Do you find yourself constantly saying yes to the man in your life, when you really want to say no? I'm not referring to a healthy, balance relationship, but off-balanced situations, in which many women have developed the unhealthy relationship pattern of being "yes women" in front of their mates, yet they are internally frustrated and complain about it behind their backs. Lord knows I get a bevy of emails and letters on a weekly basis that attests to the unfortunate condition of women suffering from the "disease to please" at the expense of their own happiness.

These are attractive, articulate, upwardly-mobile women, who display a strong self-assured picture around everyone else, except their man. When faced with a romantic or intimate interaction with their mate, they go out on a limb to accommodate and even enable behaviors they don't really support. It can involve a wide spectrum of issues, including, having sex even when they are not in the mood, constantly lending him money, or putting up with infidelity. This is a symptom of what I often refer to as band-aid bonding.

Band-aid bonding is when a woman is in an unbalanced or unhealthy relationship where she is the emotional adhesive trying to cover up or hold it together, by tending to her man's wants, yet neglecting her own needs. What's unfortunate is these relationships are never fair to neither the women nor the men involved. It is not a matter of finger-pointing or blaming anyone, it's a simple fact that no one wins-the woman isn't getting the true happiness that she silently craves-and the man isn't seeing the true woman who he's involved with.

I've spent many years researching the dynamics of male/female relationships and I've found that in specific situations when a woman keeps hiding her true feelings in order to keep a man, it usually stems from fear-either fear of losing him, fear of being alone, fear of what other people think, fear of abandonment, fear of being hurt, fear starting over with someone else, fear of biological clock ticking, fear of feeling unlovable, or fear of disappointing him. One of the biggest contributing factors to these fears is the false belief of the ever- popular "Male Shortage" myth. How many times have we heard, "There aren't many good men left so you better take what you can get;" or "Ten percent of something is better than nothing at all"?

Too many contemporary women are prone to bending over backwards because they've been falsely led to believe that there is a shortage of good, decent and available men in today's society. So they have gotten in the habit of hiding their true feelings, even if it means sacrificing their own self-worth. For example in many cases, a man will tell a woman to have patience and give him a "little more time" to make up his mind, either about marrying her or about giving up seeing another woman. The "little more time" slips into weeks, then months, and then years; and he still sings the same song, and she still listens to the same lyrics, hoping that if she acts the way he wants her to, that someday he'll change, or slip a ring on her finger.

During every phase of their love life, she ponders, "If I say no, will he leave me, or will he turn to another woman to get this done?" This underlying fear becomes a deciding factor in how she acts towards her lover. She is reluctant to be honest because of the fear of losing him. So she does what she thinks will keep him tied to her-she "yes's" him all the way. What's especially unfortunate is, this induced passivity usually backfires anyway, because what it tells the man about the woman is, "She'll put up with it; I can date a Trina, Nina, and a Gina at the same time and get away with it." All too often this damaging mistake leaves women internally upset, anxious, and frustrated. In order to effectively break this unhealthy pattern, the women involved must realize that healthy love is a balance where both people are equally-committed to bring out the best in each other, look out for each other's ideal interest, and be faithful to each other all the way. With this in mind, you'll never have to worry about true love walking out on you because "whatsoever is truly yours, can never be taken away from you." Realize that you do deserve healthy love, but in order to get it, you must be true to yourself and your mate by fully respecting your self-worth and sharing who you really are deep inside. What this will tell your man is, "This woman has a lot of love and respect for herself. Therefore, I have to cherish and respect her also. This is the type of woman I want in my life."

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Grace Cornish Livingstone, on-air psychologist for the former Queen Latifah TV show, is one of America's foremost relationship consultants. An award-winning, bestselling author of ten books, she is the popular relationship columnist for the London-based Pride magazine. For Dr. Grace's relationship books and CDs visit