The Five Stages of Realising Men Suck
We’ve pretty much all been there: you think you’ve found the one, until well, you're proven wrong. Even if you haven’t experienced the rom-com heartbreak in person, I can guarantee you’ve heard it from your friends. Luckily, us women know our worth. So, there’re things we can do that mean we bounce back even hotter each time. I will preface this by admitting not all men suck – and this is certainly not an all-male slander. I am more-so encouraging the idea we do not need to depend on someone else to feel worthy.
But without further ado, I present the 21st century Bible for women: The Five Stages of Realising Men Suck
1. Denial: Ignoring Red Flags
There are two types of red flags I would like to address here. First, we have ‘icks’ which can in the long run be ignored. Second, however, we have real red flags which should indicate immediately as a sign to call S.O.S and get out early. Need me to provide examples? Close your eyes for a moment and picture these 'ick' scenarios: your *mans* can’t do up his tie, and in a fit of rage spits the dummy. Later, he drops a coin and has to chase it as it rolls down the path. The worst ick perhaps, is when they make an IG account to post gym videos. The actual concept isn’t an ick, but if we don’t follow it the first time they ask, we’re not interested the second, third or fourth.
Real red flags are a whole other story. These include being rude to parents, voluntarily shaving his head, and showing more interest in who you're hanging out with than how you're feeling. Sometimes we can overlook these with the cliché ‘they’ll regret it later’ line. But maybe it’s time to stop pushing these aside. In all honesty, I refuse to waste another day waiting for the ‘I have a free house tonight’ kinda guy to mature into a ‘I’ll pick up your shampoo on the way’ kinda guy. Ladies. If your man (or supposed-to-be-soon man) isn’t tanning your back for you, it’s time to move onto better things.
I can’t speak from great experience in this department, but I’ve played the role of advice-giver for a lot of my friends. And I’ve heard some stories which scream red flag in every language. Some of these seem ridiculous, but keep an eye out for them (and make an exit if they occur):
If your man takes you to a pie shop or take away for a date. If they say they like buying flowers, and never buy you flowers. If they ask you to turn off Snap-Maps so their friends won’t see you together. If they pull the ‘you never give me what I want’ card. If they give forehead kisses and ghost 12 hours later. If they get don’t let you talk to their friends in group situations. If he gets kicked out of a bar. If you have to help him spell.
2. Anger: Breakups That Seem Worse Than They Are
I promise you – no matter how bad it seems – the world will not end along with your relationship. Sure, it sucks, but I guarantee with time you’ll reflect back to this day and wonder what made you think he was worth all that time. It will be an ick for future you. Nevertheless, your feelings are always valid, so don’t stress if you’re feeling the constant urge to rampage anything and everything around you. It’s probably best to let it out sooner rather than later. In saying that, there are legal ways to deal with the anger from a fresh heartbreak. Lost for an idea? I’ve got you.
Option A: Egg his car at midnight OR option B: Create a list of his red flags (that you probably ignored). Option A: Throw rocks at his windows OR option B: leave a trail of his belongings on the lawn (this is technically just giving them back). Option A: Don’t return his ‘stuff’ OR option B: return it soaked in your perfumes and etc (uh it must’ve leaked in my bathroom). Option A: go on a rampage OR option B: channel your rage into a new skill (see below for a hypothetical example from when my sister first tried her skates)
Again, do what you want with these ideas.
3. Bargaining: Gaining That Independence Back
This one is a matter of keeping it simple. At first it might feel like losing a partner means you’ve lost a part of yourself. In reality however, it is the opposite. You no longer have to work your schedule around someone else. You don’t have to check if it’s all good with them. There’s no need to update on where you are. Better still, you won’t have to worry about plans meeting both your expectations: only yours matter now. So, take this new-found freedom in stride, and try something you hadn’t been able to do.
THINGS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE A MAN:
Updating the indoor plant collection
Trying a new cuisine
Learning a new skill that you know you’re probably shit at
Visit a friend or family member you haven’t contacted in ages
Girl’s trip (18+ cocktails included)
Spa day with yourself
4. Depression: Diverting Your Emotions
For this, I’ll make a checklist of things not to check off. That’s right. If you are guilty of any of these things, it’s time to action one of the above anti-man activities ASAP. It is completely okay not to feel great but feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to make you feel better. After all, the longer you dwell on someone who isn’t worth your time and energy, the longer you risk distancing from people who really do care.
- Blame yourself for the breakup
- Ask yourself what you did wrong or why he left
- Convince yourself you were meant for each other
- Text him asking for an explanation after he already gave his reasons
- Call excessively
- Get back with him in the hopes of a second chance
- Isolate from friends or family
- Adopt a ‘poor me’ attitude
- Let it interfere with the things you love
- Stop taking your medications of any sort
- Try and bottle up in the hopes of pushing it away completely
- Completely disregard advice from friends and family
- Create unlikely and potentially illegal plans to steal back items you gave them
Not only are some of these against the law, I can promise you there are people in your networks who are trying to help. They have their best interests at heart and are trying to help you get through what you are feeling. No one is the perfect advice giver, but there is no worse feeling then seeing someone you care about back track on something that caused them so much drama. That includes one-night hook ups (no one supports those, especially when you can do so much better).
At the end of the day, if it was going to work, it would. See it as a good thing, because you now have the opportunity to become a better and stronger person for someone who really matters.
5. Acceptance: Finding A Healthy Relationship
Out of all of this though we may as well look for the positives. By no means am I prompting total (single) female dominance – because sometimes it’s nice to have a partner who’ll down a tub of Ben and Jerry’s with you while sobbing through Disney movies. So how can we be sure if he’s a catch, and just another walking red flag?
First of all, if he was recently the victim of a boy’s night home haircut, I’d keep my eyes open for the time being. I’m not sure about you, but anyone who voluntarily sacrifices their locks for an extra bundy rum had some serious explaining to do.
For the sake of research, the trial-and-error process of finding a real man never stops. And for that reason, we now have a comprehensive A-Z list of what makes a healthy relationship. I can’t force you to follow these guidelines, but the sake of saving your time, I highly recommend.
THE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP ALPHABET:
A: Answers the phone
B: Balance between give and take in the relationship
D: Doesn’t use your weaknesses against you
E: Efficient in getting ready to go out
F: Fake tans the hard-to-reach part of your back
G: Gives you space when you need it
H: Has both short and long-term goals
I: Isn’t already in a relationship
K: Knows your boundaries
L: Leaves time for you
M: Motivates you
N: Nerds out on the simple things
O: Open mind
P: Promotes your healthy habits
Q: Qualifies as an adequate plus one to family events
R: Respects your decisions
S: Spontaneous coffee and croissant dates
T: Takes you shopping
U: Understanding of your health and well-being in difficult times
V: Vents to you
W: Will help dye your hair
X: (E)x is not in the picture
Y: You don’t feel pressured
Z: Zealous about even the smallest of things