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Old 09-20-2005, 02:27 PM   #1
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What role does self....

What role does self-confidence/doubt play in getting, maintaining and keeping a relationship? This is an issue I've struggled with for years, even when I think I have it solved it tends to creep in again. A lot of the posts right now lead me back to the same question. How important is having a strong sense of self, in a relationship? Can one be too strong? Do men like strong or dependent women? And finally, what makes a woman strong? I hope my wise friends can give me some new insights into these questions.

 
Old 09-20-2005, 02:54 PM   #2
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Talking Re: What role does self....

Quote:
Originally Posted by evy38
What role does self-confidence/doubt play in getting, maintaining and keeping a relationship? This is an issue I've struggled with for years, even when I think I have it solved it tends to creep in again. A lot of the posts right now lead me back to the same question. How important is having a strong sense of self, in a relationship? Can one be too strong? Do men like strong or dependent women? And finally, what makes a woman strong? I hope my wise friends can give me some new insights into these questions.
I learned the hard way just how important it is to have a really strong sense of self and self esteem before you can have a successful relationship. Many things in my childhood and adolescent experiences left me with rather low self esteem, and very little confidence in my abilities and my own judgment. Over the years I've gotten somewhat stronger, though I still have a good way to go. But my insecurity has caused many problems in many of my relationships, not just romantic, but with working relationships and friendships as well. When you always look to someone else for approval, simply put, it gets tiring for them. You have to first believe you are ok and not always be looking for someone else to give you permission to be ok. If I had had a stronger sense of self, I would never have wasted so much time with my ex boyfriend. I would have ended the relationship probably about 3 months in. Knowing yourself, liking yourself and being confident that you are ok gives you the power not only to give to other people, but to know when it's time to cut your losses and leave.

Whether men like strong or dependent women, first of all, I think there's a differenc between strong and independent. I think you can be very strong, have strong opinions about the world, people, religion, politics, and voice them, but still "depend" on your husband. Many married women don't work in order to raise kids full time, and financially speaking anyway, they are totally dependent on their husbands to pay all the bills, provide medical insurance, fix the car when it breaks down, etc. etc. I don't think any man really is turned on by a woman who is emotionally dependent on him. The whole concept of "I can't live without you" I imagine does turn some men on, but those men are usually overly controlling and possessive.

Can a woman be too strong? Well, I think a woman can be so independent that she forgets how to make room in her life for a man. I think it's possible to be so loud mouthed and so opinionated that it turns most people, men and women, off. But I guess it's a matter of degrees, and a matter of showing respect for others' opinions, no matter how ridiculous or uneducated and unevaluated you may think they are.

What makes a woman strong? Hmmmm.....I'm still working on that myself! But I think a strong woman is one who knows her mind. Really likes who she is, but knows at the same time she doesn't know everything and is capable of mistakes. Can be perfectly content to live alone, but knows how to make others feel warm and welcome in her life. Sorry if that sounds Hallmark card-y, but like I' said, I'm still figuring it all out myself. But hope that helps a little.

 
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Old 09-21-2005, 08:41 AM   #3
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Re: What role does self....

Well Evy, you're one of the wisest friends I have, as is Hiya, and not surprisingly, I think this is a really interesting, important topic and agree with Hiya's insights. In my personal, opinion, having high self-esteem and a healthy level of confidence is absolutely essential in order to have good luck with relationships with partners who treat you with kindness and respect. Not only does a good sense of self-esteem help people find more and longer-lasting partnerships, but it also makes those relationships much more likely to be healthy, equal, enjoyable, and mutually fulfilling. I don't know how much of this is because people with healthy confidence in themselves tend to be happier, more in control, and more successful in all areas of their lives than those who struggle with low self-worth, but it seems to me that this trend holds especially true in matters of love and relationships. I'm not a huge advocate of relationship advice book, but I did really enjoy "Why Men Love (you know whats)," perhaps because it agrees with my beliefs and the way I've always acted, but also because I think it provides a well-needed, rare message for women. So many people and institutions still advocate, whether subtly or blatantly, that women be submissive and adapt themselves to men's needs and desires, and this makes me absolutely sick and does women a huge injustice. The whole concept of the Rules and any other relationship advice that holds out marriage and ensnaring a man as the be all and end all, most lofty and important goal in every woman's life is sexist, repressive, and abhorrent in my mind. Instead, women need to be taught, just as men are taught, to be strong, content, and gratified on their own. Men are not barraged throughout their entire lives with the message that their entire worth depends on how women perceive them, that the most important goal for them to achieve is marriage, and that they are incomplete and unfulfilled beings unless they manage to convince a woman to commit to them. In my opinion, this disparity is a major part of why fewer men than women struggle with a serious lack of confidence and self-esteem. Men are encouraged from birth to be strong, assertive, confident, and bold in determining what they want and striving to achieve it, where women are taught that their worth depends on how others perceive them and that their main purpose in life is to persuade people to like and approve of them...it's not nearly as much about individual fulfillment and satisfaction for women so much as they are encouraged to please and be liked by others. Anyway, that's a tangent, sorry, but I do think that while confidence and self-esteem are intrinsic to happiness in life and particularly in love for both genders, women seem to base more of their self image on how successful their relationships with others are than men generally do. Society is still unfortunately quite sexist and repressive toward women in a variety of ways which are less blatant but in my opinion just as insidious as ever, particularly since misogynistic religious extremists who believe women have little role other than as housekeepers and baby incubators have gained so much influence in American government and in much of the underdeveloped world, particularly in the Middle East and northern Africa.

Anyway, my main point here is that allowing our self-worth to be determined (or heavily influenced) by outsiders that makes so many women vulnerable to low self-esteem and compromised confidence in their own merits, talents, and achievements. As Nini points out, when we allow other people to determine, even in part, our opinions about our intrinsic value, we do ourselves a disservice by making us extremely vulnerable to being hurt by others' judgments. There is something nasty in human nature that seems to hone in on any such vulnerability and exploit it, something that makes a lot of people unable to resist feeling better about themselves by making others feel bad and unworthy. I think this motivation usually stems from a lack of confidence and self-esteem, but nonetheless, it's an extremely destructive and cruel human trait that is unfortunately quite common. People have a way of sensing who is seeking their approval and who they have the greatest power to wound through disapproval, and so the people who most crave and prize others' confirmation of their worth and find the smallest measure of their own esteem within themselves are inevitably targeted by mean, bitter, and spiteful people who hurt others to feel better about themselves. It's sad but true that these are some of the most pervasive and hurtful human motivations, both the desire to be loved and respected by others and the instinct to wound the people who are most vulnerable to being disappointed by outsiders' lack of approval.

I think this trend in human interaction helps explain why those who base their self worth on outsiders' opinions tend to have low self esteem and to be deeply hurt and disappointed by their relationships with others. People can sense that those who lack self-esteem crave external approval and for some reason, we tend to find this vulnerability and yearning to be extremely unattractive. I think this is especially true for men assessing women, because there are few traits men find more unappealing than desperation, neediness, and a clear longing to please others at the expense of someone’s self. Confidence is extremely helpful both in attracting potential mates and in keeping them enamored and connected to someone. Initially, prospective partners can sense when someone has a healthy sense of self-worth and find this appealing both because people who like themselves project an air of nonchalance and attractiveness and because in large part, our opinions of others are shaped by the opinions they project of themselves. For some reason, people tend to adopt whatever attitude about someone that the person themselves holds. People with high self esteem don’t seem needy or longing for others’ approval, and so other people instinctively grasp that those people must be pretty great to be so secure and content within themselves that they aren’t affected by outside perceptions. It’s almost like people inevitably believe whatever hype you subscribe to and project about yourself…if you see yourself as an interesting, attractive person with a lot to offer, the chances are slim that people you meet will feel differently, but if you doubt your worth, few people will have a positive impression of you. “Why Men Love Bitches” (even though the writing is simplistic and the grammar and sentence structure is atrocious) does a great job of showing why “nice” women inevitably seem to finish last and have bad luck with men, both because they have trouble finding relationships in the first place and because the relationships they do find rarely go well and men seem to be constantly hurting them, betraying them, deceiving them, and deserting them for women who weren’t nearly as giving.

But it’s exactly that desire to please and be liked that makes too nice women give and give and give until men get fed up with their vulnerability and lack of self confidence (which makes such women very unlikely to stand their ground, stand up for themselves, and remain a mental challenge for men) and move onto less nice and generous but more confident and self-assured women. Men seem to have a nearly pathological fear and aversion to needy, clingy women, and there is nothing that both genders find less appealing than a partner who NEEDS our approval in order to feel good about themselves and have a strong sense of self worth. The book also makes the crucial point that self esteem depends on not placing importance on what other people think and not letting your self worth be influenced by outside approval or disapproval. People with confidence and high self-esteem don’t live by other people’s standards; they play by their own rules and are unshakably happy and comfortable in their own skin, no matter how hard other people try to dissuade them from liking themselves. Others sense this confidence and find it attractive, because everyone likes to be around people who have an air of freedom, empowerment, and irreverence for what the outside world thinks. The more we want someone to like us and crave their approval, the less appealing they find us, particularly with men, who are notorious for liking women who could live without them and fleeing from women who pursue them and long for their love and devotion. There are few qualities sexier than confidence, dignity, and pride, all of which stem from a strong, inflexible inner sense of self-esteem. Men adopt whatever attitude women possess and project about themselves, so the better the catch you believe you are, the better the catch men will consider you to be. I have more to say about this but I know I’m already rambling and too long-winded as it is, so I’ll try to give this some more thought about be more succinct next time. Again, great topic—thanks for starting this thread, Evy!

 
Old 09-24-2005, 11:47 AM   #4
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Re: What role does self....

Quote:
Originally Posted by evy38
What role does self-confidence/doubt play in getting, maintaining and keeping a relationship? This is an issue I've struggled with for years, even when I think I have it solved it tends to creep in again. A lot of the posts right now lead me back to the same question. How important is having a strong sense of self, in a relationship? Can one be too strong? Do men like strong or dependent women? And finally, what makes a woman strong? I hope my wise friends can give me some new insights into these questions.
I was reading an article on Carlos Santana's wife, Deborah, this morning, and this thread jumped into my head. I realized some things that my ex inadvertantly taught me and some things I've observed. I may be off base on some of them, and I don't necessarily think this is the way things SHOULD be, and maybe I'm just bitter or PMSing, but here are some additional thoughts on strong women and what men like in a "strong" woman.

Take for example the rock and roll wife, like Deborah Santana, Sharon Osbournce, Yoko Ono. All extaordinarily strong women. But one thing sets them apart from the stereotypical example of the "strong woman", corporate CEO executive b$$-busting type. All these women are strong, but they are strong FOR THEIR MEN. Sharon Osbourne doesn't let anyone cross her, she's a pit bull in contract negotiations, but everything she does is for her husband. She manages his career, promotes and organizes his shows, negotiates his contracts. She does this for him, not for herself. Yoko Ono worked while John Lennon was a house husband, but she amassed a fortune, took John's millions and turned them into billions, and she did it for John and Sean, not for herself. The article I read on Deborah Santana said Sony stole millions from Carlos that he was owed, so she studied the music business and worked with attorneys and the record companies and became Carlos' manager and helped him get the deal that led to the Supernatural album that led to all the grammies and a revitalized career for him. These women weren't out working for other people, doing it on their own for their own, they were being strong, no nonsense career women for their husbands and families. I think Sharon Osbourne is every man's dream wife. She stood by Ozzy through drug and alcohol rehab, and cares for him and watches every little detail, but seemingly never makes him feeli stupid or incapable or that she's smarter or stronger than he is. I think men feel very threatened by a "strong" woman who has her own career that has nothing to do with him, but men love it when his woman is strong for him and the family. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard a man talk about what he loves most about his wife/gf and he says "she's a rock." Men are really looking for second mommies, and if mommy always breaks down and cries, then who takes care of things? The secret, though, is being his second mommie without letting him know that's what you're doing. Men hate women who are "neurotic" or who cry or whine or complain or nag all the time. But they also hate women who disagree with them all the time, who take power away from them, who make them feel emasculated, or like he's not "wearing the pants." I met another rock star when he hosted a charity event I attend, and his wife and kids were there, and she was a little firebrand. Tiny little woman with a very powerful personality, and very strong willed, but again, for him and the family. She introduced her son to the head of the fan club and said "this is the woman who helps mommy run the fan club and she does all these things for daddy. Can you say thank you?" A fan came up and asked for a picture and she stood watch and straightened out his shirt before the picture was taken. This same rock star was on a talk show later and he apologized for being late, explaining he had to take his son's science project to school. The interviewer asked him how his wife was and he replied, sounding just a little aggravated, "she's great. She couldn't take the science project, I know that."

The Phyllis Shaffleys and the Dr. James Dobsons of the world tel us that a woman's role in society and life is to assist. Women weren't put here to succeed and achieve on our own. We were put here solely to help and assist husbands and children. As sick to my stomach as this notion still makes me, when I look at the above examples, and why my ex left me, I have to think that maybe they have a point. When I think of why my ex left me and who he ended up marrying, it kind of makes sense. I never understood women who deferred to their men on things like politics and money, but who ran the household with an iron fist and bossed their men around about certain things, but now that my ex is married to that kind of woman, I guess I would have to say that in the context of a relationship, men love strong women as long as she is strong "for him." Women are expected to be strong in running the house, in raising the kids, in supporting her husband in whatever help he needs (in The Glen Miller Story, Glen Miller wanted to be a song writer, but said "well, I can't do this, that or the other without a band, I don't have a band." So his wife went out and hired him a band!) We are expected to stay strong for our children no matter what else is going on. We really aren't allowed to hurt, cry for silly reasons, or really be weak. Sylvia Plath is looked on as quite weak or unstable because she commited suicide when her husband left her, yet no one talks about what a bum he was to cheat on her and abandon her and their kids. My ex took a very strong stand against any woman who would even consider abortion, even in cases of rape, saying abortion was a horrible result of "women's selfishness." Even though for many abortions that take place, there is a man who commited fornication, adultery, rape, incest or some other coersion ("Honey if you loved me you would, or if you don't, I'll find someone who will") or who took advantage of, lied, or in some way abandoned. But that doesn't matter, it's us who have to be strong enough to weather whatever we have to through bring our children into the world and provide for them any way we can. If we don't, society doesn't look very favorably on us. We are expected to sacrifice our very lives to bring our kids in the world. Also, a woman who wants too much of her own success is called Sir or a ba**-buster. A woman who can't be happy and satisfied with what her husband can provide for her, no matter how littel money he makes, is called a gold-digger. We have all sorts of dirty, awful names that we call women who don't "serve" and support their men to some degree. For myself, the mistake I made with my ex was that I had too much ambition for myself and didn't fight hard enough for him. When his roommate bitched at him for the dishes not being done yet, I was going to say I helped make dinner, I made the mess, sorry it isn't clean yet but I'll help clean it up. I had barely opened my mouth when the roommate snapped at me very nastily "I'm not talking to you!" I ended up crying because I was so aggitated at being spoken to so rudely but not feeling free to stand up for myself and snap back. My ex ended up having to comfort me. Now I see his wife would have either made sure the dishes were done right after dinner or would have stood up to the roommate for her man and defused the situation and made it calmer for her man instead of adding more drama.

It is a difficult, fine line we women have to walk and it's a learning process. But I'm rambling now, so I hope this makes sense to someone. It's what life has seemed to have taught me, anyway. Feel free to politely disagree.

Last edited by Hiya; 09-24-2005 at 12:21 PM.

 
Old 09-24-2005, 12:31 PM   #5
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Re: What role does self....

It plays a HUGE part and this goes for both sexes in that regard.

I've got little to no doubt, that it's the single biggest reason why I can't find someone to form a relationship with, or hell even date for that matter,

There's a saying that goes something like this "You can't expect someone to love you, if you don't love yourself first"

I've found out all too well over the years, that there's something to that.

 
Old 09-24-2005, 01:03 PM   #6
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Re: What role does self....

i just wanted to say, I have noticed in the past two years with my bf, i have lost a tremendous amount of self esteem, self confidence, and sense of self image. I have become that needy, weak woman, which i never imagined could happen.

TO: Hiya and Eaglesgirl, i read your posts and they have inspired me. Thankyou so much for sharing your knowledge, and good advice. I have come to value every word you wrote and from now on have decided to embrace the strong woman that i once was, before i met this guy.
-Marieke

 
Old 09-24-2005, 01:23 PM   #7
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Re: What role does self....

Quote:
Originally Posted by MariekeBlaze
i just wanted to say, I have noticed in the past two years with my bf, i have lost a tremendous amount of self esteem, self confidence, and sense of self image. I have become that needy, weak woman, which i never imagined could happen.

TO: Hiya and Eaglesgirl, i read your posts and they have inspired me. Thankyou so much for sharing your knowledge, and good advice. I have come to value every word you wrote and from now on have decided to embrace the strong woman that i once was, before i met this guy.
-Marieke
Good for you, I'm so glad to hear that! I also learned the hard way that real love lifts you up. You feel stronger, more inspired, more confident and more alive because of it. You should NEVER struggle to keep your strength, confidence, and belief in yourself in SPITE of it. If you've noticed this has happened, you're right, get out now while the gettin's good. Good luck to you!

 
Old 09-24-2005, 07:35 PM   #8
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Re: What role does self....

Hiya, I didn't think your respose was bitter, but instead makes good points. I believe men do want women who will "watch their backs" and fight on their side. But I also believe we can fight for ourselves too. Maybe the problem occurs when what we both fight for different, even opposing, things.
So my next question is, Can a strong woman fight for her own place, as well as his, or must the fight be a joint one? What happens if the fight he chooses is not a fight she believes in?

 
Old 09-25-2005, 03:23 AM   #9
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Re: What role does self....

Marieke, I am so happy to hear that you've been helped and inspired by this thread. You are so right that any man who makes you feel worse rather than more confident and secure in yourself is not having a good influence on your life, and I wish you luck in resurrecting the woman you were before your relationship eroded your self-esteem. Please don't hesitate to post here or start your own thread, as I know that many people here would love the opportunity to be able to support and assist you in whatever way we can. Please don't ever think you aren't a wonderful, intelligent, caring woman with a ton of great qualities to offer the world...I'm really sorry to hear that a man made you question yourself, but thrilled to hear that you haven't lost your inner strength and confidence in yourself . You sound like a really resiliant, determined, and positive person, and I have no doubt that you'll be able to bounce back stronger than ever from any obstacles life throws in your path.

I think you're right Evy that Hiya made many great points, though it saddens me to see what a pervasive effect your ex has had on your view of men and relationships, Hiya. You deserved so much better than what he ever gave you and in my opinion, much better than he's even capable of giving any woman. But please remember that your ex doesn't represent all men...he has issues and baggage and hangups that many more secure and well-adjusted men don't suffer from. To some degree your observations about the women you mentioned are obviously on target, but I’m not sure you should extrapolate their stories to reflect how all men are or what all men want in a partner. That seems to be selling a lot of great guys out there short…just as women differ immensely in how healthy our views of relationships are and in what we consider to be an ideal relationship, there is no one description that encompasses all men’s outlooks and ideal relationships. So while what you say may be quite true for some men, I firmly disagree that any of it applies to all men, because I know way too many guys who are better than that. Maybe it’s because I really like and respect men, but I am also quite certain that there are men out there who aren’t threatened by smart and independent women and who are well-adjusted and mature enough not to be seeking another mother. No offense, but male musicians aren’t always the most stable, well-adjusted, healthy men out there, which seems to also be true of your ex...I just really think you are a zillion times too good for him, and it makes me really sad to see you think that a man worth having would leave you for having “too much ambition” of your own and not giving up what you want to be a submissive cheerleader for him. Admirable, confident, and secure men are not threatened by similar women and in fact, all the men worth having admire and desire independent women with their own goals, interests, and pursuits. . Please trust me, Hiya, and don’t give up on finding a good man, because I know for a fact that there are many wonderful guys out there who love strong, ambitious, smart, and talented women like you.

And Hiya, if I may say (and I really hope I'm not overstepping my bounds here), I think you may be reading too much into what happened with your ex and letting that experience negatively influence your view of men as a whole. But your ex is not all men, and in fact, he’s not even anything like a man who would make a loving, supportive, and devoted partner, so please please don’t assume that your experience with him is characteristic of all or even most men out there. From everything you've said, I think what happened with him is a lot less about what you did wrong and almost entirely about how screwed up and insecure he is…it seems to me like he is a self-loathing man who deep down thinks he deserves to be pushed around and treated poorly. A lot of times men with abusive fathers, particularly when their dads also have substance abuse problems, and weak and submissive mothers, can end up choosing women who are at either end of the spectrum as far as assertiveness goes, not women who fall somewhere in between and treat their men with respect while standing up for themselves and preserving their own dignity and autonomy. Such men often can't handle healthy, equal partnerships with women like you who have self-respect and lots of love to give. To be honest, as I see it, you cared for your ex and treated him well, and he couldn't stand that, because he didn't think he deserved it, so he sabotaged it and found a woman who would boss him around and yell at him and keep him subordinated.

As much as it hurts to accept it, and believe me I struggle with that still, I think a lot of the reason why people have trouble letting go of past relationships is because we want to understand it and find some sort of explanation when the real explanation is that the person who left just didn't see us as the right partner for them. I really think you need to forgive yourself and realize that you didn’t screw up your relationship because no matter what you did, it wouldn't have worked out. He just wasn’t a guy who could make you happy, and while you could make him happy, he wouldn’t let you because he doesn’t think he deserves a woman like you. Instead he settled for a harpy who constantly nags him and yells at him and puts him down. If Sharon Osbourne is a dream wife to a man without major issues or mental health problems or low self esteem, it's not because she never shows that she's smarter or stronger than her husband (and actually, I think she does consistently demonstrate that she's much smarter and stronger than her husband, who seems barely able to function and incoherent as a result of all his self-destructive behavior). Anyway, men worthy of quality women are not too insecure and weak to handle a woman who doesn't subvert her own intelligence and strength. I'm so sorry that your primary experience with men was with a man who failed and disappointed you in so many ways, Nini, as you deserve SOOO much better than your ex. There will always be deeply disturbed men who can't handle a confident, intelligent woman who offers them a healthy relationship and instead seek women who they can dominate or who will dominate them, but not all men are this dysfunctional. I just wish you could find a great guy...I refuse to believe this won't happen, as you have way too many admirable and desirable qualities for an amazing guy not to snatch you up someday soon. I truly can't wait for the day when you tell us that you've fallen in love with a wonderful man who will respect you as his equal, who support you in everything you do rather than cut you down and criticize everything about you in order to boost his own very low ego, and who will love you and cherish you unconditionally for the person you are rather than demanding you change in a futile effort to please someone who deep down doesn't want to be pleased because he doesn't think he deserves a happy, healthy relationship.

So in answer to Evy's question, I do not think that a woman has to devote herself entirely to what her man wants (i.e. making a career only out of supporting his career or caring for her home and family) in order to have a successful long term relationship. There are numerous happily married women who haven't subordinated themselves to men and hidden their talents in order not to dent their men's egos, because their men have strong enough self-esteem that his wife's success will make him feel proud rather than like less of a man. And I seriously question how happy a woman could be with no life outside of her husband's needs especially if she is forced to hide her intellect and talent in order not to threaten his fragile ego. I agree that hate-fueled, misogynistic people like that despicable Schafly woman who want women to be chattel rather than citizens sicken me, but I also firmly believe that they are just plain wrong, at least when it comes to well-adjusted men without serious problems who are enlightened and educated about gender equality. I think that people in modern Western society who insist that women aren't equal to (or as smart and competent as) men suffer from very low self-esteem and most likely got their ideas about men, women, love, and sex as a result of past abuse or dysfunction. Well-adjusted, confident people can enjoy lasting, loving, and healthy relationships in which each partner seeks to achieve their own goals, as long as they also support each other and are committed to making the relationship work. I think you’re definitely right, Evy, that when lovers fight competing battles, they’re unlikely to make their relationship last, but I don’t think that a successful partnership requires that both partners work exclusively or even primarily toward the man’s goals. So a woman can definitely fight for her own place, but when one partner doesn’t believe in or support the other’s fight, that presents more of a problem and a more difficult (but not impossible, in my opinion) challenge.

Last edited by stacykgb20; 09-25-2005 at 09:00 AM.

 
Old 09-25-2005, 11:40 AM   #10
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Re: What role does self....

Quote:
What role does self-confidence/doubt play in getting, maintaining and keeping a relationship?
Self confidence plays a HUGE role in getting, maintaining and keeping a relationship.

In order to get someone interested in us, we have to have something to attract them to us, to separate us from the masses. Most people are attracted to those who are self confidence because I think the underlying (and i think subconscious) feeling is that if someone feels they're worthwhile then others will think they're worthwhile. If you project a sense that you're not pretty enough, not smart enough, not slim enough - whatever - others will think you're not EVEN if you ARE!!

Also, you need confidence - the sense that you are a worthwhile human being - to keep a relationship. If you constantly put yourself down or show your mate that you think they're too good for you or that they're wasting their time then they will eventually start to believe it!!

I personally am not 100% secure in my own skin and am very aware of my imperfections, but I NEVER - repeat NEVER - will put myself down, draw attention to my flaws or even suggest that the person I'm dating that they are too good for me. I might not be perfect, but I absoletely KNOW that I have many qualities that a guy would like. Also, you put the other person in a position of power over you if they think you have no self respect.

Quote:
And finally, what makes a woman strong? Can one be too strong? Do men like strong or dependent women?
I think what makes a woman strong is the same thing that makes a man strong - the ability to truely know you're valuable as a human being while at the same having a good sense of others humanity and dignity. This obviously involved treating others with respect and not allowing others to walk over you.

When you say can one be too strong, I think you might be referring to what is incorrectly deemed 'strong' - ie. women who are arrogant, self absorbed or just a plain *****. I don't think this is being 'strong', I think what we sometimes feel is 'strong' or 'assertive' is actually just a weak person overcompensating and having no respect for others. So, in the true sense of the word 'strong', no, you can't be too strong.

I'm not a man so I can't really say what men want, but I think a lot of what men want is what women want, a person who makes them laugh, makes them feel loved, someone who'll be there when they've had a rough day and someone who'll let them feel needed and wanted. I do'nt think anyone wants someone who is totally dependant on them, but having someone need you a little is nice too coz you don't want to feel like you play no great role in their life.


ps I just wanted to add that in relationships and friendships I rarely ask for anything and am more likely to try and help them with stuff, but I sometimes make a point of saying to my b/f or friend, "hey, can you help with something" - it makes them feel needed and you get to reaffirm what a wonderful friend/bf you have.

Last edited by veggie girl; 09-25-2005 at 12:07 PM.

 
Old 09-25-2005, 04:48 PM   #11
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Hiya HB User
Re: What role does self....

Quote:
Originally Posted by evy38
Hiya, I didn't think your respose was bitter, but instead makes good points. I believe men do want women who will "watch their backs" and fight on their side. But I also believe we can fight for ourselves too. Maybe the problem occurs when what we both fight for different, even opposing, things.
So my next question is, Can a strong woman fight for her own place, as well as his, or must the fight be a joint one? What happens if the fight he chooses is not a fight she believes in?
Well, I think that's getting into other issues that go beyond self confidence and strength, and enter the realm of compatability. I wish I could remember their names, but there's a famous couple, their first names are Steve and Mary, I think, and they are both political consultants and he ran Clinton's campaign and she's a die hard republican and ran Bush Sr.'s campaign and could not be on more opposite sides of the poltical spectrum. But somehow they make a marriage work even though they believe different things, work for opposed things, and such.

Another couple also comes to mind, Sara Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. They are both successful actors, and even at this point, Sara may be a little more well known and could be considered more "successful" than Matthew, since she's still sort of riding the SITC thing and he's been doing mostly theatre. So I agree with other posters, that a woman can have her own achievements and successes. I do also think though, that it is a rather rare male ego that can handle a really smart successful woman. Even my friend, who was a FWB for a while, who I thought always had little respect for me, recently admitted to me that he was totally intimidated by me because I was so smart, educated, talented and because of what I do for a living, which totally blew me away, since I basically see myself as an incompetent boob barely surviving in this world!

I think it depends on the couple, on the love they have for each other to begin with, and what the fight is about, and how much respect they can maintain for each other even though they may disagree on a particular issue or whatever. If one is a staunch Christian and the other wants to lobby to keep abortion legal or something like that, then I think they would have a problem. Is there a specific situation or instance that you have in mind that you could fill us in on?

And thanks for the nice words again Stacy. That just seems to be my experience. Not just from my ex but with my father, too. He always was proud of me and always wanted me to get a good education and not depend on any man and whatnot, but my mom was another story. He always liked to be the decision maker, and wasn't happy at all when my mom earned her Master's degree. They're sort of like Marie and Frank Barone of Everybody Loves Raymond, without the laugh track!

Last edited by Hiya; 09-25-2005 at 04:51 PM.

 
Old 06-20-2010, 12:14 PM   #12
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Re: What role does self....

Quote:
Originally Posted by evy38 View Post
What role does self-confidence/doubt play in getting, maintaining and keeping a relationship? This is an issue I've struggled with for years, even when I think I have it solved it tends to creep in again. A lot of the posts right now lead me back to the same question. How important is having a strong sense of self, in a relationship? Can one be too strong? Do men like strong or dependent women? And finally, what makes a woman strong? I hope my wise friends can give me some new insights into these questions.

 
Old 06-20-2010, 12:16 PM   #13
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Re: What role does self....

men like independent women, outgoing and confident. one thing i have a problem with specially now with my selfesteem problem after gaining weight because of my pregnancy. but yeah my boyfriend always tells me he hates that i'm negative about myself

 
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