Altruism is the unselfish concern for the wellbeing of others, and it’s something that we should all aspire to practice. We do volunteer work with an altruistic mind and we give to charities, in theory, for altruistic purposes. True, altruism requires some form of self-sacrifice. However, if that self-sacrifice interferes with your own wellbeing then you should reevaluate. The same is true in relationships, especially if you’re giving way too much. If this is happening, you might need to take a step back.
My sister-friend asked me to go shopping with her, which is something I normally do not like to do. However, she wanted to pick up some things for her boyfriend and wanted me to help her pick them out. As our day went on, I realized that we were running his errands, and I began to get irritated. I was down for helping her buy him a gift or if she just wanted to do something special for her man, but when it became apparent that she was acting as his assistant, and not his girlfriend, I was over it. (We even bought him a razor and toothpaste!) And, she was using her own money. The final straw came when it was time for lunch and she said she couldn’t afford the restaurant I suggested.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that partners in a relationship should support one another. But, this particular sister-friend repeatedly put her boyfriend’s needs before her own. Had this been an isolated incident, I probably wouldn’t have had a problem. Yet, it seemed she is always doing for him. It was rare that she ever mentioned anything he did for her. Plus, they didn’t even live together and weren’t married, which definitely changes things a bit.
To top of it off, this was the same boyfriend that often forgot her birthday, had failed to get her a Christmas gift and “didn’t believe in Valentine’s Day.” To me, he was a bum and she was just doing anything she could to keep him around even if it meant subverting her own needs and wants. Unfortunately, I see this more often than I would like - women who will go to the end of the earth for a man who wouldn’t do the same for them. The men that allow this to go on aren’t boyfriends; they’re users.
Just as much as I fault the men, I also fault the women who are enablers to the situation. So, I gave my sister-friend a piece of my mind after spending my afternoon being her man’s errand boy. Needless to say, she was not receptive to my reaction and we haven’t spoken since. But, I do hope that something I said about this nonsense sunk into her head.
If you find yourself giving more than you receive, you might need to pull back. Don’t allow yourself to be used by a man who refuses to cater to you in return. It won’t lead to anything good. Be strong enough to demand reciprocity in your relationship, and by all means, don’t consistently put his needs before yours.
Wishing you LOVE & CEASLESS JOY!
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Nathan’s book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World is available now.