Jerks …. Until proven Otherwise
Date posted: July 1, 2005
I have been sitting on that sofa for more than an hour with the ever-so-familiar tear of uncertainty lingering between my eyelids, holding on to my damp eyelashes, and struggling to stay in place. A sense of heaviness grabbed my heart and shapeless clouds possessed my head as I reminisced on how I've come a long way from that scared little girl I used to be. I've got great confidence, a ton of self-esteem, and a belief that I can handle almost any situation. So why did my intelligence turn into oatmeal, my resolve to take care of myself turn into jelly, and my trust in my ability to create my own happiness turn into shredded wheat when I got involved with a man I liked? What is it about men that can make even a strong career-oriented woman with a long list of achievements lose control?
My stupefied eyes turned to the bookshelves across the room, and all I could think of was a book that I read many years ago and vowed to abide by each and every piece of advice Daylle Deanna Schwartz wrote. ALL MEN ARE JERKS UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE analyses how we get trapped, what gets us in trouble, why we get attracted to jerks, how we create them, how to handle them, how to resist their temptation, how to become immune, and how to create a bulletproof jerk-alert system. The book is not about male bashing; it is rather about protecting ourselves from pain, disappointment and vicious circles. Now it is too late to run to my book for rescue.
This is the never-ending story of every woman who is familiar with uncertainty, doubt, insecurity, and loss. Will he pick up the phone? Will he return the call? Will he see me tonight? Is he sincere? Is he faithful? Is he serious? Will he hurt me? Will he dump me? Will he let me down? Could I do better? Do I deserve better? Am I better off on my own? Should I leave? Should I stay? Should I just not care? Once we start asking these questions, we know that the relationship will be coming to a crossroads soon, that decisions have to be taken, and usually the journey back is accompanied by pain and anger.
Who is this man who threw my life into turmoil? He is just a guy who seemed nice, said the right words, and satisfied the needs that I have been stifling for a while – the need to be held, the need to be told nice things, the need to be in a relationship, the need to feel attractive to a man. Women stay strong, unemotional and resolute, keeping all those nasty needs bottled up. We pride ourselves on no longer being needy and we take pleasure in the fact that we can live without a man, and then all it takes to crack our determination are a few nice words, some sweet affection, or promises, that we do not believe anyway.
One taste of the things that I have been missing and I fell into his trap, and then, like the rest of my gender, I am sitting now on my sofa wallowing in self-disgust as I try to pull away from him in yet another round of the battle of the sexes. Losing our common sense over a man is a consistent complaint! Before we accuse him, or any other man, of being a jerk we have to take our share of the blame. We often jump into a relationship too quickly. We trust him before he's earned it and we assume he's a nice guy because that's how he appears to be on the surface.
I trusted him because I wanted him to be nice, decent and everything he appeared to be. I wanted it so badly that I ignored some clear signs that could have warned me to slow down and give the relationship more time to develop. This is the real trap! This is the trap that we setup for ourselves, voluntarily fall into and, yet, keep on following the same pattern in one relationship after the other. We just take off our emotional suit of armor and give our hearts away in exchange for well-put words and well-painted potential.
Daylle in her book, asked all Eve's granddaughters to write this coming rule on a piece of paper and to glue it to every mirror they look into, to read it as frequently as possible and to never lose sight of it: A man needs to prove himself by his actions, not his words! Be on your guard when you meet someone you're attracted to until he earns your trust.
This is the mistake that we all make and then we fall in the gray zone between reason and passion. Should we walk away from the mistake or should we wait and maybe what started with a wrong will grow into a right? Reason advocates putting an end to it. There is a voice in the back of every woman's head that tells her to stop milking a bad relationship to the often very bitter end; to make breaking up a time to experience control and power, rather than a miserable time wasted trying to get over him.
In a firm tone we are reminded of how we have to walk around in the relationship on tiptoe; we are constantly afraid to do or say something that would rock the boat, pacifying him becomes our main objective that we forget what we really want out of the relationship, we exchange the desire to have our needs met with a long list of problems and a huge amount of lack of consideration on his side, we master the art of coming up with excuses for his inexcusable actions, and we know that we will end up compromising our self-respect to be with him.
Passion on the other hand pleads for mercy and holds on to the fine threads of patience and second chances. The soft voice deep down in every woman's heart urges her to follow her gut feeling – that feeling that got her in the relationship in the first place. Her heart evokes glimpses of his smile, his kind eyes, the sad look that takes over his face every now and then, the shiver that ran through her spine when he first held her hand, the warmth that filled her inside out when he held her, the sense of security she has when she is with him, and … the tears that are rolling down my cheeks now as I recall these images.
Until a month ago, I was one of those determined resolute women who blindly follow their reason and neglected the faint voice within. My friends, who read my previous articles, saw in me a symbol of strength and self-control. Now, I am in their shoes and I can feel the emotional roller coaster they get on a million times a day. What was so easy to preach before is so difficult to practice now. All the books that I read and held close to my heart are like a recollection of an ancient memory, except Daylle's book that is now staring back at me … asking me to do what I have to do!
On behalf of every woman who is in a relationship that does not feel right, I want to cry out loud "Oh baby if only you knew what you just lost"