When I search for the term “how women create value,” the first three pages of results are usually about how a woman should behave in her dating relationships in order to attract and keep a man. Apparently, there are a series of “rules” that we have to follow so that we can prove to a man that we are valuable enough for an exclusive relationship or whatever our desired outcome is. Rules with names like: the No Contact Rule, the Third Date Rule, the Casual Sex Rule and the list goes on. If you search, you will find a variety of rules that will “help” you prove to a man that you are valuable enough for [insert relationship goal here]. But what the “rules” don’t explain is: why isn’t it enough to know for YOURSELF that YOU have value?
Until searching the term, I have never read any of the “rules’ simply because I didn’t know they were there. But as I went through pages and pages of results on the original term I searched for, I began to realize that these “rules” all lead to the same thing without actually saying it…you have to be ok with being an asshole in any relationship if you’re not getting what you want even if it means you will lose that relationship. Before anyone gets upset, let me first define what I mean by “be an asshole”…it means saying: “No, I absolutely will not share or expend my resources on someone who isn’t worth my value,” then having the courage to leave. It’s about being able to determine for YOURSELF what YOUR value is and not allowing anyone else to give or set your valuation.
Several years ago, I met a man who was so good at sweet talking that I fell for all his empty lines despite knowing full well that he said and did the same things to anyone and everyone in a skirt. He was also very good looking in his eyes and extremely adept at convincing people of his high value “hotness.” In fact, years after we stopped speaking he became an Internet sensation for being really, really, really ridiculously hot 😜🤣…more on that later. Because he exuded such a “high value” of himself I felt like I had to earn a higher valuation from him…he was all of a sudden a worthy measurer of value. Like many, I over-inflated his perceived value because I felt like I needed him to validate my valuation as being worthy of his. This prevented me from being an asshole towards him in response to his asshole behaviors because I didn’t want him to disappear before I could get my higher valuation.
So, I placed a significant amount of value at the breadcrumbs he threw at me throughout the relationship. Our “relationship” consisted of him taking me out once every few weeks and at the end of the night, he’d run off to go see other women. This went on for years until he eventually moved away and I went off to grad school and got married.
Over a decade later, I reconnected with him after a mutual acquaintance reintroduced us. By that time, I had finished grad school, become a lawyer, launched several companies, earned a degree from MIT and was busy happily raising a family. Surely, I had accomplished enough that he would see me as a high value woman worthy of a genuine friendship (which was my new measure of validation at the time). WRONG!
As we spent more time together, I started to notice that none of his old behaviors changed, he just got better at sweet talking. For a while, I bought into it and even began to wonder: What did he want? Did he want more? Did he finally see my value?
The more I asked these questions I started to notice that I was falling into the trap of over-inflating his perceived value again because I wanted his validation. Until one day, I realized that I didn’t need an answer to any of those questions because I finally saw that this man was completely incapable of seeing my value, he was simply too absorbed in convincing the population of his. At that point, I no longer needed him to validate me with any of his answers. I had enough courage to state my own answers, which were: 1) I don’t want a relationship, 2) I don’t want more or anything at all and 3) the benefit of what you’re giving is not commensurate with the value of my time and attention.
When I told him these things, I felt an amazing sense of power and release, no anger or hurt just complete indifference. I didn’t even stick around to hear what his response was because I couldn’t force myself to care. I finally thought: it’s perfectly acceptable to be an asshole to that asshole.
True, I no longer have this relationship but what does it matter when it was a no-value relationship in the first place? According to economists, value is a measure of the benefit of a good or a service to an economic agent (e.g. cash, digital currency, etc.). In relationships, value is a measure of the benefit given by the other person to you in exchange for the benefit you are willing to give to them. I think about this during times when I begin to question my decision and every time I grow stronger in my realization that there was no benefit to be derived from being fed cliches in exchange for giving this person my time and attention. I could get that treatment from any stranger or even a vapid kids’ toy so it didn’t matter if I spoke up and consequently lost the relationship.
See, when you know what you’re worth and you tell someone what it is instead of waiting around for them to tell you, they will probably think you’re an asshole and that’s ok because ultimately you’re defining your own value and setting theirs.