Are You Too Understanding?

Girl Debating if she should accept guys excuseI was thinking about Friday’s post Why Won’t He Commit? 7 Things You Can Do to Move Things Along, and I realized that there’s a common theme I’m seeing among those of us who hang around far too long, waiting for a guy to come around.  You know, the one we’re convinced could be the love of our lives if he would just come to his senses and realize that he doesn’t want to lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him.  Tell me if this doesn’t sound familiar.  You’re so understanding.  You understand.  I understand.  It’s understandable.  Do you hear that?  Understanding.  We’re all just so understanding!

I think it’s time to revisit this whole concept and ask yourself, are you too understanding?

If he doesn’t call when he says he’s going to, or he doesn’t show up on time when he says he’s going to, what do we do?  Do we call him on it?  Let him know in no uncertain terms that we’re not ok with that kind of behavior?  Do we decide he’s not the guy for us and let him go after hearing too many excuses that didn’t hold water?  No, not us.  If you’re anything like I used to be in my single days, we just accept his excuses with our totally understanding perfect girlfriend responses, and quietly hope to ourselves that this will be the last time it happens.  Teaching him not only that we don’t value ourselves enough to refuse to put up with this kind of behavior, but also that he can treat us like that and we’ll still be there waiting for his call, waiting for him when he finally makes it over to pick us up. Because, after all, we understand, right? 

He just loves that about us. We’re just so understanding.  We understand him the way no one else ever had.  Did you hear that?  That’s a huge warning sign that this is not the guy for you.  Not relationship material for anybody, and certainly not you.  If he’s telling you he’s never met someone so understanding and letting you  know how much he loves that about you, or how his ex was never this understanding and that’s why she’s his ex, listen to what he’s saying between the lines loud and clear.  There’s a reason why none of his ex’s were that understanding – his behavior is not acceptable.  Take a lesson from them and know that this is not the place for understanding.  Understanding is overrated where unacceptable behavior in a relationship is concerned.  His ex figured that out – and that’s why he’s not with her anymore and why he’s telling you how much he loves how understanding you are.

I remember that all too well.  I used to think being understanding was a wonderful trait to have.  I understood just about everybody and everything.  All too well.  Without questioning hardly anything too deeply.  But here’s the thing I didn’t figure out for a long time: understanding has no place in love relationships where you’re not being treated the way you deserve to be treated.  Because you deserve nothing less than to have your guy honor his word and respect you and your time by behavior like calling you when he says he’s going to call and showing up when and where he says he’s going to show up.  I’m not talking about the occasional times when life hits a major bump in the road and things come up, but even then, he can figure out how to get ahold of you some way to let you know.  And know that these occurrences are rare.  Maybe once or twice a year – if it’s happening more often than that and you’re putting up with it, you’re most likely too understanding.

If what you’re getting is yet another excuse and your hearing the same story over and over again, it’s time to rethink how much of an asset being understanding is in the relationship department. With this guy.  And how much it’s serving you to continue to be understanding when your close friends and family are starting to question your sanity where this guy’s concerned.

You see, I’m not that understanding anymore.  It was a long road for me, but I finally arrived on the side of realistic and left the old all-too-understanding me behind.   Realistic.  Meaning based in reality, not in the fantasy I so wanted to believe. The fantasy of my own creation that seemed like it would be so good if I could just wait it out a little longer, until it became reality.  But it’s not reality, and enough is enough.  It doesn’t matter if this is his first offense or a string of many.  It’s time for us to rethink being so understanding.

Once you stop being so understanding of disrespectful behavior, you’ll find that you start attracting guys who will respect you – because they can see that you respect yourself.


  1. says

    This is so true. I was in a relationship long before I met my husband where I was the "perfect girlfriend", so understanding. Which really just meant that I put up with only receiving the crumbs in the relationship. I finally broke it off. After I got some time and distance from it all and could see beyond the pain of the break up I couldn't believe what I had put up with! And the worst part was that I had allowed it! I swore then to never again trade my self-respect for being "understanding". In the end I think going through it all was good for me because it made me grow but it was enormously painful at the time. When I did meet the man who was to become my husband I found myself in a relationship where I could be understanding, but was never asked to "understand" that he would treat me as a lesser priority in his life. It is a relationship of mutual respect where the give and take flows BOTH ways. Nobody should ever settle for less.

  2. Jane says

    Karen - I'm so glad you found the strength to break off from the bad relationship, as painful as that can be. And I totally agree - once you find yourself with a man who's deserving of YOU, worthy of YOU, he will be a man that treats you the way you deserve to be treated, and this type of "understanding" will not be needed. All too often we overlook unacceptable behavior under the name of "understanding", when in actuality it should be called "putting up with unacceptable behavior".

    Thanks for the great contribution!

  3. says

    Hi Jane! I'm happy to have found your website. I'm currently healing from a relationship that ended recently, but I'm feeling better everyday because I know what I deserve and need in a relationship and from a partner. Earlier on in the relationship, my ex had actually made a comment along the lines of liking that I was understanding and didn't beat him over the head about things. This became a major red flag. It wasn't too long after when he started taking advantage of this "understanding" nature and began continually letting me down, saying one thing and doing another, or blowing me off without as much as an apology. He claimed to be 'Mr. Understanding' and he thought that I should be Ms. Understanding and not address him about things; just let things go. What he was *misunderstanding was that I was not going to settle for being taken for granted.

    • Jane says

      Hi Kimster - I'm glad that you're not allowing anyone to walk all over you, and that you're not settling for less than what you deserve (a real relationship). Like I said in the post, once you start respecting yourself it will show - in your confidence, your self-esteem, and your attitude!

      It's great that you're moving in the right direction, and I know you'll find that it takes you to a better place - a place of love. :-)

  4. nadine says

    I have recently ended a "being the perfectly too understanding girlfriend" type relationship. And I was here researching on how to get my life back on track and pounced upon your website. Honestly, I found myself laughing as it felt as if I was reading my own story here. Anyway, I am feeling more and more confident that I can now progress towards healthy relationships and avoid emotionally unavailable men now. It's been years of being this type of girlfriend, but now I am finally making the changes needed as all the websites that I have found has turned out to be very helpful. Thanks. Keep up this great work you are doing.

    • Jane says

      Thank you for your kind words, Nadine. I'm so glad you're here and you were able to find some humor in relating to my own story. :-) It is a journey, but it sounds like you are well on your way to discovering that beautiful real confidence that comes from knowing and loving yourself and realizing that it's all a part of this journey!

  5. Kisha says

    Hi, I was reading this and I feel this way 100% however,the relatiinship im in that is currently undergoing the phones calls that only happens when im the one to call or text or any type of communication really. He says he's busy and all but I see that there is somewhere that he can send a text or call every now and then. He labels me as a girlfriend that is NOT understanding. Which is what troubles me :/ I know what ive read but its like a flipd situation in my book. Ive put up with this behavior for about 3yrs now....I think that shows my patience and understanding....I never keep quiet anymore about it either. But would my situation be related considering that he hasnt thrown out the "I love that you are so understanding" bomb? Its a lot I know, but this is a really confusing situation im in. Help with any advice!!!

    • Jane says

      If you've been "putting up" with this behavior for about 3 years now, and he's calling you "not understanding', then this is a guy who clearly wants a relationship on his terms that no woman could ever measure up to! Ask yourself what you're really getting out of the relationship, Kisha, and decide for yourself what being with him is worth to you, and then trust your gut instinct to know what to do here. If it's not working for you, then it's not working for the both of you. You have to be happy - and getting your needs met, too!

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