Dear Men: This is why I stopped buying you dinner.

I work with successful women who have a difficult time dealing with males. We often spend time discussing the dynamics of earning more than men. We analyze the ways to navigate changing heterosexual relationships. As a female embodiment coach, I’m usually in the middle of the self-care journey. It’s not often that my female clients haven’t completed years of yoga, therapy retreats, reiki, and ayahuasca. These women are living the highest level of human experience. Women who can manage the board room, yet remain at home and nurtured with connection. They are doing the physical work with me, allowing both. I am like my clients. In this article, I’ll share my story.

It does not matter to me ‘on paper’ who pays for dinner or who arranges and spends money on weekends away. I’ve earned more but less than co-workers at different times, but it was always in the same pile in my head. I even persuaded a colleague who was dissatisfied with their job to leave for a year to switch careers. I’ve worked full-time since high school and have worked through three births.

I’m a pro at arranging the best travel experiences for your budget. I hold multiple qualifications and certificates in child development. I invest in my children’s psychological well-being. I am accountable for the development of their perspective on the world. I am interested in their school’s curriculum and culture. I examine them with my eyes each day to observe what they’re feeling. I’ve made sure they have a fantastic childhood. I am a wonderful mom. I am a wonderful mom with a goal.

I’ve taken the time to invest in my health and mental well-being, sexual health and the development of a community. I’m an artist, sexy, and hilarious. I’m determined to live the most enjoyable life possible. If something is brought to my attention and is a cause for concern I address it. If I’m looking for something I pursue it. I’m not doing any of it in the hope of becoming a “yoga barbie’. I’m from the far south and was brought up by a young single mother. My style is thrifty but also shrewd. I love chicken wings and eat them in cutoff size 10 jean shorts. I apologize whenever I do something wrong. I do not force my kids or myself into conventional notions of success. I am not a Tiger Mom. I stay up late on Sundays and often drink a lot of wine on Fridays. I’m a good professional. I manage multiple ventures, however, I have a focus on work that doesn’t cause me to burn out. That’s what I contribute as a partner, alongside my IRA and a three-story home.

If a man can’t play an active leadership role in the relationship, he’s not an ideal match for me for the long haul. I’ve tried to be ‘bad at’ certain aspects to help save relationships that last. I’ve tried “not paying attention’. I’ve tried to delay my family and friends to be able to meet a man at the last minute who was unable to get access to Google Calendar. Google Calendar app. However, the result is always the same the tendency to withdraw from my relationships and my life makes me lose interest. 

After the divorce, I’ve had a few relationships with men who do not want to spend more or plan for more. This has always meant we’ll have an uneasy future. My most generous companion made considerably less than me, and his date ideas were budget-friendly but connected. We cooked our meals at home and he arranged for excursions for us using airline points. He was kind and loved being the one to lead in this way of connecting. He wasn’t scared, and neither did it cause him to be angry that I had more money. Although that wasn’t an ideal long-term fit I’m aware that leadership and generosity aren’t tied to the amount of money. I’ve had individuals who out-earned me by four times, and with one child, and inform me about my share of the hotel bill.

Can a man decide to not plan and spend more, but still take on an active leadership role elsewhere? In the theory of things, it is possible. However, in my experience, I’ve never met anyone more effective in communicating who is more adept at interacting with children, and more aware of the relationship. When it comes to dating, I am conscious of the stories that I tell men about my ex-loves. I’m mindful of how much I grumble about my life and the level of interest I take in their lives. I enjoy holidays and prepare their most loved meals. The birthdays of my children are on my phone.

If a man brings traditional skills to the table, like cutting my grass or repairing the kitchen sink gives me something I do not have. If a man can book an escape for us and I don’t need to think about any other thing, he offers me something. When I trust the man I love to keep his schedule in order and juggle his life to ensure that we have time to spend together, I get something. When a man seems just a little less emotional than me and I can be more tense and more prone to crying in a relationship than I am in other areas of my life, the man gives me something. If my partner earns an extremely solid income, even though it’s not as high as my own, it indicates that I, as an entrepreneur, have more confidence in business. I can make decisions that will bring me joy even though they could affect my financial results -He gives me something. When a man puts an assortment of bulky items in my car and then checks the tire pressure, the man gives me something. If a man invites me out every week to a wonderful dinner at a place that I didn’t need to read reviews about and receives the money for me — he will give me something.

I don’t require a man to lead in all aspects of a relationship. I love taking leadership on an emotional level. I’m not bitter about my strong desire to foster relationships with my family and connect. I love working. I don’t have anyone to help me pay my mortgage. I enjoy decorating the living room. I’m looking for a kind individual. I want a man who respects my time and is respectful of my obligations. I need to feel that I am investing in my spouse and also that he wants to lead in certain aspects of our lives.

Filtering for men who like to eat out and organizing trips with us has been an excellent sign of compatibility for me. I am very conscious of not wanting to get into a conflict once more. I am not a fan of explaining to anyone who isn’t a parent that, between my job and my three children’s schedules I’m waiting until the very last minute to ‘hang out’. When I begin to bump men’s schedules several every week, purchasing hotels for them and planning the majority of our trips — I begin to lose interest. The reason isn’t the cost of the trip… it’s that feeling of loss of leadership and value in any way. It’s like being a teenage boy. A tall boy who would like his mom to sit and play Netflix with him and hear about what happened during the day. I’m unable to figure out what the man playing this role thinks I’m doing. Perhaps he doesn’t believe that he has any obligation to me whatsoever.

Dear gentlemen, if would like me to take you out for dinner, then plan more dates and even take you on trips. You must be at least as good as me, but better than me in other aspects of our relationship. You must find a place where you are most influential with women. Be bold and shine above me in your relationships, kids or your home life, and I’ll take the check.

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