6. Getting Partnered is NOT The Ultimate Goal
I know this seemed like another list of steps of how to get and keep a partner. I also know I just told you to forget all such advice. Sometimes we as women get so engrossed in GETTING a mate that we only do the work required to meet that goal.
Just like our decisions of what to wear and our choice of makeup, not everything a woman does should have an end goal of pleasing men. The work I’ve mentioned will aid you as a woman in ALL facets of life. Being your authentic self will advance your business and career goals and allow a romantic partner to choose you because of you. Not judging yourself by the successes of others will allow you to blossom into your own greatness at your pace and make your romantic pursuits less competitive. Not pinning your results to someone else’s formula will free you the confines of others expectations and reduce the stress of relationship failure. These things just also happen to work for maintaining romantic interest but it isn’t its sole intent. Valuable and valued women are whole women, people whose self-worth neither lives nor dies by the acceptance and rejection of others.
7. Don’t Make Sex the Prize if You Don’t Want it to be the Focus
I’m always amazed at how often women do not want to be reduced to sex who reduce the prize for monogamous commitment to, well, sex. We will say a man is shallow because sex is the sole purpose of why he wants to get with us while forgetting that sex is the only thing we’ve presented as exclusive about ourselves. We are often preoccupied with controlling how we present and are viewed sexually but are dumbfounded that our romantic pursuits become just as compulsively obsessed with it.
First we’ve got to let go of our need for extreme self-surveillance. Self-surveillance is the attention we give our behavior when facing the actual or potential reaction from an observation by others whose opinion we view as important. Those we view as important are usually observers of the same or superior social position. In this case, same can be thought of as other women and present or potential romantic interests. In plain english, we base more of our behaviors and choices on what we think others will think our our decisions. If it is the social norm that “real women” go dutch or pay on dates, including first dates, many women will adjust their behavior to accommodate that so that they are viewed as “real women” and, therefore, suitable romantic partners. If it is the social norm that dating and marrying a promiscuous partner makes you less of a man, many men will avoid partnering these women like the plague. We all care, to an extent, how we are socially perceived but when we take it to an extreme, it keeps us from the very thing we’re changing our behavior for: romantic partnership.
We as women become extreme in self-surveillance, especially in terms of our sexual decisions. If a sexual behavior is socially deemed as negative, many of us will forego it even if it brings us pleasure. Many of us try so hard to embody the tenet of “freak in the sheets, lady in the streets” that we forsake our own needs.
We have allowed our sexuality to be shaped and developed by what the church says is sin and by what society deems as whoredom. Nowhere in that is women’s actual pleasure considered. Your romantic partner isn’t just having sex with themselves. You’re not a human blow up doll built solely for his (or her) pleasure. Sex requires mutual enthusiasm, not reluctant acquiescence. Valuable women are secure in who they are and what they want when it comes to sex. They have no qualms about expressing those needs and holding their partners accountable for not meeting them.
We become extreme in self-surveillance because as single women, we’re always worried about how we present as potential partners. However, grown people, marriage-seeking (or long term relationship) partners, understand and accept that a woman has had a life before them. Believe it or not, many aren’t caught up on your number of sexual partners because they recognize your sexual history doesn’t negate the value that you add to the world, especially their lives. Undoubtedly, there’s a segment of people who base their decisions of who to date on the opinions of others concerning body counts and promiscuity. Unless this is the kind of person you wish to partner with, you first evaluation should be of their self-surveillance level. Believe it or not,
There will always be a population that feels the need to define you as a hoe whether you have 2 sexual partners or 20, from the time you’re 18 until you’re 99. However the sooner we stop allowing unimportant people to shape our self-image, the better off we will be.
8. Be Confident About What YOU Need
I don’t know if you watch HGTV like I do (yes you do, don’t deny it), but even if you haven’t I’m sure you’ve heard of its seminal show “House Hunters.” Each episode, there are two people who, after compiling a list of must-haves, look at 3 different homes before deciding on one that best fits their needs. Even if they quickly fall in love with the first home, they continue to look at the other two just in case there is something that more closely aligns with their stated needs. Eventually, after the search, they realize they couldn’t find a more perfect fit and they finally choose a home.
Like ‘House Hunters’, you need to be confident in your list of must-haves for your romantic partners. You can only define your must-haves after you understand what makes or breaks attraction for you.People shopping for homes, a multi-thousand dollar 30-year commitment, do not do so based on fear of the scarcity of homes. They decide to buy a home because they’re confident in their needs and they are ready to find the home that suits them. Likewise, you need to know and be confident in yourself before trying to make someone else know you. You needn’t walk into a relationship hoping for the best just because introspection is hard. You have to be confident about what your deal breakers are even if your potential romance seems like the deal of the century.
Once you have established your must-haves, you’ve got to stand firm on them even if the first potential suitor meets most of the requirements. Sometimes we settle quickly and realign our must-haves to fit the partner instead of doing the work to find the partner who fits the must-haves. This is not to say, however, that we should always be on the eternal quest for the next best thing. Like ‘House Hunters’, you eventually have to realize when you’ve discovered the best fit to your needs and do the work it takes to maintain that relationship.
9. Gain an Understanding of Healthy Compromise
We all have our must-haves when it comes to a partner but we don’t always have a healthy concept of what compromise looks like. Within our list of must-haves, we all have soft and hard dealbreakers. Healthy compromise means accepting that the potential suitor doesn’t meet your soft dealbreaker of height or build, although you still find them physically attractive and they meet your hard dealbreakers. Too often, however, fear of scarcity causes women to view their sacrifice of hard dealbreakers as a compromise. As I said before,
“Good women believe in the scarcity of good men. The “hoe” knows if this one won’t comply, there will be others who will.” tweet
The women that you criticize for their sexual choices know that their hard deal breakers go beyond just getting the man. You see, when women make unhealthy compromises they end up settling, which ultimately leads to a lack of peace. Unhealthy compromises are a short term satisfaction that generally lead to long term heartache. You’ll end up wondering how you’ll live with behavior and/or characteristics that you don’t like while berating yourself for choosing to put up with it for the sake or compromise. Much like the single rotting apple that causes the spoilage of the ones surrounding it, so too will your morale for love and relationships spoil if you continue to stay with someone who requires you to make unhealthy compromises.
10. Being Valuable Doesn’t Always Mean You’ll Be Valued
This is perhaps the hardest part for many women to accept. Reactions to part one of this post were often filled with “I did all of that and I’m still single.” You can literally do everything “right” and still come up short. You have to learn to accept that someone’s choice not to value is about their right to choose and not necessarily about your value. You can be both a worthy partner and worthless in the mind of someone for whom you’re not a match. No one wants to feel undervalued but it happens. Too often people believe that once you’ve evoked commitment and monogamy that a level of ownership is naturally assumed. Yes, you get to own your boo for #MCM or #WCW, but you do not own their feelings.
You shouldn’t desire to own them either! You must own your feelings and your value. Even with the seemingly perfect mate, they will grow and evolve as a person. With this evolution, their value perception will change and in the event of a difference, you have to be confident and secure with picking up your value and moving on to the next.
Finally, you have to understand that the “fix” requires continuous work.
What I’ve outlined above will absolutely kickstart you towards joining the winning team. But honestly, this is ongoing work. I am constantly working to undo the negative attitudes I’ve been taught about sex, about sexual women, and about what makes me a virtuous woman. Just like you, I live in a world that constantly bombards me with things that are completely detrimental to my self-confidence. Yes, I live in the world where women are constantly being told what they need to do to get a man. Yes, I see the constant derision and disrespect given to Black women, especially dark skinned Black women. Yes, I see the litany of tweets, memes, and status updates about how swallowing your water a certain way makes you a hoe today. I see it, I know it, I live it.
But I am convinced we can work together to undo and overcome it.