Thursday, November 3, 2011

Priced out of the relationship market

I don't need a man. That has been my mantra for a long time. I actually don't need one. I'm not having more children, so that eliminates that singular physical need. If you're willing to give up having children that are biologically your own... you don't need a guy.
The fact is, they don't need us either. Most boys are now required (in US public schools) to take a class like FACS (Family and Consumer Science). They learn to do basic sewing, cooking, cleaning, and other household tasks right along side girls. Any man who has managed to live on his own for at least 6 months  without taking his laundry home to a female relative has pretty much nailed Survival 101. They don't need us either.

Still, after years of not needing anyone, I had to face the truth. I wanted someone to share my life with. It took me a long time to figure out that I might have priced myself out of the relationship market. Then one day  a good friend told me to "take off the tool belt". At first I was offended, but the more I looked at my situation, I knew he was right. I didn't need a man, but it came across a lot like "I don't want a man" or "you wouldn't be good enough anyway".
Nothing says, "Love me!" like a big old "F*ck off!" 
Have women become so independent that no mortal man can ever satisfy us? Has it come to that? Do we expect so much from ourselves that we also expect as much if not more from the men we date. How can we expect anyone to be more than EVERYTHING?

Some of us have priced ourselves out of the market. What started for many women as a necessity has blossomed into career. We stepped "out of the kitchen and into the office". Now that we know we can earn a living, pay the bills, feed the kids, do the housework, fix broken things, and use power tools it would be difficult to get many women to give that up.

Like the Little Red Hen... if you want it done (and done right) you'll do it alllllll by yourself. You will till the soil, plant the wheat, harvest the grain, grind it, and bake the bread. If you remember that story... she ate the bread alone, too. All by herself

The other day I happened across Single Motherhood Bliss. The title of the post caught my eye first, He's Just Not That Into You. I'd read the book and seen the movie so reading what someone else had to say about it piqued my interest. As I read further, I realized it was much more than a book/movie review. What if we're expecting too much from men? Jessica had my attention. It seems to be a common topic around these parts lately!

There's nothing wrong with being self-sufficient, but when you're in a relationship isn't there supposed to be give and take? Well adjusted, caring, and considerate people do not enjoy taking advantage of others. They want to contribute. They want to feel necessary, needed, helpful, and in a relationship they want to feel as if they add something good to the other person's life. Are we not letting men add to our lives?

I see the way my daughter's boyfriend/fiance takes care of her. More than that, I see the way she lets him take care of her. I also see the way she bakes him cakes, listens when he wants to talk, and hangs out with him while he kills zombies. Will she discover that she doesn't "need" him to take care of her? When/If she does... will she be wise enough to let him take care of her anyway?


mark @ yelling near you said...

This seems like the form of the modern relationship - finding someone you want to share your life with and that you want to share their life with you. No longer are they breadwinners and homemakers. Of course there are exceptions that hold onto traditional concepts of marriage and the husband wife relationship but like beta max, they're behind the times and facing obsolescence.

Angie said...

I completely agree that it's the new standard. I don't expect it to go back to the way it was when our grandparents were starting out, nor would I want it to. Still, if you want someone to share your life you have to make room for them. You have to allow them to be active in the relationship.

Can you imagine the outrage today if a man said to his girlfriend, "Why don't you just sit there and look pretty, mmkay?" Have we done a 180? Doesn't seem right that way either.

ChopperPapa said...

You bring up a point that I have often thought about (and shall now write about). I've known and dated women who wear their independence like a shield always willing to put it up at the first sign that it might be taken away.

Women who live like that are a complete turnoff and in the long run, with their inability to let someone else share their life with them, they are going to wake up one day alone and wishing they'd have traded the shield in for a olive branch.

None of us NEED anyone. And regardless of what Oprah or other talk show hosts say, friends can't give us all of the emotional support we need...nor should we expect them to.

We don't need anyone, but we all WANT someone. All of us.

Angie said...

I did something very similar after my divorce. It wasn't that I was worried someone might take away my independence, it was a fear of relying on someone again only to have it yanked out from under me. It's a difficult thing to learn again.

You're absolutely on the same page. We don't NEED, but deep down we all want.

Andrea said...

Oh my gosh! I think this is actually how I view my husband. No wonder I am such a bitch! There really isn't anything he does wrong (aside from you know, stuff men do), but it is crystal clear that I do everything around here (except bring home a regular paycheck). I really do need to try to let him, as you said add to my life. What a great post even for married folk! Another therapy bill no needed (for now)!

Domenick said...

I am absolutely all for equality among the sexes, but sweet mammy jammy, just 'cause I open the damned car door for you does not mean I expect you to make me a sam'ich during half time of the game.

Sweet fuckin' Christ!

Sorry. Just reminded me of my college girlfriend, who was a member of the campus feminist league and who told me quite tartly that she could open her own car door, thank you very much. Some traumatic memories, those.

What I meant to say, before losing myself in the bitterness of my advancing age, is that having that equality, balanced by a willingness and a desire to take care of one another, sounds delightful. Where can I find that, hmm?

Angie said...

Thank you! As always my parent side comes out when I look at these sorts of things. I worry that I've permanently scarred my kids in one way or another. Yikes! I hope my daughter continues to see the value in letting people be part of her "independence" without being afraid or too proud. I hope my son continues to try to be the sort of man I know he will be even if he's shut down by women like I fight not to be! :)

Angie said...

I have that sick nurturing nature many women have where we wanna have someone to make a sam'ich for. For now I am sort of in limbo. Until such time as I find that guy, I guess I am going to make sandwiches for myself and when I'm done, I'll paint the dang dining room too. (kicking myself)

Domenick said...

I can relate, Angie. I have no one to open car doors for, either.

Just remember to pamper yourself from time to time: Cut the crusts off the bread every now and then.

Kaloo5 said...

Men are strange cretures indeed. Show us a vulnerable woman, a damsel in distress if you must, and we don our 'Knight In Shining Armour' suit.
Show us an independant woman, and we're suddenly super-supportive of a womans independance (the irony of that statement.)
And then we marry them... and suddenly that needy damsel act we once found endearing becomes a annoyance.
Or that independant woman we once admired suddenly becomes a controlling bitch.
I guess guys are always caught in that space of never knowing what they want until they no longer have it.
I know becoz I've met many guys who wear both of these hats, never at the same time.
Great post.

PS: I thougt you would have responded to my Bucket List post already?

Jen said...

I let my ex take care of me to the point that I totally lost my sense of self for almost a decade. Not trying to freak you out, just urging you to keep an eye on your little girl. :)

Angie said...

I might actually eat bread this weekend and do just that!

Picky, picky! :p I checked out your bucket list... you're so bossy. :)

Yeah, I was in a similar situation myself. She's got plenty of spunk and backbone. I've always taught her to be strong and stand up for herself. I also don't want her to become too rigid either... know what I mean?

Domenick said...

It always feels a bit like pampering when you cut the crusts off, considering my mother, who was a bit draconian in the kitchen, insisted that the heart, the soul of the nutrition of bread rested in the Godforsaken crusts.

Damned dirty crusts. Get your stinking paws off my sam'ich!

Kaloo5 said...

I am too, aren't I? :)

Wait. I mean, NO! I'm not!

FOLDOC said...

Oh my gosh! I think this is actually how my wife views me. No wonder she is such a bitch!

Jessica Rose Greenwood said...

First, thanks for the shout out!

I'll admit I'm one of those women who used, "I don't need a man" as a shield. Chopper mentioned that it's a turn off, which may be true, but that was exactly the point!

It was, "don't get close to me, don't let me feel like I need you because I might actually start to believe it." And THAT'S when you get hurt.

The truth is that economics and logistics have little to do with companionship, love and sex. Women need love, men need sex and we all need companionship. That women are now self sufficient economically is actually an entirely different issue.

Angie said...

I tried it... but I think my bread is too soft for this crustless sandwich you propose!

Yes, yes you are! :p

You think she sees you as too independent? Or does she see you as the man who would steal her independence?

I have to agree once again... except I think both sexes need sex and love... just in different doses! :)

Azra said...

I don't need a man. And I'm quite happily single. However, I won't say "NO" if someone catches my eye ;)

Angie said...

I figure by the time I can say I am happy being single I will find a guy I like. lol

wagthedad said...

The thing is, we can all be essentially self-sufficient. But we have been built to love and to want and yes, to need someone else in a romantic relationship, just as none of us were meant to live without friends, coworkers, bosses, enemies, neighbors, whatever.

It's because we're social animals. And if modern society has conditioned us to blur the lines between wants and needs, and needs and pathology, then shame on modern society.

Your daughter doesn't NEED her boyfriend to take care of her, just as much as he doesn't need her to bake him cakes or to listen to him.

But they both want to do that. There is a difference. Sure, you can get so addicted to wanting something that it becomes a pathological need.

Listen to me. Needing something has almost become a synonym for something negative. Having needs does not mean that you are needy. It means that you're human.

Nothing wrong with wanting to be taken care of now and then. Nothing wrong with wanting to be loved. Being emotionally open to someone else does not mean that you are weak.

And besides, if you get a man, you've always got a date for Saturday night. You've always got sex. Take off the toolbelt. Just don't get fooled again.

Angie said...

I was with you right up to the "if you get a man" part. LOL Obviously YOU are not Santa Freakin' Claus, because that bastard knows I've had a man on my list for years! :)

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