With more women becoming successful on their own terms, it’s easy to get caught up in the definition of Ne-Yo’s “Independent Woman” and forget how to be in a healthy relationship with a man. I grew up not really understanding the male ego or how to deal with it. Relationships were just not something we talked about in my home, so I had to make it up as I went.
The problem was, I was so used to depending on myself and finding success on my own, that even when I got married, I didn’t know how to let my guard down and let my man be the man. Ladies, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that men really do want to be our heroes. That’s why when we just want a listening ear for our problems, they immediately jump into problem solving mode. They just want to fix it and let us know, in the process, that we can depend on them. But there are still so many of us who don’t know how to let our men be the man in a relationship. We’re so afraid of depending on that person because we’ve been let down by so many others in the past, it’s easier to keep our walls up and avoid the true vulnerability successful relationships require.
They say hindsight is 20/20. And in hindsight, I’ve come to realize that I often didn’t let my man be the man in past relationships. I was too busy trying to prove just how strong I could be with or without him. Little did I realize that every time I proved how little I needed him, I pushed him further away. If you want to keep your relationship in tact, here are three things you should never do to your mate in public (or private):
- Embarrass. When you put his business out on the street like that, you show that he can’t trust you. Did the world really need to know that he still leaves the toilet seat up? Or that he failed at something that was really important to him? When you embarrass him in public, it only shows your insecurities. You shouldn’t have to embarrass your mate to feel better about yourself.
- Ignore. A man needs to know that his woman’s got his back. Loyalty is really important to men. So when you ignore him in public because you’re trying to prove your point, you’re doing more damage to your relationship than you realize. To him you’re being disloyal and letting him know just how little you respect him. To the rest of the world, you’re letting them in on issues that should really just stay between the two of you.
- Emasculate. Men’s egos are so much more fragile than we think. Despite how times have changed and many women are earning more money, men still want to feel like they’re running things. They want to feel like the king of your castle. But if you’re more concerned with reminding him every chance you get that you earn more, do more, and have more than he does, then what do you need him for? No one wants to be around someone who makes them feel small.
The most successful relationships I’ve seen are ones where there is mutual respect, vulnerability and interdependence. It’s a two-way street. If you’re so afraid of letting your guard down for fear of getting hurt, maybe you should re-evaluate whether you’re really ready for a relationship. If you’re married, then this is a good time to do some soul searching and determine what you need to work on in order to improve how you communicate with your mate. Either way, the last thing you want to do is push away someone who cares about you by engaging in behavior that exposes your insecurities more than it does the other person’s inabilities. Take the time to learn to love all of you, so you can then show that same love and respect to your man.
What have you learned about respect and vulnerability in your relationship with your mate?