Love, relationships, and sex are what make the world go round. On the one hand, some may view love and relationships as a positive, progressive journey to self-discovery, family, and heritage. In New York, many women I know use the term “unicorn” to describe the mythical creature that does not exist: the perfect man or woman that we’ve been looking for after dating a lot of duds, jerks, or assholes; the one person who can soothe your soul gives you a sense of completeness.
Others see sex as a separate entity, outside of love and relationships and feel that if there’s an itch to scratch: Why involve the inherent drama of commitment when you can have a “fuck buddy” or the more polite term “friends with benefits”.
Then there are those who view love, relationships, and sex as an unenviable, unviable option that is costly, literally and figuratively. Avoiding problems and arguments makes for a happy, peaceful life. However, why do men and women have such a negative take on the other? Granted, there are obvious differences between men and women—and sometimes it is easy to forget that our differences add to the allure and sex appeal and endears us to one another. For all the intrigue and mystique of masculine swagger and feminine seduction, some feel that being alone is a 100% better option that being with someone and living up to their expectations.
So what is the problem with expectations? There are great benefits that go along with having expectations of the one with whom you are intimately involved. When the lines of communication are open, it helps the relationship to grow and thrive. Expectations allow for conscious conversation about you and your significant other’s relationship goals, leaving room to compromise where needed. It’s not nirvana, but given that both parties are committed to the health of the relationship, expectations can be a good thing. If not, then it’s apparent that there is a lack of consideration/concern for your partner’s needs, fear of rejection or humiliation, or unresolved/unspoken issues. It isn’t easy to speak your truth, but emotionally checking out of the relationship or other methods of passive-aggressive behaviors is not conducive to a resolution.
The proverbial, “I can do badly by myself” is real. What is bad? Does bad mean expecting your lover/mate to respect your time or share the expenses when living together? Does bad mean wanting to watch sports at home one weekend to save money instead of going out and spending money, or does bad mean leaving a relationship that is emotionally toxic? An emotionally toxic situation can entail disrespect, control over finances, and leisure time. The stereotypes that are seen in the media spread negative models of men as disposable/indispensable, and woman as independent/gold-diggers. Neither is a quality that one would look for in a mate. Yet, what if deep down, you know that your partner has your best interests at heart and are not trying to manipulate you? Why is it easier to walk away than to acquiesce? Maybe it’s your fears or insecurities, rather than the idea that your partner’s request is irrational. What is keeping you from giving more of yourself? Self-sabotage is real.
Why do we listen? Why do we give up, and give in and assume that every man is a brute and every woman is looking for a payoff? These generalizations represent only a fraction of the population, yet because of the words, statistical data from reputable organizations, individuals, personal experience, or cultural news and what’s “trending” we validate it as zero sums, whether we like it or not.
The descriptions are penned as mutually inclusive and yet mutually exclusive, without hindsight. Are we so distinctly different, diametrically opposed that getting along and understanding one another so that we can form a more “im/perfect” union, an accurate assessment of why some of us harden our hearts and shift our minds to lesser expectations and effort? Why is it so difficult for men and women to come together and see one another as an individual rather than the ex who cheated on us, used us for our money, or thought less of us because we may not have measured up to their gender specific standard? There is no doubt that rejection is hard to accept, and even if you do accept it, there’s always that voice inside of you that nudges you ever so gently to never again do or be whatever it was that your former lover said or did that made you feel inadequate.
Or is it something deeper that keeps us from not fully trusting and allowing ourselves to commit to knowing someone beyond the superficial and not assuming that they too, will eventually break the bond of trust and integrity if they are let in. Self-preservation is a trait that mammals have to anticipate and protect themselves while surviving and existing in their environment. We have used self-preservation as a safeguard in relationships as well. Sometimes we decide before we get into a relationship how much information or how close we are going to allow another person to get to us. It is extremely difficult to get to know or get close to someone if they are guarded or if they pretend to be someone, they are not, by lies or omission. When we omit information about ourselves, it makes it easier to be distant, and the games begin, as well as the problems.
Chemistry is important, so once the “je ne sais quoi” (French for “I don’t know what”) is established presence and integrity is vital to having a successful, progressive relationship. The ebb and flow should be natural because the feelings are genuine and not based on material or superficial possessions or needs. I think that we all want the same things when we are in a relationship: to love and be loved, touch and be touched, give and receive respect and to appreciate the value that our significant other brings to our lives (not necessarily in that order). Each word is an actionable, challengeable reality that disputes the unreliable description that a few bad actors say we are. The media’s desperate to mold, shape, and manipulate us to relinquish our personal responsibility to act based on what we innately feel, and not get caught up in what others may think. Men and women have the common sense to step outside of the proverbial box and take a stand.
No man is an island, and we all have something of non-material value to bring to a relationship. So, why do we continue to operate and speak to one another as if we could care less about the feelings of the person we are speaking? It is said that “familiarity breeds contempt”, but isn’t familiarity what bonds us together and makes us sensually comfortable? We all are capable of being someone’s unicorn.
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