Let’s talk about the multiple big fat ugly-ass elephants in the room. Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, multiple big cheeses and CEOs…they’re popping up like a sickening game of whack-a-mole. Finally we are whacking the shit out of them.
Thank you, @rosemcgowan and the countless other superwomen.
I’ve been wanting to talk to you about this. I’ve started writing this article a dozen times. But I’ve been afraid.
As a woman and as your coach there is so much I have to say about these bastards and about the #MeToo movement. But my opinions and feelings are buzzing around so fast I haven’t been able to put them into coherent words…words that can help you.
That’s my job and my passion; to help you fearlessly and unapologetically go after — and get— love. Love that, for us, happens to come from a dude with a dick.
These are the people who have been in charge of our lives in so many ways. They have been demanding sex lest they destroy our livelihoods, groping us, belittling us, humiliating us and raping us…and now we’re being reminded that it happens every day, everywhere, to every kind of woman.
This media firestorm can make you want to stay safe in your singleness and just turn away from men and love all together.
We know that almost every single woman has faced this kind of abuse from men. I talk to women every single day who have been victims of men in one manner or another. The spectrum, of course is wide. (Which by the way I think should be part of the conversation. But that’s for another time.)
For myself, after 30 years in American corporate life, of course I’ve come up against it. The endless mansplaining, ignoring and excluding. The higher and unrealistic expectations. I was fired more than once for not being “nice” enough. (Your work is excellent, Bobbi, but you upset people. Blah, blah, blah.)
I’m grateful to say, though, that I’ve not suffered physical or sexual abuse in my life. I’m keenly aware that I’m the exception. In many ways I’m just plain lucky.
This “Weinstein-ing” shit-storm can end up being positive.
Thanks to Rose and the multitudes of other courageous superwomen, we are having a long overdue and necessary conversation. If we do it right, we can use this to move us all forward; society in general, male/female relationships, and business and the workplace.
(I think this is an important new part of the equation. We’re not just getting physically and emotionally attacked, our livelihoods are being threatened and taken away. The enormous scope of the impact of this on women and those who depend on them is new to our generation. But again, that’s for another time.)
By the way, I don’t yet know who the ‘we’ is or what the ‘right’ way is. I’m hoping someone does. I’m pretty sure, though, it’s going to get worse for us before it gets better.
There are already stories about companies no longer wanting to hire women. (Too complicated.) I’ve talked to men (my friends!) who have tried to explain how, even though they would never do these things, it’s somewhat in men’s nature. (Are you freaking kidding me?)
I’m assuming you’re pissed.
Are you pissed off like I am??? Even scared? As smart, independent women in our 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond, we’ve lived through many decades of this bullshit with men.
…as your compassionate, truth telling dating coach, I’m here to tell you that this is no time to take your ball and go home. We all need to love and to be loved. And I argue that you need it now more than ever.
We also have the (mixed) messages of the 70s. In Marilyn French’s 1977 novel, The Women’s Room, her character Val says, “all men are rapists, and that’s all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes.” This book sold more than 20 million copies and was translated into 20 languages!
Is the old and (hopefully) in-the-past stuff coming back up for you? Not like it ever goes away, but is it now screaming at you or at least jumping up and down vying for your attention?
Can you feel any latent (or not so latent) anger, rage, fear and resentment bubbling up…all towards men? Especially when you’re seeing men you may have openly admired for decades turning out to be so vile?
And what does this have to do with women dating over 40?
Okay…here is the part where I try to help you. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with grownup dating and relationships. Bear with me please.
So…here you are as a mature single woman who has made her way in the world and probably done much of it on your own. Your life has been just fine. Even pretty good.
Now, maybe for the first time in years, you are consciously trying to find a man to share your life. A man on whom you can depend, and with whom you can feel safe.
On a regular basis I tell you how you are missing so many good, decent grownup men. I encourage you to be open and vulnerable with with men. To show men kindness. To learn about them so you approach them with empathy. I tell you that when you are able to go out in the world as your beautiful, authentic, feminine self you will attract that one special man into your life…forever.
I tell you all this, and I teach you how to accomplish it. It is all 100% true.
But we’re talking about M.E.N. The same creatures who have threatened your safety, security and happiness for the greater part of your life! Who have hurt you or surely women you know — body and soul.
This media firestorm can make you want to stay safe in your singleness and just turn away from men and love all together. I’ve read that and many women have told me that over the past month or so.
If you’re feeling any of the ‘why bother’ or ‘I’m better off this way’ feelings, I get it.
But, as your compassionate, truth telling dating coach, I’m here to tell you that this is no time to take your ball and go home. We all need to love and be loved. And I argue that you need it now more than ever.
Here is how the Dalai Lama explains our need for love:
The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another. However capable and skillful an individual may be, left alone he or she will not survive. However vigorous and independent one may feel during the most prosperous periods of life, when one is sick or very young or very old, one must depend on the support of others…no one is born free of the need for love.
This is the loving fearlessly part of my dissertation.
If this recent inundation of reminders makes you feel like dumping the whole man-love-thing, I challenge you to go towards men and towards love.
Open your heart, access and express your soft, loving, accepting femininity — first with yourself, then with others around you, especially men.
This is the time to lean INTO love, not away from it.
The world is a scary-ass place right now. With so much hate, violence, and fear in the world (again, details for another time) this is exactly when you most need the support of others.
Having a strong, committed, loving man in my life right now is my saving grace. Being with my husband, experiencing and practicing loving every day (yes, it takes practice!), knowing that no matter how scary the world is right now I will always have a partner in it…that’s what keeps me from living in constant anxiety and fear.
This is what I want for you, my sister.
(To the haters who will call me an anti-feminist or some nonsense: Feel free to blast me for saying that we NEED a man. I stand by it. If you have taken time to read my work, I often tell you how living as a single woman was good. I did it until I was 47. No shame and nothing wrong with it. But living with a loving, committed partner is better. Way better. And when you’re a heterosexual woman, that happens to be a man. So blast away.)
If you’re feelings are boiling up, take deliberate action right now.
Now is the time to double down on working towards finding a loving, supportive, safe relationship with a man. Harvey Weinstein and those like him have created so much ANGER, rightly so. But I challenge you to go deeper and see what is under that anger.
It is likely fear.
Maybe this happened to you and you haven’t shared it with anyone. Maybe the old voices are telling you that you deserved it. Maybe you think that disrespect and violence is all you’re worthy of getting from men. Or that it is all that men are capable of.
If you don’t want to feel the fear or shame anymore here is something to do: it’s called “opposite action.” Opposite action is a proven technique used in psychology that can change emotions you don’t want to have anymore. Deep, debilitating emotions that keep you away from your deepest, truest desires. (Yah, like the love of a man.)
I recommend that you read more about opposite action here, but here is a quick example:
To get rid of anger the opposite action is to go TOWARDS it. What is angering you? Violence from men…rejection…having to be vulnerable…failure…men in general?
When we feel angry, it most often creates uncomfortable physical sensations. We feel hot, nauseous, we breath faster, our heart races. To keep ourselves “safe” we go to thoughts like “I don’t need a man anyway” or “why would I want a man to screw up my already good life?”
These thoughts give you permission to run from want you want. You simply deny that you want it! At least you TRY to deny it. But you can’t. Then what happens is you start feeling out of control, hating or blaming others, or worse hating or blaming yourself. And that really pisses you off, right?
I’ve sure been there. Still go there from time to time. Can you relate?
Here is an example of opposite action:
Usher in the physicality of calm and acceptance. Take a few slow deep breaths, meditate, turn on soft music…just go to your happy place. Give yourself permission to define what is angering you. It’s likely something you want that you’re not getting. Stop denying your heart’s desire so you can settle into acceptance of what is.
Rather than trying to protect yourself in denial, choose to open yourself up to the reality of your feelings and needs. Make the choice to accept your desires as valid – without judgement. Recognize that you can find a way to get to what you desire, and you can do it in a powerful way with love as your foundation.
Think positive thoughts about others; particularly men. Show them and yourself respect. Treat them as you wish to be treated, even if you feel anger toward them. Then, pay attention to how your experiences and interactions change as you consciously and deliberately show openness and willingness to trust.
I’m not saying this is easy. It takes practice. It takes courage. But if you are feeling angry, scared, shamed and/or persecuted…all by men…then facing your feelings head on is the only way to stop these feelings
What’s going on with Weinstein-gate is despicable. But all men are NOT rapists. Most men are not sexual predators nor do they use their power to abuse, attack and humiliate. (Like our president.) Most men abhor finally hearing what their wives, sisters, and mothers have had to endure from their kind.
Stop buying the BS that all men are pigs. That you are better off alone. That you don’t need anyone, especially a man. If you want a loving partner for the rest of your life go get it, damnit. There’s absolutely no shame in that.
Screw the Harvey Weinstein’s of your past! You are in charge! This is the time to use your feminine strength to lean into love. Use your feminine rage to claim what you want and deserve: a great love life! A happy, healthy relationship with a man you trust and admire.
It’s the most necessary and radical thing you can do in the here and now. And, I propose, the most healing way to bring peace into your life.
No matter the mistakes you’ve made in the past and despite how men may have treated you in the past, you can learn to trust yourself and to trust men. Like I said, you can find a way to achieve your deepest desire and do it in a powerful and loving way.
New experience creates new truth! If you want someone to be by your side for the rest of your life, you have to take new action. Yah, being single can be great. But I’m not afraid to say unequivocally that being in this scary world without a partner by your side sucks.
Whew! I have much more to say about this, but I had to start somewhere, so here it is. Are you still with me?
They say living well is the best revenge, right? Well, I say loving well is your best revenge.
With love, admiration, and gratitude that you are here with me,
PS: So…what do you think? I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments below. How are you feeling about what’s going on? Has this affected your life/love life or the way you look at men? Are you loving fearlessly? Let’s have a discussion.