When I first met my husband Noah ten years ago, if you had met me, you would have thought to yourself, "Now here is a smart woman. She's getting her M.B.A, great job, confident. Here is a woman with tons of self esteem." And you would have been right. That was all true. Which is why what I am about to tell you is even more shocking.
By our third date, Noah was so taken aback by my big reactions towards his small acts of kindness, that he felt compelled to take me by the hands and say to me, "Christine, I don't know what is going to happen between the two of us, but regardless, you have to raise your standards for men. You can't like a man because he is nice to you. He is SUPPOSED to be nice to you!"
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What??? My M.B.A. brain reeled in total confusion as if Noah had just proven to me that the world was actually flat. In all my 30+ years I had never considered the fact that the minimum bar of acceptance was a man who was nice to me. And like a time-stamped Rolodex, my brain reeled back to all the not-so-nice behavior I had endured, experienced, and come to expect.
So yes, it was true, I was a mentally intelligent woman, but I was emotionally retarded. And as I looked around at many of my friends, I noticed a definite trend: beautiful and well-liked women with successful careers who constantly chose men that didn't treat them with the unconditional respect and love they craved and deserved. Which, of course, just like me, made them chase them, want them, and change for them more.
Yes, we all had smarts. What we were missing was self-love.
What we didn't know was:
While we all knew that we could do the job, get the grades and build the career, what we had failed to see was that unconditional love and respect was where our expectation bar for men should be sitting, and that in order to do that, we had to be able to give that same unconditional love and respect to ourselves.
Fortunately for me when I had this epiphany, I was three months into my now ten year journey of self-love, so I really took a step back and asked myself, 'How did I get to the age of 30 before I realized that men were supposed to be nice to me?' and 'What can I do to make sure I never sell myself short again?'
From one smart woman to another, who finally did learn to love herself, here is what I discovered:
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3 reasons why we expect men to not be nice:
1. Bad training. If you were lucky, your mother told you to expect men to be nice to you, or you were out of there. My mother, like most, never made it around to that talk. Not because she had some sick desire for me to suffer, she just didn't know this fact herself. Ignorance and tolerance are like bad family heirlooms passed down generation to generation. The good news is that you have the power to break the cycle whenever you choose.