As SAFIs (Strong and Fiercely Independent Women) you are used to holding things down. SAFIs come in all forms, shapes and sizes; you are single mothers, divorcees, widows, domestic abuse survivors, cancer survivors — heck, all types of survivors. You have climbed the corporate ladder, even without a degree; you are taking care of children/family members with special needs, you're taking care of elderly parents, neighbors and church members. You may even have been married to a man that didn't pull his weight and so you had to "man up" and take the lead in providing for your family.
SAFI, you are definitely built "Ford tough" and have continued to press on in spite of the challenges that have been thrown your way. As a result of this resilience, you have also lost patience for anyone – especially the men in your lives that don’t do things the way we think they should. I get it and I get you. But here is what you must realize: he needs a partner and not a parent. You MUST learn how to back down from needing to call all of the shots.
More from YourTango: The 5 Ingredients To Being Fulfilled
Let's say your guy is doing something that you feel he isn't doing correctly because that's not how YOU would do it. How do you handle it? Do you interrupt him and tell him the right way to do it or do you let him be the MAN and, in his own way, take care of you? Even if you did know the right way — at that moment — there is a way that you can share that information with him so that he doesn't feel like he is being scolded like a child. What grown man do you know that is mature enough to handle a woman "taking the lead", or that will stay with a woman who constantly tells him "he's not doing things right" or treats him like a child? Not many, I can assure you.
Your challenge with controlling your tongue as a SAFI is that you have often had to be all things to all people. As a result of that, you are accustomed to being in charge, calling the shots, doing things your way, in your own time and I understand that. However, if you allow the man to BE the man, show you his love without reservation, learn how to provide direction or give your preferences from a place that is comfortable for him and healthy for you both…you will have that man wanting to do more and more for you. Men do not require as much as we may think they do. A little (of the right thing) goes a long way.
He needs to know that what he does for you is appreciated. He needs to be able to show he cares and show his love for you in his own way. He needs to feel supported and cared for by you. It's impossible to for him to feel that way when he is always 'under the microscope.' This is one of the main reasons men cheat — the "side chick" doesn't nag him. She allows him to be him and listens to him complain about how YOU don't appreciate him. Want to get rid of that man that continues to try so hard to prove he cares for you? Keep micromanaging everything he does and I promise you that there is someone else that will appreciate him. When she gets him, he will move mountains for her.
Now that you know what you've been doing wrong, how do you fix it? Frankly, it is going to take a lot of soul-searching, coaching, self/personal development to become the woman who will be able to attract and retain a healthy relationship. If you were to embark upon this journey of "growing through your past pain" so that you can show up healthy and ready for the next man who comes along OR to heal the relationship with the man who you are already with, you can expect plenty of nights when you will cry yourself to sleep as some of you have done in the past.
Your tears, this time, will be from the realization that all men aren't dogs and that it has been YOU that has been standing in the way of your own happiness. But don't worry; you can always make a paradigm shift. If you are willing to do the work necessary to grow through your past pain, the past disappointment, the past heartache to emerge healed, emotionally healthy and ready to identify the spirit of the man who is "perfectly imperfect" for you…you will succeed.
A real man desires a partner, not a parent. While he may be strong enough to date you; understanding why you have such a hard exterior, that doesn't mean that he will continue to stick around taking your verbal punches and jabs while you test whether or not he can "handle you."
No real man will stand for you talking to him or treating him like a child. Learning how to identify this behavior in your relationship history is key to putting an end to it once and for all. Does that mean that you do not get to share what you're thinking and feeling with him? Absolutely not! But it does mean that you need to learn how to communicate from a place of wholeness. You are going to have to identify all of the things that you have convinced yourself to be true about men and then learn how to pick through the conditioned behavior and learn the truth, including better ways to communicate with him.
This is no easy task, as it often points the finger right back at you. You could very well be the reason why your relationships don't work out. It could be your nagging, your talking down to him, your treating him like a child that continues to run any man away that comes into your presence. Is there hope for a SAFI like you? Of course there is. I am a recovering SAFI myself. I too have been that strong woman — the ball-buster, if you will — but it wasn't until I began to learn the energy of men that things began to shift for me and they can shift for you as well.
SAFI, I see you. I understand where that hard exterior comes from and I applaud all of your efforts for being able to hold it down by yourself; for doing all that you have had to do alone — even when you were in a relationship. You must be tired. I know I was. While I wanted a man in my life that could help me carry the load, that could make me feel safe, secure, taken care of, protected and provided for…I didn't know how to open up my heart and allow the right man in. It took years of personal and emotional development for me to get to the point where I could be that woman…and now that I have, every day is a new opportunity to learn how to love him more, show him more and allow a safe space for HIM to be all that he can be and more due to the love and support as his partner. This is the place you want to get to.
Learning different components of relationships, from identifying what you really want, to being able to describe a day in the life of your Purrfectly Authentic Relationship™ will help you in learning how to build the relationship that is "perfectly-imperfect" for you. It's just a matter of making the time to invest in your relationship health.
Anita M. Charlot is a Relationship Architect™, Author, Speaker, Founder, President and CEO of Anita Charlot International, Inc. and Head Relationship Expert of the Relationship Architect Academy, the first online school of its kind dedicated to the Strong and Fiercely Independent Woman (SAFI). Contact Anita at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Facebook.
More from YourTango: Top 5 Internet Dating Strategies You Should Try Now
More relationship expert advice on YourTango:
- Why Men Are More Distant Than Women In Relationships
- Relationship Advice: 5 More Things Your Mom Never Told You
- 9 Warning Signs Of A Toxic Relationship