WHAT MEN SHOULD KNOW THE RED THIN LINE
Dr. Jasmine Tenpa is a medical doctor by profession and writes as a freelancer. The article portrays her personal thoughts and observations.
A close male friend of mine asked me to write about knowing when it is time to leave or let go of a girl. I did find it an interesting topic; to recognize when the games have ended, you’ve lost and it’s time to pack up and go home.
However, I am a girl who believes that one should try and understand a relationship before deciding to toss it away. So, while I do plan to write about saying goodbye, I’d first like to talk you about what would make a girl stay. Consider this column a disclaimer to another one coming up in the near future.
A majority of men I talk to, mostly end up confessing they let go of a girl “because she was stubborn” and sometimes they’d add “a spoilt brat!”
Reality check! Most women do like to believe that they are spoilt brats. The fact she can get away with much more than her friends can is something she does feel proud about. Here, I am talking less about the sneaking behind your back and getting away, but more about doing something out of the box and still being accepted part. No matter how cultured, caring and understanding a girl looks, if she has been brought up with love, then she will always be daddy’s little girl or the apple of her mama’s eyes. Just like the adults excused you for creating havoc in your house for being a boy, we girls grew up with our own privileges of getting away with a lot of things, for well eerrm, just being too darn cute! We know that and we’ll find ways to apply that somewhere again in our lives.
However, there is a difference between acting like a spoilt brat and being one. Acting for instance would have a girl kid around with you for a certain time and then she’ll calm down or she would probably apologize when things feel out of hand. If she relishes your miseries and keeps adding salt to your wounds then she probably is a brat and you would do better to read my next column instead.
Now comes the stubborn and work on the relation part. How would you work on a relationship with someone who seems like a stubborn person without hurting your ego? Phew! Just writing that sentence felt so heavy. Men have their egos. Nepali men with our male dominated society and all the one liners you hear while growing up, from “ men don’t cry to men don’t bow down to real men control their women” coerces them to pamper their egos even more. On the other hand, you have the women being brought up with the words, “ Men are dogs. Never trust them. They’ll play with you. They’ll break you hearts.” Is it a surprise that most women are skeptical to trust a man? I mean you guys don’t even deny it. Call a woman a female dog ( see, I’m not even sure I can write that word here) and she’ll scream at you asking for an explanation. Call a man a dog and he’ll just snigger.
So why should a girl trust or love you readily when she has been brought up in a society that tells her not to trust men and where men validate that opinion by never denying it? Most times, a woman in love will be stubborn, perhaps for the same reasons a man is too, to keep her identity intact. While in the beginning two people might be more accommodating to attract each other, a time will come when they will be more rigid and staunch in their personal opinions. The reason, I believe is because while you would be nicer to attract a person, once that initial dating ritual is done, a person would think about self-preservation. “Will he try to change me? Will he uphold my values, my way of thinking, my lifestyle?” Nepali women are brought up with the thinking that you have to comply to your man, do as he says and make his happiness your top priority. Modern society on the other hand promotes a girl to be independent and take care of her first and be responsible for her own happiness. The conflict in ideologies here can create a lot of confusion into a mind of woman trying to find her identity. So, this is why I like to believe half the time a women argues with you, she is either fighting to protect her identity or she is just fighting with her own confusion. It is not about your argument being invalid; it is about understanding her say being equally valid too.
At such times, I think it is best you let the storm pass, keep shut and understand the situation. While you might think a certain topic is trivial, it might feel like an identity threat to her. Instead of just looking at it from your side, try and understand why she is being stubborn. Like egotistical behavior, I’d like to think stubbornness too finds it’s roots somewhere along insecurity and a need for self-assurance. I have seen a lot of girls including myself be afraid to accept or work along with a man we like, because we often confuse co-operation with being submissive. This is where you need to help your girl, where you need to let her know, you are there to partner her journey and not direct her ways. We are frightened of not being able to distinguish where compromises end and sacrifices begin. So, here a girl needs a man who can tell her what works for him, what he thinks works for her and lastly, what would work best for the two.
As Nepali women, in a way, maybe through family or media or history, we are slightly conditioned to be selfless and sacrificing right from the start, so don’t give her a how-she-should-be list when she is just getting to know you. Try and understand and help her face her fears. If you are a new age man, don’t just say it, live it. If you aren’t then there is nothing wrong with that, but find a girl better suited for you, don’t pursue somebody you like to judge and then try to change her into something you want. Practise meeting her halfway, apologizing when it is due, and saying “I love you” a little more than necessary and she will melt. Her fears of the thin red line will subside and quickly, a foundation of trust will be built, right on that line, well actually beside it, a little more towards the compromise part, because love isn’t just about the guy or the girl, it is about what the two of you make together.