This morning my friend and fellow author sent me an article which concerned us both. An article written by a woman listing 11 things she needs from a man. I felt as though if there was a tree nearby, the koala of desperation would have latched on and never let go.
What we need from another person is a symptom of what we are not giving to ourselves. If we are self-aware, we recognize the symptoms and treat them with a healthy dose of "check yourself before you wreck yourself."
I now have the skills to check myself, but I used to wreck myself in almost every romantic relationship I had (thanks to an infection I contracted called, codependency). If I don't stay focused and disciplined, I give myself away and I am starving and depleted by the end of the day. My modus operandi was to latch on to the closest relationship I had (my romantic partner) to fulfill what I was lacking, with the expectation he would nourish me back to health.
I've had to learn the heartbreaking way, that no man can stand upright with a woman latched to his side.
The article this morning, inspired me to write my own list, plus one. Here's my list of 12 things I don't need from a man.
1. I don't need your approval.
Do I love to hear you tell me I'm beautiful? Of course. Do I enjoy hearing how happy you are for me? Or how proud you are of my accomplishments? Sure, but if I'm dependent on your validation of me or my actions, I will be living in the wasteland of self-worth. What I need is not your approval, but your support. Even if don't agree with me. Speaking of agreeing with me...
2. I don't need you to agree with me.
I want you to have your own opinions and perspectives. If you don't agree with me, tell me so, and let's talk about it. Let's sit hand in hand or at the table over pita and hummus, or in the car on our drive to the movie we narrowed down as the one we could both tolerate equally, and let's debate, because I need you to challenge me.
3. I don't need you to let me win.
I don't want to win. I don't want to be right, instead I need you to be fair. Allow me to speak openly and I would like you to do the same. Let's listen to one another, and then shake hands over our stalemate.
4. I don't need you to treat me like a princess.
I don't want to be bowed down to. I don't want to be put on a pedestal. I don't want to be showered with gifts. I need for you to love yourself completely because if you do, you will love me the same and we will be equals.
5. I don't need you to save me or protect me.
I am not a wounded bird. I am not a damsel in distress. I do not need you to save me. I don't need you to protect me either. I can fight my own battles and when I'm done, what I need is to come home to your open arms for a hug. I just need you to support me. Period.
6. I don't need you to be polite.
I don't need you to walk on eggshells around me, to sugarcoat reality with pleasantries. My favorite quality about my boyfriend is he tells me the truth. When I'm being an asshole, he tells me so and I still want to make out with him. I need you to be honest, not polite.
7. I don't need you to solve my feelings.
Earlier today, I discussed this list with my friend. When I asked her what she doesn't need from her boyfriend, she exclaimed, "I want to say to him all the time -- have you heard of the goddamn word, 'sounding board'?! Just listen to me. Don't talk, just let me share!"
I don't need you to solve my problems or my feelings or give me a solution to the argument I had with my mother. I just need for you to listen, that's all. Sit there, ears open and just allow me to speak, because what I do need is to feel heard.
8. I don't need you to like everything I do.
I don't need you to go along with everything I want to do or like everything I like. That's boring and besides, I need my space. I want you to have your own interests, so you can teach me something new. Isn't that what relationships are for? To learn from one another? I think so.
9. I don't need you to understand me.
Sometimes, let me be an enigma. Appreciate my mysterious ways and my confusing, disjointed existential dialogue. Look at me with those eyes (the ones that find my quirkiness adorable even though I make no sense at the moment) just as I accept your need to play Grand Theft Auto for four hours, only breaking to pay the Domino's pizza delivery guy and pee. I don't need to understand it;. I just accept it.
10. I don't need your money.
Just what I said. I don't need your money.
11. I don't need you to need me.
I don't want to save you. I don't want to fix you. I don't need you to need me. What I need, is for you to take care of yourself. When you take care of yourself, I want to nurture you. It is my pleasure to cook you dinner, not because you need me to make it for you, but because I want to cook for you.
And here's one for good luck.
12. I don't need you.
I don't need you. I want you. I want you to be a part of my life. I choose you, but I certainly do not need you.
By Rebecca Lammersen
If you liked this, read Rebecca's Man-ifesto on elephant journal.
For more by Rebecca Lammersen, click here.
For more on poetry for the soul, click here.