Saturday, July 19, 2008

Do You Know A Ms. "I Gotta Drop Everything Because I Got A Man" Or Are You That Woman Yourself?

I had a late night sista-gurl chat with a close friend last night. She was feeling frustrated because her best friend has recently turned into the invisible woman since she met a new man. Not returning her phone calls, wishy-washy about getting together, skipping out on simple things that they use to do together in the past (going to the gym, shopping, church, sorority meetings, etc....). Just being MIA period. My friend was not begrudging her best buddy being in a relationship, she just couldn't understand why this woman had become so wrapped up in a relationship at the expense of their friendship.

Being that the"I Gotta Drop Everything Because I Got A Man" syndrome is one of my personal pet peeves and sends me into a woman-hating rage, I just listened. My sister-friend was hurting and she didn't need me ranting. She had every right to be upset and disappointed. In my opinion, someone needs to create a warning sticker to put across the ass of women who drop everything when a man comes into their life.

Don't get me wrong. I'm certainly not against a woman having a man. I want everyone to be in love and feel fulfilled in their intimate relationships. What I can't stand is the idea that some women believe that they have to devote every living and breathing second to their new man at the expense of everything else. Men rarely do this, but women do much too often for my tastes.

And what kills me is the woman that does this is usually the woman that was mega-dependent on her girlfriends for company in the first place. Always calling, always needing something, always the first to warn you about getting a HIV test or background check on a man you met, but running off with the first strange man she meets without doing any of what she warned you about.

Adding insult to injury, this kind of woman is the first to disappear with a man without batting an eye, until the man gets gone and then, she's back expecting you to welcome her back like nothing has happened. That's not friendship in my book. My life wasn't on hold while you disappeared with the latest man in your life.

I too had someone recently get in the wind behind a man, but it wasn't the MIA friendship that burned me, but the fact that my time had been wasted and that the person was doing something completely against everything they had previously preached. And more than hating women that drop everything for a man, I really can't stand women who waste my time and talk one way and act another!

Do you know a woman like this? Are you that kind of woman? I would love to hear your opinion on this subject. Just a fair warning, I'm a firm believer that if a woman thinks that it is so important to spend every waking moment in their man's face to keep him, then in my view, that is not a man worth keeping.


Anonymous,  July 19, 2008 at 1:03 PM  

I was that guy once.

My wife was a never-married 30something with sorors and sistafriends galore.

I asked her after we had gotten serious and we had been hanging out all the time why all of a sudden she always seemed to choose me over her friends and she said...

well frankly, I dont really remember what she said.

What I do remember is that she would ride FOR her girls...she just wouldnt ride WITH them.

Its one thing to be there to ride for your girls when your girls need to pack up and move/stranded on the side of the road/all hell breaking loose at workschoolhome

It is quite another when your man wants to take you to see sex in the City (I watched the show...and?) and your girls get mad cause you would rather go with your husband than go with them.

I never had any "boys", so it was easy for me.

I never envied the choices my wife made, especially in the beginning.

tasha212 July 19, 2008 at 1:08 PM  

Professor Tracey,

I feel you. I once had a friend like this. I don't know why women do this. The man should not become the center of of your life. He should be a part, albeit an important, part of your life, as you should be in his. My friend and I grew apart, mainly because I got tired of the foolishnesss.

Rosemary Carstens July 19, 2008 at 2:38 PM  

Don't get me started on this topic! I am sick of women "friends" who disappear once they have a man in their lifes. First of all, it seldom works out so they are back afterward expecting you to listen to them piss and moan about the guy when you'd rather be doing something fun. Second, it SO disrespects your friendship. I have confronted a couple of women friends who have done this and they just think I don't "get it" that it is an unwritten rule than women friends come second when a romance is on the horizon. About ten years ago, I stopped letting that slide. A friend who treats you as a second rate citizen just isn't worth it. Of COURSE, if they have a man in their lives they want to spend romantic, quality time with them. But it doesn't have to mean they cut off those who have been there all along. The other thing I see is women going all "couples only" when they hook up. Where a group of friends could go out and do things before, now you are on the "let's have lunch" list--dinner parties and evening events are couples only.

One relationship I was in with a guy, I used to invite my best girlfriend to go to movies or other things with us. My boyfriend said one night, "Aren't you afraid I'll be interested in her?" Said kind of snidely like maybe he was. I said, "The day I can't trust you to be decent around my friends is the day I stop seeing you. I'm not going to cut off my girlfriends because you can't be trusted!"

Some men expect you to keep all time available for them. But it's a bad way to go--we all need a wide range of social contacts, people who share our interests and who value us as people. It gives us balance in our lives and there is less devastation if a guy bails because you have a life that continues one way or the other, you have YOUR life.

BTW, I have a man friend (not romantic) who does this same thing every time he gets hooked up with a woman. Then when they break up, he's lost and comes back around. I finally told him how that made me feel and with his latest he's making more effort and his girlfriend has become a new friend, too. It's a bit tricky, but, as I told him--have a real life of your own so that a romantic relationship ENHANCES your life but doesn't become the only thing in it.

Well, Tracy, I guess you DID get me started--sorry to go on so long-- Rosemary Carstens -

Anonymous,  July 19, 2008 at 3:20 PM  

I'm with tasha, I had a friend like that who ALWAYS chose a man over me. And then when she was with the girls,
would loudly proclaim that 'men come and go, but she was always down for her girls'! And when I met my husband, she wasn't feeling it. We no longer communicate, not only because of that but I realized she wasn't a true friend. Who needs the negativity? The funny thing is my husband's best friend was like that too. He was quite disappointed when I came on the scene because that meant my hubby was no longer at his beck and call when HE felt like his company.

BLKSeaGoat July 19, 2008 at 3:43 PM  

Well, I too, know a few people who disappear when they get a new man in their life.

In the words of the astute and wise Alexyss Tylor, "Dick will make you slap somebody". It doesn't even have to be good dick, but just dick period. What pisses me off the most about these shady types of folk is the fact that when you call them out for their foolishness, they dismiss you as being "jealous" and then attempt tp lecture you with the "That's why you ain't got no man" speech.

Lemme tell you, some gay men do this shit too! And frequently because dick = love in their minds.

I am not so cynical to believe that love can happen instantly and be everlasting, but does that mean that you discard everyone and everything when you encounter it? Hell NO! There's a saying that my grandmother taugh me that she adapted from an urban proverb: Make new friends, keep the old, the former are bronze and silver, but the latter pure gold.

When my "drop off" was getting his ass kicked and smoking Crystal Meth, I intervened even though I was kicked to the curb and he ignored everything I said about his prince charming. As a result of his actions he is now living with a disease for which theree is no cure.

Even after I warned him he insisted that I was jealous and that I needed a man. I responded by telling him he should seriously consider going to hell. We are associates now. We will never be friends again; we were good friends for nearly 12 years until I'd had enough.

Miriam July 19, 2008 at 4:57 PM  

Well, I'm NOT that type of woman. But I must say I prefer the Abraham and Sarah type of relationship.

She had her tent over here and he had his..over there! They each entertained their friends in their own places. Of course they came together from time to time.

(then again I could just be saying that because its hot here, and I am slightly tired of having to dress so modestly whenever he's home. lol)

wisdomteachesme July 19, 2008 at 6:43 PM  

it's all a point of an unbalanced life.

the people that do stuff like this - and i have known plenty women and men that do this-they put their value, their worth in this new person. in some crooked, unbalanced way this new person is the one they will try and use to validate their lives.

if you look closely you will notice they probably did the same things in the friendships with you. used it to validate themselves - to give them some kind of worth so they feel good about themselves.
it's ALL about how they feel instead of what is right. they have very little integrity and truth living in them.

it's a needy and broken person that treats people--good friends like that.

it does not bother me in the least if my partner goes out with people she knew before we got together. and she is the same with me. it will be 4 years on aug. 28 that we have been in this committment to each other--and i see no need to change what works.

we don't want to be around each other all the time like that. it's something wrong with that.

at times i have wondered if the new person was bullying them - being oppressive and abusive. i do think that was the case in a few instances. with the others, the women just fit the catagory i spoke on above and some of the things the rest of you have said.

and let me tell you this-this lack of confidence and misplaced value lives in women on all education, socio-economic, race, age and belief levels.
it is not subject to happen with just one group.

i have been hurt to find this truth out about a few friends, but honeslty, i'm glad the truth made it to the top as i don't need to be around people that are not going to grow and mature in my life.

God Will prune what does not Bloom!

Kit (Keep It Trill) July 19, 2008 at 7:12 PM  

A lot of people go through a phase where they need an intense relationship to an extreme. They throw themselves into it, fully and totally, and everyone and everything else is put on hold.

It happens so often I think that among straights, it's part of our biological programming of following the unconscious directive to reproduce or become extinct. This is why we see it more often in teens and adults of reproductive age.

Another theory may have to do with years of social programming via inescapable fairy tales, commercials, tv shows, movies and music. It sinks deep into our unconscious, and it goes like this:

Once upon a time...
...and they lived happily every after.

~Kit (Keep It Trill)

Anonymous,  July 19, 2008 at 7:25 PM  

@ wisdomteachesme, you are absolutely right! I had a 'friend' do this to me recently and I only realized this pattern once you pointed it out! She does use a man to validate her and our friendship to validate her when she doesn't have one. She always needs me to agree with her, wants me to plan everything, will commit to whatever cause I commit to. That is so sad!

Though she and Fool #23849 have now broken up and she's back around again, I am keeping her at arm's distance. It hurt me so much when she did that to me and she won't get a chance to do it again! She's family too, which makes her even harder to avoid!

Janet Shan July 19, 2008 at 8:58 PM  

I feel you totally. I had a man like that once, but when I realized that I was being taken for a ride, I got out. I am a very independent person who is goal-oriented and always working on something. I can't stand a dream killer and that was who that man was. He could never see the good in what I was doing. It was all about him. My mom didn't raise me that way. I got married in 1994 to a brother who is on point and never steps in my way of accomplishing my goals because at the end of the day, it benefits both of us. I have two boys and I would never want them to be like the man you described or the one I had a relationship with previously. Nice blog and thanks for the visit!

her mother July 19, 2008 at 9:51 PM  

She can't help herself. It's oxytocin. So, let's cut our sisters a little slack. I am actually working on writing something about this very issue on my own blog are all mothers created equal, but from the angle of how hormones effect the way women bond and care for their children. Pair bonding between men and women is obviously very complicated, as many of you have pointed out, but what you've forgoten, is that to a large extent we can't help ourselves. The oxytocin that's released in a woman's brain after she has sex makes it very difficult for her to do anything but attach herself to that man. Yes, this is nuanced too, but for the sake of argument follow me here.

Now, I realize that there are aspects of this that are social (read: self esteem related) but whatever the case, there's a real biological and chemical aspect of this that has to be understood so that we can support the women in our lives negotiate love. Once we understand this, than and only than, are we equipped to help and support our sister friends navigate love and all the other demands in her life with the love, gentleness, patience, and respect that she will desperately need from us if she's going to be healthy and whole.

I feel like there's so little appreciation for how hormones and the brain influences our behaviors; especially where women are concerned. I want women (and the men who love them) to take care of their (mental) health, but we can't do that without all the information. The fact that there's a stigma about women becoming "too attached" in relationships to the detriment of everything else is yet just another example of how women's health is belittled, misunderstood, and caricutured.

Yes, we want women to live balanced full participating lives, but we won't get there until we stop ridiculing women for doing the very thing that they are built to do; bond.

Instead, let's figure out how women can honor who they are without all the judgment about not being more like men. From where I stand, being more like a man is definitely not the healthier alternative.

Once we do this, I think we'll see women figuring out how to create even more balance in their lives.

her mother July 19, 2008 at 9:58 PM  

Prof Tracey,

I am very passionate about this issue, as you can tell from my previous long comment. I know I must have broked some blog etiquette rule on how long your comment should be. LOL

I really enjoy visiting your blog. Everyone here who commented on this issue makes a lot of sense too, and I appreciate how you all have helped me refine my argument more.

Anonymous,  July 19, 2008 at 10:26 PM  

I'm not that type of woman. My true friends will always be my friends and I'll make time for them. At the same time, I do believe that if I ever marry, that relationship will be the most important. But being the most important relationship doesn't mean abandoning your own life.

Miriam July 20, 2008 at 2:43 AM  

My question though to all is:

Okay, if there is someone like that, that person has a problem. But why must they be categorically rejected?

Why not shake one's head about them, maybe give them rebuke (whatever kind that they will hear) and still accept them as a person with all his/her flaws?

Why such complete rejection?

Rosemary Carstens July 20, 2008 at 9:19 AM  

I just hate that "they can't help it" so-called argument! They CAN help it, we CAN help it. We have reason to go with our hormones and we don't have to let our hormones lead us down unhealthy paths. It's like saying that men who are horn dogs "can't help it" because they are hardwired to do it. I think we see a "they can't help it" excuse way too much in this society. Just because you are a woman does NOT mean you cannot also be a loyal friend. Friends have feelings too. It's a matter of respect, not hormones. Your man/partner can be the centerpiece of your life and you his, but a centerpiece is surrounded by other things, it's not the ONLY THING. Rosemary

Professor Tracey July 20, 2008 at 9:56 AM  

@The Ink -

Thank you for that. I think husbands and wives are more complex and I am more understanding of girlfriends/guy friends getting kicked to the curb. A marriage is a bond that requires daily work.

With that said, I have a hard time understanding that it has to be an "emergency" for your friend to get your attention. It's one thing to stop hanging out and talking to your girls everyday, but acting like they don't exist anymore is a problem.

If your wife, stopped going to sorority meetings and just dumped her girls by the wayside, I would be troubled by that. If she just cut back her interactions to a couple times a month and catching up by phone, then I don't see a problem.

And the door swings both ways, your girls can't get mad if your man plans a date night for SITC. You go boy! LOL!

Professor Tracey July 20, 2008 at 10:08 AM  

@Tasha212 - Hey Girl! Preach!

@Rosemary -

Say it! I agree completely and I really agree with your point that women MUST evolve from this mess. If your "friends" continue to do stuff like this, you need to stop whining and adjust. Dump them and make new friends that actually care about you!

And I completely with you on the "couples only" crap. I have had girlfriends do this with women they didn't like, hated it! You would rather hang with a woman you hate before one your like? WTF? I laugh when they relate the great time their man had with his buddy and the awful time she had with this dude's girlfriend. LOL!

Good for you!

@Shazza -

Friends needs to understand the relationship adjustment as well. I'm just saying don't make folks invisible.

@BSG -

Naughty! Again! LOL! And thank you for pointing out that this is not just a female issue!

Miram -

LOL! I am definitely an Abraham and Sarah type girl.


Thank you for flipping this debate and your honesty. Excellent points!

Professor Tracey July 20, 2008 at 10:18 AM  

@KIT - You maybe right!

@Beautiful Dreamer - I feel for you!

@Janet -

Thanks! Sounds like you have an awesome family!

@Her Mother -

Say it! Say it! Love the analysis! Excellent points. But I ask this, how many times do you "cut a little slack" before you realize that a friendship like this is not healthy for YOU?

And you comment as long as you wish. LOL!

@Lormarie - Well said!

@Miriam -

I'll ask you the same question I asked Her Mother. How many times do you accept this behavior from a friend before you move on. If your flaw is causing me pain, I'm not going to keep stepping on the same sharp tack forever. That's just not smart.

The rejection comes from my time being wasted, my feeling being discounted, the devaluing of my friendship without being upfront about it. I don't have a problem with the choice, but if you dump a friend for a man, don't come back later when the man is gone. You gave up the friend.

Rosemary - Keep telling it!

wisdomteachesme July 20, 2008 at 12:31 PM  

forgiving a person that is in a cycle of doing this action over and over and over is one thing--putting yourself in their path and having it always crashing down around your life is another.

with some people we have to completely cut them off. with others we push back and re-define the boundries of the friendship.
i don't believe that i am to help everyone that crosses my path. i am not purposed to do that.

plus everyone that cries for help does not really want it- (a different topic) but i have to trust in God that if i am led to cut a person loose, then He has another helper for them. and it is not on my plate-not my responsibility anymore.

having a strong discernment
as to what is best by His Will helps to navigate the multitudes that we are around day to day.

and who knows, after they learn and mature more they may come back around once again. and they may not.

Miss Pinky July 21, 2008 at 9:00 AM  

You better PREACH !!!! I detest women like this. I had this sister-"friend" who is just like the woman you described. Always calling me wanting to go here, there and everywhere..UNTIL she got a man and then she was MIA. I eventually had to end the "friendship" because it's tantamount to being used and I don't play that.

A. Spence July 21, 2008 at 9:27 AM  

I am a woman that turned into this. *waits for thrown stones* I realize it and it is a completely unhealthy balance in life. Although, I don't go MIA I don't hang w/my girlfriends that often. But I did declare not to continue this going forward. I'm not happy and my friends are important.

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