I was recently reminded why I am the way that I am when it comes to men and relationships. A long time ago, I made a promise to myself.:
I WILL NEVER ALLOW A MAN TO TAKE ME FOR GRANTED EVER AGAIN.
I recently had a conversation with an ex-lover. A man that I loved deeper than his own level of sight and understanding. I poured my love into him. Even when he tried to deny me the access. I tried desperately to prove my love to him, though he often would reject it. Yet, he would hold onto me when it was time to let go. Yet, he would still crave intimacy with me, despite shutting me out of his heart. We shared passion, but with him I shared love. He was receiving my love, but he didn’t know what to do with it. I told him months ago: I wish him the best in life. I meant it, because I loved him. I wish all my ex-lovers would find a woman so they can be happy, and I can move on. I also don’t want anymore ex-lovers to pop up when its convenient for him. I Digress….
Recently, this man tried to make contact with me and said he was coming in town. At first I was curious. A man will always claim to change, and sometimes I just want to see for myself. But quickly I came to my senses. He said the same thing to me years ago, and when we made contact last year I saw that he was still the same man. Just more content with himself. But it was the same games. I am still Love. I quickly reminded myself that I don’t deserve to be fooled twice. I went out of my way before to prove myself to him. He is so vain. He think he is THE prize. Was I not also a treasure? I left town, because I didn’t want him to find the treasure he already treated less than before. I spent years finding myself and adjusting my standards to avoid the same mistakes. In a recent conversation, he tried to deny everything that I felt for him, to satisfy himself. How can a man that literally left you heart broken, saw you cry too many times in pain, turn around and try to redefine MY pain and feelings to clear his own conscious? The audacity.
Many men feel that if they can’t understand you as a loving woman or being… they have to find a definition to place you under to match their own level of understanding. A label. A box to try to fit you in. This can become very desensitizing, and minimizing. And down right heart wrenching as if your pain or experiences didn’t even matter. He will try to erase your pain and your entire experience, simply because he doesn’t understand it. He denied my love for him, because HE didn’t know how to love me correctly in return. Or reciprocate. Or he simply didn’t want to. Many men will even use this as game to try to manipulate you into constantly proving yourself knowing damn well they will fail to comprehend who you are, or what you are revealing to him. You can explain it to him until you are blue in the face, and even provide proof. Some will even resent you for learning about Love, what they have yet to. He spent our last conversation trying to convince me that my love for him did not exist. He tried to deny that I loved him, and that our situation was not painful to me. Despite the work I put in to heal myself after ending our situation FOR YEARS! The most disrespectful thing he has ever done to me. Try to reenter my life on the tail end of my healing, just to try to erase my entire experience with his own doubts, fear, and lack of depth. He failed to mention that it’s possible he is simply incapable of loving me the way that I needed.
It took a lot of clarity and insight for me to discover how and why my previous relationships failed. I didn’t fail at loving a man, I failed to love myself first. I failed at setting my own standards and boundaries. I had to take accountability for my own choices, and my mistakes. I had to take accountability for not raising the standard with the men I dated before. I see men (black men especially) pushing the same toxic narratives of relationships that have failed me before. Even the narratives that fail them as well in their relationships with women. My question sometimes is: do they enjoy destroying every fabric of a woman’s being if they expect her to constantly settle or endure disappointment and pain? Without returning the Love they expect from her? No matter the answer to this question, I don’t have the patience, time, nor energy to try teach a man how to love me or value me. Based on this recent conversation with my ex lover, will he expect you to tolerate such pain only to deny the experience later on to relieve his own consciousness? Experience has taught me that yes he can and will if given the chance. Because of this, I have to be more careful with matters of my own heart. I’ve learned that a man can leave a trail of broken women without remorse or self-awareness of the damage he causes. Or he will intentionally do such, and pretend that he “didn’t do nuffin”. Without accountability.
And sorry isn’t enough to heal a wounded heart.
When I speak to people about raising my standards and refusing to settle in relationships, many will try to force or manipulate me down the same road I have already traveled. I become defensive. Sometimes I become enraged, foreseeing the possibility of a repeated cycle. I remember the pain, the tears, the waste of my time. Some have even accused me of trying to punish men by setting such high standards for myself. They don’t see the previous sacrifices I made, the healing work I had to do, and the courage it takes to even believe in love again. Let alone the courage it takes to raise a standard for myself to benefit my newfound worth, without proof of available choices. A worth that is especially hard to find for black girls in a world that has defined our worth as too cheap before we even came out of the womb. So when I say what I say about men, don’t try to erase my experience (like he tried to do). My experiences shouldn’t be unfairly lowered into a box to appease another’s level of understanding. It took a long time to get to where I am at mentally, and spiritually. It took a long time to gain the maturity and wisdom from the lessons I learned. Respect the experience, as I had to learn to accept the lesson. HARD. I refuse to ever be taken for granted ever again. I refuse to settle for less than I deserve. The next man that I love will not only love me (through reciprocation), but he will value me. And I’ll be damned if anyone tries to convince me otherwise. I paid the cost. I’ll be the boss over my own life this time, moving forward. That will be a very lucky man.
Another Love Lesson.
Feature Photo Art by: Jason Siwe
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