After I ended my long-term relationship, I wanted to fall in love again. Whenever I saw a couple kissing and holding hands, I’d immediately think how great it would be to have someone to kiss me, to hold hands with, to sing with him in the car, go on exciting adventures, and create beautiful memories together.
The year was 2017 and it was a terrible time to fall in love with men. That fall, The New Yorker published a story about Harvey Weinstein and women from all around the world called him a sexual predator. The actress Alyssa Milano asked women to share their Weinstein-like stories and many women shared their painful experiences with men and how men have abused them.
Every time I read a story about a woman hurt by a man; I would burst in tears. Because the abused woman could be any woman. It could be my mother, my sister, myself. Everyone has a painful story. We all carry scars. Sometimes, we think we have healed but then, it takes a small reminder for us to split open and start bleeding again.
During that time, my ex was busy telling everyone how I was the one guilty from the breakup and how evil I was. On the other hand, I was hearing women everywhere say how men are trash and men are bad. But still, I wanted to have a man by my side.
My mother is divorced, and she raised me to believe that men only want sex and that I should be careful to not let them break my heart. Then, when I started a relationship, people were telling me to be patient, to not be confrontational, but to give him what he wants and make him happy.
And I did. I gave him everything. All of me. I moved in with him, gave up my job and career for him, changed for him… and I was patiently waiting for him to do his part. I waited for his promises to happen, but they never did. Therefore, after many nights spent in tears, I decided to call it quits.
Since then, all it is, is a world of dating apps, flakey men, canceling plans, ghosting, d*ck pics… you name it. And yet, I continued dating them. I should’ve been angry and repulsed by them, but I was not.
I wanted to be close to them. I wanted to understand them.
It was a mix of pleasure and pain.
There was the womanizer. The charmer who ghosted me after we slept together. Then, there was the man who was threatened by my success and used any chance he got to put me down. The vocal ‘feminist’ who didn’t want to put a condom on. The married poet. The guy I hooked up in a club. The 10-minute date which I walked out on because he said to me, I need to quit my job and learn how to cook if I wanted to be with him… and so on and so on.
How could I trust and love men when my whole I was hurt by them? First, it was my father who abandoned me and my mother. Then, guys in school and their nasty comments. They all diminished my confidence and left scars on my heart.
But, after everything I went through, I still want to have a man in my life.
They teach us that we need to stay guarded if we want to survive. That we must protect ourselves from potential hurt. But I don’t want protection because it is a type of control. And the thing I hate the most is being controlled.