In our time we are finally moving beyond it being a good thing that a woman stands by her man when he demonstrates crappy behavior like lying, cheating, and abusing. That is because in some countries women finally have the power, courage, and financial freedom to insist they be treated better. Even as early as the 1970’s women didn’t have this choice, since many women who divorced were not entitled to property or custody of their children in many states in the United States if they tried to get out of
a bad relationship.
Because of the lack of choice many women were forced to stay in relationships where men acted in selfish and entitled ways thinking they had the right to put women through hell. Of course “a good woman” would allow such abuse, suck it up, bear
it in a somber manner, and get rewarded by fellow men and women for putting up with all this crappy behavior, as if there were some spiritual merit in doing so.
Well, we don’t live in the 1970’s anymore. Even though the majority of women around the world don’t have choices (sexual slavery is rampant everywhere and is a more serious problem than the illegal drug and weapons trades combined), more and more women have a choice. In other words, they are free to get out away from such horrible treatment. They just don’t have to tolerate it
anymore. (Maybe that is why the majority of divorces are initiated by women even if they know they may fall into poverty in doing so. Yes, it really is that awful in most marriages in the United States and beyond. What a tragic thing to consider that women would rather be alone and broke than put up with men’s crap anymore).
Ok, ok. Women can cheat and be crappy too. I have male clients who have suffered at the hands of some pretty awful women. So let me set the record straight, I don’t condone crappy behavior in men or women, be they straight, gay, or inbetween. It’s just right now I am focusing on women. Maybe the article for men will come later. Back to my conversation about women and those who are with crappy men.
The point is in our time women have a choice. They don’t have to stay in horrible relationships anymore. So, why do they stay then? Why don’t they get out?
For starters the number one reason women don’t get out is fear. Another reason is that they are codependent. They are also likely to have low self-esteem and are most likely being abused by their partners. (I mean anyone who is lying and cheating in essence is also abusing. After all abusers believe they are entitled to abuse, and that means they feel they are entitled to lie and cheat).
They may also be tied to their partner financially, have children they worry about, and have so little sense of themselves that they have long ago given up any sense of their own identities. Instead, they live only for and through their partners, which acutally makes them intensely boring. In fact, by allowing the cheating, lying, and abuse to continue they actually encourage more of it, which makes their partners disrespect and abuse them even more. Tragic!
As a psychotherapist I know it is difficult to rebuild the shattered sense of self these women typically have inside them. Usually, this can’t be done unless these women understand that putting up with lying, cheating, and abuse is not a noble act. It is a cowardly one. Nor, is it proof that you love your partner. On the contrary, it is evidence that you are mostly afraid of him and that you have little to no love for yourself.
So, the answer to should a woman stay in these kind of relationships in our modern day society is HELL NO! JUST GO!
Unless….. and this is a big unless…. so be cautious here…. the man you are with agrees to go into at least a two year program where he will completely change his behaviors and learn to become truly loving, honest, caring and an authentic and spiritual human being.
But, wait, wait, Dr. Lisa some of you are saying. What about the polyamory movement where people are allowing multiple partners? Having been exposed to this movement (though I am not polyamorous and have no desire to be), here is my response. Cheating involves LYING! It involves HIDING! It involves SELFISH AND ENTITLED behaviors, where MY NEEDS for
sex, adventure, variety, romance, and having my “cake and eat it too” override my partner’s needs here. There is no “love” or “amore” in this. And, doing it with “poly” people (that means abusing even more people) makes it even a worse case of flat out narcissism. Period.
Unless you are being truly polyamorous (learning to love many people). Then know this, true polyamory (which involves multiple sexual partners) is actually way more complex than monogomy, because it involves open conscious agreements between ALL partners involved. That means they ALL know about each other, they ALL agree to it, they ALL get a say in what is going on. Most truly polyamorous people find it to be a lot more work than monogomy. There can be a lot of growth here, but in my own
experience too many so called polyamorous people are just trying to put a positive spin on cheating, lying, and hiding, and trying to get their partner’s to go along with it, even when in their hearts most partners (especially women) don’t want to. In this case I would call it more polynarcissism myself.
Finally, I want to say it isn’t easy for many women to leave a cheating man, though more and more are. Fear and low self-esteem have a strong hold on too many women. But, I am hopeful. As we break the notion that is someone how good to stand by a lying, cheating, crappy guy we come a step closer to creating truly conscious, loving, honest relationships full of depth and meaning.
Until then, it is up to us women to stand by each other and insist that lying, cheating, and abusive behaviors END!
Love and blessings,
Copyright 2011 by Dr. Lisa Love. All rights reserved.
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