Written By: Jeff Craig
No you are not on the wrong blog site. No this is not a home improvement article. Today I will be talking about two different ways men act in relationships and why one way is better than the other. I will be discussing what a floor mat is and what a door is in relation to men and how they behave in their relationships.
First, let me start out with a story. A client of mine came to be because he was looking for a long term, meaningful relationship with a woman. He explained to me that when he starts dating a woman, it appears that everything is going great. He takes them on fancy dates, he does romantic gestures, and they text each other all day long. But after a few weeks, the woman seems to back off. She is quiet on dates, she doesn’t seem impressed by the romantic gestures, and rarely responds to his text messages.
Shortly after, they lose contact and he is once again left alone. He doesn’t understand why they lose interest when he is simply acting as the “ideal man” he was led to believe every woman wants. After discovering more about his life and other relationships, I found that he acts a similar way with friends. He is always the guy to buy drinks, he always does what they want to do, and he makes himself available to them 24/7. He sounds like a pretty amazing guy right? Well he is, but there is problem. The issue at hand is that he is acting like a floor mat. This doesn’t make him a bad person at all, but it is one of the leading causes of relationship problems with men.
Now in order to break through the vague analogy of a floor mat and a door, it is important to know what they look like in relationships. First, lets tackle exactly what a floor mat looks like.
Many of us have heard this term before. The shortest way to describe a floor mat is a person who lets others walk all over them. Floor mats are on the ground, they are flimsy and simply used for the needs of others. It requires no effort to use a floor mat. It does not change and is only used for the sake of cleaning the dirt off people’s shoes. No one is impressed by a floor mat and they do not miss it when it is gone.
In comparison to the way men behave in relationships, a floor mat gives in to the other person’s every need. They will literally sacrifice their own happiness for the happiness of others. They immerse themselves in the lives of others and lose their own. A man who acts as a floor mat is only behaving this way because they believe that it will eventually earn the love and respect of others. Unfortunately, it is quite the opposite. As a result, floor mats get frustrated and confused, having trouble understanding where they are going wrong and move on to try even harder with the next person, only to fail once again. A floor mat does not describe a person. It describes a behavior pattern, which means it can be changed. But before we get into that, let’s first discuss what a door looks like.
A door is a far less discussed analogy when referring to behaviors in relationships. So let’s think about what a door is. A door is a representation of the identity of the homeowner. It is a symbol of their lifestyle and wealth. A door stands tall. It is sturdy, secure, and strong. A door separates the outside world from the privacy of the home. The door does not open on it’s own, but doesn’t require an immense amount of effort. If a person wants to utilize a door, they must turn a knob and push. It requires effort on both sides. A door keeps a home safe and would be missed if it were to disappear.
Now let’s relate that to the way men behave in relationships. Men who are doors are confident. They stand proud and tall. They do not let the emotions of others rule their behavior. This man’s appearance is important to him, allowing it to serve as a representation of his lifestyle and personal value. A man who acts as a door does not wear his heart on his sleeve. The deepest part of himself is only shown to those who have the key and are granted access. The key to his heart is not given freely to those who desire it, it is earned through action. They must be willing to put forth the effort if they are to witness that which he protects. Those who gain access, are welcomed with open arms to a safe and secure environment. He provides them with the love and care they deserve. This man provides value to the relationship while requiring a collaborative effort from the other person. This man enriches the lives of others and their experiences would be less enjoyable without him.
Do you see the difference? Men who are floor mats and men who are doors are very different. This is why they are treated differently in relationships. Men who act like floor mats believe that they are providing value to others, but it comes at their own expense. In relationships, we want someone who will compromise with us, but not by sacrificing a part of themselves. A relationship is a trade off, an even exchange. There must be reciprocation involved if each person is to earn the respect of the other. Kind gestures are wonderful, but when they become constant, it is perceived as insecure or needy. A relationship is a team effort. It is not one sided. The goal is for both members to achieve equal happiness and satisfaction in the relationship. A healthy relationship involves respect, compromise, and equality.
So now if you have read this and realized that you have been living as a floor mat in your relationships, don’t give up hope. As previously stated, this is not a personality trait. This is a behavior pattern and behavior patters can be changed. So now I will provide you with ways that you can stop behaving like a floor mat in relationships and start living as a door.
Be Confident in Who You Are
If you are to be respected by others, you must first respect yourself. Think about it, would you admire someone who is constantly down on themselves all the time. Would you respect someone who lets others tell them what to do, what to like, how to dress, etc.? If you are to find your way off the floor and standing proud, you must first develop confidence and respect in yourself. Some quick ways to develop more confidence would include acknowledging your accomplishments, recognizing your own personal values, and taking care of your body, soul, and mind. By developing inner confidence, you will emit an aura that commands respect.
What You Allow Will Continue
Just as in many aspects of life, the negative things you allow into it will continue indefinitely. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. No you are not insane, but you may want to try something different. If behaving desperate and needy isn’t earning the love and respect of others, perhaps changing your behavior will help change the way others view you. You are not the floor mat you think you are. You are the floor mat you let yourself be. Once you decide to stop allowing yourself to be a floor mat for others, you will begin earning their love and respect.
Never Sacrifice Who You Are for Others
There is a big difference between compromise and sacrifice. In relationships, it is healthy to be open to new experiences and interests of others. It makes you more diverse and allows you to discover new interests. But it is vital that this behavior is reciprocated. The value another person has to offer you is just as important as the value you have to offer them. But first, you must recognize your own value and only allow yourself to be open to others that want access to your world. Someone who is strong in their own identity is an extremely valuable trait to have.
Do Kindness Through Love, Not Validation
One aspect many people get wrong is that floor mats shouldn’t do nice things for others. This is not true. It is the context behind why you are doing this kind gesture that matters most. If you are going out of your way for someone with the expectation that it will increase your value, you are doing it wrong. You should never engage in kind behaviors simply for the expectation of a “Thank You.” This puts pressure on the other person and makes this act of kindness appear insincere. People pleasing is selfish. You are putting the responsibilities of your own value in the hands of the recipient. Kind deeds are appreciated when they come directly from the heart. When acts of kindness come from the heart, there is no expectation or need of validation. When you engage in kind acts toward others simply as an act of love, people gravitate toward you. They appreciate it more and are more likely to reciprocate.
Set Boundaries That Must Be Honored
It is common for people who behave as floor mats to allow others to use and abuse them. However, when you accept this kind of treatment, all respect is lost. It is extremely difficult to respect someone who doesn’t respect themselves. The way to get past this is to stand up for yourself and set healthy boundaries. Boundaries are not aggressive; they are gentle tools to lead others into an appropriate behavior. When you demand respect from others, they will gladly respect you. Setting healthy boundaries and sticking to them is a great way to earn respect from others. When people are given boundaries and they know that you will stick to them, they will not test you. And those who do not respect your boundaries don’t deserve to be a part of your world. By setting boundaries, you are teaching others how to treat you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Shut the Door
Many individuals living as floor mats are afraid to end unhealthy relationships in fear of being alone. They settle with what they can get, assuming that they are not deserving of anything better. Let’s get one thing straight. YOU DESERVE BETTER. Every single person deserves to be in relationships where they are loved and respected for who they are. If you are not respected by those around you, respect yourself enough to shut them out. If they don’t respect your home, don’t welcome them in. Lock the door and throw away the key. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it. By walking away from unhealthy relationships, you not only free yourself from a negative environment, but you also allow space for those who are eager to give you the love and respect you deserve.
In conclusion, you may be living as a floor mat, but that doesn’t mean you need to live that way forever. There are simple behavior changes you can engage in that will transform the way you treat yourself and the way you are treated by others. We all deserve love and respect, but it is vital to first love and respect ourselves. By setting healthy boundaries, being strong in who you are, and making it acceptable to walk away, you will earn the admiration and respect of those who are deserving to have you in their lives.
And from now on, you will always look at doors differently.