Comments are closed.
Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.
The actual amount of explanation necessary would be deeply mitigated, frankly, by the amount of contrition she was willing to exhibit. The simple answer -- not to mention the entirely correct answer, if she is being completely honest about her supposedly nonexistent feelings for Ex -- would be: "I'm sorry. I was wrong about him. You were right the whole time. I was an idiot. Now let's go kick his ass."
I never said that made it okay. But I am saying that it looks an awful lot like the actions of someone who feels there is established consent there.
When I walk up behind my wife and squeeze her ass, I expect her to smile and maybe find some part of me to squeeze back. We've long established that is acceptable between the two of us, because we are intimates. Were I to do that to a random stranger I would expect to first get slapped and second get arrested.
There are random strangers who feel entitled to grope strangers uninvited. But this guy isn't a stranger, he's a former lover. If the two possibilities are a) he's a self-entitled stranger-groping asshole, or b) he is presuming on their previously established intimacy, the second motivation seems the less unlikely of the two. (To me. YMMV.)
Putting myself in Boyfriend's position, I would be wondering WHY Slimeball Ex feels free to grope my girlfriend when she insists there is nothing between them any more.
"And I can't help but feel if the fiance really cared he wouldn't focus on how he was right, he would focus on supporting his GF and calling out the friend. "
Agreed, he has behaved really, REALLY, badly, and he should be dumped for it. I was just struck by how his bad behavior effectively erased what would have been questionable stuff on her part. had he refrained from yelling and calling names.
From your words, you don't want someone who can exist on her own and have her own life/independence, you want someone controllable by you.
@108: And that's the point, there's no need to concern ourselves with the messiness of them staying together and what she might have done differently.
Sort of? She's currently in an unhealthy relationship and even if it sounds like the terms of the meetup were presented out of good faith, she needs out.
The first statement opens a discussion. The second just gives an order.
Convoluted communications. So, not convinced the friend was doing any more than misreading( badly), the signals.
And that's where I go back to the irony part. If Boyfriend had expressed his concerns politely, she probably still wouldn't have acquiesced to drop Slimeball Ex. She probably would not have had the fight that landed her in the bar (since the fight was about dropping Slimeball Ex, but if Asshole Boyfriend had been polite, she wouldn't have stormed out,) and she therefore wouldn't have been assaulted that night. The end result of all of the above would be that she would still be associating with both of them. Both of which would be a bad thing.
We have minds that very often over ride biology.
If a 2 person intimacy is about both people feeling safe , then the discussion will hopefully have that aim as the priority. One has to be careful, though, that a partner's fears, don't become an excuse to control the other.
I'm watching The Australian Open tennis. Enjoy your cartoons.
If the bf was a decent Man- he would never react to ANY provocation with such foul behaviour and language. Because a decent Man is in charge of his behaviour.
She's lucky he's shown his true colours. Before the wedding. Before children.
‘The results suggest large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships. Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa. Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief. In fact, men’s estimates of how attractive they were to their female friends had virtually nothing to do with how these women actually felt, and almost everything to do with how the men themselves felt—basically, males assumed that any romantic attraction they experienced was mutual, and were blind to the actual level of romantic interest felt by their female friends. Women, too, were blind to the mindset of their opposite-sex friends; because females generally were not attracted to their male friends, they assumed that this lack of attraction was mutual. As a result, men consistently overestimated the level of attraction felt by their female friends and women consistently underestimated the level of attraction felt by their male friends.’
Your explanation is not incompatible with the idea of him presuming on their previously established intimacy. Which I think he was wrong to do. All she did was go outside to have a smoke. He followed her out and pushed himself on her physically. Maybe he was thinking that the fight, the absence of the ring, and her coming to him and telling him all about it was her way of letting him know it was on again between them. But pushing yourself on someone physically like that is still assault, even if you just misunderstood them.
Also, it shouldn't have taken more than one "no" for him to stop.
The other thing that all of the above implies is that apparently, " We maintained a friendly, non-sexual, relationship" was something where the only person in the situation who believed it to be true was her.
Sorry you died for yrs/ hope you digging your agency now.
Weird how people stay with others when shit is going down.
Neurotic patterns, re enacted from childhood, I believe. And we repeat these patterns unless we stop and really make the effort to see what hooked us in.
Opposite sex friends, it is a hard terrain. When in a partnership.
And that's where I go back to the irony part.
If Boyfriend had expressed his concerns politely (which would have been A Good Thing), she probably still wouldn't have acquiesced to drop Slimeball Ex (which would have been A Bad Thing). She probably would not have had the fight that landed her in the bar (i.e., A Good Thing), since the fight was about dropping Slimeball Ex, but if Asshole Boyfriend had been polite (A Good Thing), she wouldn't have stormed out, (also A Good Thing)) and she therefore wouldn't have been assaulted that night (A Very Good Thing). The end result of all of the above, however, would be that she would still be associating with both of them. (A Very Bad Thing).
And of course friend was/ is a dick. Of course he should have stopped at the no. Misreading signals is best cleared up by actually asking a question. " are you telling me, that you still have ( romantic/ sexual.. What words would a guy say?), feelings for me?"
Well, that's what I'd assume a civilized guy would say.
Interesting subliminal spin applied in the article's writing, don't you think?
"The results suggest large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships."
Not really different between males and females, just two symmetrical aspects of the same motivation.
Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa. Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief."
Interesting that "clearly misguided" only applies to men thinking opposite sex friends are attracted to them. Women are NOT "clearly misguided" for thinking that their opposite sex male friends AREN'T attracted to them.
In fact, men’s estimates of how attractive they were to their female friends had virtually nothing to do with how these women actually felt, and almost everything to do with how the men themselves felt—basically, males assumed that any romantic attraction they experienced was mutual, and were blind to the actual level of romantic interest felt by their female friends.
Which is exactly how the women ... well, wait for it...
Women, too, were blind to the mindset of their opposite-sex friends; because females generally were not attracted to their male friends, they assumed that this lack of attraction was mutual.
In other words, the women were behaving EXACTLY like the men, in terms of imputing their own feelings (or lack thereof) to the other person.
As a result, men consistently overestimated the level of attraction felt by their female friends and women consistently underestimated the level of attraction felt by their male friends.
The verbiage of the article emphasizes the males' wrongheadedness for imputing their own motives, while stating that women do the same thing in a brief, cursory way, eschewing such terms as "clearly misguided."
Oh bullshit, that's exactly what you're advocating here, along with the eco psych for the complete idiot.
You didn't say waiting, you said you would not abide a girl associating with a former lover.
Well, if the fiancé had treated the LW respectfully about the prowling sleazeball ex, he would have been a different person, ie not a jealous ass. So it would have been ok for her to stay with him.
However, if the version of the story where she liked the attention of prowling sleazeball ex and let him treat her fiancé disrespectfully is correct, the Bad Thing would have been poor old respectful fiancé getting stuck with a self-absorbed LW and the Good Thing would be self-absorbed LW learning a lesson about people who treat one’s fiancé disrespectfully. (That they are people who treat people disrespectfully and are best avoided.) So maybe she would have learned that and grown up a bit and everything would have been ok?
I note that a lot of Dan’s LW’s feature alcohol prominently in their stories.
It features prominently in his readers' lives as well?
Some of us understand that we are more than our biology and that sex is not the only thing that defines a relationship. I'm a woman and have a male friend (Old Friend; OF) whom I've known for over 12 years. My relationship with OF did start out as a sexual fling for about three weeks. It ended after that and we didn't see each other for a while. We got back in touch later, but only as friends. Why do I keep OF in my life, even though I'm now in a wonderful relationship with another man (Significant Other; SO) and OF is engaged to another woman? Because we have a great non-sexual connection and we like each other as human beings. Neither of us wants to be with the other sexually, so why shouldn't we be able to enjoy the other aspects of ourselves and each other as friends?
If my SO told me to end my friendship with OF, I would tell my SO that him telling me who I can and can't have as friends is a deal-breaker, and if he is serious about me ending my friendship with OF, then that would mean the end of our (SO and my) relationship. How does that make me immature? I'm not the one incapable of dealing with the fact that my partner has a friendship with somebody s/he once fucked (over a decade ago). My SO is still friends with the woman with whom he lost his virginity over 30 years ago. They haven't had sex in over 28 years. If I were to tell him he had to stop being friends with her, I would think that would make me the immature one, not him for having the friendship.
Some people can have multifaceted relationships, even with people with whom they may have had sex, and that doesn't mean they want to have sex with them now or that they should stop being friends because one of them is now in a romantic relationship. If you are so insecure that you can't handle that, then it seems you are the one who has some growing up to do.
Personally, I would drop a man real quick if he wore speedos to the beach. That's just one of my conditions.
I have a 27 yr old son, who seems to pick women that spin him out a bit. Why? Probably because of how his father and I conducted our relationships. Though, I was the one who got spun out.
Hence, my son is repeating patterns of intimacy he learnt from his parents( with variation, of course). He comes to talk with me re this stuff. I try to point him to some therapy, sort out the damage done by his parents ( ie me and his father).
I'm learning a lot about how different men deal with life, thru these threads of Dan's.
I guess, if you keep finding girls you fall for, with whom the relationship is not really satisfying you. And either or both of you, spin out... Then stop for a bit and look into your
Patterns. Rather than just keep breaking your heart or others' hearts. Be by yourself for a bit. Strengthen who you are. See your patterns.
And as I say to my son, guard your heart and your mind. Don't just give out your intimacies too easily.. Sorry if this rave is totally inappropriate .. Just my response to how you phrase things.
Threatening to leave arguably is controlling them. Simply up and leaving isn't.
Boundaries. Gives the other person choice.
Sounds like they're leaving you because you're such a charmer.
And yes, fucked up situations lead to fucked up opinions.
Yet. We always got our mind with us.. Strengthen one's mind, and any situation is surmountable..
Take care of yourself.
And no, I'd don't know. Just gotta trust, that whatever life throws at one, the resources are there to face them. Might get scary might get dark.. Just gotta trust the sun will still rise in the morning. And go find people to talk with, eh?
"I mean, it took me way too long, but I'm going to DTMFA. Or am I the motherfucker that needs to be dumped?"
DTMFA regardless. If Bar Guy was The World's Worst Friend, then yes, you might deserve a good dumping, but Ex-Fiancee still deserves one too; in that scenario, everyone involved is an asshole and/or an idiot and you're all well rid of each other. It doesn't matter who's worse.
If Bar Guy wasn't the same person referred to in the letter--and I think it seems like he wasn't?--then your ex is Pure Unadulterated Shitstain, and you're well rid of him.
In either case, dump the guy immediately. There's no scenario in which you're not better off without the asshole.
The rest of the thread seems like an argument about what the difference is between "I insist you stop hanging out with so-and-so" and "So-and-so seems creepy and I'd be more comfortable if you didn't hang out with him," and I'm pretty sure there isn't a difference, since the latter can be portrayed as the former by anyone who doesn't want to dump the creep, and it's already a given that they don't want to.
@banned: I can't really follow what's going on in your posts, but... good luck with whatever that's about?
If there are only three people involved in the letter, Fiance is less of a motherfucker, but he's still enough of a motherfucker to dump. Saying things like that to someone you're dating is a dumping offense, regardless of anything else.
With 56's exception, of course.
People keep going back and forth about whether the guy at the bar was the friend, etc. Sure, I suppose if the guy at the bar was the friend then that lends the opinion of the shit stain fiance a little credibility.
But regardless of his reason for it, demanding your partner cut off ties with someone who is big in your life is a red flag. "If I loved him I would do this." That's manipulative shit right there.
It's possible for someone to do this in a way that doesn't raise red flags. You can express concern, you can explain why you have issues with your partner's friend. You can ask for assurance. etc. If it's a really intense situation, you might even be able to get away with asking for them to cut off contact-- but not demanding it-- and even that would probably raise red flags for people. And then when they say no, you drop it and let your behavior stand the test of time that you're not an controlling abuser. LW's fiance completely failed to do that. He increased his controlling abuser behavior.
I mean... if he actually believed what he was saying, wouldn't he have dumped her already? LW, if you're reading this: That's an abuser's tactic. DTMFA.
In the end we both agree that a dumping is necessary.
creeper dude is just creepy. here's why i think it's the creeper friend throughout. LW ran into the friend she's known for 10 years at the local watering hole, which they probably hung out at a lot together. guy asked about missing engagement ring, and got all grabby. a lot of familiarity between the two. starting the letter about her old time friend, which this whole problem seems to pivot on, and saying she ran into "this guy" not "a guy" at the bar makes me think it's the same guy.
I think those who feel that the LW looks worse is because she ignored and rejected her fiance's warnings - warnings which were proven correct IF "this guy" at the bar is the same "old friend" she once fucked. It's not a view I subscribe too - old friend never tried to rape her in a decade of friendship, and all she shared was that fiance had a "bad feeling" which could be reasonably dismissed as jealousy and/or paranoia in light of that fact - until it happened, of course, which is why people are kind of hung up on whether old friens and "this guy" are one and the same. But I think she still looks fine in spite of that because nine or ten years free of obvious creepiness means her trust in the friend wasn't just a matter of foolishness or being blind to obvious faults. (And if fiance couldn't be more specific about why he got a "bad feeling," that's all on him.)
i don't think any of that makes LW look worse if it was the same friend or not. just stuck in the middle of a mess of emotions. i think there might have been some more done by LW in making the fiance more comfortable with her friend though, let the fiance get to know the old friend. if the fiance went straight to cut all ties then all bets are off.
Which only adds to the horror and violation in the case of assault by a friend.
"He says my lack of resistance equals acceptance."
that's a fucked up thing to say to someone that had to run away from some grabby asshole that she thought was a friend.
Having a man in your life is not some magic talisman against Bad Things happening.
If you're paranoid, this makes it look really obvious that you're being cheated on again, and that she's spent the whole relationship building up false trust--and that the delay of a couple weeks was spent trying to decide whether to tell you or not, and that she's decided to only kind of tell you. At that point, if Fiancee writes in, we should tell him to DTMFA, assuming Old Flame and Bar Creeper are the same guy; keeping an ex on a string in case you get bored, and rubbing it in a paranoid partner's face constantly, while also constantly lying that there's nothing going on, is an asshole move. To Fiance, that's what this probably looked like, and he should have broken up with her already--since if that's how it looks to you, regardless of whether it's actually happening or not, you should break up, because the relationship's not making you happy.
Instead of doing the sensible thing, though, Fiance decides to turn into Total Shitstain, thus earning himself a DTMFA all his own. Seriously, months? Jesus christ. That's some pretty serious hate.
Even if we assume the position of maximal available sympathy for Fiance, putting LW at about a 3 on the Dumpworthy Motherfucker Scale, Fiance is easily an 8. But I'm not really convinced that position is the correct one.
Which is why, going forward, it doesn't make a difference--in either case, it's time to break up, since at least one of the people in the relationship is unquestionably a total motherfucker who needs dumping already.
For the record, I'm no longer as certain, on rereading the letter, whether Old Friend and Bar Creeper are the same person; maybe 50/50? The more I read it, the less clear it seems.
@190: I got the impression that Avast meant that she only ended up at the bar with Bar Creeper because Fiance kind of pushed her out by being an asshole. I don't really agree with that--I think you're right that something like this was inevitable, given that he's an asshole--but I can sort of see how it fits.
If there's a Dumpworthy Motherfucker scale, and 1 means "DTMFA" and 10 means "seriously, for god's sake, dump the motherfucker," having those two characters be the same person moves the LW onto that scale, and moves Fiance a little lower on it. Not enough to matter, though.
But that wasn't his reaction. He reacted by calling her a shitty cheater and a slutty whore.
Here's the thing that bothers me about you assigning LW any number on the DTMFA scale. We should all be free, even when we're in committed relationships, to choose our own friends. His ultimatum, as others have said, is potentially an alarming red flag. As far as LW was concerned, Creeper was never a creeper until that night. (I'm sure she's reassessing that relationship as well as her engagement right now.)
Anyway, they argued and she went out to a bar to blow off some steam. That is also her right. She didn't say that she went out to meet bar guy, so I'm not going to assume that she did. She talked to bar guy turned Creeper about what was on her mind that night - the reason she was sans ring and blowing off steam at a bar. Again, she has every right to do that! As far as she was concerned, she was just talking to a friend, not some opportunistic creep. (BTW, faced with an ultimatum to dump one of my friends or else? I would have taken the ring off too)
The fact that bar guy/Creeper misread LW's frame of mind is NOT HER FAULT! She cannot possibly be held responsible for the groping/assault that took place. She didn't lead the guy on. She immediately said no over and over and she ended up literally running away. NOT HER FAULT! She did nothing wrong that I can see.
The only reason fiance should dump LW is because fiance is a controlling asshole with trust issues. If LW is (or was) as in love with her fiance as she says, he should have trusted her. Like an adult. Bringing baggage (his exes were ALL shitty cheaters?) into a relationship is unfair and immature. That he was right about bar guy/Creeper is irrelevant. Perhaps it takes one to know one?
So no. On the DTMFA scale? He gets 10. She gets 0.
Thanks. I think this is what we all wound up overlooking. It doesn't seem like the LW sought out Bar Jerk. They ran into each other and he took advantage of her moment of vulnerability. This is my clash with Avast because of the implication that the assault was something that could be foretold and planned for when it wasn't. If Bar Jerk was Old Friend then she had no reason to mistrust him after a decade of good behavior. This also means that even if the assault didn't happen then and there it could still have happened in another time or place
I won't dispute that the guy had designs on her. That's exactly what Controlling Asshole Boyfriend was complaining about, and exactly what she was insisting wasn't a factor.
Still, she would not have been out without her engagement ring, fresh off of a fight with her boyfriend over that specific guy. Yes, he's a slimeball and fully capable of putting the moves on her at any time, but surely you can see that particular set of circumstances was the perfect storm in terms of causing him to think that boyfriend was kaput and he was in the running again. (As opposed to merely feeling entitled to grope any female within reach.)
Also, odd how in #196 you want to credit him with "a decade of good behavior" while at the same time wanting to paint him as a predator who is at all times one bad decision away from a sexual assault. That's called arguing both sides of the proposition. By the way, it was a decade of platonic friendship that RECENTLY changed to sleeping together. Apparently not long before getting together with current boyfriend.
"Having a man in your life is not some magic talisman against Bad Things happening."
Srsly? That's what you think I was saying? That's the sort of overstatement-cum-misrepresentation that makes you sound like a newbie on Feministing.com who just finished her Gender Studies 1A midterm. Put down the book of convenient radical-feminist slogans and try some critical thinking.
That's not an implication, it's a failure of reading comprehension.
I never said anyone should have been able to foretell anything, let alone plan for it. I simply played out the scenario if it had gone the other way, and an entirely different series of "what-seems-like-a-blessing-may-be-a-curse" would have unfolded. One which in the end would have been far worse, as she would have still been with her abusive new boyfriend. Playing THAT out even farther, to its logical conclusion, she probably would have spent the next several years having her self-esteem and her sanity slowly crushed by Boyfriend's emotionally abusive tactics.
As it ended up, she is well rid of both of them.
Then what you saying Avast? You agree that she should DTMFA both guys but at the same time you keep focusing on how the fiance was 'right' and that this means...something. I'm just confused as to what we're arguing about.
Then it led nowhere and they went their separate ways, and she got involved with new boyfriend. Apparently pretty soon after breaking up, soon enough to make New Boyfriend nervous with whatever vibe he was picking up off Old Boyfriend and which girlfriend was saying was nothing. (At least one other commenter noticed the use of the phrase "not-so-distant past." To me, the inclusion of that phrase is what poker players call a "tell," and it hints of a certain level of drama regarding too-close timing between the old boyfriend and the new one. Did she dump Old Boyfriend for New Boyfriend?) Then when she showed up at the bar with her ring off and having walked out on New Boyfriend and having had a fight with him specifically over Old Boyfriend, he thinks she has dumped New Boyfriend, that he, Old Boyfriend, is back in the running, and he puts his hands on her without asking permission.
This is unacceptably bad behavior on his part. Consent once revoked stays revoked unless and until explicitly re-granted. But it would explain a lot, that he thought he was just picking up where they left off.
In so far as picking up where they left off usually doesn't happen when one is still with a current partner, then no, having a boyfriend actually _would_ have prevented him from trying that shit. That does not, however, constitute "Having a man in your life [as] some magic talisman against Bad Things happening." It's simply this specific guy reading this specific situation, in which he was an actor of significance.
To recap: IF he's a predator, sure, he would try that shit eventually. (But if he was a predator, why didn't he try it even once during the first ten years of supposedly platonic friendship?) Or, scenario B, IF he thought he was picking up where the two of them left off, he would be much less likely to try that shit so long as he thought she was attached, but more likely to try it once he thinks she has dumped her boyfriend for him.
I would hesitate to ascribe to the LW some sort of invisible property that draws her unconsciously towards assholes. That sounds a little like believing in ether, the undetectable substance that was previously hypothesized to occupy all space and provide a medium for the travel of light.
In fact, light requires no medium to travel, and two men behaving in an entitled way towards the same woman on the same day requires no otherworldly explanation.
Certainly not an explanation that ascribes quasi-magical powers to the LW.
but that doesn't mean taking the risk was wrong. When your partner comes back to you and has been sexually assaulted by someone who betrayed her, you should not expect her to apologize for being wrong about trusting her friend. Being tempted to say, "I told you so" is understandable, but petty. No, it's the time for comforting and helping someone cope with it. And then you can both work to see if there were any warning signs that can be learned from. Explicit warning signs, not just "I feel weird about him". It's good to mention to a partner if you feel weird about someone, that's useful info. And if a partner ends up with a really good track record of detecting creeps, even if they aren't consciously aware of how they do it, that's useful info. But expecting someone to throw away 10 years of friendship over an "I feel weird about him" with nothing to back it up is wrong. And being proven right doesn't make the request any more reasonable. Just like spending all your rent money on lottery tickets is a bad decision, and it was a bad decision even if you lucked out and actually hit it big.
I also don't see how the friend assuming he has a right to touch someone he doesn't has any bearing on her. That's pretty much a given in sexual assault. People sexually assault others because they feel entitled to. His bizarre sense of entitlement is not her fault. She clearly had not given him ongoing permission, since she was assaulted. And even if she had fully broken up with her current partner, a break-up is not consent for an ex to grope you, which seems to have been the guy's reasoning. Which fits with a common abusive mentality: oh no guy currently owns you, so it's okay for me to do what I'd like with you. Two creeps being in her life doesn't make her guilty of anything.
Dan, why are such a cheerleader for stupid straight females?
I am dyslexic and I wrote this while I was drunk. Like, super drunk. The kind of drunk and desperate where writing Dan Savage is your best option. No offense, Dan. You're fantastic. The written word has never been my strong suit and I was in a super bad place, is my point.
Mostly, I want to thank Dan and everyone who has shown support and compassion. I also want to tell everyone who has been a dick to fuck off. At a point, having better judgment, or whatever the fuck was said, means being paranoid and never getting close to anyone.
Yes, people do shitty things. You, I, everyone, should be aware of that. I am aware of that. That doesn't mean that shitty things happening to you, at the hands of people you trusted, is your fault.