Savage Love

Crazy in Love

Comments

1
Oooh,am I first? And only if I had something witty to say.
LW1 - what DS said. Wasn't this posted before? And I think the comments hammered that one out.

LW2 - Bondage while pregnant- no freggin' idea - not a doctor.

LW3 - you are not wrong to want to end a marriage for an eleven year drought of sex. I would. I would also draw your wife aside and say WTF. It was an utter bait and switch. Does she say WHY?
2
Not really "bait and switch" if they had a sex life for the first 17 years of their relationship.
3
@1 re: LW3 Age and hormones. Happens to a lot of people. No way to predict it.
4
I like the reply to BWB. Let common sense prevail. However, I would point out that only one of them is pregnant. I see no reason why BWB's swain couldn't be trussed up six ways from Sunday.
5
Before SHIT goes for any of the options Dan listed, he might find out what happened eleven years ago, and strongly encourage his wife to get a complete physical. Maybe the problem isn't fixable, in which case, yeah, those are your options. But there might be something medical going on that can be treated. Worth a try, no?
6
Jerking off to ordinary porn means you're a cheating pedophile? Well, then I guess 99.87% of men are pedophiles now. What a lunatic.

Do you think she's a religious nut or a feminist nut? I vote for religious!
7
LW1: the problem here isn't changing your wife's mind about you - it's changing your wife's mind about porn, and that's going to be tough. You've committed what she believes is a wicked act; she does not even want to have children with you. Trying to convince her that "I like porn, but I'm still a good guy" is probably doomed to failure, since for her those two propositions are mutually exclusive. Instead, you have to convince her that porn isn't wicked, which would mean that you aren't, either. Good luck with that.
8
Shibari folks have apparently been on about this old woodcut for years: The Lonely House on Adachi Moor by Tsuki… They find the details very convincing, and I guess the dates align well with his wife's having another kid, so they believe he actually suspended his wife as a model.

I believe what Dan's saying is don't do THAT, BWB.
9
I'm voting religious.

10
Jee-ZEUS! SNAP, listen to Dan's once again truly excellent, spot-on advice, and much agreed with @1 DarkHorseRising: DTMFA!

@6 & @9: Agreed: I third the vote on SNAP's wife being religious nut.

BWB: I dunno: bondage during pregnancy is really up to you. I have never had children, so I don't feel I can express much of an opinion (I'm also not a doctor, either), except that bondage engaging sounds increasingly risky later in your pregnancy. Visiting the Babycenter.com and twistedmonk.com websites as Dan has kindly provided can help you decide what is safe, when it is, and when it isn't. Good luck in your bondage pursuits, congratulations to you and your husband on the birth of your new baby, and wishing good health and happiness to the three of you.
@2 Registered European: Thank you for pointing that out.
@3 gnot: I agree, especially of SHIT and his wife are both over age 45.
11
@10: Sorry---I meant "...if SHIT and his wife are over age 45."
12
Deduction to LW2 for presuming Universal Gender Roles.
13
Just to tie together letters 2 & 3 and comments 4 & 12: "I haven't had sex in so long I've forgotten who gets tied up." :)
14
I've never understood why some women get so bent out of shape over men looking at pornography. I could understand it if the guy is looking at it to the TOTAL exclusion of sex with her, but to be that judgmental over it when everything else is going fine seems insane to me.

And I don't get it when some women lose total interest in sex, yet seem to think that just because THEY have lost interest in sex, that their husbands should just follow suit and be happy in a sexless relationship. I've NEVER understood that reasoning.
15
@14, agree on both counts.
16
@14 I do understand the reasoning because I've had a man pull it on me: It's "sex isn't that important." (He couldn't tell there was a silent 'to me' at the end of that sentence.)
17
I think I'd rather have no sex at all than repeatedly bad sex ever again.
18
LW1-I never understood why some people get all bent out of shape about porn? I always though men watch porn for the same reason dogs chase cars, because they can. The use of porn does not make you a pedophile, having sex or sexual fanasties with someone who has the physical/mental appearance of a child does. While we have decided as a society that anything under age 18 is a child, in reality watching age play or someone who is 16 or 17 but has reached their physical maturity does not make you a deviant.
Men are more literal so they like to watch visual representations of their erotic fantasies. Women are more cerebral so they tend to read and imagine their fantasies. Which is why 50 Shades of Mental Abuse is so popular right now and why Bodice Ripper books have been popular for decades.
What it sounds like to me is youe wife does not want or is afraid to have children, but feels like society expects her too. So instead of admitting her disinterest in having children she is using the porn to shift the blame to you. "I totally want children but, HE's not responsible enough to trust with them."
This is not going to resolve with time. You can get councelling but what will eventually happen is one of you will get tired living in an armed camp and move on.
19
@6: Uh? Why are you labelling SNAP's wife either "religious" or "feminist nutjob" when SNAP has already spelled out the source of his wife's irrational porn phobia -- a family history of porn-linked paedophilia? She is controlling and paranoid; there is no need to justify your prejudices by applying them to her.
20
@19; ah, a couple of hornets nests there.
I'll just address one of them. I think people get bent out of shape re heterosexual porn, because it often presents women in an objectified way. Does gay porn do this? Of course, intelligent men who watch a little porn for fun- surely no problem. Younger men, watching porn, maybe not too developed in relating to real women- porn can convince them women will be available , as the women in porn are, to moan and groan with each thrust the man does, etc etc.
21
Yeah, age and hormones can make a difference in a person's sex drive.

But when you enter a monogamous marriage, you make a commitment to more or less meet your partner's sexual needs. Breaks now and then are reasonable, a little slowing down with age is reasonable, but just unilaterally deciding that someone else's sex life is over is not reasonable.

A certain spirit of generosity and giving is essential to a marriage - "I don't really need it but what the heck, sure" is not too much to ask from someone you have promised to spend your life with.

I would strongly advise not marrying a person who does not have a generous and open nature. It's probably the best predictor of future happiness.

I think LW should make it clear to his wife that the present situation is unacceptable to him, and insist on some honest and open discussion. "this is hurting me" is something that needs to be said, in plain words.

Hope they can figure something out. Nobody should have to go eleven years without sex while in a committed relationship.
22
Good lord, Dan, is there no compassion for someone who is obviously struggling with some deep issues? When you marry someone, are they expected to behave perfectly, insecurity-free, and always completely rational and lovely? Yes, the wife's behaviour in L1 is way out of line, but as someone who has flown off the handle in similar ways, I can see even through the letter that her behaviour is based in deep insecurity and fear. It sounds a lot like the behaviour of someone with a personality disorder. So, yes, the LW should let his wife know that this behaviour is not acceptable - but with compassion and concern, and a suggestion that she get therapy to deal with her issues. Not all irrational behaviour is by choice, and it would be nice to see some more compassion towards mental illness in this column. Now, if the wife refuses to get help and continues to act like this, that is unacceptable and grounds for leaving.
23
@19 - 'a family history of porn-linked paedophilia'...
How is a *friend's cousin* family? She's gaslighting him. Are you an apologist for that kind of behavior?
24
Just remember, SaraJane makes wonderful cookies!
25
Sorry, that was uncalled for.. LW3, SHIT. A sex therapist? Is that someone you talk over your sexual issues with or have sex with? If it's the former, then I'd find another therapist. 11 yrs, and no sex between you and your wife? And only now you write in about it, only now you realize your wife no longer wants sex?
26 yrs is a long time to be with someone, but this story you have going with this woman, is not a marriage. Time you faced that. It could be a close companionship, and that is valuable. Why have you put up with an 11 yr sexual drought?
Of course not having sex for so long and being with a woman who won't
Work to change , certainly gives you a get out of jail card. You just have to decide you want your freedom.
26
@22, coffeecup

Yes, I also thought of a personality disorder when I read SNAP’s description of his wife, but because I’ve been on the taking-the-shit side of a relationship with a personality-disordered person, whereas you seem to have been on the dishing-that-shit-out side, my sympathies, and my advice to SNAP, are different from yours. SNAP, it sounds like your wife may have a personality disorder. Read the diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder, and see if the description sounds familiar. If it does, coffeecup is correct that it is treatable, but it take years and years and years of therapy (dialectical behavioral therapy is recommended for BPD) and a strong commitment to change on the part of the individual (saying that everything in her head is YOUR PROBLEM is a sign that she is not ready to admit that she may be mentally ill), and in the meantime, you will continue to be her emotional punching bag. People with BPD can be perfectly charming to most people in their lives, but the people closest to them, the ones they know won’t leave them, receive horrible, abusive behavior regularly. You can’t fix her problems . . . all the love in the world cannot fix her problems, and if you leave her, that may be a wakeup call that she can’t get away with treating people this way, not even her husband.
27
PS I know that Captain Awkward would swat my hand for providing an armchair diagnosis of a total stranger over the Internetz, but still . . . just look at the diagnostic criteria, SNAP -- you know her better than I do.
28
Poor SNAP. Dan's advice is obviously right, but I feel so much sympathy for SNAP. It's easy to come out with the glib DTMFA. It's much harder to break up a marriage in real life. You might know it's the right thing to do and continue to wonder if maybe everything might have turned out differently if you only hadn't made one mistake or made one change. I can understand that sense of grief and loss and responsibility all wrapped into one.

With that in mind, consider this: It might have nothing to do with porn or cheating or pedophilia or cousins or any of the other things mentioned in your letter. It might be that your wife wants a divorce. It wouldn't be the first time that someone dealt with their own issues by gaslighting someone else.

Consider a few scenarios in your imagination just to help you feel better. Imagine that your wife is having 2nd thoughts about having children but is wound so tight, is so wrapped up in the idea that she must be a mother, that she can't face admitting her doubts even to herself. What would she do? In some twisted way she'd decide that she's the perfect mother, but you can't possibly be a father.

Or imagine that she has some other reason to be dissatisfied with her marriage but again can't bring herself to go for that divorce herself. Again, she'd have to put the blame on you. Consider that some long ago porn viewing is only a convenient place for her to hang her blame and if it weren't that, she'd be complaining about how much money you make or the way you fold your socks.

So I'd say don't just dump her. Do it in a particularly nasty way. Do this. See a lawyer first so you can protect your financial interests. This shouldn't be too hard since you haven't been married long and don't have children. You ought to be able to walk away from each other without considerations of alimony or either of you demanding property that belonged to the other before you were married.

Then, go to her and don't say a word about what an irrational screaming bitch she's become. Simply tell her that she's too good and deserves someone more perfect than you could possibly be, and because you realize this, you've decided to step aside so she can find the man who's right for her. Do so with an air of self-sacrifice and martyrdom. Make it clear that she's perfect and has no faults that she could ever need to be forgiven for. Wish her well. If you lay it on thick enough, you may be able to leave her with a lifetime of guilt and doubt which is what she deserves.

29
Crinoline - wow. Just wow. Never thought of that.
My thought is more aggressive than passive. Perhaps, SNAP should just blow back up on her... along the lines "If I am such a piece of sh!t, maybe I should just leave!" I don't think she wants him gone, I think she wants control. She wants him under her thumb.
30
@26: In some, extreme, cases, yes, theapy for BPD can take "years and years and years". In others it can be 4-6 months. Yes, it is a struggle, but BPD is a mental disorder, like Schizophrenia. Would you tell the letter writer to dump his wife if she was treating him with extreme paranoia and they found out she had Schizophrenia? It is an illness, it is not the sufferer's fault, and it is treatable. The sooner we treat mental illness as what it is instead of a personality flaw, the better. Now, you make a crucial point: she has to be open to working on it and receiving treatment. If she refuses, THAT is her fault. Just because you were subjected to an irresponsible person who treated you badly doesn't mean you should paint all people with BPD with the same brush. Give the wife a chance to change - she may never have heard of BPD, and be suffering with no idea that there is a solution.
31
@30; Er, no.. It's not like Schizophrenia. This is a servere mental illness, where the persons mind totally breaks from reality during a psychotic episode.
Maybe this woman has BPD, maybe she's just an ordinary neurotic pain in the arse, whatever. She is responsible for her behaviour. A person with Schizophrenia, in a psychotic episode- is not.
32
@26, 4-6 months to correct Borderlines? Taint BPD then. Right now I'm trying to extract myself from a marriage of 20 years sent with someone with BPD. Borderlines shift and change, making both diagnosis and treatment extremely difficult. They dump on you and everything is someone else's fault.

LW 1 shouldn't bother trying to fix his wife, she's basically stated that it's not HER problem. And Dan is right, it'll be something else. There's always something else.

Ropes in pregnancy? As a midwife, I wuld say to let her body dictate. Nothing extreme though. I'm sure that eventually it will be either uncomfortable, not sexy or meh whilst her body changes. And sex at 5-6 months is pretty yummy all on its own.
33
I meant @30. More coffe is needed, I guess.
34
coffeecup,

"not my fault" and "ok in a spouse" are two different concepts.

If my partner developed paranoid schizophrenia (possibly like the husband in this letter http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…) they would not be a good life-partner. If my partner's schizophrenia were successfully treated to the point where neither their medication load nor their symptoms interfered with full participation in life, that's one thing. But that rarely happens. I'd have some decisions to make.

BPD is not an illness the way that schizophrenia is. It's more a question of brain wiring, like being left-handed or gay or a psychopath.

We know that psychopathy is an advantageous human trait. If everyone in the world is a psychopath that's no good because we are much better off if we can cooperate. However, if most people are pro-social but 1% of the population is psychopathic, the psychopaths can do really well because the other 99% will trust them and cooperate with them and they can just rake it in. Psychopathy is not treatable.

We know that being gay is an advantageous human trait. If 5% of a population are healthy people who voluntarily withdraw from the reproductive enterprise and are free to dedicate their best years to helping out their family members, that's great for the reproductive success of the family members - who share the same genes. Sexual orientation is not treatable.

BPD is characterized by black-and-white thinking where people and institutions are perceived as being either all-good or all-bad. It is more common in people with very stressful childhoods. Wartime is extremely stressful. If you grow up in wartime into an adult prepared to hate (and kill) enemies and also to immediately switch alliances when called for, you might be very fit to survive and reproduce in violent circumstances. So BPD can be understood not as an illness, but as a normal personality variant that just happens not to be suited for the cooperative living that most of us in north america strive for today.

Try and imagine being treated for your personality. Someone decides that however it is that you relate to the world and to other people is an illness. Say you enjoy crowds and stimulating activities, and because that's considered disadvantageous to all the introverts you have been labelled ill. Your introverted spouse is urged to tolerate your outgoing nature on condition that you get treatment for it. You are told that it takes great motivation and effort to become an introvert, and you may never fully succeed, but it's worth the effort.

Not going to happen, is it? BPD - yes, people can learn to manage their emotions better and take more responsibility for them. Medication can help BPD by reducing mood swings and making emotions more manageable. But it's a personality - one that we dislike and that is usually unhelpful and causes unhappiness, but whatever - and not particularly amenable to change. That doesn't mean it's anyone's fault (beyond the possibly abusive family) but it's not exactly an illness either. People with BPD are still responsible for their actions.

Schizophrenia itself is clearly an illness. It doesn't make families or individuals reproduce better, it doesn't improve the functioning of society. It is treatable with medication. However, schizophrenia is so widespread that researchers have been trying to find out what the underlying advantageous trait is that perpetuates it. Not a lot of success. (Boosted creativity in non-schizophrenic family members? Nope.)
35
The future ex-Mrs SNAP has a couple of fallacies going on here:
* Her friend's cousin committed statutory rape because he's in the porn industry (this may be true, though I think it's more likely the other way around)
* Her friend's cousin is representative of the entire industry
* The ephebophilia gets into the tape like Samara's evil, so that even ordinary porn becomes child-rapey because of what purportedly happens behind the scenes.

I mean, it's fairly obvius that a lot of this is rationalization, because she thinks she has to have a reason for not wanting him to watch porn, but because she rationalizes it, it goes in her mind from opinion to fact, and thus she feels justified in her rage towards anyone who feels differently and acts on that.

@30: The fact that someone's behavior is due to mental illness or personality disorder doesn't make it any easier to bear. Particularly if it's one for which there's no magic bullet cure, also known as all of them, and particularly if they deny it or won't seek treatment for it.
36
It is easier said than done to walk away from a marriage, but I agree w/Dan's blog poster who said "if you have to lie before a marriage, then don't get married." For SNAP, that's a moot point. But he needs to say to her "look, I love you but I can't live like this. I think we have issues that a therapist can help with. Please come with me to see someone." If she says no, then she obviously is not vested enough in the marriage and he can walk. If she says yes, then hopefully the therapist (a woman, doubt she'd trust a man) would let her know that porn is not inherently bad nor does porn watching make you a pedo. Also, she needs to know that yelling at her husband in public is never ok.

As for the guy w/no sex life, again, it's easier said than done to tell your spouse you want an open marriage, but he needs to instead of cheating (which is never ok, IMO) or he needs to get out.
37
You don't "have" to lie and cheat to be with anyone. If you don't like someone's parameters for a relationship, challenge them. Dump them. But for the love of god don't be the kind of patronizing piece of shit that says "well your concerns are so irrational that it's beneath me to even treat you with the respect I'd treat an equal, I'll just lie to you!"

I think the wife's demands are unreasonable, personally. But I think what the husband did was unethical, scummy and all-around wrong.

She has every right to be mad at him.
38
Wow and the number of people sympathetic to SNAP...
39
Cat in fez @8, thank you for that.
40
Best line: "Gather your things together - don't forget your balls - and move the hell out"
41
@37 She yells at him in public. That's way beyond the point of deserving any respect.
42
Letter 3: The wife is having an affair or was raped. Either way, the truth needs to come out.
43
@36 You appear to be considering this in a vacuum. You're right that cheating is never okay, but neither is unilateral elimination of sex.

Asking whether one is better than the other is an excellent way to waste time bickering. Asking whether there is value to be preserved by infidelity in a dead bedroom scenario, though, may not be.

Imagine, for a moment, that the topic of an open marriage were broached, and the wife responded with a clear "I'd rather a divorce than such an arrangement". I see two central questions revolving around this - first, "Is the sexlessness truly permanent?", and second "Is that response rhetoric, or truth?"

"Yes", "Rhetoric"
There's no real claim on the husband's sex life, only on his time. Infidelity becomes an abstract concept; strictly a means of control. While a rational actor would not object to infidelity in such a scenario, If she's overstating her objection, then the one conclusion we can draw is that she truly desires control. This may be a reason to end the marriage, and it may not - we're not in a particularly good position to judge. Still, the implications of this being rhetoric are also that she doesn't object on fundamental grounds. In truth, a "cheating", but present husband is preferable to being single. IMO, this situation calls for serious thought on the part of the husband - a spouse whose goal is control, and who would rather be deceived than lack perceived control? Yikes.

"No", "Rhetoric"
Infidelity becomes tangible, but so does the tangible difference between marriage and familial companionship. The question thus shifts to "Is it the husband's responsibility to act as if his wife is lying?" Given the irrationality above, perhaps… but again, LW3 is in the best position to judge.
Humans are notoriously irrational. Where that irrationality expresses itself is never certain, and we can do nothing but trust LW3 to know his wife better than we do.

"No", "Truth"
The wife being mistaken about sexlessness implies a serious issue that is expressing itself in a way that taxes their relationship significantly. Here, the maintenance of the relationship to the point of sexual reconciliation may be preferable to the honesty of divorce, but it's unclear. I"d tend toward an absolute view, given the unknowability, but LW3 is still in a far better position to judge. There's a degree of dishonesty already present in this position - the "No" is effectively rhetoric, whether or not that's a conscious thing - so an actor must judge the scenario, and cannot rationally deal in absolutes.

"Yes", "Truth"
This is the particularly bitter spot in this discussion. If you can trust the pronouncements of a sexless-wife that divorce is preferable to infidelity, then no rationale suffices to excuse going behind her back. Get the divorce, and find a new relationship, or admit that sex is less important than maintaining the marriage. In this scenario, cheating is cheating.
44
Oh, Dan. I agree with so much of your response to the porn user, even with the part about his wife's objection to porn being a rationalization.

BUT.

Let's please acknowledge that the porn INDUSTRY can be and often is abusive in exactly the way she fears.

I often say that "porn" is like "drugs": it's a giant category, and being "against" either is short-sighted and misguided.

But, like eating corporate food, you can be cosigning unethical practices when you consume porn without knowing where it comes from.

His wife is probably controlling and awful, and yes he had to lie from the get-go and that was bad...

But when women freak out about men consuming porn, it's not always ball-busting hysteria. Sometimes, it's like learning that your husband watches dogfights for fun.
45
@44: Yabbut the specifics of her complaint are largely tangential to the actual abuses. When women freak out about men consuming grown-person porn because pedophilia, it isn't about the porn.
47
"but the pregnancy means we probably won't be able to use them for a long time."

You have no idea.

1) You think 9 months is a long time to go without kinky sex.

2) You think that you'll have *time* after the baby.

3) I bet you even think that you won't want another one after three or four years, after which you get to go through all this all over again, extending that "you won't have time" thing out to about 6 or 7 *years*.

There. *Now* you can panic.

Also, go have fun now while you can.
48
@28 Crinoline: I agree with you on SNAP's situation. What you recommended for SNAP to do in breaking things off after 26 unhappily married years is almost exactly tea-for-two what I did to get out of my one nightmare marriage. What SNAP describes in his unhappy marriage of 26 years mirrors much of the misery that was my ex.
My ex is living his life and I'm living mine. One fortunate thing for both of us that you aptly pointed out to SNAP: we never had children either during our marriage, and that made walking away and going our separate ways all the easier.
49
"I have been married for 26 years and dated my wife for two years before that. We have not been intimate for the last 11 years."

So, uh....other than this one small thing, everything else is hunky dory, huh?

AND..she never wants to have sex again. Again? Once every 11 years constitues "again?" And it's only starting to get to you NOW?

I'm getting a mental image that looks and sounds like Elmer Fudd here.
50
As someone who lived through an abusive marriage, I will tell you that the advice you gave him while well-meaning isn't going to work. Instead you should have advised him to work on his issues of why he continues to stay in this toxic relationship. I was told countless times that "you should just leave," but it wasn't that simple. I owe the number one reason to my lack of self-esteem and worth were non-existent. If he builds his back up again, then maybe he'll find true happiness. And disclosure: I used to be anti-porn too, but that is because of how it was intially introduced to me.
51
"but I snowboard and I have been tied up..."
At the same time? I want to see that video! ;D
52
People live like this? I try never to envy people in relationships (I am single) because you never know what they put up with the stay in that "enviable" state....things like porn shaming and no sex for over a decade.sheesh.
53
In the 11-year sexless marriage: What if the man takes the initiative and makes the therapist appointment, and they both go--just making the commitment to one session--and see what happens? Why is this all on her? Why can't he set up an appointment?

Maybe she'll open up. Maybe not. Maybe something will be uncovered that will make the situation more clear. But at least HE can say he tried.
54
So glad the SLOTTD got run again...that's a keeper and needs to get a wide audience.

@6 - I'm voting crippling, near clinical disorder insecurity masquerading as religion. Sometimes that turns up as McKinnon/Dworkin-style feminism, but much more often an appeal to authoritarian religious structure to combat internal mental chaos.
55
I guess I should've read all the comments again...@22, I, like you and @26, did think of BPD, because I had a brush with it too. I also think it's much too easy to internet-armchair diagnose this kind of thing.

Sure, it's fine to ask for compassion - to say, hey, it's not deliberate; there's no mens rea - but the thing is: as applied, the practical effect of living with someone like that is the same. And unless the sufferer is willing to admit they've got a problem and seek help, something that's vanishingly rare among the mentally ill, it's kind of moot whether it takes four months or ten years to treat it (and your four months is unusual).

Uncreative's original advice is very good: do not marry someone you feel you must lie to. Just don't. Dump them sooner rather than later. Beyond that, yes, my sympathies are with the person being abused, not the abuser.
56
@34: Firstly, Schizophrenia is a question of brain wiring also. And therapies like CBT, DBT and Schema therapy have been shown to be successful at rewiring the brain.

To me, the crucial information is this (all from Wikipedia, which cites the original study): A longitudinal study tracking the symptoms of people with BPD found that 34.5% achieved remission within two years from the beginning of the study. Within four years, 49.4% had achieved remission, and within six years, 68.6% had achieved remission. By the end of the study, 73.5% of participants were found to be in remission. Moreover, of those who achieved recovery from symptoms, only 5.9% experienced recurrences.

So yes, it can be a huge and long-term struggle. And I agree that, just like with any serious mental disorder, whether you want to stick with your spouse through recovery is a big decision. But the way I see it is that if two-thirds of people recover from symptoms within 6 years, it is in fact a disorder that can be successfully treated. And if my husband had any mental or physical issue that needed long-term treatment, I would stick with him through it SO LONG AS he was fully willing and eager to get help. Effective therapies for BPD have only been developed in the last couple of decades, and there is long-standing stigma (understandable with the amount of pain people with BPD have caused) that keeps people from seeking help or believing in a solution.

Maybe the LW's wife will refuse to get help. Maybe the treatment will be ineffective. Maybe she doesn't have BPD at all and is just a bitch. But I think it's very important that, if there is effective help for a mental health issue, the first step would be to encourage your loved one to seek it. It's very possible that LW has never heard of BPD, or has only heard of it through the skewed and stigmatizing lens of the media. Surely, before leaving the person you committed your life to, it is worth at least considering that they might be able to get professional help.
57
@34 - Very nicely laid out...excellent post.

If it's true that SNAP's wife suffers from a disorder, he would do extremely well to heed Crinoline's advice for an escape plan. Not to extract revenge or to be cruel, but to get out with as little drama as possible. These people fear abandonment more than anything, and may go to great lengths to make your departure difficult.
58
@55: Yes, the absolutely crucial point is that she must acknowledge the problem and be willing to seek help. So from my perspective the advice would be to not kick her out just like that, but make it clear that unless she seeks help, the marriage will not work. This applies to any mental health issue. If she refuses, then DTMFA.
59
@coffeecup: So, yes, the LW should let his wife know that this behaviour is not acceptable - but with compassion and concern

Most abusive people suffer from some sort of mental illness. Many were abused themselves. Whatever the source of their demons, it's not the obligation of the victim to show compassion and concern towards someone who is emotionally or physically harming them, especially if the abuser has absolutely no remorse as in this case.

And it's not our obligation either. Our sympathies naturally go to the party who is being mistreated, and that's as it should be. If it was the husband who berating his wife in public rather than the other way around, something tells me you'd be calling for his head, not for for "compassion and concern".

The best thing this guy can do for all involved is to leave the relationship. Maybe his wife will then take responsibility for the harm her jealousy and rage has caused and seek help from a professional. Until she's done that, fuck her.

60
@23: Calling someone "irrational", "controlling" and "paranoid" is NOT apologising for their behaviour.
You're correct, I read the letter quickly and thought it was the *wife's* cousin. But that is still the reason. Not saying it's a good reason; just saying it's not justifiable for @6 to blame all religious people and feminists for one crazy person's irrational biases.
61
@BiDanFan: it's not justifiable for @6 to blame all religious people and feminists for one crazy person's irrational biases.

True.

Still, a lot of people are drawn to various doctrines (Christianity, feminism, Tea Party) precisely because those doctrines validate their irrational biases. If you happen to have an irrational bias against porn, you'll find that both Christianity and feminism offer plenty of scripture to support your beliefs.
62
LW3-- The wife simply does not love him anymore. Or is so angry that the anger blots out any love. If she were simply indifferent to sex, she would still indulge him on at least major occasions (birthday, vacation, anniversary, etc). But to refuse for 11 years and announce she will never have sex with him again is more that indifference or lack of desire or hormones. It is an act of continuous punishment.
63
@56; no again. Schizophrenia is not just about brain wiring, as far as I understand it it involves chemical imbalances too. Psychotropic drugs " cure" it. You been with someone suffering this illness? Been with someone in a psychotic episode?
Of course this woman has a mental illness, the names applied to dysfunctional minds are just easy labels. Really, most of us have some form of dysfunctional thinking etc. our childhoods less than perfect. At what point do any of us see and decide we need to deal with the way we think, respond to situations etc. I've spent a lifetime dealing with my damaged mind. Luckily, it never became a psychotic mind.
And yes, I agree with the poster above who pointed out that the husband has to work on his issues. He may, however, have to leave the toxic environment that he has with his wife to begin that. It's pretty hard to strengthen ones self esteem, while still being subjected to abusive behaviour. Distance and no contact, then slowly over time and with some therapeutic help, he might get a stronger sense of self together.
64
@22 Her behavior is abusive. Whether or not it's her fault, or whether she can help it, whether she can be blamed, is not relevant. He shouldn't have to endure it either way.

I've seen more than a couple people with personality disorders using their disorder as an excuse. In those cases, "My mental problems made me do it" is just another manifestation of classic BPD manipulative behavior, another phase in the cycle of abuse.

An alcoholic man who beats his wife when drunk will almost inevitably apologize and blame the booze when sober, and refer to his alcoholism as a mental illness over which he has no control. That doesn't mean his wife should stay with him and help him through the process of getting sober. Her first duty is to her own safety and sanity.
65
@14 I think that both notions stem from two ideas about relationships:
(1) Everyone owes their partner a duty of sexual exclusivity, and
(2) No one owes their partner a duty of sexual activity

The notion of universal sexual exclusivity is a holdover from tradition, and the notion of no required sexual activity is a product of feminism. Together, however, they overlap into one person having the power to effectively end another's sex life.

Dan's solution I think is best, which is "Activity is a precondition of exclusivity. Quid pro quo." Seems the most rational way to solve the conflict.
66
I think the reason some (few) people think that a partner with a normal sex drive should stay in a sexless marriage is that whole "for better or worse" thing that most of us married folk promised to our partners... some of us even made a "vow," which you are free to look up in the dictionary if you need a definition. Before I am labeled a religious/feminist nutcase, I will say that I personally think that anyone who is convinced they don't ever want to have sex again (or even for a long, indeterminate period of time) OUGHT to give their partner a pass to seek fulfillment elsewhere. I hope I would be that reasonable and generous if it ever happened to me, God forbid. But I can't go along with the zeitgeist here that finds it completely unreasonable that anybody would choose to honor their partner's feelings and stated request and forgo sex with others. Another caveat: This position assumes that the partners have made a promise to be monogamous and that they both still WANT to be together. If one partner is withholding sex because they actually hate their partner and are trying to manipulate him/her into breaking up, well, you get what you deserve.
67
@mariposa: advised him to work on his issues of why he continues to stay in this toxic relationship

Yes. At some level, this guy thinks he deserves his wife's wrath. He needs to boost his self esteem and mentally separate who he is from how his wife treats him.

I will tell you that the advice you gave him while well-meaning isn't going to work.

Not by itself. To get the process going, however, he needs validation, and that's what he's getting here.
68
Excuse me seandr; you lump Feminism with the Tea Party?
" irrational biases" you say, about what? You think porn shows men how to treat women as they want to be treated ? Come on, put some meat in your statements.
69
Oops, meant to add: Agony@21, yes, you got it. That's exactly right.
70
@59 Actually, this is looking less true over time. We used to think that a large percentage of abusers were abused themselves, but now it's looking more like a large percentage of abusers will lie about having been abused for sympathy. (The percentage who claim they were abused drops drastically if you then ask them to repeat their statements while using a lie detector.) Similarly, mental disorders aren't strongly linked to abuse. In fact, people with mental health problems are far more likely to be abuse victims than abusers, because they are often very easy to take advantage of.

However, those who are inclined to be abusive tend to be far worse abusers if they either were abused themselves or have some forms of mental disorder. So, it's not totally related. And it also means that the most dramatic cases that make the news are more likely to be done by people who were abused and/or have a mental health issue.

It's very important that we destroy the myth that abuse victims grow up to be abusers, because many abuse victims become severely anxious, depressed, or suicidal over the fear of turning into monsters. Yet most of them will not turn into abusers.

There does, however, seem to be some link between regularly watching someone be abused and becoming an abuser. So, if dad abuses mom, but not his son then the son may be at increased risk of growing up to be an abuser. This can also be true with other gender mixes, but that particular gender mix is very common, and part of the risk is that because of the genders the son will view abusing women as an appropriate way to be a man.
71
" the notion of no required sexual activity is the product of Feminism", @ 65?
Where do you people get your understanding of Feminism from, The Readers Digest?
72
LW1: While your wife's anger at past porn viewing is utterly ridiculous to say the least, I think the bigger issue is the way she treats you in public situations. If she is truly yelling at you when she perceives you looking at other women (or on television, seriously!) you are in a kind of abusive relationship. Continual yelling like that for specific, unreasonable perceptions IS emotional abuse. I was in a relationship where this exact scenario played out (we weren't married, but together for 4 years) and I only realized I was being abused emotionally when I finally got out of the relationship. In the relationship, I began to question myself, my integrity, etc. to the point of seeking out therapy to unravel all this shit I was beginning to perceive as something wrong with me when, in reality, my gf was actually being abusive relative to issues surrounding sexuality and her own body image that she needed to work out. So, DTMFA unless you want to keep dealing with this shit.
73
gueralinda @66, XiaoGui17 @65,

The idea that activity is a precondition for exclusivity is logical but stepping out has problems of its own. NRE, sexual bonding, just the time and emotional energy devoted to the care of a new sexual partner will have effects on the primary couple.

There are people who thrive on interaction with lots of people and they may be fine getting energy from their sexual relationship and bringing it home to their primary relationship. For these people not harassing a partner who doesn’t want sex from them and instead stepping out with someone who does, could work just fine. Communication, honesty and goodwill will go a long way.

There are also people who have a limited capacity for interaction. If one date with their sexual partner uses up all their interaction budget for three days there will be a significant toll on the primary relationship. Men might have the option of occasional hand jobs at a massage parlour but not everyone enjoys that. Women don’t even have the option.

For couples where the denied partner can’t easily get sex outside the relationship without causing significant damage, respecting monogamy is the price of maintaining the partnership. If the partnership is that valuable then the denied partner will forgo sex. It’s a heavy price but logic and goodwill can’t necessarily fix the problem.

There are reasons partners stop having sex and they aren’t all fixed by resolving to take one for the team on birthdays. Still, if your partnership falls into the second category a good effort to find a way to maintain a sexual connection is the respectful and kind thing.
74
@LavaGirl: you lump Feminism with the Tea Party?

I haven't "lumped" anything. I've simply named them both, along with Christianity, as examples of doctrine.

" irrational biases" you say, about what?

Women who hate men, for example, can find ideas that resonate in some feminist writing. Of course, this example only works if you believe that hating men is an irrational bias.

You think porn shows men how to treat women as they want to be treated ?

Huh? Sorry, babe, but given the endless variety of women out there, there's really no such thing as How Women Want To Be Treated. In fact, I don't think I've had sex with two women who wanted to be treated exactly the same way. Of course, you'd have to be the sort of person who fucks women to know this.

There's also an endless variety of porn out there, and the savvy porn consumer can definitely borrow ideas to enhance his woman's pleasure. Many times I've sat in front of the computer, dick in hand, watching a scene and thinking "Hmm, that's interesting, I wonder if she'd enjoy that." Sometimes she has.

Finally, I've been with women who were turned on by their ability to turn me on, and porn has definitely helped me identify what turns me on.
75
I am sorry, but the times I have been in a relationship with somebody and have stopped wanting to have sex with them, is when it's over.
Sex is a clear signal, I think.
There may be other reasons for some people, but I think most people would say that it's a decent indicator of other problems leading to relationship failure, ultimately.
It might be salvageable with therapy, but the wife has to also want that. It doesn't sound like she does, and is probably going to welcome an easy out, even if she can't admit it.
There are all kinds of reasons why woman want to stay in a sexless marriage, mostly to do with that illusionary thing called 'security'. That has nothing to do with love, and everything to do with selfishness and fear.

76
While #1's wife is definitely behaving abusively, can we also consider that he outright violated a boundary she set ("this is cheating") and didn't tell her for years, instead of ending the relationship or just fucking talking to her about it? And can we consider that mainstream porn DOES include a fuckton of misogyny, sexualization of minors ("barely legal" is a gross category and the wife has every right to be upset if her husband's looking at that shit - it'd make me feel uncomfortable as fuck!), and all kinds of other nasty patriarchal shit?

This guy is under no obligation to accept abusive behavior, and I hope he does whatever he can to keep himself safe and leave if possible/if she doesn't change her behavior. At the same time, he doesn't get a free pass for being a guy in a misogynistic system who consumes the porn produced by that system uncritically. He doesn't get a free pass for lying to his wife for years.

And everyone who's jumping on the boat to diagnose his wife with whatever mental illness, because OBVIOUSLY abusive women are crazy: you are gross and ableist, stop it stop it stop it, please don't armchair diagnose a woman you know nothing about except a few things her husband has told us. (commenters with actual mental illnesses talking about their own experience: less vitriol, but still maybe not so much with the armchair diagnosis? captain awkward WOULD be angry at you!)
77
@LavaGirl:
PS: The wife and I used to attend HUMP (Dan's amateur porn festival) each year. One of the films featured a lesbian witch with another woman suspended upside down, her legs spread, her pussy shaved naked, completely and utterly exposed, fully subject to the witch's appetites and whims. Turns out there's at least one woman who likes to be treated in a similar fashion.
78
#76

Don't you think ALL really emotionally and physically abusive people are crazy? If this story was flipped and it was a man treating his wife the same way, I would think he was just as crazy.
79
Are you in love SNAP? Do other parts of the relationship work? Maybe give it a try for a bit (but no kids for now). I know a couple where one partner was a sex-negative, don't masturbate behind my back, jealous as all get out. Fast forward 15 years and the sex negative person, although occasionally still a bit negative, also meets partner's fuck buddies for brunch.
80
@76 No. Pathologizing standard human behavior is not helpful. Most abusive men are not mentally ill. Most abusive women are not mentally ill. It doesn't take mental illness to be abusive. It takes feeling entitled to things from other people and feeling justified in harming them when you do not get it. It takes feeling like it's okay to punish a partner for behaviors you don't like. Seriously, if you are ever in a mindset where you want to punish your partner (seriously, not in the framework of a consensual sex game) just break up.

The problem with calling it mental illness is twofold. One, it stigmatizes the mentally ill, who as I said are more likely to be victims than abusers. Also, it has no predictive power. If you're looking for signs of mental illness to figure out who will be abusive, then you will be bad at detecting abusers. As it is, countless abusers get societal support because they don't "seem like the type" and that is because people have a very bad sense of what an abuser is like.

The textbook standard abuser is actually in very good control of him or herself. This is why when police come by to a domestic violence situation the abuser will often seem calm and rational, because the abuser can flip from scary and abusive to passing as a lovely person quickly, while the abused person is still traumatized and flustered from the abuse, so tends to come across as irrational and potentially dangerous. This will not be every single case of abuse, of course, but it is a lot of them.

This also relates to the desire to refer to all people who do bad things as monsters. It's so easy, and it makes us feel so safe and superior. If you can brush off all nazis as evil monsters, then you don't have to face the fact that most normal, typical humans are capable of horrible things in the right circumstances. Abuse generally is founded on viewing the victim as less human and less worthy, whether it is domestic abuse, slavery, or war crimes, or genocide. And this ability to start viewing humans as not fully human is something every typical, healthy individual possesses. What is important is that we learn how not to let it develop to the point where we are abusing people. And that we do not condone those abuses when they happen. Do you think the cops in Ferguson are mentally ill? I don't. I think they've been put into an environment where they think their actions are justified and they do not view Black citizens as equally deserving of dignity and protection. Calling them mentally ill won't help to fix the problem. It's just a way to avoid facing it.
81
uncreative @80 +1
82
I'm not anywhere near trying to diagnose the kind of crazy this (or any other) abuser is. I just think that, regardless of your ability to keep yourself together in most situations, being really abusive to your partner is fucking crazy no matter how you slice it.

And yes, I also think that people that view their partners or black people are whoever else as lesser people are fucking crazy.
83
@uncreative @70, @80:

Interesting stuff.

Would you agree that it's common for abusers to a) seek and establish relationships where they hold power, and b) use that power to intimidate and control the other person?

Assuming that's fair, then it's hard for me to write this off as "normal". They may not suffer from any of the available Axis II disorders, but in order for a person to play that game (in the absence of extreme circumstances), it seems to me there has to be, almost by definition, something pathological in them.

On the other hand, a lot of abuse comes at the hands of step parents, so much so that perhaps it is often largely situational.
84
@80 - I don't want to quibble too much with your comment, but I kind of disagree that "in very good control of themselves" is a sign of mental health in and of itself.

I do agree that being raised in an environment where abuse is normative definitely tends to increase abuse in people who are lacking in empathy. Being abused does not lead to a lack of empathy.
85
@83 - I was hesitant to jump on the bandwagon completely, which is why I gave my (admittedly weak) caveat about "armchair diagnosis".

The thing about a lot of these behaviors is that they are entirely normal, and also adaptive. They are, to some degree, present in all of us. So, learned adaptations or compensating mechanisms, which are very adaptive at some points in life, are maladaptive in others. For a good parallel, think of Sickle Cell Anemia, which is a helpful for surviving malaria through childhood (reproductive viability).

I think a lot of people are manipulative and obnoxious without having the vaguest awareness or intention of being that way. They may not meet clinical criteria for a diagnosis but they aren't "mentally healthy" either.
86
There's one silver lining to SNAP's awful marriage to a controlling harpy... they have no kids. Get out now while you're still free, you fool! Or, if you're a glutton for punishment (which I kind of suspect), hang around and let her punish you until she's no longer fertile. At least that way she won't become the controlling harpy mother to a passel of unlucky kids with someone else. Please, at the very least, don't procreate with her.
87
Sandr; is Feminism a doctrine? Wanting equality is my understanding of Feminism. Having an independent mind.
Women who hate men, are women who hate men.
Yes, I'm sure some porn can be instructive. And I'm sure intelligent men can make decisions re how to translate the image into reality. However, how many women out there are subjected to sex that is without finesse, that is thump thump, because the guy is conditioned to believe that that's what is needed, by visuals telling him so?
I'm not of the coming of age in the porn era. The men I fucked with didn't have more than pussy shots out of playboy and the like. So, I'm just surmising that porn has been detrimental to women finding what they want because, hey, it's already prescribed FOR them , by porn. Porn, I assume , that is made mostly by men.
And you calling me babe, that in a kind tone or a nasty one? I'll accept it in a kind tone; but please desist if it's in a nasty one.
88
15 years married to a woman who doesn't want to have sex with you.

FUCK.

THAT.
89
@83 I guess my question would be, what is the benefit to labeling it as mental illness?

The harm is obvious, it increases the general perception of the mentally ill as dangerous, and increases the societal problems people with mental illness face. But what is the benefit? In what way does it affect treatment for abusers? In what way does it make abuse more understood?

And when you are taking a behavioral pattern that is primarily based on cognitions (thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) and that needs to be addressed through the questioning and changing of those beliefs and labeling as a mental illness, it really opens the door for labeling all people who hold beliefs and values you dislike as mentally ill. I admit that that is really tempting, but I just don't see how it is productive. Admittedly, there are some cases of abuse that are definitely caused or severely exacerbated by mental illness, and in those cases diagnosing and treating the mental illness can be very helpful. I fully support that. But that is the minority of abuse cases as best as can be determined.

Basically, you're trying to give a mental health diagnosis to being an asshole. And we could name various forms of being an asshole as mental illnesses, come up with names for them, and start diagnosing people with them. It's definitely an option. But I just don't see how it benefits anyone to do so.

Other forms of abuse, such as war crimes, I think are far more about situational effects that humans are weak to. Think of findings like the Stanford Prison Experiment. I don't think the people committing them are necessarily assholes, just as I don't think people who get caught up in mob mentality are, even when they do horrible things. That's just a terrible weakness in the vast majority of humans, and we need to be aware of it so we can prevent situations that bring it out from occurring. Coming up with diagnoses for those sorts of things would be even worse, since it would effectively mean diagnosing people for being normal when put into certain unusual situations. After all, Milgram already demonstrated just how far you can push the majority of people. Whenever you're taking the most typical human behavior and calling it a disorder, I think you're going offtrack in labeling mental health stuff. So, let's not do that.
90
I'm a female, and am sexually active (including watching AND enjoying porn). I have an interest in feminist issues and human rights issues, and the matter of porn being objectifying vs liberating for women has been quite an interest to me. Since I watch porn, does that make me a pedophile? No, it's simply another outlet to enjoy and feel free to be sexual. While pornography can be demeaning, if the viewer is intending that, it can equally be liberating. I discovered so much about myself and what sorts of thibgs i like through porn. Your wife, as I see it, isn't comfortable with her own sexuality, or perhaps there is a deep DEEP-seeded issue that she hasn't expressed to you. Before you jump ship on this marriage, like some have advised, first talk to your wife. There are books and documentaries about the power of porn for women.
91
OOOOk Now. Snaps problem is a controlling wife, plain and simple. She knows if she lays the ground work, she will be able to control him through any thing by keeping this in her arsenal. Now he has supplied her with the bullets to fire this gun at will, and if he caves now he will keep caving in all situations big and small.
I'm am positive that if it wasn't the porn thing(that I am sure she clicked her heels when snap told her, because it has teeth and I am sure the way she tells her friends and mother that it sounds like he's watching snuff films and wants her to role play in a leather mask). It would be something else trivial, Like "My hairdressers aunt ate banana pudding and started to have weird thoughts on sex and wants to smoke pot") etc, etc,. In turn snap would look at it as no big deal and stop eating banana pudding(even though it's snaps favorite dessert).
As far as the public shaming goes. I will be willing to bet she is using the tried and true TRANSFERENCE model of control. She went off to School and most likely screwed and sucked more dicks then the law allow. And by going all cray cray in public she is masking her own actions on to snap, and he's not picking up on it at all. So the more hyper she gets the more snap thinks that she would never do what I have done.
I would leave like DS said and quick their is no future here.
92
Uncreative @89, I agree with much of what you say. Calling dysfunctional behaviour a mental illness, sort of takes the onus off the person who is responsible for that behaviour and places it outside their control. How to bring such behaviour to people's awareness, and that it is hurting another person- that's the biggest problem.
Once owned, much internal work needs to be done. Here, having a good therapist is crucial. Because the feelings that come up, once one becomes aware that others are not responsible for ones feelings and responses, can be very overpowering. And therapy costs money. And psychotherapy is now drug therapy. Or behavioural therapy.
When what is really needed, is sustained interpersonal support, as one unravels ones dysfunctional patterns and finds and practices new ones.
93
Re SHIT's letter, I would like to say that I have been his wife, and I'd like to say how I got to the point of saying I no longer wanted a sexual relationship with my husband. Basically, I got to that place because he had no idea how to be a good lover. He was probably the worst lover I'd ever had (why did I marry him in the first place - that's another story) Anyway, he was incapable of initiating sex, so when my hormones started to decline at menopause, and I wasn't so naturally driven to initiate, he was completely unable to take up the slack.Then, I went through a very difficult period when I recovered awful memories of sexual abuse, when I deeply needed his love and tenderness to get through the trauma and the therapy. During that time, unbeknownst to me, he had fallen in love with another woman, so I was begging for his support and having no idea why it just didn't happen - but he was emotionally focused on someone else and I did not find out for many years.Talk about a betrayal. And just to put the final nail in the coffin of my desire, he had Restless Legs Syndrome, and often during or right after sex he would painfully kick or knee me and not even know he'd done it. So after 7 years I just could not find any desire to have sex with him.

So guys, when you find that your lover no longer wants to be your lover, then you might ask her or yourself what it is you might have done to create the situation. Because it nearly always takes two to create relationship problems, including sexual ones. When a woman gives up on sex, there's usually a lot more to it that her being an awful person.
94
uncreative @89 +1

seandr @83, AFinch @85,

How are you guys understanding “pathological”? My understanding is that it’s pathological if it causes problems for the individual. If you drink so much you lose your relationships and can’t hold a job, that’s alcoholism. Getting drunk is not. Drinking a little and taking advantage of the social disinhibition is adaptive. Being a manipulative asshole is only pathological if you alienate too many people or if you’re a con artist and end up in jail. If you stay out of jail and don’t feel lonely, you’re fine. If it allows you to make lots of money, it’s adaptive. If you’re an aggressive asshole it’s only a disorder if it lands you in jail. Otherwise it’s a neutral or adaptive trait. And so on.

Basically, causing problems *for other people* is not in itself a disorder if the problems don’t land you in jail or otherwise cause you to be targeted for vengeful acts. Otherwise... these are just normal human traits. If these normal human traits are exaggerated to the point that they cause problems *for you* you have a disorder.

“This person is repellent to me” and “I can’t grasp how someone could be so awful” are not diagnostic criteria. If the person is living a satisfying life by their own standards they are just a distasteful normal person.

No?
95
@66: "If one partner is withholding sex because they actually hate their partner and are trying to manipulate him/her into breaking up"

I've seen a fair number of marriages where it's not a case of manipulating the other person into breaking up, but simply wanting to completely destroy their happiness and well-being in every possible way, while doing so under the cover of plausible deniability. Some people just end up in a place where the only satisfaction they get is from crushing their spouse.

@93: I think there's value to your post, but it's HUGELY undermined by the fact that you've done exactly what you're telling other people not to do: you made yourself the good guy, and your ex-husband the bad guy. If you're going to say "it nearly always takes two to create relationship problems" -- and I agree with that, by the way -- then, with all due respect to everything you've gone through, I can't help but mistrust a narrative where nothing is your fault and everything reflects badly on him.

If these things "take two", then what's your share of the blame -- what did you do that was hurtful, self-centered, or otherwise blameworthy AND nobody's fault but your own? (And if it is all your ex's fault, then why can't it also be all the LW's wife's fault?)
96
SNAP: Many comments miss Dan's excellent point that porn is not the issue at all. If it weren't porn, it would most certainly be something else. Anything to put this poor husband on the defensive and presume some kind of sanctimonious upper hand. Porn is salacious enough to get this letter into a racy column, otherwise we wouldn't be discussing it, but someone as emotionally abusive and controlling as this will always have some issue to hold over his head, as long as he lets her. DTMFA!!! Go Dan!
97
@LavaGirl: Wanting equality is my understanding of Feminism.

To some (especially the passionate youth), feminism is more of a paradigm through which they interpret and understand reality, or at least some aspects of reality. It offers axiomatic truths, a clear moral framework, heroes and villains, methods for assigning meaning, and rhetorical tools to defend against outsiders (including less orthodox feminists).

Women who hate men, are women who hate men.

And many of those women are drawn to feminist anger, as well as the recurring themes of men mistreating women that validate their low opinion of men.

how many women out there are subjected to sex that is without finesse ... because the guy is conditioned to believe that that's what is needed, by visuals telling him so?

That's a great question. Does porn make some men bad in bed by giving them the wrong idea about women? I certainly wouldn't know, so I'll defer to those who actually have sex with men.

I've heard women complain about their men coming to bed with crazy new ideas they got from porn. "You want me to do what? That's disgusting!" In those cases, I'm inclined to think it's the woman who is bad in bed.

And you calling me babe, that in a kind tone or a nasty one?

It was intended as a term of endearment.
98
@Alison Cummins: How are you guys understanding “pathological”? My understanding is that it’s pathological if it causes problems for the individual.

Are we getting philosophical?

Your definition seems to be purely Darwinian. Mine is more in line with clinical psychology, which takes into account social, psychological, and biological norms as well as whether behaviors cause problems for others, not just the perpetrator.

In a purely evolutionary view, I suppose neither rapists, pedophiles, psychopaths, or BPDs could be considered pathological as long as what they're doing works for them. Yet all of these are classified as pathological by the DSM, which takes into account our society's interest's, not the just the individual's.

I'll grant you that my definition is intellectually messier than yours. But I don't think either definition is right or wrong, and both are certainly useful.
99
Well, there it is, seandr. If the woman's felt response is that's disgusting, then that's her limit. And you say it's her problem for having limits and it makes her bad in bed? The man fucking is actually fucking the woman present, not the fantasy woman on the screen.
If women use the notions of Feminism to bag men rather than discuss issues with men, in order to increase their hatred, then that, to me, is limited and distorted Feminism.
And ok then, that's sweet.. Endear you right back.
100
@97 "Does porn make some men bad in bed by giving them the wrong idea about women? I certainly wouldn't know, so I'll defer to those who actually have sex with men."

Frankly, I don't think porn is the issue. A delicate ego is the issue.

If the technique is funky, it could be porn or inexperience or the differing tastes of various partners. In any case, it doesn't really matter. It should get better as the relationship develops.

If, however, gentle feedback and requests are met with strongly negative defensive reactions, that's a problem that porn didn't create. All my boyfriends watched porn, and only two had a tendency to shift blame to me for being defective when their moves weren't doing it for me.
101
@86 portland scribe: Bingo! I was thinking the very same thoughts about SNAP's unhappy marriage to his harpy wife. I agree---SNAP, get out while you still can, and under no circumstances have children with this cruelly abusive woman.

Forgive me, Dan and everyone, again, for bringing up my past marital relationship regarding and relating to SNAP's current awful situation. I am truly & humbly fortunate that because I did not procreate with such a violent, mentally unhinged man, I could walk away and healed much more quickly. I hope SNAP gets out while he still can and move onward and upward.