In the most current issue of Cosmopolitan, I fervently defend men who cheat on their girlfriends. Ha ha ha! As if. Obviously they don’t need defending, because they haven’t done anything wrong.
But seriously, what I really wrote about was how important it is for you to say no to that guy you’re seeing/have lived with for six years every now and then. For lots of reasons. Like, at least 11, I’d say.
The answer, is no.
In a move critics are calling, ‘outrageous,’ ‘exciting’ and ‘lacking in salt,’ I am revealing the most powerful word you can use in a relationship, not in a relationship, or when offered lollies from a stranger. The word is “no”.
Have you ever heard or read the expression, “When you are saying no to others, you are really saying yes to you”? You have now. And I want you to never, ever forget it. (Tattoo it if you must. Rihanna would.)
It’s relevant in all aspects of your life. Like when you’re feeling depleted from work and family and tap dance classes, and you’re just not coping, and people are asking things of you constantly. Or when your weekends are spent driving from friend to friend and you collapse on Sunday night exhausted and annoyed you did none of the things you wanted to do.
Saying no to the occasional offer and request is the best gift you can give yourself. It’s asserting that your needs come first this time, and you’re not willing to compromise time or sleep or energy on anything else until those needs are met. Essentially, saying no is one of the greatest acts of loving yourself you can do. And as we all know, you’re not able to authentically love anyone else until you love yourself. So start saying no, already, you dingus! Especially to boys.
All the single ladies.
So many ladies struggle with ‘no’ when they’re single and meet a guy they like. I know this because Lovely Ladies email me asking how to do it, and also because I’ve been there and it is effing difficult. We fear that if we say no to a man, he will lose interest, or think we’re rude, or never call again. THIS IS PATENTLY UNTRUE. REMOVE IT FROM YOUR BRAIN IMMEDIATELY.
Situations where we might be required to issue a no include seeing him the night after you just saw him (control the pace, woman!), or him swooping in a with a plan when you’ve already made plans with friends, or pushing you to stay over when you have to be at work early and don’t have any of your stuff.
The hard part? You really, really want to say yes. But stay strong. Simply put, saying no will make him desire you more. We always desire that which we cannot have. In addition, saying no will show him you value your boundaries and your time, and men respect women who stick to their guns. Pushovers seem fun at the time, and are terrific for instant gratification, but like being able to eat all the fairy floss you want, you soon lose interest and move on to something else. (And possibly vomit.)
Finally, it’s a statement. Saying no to his offer when you have already got plans in place shows him that you love and respect your friends and that you’re not some flake who ditches her mates for a guy she’s only just met. He’ll be annoyed, and he might even make you feel bad about it, but in the long run, saying no will do so, so much good. Remember: people only get upset when they care and while men may not always admit it, a woman who won’t drop everything for them is Very Sexy. And plus, pyking on your friends is a shitty thing to do. (Don’t be That Girl.)
The surprising bonus in all this: If you say no to something he has offered, such as a movie that night when you’d already planned to see your mum, and he cracks it and starts to drop off, he’s done you a favour. If a man ditches you because your world doesn’t revolve around him or because you have a life too, and prefer a bit of notice, then he was never going to be your teammate in a Quality Relationship. He has shown you exactly how he handles not having his way, and it was ugly.
All the ladies in love.
When you’re ensconced in the sweet, gooey syrup of a relationship, the kind of no’s that come into play become less about creating boundaries and more of a genuine need to look after and love yourself.
Say you’ve had a massive day and you’re meant to be going to his parents’ for their weekly dinner. Apologise, then go home and do what you need to. You’ll avoid feelings of resentfulness, as well as stress and anxiety over your work. And that makes for a much happier result (and less chance of a barney).
Or maybe you’ve been staying over at his place a lot, but you’re tired of always packing a bag and haven’t had a chance to tidy your room/fake tan/watch Jersey Shore for weeks. Tell him you won’t be staying over tonight, even if you had plans to, and go home and Take Care of Business. It’s not that you love him any less, or don’t want to see him, it’s that you love YOU, more. And even if it disappoints him at the time, the happy girlfriend he gets the next day is worth it. (Plus, men equate longing with love, so let him long for you every now and then, would you? Thanks.)
Saying no when you see an opportunity to put yourself first for the benefit of your health, happiness or your (current or potential) relationship often goes against your emotional or physical wants in the moment, but will always serve you in the long run.
Try it! Go on; try it today. No? What do you mean no? Ohhh, I see. You’re getting into character. Ha ha ha! You little rascal. What fun.