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How can I be less of a doormat and more of a nice diva??

(401 Posts)
Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 16:26:09

I have been doing a lot of self reflection lately and I think that my trouble with men is because I’m far too accommodating and can be a bit of a doormat. This obviously becomes unattractive and ultimately the relationship breaks down or doesn’t go anywhere. I really want to stop this pattern but I don’t know how to.

Basically I’m a nice person so I go out of my way to be kind to others and understand things from their point of view. When this happens in relationships I think it comes across as unattractive.

I have a few acquaintances who treat other people in a way that I would hate. For example, one particular person (A) is married but puts her husband down in front of other people. She’s mean to him and is the kind of person who’s rude in restaurants but her husband adores her. He just laps it all up.

The problem is that I actually really like who I am. I like that I’m a nice, considerate person, but I am so fed up of repeating this pattern with men.

I’m in my early 40s now. How can I stop this from happening? How can I be less of a doormat and more of a nice diva??

Loopytiles Sat 16-Nov-19 16:29:04

I think you mean how can you be assertive, and date people who treat you well.

Being passive or subordinating your needs and wishes to those of someone you’re dating or friends is not “nice”. Being considerate of your own needs and wishes is not “being a diva”.

There are lots of resources - internet and self help books! Recommend an old book, A Woman in Your Own Right, on assertiveness.

TigerDater Sat 16-Nov-19 16:32:11

There’s a difference between being mean and unkind, and being assertive about your own needs. Think of your needs first, and then whether those can accommodate other people’s. If you don’t put yourself first, sure as hell no one else will!

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 16:35:08

I think the problem is that I get genuine pleasure from helping other people so putting myself first makes me less happy. So I would need to actively try to make myself less happy so a guy doesn’t leave me, which seems so muddled.

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 16:36:38

I think I need firmer boundaries because I do get hurt by some behaviour but then I find myself understanding why they did it. I guess that is the bit I need to recognise and stop.

12345kbm Sat 16-Nov-19 16:37:31

Relationships are a two way thing. Just because you're a doormat, doesn't mean someone has to step all over you. You're not responsible for how others behave, especially if that behaviour is bad.

Like pp said, are you actually saying what your needs are? I'm seeing red flags in your OP. For example, 'I try to see things from their perspective.' Is that to your own detriment? Are you letting people get away with inexcusable behaviour and trample over your boundaries because you can 'see things from their perspective'?

You need to know what your boundaries are. It doesn't matter what other people's are, it matters what yours are.

You need to assert those boundaries and have consequences for them they are trampled on. For example, people being late. I will wait no more than five minutes and then I'll leave. It doesn't matter why they are late, what matters is that you don't like it and you have consequences in place.

Your friend sounds horrible by the way. I wouldn't be friends with someone who treated their husband like that.

Loopytiles Sat 16-Nov-19 16:38:26

Why are you making these assumptions about why relationships have ended?

What sorts of things do you mean?

AmICrazyorWhat2 Sat 16-Nov-19 16:43:51

I'm glad you're a kind person, OP, people like you make the world a nicer place. flowers

Being assertive doesn't mean that you're self-centred, but you need to let your OH know your thoughts and needs, even if it's something small such as saying that you'll be home late tonight so they'll have to make their own dinner; no, you don't like X food so you don't want to go to X restaurant; I'd like to see this film - if you don't want to, I'll find someone else to go with and you can do your own thing.

The above are tiny examples of letting your OH know that you're an independent person and you're not going to bend over backwards to accommodate them all the time.

Most people compromise and go along with what their OH wants sometimes, but you don't want to lose your sense of "self." That's not selfish, it's self-preservation!

MillieMoodle Sat 16-Nov-19 16:54:16

I don't have any advice OP, but I am watching with interest as I am exactly as you describe. I can't make a decision as I don't want to upset people by making the wrong one. I definitely need lessons in assertiveness!

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:06:01

So for example. This isn’t a real example but exactly the type of thing that happens...

I meet an amazing guy. He’s attracted to me and loves it that I’m a nice person. We get together, maybe for years. After a while things start happening like: one guy I was seeing is a busy surgeon and has a child from a previous relationship. He wouldn’t firm up plans for meeting up until quite near the last minute. I would find that annoying because I could have made other plans but I understand that his patients and his child need to come first, especially if there are emergencies in both cases. So I go along with seeing him on his terms because when we meet up it’s absolutely amazing. I understand why it is the way that it is. I’m not the kind of person who would demand to be a higher priority than his child or his important job. Then over time perhaps he starts to see me as less ‘valuable’ because I make things easy for him. Maybe he ends up leaving me for the woman who makes his life a little bit difficult, who’s more of a challenge. But I don’t want to be less nice / more difficult. I just don’t want to lose out all the time.

This has happened to me about 10 times!!!

12345kbm Sat 16-Nov-19 17:09:30

Don't go out with people who can't prioritise you OP. Don't start a relationship with a busy surgeon with a kid, who is always going to be his number one priority alongside his job. You always need to be prepared to walk if you aren't getting your needs met.

Isleepinahedgefund Sat 16-Nov-19 17:16:34

What you describe there found to me like a lack of boundaries. Of course he starts to value you less if you’re always sitting around waiting for him. The reason he starts to value you less is because you show him that you don’t value yourself either.

You don’t have to be selfish to fix that - just don’t wait around for him. Make your plans. Make it clear to him that you completely understand that he can’t make plans until last minute because of x y and z, but that that might mean you aren’t available (no need to say it explicitly, it will become obvious).

ShortHairSuitsYou Sat 16-Nov-19 17:20:20

Is it possible that the nice woman they meet changes? When you begin a relationship are you less available as you keep pre-existing commitments so aren't always available and then start to prioritise seeing them to the detriment of your own social life? I have been guilty of this in the past eg not signing up to a class because I'm seeing someone who is only available a few evenings a week and it's on one of those evenings. Turns out they didn't want me to arrange my life around them. They liked the busy me they first met.

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:34:48

The thing is that I would much rather see X guy than go to a hobby so I have to pretend to be someone that I’m not.

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:36:20

So I could pretend to be busy but then that strays into ‘playing games’ which I feel like I will always lose at!

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:36:59

I'm glad you're a kind person, OP, people like you make the world a nicer place. Thank you.

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:39:23

Don't start a relationship with a busy surgeon with a kid,
The thing is that I have a similar job and I’m attracted to men with brilliant brains who I can have a stimulating conversation with. I want to date a guy who works in a similar professional role and these men tend to have busy lives, as do I!

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:40:25

Make it clear to him that you completely understand that he can’t make plans until last minute because of x y and z, but that that might mean you aren’t available
I fear that the relationship would end if I did that.

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:41:03

Is it possible that the nice woman they meet changes? Yes that’s possible.

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:44:23

It’s not just ‘time’ that is the problem. Another example would be...

Meeting an amazing guy who has a sick mother. The mother is most likely dying and always hoped son would get back with ex-wife. The guy and ex-wife have zero interest in each other. He’s really into me but to avoid upsetting his Mum he keeps me a secret from her for her last few months and I go along with it because I understand he doesn’t want to hurt her. Then I devalue myself from being too understanding.

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:46:02

Or the guy who dated me and told me the morning after we slept together for the second time that he’s getting back with his ex. Instead of getting angry I understand and walk away with a smile. He must have thought he had it so easy!

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:48:51

Or the guy doing his PhD who I dated for 3 years. Towards the end he was so stressed and I was worried that he was having a breakdown so I was being extra supportive. Turns out he was stressed because he was cheating on me. He broke up with me (I didn’t know he was cheating until 3 years later) and was crying and saying he wanted to have more than just one relationship in his life (I was his first girlfriend). I empathised with that and let him go despite loving him. Turns out he was cheating.

PullingMySocksUp Sat 16-Nov-19 17:50:28

Make it clear to him that you completely understand that he can’t make plans until last minute because of x y and z, but that that might mean you aren’t available
“I fear that the relationship would end if I did that.”
And that’s fine. Better to find out sooner rather than later.

Shoxfordian Sat 16-Nov-19 17:56:40

There's being a nice person and being a mug op
You need to learn to draw some boundaries and stop letting people walk all over you

Hresdyu Sat 16-Nov-19 17:58:32

You need to learn to draw some boundaries and stop letting people walk all over you
I know this. That’s what I’m asking for help with. How do I do that?

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