Submitted by Delaine
Recently I wrote an article about how the phrase ,”I need a man who challenges me’, carried some negative imagery and feelings around it for me. It reminded me of my younger-day yearnings for Bad Boys (who did me no good) and - as a few girlfriends pointed out - it had a tone of unsettledness and ‘relationship management’ around it.
Soon after writing it, I had a conversation on the subject with my handsome Good Man, the young widower that I’ve become close e-friends with, who has also restored my faith in men. And his response to my ponderings were : “You don’t want a man who challenges you, Delaine. You want a man who will EARN you.”
At first, my eyebrows raised – EARN me? Hmmm. I hadn’t heard it put like that before. He then explained: “I met Joanne (his late wife who died last year at age 36 from cancer) when I was a junior in college and she was a senior. At the time, I really needed to earn some money, so when I heard the art department was paying well for nude models, I signed up. And it was while I was up there, with all my ‘assets’ hanging out for all to see, that in walked the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen…
“Problem was, she wanted nothing to do with me and I mean NOTHING,” he continued. “I had a terrible reputation as a womanizer and I deserved it. No matter how I tried to talk to her, she rebuffed me; she knew all too well of my sexual tirades. But something inside of me knew that she was The One - a voice kept whispering to me, “EARN her.” I knew I needed to become a better person, to change my selfish immature ways, and rise into the man I knew I could be. So I took to placing myself in her path wherever she went so we’d bump into each other. I worked hard to prove myself to her, to show her I was worth her time and attention, and to be her friend. Finally, after months of chasing her, I finally got her to go on a date with me. And yes, in the end, I was luckily enough to then have her as my wife…
“You need someone who will EARN you too Delaine,” he said. “A man who KNOWS you are the best thing that ever came into his life; that you deserve to be honored and cherished and loved like I loved Joanne. No…you don’t need a challenge – you need a man to earn you.”
Now you may think that my Good Man’s story of ‘earning’ his true love is too romantic to happen to the rest of us. Moreover, the expression “earn me” may be rubbing you the wrong way - maybe it makes you think of money. Or maybe you think it puts the woman up on a pedestal, excuses her from earning HIM, and over all, denotes a power imbalance from the start.
But I look at this way: money isn’t the only thing we ‘earn’ – we do the same with respect, trust, friendship; you know, all the stuff that’s important to us. Why can’t love be in there too?
Secondly, speaking as a woman with a history of loving emotionally abusive and unavailable men, part of my healing and personal growth post-divorce has involved attaching a higher price to my self-worth; I’m done with ‘settling’ and being Ms Doormat. The idea of being ‘earned’ by a man reminds me that I’m a prize that’s worth digging for.
And as for me potentially not doing work to ‘earn’ him, well that’s just silly to me. I know how I love – madly, generously, and faithfully. The real question is, Can he love me back in the same ways?
“I want a man who will earn me.” I think it’s romantic, sweet, empowering, and loaded with exciting possibilities. What do you think?
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