Why Don't Women Speak Up in Relationships?

All By Myself

Before I met my husband, I spent two years in a relationship where the more serious things got, the more time I spent in the shower chanting, “You don’t have to marry him, you don’t have to marry him, you don’t have to marry him,” like a desert monk, while Celine Dion’s “I’ve Got Nothing Left,” ran on a loop in the background. Really. During those two years my one-and-only told me I was “difficult,” “wishy-washy,” “too sensitive,” and “tough to be with.” And I believed him.

Side note: if you’re already nodding your head because you’ve been there, ask yourself this: in your whole life has anyone else ever repeatedly said such things about you? Then, Mama, maybe it’s not you.

This story gets worse before it gets better. When my better half told me I was the, “biggest girl,” he’d ever been with, I stopped eating everything that wasn’t kale and ran myself ragged at the gym, while convincing myself he, “just wants me to be healthy.” I even had a consultation to get totally non-FDA approved weight loss injections a dancer friend of mine told me about, which might cause my hair to fall out and would definitely mean the end of my libido, but could help spot reduce my “problem areas.” I know what you’re thinking, “Girl, I can tell you how to spot reduce a ‘problem area’ - break up with it.” But to do that, I needed to face the fear of being alone, and her ride-or-die’s: the fear of rejection and the fear of failure. And they are some mean girls.

And besides, who does that? What kind of woman trades in her mental and physical health for a guy who tells her she is an overly emotional fatty who lacks conviction and is real tough to love? What kind of woman is so desperate to be loved, so desperate to be accepted, so desperate to prove that she is worthy of being someone’s someone that she would literally change who she is?

A normal one. Mama, I’m going to tell you what a very wise therapist told me:

If you haven’t struggled in a relationship with someone else, one with yourself, with a substance, with a habit, with getting out of bed in the morning - you are not exceptional, you are lucky.

Life is messy. Growing is hard. It’s hard at 14, and it is still really fucking hard at almost 40. I share my story not because it’s exceptional, but because if there’s even the slightest chance you see yourself in it, I want you to know that change is possible. You already have all the tools to face your fears and change your life, they are within you, right now. You are enough. You are enough. You are so enough, you don’t even know how enough you are.

It should also warm your heart to know that my ex now lives in a commune in rural Colorado raising homing pigeons and working as both an astrologer and pet psychic. I’ll put his website in the comments in case you, or your goldendoodle, want to get in touch. ;)

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