I recently came across an internet thread in which a lady of much intelligence and perception observed that many women are "simply trying to deal with the pain that has been directly inflicted upon them time and time again."

This is very true, but must NOT be mistaken for the statement "and therefore, men are worse than women." That is a separate statement, which would have to be defended quite separately from the simple, painful statement that many women are in pain.

My position is very simple: people are people, and men and women rip the hell out of each other. It is easy to find groups that will point the finger at "the other" whether you are talking about male/female, black/white, Christian/Muslim or whatever. The default position for human beings is to say that other people are responsible for your pain, rather than looking at the person in the mirror.

Or to put it another way: lots of people blame others for their issues. If you think you can have a healthy relationship with someone who does that, go right ahead and try: but if you want to have a relationship with someone who takes responsibility for their choices, actions and emotions that is exactly what YOU have to do.

I remember very clearly a woman who was actually a therapist (!) who told me that she knew men were shit, and had the experience to prove it--she had been married many times. I laughed in her face, and said that there was only one thing in common between all her relationships--she was there. I bore down and it turned out she was attracted to "bad boys" and asked her what happened when she met a "nice guy." After a lot of deflection and hawing, she confessed that she wasn't attracted to them. Her choices. Her results.

Imagine two rooms. In one are men who blame women for their failed relationships, and women who blame men for the same. In the other are men and women who take responsibility for their choices. PERIOD. You get to decide which room you enter. I suspect that everyone reading this would like to go to the second party. The cover charge is awakened adulthood, and refusal to blame others for your decisions. There is no cheating.

In life, we don't get what we want. We get what we are.
This painful truth emerges in the realm of the physical body, our finances, and in our relationships.

Of course, you may take the opposite position, that we DON'T have responsibility. That "the other" is worse, more immoral uncaring and evolved than Wonderful Us.

Let me know how that works for you, would ya?

Author's Bio: 

Steven Barnes is a NY Times Bestselling Author, life coach, martial artist and yoga instructor. He makes his home in Atlanta with his wife, novelist Tananarive Due and their son Jason.