Savage Love

Premies

Comments

1

Firdt!

2

Slow day on the comments section!

3

@1 DrVanNostrand: WA-HOOOOOOO!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's Savage Love: Premies comment thread FIRDT honors! Savor the highly envied glory of leading the dcomment thread. :)
@2 alexstraza: LOL We're just getting started, Alex! Anyway------WA-HOOOOOOOO!!!! Not so slow it can't earn you SECONOD honors in this week's Savage Love comment thread. Savor the glory of being among the first to comment. :)

5

One more thing to add to Dan's excellent advice to PRESSURE. It will be tempting to make a suggestion to Soon-To-Be-Ex in the form of "see a therapist" or "try yoga." This will be turned into a weird logic: "I tried yoga, and it didn't work, see? You have to stay my boyfriend."

There's something else that's going to happen. You will break up with her again. You'll do it kindly, and then you'll walk out the door. She will contact you again, and you'll finally have to stop taking her calls, block her number, and unfriend her on facebook. She will then tell everyone she knows including her therapist that you ghosted her, just disappeared without a trace. Some number of those people will blame you. You will be tempted to give them your side of the story. Don't. At the very most say "looks like she and I see things differently."

6

Dan the Man: Spot on advice to both PRESSURE and TAG. And my sincerest apologies for the forthcoming novel:

PRESSURE's situation sounds a lot like one I had with someone I really thought I knew over a span of twenty-one years, stemming from my first years in college post high school. At first, he was a dependably goofy male friend. He had a nervous giggle only his mother could love (like Norman Bates? Red flag #1?). He kept saying that he'd had the weirdest dreams and I was in them. He was "sure" that I'd been his wife in a past life. Then we went our separate ways, amiably---he went off to study the priesthood while I had joined the U.S. Navy for a four year enlistment (The Montgomery G.I. Bill Chapter 30 for college benefits was looking good). I entered an abusive relationship in the U.S. Navy--didn't see the danger signs--my immediate chain of command knew all about him but did nothing--not even after I married my abusive spouse.
Jump nine years later when I finally had to flee for dear life, eight years after my honorable separation, a house, and an AS degree in Art later. I had to battle my butt off to remain childless, but that was the only thing I did right.
When I made contact to my goofy male college friend from years back, telling him of my divorce, his behavior turned into a bizarre fixation. He was convinced that I had wanted HIM all along.
Unmarried with no wife or children by age 40, my longtime goofy college friend went on a desperate mating frenzy. For the last fifteen years of his life he'd attended mass services at St. James Cathedral on Capitol Hill, but his sexual preference was that of other men. Apparently his family and clergymen had backed him into a corner religiously. Afraid of announcing his sexual orientation, he was willing to live what has to be the single, cruelest and most selfish of all lies--get traditionally married and ruin a woman's life, have oodles of kids she didn't want to bear, and remain stuck in a nightmare of a loveless, sexless marriage---all because he was afraid to come out. He expected me to give up everything and everyone near and near in my newly divorced life. He wouldn't listen to anything I had to say. He made private long distance calls to my father saying he had &70,000.00 in the bank (was my mother supposed to make out a notarized receipt for a bill of sale?). He sent me useless job leads in the U.S. mail for low paying manual labor positions I had no interest for. He kept asking me and both my parents if they needed any nursing services (he had earned a degree as an LPN). He was fixated on my looks, clothing choices even my hair style. Then he made weird comments such as, 'I'm all set for you to file a paternity suit!' and 'I can just see our wedding---we'd be fighting like cats and dogs!'---after I had just left an abusive marriage.
One night, about two weeks before he died of natural causes, he phoned me, all angry that I was not living up to his ideal (SURPRISE!). I had to scream back at him that we weren't getting married and did he want to end what was left of our friendship? This reduced him to weeping softly over the phone. 'Okay......okay......okay.....' That was the last I ever heard from him. He was in poor health and died of a stroke three months and three days after his 40th birthday. My parents and I attended his memorial service that followed his funeral at St.James Cathedral.
Since my one bad marriage and the bizarre episode with an old college friend, I have come to really appreciate my solitude.

PRESSURE--be wary of those who are too clingy, or who may dwell in their own idealized vision of you, setting standards impossible for you to live up to. This sounds exactly like what she is doing to you. RUN, and don't look back!!

TAG: You have two kids from a previous marriage; she has no children but left a marriage of ten years. She's independent. I agree---if you demand to know her whereabouts 24 / 7, split up now before you have any children with her.

7

Seventh.. after the deadly sins. Think it’s seven

8

Obviously, these relationships both need to end. It is easy to see that LW1’s girlfriend and LW2 himself are “wrong” here. They are demanding too much, too soon, and placing unrealistic and self-defeating expectations on their partners. If LW2 seems a millimeter more self-aware than LW1’s girlfriend, that is probably because she isn’t writing in. I would be interested to read her side of things, to see if she’d come off as less of a “crazy girlfriend” than she does in LW1’s rendering. Perhaps not. LW1 seems like he’s stuck it out longer than many would.

But reserve an ounce of empathy for LW1’s girlfriend and LW2. When you are looking for an LTR, and you’ve had painful recent experiences, and you’ve reached a certain point in your life, it is not hard to feel as though your chances might be running out. One reason why desperation is so unattractive is because it can make you do desperate things. Of course, these folks seem young to be worrying about that, but still. One hopes both the needy folks in these letters will take their time before trying another relationship.

9

@7 LavaGirl: WA-HOOOOOOOO!!!! Celebrate your Seventh and congrats! :)

Seven deadly sins? Count me guilty---I can't get enough of Carrie (1976), or The Exorcist (1973). Griz is about to party with the Fifth---her fifth glass or Cabernet Sauvignon.
My 6 week post op follow up appointment with my gynecologist is tomorrow. I should know whether or not I can return to tub baths and playing my piccolo and flutes.
Now to heal my back (at the bra line) and upper right arm & shoulder through physical therapy....

10

@6: For Dan the Man and the regular commenters who know Grizelda's story verbatim, feel free to skip over my lengthy comment @6. I felt my past experiences were somewhat relative to the two LWs' situations.

11

@8 Ens I don’t think LW2 is “wrong”. Asking your partner who they are going out with is normal, and being evasive with your partner about who you are going out with is not a great sign. I thought Dan was uncharitable in his closing paragraph— nothing that LW said sounded controlling to me. Still the advice is fine— they need to have a conversation.

12

No, LW1 did not "fail" GF1 by making promises under duress. I'll agree that he failed himself. Her application of duress rendered any promise the duress extracted null and void. Expediency perhaps wasn't best, but he didn't owe her candour in the face of an unreasonable demand (assuming tolerable accuracy in L1). If she presses him, he should not apologize to her. He should tell her that her conduct caused his feelings to change.

Interesting to note the difference between "I don't think X is a [blank]" and "I think X isn't a [blank]". I could possibly argue a brief for the first declaration (Mr Savage's). While GF1's conduct is certainly quite similar to that of some abusers I have known, LW1 seems potentially a relatively easy target, which could be making GF1 worse than she might have been with someone else.

As LW1 apparently was much the more passive party in the relationship, expecting him to have refused to meet GF1's child seems downright Clintonian, as if it were his responsibility to know more about parenting than the actual parent. Better just to point out that the idea is a dreadful one and frame it as a red flag if it's suggested in future.

LW2, who strikes me as an unpleasantly efficient camp counselor, might be a better match with GF1 than GF2. I've no major quibble with anything Mr Savage says in A2.

13

joeburner @11: If you're calling someone your "partner" after dating for eight months, you may be rushing things a wee bit.

Also, LW2 going directly to "suspicion of cheating" because his new girlfriend is not an open book, rather than assuming that, as a grown ass woman, she wants some autonomy and privacy, is a red flag. He should probably tell her about his abandonment issues and extract a promise of undying love. That alway works!

14

This is an anti-kink:

"—you should be well out of the honeymoon phase if not quite into the farting-in-front-of-each-other phase"

I never want to be in a "farting-in-front-of-each-other phase."

To paraphrase a common phrase: "farts happen." That's one thing.

But a "farting-in-front-of-each-other phase?"

No thank you.

15

Perfect answer to PRESSURE, Dan. I think US men must be more polite than Aussie men. Waiting a year to fart in front of a gf? I don’t think so.

16

I’m with you musicbiker, but will they listen?

17

Sorry, to me “partner” is shorthand for “person I am in a serious, primary relationship with”, which is what LW2 described.

It is routine for most people to ask their person-they-are-in-a-serious-relationship-with questions like “where are you?” I don’t necessarily view it as a red flag that she doesn’t want to tell him, but it’s a little unusual. If her answer is “I am a grown-ass woman, and it’s none of your damn business where I am”, then she should tell him that, rather than being evasive, and then the ball will be in his court.

18

TAG, back off a bit, there. Eight months In and you want to put a monitor on her.
She has no children, read that as she has no responsibilities or commitments.
You have to protect your children as well as your heart, because you are in the more vulnerable position here.

19

LW1 is god damn weak and needs to grow a spine. All this crap about anxiety and therapy (where they don't at least jerk you off at the end) is annoying.
Here's what you should do, keep her around until you find a better woman. Crazy desperate women are usually great in the sack. Keep banging her until you get an upgrade then tell her she's just a good lay and nothing more.
Ditch the bullshit therapy, again unless it covered with a happy ending, and try to resemble a man.

20

LW1 needs to set his girlfriend up with LW2!

21

Good call Jack.

22

I think Dan broke down letter 2 pretty well-- the three main possibilities are that LW2 thinks the relationship is more serious than she does. Or they both think it's serious (and monogamous), but it's important for her not feel like she is tied down; or she is hiding something; or any combination of the three.

But I just don't get any sort of controlling vibe from the guy. It's perfectly normal to feel uncomfortable if your serious bf/gf is evasive about routine questions. They need to talk.

23

Both answers by Dan are good and do justice to all involved. I still think the edges can be smoothed out a bit.
LW1- when you drop the ball on the person you’re about to be dumping please be considerate. Tell her she needs a support group where she can be free to talk about her issues and get the perspective of other like-minded she deserves to hear. She had been manipulated and hurt in the past, you may not be the right person to her, you had good time together, and she is welcome to contact you again in a year or so if she’s so inclined.

LW2- yes, you come across as somewhat clingy, but not let it turn you down as young Neil Young suggested once upon a time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jzhLtt_pGQ
I think you should look into your own insecurities, share it with her in a respective non-pushy manner, and be open and accepting to what she has to say. The most that can come out of this is castle burning, yet you may come around.
And always remember: If Neil Young can get away with his singing, anyone can.

24

@20 jack chandelier: I wish I'D thought of that! Hats off to you this week. :)

25

I really liked Dan's answers this week. Instead of doing more involved advice, I'm going to try simpler advice.

LW1: Problem: Gf is mad because you weren't very reluctant to say you truly loved her or really wanted to be with her. It appears that she wanted honesty rather than agreeableness or false reassurance.
Answer: Apologize for reassuring her that you loved her and then breaking up shortly thereafter. Next time wait until you feel you really understand and appreciate your partner before announcing that you love them.
Problem: You want to break up because you think new gf is needy and insecure and inconsiderate about parenthood but she doesn't want to break up.
Answer: Nicely repeat that you're broken up and then stop talking to her! Block her number then get a restraining order if she still can't take a 'no'. Take care of yourself first, make sure you're in good condition before you try to help anyone else.

LW2: Problem: Gf won't immediately reply to texts and tell him where she is, and sometimes she goes out after she had planned to stay in, so he wants to accuse her of cheating on him.
Answer: Deal with your own neediness and insecurity, if you can't give her the benefit of the doubt then do her the favor of leaving. Don't accuse others without proof no matter how paranoid you feel.

26

In my second relationship, I was dating a guy who pressured me into saying I loved him after about a month (going on and on about love at first sight). Red flag? Absolutely, but it was only my second relationship, so I went with it. Then, surprise, surprise, he breaks up with me a month later, claims he was getting back at an ex by dating me (which I doubt), then was all over Facebook about how we never actually dated and was generally horrible. And while I realized I hadn't actually loved him, it still took me a while to get over that relationship. Obviously, your situation is a bit different, PRESSURE, but you can take it from me: that premature commitment was a bad idea and a big red flag. And then that threat of keeping a kid if she was pregnant only because she wanted to force you to stay? Yeah, I wouldn't trust having sex with her ever again, much less trust any other sort of relationship with her.

As for TAG, I sorta wonder how often he's asking her. Is he coming across as someone who can't trust her to leave his sight? As someone who can't seem to let her blow off some steam when she's stressed or just enjoy herself without checking in with him first? Or is he asking every once and a while and she acts strangely put off by it? Not that TAG has any ill intent even if he's asking often, of course, but he might want to reflect on if he's perhaps coming across as paranoid and back off a bit if he is overdoing it. And if he really needs to have a partner who "spills" like he does, maybe he should prioritize finding someone like that going forward.

27

There are a dozen reasons for TAG's girlfriend to be cagey. Not to project, but I myself can get pretty much exactly like the LW describes, even with good friends, because my mother was a judgemental pain who'd hound me for details of my day, my friends, etc. just to pick them apart and make herself feel better. So even now I have a tendency to never tell friends about my other friends, or sometimes if I feel like I'm being hounded over various chats and IM services I'll "step away from my phone and forget to come back to it" for a few hours. This guy sounds really needy, possibly even really needing someone to need him, and I think he might do his girlfriend a favor by letting her have the rest of her freedom back.

28

I wouldn't say Ms PRESSURE is an abuser but she is absolutely not in good working order to date. And Guts @4, dating while not being in good working order to do so is not a privilege, it's a mistake. Yes, men stick their dicks in crazy because their dicks are so desperate. Yet calling someone crazy is dismissive; men do not get called crazy for making the equally irrational decision of maintaining relationships with women like Ms PRESSURE, do they? Run, PRESSURE, run -- and be more wary of this sort of neediness/manipulation in future.

Agree with Dan's advice, and with the caveat that I don't have kids, I don't see how it would be logistically possible to defer meeting a partner's children for six months to a year if they are a custodial parent. Perhaps that could fall under the 90-day money-back-guarantee rule as well, or if logistics dictate, the child is just told that you are Mommy/Daddy's friend and not encouraged to form a bond until much later. Another caveat is that I've learned from this column that my friends group seems to interact far more with their friends' children than most -- I'm recalling the backlash I got when I suggested a man who had, in my view, misinterpreted a female friend's lament that she never got to spend time with her husband as a request for an affair and suggested he offer to babysit instead. But perhaps that was just one person. Regardless, the only person Ms PRESSURE needs to be seeing regularly at this stage is a therapist, and I hope she finds one.

TAG, firstly, I would not call eight years or ten years a "relatively long marriage." Secondly, kids are involved -- YOUR kids, not her kids. Dan's read is right -- she has freedom for the first time in her adult life and you're ruining that. Give her the space she needs. Perfect answer, Dan! (And yes, you both married too young.)

29

Addendum to PRESSURE: If you're going to stick your dick in crazy, at minimum be sure it has a condom on it. Which was never out of your possession.

Oh and guts @4, plenty of insecure, needy men get girlfriends, because there are plenty of insecure, needy women who date them -- they just don't dismiss them as crazy. To their friends. While continuing to date them, because they're horny. Such a privileged existence.

-- Actually, men like Ms PRESSURE are common. They don't get called crazy, they get called stalkers. Thank Griz @6 for this reminder.

Joe @11, I too am more inclined to think of TAG and Ms TAG as incompatible in their relationship philosophies than of TAG as controlling, but agree that we only have his side of the story. It's clear she prefers more autonomy; can he give that to her? If not, they both need to move on.

Fubar @13, we have discussed in this column that people have different ideas of what "partner" means. To you, it seems, it's a step about boyfriend/girlfriend. To others, it's a gender neutral synonym for boyfriend/girlfriend. I don't think use of the term is a red flag.

Music @14, that is what the farting-in-front-of-each-other phrase means. Not that you develop a kink for farting in each other's faces, but that when farts happen you don't go to great lengths to stop them if your partner is in the room. Our guts appreciate when we get to that phase of a relationship.

Joe @17, I agree Ms TAG needs to be more assertive about protecting her privacy and not make excuses. Again, though, this is someone who never had the chance to grow up as a single adult, so he should see the excuses for what they are, and it appears that he does.

Dashing @19, yes, that's what will help, toxic masculinity! I reckon it's thanks to the therapy that PRESSURE can see that he needs to run, this soon into this scary relationship. Yay for therapy.

Jack @20: Yes! Gold star, they should just switch partners and everyone will be happier.

Joe @22, we only have his side of the story. It's possible she is being evasive BECAUSE he is being controlling. But yes, they need to talk.

Philo @25, I don't think Ms PRESSURE wanted honesty, because it is honestly not possible to be committed to someone you barely know. I think she wanted to manipulate him into a relationship then hold him to those promises that he made probably while on a post-sex oxytocin high. I mean props to her for announcing her abandonment issues. "Here's my red flag!" Too many people of all genders see these as a problem they can help solve by acting calmly and rationally; most of them learn the hard way that red flags don't mean challenges, they mean run.

Mythic @27, good point that Ms TAG's actions may not be about TAG at all.

30

A step above boyfriend/girlfriend, not about.

31

What PRESSURE needs to understanding is that he's the wrong person to be with his soon-to-be ex. He's not the person to deal with her abandonment issues. He can't offer her a steadfast, monogamous lifelong commitment; and it isn't clear that the right man for her should, either; the right guy should rather help her deal with her neediness.

As for her child, 7yo s are resilient. He will forget PRESSURE, and get the love he needs from his mother and, likely, grandparents.

PRESSURE has told us exactly what he's told his therapist; and everyone is saying the same thing to him. But he couldn't follow through on his therapist's advice. Now is the time to follow through. It would be weak to run off wordlessly. It's not weak to say, 'I'm sorry I made those promises'. 'Or I wasn't lying, but was weak to give in to pressure and make them. This is goodbye'. It has to be goodbye, and he has to make clear it's goodbye. It's best for both of them.

32

@BiDanFan how is this toxic masculinity? I'm taking about basic masculinity and a clean break. I imagine the sex to be pretty good because he tried to break up with her but ended up staying for the weekend. Desperate women will be super GGG. She's someone that can help him check off a couple of sexual bucket list items. Win/win all around until he breaks up with her.

33

@4. Lots of crazy men around who have relationships with women, and some of them are so crazy, they kill those women.
PRESSURE has the opportunity to give solid feedback to this woman, because her grasping and clinging won’t get her love from a man.

34

@5. Fichu. I suspect that PRESSURE wants Dan to give his okay to his ghosting her--because he finds difficult conversations hard. PRESSURE should not ghost his gf, but break up civilly in person. He's then free to go.

@11. joeburner. He seems to suspect his partner of cheating, though, just because she spends some of her time with friends.

@16. Lava. Their music is the male basso profundo of the fart.

35

Dashing @32, and here I was thinking your earlier comment was trolling and I fell for it. Unless I just fell for it twice?

Harriet @34 re @5, yes, bingo. I don't think he needs to make this second break in person; he tried that and she guilted him into staying. He's susceptible to her manipulations, so he should break up over the phone, so that he can do so definitively and hang up if she begs him again.

Re @11, it's not just because she's spending time with friends, but also because she's being evasive about where she is and is turning off notifications. These should not, in themselves, be cause for alarm. She isn't used to sharing everything in her life; that's fine, it's not a red flag. She turns off her notifications when out with friends; that's fine, it makes sense to spend quality time with friends and not be interrupted by a boyfriend you see all the time. She says she's staying in but then she goes out; that's fine, lots of us change our minds at the last minute like that, particularly someone who only now isn't answerable to another person! None of his examples point to anything more than a woman who wants to live the life of an unmarried person. TAG isn't like this, so he suspects she may be cheating. He needs to fully accept that she's a different person than he is, a person who enjoys (and is entitled to) being more free-spirited than he is, and that this explains all her actions. If he can't trust her -- one wonders if his marriage ended due to his ex cheating -- he needs to let go, and deal with his stuff until he's ready to hold the reins of his next relationship a bit more loosely.

35

With TAG, there's not enough information on whether his suspicions of her playing away are plausible. It's possible she turns off notifications just to have some time on her own--'me time'--or with her girlfriends. And thank God for that! After ten years of marriage, shackled to a guy, doesn't she need some respite from male needs being her up-front-and-center concerns?

He should certainly not say anything to her on the lines of 'I think we're far enough down the road in our relationship for me to bring up my fears of being cheated on'. That's likely to get a self-assertive or uncooperative response. The conversation should be about their expectations--esp. over the knowledge he wants to have over her whereabouts and activities on a standing basis, and the role he envisions for her in relation to his kids. It could be they're incompatible on the first. She might want to go out in mixed company and flirt or be friendly in bars, and he could be unable to live with that. If so, these incompatibilities could be so severe they sink the relationship. And they should sink the relationship.

It's a black mark for me he's raised his kids as a rationale for (almost) wanting to control her, wanting her to keep her phone on at all times. His kids are under eight. They don't understand adult sexual relationships; if they know her at all, she's just a friend of Daddy's. She could go, and their lives wouldn't be substantially worse; stay, or become a live-in partner, and their lives not be substantially different. This is about the closeness of the relationship TAG wants to have with his gf. Ask her about this.

36

@22. joeburner. Isn't your middle option, of her not wanting to feel tied down, overwhelmingly likely she married around age 20?

It's what TAG doesn't say for me. He doesn't say e.g. 'I appreciate she married before being legally able to drink, and needs to live out that part of her life when she's free, or has no romantic commitment more pressing than her friendships'. Or even 'we both dated for a while after our divorces, and I imagined we were both now looking to settle down again'. I guess he doesn't say anything like the second thing because he fears it's more true of him than her.

37

Harriet @35: "It's a black mark for me he's raised his kids as a rationale for (almost) wanting to control her, wanting her to keep her phone on at all times." I read that as he's a Dad with Responsibilities now, the time for being able to come and go as he pleases is past -- and he expects that of her as well, despite her not being a parent. He can't parse the idea that she is more carefree and that is fine for her, because she does not in fact have kids to put first. She is in a position to put herself first, and that's fine. Perhaps he envies this? It's clear he doesn't respect it, which he needs to learn to do.

38

@35. Bi. If he has broken up with her, but she hasn't accepted it, he doesn't need to see her again. You're right. He's broken up with her--over and out.

But I think she talked him into taking her back. In which case, man up, say your piece and make a clean break. Don't be guilted--by your promises, or the child. Don't be swayed--by kindness, by tears, by sex (especially), by promises of future love.

I actually thought Dashing @32 was serious.

@32. Bi. Parents tend to share custody--? It's rare for a mother not to have at least two nights free a fortnight when any lover could stay over? (Or she could go to his/hers/theirs?). And then a parent could set up first dates during school hours--morning coffee, rather than afternoon tea? I think it wise, even think it incumbent on a single parent, not to introduce lovers into a child's life confusingly or precipitately. Wait six months. Wait for the guy (assuming a straight single mum as the primary caregiver) ... wait for him to be sufficiently committed to say, 'yes, I want a LTR with you, and will make a good-faith effort to be something, to be some sort of caregiver, to your child'.

I agree with Dan.

39

@37. Bi. It could be that he wants to be married something like he was the last time, and she doesn't, necessarily. I agreed with your thought that possibly his last marriage ended because his ex cheated.

TAG hasn't a good handle on his insecurities. He doesn't know his fears of being cheated on are particular--or that, perhaps, they derive from his own experience or trauma. He's written to Dan, in effect, asking, 'when is a good time to open up on one's fears of being cheated on?'--not 'how can I have the conversation about expectations of monogamy, even emotional monogamy?'. The perspective, 'of course, after such an early marriage, she needs to experience autonomy', is missing. I agree his head needs to swivel round so he can see things more from her point of view.

40

Dashing, that's exactly what someone with abandonment issues needs: someone to sexually abuse her and then dump her instead of just kindly dumping her early on, before she gets too attached. I really hope you were trolling, but I have seen too many men behave this way, hence the toxic masculinity of your approach. And then they wonder why so many women are crazy.

41

If we need to teach boys "you can't violate her consent and still be a good person," we should also teach them "you can exercise your own consent and still be a good person." I know: it appears to support the Neanderthal trope that boys give love for sex and girls give sex for love. However, it's not supporting that fallacy, but rather refuting it; to allow men to acknowledge "I want a loving relationship, and this is not what I'm experiencing."

42

Harriet @38, he can person up, say his piece and make a clean break over the phone. He is anxious and in therapy. Forcing him to see her in person, where she can employ whatever wiles are at her disposal to convince him to stay once more, under the guise of manliness is also toxic. He needs to think about his mental health too and prioritise it over hers. As for meeting children, every parent's life is different and I think you are making some assumptions that may, as I said, MAY make waiting six months to a year logistically difficult if you spend a lot of time with both kids and partner.

With Dashing's followup, I too believe he was serious in his awful advice to PRESSURE. And simultaneously cannot see that this is why straight men get slagged off so often, and with such justification.

Re @39, he doesn't have fears of being cheated on, he has suspicions of being cheated on. Agree that they may not have had a discussion about monogamy, but as that is the default, I would take "Facebook official" to be a synonym for it.

43

Question related to #1: how to respond when someone you are seeing says they have “abandonment issues?” I was with a guy a few years back who wanted more primacy/official couple status than I was willing to agree to. He told me early on about these issues (mother had been long term hospitalized when he was 3; very hurt by wife leaving him suddenly after years of deceit) and I mostly handled it by being very clear about when we’d see each other (or not.) no ghosting, no late cancelled dates, etc.
it was difficult when I ended it though. I was leaning that way in September but waited to find the right moment so it was November. Then he was angry that I broke up before the holidays (was I supposed to sleep with him another two months just to avoid hurting his feelings? I argued back), then he was mad that I hadn’t discussed it with him first, even suggested we couldn’t break up if we didn’t both agree to it. I may have quoted Dan at that point.
A couple of decades later, we’re still (or again) friends so it all worked out. But all that awkwardness and pain that seemed to come from these “abandonment “ issues... was there a better way to handle that, other than not getting involved with someone who confesses to these issues in the first place?

44

Pay no mind to Griz @10. @6 is a worthwhile read.

@31 Harriet "As for her child, 7yo s are resilient. He will forget PRESSURE, and get the love he needs from his mother and, likely, grandparents"

For all we know, he may be one of a string of past and/or future short-term partners who similarly met/will meet the son prematurely. PRESSURE shouldn't beat himself up about what's happened, and of course he shouldn't stick around just for the kid's benefit. But a scenario like that can be damaging to a child, and anyone who participates shares the blame for the cumulative effect.

45

M?? Harriet - "Man up"? The Gender Eradication Bureau won't be happy with you.

Well before you were among the assembled company, in a time before consciousness of MRAs, Mr Rhone (now no longer among us but perhaps happily coupled with Mr Ophian, despite Mr O's curious belief of all religions' being inherently good) when a recent arrival indicated that that phrase was in frequent use among his RL circle. Ms Erica and I got him eventually to concede that the phrase generally did more harm than good.

Exactly what level of apology is appropriate isn't quite on the level of Henry VIII's annulment but could still take a fair amount of deciding. "I'm sorry I made those promises," sounds to me more as if it would spring from a spontaneous action when someone had been caught up in the moment. If he over-apologizes, while that would be generous, it might also be unkind in the long run, as he'd be facilitating her rewriting the script to omit the duress.

46

joeburner @17: I understood your meaning of the word "partner".

BiDan @29: Putting aside the word "partner", which people do indeed use more loosely than I prefer (likely due to having been with women who've slapped me with that label after the third date)...

My point was that 8 months is too soon to expect the privileges of a "serious, primary relationship", especially when the woman is clearly not on the same page. She wants to be able to stay home, and then change her mind and go out with a friend. OMFG!

Agreed that she should tell him that, rather than being evasive. It's possible she's doing that "avoiding conflict" thing that people sometimes do. Perhaps she'll be writing to Dan about her controlling boyfriend of "only" eight months who has accused her of cheating.

47

Squidgie @43: You handled it well. Personally, I'd have responded to "we couldn’t break up if we didn’t both agree to it" with "fuck off", but that's a minor quibble.

Someone with debilitating relationship issues needs to work them out, which is best done single and in therapy.

48

Ms(?) Kew - [However, it's not supporting that fallacy, but rather refuting it; to allow men to acknowledge "I want a loving relationship, and this is not what I'm experiencing."]

Why "allow" instead of "encourage"?

49

For me, it's a red flag if someone has any operational notifications at all on their phone.
I admit it's a small dating pool, but we have a good time.

50

@46 Fubar, that’s fair. I personally would say 8 months is too long to expect the independence of a casual relationship, especially when the other person is not on the same page.
In any case, the natural consequence of evasiveness is distrust, just as the natural consequence of distrust is evasiveness.

51

Trolling or not, I have definitely know men who "enjoy" dating "crazy" women for the sex and then seem to be incapable of empathizing with the mess they leave behind (sorry about the air quotes). It is one of the reasons I was so disgusted by my fellow men when I was younger. I don't know if it's that men grow out of it or if it's just that I know better people now, but I knew a lot of assholes in my early twenties (and high school) and this seemed like a go-to mentality for easy sex.

I know this has been discussed ad nauseum in these threads, but I also view partner as a kind of non-discript, mid relationship term and think that using it past 6 months is fine.

And Lava, I do know a lot of crude men in the states, so maybe it is not just Australia, but my wife and I have been together for over 10 years and intend to never get to the farting in front of each other stage. I really don't think it's asking for the moon.

52

@4 It's just language. Men call their female exes crazy and women call their male exes assholes. In both cases, I think it's generally understood that this is kind of a catch-all vague insult to say that the other person was at fault. In all the relationships friends have had I think there's really only been one where the person really was crazy and one where the guy truly was a complete asshole.

It would be better if we had more precise language to use but are we really expecting people in casual conversation to say "Well, we both had our faults and perhaps were just poorly matched." That sounds nice but it also opens the door to a bunch of questions. I think we say crazy/asshole because it definitely moves the conversation on without being dragged into something.

That said, agree with someone here who said that you have to ignore that. I spent years being upset that all of an exes friends thought I was an asshole. Like I bent over backwards for her in order to "prove" that I wasn't some asshole. You gotta shrug off that label. You know it isn't true and that's got to be good enough.

53

Squidgie @43, that is a good question. My ex-husband had abandonment issues as well due to a chaotic childhood. And yes, whether they intend it or not, they catch you in a trap when they say things like "You're just gonna leave me" and you, in the throes of NRE, reply that you would never do that. Then, of course, down the road when you are not happy in the relationship, you feel that if you end it that will both prove them right and make their abandonment issues worse. And then there is the reality that most people with abandonment issues don't announce them the way PRESSURE did; by the time you realise it, you are committed. How to deal, aside from not getting involved (which again may not be possible before you know what you're dealing with)? If the cash exists, steer them towards therapy perhaps. Try to tell them that relationships end all the time, for a variety of reasons other than one person being unlovable or unworthy. They won't believe this, but at least you'll have laid the groundwork. Try not to promise you'll never leave, which is hard to do when someone is pushing you into that. If I had had the maturity to reply, "I have no plans to leave you. But no one knows what the future holds," perhaps I wouldn't have stayed as long as I did. In my older age I think I'd just run.

Fubar @46, I'd balk equally if someone called me their girlfriend after the third date. Is eight months too soon for this much commitment? ANY length of time is "too soon" when the other person is not on the same page. I'd say that no one can "expect" any given level of commitment in a relationship based on an arbitrary timeline. Some people may feel all-in at three months (my minimum for establishing "we are now a couple"), others may not feel comfortable committing for two years, still others may want to maintain some freedom for the foreseeable. I think that if both of them wanted to be in a "serious, primary relationship," eight months is potentially long enough to know each other well enough to commit to that. It's also long enough to see clearly that these two people don't want the same kind of relationship, so they need to talk about their expectations and either adjust them or move on.

Joe @50, I would agree with you both and say that eight months is too long to date without having a conversation about the level of commitment sought from the relationship. Which they must have done to some extent if they agreed to make it public on Facebook, but it clearly didn't go far enough.

Savage @51, "moon." LOL. I definitely think it's too much for a partner, of any length of time really, to expect that I'll hold in my farts around them. If they can't accept I'm a human being with bodily functions, how are they going to accept the changes that happen to this body as it ages? People need to grow up a little. How on earth do you handle it when you're watching TV with your wife and you realise you need to fart? Do you get up and run out of the room? Asking genuinely as I cannot picture this.

54

Follow up question though - is the crazy/asshole thing just a straight thing? Same terms when gay relationships break up? Different ones?

56

Follow up question though - is the crazy/asshole thing just a straight thing? Same terms when gay relationships break up? Different ones?

57

Harriet "He's not the person to deal with her abandonment issues. He can't offer her a steadfast, monogamous lifelong commitment; and it isn't clear that the right man for her should, either; the right guy should rather help her deal with her neediness."
Completely agree! The right guy will respond with "I like you a lot but I also like to take it slow and get to know someone before I make too many promises" or simply "I think it's too soon for much commitment, but I've enjoyed getting to know you so far." She might have to dump him and regret it to learn, but she might immediately start to understand his point and grow to like going slow with him.

Dashing, using someone for sex until something better comes alone while pretending that you care about them is pretty malevolent. I'd say unsavory men and women do it, though.

BDF, I'm surprised you didn't see the second letter writer as just as needy and controlling and "crazy" as the first gf. He wants to accuse her of cheating on him! I probably still shouldn't have used the word paranoid, I'm sure there's a nicer way to say it.

58

I agreed with Dan's advice to PRESSURE until I got to his final point, that if you're dating someone who has kids, you should wait until at least 6 months in before you meet the kid. Ridiculous! It should be much sooner than that. Obviously the kid is important to his/her parent, so it should not take that long for the kid to be important to you as well. if the kid asks the parent something like "Is your new boyfriend going to be my new daddy?" the parent can say "It's really too early to tell, honey; we're taking things slowly and see where it goes."

59

I really dislike the timelines and assigning lengths of relationship milestones that Dan encourages, and which so much of the commentariat subscribe to: "six months is too soon to have one's /partner/ (more about that word in a moment) meet one's kids;" "eight months is too soon to call the person a /partner/" (yes, I know that was fubar, not Dan), "one year is too soon to be a couple before getting engaged or married." Getting married seemingly anywhere in one's twenties (unless maybe 28 or 29) is "too young." "The acceptable age difference between partners (ooh, that word again) is some weird formula I always forget, like half your age plus seven or whatever." "The formula for getting over a broken heart is half the length of the relationship." And probably there's more.

Life doesn't work like that; people's emotions don't follow timelines and often circumstances dictate behavior. There are plenty of couples who made commitments to each other after a short acquaintance and have been happily together for years; there are people who bounce back after a long term relationship ends in a matter of weeks, and some who take years and years to get over someone even if the relationship was short-lived (I'm still pining--to some extent--after a man I only dated for 7 months who dumped me close to 9 years ago). If you're the custodial parent without enough money or grandparent support to babysit, you may find that you need to introduce your new paramour to your kid at only 3 months--and the ages of the kids, the stability of their lives independent of mom or dad's romantic life, the relationship they have with their custodial parent and other parent, the children's health or emotional issues, the level of commitment the two adults have to each other, the circumstances under which the custodial parent is single (i.e. is he widowed; was the divorce relatively amicable; has the child never known their other parent?), the general stability of the new paramour's life--all of those are factors that are much more important to be consulted than some arbitrary timeline that a bunch of yahoos on the internet have decided (I count myself among the yahoos) is mandatory or even ideal. Yes, I think it's probably not a good idea to introduce one's kids to the person you just started dating, or if your new paramour lives in a constant swirl of drama or has made it clear that this is just a short-term fling, but those guidelines should be very basic and vague.

As for "partner," I understand it to mean "I need a word to describe a relationship in which the two people are having sex and for whatever reason, I don't like the other choices, such as 'girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, husband, wife, third, boo'." Personally, I tend to use "partner" to refer in my own relationships only to people with whom I'm having or used to have sex and in this comments section, as it covers any kind of relationship--but implies a sexual partnership--in my usage. So if we're talking about men's refractory periods, for example, and I want to mention one dude I had sex with who was able to come and stay hard for round two (and rounds 3, 4, and 5) at the age of 54, or I want to weigh in on the guy who I had sex with and was only good for one erection every 36 hours and he was in his 30s, I can say "partner" accurately, as they were both sexual partners, even though one was a long-term boyfriend, and one someone I very briefly dated. My partners range from one-night stands to FWBs, to short-lived boyfriends to a marriage of more than 20 years.

Because to some, "partner" implies a life partnership or a very serious relationship, and to me, "partner" means "sexual partner," and to some, "partnership" can't (or shouldn't) be achieved after a relatively brief acquaintance (and now we're back to the timeline rules I talked about in the paragraphs above), it's probably a good idea to define what you mean when you say "partner." But "my partner of 8 months" suggests to me that for the past 8 months, the speaker or letter writer has been dating or fucking that person that s/he is going to start complaining ahout.

60

Phi @57, I'm glad you picked up on that comment of Harriet's. Until she gets some help for her issues, there is no "right guy" -- and she's just going to go from one failed relationship to another if she believes that there's a man out there who can "save" her. The right man to deal with her abandonment issues is a professional therapist who charges her by the hour.

As for the second LW, as Dan notes, there actually is a possibility that she is cheating on him. Occam's razor says that she is merely chafing at his excessive demands upon her privacy, and he should proceed on this basis, unless he has some firmer reason to believe she is cheating. I did say that if he feels he can't trust her, he should break up with her, and that his jumping to a suspicion of cheating may be based on past experience rather than present reality. I also don't think he's as crazy as Ms PRESSURE because he didn't, as far as we know, extract promises of eternal love and introduce her to his family members in month one. He's just witnessing some behaviour he doesn't understand and jumping to the wrong conclusion, in my view; explaining this behaviour and urging a talk seemed more productive to me than calling him paranoid or controlling. If he can't loosen the reins and persists in thinking she's cheating, then I would escalate my advice to be nearer to yours, and tell her to run.

61

@42. Bi. Yes, he could easily break up with her over the phone. An important word would be 'sorry'; but an even more important one, 'goodbye'.

I don't fully agree with your characterisation of however she talked him into staying as 'wiles'. Let's say the wiles were tears ... or protestations of undying love ... or a string of passionate 'you said's ... or a super-sloppy blowjob. To a degree, all is fair in love. She's desperate; she's going to do what she can to get him to recommit. Further, it consorts with common-or-garden misogyny far too easily for me to say that she's manipulative or 'crazy'. There are a goodly number of women who want to know within two months of dating a man that the relationship is for the long haul. And lots of these relationships lead to the solid marriages of good citizens and parents. But, typically, the people with these expectations won't have our sophisticated, metropolitan cultural background or religious beliefs.

So I'm pleased that a range of people, of different cultural and educational backgrounds, are looking to the universal homosexual Dan Savage for advice (if I'm right), and not minded to label a woman just with different needs to her current bf's.

@42. Bi. On dating with kids, I don't in any way disagree with what you said.

But I'll add two things. The first is that it's not only on the kids that appearing and reappearing sub-parental figures can have a bad effect. They can be demoralising for the parent. 'She' could come to trust in her judgment more by separating dating and parenting more mindfully.

The second--and I speak from personal experience of this--is that it's not only in Kansas that custody arrangements get revisited when a father chooses to live not just with his kids, but with a man (or anyone of non-normative gender identity, gender presentation or sexuality) in the familial home as a live-in partner. The non-custodial parent, who may have their own troubles, can take this, can argue this, as evidence of parental unfitness. However these disputes are resolved, they are not easy or pleasant for children. They occasion conflicts of loyalties and drama--and it's not worth getting into them unless both the adults involved, the father and the new lover/partner, are really sure they're on the same team and have made a commitment to each other.

62

I have to disagree with the advice about not meeting the other person's kid(s) for 6 months. That seems absurd for anyone with the potential to be anything other than a fuck buddy.

If I was dating someone who had kids, I would assume that their children were an important part of their life. If I had any interest in possibly working toward a long term relationship, I think I'd want to know something about the kids, and want to meet them. Sure, not in the first couple of weeks or so. But if I was to have any possible future with that person, their kid(s) would have to be a part of the package. I think I'd want to meet the kid(s) much sooner than 6 months out.

I'll admit, this is something I have no experience with. I don't have kids and never dated anyone with kids (few gay men of my generation had kids). So maybe there's something I don't get. But waiting 6 months just seems wrong to me.

63

@44. Fred Casely. I think, 'meet my bud Pete. Pete's my tango partner' will be less harmful to a child (supposing Pete is soon an ex-tango partner), then 'meet Pete. Pete's going to be your new Daddy'.

I would agree that adults and parents can be bad judges of what harms children.

@45. venn. With this lw, I would think 'Vulcan up' would strike more of a chord than 'person up'.

@51. Savage. The moon, but not the moonshot, boom-tish.

@54. larrystone. I think it can get typecast along age lines. Or femininsation or femme-ishness lines, though that's more of live rail these days.

@58. wayne. The caregiving parent should surely say, 'your daddy is your daddy'.

64

@62. Reverse. I think the potentially committed partner's mindset of wanting to meet the kids early is good--decent and honorable. But I think the 'mother's' (I'm just saying 'mother's' because it's more common) mindset of wanting to buffer her kids from the consequences of her oxytocin tides should hold more sway.

Let a couple's NRE wear off. Let them have their first serious difference of view. Go through their first sexual dry spell. Further, let a mother explain to kids of any age that her primary commitment is to them, not to her personal fulfilment; that a new partner isn't supplanting their father (if still present in some capacity) in their lives. She and her new partner should also perhaps think through how they will cohabit, esp. if blending families.

65

@43 I think the right way to respond is to end the relationship immediately.

No one likes being broken up with. No one likes losing a relationship with someone they love. That's normal. But when people tell you they have abandonment issues, they're trying to make you responsible for their feelings, for protecting them from the normal pain of life by never leaving them, even if you want to. They're trying to coerce you. They're not acting in good faith, so it isn't possible to compromise with them or explain your point of view in a way they'll accept. The only thing to do is leave.

66

@29: Maybe he was wearing a condom and it broke, or perhaps an alternate form of birth control failed.

He didn't say.

67

I hope PRESSURE brings his pet rabbit inside.

68

LW1: I bet your therapist gave you similar advice, but just being told it doesn't instantly give you the skills to do it. This is the kind of thing that Captain Awkward excels at. I recommend taking several free hours to read through her archives at captainawkward.com

69

Savage @51, its smelly behaviour for sure and words do get spoken. ‘Ok who farted, Jesus can you go outside..’ The smell of farts like the smell of shit informs the health of someone. I wouldn’t brush this off as crude only. Also I think some Aussie men like to know if a Sheila is fair dinkum, ready to go bush, and to do that she can’t baulk at a morning fart to the sunrise.
/ I see both letters are about people not knowing how to clearly set boundaries for themselves, and respect those others set for themselves.
PRESSURE is halfway to the altar, meeting family, which is where this woman wants him. Yes Philo, @57, way back he needed to set his boundaries as she trampled as close as she could out of her desperation.
With TAG, they are both not being clear about boundaries. Their ‘official’ on fb means what, to each of them? He’s got the ball and chain ready to clamp over her. ‘ you’re with me now honey. Oh. And here, meet the kids.’
She’s like ‘Yes, this is serious, the most serious one since my divorce. Um though you know I like to be my own boss. ‘
Dan called it, TAG, you two need to talk and listen to each other. You both seem to have different notions of what ‘ Fb official ‘means. Also, don’t rush this. Your children don’t want a reluctant step parent.
If your gf is cheating, TAG, best you find out now.

70

If this isn't an official rule somewhere, it should be:
If you break up with someone, civilly and with words, and if you have sex with them again after the break-up, you have to break up with them again before having nothing more to do with them. So if PRESSURE broke up with Ms. Abandonment Issues and then spent the weekend with her, he has to tell her AGAIN and still kindly that he means it this time. THEN he can unfriend her on facebook and block her calls. I know it sucks, but them's the rules.

71

Oh. I’ll take it this week.

72

Agree Fichu. He needs to grow a spine and front her with his truth. He allowed himself to be pushed along, and is in as bad working order as she is.
Rules.. some general ones apply, sure. However, the people involved need to make the rules which work for them.
These couples hardly know each other, yet the tentacles are wrapping around already, it’s scary.

73

L-dub 1, mental illness is an explanation, not an excuse for being a psycho. Run. Away.

L-dub 2, tough to say what's going on here. Either she's a liar, or you are a psycho. Maybe both. Regardless, move on. She wants her freedom. You can't handle it. The rest doesn't matter as far as what should be done... break up.

74

@53: "How on earth do you handle it when you're watching TV with your wife and you realise you need to fart? Do you get up and run out of the room? Asking genuinely as I cannot picture this."

I'm not married, but: yes. If it's going to be a noticeable one, I get up and leave the room. Ditto if I'm sharing a bedroom with someone, no matter who that person or persons may be (co-worker on business trip, relatives on vacation, or whomever).

75

"I swore, that I would love you to the end of time
So now I'm praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
'Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don't think that I can really survive"

Not so sure the wait will be all that long though, "I can see perdition by the wildfire light"

76

Grizelda @9, hope your visit to Dr has got you in the water again. About time for me to put my toe in the ocean. Summer is already here, days getting hot, nights still cool though.
/ TAG, I don’t read that your gf is cheating on you, from the clues given. I hear her telling you to back off.
Don’t assume she’s your next life partner and step parent to your young children.
I suggest you read up on the literature about blended families, their pitfalls and joys. And she isn’t bringing kids to the relationship. From the get go, you two are not equal, and if you serious about her, you need to accept this.
Not her job to be tending your children, as your several months in gf. I take it as a good sign she is
independent and not ready to jump to your demands.

77

Not that TAG says he’s expecting child care benefits, it’s the total vibe coming from the letter. When children involved, the parent has to be the cautious one.

78

Harriet @61, men can be manipulative too. Not accepting a breakup is not playing fair; he is therefore also entitled to an "all's fair" approach in denying her the in-person breakup you seem to think is standard.
From the letter: "Two weeks in she revealed her very serious abandonment issues and then began asking me whether I really loved her and demanding reassurance that I wasn’t going anywhere and she wouldn’t be “just a single chapter” in my life." TWO WEEKS. This does not fall into the range of normal; she is admitting the problem lies with her; these demands are unreasonable. He should have run. Two weeks after that she is introducing every important person in her life. Soon after that she gets pregnant. Either she is super fertile or birth control was not being used correctly, and I find it difficult to believe with all this other evidence that the pregnancy was accidental for them both. Gender does not matter here; if a man did this, we'd all be recommending the nearest women's shelter for support. This behaviour is, indeed, outside the range of sanity and he needs to get away asap.

Raindrop @66, maybe, and no he didn't say, and perhaps she wasn't even pregnant, but it's ironclad good advice regardless, no?

Congrats on the magic number, Lava! Re @76, "I take it as a good sign she is
independent and not ready to jump to your demands." Yes, this! TAG, this is what a grownup relationship is. This is what it is like to date an adult, something you yourself may never have done. Having one's own space in a relationship, particularly when you're not even living together (but even when you are), is super important. Don't push her to become the future stepmom to your children, just enjoy her company and see where things go. Oh, and you may want to try going out with your friends now and then as well. You may discover for yourself the benefits of having a life beyond partner and kids.

79

Addendum to @78, on reflection it is natural to resist being dumped, to try to talk one's dumper into changing their mind. I do think this is something not enough people are prepared for when they try to end relationships, but should be. PRESSURE is in danger because she did not accept the first breakup, and she did not accept the second breakup. Generally, if a person comes back the second time, the dumpee has had some time to think, is not caught unawares and acting on their initial instinct which is to protest against the breakup. PRESSURE needs to stick to his guns and not let her resist a third time.

80

Addendum #2 (I should really finish my coffee before making my posts), she did not get pregnant but led him to believe she was pregnant, and literally told him that she would keep the baby so that he'd be trapped with her. This does not fall within the "all's fair in love" philosophy.

81

And at any rate, it's a month into a relationship. This is not love. It is desperation.

82

Given that LW1 has already failed to make one break up stick, I think it would be smart to rehearse a little language in advance along the lines of, " We do not have a future together, and we need to cease contact." Don't modify, don't negotiate, just repeat. If she can't respect that boundary, he needs to block her. She's not going to get any better while she still has any access to him, and he's got some serious work to do as well. If he's not rated for the more complicated conversation, and it sounds like he isn't, getting out is way more important than getting out gracefully.

83

Squidgie, "But all that awkwardness and pain that seemed to come from these “abandonment “ issues... was there a better way to handle that, other than not getting involved with someone who confesses to these issues in the first place?"
I think that "abandonment issues" means it's more important to commit and break up slowly. Don't give in to pressure to reassure them of your commitment when it doesn't exist, wait until you feel like you understand and appreciate them to reassure them of your love, and spend those few months while you're looking for the "right moment" to break up openly showing your discomfort with the relationship and unwilling to reassure them of your commitment anymore, increasingly spend less time with them, so they know what is coming and why, before you say goodbye. "It's just not working for me" or even better "I'm into someone else" are harder to argue against when the actions match..

"was I supposed to sleep with him another two months just to avoid hurting his feelings?"
But you sort of did.. Maybe he meant he would have preferred if you had officially broken up with him in Sept and slept with him for a few months until that "right" moment in November?

BDF, "As for the second LW, as Dan notes, there actually is a possibility that she is cheating on him"
Yeah, she could be cheating on him, or running an underground boxing ring, or being deceitful or maybe harming him in ways he can't see yet.. but there's no evidence of any of this. Yet he still wants to talk about his fears of being cheated on. That's technically paranoia, it is pretty literally crazy, and his impulse is to trouble her with his insecurity, I really don't see a big difference in shades of crazy here. He wants to treat his girlfriend badly and accuse her of cheating because of his paranoia, not because of any proof of cheating, he's not in good working order enough to give the benefit of the doubt anymore. But maybe he's leaving something out, like her 10 year marriage was plagued with cheating or ended because of cheating, and his fear is based on more reasons than "she doesn't text back immediately and goes out sometimes when she planned to stay in", we'll never know.

84

BDF, yes, I just wait until I am in another room. I assume that she does the same. It's obviously not a bid deal if it happens, but I view it as courtesy. I totally get the idea of being human in front of your significant other, but I will just say that I already present a fair amount of human without adding that into the mix.

85

I'm just picturing what happens after a couple have been out for a bean-heavy meal. A movie takes four hours to get through because every five minutes one or the other of them runs out of the room.
Lava, if the smell is THAT bad then you need to do something about your diet!

86

nocutename @59

"my partner of 8 months" suggests to me that for the past 8 months, the speaker or letter writer has been dating or fucking that person that s/he is going to start complaining about. >>

LOL yes.

87

grr, my post @86 was supposed to have two greater-than signs to indicate the start of a quote from nocutename. The ones at the end show up for some reason, but not the ones at the start. What is the point of a "preview" if it doesn't show what will actually get posted?

88

Re the "man up" / "person up" / "Vulcan up" debate.

I switched at some point to saying "grow up" instead, and then some poster here objected, saying it was ageist, if I recall correctly.

Now I'm liking LavaGirl's "grow a spine" and considering adopting it as my go-to idiom.

89

@BiDanFan I'm not trolling and the advice I gave is what I've done as well as advised others to do.
@Philophile I see it as a win/win for both sides. He keeps getting that good sex and she keeps her relationship going. He might not be able to find anything for awhile with covid. How does dumping her right away change anything? She would get the same pain just sooner.

90

What are you talking about Fan @85? Do my end of the world jokes go over your head. Or something. My Syntax perhaps. Not quite sure what that word refers to, it’s a great word with an x in it.
My diet is fine Fan, after many years of frugality, I’ve honed my cooking skills. Always cook main meal to include ginger and garlic, now that I can get it fresh, turmeric too. Nearly peaches time.
Thanks Erica, one has to be careful round here.

91

I heard an aviation guy say that, ‘Australia, is at the end of the world’, which confused me because I thought the world a sphere.

92

@83 Philo, it’s not “literally crazy” to wonder whether she is hiding something. When you ask someone a straightforward question (e.g “where are you?”Or “what are you up to?”) and don’t get a straightforward answer, it is not crazy to wonder why. If it becomes a pattern, then you really should start to wonder why. This applies to any relationship— work, friend, family, or romantic.

As you sit there, wondering why this person is evading your question, you also need to wonder whether your questions are out of line. Others may disagree, but to me, the questions LW is asking sound like routine chit chat. If gf thinks otherwise, her evasiveness seems like a kind of unusual and passive aggressive way to handle it.

I concede that her backstory, and the conversations they had about their different relationship philosophies, argue against the hiding-something explanation and in favor of the none-of-your-business explanation. It also seems like if she were hiding something, she would be more likely to make up stories than to stonewall.

But who knows. I will say.... umm... 80% chance she is just very independent, 20% chance she is hiding something. Compared with the baseline 10% chance that any randomly chosen gf/bf is hiding something. Not a huge deal, but not nothing.

I also concede that tone matters. A “where are you?” can be either friendly or accusatory. It sounds to me like the guy is trying to understand her side of things and has some self-awareness, so more likely her initial evasiveness provoked his distrust, rather than the other way around. At this point though, it doesn’t matter. They just need to get on the same page or split up.

93

"the farting-in-front-of-each-other phase"
This is what brought me to the comments because I have strong feelings about this. And those feelings are thus: don't do it. Yes, it will happen sometimes. Avoid it. People who do it intentionally are jerks. Do not stink up the room I am in. There should be no farting-in-front-of-each-other phase. (Do what you want in your relationships. If you want to stay in relationships with me, that means not intentionally causing bad smells on the reg.)

94

Oh and I don't see the problem with "partner" as a generic term to apply in many situations. It's a simple gender-neutral term that's agnostic about legal ties, monogamy, age, sexual behavior, and other characteristics tied up in alternatives like girlfriend, fiance, spouse, husband, lover, friend, date, companion, mistress, submissive, Dom, boy toy, etc.

95

@44 Fred Casely: Thank you for both reading and endorsing my lengthy and widely known story. Although some days are still more challenging than others, I am humbly grateful to be able to heal and move on since the last three decades' series of events. :)

@69 LavaGirl: WA-HOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's Lucky @69 Award! Bask in the much envied decadence and savor the honors. :)

@76 LavaGirl: Yes. I had a wonderful 6-week follow up appointment with my amazing gynecologist. No restrictions (other than, because of my pulled muscle in my right upper arm and shoulder--no alto flute playing, as yet)--and zero chance of cervical cancer. Back to my very much missed piccolo and C flutes and tub baths, YAAAAY! Alas, because of the pandemic there are no pools open. My Love Beetle and I can still hit the beach, along with movies, chocolate cake, and red, red wine! :)

Who's up for this week's Big Hunsky? Tick...tick...tick...

96

@93 Ankylosaurus on farting. 1. If you are a human, you will find as you age that your GI system makes more gas, and it's harder to hold it in. 2. If you are a human living with another human in a LTR (not just dating but sharing same bed / bathroom / living room), being able to be alive in front of each other / with each other is a benefit. Which includes body functions that you generally keep private when dating. Unless you are super unusual / rich / not into spending much time together and have separate bed chambers and separate residential wings, Royal family style.

97

TAG: Why are you in an exclusive relationship with a woman who's uncomfortable telling you about a night out with friends? Are you sure you're actually in an exclusive relationship?

98

@fubar: My girlfriend in college told me she didn't fart, and she went a full two years without letting one slip that I could detect.

She's been my inspiration since I've been dating again. I made it 10 months with my last girlfriend. It would have been longer except we were in adjacent bathrooms, and I thought I had more sound proofing. She laughed and said "finally". Suffice it to say I'll never make that mistake again. 4 months and counting with the new girl...

Fart control is a skill like any other, and I fully intend to master it.

99

Oops, @98 was in response to @MusicBiker.

100

GRIZ?

101

@100: WA-HOOOOO!!! Griz could use the riches of this week's Big Hunsky. I've got visions of a wild night of reckless abandon with Brad Pitt dancing in my head. Road trip!!!!! :)