You Are Not a Princess! 25 Points for Women and Men to Consider
I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year now. In that time, I’ve noticed many double standards and gender inequities in relationships that are culturally acceptable. Here are some of my observations for women to consider in terms of their own behavior and for men to consider in terms of their own enlightenment when it comes to women and relationships. The following points don’t apply to all women, however, they apply to enough of them that they’re part of our faulty cultural belief system. Hey ladies (and you know who you are):
2. You are not any more “special” nor any more “entitled” than anyone else. You don’t deserve special privileges and nobody “owes” you anything by virtue of who you are or because of your gender.
3. You are just as “lucky” to have found your husband/boyfriend as he was to find you. Have you ever considered that there are times when you are lucky that he puts up with and tolerates you?
4. Men have feelings, too. They hurt just as much as you do when you criticize, reject, dismiss, ignore, make fun of, disrespect, invalidate and/or mock them. In fact, they may hurt more because they don’t have as many emotional outlets as you—especially if you tell him his feelings “don’t count” or to “be a man” when he expresses his feelings that you mistakenly claim he doesn’t have and/or is “wrong” for having. He has feelings and he has a right to them even when they’re not the same as yours and/or are expressed differently than you express yours.
5. If it’s okay for you to have male friends and maintain friendships with your exes, it’s also okay for your husband/boyfriend to have female friends and maintain friendships with his exes. It is not different for you because “you’re a woman.” It’s faulty logic to suppose women are inherently more trustworthy than men. This is called a double standard and it’s not okay. Otherwise, the culturally acceptable pronouncement, “Men are all dogs” should be met with “Women are all bitches” (i.e., female dogs) and should be equally culturally acceptable.
6. A father is just as important in a child’s life as a mother. Period. Just because you have a uterus doesn’t make you the better parent by default.
7. Children are not “hers” and “his” objects. The correct possessive pronoun is “ours.”
8. Your husband/boyfriend does not “owe” you. He shouldn’t be expected to financially support you and shower you with gifts unless you’re willing to reciprocate and equally support him without question or complaint. You’re neither his child nor his dependent. You’re supposed to be his equal partner.
9. Your husband’s/boyfriend’s desires, needs, wishes, feelings, likes and dislikes are just as important as yours. It’s not all about you all the time. You’re supposedly in a mutual and reciprocal relationship; not a service industry/client-vendor relationship.
10. If you’re not willing to make changes in yourself and your behavior, you’ve no right to demand that your husband/boyfriend do so. Nor is it reasonable to demand or expect your husband/boyfriend to make all the changes you want first before you’re willing to do your own work.
11. You are not a better human being by virtue of being a woman. You’re not a goddess. You’re not a sacred cow. You don’t “rule.” You’re a person, just like your husband/boyfriend is a person. You both deserve to be treated with equal dignity and respect when you act and treat each other with dignity and respect.
12. It’s a lie and a manipulation to say you “sacrificed” your career when you never really wanted to work in the first place. If you see your husband/boyfriend as your ticket to freedom from being a wage slave, be honest with yourself and your husband/boyfriend and most important of all, BE GRATEFUL. Having another person pay your way through life is not an inalienable right; it’s an enormous gift for which you should express gratitude on a regular basis.
13. It is wrong to use your child(ren) to hurt, control or extort money from your husband/boyfriend/ex. In fact, it borders on child abuse. Children are not pawns or human shields to be used for your own selfish reasons. They’re people who will later grow to resent you for using them in this fashion and will likely develop psychological problems of their own as a result.
14. It is wrong to expect or demand that your ex continue to financially support you after the relationship ends. The children are entitled to support until they become adults at the age of 18. You’re already an adult and, as such, you’re capable of and should legally be expected to take care of yourself— unless you’re willing to continue to support your ex by doing his grocery shopping, cooking cleaning, errands, etc. If your obligations to your husband are finished after a divorce, his obligations to you should also be finished.
15. Your husband/boyfriend is not responsible for your happiness. It isn’t his job to make you happy; that’s your job. Just as he is responsible for his own happiness. He’s supposed to be your equal partner, not your emotional wet nurse.
16. The desire for sex in a committed, loving relationship is healthy and natural. Using sex to control, shame or hurt your husband/boyfriend by withholding affection or making sex transactional is unhealthy and wrong.
17. Your husband/boyfriend should be more important to you than your child(ren) just as you should be more important to your husband than the child(ren). In other words, you should be each others’ first priorities; children second. You don’t need a husband if your sole desire is to have children—unless you see the man as a source of income for yourself and the children. If you can’t support yourself, you probably shouldn’t be having children. Marriage is a bond between two grown adults; not a bond between parent and child (Marc Rudov, 2008). You vow to honor your spouse and put him or her before all others, this includes your children. Children eventually fly the coop. If you make them the focus and raison d’être of your marriage, don’t be surprised when you no longer have much of a marriage as the years pass.
18. You are only entitled to what you earn or produce. Men are neither beasts of burden nor “working boys” to be pimped out in the service of their partners or ex-partners. No one owes you a living. As an adult, you’re not entitled to be taken care of by another party unless you have documented cognitive or physical disabilities that prohibit you from working. Last time I checked, being a wife, ex-wife, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, mistress, ex-mistress, mother and/or simply a woman wasn’t considered a disability.
19. It is just as ABUSIVE when a woman slaps, kicks, hits, spits at, scratches, shoves, pushes, punches, pulls hair, uses a weapon, swings a golf club at or throws objects at a man. It isn’t funny, cute, justifiable or deserved. It is indefensible, inexcusable, criminal and just as prosecutable as when a man acts violently toward a woman. Period.
20. The same goes for emotional abuse. It is unacceptable.
21. It is neither “normal” nor “acceptable” adult female behavior to throw temper tantrums, withhold sex, cry, rage, pout, have disproportionate reactions to events or be unable to control emotions and behaviors. At the very least, these are signs of emotional lability and poor impulse control; at worst, these are indicators of serious pathology and quite possibly some kind of personality disorder.
22. It is not okay to divert money from your joint checking/savings account(s) or open credit cards in your husband’s/boyfriend’s name without his knowledge and explicit permission. The first instance is stealing and the second is considered identity theft and fraud. Signing your husband’s/boyfriend’s signature to financial and legal documents is forgery. All of these actions are illegal.
23. It is irresponsible to live beyond your means and abusive to expect your husband/boyfriend to foot the bill or go into debt to cover your expenses. If you can’t responsibly use a credit/debit card then, much like a child, you shouldn’t have one.
24. It is never acceptable or permissible to threaten to deny your husband/boyfriend/ex access to the children you share. It is not okay to make up abuse allegations because you’re feeling angry, hurt or out of control. This is an act of slander (spoken) or libel (written) and if you swear to it in court, it’s also an act of perjury.
25. It is not fair to commit to or marry a man and then try to change him. If you don’t accept him as he is, just like you expect him to accept you and your faults, then you have no business being with him. Everyone has a right to feel accepted for who he or she is in a relationship. If he’s “not good enough” for you from the get go; keep looking and cut him loose so he can be with a woman who appreciates him.
All of these observations seem self-evident to me, which leads me to ponder how did we get here?
Shrink4Men Coaching and Consultation Services:
Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.
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Princess syndrome 1 by anagley on flickr.
Princess syndrome 2 on lavalife.
Brat child on turnbacktogod.
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