‘Who is going to want you?”

Today marks 5 years since I met my husband David.

My father was never “jealous” of boyfriends, he encouraged me to meet someone. However, if relationships didn’t succeed, he would criticise me, accusing me of sabotaging or jeopardising my chance to be looked after by someone else.

“I do not want this responsibility forever” he would often say.

I never wanted to be ‘looked after’. I loved my independence. But he saw me as weak, he saw all woman as weak. Men were the strongest and most powerful of the sexes in his opinion. Women needed to be taught how to behave, they needed to be respectful to their men and take care of them at all costs. I would class my father as more than a sexist, he despised women, especially strong-minded ones.

He was however intimidated by macho men. He surrounded himself with friends he considered to be weaker than him in character. He wanted to appear the alpha male. I tended to be attracted to very confident men. borderline arrogant. Was I drawn to what I was used to? These men were not rude however, just a bit cocky. My father quite liked the boyfriends I had that possessed those traits. He could relate to them. Eventually, I grew tired of these sorts of men. It was hard work to keep them entertained and I wanted to be with someone I felt at ease with.

In 2006, I dated someone who was not the right person for me at that time in my life. I was incredibly depressed. I hated the way I looked, I lacked confidence and had no faith in myself. This man came into my life and paid me attention, showered me with affection and once again I fell into it believing it was genuine. Looking back, I regret even saying yes to one date with him. He is to date the worst boyfriend I have ever had.

He would laugh and joke with my father even though I explained the difficulties I was going through with him, he just shrugged it off even making excuses for my father. He would patronise me and mock me too, just like my Dad. And yet, when he got tired of me, I begged him to reconsider. I knew he wasn’t worth it, I knew he was nothing to me, but I needed that support, that reassurance that I was wanted, that escape from my father.

My father used it to his advantage. He asked me,

“Well who is going to want you?”

It was not the reassuring words I had hoped for. Then, the lecture ensued:

“You probably irritated him, like you irritate me. You know what? If you keep this up you will never meet anyone. No man is going to want such a horrible woman. They want someone pretty, who looks after themselves, someone who will take care of them. What did you do to annoy him Babitago? Do you know if this attitude carries on, your next boyfriend might lose his temper with you. He might even hit you. And you will deserve it. You can’t do that to a man. Do you understand?”

I had heard similar speeches in the past prior to that. But hearing that he advocated a boyfriend to physically hurt me, left me paralysed with shock, my father was freely condoning a man hitting his daughter. Essentially, it would be my fault, in his eyes I would push my partner to do that to me. I could not answer him. This lecture took place in the car, on a journey to the supermarket, a week after my boyfriend and I broke up.

I have to say my husband David is nothing like those nasty, abhorrent men.

Happy Anniversary my love x

True love doesn’t come to you it has to be inside you.

Julia Roberts 

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