Choose Him Everyday (Or Leave Him)
A mirror to “Choose Her Everyday (Or Leave Her),” by Bryan Reeves, from a female perspective, encouraging agency and responsibility in our intimate relationships.
About six months ago, I came across an essay on the Good Men Project by Bryan Reeves, titled “Choose Her Everyday (Or Leave Her).” I was impressed by the vulnerability and the clear strength conveyed in the writing. I encourage you to read the short but potent post now so you can understand the context of this writing. (Seriously, read it now.👆)
I came across this same post again randomly a few months ago and reread it. This time, I had a completely different insight. Instead of sliding into a line of thought focused on why I had never been “chosen,” I realized that I have never chosen him. Not in the way Bryan has written about. Not with my whole self.
I say I have, but I haven’t. The truth is, I’ve always hedged my bets. I’ve loved, but in a conservative way, so if he suddenly decided to up and leave I wouldn’t be devastated. I haven’t been brave enough. I haven’t trusted in my own strength of character. I’ve been waiting for someone to choose me first. Waiting like this, for such an important thing in life, is cowardly, passive, and not the person I want to be in the world. I did the men I have loved a disservice. I hurt them in this way.
When I read Bryan’s post, I read it only from the perspective of a man giving advice to other men. When I read it again a few months later, I realized that this advice, to love with fierce integrity was equally applicable to everyone. I believe the world becomes a better place if more people decide to embrace their own agency and power in their lives and act intentionally; perhaps most importantly and with the most impact when we do so in our intimate relationships. So, I wrote a response to Bryan Reeves from my personal perspective. I want you to ask yourself, no matter who you are: “Have I chosen my partner, every day?”
Choose Him Everyday (Or Leave Him)
I have spent years contributing to the emotional isolation crippling men, by saying I loved my man, but never really choosing him.
I wanted him to be the one. I really wanted to choose him. He was a wonderful man, brilliant and funny and curious and sexy. He could make my heart smile with his unexpected humor and short-circuit my brain with his charisma and quiet strength. Waking up every morning with his arms wrapped around me was my happy place. I loved him madly, illogically, and passionately.
Unfortunately, as happens with many young couples, our ignorance of how to do love well quickly created stressful challenges in our relationship. Before long, once my early morning blissful reverie gave way to the strained, immature ways of our everyday life together, I would often wonder if there was a better man for me out there, who was more interested in all I had to offer, who would love me out loud, who could comfort me better and make me feel “safe.”
As time passed those thoughts reverberated more and more in my head. Is this the best I could do? Don’t I deserve more than this? Every day, I chose him less.
I could feel the distance between us growing. I could feel him throwing up walls where before there had been doorways. Instead of seeing him trying to protect himself like I was, I saw that distance as evidence of the correctness of my own conclusions. He didn’t care, was not truly interested, and wanted to suppress my power and autonomy in the world. I responded by throwing up a slightly taller wall. I felt him pulling away and I did the same to protect myself.
Choosing him would have meant focusing every day on the gifts he was bringing into my life that I could be grateful for; his cleverness, wit, confidence, playfulness, companionship and -so- -much- -more-.
Regrettably, I found it all impossible to embrace. I saw it as a competitive game wherein I won if I made him love me more. That would make me feel secure in his presence. If he really loved me, then he wouldn’t leave. Every day he moved further away, not closer. I’d feel a tiny bit more alone, and all my inner alarms would go off. I couldn’t celebrate what was so wonderful, because I was too busy defending my castle and making sure that when he left, if he left, I would still be okay.
I was too focused on “what would happen if…”
If everything I have ever built for myself was stripped away by someone who didn’t care about me in the end anyhow, I thought I’d be ruined. The more I focused on his distance, the more I mirrored it back to him by offering less and less of myself. Things, predictably, got worse, which made me more defensive and less inclined to share.
All I wanted was to be the perfect partner, but altering any part of yourself for someone else is a fool’s task. You can’t make someone choose you, even when they might already love you.
To be fair, he didn’t choose me either. Every night he didn’t talk amplified all my insecurities. I was afraid that he would abandon me, so I prepared myself for the day.
And actually, he did, eventually. And I abandoned him, months before. I abandoned him the moment I was hurt bad for the first time. I began building walls and waiting for the end to come on that very day.
By not fully choosing him, by focusing on what I was afraid of rather than what was possible in this other person and between us, I deserted him.
He had the capacity to deliver everything, but I couldn’t receive it. I couldn’t cultivate his greatness because I was scared he would take it away. He might squeeze my heart into ash and I thought I’d never recover from the mistake of handing it over to him.
I’ll never not choose another man I love again.
It’s torture for everyone and serves to amplify the emotional isolation so common in men. We need to be brave enough to choose the person we love every single day in order to live in full expression of our heart’s potential. If I’m not willing to fully commit my full self to him; if I feel hesitancy around allowing this person inside my heart and letting him have sway over my spirit; I leave him.
Operating in this manner is frightening. Getting caught up in a love affair that you are fully invested in heart and soul is overwhelming, threatening, and intimidating. I’ve walked away from a lot of good people, but I knew in my heart I couldn’t choose them.
If you’re with someone now, why are you choosing to be with this person? If you can’t find a satisfying answer, dig deeper and find one. If too many days pass without a clear answer, then let him go. Create an opening for another human to show up, that you can see with fresh eyes and a curious heart that can confidently choose them every day.
Women, if you are holding back all the gifts you bring to the world; all your love; creativity; invention; inspiration; because you are waiting on a man to come along and choose you; don’t. Go ahead and choose him, or leave him. Men need us to choose them, just like we need them to choose us, to fully actualize our hearts potential. This is too important to be a passive actor without agency. How can we expect someone to choose us, if we are not willing to chance the risk of choosing him?
Your loved one deserves to be enthusiastically chosen. Every day.
You do, too.
*Thank you @theBryanReeves for your story. It changed me, in an unexpected way, for good.