I have a question: Where did you first learn about relationships? Does anyone remember the TV series Saved by the Bell or Family Matters (this is showing my age a little). As a teenager, these shows played a significant role in my knowledge about relationships. These TV programmes were clearly not ideal sources to gain information about relationships, but the truth is the media plays a significant part in our perceptions. I learned such shallow concepts whilst digesting these fairy tales. If you are familiar with the programme Saved by the Bell then you will remember the character who played Screech – “the geek,” he was never popular with the girls and instead all the ladies would yearn for Zack – “the jock” who was the “player,” he was the guy that got all the girls. Magazines, books, movies were all telling the same story; was I brainwashed? Furthermore, in the TV show Family Matters, there was this constant battle with Steve Urkel – “the nerd” and Stefan – “the hunk” which really created a superficial ideology that looks were more important than character.
Having gained my knowledge about men from the media, dating was bound to be a disaster until I learned the inevitable. I grew up in a single parent household hence I did not know what a healthy relationship looked like and for this reason had ignored some really good “guys” in my time. My best friend in my teens used to joke about liking “bad boys” and this was the truth for many of us ladies growing up. But my question now that I am older and wiser is; if we knew these boys were “bad boys,” why did we ever expect anything good? Why would we think these men would change like the Prince who transformed in the film Beauty and the Beast? Some of us women believe in this invisible super power that we are able to change a man, but if we are honest with ourselves, we know a man will only change if he wants to. So yes, we should believe a man who shows us he is not interested and it takes many of us too long to face this reality.
I recently read a quote that stated women speak with their words and men speak with their actions, and this couldn’t be any further from the truth. A man could tell you how much he wanted to be with you but then doesn’t call, doesn’t take you on dates and shows very minimal interest, yet some women will overlook the latter and cling to the flattering words that were used to reel them in. On the other hand, these same women would ignore the gentleman that communicates well, treats her with respect and shows all the signs of a good man. Somehow women get entangled in these unhealthy relations which are a figment of their imagination. For instance, in my teens I was head over heels with a guy that I was sure was interested in me. I always initiated the phone calls, I was always the one to arrange the “dates” and it took me years to realise that this man showed me earlier on that he was not interested. But I continued to believe that he wanted to be with me and I was “in love” all by myself. Some would have called me a fool, but I created a narrative in my head which was only a 'dream'. Of course this narrative only lead to heartbreak and to be honest it wasn’t the guys fault, I caused my own heartbreak. But how many times do women make this same mistake? Why do some women keep falling in the same “relation-shipwreck?”
It is important as women and as individuals that you set a standard of respecting yourself and to never compromise your values. If men are showing you that they do not respect your standards, then believe them. There are still good men out there that are willing to treat women with respect and I believe that their actions will always outweigh their words. It is time to accept the truth, actions speak LOUDER than words, you will know whether a man is genuinely interested in you or not. I believe it’s time to change the narrative: good guys do not finish last but they are the ones worth waiting for.