Blogs Sep 12, 2013 at 10:58 am


When can we expect new, never-run-before SLLOTD's to return? I mean consistently.
so, what happened? are they married and have 3 kids now?
hahaha...I'm gonna bet he was trying to get her to leave. And enjoying using her in the meantime.
@1 Agreed, shit from the mid part of the last decade is lame. Besides, the letter from SAD is still just as fake now as it was then. No one describes that canned situation and comments that she doesn't want to be thought of as a "bratty little princess." No, it's all just too stupid and contrived to be true.
I had forgotten about this one. Hope she left this asshole.
@4: Too appalling to be true? Not at all. Uh, trust me.
@4, listen to some TED talks about violence in relationships against women. The insights into why they don't leave the relationship are enlightening.
Totally. I want post-scripts on these letters.
I also came to the conclusion of "asshole roommate," by the third paragraph or so. Since this was published 7.5 years ago, one wonders if/how her situation has changed in the intervening time.
Well, this is what you get when you date Ayn Rand.
5 years? Fuck. I don't even treat my housemates like that.

@10, funny because it's true.
FFS, Dan, if you're republishing old stories, at least add a followup on what the writer is doing now.
If he makes four times what you make, he should pay—and pay gladly—80 percent of the household expenses


Is that your idea of equality, Dan (and SLOG)?
@10: (spits coffee at screen.)
I believe Dan is away from the office now. Maybe he's not even the person picking SLLOTDs. Maybe they're being chosen because they were controversial or because we can all chime in with the DTMFA! chant and he can hear it transatlantically.
P.S. She stayed with him.
In before the "but if the genders were reversed . . ." debate.

Ayn Rand is also a CPOS.
I have a feeling Dan's taking meetings in Century City again.

I just had a nasty thought, did you sign anything about paying rent? If not, move out ASAP, preferably to a good and caring friend's place. Ignore his threats; maybe by covering a month's share of the rent buy some quiet. Learn to be free again.

@13 - early in a relationship, no that's kind of crazy. But living together and dating for 5 years is kind of 'pooled resources' time in my opinion, but I guess that all depends on the couple (or triad or what-have-you).
@13 - Sure. If there is income disparity, you split household expenses in the same percentage as your incomes. That's completely reasonable and equitable. Check the math, 80% in their case follows that arrangement.
@13 Someone working long days to make that money is also going to need somebody else picking up the slack at home. Somebody to go grocery shopping, make food, clean, schedule doctors, do insurance stuff, car repairs, mortgage applications, house hunting, really all the things that can only be done during the day. Sounds trivial, but in reality that can mean deprioritizing your own career in service of the family unit. Frankly I can't wait to get a more demanding job so that I stop being the default person who does all that stuff...
@ 10: Ha!

It's not just a case of DTMFA, it's a case of "DTMFA and make sure he doesn't talk to anyone who will eventually run the Fed."
@4 Seven years ago, I would have been right there with you, shouting "fake." But I have a couple of friends whose relationship carries this same dynamic - he basically treats her like an unimportant roommate. Hell, if she were to write in to Dan, her letter would read pretty similarly to this one. My gf and I hope they call it quits before they get in any deeper.
@13 That is an idea of a relationship. A 50-50 split is for roommates, but if you love someone, whether it is a romantic relationship or a family member, you help them out when you are able and you are glad to do it, because money is for taking care of yourself and the people you love with. If you have the resources, you use them to help those you care about. Not wanting to help her through college makes it completely clear that her chance to have a better life is worth nothing to him. Which means, her well-being is of no value to him. So, yes, he should be spending four times as much and be thrilled to be able to do it for the two of them. But he clearly doesn't view their well-being as important, only his well-being, which means this isn't a relationship. At best, it's casual dating with sex. Except he's treating her horribly in those terms as well.
@23 I feel you.
Leaving a good job to work part-time after our oldest was born nearly wrecked my marriage. Not everyone is cut out for the support role.
Our youngest went right to a sitter after my leave was up, we net less than me working part-time with no daycare costs, but we're much happier.
It's so good to be back to income parity!

@13: It sounds like their base expenses of food and rent are the same. If he has a well-paid job, he probably has his health insurance and vacation days paid, while she does not. An argument in his favor (on this point only) is that he pays some income taxes while she pays little if any. On balance, once you're in a sexually-exclusive and roommates arrangement something like 4:1 on expenses is balanced. I've been on both sides of 1:3, 1:6, 1:8 and you each do what you can. The high earner pops for the fancy dinner, air flights, etc. The low earner often puts in more time for thoughtful gestures - the home-cooked meal, researching and coordinating the travel, etc.

@23: Yeah! The hours on the home front are significant and I'd guess she does WAY more of the cleaning, cooking, and logistics. The amount he saves on maids, secretaries, and prostitutes (that on-demand, un-reciprocated sex) is far beyond the taxi/bus fare and birthday dinners.

@4: No. @7 + 25: Yes. Dan's got better in the last 7 years at calling out these red flags. The BF's behavior is not only controlling but vindictive, punishing her for being stuck in the rain, ordering food that is too expensive/good for her and having sex only in ways that he enjoys and she doesn't.

So here's "the rest of the story": either she ovaried up and DTMFA'd or they're married with 3 kids, the emotional abuse has worsened and the physical abuse started and worsened at each greater commitment (getting pregnant, getting married, knocking out each kid) that left her feeling more and more trapped.
@10: Awesome.

How do people like that even get laid, let alone loved?
SAD, if you are out there someplace, I hope you got away from this abusive relationship.
Obviously that woman is not listening to her mother.
She must not have had any friends. If she did, I can't imagine none of them would have talked some sense to her early on.
@31 - Actually, I take that back. That kind of desperate young woman typically evolves from awful families with horrendous mothers.
Dan/Nancy, if you're listening, this is starting to get pretty lame. How hard is it to just copy-paste something new from your inbox, write "DTMFA" at the bottom, and post it online? WE need new crap to comment on!!!
@13, either both people have to live at the level of the poorer one (shitty apartment, never going out together to nice meals or fun shows), or else the well-employed one needs to step up and pay more of the expenses. They can't compromise in the middle, because the poorer one is already at the maximum of what he or she can afford.

As @23 points out, usually the under-employed person finds ways to be useful to the household which help make up for not paying their share. If the well-employed one feels the poorer one is taking advantage, then they no longer trust each other and should just break up.
@7 - Leslie Steiner? I'm actually interested to give these a listen.

So what if I make more than my husband but he works longer hours and never does anything around the house? Right now we split things 50/50 but this thread is kind of making me feel guilty.
Then again I just blew my entire savings on a down payment for our new place, so maybe not that guilty.
Ugh. She's not even in the "roommate" category. She's the unfortunate, unappreciated hooker who ends up convinced that she has to pay him.

To anyone wondering whether this rings true, I've read similar letters from women who are so insecure or doubt their own gut instincts about their CPOS partners, especially when the same men are flawlessly (and insincerely) caring and charming in the public eye.
@37, if you split things 50/50 and you both like & can afford your standard of living, then there's no reason to feel guilty.

Here's when you should feel guilty:

- When you want a nicer place and you pressure him to pay more in housing than he can afford to pay on his smaller salary.
- When you like eating in nice restaurants but you go with your work colleagues because your husband can't afford to pay his share.
- When you refuse to help him out in emergencies, or expect to be paid back for your time & trouble (like the LW's bf).

lifestyle you're sharing and you're both happy living at that level
@39 meant to delete that last line, obviously.
Hee! I hope he cried!
Now I wonder what happened to this poor girl. Dan, do you ever get follow-up letters, and if so, when you're on vacation or doing whatever it is you're doing right now, can you post those (with the original), so the especially nosy amongst us get to follow the story longer?
Simple fix.... don't date Republicans.
As the saying goes, "ass, gas, or grass, no one rides for free."

My wife can cover only 10% of our mortgage, so we've agreed that she uses only 10% of the house, namely the kitchen and the laundry room.

And my kids sleep in the yard for $50 a month, and you can be sure they'll pay every cent back with interest just as soon as they're old enough to skirt child labor laws.
Wow, seandr: your house is so big that the kitchen and the laundry room is only 10%? My kitchen is probably 22% (admittedly, it's a big kitchen), and I have no laundry room (the washer and drier are in the big, big kitchen).
Can I come live with you and your family? I'll bring the ass and mow the grass.
@nocutename: We may still have room in the dungeon, although it's getting a little crowded in there. You'd be rooming with a great bunch of gals, though.
This would not be the worst selection for one of those couples one hears of from time to time who marry and then one of them murders the other during the honeymoon.
The LW calling the relationship good for the most part reminds me of that urban legend of the lost dog poster describing a pooch that is blind in one eye, has three legs, mange and other skin issues, is arthritic, and answers to the name "Lucky."

"This is Africa"?
@seandr: Great! Save me a bunk. Can I have my own blanket or do I have to share?
@39 thanks for the feedback, Erica. I do pick up dinners etc. occasionally and of course would never leave him stranded.
Tho he might actually be up for some of the sexual torture...
I wonder who is currently stuck with this asshole.
She's dating Patrick Bateman!

Hopefully this guy isn't also murdering on the side
Wow... I'm pretty cheap. And I know people who are even worse than me. But that's like some sort of OCD level shit.
@37 if you're both happy with the arrangements, what is there to feel guilty about? Just make sure you communicate clearly and often so you know if anything changes (and your husband can feel comfortable coming to you if anything does change). Or vice versa, of course.
@32 He probably encouraged/manipulated/forced her to disconnect from all her friends. He wouldn't even have to go so far as force her to actually *sever* her friendships, just drive them far enough away that they hover anxiously on the outskirts, waiting for her to ask for help, while he convinces her they secretly hate her and would never help her.

Typical abuser behavior.
@49: "Thanks in Advance"

I really don't know if I see 'abuser' here - I see a very very very selfish, douchey person - someone who was probably raised to be that way - and that is bad-boy attractive because he can take her or leave her - a human attraction dynamic that's been around for quite a while. Indifference is one of the most powerful aphrodesiac/pheremone attractors.

It doesn't sound like he's trying to isolate her and control her - I'm not a shrink but I believe most abusers desperately need to control their victims to make sure they aren't abandoned..this guy sounds like she could tell him to FO and walk out and he'd hardly notice the difference. Sounds like he's more worried she'll somehow get something from him - like somehow get one over on him.

I dunno - I just think it's a little different dynamic - not saying he's not OCD or doesn't have some kind of personality disorder - he certainly has no respect for her and treats her as sub-human, at least relative to himself.
AFinch - no, he's an abuser. Someof your points are right, he would probably not miss a beat if she walked out, but it's still abusive behavior. I got really uncomfortable reading that letter because I lived something similar. He's probably also narcissistic (in the personality disorder way, not the conceited way). God I hope she got out, that was disturbing.
@33--often, the Dads in those families ain't Ward Cleaver, themselves.
@59 - I too am speaking from personal experience. Abusers do care, very much, about whether you disappear or not.

I do agree about the NPD elements. Also, despite my initial snarky comment, I very much hope she got away and found a relationship with someone who did value her.
@61: Not all abusers are alike, and this guy is clearly an abuser. He's not mistreating her because he's paranoid, he's abusing her because to him she is not an actual person, she is a thing, she can be replaced with other things so it doesn't specifically need to be her he's abusing, but that doesn't make him less of an abuser.
FWIW, this SLLOTD saved my life.

It's been years since I DTMF, but I still re-read this letter every once in a while, so I can remember how bad he was to me.
Hey Dan, DTMFA is NOT an acronym. Acronyms form new words. This is just an abbreviation.
@63 Was this letter from you?? Either way, I'm so glad you got out, and hope you're thriving!
63 made this whole thread worthwhile.
@63, so happy to hear that you're in a better situation now!
@63 - So glad to hear you got out of it! fantastic follow up.
@63: Hooray!! Please email Dan with a longer update. I'd love to hear more.
@10: Awesome. Or maybe he was Milton Friedman? He was still alive in the first part of 2006, though thankfully he's now dead (a thought that never fails to brighten my day).

@63: Yay! Glad to hear it, you were in a terrible situation from the sound of the letter.
Idea for Dan: Task the getting-long-in-the-tooth, TSARYs to follow-up on past SLLOTDs and ask for an update. If even 1/20 of those reply, they could generate dozen of columns which would be more satisfying to the faithful who remember these 5- and 10-year-old columns.

@64 Agreed. More precisely, acronyms are pronounced as words (sonar, radar, laser, and NATO) while initialisms are sounded out as individual letters (ATF and NTSC). (And there are combinations such as JPEG, etc). There was review of medical journal article citations which found that studies forming a single, pronounceable word were cited more often than ones that used initialisms. That led to more and more studies getting memorable names with, at least count, 13 cardiology studies named "HEART" which some would call a "backronym".

Many of the sign-offs LWs use on SLLOTDs are clearly backronyms.
@63 Was that your letter ? Lovely to hear you're out of an abusive relationship anyway. Isn't life much, much nicer when we've gotten out of the claws of an abuser ?

@18 Ayn Rand is undead, though, right ?

@33 "Obviously that woman is not listening to her mother." "That kind of desperate young woman typically evolves from awful families with horrendous mothers. "

Way to blame the victim, Phoebe. The empathy is not too strong in you, it seems.

In my experience, that kind of "desperate young woman" has some experience of females being systematically undervalued and badmouthed, just for being females. You know, just like you just did to LW and her mother - the closest female relative you could think of. Are you a self-hating misogynist, or a posing-as-a-female misogynist ?

One way this kind of asshole gets loved is by trapping very loving and naive persons, by being extremely nice and attentive to them at first, something that the unsuspecting reacts to by attaching strongly, and opening entirely, and sharing every insecurity in great detail.

Once the asshole knows all the buttons, he/she starts to retreat very slowly to his/her baseline of selfishness, it can take years until they feel comfortable. Whenever the victim becomes conscious that one act is unkind, they act the victim, claiming to have been wronged, claiming they have been misunderstood, and they also lash out by pushing all the buttons of the insecurities, in a covert or even overt way, until the victim ends up a sobbing mess who cries for forgiveness for having doubted a being who is so much better than themselves. It works very well on loving, trusting persons - usually on young adults who lack self confidence. Once they've morphed themselves into "good, superior beings" in the minds of their victims, they can lead the parasitic life that has always been their goal - living of their host. Usually they hate losing the victim, not because they like the victim, but because they feel the victim belongs to them, because they've invested so much time in training him/her. And parasits can't really prosper without a host nearby...

The only thing that can be said about victims of such abuse is that they are selfless and loving. They can come from many backgrounds - happy ones too.
@63: I'm glad you left.
This took me back to when I was young, naive, and in a mentally and emotionally abusive relationship. It ended only after he refused me any sort of comfort the night i learned my mom had cancer. Leaving was one of the best things I ever did, but forgiving myself for "allowing" myself to be used like that took years. Learning that I didn't need forgiveness, that I shouldn't blame myself, and understanding how strong I was for making it out took even longer.

I wasn't the first person he'd latched onto either; he'd had years of practice at it.

73 - Very well stated. Parasite is the perfect word.

63 - I'm so glad you got out.

And fuck you Phoebe. Beneath your mask of civility, you are one cold bitch.
@75: Good on ya, Pridge. The deprogramming process after you've left an abusive relationship is tough. Any one of us can be taken in by an abuser. Anyone who thinks otherwise probably is an abuser themselves.
Ms Sissou - I'll go with selfless and naive; loving isn't a necessary part of the equation.
M? Dinner - Ah, a variant on the Curtain theory. Generally in agreement; I'd just phrase it a little less comprehensively, that the vast majority of us have a particular vulnerability that a certain type of abuser can exploit; not many abusers have a wide enough scope to be able to take in victims well outside the range of their type. And there are probably a few people who'd be too immune to suggestion to be taken completely in; perhaps it's something like the inability to be hypnotized.
@10: You win the Internet today.

@63: I'm unclear whether you wrote this letter or if it just helped you out of your own situation. Either way, happy to hear you're doing well. :)
"By insisting on a 50-50 split, your boyfriend is treating you like a roommate, not a girlfriend." Hey, I object to that! I have a roommate and I would never treat him like that.
Worst MF in DTMFA history, maybe? That guy is a prize jackass who ought to die alone.
@Pridge Wessea #75 Good you left. It's terrible how so many nice people have abusers in their pasts... For the recovery, it seems I have the two tasks in the other order. I'm still struggling with forgiving myself of having fallen in the trap (because I brought to this world innocent kids who now have to live with having an abuser for father), but I already feel pride for having climbed out of it - and without having left my kids in it.

And thanks for "parasite". I've come to the realization that such abusers project authority and assurance because they don't want us to realize how weak and dependent from us they are in fact. Which may be the reason why they deeply hate our guts - they can't live without us and it's not out of love, it's out of being unable to stand up by themselves.

@vennominon I'll admit I have a hard time with differentiating "selfless" from "loving". Could you help me out ?
It's amazing what people will put up with in a relationship.
#80 wins!
@63, I'm with you. It's been several years now and I'm almost ready to think about dating again. For those of you who immediately assumed that the letter was fake, I promise you that women like the letter writer exist. We are helped by encouragement and no-nonsense words! And one time, when Dan told me to DTMFA after reading the letter I wrote to him, I finally gained enough courage to do so.
Ms Sissou - Granted, loving is accepted as a synonym, but here I'm sticking to a more strict definition because that's so often what attracts an abuser in the first place. A genuinely loving nature doesn't hold particular appeal (at least from what I've seen) and may raise difficulties; someone selfless but not quite really loving is often an ideal target.
@85: Sarah in Olympia, I'm glad you left your MF.
@82 - You don't need to be forgiven, there's nothing to forgive. You did the best you could given the circumstances. Your kids are very lucky to have someone as loving and strong as you for their mother.

Hugs from Seattle and I wish you well on your healing.
@85 - Kudos Sarah!
@73: sissoucat, I'm particularly guarded when it comes to relationships, probably because I find it very hard to say no to someone who shows that kind of an interest. So I tend to keep my distance. Wanting to be loved is universal; not knowing what real love looks like is almost universal.
@75: I'm glad you're out from under that, Pridge- the relationship and the mindset.
@82: It's hard if not impossible to be loving if you have no sense of self. You can't be giving if there's nothing to give.

Congratulations on having life figured out from birth, Phoebe! If you could just educate the rest of us pathetic unwashed blind graspers on how not to be so lamentably flawed and human we'll be sure to sacrifice twice as many fatted calves as last season! .
I just wonder if she took Dan's advice. This article is from 2006 or so. For her sake, I hope she isn't still with this monster and tied down with kids by now.
I hadn't read #63's post before commenting. (I had read that letter when it first ran and the repeat the other day on my Android phone, and couldn't get it out of my mind so I came here). If #63 is the author of that long-ago letter, I am glad you are out of that terrible situation.
@64, nice catch re: not an acronym. It's an abbreviation for sure but I would posit DTMFA is an example of initialism. Since we're being pedantic. :)
@43: Slash libertarians.

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