WARNING: These are HANDBOOK POSTS -- WRITTEN A LONG TIME AGO by some great women with great thoughts and deemed as handbook worthy by FDS mods for a reason. If you feel triggered or disagree with something -- THE SMART THING TO DO IS TO MOVE ON. Agree to disagree and go on your merry way. Stop trying to start bullsh*t in the comment section because I have no patience to deal with you.
Originally posted in FDS subreddit. All rights reserved to the original writer.
The Difference Between Building and Supporting.
Hello wonderful women,
I have seen quite a few posts here lately about "Roberta the Builder"/"Bob the Builder Bitch" and "does x behaviour mean I am a Roberta the Builder??" In general, we talk a lot about not building a man, not taking a man on as a "project", not accepting a man who is a work-in-progress. Of course, this is all good advice, but I understand that it engenders some confusion: obviously, in a relationship, you're going to support each other. So, where is the line? And are there any exceptions?
1) You support a man you have a relationship with.
A named, formal, committed relationship (preferably an engagement or marriage). Some of you are thinking "but I support my female friends!! why wouldn't I support a man I'm dating in the same way??" Firstly, your female friends are (hopefully) supporting you back. It’s give and take: they help you move, you watch their cat, they cheer you up when you're down, you encourage them to be their best selves. I concede that there might be a few unicorns out there (men who are genuinely your friends, who wish only the best for you, and who support you just as much as you support them) but they are FEW AND FAR BETWEEN.
2) If you’re giving a man more support than he gives you, you’re a builder.
Whether it’s because he can’t provide you the same level of support (because he’s emotionally, financially, or otherwise incapable) or because he chooses not to (because he’s selfish), if you are consistently giving more than he does, you’re building him. It can be so easy to justify this: “He’s busy with work! He’s had a cold! His brother’s hamster just passed away, so no wonder he hasn’t been emotionally available!” Let’s be honest: most of us know deep down that we are doing much more for these men than they will ever do for us. If you have ever brought soup to a dude you are fucking who can’t even wash his towels for you, you’re a builder.
3) If you’re giving a man more support than you give yourself, or supporting him to your own detriment, you’re a builder.
When you compromise on your choice of college/dream job/healthy lifestyle in order to “be with” a man who has made no formal commitment to you, you are building him. If you’ve ever cleaned a man’s house when he’s had a terrible week at work, when you are also exhausted from your own terrible week at work, you’re a builder. Ever spent more time working on a man’s resume than you do on your own? Paid for a bus pass to go see him because his car broke down, when your own finances are feeling tight? You get the idea.
So what does healthy support look like?
You encourage him to go to the gym when he’s feeling lazy and he does the same for you. When he’s had a bad week at work you pick up one household chore that he usually does; when you’ve had a bad week he offers to take you out, watch the kids while you see your friends, offers you a massage and brings home your favourite snacks. He doesn’t deplete you.
(Saynad's comment: REMEMBER -- he has to care for you first BEFORE you reciprocate his efforts. Do not be the one who gives first and give all -- that will end up with you and only you giving it all)
Just to be clear, being a natural helper does not make you a bad person!
It is wonderful and admirable that you want to support and lift up people you care about, but stop wasting that precious energy on dudes who text “WYD” after ghosting you for three days. They. Don’t. Deserve. You. Period. Full stop.
Trust me, I’ve been there: I’ve done so much for live-in boyfriends who couldn’t be bothered to go back to school, apply for a promotion, fold their own laundry or empty a dishwasher. You know what it got me? Wasted time, wasted money and heart break.
Finally, a note for young women (who are still in school, for example): firstly, if you are under 22, dating another person under 22, you should be focusing on yourself primarily.
I won’t say don’t date at that age, but your main goal isn’t to be in a committed relationship: it’s to learn about yourself, explore your passions, work hard in school, start your career, etc. Boys should be at the very bottom of your priority list. Most of you won’t marry your high school sweetheart or your college boyfriend, so stop treating him like your husband unless he’s doing everything in his power to become your husband (and even then, make sure he’s someone you’d actually want for a husband!)
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