I was once with a man, who I thought was the love of my life. He wanted me to stop modeling, give up all my male friends, complained about my female friends, chose to sleep rather than see me win a pageant, and wasn’t too pleased whenever I told him no. I still loved him. He was good to me. He laughed at my jokes. He told me I was pretty. He bought me a car. He even helped me move four times…. No questions asked.
My standards for dating at that time were: Good looking, educated, fun, and no cheating. He had those qualities, so I gave him the best of me for a long time. Whenever we broke up (which was often) I would rally up my friends, sisters, and the few male friends I had left to ask for advice. I wanted to know why this relationship was not working. Most of them would tell me the truth: He’s does not respect you. You are too compromising. He doesn’t respect your voice and who you are. You deserve better.
I didn’t listen. I thought if I constantly fought his views and tried to change him he would realize that I was perfect just the way I was and he would love me for ME. For many years my standard was what he offered, but I would try to”adjust” it. I stayed and tried to change him while my spirit grew tired of the fighting and exhausted from the battles. While the good times and the bad times rolled along my spirit was a little weaker after every fight, feeling as if I was not good enough for his undying love. At this time I was on a show, in magazines and being told I was great by everyone but him.
After another major break-up I finally talked to my mother and father and listened to what they had to say. My mother told me DON’T WASTE YOUR PRETTY. My father told me to have some standards for the men in my life. My parents also advised me to listen during the first couple of dates with a man. Listen to what a man says, and he will reveal who he is and what he stands for indirectly and directly. Watch his actions: Does he show up on time? Does he open your door? Does he seem interested in your life and who you are? If what you see and hear does not meet your standards dump him- cold turkey- immediately. They told me a man will only treat me the way I allow him to and the way I treat myself.
After making the last breakup final and looking at my own actions and flaws, I sat down and wrote a list of everything I wanted in a partner. I made a list of standards:
- Must love me for who I am TODAY.
- Respect my voice.
- Love and respect my family and his own family.
- Honest and loyal
- Caring and sees value in others who don’t even see it in themselves
- Want children… and so on…
I folded the paper and tucked it away, but always remembered what my mother said… “DON’T WASTE YOUR PRETTY.” It took getting a little older to realize what she meant. We as young ladies are only young once. We are only HOT for a portion of our young lives. We are only carefree for a short period of time. During my rocky relationship I never realized I could have been having a lot of fun hanging out with my friends instead of arguing. I should have been dancing at parties instead of cry myself to sleep. I was wasting my good looks and the prime of my life with a person who didn’t truly love me and all I had to offer, when I could have met another man who loved me free of conditions.
I never saw myself as a victim in bad relationships. I was a willing participant. I may have even enjoyed the fighting and the making up, but when it became too much for my spirit to handle I left. I decided for myself that I was not going to WASTE MY PRETTY, my good looks on a person who could not see my beauty inside.