Years ago, back when I was in high school, I had a boyfriend cheat on me with a friend of mine. I found out on Valentine’s Day. The school was doing this thing where classes would be interrupted by a student delivering valentines. It was a big public display thing and I can’t remember exactly what happened, but one of them sent the other one a valentine.
That’s how I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me with my friend. It might not be as bad as walking in on them having sex or being left at the altar, but it was still one of my most painful experiences. I found out in a very public way. I was humiliated, and betrayed by two people in my life. That day, I also started to learn that friends in our group knew. The betrayal multiplied over and over. For a person who has a hard time trusting people enough to let them in, it was a betrayal that hit incredibly hard.
Over time, I started to move on and pretty much forgive the friends in the group who knew but never told me. I even started to move on, accept, sorta forgive, and even take back that boyfriend. The thing is, he cheated on me repeatedly, and I kept taking him back. After years of having this dysfunctional relationship of being on and off or sometimes sex buddies, I realized I needed to do something on a big scale to jolt out of it and break-free. I moved cities. While overall it was a great move for me, it was not the most healthy or effective way of dealing with the problem.
You know that female friend of mine, other than a drunk conversation I had with her once, I never spoke to her again. Even years later when she friend requested me on Facebook, I shut that down. Why did I treat a cheating boyfriend who hurt me, better than a cheating female friend who hurt me?
I’ve looked back at my reactions and decisions in different situations during my life. One thing that seems to pop up quite often is how I have a double standard for men and women. I never noticed this before.
Teresa Carnegie is the person behind Dapsile.
A new resource web-site created to help people, with a little bit of everything. It provides information, product reviews and business services. The site is continuously growing and has just added ‘A Different Point of View’ section for writers, artists, and outspoken creative people to share their work.
Teresa brings to Dapsile, an ingrained need to help people, with the added belief that the more we share, the more we help others. That and her love of learning, travel, eating and trying new things, to name a few.
Apparently, men who have hurt me very rarely have any repercussions. The women who hurt me though, well, I go full out, never speak to them again mode. Why? Why do I basically allow this treatment from men but punish women.
Realizing I’ve been treating men and women differently, has caused me to do a lot of analysis for a why. Do I just expect to be treated this way by men? Am I naturally expecting women, or even just my female friends, to be more trustworthy? Is this because as a society, men’s behavior is expected to be bad but women are generally expected to be more trustworthy and maternal?
I think it is definitely partly due of society. All you have to do it is read the news around the world to hear of men not being punished for crimes against women. It happens everywhere, and a lot. If men have no repercussions in society for their behavior and actions what does that teach the rest of us. Maybe that is why I hold women up to a higher standard. They aren’t men.
I don’t think I can just blame society for my behavior though. I try to treat people equally, and I expect to be treated equally back. It shouldn’t be any different when men and women hurt me. I think my behavior over the years can be explained by going back to that high school cheating boyfriend. By figuring out why I basically let him cheat on me, when I accepted him back into my life every time, it helped me understand why I let men go without repercussions after they have hurt me. And why I kept falling into the same pattern of dating. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure it out for years, but once I did, it all made sense. The realization has helped me work on changing and treating men and women equally when they hurt me. In every aspect of life, not just female friends and boyfriends.
I didn’t realize it back then but that high school cheating boyfriend, I loved him more than I loved myself.
I made him more important than me and I put him first.
I might be better at loving myself now, but treating myself as important as others, is something I am still working on.
NOTE from Kate: Teresa is a very kind person and it was amazing collaborating with her. Especially, since she said it got her thinking about herself more. Part of that was the questions I have asked her. And this is what makes me happy :).
Get ready for next post in the TEAm EFFORTs category. And in the meantime GO ahead and check out her website!