More often than not men and women tend to feel like they do not deserve to be treated with courteousness. We have this mind set that chivalry is dead but in all reality it still exists we are just afraid of it. I know I was. I believe thats our problem. We run from what is good because we are so use to the bad. I almost ran away 13 years ago and I am so glad I didn’t.
I don’t know when it happened but as a teen I felt like I needed to be with someone who was tough, maybe it’s my Puerto Rican culture that lead me down that route because for some reason Puerto Rican men like to act tough all the time and I will never understand that. However, that’s what I gravitated too. It could also be because I grew up in Humbolt Park where almost all the guys I knew from the block were rough so that’s what I thought was normal.
I didn’t really date because as I mentioned before, if it wasn’t about school I had no business being apart of it. So having boyfriends was out of the question since I wasn’t able to actually go out to places with them. That didn’t mean I didn’t try to, but it was difficult. They would eventually leave me and go out with someone else because of this. I guess that’s where rejection became normal for me.
So I rebelled, I snuck out, I came home late and I caused my parents a lot of heartache, all because I did not want to be rejected anymore. I was in relationships where I was yelled at and wasn’t allowed to do certain things because the other person didn’t like it. I wasn’t a saint either, I’m a typical Hispanic female with a temper so I yelled back and made scenes. I was treated more like property than a person and honestly back then it made me feel wanted. No one told me any different so I thought that behavior was normal. I thought I had to be on the phone with them 24/7 and I had to report every move I made. Until one day didn’t like feeling like property anymore and I wanted out but out wasn’t an option. I decided to do things to make myself look less attractive so they would leave me. I cut my hair, colored it, changed my clothes etc things that they told me they didn’t like. We do that a lot. We lose ourselves in relationships and adapt to unhealthiness to try to convince ourselves that it’s normal. That’s what love is right?! Love hurts right?! WRONG! Love doesn’t hurt or control you. Love is liberating and makes you feel valued.
I remember at 17 years old waking up in the middle of the night for the first time ever falling to my knees sobbing and asking God for help because I didn’t know how to get out of it. I think at that moment God opened my eyes and my ears. After that I remember someone telling me that maybe I was going through all of this because I was in a place I shouldn’t be in. That person was my husband. Marcus Andrew Treadwell III my knight in shining armor. He rescued me on that day and he doesn’t even remember telling me this. However those words meant the world to me.
Since that day I noticed him more. He was different, he was kind and respectful. Things that I surely did not deserve. He would open doors and walk me to the bus. He was interested in what I had to say and what I was doing. It was overwhelming to me and I was not comfortable with it. I kept saying to myself, “when is he going to switch on me?” Horrible I know but it got worse. I felt like I didn’t deserve this and it wasn’t real so I wasn’t planning on staying with him. In all honestly I was prepared to break if off after we graduated.
Horrible I know!
But I didn’t, I stayed.
We do this, we run when things get good in fear that it will all end. We feel that we are not capable of being treated with respect and being courted. I didn’t and I was ready to run. This generation doesn’t know what chivalry is. It’s not dead, it’s not old school and it’s not a sign of being weak. It’s foreign to us. We settle for unhealthy relationships because that is all we know.
Well Jo how do I know if I’m in an unhealthy relationship?
Great question. Do you feel
These are a few things that are in a healthy relationship. You shouldn’t feel like a prisoner or like if your opinion doesn’t matter. You both shouldn’t be yelling at each other or prohibit each other from doing stuff. You both are partners, you are not each other’s parent. You have value and should be treated with respect. Stop settling for relationships that are not filled with patience and love all because you feel you clock it ticking. Love yourself enough to know how you should be loved.