An Open Letter to Women Who Settle for Men Who Don't Deserve Them

couple holding handsTo the women who think good is great,

Confession time. You've been treated badly by some guy you used to think was an absolute dreamboat, a perfect 10 -- a Gosling, if you will. And you let it happen. Are we right?

And it's because of this jerk that you think just okay relationships are the norm. It's because of inconsiderate guys like him -- who thought it was OK to make you feel like text messaging was the only acceptable form of communication and "forgetting" about the dinner plans you've had for two weeks because he was "stressed" was permissible -- that you feel like you don't deserve the best.

The good news? You're not alone. There are a bazillion single women who wonder about the same thing you wonder about every damn day: "Am I asking for too much?"

Spoiler alert: No. You deserve it, the "too much." The catch? You just need to stop settling for less than what you really want.

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When you first started dating, I'm sure he -- the man who made you wonder if you just had too many expectations -- gave you butterflies. I'm sure that first kiss with the light breeze on your back after three glasses of Sauvignon blanc outside a dimly lit bar made you giddy. You told your friends about him. You dated casually for a few months, no pressure, trying new things. And then suddenly things fell off. Suddenly he started acting differently. He stopped telling you what he was up to. He stopped complimenting you. He stopped asking you to go to dinner. Your flower vase went empty for two months straight. You wondered what it was that you did wrong to get to this point. 

I don't know a woman who hasn't been through that turning point relationship. The one where things were OK but not a fairy tale. Mine, well, it left me unable to sleep. Hours, I would lie in bed wondering what it was that I did wrong when things got iffy. How did I get myself here? What have I done that makes him not want to be that perfect man for me?

It was the day after one of those sleepless nights when I walked by a couple sitting together on a bench in Brooklyn. In front of them was a red square blanket with frayed ends. On top, a bouquet of three lilacs wrapped in twine, two half-full glasses of red wine, and some leftover crumbs of what looked like cheese and Triscuits. I could hear Macy Gray playing in the background. As soon as I got over the notion that yes, people still listen to Macy Gray, I focused on the man. Scruffy beard. Salt-and-pepper hair. I saw the way he looked at her. I saw his eyes smiling.

In that moment, something clicked. I realized that when a man truly, truly wants to be with me, he'll look at me that same way. He'll make that same picnic. Well, minus the Macy. That was the night my sleepless nights ended. That was when I realized that I wasn't wrong for wanting more. More exists, and more is what I -- we -- deserve.  

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Plain and simple: Good just isn't good enough. A man who truly wants to be with you will give you all those things you deserve because he wants to. Because it's second nature. Because the way he cares for you makes him want to provide for you in a way perhaps no man has ever been able to before. It may not always be convenient. It may not always be easy. But then again, love isn't about ease all the time. It's bigger than that.

You deserve the picnic. The happiness. Flowers every once in a while just because it's been a few weeks since the last time the square vase Mom gave you for Christmas has been used. A man who texts you two days in a row to let you know he woke up thinking about you. A partner who tells you that you look beautiful whether you've spent 5 or 45 minutes getting ready before rushing out the door. A man who tells you he misses you after less than 24 hours apart. A man who loves you for everything you have to offer, flaws and all.  

You'll get this when you believe that you're worth it. You'll get this when you stop settling for good, stop justifying poor excuses and half-assed compliments, and are ready to open up your heart to great. Start believing that you have everything to offer. It is then that just good will become a thing of the past.  

Emily

Have you been in a relationship where you were settling for less than you deserved?


Image via bortescristian/Flickr

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