So You Want Her To Respect You
Throughout grade school and high school, I wanted girls to like me.
Throughout college, I wanted girls to sleep with me.
Throughout my 20s when I realized girls like me and girls would sleep with me, I wanted them not to hate me.
They did both hate and not hate me, equally.
Throughout my relationships, I wanted the women who were my girlfriends to love me.
They did. Some of them, others just liked me, but you get the point.
Over six months ago, I turned 30.
Now I want women to respect me.
To some, this may seem odd, the idea of wanting a woman’s respect. I felt the same way when I first started thinking about it myself. A woman’s respect, since when did that matter? If I wasn’t sleeping with her, or dealing with her on a level of deep interest, why did I care if she respected me or not?
I still don’t have an answer, but I don’t think I need one. Maybe it’s sad it has taken me this long to realize the value of a woman’s respect, but better late than never I guess. Now respect from women I know, regardless of my relationship to them, is all the rage in my head.
Figuring out what to say about this has been a difficult process because it is tough to put into words exactly what I mean by this concept of a woman’s respect for me. I don’t know the specific things I seek from a woman when I talk about wanting her respect, but I know it is way more complex than how I used to think of it.
Obedience. That, to me, was how I gauged a woman’s respect for me. Trust. that too.
So what this boiled down to was if a woman did as I asked, or something to my liking without me asking, all while trusting I would do the same, she respected me.
It took me a while, but I learned a woman who listens to me and does as I please, does not have to respect me in order to do so. I also learned, trust and respect are mutually exclusive. I should be earning and caring more about the respect from all women who are in my life, not just the ones I was dating or with in a relationship.
For a very long time, I did not care what a woman thought of me unless she was the woman I put on my arm. Anyone else, I only cared enough to not disrespect them. Trust me, there are women who dislike me right now all because I did not treat them the way they wanted. I could deal with that. But there was a sense I had that even if I did something wrong, the only thing for which I was guilty was not doing things the way they wanted me to do. What mattered more to me was being honest with myself, which meant I would not lead a woman on, I would not make a woman feel special if she was not special. I know it may sound harsh but, just don’t mistreat her, was my motto.
Needless to say, this attitude brought about a fair amount of drama, but I never lost sleep.
I did, however, oversleep on the value of a woman’s respect for me.
I never felt like I disrespected women, but I did not have any respect for what their standard of respect was. The things I did to some women were never meant to be taken as disrespect, but I began to understand how one might see it differently. If I valued their respect, I had to give those feelings the respect they deserved. Not doing so was causing them to lose respect for me, the last thing I wanted.
There are women who think I’m up to no good all the time. There are women who have told girls who like me, I’m not worth a three-second thought. There are women who have knowingly done things that hurt me, and never apologized, never even gave me the courtesy of an explanation.
All of these things are not so much a reflection of disrespect (something I believe is as blatant as respect), so much as they reflected a lack of respect and just like I earn all the respect given to me, I deserved the absence of it as well.
I have no idea if any man who reads this post will be motivated to look at their own relationships with women and question how much the women who know them respect them, but I encourage all of them to do so. I would go so far as to say, men should care about the respect they receive from women as much as the respect they give to women. If you think about it, maybe it’s because some of us have cared so little about what women think of us, it has caused us to care so little about what we think of them.
It is a sick cycle and perhaps the most important incentive I can give for doing whatever it takes to stopping it is to think about the people who actually respect you not because you’re a man, but for the man you are. Then think about the people who know the man you are and don’t respect you.
When I think about those two groups lining up, these days I care about there being less people on the side of folks who do not respect me versus the side of folks who do. Whatever I have done to deserve the respect I received, I want to do more of it to others.
Some people say I’m putting way too much thought into the respect I get from women who are not my girlfriend. I say, up until recently, I have not thought about such a thing enough.
I worked for women to like me, sleep with me, not hate me, and love me. Now it’s time for their respect, not as a man, but for the man I am.