Recently, after an alcohol infused altercation with a good friend, who decided that 2 a.m., in front of the famed bar Sluggers in Chicago, was the perfect time to announce feelings for me I was never aware had existed, I was left with the closing words, “I hope whoever he is, he treats you like a goddess. Because that’s what you are.” (Swears and drunken slurs edited out for clarity). This statement was followed minutes later, after he had exited the scene by taxi, with a barrage of text messages that consisted of phrases like, “I know you don’t want me,” and even, “I know you would never date me.”
I’m not going to, and will never, claim to be the representative voice of any person but myself. But, since I exist, I can assure the men and women still pursuing romantic hopes, that there are some of us who desperately don’t want to be worshiped. I’m not trying to say that I’d like to be treated like crap, emotionally abused, or manipulated, or even that I don’t enjoy the occasional cheesy, romantic, and worshipful gesture. I like to be appreciated in the same ways as any other person. However, if you’re treating me, or even giving me the vibe that I can do no wrong and I am the epitome of perfection, your wildest fantasies come to life in flesh form, I can guarantee that I’m going to bolt in the opposite direction as fast as my stubby, short-person legs can take me.
My most recent boyfriend treated me like a queen, and there’s no shame in that. What I took issue with was his constant, repeated compliments that ran along the lines of, “I don’t deserve you,” “you’re out of my league, and I know it,” or even, embarrassingly enough, “you’re much more attractive than me.” Well, shit. Uttering these things a few times in your relationship, maybe after you’ve really screwed up by texting your ex or mentioning your girlfriend’s vag tat in front of her parents (both of which are completely unacceptable slip-ups) is to be expected. But on a weekly or, god forbid, daily basis? It’s no wonder that I started to believe it.
The more I heard I deserved better, the more I also began to feel that I did. The longer he claimed I was more attractive, the less attractive I found him. (Which was sad, because it was his confidence that had initially attracted me. Guess it was a front?) And so on. Combine this with the guilt I felt for no longer desiring someone who had done nothing but give me everything I had ever asked for, and you get a strange resentment toward someone. I started to pull away, feeling like I was no longer in a relationship with an equal, but that I was with someone who would stick with me no matter how I acted, what I did, or who I did it with.
In the end, I broke up with him. What made it horrendous and pitiful was that he completely, one hundred percent, without accusation, took the blame for the demise of our relationship. “I let myself go,” he said, “I can understand why you didn’t want to be with me, I was a mess.” Etc, etc, blah, blah, blah. I wanted to smack him back into the confident gentleman I had started dating, but of course he would only continue to insist he deserved the wallop in the first place.
Since then, I’ve avoided a few minor relationships that looked to me as if this behavior was beginning to arise. It’s a look in the face, the pupils widening, while saying “I love you” two weeks in. Endlessly texting me, becoming gradually less confident, the last few just short, insecure, messages like “Hi?” and “R u mad?” but becoming satisfied completely four hours later with my quick, “Sorry, was busy.” Jump too quickly at my snap, and I’ll put you down (yes, I am still working the age old puppy dog metaphor here).
I’m probably being overly paranoid and quick to dismiss in my desire to avoid this type of behavior all together. One poor guy I had started talking to only a week before slept over after a late night at the bars. Nothing too major occurred, but in the morning his face and body language screamed MARRY ME AND BE MINE FOREVER (you know that look, right?) and he wouldn’t stop commenting on my “amazing-ness,” whatever that means. As soon as he left, I ceased contact. It may have been harsh, been when he mentioned to a mutual friend that he had lost his “dream girl,” I felt my instincts were correct.
Insecurity is unattractive, we all know this. It makes the person you’re with start to question if they should be with you. But worshipful behavior is equally unattractive, at least in my opinion. When I anger you, I want you to yell. When I begin to push boundaries, test your limits, I expect to know, or at least believe that if I did do these things, you would leave me, knowing that you deserved better. I don’t want to feel like I can walk all over you, because if I think I can, I might.
And damn it, I am imperfect. When someone insists that I am unblemished, without a fault, a goddess, perchance, I am only left with the feeling that said person does not know me at all. I want to be loved for my faults, by a partner whose faults I also accept. Insisting I’m infallible only shows me you are infatuated, you’ve put me on a pedestal I will never live up to, and I’ll either hurt you by shattering that image or hurt you by pretending to be that perfect. Worst case, I’ll learn to take advantage of your blindness, abusing you consciously or subconsciously because you have made it so easy. Best case, I’ll soon tire of feeling like I’m in a relationship with a person that fears my anger and would jump off the Sears Tower (it will never be called Willis) if I asked him to. Take a bullet to save my life, fine, take a bullet because I said jokingly, “Lolz getting shot would prove you love me,” NOT FINE. Challenge me, be your own person, have your own mind, and respect yourself. It’s that easy.