Dear Shan Tell’em,
My last relationship turned into me being an emotional support for the woman I was falling in love with. She had two baby girls from her previous relationship that ended 2 years ago. Her youngest was 2 the other was 3. Anyway, I found myself giving her emotional support and being at her beck and call. When she needed someone to bring her places as her car had recently broke down, I would let her use mine. I even found myself watching her kids for her, which was a new step in our relationship, only to have her change plans on me almost immediately after she got back. A couple of days went by without word from her. She asked me to watch her kids again, with the promise of a special dinner that night, only to break it again almost immediately after she returned.
Anyway, I asked her the question “Is everything OK? Are we doing fine?” I mentioned that the only times I saw her in almost 2 weeks was when she had me watch her kids. After talking quite a bit, she told me how she didn’t think she was ready for dating and that she couldn’t put into a relationship what I deserved. So we decided to end it. Then I saw her out about 2 weeks later with another man and that was when I really actually started second guessing myself. Will I ever find anyone or am I doomed to continue to be taken advantage of. I came across your article about people putting up emotional walls and while I have never put them up myself, I have broken through my fair share only to have the relationship fail after all the work because of (insert reason here).
Anyway, I am not usually one to ask for advice because I usually don’t like pouring my feelings out to others, but I’m at a point where I don’t know what to do. I always give 100% in relationships only to have women cheat on me while I’m deployed, or have them decide they want more. The funny thing is that I am friends with a few women who I have broken up with often tell me that I “didn’t deserve to be treated the way I treated you.” I smile and laugh it off, but in all honesty I’d love to say “Then why does every woman I ever date treat me the same way?”
Is there hope?
From one fellow person who gives 100% to each and every relationship to another, I feel your pain. I really do. But right now, you’re wallowing in self-pity and that is anything but productive. It is very important that you A) not give up hope and B) realize that these women had a separate set of issues that has absolutely nothing to do with you. It sounds to me like this particular woman viewed you more as a matter of convenience, instead of someone who actually matters. She took your kindness for granted, led you to believe that she wanted the same things as you, and hit you with the classic “I’m not ready” line. The reality is that she saw your kind heart and misused it.
Listen Brokenhearted, it’s never your job to break through emotional walls that people have set up. It’s their job to see why they don’t need them. A lot of times, people think that if they show a person that they’re worthy, then the walls will come down. The reality is that the walls will remain up until that person is willing to see that they no longer need to.
Your exes are right. You didn’t deserve to be treated the way they treated you. Instead of wondering why every woman treats you that way, understand that they are attempting to apologize for their indiscretions. With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with a little self-evaluation. Are you agreeing to do things for these women that you don’t really want to do? Are you giving them relationship privileges without seeing if they’re worthy? Are you a pushover? Are you giving off the aura of being too available? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself. Relationships are about more than just a man showing a woman why he is worthy.While it’s human nature to question things, never allow someone to make you question your worth. Wondering if you’ll ever find your true love inadvertently communicates doubt in what you deserve. Remember: she must earn her keep just as much as you must earn yours. Love always has, and will be a two way street.
Good luck and I wish you the best.
Submit your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.