Giving relationship advice is fraught with many dangers. Let me explain. Say Sharon approaches you and shares with you how horrible Gavin is treating her. You have been friends for a long time. Besides that, you care about Sharon, so you are appalled by how she is being treated. In a moment of righteous anger, you tell Sharon that Gavin is a scallywag and that she should leave him. You even offer to give her a lift.
When you separate you go straight to the gas station to fill up, so you are ready when Sharon calls. In the back of your mind, you see yourself as a knight in shining armour ready to take Sharon to safety. Two months go by, and you do not hear from Sharon. You call and get no answer. By this time, you are thinking the worst. One day you feel like eating a roti while paying for it at the cashier, and you see Sharon and Gavin sitting at a table in the corner. They look cozy, but you aren’t sure, so you position yourself in such a way that Sharon can see you. She sees you. But the look she gives you is one of disgust. You even detect a hint of animosity. Maybe, you wonder to yourself, Gavin is smothering her, so she must act like this around him. As they pass you on the way out, Sharon does not even glance your way. You think she purposely holds her head higher and clings to Gavin just a bit tighter. Disoriented, the roti tastes like cardboard. Five unanswered calls later, it dawns on you, she has blocked you.
What did you do wrong? Well, you broke a cardinal rule. You gave relationship advice. And you did it before knowing if the recipient was ready to receive it.
So here is some relationship advice for women.
I know, I know, you are wondering why I am doing this after what I just said. The answer is simple. I do not know. On the other hand, this medium allows me to drop these bombs of knowledge without losing more “friends” like Sharon.
DEAR WOMEN, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT
It’s not your fault society socializes men in an unhealthy manner. Devoid of emotional intelligence, vulnerability, care, compassion, and self-awareness. It’s not your fault that 8 out of the 10 men in your life grew up fatherless and unable to be a father. It’s not your fault the same society that puts unhealthy expectations on men, also marginalizes, demeans, victimizes, and traumatizes them for being what they have become. It’s not your fault that he was groomed by pornography and became an addict, unable to escape the shame and have a healthy, balanced sexual life. It’s not your fault he feels inadequate and fearful but has no one to talk to. It’s not your fault he abuses substances to heal the hurt and pain he feels but can’t express.
Take a deep breath, it’s not your fault.
DEAR WOMEN, IT’S YOUR FAULT
It is your fault when you convince yourself that the red flags are orange. It is your fault you never set boundaries or if you did, you never maintained them. It is your fault that you self-objectify yourself in a million ways, and yet expect to be treated with dignity, respect, and unconditional love. It is your fault that you think you could fix him and get an upgraded version in three short years. It is your fault when you set unreasonable expectations (he must be rich, handsome, thoroughly educated, fit, kind, alpha, patient, loving, committed, married, single, great at communicating, well-traveled but always home, can cook, clean, fight off burglars, takes care of everything, but seeks your advice about everything, is in touch with his emotions but does it in a masculine way, can romance you for days without end, but still work for 12 hours to provide, take the children to school, help with their homework, clean the yard, fix the drains, goes to the gym to maintain his physique, pays the bills, saves but shops at Maxfield, have a social life but never spends time with the boys, is experienced but never was in a past relationship, did I miss anything? Oh, I forgot that he must make you happy, be your soulmate and love animals.)
I know it’s hard to hear this, but you must bear some of the responsibility for the way things are. But…
THINGS CAN GET BETTER
Your relationship can improve. Take a deep breath, take responsibility where you need to, let go when you need to, and get the wisdom to make better choices. Have hope. Things can get better.