Sunday, November 29, 2015
In being newly single, I’ve been considering new options in dating, and finding an annoyingly gendered tendency in my thoughts.
I’m kind of riddled with mental health issues that make me less than competent at taking care of myself. I tend to procrastinate on everything and avoid doing dishes, get really sad and don’t feel like doing anything, and feel unable to make myself food. In all the relationships I’ve been in this year, I’ve been with boys willing to put up with and take care of me throughout these issues by encouraging me and even making me food or doing my chores with me.
Part of this is due to my mental health, but part of it is a gender-related thing. I feel comfortable showing my weakness to people I’ve been dating for such little time because there’s no expectation for me to be strong and independent. Boys can feel strong by taking care of me, even if they’re not stereotypically masculine tough boys.
Because of this, despite not considering myself straight, I have trouble imagining dating people who don’t have an interest in maintaining a masculine image. If the person I’m with doesn’t care about seeming fragile, I might have to take care of them, which seems overwhelming. I’ve taken care of the people I’ve dated in small ways, like helping them through minor emotional issues, but never in any way that required real consistent effort on my part.
When I imagine being with someone, I know I’m needy, but the only way I can see my neediness being met is by being with someone who identifies as masculine. I don’t put much stock at all in gender roles and this thought pattern confuses and annoys me.
Part of this has been because I have culturally supported expectations of relationships in general as complete problem-solvers, but even as I recognize the unhealthiness of my thinking, especially as it effects the boys I’m with and puts pressure on them to take care of me, I can’t help but feel comforted by the idea that there is someone out there to shoulder my burdens with me without me having to worry about doing the same. Despite myself, I can’t see another girl being able to handle everything I need from a partner, and I can’t see myself being able to do for someone else what my partners have done for me. It’s a very specific way that gender roles have permeated my thinking, and it’s such a personal way that it’s hard to dismantle without completely reevaluating my life and my habits.