College Crisis: Express Yourself

Our college years are full of dramatic “I’m not a grown up!” moments- mostly unexpected, and typically unwanted. Anonymous Valley writers discuss it all, from avoiding basic responsibilities to dealing with the big, bad future. Let’s talk about it.


“Don’t go for second best, baby.” Madonna had it right when she wrote the song that lends its title to this article. As people (but especially women) it’s time that we learned to make our needs known.

For a long time, I stayed in relationships that were not emotionally fulfilling for me–or even worse, made me depressed–because I was afraid of what leaving would bring. I carried huge amounts of emotional baggage, hoping that if I gave more to the situation that eventually I would receive what I needed in return. Instead, I survived on less and less until the loneliness I had feared became appealing by comparison.

As a woman, I sometimes get the feeling that somewhere along the way our sex has been conditioned to think that speaking our opinions makes us less appealing–screaming, crying and asking for things that we need from our partners isn’t sexy.

I know this isn’t the 50s, and we have rights and we’re all independent, strong people. But still, it’s hard to ignore the double standard present on the cover of every Cosmopolitan magazine telling us how we can please our man.

But what about what he’s doing for me, huh?

We need to learn to let go of our fear of making our needs known and start vocalizing our opinions. We need to learn how to say what upsets us, what makes us happy and what we need from our partners. What we gain from our relationships, as well as how happy they make us, is entirely up to us.

If you keep mum about feeling neglected, then you will continue to feel neglected. Your partner WILL NOT and I repeat: WILL NOT magically wake up one day and realize that he has been treating you poorly and that you are queen and should be treated with the utmost respect, love and care if he has been a complete @$$ for your entire relationship.

Sorry, but Nicholas Sparks lied to you.

Here’s the bright side: if you are dissatisfied in a relationship, talking to your partner can fix that. Explaining to him what you need from the relationship to be emotionally satisfied will give him the opportunity to fix it; maybe he didn’t even realize that he was being insensitive.

Most importantly, if he cares about you, your feelings will matter to him. He will want to do everything in his power to make you happy.

If you’re afraid to tell your partner what you feel because you’re scared he’ll leave or yell, then chances are you’re not happy and you deserve better. Still, always give the person the benefit of the doubt. Explain how you feel and what you want to change about your relationship, and give him a chance to change.

If he doesn’t, or he refuses to, then he’s a bum who’s not worth your time. You’d be better off on your own.

So c’mon ladies, speak up. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose but the losers.

Photo by Shantelle Williams

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