To the men who hurt me – thank you!

I’ve had my fair share of encounters with men who I thought things would either work out with or thought they would be non-judgemental towards me and be able to accept me for who I am. I’ve been on the dating scene since I was eighteen, on and off. Twelve years later and I am still single because all the guys I meet, are emotionally unavailable, do not have a secure attachment style, have unhealed trauma and don’t even know it, or they just do not understand what it entails to be in a relationship. Too often, I meet men who need validation, want to use me for an ego boost, cannot commit or want me to build them up for the woman they think they deserve because I am not good enough. I am not sure what it is about me that attracts these kinds of men. A part of me feels that maybe I am too nice and too understanding, not to mention accommodating. I question where it is that I go wrong that a guy wouldn’t want to be with someone like me. But then I remember that no matter what you are like, some men cannot handle a strong woman who won’t take their rubbish. That is when you become the problem and men usually want out because a lot of men that I have come across, need to be made to feel a certain way for them to want to make that commitment. When you are a strong, independent woman, men are scared, especially if they are not mature enough to handle a bad-ass woman like that. That is why you are made to feel that you are the problem, even if you’re not. Weak men tend to look for a damsel in distress that needs rescuing. If you don’t need that, it becomes a problem because the woman won’t need as much validation and won’t need to depend on them. Currently, I am off the dating scene, mainly because I am working on myself more than anything. I want to focus on my health with the bariatric surgery coming up and my emotional and mental well-being before I even give a man any of my time. I have come to the point in my life where I will be able to tell after a few encounters whether there is potential or not because I refuse to waste anymore of my time on men who are not mature enough to handle a woman like me. Never again will I ever apologise for being an honest, open-minded, strong, independent, and free-spirited woman! To all the men that hurt me and used me as their emotional punchbag, I thank them for everything. It is thanks to them that I have become who I am today. It is because of them that I learned I am not the problem and took the time out to really get to know myself and become a better version, but still working on becoming the best version of myself yet. I felt some examples of how I have been treated by men in the past and the things they have said or done will help you understand why I think the way I do, so here goes.

I was dating a guy at university who tried it on with my friend and hoped I wouldn’t find out until another friend told me what happened at a party. I used to do the most for this guy. I would cook for him, make him feel at home, supported him with his basketball games and was completely devoted. After I found out what had happened with my ‘friend’, I left him shortly after because I was so emotionally invested whilst getting nothing in return. I used to see him out and about with lots of different girls. He was emotionally unavailable, and I didn’t know it at the time because I didn’t even know what it meant for a man to be emotionally unavailable. He was selfish, a bit of a narcissistic douchebag and thought his height and eight pack could help him rule the world. I completely cut him off because that is the scorpion side of me coming out. I find it easy after a while to make it seem like someone didn’t exist in my life. Years later, he tried several ways to get in contact with me but failed. Eventually, he managed to contact someone I was in communication with and told them he needed to speak to me urgently. After being told he had serious health issues, when I spoke with him, he told me that he had been hospitalised and had a near death experience. He said that the only person he had thought of was me, and that he was a fool for letting me go. He told me he has never met anyone like me. He said he didn’t realise what he had at the time but now he does and wanted us to give it another shot. I told him that he will be searching for me in others and will never be able to find me. I then lied to him and told him I was married now because I didn’t even want to waste a second pretending to care for him or be friends with him. I was not willing to invest my energy into someone who couldn’t value me when I was in their life.

I started talking to a guy on a dating site and we got on like a house on fire. We met up after about two weeks of talking non-stop. I drove to meet him at a place that was suitable for him. When I got there, he had made no effort and was in tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt and was so different in real life. He wasn’t able to hold a conversation as well face to face. After we left, he stopped messaging me as much and then, when I questioned him about it, he basically told me that he needed to explore other options and that we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket. He also went on to tell me that he was shallow and wanted someone who looked a certain way. My argument was that you can change your physical appearance over time but if your personality sucks, it can’t be changed. I do give it up to him for being so honest and straightforward. Anyway, looking back now, it doesn’t even matter because he has a right to want to be with someone he finds attractive. I was willing to look past that and go only based on personality. I think in this situation, I was too accepting and should not have questioned whether I was good enough but rather, whether he was good enough for me. 

I once invested myself in a guy who was a lovely mature man but had commitment issues at the age of thirty-seven. We were getting to know each other but after a month, he didn’t want to continue. That was fine. Sometimes you think a person is right for you but then you realise they are not shortly after. However, this guy wanted a second chance, so I gave him one. I travelled to South Africa to do some voluntary work and whilst I was there, he started getting defensive about things like taking space, yet he had never asked me for space. Anyway, a few weeks into my South Africa trip, I decided I was the one that needed to take space in our ‘relationship’, and I say this loosely, but I don’t think he had mentally prepared for that and was taken aback. He didn’t take me seriously when I asked for space and although he had agreed to give me space, he was still contacting me, not respecting the boundary I had set. A few weeks of not being normal, I finally got home. When I got home, he was in the middle of moving houses and had a lot going on. I’d been back for a few days, and he had clearly taken a step back because even once I was back, he still couldn’t make time for me. It’s never a good feeling when someone has pulled back because it is almost a sign of what is to come. I tried to talk to him, but he was always busy. Eventually, he did make the time to speak to me just to tell me that it was over. He wanted to explore other options and give the woman his family wanted to introduce him to a chance because he felt I physically wasn’t his type. It’s funny. Men will literally have a woman that could have it all but will still want to see what else is out there just in case they can do better. Sometimes men fail to look at their own reflection and are ungrateful. I think by this point, I’d been through the same thing on several occasions that I accepted it without hesitation. He had done this before so this time it didn’t bother me as much. I had told him at the time that if he ended it the second time, there is nothing that would ever make me want to give him a third chance. I applied for a new job and moved halfway across the world within three weeks of that ending. It’s funny how things happen and fall into place. Maybe that was the reason it didn’t work out because I was never going to be in the country, yet I didn’t understand it at the time. Only, after a few months, he contacted me by creating a twitter account and messaging me on there as he had no other way of contacting me. He told me that he couldn’t believe he had met someone like me and then let me go. It obviously didn’t work out with the woman his family had introduced him to. She was too different to what he had wanted personality and character wise. It was only after her, he realised that I was perfect for him. We are not together but this man still believes that we should end up together because he thinks that because we liked each other once upon a time, things can go back to how they were at the start. The only issue Is that I don’t know if I want to be with a man who couldn’t appreciate me when he had me. I don’t think I could allow myself to go back to someone who couldn’t see my worth and always made me feel like he could do better. This experience taught me that even if you are enough, a man can make you feel like you are not and then when he tries to make you feel like you are enough, you will always have a doubt in the back of your mind.

Another time, I dated a guy who was all talk, promised me the world, even spoke to my family about marrying me and then I travelled over the summer and things went south. He just failed to communicate with me through calls or texts, telling me that he had so much going on and wasn’t able to share it with me because he needed to deal with such severe issues alone. He also gave me the silent treatment for a week because he got upset over something trivial.When I did finally come back to the country, he was shocked that I had ended the relationship and there was no going back. He had assumed that once I came back into the country things would go back to how they were before I left. He underestimated my strength to walk away from a relationship that didn’t help me continue growing. He didn’t understand that communication is one of the fundamentals that helps a relationship develop. It’s the foundation of a strong relationship! The minute you hit a difficulty, if you start giving someone the silent treatment or can’t make time for your partner to check in at least once a day, then there is some serious inner work that needs to be done. The minute you start moving like you don’t even want your partner in a relationship, a wise person will start understanding their value and remove themselves from situations like that. He learnt the hard way that I would never give him that chance again. He tried for a few weeks to get me back until he eventually realised that he had me and he lost me because of his stupid mistakes. What he doesn’t know is that the first time you do that, it triggers something in the other persons mind and when it happens again, you already know it is going to happen even more. I think that is the point where you decide whether it is worth being treated like that regularly and deep down, I knew it was not what I deserved. I walked away with my head held high, wished him well stayed content with my decision.

I started seeing a guy who was all for me but then used to get angry over the smallest things. Like he used to get annoyed at me for speaking to any other male, even if it was a waiter in a restaurant. He dumped me because he saw a draft TikTok video on my phone with a guy but without questioning anything, his avoidant personality decided to up and leave me. When he decided to leave, he would have a habit of calling me to verbally abuse me. He said some nasty things. He told me I wasn’t even beautiful anyway and called me an elephant. That was on one occasion. On another occasion, he called me a mother***** because he was so hurt. He told me that he was grateful that he had been saved from being with me and that I was always around men, so I wasn’t a good woman. That wasn’t true. He never saw my phone ring when he was with me, and I was always at home when he contacted me. This man had severe anger issues, but he used to take his anger out on me. Of course, I realised that he was saying those things because his ego was bruised when I wouldn’t chase after him. He tried to control me, and I am too much of a free spirit to be controlled. I blocked him because I didn’t need that kind of negative energy in my life. This man had some serious issues, and I didn’t even feel sad that he left my life. In fact, I blocked and deleted him because he was rude, arrogant and a time waster. His trauma triggered him to behave in such a way that I almost sympathise with him because he probably doesn’t even know he has unhealed trauma. I didn’t have energy to fix him. That was not my job.

Finally, my favourite is my most recent experience! I met a man who I thought was perfect. We started our relationship off as friends and rather quickly, became the best of friends. We just worked. We always made time for each other, we were in communication throughout the day and when we argued, we would fix things straight away. Everything just flowed smoothly. I felt like I was on cloud nine. Until one day I didn’t! I had never met a man like that. Someone who was calm, collected and patient. A man that didn’t raise his voice, would apologise if he made a mistake, always made time for me, and would find everything I said interesting. We would have discussions about anything and everything. We watched movies and tv shows together. We went shopping together, ate together, chilled on the beach, laughed together and it was all so perfect. I had never met someone that made me feel like I could completely be myself like that before. We were so comfortable in each other’s presence. My issue was I fell in love with this man. I fell in love with him because we had built the foundation of our relationship solidly. I just couldn’t ever imagine getting bored of him. Time was never enough with him, and we constantly spent time together. On the days I didn’t see him, we would talk over the phone and then it was exciting when I did see him. I loved what we had. We could walk and talk, and I made him laugh. We talked about travelling together and doing so much more when the pandemic was over. It felt surreal sometimes that I had met someone with whom I had formed such a strong bond with. This was it for me. This was the relationship where we could only go from strength to strength. But then small things made me do a double take. For example, for someone who was not religiously practising, his criteria for the kind of woman he wanted changed. Apparently, I was too Western (having been born in the West and him being from the East), he was worried about the next generation yet wasn’t bothered that for the next generation, you had to make sure that as parents, you had a solid relationship. That you had to deal with your own attachment style and unhealed trauma. He told me he didn’t trust me and accused me of cheating on him. For him, there was too much wrong with me. However, the main problem was that this man had never been in a relationship before, so it was going to be a problem because not only did he not know what he was looking for, but he also didn’t know what it entailed to be in a relationship. The fact that I had never judged him, asked him for anything apart from time, understanding, trust and patience became too much to ask for. He kept giving me mixed signals about what we were. I had moments where I felt this man was in love with me and other moments where I knew this man saw me as nothing but a friend. Despite everything we went through, I realised that this was never going to change. This man wanted things to be a certain way but just didn’t want those things with me. I started to feel like he was using me to pass his time even though he tried to convince me that he enjoyed spending time with me. I don’t doubt that but at the same time, I couldn’t be there for him to build him up for another woman. I was the one helping him understand his emotions, reflecting on his life, just being there at his every beck and call and always putting him first. But then I just couldn’t accept being the same with him. Deep down he has a complex with a friend he has been friends with for eighteen years. He introduced me to this friend, and we got on well. His friend is in a relationship, and it was nothing of that sort. But then things went bad because he didn’t like the fact that I casually spoke with his friend. I had messaged him on social media, and it was literally just a casual message to hang out as a group, but he thought I had disrespected him by communicating with his friend. He kept throwing accusations and had a problem if his friend mentioned me. I have no communication with his friend and his friend knew who I liked. But I decided that I didn’t need an insecure man who would accuse me and think the worst of me. Whenever his friend would call him & if we were together, he assumed we were conspiring against him. I was so emotionally drained by this point. I just got tired of always being there for someone who wouldn’t show up for me emotionally. He loved being around me but not enough to want to be with me. He apparently had no problem with me dating, yet he had a problem with me just having a casual conversation with his friend. There is so much more to it, but a section won’t cover it. This one needs a post of its own.

Some other experiences in the notorious dating world have included occasions such as a guy who wanted to date me even though he had a wife back in his home country. He would argue with his wife and take it out on me, using me as his emotional punchbag. He was a manipulative man, masking his manipulation as kindness. I had another guy who went on a date with me and tried it on. When I rejected him, he told me the next day that he wasn’t looking for a relationship because of his own personal issues. I met another guy who was handsome but was so weird! I wouldn’t hug and kiss him on the first date, so he got moody with me and wanted to leave. I blocked him straight away because which loser does that? We all know what he was after, and I refuse to entertain a man like that. These are just some other examples of weird men I have met where I laugh at them because they must think women will forever be vulnerable and believe them.

Sometimes, you think you have found someone who is non-judgemental, so you open-up to them about your life. However, later, they use that against you. Men will have no idea what they want from a woman, yet they will behave like they are in a relationship and treat her as if she is a partner. If one person doesn’t trust in a relationship, there is nothing a person can do to make someone trust them again. Men will use women they don’t see a future with for personal reasons and then want a different type of woman for the future. Sometimes the men you think are the kindest, most caring and patient, are the ones who hurt you in a way you don’t even realise is hurting you. They hurt you in a subliminal way and mask it as kindness, like they could never do anything wrong. Sometimes, a man will judge you for the exact same things they are doing but it is worse for you because you’re a woman. They will want forgiveness if they make a mistake but won’t find it as easy to forgive. Men will literally drain you emotionally and then wonder why you are done.

It’s interesting how our past experiences shape who we become and how we handle things. The way I am at the start of a ‘situtionship’ is so different to before because like I said, I no longer have time to waste on men who are not worth it. I used to invest so much of myself because I used to believe that you have to give it 100% from the get-go. Not anymore. Now I wait a few dates to see if the man will be worth my time and energy, worthy of the love I have to offer. I question what he will be able to bring to the table that I bought. I hold myself down pretty well, so I need a man who knows how to handle a strong woman otherwise it isn’t going to work. I don’t entertain men who are not equally as strong and don’t know what they’re looking for. Like I said, I don’t build men up for other women. I don’t give time to men who literally drain my positive energy as time pass.

All these experiences may have hurt me at the time and every time something went wrong, I blamed myself. I always felt like I wasn’t enough and that it was because I am not attractive enough. I only saw flaws in myself because that’s how I was made to feel. But I guess that is what happens when you are non-judgemental, and people are judgemental towards you. You only see your own flaws because you don’t judge others for theirs. When I think about it all now, I laugh. I used to question whether I was good enough, but I never questioned if they were good enough for me. I only saw faults in myself. Maybe if I wasn’t so emotional, maybe if I was slim, or I wasn’t so opiniated or feisty, they would like me. The whole time I thought it was about me, but it was never about me. I was never the one who was emotionally unavailable or didn’t know how to hold a relationship down. The minute I stopped blaming myself, I became free.

Until next time, 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 

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