By Veronica Wells
For as much damage as social media is probably doing to all of our psyches, it’s provided endless inspiration for me as a writer and thinker. It’s a study in human behavior at our fingertips. A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this post on Instagram. It resonated with me immediately because in the past few years my eyes have been opened to the excuses, the allowances, the exceptions we make for bad behavior when it comes to a man. Patriarchy. In our centering and edifying of men, there’s no accountability.
I’ve seen women brag about canceling friends and cutting off family for hurting or offending them but break their necks (and spirits) to be with men who would ultimately violate them in even worse ways. Your momma tells you a hard truth about yourself and you don’t speak to her for three months. Your man cusses you, belittles your entire existence and with one “Good Morning” text, you’re ready to forget it ever happened.
I know it happens but I wanted to understand why. So I asked a group of women. I’ll share their responses and conclude with my own.
Blaque: Low self esteem, lack of confidence. And in “Our” case…. They haven’t tapped into their Queen Status.
Morgan: The greatest motivation is the fear of being alone.
Whitney: I feel like the betrayal feels worse when it comes from a friend/family which makes it harder to overcome.
India: Girl. Women are desperate for love from a man and look at everyone else as disposable. Women base their worth around the ability to keep a man compared to their ability to be loyal to their friends. To expect more from a friend/family member than you do your companion is backwards because the person you build with should be the person that you expect the most from. To expect less is the secret ingredient to end up with a n***a stressing you out/alone and bitter.
Caron: Different kind of love, different connection, different relationships, so the betrayal is also framed differently. Women have been TAUGHT to accept certain things from men, too. It’s more than desperation (as a surprising amount of women have mentioned), the type of intimacy will have its own response. We have not been taught the truth about forgiveness, either. When we learn our emotional response is not only wrong, but we don’t have the right to what we feel, it leads to avoidance and many unhealthy decisions.
Lydia: I’m not sure it’s always easier for a woman to forgive their romantic partner than their family or friends or rather it’s more of an individual priority. There’s possibly many layers to this but many women seek the validation of a man. The assurance that not only were they specially chosen but unfortunately it’s also the place where some feel like they’ve found a sense of purpose and maybe even for the first time, an identity. I believe the thought is that if I can nurture this relationship first, one that is specifically designed to water and take care of me, I can then be a fountain of life for everyone else around me. It’s not all together right but it’s a sign of misplaced dependency.
Personally, I was taught to expect but not accept a man acting up. And by that I mean intentionally and repeatedly hurting or dishonoring me. I heard messages about them being untrustworthy. Thankfully, I grew up witnessing a very healthy marriage; still, I didn’t have to look far to find examples that supported the messages from the older, wiser and revered women in my life.
So I stepped out into the world of boys and eventually men, armed. I was always looking for reasons to cut them off. After all, we get to choose our romantic partners, which means we get to choose the types of behavior we’ll tolerate. And I was raised not to tolerate disrespect from anyone but particularly a person I willingly allowed into my life.
With family, whether we cut them off or not they’ll always be ours and in most cases, represent the things we like and loathe about ourselves. For me, if you truly know and understand your family members, you know the pain behind the hurt they inflict on others. That doesn’t mean I’d keep toxic people in my life just because they’re related by blood, it means I’d likely make more exceptions for the people to which I’m bound than those who don’t have to be in my life, causing chaos and confusion.
Many of us will have to eventually exercise forgiveness in a majority of our relationships. People, no matter who they are, will hurt and disappoint you. I just want to know that if I’m going to have to forgive, it should be for a person who’s worthy.