Has anyone ever told you to “grow up,” “be a man,” “be a woman” – or made some other comment meant to make you behave as he/she believes is best for you? These are clearly subjective phrases. What it means to be a man or woman varies greatly, depending on the speaker. In fact, I have uttered these judgmental phrases along my journey and can easily admit that I was being manipulative each time.
I recently had an intriguing conversation with John, who is in a long-distance relationship with a woman he loves. He noted that he has been “busted” a few times over the years for carrying on sexual relationships with other women. But, to be fair, he told her that he would understand if she wanted to see other people, to which she responded, “When are you going to grow up? You are over 30 years old now. It’s time for you to settle down.”
Regular Frank Love readers know that I am all for making decisions based on what you feel is best for you – even when you are in a relationship. Poet Thaddeus Honeycutt, in Coming Outa Darkness seems to agree. He writes:
When folk love
They don’t expect to
get their feelings
But when you accept
You see what they are,
how they are,
And what they do
feel good sometime,
And other times
But you accept them
because you know
that if they
did what you thought
should be done,
or act the way you,
they would not be
they’d be you…
I couldn’t have put it better myself! It’s fascinating how we appreciate our mates being themselves enough to partner with them. But once we are in relationships, when they do something we don’t like, they become “selfish” or “immature,” and we believe they need to “man up” (or “woman up”) or any other accusations that will guilt them into doing what we prefer. It often works, because few things hurt worse than having our manhood challenged?
The real challenge is accepting our partners for who they are and what they want, even when what we want is at stake. Remember, the second step to being a Powerful Person in a Partnership is: Don’t take away your partner’s power.
If you are getting a guilt trip of this variety from your mate or from other people in your life, it’s worth considering what they have to say. After all, all feedback is valuable. But remember that they have their own motivations, and ultimately you must determine the best way to conduct yourself. You are the one that will have to live with it.
You may decide that the behavioral or lifestyle adjustments they suggest are what is best for you. Sometimes we have to strike a balance between what we want and what the people in our lives want from us – particularly if we value our relationships with them more than our own desires. However, you are the only one who can make that call. No one else can determine what you should value in life or how you should behave in order to be a man or a woman. Be the man or woman you want to be.
So, John, there is no shame in wanting to date or have sexual relationships with more than one woman at the same time … as long as you have determined this is what is best for you. Tell your partner what you want, proudly. The question is: Does she want you, or does she want the person she would prefer you to be? If she can’t accept you for who you are – something we all want from our partners – you may also consider whether you really want her. I promise you that if she doesn’t want you, another woman will.
And if you enjoyed Honeycutt’s poem as much as I did, you can find the complete version, and other excerpts from the forthcoming book, Coming Outa Darkness, online at the Weirding Word® Publishing House.
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