I had never dated in high school. I liked to believe that I was in control of that – that I didn’t want to because boys were stupid and I was too unique. This belief actually followed through into my college years. I cut my hair to a pixie cut, and I dressed flashy and stylish. But, the reality was I wanted boys to notice me, and they didn’t, so I hid behind my excuses.
In college I unfolded in a messy way. Boys didn’t notice me in high school and I wanted their attention, so, I would accept any attention I received from anyone. Even if it was inauthentic. I settled for anyone because I believed that because I was a feminist, it was okay to have inauthentic relationships because I allowed it and that was what I wanted.
Using Others For Their Attention
I never believed myself capable of using people, but I did. I am not ashamed of it because we all need to be able to face our mistakes and learn from it, but I wish that I saw earlier, so I didn’t have to hurt others. I had a male friend who loved my writing, and his interest in my writing showed me that he was interested in my authentic self. I only liked him as a friend, but I craved attention from the opposite sex. He continued to show me that he was interested in me, and I continued to lead him on so that he wouldn’t take away the attention I felt I needed. I led him on with very vague clues, so that I didn’t have to outright lie, but I was starting to feel uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable because although I appreciated his friendship and attention, I couldn’t reciprocate his romantic feelings. So, I had to finally depart ways from him. Although I ended up telling him my true feelings, I felt that he couldn’t just be friends with me.
I “dated” several guys who didn’t care about me. I jumped at any chance someone hinted an interest of me. My second mistake was with another male friend. He didn’t want to be in a relationship, and I told myself that I was okay with being romantically involved without having a relationship, but in reality I wasn’t. We spent time together as we did as friends, but like we were dating without the label. I guess he started to see that I wanted more, so he dropped me. He stopped replying to my texts and my calls. He was supposed to be my friend. I got the message though. A few months after he ignored me, he messaged me again making excuses. Although I was hurt, I let him back in my life. Again, he ignored me after awhile. He tried reconnecting with me a third time, but I wasn’t having it. I guess he saw me as someone who was easily manipulated and that he could have me hanging around whenever he wanted, but by the third time, I told him that I deserved to be treated with respect, and if he isn’t going to give it to me, he shouldn’t expect people to want him in their lives.
The next few dates I had with others ended up pretty much in the same manner – ignoring me. These men also never properly wooed me. I never received flowers or some gesture to show that they actually liked me. But, again, I told myself that I was okay with that, and that I didn’t want that; that those gestures were cheesy. My turning point was when one guy said I wasn’t girlfriend material. That moment had hurt me because I knew that I wanted a real relationship, and that I knew I would be a pretty fucking awesome girlfriend; I had so much to give and I was eager to give it, but no one wanted the actual me. I figured most of the guys I dated just wanted to have sex, and I wouldn’t give them what they wanted, so they dropped me. I am now thankful that I dodged a bullet with those guys.
My misconstrued thought masked that I was unhappy with my relationships. I had lied to myself that I was in control of my relationships, but I wasn’t. I realized that I was dating these guys because I believed I was incapable of finding authentic love. I believed that I didn’t deserve it. I had lied to myself. I wanted love, and for so long I believed that I didn’t deserve it.
As a feminist, I do have a say of what types of relationships I allow into my life, but as a true feminist, I understand that no matter what relationship I choose to have, I shall always be respected and loved.
Through many hardships, I finally found authentic love. It’s first, through myself. It’s an ongoing process. I’m still learning and trying everyday to appreciate myself. Thus, I am now in authentic relationship with Joe, and I know that I have the right to demand romanticism in our relationship even if we’ve been dating for a year and a half. If you’ve been with your significant other for a long period, say 10 years, you still deserve romanticism. A candle light dinner out or a surprise bubble bath with rose petals from your significant other should never fade. Because you are deserving of love. And, as a woman, as a human being, as a feminist, you deserve to have it no matter what relationship you choose to be in.