The Time I Should Have Stood My Ground

Do you ever have those moments where you think back on a situation that happened in the past, and wished you had said or done something different?

Like when you have a disagreement with someone, and you are in the shower two days later and go over it in your head. You think suddenly, “Damn it! I should have told them this!” It would have been the perfect thing you could have said in the moment, and you wonder how the outcome would have changed if you had said that instead of the thing you actually said.

I have a few of those moments in one of my former relationships from several years ago. I had received a letter in the mail inviting me to enter the Miss Indiana Pageant. After giving it some thought for a few days, I decided to go for it. If you know me now, you might be surprised to find out I was ever into a thing like pageants, and back then it was kind of a strange thing for me to get into but I wanted to try something new and I thought it would be a good opportunity.

So I prepared for this thing for months and was pretty excited, although I was also a little nervous. The guy who was my boyfriend at the time knew about it and generally seemed supportive at first. Things were fine until about a month before the pageant date. I was on the phone with him going over some details. Finally, he confessed that he had negative feelings about my participation. He told me that he didn’t feel comfortable with me being on stage in a swimsuit for everyone to see.  This conversation was a long time ago, but I remember him primarily being worried about other men getting a look at me on the runway, and I believe as an afterthought he also took an issue with the concept of  women being rewarded for their looks.

He confronted me honestly, and he never demanded or even asked that I back out of the competition, but I could tell the ordeal had really gotten to his head and made him anxious, and I became disappointed in his reaction.

I remember being confused. I couldn’t figure out if he was being ridiculous or if I was wrong for wanting to do this.

My initial reaction was trying to explain to him that this was a scholarship pageant, not some boozy spring break bikini contest. I told him that there were 45 other women in it and everyone in the audience was primarily there to watch their own contestant go on stage. I reassured him that it was no big deal, but I don’t think that helped much.

Over the next few days, the way he felt about it was on mind. Stupidly, I let his pouting to get to me, and I backed out of the competition.  I remember thinking that I wanted to keep him happy so maybe I shouldn’t go through with it after all. I now realize that this was the wrong thing for me to do. Not because I should have been uncaring about his discomfort, but because forfeiting the competition didn’t cure his insecurity. It just avoided the issue. I would soon find out that there were going to be other instances like this, and I’d always cave into whatever he wanted, sacrificing what I wanted, and now I know I shouldn’t have done that.

In reality, the issue he had with my competition was something that he needed to take responsibility for on his own. It wasn’t something I could have or should have done anything to fix for him.

If I could do it all over again, I would have stood my ground and told him this.

“I’m sorry you feel this way, but this is something I really want to do. You can either be on board and be supportive or not. Either way, I’m going to have a good time in this competition.”

I wouldn’t get upset or be mean about it. I would simply take back control of the situation, and he would have to deal with his feelings properly.

A good man knows that he doesn’t have to be thrilled about everything you do. He can either deal with it or if it bothers him that bad, he can go his own way.

We were a young, dating couple. There was no reason for me not to take a fun opportunity that I was interested in. There was nothing that I was doing wrong that contributed to his insecurity. I hadn’t given him a reason to doubt me as his girlfriend. I would of course encourage him to figure out where his nervousness was coming from and encourage him to find a solution.

But back then, I was stuck in this mindset that I shouldn’t do anything that he didn’t like or approve of. I didn’t dare to do anything that would rock the boat, even if that meant giving up things I wanted to do.

Needless to say, my mentality is much different now. I am a woman who is not afraid to my life my own way. I associate with people who understand my ambitions and are supportive of things I want to do.

Of course hindsight doesn’t change what has already happened in the past. It can only teach you what you might want to do differently in the future.

– Ash Pariseau

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Ash Pariseau
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Comments 13

  • I think you did the right thing. That is really hard though when it comes to things like that. Once you’re married, it can literally destroy your marriage to constantly do things a husband feels uncomfortable with. It may be insecurity, but at some point they feel it crosses the line of loyalty.

    We had a similar thing actually happen to us early on in our marriage… right before our 1st year anniversary I had the chance to do some pretty big modeling (kind of got “discovered”). I went ahead and did some first photo shoots and created a portfolio of photos, but I could tell it did bother him a little when it was explained that it would be very expected to eventually do swimsuits and sometimes lingerie shoots, or skimpier clothing etc. Nothing really bad, but if you really want to actually make good money off of modeling, eventually you either go sport (which is skimpy), do some bikinis, or do some lingerie now and then. And my husband just didn’t feel comfortable at all with knowing I’d be in magazines like that or on big ads etc.

    Every man has his line where he wouldn’t want his wife (or girl) to cross, and it really is different for different men I think. Some are ok with being with a model who does all kinds of shoots, but they’d never be ok being with (or married to) a stripper. Some are ok being with a stripper, but would never be ok with being with a porn star, and so on and so on.

    But you did it right. Those kinds of things have to be worked out before marriage, and then after marriage, if your goal is staying together, sometimes it means letting go of something that won’t really benefit you both as a team.

    • Yes, different men are going to have different levels of comfort, and I suppose it is all about preferences. For me it’s more understandable for a guy to be uncomfortable with his wife being a stripper since there is drinking and touching involved, but other men might be okay with that too. If a woman thinks she might want to be a model or any of these that we’ve mentioned, it would be good to have a man with similar views and comfort level.

  • Thank you for sharing your story.
    You could have told him that the opportunity could have potentially made the two of a lot of money. I know a lot of pageants contestants go into modeling and acting careers.

  • I know what you mean. I remember sacrificing some opportunities for one of my exes, and now I feel silly because I realized that his insecurities were harming my job and social opportunities and ultimately it was more his issue than mine.

    Sometimes I wonder if these men would even sacrifice the same for us, if we didn’t like or approve of something they wanted to do.

  • You wrote “I remember being confused. I couldn’t figure out if he was being ridiculous or if I was wrong for wanting to do this.”

    It seems like his opposition to your choice was a reflection of your own doubts of whether it was the right thing to do….i wonder if you had been more sure of your decision…would he have been able to pursuade you otherwise?

    It seems like your decision was made more because of your inner doubts and less.because you let a man decide for you. If he was against you going to pray or giving to the poor you may have been able to stand up.for yourself with more ease.

    Maybe not…just a thought.

    • Interesting point of view. Maybe there is some truth to that as well. It was during a time where I had some of my own insecurities and doubts, as a lot of 20 year old women do. However, I did end up competing in a couple of other pageants after this happened. Overall, it was a good experience, but I think I phased out of the whole pageant-girl style of life. I’m all for celebrating women and their achievements, but a lot of those old fashion pageants come with a lot of out dated rules and regulations that I just couldn’t stand behind anymore.

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