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When is it a Woman’s Turn?

I just got one of those calls that set my britches on fire. You know the ones that have you seeing red and looking at your own partner/spouse with a side eye, daring him or her to “try that mess if they want to”? Yeah. That call.

I have a brilliant acquaintance who has a degree in engineering. She and her partner have been together for almost four years and have a child together. I care about both of them deeply, but he became my friend because she was my friend first. He’s a nice guy: hard working and dedicated, but not very ambitious. He is comfortable in his job and has no designs to move up, move out or move on in order to earn more. She on the other hand has her life and its trajectory planned out for the next six years; but now the unplanned has happened.

Because she has poured so much into her work and performed her duties with such excellence, the VP of her organization has singled her out to take on a position he’s creating based on her skill set. She is thrilled, of course, but hesitant to take the offer because it requires a move to a small town. She knows that her partner is comfortable where they are and would not want to move. I’ve seen this scenario too many times. Heck, I even lived through it myself! The man is comfortable where he is, and the woman is supposed to kowtow and abandon her ambitions for his benefit.

I lived with resentment for this very reason for almost three years, which is the only reason I gave her this tidbit of advice when she asked me thoughts.

“Don’t be like me o! If you get a chance, take!” The words could hardly leave my mouth fast enough. “There are so many women who have left America – and their husbands – to return to work in Ghana and make a life. It’s not like you’re leaving the country. If he wants to follow you, he can. If not, he can just get an apartment as you suggested. Why should you suffer and lose out on an opportunity just because he’s not comfortable with it?”

Ladder to successWhy indeed? There has been a long standing tradition in just about every culture that expects women to drop everything – to delay their hopes, dreams and ambitions until a man figures out what he wants to do with himself. It is rare that a man has the gall, compassion, fortitude or whatever you want to call it to put his woman’s professional needs above his own…even when she’s the major breadwinner in the family (as it in this case). It’s rare, but it’s not unfathomable or impossible, which is why I don’t understand this dude’s deal! Two women who have trumpeted the unwavering support they have had from their husbands are Ruby Buah, creator of KUA and Tosinger. Can you imagine your wardrobe without a KUA bag, or your playlist without Tosinger’s happy-go-lucky melodies? I mean COME ON!

Ooooh, I’m so furious! Every day I look around me and I see women who have missed out on fabulous opportunities because of the sacrifices they are expected to make for children, family, spouses and mates. It sickens me. What’s even more stomach turning is the amount of vitriol that women who chose to do the very opposite are subjected to. I have a small number of friends and acquaintances who took the brave step to initiate divorce when their mates had become dead weight, and for that they were rewarded with ridicule and scorn (never to their faces, of course). I say bravo to them! A woman’s burdens in this life are far too heavy already to compensate for the failings of a man or his tender feelings on the matter.


There is an adage that says “Well behaved women rarely make history”. Let’s do a test. Grab a pen and paper and write down the names five prominent women. Go!

What were their attributes? Would you consider them daring and determined? What kind of obstacles did they face? Did they overcome them by playing meek and subservient, or did they attack and conquer them?

It’s already too late for me, but I’ll be damned if I let another woman live a life of mediocrity without putting my two pesewas inside her palaver. I’m so TIRED of seeing women walking down their individual boulevards of broken dreams, grinning and bearing it because this is what life for a “good woman” is “supposed” to look like.  My dear friend, if you’re reading this: Go for yours. The path to greatness is trodden by few. Don’t let ANYONE stop you from achieving and obtaining what is specially carved out for you!


Do you agree women are expected to make sacrifices for the benefit of others? Is it selfish for a woman to consider herself before her family/mate? What would you advise my friend to do in this instance? Better still, what advice would you have for her man? Discuss! ↓

This article has 13 comments

  1. Khadija

    He will comprise if he wants the relationship to work. Hell she can get another man if he is not ready to support in some fashion. Trust me, I know. I divorced an idiot who tried to stop me from my destiny. I don’t play that.

    • Malaka

      I’m afraid she will rather be the one to “compromise”. I put that in quotes, because it’s not really a compromise in her case as far as I’m concerned, but succumbing to defeat. I think it’s a harder move because there is a child involved.

      And you were one of those women I had in mind concerning taking the brave step to seek our divorce. But in your case it was a no brainer. Ah ah! The guy was MAD.

      It’s so ridiculous. I think about all the theorems that have never been proven, books that haven’t been written and inventions that haven’t been made because our systems are set up to suppress women’s potential and I want to go ape. Aba!

  2. safisy

    I really hope she manages to leave her partner behind for the sake of this great opportunity in case he refuses to come with her. It won’t take her long to realize she has made a huge gain. All my encouragement for her. He will follow if he really misses her. If not, there are more suitable partners around for her to choose. And, by the way, living on your own is also a great alternative, you don’t need a partner to be happy – some women seem to have forgotten the joys of being independent! A fulfilling job and good friends can be a source of genuine happiness and well-being. It is time for women to realize that many, if not most, men don’t define themselves and their own standing in life based on the woman who is their partner. For them, the woman is just a nice accessory. So please, dear women, stop making so much fuss about your relationships, do what is good for you and move on if necessary!

    • Malaka

      “Men don’t define themselves and their standing based on the woman they are with.” Lawd, woman. You preaching that gospel on an early Sunday morning!
      And yet, how many women get their sense of worth by who they are dating or married to? Perhaps it’s easy for me to roll my eyes because I AM married, but I get so irritated by my single friends who crave any relationship they can get into. It’s not healthy! Being single and employed is a GIFT.
      Hopefully my friend will read your words and advise herself.

  3. Khadija

    Well I divorced the 3rd one too because I came to realize what safisy said. I also think it is not good to teach our children to give up on their dreams because of a man either, especially one who is not supportive. I am too old to not be happy anymore in exchange for….

  4. Ibk

    I usually agree with your posts, but I’m torn on this. You have experience on your side, cos I’m still relatively a young guy…

    On one hand, you’re right in believing that the guy should be prepared to move of need be. Even if he doesn’t like, it’s a show of support to his wife. And it’s a good trait to show his kids: “Support your loved one at what they aspire to do”

    On the other hand, it’s not only women that give up their dreams because they marry. A good man (based on what I’ve seen) also has to be ready to give up his previous dreams as soon as he becomes married. Not that he can’t aspire to be more, but he will have to change his dreams from “making it up the ladder” to “making it enough to make sure his family is always provided for…”

    When both parties focus more on self-dreams, than family-oriented dreams, there is always a danger of the family breaking. In this instance, I’m talking as a kid who had two ambitious parents. There was barely any time for us except on weekends.

    Both the gent and the lady need to always, more often than not, put the needs of the family and their kids above their dreams, wants and needs.

    • Malaka

      Thank you for your comment! It’s much appreciated. It’s extremely valid, because you are speaking from the point of view of the child of 2 ambitious parents. It’s important to temper your goals with consideration for ones family, and in my friend’s case, she wants to set up a secure financial future for herself and her child. It’s hard because you have decide where your true priorities are. Does poverty come now or later because I decided to stay stagnant to keep everyone “happy”?

      Never discount your opinion because you are young! 🙂

  5. Allison

    Has she actually discussed this with him, or is she just assuming she already knows the outcome of the conversation? (I’m sorry if I didn’t read closely enough because this hits very close to home for me and I got all fired up reading this post.) Based on what you’ve written, I assume the same, but I agree with you. I would implore her to put herself and her child first. This dude is grown. If he refuses to see the forest for the trees, she needs to cut some of those bad boys down.

    • Malaka

      Yes. She discussed it with him (and called me after). I probably didn’t make it clear because I was so pissed as I was writing.
      It has brought up another issue which I think we should all discuss. That issue is the question of “what exactly is in the best interest of the child”? Maybe we will after the holiday…

  6. Dela Media (@CreativeDela)

    I am with you ooo. I packed my shit and left an idiot who I dropped out of school for, married him and had a baby for. For 3 years I have had to be the one pushing him but he would not push. Comfortable in his job.I asked that we move into a bigger place when the baby came, he refused even though we could afford it. Everyday I felt I was loosing my ambitious self, feeling insecure because of his insecurity. The worst was for me to put my whole life on hold for him, wasted my youthful 5 years with him.
    We did nothing because on weekends he only wants to watch basketball and I want to go out. Always making excuses about not being comfortable among white people, but we lived in a 95% white people town.

    I felt like he never stood up for me and did not support me in my endeavours. He always complains that I am impatient. I got tired of pushing him, I felt i needed him to also push and motivate me.
    Soon enough I sat him down and told him I have to leave him, because ths is not what i envisioned for my Future, he just said ok… Lol was hoping he would fight and say we can work it out. Hah!

    I called my school and asked that they enroll me back. A month later I was on a flight back to a new city with my two year old. I started school again, that was two years ago. i would be graduating next month, best feeling ever
    The best of all is that I got my mojo back. It wasn’t easy but I did it.

    Still waiting for him to send me the divorce he said he was filing a year ago, but just like everything else, he will drag his feet until you put pepper in his anus. But I don’t care, he can chew the divorce course I got a new companion now, it’s called a degree. Hahahah

    • Malaka

      Bravo to you! I can’t STAND a man who wants to sit around and do nothing all weekend. I’ve blogged about it years ago, but that was a big issue I had with hubby in the beginning. Fortunately we worked things out, but I have no qualms with traveling or going out by myself. I’m all about that action!
      You said something sooo important: you also need a mate to challenge and push you as well. Iron sharpens iron! It gets hard being the one always lifting and motivating.
      Congrats on your degree and for going back to school! I celebrate with you!

  7. ewurabasempe

    I can see it from the perspective of the kid because I was left to the care of my grandmother because both parents decided to follow their individual dreams. that said, I am for the woman taking charge of her future and not letting the relationship hold her back. The kid might be in therapy for a while lol, but they’ll live 😀

  8. malota

    Glad i waited for the comments to build up, seeing it from the eyes of others is really revealing. I never considered what would happen to the kids if both parents actively pursued their individual dreams instead of that of that family. My parents gave up their dreams for us though for different reasons, my dad gave up because of his health and my mum couldn’t bare being aware from us and the thought of who would raise us in her absence. They dedicated their lives to raising and providing all that we needed.

    I think if a man doesn’t want to support his wife because he is scared of her potential success then he doesn’t know and love his wife. There is no fear in love (Bible) . Just because you are comfortable with your situation does not mean everyone must be satisfied with theirs and not aspire to be better and actually start the process of improving their lives. You should be supportive, help where you can and be the partner you promised to be when you were exchanging vows. Respect is an important foundation of relationships, if you ever feel you will lose it when there are changes, do not enter the relationship.

    “Is it selfish for a woman to consider herself before her family/mate” Would have said no yesterday but now i dont know. I think it is a no and yes answer. Yes if she is doing it without making provisions for helping with the family and no because her life is also important, she cant run down her life because of the family or husband. They must both work and sacrifice for the union. It should be a balance and one shouldnt feel less appreciated or motivated.

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