Columns Jun 24, 2015 at 4:00 am

Better Off Without


I think Lemming @93, was showing the LW a way out. But he doesn't need excuses to find a way out. He just needs to own the truth as he sees it- as we all now see it- that this young woman is a big mess.
I call BS on GETOUT - he says they're both virgins, but the fiancee is using oral contraceptives? Either he's full of shit, or these two don't know where babies come from. Also, the only thing they've ever done was cunnilingus, but she already knows that she's triggered by semen. Huh?
@Looking #106, who knows in the LW's fiancee's case, but women do take birth control for reasons other than to prevent pregnancy.…
@106: I don't understand how someone could not be a virgin and yet not know how birth control works. Cramps are a pretty common reason for being on the pill before engaging in penetrative sex.
You know what, GETOUT? GET OUT!
Same goes to all the rest. No more investment in useless relationships. Learn your lesson and move-TF-on.
I have a feeling GETOUT's girlfriend is a closeted (in her own head) lesbian. I have friends like this (less manipulative but still "repulsed by sex") and that is the way it turned out for them. She isn't ready to admit it but she is not repulsed by sex, she is repulsed by Hetero Sex. 20 years down the road and she will find out. Meanwhile, GETOUT needs to well, get out.
102 was right. Dumb joke I suppose because someone is considering suicide. Just ignore me.
"We are a bit long-distance (he lives an hour away)."

by plane, or what?
@ 87 tbm42 - the German (language) will probably come in handy in the future - this boyfriend will not. The reciprocity you seek and need goes well beyond simple gift giving, and he's proven himself unable to reciprocate in either small or large ways. It's time for you to break up, re-evaluate what you want for yourself in life, and move on.
@ 105 Hunter - discussion and consensus also work in some situations. It's possible to use a variety of approaches in the context of a particular relationship!
@57: I like being single, anyway.
@105: Maybe you've never heard it described that way, but I guarantee you've known couples who do it. It's just so intuitive. Particularly in the modern world where both the man and the woman (assuming OS relationships) have jobs, so it doesn't fall into the "man provides financially, woman reciprocates sexually" model we were limited to in the past.

You never had a girlfriend say, "No, you took me out last time, it's my turn to treat you tonight"? Really? Or a partner who said "You cleaned the bathroom last time, I'll do it this time"?

Again, like Crinoline said, there are no score cards; perhaps the partner who has a higher income takes more turns paying for dinner, while the partner who is a better cook takes more turns cooking. It just seems to me that in a relationship where the two people are equals, and like each other, they'll want to reciprocate.

@106: Or maybe she went on the Pill as a gesture to show GETOUT that she was willing to take steps towards making their relationship sexual, which proved to be an empty gesture.

@112: Your question is from a very American perspective. In many countries, an hour is a long distance, particularly if there are no direct trains. As is often said, "In Europe, 100 miles is a long way, and in America, 100 years is a long time."
Ms Fan - As a tourist, I might hazard an amusing guess that, in OS relationships, a single woman's contribution towards financial outlay for dates is approximately equivalent to a married man's contribution to housework - reverse-normed in a some cases, equal in a substantive number, equitable in many, yet with a core of holdouts.

I do have a couple of questions on which your (and other) perspective(s) would be of value. How much if at all would you subscribe to the theory that men should pay the vast majority of, if not all, dating expences as compensation for the greater outlay in time and finances required of women if both partners are presenting in equally date-worthy condition?

My other question concerns the backlash against the recent wave of dress code complaints. I've been hearing a fair amount lately about girls' complaints that they aren't allowed to wear tops (or sometimes bottoms) deemed too revealing and anti-feminists' shooting back with stories of boys attending non-air-conditioned schools being sent home if their trousers didn't reach their ankles. The point of contention appears to be schools where girls are allowed but not required to wear skirts, but nobody can wear shorts (in some cases, additionally, only girls could wear sandals). Speaking as someone who has never had to wear lighter clothing in summer or heavier clothing in winter, I just wonder if people who are less impervious to temperature would classify boys' being forbidden shorts when girls can wear skirts a legitimate or serious complaint.
@117: "If people did practice it, we'd hear about people abusing the practice."

Ah Hunter, never change. Oh wait, you won't.
@Hunter, I don't see that the two ideas/ways of working things out are mutually exclusive..... Words and ideas (or ideologies) are generally inadequate to describe the complex interactions between people in relationships in my opinion.
@117: I can only assume that you, too, are making a joke that simply isn't funny.
In case you're not: Please re-read the original post. You can see it's not about "resolving differences"; it's about BEING NICE to each other. This isn't about "I like watersports, it's a dealbreaker for you, so we have to take it in turns." No. It's about, "I want to do something nice for my partner, because they did something nice for me last time." I WANT. It's VOLUNTARY. If I come back and say "Remember that nice thing I did for you? You owe me," then I've completely missed the point, because that's not being NICE, it's being manipulative.

I prefer to have relationships with other people who are mature, and nice, and not manipulative. So do a lot of other people. Perhaps you prefer an adversarial relationship model? Love is, as they say, a battlefield.
SCOTUS legalizes SS marriage! Hallelujah!
@120: "I can only assume that you, too, are making a joke that simply isn't funny."

I don't think even he knows when he's being sincere or trolling anymore. But he is consistent.
@121: FUCK YES.
@117: "If people did practice it, we'd hear about people abusing the practice."

Scroll up.

@121: It's a shame Andrew Sullivan's blog shut down a few months ago. I wonder where he is today.
@125: Probably posting elsewhere about how black genetics are scientifically inferior. Fuck him and his racial eugenics forever.
tbm-77-- Any ideas for your particular situation? Not really, because your situation is exactly the same as BAWLING's. You've jumped to the conclusion that you're in real long-term loving give-and-take relationship despite all evidence to the contrary. Even Sheldon's girlfriend contract works to Amy's advantage some of the time. Even he saw the necessity in taking care of her when she was sick.

When you look back on this period of your life many years from now, I hope you see learning German as a plus in amidst all those minuses, that you see it as something smart you were able to do while being naive otherwise.

I've read over what I wrote in 32 and can't for the life of me see how it got so misinterpreted. The idea behind "take turns" was never that one person does something for the other and then whines that the other didn't follow the rules. The idea was never that doing for the other came either from a sense of pure love or from initiating a cycle of obligation (with the former being "better" and the latter not okay). The idea was that after making a few unrequited overtures, you stop. During the period of waiting for a return overture, you reevaluate. You stop after one nice dinner date or one night of good sex and don't continue on to moving a continent away. As Eud so eloquently put it, this guy comes pre-ditched.

Now let me elaborate on something I said originally. It has to do with an easy pitfall for when you find a better boyfriend.

In one scenario, a man asks a woman out and takes her for an expensive dinner. They have a great time. The next morning, there are roses on her desk at work. When she calls to thank him, he asks her out for the following night. She had plans to see her parents then so he calls her while she's driving to their house. Before the time with her folks is over, he texts a few times. He's disappointed that she has a regular aerobics class, then realizes that he can work out at her gym so they can go for coffee after. He can't wait for their next date and gets concert tickets. He does all this because he just likes her so much.

In the 2nd scenario, they go out and sleep together. She likes him a lot and texts him the next day. She calls, and calls back when the reception goes out on the connection. She doesn't understand that he can't see her all the time. She reveals deep emotional secrets to him. He doesn't reciprocate. They continue to sleep together whenever they're together. She learns a language and takes a job on another continent so she can be near him.

I'm a relatively traditional straight female so my sympathies tend to be with the woman in the second scenario rather than the man in the first, but you've got to realize that THEY'RE EQUALLY CREEPY. The society paints the man as a predatory stalker and the woman as a pathetic stupid loser, but think about it: they're the same.

It will be easy to think that if you meet a guy who showers you with attention and gifts that you've won the jackpot, but if he doesn't leave you time to take a breath and show equal interest in return, think: creepy. This may sound like I'm against all whirlwind romance. I'm not. It's just that both parties have to be spinning around together at the same speed.

As for Hunter's misinterpretations of what I've said, I won't even try.
"technically engaged" set off the first red flag, but this?
"She also disapproves of my family and friends, my interest in science, my distrust of religion, and my use of antidepressants."

So, not only does the fiancée hate sex, but she also dislikes everything about him? What do they do -- sit at opposite ends of the couch silently doing homework?

I have lots of platonic friends with whom I don't do anything sexual. I do not have platonic friends with whom I don't enjoy anything, ever. Even setting aside the issues of manipulating the other person with suicide threats, refusing to go to counseling, etc. etc. etc., they have nothing in common and don't appear ever to have had a happy moment, much less a good day.

This person may have "numerous positive qualities", but the relationship has none. Not. One.
Also, commie liberal fist bumps all around on that whole marriage equality thing!
I never thought I'd say this, but way to go, Supremes!
"This person may have "numerous positive qualities", but the relationship has none. Not. One."

Exactly. That she's a human being with likely worth as such is not evidence that the relationship has any worth, warmth or future. Not that it had much of a past or present either, from the sound of it.
Not at all sure what this SCOTUS is, and no, I'm not gonna google it. I'm guessing though, you guys have had a big SS marriage win.
So Congratulations!
Lavagirl, SCOTUS stands for Supreme Court of the United States.
POTUS is the President of the United States. I believe the acronym originated with the Secret Service.
FLOTUS is the First Lady of the United State.
#131, Yeah, Lava, gay marriage is legal in the whole USA, now.
Damn, this is still a relatively benign thread; I'm coming back next week, when a transman who cheated multiple times on his SO and keeps announcing it during first dates has an involuntary orgasm in his pants and is wondering if he can charge his date with rape.
"Re: the reciprocity topic, anyone got any ideas for my particular situation? I have a boyfriend who refuses to recognize reciprocity as a necessary component of a relationship, except he calls it "trade forcing", which is a concept he says he created. [...] his model is: someone you hang out and have sex with; and when this person does something with an implicit understanding that reciprocation is appropriate, then acts surprised that the normal pattern of social relations is subverted, they are being manipulative and trying to unfairly obligate you to do something you didn't agree on beforehand, and thus you should refuse."

I have an idea.

My idea is that your boyfriend is a selfish asshole.
In fact, since his idea of a relationship is hanging out and having sex, he may not even be your actual boyfriend; he may be a friend with benefits (not that there's anything wrong with that).

From your own description, he not only refuses to acknowledge the very concept of fairness in a relationship; he is shocked, shocked and dismayed, when you (or possibly anyone) points out to him that normal social interaction does not allow him to take ALL the time and NEVER give, and pretends that this is somehow "subverting the normal patterns" (or has a remarkably poor grasp of said patterns, at best). He has gone so far as to invent a "new concept" to justify his point that nothing whatsoever should be expected of him.

And as if all that weren't bad enough, he tries to guilt trip you by whining about how "manipulative" and "unfair" you are by "trade forcing" him -- i.e., expecting him to do anything -- as though guilt tripping were not itself manipulation. At this point, I'm picturing a three-year-old whining, "Quit making me do stuff! I don' WANNA!"

tl;dr: He's a lazy, selfish turd -- who has you completely bamboozled. If this even *is* a relationship, you're in it by yourself.
Oh CatB. You're here. Good. What is this man doing in your new avatar? Is he hosing the footpath? And why is he seeming to be at an angle?
Thanks nocute.
That's me, dragging a long rope.
I was told you were tied to the end of it. I had assumed the lack of movement was its being hung up on a rock or something between here and Oz, and that I'd be seeing you soon. Dammit, are you all convicts over there?!

Actually dragging an anchor chain, tied to the end of the rope. Part of dragon boat training, had a race the other week, changed avatars for that. Back to Byron, now, though! As to the angle, I believe girl who took it was checking out my pants.
Anchor schmancor. What's holding the rope down is that one of Australia's many spiders is on it, and that motherfucker's too heavy for anyone to budge.
As for the US supreme court:
Did Clarence Thomas ever say a word on the bench, let alone write an opinion?
It seems like he just sits there while trying to gauge what Scalia's position is on a given issue, then votes with him no matter what.
Yes, Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor may also be somewhat predictable, but they do tell us why they are voting one way or the other.
Mr E.. Saw this big big huntsman spider in the kitchen last night, and thought of you. If only Mr E could see that, I thought. He'd scream like a boy.
Thanks CatB. Now I can rest easy. I just couldn't work out wtf had gone down with you.
Think, besides the low-tenor letters lately, I didn't want to keep that 'Affairs' guy banging on.
He gives the impression of a guy who, if this mean ol' world and its commenters became too much and he decided to kill himself, would do it by leaping from atop his suicide note.

Plus I'm in Charleston, with all that hoo-hah, been scrapping re the Confederate flag with people on Facebook.
Hey Lava, 'Like' Body Architects!
@116 I think this 'problem' ranks up there with MRA's complaining about the 'women and children' first rule on boats. I recall my high school had no problem with either gender wearing shorts, just as long as they weren't super short.

But then I survived many a New England summer wearing long pants so I never thought having to wear them was punishment.

Lavagirl is it true that in Australia you have to call all spiders 'Sir' and ask them permission to leave the house?
Sometimes msanon, one showers right next to the little harmless darlings. The big big ones are fine. The little ones- red backs - are the killers.
I don't ask nobody permission to leave my house.
Right CatB. Living in the South, we all praying for you to keep safe. Especially now. Do not wear your rainbow tshirt for a couple of days.
' Like 'body architects? That some sort of code?
Body Architects is a company here in Charleston owned and operated by a loveable rogue. Has a blog on it, too. 'Facebook' is this thing all the kids are doing, so you'll want to jump on board, so as to message your kids and grandkids.
Didn't feel especially at risk today, except maybe from the balls-hot heat. Sad, but heard a lot more gunshots living on Capitol Hill thru the 90's. When the alert first went out, I had teammates messaging me "There's a gunman on the loose!" If you've seen his picture, 98 pounds, soaking wet, holding a brick, pretty sure he didn't go through Ranger School. Whole thing just fucking sad. The librarian who was killed, can't say I knew her, but exchanged a million bits of small talk with her since I got here in '02.
Many of my FB pals, ones with white skin and Southern accents, were calling for him to be shot on sight before he was apprehended, BTW.
Ms Anon - I'm so much the same that I just thought I'd throw it out there to see if I'm missing something. I generally make an effort to avoid falling into the trap hole of reacting to something first with, "X has never been a problem for *me*". Occasionally I can be convinced that certain things are an undue hardship - such as a friend's complaint that she lost her first 25 tournament chess games because the rooms were always too cold.
Yeah, like I don't know what FB is, CatB.
I'm even on it. Jesus man. I'm hip.
So is that you? The body architect's guy?
One of my sons deleted me as his friend from FB cause I called him on his swearing. Excuse me; I'm still good to cook him meals when he's over but can't question his words?
FB is so boring though. Maybe I need to up my friends.

vennon I do think some dress codes can be ridiculous [I mean girls can wear sandals but not boys?] and maybe it's my age making me view complaints like this as just teenagers being teenagers. Like I said we could wear shorts but even then kids would complain how unfair it was they couldn't walk around in speedos or bikini bottoms.

And there are groups who use and pervert old or silly rules to try and prove how 'oppressed' they are. I can tell you how many folks I've seen using the 'women and children' rule as proof that women are oppressing them.
134- Tessiee-- Whether or not tbm's friend is an asshole to be derided is a question that has interested me for some time. My younger self would have had no doubts that he is since this is a guy who takes and doesn't give back.

The years have gone by, and I've softened on just about everything. I find it hard to hate people anymore. Every time I try, I scratch the surface and see mentally ill people in pain rather than irredeemable jerks. That doesn't mean I think I should let them get away with asshole behavior ... but I digress. Back to tbm's friend.

From the way tbm describes it, her friend has been upfront from the start. Tbm gave him gifts, and he accepted. Tbm said she wanted something in return, and he said no. Tbm continued to give him gifts (and by gifts, I mean attention, emotional disclosure, sacrifices so they could be together, sex,), and he accepted. Tbm turned up the heat and told him more plainly what she wanted in return. He said no. Tbm continued to hope he would get the idea that reciprocation was called for. He argued in plain language: No.

Tbm has tried example and argument. Her friend has done the same. He's shown by example that he doesn't mean to return anything either monetarily or emotionally or in taking care of her or making sacrifices for her. He's argued with her when she's told him that he owes her. Now she's gone to this comments section in the hopes that WE'LL tell him that he owes and if doesn't start giving back in kind he's an asshole. Meanwhile, he's lying back and wondering what he was supposed to do.

I suppose he could have said more plainly "No, don't learn German, and don't move to Germany in order to be near me," but tbm seems to have wanted to do that. She seems to have been hell bent on doing it. (And honestly, it seems like she was getting something cool out of the experience anyway. Work experience, a whole language, a chance to live abroad.) I suppose he could have stopped having sex with her, but I'm going to go out on a sarcastic limb here and suggest that tbm was getting something out of that too. I don't exactly like this guy, and I can't say I have fond feelings for the guy in my life from all those years ago he reminds me of, but I can no longer think of him as an asshole either.
"Your question is from a very American perspective. In many countries, an hour is a long distance, particularly if there are no direct trains."

Having been born and raised in New Jersey, with no concept of how big other states are, I still think two hours is a long drive. The people in every other state I've lived in think that's hilarious.
"I can't say I have fond feelings for the guy in my life from all those years ago he reminds me of, but I can no longer think of him as an asshole either."

I, too, have less than fond feelings for the guy in my life like that -- the fact that I still sometimes refer to him as The Boy Who Would Not Do Anything gives you some idea.

That having been said... Yes, of course takers and martyrs tend to find each other, and if everybody's happy, then I'm happy.

What marked the guy as an asshole in my book was his manipulation and guilt-tripping, to the point where he had to invent the concept of "trade forcing" to demonize the kind of reciprocity that most people have accepted as a given in human interactions somewhere around age 3.

Whether there was some of what the lawyers might call "contributory negligence" on the part of the letter writer, manipulating someone by calling *them* manipulative is not only meta-manipulation, it's gaslighting.
What I find hard to fathom- in my past self as well as this young man writing in and tbn, is the self delusion. That these sorts of behaviours in any way constitute a loving relationship.
Obvious to me, as soon as we start to" love" someone, all the old patterns from our childhoods just get activated.
Otherwise, staying in what to others are so blatantly abusive/ dysfunctional/ non loving relationships, just doesn't make any sense.
Sorry CatB, I was just being flippant- from the outside it would seem that gun voilence happens wherever in the US. Maybe now that gay marriage rights have been won, changing the gun culture could be one of the next big issues to be focused on.
I've thought of the exception: Parent/child. That's the healthy relationship where one side gives freely, doesn't wait for reciprocation, and keeps on giving for years while expecting nothing in return. Even when the parent insists that the child do the dishes or become responsible with money, it's for the child's ultimate benefit, not the parent's.

150-Lava-- Naturally old patterns from childhood get activated when we fall in love. This time we're hoping for a better outcome. We want something that's just like the old (abusive/dysfunctional) relationship except this time we'll get it right and will get the sort of non-abusive/ non-dysfunctional supportive loving relationship we were hoping for (and deserved) all along.
@150: I don't think you can always blame childhood patterns for codependency and self-delusion.

Self-delusion is a very human trait. We want what we want, and sometimes it appears that creating a new reality is easier than creating the reality that we need.
#151 Lava - You can be flippant, I’ve been flippant on SL once or twice (and in my last post apparently forgot how to use the ‘enter’ key to make paragraphs.)
Gun control- I don’t know. That’s been a third-rail issue in the US for such a long time, but then again, so were gay rights...The shooter had a felony conviction, was thus unable to purchase a firearm, so his father bought one for him. I predict said father and co. will soon be moving out of state.
Anyway, pretty much impossible to prevent something like that happening. I’d be happy if AK-47 and AR-15 knockoffs were made illegal tomorrow, but a shotgun loaded with double-ought is still a hell of a mean weapon. You can buy a Mossberg autoloader at a pawnshop down the block for a couple hundred bucks... As noted in Bowling for Columbine, there’s something in the American culture that makes these events happen. And last night, watching The Yakuza (very young Sam Neill, in screaming plaid pants), i was reminded that when a Japanese person loses it, they close the window and commit suicide, where a crazy America opens the window and shoots everyone in sight.
Lava @150, 151
“Obvious to me, as soon as we start to" love" someone, all the old patterns from our childhoods just get activated.”
Agreed- it also includes the messages we get from our parents as well as their behavioral patterns and how they come across to us. And mind you, our parents bring their own parents and their shticks into the mix.

“Maybe now that gay marriage rights have been won, changing the gun culture could be one of the next big issues to be focused on.”
Unfortunately no way as for some reason it is so deeply rooted in American culture. Even proposals for gun ownership screenings aren’t passing. And with all those guns all over the place there’s no way anyone would be willing to give them up.
I agree, it’s really crazy.

In other news: Australian women soccer/football team is playing later today in the world cup quarterfinal against Japan. It’s a tough one; Japan is the reigning champion, though I wish you the best nevertheless.
Watching the game now, CMD. Nil all.
You know what I'll do if Australia doesn't win?
Blame it on Canada.
You should. Me watching it too, you do great!
Dumb joke, I know. There's just something about Canada's face-
Nerve racking! Cmon Aussie, cmon.
Lava- that was cruel... Still a great achievement for Australian soccer. BTW- why do you play with Brazil-like uniform, both women and men?
Shit. Shit. Japan has scored. Bloody hell.
Oh well.
I can't believe America can't change its attitudes to guns. Look, look what happened yesterday.
We didn't have a strong gun culture, after the massacre in Tasmania though, where many people were killed, guns were taken off the streets.
There are shootings here. Guns are much harder to come by, however. I dont believe that the U.S., after so so much madness, can't look into themselves and say wtf are we doing? This change yesterday, it'll take a while for the implications to filter thru, will bring a big shift in people's minds.
Obama has brought a good heart to his job, and it's filtered thru.
You mean the colours, CMD?
They are our colours.
Otherwise, no idea. Whatever. We are done. Thanks Canada.
For LW1 (if you just can't run away now):
[1] tell her that the only way you'll remain in the relationship (even short term) is if she will actively engage in couples counseling (book a good non-church-affiliated therapist stat, and possibly use this as an opportunity to build an exit strategy).
[2] then if she refuses counseling, tell her you are breaking up.
[3] then if she makes a suicidal comment, you will know that she would literally rather kill herself than work on your relationship (epiphany).
[4] if you actually fear for her safety, call 911 and/or have her brought to a hospital with psychiatric facilities. once she learns that her choices have consequences, she might be more thoughtful about her demands and threats.
[5] good luck and I hope you can find happiness! life is too short to be married to misery.
Lava- "I dont believe that the U.S., after so so much madness, can't look into themselves and say wtf are we doing?" I don't believe it either, many of us don't, but as long as the "tradition" and "the American way of life" are so deeply rooted in the political conversation, and the price legislators are likely to pay for bringing up the issue, there's not much we can do about it.

"Obama has brought a good heart to his job, and it's filtered thru. "
Some times too good. He should have been more aggressive in pursuing his policies when he first got elected and also had the house majority . In any case, although some times naive did some good things and is ertainly much better than any republican alternative.
I'm surprised nobody commented on my response @114 (re: @57).
Hunter, I'd have thought you would have jumped all over it with mirthlessly
sarcastic, vituperative glee. Eye-rolling must apparently satisfy you these days.

Whew! Two last musical shows this weekend, and then it's a wrap at the local theater.
I have been giving one of my two C flutes and piccolo a workout these last two months!
Sunny days and nights---time to cruise out again with my beloved VW. Did anyone catch sight of the crescent moon (now waxing) in a triangle with Venus and Jupiter? We are supposed to have two full moons (also what is known as a "blue moon") next month. July 4th weekend is supposed to be a scorcher, though. Everyone keep cool!

@154 Cat Brother: Okay. Thank heavens I'm not THAT crazy. For starters, I don't even own a gun.
Singles of the world- unite!
@Hunter78: There's been no East Germany for 25y. Goes to her intelligence.

No, it goes to your intelligence.

East Germany didn't vanish when the wall came down. It's still there, with a culture and economy that hasn't quite been swallowed up by the west, much like American south is still alive and kicking 150 years after the civil war.
Won't be a scorcher here Grizelda. It'll be this half baked notion of winter.
As in , perfect. It is cold for swimming, unless a water heroine/ hero or you got a wet suit, otherwise it is bliss.
@116: I admit that my attitude is probably more egalitarian (and androgynous) than most. I believe the financial outlay should be apportioned based on income, not based on who has the penis (as, truly, in some of my relationships, no one has the penis). I also believe that there is no reason why men shouldn’t spend as much time making themselves “dateworthy” as women. Shaving one’s face is an analogous time commitment to shaving one’s legs, and if guys want to go further with the shaving, make sure their long hair is freshly washed or wear a bit of makeup, even better. I don’t, in other words, believe that women inherently have more grooming obligations, any more than I believe men have more spending obligations.

As to your second question, I believe that if girls can wear skirts when it’s hot, boys can wear skirts when it’s hot.

The sooner the world is rid of gendered things, the better.
@165: That's because your comment @116 WAS funny. :)
@164 Please keep in mind that Democrats had control (in the form of a super majority) for just six months: the seven weeks from Al Franken’s swearing-in on July 8 to Ted Kennedy’s death on August 25 and the four months and nine days between Paul Kirk’s swearing-in on September 25, 2009 to his replacement by Scott Brown on February 4, 2010.
@175: Crinoline's system works for you, then. Let's say I was your girlfriend. On your birthday, I gave you a very nice gift and took you out for an expensive meal. On my birthday, you didn't do much. On your next birthday, I gave you a very nice gift and took you out for a show. On my birthday, you didn't do much. I take that as a sign that you're not you're not going to "take your turn" in this regard, and stop taking my turn to make a big fuss over you.

Now, if I'm the kind of person for whom gifts or at least acknowledging of birthdays is a big deal, I can either try to point out to you that this is important to me and ask you to try harder for my sake (your "negotiate their differences and seek consensus"), and if you won't, accept that we may just be incompatible. Or, perhaps you're not a big birthday person but you're taking your turn to do nice things for me in all sorts of other ways -- maybe you've helped me fix up my house, or maybe you treat for meals at nicer restaurants than I can afford, or surprise me with gifts just because -- so the turn-taking isn't equal, but it's equivalent, when you add up the value of how much it means to that person. You may have forgotten my birthday for two years running but you saved me a fortune by giving up your weekends to redo my bathroom -- something I'm never going to repay in kind, because I'm crap at DIY.

Do these examples ring any bells regarding the reality of "taking turns as a serious relationship mode"?
Well, obviously if there's a fully selfish party in a relationship somewhere, the scenario won't work for anyone! (Missing the point that these approaches aren't intended to "fix" a relationship that's already not going anywhere.)
@172 Biden Fan
Thanks for your thoughtful, “outside the box” ideas as well as the link.
Since it’s got pretty hot in here I'm likely to wear a light gauze skirt (red) to the pride parade later today.
@178: Not sure I count myself as much of a fan of Joe Biden, but have a great Pride! :D
@174 EricaP
While the super majority did not last for long there was a solid, filibuster proof number for some time.
During his first two years in office Obama was very cordial and tried to accommodate republican ideas and input, and some saw it as hesitance. This assumable kindness lies within the “pink box,” as expressed in the link @172, and was also viewed as a “feminine weakness."
At least the republicans interpreted it as such and did their best to sabotage anything coming out of the white house ever since. They managed to convince the public that “real men” are “decisive” and that being a total asshole is nothing more than “focus on your main goal.”
Some of it backfires and explodes in their face like this annoying health care challenge or a government shut down.

Luckily times are changing- demography, attitudes, pink/blue lines blurring. The skirt is really comfortable.
@180, CMDwannabe: yeah, when some Republicans held up Putin as an example of a Real Man (after he had just invaded Ukraine)...... some kind of low point. Hope your penultimate sentence is true.

@176, BiDanFan: Exactly! & what I was trying to express @119, but you did better. Words are at best an approximation of reality, and what matters is the underlying reality.
Ms Fan - I'd have appeared to advantage in knee-length skirts (it was definitely longer when I played Sister Mary Ignatius). Thank you for the perspective.

Continuing the line of being curious, do you think the elimination of the pink and blue boxes will have the effect (whether intended or side) of eradicating monosexuality?
Venn @182, do you mean in the Durang play (she said hopefully)?
@182 Venno
"do you think the elimination of the pink and blue boxes will have the effect (whether intended or side) of eradicating monosexuality?"

While not directing at me, my answer would be not necessarily "eradicate" as there are lots of traits that pass on to us by whatever (genes, culture, expectations from parents, etc.). Just allow each child and person to define their own interest and style and accept them as who they are without ridiculing or worse.
one of the most dastardly things in life: manipulation via a corkscrew from the tip of your pee-pee through the top of your head.
Oh RayRay. Toughen up. You should try being manipulated by the vagina from the inside. Especially round about birthing time. Now, That really hurts.
Ms Zoo - The very one.
@138, CMDwannabe: Thomas did part ways with Scalia in the freakishly coincidental decision last week on State of Texas vs. Sons of Confederate Veterans, about vanity license plates. He was in the 5-4 majority that ruled no Confederate flags on Texas plates. Some strange bedfellows in that one.
#185 Ray - sounds like some Viet Cong torture shit, there.
#186 Lava, where’s my Like?
CatB. I did look up the mob you said. There seems to be multiples of them. Arizona, that's not you? More specific details needed!

Fan. Geez. Everything up for burning? I know you like your girls and boys on the same page, and of course our shared humanity
Is like, shared.. I just want the difference that is male and female Not to be totally blurred. That would be down right boring.
Venn, @187. Oh, we should talk. I worked at a theatre that specialized in Christopher Durang plays. Wish there were PM options here.
Gonzo @ 188
My bad, he did write a dissent in the marriage equality case... but apparently keeping his mouth and keyboard shut could prove the better choice…
Charleston right CatB? That where Scarlett hung out with Rhett? Or was that Atlanta... Many yrs since I read/ saw
That story.
Hunter78 @167: Thanks! and @169: Would that make me a poly-auntie?
@168 CMDwannabe: There is a tremendous lot of us out there, that's for sure.
@171 LavaGirl: Sounds wonderful--neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.
Watch out for those deadly little red spiders---eek! We have brown recluses
Sorry---I don't know what happened with the formatting my last comment (@194).
@182: I don't believe so. While I do think it would make bisexuality more easily accepted as a normal thing one can be, I don't think all people who are gay or who are straight are simply "rounding themselves up/down" because being monosexual is more socially acceptable than being bi. I do think that the current Kinsey 1's or 5's would be more likely to embrace a bi identity, but there would still be Kinsey 0's and 6's. (Such as our dear LavaGirl.)

@190: No, what's boring is dressing a certain way and acting a certain way because that's what people of your gender are expected to do. Just because, say, fixing up cars is no longer considered a "masculine" thing doesn't mean no one will fix up cars in my gender-free utopian future. It just means no woman who wants to fix cars will be considered weird.

@195: What happened was what we used to call "carriage returns." :)
@139: "Saw this big big huntsman spider in the kitchen last night, and thought of you. If only Mr E could see that, I thought. He'd scream like a boy."

And then run away, and then swim away, and not stop until I hit the North Pole. Ain't ashamed to admit it: if my choices are between polar bears and spiders the size of polar bears, at least polar bears are cute.
Fan. I'm not up on Kinsey' s nos.. Nor am I interested in following numbers to describe my sexuality. I have erotic fantasies about women, I haven't acted on these- they have only occurred for me in the last several years, as I have given my erotic life more permission to express itself. I may act on these though.
My erotic life has changed, therefore allocating nos, like one is sort of fixed, I disagree with.
I'm not talking about the superficial differences/ clothes etc. or what job each person is capable of doing. I thought we were way past looking at our behaviours like that.
Cis men are not cis women and cis women are not cis men. The danger comes in trying to see them as the same.
Hun - Your viewpoint and Crinolines mesh. People negotiate for what they want. Negotiation assumes that (at least) 2 people have things they want (and are willing to negotiate for). When you can't accomplish these desires simultaneously, such as when you want services from each other, you take turns. If you notice an absence of turn taking, it is a problem as much as noticing that negotiation has been replaced with demands. Often the two are causally linked imo.

Lava - Cis men are not cis women and cis women are not cis men. The danger comes in trying to see them as the same.
Yes, cis men and cis women and intersex people are different chromosomally, this is inescapable. This fact is not really that important except for sex and reproduction, as individual differences generally influence behavior/skill/character much more. Men and women are also treated differently in society, because of stereotypes (gender roles). This is why trans people can wish to be treated as a different gender; because the genders are treated differently. This latter difference is also what I believe BDF was referring to abolishing. I dislike when people speak of their gendered stereotypes also. But it happens a lot on this forum. Some people are awfully fond of announcing their opinions of how men and women are different, but I see no use for this beyond attempting to influence people to fit into pleasing gender roles. I see more danger in lists of how men and women are different, as they will never be completely accurate, there are always tons of exceptions to stereotypes, and some stereotypes have little basis in reality (hi: women are sexy and men are not).
Hun - Also, if you've ever heard of one partner being "less invested" in the relationship, you've heard about turn-taking gone wrong.
I have a question for the group, inspired by some of the above and admittedly petty, but I am sure you are all up to the task.

I was in a relationship for over 2 years, ended it in a dramatic fashion and now my ex is trying to reconcile. I won't go into the whole dynamic of it but just suffice to say it was tumultuous, filled with amazing highs, ridiculous lows, occasional physicality, and the best sex ever.

So when we first started dating I was kind of an ass and did the thing where I kept up contact with some exes. Some local, some far away. I had a few inappropriate conversations, but nothing crazy and never with any of of the local ones. At a bout 6 months we moved in together and she discovered these on my computer, by looking at my Facebook that I had left logged in. She was devastated and I felt like shit. So much so that I capitulated and gave her all my passwords. I did genuine lt love her and regretted those actions. At this point I was committed enough to this relationship that I stopped these conversations, cut contact with the inappropriate ones and never looked back. From that moment on, she was it. Period.

Fast forward a year and a half, we are engaged now. I asked, she accepted, wedding plans are under way. Things are tumultuous, as always, but my dedication remains. I am an honest person, but I overreacted to the jealousy and now find myself keeping even the most mundane contact with my ex (who I share a child with and NEVER have anything inappropriate with) from her. She has shown a lack of tolerance and always gets upset if I even mention her. Since we co-parent it is kind of necessary that I talk to her. During this time, at some point we had a disagreement, likely about some conversation with my ex, that I didn't share or she didn't approve of. This not unusual for us, and sadly just part oif reality. I don't know exactly when this happened, but she was out with friends one night, had a few drinks and called up her ex (the one immediately before me, who is and was married) and asks him to come out. They meet, somehow a kiss happens, and that is where it ends. She comes home and I am none the wiser.

Fast forward a again, I have left her. I got fed up with being isolated, with her drinking, with her jealousy and checking up on me. I am ashamed of who I have become and the fact that I became a deceiver just to survive. Though I had nothing to hide. Almost a year has gone by since I left. We talk occasionally and I still can never get her out of my mind. She wants to reconcile. At some point during our split she has confessed to the evening of kissing, she has attempted suicide and during a time in the split when neither of us had dated anyone else yet, I mentioned interest in someone else and she immediately went out and had sex and then told me about it the next day.

So while talking about a possible reconciliation we discussed the past hurts. Our biggest contention is that I own up to my failures, but she justifies what she did by saying it wasn't any worse than what I did talking to those exes way back when. I say what she did was worse, because we were engaged and it was in person. I am expected to forgive and excuse, yet I am not sure I will get the same. Thoughts???
@202: My thought is why would you want to get back together with someone who was controlling, probably is an alcoholic, and definitely is not mature enough to take responsibility for her own actions?
Junlucky - I have a lot of thoughts about your story. First, you don't mention what you'd like advice about specifically, just what to do next perhaps. It helps to identify a specific problem. Like "Is it possible to strike a mutually happy agreement with this woman". I think that you may be more worried about who is behaving better, or who owes the other X. In which case you may need more time apart to lick your wounds, I don't believe a happy agreement can be struck between mistrustful/resentful people. (Figuring out what you really need and not settling for less works better imo)

In the meantime. It seems like you are unhappy with friction between the people you have close relationships with (ex, baby mom, and child). And it seems like your ex is unhappy that you value(d) attention from other women. Both seem like normal if unfortunate parts of life to me. If you noticed a lack of reciprocity and left, that is good. But it seems like you and your ex were very into each other and willing to reciprocate but communicating very badly. If this has seemed accurate, my advice would be to learn about negotiating, search your feelings for what you need to be happy in a relationship, then reduce your other demands upon your ex to the simple "what do you need to be happy with me, while giving me what I need". And attempt to understand what she needs without agreeing to things you don't really believe because you want some peace and quiet right now. This stuck out to me - " I became a deceiver just to survive." Unless your ex was threatening your life, this reflects an addiction to an idea, not care for a person. If she was threatening your life, perhaps a counselor or hotline will help you to walk away from this person and develop more self worth. Anyone/thing that threatens your life is an enemy, not a friend.
I think I left the question purposefully vague because I wasn't totally sure what I was asking. I am not necessarily worried about who was behaving better other than that my misdeeds in the past were used as justification for her misdeeds of the present. So that led me to assess the degree of them. Is that a reasonable justification on her part or simply manipulative as I feel it to be. My survival comment was more based on doing the necessary things to fulfill all my obligations to child, mother of child and said partner, not danger. I think I know that this is irreconcilable but the fact that she is still in my thoughts daily, nearly a year after leaving affects me. It is simply unhealthy obsession, unfinished business or possibility?
@junlucky: I thought about my ex, whom I was only with for about 8 months, daily for at least 2 years after he broke up with me. I thought /think about him occasionally for another 2 years after that, including in order to contrast him to someone I was dating or to someone I'm currently dating (in some ways he comes out more poorly by the comparison, but, alas, in some ways, I still find others falling short).

In my case, I can think about him--even pine for him--all I want and there is no possibility of rekindling a relationship, since he is the one who wanted to end it, whereas I was perfectly happy in it and didn't want to see it end, so my situation is different than yours. But I guess I wanted to say that just because it's been "nearly a year" since you've broken up with someone with whom you were involved for over two years and to whom you were engaged and you're still thinking of her daily, it doesn't mean you need to consider getting back together or that you have unfinished business or you haven't achieved "closure," or you have an unhealthy obsession. It means that the relationship meant something to you, you are mourning the loss of what you had and what you thought you had and what you hoped to have for the long haul. It means you haven't found a compelling enough distraction yet. It means you are human.

If you want to get back together, then sure, get back together (though it sounds like there were too many problems for this to ever be a harmonious and even-keeled contented relationship to me; it sounds like it will always be tempestuous and dramatic, which you might find gets old and tiresome). But don't think that just because you are still thinking about her daily almost a year after a break-up has any Big, Deep Meanning, because it doesn't necessarily.
Junlucky - I agree that "eye for an eye" is totally barbaric for friends. Suitable for strangers, competition, or war, perhaps. Cooperation and negotiation work better for friends/ongoing relationships, as long as you can walk away in boredom/disgust if your partner wants to turn it competitive. You can repeat a mantra "My feelings are important, and you hurt them, and that behavior is unacceptable/unjustifiable to me. I can forgive it but not unless you are honestly trying to change. I will never agree that hurting me is justified so this is getting boring." If she can't let go of the blame/accept the guilt of hurting you, she may walk away, that's sad, but you've helped to teach her that 'justifying' bad behavior costs relationships. Also I agree with Crinoline's compassionate view of bad behavior, that it is rooted in mental illness and learned bad habits, villain/innocent doesn't work well to address ongoing relationships. A tumultuous relationship usually involves strong feelings and character problems on both sides in my experience.

From this outsider's perspective, you seem to have difficulty disagreeing with your partner's opinions or not sharing their preferences while showing that you care about their feelings at the same time (agreeing to disagree). And difficulty identifying/communicating your needs (I need my partner to accept X calls and X visits weekly/monthly with my baby mom and child. I need to hear her favorable opinions of this practice weekly. I need my partner to accept that I watch porn and flirt with women. In return, I'm willing to not flirt with common acquaintances and exes, and hide my porn, and listen to whatever else she may need in order to accommodate my needs. I need her to go down on me. To make it worth her while, I'll go down on her or whatever service she likes of similar effort. etc) Your gut is telling you that she is being manipulative, and from what I know I agree that she's running from the guilt of hurting you/unfair, but you are still getting caught up in the "who's worse" competition -- I think you may need to trust your gut more. Listen to your feelings, what makes you happy as a person, and if you are truly happy trying to work things out with your ex, don't listen to people who tell you she's shit. If you know in your gut that she'll never change and you'll never change to be happy with what she does (and please don't change to be a doormat and happy with ill treatment), then cut your losses and be happy that you learned how to stand up for what you need.

You do sound wildly attracted to each other. That's a powerful motivator, you need to be able to get on the same page about where this rocket fuel is driving you in order to avoid exploding in place. If you truly see no happy future with her, you can only take your time and space and let her fade from your heart so it can find rocket fuel with someone else. Cutting off all communication helps immensely, I would call that the first step.

Ack, novel length, bring back the 'more' button.
I have many of the same thoughts, just looking for that same reassurance. She is so masterful at manipulating me that I question my own internal logic and role in all of this. Like recovering from brainwashing. There was something very powerful about us, but her own demons are too great for me to fight or help to fight, even if as she says "...I loved her enough I would."
@208 - You have to love yourself, and look after yourself. Anybody who uses that 'if you X, then you should Y' line *is* a manipulator, full stop. You already know that getting back together with this person would be a mistake - there's a reason you're full of doubt and uncertainty. Listen to what your gut is telling you.

And any future partners should understand absolutely that your relationship with your child will take precedence over them, and that communication with that particular ex is a necessity. If they are threatened by that in any way, then they are not the partner for you.
Pho @200. I'm not about to make any lists, because I agree it's a useless exercise. Trying to define what the properties of yin and yang are, bit like expecting Mercury to sit still.
What my beef is, is trying to somehow turn all of us into this blob of sameness. I have reared boys and one girl, and I didn't " make" any of them do anything, in terms of defined gender roles, yet, there is a big difference in their energies.

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