STANDARDS & HIGH VALUE WOMEN: I’ve Been Called “Too Much” by men, and this is Why I’m Absolutely OK with that.| March 14, 2023
By Liliana Ruiz-Healy
We’re at a time when women are becoming more empowered and independent. Where we are breaking stereotypes, and not falling into one single defined image, behavior and set of rules of what it means to be a woman. Women are rising in the workforce and education, as we are more likely to finish a career and start a business, realizing we don’t need a partner to survive or be taken care off, but would like one to share experiences, connectivity and intimacy with. On the other hand, men, specifically in their late 30’s and early 40’s are facing the highest rates of singleness and loneliness, because they have stopped rising, are stuck in the old ways of thinking (avoidant, dismissive, emotionally immature, male sensitivity), and their health is fast declining more than ever (cardiovascular disease amongst men in their 30’s is higher than ever).
I write this as an almost 38 year old woman whose put a serious amount of my worth and value over having a partner since I can remember. I’ve been in a series of relationships and/or situationships for soooo long, allowing a boy distract me and have my attention since I was 6 years old. I can remember the rush and feelings my first ever crush made me feel and it’s been non stop since then. I’m exhausted, to say the least.
This makes me feel so ridiculous since I am a very independent, curious, driven, intelligent, adventurous, loving capable human, but when it comes to men I am the complete opposite. My emotional intelligence towards intimacy got stuck in a very old patriarchal way of thinking. For a good amount of years I’ve been letting the men I date take control over every decision: when to hang out, where to go, when to talk, when to have sex, what to wear, what to say, etc… And look, I’m not saying it’s their fault that I abandon or give less importance to my things. This is entirely on me. It’s my lack of feeling rooted and grounded in myself, abandonment issues, and other childhood wounds I am now much more aware of, and the terrible societal pressures we as women face -at least my generation and previous- that we NEED a man. When I was 15 I used to listen how 26 year old women were too old for marriage or kids, and even then it didn’t make sense to me, but this is how I grew up. Imagine the amount of deconstruction labor its taken.
Today I am much, much, much better at speaking up, finding balance, fairness and setting boundaries towards men. Which has actually made dating a lot more difficult. And this is where I’ve come to learn about male fragility, understanding why these men are more single than ever, and why many women my are struggling to find a high value man: we don’t want to lower our standards. We get called high maintenance. Over dramatic. “Too much”. I’ve felt bad about it, because who wants to be that annoying woman who complains about everything or needs to be treated like a princess?
Through my years of dating and just growing as an individual, I have learned to feel relaxed in my own skin, not worrying about who I know, what I wear, what I own, etc… It’s all about simplicity. But when it comes to dating, we have taken it way too far. Somehow, low maintenance went from being relaxed and unconcerned about hair to “low drama.” And somehow “low drama” got translated to “emotionless.” And having standards gets confused with having “expectations”. It’s a mess.
We can’t all be low maintenance. While I am not high, nor low maintenance, I do have standards. We all should. And when you want to communicate to create clear boundaries, expectations, and respect your personal standards… you are being “dramatic”, “too much”….
If a man does something wrong, the low maintenance woman will let it slide. The high maintenance one will start a fight, throw a tantrum or not answer calls for a week. I like to think there is a level in the middle. We’ll call them out when something’s wrong, but are fair about it.
I’m not worried about perfection. I like the idea of low maintenance in terms of effort, not in terms of emotion. Because I don’t need or want a man stuck to me 24/7, I’m just not trying to be emotionless. I may be easy going, or chill, but I “just don’t go with it,” if I don’t agree.
I don’t want to be low maintenance because I won’t sacrifice my need to verbalize if something’s bothering me. I would rather go in search of real connection, regular interaction and honesty, than chase down the “not like other girls” label. I’m unwilling to hold something in, but don’t need to cause a scene to prove a point. I won’t get overly dramatic (although I admit, I’ve had my moments), but I will stick up for myself.
I’m not trying to meet people and paint an unrealistic picture of myself. That seems too exhausting to maintain. I am an imperfect work in progress. And I’m honest about it. I’ll reveal, a few dates in, that I am aware of my imperfections and that’s what disqualifies us, the medium maintenance, from the low maintenance category. Because understanding that we’re flawed means occasionally letting those flaws show. We’re comfortable talking about the shit we do and don’t have together. But a flawed girl can’t be low maintenance. And that’s okay, because we wouldn’t want to settle for less than what we are.
I am not difficult to date, but do have standards on how I should be treated. They won’t be egregious, but I’ll make them known. Running late? Please let me know. Wanna date multiple people? Let’s be open about consent, sexual health and boundaries. Apparently for some that has been too much of a complaint from my part.
I’m honest. I’m trying to be my best, but I can’t be all the time. I have low points and am learning I can’t always please people. And while that means I don’t have effortless, low maintenance charm, I can laugh at myself, love genuinely and the qualities that I bring to the table are lasting.
So yes, I’ve been called out. Called out by men that want it easy and simple. Who won’t step up their game. Men who want women molded to their own standards. Men who want women to say “yes” to everything and be quiet when we are hurting. Low key misogynists. They made me feel bad about myself, but I am ok with that now. Because men that can handle women with standards, are actually men that respect us and are worth having around, they’re just really hard to come across with.