It seems almost daily on my timeline I witness a single man complaining about the dating decisions of single women. It basically adds up to why are women making the same bad decisions men do in choosing partners and navigating relationships.
Little girls are groomed from the time we are little to think about our future partner. A nameless, faceless and not guaranteed ghost who looms over all of our decisions. We are given toys that encourage us to “play house” in preparation for being a wife to someone someday. We get baby dolls, tea sets, plastic kitchenware and stoves. We pretend our future wedding and dream of the fairy tale in every movie, teen show and romantic comedy.
Some mothers even mold their daughters into “someone who can care for a home”. Our afternoons after school filled with cooking, doing laundry, cleaning and being prepared to take care of everyone else.
The expectation is this boot camp will churn out ready-made wives who will choose the proper partner, get married, bore children and find fulfillment.
There is a belief that women are smarter about choosing a partner and make all the right decisions even if they emerge from the same broken homes, neglect, abuse and even poverty as their male counterparts.
Boys are socialized to someday take care of a family, if he chooses. He is given the financial pressure of taken care of himself and eventually a family. And, expected to make all the right decisions to secure his future.
But, boys are expected to make dating mistakes and given time to arrive at the decision to become the mature, husband type at a certain age before he faces real pressure or scrutiny of his decision-making.
Some bachelors are forever given a pass to never have to “settle down” because that’s just “who they are”.
I think this way of thinking is dismissive of the complexity of both men and women.
Not everyone processes their experiences the same way nor receives the same type or guidance and support as a young adolescent or teen. We are disrespectful to their journey when we assume that everyone will arrive at the same conclusion or moral maturity at the same time.
There is a still a Scarlet A waiting in the wings for every woman that society deems “too” something. Yet, no one ever wonders why she is. Just as no one wonders why the boy is. No one thinks, what happened?
We are also becoming a society where household chores are everyone’s responsibility. People are waiting longer and longer to marry. Women can be equally financial responsible for themselves or a family. How do girls and boys benefit from these gender beliefs and roles but to shame them or leave them helpless if they haven’t met a partner?
Some people want to judge the relationship and sexual past of the other without getting real about their own. Some people want the other person to always have been responsible, loyal and preparing for them even before knowing they exist, while they were being reckless and putting themselves at risk.
But, it feels like an expected privilege that a man shouldn’t have to deal with the relationship past of a woman. And, a woman should always be preparing for her relationship future even when there is no guarantee she will have a husband.
Maybe a man may choose a woman whose sexual appetite doesn’t match his own because she suppressed hers while he overindulged.
Or, she is resentful because she ignored her desires in preparation for him to make her feel complete and now she finds herself wanting more than what she was sold.
Should we be more thoughtful in why we have these expectations and why are we training people to deny, control and suppress? Could we benefit from some equanimity and compassion? And, could we ask more questions about what someone may have been through that they are using sexual expression to deal with.
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