I was inspired to write this post after personal experiences and those of a few close friends of mine. We have all been abused, two of us are divorced, one on her way out of a deeply abusive marriage. All of us still believe that there are good men out there. Men who are willing to put in the work to love and understand what it takes to engage with and love a woman who has been used and abused. So men, listen up, from our heart to yours. Notice I said men, right? Boys need not apply.
Did you know that inside a hurt and abused woman is quite often, a frightened girl? She is hopeful that something better is around the corner, but her optimism is tainted by fear.
In most instances, she’s not guided by fear but fear is there. And it makes her more watchful, less trusting, very suspicious of the intents of others, especially men. She doesn’t open up easily. She rarely lets people in. She doesn’t jump into relationships easily. She needs to be sure that whoever she chooses to engage with is worthy of her time, heart and attention and is capable of offering her something new and different.
If you are patient, and she sees some shred of goodness and honesty in you, over time, she will let you in. So when she lets you in, it is a big deal. Don’t take it lightly. Because it means to her you’re a big deal, someone quite special. Yes, she let you in because she thinks you’re special, you’re different and she is trusting of you to some degree. She is trusting you will not be a repeat of the past and she’s hopeful that you understand this. She is also expecting you will honor the good impression she holds of you and the faith she has in you.
She is not jaded. She does not believe in Prince Charming, Superman, or in the Knight in Shining Armour. She knows like her, you have a story and probably a portion of baggage yourself. She knows you’re human and she’s not expecting perfection from you, so don’t feel like the pressure is on. But she does believe in you to a great extent and hopeful that your understanding of her, where she has been and how she’s been hurt will guide you to manage your relationship with her differently.
You notice I keep using the word ‘different’? Because that is what she wants and that is what she believes you are capable of bringing and making. A difference. So it’s important that you be considerate and mindful and you’ll do your best not to hurt her and be reckless with her emotions.
Now let’s talk sexual intimacy. This type of intimacy can terrify a woman that has been hurt and abused. Not the act itself, but what it represents. You see, when she does give you her body, it’s because she feels like even if you’re flawed and kinda messed up like her, she sees something in you that makes her feel like this man can be trusted, this man is a cut above the rest. So she isn’t just fucking you (yes, I can be crass like that, cause often times, that’s how you men talk). She is saying: Here I am, darling. For everything I’ve seen in you, experience with you, I feel like I can trust you. I believe that you are genuine to me and you care about me and you want me for me. She is saying darling, I know this is more than just for a fun time and you’re prepared for the long haul, even if it fails. And she is showing that she is giving you the power to hurt her (again) or help in her healing. Because that is what happens when a woman trusts a man with her heart, emotions, and body.
When a woman with a story gives herself to you, she is wishing and believing that you’ll appreciate what it took to really give all of herself to you. Because it didn’t happen easily.
I don’t speak for all women, but the majority of battered and broken-hearted women who are open to loving and being in meaningful relationships again will identify with the above. Of course, you are free to share your opinion in the comments below.
Light, love and grace
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2018.