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Relationships: Where Female Insecurity and Male Insensitivity Collide

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Breaking News: Heterosexual men like women.

Last week, Dr. J wrote a thoughtful piece called Five Ways Men Contribute to Female Insecurity. I agreed with most, if not all, of the points made but two points caused me a little heartburn: 1) Men entertain themselves with an image of women that doesn’t reflect reality and 2) Men rarely leave women with a reason for why things didn’t work out. If you’ll indulge me, today I’d like to delve into these two specific topics a bit further to better understand men’s obligations and how our insensitivity might contribute to women’s insecurity.

Men entertain themselves with an image of women that doesn’t reflect reality.

My first response: And, so what?

I’ll be honest, I don’t understand the unspoken competition women have among one another. I was discussing this particular topic further on Twitter. I wanted to understand why it was such a big deal that I, as a man, might find another woman attractive – whether she looks like my significant other or not.

I think most men know the women in the magazines, videos, and movies don’t look like that in real life. They definitely don’t look like that on a daily basis. However, unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think that’s the expectation of most men. I also don’t think most men care one way or the other. Those women are visually pleasing for that brief moment in time. No more, no less. There are two words for this: lust and fantasy.

See Also:  Things Men Shouldn't Say to Women

It seems weird that I should be held accountable for tarnishing the self-esteem of another person when the term begins with “self.” When I make a passing comment about an attractive woman, that’s all it is, a passing comment. I’m not suggesting you look like her, that she looks better or you look worse, or that you should strive to look any more or less like her in the future. It’s not a competition.

There is absolutely no need to feel threatened by an offhand comment made about a woman I’m not with, while ignoring all the positive comments I’ve made about the woman I am with, you. Further, how can the fact that I’m with you count for nothing, yet my brief superficial attraction to a woman I’m not with hold greater importance? Doesn’t the fact that I’m with you speak to the fact that I want to be with you and not her? Or, am I only allowed to find women who look exactly like you attractive? Taking it a step further, upon commitment, are men agreeing to only ever find you attractive in the future?

Men and women cope differently.

Men rarely leave women with a reason for why things didn’t work out.

I’ve written about the five ways a man can break-up with women before, but I don’t understand this expectation of break-up etiquette everyone preaches and no one not as many people practice. It’s a break-up. How much expectation for closure can you possibly have and why do you feel the other party owes you something other than a timely notification that the relationship is ending before they move on to someone else? In my opinion, that’s all anyone “owes” you. Further, unless you want to make the relationship work, then what can they possibly say to you that will make things better? I think people are confusing closure with resolution and they are not one in the same.

See Also:  How One Man Became Jaded Part II

Take for example this Girls show on HBO some women talked me into watching recently (Ok, I will admit it is a fairly decent show.). In one episode, the girl breaks up with her long-time boyfriend because she’s bored with him. When she runs into him a couple weeks later, on purpose I might add, she gets upset because he’s already dating someone else. Excuse me, WHAT?!

If you and I are broken up, what I do and whom I do it with is none of your business nor is the speed in which I do either of those any of your concern. We are broken up. By the very nature of breaking-up we have no further obligations to one another.

I’m actually not a big believer in telling someone the specific reasons I’m breaking up with them, unless I want the relationship to work, which if I’m breaking up with you, I likely do not or I believe it’s something you can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t change about yourself. Maybe it really is me, not you.

Besides, it’s not in our nature to take criticisms without rebuttal. If you or I have already decided that the relationship is broken beyond repair, then what is the point of discussing what we already know? You and I aren’t meant to be together. What more is there to talk about? At best, you or I might be able to convey something that will make one of us a better person for the next significant other but that would imply they are looking for the same intangible qualities as you, which they may or may not. Therefore, unless it’s something one can fix and permanently resolve, I really don’t see the point in talking about it. I view the termination of a relationship as only indicating that you and I aren’t mean to be. In my mind, it has little or no bearing on if I and every other woman on Earth are not meant to be.

See Also:  The Male Ego and Unfaithful Women

What are men doing wrong that negatively impacts the average woman’s self esteem? How can men better account for their part in (knowingly or unknowingly) attributing to the lowering of women’s self esteem?

Do you desire “closure” after a break-up? What does closure entail for you  – moving on quickly or having an ‘exit interview’ type of break-up? What is the other’s party’s responsibility in helping you reach closure after a break-up?

Comment(102)

  1. Honestly the only thing I can think of for men to do to positively impact woman's self-esteem is to be great fathers. Till then, we will be looking for validation in all the wrong places.

    But seriously, that "entertain themselves with an image of women that doesn’t reflect reality" ish is real. Like I said on J's post, the reason women take so much issue with this is because the women on the page/at the beach/ on your tv incite a response out of you that THEY DO NOT GET from you (anymore? ever?). If you are constantly walking around going "daaaaaamn" to some chick that's the complete opposite of what I look like, and you haven't given me a compliment in months that didn't directly involve a request for food or pun, Imma look at you a bit different. Or, even better, if you constantly compiment someone that is NOT like me (say, rose mcgowan) and INSULT someone that does (voicing your dislike for say, beyonce), Imma question if you're settling. IJS.

    1. Till then, we will be looking for validation in all the wrong places. Good point on the fathering aspect. In reading J's post, I know for a fact I've written content – mostly by accident – that has lowered the self-esteem of some readers, at least for the day, even if that wasnt my goal or intent. For myself, it's a balancing out of delivering the truth (my opinion in it, anyway) and not hurting anyone's feelings. However, sometimes I think the latter has to be hurt if the former is more important to my message. It hasn't always been popular but that's my general style of delivery. Over the years, I think I've gotten better at finding a medium.

      I kinda see what you're saying on the comparison front….but Rose McGowan? …..yuck. Here's the thing as well, as a man/boyfriend/husband I find it is my faults that are referenced more than my winning qualities. Thus, if I compliment you 25 times, you bring up the one time I don't instead of the 25 times I did. Also, I've noticed in the confines of a relationship my compliments sometimes lose value. In other words, I can say, "you look great in that dress" and you hardly bat an eyelash. Yet, if we go out on the town and some random guy says "you look great in that dress" you're falling over yourself and blushing. I guess that's the relative equivalent for a man. Sometimes (SOMETIMES) we don't compliment you (enough?) because it seems like you don't appreciate our compliments over time. Also, I still don't think it's a competition between my woman and all women, but maybe that's just a lost cause on my part lol

      My recent post Pacquaio vs Bradley Saving Grace: Boxing has always been corrupt

      1. Dude, you hit the nail on the head right there. There is an unspoken fact that our opinion and compliments mean little to nothing to the women we are in relationships with until we stop doing them. But when strange men, whether online or offline, say the same things, it’s all good. Now if we say that we have a problem with something she’s doing or wearing, it’s WWIII. So basically our silence, insults, and criticisms carry far more weight than our compliments and affirmations do in relationships.

      2. Genuine, agenda-free compliments never lose their value. But rehashed, tired, said-with-an-eyeroll "I'm only doing this because 'you' won't shut up/I need to eat/Iwanttobeat"? Yeah, I might take a stranger's compliment more seriously.
        And "I'm here, right?" Is. A. Copout. People stay for convenience and complacency all the time. So if I note that you haven't noticed anything about me in a year, and you go apeish over our neighbor mowing the lawn in hotpants, and you say, "she's just girl, I'm physically WITH you!" I'm still going to look at you funny. Or get a compliment from your boss when I randomly pick you up from work in hot pants..

        1. I'm not sure we give compliments just to shut you up though. I'm not saying we don't, or we do, I'm just saying I'm not too sure about that one. Of course, I'd be leery if somebody only gave a compliment to meet an immediate want/need of theirs, as opposed to saying it when they feel it in general, but to a certain degree, one man's validation and affirmation isn't enough anyway. Some women's self esteem/ego needs for them to be desired by EVERY MAN THEY MEET. You know what happens when they aren't? The combination of claims of "you must be gay for not wanting this/you must hate yourself/ you must hate your mama/ you must only like lightskinned women/ you must hate black women/ you must be intimidated/ you must only like skinny chicks/ you must only like video models/ you must only like half naked women/ you must like chicks who you can run over/ you must only like chicks with big butts and t*tties/ something is wrong with you" and truth be told, they could be guys who aren't paying attention to them because they have somebody they're happy with already, or they simply aren't those guys cup of tea.

        2. This isn't even a real argument, honestly, lol. Both parties probably agree on the basis more than disagree……but the examples that are given are at opposite ends of the spectrum. (i.e. "you constantly walk around saying daaaaamn to every hot chick, but you haven't gave me a compliement in months"). I mean, of COURSE with that example it sounds bad. No one is arguing that's necessarily right in THAT example. However, as in most things in life, most general examples fall somewhere in the middle. More than likely it will not have been months since one has received a geniune compliment from their spouse/significant other (in a good relationship) and more than likely a man isn't constantly stopping at every single attractive woman giving a reaction and saying how great that person looks.

        3. Agreed. I do think it's the egregious example that people latch onto (or wait for to justify their expectations with the exception rather than the rule). Take, for example, my Twitter feed. Everyone knows I'm steadily tossing compliments around and sharing women of attractive persuasion with the fellas of my TL. I think sharing is caring…

          That said, I could compliment 5,000,000 black women in a row but the ONE time I compliment a white girl it's "THAT'S ALL YOU COMPLIMENT IS WHITE GIRLS. THIS IS WHY I DON'T DATE BROTHAS!" lol etc and so forth

          Maybe that's just how the game goes…

          My recent post 5 Reasons Blogging Isn’t Worth It

      3. I think after a certain period of time, your compliments might come off as obligatory and they aren't said with as much gusto as you used to have. That may be why they don't hold as much weight anymore.

        1. I didn’t know compliments can become obligatory, at least without some lying involved. Because I know I won’t/don’t like everything she will do/wear and I will make it known as such. I’m guessing what you’re saying would apply to a yes man though.

        2. It has a lot to do with delivery. If I get a monotone "you look nice" when I've called myself pulling out all the stops, I do think it was obligatory as if you're getting in your compliment quota or something. Don't act like ya'll don't just say stuff to us because you think it's what we want to hear.

        3. . "Don't act like ya'll don't just say stuff to us because you think it's what we want to hear."
          Krystl make this a hook to a song so all the ladies can press repeat for all the men to hear loud and clear……lol

        4. For the most part we don't do that, aside from the saying things because it's what you want to hear. But in that case we're going to be convincing about it! Women like what they hear so men lie, men like what they see so women wear make-up.

          You pulled out all the stops, that doesn't mean you captured your beauty in a way that sparks us all the time. Maybe even after all that work you just appear to look nice! You might go through a simpler effort & come out looking 10 times better, now you're just gonna wave off the compliment you get there because you didn't put in as much effort.
          The work put into looking good isn't beautiful, the good looking product is beautiful.

  2. What are men doing wrong that negatively impacts the average woman’s self esteem? How can men better account for their part in (knowingly or unknowingly) attributing to the lowering of women’s self esteem?

    To be honest, I really don’t know what you are doing wrong, because I don’t understand how a woman’s self esteem can be tied to a man. Self-esteem is about one’s perception and overall evaluation about their belief system. It should not/ never be influenced by negative vibes, especially men vibes.

    Do you desire “closure” after a break-up?
    Yes, please and thank you.

    What does closure entail for you – moving on quickly or having an ‘exit interview’ type of break-up?
    Exit interview. I just want to know why. A break up doesn't just happen out of thin air.

    What is the other’s party’s responsibility in helping you reach closure after a break-up?
    All I ask is for an explanation of the "why". If the why is, I’m not that into you anymore, that is absolutely fine. Thanks much. Wish you the best in life! That’s all. I am not asking for a kumbaya, humbra humbra feel the universe moving and the tectonic plates shifting, Oprah session.

    My recent post An ode? Death is potent

    1. "To be honest, I really don’t know what you are doing wrong, because I don’t understand how a woman’s self esteem can be tied to a man. Self-esteem is about one’s perception and overall evaluation about their belief system. It should not/ never be influenced by negative vibes, especially men vibes. "

      And yet for so many, that is tied to such. So many women look to Hollywood, the fashion industry, and music to give them validation and affirmations about themselves, and anytime a song like "5 star b*tch, independent, Independent Women,Ms. Independent" and such hit the radio airwaves, some women base their esteem on that, and even start putting that as their FB names, Twitter names, and such.

    2. "What does closure entail for you – moving on quickly or having an ‘exit interview’ type of break-up?
      Exit interview. I just want to know why. A break up doesn't just happen out of thin air."

      So you should already know why y'all are breaking up, since break ups don't just happen out of thin air… at least not when you both cared & were involved in the relationship.

      1. i completely understand what African Mami is saying because sometimes the partners in a relationship end it for completely different reasons and your are not questioning it to attack that person but rather to see if there is something about you which has to change. I had a girlfriend whose relationships only lansted 2 months cuz that was as long as her guys could take her for. She was not mean or whinny or anything, she was just boring but gave good sex. after the 4th guys she asked him why he broke up with her to go back to his ex and he said that she was the bets sex he ever had but that was all she could give in a relationship, which sadly was true because 2 days with a guys was long enough for her to give it up and they stayed for 2 months cuz she was willing to try it all in the bedroom. She later changed her behavior and has been with her current boy friend almost 2 years. I guess she learned to be a more interesting girlfriend and didnt give her goodies too freely anymore.

        basically, something that may seem to you as abvious may not really be obvious to the person with that behavior/problem. A partner’s reason is not to make you better as someone else’s significant other but rather to make you better for yourself.

    3. I feel like there should be a clarification made between a woman feeling insecure about how a man feels about her and her actual self esteem. While I completely agree that a woman's self esteem should not be tied to a man, I do feel like men should make efforts, after the initial courting in a relationship, to make their women feel special and wanted. Men have a tendency to ignore you looking great but gawk at every woman they see on TV. Just because I am confident in myself and my value and my appearance does not mean that I do not care about the opinion of my significant other or want reassurance.

  3. Do you desire “closure” after a break-up? What does closure entail for you – moving on quickly or having an ‘exit interview’ type of break-up? What is the other’s party’s responsibility in helping you reach closure after a break-up?

    Yes and no. Of course when the break up first happens you want to know why the person left. But I wouldn’t go chasing them around looking for them to explain to me why they left. Nine times out of ten you and your significant other argued numerous times about the issues that have cause the current break up. Closure to me is acceptance that the relationship has ended and that there is no need for me to go back into a situation were neither party was happy or willing to work together. No interview needed, just respect and enough common courtesy to tell me that it’s over (no disappearing acts) so we can both go our separate ways. By waiting on your ex to give you closure you are giving them power over your happiness. While you are waiting for them to call you up and pour their feelings out, your ex is out living his/her life.

  4. I wanted to address your points about break-up etiquette and the best closure scenario. Although I do not feel that my exes owe me anything, BUT I am a firm believer that history repeats itself unless we do something different the next go round. As a woman, I obsess over and over again after a break up trying to figure out why it didn’t work out so that I won’t make the same mistake with the next guy. But if my ex feels it unnecessary to tell me what his breaking point was, I can only speculate. You alluded to this when you talked about being a better person for the next guy. And that can be the reality of a closure conversation where both parties share what about the other person led to breakup. I’ve seen it happen with my current man and his ex. He was brave enough and honest enough to tell her where he saw her fucking up. And she told him the same and he was able to apply those concepts with me. He used the information to grow up. And we can all use some growing up. The likelihood of my relationship issues resurfacing with the next guy are pretty high bc at the end o!f the day the common denominator in all relationships is me. So wouldnt it be great if I knew what those issues were from the perspective of someone who was with me and decided I wasn’t the women for him because of them? Mature closure conversations can only help. Not hurt.

  5. What are men doing wrong that negatively impacts the average woman’s self esteem?
    What is being the same gender of the last person who broke her heart, Alex. While a tongue in cheek answer i do believe to a degree thats what it boils down to. I shouldnt have to prove to you we’re not all the same, you should have a basic understanding that we’re not before you start to date.

    How can men better account for their part in (knowingly or unknowingly) attributing to the lowering of women’s self esteem?
    I don’t know what it’d take. For most women who have really low self esteem it takes them working on it for it to improve. Otherwise a good man is too good, compliments are taken in vain and my words/actions vs your doubts is a battle i cant win unless i get one of them inception machines.

    Do you desire “closure” after a break-up?
    I do not. I used to but now i really don’t need to hear from you how/why i f cked up, i’ll develop my own theory and go from there.

    What does closure entail for you – moving on quickly or having an ‘exit interview’ type of break-up?
    As i said i like to come to my own closure. Nothing she’s going to say will make me agree, all i’m going to do is rebut all her points. However, whats the point of that when she’s shown shes ready to give up on me now, if we reconcile whats to say she wont again, who wants a quitter?

    What is the other’s party’s responsibility in helping you reach closure after a break-up?
    Don’t date any of her fam, friends or enemies. And no subliminals online, that’s pretty much the Tristan severance package.

  6. I'm all in favor of the exit interview in terms of helping one another evolve into a better partner for someone else. However…the parties involved undoubtedly heard it all throughout the relationship already and just weren't listening! lol Perhaps they'll listen on the way out…

  7. That picture of the End of a Relationship is definitely created by a woman. I saw that sometime last week and I immediately thought to myself, "OK that's false." That's the opinion of women because in their mind every dude who has broken up with them, tends to come back asking to get back with them. While that may be true, I don't think his intentions are true. I really don't have the time to explain this all the way out today, or at least not right now. Just know, sometimes you're drinking the kool-aid thinking that just because a man tries to get back right with you, means his life is miserable. (I ALREADY know someone is going to come with the, "My ex broke up with me and six months later asked me to marry him, so I know it's real" comment.)

    1. And the truth is that sometimes he just want a stopgap in between relationships aka a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to tide him over until he gets to that steak he really wants.

        1. Women ain't trying to hear that truth, even after reading this comment they still won't ever want to accept they just a holdover sometimes. There are a great deal of truths men would want to say but are not allowed to say without automatically becoming the spawn of Satan.

        2. @spawn of satan…I know that's right! I believe that a woman couldn't handle hearing it because MOST of the time they just feel its a pesonal slight against her, when it has everything to do with him. On the other hand, he's going to be reluctant in stating his true intentions because if she knows her worth, No such behavior will be allowed. All-in-all, its really about where an individual is at that moment in their life! #Ownership.com

  8. What are men doing wrong that negatively impacts the average woman’s self esteem?

    I would just say.. mention how sexy other women are with your boys.. no one wants to hear that.. I think as "equals" women say they are cool with hearing you talk about other women because they are so strong and confident.. and even if they are in small doses… at certain points it brings on insecurity… and as things get rocky in a relationship… it can exacerbate the problem… and then that insecurity can become THE problem.

    How can men better account for their part in (knowingly or unknowingly) attributing to the lowering of women’s self esteem?

    I think a part of it is knowing your woman's insecurities by listening to her and knowing who she is and where she is vulnerable and then NOT making them worse… for example.. if your girl has just cut her hair off … you going on and on about pulling hair and all that… Not a good look.. Just be sensitive and sometimes that means not saying anything

    Do you desire “closure” after a break-up? What does closure entail for you – moving on quickly or having an ‘exit interview’ type of break-up? What is the other’s party’s responsibility in helping you reach closure after a break-up?

    I think in the ideal situation… I would like the person I am with to be honest about why they want to end the relationship.. If I have things I need to work on in general… then please let me know that using the same compassion you had when you wanted to be with me… But most of my breakups have had exit interviews that included a lot of cheap shots and nonsense, which can make things worse..

    1. To your second point:

      I dunno. I'm opposite. The barber at my salon who used to do my edge up always cut it really hard and masculine and about the eleventh time of him doing it I was completely convinced I looked like a man; I was completely terse and adimant about convincing myself of such. Everyone LOVES my hair, my friends would grab fistfuls and take a whiff, twirl it around their fingers. My best friend's brother used to brush it for me and style it (at his discretion smfh) and my best friend started doing my cuts and he took a great deal of time softening my edges to make them super feminine.

      It made me feel like a woman again having their assistance that way especially just volunteering. I like the way it feels to be insecure and then have a man come in to that part of my life; so, I guess in a way self-esteem CAN be impacted by a man's actions. I would be more apt to say it's more so a man's actions that dictate a woman's feelings of worth though. I felt worth a lot to both of them.

    2. Or just maybe she shouldn't cut her hair in the 1st place, she should be well aware if her man likes to pull hair. When you with somebody you can't just make drastic appearance changes without discussing it with them 1st! I'm not gonna just up & go from waves & a fade to growing dreads without discussing it with her 1st, nor should she go from Hawaiian Silky to a milk dud without discussing it with me 1st.

      Your body is your body, but you're dating somebody & should be well aware of who they want to date as well as thinking about them before suddenly making drastic appearance changes.

  9. *skims responses*

    *rereads my answer*

    *decides it's probably inflammatory*

    I have NO idea what men are doing wrong.

  10. Per your firsr point, I agree that us noticing othe women who look nothing like our s/o shouldn’t elicit a bruise to a woman’s self-esteem, yet it does and that is a mystery that only God can answer. Really, its no different than us seeing a nice car and commenting on it. I’ve had this discussion with my wife more than once. Men are visual, so things we see will pique our interest; it’s instinctual. As I also have explained to her, when we clean our cars and detail it, it looks damn near just as good as that Skyline ol’ boy down the street has. We admire it, but we take pride in our own whip as well.

    BTW, I know some women don’t like being compared to cars, but the analogy fits.

  11. I believe if it was truly love there, both party can sit down (of course when the dust settles) and discuss rationally why things didn't work out. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so as for myself I would extend the courtesy of closure but not reconcilation. It doesn't have to be a battle, especially if this person was at one time the closest to you than anyone else. Also, I think a lot people don't know when to leave a relationship in time so that mutual respect and consideration can remain intact, thereby, allowing a platform for such conversations.

    1. " I think a lot people don't know when to leave a relationship in time so that mutual respect and consideration can remain intact, thereby, allowing a platform for such conversations."
      Great point Monique….this right here is part of the root of the problem.

  12. "What are men doing wrong that negatively impacts the average woman’s self esteem?"

    Nothing really. Your self-esteem is already flimsy if someone tells you that you aren't absolute physical perfection and that negatively impacts you. Who is perfect? I'm not (insert hot negro du jour), but I work with what I have. So what if some Michael Ealy looking negro walks in the room and my woman thinks he's attractive? I treat her right, so she's not going anywhere.

    "How can men better account for their part in (knowingly or unknowingly) attributing to the lowering of women’s self esteem?"

    Don't be blatantly disrespectful. Looking at another woman is one thing. Gawking and fawning over her and telling your woman she's perfect is another.

  13. "Do you desire “closure” after a break-up?"

    Not really.

    "What does closure entail for you – moving on quickly or having an ‘exit interview’ type of break-up?"

    Moving on quickly. Unless you've cheated, your partner should have already said, "I don't like when you _____" before you broke up. If that is a dealbreaker and you don't modify your behavior, don't be surprised when the inevitable breakup happens. If you want honest feedback for future relationships, asking an ex for clarification on where you went wrong is a good thing, but what you did wrong is probably obvious.

  14. Some things just need to stated on a "need to know" bases. If you don't want to hear about how other men are more financially savvy, established, or even better providers than keep comments about other babes and their appearance to yourself. It's not a dilemma or it will be all is fair in love and war.
    Now, for the women who solicite, you can go for that okey-doke if you want to but you have been warned, no good can come from that convo.

    1. But I can’t imagine a guy saying all of that around his woman unless he is purposely trying to tear her down. It’s common knowledge to not say stuff like that around your woman because no good can come of it.

        1. Well WIM is saying that making comments about other women shouldn't matter if he has chosen to be with you. And it appears you are saying commenting about other women to your lady is undermining and shouldn't be said. Interesting.

        2. They are both saying that an out of the blue, not all day every day, complimenting another woman shouldn't be such a big deal to her. Both WIM & Paul, as well as myself, agree that constantly talking about other women to your woman is a quick way to end a relationship.

      1. Paul B some men are more like "immature boys" than men. Some are just jerks and azzholes and don't give a damn. Some thing it's cool and macho. que sera sera

        1. Well then, clearly that woman chose wrong. Chances are men like that were always as such.

  15. What are men doing wrong that negatively impacts the average woman’s self esteem? honestly they are just being men. What men do and/or don't do shouldn't impact any woman's self esteem. But let's be real. We all like to receive compliments, it makes us feel good. A total stranger could give us a compliment and we feel great and it makes our day. It makes us feel even better when the ones we love and care about and our s/o pays us a "Sincere" compliment. I think sometimes when men compliment women they don't always choose their words carefully enough. Yall know women in general are very sensitive creatures like it or not.
    How can men better account for their part in (knowingly or unknowingly) attributing to the lowering of women’s self esteem? Man please….if what you say and/or don't say can lower a womans self esteem then it was already low to begin with more than likely. You just added fuel to the flame thats all. Sometimes though it's not necessarily that a woman's self esteem is low.

  16. Some folk just need validation to feel good, and that is human nature. Think about it, if nobody ever told you that you were attractive then 9 times out of 10 you wouldn't think you were because nobody ever in your life told you so. Therefore you would have no concept of your attractiveness at all because no seed was ever planted. If your a very attractive person and all your life people have told you that what do you think you will want to continue hearing from your s/o? That your attractive. Not necessarily because your self esteem is low, but because you've been conditioned to hearing how attractive you are and it's been ingrained in you, so if your s/o never tells you obviously you would think something is terribly wrong.

    1. lol @ my face wrinkling up.

      …that explains a lot. All the attention I've gotten is academic or professional….no one's ever paid attention to me as a person or to that feminine side and now that I'm painfully aware of it I feel really bare. Sometimes I just stare at myself for hours hoping to decide if I'm beautiful but I don't have a concept of beauty nor has any ever told me that I am (until recently). I think I have beautiful bareness so I look like I'm potentially gorgeous but I don't think I'm particularly attractive and I don't want to, mainly because I don't wanna think I am and then get around people and they're like "who does this ugly broad think she is." So I'm just content not knowing but I wish a partner or someone I'm close to would explain to me how I'm beautiful or at the very least support my journey to become beautiful to myself. But I guess if I work backwards I've never been called ugly. *shrug*

  17. Do you desire “closure” after a break-up? imo it's common courtesy and nice to know what the real problem is. Forreal forreal many times nobody tells you anything, they just do a disappearing out and slide out the side door never to be heard from again. Even when you try to have an open and honest discussion with some people there is still no resolution. This goes back to Tristian's point of lack of communication, which is typically half the problem. Some folks aren't the best communicators and this may be why they don't want to discuss anything.

  18. What does closure entail for you – moving on quickly or having an ‘exit interview’ type of break-up? Personally I like to keep things simple, easy and drama free. No exit interview necessary. Just speak your mind and let me speak mine and we agree to disagree and part ways amicably and be done with it. Nice clean break.
    What is the other’s party’s responsibility in helping you reach closure after a break-up? To me closure is not just hearing a reason you can be satisfied with, but accepting whatever that person says or doesn't say whether you like it or not or agree or not. In order for closure to be meaningful and promote any type of growth and maturity the both people need to have the right mentality and be able to give and receive it maturely.

  19. This is a great piece. Totally with you on the first part, not really on the second.

    Men definitely have image ideas in our head. So do women. Part of being an adult is being able to balance the superficial image and fantasies with reality. Now with that said, I think it's wrong for a guy to be oogling everything in site with a woman on his arm – there are limits. But we're not dead. Besides, I've heard what my wife talks about with her girls, and it can be just as crazy ..

    "I’m actually not a big believer in telling someone the specific reasons I’m breaking up with them, unless I want the relationship to work, which if I’m breaking up with you, I likely do not or I believe it’s something you can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t change about yourself. Maybe it really is me, not you."

    I think you owe a person that you've given time to SOME kind of explanation. It doesn't have to be a huge drawn out thing. But damn, just being courteous as adults should be a given.
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    1. I think you owe a person that you've given time to SOME kind of explanation. It doesn't have to be a huge drawn out thing. But damn, just being courteous as adults should be a given.

      I see what you're saying but I think 'courteous' is subjective, which is why we continuously have these discussions. In my opinion, being courteous is simply informing her the relationship is over in a timely and honest manner. To her, it might entail that plus knowing the exact reason why we're breaking up – and I disagree. She doesn't really want to know that and I don't really want to tell her. I look back at the reason(s) my last two or three serious relationships ended and it was primarily due to a number of factors they (or I) had absolutely no control over.

      Just to keep this from making it look like I'm attacking women I'll put this on myself. Let's say I'm in a good relationship and the girl breaks up with me. I pester her for days, months even, trying to figure out the reason she broke up with me. She keeps telling me I don't wanna know and then one day she blurts out "Because you got a little Richard!"

      LOL what the hell am I going to do with that information? There is no personal growth that can come from that and it damn sho won't give me any kind of closure or resolution. This is a satirical example but the point is, if whatever reason we're breaking up is something she/I can't fix, there is no amount of talking about it that is going to make the message easier to receive. For me, if a woman breaks up with me, I don't need to know why. All I need to know is that we're breaking up. For me, that IS the closure.

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      1. That is a funny example. I almost had latte come out my nose. Seriously, information is power.Offering and receiving closure might not be your forte', but in the example you used above ole' boy can now focus on power to make up for size or develop his strength in pleasing in another way. There is very little in life that can't be fixed or managed, but I like to focus on the bright side of things.

        1. Not everyone takes negative feedback that hard. A lot of times it is we who project our feelings on to others. Not caring to know the reason for a break up can provide one with the liberty to draw conclusions real or unreal to help cushion the blow of rejection. It also can suggest your level of investment to the relationship. If your words become contrary to your actions, the adult thing to do is clear it up to reestablish continuity. A lot of times it's about what speaks of our character in a situation and not the other person.

        2. To be clear, I don't think there's a right/wrong way to break-up with people. At most, there may be better and worse ways or preferred and un-preferred. I'm assuming we agree on that front. With that said, I don't necessarily disagree with you, because what you said makes sense, but that's just not how I approach my relationships – the successful ones and the unsuccessful.

          If your words become contrary to your actions, the adult thing to do is clear it up to reestablish continuity. Again, I think this is subjective because who defines what "the adult thing to do" is? I could just as easily say the "adult thing" to do is to move on with life. In fact, life would be 125% easier if everyone just acted and perceived life exactly like myself and vise versa. It's the fact that we don't that leads to these very discussions.

          While I try to remain sensitive to everyone's need and "do on to others" as some have suggested, clearly that isn't a universal law. As I would prefer someone do on to me might not be the same as others would prefer, clearly. Even the Bible is interpreted differently so I by no means believe my posts/comments are above reproach. In other words, I'm trying not to step on anyone's toes or hurt anyone's feelings but at the same time, I have my own life to live. As such, I can't sit around living my life how everyone else would prefer I live it – and this includes my girlfriend/wife or whomever else. I do my best and that's all I can do. From there, the chips fall where they fall.

          My recent post 5 Ways to Tell a Woman She’s Bad in Bed

        3. I think one thing we must not lose site on here is that our opinions were solicited on this topic. I don't recall making any indictments on how you should conduct your personal affairs just expressing how I do mine. I always spoke to your questions and examples, not to you as a person because that's not what you are offering or asking of us. Now some women on here may want to take the time to psycho analyze you and reform your thinking and more power to them but not this lady over here._Closure as you saw expressed today is defined so many different ways and that should be expected not corrected because we are individuals.

        4. Ok, I'm going to wave the white flag on this convo as it appears to be taking a turn for the worse. I, mistakenly, thought we were two individuals simply expressing our opinions. I can only assume something was lost in translation, which is why I largely only comment back and forth with people I'm familiar with. This was a mistake on my part. You're right. I respect your opinion, welcome discussion and solicit as much. It was good while it lasted…thanks for the conversation.

        5. lol, I am open to discussion with everyone including the blogger, but I know when having multiple exchanges at a time points can easily get misassigned to the wrong commenter. The turn came about when you began defending yourself personally rather than your position. You have unique views, many I am not so much in agreement with; nevertheless, I respect quality of thought you bring forth. One misunderstanding does not frighten me, I welcome the conversation and more to come.

        6. I see what your saying Wis…and thats why I made the point of saying for many avg Joe's the closure convo can be necessary because it is also the only convo where there is any clarity and awareness of any real issues. People can only deal with what they are aware of. If they are not made aware of the issues then whose fault is that……
          I think your way works well for You because of who you are. I think your probably a great communicator and you seem very mature and wise beyond your years. Your mentality seems to be unique as opposed to the avg dude. Closure is Probably not necessary because you have communicated your feelings in a very clear and effective manner thoughout the relationship. (correct me if I'm wrong.)
          This is addressing your questions posted since you "don't understand the breakup etiquette everyone preaches." In a nutshell everybody else probably needs/wants closure because many women probably don't deal with men who communicate as effectively and clearly as you do throughout the duration of the relationship.

      2. In a scenario such as this you don't think you should at the very least let her know that you now see why her fam doesn't like her and let her know your reasons for wanting to let her go? In this situation she really probably would be totally clueless about why you ended things. Possibly no man was ever honest with her in the past because they wanted to be able to leave the door cracked so they could hit again when they wanted to.
        Now granted it wouldn't benefit you, but it could be the eyeopener this person needs to see themselves as they truly are and make changes for the better.

        1. Wis, I wanna give an example that supprts Shareef's point of view on is an reason for the breakup needed.
          Say you date a woman you like a lot and she is gorgeous and treats you good but she is rude to other people. She can sometimes be impatient (not outright rude though) with waitstaff when you go out, and doesn't have the best relationship with her family. She tells you she stopped being close with her sisters and mom once she was a teen and blames them and gives you all kinds of stories as to why she doesn't speak to immediate members of her family. You never really get a chance to talk to her family members in depth about her, so all you have to go on is what she tells you. She has met some of your family in the half a year that you've been dating and your fam likes her a lot. After being with her for almost a year you decide to live together because you think she could be the future "Mrs. Wis."

        2. You decide to test driver her at cohabitating and invite her to live with you. After a few months of cohabitation and spending more time with her family, by now it's been almost a 2 yr relationship, you see more and more the reasons why her fam doesn't get along with her. She is selfish and somewhat spoiled. She is also immature in some ways and always wants her way. She has never asked anything unreasonable of you, so you have pretty much always gave her her way. But you learn from her family that the minute u seriously go against her there will be issues.
          You test this with her and sure enough there are issues when you go against her on something. You start to see signs of serious immaturity and self-centeredness that slipped pass you before. You choose to cut her lose thinking no way can I spend my life with this chick no matter how fine she is and how smart and funny and successful and how much she got it goin on. You let her go.

        3. In a scenario such as this you don't think you should at the very least let her know that you now see why her fam doesn't like her and let her know your reasons for wanting to let her go? In this situation she really probably would be totally clueless about why you ended things. Possibly no man was ever honest with her in the past because they wanted to be able to leave the door cracked so they could hit again when they wanted to.
          Now granted it wouldn't benefit you, but it could be the eyeopener this person needs to see themselves as they truly are and make changes for the better.

        4. Another example is what if your too much of a "nice guy" hypothetically speaking.
          If no woman ever told you "Wis your too nice and thats why I dont' find you attractive" and went on to explain to you what that meant it would benefit you to know this and try to be better in the future.
          As Amaris said, I think your thinking the closure isn't necessary if good open and honest communication is always there from the door. But you can't assume that it's that way in every relationship just because most of yours is like this.

        5. I actually do see your point. A grown azz mature man of your caliber may not need to give any explanations at the end because you have already openly and honestly communicated your feelings throughout the relationship. In your case your right, an exit interview of sorts is unnecessary and it is on the woman to get the message you deliver, and if she doesn't get the message to express that to you and do her part in ensuring that you both are on the same page. Here's the thing though Wis, not a whole hell of a lot of men have your maturity and mentality so they would not handle things as you would. The avg man says nothing is wrong, even when u ask him. The avg man cannot communicate effectively so he doesn't say anything the entire time, even though he is miserable. From what I've seen and heard many married men do this, (my own father did it). They act like everything is cool and get to a breaking point where they have had enough and then they up and go and the woman he leaves is the last one to know why.

        6. Bree, I see what you're saying BUT I think you skipped over two key lines in the post:

          1) I likely do not or I believe it’s something you can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t change about yourself. Maybe it really is me, not you. Specifically, "wont" or "shouldnt." This idea that by not changing for me you are somehow flawed is itself flawed. Who the hell am I? In my opinion, no woman should have to change solely to be with me nor do I have the expectation that she should. Further, I have no plans to change for someone else. You can accept me as I am or not and I will do the same. This idea that people should change for us, is in my opinion, flawed. We are dealing with full grown adults not toys (or children) we can mold as we sit fit.

          2) Therefore, unless it’s something one can fix and permanently resolve, I really don’t see the point in talking about it. In the examples you suggest, those are qualities that can be changed if that person wants to change them. I'm almost 30 years and I'm not too shy to admit I'm fairly stubborn. I am who I am. As I said in point #1, a woman can either accept that or not. Personally, I assess the viability of making something last forever – which is what I'm looking for – and then I make the decision about whether I can accept her winning qualities as well as her flaws. Flaws, I might add we all have because none of here are perfect.

          However, should I decide that I can't, there really isn't much to talk about. Just because I can't doesn't mean the next man can't either. The fact that her and I aren't meant to be has no real bearing on the success or failure of her next relationship, because it is wholly independent. Maybe the next man can deal with her "selfishness" or whatever flaw(s) she may have. In my opinion, it's not my expectation or my responsibility to guide every X-GF to a place of relationship success, especially relationship successes external our relationship. I don't expect that of her for me and I don't expect that of myself for her. I generally believe we're all fairly intelligent and capable human beings. We make mistakes, and hopefully, we grow from them. But to believe that every relationship that doesn't work out or succeeds is solely my own doing is inaccurate. I believe a successful relationship takes as much work to succeed from both parties as does one that fails. In theory, one day I'll find that one woman that is worth all the sacrifices needed to make our relationship work by any means necessary. Unfortunately, that one woman is not representative of every woman. It sucks, but that's life.

      3. I liken it to getting through the final stages of a job interview, when you've built up a relationship with the potential employer. If you don't get the job, a good employer will tell you exactly why you didn't get it. Either someone was more qualified than you, or something you did didn't measure up. Now, this doesn't always happen, but I'd argue it's the right thing to do. Same with relationships in my book.

        I think your example is a little out there, but I'll take it. If she's not feeling the sex and that's a huge part of relationship to her, then she should say that, straight up.

        It's not all about personal growth or having something to fix, which I know is a trap that we men sometimes get ourselves into.
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    2. This is the only reason I disagree with WIM's view on the necessity of 'closure'….because in order for there to be no 'explanation'…there would have to be no conversation at ALL. If my s/o woke up one morning and announced, "I'm leaving", most likely I would immediately follow that up with "well, why are you packing your things?" There is NO way of avoiding that end of the convo unless there was no conversation AT ALL. I am really not the one for "whodini exits". Women want "closure" mostly because they want a CLEAR ENDING-without the "let's go on a break but I still beat" limbo, or "I'm just gonna gradually ghost so you spend 6 months wondering if you're in a relationship and turn down all the idris elba's along the way" frustration.

      1. Actually, that isn't what I was saying. I'm perfectly willing to have a conversation – but the conversation might not go how "you" (or whatever woman) would like. The crux of the matter is the relationship is over. So there won't be a "6 months wondering" or "let's go on a break" period. At best, we may or may not remain friends, which is a different matter altogether. I can only speak for self, but you're not going to extract information from me I don't want to give. Sorry. I will give you as much information as I feel sufficient – no more, no less.

        To Monique and Bree's points above, I'm not going to ask questions I don't want to know answers to. That's not how I roll, personally. If someone breaks up with me, I generally don't probe too much deeper UNLESS I want to make it work OR I think they want to make it work; however, if we've already reached the point of break-up, it is likely not the case.

        As I said before, I don't need closure. To be more accurate, I guess, I don't require closure from the other person. All I need to know is it's over – and I will find my own way to closure. I don't need someone else to guide me there. At the heart of the matter, I think that is what I and some of the women today are disagreeing on, which is fine. We are all adults and can navigate our personal relationships as we sit fit. I see fit to give some information while retaining (or not seeking) other information and that has served me fine over the years.

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        1. The problem with this theorem is you are assuming, that in every case, you have clearly communicated that the relationship was over. You are telling me that you have CLEARLY communicated- to EVERY woman you have ever dated- that y'all are not dating anymore at the end?

          I've said it a bunch of times but I'll say it again, women (or in this case, ME, I) just want a clear ending. I believe women would have less of an issue with an "at will" termination if there was an actual termination- not a limbo period, not a whodini act, not a 'break but Imma still booty call u at 12am to confuse the hell outta you", just a, "this is over. Starting today. I don't think we should have much contact." and then have guns stuck to. Because yes, it is rediculously confusing if you "break up" with me, but we still hang out, chex, are great friends (and have no children as ties), etc.
          But you are clearly saying that you do not do that (riiiiight?) so we are arguing different things.

        2. What my life experience has taught me about disappearing men was this: I was either too much or not worth the effort in his mind to pursue things further. I would rather spend my time pondering on the one whose interest I am sure I have secured rather than one I have not. People boundaries lines differ and they are to be respect even if we don't agree.

        3. I’d agree here…. I never, ever ask a question unless I’m prepared for a negative answer. If dude’s breaking up with me, odds are good, I’m feeling a little tender and not ready to ask those tough question. Additionally, I don’t/won’t ever be that girl who pathetically asks, “why can’t you love me?” I’m more, oh, no? Cool. (To him) And I work on moving on with all my whining as an internal thought. Would I like to know why he’s leaving? Sure, but men generally will say something vague like, “it’s not working for me”… I don’t need to know WHAT’s not working…. My ego can only take so many thumps before it won’t get back up. And just because it’s not working for HIM, it doesn’t mean it won’t work for the next dude…. But that’s me.

  20. If you know that something you do or say offends someone you love (or care for deeply), why would you do it again? Even if you don't agree that it's something worthy of getting offended, is it too much to ask that you just stop doing it? Referring here to talking about the appearance of other women. It's kind of like if you tell a joke that you think is really funny, but no one laughs, is it really funny? Should you be telling it just cause you think it's funny?

    I personally don't mind if a guy says something about a pretty woman, cause I comment on pretty women myself. Especially if there's cleavage. But if your girl tells you she minds it, then stop doing it. Easy as that.

  21. What are men doing wrong that negatively impacts the average woman’s self esteem? How can men better account for their part in (knowingly or unknowingly) attributing to the lowering of women’s self esteem? – I don't have self-esteem issues so I really don't know how to tackle these questions, lol. With this big forehead and these big eyes, I had to accept the reality early on that I won't be every man's cup of tea cause everyone won't get with those exaggerated features. You ain't feeling me? Cool. HELLO to the many good looking men who are, lol. I'm all that in their eyes and vice versa…so I'm good! 🙂

    1. Do you desire “closure” after a break-up? What does closure entail for you – moving on quickly or having an ‘exit interview’ type of break-up? What is the other’s party’s responsibility in helping you reach closure after a break-up? – Usually, I'm doing the breaking up and I def articulate why I'm bouncing. I really don't understand how you can have problems and NOT know why you're breaking up. Although, with my last break up, I just knew he wasn't "it"…couldn't articulate what he did wrong. I just knew that I couldn't marry him. I gave him a lot of excuses at the time but the truth didn't hit me till much later and I didn't bother to call him and give him an update *shrugs*. The one guy who broke up with me, I thought we were great but at age 17, he didn't know how to tell me that he WAS the thug I just knew he wasn't…so he disappeared. I said all that to say, I don't think there's a rule with this. Give each break-up what it calls far. Some require explanations, some don't, some get something in between…

      1. " I don't think there's a rule with this. Give each break-up what it calls far. Some require explanations, some don't, some get something in between…" Well said Cyn, I concur.

  22. It’s not that you shouldn’t date too soon after a relationship has ended its that someone has said ‘I’m not ready for a relationship right now ‘ but neglected to add ‘with you’. If you believed them yet see them with someone else two weeks later later it can sting a bit. Just be honest and some problems may be avoided.

  23. Biggest thing for men is to know their partner or the woman that they deal with. Some women can deal with you commenting on other women, while most hate it. Sometimes you gotta keep your comments to self (or tell your boys).

    Biggest thing is to not neglect the prixe you already have. Everyone wants to be appreciated right?

    Its perfectly fine for a man to want something unrealistic. We dream daily. We all have preferences and likes/dislikes. Why not shoot for the moon?
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    1. So we're playing the "nothing anyone else says can affect a person's self-esteem" game today? Interesting.

      Anyway, I'm with Streetz that it's a case by case basis. My dude has noticed another woman in my presence and it was done in such a way that it didn't bother me at all. I'm completely secure in our relationship, so maybe that's part of why it didn't bother me. It definitely DID bother me with other dudes, but with them, there were a myriad of other things wrong. So, maybe it's only a problem when it's one of many? Who knows. Why not just not make comments that even MIGHT make someone you care about insecure? Is that weird? That's what I've always done…

      I don't need closure after a breakup. Closure is something you give yourself, not something someone else gives you. You tell yourself, "Well, that didn't work out. Better luck next time." Once you've gotten to that point, you've attained closure. I am not a fan of the exit interview, and communicate so much during a relationship that it's never been the case I didn't know why it ended when it did.

  24. What are men doing wrong that negatively impacts the average woman’s self esteem?

    Just imagine how you would feel if your woman consistently said things about men she finds attractive. I say save those lustful moments for the guys and/or keep them to yourself. I am not your homeboy, I don't want to get a visual of you and that other chick…you talking about her will do just that. I'm not insecure, just highly visual…so spare me. While your rambling about another woman won't lower my self-esteem, it doesn't feel great either.

    How can men better account for their part in (knowingly or unknowingly) attributing to the lowering of women’s self esteem?

    Treat you woman like you would want o be treated. That may not cover everything but it will cover most.

    Do you desire “closure” after a break-up?

    Not really. I should already know. I was in the same relationship as that person. Even if I don't know because I was so oblivious to what he disliked, him telling me may not help me in my future. He is not the next man, the next man may like the very things he hated. Just leave me to heal and don't make unnecessary attempts to contact me. If I didn't pay attention to your cues while we were together, what makes you think I will hear them now.

  25. There is a difference between being offended and being defined by words. Being upset doesn't automatically mean self esteem issues. It could just simple mean not being too thrilled about a subject matter.

  26. In general, as related to the self esteem: I’d say 2 things…. 1) there are some PEOPLE (not just women) who will never ever be pleased by what you say to them. I can tell a man 101 times that I have feelings for/care for/even love him, but if he doesn’t feel he’s deserving of that love/care etc, then no amount of me telling him he’s pretty is going to fix that. That’s a personal issue, no one in the world can fix that FOR a person. 2) pretending we’re all high-self-esteemed, I love-me individuals here, I think the comfort level of a woman with her man checking out/commenting on other women is directly proportional to her comfort level in a relationship. I’ve been fine (in the past) with him checking out women (though, quite frankly the opposite has NEVER been true – lord save me from a jealous man) but there have been times when I haven’t been okay with it…. And those have been the times where the relationship and his feelings toward me (or mine toward him) have been uncertain.

    That being said though, can we all admit, a little bit of jealousy in a relationship is NOT a bad thing. Total comfort leads to complacency and if you ask me, that’s MUCH more detrimental to a relationship than him admiring some random-he-wont-see-her-again-ANWAY girl…..

  27. “When I make a passing comment about an attractive woman….” That’s where you lost me. If I am your significant other, why are you making comments about attractive women to me? I’m not one of ya boys…these aren’t things I really need to know or hear. For me it’s not the self-esteem, it’s that i don’t give a damn. I don’t need to know everything or when you are checking out another woman. Sharing is caring but how many times does your girlfriend really wanna hear you say a comment about another woman? Can be annoying…which is when you will eventually hear the “go date her a$$ then”. Just keep it to yourself. Acknowledge privately 🙂

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