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Men Don’t Have The Monopoly on Effing Up

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cheating woman

Earlier in the year, I almost ruined my relationship. I screwed up. Badly. I violated my boyfriend’s trust and when he found out (I told him), he was angry. No, I didn’t cheat, but what I did was really hurtful. There are more ways to betray your lover than to sleep with someone else. There are a thousand ways to ruin a good thing…

Anyway, in the midst of our argument I found myself outraged by his anger. He’d made it clear that he couldn’t trust me and wanted to end our relationship.

“You have to forgive me?” I yelled into the phone one night. My voice was strong, and there were no tears. I was certain of my position. “You just have to!!”

“Do I?” he responded. “Why?”

The truth is I didn’t have an answer.

As a single black woman of good grooming and bad taste I’ve spent much of my life making excuses for bad boyfriends. I’ve prided myself on being forgiving and compassionate, but my ability to forgive comes with arrogance, an unspoken acknowledgment that I must be better for my ability to let go of pain.

When asked why my boyfriend should’ve forgiven me, I wanted to say: because I’ve forgiven you, and I forgave all the men that came before you. I wanted to point to the past and point to the future, but in the present one thing was certain. I’d effed up. I’d potentially ruined the foundation we were working hard to build. I wasn’t the victim or the person treated poorly. I was on the other side of the conflict.

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Men don’t have the monopoly on f**king up.

Recently, Wisdom is Misery wrote a dope post called Women Don’t Have a Monopoly on Heartbreak. He’s absolutely right, but as he mentions, since men don’t talk about their pain, some of us ladies are left with the impression that we are the only ones who hurt. Intellectually we know that’s not true, but a man’s perceived heartlessness informs how we act in relationships.

I’d  like to sadly testify that men can be hurt, and I’d add to W.I.M’s post that women do, indeed, screw up. Even those of us who don’t cheat or act crazy make seemingly small choices that undermine the men we love.

Here are three relationship ‘eff ups’ I’ve been guilty of myself:

  1. I’ve talked sh*t with my friends: My friends are permanent fixtures in my life. They’ve nursed me through break ups and embarrassing mistakes. They are the foundation on which I’m able to bounce back from heartache and pain. Thus, I often assume that because I trust my friends with personal info, I have a right to trust my friends with my man’s personal info. In doing that, I unknowingly undermine my relationship. The story he told you about his childhood or a seemingly harmless comment about his past has the ability to damage the bonds built in a relationship. It’s evidence that, perhaps, you can’t be trusted.
  2. I’ve failed to accept my partner as he is: I recently heard a story about women who are actively planning their weddings before they’ve met their partners. While I’m all about positive thinking, this seems a bit extreme. In my own way, I have been guilty of plugging a man into the role of “boyfriend” without really knowing what that means to him. I am learning to let go of ideas and expectations in an effort to enjoy the person that is in front of me. While it is important to know what you want; it’s equally important to know and enjoy what you have.
  3. I’ve misinterpreted the facts: I’m guilty of interpreting the facts to suit my own neurosis. Sometimes, in my mind, a missed call means infidelity. A perplexed frown means the relationship is doomed. Our interpretations can cause tensions. They can lead to unwarranted fights and actions that damage bonds. I am learning not to interpret something without checking my facts. I’m learning that I have to trust in ordered to truly love.
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Man or woman, we all fall in love. We all get hurt. We all, at some point, have to stand in the mercy of others. After days of demanding forgiveness from him, I gave up because I knew I was wrong. I stood in the truth that I can hurt the man I love, and I listened while he told me how he felt. When I didn’t protest, or try to diminish his pain – I left the room so he could do what I thought I do so well – I left the room so that he could choose to forgive me.

When love is involved, monopolies don’t exist. We’re all human and grasping for a little peace of mind. Remembering that will help us all keep the love we’re cultivating.

Ladies and gents, what relationship eff ups can you share? 

Patia Braithwaite is a Brooklyn-based relationship writer. Her work has been featured on Yahoo.com, The Huffington Post, Florida InsideOut Magazine, and BounceBack.com. She’s currently working on a non-fiction book that explores the various ways men see God and how these views impact their romantic relationships. Check out her musings and more at www.menmyselfandgod.com

Comment(27)

  1. Round of applause. I love when a person has an awakening to their own folly. It speaks of maturation. One's personal evolution. Good post.

    But you got damn right men don't have a monopoly on effing up. Never did. We all screw up. In our own ways. Some big, some small. But a screw up is a screw up. Intentionally or otherwise. The solution is to identify it when it occurs, and most importantly understand and respect how it impacts the other person. Which in this instance, seems you ultimately did upon the wings of your epiphany.

    In regards to misinterpreting the facts, or assigning conclusions to suit one's own neurosis,…that sh*t is real life right there. That is a recipe for all sorts of arguments, tiffs, and all out wars within one's relationship. Not to mention erode the hell out of the trust and weaken the very fabric of the relationship bind. In some instances, such neurosis allows a person to not only seek, but justify their own infidelity.

    Good post.

    Mr. SoBo
    OpinionatedMale.com

    My recent post Your Wife Is…Your Wife Tastes Like…Your Wife Looks Like… AND?!

  2. Gotta love Patia days…..but indeed I wish women would hold themselves more accountable. For example, not picking the right battles, dismissing good guys for convenience (my own post coming soon #nopromo), not voicing your expectations than expecting the man to follow them tooth and nail, both genders mess up, but far too often it’s more convenient to just label the man an assh le and play victim rather than owning up to your contributions to the failed relationship.

    1. +1 "not voicing your expectations than expecting the man to follow them tooth and nail"

      CLOSED MOUTHS DON'T GET FEED.

  3. 1)Accepting my partner for who he is and going from there. Sometimes you want the relationship more than you want the person and you create your own fantasy of who he could be instead of looking at who is and deciding if you’re happy with that. I know not accepting someone for who they are will keep you in a relationship/situation chasing dreams.
    2)Over thinking. Everything isn’t that deep. And some things are exactly what they are no if’s ands or buts.
    3)Just enjoying the person. Sometimes I get so caught up in the purpose of the relationship that I don’t take time to just enjoy the person. Especially in the beginning, which probably goes back to the over thinking.

    1. Hi Smiles,

      I know what you mean. I am the opposite, I enjoy the person for who they are in the beginning, bc I feel like there's no pressure, we're just seeing where this goes. Once I figure out that I like them however, then I am all purpose and no content. I'm all about, "where is this going, how long are you gonna make me wait and string me along, 2-2.5 years is all you have, you better remember my birthday, Valentine's Day, our anniverary, and there better be flowers, yadda yadda yadda". Ugh. I gotta get it together, lol.

      1. lol well I guess I'm always looking for something to go wrong or for something not to be right (yea I worry ) that I don't enjoy the person because I'm always watching out for something or trying to make up for past mistakes.

        It’s hard as a woman you try to balance playing it cool, and just enjoying the ride, while making sure you’re not being taken on a back alley to no where.

        1. "It’s hard as a woman you try to balance playing it cool, and just enjoying the ride, while making sure you’re not being taken on a back alley to no where. "

          THIS RIGHT HERE!!! Story of my life.

  4. I can say some women have effed up a situation that COULD have led to a relationship. We have met men that we felt were good or had the potential (ah my favorite bad word) to be what we wanted them to be. Instead of letting a relationship naturally happen, some may tend to over think the situation and try to steer the relationship to a point where it will happen and happen quicker than may be intended. In the process of us trying to make this happen, we will stalk a man's moves, by going through his phone, liking all facebook pics, making sure people know that he is mine by always holding his hand or always saying public things such as "you know I only want to be with you" on a regular basis. We create a crazy persona that suffocates this potentially good man, who ends up leaving to be with someone not as crazy as she was. Then we are upset saying that he didn't know how to treat a good woman and we can't see why he didn't want to be with us.
    My recent post I can’t explain why i’m feeling for you so bad…

    1. Both male and females do strange things when our emotions take over. We act 'crazy' and not normal and try and learn every thing we can about someone. We just have to know because we are curious and want to know asap if they are really all they seem to be (which can be a fantasy in our heads early on), or if they don't live up to our projected expectations. I think it goes beyond stuffing up relationships. It can also ruin friendships which can lead to relationships.
      My recent post Girl Gets Ring Review – Will It Work For You?

  5. Oh my goodness, Ms. Patia Braithwaite, you are all up IN my mind! Great post, and I always love your posts because they seem to mirror what is going on in my head.

    #2!!!!!!!! Unfortunatley, that is me all the way, I'm a perfectionist, and I tend to like things a certain way, or think they have to be a certain way, and I can push away a PERFECTLY GOOD guy, by trying to fit him into a certain image, or put him on a certain prescribed timetable. *sigh* I'm also guilty of number #3. Not to make excuses, but, due to a relationship in my past, I don't TRUST men to love me the way I want to be loved, I feel like I have to direct them how to do it…yep..another bummer!

    Thanks for this, this post is like therapy for me :o)

  6. I eff up plenty! I can be controlling at times, I have a type-A personality so yeah. He gets it at times, other times not so much. I also had to learn to take him as he is and build from there. I had to realize that yielding did not mean relinquishing my power. That was tough for me. My pride got in the way. Until I learned to let go…it was a power struggle. Now it is a dance I gladly allow him to lead (most of the time).

    The best part of it all is when I stand back and reflect on where I came from compared to where I am currently. I appreciate the journey because I learn and get wiser with each eff up. I do not mind messing up, but I would feel slightly insane making the same mistake over and over. My marriage is SO much more beautiful and peaceful now. Our intimacy is much deeper because we both must continue to learn and apply. It'll be six years next month…isn't always easy, but very much worth it.

  7. LAAAAWWWDDDD JESUS YES!!! FINALLY A WOMAN ADMITS THAT SHE IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT!!!!!

    lol but in all seriousness, in today's society it is almost engrained in women's brains tht everything bad that happens is the man's fault. We all know that this is not true, but somewhere this was lost. Now yes there are bad men out there who do eff up and do stupid things, but there are also women who do the same. I'm pretty sure that people would stay together longer and relationships would be more successful if ONLY one person messed up 100% of the time. but like everyone knows, this isn't the case. Males and females alike need to start taking accountability and stop pointing fingers on who messed up or why the relationship didn't work out. Maybe he didn't text you back because you had just finished accusing him of something you know he didn't do, or maybe she is talking to other guys because you still have a stable full of floozies. It goes both ways. Just take accountability, like the writer did in this post, and you will be alright.

    1. That's exactly what i was about to say! I don't understand how you can assume that it's only the other one's fault.
      But really i think MOST women are VERY AWARE of their bad actions. Everytime i eff up i'm like olalala my karma is going to be so bad… Lol really we know (well I know!!)
      main word: accountability!!!

  8. Great post! I really enjoyed it and spoke to me on so many levels.
    Biggest flaw I have repeatedly heard from my exes is the pace. I do well at the initial dating phase but once I see things are good I tend fast track to the comfortable stage so i start running ahead of him cause glory glory I can see this is gone work! lol And he still walking at the same pace trying to firgure out what the rush is. And I'm pointing ahead jumping up and down like a 5 year saying can't you see it just over the horizon! Of course he is like we gone get there but why don't we enjoy the scenery here. You get the point. And yes I finally got the point slow down and enjoy the scenary. Each stage is there for a purpose.

  9. The ladies were NOT trying to admit this fully in the comment section on WIMs Monopoly post, lol. Instead of just saying, "yeah, you're right", it was "Yeah, but y'all …", LOL. So, thanks for this post. It's put the ladies in more of a "yeah, you're right" mode.

    1. My relationship eff ups??? Aside from #2 and #3…which I've been SO guilty of in the past, I can sometimes have relationship ADD, LMBO. It takes a lot to keep my interest. I don't cheat. But, I start out hot, heavy, and sold…then burn out quickly…leaving hurt feelings and bruised egos. To remedy that, I'm trying to date LONGER before I slap on a title…just to make sure I'm firmly on the hook with someone. I also have temper issues. When I'm pissed, I'm castrating. I don't cuss much, but when I do, I'm usually pissed. I become VERY belittling and parental…verbally agressive. To remedy that, I had to only date men I have the utmost respect for. Like, he has to earn it first before I get super involved. My respect for a man forces me to be respectful and pause/think before I react.

        1. My mouth is pretty vicious…I'm not proud of it.at.all. But, I'm kinda like that in general if I don't respect you…and I feel like you're coming for me. When I'm that mad, I'm cold and heartless. I've def had grown men (that I loved…and loved me) sulking away with their tail tucked between their legs. Justified or not, its not cool. Gotta be a better way to say what needs to be said without taking folks manhood. (._.)

  10. This is a great article. It’s always great to see somebody taking responsibility for themselves and their actions, regardless of gender. With that being said, this article definitely goes against the grain of what I’ve in blogs, Twitter, or the comment sections (including some of the comments here by some who would have you believe they are solely hapless victims perpetually done wrong). Kudos to the writer, and SBM for sharing this.

  11. Besides picking the wrong type of dude that I was settling for, I have also been guilty of nr. 1, 2 and 3! Eeventhough I do not believe that ladies that are married by 20-21 shy away from these acts, I do admit that I am working on all 3. Thank you for this post.

  12. Unfortunately we have been hurt and we have hurted others. The most important thing is that we learn and grow from our mistakes. Ive never really been guilty of just talking about my mate to my friends but I would be livid if my boyfriend was talking junk about me to friends.
    My recent post Where they do that at?

  13. So many comely ladies yet so stupid that they dont understand that compliments,whistles and stares is not actual annoyance like being ridiculed is for just trying to be a nice guy like being called names like, "pervert","creep","jerk". Name-calling is really childish for women to do even on this machine called the internet. Very unbecoming of anyone who would be striving to be feminine. Having the audacity to call the cowardly cops who have to make an intrusion into something thats none of their business and banish someone from a store over something as laughable as speaking the compliment that your breasts are beautiful and being jailed for that? What? Men should not be being hassled by women.police and the government over trivial inoffensive words about ladies bosoms,cleavages and rears.

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