I have a secret that I would really struggle to tell a potential partner. It’s a flaw, a real issue, that I’ve discussed at length in therapy, and I am still struggling to overcome it. In the online dating world, almost every man has commented on how many gold diggers there are out there. I’m not sure if this is true, or if it’s a perception, or whether it’s easier for a man to label a woman a gold digger than admit his part of failure in a relationship. Maybe it’s a cheap shot, or maybe it’s a real problem. Can I be honest, the opposite is also a problem.

I struggle to accept things. Dinner on a date? I’ve only recently been able to allow a man to take me to dinner. I have not been able to accept anything else, not as much as a tickets to a show or a trip away. Nothing. Nada. So, I either make a man feel rejected or I attract users, men that have no problem accepting trips or gifts from me, but never reciprocate.

I know the joy it gives me when I do or give something to a man that delights him. He feels special, he feels cared for and he feels appreciated. It’s a gift for me to see the pleasure that my thoughtfulness brings. So why do I not allow a man that same pleasure, of allowing him to do things for me?

To receive is feminine, and to give is masculine energy. When we learn to understand those special dynamics, the magic starts to happen. I don’t let a man feel needed if I don’t allow him to do and I don’t allow him to give. Why is it that?

Selfish men in my past have taught me that I’m not worthy of gifts, of acts of thoughtfulness. Imagine 24 years of marriage where I had no engagement ring nor a wedding band. No flowers, no gifts on Christmas or birthdays, no going out to celebrate my birthday. It’s years of hurt, each time reaffirming that I wasn’t worth the attention. I’ve never been taken anywhere on Valentine’s day, never been given chocolates, never flowers. It’s a lifetime of someone telling me through their actions that I am not enough, not special enough and not loved enough for thoughtfulness. I walked out of a marriage without one gift that he had given me.

It is my Achilles Heel for sure, walking this tightrope, needing to allow a man to step into a role that I so need him to, without me ever fearing that he will ever call me a golddigger or a user. That’s the most vulnerable place for me, and so far I haven’t been able to do it. I haven’t been able to explain my rawness and my acute uncomfortableness.

This past year of dating was interesting. On Valentine’sDay, I took a man to a Tampa Bay Lighting Hockey game…I ended up dating him later on in the year…and he followed the same pattern of previous men in my life. He repeatedly took and took and never gave back. Then…my dreaded birthday. Of course, he asked me what I wanted…you’d think after a year of knowing me that he would have just bought me flowers or chocolate and I would have been thrilled. He’d never been to my house when there hadn’t been fresh cut flowers that I had bought for myself…so clearly I like flowers.

When he asked, I thought about it, then I come up with something I knew would be meaningful to me. I simply asked for a card or letter, even an email with affirmations regarding why he wanted me in his life. My number one Love Language is words of affirmation. I was clear to let him know that that was so significant and special. I went to bed that night blissful that I had found the perfect solution, he’d give me something that would make my day, and it wouldn’t be something that I would feel awkward about receiving. Mostly I was asking for a gift of thought and time.

Of course, my birthday rolled around, and there was no email or card of affirmation, there was no going to dinner, there were no flowers picked up on his weekly run to Trader Joes. I was crushed. In fact, he forgot to wish me a happy birthday. He told me without saying a word, that as his girlfriend, he saw no worth in me. Again, I had found a man that would happily allow me to cook, clean and be his companion when he wanted it, but gave nothing back in return.

So, I am on a mission. In 2020, I am not going to refuse any offers that I want to receive. If a man wants to take me to dinner, he can. If a man I am exclusively dating wants me to travel with him, and he wants to pay for me, I am writing this for the world to see…I’m going to let him. I am going to give him the gift of allowing me to accept from him graciously and I will continue to be as giving as always, but 2020 the notion of reciprocity is key.

So I believe that every woman deserves a man that will:

Make her feel special every day. It could be as simple as a morning text that strives to put a smile on your face, the man that calls you when he knows you are struggling and the man that wants to build you up and not tear you down.

A man that will give, not to get, not to keep count, but give because it brings him joy.

A man that will serve you and that he will feel fulfilled in the little acts he does that makes you feel cared for.

A smart man will do these things because what he does for a loyal woman will come back to him tenfold.

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