Why do women give themselves up in relationships? I think that almost every woman I have seen in therapy has lost multiple IQ points when she’s in a relationship. Why is that? Why do so many women get desperate when they’re involved with someone?
I had a professor who taught women’s studies. She was brilliant, educated and a feminist. I was incredibly shocked to have found out that she was in an abusive marriage. She finally extricated herself from the relationship, but I was left with the feeling that if she couldn’t get it right who could?
So why do we women do this to ourselves? Is it total lack of self-esteem? Do we think so very little of ourselves that we are willing to settle for crumbs? Is it addiction? I have heard that being in love replicates the feeling of having had chocolate. At the very least, it has a mind-altering effect, like any other addiction.
I once heard a quote that said that women learn to look pretty from their mothers, but they learn to feel pretty from their fathers. I have often thought about this. If that’s the case, were we derided by them? Were they not loving towards us? Were they absent emotionally or physically? Why did we not feel valued?
When I was raising my daughters, the professionals in my field encouraged us to praise our children for everything. Deep down inside, they had to have known that they couldn’t possibly be the best at everything. I’m guessing that lead to a lot of self-doubt and confusion. If they couldn’t trust their parents then whom could they trust?
I also think that shame is a huge factor in our lack of self-esteem. The media does a really good job of making us feel inferior. God forbid we use the wrong deodorant, makeup, perfume, etc. Heaven help us if we have big thighs or cellulite! If we are not 6 feet tall weighing 110 pounds, we’ll never get a rock star husband. In our culture, the best trophy wife a rock star can get is a model. And if the models have minimal flaws, they are airbrushed out. So, what kind of message are we giving young women? Of course, it goes without saying that our self-esteem should not totally be based on how we look. But it is, at the very least, something to ponder.
Then, layer on the effect of getting called out on Facebook, or Twitter. Women can be awfully mean and hurtful when faced with competition. The headlines are fraught with stories about young women who are bullied to the point of suicide. It’s too bad we can’t be more loving and accepting of one another.
So many women are left feeling desperate, because they know that there’s a small window of time that they are “marketable.” Then if you add on the time clock, they are held hostage by their fear of time running out. So, they invariably settle for less, and often put up with unacceptable behavior from a man. Hopefully, in time, women will feel less pressure to have babies and the time clock will be less of a factor in compromising our standards.
I’m not sure what the answers are. I only know that we have to love ourselves more than we love the idea of having a man at any cost.