I was watching a YouTube video from a popular business coach recently. He’s a high-energy, alpha-male type who regularly releases advice videos. After watching several of them I came to one done by his wife.
In it, she talks about their relationship and specifically the way she encourages him, cheers him on, and supports his career. It was a very specific example of how one woman supports her husband. The video ended with slightly less gendered advice for viewers supporting the active partner in their relationship.
I probably wouldn’t have thought about the video again had I not accidentally scrolled down and caught a glimpse of the top comment. As a general rule, I don’t read YouTube comments for the same reason I don’t go snorkeling in a swamp. To wit, the top comment (unedited) was the following:
she has the best personality ever thats someone no man would ever cheat on.
The comment had over 100 “thumbs up” on it. Lack of proper capitalization, punctuation, and grammar aside, I was struck by the incredibly skewed view the commenter had. I know internet comments aren’t the place to go for thought leadership and open-mindedness. But I believe paying attention to the subtle shifts in the language we use is so important for understanding how we communicate to and about each other, especially regarding gender. This particular comment showcased a set of deep-seated misconceptions about relationships.
First is the idea a woman is the cause of whether or not her boyfriend or husband cheats. Not only is she the cause, but she has a responsibility to make sure he doesn’t. It blames the woman for the actions of a man.
The decision to cheat involves breaking a promise. Whatever the reason, the only person responsible is the one who cheated. Everybody makes their own decisions in relationships, whether the couple is heterosexual, same sex, or transgender. Each person actively decides how to treat their partner. Blaming somebody else for your behavior says more about you than it does about them.
Next, the comment makes it seem like personality is what can prevent a woman from being cheated on by a man. So now, the standard becomes women must be not only beautiful and supportive but also in possession of a great personality because beauty won’t guarantee a faithful partner.
How did we get to the point where some men believe women are responsible for maintaining the sanctity of their relationship? That is some reverse Jedi mind bullshit we have pulled to shirk our responsibility.
Yes, partners should support each other. But we are responsible for our own individual decisions and happiness. The nature of the commitment in a couple will always be unique to them.
Perhaps men have grown so exhausted with the plethora of airbrushed women they see in movies and social media that they have moved onto this idea of personality as savior. But a personality doesn’t guarantee anything in a relationship any more than a knowledge of tortillas does.
she has the best knowledge of tortillas ever thats someone no man would ever cheat on.
This comment also took as fact that one directional support, i.e. “supporting your man” was crucial to a successful relationship.
How about, how do you support your woman? What about a video titled as such? I’m willing to bet many men have no idea. Not because they are dumb. Not because they are incapable. But because they haven’t asked or been told. Men are capable of far more than what has been previously expected of them.
Support should be a mutual activity regardless of the individual responsibilities in a relationship. It gives relationships strength and allows them to endure. It is easy to look elsewhere for ideas on how to improve our relationships. The hardest thing can be to simply ask your partner what they have been waiting to hear.
How can I better support you?
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