A month or so ago, a casual dating relationship I was in with an old friend ended abruptly. We weren’t a match for a variety of reasons which we both understood. Instead of him having the kahunas to have a conversation with me, he just decided to discontinue communicating with me. Now, we had talked or texted daily for 3 months straight and saw each other 3-4 times during that period. We were a little more than friends, but it was obvious we weren’t a match for a romantic relationship. He visited me in Memphis, we had a great time, and then I just never heard from him again. I texted him and told him that it was fine if he needed space, but it wasn’t okay to just stop talking to me and not tell me what was going on. That hurt, and it just wasn’t the way to treat someone you called a friend. He responded by saying I was possessive. What? I’m about the least possessive person I know.
I ended up in a puddle of tears because I had really tried hard to be kind to this guy and to keep things friendly and casual. He was at a difficult crossroads, and
I never made any demands on him. All of a sudden I became afraid that in order to be in a relationship, I was going to have to be a doormat for somebody, and it still wouldn’t be enough. I called a friend of mine for some perspective. “Am I too needy?” I asked. “I mean, I tried everything to not put ANY kind of demands on him, and he still thought I was needy.”
My friend Karen asked, “What’s wrong with being needy? We’re all needy, aren’t we?” I explained that I wanted to put some perspective on how needy I was. I truly wanted some honest feedback. Sometimes guys I date say I’m too needy and want too much. Other guys say I’m too independent and don’t need them enough. I’m so confused on where I am in the spectrum of normal and what I’m supposed to work on. My female friends say that I’m too independent, and a man needs to feel that he’s needed. Then, I ask a guy for one little consideration, and I’m called possessive. I loved Karen’s question. What’s wrong with being needy if that’s who I am? What’s wrong with being independent if that’s who I am? And, I’m probably a little of both.
When I did the blog on chivalry, I googled some blogs about dating and chivalry. I ran across this one written by a young man whose point was that women are more independent today, and we are insulted by chivalrous acts. He said we interpret it as a man thinking we are weak and can’t take care of ourselves. What? The comments were the best. Men were writing about how women were such selfish b**ches, and we were just after their money and what they could do for us. Some women were saying that they were independent, but they still liked a man to open car doors for them and help them carry things. Other women agreed with the blogger. No wonder men are confused. I have a friend who offered a pregnant woman a seat on a subway train, and she bit his head off. Others of us want to be treated with respect and like those offers of kindness.
What I finally concluded from all this is that there is no right or wrong in my neediness or independence. There is no right or wrong in a man’s offer of opening doors for women or not. Maybe it’s time we talked to each other about what we like and don’t like and cut each other some slack. At one point, I started going dutch on first dates in order to keep from offending the modern day man. Then, a friend told me that insulted men. And, when I meet a man, I don’t know where he falls. I told a man the other day that I was a bit old-fashioned, and I preferred the guy to call me initially. He was insulted. I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m just tired of calling somebody to say hi, and they get turned off because they think I’m too needy. I can’t be what somebody else expects because I have no idea what they expect. So, I’m going to start being me and doing what I feel like doing. If it doesn’t suit you, then go away – without insulting me, please. If it does, then stay. If you like me, but don’t like something I do, why can’t we talk about it? And, guess what? I’ll offer you the same courtesy. Maybe it all boils down to the fact that we each have our own preferences on what a relationship looks like. That doesn’t make either one of us bad. It just means we either need to compromise or go find somebody else that dances our same dance. If I don’t like steak, and it’s offered on the menu, I don’t quit going to the restaurant or tell off the waiter because they insulted me by offering it. That’s just bad manners.
Man…I feel better now….possessive, my ass….:)