The “P” Ain’t That Powerful…

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I’ve had many recent conversations with men about who has the controls in relationships. Of course, every man I’ve talked to says that women hold all the power, and [they claim] that power comes from between our legs. But my experiences and observations tell me that is totally untrue. If that’s the case, many of the situations I’ve lived through wouldn’t have ended the way they did. So either it really ain’t that powerful, or I’m maybe not that good…hmmmmm

I once saw a quote on Twitter that summed up my entire view of the power struggle:

“women control sex, men control marriage.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. While women may have some control with their “treasure,” men control the progression of the relationship. If you meet a man, and you are interested in taking it to the next level, nothing happens unless/until he is ready. And often, we sit around waiting and frustrated, hoping for him to finally make that decision. If the “P” was really that powerful, wouldn’t it be able to persuade him to commit?? Men claim that we don’t realize the power it holds, but it’s hard to believe that’s true when we receive conflicting messages on how to use it….

Every woman knows that “what you won’t do, another woman will.” If we use what we have to get what we want, man can/will easily quit because they know they can get what they want from another source. I find it hard to believe that using your “power” can be so effective, especially if he’s had it several times. Apparently, every man gets tired of the same ole thing. So is it really that effective?

Similarly, when Steve Harvey articulated the 90-day rule, I never supported it and heard many men denounce it. No man is putting in 90 days of work to get what they want, right?? So then how is the “P” really that powerful??

Women only have the power during the initial chase. If a man is interested, and must convince a woman to give him a chance, she has the upper-hand. A man must play his cards right, and prove that he is worthy of her time/energy/body. And until she agrees, he never has a chance. But as soon as the woman obliges, the power dynamic immediately shifts. I don’t know how many times I have had a man pursue me, and as soon as I express a reciprocal interest, they play Houdini.

If the man doesn’t disappear, we often find ourselves bending our standards so that they won’t. Any strong, dignified, outspoken women becomes at least somewhat passive when they become interested in a man. We prefer to get phone calls, but we will accept text messages. We’ll pick him up for a date, when we really want him to drive or at least meet us there. We’ll let him “come over and chill” instead of suggesting that we go out, and we’ll accept the “exclusive but not together status” when we’re really ready for the next step. Now maybe this is when we relinquish the power, because we don’t communicate our demands. But, our silence provides the companionship we long for. We’re powerless, but speaking up chances losing him. Now it’s easy say “if he quits, then he’s not right for you anyway.” But as I always say “there’s a fine line between dignity and loneliness.”

Let’s say you get pass all that, and the two of you keep dating. The more serious it gets, the more men control the situation. Black Girls are Easy is one of my favorite sites, and read “Your Wife Is Waiting” or “Black Men Don’t Commit” to see just how men control the progression of the relationship. Women are loyal, and when we love, we love HARD. When we make the choice to give a man our heart, we do so at the highest level. This probably causes us to give over some of that power, sure. But we want to, we just don’t want to believe that the man will take advantage of that. And they often do, whether it’s intentional or not.

I’ve mentioned an on-again-off-again ex-boyfriend in previous posts. After the first time we broke up, he would tell me that he didn’t want to immediately resume a relationship because he wanted us to “take our time.” Now, he was probably gaming me, but while we were sitting in limbo for years, without any real direction, I felt powerless. Yes, I let the situation continue, but the only alternative was to cut it off. Leaving doesn’t make you regain the power, it just restores your dignity. I [ultimately] decided to stop waiting, but now neither of us has the power because it’s over, right? Sounds like a lose/lose to me.

Alternately, I have a friend who was exclusively dating a man for several months. She was ready to make it official, but he had reservations about taking it to the next level. She waited a couple months, hoping he would change his mind, but felt extremely frustrated and in limbo without the definitive titles. Finally she left, telling him that if he wasn’t ready, she had to choose herself. But again, is this really regaining the power??

I have another friend who is dealing with a man that is technically married, but claiming it’s over and he’s leaving. They built a connection years before he was married, and his marital status never affected that energy. He’s committed to one, but in love with another. I’m sure getting a divorce is hard on many levels, but he seems to be dragging his feet. And because so, their relationship is stalled. She’s forced to occupy the mistress role when she truly deserves more. Maybe he’s scared……maybe its complicated. But right now, he’s holding all the power. His slow decisions are controlling the progression of their relationship [or lackthereof].

In all three situations, the men had the power and I don’t see any way the women could get it back. It’s easy to read these stories and think “they should just leave!” But leaving isn’t the same as having the power. And what does leaving do?? No one gets what they want. And we should all be grown enough now to admit that its easier to say that then do it.

Now, maybe the power dynamic changes after you get married. I’ve never been married, so I can’t confirm that. You always hear the saying “happy wife, happy life” so there are implications that women control the relationship once they get the ring. Maybe it’s true. It will sure be nice to experience……

Until then, I’m a single girl in a man’s world. And it sucks.

What do you think?? Do men really have all the power in relationships?

Does it change as the relationship progresses?
Written by Alorie Clark and republished with permission from her blog B.E.A.C.O

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