(This post: Published Saturday, October 29, 2016)
Outline for this series of posts:
Part 2. Why Some Women Date or Marry Jerks
I don’t intend for this to be a blog about relationship problems or domestic violence, so this is not intended to be a comprehensive post about these subjects.
However, these are topics that arise in some of the reviews I read for ‘Bridesmaids,’ or else from comments in interviews by the actors from the movie, so I wanted to at least cover them in passing.
Some people wonder – usually men, but occasionally women – why do so many women date or stay married to jerks or abusive men?
Some people may wonder:
‘Why do women do things like have crazy, weird sex with a man, especially if it’s not fulfilling sex from the woman’s perspective?’ – and the people who wonder this may achieve the wrong conclusion: ‘hey, it’s because the woman is slutty and just enjoys being some sleazy guy’s blow-up sex toy.’
Women are not machines, so they do not come off assembly lines; they are not identical, so women have different reasons why they date or marry or stay with jerks and abusers – or have crazy, weird, awful sex with some sleaze-oid.
I am about to explain a few of the more common reasons. I will be speaking specifically in terms of American culture.
The most common reasons women date or marry or stay with jerks and abusers are as follows (again, there may be other reasons, these just seem to be the most usual ones):
COMMON REASONS WHY WOMEN DATE OR MARRY OR STAY WITH JERKS AND ABUSERS
- Having low self esteem.
- Having been raised in a family where they were physically, emotionally, sexually and/or verbally abused
- Being codependent
(which encompasses things such as lacking boundaries and being passive)
- Any combination of 1 through 3 above
Women do not want to be abused, exploited, taken advantage of, or neglected by their significant others.
Women who are in abusive relationships are in no way to blame or at fault for being abused, even though their abuser wants them to think they are.
As far as the first item goes – having low self esteem – that can be the result of item 2 on the list (though not necessarily).
That is, a woman who has low self esteem, such as the Annie Walker character in the movie ‘Bridesmaids,’ does not feel worthy to be loved by a decent, kind man who treats her well.
Regarding item 2: Having been abused as a child. Many women who were abused as children do not enjoy being abused, and certainly do not want to be abused by dates, boyfriends, or husbands, but they are so used to being mistreated that it feels familiar to them.
So, if such a woman dates a man who treats them respectfully, it may feel strange and foreign to them – and it may make them feel awkward, unsure, and uncomfortable, so they will break things off with a genuinely kind and sweet man.
These women may have no clue or idea what a normal, healthy dating or marital relationship looks like.
Regarding item 3: Codependent women are passive and are too afraid to stand up for themselves. They are highly conflict avoidant.
Many abusive or selfish people find codependents attractive because they are “easy targets.” It’s much easier to abuse or take advantage of a codependent, than it is a person with normal boundaries and assertiveness.
Other contributing factors involving codependency:
Codependents are usually also extremely afraid of being all alone – they find the idea of living alone to be a bit more scary than living with a mean or horrible husband or boyfriend (but again this does not mean they “want” to be abused or taken advantage of, or that they deserve to be abused).
Codependents therefore tolerate a lot more abuse and mistreatment in a relationship than a non-codependent woman ever would.
A lot of girls and women have the idea that if they want to get a boyfriend and/or be loved by a man – that in order to receive true love and commitment – that they must “put out” sexually, even if that means participating in sex acts they find physically painful, unfulfilling, or humiliating.
In the case of marriages where domestic violence is present, things get a little more complicated. The reason a woman may stay with an abusive man can get into other areas.
For example, if a woman is a devout Christian, she may attend a church that unfortunately teaches her that divorce is always a sin, that it is always wrong, even in a marriage where she is on the receiving end of abuse.
In some abusive marriages, the husband isolates the wife.
The abusive husband may keep his wife from friends and family and won’t permit her to hold a job, so that she remains financially dependent on him – that even if the abused wife wants to leave the husband, she cannot, she is unable to do so, because she does not have the funds to leave, and no friends to stay with.
Those are just a few of the reasons why a lot of women end up dating or marrying or staying with men who mistreat them.
I am not aware of any woman who enjoys being abused, taken for granted, or exploited sexually or exploited financially – and certainly not in the hopes of achieving true, lasting, committed love from a man.