I’m a feminist, but my actions with men are questionable, and honestly, I’m beginning to feel like a phony to my feminist-minded peers.

I’ve dated various men in my lifetime. I’m sad to say, I’ve put up with a lot of shit from them over the years. I’ve had too many “Holy shit, I’m acting pathetic” moments that I can’t even count, and each time, I think to myself, “Jeez, and I call myself a feminist?!” I realize, of course, there is no one definition of feminism, and I also realize that, as feminists, we are all different. Maybe it’s less about feminism, and more about “loving myself”, or something else new-agey. I’m not sure. All I know is that, sadly, I can’t seem to depend on men I date to respect me—I need to respect me. And if said men don’t show me respect, I should drop them. Easy, right? For some reason, no.

I’m seen as a strong, feminist, independent woman, but I consistently question my behavior with men. Is it “unfeminist” to wait for a guy to contact you? Is it “unfeminist” to allow a guy to treat you like shit? Is being aware of this allowance any consolation? Who gets to decide what is and what isn’t feminist? I feel bad. I feel awful. I’ve been spending time with guys who are undeserving of me, and for what? Sex? Comfort? To not feel alone? Allowing myself to be alone would be a much healthier answer than continuing to spend time with narcissistic pricks who don’t give a shit about me.

What I'm most afraid of is not living up to the ideal version of me that I, myself, have created. I know I need to be more accepting of myself. I know I need to respect myself more. I also know that not everyone will respect me, and for those who don't, I must begin the process of removal--quick and painless like a bandaid.

Why do I continue to engage with those who consistently disrespect me?

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