Respect… What does it look like?

I have been learning so much this month. I am going to post a few posts over the next few days explaining all the wonderful and crazy things I have been going through. This first post is about what I have learned about respect.

I have been seeing a guy for the past month. His name is Jonathan. (yes, it is the same name as my ex fiancé from the states). He is different than most guys I have dated. How he talks to me and explains things to me is sweet. The first few times we had a conversation about life I was thrown for a loop. I wasn’t used to someone talking to me in such a way. I was confused. I didn’t understand what that was. I didn’t recognize what he was doing. I couldn’t put a name to it.

The other day we were having another one of these conversations and he mentioned how he doesn’t like something about his culture. He said he didn’t like “machismo.” Machismo is not really something that happens just in his culture it happens everywhere even in the US. It just may have a different name. I understood what it was in my feelings I just didn’t have words for what it was. This led me to ask questions, like I always do when I don’t understand something. I had thoughts about what I thought it was I just didn’t quite know for sure.

I asked two men the same questions and I got two different responses. First, I asked a guy that I was seeing a few months back. I asked if he would explain something about the Spanish culture for me. I said “explain machismo.” His responses were normal responses for him when I ask him questions like this. He said “Machismo is not a Spanish culture. It is an attitude for thousands of years where the man is arrogant and believes much more than women. They demystify and leave the woman wrong before themselves. Then it is not a Spanish culture. Careful with that because machismo exists everywhere.” I understood this. I had more specific questions I wanted answered. I started asking questions like… Is it a sexual thing or is it deeper, a man telling a woman she needs to have kids, a man making all the decisions without the woman’s opinion or thoughts in regards to their life together? To these questions, he responded that it is not sexual and yes to the other two. I kept asking more questions… would telling a woman she is crazy and emotional every time she is hormonal and getting angry at her for it be considered that, do “machismo” men think emotions are not “good”? His response to those questions was “why all the questions? The best example I can give you is the opposite of me.” and “mmmm it seems strange to me. sure you’re experiencing this with the guy you’re with.” These response made my head spin even more? I felt as though these response were defensive and “machismo” in nature.

I really wanted to know what Jonathan’s responses would be. I had an idea of what he would say. I just wanted clarity. Jonathan was sleeping when I had all these thoughts, so I had to wait for him to wake up to ask. He woke up and I asked him the same questions I asked the other guy. Jonathan’s responses were the complete opposite. I knew they would be because he doesn’t respond to me like most men.

Jonathan’s response to what is machismo… “It’s very ugly. The man thinks he is superior to the woman. He does not cook or clean because he thinks it is the woman’s job.” Jonathan’s response to “would telling a woman she is crazy and emotional every time she is hormonal and getting angry at her for it be considered that, do “machismo” men think emotions are not “good”…. “Macho men think that emotions are corny and ridiculous. Macho men are not romantic because they think that being romantic is a woman’s thing.” He then goes on to say that macho men in Nicaragua do not say things like “mi princesa”.

I had asked Jonathan some questions I didn’t ask the other guy as well. I asked him if macho men are greedy and do not give attention and things freely? His response was that they love to receive things yet do not give things because love is a woman’s thing. We went on to talk about how machismo shows in his life. He tells me jealousy is the biggest thing that he struggles with. He doesn’t like being jealous and he is working on it.

I sent him some of the responses from the other guy and asked if he noticed a difference. He said the guys responses were a defensive response. He was defending himself from your questions. He looked at my questions with poison and gave an answer with poison.

This absolutely blew my mind! I realized all this came down to was respect. It really has nothing to do with being macho. It has to do respect for themselves as a man and for the woman in their life. Jonathan’s responses over the last month have made me question how men respond to me. I have a lot of emotions that change and fluctuate. Most men get bothered by this and in return their responses are defensive or unloving. I thought that this was normal and I accepted it even though I didn’t really like it. After experiencing Jonathan’s love, acceptance, and appreciation I realize that it’s about respect. Jonathan respects my emotions and my opinions as a woman.

It has only been a month. I do not know what will change as time goes on. I do, however, know what it is like for a man to truly respect you. This will forever be in my needs and wants for any man in my life. Do not settle for less than you deserve.  If you are unsure about something, do whatever you need to find the answer. You deserve the love and respect you give yourself. Find your own self-respect.

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