There isn’t an easy answer to this question, but there is a bit of harsh reality we all discover in dating. I know it often seems impossible to get men to treat you the right way. It feels painful and discouraging to find yourself in situations that let you down. There are two main situations where you typically find yourself not being treated the way you want to be, when your relationship involves disrespect and pain, and when you’re in a relationship with misaligned expectations.
Over the years I have learned a difficult lesson for both of those instances…one that can seemingly take a lifetime when it comes to dating.
We each hold our share of the blame AND the power when it comes to how we allow others to treat us, especially men.
Now this statement isn’t intended to victim-blame or down play the absorbent amount of d-bags we have running around the world being manipulative and abusive to the hearts of young women. Its purpose is to empower you to understand the control you have over your own fate in relationships.
There’s a lot to be said about the evolving dating scene and the ways that men can contribute to a more equal and considerate kind of society for women. There is enough blame to go around when it comes to the poor decisions we make when we’re young, and that haphazard manner at which we handle matters of the heart. This article, however, is about the role we play as women and the ways we can set expectations for what we truly desire from relationships.
This is the first kind of “not being treated right”– someone is disrespecting or hurting you.
You have the choice.
We hold the key to the amount of respect and kindness that we accept from men. Obtaining this isn’t through shady tricks or game-like tactics to win them over either. It’s all about you getting won over. It’s about understanding– I mean really understanding–what you want and need from another person. And then when someone gives you less than that, it’s being strong enough to either demand it or walk away.
It’s a harsh reality, but the truth is you can only really control the way you handle situations, not the way others do. Being mistreated doesn’t have to make you a victim, it just makes you someone with a choice. You get to choose you, or choose someone else.
Because as women we are not the weaker party for expecting a reasonable level of decency. We are powerful, incredible advocates of what we want in a relationship. I think every woman wants different things at different times in her life when it comes to dating, but ultimately we want to be treated with respect and kindness. So demand it, or leave. Either the guy is willing to treat you right, or he isn’t the right guy.
We are also not weaker for wanting seriousness and commitment–when we do, because not all women do.
This is where the second kind of “not being treated right” comes in– misaligned expectations.
The problem is that in attempts to do “the right thing” in dating, we neglect to set the expectation of what we are looking for when it’s necessary to be set. And so the cycle begins. The conversations and moments we all desire so much get pushed aside. We allow casual relationships to continue without indicating that progression we so seek. We allow bad on-and-off-again sort of relationships filled with deceptive and painful behavior to continue too sometimes. Then, when the relationship dwindles and leaves behind feelings of emptiness and disappointment, we want to know why. We want to understand what went wrong.
I’ve learned this lesson many times before and watched it happen to women around me. It makes us question our worth, doubt love in general and feel like we have to adjust to the standards of others. We second-guess our expectations. We search for things like “How to get a guy to treat me right” and never find the right answer.
The reason for that is that there isn’t a right answer, there are just expectations, decisions and priorities.
You choose your values and expectations, and you have to stick to them if you want other to as well. If you respond to that late night text or compromise what you care about because you’re too uncomfortable with speaking up for what you want, the expectation does not exist. If you are in a relationship where you are neglected and lied to and you allow the relationship to continue, why would those things ever change? If a man talks down to you and you decide that is okay, you will always be mistreated. If you do not stand by what you want and need, who else is going to?
Sitting in your room watching various Nicholas Sparks movies and dreaming about the (fictional) characters gets you no closer to being treated the way you deserve by men. Complaining about them to your girls and family doesn’t change anything either. You are the only one who can accomplish anything, through giving yourself what you deserve first. You can do this by walking away, setting expectations and distancing yourself from people that don’t make you feel the way you know you deserve to feel about yourself.
You know what you deserve. You know how special and unique you are. You some men don’t take enough time to really discover that, and that’s OK. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel a little special. It doesn’t make you weak, fickle or not strong enough to handle casual or turbulent relationships. You just have to know what you want and demand that. You don’t have to adapt to a lifestyle that seems like the better option to being lonely. It’s better to be without guys, than with the ones who make you feel like garbage.
After you start to love you, you find the men that love you too. The secret to finding the guys that will treat you the way that you deserve, is refusing to settle for less than that from any man. There are a lot of things in life that you may feel forced to settle with, but the respect and love that you demand from others sure as hell should not be one of them. The power of getting men to treat you right is in your hands, because you’re the only one that can allow them not to. I am being very literal when I say that if someone disrespects you or hurts you, actually walk away. Don’t accept it. Don’t allow it. Don’t settle for it.
The secret to getting men to treat you the right way: Only give the time of day to the ones that do.
And remember, either the guy is willing to treat you right, or he isn’t the right guy.