12 Ways I Gave My Power To Men Without Even Realizing It — I’ll Never Do That Again

Everyone knows that giving away your power in a relationship is a no-no. However, I did it so often with guys that I lost count. It’s funny how I used to think I was strong and had loads of self-love, only to realize that I was acting weak AF around men. Thankfully, by noticing what I was doing, I could stop these 12 dodgy behaviors in their tracks.

  1. Being on call 24-7 I was pretty much like a doctor on call for the guy I was interested in. If he called in the early hours, I’d have a conversation with him even though I was tired. If he was in the neighborhood and wanted to see me at the drop of a hat, I’d say, “Come by in 10 minutes.” I was too available and it meant that men could rule my life and schedule.
  2. Trying to impress them to death I know everyone tries to be liked when dating but I took that too far. When a guy wanted to go bungee jumping or camping, I’d act excited even though I was dreading the experience. The result was that I tried so hard to be the girl they wanted, I totally forgot about being the person I wanted to be and had some pretty lousy experiences. It wasn’t worth it.
  3. Treating them like gold even when I didn’t get the same in return I’d be so nuts about the guy that I’d compliment him all the time, sing his praises, and support him no matter what. That’s great, but there’s a catch. By doing too much of that, I totally ignored the signs when they weren’t treating me like gold but tinfoil instead. I was the nice girl they could walk all over. I gave too much and accepted too little. What crap!
  4. Giving them control of my feelings When a guy I was dating made me feel great, I was over the moon and life was good. When he was a jerk, I’d be in a dark cloud. The result was that the rest of my life suffered, all because I allowed him to control me with his behavior. SMH.
  5. Making them number one It’s good to make one’s partner a priority, but not if him being in the number one spot means I’m knocked down to last place. Screwed up. I was always putting guys ahead of me, focusing on their needs instead of my own. I’ll never do that again because I know my worth. Now, I’m always in the top spot.
  6. Taking their advice I would assume that just because the guy I was with said he loved me that he wanted the best for me. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. I’d be open to their advice and “caring” words a little too much for my own good. I remember once the guy I was in an LTR with said that he thought I should quit my job and take up an office job, and since he seemed to have my best interests at heart, I followed his advice… only to wind up miserable. I’m done with living a life I don’t want just to impress a guy who I actually don’t even want because he’s toxic AF!
  7. Letting them determine my worth If a guy I was really into didn’t return the sentiment, it would really mess with me. I didn’t handle rejection with much grace and it killed my self-confidence. I should’ve known better by saying, “Forget him—I’m better off without him” because it was true. But I always thought that what the guy thought of me mattered more than what I thought of myself. Screwed up!
  8. Analyzing texts to death When my crush texted me, I could literally spend hours picking apart his messages, wondering if he liked me or what he really meant when he said we could go out. Ugh. I doubt he was obsessing about me. If I could have all those hours of analyzing back, I’d do something much more productive with them, like learning to fly a plane or something.
  9. Making the relationship king I always felt that my romantic relationships were the most important things in my life. They were great, but I shouldn’t have made them important to the point of blocking out other things, like my friendships and career goals. That’s such crap! Now, I make myself the most important thing and if a guy can’t take that, he doesn’t deserve a piece of the pie.
  10. Not having boundaries Boundaries are so important! Knowing what I want and what I won’t put up with in a partner is a must, but boundaries are more than that. They’re also about how much of myself I give. I’m not someone’s therapist or emotional junkyard where they can dump all their issues. I used to take on all the BS guys had in their lives, without realizing that in exchange, I was giving them my power, my sanity, and energy.
  11. Feeling special when I had a boyfriend and terrible when I didn’t I used to equate relationships with happiness. I thought that if I had a boyfriend, I’d be completely happy. Without one, I felt like I was missing something. Ugh. The truth is that wanting someone so desperately would cause me to settle for less than I deserved in a partner.
  12. Making excuses for bad behavior When I dated toxic guys, I’d be trying so desperately to make the relationships work even though I knew in my gut they weren’t right for me. I didn’t want to face that harsh reality. So, I’d excuse their behavior. I’d say, “Shame, he’s just being an a-hole because he’s been hurt by so many women” or, “He doesn’t mean to be rude to me—he’s really a good guy deep down.” Nowadays, I don’t make excuses for guys. If their behavior is terrible, I GTFO. I’m more powerful without them.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.