This week, I found a video that shows how people truly see relationships (and it disturbed me deeply).
Kirstie Taylor has 229k followers on TikTok. She posted a video saying the beginning of a relationship should be equal. Each party should invest the same effort.
Sounds simple, right?
The comments on the video disagree: It’s not simple at all. I was shocked to notice how much the idea of equality enraged women. Here are some of the comments:
“Please just send a “had a great time text” after the date cause I’m gonna interpret silence as disinterest.”
Or, what’s even more concerning:
“After we’ve been dating for like 2 years and he’s proven himself to be a partner that I want to keep around, then sure I’ll start matching his energy.”
Women expect more effort from men at the beginning of a relationship (even when they’re not willing to put in the effort).
But what’s behind this expectation?
Rules limit you.
I’m a big fan of rules. Rules exist for a reason: To clarify things and make sure everybody is on the same page. That’s why we need the label “we’re in a relationship.” It tells you what to do.
But rules also limit your options.
When you say, “I won’t give him a chance if he doesn’t text me after the date,” you limit yourself. There are multiple reasons a man won’t text you. Maybe he’s busy with work, he had to travel, his phone has no battery, or he just forgot.
Imagine you dumped the love of your life just because his phone isn’t charged.
Now you say, “I have high standards, and that protects me from jerks!” And you’re right. But your standards need to be reasonable. You can’t expect a man to invest everything he has in you while you play hard to get. That’s not a standard; that’s a childish rule.
You need the sweet balance between your standards and being open-minded.
The good news is that you get to determine your rules. You determine what you can tolerate and what you can’t.
Relationships are all about negotiation. Maybe you can tolerate his weird hobby or not receiving as many texts as you wish. In return, he’ll watch Gossip Girl with you or take you on weekly dates. You have to learn what matters more to you and what you’re willing to negotiate.
Be careful with your high standards. They might be a sign that you fear change (even if unconsciously).
What about feminism?
Feminism says men and women should be equal. It preaches equality of rights, opportunities, and responsibilities.
Those comments go against the core idea of feminism.
When a woman says she’ll wait two years until she matches her partner’s efforts, she expects him to invest more than her. That’s far from equal. She expects the man to do all the work for her.
I find that extremely concerning coming from women.
Women should have high standards. But when they allow men to take the initiative, they become a passive spectator in their own love life. The relationship depends completely on the man’s interest. If you ask me, that’s an old mindset that doesn’t work anymore.
Modern feminism puts women as the protagonist of their lives.
Have you ever liked a protagonist who waits for others? I guess not. “If he doesn’t text, he doesn’t like me” is an excuse not to pursue your interests. But feminism defends that women can (and should) go after what they want.
Don’t get me wrong: Women shouldn’t always take the initiative, especially when the man doesn’t show interest. But you can’t expect others to read your mind. When you like a man, you’re responsible for communicating it.
How to solve this.
Kirstie says we should be equal in dating. But I think reciprocity is a better word.
Reciprocity is when you watch your partner’s actions and match them.
Watch how often they text if they take the initiative to plan dates, and how much they share about themselves. Then, you do the same. When they text once, you can text first the next time. This habit ensures you’re on the same page.
Reciprocity can make or break your relationship.
Imagine you start dating a guy, and you’re ready to go all-in. If he goes above and beyond for you, you’ll receive it well. But if you’re not ready for commitment, you’ll find it suffocating.
He had the same attitude in both scenarios. But your expectation changed.
That’s why you need to watch your partner: So you can determine their level of interest and act accordingly.
Now, imagine the comments in Kirstie’s video are real. Except now, I want you to picture the man’s perspective. Imagine a man puts in the effort to plan a date, and the woman never texts or plans another date (because she thinks he should text first).
This woman didn’t reciprocate his action.
Even if she had a great time, she didn’t make the next move. What’s worse: She blames him for his lack of initiative. She left all responsibility to the other party (although she hoped for a different outcome). This man may even insist a bit longer, but he’ll eventually feel exhausted and give up.
Don’t blame others for your lack of reciprocity.
The comments in Kirstie’s video show women don’t want to match men’s efforts at the start of a relationship. Maybe it’s because their previous relationships were traumatic, or their standards are way too high.
But here’s what matters: Relationships are made of two people.
When one party puts in the effort and the other doesn’t, it won’t work. It doesn’t matter if the couple goes too fast or too slow. What matters is that they reciprocate each other’s feelings.
You may not be a mind-reader, but people are quite straightforward with their actions. The best thing you can do is spend some time to figure out where your partner stands and match their energy.
One final note: Don’t expect the other party to put in all the effort for you. That’s the quickest way to lose great partners (and attract jerks instead).
This post was previously published on MEDIUM.COM.
From The Good Men Project on Medium
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