The patriarchy educates men to believe that the end justifies the means. And since the end, for many, is to have one or several women at their feet, always available to them, they don't pause to consider the ethical dimension of their behavior. They don't stop to think that causing suffering to someone to have power over them is abuse and violence.
A liberated woman with whom you have enjoyable sexual encounters can tell you yes or no when you want sex. On the other hand, an enamored woman will come running into your arms at any time. This is the difference between free women and women imprisoned by love. Men educated in the patriarchy view love as a war, and for them, making women captives is like a game: it's a challenge to their masculinity, similar to the one they play when they go hunting. They love to collect trophies to show off their power, to increase their prestige, to reaffirm their masculinity, to feel important, to garner applause and arouse envy from others, and to have many available women around them.
This isn't just the case for alpha males; it also happens to left-wing men, feminist allies, and progressive polyamorous individuals. They believe their dating techniques are appropriate because they were used by their great-grandfathers and fathers. They learn them from movies, series, novels, and tabloid press, but they also learn them from the men around them: almost everyone does it; it's considered "normal."
From a very young age, they learn that a ball comes back to you at a higher speed the harder you hit it against the wall. There are several jokes about the similarity between balls and women: they know that if women fall in love and suffer, they will become more submissive, and they can manipulate them to keep them on hand when they need them.
And how do they make women fall in love? Almost all follow the same steps: first, they make them laugh, then they shower them with orgasms and attention, and afterward, they distance themselves so that the women don't think they have completely won them over and to make them start suffering.
Patriarchal men know that women have a serious self-esteem problem, which makes us insecure and jealous. They also know that we are very afraid of being alone and of not being wanted by anyone because we are bombarded every day with the idea that we must make an effort to find a partner and invest a lot of money, time, and resources to look beautiful, be fashionable, excel in everything, and be perfect in order to be loved and to prevent our beloved from seeking other women.
Many men take advantage of this low self-esteem to make us touch the sky with our fingers and then bring us down to hell. Their techniques are very effective, which is why there are so many women suffering for love: women broken by pain, women with terribly damaged mental health, depressed and medicated women, women who commit suicide, women in therapy trying to heal their wounds...
We are millions who want to stop being slaves to love, and we put a lot of effort into it. But love is a very powerful drug, and from a young age, they make us addicts to turn us into love junkies, to make us dependent on a myth that sets our bodies, hearts, guts, and sexuality on fire. We spend a lot of energy and time trying to be loved, and then it takes us years to detach ourselves from romantic love. The price we pay for falling in love is too high, but nobody talks to us about the tremendous cost of suffering for a man's love.
Patriarchal men don't evaluate the impact their desires and needs have on others: they simply use strategies that work for them without considering whether they cause suffering or not. They don't think about whether it's ethical to bring women to their knees for their own benefit. They've been told that anything goes in love, that there are no rules or restrictions to limit their exercise of power. They've been told that women are cunning and that they have to defend themselves against feminine charms: they know that the only way to control women who have rights and feel free is through love.
Many haven't even heard of emotional responsibility: they don't take responsibility for the strategies they use to get what they want because these are the methods that have been used for generations.
Some believe that we suffer because we want to; they tell us that we're actually free and could leave them whenever we want. They believe that we like it and that we enjoy suffering, that it's in our nature and inherent to women.
But it's not inherent: women learn to suffer before learning to enjoy love. From a young age, we're presented with the image of great sufferers as beautiful and special women. They mythologize them to make us cooperate with the patriarchy, which wants us bitter and preoccupied with romantic love. As we grow older, we don't believe we have the right to receive care and love; we've only been taught to give them.
Abuse in relationships is normalized and romanticized: we're made to believe that in order to experience passion, we must suffer. We're led to believe that when Cupid shoots his arrows, we're destined to endure suffering for love. We go into love defenseless and vulnerable, while they go in wearing helmets, shields, and swords. We approach love with illusions, thinking it holds our salvation, and the blow we experience when we realize that romantic love is a deceit and there's no reward for suffering for love is deeply painful.
That's why it's so important to become aware that we must stop suffering for love. To do that, we need to understand the techniques that some heterosexual men use to subjugate us and keep us under control.
Here are their
- Mixed Signals: They give you mixed signals, alternating between affection and distance. This rollercoaster of emotions creates intense highs that hook you in, followed by lows that cause you to suffer.
- Ambiguity: Some use ambiguity, not clearly expressing their feelings. They appear confused, say one thing then another, tease hope and then take it away, often portraying themselves as tormented to evoke empathy.
- On-again, Off-again: They appear and disappear, creating uncertainty and anxiety. Their presence and absence mimic the ebb and flow of waves, keeping you in a constant state of emotional turbulence.
- Promises of a Future: Some make you feel incredibly special and talk about a future together, using well-practiced techniques reminiscent of modern-day "Don Juans."
- Undermining Self-Esteem: Others make you feel insignificant while appearing larger-than-life themselves, further eroding your self-esteem.
- False Love: Some claim to be madly in love, making grand promises of a future they might not be able to fulfill. They understand that promises fuel hope and illusion, even if they are knowingly deceiving you.
- Feigned Emotions: Others may not be in love at all, but they pretend to be enamored to manipulate you into falling for them. They understand that sweet words can open hearts, even if their intentions are destructive.
- Manipulation: these techniques are used to manipulate emotions, causing suffering and dependency. Recognizing these patterns can help empower women to break free from such harmful dynamics.
- Some impose their ideal of a relationship upon you without considering your desires or understanding of love.
- Others are deniers of the relationship, insisting that despite the years you've been together, you're nobody, you mean nothing to them, and you'll never be a couple. Some hide you from their loved ones, others don't, but most take advantage of the non-committed privilege to do as they please, according to their appetites or needs.
- Some provoke jealousy in their partners to prevent them from feeling unique, to ensure compliance, effort, and constant fear of being replaced.
- Others cry and play the victim to keep you attentive to them, catering to their needs while neglecting your own.
- Some confine you to a monogamous relationship, convincing you of their monogamy while they are not. It's plain sexism and selfishness: they maintain a diverse sexual and romantic life while they remain the center of your world. Look at how brothels in any town or city are full of men during the day. Monogamy is a big scam that serves to suppress our sexuality, domesticating and confining us.
- Others propose open relationships, enjoying the power of having multiple women in the same space to see them compete and vie for their attention.
- Some are very "honest," elaborating in detail about how they flirt with other women and how much they enjoy it.
- Others are deeply dishonest: they conceal information or deliberately lie all the time. When caught, they apologize and lie again until the women either give in or leave.
- Some provoke anger to make you submit; for example, if they know you're upset, they might start an argument to divert attention from your anger.
- Others use the silent treatment, refusing to talk to you and showing complete indifference to make you feel remorseful and guilty.
- Some make you believe they'll love you forever but neglect you in the present, while others are stingy with love, offering it in minimal doses to keep you always wanting more.
- Some create triangles: they make you believe you and another girl came into their life at the same time, or they involve an ex in the current relationship. This way, they live like kings, with two women vying for their attention, causing both to suffer as he moves between them. He might alternate between them or be with both simultaneously, and neither finds it easy to break free from this triangular prison.
- Others demand that you give yourself completely, convincing you that your freedom, projects, social and emotional networks, and passions are obstacles to the relationship. They ask you to leave everything behind and focus solely on them.
Some make you believe that without them, you're nothing, that you won't be able to find happiness away from them, that you owe them everything, that your happiness depends on them, and that you have no value on your own.
Others praise you to make you feel like a goddess, although they might also do the same with others.
Some see you as a suitable wife candidate, while others view you solely as a lover. Despite your efforts to escape stereotypes and patriarchal mandates, they tend to label and treat you according to their perception of the type of woman you are (good woman/bad woman, wife material/casual fling).
Some lack empathy entirely and are unsupportive; they don't care if you cry for them. They believe it's your problem, that you brought it upon yourself, and they couldn't care less if you're breaking inside. Others, on the other hand, relish in seeing you desperate, sad, bitter, anxious, and full of distress. They feel important when they witness their partners cry and watch them grovel for scraps of love. They consistently try to make you believe that your struggles are due to your craziness, and that you are responsible for your own suffering.
Some want you to always agree with them, solve their problems, and rescue them from themselves. Others want you to respect their freedom to live life on their terms. However, they all understand that to have a woman at their mercy, they must make her fall in love and make her suffer. They believe it doesn't matter if they have to lie, toy with your feelings, deceive, and emotionally manipulate you to achieve this.
This pattern of relating is so normalized that we often fail to recognize that causing someone to suffer is a form of violence. Emotional manipulation is a form of violence, but it's presented as an act of love. We've been told time and time again that "those who love you will make you cry." They make us believe that love and hate are the same, and that "those who fight the most are the ones who desire each other the most." However, the truth is that any kind of relationship, regardless of its nature or duration, should be based on mutual care.
Whether it's a virtual or in-person relationship, whether it lasts for a night or three years, any relationship between two people engaging in a sexual connection should be founded on empathy, respect, complicity, solidarity, and care.
This way of relating has become so normalized that we hardly realize that causing someone to suffer is violence.
Emotional manipulation is a form of violence, but it's presented to us as an act of love. We've been told countless times that "those who love you will make you cry." We're led to believe that love and hate are the same, and that "those who fight the most are the ones who desire each other the most." However, the truth is that any kind of relationship, regardless of its nature or duration, should be based on mutual care.
Whether it's a virtual or in-person relationship, whether it lasts for a night or three years, any relationship between two people coming together to enjoy a sexual connection should be founded on empathy, respect, complicity, solidarity, and care.
Love is not a game if it hurts. If you cause others to suffer, it's because you're behaving badly.
The good news is that everything can be worked on and de-patriarchalized.
Now that we know who benefits from the suffering of women and why they want us to suffer, we must rebel and not allow any man to emotionally manipulate us and play with us.
The heart of patriarchy lies in the relationships we build as couples, which is why it's so important to understand these male techniques and refuse to live on our knees in the face of love.
The suffering is over; now it's our turn to start enjoying.
We all own our love: we won't be fooled anymore.
Coral Herrera Gómez
En Español: Técnicas masculinas para hacer sufrir a las mujeres