After I’d been dating my boyfriend for a few months, we met one of his friends for dinner on a Thursday night. As soon as we got there, he ordered two diet sodas for us and his friends laughed. “Oh, she’s got you off the hard stuff and on to the soda, huh?” they said.
Um, no. I ain’t got him “off” a damn thing.
Before he met me, he drank a lot more. And after we started dating, I was very clear that an occasional drink, or night out, was fine with me but I had a business to run and three kids at home to tend to. I also was honest about the fact a man in his mid-forties who drank a lot and hung out at the bars with his buddies wasn’t attractive to me.
He got to choose what he did next, and that included deciding he liked diet soda and enjoyed hanging out with his new girlfriend instead of going to the bars with his other single friends.
Then, one of them made a comment about his jeans. “I see Diana’s got you wearing those skinny jeans now,” he said.
Um, no. I ain’t got him wearing a damn thing.
Actually we went shopping together for the first time, he tried on several pairs of jeans, and asked my opinion. I gave it, and followed it up with, “But you have to like them, babe. You are the one wearing them, not me.”
So according to some of his friends, after swapping his Jack and Cokes for a diet soda and wearing skinny jeans, boy, did I have him pussy whipped.
I’ve seen this so many times before.
My best friend married an alcoholic without really knowing it. They met in college their senior year and they both drank a lot. After getting married right out of school, she could see this was his way of life and not just a college phase.
She gave him an ultimatum and he quit drinking completely. If you were to ask the friends and family he lost in the wake of his sobriety, they’d tell you he changed and was being “controlled by his bitchy wife.”
His own father said he didn’t want to come visit them anymore because there was no drinking from morning until night allowed around their kids. “She’s too uptight,” he said about my friend. “It’s like you aren’t allowed to do anything anymore.” When really, it was just protecting the sobriety his son had worked hard to achieve.
When my sister married my brother-in-law who grew up in a strict Catholic home, he began to live a lifestyle closer to hers. He stopped going to church every day and began to question his beliefs and realized all the oppressing of feelings in his childhood home had affected his mental health. He grew up not being allowed to express anger, or sadness; his parents glossed over it all and told him to “hand it to the Lord.”
His family is very distant and have made it very clear how much they don’t like my sister.
When the Meghan Markle and Harry story bubbled over everywhere this week, I heard a lot of people say she was manipulative and controlling. That she made him leave his family and that life.
But if you ask me, this — along with my best friend and sisters’ marriages — is what a true partnership looks like. You know, when two people come together and make a life-changing decision that will benefit their mental health, together.
People love to blame the woman. If she speaks out and says she wants change, it’s surely because she’s a controlling bitch. You rarely hear that she’s trying to protect her family, her relationship, or herself.
Women are expected to be quiet and let things ride out, lest they expose some life-long family trauma and cycles no one else wants to deal with.
The truth is, men have a choice: they can stay and do what’s best for their relationship, or they can say “fuck it” and leave.
I know this is a light bulb moment for many men looking at their friend or brother from the outside thinking, Man, he’s pussy-whipped. Because surely, that’s the only answer they can seem to come up with.
Contrary to popular belief, a lot of men want to make a change. They’ve been waiting until they are ready, or they are now with someone who makes them feel like home and they see that certain changes can benefit their life and make it better.
They are along for the ride because there’s something in it for them. And I can assure you, it’s not all for the pussy.
It can be because they like themselves and their life better. It can be because they didn’t know they were caught in a bad cycle. Or it could be they just fucking want to and it feels right and they don’t care what their buddies or family think. Change is a pretty strong statement, and it should be listened to.
If a man does something that people don’t expect, like quit drinking, start traveling more, leave a job they’ve hated forever, or grow out their beard, it’s not because a woman is forcing them to do it.
They are not being controlled by a device or being told how to make their every move.
We all know men can (and do) whatever the hell they want with no apologies. When a woman conforms to a man and does something to better their relationship, it’s called being a “good wife.” But when a man does it for a woman, it’s because she’s forcing him to? I call B.S. When men make a bold move that will better their lives, it’s because it was their choice too, and there’s no woman forcing them to do a damn thing, anywhere.
It’s called supporting and growing with your partner. This is what a damn relationship is, people — or at least, what it should be if we normalize it.
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