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prompt 1
Leaving it at "your boyfriend is kind of an asshole" seems sufficient. Having an argument with someone's boyfriend then saying "here's a list of things that you should look for because he might beat you" seems a little much. If I got that list from a friend right after they argued with my SO for the first time, I'd think they were being melodramatic. If he keeps being an asshole, then address it then.
Posted by prompt on January 8, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 2
I would guess that the young man's primary affliction is being 20.

But yeah...keep an eye on that.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on January 8, 2013 at 3:41 PM · Report this
3
Relax! This jerk is not your problem. Maybe he's PMSing or something. Maybe he'll apologize later. Maybe it doesn't matter and they'll break up anyway without your meddling.
Posted by wxPDX on January 8, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
dirac 4
What made the bf insecure?
Posted by dirac on January 8, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
AmyC 5
I'm with prompt. Without more (was he slamming stuff around and getting super aggressive/in people's faces?), sounds to me like like the abuse warnings are a bit early/overreact-ish. You guys are young. There are lots of other dudes to date. Break it off with this asshole and find someone better.
Posted by AmyC on January 8, 2013 at 3:44 PM · Report this
6
I'm guessing the asshole bf secretly wants the LW to tie him up and whip him. How many outspoken homophobes have been caught tapping their feet in bathroom stalls . . .
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 8, 2013 at 3:52 PM · Report this
7
Ah! A pundit who actually looks stuff up before he says it. That's why I read this column. And the hilariously portrayed stories of people having lots of sex.

At this point, this kid sounds more like a garden-variety jerk or even just a garden-variety hasn't-grown-out-of-his-teenaged-selfcenteredness than an abuser.
Posted by DRF on January 8, 2013 at 3:57 PM · Report this
kitschnsync 8
I'm curious what the LW was saying, exactly. Maybe it was genuinely stupid, and her friend was too polite to speak up.
Posted by kitschnsync on January 8, 2013 at 4:07 PM · Report this
9
Sure, this guy was just innocently talking to his friend, then her bf inexplicably exploded on him for no reason whatsoever. I guarantee there's another side to this story.
Posted by matt! on January 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 10
To the naysayers, this guy is probably going to turn into an abusive controlling jerk without the right direction (i.e. being dumped for being an abusive controlling jerk), if he isn't one already.

My sister dated a guy who started off with little things like this, and, after she secretly married him, turned into a controlling abusive jerk who screamed a lot and pulled a lot of stupid shit. To the point that my niece refuses to see him or his family.

This CSB is meant to say that these warning signs exist because they have happened with regularity. 20 is when these behavioral patterns manifest and will start to define his next decade or two without directional help. And that help will come by dumping his motherfucking ass.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 8, 2013 at 4:11 PM · Report this
11
@8 @9 Yeah, I think we need some details.
Posted by DNash on January 8, 2013 at 4:15 PM · Report this
J-Haxx 12
I am sort of confused by the whole set up. So you are having a non-specific conversation about kink, and he says he feels stupider, and that is a slam on you *how.* I mean, isn't he saying you know a lot about a topic he doesn't know much about. I may be reading this wrong, but maybe he was just confused and then felt you both were dog-piling on him...or something (????)
Posted by J-Haxx http://defyaugury.livejournal.com on January 8, 2013 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Dougsf 13
Someone asking "reign your stupid boyfriend in already" is biggest red flag I saw mentioned in the letter. Everything else is just some lame shit some 20-year old asshole would say.

Relax, if your friend has any sense, they'll be done soon enough.
Posted by Dougsf on January 8, 2013 at 4:20 PM · Report this
14
Either that or something about the discussion made Boyfriend feel attacked by Letter Writer -- either personally or on behalf of his vanilla girlfriend who just doesn't "get it." Maybe "just 20," "transparently insecure," "stupid boyfriend" is picking up on a certain sense of condescension? (Did you make up your acronym, or did Dan provide it?)

That would explain "I don't care what you think," "I don't care if you like me."
Posted by avast2006 on January 8, 2013 at 4:23 PM · Report this
15
Going off the assumption that there isn't some other previous hostility between the letter writer and the BF, I'd have to assume he got defensive based on the conversation (and the implication that his girlfriend is more sexually open than his comfortable zone). Then as a defense mechanism he lashed out at the person he perceived to be instigating this behavior in his girlfriend (ie the letter writer).
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on January 8, 2013 at 4:24 PM · Report this
16
I'm not sure I would jump to potentially abusive over one bad encounter. Maybe they just had a fight right before you got there, or maybe he was just having a bad day. The dude's 20 and 20 yearolds are often not that great at not being a dick when upset. Lots of reasons a person could be an ass that don't involve them being abusive.

I'd give him at least another chance or two before suggesting he might be abusive.
Posted by giffy on January 8, 2013 at 4:32 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 17
@12,

Saying your IQ dropped by listening to something is clearly a slam on the person speaking, not an admission of lack of knowledge.

@8,

Maybe it was, but interjecting into a conversation you're not a part of just to insult one of the people speaking is asshole behavior.

There's also nothing to indicate that he had any substantive complaints about what the letter writer was saying, which suggests he was attacking her personally, not that she said anything objectively stupid.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
Bonefish 18
He might not be abusive (just a generic, misanthropic asshole), but if you ask me that's one hair that's not worth splitting. It's not like her friend will be missing out on much by dumping his sorry ass.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on January 8, 2013 at 4:46 PM · Report this
kitschnsync 19
keshmeshi @17,

Sometimes when stupid shit gets said and remains unanswered, interjecting a little assholish behavior is the appropriate response.

Wouldn't you agree? :)

Anyway, here's hoping LW reads this and fills us in on the details.
Posted by kitschnsync on January 8, 2013 at 4:53 PM · Report this
20
When I first started having sex I would notice a stupid jealous impulse whenever someone suggested to my gf that something could be fun if I didn't have any experience with it. Cause like, she'd leave me and find someone who was good at that stuff or whatever. Maybe that guy is so immature he is still giving into this same lizard-brain idea, when you are supposed to learn at a young age to fight the lizard brain.
Posted by dfghjk on January 8, 2013 at 4:54 PM · Report this
21
@18 thank-you. potentially abusive or not, he sounds like a loser.
Posted by natalie on January 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 22
@9 Why are you assuming the LW is a "guy?" After reading it three times, I can't find a clear statement of the LW's gender, but I'm guessing it's a woman, since a man (gay or straight) would probably work that fact in while mentioning the the GF is "my closest friend," and mention that he and the GF have never been lovers, or something like that.

If the LW is a man, the hostility might be slightly understandable. A virtually unknown man having a sexually explicit conversation with his girlfriend might make the guy feel a little weird and lead to a bit of a pissing match. Not the best way to handle it, but pretty conventional.

I think the LW is a woman, and the BF is probably controlling and/or misogynistic. So, yeah, a red flag.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on January 8, 2013 at 5:21 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 23
@19,

In anonymous blog comments? Sure. When talking to the friend (whom you only just met) of your romantic partner? No. I certainly wouldn't stand for it from my boyfriend, which is why I chose someone who doesn't behave like an asshole.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 8, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this
24
I'm torn between 19 and 20's views of the matter.

Pro 19: I could imagine the LW chatting about using birthday candles for wax play (as an example of something stupid), and the boyfriend doesn't want to admit to knowing better, either because his new girlfriend is vanilla, or because he feels it's private. So he storms out to avoid dealing with his desire to correct the LW.

Pro 20: that does sound like most twenty year olds.

I agree with those saying we need more details on the conversation.

Posted by EricaP on January 8, 2013 at 5:33 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 25
'rein', not 'reign'.
Posted by scary tyler moore http://pushymcshove.blogspot.com/ on January 8, 2013 at 5:37 PM · Report this
seandr 26
If LW is male, it's normal for bf feeling some jealousy and insecurity listening to his new gf talking about sex with another guy and leaving him out. Still, his boneheaded reaction would suggest that he's insecure, immature, and lacking emotional intelligence. Not exactly rare among 20 yo men, but unless he's rich, looks like Bradley Cooper, or has a huge cock, she should probably move on.

If LW is a female, however, the insecurity, jealousy, and friend-splitting are alarming reactions from a male listening to a general conversation about sex between two women. The guy has serious mental issues - maybe he's the overly possessive abusive type, maybe he's got major sex hangups. No point in hanging around to find out which.
Posted by seandr on January 8, 2013 at 5:40 PM · Report this
27
Why are so many in this thread rushing to defend the asshole?

The girlfriend could do with the validation that her bf was rude and behaved unacceptably.
Posted by Gamebird on January 8, 2013 at 7:35 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 28
I see a simple self-centered immature asshole reaction, not abuser behavior.

If he acted like an asshole in response to a mild innocuous conversation, I'd be much more worried that this might be a real red flag. But I'm guessing this was just a very poorly thought out response to a situation that was likely making him feel very uncomfortable and insecure, and possibly defensive and inadequate (talking about kinks). If he was feeling any or all of these things, it doesn't excuse the asshole remarks, but it makes it less likely that he's like that all the time. If he acted like that when you talk about the weather or a soccer game, I'd be a lot more worried.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on January 8, 2013 at 8:05 PM · Report this
29
An obviously self-righteous girl(just look at the tone of her whole email), lecturing to her "stupid vanilla" girlfriend in front of her "stupid and very young insecure" boyfriend, most likely constantly trying to put "hidden" barbs for him into that conversation. I can just imagine how exactly that whole sweet thing went down. Any person (of any gender) who's blood wouldn't boil from it - he/she is most likely dead. But no, he's an asshole and needs to be dumped immediately. Right on.
I've known types like the one that wrote the letter. (The fact that she wrote the letter works as an extra confirmation. She didn't need Dan's answer for her, she knew it already based on how she framed the story - she just wanted to bring an outside authority opinion to her girlfriend to rub it in some more). Almost no one is more annoying, except perhaps the worst politicians( choose your favorite opposing party view for full effect).
Posted by DenisN on January 8, 2013 at 8:47 PM · Report this
30
I feel sorry for the guy:
He has a new gf, they hang out with one of her best friends. They don't include him in their conversation ("After she and I were pretty much done and ready to move on to a new topic her boyfriend pops up." - "This guy had said less than 6 words to me at this point.").

The LW couldn't stand the guy or the fact that her friend has a new bf and let the bf feel it from the beginning (And he clearly noticed: "I don't care if you like me").

And "just 20"? I agree with avast @14 that she was probably pretty condescending.

Posted by migrationist on January 8, 2013 at 8:50 PM · Report this
31
@30 good catch. If he hadn't said six words to her, then one suspects she hadn't spent many more trying to get to know him.
Posted by EricaP on January 8, 2013 at 9:05 PM · Report this
32
I don't quite buy the LW version. Why wasn't he included in the conversation? He's just 20.(gag). It sounds like the LW is the asshole. And by the way the LW and the vanilla friend are only in their 20s, not that much of a difference.
Posted by DLVA on January 8, 2013 at 9:39 PM · Report this
33
Maybe his IQ really did drop 10 points.
Posted by yuiop on January 8, 2013 at 9:45 PM · Report this
34
@27: "Why are so many in this thread rushing to defend the asshole?

Because it's a a pretty huge fucking leap of faith to turn "Look, I don't care about you, I don't care if you don't like me, I'm here for my girlfriend!" into "He's going to start beating you, mark my words." Someone who is willing to go there that quickly is more than a little suspect herself.

It's pretty clear to me that something that transpired during that conversation made Boyfriend feel like Letter Writer in fact _doesn't_ like him -- why else would he be going on about not caring about what she thinks or whether she likes him? -- and that's what he was responding to. Given all the other attitude clues in the letter. I'd say he's probably right on target for picking up that vibe. I was beginning to wonder what part of Girlfriend LW peed on to mark her territory.

"Together no more than a month." eye roll "Just 20." oh boy... "This boy" eye roll "transparently insecure" who is this person "And They Will Break Up" Seriously, can the condescension get any deeper?

You know what? If you don't in fact like or respect him, and make no secret of that fact -- you certainly make no secret of it here in your letter -- he is under no obligation to try to suck up to you. That is not in fact one of the privileges of office for the position of Best Friend. A good relationship is a two-way street. You clearly - though mistakenly -- set great store by seniority, but that isn't how the world of romantic relationships works. You don't get to leverage your seniority to demand better grace from him than you are delivering yourself.

Going straight to labeling him a potential abuser and poisoning their relationship for this presumably first offense is more than a bit extreme. Maybe people are rushing to defend the asshole because it's less than clear which one deserves the title more.
More...
Posted by avast2006 on January 8, 2013 at 9:46 PM · Report this
35
@27:

The LW and the gf could do with the information that they behaved rude and unacceptably.

I am trying to imagine having a new bf and hanging out with him and hist best friend who I have just met. If the best friend treated me like an imbecile because I was younger or like an old hag because I was older, I'd be not impressed. If they had a conversation about kinky sex, from which I am excluded, I would probably feel insecure and resentful. I might even let that resentfulness show.

To be truthful, I cannot imagine being with a guy who lets his friend treat me like that.

Ok, my advice: the bf should dump his gf.
Posted by migrationist on January 8, 2013 at 9:48 PM · Report this
Trinabeana 36
@10, TheMisanthrope: I totally agree with you, because I also had a relationship with someone like this, when I was a teenager. The Red Flag Campaign would've helped me at the time. All of my friends thought we were "perfect together" and only his closest friends thought things weren't right, and they didn't even know the half of it. I had no experience, so I didn't see any of the red flags, but reading that list, several of those things describe him. He slowly alienated me from my friends and then when I tried to break up with him, he would threaten to kill himself. Anyway, that's all Dan's point is, is to point college-aged people to the Red Flag Campaign, so it can do some good. He has a lot of readers. I'm glad he posted this letter.
Posted by Trinabeana on January 8, 2013 at 10:27 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 37
All the switching between verb tenses makes me really grouchy. Pick one tense and stick to it.
Posted by Sea Otter on January 8, 2013 at 10:36 PM · Report this
LEE. 38
I know there isn't an option to vote on this post, but can I still cast a ballet that says all three of them should probably just enter the disintegration chamber? I'm playing it safe here; the dude's an asshole who might or might not grow up to be a monster, the LW isn't telling us the whole story and seems like a condescending douche, and as for the gf in question...sometimes you gotta disintegrate an innocent bystander or two.
Posted by LEE. on January 8, 2013 at 10:56 PM · Report this
Roofeo 39
Something is definitely missing here, the writer fails to mention any clashes she's probably had over the bf, which would explain his accusations out of thin air.

Whether he's an asshole or not, the bf clearly knows the writer wants him gone and is responding as such. The way she's framed the letter, her tone and her search for 'red flags' (despite possibly being provocative) suggests to me that in fact she could be the one being an asshole.

Either way, we can't really judge without more info.
Posted by Roofeo on January 8, 2013 at 11:57 PM · Report this
40
Petty drama.

I think the Letter Writer is a bit of a condescending asshole, and her friend's new boyfriend is a bit of an insecure and petulant asshole. Odds are pretty good the friend is a bit of an asshole--after all, her boyfriend and her friend the Letter Writer are assholes, and she did engage in a long conversation with her friend while letting her new boyfriend seethe in silence.

So we have petty drama among young people who are all, probably, assholes. How about a great big Grow The Fuck Up and Knock It Off With Being An Asshole (GTFUKIOWBAA) to all three of them?
Posted by Functional Atheist on January 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM · Report this
41
I also got some angry vibes from the LW, and she reads like a woman to me. It didn't sound like she was searching for an answer to a question so much as for official confirmation of what she already believes. So I'm skeptical, though the boyfriend, as portrayed, doesn't sound like a dream.

But maybe this is, indeed, Dan's way of linking the Red Flag Project, as someone suggested, which appears to be a noble, necessary endeavor. Along those lines, might I also suggest the self-help book Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, written by one Lundy Bancroft, who makes his living trying to reform these men (sometimes under court order).

It is exactly what the title says. It's highly readable and accessible, chockful of information, and clearly explains the inner thinking of the abuser, it describes how they act, the tricks they use, the warning signs to look for, the social myths of domestic abuse and how society breeds and fosters the abuse, the personal attitudes that keep abusive men from changing, practical steps the woman can take to free herself (and her children, if that's the case) from the abuser, it lists various resources she can use - it's just an awesome book, it's what I'm saying, both for women trapped in these relationships and friends/families who are concerned and want to help.
Posted by floater on January 9, 2013 at 12:33 AM · Report this
Alanmt 42
All you LW-bashers seem to be missing a basic but rather important point in your rush to judge her as condescending and rude: she wrote the letter after the event. Of course she is angry at him at the time she was writing the letter - he was openly and aggressively rude to her in a manner which was inappropriate regardless of any perceived provocation - and the letter's tone appropriately reflects that. That anger is not an appropriate basis for inferring that there was provocation.

LW should tell her friend that he is an asshole, although it sounds like friend already understands that from her response to his remarks. Because he is an asshole, because of what he said and did, regardless of whether the conversation was banal. Whether he is also abusive shouldn't matter, except as an issue of risk management. Girlfriend should dump him immediately, because at that age, that is the severity of the message he needs to understand that a change of behavior is necessary.
Posted by Alanmt on January 9, 2013 at 5:46 AM · Report this
43
It's pretty obvious who the assholes in the comments section are. If you listen to a conversation between your SO and your SO's friend, it is never justifiable to butt in to tell the SO's friend they are stupid. It doesn't matter what they were saying. It's assholish behavior bordering on social retardation. You can respectfully disagree, tell them where you think they were wrong, etc. But to just attack someone you don't know? Total asshole behavior. When that person happens to be your new SO's good friend, it shows a profound lack of respect for your new SO.
Posted by mshawn on January 9, 2013 at 7:08 AM · Report this
44
I think the LW is a guy. I don't believe we've got the whole story. I think he was acting like a condescending dick. "Rein in your boyfriend"? Change that to "Yo dude control your bitch.", same attitude. I'll bet the LW wants to fuck the friend. I'll bet the new BF isn't comfortable talking about sex with strangers and was quasi-incredulous as that conversation went down. It's o.k. to not want to discuss sex with people you're not having it with. Some of my best lovers would never have dreamed of having public discussions about sex with me and other people. Just not part of their acceptable cultural landscape. Less chitchat, more fucking.
Posted by Annanicoleredpony on January 9, 2013 at 8:17 AM · Report this
45
@44: I'll give that discussing sex in public can make others feel uncomfortable, but "LOL UR DUM" condescension is a different animal.

"Some of my best lovers would never have dreamed of having public discussions about sex with me and other people"

And if they were assholes about how they let you know, they'd still be assholes. Nobody's saying this dude is bad at the fucking, because being good at sex is obviously unconnected to being a flaming prick.
Posted by come on now, yo on January 9, 2013 at 9:22 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 46
Shouldn't a guy make an effort to be nice to the friend of his new girlfriend?
Um ... shouldn't two friends not monopolize the conversation - whether it's about sex or any other subject - that leaves the new boyfriend out? Who knows, perhaps the boyfriend thought the LW was belittling his girlfriend for not being oh-so-daring and kinky. Or doing the female version of cock-blocking (hmmm, what to call that?).

[I believe the LW is female, simply because of the word choices and drama. However, perhaps it might be an idea for Dan to ask ALL future advice seekers to the column to identify themselves clearly.]
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on January 9, 2013 at 9:32 AM · Report this
47
I don't see where the LW and the GF excluded the BF from the conversation, which seems to be often assumed here. They were talking, he was there and not participating. Was that by his choice or theirs? There's not enough info to say one way or the other, so I'm reluctant to join in on berating the LW for that.

This is one of those ink blot letters. Was he rude because he's tired of being treated badly by the LW? Or because he's a douche? Was the "I don't care" comment one born of insecurity? Or was it a blunt and necessary statement to a woman who has been slagging him to his own GF every chance she gets? I haven't a clue.
Posted by seeker6079 on January 9, 2013 at 10:18 AM · Report this
48
The boyfriend disagrees, in a clumsy way, but doesn't call anyone a name. The girlfriend calls him "stupid" and orders him muzzled. So who is the control freak nutting up here?
Dan then pulls something off the web and applies it to the wrong person. Dan calls him an asshole, recommends forwarding a link, but in an uncharacteristic passive way won't go as far as saying yes, I agree that he looks like a future abuser. Just, wow.
Posted by Avery Greynold on January 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
debug 49
I think the girlfriend in here is being auditioned by the asshole to see how much of his BS she'll put up with. Looks like she passed the choose me over your friends test.

"and I don't want to be rude to him"

Sounds like that youtube video: "two meek girls, one asshole"

Posted by debug on January 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Bonefish 50
I'm wondering where everyone is getting such certainty that the boyfriend was "kept out" of the conversation. When the LW talks about how he'd only said 6 words, she sounds put off by how silent he was being. This makes it sound to me like he'd been silently brooding up to this point, not that he tried to participate but couldn't get a word in edgewise. There's a huge difference.

There also aren't very many justifications for his outburst. Whether this was due to insecurity, or disapproval of their topic, or disagreement with some point she made, it's still an asshole way to behave.

Sure; her description of events could be false; she could have subtly insulted him during the conversation, she could have interrupted him and kept him out of it, he could have been abused in a way similar to the kink she was describing, she could have egged his house the previous night or the entire letter could be a made-up scenario. But her letter is all we really have to go by (and as Dan says, every letter is a hypothetical to everyone except the LW, so why not take it at face value). And I know that if I witnessed something happen in the way the letter describes, I would consider the boyfriend an asshole; no question about it.

Besides; even if he WAS being kept out of the conversation, this is an immature overreaction even for a 20-year-old. Most people would at least say something like "hey guys, are you gonna let me get a word in here?" before just calling one of them an idiot and going on some melodramatic "I don't care what you think!" tirade. He sounds like a passive-aggressive whiner AT BEST. There's not much to be lost by dumping him.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on January 9, 2013 at 10:48 AM · Report this
51
Why not take the letter at face value? Compare it with the lead letter in this month's column, where the LW had an experience with a trans sex worker that left the letter writer feeling bad. But that LW is asking "this experience left me feeling bad, WTF?" not “that sex worker was an abuser, don’t you agree?” That LW’s self-interest is in making their account as accurate as they can: they have a problem, and the more accurately they describe the situation the more likely Dan is to be able to solve it. Whereas ATWBU’s self-interest is in making herself look as good as she can and the guy she doesn’t like as bad as she can.
Posted by Old Crow on January 9, 2013 at 12:46 PM · Report this
52
Any bets on what the actual content of "Nothing too specific, just general ideas. I was defending certain kinks" really was? My guess is fem-dom or cuckoldry or something that made him feel humiliated/threatened, and presented in a way that make him think LW was somehow selling GF on the idea.

Don't get me wrong, I think the way he handled it was assholery. But it was classic 20-year-old corn-fed phobic assholery, not necessarily "whoa, now THAT's a red flag, he'll be beating you by the end of the year." I may be giving away the punch line, but when Dan bolded that particular item in the red flags list-- " Put down people, including your family and friends, or call them names." -- what struck me is that Letter Writer spent the entire letter doing a rather more subtle job of doing exactly that. If that was enough to pin the Red Flag of Abuser on him, then it's enough to drape her in it as well.
Posted by avast2006 on January 9, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this
53
@34: The conversation on first meeting the boyfriend (which sounds a lot like "belittling his girlfriend for not being oh-so-daring and kinky", as 46 puts it) would function for your peeing to mark territory analogy.

It is entirely possible this guy is an immature asshole, and that he would turn abusive (isolating from friends, belittling) if given any more time. But the set-up--you haven't exchanged 6 words with the guy, you're supposed to be hanging out, and "let me explain my noble thoughts on kinky sex" is the conversation opener you come up with? And stick with in the face of his silence? That's pretty damn rude.

As 35 suggested, swap the genders. Have LW be a male, meeting his buddy's 20 year old girlfriend for the first time, and he spends the next 30 minutes explaining the correct way to have adequately-kinky sex to his friend while ignoring her. And then she gets mad, rather than looking at her feet. I wouldn't claim it's the best reaction, but it's maybe an understandable one from a 20 year old who felt both belittled and undefended ("Can't talk to you babe, my special buddy is only halfway through 'why pee is fun' and I need to listen to the whole thing.")

As Raylan put it on Justified, you meet assholes all day long, the asshole is you. (Which does not remove some of the people you meet from joining you in that category.)
Posted by IPJ on January 9, 2013 at 2:31 PM · Report this
54
The LW is a condescending jerk. Imagine how a statement like "reign in your stupid girlfriend" would be attacked in civilized society. How can the LW get away with such a disrespectful attitude?

Furthermore, the boyfriend explicitly stated that he was "here for his girlfriend." He may have been clumsy and somewhat rude, but he was trying to defend his girlfriend from perceived attacks on her vanilla sexuality. That doesn't make him an abuser. He was actually trying to be a good guy!

I can't say the same for the LW.
Posted by BlueFlag on January 9, 2013 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Alanmt 55
@53; Unless the lW has misrepresented the facts, it is not only "entirely possible" he is an immature asshole, it is absolutely certain that he is one. His reaction isn't understandable and it isn't acceptible. On the other hand, there are not enough facts to determine whether her and her friend were rude to him and, assuming they were, it was a much milder and certainly not ocmparable form of discourtesy by omission, not affirmative discourtesy. Not everything is equivalent, and one bad thing does not excuse another. What are we, in second grade? "They were ignoring me so that made it okay for me to call her ugly!"

@52: No, it doesn't give her an abuser flag. A person confronted with assholery is entitled to call the other person an asshole without being labelled one, just as a person confronted with bigotry is entitled to call the other person a bigot without being labelled one.

@51 Some people are assholes and some people are abusers and calling them that is a legitimate and objective description. And less face it, she was asking for advice - just back off and leave them alone, or say something to her girlfriend? - i.e., is this serious enough to warrant an abuse warning or not really, in which case she should mind her own business. Her concern for her friend is laudable, her uncertainty over the proper course of action is reasonable and the letter is not a MarySueish hack job.

Dang, some of you are really projecting.
Posted by Alanmt on January 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Bonefish 56
51: And? We're not on a jury that's about to send this guy to jail for "assholery" depending on our verdict. If we were, then you'd be right: we'd have to hire a detective and make sure to cover every possible omission and lie before coming to judgement.

But we're just debating whether the guy in the described hypothetical-to-us scenario is an asshole or not, and whether he's a potential abuser (I think the latter is a bit of a stretch). The LW could be embellishing and leaving things out, or not. If we assume so, then the list of things she could be leaving out is endless (eg, she was condescendingly curt to him the entire time).

If we assume not, our assumption that the boyfriend is an asshole might be inaccurate (or not!), but this doesn't really matter because 1) he's an anonymous stranger who suffers no consequences from our assumptions, and 2) this allows us to debate who is the asshole in the situation described, rather than debating the myriad of things that were "possibly" left out of the article that might change this.

54: If the genders were swapped, I'd call the "girlfriend" an asshole.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on January 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 57
@53 Are you saying that its OK for a girl to say "OMG, just listening to you lowered my IQ by 10 points" when she hasn't said six words so far? Then go ranting about how she doesn't care about what other people think, she does what she wants. Then goes storming out of the room! Seriously?!

Reversing the genders, that'd make her a whiny immature bitch who will probably end up becoming a controlling bitch in the future. Maybe not a physical abuser (men are more physically abusive in general), but a mental one for sure.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 9, 2013 at 3:51 PM · Report this
58
If I were the LW, I'd at least say something to my friend like "So... what was up with your boyfriend the other day? He really didn't like me, huh?" See what she says- is this normal behavior from him, or was there a certain reason for it? I think it's a leap to call him abusive, but it's not a leap to say that she could do better if this is anything but extraordinary behavior from him.

As for all the speculation about whether she was being rude to him first, while that's possible, mature people don't deal with rudeness in such a stupid way.
Posted by alguna_rubia on January 9, 2013 at 8:03 PM · Report this
59
@56, 57: I would consider it a poor and stupid reaction. Probably the sort of thing you really wish you had handled better later on. Perpetrator could be anything from hopeless asshole to someone not mature enough to handle jerks in anything but reflexive jerkery. (And note I am not one who gives anyone over 18 a pass on being just a widdle kiddie who can't be held responsible for how they act.)

But we aren't talking about a hypothetical in which they talk about shoes, or the chances of the local baseball team, or why the mother on How I Met Your Mother never appears, or some other normal topic which some people would find boring, and the new person left out of the conversation erupts. We're talking about a first meeting that went something like "Oh, hi. Listen, let me explain to your dumb little girlfriend why I am right about the joys of pee during sex and she is close-minded and wrong."

Both LW and girlfriend are at fault for not coming up with a better ice breaker. And since the dynamic seems to be the LW explaining how the girlfriend is wrong, I do assume LW started the conversation. (I can't imagine something like "Sweetie, this is LW. She is into cuckolding, but I don't feel comfortable with cuckolding. So we'll talk about it now.")

His reaction is assholish. But the set-up that led to it is hardly your standard ice-breaker getting-to-know-the-new-SO situation, either. It's very peeing to mark territory exclusionary (as illustrated by his only getting in 6 words prior).
Posted by IPJ on January 10, 2013 at 6:33 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 60
@59 Regardless of subject matter, and sex, LW has a history with the girlfriend. Perhaps this topic is one that was ongoing. Or maybe it was pr0n that the girl had watched. Or some kinky CSI that happened to be on last night, where the kinkster was the villain. Or maybe even some movie like 9 1/2 Weeks, or the book 50 shades of grey. We don't know how the topic was broached. All of the above are very in the now conversation starters about kink.

What we do know is that a conversation about kink happened, and the boyfriend did not put his two cents in until he started insulting the LW. You can imagine it as a marking your territory conversation. I called it Saturday when I was younger. The boyfriend is a dick, and the world doesn't revolve around him.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 10, 2013 at 7:07 AM · Report this
61
In all fairness we all keep losers in our life from time to time, and sometimes the new relationships reveal them as such. Maybe the writer is a loser and it was justified, perhaps the boyfriend was horrified listening to some DQ draw attention to themselves.

Not enough data to decide anything here. I would recommend the writer be strong and do what is right for them.
Posted by Kylere on January 10, 2013 at 7:53 AM · Report this
62
Or maybe he just overreacted to a conversation that was making him feel uncomfortable. If I was dating someone new, went to meet their friends, and then had to sit there for a while listening to my new boyfriend and his friend argue about sex, I might feel a bit snippy too.

Not THAT snippy obviously, but still. If he was sitting there silently, what stopped you from changing the damn subject and trying to talk about movies or TV or whatever?
Posted by Clara on January 10, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Bonefish 63
59, 62: Basically what 60 said. It's one thing to be uncomfortable because of the conversation topic. It's quite another thing for your reaction to be a childish insult followed by a melodramatic rant. We're not saying the LW and her friend are absolute perfect angels (although I wouldn't feel slighted or uncomfortable if a new gf and her old friend drifted into that conversation; it's not like they're my relatives). We're saying that, whatever they did, it wasn't enough to fairly justify his reaction. The exaggerated misanthropy of his reaction overshadows any mild impoliteness on their part for talking about a taboo subject to begin with, or for failing to change the subject when he got all passive-aggressively silent.

If it really was inconsiderate of them to talk about kink, he should say something like "Guys, Jesus; let's change the subject. I'm not talking about ass-chastity with my brand new girlfriend and someone I just met." Being grossed out or uncomfortable with the topic might be an explanation for his outburst, but it's not an excuse and it's definitely not enough to pin the blame on the LW and her friend.

Unless they slipped cocaine in to his drink (now THAT would absolve him), he's the one who went further out of line here and he's an asshole. Not a potential abuser necessarily, but an asshole.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on January 10, 2013 at 11:36 AM · Report this
64
So I think that going to her friend with a list of possible signs of abusive partners IS overkill and will probably make ATWBU look like the crazy one.

However, I would recommend that rather than say "This means he must be abusive!" that she break down what happened and why that can lead to abuse. When your new partner insults or puts down one of your best friends (as opposed to just arguing or disagreeing with them), not only is he doing something disrespectful and asshole-ish to the friend but he's putting *you* in a sucky position.

When boyfriend insults best friend, best friend gets angry, and rightly so. But boyfriend gets huffy at being the subject of negative attention. Now the girlfriend has to choose between defending her best friend or defending her boyfriend. Boyfriend is basically saying with his actions, "Who's more important? Me or her?" This leads to abuse when girlfriend said, "um.. my best friend? I've only been dating you a month.." and boyfriend makes a scene, won't be comforted or reasoned with, and threatens to breakup with girlfriend. It's a dividing and isolating technique. It can also just be practiced by assholes, but functionally, it's a very effective early relationship abuse tool.

Believe me. My abusive boyfriend had put down just about every person I had ever been close with by the time the relationship was over. But it started with the small things.
Posted by Kella on January 26, 2013 at 5:48 PM · Report this

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