5/22/16

Trophy Wives and Trophy Husbands

"If you're put on a pedestal, you're supposed to behave yourself like a pedestal type of person. Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around."
Margaret Atwood
I have to admit that I’ve tried to be a trophy husband, the kind of husband that makes all of my wife’s friends envious of her.  I worked hard to get the professional title and the stable life. I try to stay fit and presentable, making sure I dress to impress every time I can. I find myself trying to develop my mind as well as my body, as I strive to become a better me. Why? Because I’m aware that I married a trophy wife. Between her intelligence, presence, looks, professionalism, and tenacity, she puts to shame most women out there. As her husband, I need to be up to her level. 
Yet, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized how wrong I was.

Society, specially now thanks to social media and a “participation trophy” approach, has amped up the self serving attitude of entitlement into our relationships. We stop looking at each other as gifts to be appreciated, but rather as trophies we deserve. And this creates the most amusing and confusing paradox.

We do things for our partners with the intention of being appreciated. When we aren’t, we take it out on the person we’re trying to get close too. To simplify it, think of the guy who paid for dinner and gets pissed because she likes him only as a friend or the gal who gets pissed because the man didn’t try anything after she went through all the trouble of shaving her legs. Let’s be completely honest here for a second. This mentality isn’t about doing something special, it’s about receiving a return in your investment.
When we realize this attitude is used on us, we resist through lack of expressing appreciation, as we assume that being openly thankful means we’re letting the other person know we can be “bought” with gifts or actions. This leads to an attitude of entitlement, were we not only avoid showing appreciation but instead get pissed when we don’t get what we want. We’ve started to view worthwhile partners the same way we view participation trophies; consolation prizes just for showing up.


Life doesn’t work that way. Stop seeking appreciation and stop assuming you’ll get it.
So, this leaves us in a rather interesting place. If we’re not supposed to do things to win someone over, what do we do? Do things because you want to. When we realize that someone is important to us, for who they are and what they do for us, what should we do? You let them know!
Sounds pretty simple enough, right? Then why do we complicate it so much? Because as long as we view our life, our success, and the people around us as trophies, we tend to think we earned them and it becomes about “me,” not “we.” Because we have become so self centered that putting someone else first goes against everything we’ve been taught.
It’s time to go back to basics, to clean out all the bull shit relationship indoctrination that society has placed upon us. It’s ok to make an effort on yourself to impress someone else. Just don’t do it to buy their appreciation. And it’s ok to let someone know you appreciate them and their actions. Doing so doesn’t mean you’re not selling yourself to them. It just lets them know you care for them just as much.
The horrible or beautiful truth here is you’ll probably end up with someone who’s pretty much your equal. So, if you want someone worthwhile, you’d better make yourself worthwhile. Just remember that relationships with “worthwhile” people only last when you appreciated their worth.