Smart about love

Samantha told her cheating lover good bye.Did you ever notice that in Sex and the City, Samantha — the girl who never wanted to get married — ended up with a gorgeous loving guy who wanted to marry her? When she had a love affair with a rich man who cheated, she left him. “I love you,” she said on her way out, “but I love me more.”

Samantha may not have had all the answers, but she was smart about love when she chose herself over a cheater – even if she loved him.
 
Nice girls are often treated badly
Samantha is, of course, a fictional character, as are Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte. But I had reason to think about the show as I recently met two attractive single women who had been treated very badly by men. Both women are lovely to look at and be with. They have it all, just like Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte — the friends who worked so hard to find Mr. Right all those years on our TVs.
 
Women expect too little
I also have to wonder why women get treated this way. These women were in extreme situations, but I also hear all the time about women who put up with bad men who lie, cheat, don’t call, or just aren’t all that nice to them.
 
Darlings, too many women expect too little. Steve Harvey, the popular comedian and radio talk-show host, thinks so too. He has written a dating book called Act Like a Lady and Think like a Man. If the title of this New York Times bestseller offends you, stop reading now, because I probably will offend you too.
 
Mr. Harvey says he wrote his book as an expert on “manhood,” not as an expert on relationships, and as a 52-year-old black male with male friends from all cultures and walks of life. That sounds good to me. I think it is worth noting that he and I agree on many things. I am a white woman from a nice East coast suburb. I have had one marriage; it has lasted almost 30 years.
 
Men will take what they can get
Mr. Harvey’s contentions are simple. Men are simple creatures. They will take what they can get. Women, he argues, have lowered their standards. They accept less than they want really want from men. It is one of the reasons so many women, who wish to be, are not according to Mr. Harvey.
 
“Here’s what’s happened over the years,” he says. “Women’s standards and requirements have lowered. And as men, we know that. We have taken advantage of it. We’ve created terms that we feed to women that allow us to exist as we do. We created the term ‘nagging’. There’s really no such thing as nagging. As soon as a woman starts registering her complaint, we call it nagging. We let you know it will drive us away. We created another term. When you first meet a man, so you don’t ask a lot of personal questions and questions about his business, we created the term gold-digger. Now, why would a woman not be concerned about her financial future — for herself and her children? But we created the term gold-digger, so now, because you don’t want to be known as a gold-digger, you never ask a man anything. You don’t require anything of a man. So many standards have been lowered by women that now a man doesn’t have to climb over a very high bar to get to her. So now you have more men who can get away with more things with more women without any repercussions.”
 
Place a high value on yourself
I couldn’t agree more. Even before I started to date, my father made it crystal clear I should place a high value on myself. He extended this principle to everything that I did: work, socializing, and dating. He never for one minute implied that I should be snooty or think I was better than any one else. That sort of thing doesn’t go down too well in Maine, where my father was born. But, he was very clear that I should act like a lady and expect to be treated like one.
 
It stuck. I am a lady and that means behaving with kindness and courtesy. It also means that I expect any man I meet to treat me in a certain way. It’s also telling that my father, a man whose understanding of the world was shaped in New England as a boy during the depression and then later in the U.S. Navy during WWII, had exactly the same understanding of male behaviour as Steve Harvey. Darlings, some things don’t change.
 
Never let anyone treat you badly
I have made some mistakes, as has everyone. I dated a few wrong numbers, but they never lasted long. I never developed a tolerance for being treated shabbily, never mind badly.
 
Married, for most of my life, to a man who definitely meets Mr. Harvey’s standards: he provides, protects, and professes; I am appalled at what some of my single friends are expected to put up with. And my advice is don’t.
 
Men court the women they love
Steve Harvey contends that when a man really flips for a woman he will: “Profess love; that is he tells everyone you are his lady. He will provide to the best of his ability. Ladies, this means some generosity and wooing. Men in love like to buy things and pay for them. It’s in their DNA. You can be a helpful partner after the ceremony or in a long-term dating deal. If a man doesn’t pay for you in the beginning; you are just friends, a booty call, or he is a cheap-cheap man. He will also protect; do not confuse this with crazy jealous stuff. In its acceptable form, it can mean buying you a better lock, picking you up when it is late, or making scary faces at other guys who check out your butt.”
 
I have friend whose lovely man is in love with her. He bought her two new floors for her house this Christmas.  Are floors a romantic gift? Well maybe not to everyone, but she adored it.
 
Men in love are giving
Different men have different styles, but if a man doesn’t call you – not text you –forget about him. If he is into you, he’ll want to hear your voice. Even men admit the texting alone is a way to keep you at a distance. If man is in love, he does things for you. Some men buy flowers, others may get your car washed for you, but as Steve Harvey says, he will want to protect and provide – and you will see it early on.
 
I have written about Mr. Harvey’s book before because I think women need to get smart about love.
 
Be smart about love
Love makes life sweeter, but don’t think it will change anyone. Your love won’t stop a cheater from cheating or make a “bad boy” good.  Love is valuable, and so are you. Don’t squander your love on someone who doesn’t love you back or love you well. The answer isn’t to become a man-eater like Samantha, but to get smart about love.  
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