I would usually narrate the sad story of how the men I dated mistreated and broke my heart even though I was an amazing girlfriend. But for how long?
The story of my relationships was so similar that one would think I kept dating the same man. The problem is with them. Men don’t appreciate good women. I would think to myself. And at another time I would blame myself and then wonder if things would have worked out had I done things differently.
Each time my relationship ends abruptly I feel drained and used. Usually, on most nights I would cry myself to sleep until I eventually fall into a state of depression.
After two failed relationships, I turned cold and talked myself out of another one for two years. What a peaceful period it was.
But when I started dating my best friend of four years I realised how different some relationships could be. He adores and loves me unconditionally. And I love him, too. We are amazing together and hardly ever fought. Truly, the most beautiful relationship I have ever had or walked into.
He got me thinking one evening when he said: “Sharon, you are amazing and I love you but you do too much. You do things for me that exceeds my expectations and that makes me feel pressured to do a lot more for you.”
Why is doing something as simple as baking a cake for his birthday considered “too much”? His words hurt me and I cried for a while. I know… I’m a cry-baby. I just went numb. I felt nothing.
I began to reflect on my past relationships and after a while, I stopped playing the victim and tried to think about the one common denominator that punctuated all my relationships.
And I found it. It wasn’t difficult. Was it? The pattern jumped at me.
I’m three ideas.
(a) I’m that woman who prides herself with never asking a man for anything. I have never ever asked that a man buys me a bag, hair extensions or takes me shopping. Not that I never needed anything, I just could never bring myself to ask my partner for it. I could visit my boyfriend with a few Ghana cedis in my purse and still won’t ask that he gives me some money. And even if the thought crosses my mind to ask him, I would always come up with all the reasons why he probably needs the money more than I do.
(b) I’m that girlfriend who would make meals occasionally for her boyfriend because she wants him to save some money.
(c) I’m that girlfriend who would lend money to her boyfriend if he needed it.
The language of my love throughout my relationships has always been giving.
I believe the best way of showing people love and appreciation is by doing things for them. I derive so much pleasure from doing things for others. I just give and give but I never ask for help when I need it. I assumed that somehow, someone like me would make a perfect girlfriend. After all, guys always complain about how girls of today are too demanding and gold diggers.
Since I am of a different breed that should make me a unicorn among women. Right? Ahh, that’s wrong.
I realised that being too kind can be a burden. Imagine having someone who is always giving you things and yet asking for nothing. Initially you will love it, you will appreciate them and feel grateful but eventually, you will begin to feel as though you owe them a lot and then you wonder how to repay them. That is if you have a conscience.
It becomes a bigger burden if you do not have the means to reciprocate their kindness. Instead of feeling grateful, you will find that you are miserable around them. The ex-boyfriend who told me “you act like you don’t need anything “and the one who said “even I as a man seek your help when I need it, why don’t you?” must have felt burdened. What I thought as being kind and sweet must have made them feel terrible about themselves. As though they needed to do a lot more for me.
I believe that if I hadn’t come to this realisation, my relationship with my amazing best friend would have probably ended up like the others. God needed me to understand this otherwise I was only setting myself up for another heartbreak. Of course, there are men out there who love sweet and kind women but I believe that even the best guy can feel burdened with too much kindness.
Yes, I believe there is such a thing as too much kindness. I’m not preaching against being kind, I am only asking: what is your relationship pattern like? What is that thing you do in every relationship that makes them turn out the way they do?
Maybe just maybe, part of the problem lies with you.
If you happen to be like me, I am by no means suggesting that you drain money from men just so they feel less burdened. I’m just saying, don’t rob a man of his need, the ability to provide and take care of you sometimes.
Let him be the man. Is that too much?
If you were going to be your own man in your relationship then why do you need him? Instead of carrying that heavy box yourself just because you can or opening that jar with the tight lid, how about you say: “babe, could you please help me with this?”
And in whatever you do, let God have the pre-eminence. Let’s strike a befitting relationship in our lives.
Author, Doris Tackie