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Wake up and dump him, says viral sensation imdatfeminist
Let this 24-year-old's relationship wisdom change your life
You never forget the moment you encounter someone truly special, someone you just click with who’s meant to be in your life. That’s what I felt when I first discovered imdatfeminist’s Twitter feed, an account dripping with the exact kind of tough love and real talk that brokenhearted people everywhere desperately need to hear.
Imdatfeminist spouts off devastating wisdom daily to her 45,000 Twitter followers and 11,000 Instagram followers, reminding them how worthy they are, how unworthy this dude they’re crying over is, and just how far a little self-worth can go. Thinking of getting back with your ex—again? There’s a tweet for that. Caught in a well of self-pity? There’s a tweet for that. Need some emotional support? There’s definitely a tweet for that. Getting thoroughly smacked on the ass by her concise, honest advice is sometimes just as effective as a good therapy session.
The woman behind the anonymous (for now—she has a YouTube channel coming out soon) social media sensation is a 24-year-old student at the University of Houston. A past toxic relationship so thoroughly broke her down that she had to completely rebuild herself, which is why she’s here tweeting at you with stern love today. Read on—if you’re ready to face yourself.
We need to talk
Jillian Anthony: I was just going through a bunch of your tweets and feeling all sorts of things, and I’m so excited to learn more about the inspiring person behind it all. Where did imdatfeminist begin?
imdatfeminist: I took some time off of college when I was 18. Me and my sister lived in Austin and both of us ended up going through toxic relationships there, and learned so much about ourselves. We collaborated on how we completely lost ourselves and we had to get ourselves back.
How did that experience help you focus back in on what you wanted to do and your career?
I grew up seeing broken relationships and I had no indication of what a healthy relationship was like. And you know, it happens so quickly that you meet someone who from the start has shown you signs that they’re wrong for you, but you’re so blindly optimistic that you just think, oh no, I’m the exception. I completely threw logic out the window, and we all do when we’re “falling in love.” It’s the craziest thing, and what’s even crazier is before I met him and had that experience I was a genuinely confident person. I was self-aware, I knew what kind of relationship I wanted and I still went down the path where I ended up this needy, miserable person. I was so ashamed of myself. And then I grew to forgive myself, and then I started tweeting about it, and here we are.
What was toxic about that relationship?
One of my tweets that really meant a lot to me was the one about people being emotionally unavailable, and I learned about it firsthand. From the start I could tell that he was a bit closed off, and he had just gotten out of a relationship and that is the biggest red flag. I know that now, but at the time I was like, oh, I can make him feel better, I’m going to nurture him and save him. So the relationship was toxic because I thought I could fix him, and the more I tried to fix him the more I was falling apart. I was so exhausted and drained and felt so unappreciated. I never really hated him as much as I began to hate myself because of how I was acting.
Which is, in my experience, so much worse than anything else because losing trust in yourself—that’s the scariest thing. A lot of what you say focuses on blocking them, it’s over, there’s nothing you can gain. Why do you think that's so important?
I just don't want people to go through what I went through. Talking to him after we decided we were incompatible and it wasn't going to work was like putting your hand on the stove—you know it's going to burn, but just for a couple of seconds it was exciting. The more I talked to him the more I hated myself.
You’re tweeting telling people to feel their feelings and mourn and forgive yourself, but then on the other side you’re tweeting about super tough love and getting real with yourself.
I get messages like that: “You slap us in the face.” I feel like that’s really the recipe for healing, like, hey, look at yourself, then, it’s okay you messed up. I would absolutely love to just blindly think every woman is an angel, but we can be toxic. It’s never from a malicious place, it comes from insecurity and wanting control. I’ve been toxic, you know? I’ve placed expectations on people that I didn’t voice and I just expected them to meet. I’ve treated people in a way I wouldn’t want to be treated. Realizing, wait, you were toxic, helped me become a better person because I didn’t blame anyone else. I was looking inward.
How do you balance self-compassion with being tough on yourself so that you can move on and do the right thing?
I realized that just telling myself, “It’s okay, he’s the bad guy, you got swept up in his web of lies,” only got me so far. I was still self-pitying. When you look at a relationship objectively, you can see that you’re just two human beings who acted out of self-interest, survival, insecurity, traumas. It’s just two human beings trying to make it work, and sometimes it doesn't. And when I started looking at it like that it made it so much easier to forgive myself, because we both had a play in this whether we want to admit it or not. Forgiving people doesn’t mean you have to have them back in your life. When you take responsibility you grow, and you don’t do the same things again because you remember how shameful it felt.
In my opinion, our shame is why a lot of us are accepting these behaviors and these people who are not good to us.
It’s hard to be honest. When you’re in a toxic relationship you’re not even giving your friends the whole picture because it’s just so humiliating—like, no one wants to tell their friend, “He stood me up five times and then when he called me at 2am I ran to his house.” Nobody wants to admit that. And then it becomes this silent thing where everybody is getting stood up and everybody is going to his house at 2am and no one’s talking about it and no one’s addressing that that is just blatant disregard for your self-dignity. In toxic relationships your self-esteem and self-respect goes out the window. You literally look in the mirror and you don’t see yourself; you see a different version of yourself that’s very unsavory. Every single time you accept mistreatment, that person is going to be looking at you in the mirror. You can’t escape them.
That hurts me.
You know how many times I would be crying my eyes out, look in the mirror and I did not see the confident woman who had ambition and was so confident in herself? I saw someone who was beaten down. And then I just felt more pathetic. You just feel stuck.
Do you think that women are the ones mostly experiencing this, and why do you think that is?
I think that women are mostly experiencing unhealthy attachments because women have an essence of compassion. I’m not saying that men aren’t compassionate but women are the nurturers, forgivers, we’re raised to be “agreeable” and perfect wives. There’s this notion that women are submissive, and you can see that clearly when you think about how the man defines the relationship. I have never jived with that. Why does the man get to say what you are? You’re in the relationship too. That’s why the whole DTR conversation never made sense to me. Why are you placing power in his hands, when you can be like, “Are you my boyfriend, yes or no? Either you’re my boyfriend or we’re done.”
Playing it cool doesn’t make any fucking sense. You’re either going to get what you want out of this relationship or not. That’s it.
Oh my gosh, that’s exactly it. I have so many plans for the future, Jillian. I want to write a book about what questions to ask on the first date. It’s time to create a revolution in relationships because we’re going in blind. Imagine if on the first date you were like, “Hey, I want a serious relationship. Is that what you want too? Because if you don’t, we’re done here.” Just set the standard from day one. Because you’re just going with the flow and three years later he still isn’t committed to you. Women should step into their power and they should be the ones to define the relationship, and they should be the ones setting standards in the beginning, and they shouldn’t be accepting bottom of the barrel treatment, and they should know that men are everywhere.
What’s your advice for women who don’t feel worthy of good love, or believe they won’t find anything better?
You accept the love that you think you deserve. If you think you don’t deserve somebody who dotes on you and is super attentive to your needs, then you’re never going to get that because you’re going to accept the guy who is offering his bare minimum. You’ll be surprised to see that somebody is going to meet your standards, and all you have to do is ask and be honest. I do believe that good men exist. Never settle for less than what you think you deserve. For instance, Jillian, do you have a vision in your mind for what type of man you want in the future?
I do, but it could be clearer. I’m working on that.
You should make a list. I think women everywhere should be focusing on their relationship dealbreakers. Close your eyes and envision what a partner will treat you like. Will they be kind, passionate, communicative? Asking for a man who’s communicative is not wild, it’s not crazy, and it exists. You’re not asking for too much when you’re asking a man to give you a call every day or text you. So if you have in your mind that a relationship dealbreaker is communication, you’re not going to waver on that. You’ve been down that path. He can't even talk to me? Done. Next. Another one bites the dust. It’s over. Once you have in your head those dealbreakers that you refuse to compromise on, that’s when you’re going to start seeing standup people showing up in your life.
The standards that I uphold myself to, I can and should expect that from someone else. Because guess what? I do it.
Be who you want to be with. If you are someone who is adventurous, then go on an adventure. If you want someone who’s compassionate, then go volunteer. If you want someone who’s into fitness, go take a kickboxing class. Because that’s when you start meeting like-minded individuals. And if you’re holding yourself to that standard, you know it's possible for a man to do the same thing. You know it exists. He’s out there.
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