Misconstruing Intention in Relationships

15 Aug

by Johan Clarke

A post came across my tumblr dash the other day (yes, I am an avid tumblr person) that made me stop and think for a second. The text said, “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.” I didn’t really understand it at first, mainly because I had no idea how someone “awakens a woman’s love.” Does that mean flirting? Am I not allowed to flirt with women in a harmless, consenual manner?

The reason this took me aback so much was because something like this happened to me when I was in high school. One of my close friends from school developed a crush on me. I in no way intended her to develop this crush. I treated her as a friend and was nice to her in a friendly manner and she misconstrued my intentions. I wanted to be her friend and she wanted more. Once I realized this, I told her that I was not interested in being in a romantic relationship with her. Things got kind of awkward and our friendship kind of fell to the wayside. I found out later that she had blamed me for making me fall in love with her, which made no sense to me. Am I not allowed to be charming and nice? Am I not allowed to be friendly?

I don’t think I’m a coward because I didn’t want to pursue a romantic involvement with my friend. I may have unintentionally awakened this woman’s love or whatever that means, but I don’t understand how that makes me at fault or makes me into a coward. Is there some sort of social obligation that if a woman is attracted to me I must therefore be into her as well? Do I not get a say in this?

I don’t believe in “men’s rights”. People who genuinely believe in the “matriarchy” don’t really understand what oppresion is and are oftentimes sexist and ignorant. I also wouldn’t say this is the female equivalent of the “Nice Guy Syndrome” because that has a completely different context with years of oppresion and patriarchy behind it, but at the same time I think this quote creates an unfair assumption.

I don’t know, maybe there are guys out there who force women into falling in love with them, and in that case that’s a truly terrible thing to do because emotional manipulation is disgusting on all fronts. But to me the idea of a man forcing a woman to fall in love with him sounds ridiculous and enforces gender stereotypes. This quote makes it seem that women are overly emotional and are too prone to fall in love with men. It also assumes that men are loveless, emotionless robots and if they are not attracted to all women, then there is something wrong with them.

To me, this is the part of the patriarchy than negatively affects men. This claims that if a girl falls in love with you, then you must be in love with her as well. If you’re not attracted to this woman, well then there must be something wrong with you and maybe something off with your sexuality. It questions the man’s sexuality and claims a heteronormative idea that men must be really into women at all times or else they may be, God forbid, a homosexual.

Maybe I’m reading too far into it. Maybe there are men out there that are emotionally manipulative and those men are cowards for not owning up to that fact. But it’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay if someone doesn’t like you. Rejection is something to feel sad about. But once you feel angry and blame the other person for rejecting you, regardless of gender, then you create an unfair assumption on the other party that that person has no right to recieve.

5 Responses to “Misconstruing Intention in Relationships”

  1. 2ssimington August 16, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    I pinned a quote from Bob Marley on my Pinterest board. I would not count you as one of those men. Plus your were too young to know what was going on. I am pointing my finger at the ones who are older and the ones who knew what was going on. The ones who lead the women on. They knew. I’ve had crushes(even at my age). I do not blame the men. And I did not want them to know. If you come after me and them dump me and not tell me why, then you are the one I am talking about.

  2. Taka September 5, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    if this is an older quote, awakening a woman’s love would be doing a lot more than just being nice to her. when i read it a second time, it just hit me, whoever wrote or said it might even have been thinking of taking her to bed. a prettier way of talking about having a physical relationship with a woman. and doing that with no intention to love is cowardly, be it a man or a woman who does it. if you’re getting into it without any intention to love, at least be honest about it before starting a relationship of any kind other than friendship.

    • Taka September 5, 2013 at 7:19 am #

      i think i forgot to explain my logic. the crush itself would be a dormant love, the act of awakening it is a sexual act. it’s pretty common for physical love to be spoken of in this way in older texts, part of this funny purity concept that is all to often applied to women. if you think about it in a very old fashioned way, the woman is too innocent to really know what love is, so the first physical encounter with a man awakens her ability to love.

      urgh.. i really don’t like what i just typed, but it doesn’t make the existence of these ideas any less real.

  3. Jenny October 21, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    I don’t see why the quote is so confusing. Men have pretended to love women in order to dupe them into sex since the beginning of the patriarchy (when women’s right to be their own person was stripped). It’s not about unrequited love. It’s about emotional rape. Big difference.

  4. swhit December 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I think you’re reading too far into it. Great insights, but your personal situation I don’t think fit in here. I would say that this quote is referring to a man who is a player and manipulates women into liking or loving him as a sport, and not for the sake of true emotion. I do believe the inverse may happen, as a woman can do the same to a man but Bob Marley I believe said this so I wouldn’t assume necessarily any sexism as it seems to be kind of an excerpt taken from it’s context and he could be referring to something specific.

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