If women themselves don’t support the idea of the individual woman, then why should men?
Last year I broke up with the first guy I’d ever really, properly, wholly dated. We cared about each other and he was an important part of my life—at least for a while. We had been friends for a long time before we started dating, and so we had many mutual friends. Every single one of these mutual friends seemed to have an opinion about us, and me, and me in relation to him. Both before, during, and after we were together. But especially after.
According to my friends, everything I did was because of him, and after we had broken things off, every time I was angry or upset, it had to be connected to him somehow, in some way. If I didn’t mind our mutual friends hanging out with him, it meant I secretly wanted to get back together with him. If I didn’t want to spend time alone with him, it meant I was heartbroken over my loss. If I still cared about his well-being, it meant I wasn’t over him and was probably crying myself to sleep every night, thinking about him.
Everyone had an opinion and everyone was a lot more interested in expressing that opinion than in asking me how I actually felt.
So how did I feel? Well, I was angry with him for how he had handled things and I had been upset for a while. But after a month of not seeing him and not talking to him, what I missed the most was our friendship.
I was surprised at how quickly I’d gotten over losing the romantic aspect of our relationship, but of course none of my friends believed that. They thought I was either lying or in denial. And they all had loads of advice about how I should deal with my apparent heart-brokenness, because they had all “been there.”
Meet up with him for coffee and see how you feel.
Cut all contact with him! NOW!
Tell him you don’t want to go back to being friends.
Try to repair the friendship.
Ignore his messages; let him roast for a bit.
Get drunk around him and see how you feel.
For god sake, don’t get drunk and sleep with him.
You’re definitely going to end up sleeping with him at some point. It’s unavoidable. That’s just what happens. Just make sure you don’t beat yourself up too much about it afterward.
Everyone had so many expectations about how I should feel and how I should act, and it angered me to no end.
I knew for a fact that he was not receiving the same kind of advice I was; none of our mutual friends were telling him that he wasn’t over me. He wasn’t having well-meaning advice forced down his throat and certainly no one was expecting him to cry himself to sleep every night over the loss of me.
All of these things weren’t happening to him because he’s a guy. And that was what angered me the most; the fact that people were so eager to present me with opinions and advice, not based on who I am as a person, but because I’m a woman.
Everyone was expecting me to be a love-sick little puppy, about to break down any moment. Everyone was treating me as if I had been a delicate, innocent little flower throughout our whole relationship, as if being female had naturally made me more dependent, immature, or naïve than him.
What’s really unfortunate is that the advice mentioned above mostly came from my female friends. I was clearly mistaken, but I always assumed there was an unspoken agreement between modern women to fight the unfortunate idea that all women are desperate, clingy, over-emotional, PMS-ridden wrecks.
I guess not.
I’m not saying you’re not allowed to be a desperate, clingy, over-emotional, PMS-ridden wreck if you want to be. Go ahead. To each her own. The problem in all of this is not how we should define the “typical woman,” but rather the idea that there is such a thing as a “typical woman.”
It is one thing when a man expects me to act like a “typical woman,” but when my female friends support the idea that there is one definition, which applies to all women, then we have a problem.
If women themselves don’t support the idea of the individual woman, then why should men? If women don’t have other women’s backs, then who does?
Of Danish origin, Rose Lohse is currently an MA Creative Writing student in the UK. She is a lover of open-mindedness and internationalism, an encyclopaedia of film and television facts, and absolutely obsessed with good storytelling.