What women should know...

Joan F. Marques - MBA, Doctoral Student
Burbank, California - February, 2003

This article was prompted by notes recently taken from experiences and complaints expressed by several women I know. It seems that there are some things that women should be able to see through, understand, and learn how to deal with, if they want to make their relationships work while maintaining their most precious asset: their dignity. It will be impossible to list all of these things, but the following inventory may be considered as good a start as any other:

1. Most women tend to look at things from a much deeper perspective than men. Men, on the other hand, often find themselves saying things they can't seem to measure the consequences of until they blurted them out and find that they have hurt their lady far deeper than their intention was. Too many times women will swallow these remarks without saying anything, in order not to seem over-sensitive. After all, how many times can you correct insensitive errors without seeming thin-skinned? Yet: the most hurtful ones will have to be discussed if you want to keep your dignity. Make sure, in those cases, that you express your feelings about his perceived rudeness. It may or may not result in a change but hey! You tried!

2. Most women don't go astray unless something is missing in their relationship. Most men, on the other hand, can be perfectly content in a relationship and still follow their hunter's instinct in order to discover what’s on the other side. Or they will consider it a stroke on their –often middle-aged- ego if a pretty young lady considers them attractive. So they'll jump in an affair without thinking twice. But just because most women only choose for an affair under less favorable home-circumstances, they should make sure they really want to go for it, and that they will take responsibility for all consequences. Ladies, before you go in, ensure yourself that you won’t be sorry for your actions. Then: enjoy it to the max!

3. Men can smell fear from a distance. If you are being caught snooping around, ladies, and he detects even the slightest apologetic attitude within you, he will sniff and dig further until the entire truth comes out. If, after finding out, he decides not to leave, he may still use it against you for the rest of your life in order to ensure humility and guilt-ridden devotion from then on. But keep this in mind, ladies: Most men have had one or more affairs during their long term relations, no matter how good the bond between them and their lady was! And you would not have been caught in this affair if everything had been perfect in your relationship. So, don't let him smell your fear. Think things through and stand tall, no matter how hard it is. You may love your man, but he's not perfect. And neither are you.

4. Most men are as insecure as women. They just try to find numerous ways to hide it, because they hate it. They see it as a weakness, and men don't want to be weak. So, give them the reinforcement they need, but never, ever let that happen at your esteem's expense! Many insecure men unconsciously smash their lady's self-esteem to smithereens regularly, because they consider that the only way to keep her unconfident enough to stay. They are afraid that she will take off as soon as her self-confidence is reestablished. Oftentimes none of this is true, of course: a happy woman hardly ever leaves her man. But then again, what sense will that make to an insecure man?

5. If your man asks you with a degrading look if that's how you plan to go out tonight, don't run into the closet immediately to change. Depending on his character and insecurities, he may just want to discourage your perceived sparkling self-confidence and exuding sexiness of the moment. It takes a lot of courage to stand straight in those moments, and say to him: "Sure! And I feel good in it!" Most of us will feel kicked in the soul, and lose our glint for that night. And that's exactly where he wants you! But practice makes perfect. Just remember in those cases what you would have worn if you were on your own. If you conclude that you would have felt good under those circumstances in this particular dress, you can bet that you look stunning. So, stay that way! Oh, I'm not saying that all men are the same. Some men will mean what they say. But those are usually also the ones that will compliment you when they think you look good. That's why I underscore: it depends on the man's character and his level of insecurity. Something you should try to find out as soon as possible.

6. Some men will use every string they can pull to obtain control over the ones they love. If they know you are disturbed by their obvious interest in other women, they will make sure that they express that now and then. If they know you are disturbed by their stories of their perfect ex's, they'll tell you about them regularly. It's for you to find out how to respond to that. It may be that you could start doing the same with him in order to see what he'll do or say, or it may be that you need to act as if the whole thing bores you immensely. Or maybe you'll need to be firm and say that you don't want to put up with that attitude anymore. Again, it all depends on his character and his motives.

7. Some men will degrade their women in public, because they think that this is the way to show the world that they are in charge. A variance to that is that they may take over the floor and do all the talking when in company of others, making her seem as an unforgivable dummy. Another variance is, that they will ignore her totally and act as if she’s just an unimportant piece of luggage he carries along. Ladies: this is a tough one. Most of us don’t want to act upon this attitude, because we still want to protect the self-esteem of our guys and we know that every remark from our angry brain at that moment would be deadly. However, you should either discuss this with him when you two are alone, or finally stand up some day in public and make an end to all the misperceptions he created about you.

And the list could go on and on. Yet, I hope you got the message, women: You deserve the best. You are a unique, and wonderful human being. You have talents and intelligence. Once upon a time, this very man that now humiliates you, cheats on you, or insults you fell for you; otherwise he wouldn't be there. Always remember that as long as you breathe, you will be able to find yourself another partner. Believe it or not, there ARE nice guys out there. Or at least guys with far less issues than this character you may now be struggling with! So, you don't HAVE to put up with everything. And you certainly should not let anyone undermine your self-esteem: In the least the person who you should consider your safe haven. You are beautiful and great! Don't let anyone take that awareness away from you!