Growing up I used to watch with awe when the women in my family debated. I marveled at their intelligence, sense of humour and ability to passionately articulate their opinions. They had a habit of debating so intensely they’d forget I was in the room. I was a precocious child so eventually I would reveal my presence by offering my view. Immediately I would be shooed out the room. Dejected, I’d sigh inwardly, knowing a loud sigh would mean being shot dirty looks. The most frightening look would be the one from my mum, which was code for ‘I’m going to deal with you when our guests go home, but if you do anything else I will twist your ears in public’.
Things are different now. I’ve crossed the invisible border, to a land where my mum no longer twists my ears and topics the matriarchs used to shield me from are now discussed in my presence.
Yesterday evening, while sitting around the dining room table with my mum, aunt and sisters, the shift in family dynamic was all the more apparent. Initially we were discussing benign topics. Suddenly we landed on a contentious topic (ironic considering the post I wrote a few days ago).
‘If a man says he’s changed, should a woman take him back?’My mum and aunt belong to the school of redemption. They believe that if a man demonstrates that he’s attempting to change, it’s worth a woman considering giving it a shot. Especially if there are children involved.
In the words of my mother….
“The day I write off another human being, I've written off myself. Redemption is always possible. People are too easy to give up on each other nowadays. You can’t just give up at the first hurdle. Everyone deserves a second chance’"
I agreed with elements of my mum and aunt’s logic ,although I think the fact that they're mothers means they think differently from me. Mothers have the capacity to sacrifice their happiness if they think it will help their children. At present I'm far too single (and selfish) to truly empathise with this approach to life.
My main objection to their approach lies with the fact that when we discuss this matter, the sinister subtext is it is a woman's duty (rather than her right) to grant a man second chance . Apparently a woman ‘owes’ it to herself to try and make even the most toxic of relationships work. This perverse idea is a legacy of the fact that prior to the advancement of feminism, women were made to be subservient. Decades later, western women are fully emancipated yet due to external pressures, they persist in being in relationships where they're made to feel devalued.
During yesterday's debate I was pretty much overruled by the weight of wisdom and experience in the room. I'd spent the day binge eating with my goddaughter and my body was so laden with carbs I could barely think clearly. Today’s blog post is inspired by yesterday’s debate and is my attempt to make up for my poor performance.
Ideally the post would be called '5 reasons why you should take him back' unfortunately our world is far from ideal. Considering the number of women who are in toxic relationships (or have friends or family in such a situation) I think it would be borderline irresponsible to write such a post.
Someone recently commented on my Facebook status claiming my blogs are 'anti-male and anti-relationships'. I didn't dial into the debate because I knew it would generate more heat than light. So I'm aware writing this post makes me vulnerable to accusations of being anti-men.Even though my hearbeat (love you dad!) is a man and posts like this demonstrate that isn't the case, I'd just like to emphasise this post isn't an attack against men in general. This post is simply written with the hope that a woman who's settling will grasp the fact she has options and consider taking a different path.
5 reasons why you shouldn’t take him back
1) You have One life
Before we make any crucial decision in life I think we must acknowledge two things we often forgot. Firstly, all of this * points around head * is temporary. Nothing is eternal and it’ll all be over before we know it. Secondly, we get one chance to experience life.Unless you succumb to fear, remembering those two things should propel you towards making the better decision.
We might as well attempt to live in the way we dreamed we could. It's better than wasting days frantically worrying and nights sleeping on pillows soaked in tears. You deserve to live the best version of your life possible. Do you really want to spend your precious time with someone that doesn’t value you?
2) You’re Worth More
The chances are you've probably read some variant of 'You're worth more' message somewhere else. You've heard it so many times you dismiss it as a banal cliche. Which is unsurprising, the amount of New-Age psychobabble women are bombarded with I do think cynicism is the intelligent reaction. However, just because a phrase is ubiquitous doesn't mean it's false. It doesn’t matter if you’re not ‘pretty’, ‘skinny’ or ‘popular’ enough. You’re worth more. Breakaway and allow yourself to find someone that agrees.
3) There's no incentive for him to change as long as you stay
If you really believe he has a good core (despite his actions demonstrating otherwise) I will trust your judgment and respect your right to be tormented. Threatening to leave will change nothing. Contrarily, stubbornly refusing to take him back is more likely to create the conditions for improvement.
4) Single and lonely > Depressed with a companion
It’s better for a woman walk alone and deal with random pangs of loneliness, than have a man and live with constant depression.
5) You Can't Change Him
If you're considering taking a man back because you believe you can change him, I’m going to be the bearer of bad news. You cannot change him. No human has the power to make someone else change. On a good day we may be able to catalyse change,but none of us can cause it. Genuine, long lasting change begins within a person and spills outwards. Not the other way round.