Last month, I was at a friend’s Halloween party. There was lots of beer and sangria and too many rounds of beer pong – almost everyone was druuuuuuuuuuunk. (Yes, emphasis on being that druuuuuuuuuuuunk.)
Later in the evening, I was standing outside by the firepit in the rain with a good friend having a heart to heart. Well, I was listening as she was opening up. Suddenly, our talk was interrupted by a guy walking outside telling us his girlfriend (and my friend’s ride) had left out of anger at him.
We couldn’t get the full story of what happened, but we figured out he’d given her the finger in front of everyone and was fed up with her and assumed their serious relationship had ended.
We were not expecting that. The girl, K, is a good friend of both of ours, so we called her and eventually she came back to talk to us and try to calm down. The evening for her was ruined and she was upset and embarrassed at the situation and her boyfriend’s behavior.
As my friend and I spoke with K while she waited for her boyfriend to get ready to leave, my friend said in a very well-meaning spirit of female-togetherness, “Look K, sometimes, boys just suck.” K laughed through the sniffles. My friend turned to me and said, “Boys suck, don’t they?”
I was non-committal. I hate statements like that. And then she continued. “They just suck. Sometimes, yeah, my boyfriend doesn’t treat me like I wish he would. They aren’t perfect. You can’t expect them to be nice all of the time. Sometimes they’re just going to treat you like crap. He’s drunk, it happens. You have to think about the WHOLE relationship and whether or not it’s worth it for you. Don’t end things just at looking at tonight.”
And then she turned to me, “Right? All boys will mess up and mistreat you at some point. Right?”
My mind went almost blank. I thought for an awkward moment, and considered all of the men I’ve been in a relationship – or even contemplated a relationship with – and answered truthfully, “No, they don’t. I can’t think of anytime I’ve been mistreated.”
“Not one time?”
“No… not once.”
“Oh, well, then you’ve been REALLY lucky. But seriously, boys just suck.”
WHAT? Am I crazy to think this is NOT normal? Sure, I grew up hearing “Boys suck” or “Boys are mean” or “Men are jerks” as a joke or when some girl got hurt. I can’t ever remember my friends saying that. I’ve said “You deserve better” or “You’re worth more than that” to a friend during heartache. The only times I can recall calling a guy a jerk or asshole is when he truly deserved that honorific.
I don’t think I’m just lucky I’ve not been mistreated by any former beaus. I’m not saying that the men I’ve been with or wanted to be with were perfect angels. However, I can’t recall times when they mistreated in any way or, at the very least, did not treat me with respect.
I’ve not been lucky in these partners; I’ve been very, very selective. I say who I am with in any romantic entanglement, and I don’t put up with bullshit and bad behavior. If the signs are there, you won’t even be up for consideration. Are there a lot of partners out there who are immature and unable to be a decent human being to someone they care about? Without a doubt.
But this is not a problem with men, boys, or males. This is a problem with women.
I can’t believe as women in our 30’s, we’re still saying “boys will be boys” when the guy/man/male we love does something that’s intentionally rude toward us. Why do they get a pass? What makes good, decent, mature behavior so difficult or hard for them, that they get a pass from us just because they’re of the opposite gender?
Why do we give these “boys” a pass? Why put up with the repeat behavior we don’t like, that hurts us, angers us, and causes problems in the relationship? I don’t believe that “boys just suck.” That’s a crappy way to look at the opposite gender.
It strikes me as the equivalent to “all girls are bitches” and not in the way that’s a compliment. I believe there are a lot of men who, because women set the bar so low, have no reason to behave any differently. I am a big believer in self-control, self-awareness, and self-improvement. We all have faults and weaknesses and personal demons. However, none of those excuse your actions and how you treat your partner.
It also doesn’t excuse how you let your partner treat you. Ultimately, this is your choice. You choose who you are with, who you stay with, and what kind of behavior is acceptable or not. If “all boys suck” for you…. maybe its time to rethink your choice in partners.
This whole situation got me thinking on how fortunate I’ve been with my partners/romantic interests in life. In general, I have a very good memory of everyone. For example:
- My first love, my high school sweetheart… we were never technically together and our story has enough teenage drama to make the perfect movie. He was a perfect gentleman – including refusing to tempt me to cross any lines despite the fact we both had plenty of opportunity and desire to do it. He “broke up” with me by kissing me on the forehead and asking to remain my friend – and to let him know when I found “the one.” We’re still friends.
- Another high school friend who liked me for years, but I could never feel that way about him… he offered to be a shoulder to cry on when I needed someone to talk to about a boy I liked.
- A guy I liked from youth group and went to summer camp with… he found out I wanted to go to the end of week bonfire with him, and he asked me to make me happy. I was really touched that he left his friends to take a girl he didn’t “like in that way” because he knew she’d love it.
- The first guy I majorly flirted with in college… he wanted a relationship, but I wasn’t interested. Nothing about his behavior changed before or after I turned him down.
- My ex-husband… yes he’s my ex, but not because he mistreated me. He was always respectful and kind, even when I broke his heart. When I was hospitalized for my gallbladder during his finals week in his second year of law school, he slept in the hospital with me several nights and spent every moment he wasn’t taking finals with me. I was high on pain medications and I’m pretty sure I watched the same movie on my laptop 10 times, but he was there for me during the worst time of the year for me to fall ill.
- My last long-term partner, xFHF, remains one of the kindest, most caring people I’ve ever known. We both fought hard for our relationship to work, but when it ended there was no anger. It’s hard to break up when all you want is for the other person to be happy. I’m so glad he’s remained one of my best friends. He was the first man who was ever vulnerable with me and we had such a positive, healthy relationship as a result.
Choose who your partners well… it’s so worth it!