In my personal belief system, all men are high maintenance, but I've come to realize that that is not at all how many women perceive men. I've noticed, in particular, very performative feminists have the most high maintenance husbands. Now let me quantify that. By high maintenance, I mean men who talk to their wives "any ole kinda way" and the women take it. Letting a man talk down to you, command you to do things on his behalf or the silent treatment when their needs are not attended to right away are a few examples. Basically women who write off narcissistic behavior as "oh, he's just being a man." And frankly, that's a lot of women.
All of those women have made a choice and you know what: they are completely entitled to it and god love 'em, I welcome them to it. My only caveat is that the best friends of this woman are often invited (really I mean co-opted) into enabling this man's high maintenance behavior. I've learned that the nature of these friendships is that most of the time, the married lady in question is simply using you, her friend, to help her escape or please this man. And that's where I draw the line. Being friends with a "high maintenance husband enabler" personality is not really a friendship. It's about who this wife turns her friends into in an effort to hold onto her "HMH" (high maintenance husband). When the wife is tired, overwhelmed, needing a break, that's when her friends become so important. The trick is when the friend needs something in return, she's referred to as a "high maintenance friend." So these women who choose high maintenance husbands don't want high maintenance friendships, see how that works. The alleged high maintenance friend becomes a prop to the wife's value system, and not a fully realized friend.
Got it. So I've learned that when I become friends with a woman who is self-sacrificing and finds it difficult to do self-care (unless it's at my expense) or prioritize herself in any way, who's constantly overwhelmed and in need of a break are women who don't really love themselves (if they did, they wouldn't allow their husbands to treat them like the help); so if they can't love themselves, how can they love you? Friendship is something that is important, these are people you choose to love who you've decided to become. For many people, marriage and family is about becoming your parents. So the nature of the kind of love involved in these two different kinds of relationships is profoundly different.
Adult friendship is about breaking generational curses and breaking free of obligations to others that often diminish who you are as a person. Friendships are about choices that are in line with the new person you're becoming. Marriages are often not. They are often about getting from your partner who you were unable to get from your parents which is why people often chose partners who are uncannily exactly like their parents (in all the good ways as well as the bad). Friendship on the other hand as adults is about clear seeing. It's about grown up evolved people making choices based on the new values that they have created in order to survive their families. It's about those folks who left home because what was on offer was not enuf for their souls so they decided to create a life that was richer, fuller and more in line with who they've chosen to become. It's adulting at its finest.
So when true, evolved friendship is at it's finest, it becomes as important to you as the concept of family. Because there's no obligation involved, it's pure. The love is a choice, not a duty. Family and marriage are often about duty and obligation which is not always the healthy, free choice, but rather the one many people feel confined to.
So for women who prioritize the self-sacrificing nature of their marriage over themselves and friendship; they will inevitably treat you the way their husbands treat them. It's the cycle of life. Because somewhere down the road, they had a father who treated them as dispensable unless they were catering to all of his needs all of the time. That's a cycle you can't break as the best friend looking in, but what you can do, is something the wife/daughter is not: take care of yourself.
Learningthat what you see as valuable in another person is not always something they see in themselves was a painful and vital lesson I had to accept. And you can't make that self-worth leap for them. Women who have a healthy sense of self-worth don't waste their time taking care of people who don't take care of them. Their self-respect won't allow it. Much of that self-worth comes from an understanding of your purpose, your gifts and why you're here. Once you realize why you're here, you won't allow those folks who don't value your mission to waste your time. My friends joke about me being the "one to quickly cut people off." What I've realized from that joke is this: I put me first (because in my long life, no one else ever did) and people have a problem with that especially if they are guilty of letting others treat them "any ole kinda way" (my great grandmother's catchphrase). When you have to earn your sense of self-worth through struggle, you're not willing to compromise it so easily.
I was taught to believe that men were selfish and not worth the bullshit. Instead of, when u value yourself, you don't attend bullshit. No one can do to you what you don't allow. This reframing takes the power away from someone else and places it back in your hands.
Seems like such a simple thing, but I didn't really clue into it until the other day when I was dreaming of owning a nordic track to get rid of this COVID weight, but looked at the prices and blanched. Then I did a search online and found a neighbor was selling a practically unused nordic track for $400 and when I got there, my worry over how to get it home vanished as the woman's husband and friend loaded it on the back of their truck and walked it to my door. It was like I dreamed of this machine and 3 days later, it was in my living room. People tell me constantly that I live a charmed life. Which is not true. It's not that I live a charmed life; it's simply that I've come to expect magic from this life because I've spent a lifetime learning how to love and value myself, pursue my purpose and live in sync with my core values instead those values imposed upon me by others.
I believe my life is a magical gift and I treat it accordingly...so magic is what I expect and look forward to...anything less is not acceptable. That's how you get what you deserve: expecting it and accepting the fact that anything less is not an option.
is a Tony-winning producer/writer/actor & CEO of TheDreamUnLocked: Boutique Coaching for Actors, Writers & Dreamers