Despite women’s progress in shedding some of the shame attached to their sexuality, there is an over-arching message that many women have received through time, warning them not to have sex on the first date “or it will ruin your chances for a second date.” The religious, biological, scientific, and self-esteem related implications of this message are beyond the scope of this post. But the fact remains: In general, women are held to a very confusing and difficult standard when it comes to having sex early in a relationship. It just is that way.
Deepening relationships require compromise and even sacrifice. But there can be a downside. As real-life challenges arise, it can seem as if your identity and individuality are being threatened — like you’re losing a part of yourself. As a result, you become entrenched in opinions and versions of yourself that are so extreme that any compromise, even on small issues, seems unacceptable. . But, if you are able identify this dynamic in your interactions, it can help you put your feelings in perspective and calm yourself down. You might even recognize that whatever you are fighting for, against your partner, is inconsequential in the larger scale of things. In reality, your identity is not threatened. Rather, you are being confronted with having to adjust values and beliefs that have either always felt intrinsic to who you are, or you didn’t even know these feelings existed until they were challenged.
Last week I wrote about the ways that low self-esteem manifests in women’s relationships. This week I will do a very brief overview of the infinite places from which low self-esteem can originate – how your history and primary caregiver relationships shaped your opinion of yourself, how other important external variables contribute. Here is a brief inventory of sources of low self-esteem and how these feelings manifest:
Nothing interferes with the ability to have an authentic, reciprocal relationship like low self-esteem. If you can’t believe you’re good enough, how can you believe a loving partner could choose you? Low self-esteem can make you test or sabotage relationships that have potential, or settle for relationships in which you’re treated in a way that matches your beliefs about yourself. That said, low self-esteem doesn’t always look the same way in relationships. The following are 10 of the many ways that low self-esteem can manifest in your romantic relationship.
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