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So You Want Her To Respect You

January 23rd, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Throughout grade school and high school, I wanted girls to like me.

They did.

Throughout college, I wanted girls to sleep with me.

They did.

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.

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  • Rebelle01

    mmmmm

  • BPierreWrites

    That’s the key, “the man that you are.”
    The respect-worthiness is contingent upon his actions line up with his words. If the two always line up, then I have no choice but to respect you. Now, whether or not I agree with your words and actions, that’s something completely different.

    Once I see that a man’s actions and words aren’t parallel. Respect drops. Your words no longer have weight with me. And our interactions? It’s only to tolerate you if I can’t avoid it.

    Why would I want to be around someone I don’t respect anyway, whether it me a man or a woman?

    But I will say that everyone starts off with a level of respect. Whether it grows or diminishes falls upon if I see that your words line up with your actions.

  • Over&Under

    Looking back, I have the most respect for the man who was honest and overall anti-asshole even if the news he had to deliver was not exactly what I’d hoped for (relationship).  And the man who was honest and personable and overall anti-asshole regardless of the conversation (non-relationship).

  • http://twitter.com/howaboutholly Holly H

    Great idea for a post Jozen! I’d love to see a follow-up post on what behaviors you are changing or implementing, if any, to get your desired results : )

  • Anonymous

    This type of article keeps me reading here.  I think this is good sign of heading towards a more mature level of thinking.  I would be interested to know your views on how/if you respect women.

  • Melanie Joy

    Ephesians 5:33 NIV- “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must RESPECT her husband.” You want it because you were created that way. Women need to be loved and men need to be respected. Period:)

  • Shani Anona

    Thanks to Essence magazine, I was recently introduced to Jozen and I must say, this blog is a must read. I find myself reading it daily and even post it on my Facebook page just to spread Jozen’s contagious articles. I love how Jozen always keeps it 100.

  • http://scribblesandtostitos.wordpress.com Yaa Yaa

    You make a good point, Jozen. Unfortunately, there are too many men who are deceitful. They get women (many women); they get the panties when they want to, but they lose the respect of other women. As a woman, I only respect men that I can trust. If he can be honest with me – say what you mean and mean what you say AND treat me with respect – then you have my ultimate respect.

  • http://twitter.com/stjbLocs Positive Innergy

    YES!!!!! I’m at a stage in my life too (26) where I want ALL men to respect me as well — never had the craving for it though as I do now..

  • Desiree

    Jozen, it is both interesting and timely that you posted this piece. I have long struggled with the concept of obeying a man who is not my father. I had great disdain for wedding vows, requesting women to utter those words – to honor and obey. I used to work for a photography company and have attended a number of weddings as a result. Many women remove the obey portion of their vows. As I thought on it carefully, I wondered to myself, “Under what circumstance can I obey? Why do I obey my father? My brother?” It’s not simply because they are family. It is because I respect them greatly and trust them implicitly – to the extent that I would follow their requests without question or explanation. That’s where I defined obedience for myself – the ability to follow the commands and heed the requests of another without concern, doubt or fear. And then I realized, that’s when I will get married – when I encounter a man I can obey.

  • Clspan_2008

    “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.” That is something few men I’ve met realize. However, a guy I used to date did somewhat pick up on that. He said that since I’m a natural nurturer, just because I did things for him didn’t make him feel like I really cared. I did care but I lost a lot of respect for him while we dated and continued to do things for him when we stopped. Despite what I may do for him I could never be with someone I don’t fully respect and even a friendship is difficult. Respect is much more important than people realize. I’m not friends with very many people I don’t respect.