***"Boyfriendize": verb 1. the act of trying to (unconsciously or consciously) force a man into a predetermined role characterized by some level of commitment and/or a romantic relationship
If I'm brutally honest with myself, when I examine my past relationships with men, I realize that they all seem to follow a very specific pattern. I meet a guy, discover that I “like like” him, then consciously and unconsciously try to pressure him into accepting my preconceived notions of how we should interact. I essentially try to “boyfriendize” him. My mind has had trouble grasping the idea that it's possible to “like like” someone and not be “meant” to be together in the romantic sense. Consequently, I end up pushing men away completely because they are unwilling or unable to fulfill my ridiculous expectations. Instead of taking an honest look at the way my behaviors have perpetuated this cycle, I have traditionally projected all responsibility for the way things end up onto them. “They were no good.” They just weren't ready for a relationship.” “They're not meant to be in my life.” It's only recently that I'm beginning to realize that the issue may not necessarily always be the men but the framework I've used to understand and interpret my interactions with them
For reasons that haven't completely been revealed to me, I have held the belief that men are either lovers, friends (only if there's absolutely no type of attraction) or nothing. Obviously, this is a simplified version of a very complex thought pattern but I think you get my point. Even as I write this, I cringe at how pathetic it sounds and can't help but wonder where it came from. Part of me wants to believe it's just the hopeless romantic in me but the part of me that seeks truth, understands that it's linked to something deeper. And in speaking with my girl friends, I know that I'm not alone in this way of thinking. My friends and I have talked a lot about the “gray” areas of life lately; those spaces that don't seem to quite fit our schema of how things should operate in the world. Recently, we've been trying to process the gray area that exists between romantic relationships and platonic friendships.
This post is more exploratory than explanatory but I have to wonder, How and why have we been socialized to believe that such a dichotomy exists? What are the long term effects on our relationships with men? Is being unable to recognize and accept the various shapes, flavors and forms that interactions with men come in effectively locking us out out of some great experiences?