It was an unseasonably warm fall day in NYC.
I was to be meeting a good friend to gab upon all of the intricacies life had propelled at us since we had last seen each other weeks before.
We ate and drank to our hearts’ content; and although most of our conversation started out fun and light, with the last few bites of food came the heavier topics. We talked about our finances, our health and then came the dreaded, but always necessary conversation topic; men.
We shared our stories; the feel-good ones, the ones that made our eyes roll and the ones that made our hearts shatter all over again. We consoled and counseled one another. We cursed them and all of their descendants; and after getting the hurt and rage out of systems we sulked.
We both came to the realization that all around the world, girlfriends were getting together, just as we were, to bitch about men.
My good friend very wisely said something that has stuck with me. She said, “men just needed to do better.” She even joked about starting a hashtag, to see if we could somehow get the message across to the cruel, cruel men who play with us.
If men did better, perhaps we could stop talking about them when we meet up with our friends and actually focus on having a good time.
On my way home that night, I started thinking about what women could do to make men more accountable. The truth is, we need to make ourselves more accountable.
I’m not saying men treat us badly because we flat out allow them to, but could it be that at times we unconsciously enable mistreatment?
We all know it’s impossible to change people, but if we could promote change within ourselves, perhaps that change could produce a change in the men we date.
I made a list on my bus ride home to share with you all, so here goes.
Read it carefully and be honest with yourself. If you’re allowing for any of this to happen, it could be time for you to change.
Here are 10 things women can do to hold men accountable.
1. Call him out when he’s acting like a fool.
Speaking truth can sometimes make your voice shake. Do it anyway. When he is hurting you with his words or his actions, tell him. Don’t let mistreatment slide.
2. Give yourself your place when he isn’t.
If he isn’t treating you the way you should be treated (i.e. with love, dignity, care, respect, equality, etc.) then you need to decide whether or not it’s worth having him in your life.
3. Be clear about what your expectations are.
Don’t walk on eggshells for a man. If he thinks you’re too much for voicing your expectations, then he just isn’t enough.
4. The bare minimum isn’t worth giving praise.
Don’t thank him for the things he should be doing. Don’t thank him for communicating, don’t thank him for listening, don’t thank him for loving you. He NEEDS to do that. Save praise for moments that truly call for it.
5. Don’t take the blame for his crumby behavior.
It’s not your fault he’s acting mean. No, you are not triggering his bad attitude. Don’t excuse his behavior by blaming yourself.
6. Be aware of how he truly makes you feel.
If he makes you feel more bad than good, he’s not good for you. It’s probably best to move on. You’ll be sad for a little while, but in the long run you’ll live a much happier life.
7. Do not tolerate inconsistency.
He pursues you when he wants your attention and when he gets it, you’re no longer worth trying to captivate? Say goodbye and say it quickly. Inconsistency has no place in an adult relationship.
8. Forgive, but don’t reconnect.
If he was conscious enough to recognize he messed up, it’s your job to forgive him. Forgiveness sets you free. However, don’t reincarcerate yourself by reconnecting. Words are just words and reconnection should only happen when his actions align with his words.
9. Don’t abandon your needs and values.
You cannot and should not ignore the things that make you feel some kind of way. There’s no need for you to acclimate to him or to make things easier. He needs to respect your needs and understand what you hold important in your relationship.
10. You’re not wrong.
Don’t second guess yourself. If he makes you feel bad, he makes you feel bad. You’re not mistaken to feel what you feel.