Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Strong

Strong just a story  white horse 4599 300x225It was yesterday, I think.  I was cruising past my stream and I saw a conversation in progress.  Jack from Brooklyn was saying something (smart) about the fact  that decent/real men shouldn’t need to make their women feel insecure.  That a strong man would be making the woman in his life feel strong.

At least that’s what I thought I saw.  I went back to look for it and couldn’t find it.  Maybe I imagined the whole thing.

Anyway, it stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Because that’s something I’ve had trouble with.  It’s been an issue with me in some of my relationships.

To demonstrate, here’s a sample conversation:

Me:  ”When you do X it makes me feel bad.  I wasn’t insecure when we met and all of a sudden I’m a bundle of insecurities.”

Guy: “I’m not responsible for how you feel.  I’ve told you how much I like you.”

The idea that the man in my life might think it’s his responsibility to make me feel good about myself is utterly foreign to me.  It sounds a little like a fairy tale.  I’m tempted to ask if he rides in on a white horse.

I used to think that as long as someone wasn’t overty mean to me, and threw in words about how much he liked me every once in a while that he was a good guy.  That he was “good to me”.  But the reality is, I have no idea what it means to have someone make me feel strong.  None.  It sounds fabulous, though.

Just a random thought for a Saturday morning.


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15 to “Strong”


  1. jackie says:

    I spent every morning in my last relationship waking up, looking my lover in the eyes and saying ‘how can I make you happy today…?’

    I don’t think anyone would mistake the G train for a white horse, but yes, we exist. AND we’re organizing. Stay tuned.

    xox
    jfb

    • Simone Grant says:

      Well, I think it might actually be too much to ask to find someone as good as you. I don’t need a man who asks me, daily, “how can I make you happy today”. But I think I’m tired of settling for men who find nothing wrong with actively undermining my self-esteem.

  2. No one can make another person feel strong. Not really. We can support each other, listen openly and communicate. But feeling strong really does have to come from within (at the risk of sounding all Deepak Chopra-y)

    If I were the guy, I’d like to think my response would be. “I’m sorry, that wasn’t what I meant to do at all. I think you are amazing and sweet and I feel great when I’m with you…when I do (x), this is what or why or how…etc”

    • Simone Grant says:

      I would never dream of making someone else completely responsible for my happiness, or my emotional well-being.

      There are things that our partners do to alter our happiness and stability, our inner-strength. A supportive partner can make a person feel strong(er).

      And sadly, sometimes otherwise strong people can feel cut down by partners who are “less than supportive”. Who send negative and belittling messages through their actions. And, I’ve come to the conclusion, that those negative and belittling messages are not accidental. They are not things that should be ignored or made neutral by the occasional, “I’m sorry”. They are the real truth and should be heeded.

  3. Matt Brand says:

    from Bill Withers’ interview in the New Yorker – “I’m sick of people throwing up their arms and saying, ‘I love you’.’ I can’t deal with that.”
    Not sure what that means but I like it!

  4. I sort of agree with OpinionatedGift in the sense that if a person has self-esteem issues to begin with, I think it’s unlikely that even the perfect person can help “make” you stronger. But I have seen first had that a relatively strong person can be made to feel insecure by the wrong guy – I have had VERY similar conversations to the one Simone relates, expect that rather than the “I’ve told you how much I like you,” I’ve gotten “If you’re just going to be insecure all the time, maybe we should just stop dating.” Yeah, THAT helped! But on a much happier note, I also have found someone who sounds more like OpinionatedGift’s quote. My guy now understands that I’ve been in some lousy relationships and I’m always sort of expecting him to say things that make me feel like I’m an idiot for being insecure so he’s constantly amazing me by saying things more along the lines of, “I totally get why that would make you upset. Here’s what I meant and why you shouldn’t interpret it as indicating I love you any less because even though I don’t always do things exactly how you want me to, I think you’re amazing and I’m not going anywhere.” It’s taken over a year of him repeatedly saying stuff like that but I think it might be starting to sink in because I find myself not reacting to thinks in the same insecure ways that I did at the beginning. But like Simone, I have to say that before I actually met this guy, I could not have even begun to imagine what this would look like.

    • Simone Grant says:

      *sigh*
      You give me hope that it can happen. And that, over time, I’ll be able to get out of this weird headspace I’ve been living in.

      Thank you.

  5. I think generally a guy that loves you and wants to make you happy is all it takes. If a guy has to make you insecure to make himself feel better, that’s a selfish love that isn’t even really love to me. If you love someone, you want to make them happy. And having that kind of love can make anyone strong :)

  6. sandyvs says:

    Oh My! @JFB, if a man were to look at me every morning and ask that question…..I would do EVERYTHING I could to keep that man in my bed, my life, and he would be in my thoughts all day long. Also, being a give and take person, I would happily do the same for him. You have found and hold the KEY to a great relationship.

  7. Sherell says:

    I have to say that if you are a bundle of insecurities then there are some issues that you need to address within yourself. In the beginning especially, relationships should make you feel good, no make that great!!! A mate can be supportive but if the load is too heavy early on it is an excuse to run away!!!!!!

    • Simone Grant says:

      Sherell,

      I appreciate your perspective on this but, um, no. Not even in the right zip code.

      I have my head on straight, and know the difference between being an empty mess who’s looking to others for her sense of self and having a partner who looks for ways cut me down and “put me in my place”. There are people who thrive on control. Who need to keep their partners on an emotional leash so that they can feel bigger.

      I sense, from your comment, that you’ve never experienced this. You’re a lucky woman.

  8. Black Iris says:

    I think a lot of men need to learn that a love relationship is not competitive. Behavior that makes sense at work or hanging out with other guys doesn’t belong at home or on a date.

    I think it’s very hard to convey this to them. In my experience it took many arguments/discussions and a number of years. At some point, this doesn’t work with her clicked.

    I’m not sure what’s the best way to explain it either. I wonder if telling them it makes you feel bad just opens you up to attack if they guy is trying to establish his superiority. Attacking them obviously won’t work either.


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