Most women in our culture are being brought up to always put others’ needs above their own. Apparently, it’s what women – wives and mothers – do. It’s not. No one should sacrifice their own wants, needs or principles, regardless of their gender.
However, society has conditioned us into thinking that we are to trust more a man’s judgment, since women tend to be more emotional and thus make more irrational decisions. There are many such subtle expectations and microaggressions that have subconsciously affected many generations of women. And these little hints that we’re somehow below a certain standard can harm our relationships on a massive scale.
This is why it becomes necessary to acknowledge as well as speak up for our rights in our romantic relationships. If we seek to build solid and healthy relationships that uplift us, knowing our rights, which is basically knowing our worth becomes essential. It’s time we internalized the idea that our needs are just as important as everyone else’s.
The rights listed below are, of course, valid for all people – here they are:
1. You have the right to express your needs and have them considered
Compromises will always exist in a relationship and a healthy dose wouldn’t hurt. The important thing is to make your voice heard and have your opinion on the matter at hand taken into account. But if you find yourself compromising your needs more often, then something isn’t right and communicating this to your partner is the best solution.
2. You have the right to make your feelings heard
Women have been accused on too many occasions of being too emotional, hysterical, irrational or nagging. All of these are sexist and false beliefs. Expressing how you feel about something is at the root of authentic communication. A caring partner will respond to this with compassion and understanding and appreciate your honesty.
3. You have a right to a balance of give and take
It’s only natural that partners support each other through hardship. But if the power dynamic between you two is unbalanced and you feel you are always the enabler in the relationship, then you should make some adjustments. Make sure you are getting the support you need, when you need it.
4. You have the right to sexual pleasure
Simply put, you have the right to as many orgasms as your partner. Period. Sadly, sex is yet another area where women place their partner’s wants above their own. Constantly remind yourself that you deserve to receive just as much pleasure, without demanding it though.
5. You have the right to set sexual boundaries and have them respected
No matter how long you’ve been together or how much they’ve done for you, you are the sole owner of your body and you decide what, when, and how will be touched. If your needs are very diverse from your partner, then this should be discussed, all in a non-coercive manner.
6. You have the right to interests and relationships outside your partnership
Some of us tend to be pretty sucked in our romantic relationships. But your life outside it is just as important. You have the right to be involved in activities that do not include your partner. You also have the right to a social life filled with family or friends gatherings. If your partner complains you spend too much time away from them, they may be having trouble with insecurity or respecting boundaries. Make it clear you need a balance.
7. You have the right to be consulted on decisions that affect you
If we’re talking big decisions like choosing an apartment to rent or moving to another country and changing jobs, then both partners should be involved. Of course, it’s primarily their decision to make, but they need to communicate their options and feelings and ask for yours.
8. You have the right to feel safe
This is a basic human right and we cannot stress enough how important this is. If you feel abused, be it physically or emotionally, you should seek help immediately. No one should be scared to go home or afraid to express themselves for fear their partner might snap.
9. You have the right to grow and change
No one can be the same person at 20 and 40. And that’s great! We are meant to expand our views on things, evolve and mature. It make sense that we are shaped by the experiences we have. If your partner tries to pressure you into staying the same person you were when you’ve met, then you’re clearly not moving in the same direction.
10. You have the right to end the relationship if you don’t feel happy
Ideally, each partner should make an effort to resolve conflict and make the relationship work. But if you feel you want to end it, then no one should stop you. You have the right to get out of a partnership that doesn’t fulfill you anymore.
Respecting these rights don’t make you demanding, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Once you establish certain rules and boundaries, you will feel more empowered.