Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Catering [dinner] to a Man

A good friend of mine, C-hella (I'm using her rapper name for anonymity) asked me to dedicate a post to the nutritional sacrifices women make when being in a relationship with a man. I wanted to go into a little more depth and discuss the general nature of women who tend to defer to the man's lifestyle.

Over the past few years, as I transitioned from a fresh-out-of-college single into being in a long-term relationship, I made some observations about myself and my family. For various reasons, it has become apparent to me that the females in my family have issues when it comes to relationships with men. I am no psychiatrist, so I have no idea if these behaviors stem from emotional problems, or if they were learned, or if they are just simply a part of the X chromosome.

My parents divorced when I was 12. It was an amicable split, and they still remain cordial to this day. It was when my mom began seeing her now long-term boyfriend of 17 years that I first noticed how the women in my family treat their men. As my other 3 aunts divorced/became separated from their husbands, I saw a pattern. The women in my family drop everything they are doing and focus on whatever the man needs. Especially when it comes to food and making dinner for them. I believe I mentioned in a previous post that in my family, food = love? Well, yeah, initially that's how the women in my family express their feelings for a new man. However, as I got older and wiser, I noticed that its not just what is for dinner that gets geared for the man, but work schedules, music choices, and activities. At least, it is this way in the beginning. After 17 years my mom is over that phase, but I still see an occasional cave-in on her part.

I know the ladies in my family are on the extreme side of taking care of their men, but I do not think they are entirely alone in what they do. In fact, most of the women I've observed either as friends, family, or acquaintances give up a little of themselves in hopes of getting or keeping the approval of their man (at least in the beginning). I recognized almost immediately that I was suffering from this same fate in the first year of dating my boyfriend, as my regular workout routine became sporadic, we ate out at restaurants a lot, and my overall activity level dropped, as my boyfriend prefers lounging to activities.

I am in no way pinning my current situation on my boyfriend, but rather counting it as one of many little things that add up over time. I am on a journey of health, and becoming conscious of all the little factors that could be contributing to my bad habits is paramount. I would say that in general, it is a bad habit to give up things that are necessary for my well being just because I don't want to be difficult or upset my boyfriend. I know that I need a solid exercise routine. I know that I need to eat less, which really includes eating out less. I know that I prefer to be active and do things rather then sit at home and watch movies.

Over the past 3.5 weeks, I have been doing the things I need to do for me. There has been no change in my relationship. My boyfriend did not run for the door when I told him I was having salad for dinner and he was on his own. I no longer follow him into the kitchen for second helpings. We are still together despite the fact we haven't eaten out at a restaurant in 3 weeks. I decline when he asks if I want something sweet from the store. On Saturday mornings he wakes up early with me and we take our dog to the dog park. I am understanding now that I do not have to do everything he does. I can not, for the sake of my health do everything he does!

I'm sure all the healthy women out there figured this out a LONG time ago! In trying not to be difficult, more then just exercise routines and eating habits suffer. Not being true to yourself allows resentment and anger to build up, and that is not healthy.

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