to be because he wants to keep the number of sexual partners he has had low, the end goal is the same. So is it that you have an issue with women actually desiring and pursuing casual sex? Many men honestly do. Some think that women, by nature, are unable to have sex without attachment or emotion. Where they get this from I do not know but it is obviously more comfortable for them to think this way.
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