Is Her Boyfriend a Jerk... Or Was It Muuuuuurder? Reader Response Roundup!

Comments

1

Dan, you have my sympathy over urbandictionary's lack of interest in your extra lobster. Back in the day, one uploaded a definition and it was accepted. These days, definitions apparently have to be approved by the site owner's band of mom's-basement-dwelling dweeb friends, so only their friends' definitions get in. Now, the site is full of stupid, private joke entries and not actual neologisms.

2

WOW! Now THAT was a Charleston! Thanks for the dance number, Dan.

3

My question for BAWLS would be does her boyfriend pull this crap with other people? Does he freak if his boss criticizes him, or his friends, his family?

If he does then yeah it's a psychological issue and he should talk to someone about it.

If LW is the only one who gets these tantrums then it's manipulation and she needs to leave.

She needs to leave anyway because he's either manipulating her, or he's carrying around to much psychological damage to be in a relationship.

To quote Dan he's not in 'good working order'.

4

@ 3 - Hear, hear Msanonymous.. Does the reason he carries on like that really matter? The point is, he behaves abysmally, and she should leave. (I nearly put DTMFA, but to be fair he's only that if he's a manipulator rather than someone with a self-esteem problem.)

5

I think it's inappropriate to assume that BAWL's goal was to manipulate his girlfriend, and instead that he feels authentic shame. Our culture today, more than before, obscures the idea that men can be something other than ultra-confident and immune to criticism. I find it bizarre that we complain about toxic masculinity more than ever yet insist that anyone who falls outside of that definition can't exist.

6

This is from BAWL's original letter: " I wind up having to comfort and reassure him."

So BAWL should try an experiment. Try not comforting and reassuring him.

She should start with a gentle warning. Some time when he hasn't done something wrong, some time when all is calm, she sits him down and says there's something she wants to talk about. She points out that every time she has a small criticism he goes into meltdown to such a degree that she's feeling constrained to say anything because the effort at reassuring him is so great. He will, at this point, begin to go into his self-hating schtick, but she asks him to hear her out for just another minute. She then explains that for now on, and starting now, she will not reassure. She'll just say what she means to say and let him deal with his own reactions and his own insecurities. She'll say that if he can do that, they can stay together for the foreseeable future, but that if he can't, a break-up is coming soon,. She'll say that if he needs help learning a new way to deal with his reactions, she'll be supportive of his getting some therapy to see if there's some underlying reason that he's so insecure. She'll include another few sentences about therapy being great for just this sort of thing.

And then she puts the plan into action. The next time she tells him that he forgot to give her a phone message and he goes into his thing about how he never does anything right and he doesn't know why she stays with him, she says "I did need to tell you that," AND SHE WALKS AWAY into another room where she starts making herself a snack.

What happens next will tell her whether he's being a manipulative dick or could use that therapy.

7

Not sure why that reaction Dan, re BAWL’s letter. Two professional therapists pointed to these behaviours being indicative of an abused childhood and you question them, and mock them in the thread title.
No, @ 3, misanon, if he’s only directing these responses at her wouldn’t necessarily mean he’s being manipulative. The men who murder their wives don’t murder others. It’s because the relationship is intimate, that these disturbed patterns of behaviour responses are triggered.
He needs therapy and she should encourage that for him, withdraw as his lover, and stay his friend.

8

SIS, a good book to read is ‘Iron John’ by Robert Bly. It was published in 1990, and though it’s not written by a gay men, he writes about men in western culture.

9

Going back to BAWL. One way to look at it is to wonder if the behavior is dick-like manipulation or if it has its roots in childhood trauma, but I see something more basic. I see a loop. She mentions a small criticism. He throws a tantrum. She calms and reassures. She mentions another small criticism, and they go around and around. My suggestion is to stop the loop at a different point. Instead of stopping the criticism, try stopping the reassurance.

10

What happened to our Philophile?

11

About BAWL, look, I've been in relationships both with people who knew exactly what they were doing when they pitched tantrums (which is how I ended up comforting a dude who felt so absolutely miserable for RAPING ME) and with dudes who felt genuine emotional distress and worked the tantrum angle on an entirely subconscious level, through ingrained habits and genuine trauma and hurt. And you know what? I ENDED UP IN THE EXACT SAME SITUATION. With a partner who, for whatever reason, could not handle even the slightest conflict and expected me to carry 100% of the emotional load of the relationship.

The question of whether BAWLs boyfriend is doing this subconsciously due to trauma or on purpose because evil I guess is useful for framing the situation, but it doesn't change the basic facts: this is not a person who should be in a relationship. At the end of the day, this is a bad relationship. BAWL is unhappy. Whether it be mental illness, dickishness or whatever else, the point is that she is miserable being in a relationship with someone who deals with conflict by having severe and disproportionate emotional reactions. And I know from experience that's just untenable no matter what the cause is. Relationships have conflict. It's impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone who cracks their skull on a wall because you asked them in a tetchy tone to pick up their dirty laundry. Even if they acknowledge there's a problem and get help, it takes years to really get into a new frame of mind and handle conflict in a healthy way, if it ever happens at all.

The prospect of breaking up with someone who may have a genuine mental illness tends to obscure the basic fact that illness or not, nobody should feel obligated to stay in a relationship that is this lopsided and fraught. It's no way to live. You can have sympathy for the person who is genuinely hurting and maladapted and help them get better, but there's no obligation to stay in a committed relationship with them.

12

I'm seriously side-eyeing any mental health professional who suggests staying with someone who treats you badly because they have trauma. She's not his mother or his therapist and she deserves a partner who can handle an adult relationship.

13

I vote for deep kissing while in missionary position. It might sound vanilla but his tongue in my mouth with his penis in my vagina is my kind of "with extra lobster."

(Disclaimer: I do not actually eat lobster.)

14

@11 - Absolutely!

15

@12 BabyRae
"I'm seriously side-eyeing any mental health professional who suggests staying with someone who treats you badly because they have trauma."

Of course, but NO ONE IS SUGGESTING THAT! Neither of the comments that made the roundup said that. Nor did I (as the first person to mention therapy in the original thread at https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2019/02/05/38613747/savage-love/comments/23

Think a little deeper. OBVIOUSLY identifying it as a likely issue of psychological health doesn't mean one needs to stay any longer than one wants to. One can leave immediately (but, importantly, hopefully while breaking up suggest therapy out of compassion). Or if one wants to stay an amount of time it feels worth it to one to see if one's partner can get into good working order, then one can do that too.

In other words, identifying a need for therapy is perfectly compatible with a breakup at any time including later as one is down to wait for.

Dan is great, I love his column. But this is not even close to the first time I've said out loud that his forte is not identifying psychological issues. Which is often a pretty big problem in his column. Fortunately he has us. Particularly since even when it was pointed out to him the best he could say was that

"Perhaps I shouldn't have answered BAWL's question in a Quickies column."

PERHAPS? Ya think?

"But there's only so long someone is required to stay with a person who is being a Grade-A dick, regardless of the source of their Grade-A dickishness."

As I explained to BabyRae, Dan too put up this defense despite NO ONE SAYING OTHERWISE (at least not either quoted thoughtful comment or my brief one)!

16

I’m in total agreement with the 11th commentor. I was previously in a relationship where I would try to have honest conversations about how my partner’s actions were upsetting or hurt my feelings. I was always very careful to not place blame and just try to talk about both of our feelings on the issue/s to avoid repeats of some uncomfortable situations. Every time, I was met with the response of ‘how dare you think I did something wrong.’ ‘I’m a good person, so you reacting poorly to my actions is unfair.’ I finally gave myself permission to leave (after 3 years). I know and believe that he cared about being a good person and a good partner, but his unwillingness to discuss any issue or situation that painted him otherwise was not going to help nurture a healthy relationship. It doesn’t matter where the thinking comes from, if your partner isn’t willing to talk about compromise and repeatedly treats you poorly, with the expectation that your job is to reassure and lick his wounds afterwards, dtmfa

17

Dear Dan: don't let the response to BAWL bother you. Every time someone suggests that a woman can and should leave a man who treats her badly, the "What's the Use of Wondering" crowd will spring up in outrage because How Very Dare You; Something Made Him the Way That He is, He's Her Fella and That's That.

In reality, everyone who's a jerk probably has some reason or other for it, but that doesn't change that they're being a jerk. Further, what does he do afterwards? If he had his spiral but then an hour or a day or so later, came back and said, "ok, so now that I've had some time to think about what you've said, you have a point, and I'm going to try and change it by_______?"

Because if he does that, then maybe it's just some sort of underlying trauma issue that he's working around as best as he can. But he's not doing that, is he? He's considering the matter happily settled after he hissyfits his way out of it. DTMFA.

18

Nobody Is telling BAWL to stay with this man, not sure where any of you have got that impression.

19

In case BAWL didn't read the original comments, I'll reiterate my theory that Mr BAWL may have BPD (borderline personality disorder). Which, again, should be identifiable in therapy, but which is a separate issue from childhood trauma and should be treated differently. I have a close friend with BPD and overreactions to criticism or minor inconveniences are characteristic. It sure makes relationships tough -- it's difficult enough when it's "just" a close friend -- but if BAWL understands it's not his fault and Mr BAWL understands it's a medical condition he needs to manage as best he can, they have a chance of making things work.

Oh, Stranger editors -- some people, yes, are pretentious enough to type without use of the shift key, but that doesn't mean you have to force their stubbornness on us. Editors! Do your job!

And I'm wondering what the missing Instragram photo is. Perhaps this is a "family column" after all?

20

Fichu @6: I agree with your strategy. When my friend has meltdowns, the only way I've found to deal with them is to walk away and let them burn themselves out. My friend will later come back and over-apologise. But in the moment nothing can be done.

Lava @7: Agree with both your points. If BAWL only blows up at Ms BAWL, it could be that he's familiar enough to let his true self out with her while hiding it around others. I think we are all most relaxed with our partners, and in most cases that's a good thing. And my position isn't "BAWL should stay with him [because Patriarchy dictates it, a la Traffic @17]", but "BAWL should tell him she won't put up with his tantrums anymore, and he needs to stop this behaviour with a therapist's help if need be." Sure, she could jump straight to DTMFA, but then he'll just repeat the behaviour with his next girlfriend, blaming BAWL for leaving him (and using that as more "you're going to leave me" ammo against Next Girlfriend) instead of working on himself, which he should do whether or not they stay together. This man shouldn't "not exist" (a la Sporty @5), he should work on himself to fix this huge issue of his. As should we all.

21

@18 My response was more for people who might be reading this column in the same situation. A lot of people read advice columns and apply them to their own lives. I mentioned I've been there myself, and if I had read the original advice back then, I would have dismissed it. "No, my partner is not an evil jerk who intentionally makes me feel bad, he's traumatized so this advice doesn't apply to our situation." You've got Dan on Team Jerk and the commenters on Team Damaged and I just wanted to mention that hey, yeah, that's important for whoever treats this guy, but for the partner the situation remains the same no matter what the cause is.

22

Clementine @21. If the guy is a jerk putting on a tantrum, then yes, walk away feeling glad you stopped wasting your time. This is ego driven,
“.. don’t tell me I get it wrong, nothing the matter with me babe..” a narcissistic type.
Run fast from them.
or there is a very damaged person who because of infantile trauma their ego is very weak and starts to splinter a bit if they are critized by an intimate. With this type of person, yes, don’t stay because they need to heal and a partner can’t be a therapist. The difference is how the separation is done. The second person requires compassion.
I haven’t got Dan on any team. Two professionals wrote in, I was surprised at Dan’s response. He brings in experts all the time to help him with questions, and here were two of them writing in about the same letter.

23

20- BiDan-- Not only do you and I agree on how adults should handle other adults throwing tantrums, relatively conservative child rearing experts agree that this is the same strategy for dealing with actual children throwing tantrums.

The theory on child rearing goes like this. When the toddler begins to cry, it's because he is genuinely frustrated. He wants that cookie. (Or she wants to run as fast as the older kids. Or she's trying to explain what she means and no one understands and she doesn't have the words. Or any million billion things that frustrate kids age 2-5 every minute of their lives.) At that moment, it would be totally inappropriate to punish the kid for expressing the feeling. Punishing a kid for crying is wrong. It's crazy making.

But doing everything to forestall the tantrum is also wrong. If the parent gives the cookie or tries to control the environment so the kid is never around older ones who are running faster, the what follows is this. Without consciously being aware, the child learns that all he has to do is cry longer and louder until his frustration is eased. In no time, the parent trains little darling to become a terror.

If punishment is crazy making on one end and appeasing is crazy making on the other, what to do? You let the child know that she's safe and loved. You express a bit of sympathy along the lines of "I can tell you're unhappy because one cookie is enough." You say "I can tell you're feeling frustrated because the older kids are playing a fast game." And you let the kid ride out the tantrum with you safely by (not abandoning) but not interacting.

That advice is what I was channeling when I wrote above.

24

@16 that's an entirely different type of person that BAWL - your partner turned your complains around on you and blame you, whereas Bawls was excessive in the amount he blamed himself. FWIW, I view your experience as closer to what happens when you land with a charismatic manipulator - they try to make you feel bad not only for your own faults and mistakes, but for theirs as well. Better to DTMFA late than never.

25

@19: Yes, some folks in our lives are annoying, hyper-sensitive, and act like they're the center of the universe. Typically, such individuals wise up and become more gracious and polite if they are to have meaningful relationships and friends. Or they could just keep pouting.

Or these same folks could be deemed as having "Borderline Personality Disorder". They could spend (waste) thousands in antiquated psychotherapy, have their friends and family walk on eggshells and coddle them, because after all - it's not their fault.

Take your pick.

26

@7: It doesn't matter why he's doing it. It's unacceptable for any reason. She's not obligated to act as his therapist.

No different from a woman pulling the same nonsense. It's bull either way.

27

Re: Neo-Neologisms

My pet neologism is "over the shoulder," referring to when your orgasm is so intense that you shoot cum over your shoulder. It means (or would mean, if anybody used it --- like @1, it was rejected by Urban Dictionary --- waaah) super, or very very. (For example: Top Pot donuts are good, but they're not over-the-shoulder good.)

28

Yes @26, If you read @22, I agree. And I’m sure some women behave with such dysfunction as well. Bull to you, a very disturbed Psyche to others.

29

BAWL is not -obligated- to do anything, of course. She can leave if she likes. But people who write in to Savage Love with relationship issues KNOW they can leave if they like, and they don't like. They write in seeking other options because they feel other parts of the relationship deem it worth saving. I'm not saying she should stay, I'm saying that IF she chooses to stay she should demand he address this issue with a psychotherapist, not that she should be his psychotherapist. If he doesn't admit he has a problem he needs to work on, DTMFA.

30

This guy @27: Anyone with breasts already has a definition of over-the-shoulder, sorry. If you want something to catch on it has to apply to more than just your own anatomy.

31

@27 this guy I know in Spokane
"it was rejected by Urban Dictionary"

Oh, I didn't realize Urban Dictionary was crowdsourced.
In any event, that shouldn't be abused to get a neologism into use, get other people to use it before submitting it!

32

“In your response to BAWL's letter about a boyfriend reacting irrationally to minor criticisms, you chalk this behavior up to nothing more than a manipulative tantrum for a "selfish, shitty, or inconsiderate thing he's done." While this observation might be reasonable in some cases, this is also standard fare for adults who suffered emotional neglect or abuse as children. A fear of abandonment, conflict avoidance, a constant need for reassurance, shame, being overly apologetic and being terrified of not living up to expectations can be the result of unhealthy parent/child relationships.“

Maybe totally true.

But still DTMFA. You can’t be with a person who is like that. They need to get healthy before being in relationships.

Because they’re just going to pass it on to you.

33

“In your response to BAWL's letter about a boyfriend reacting irrationally to minor criticisms, you chalk this behavior up to nothing more than a manipulative tantrum for a "selfish, shitty, or inconsiderate thing he's done." While this observation might be reasonable in some cases, this is also standard fare for adults who suffered emotional neglect or abuse as children. A fear of abandonment, conflict avoidance, a constant need for reassurance, shame, being overly apologetic and being terrified of not living up to expectations can be the result of unhealthy parent/child relationships.“

Maybe totally true.

But still DTMFA. You can’t be with a person who is like that. They need to get healthy before being in relationships.

Because they’re just going to pass it on to you.

And you don’t deserve that.

34

(Ooops. Posted twice)

35

@3 I don't think Dan's advice that you have to be in "good working order" to be in a relationship is accurate. It seems kind of like a one strike policy, and nobody knows when exactly someone is in good enough working order to not be considered defective any more. If you have a mental illness you will most likely never get rid of it, just manage it better. It would be more helpful to talk about how to behave in a relationship instead of trying to decide who is good enough to be in one or not.

I used to believe I was so unhappy and had such low self esteem I would ruin anybody who was in a relationship with me. However now I recognize that this is not a rational or evidence based conclusion. This is about my personal issues and not the fault of any advice I read here so I don't want it to be construed that way. Depressed people are likely to be overly critical of themselves and the attitude that I need to be fixed before doing anything is defeatist.

If someone does need extra reassurance that might not be the end of the world. If people can negotiate being kicked in the genitals and peed on then maybe they can negotiate how to reassure each other. If people can have sex while they have AIDS then maybe they can also have sex while they have whatever the mental equivalent of AIDS is. You can speak ahead of time about what to say during an emotional crisis and how the person ending the crisis can address it and end it. A question like "how can I help?" can lead to a productive discussion and prevent anyone from feeling burdened.

Of course many people are not mature enough to discuss their feelings honestly but with the right mindset it's possible. I know this issue is tricky because manipulative people will take advantage of your good intentions. You can be guilted and shamed into giving people a chance who don't deserve any chances. So you have to find the line between being empathetic and protecting yourself.

36

TheLastComment @35 I interpret "in good working order" to mean that all partners in a relationship know how to handle their less-than-pleasant sides, medical or otherwise, rather than being barred from having any problems at all. I think that's how the phrase is used around these parts. Excuse the rant, but something you said really gets to me.

[rant] I also have clinical depression. As a young adult I had no idea how to handle that, I was ashamed and desperate and relentlessly negative, my self-esteem was non-existent and I had no idea how to say no or even begin to discover my needs, let alone express them. These days I still have the exact same depression, but I also take medication, keep up with therapy, got some CBT to keep my thoughts from spiraling, and my self-esteem is pretty damn high on an average day. I still have depression though, just like I did a decade and two decades ago. Exact same disease in fact. But my life and the way I conduct myself in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) couldn't be more different. 20-year-old depressed me was not in good working order for a relationship. 30-year-old depressed me totally is.

Depression isn't a static, ingrained trait that always means just one thing, a binary fit-or-unfit verdict, or something that bars us completely from personal growth. It's a fluid condition that can be managed in tons of ways, some healthy and some not. "Having depression" on its own says nothing about what a person will be like in a relationship. NOTHING. The real questions are more practical. Is it managed? Medicated? Do they know how to ask for space? Are they embarrassed about needing a mental health day here and there? Do they know how to say no? Is their self-esteem at a reasonably healthy level? Do they feel guilt about their condition?

The answers to those questions and thousands more determine whether someone is "in good working order" as a partner, not the almost-meaningless fact that they have a medical diagnosis of depression, or anything else for that matter. I know (I KNOW!) that depression drips poison in your ear, lies in your own voice, but presenting it as a romantic death sentence does us all a disservice.

Depression can be deadly. I should know. It killed my husband earlier this year. But don't throw out a phrase like "just manage it better" as if that is some sort of weak-ass throw-away booby prize. "Managing it better" makes a world of difference! Managing it better is the line between a life of misery and a life worth living. "Just managing it better" is the difference between me being alive, IN GOOD WORKING ORDER, healthy and strong, and my husband sitting in an urn on my shelf. Please do not throw out "manage it better" as if it is just one insignificant step above "perpetual misery" because it damn well isn't. It can in fact be the polar opposite. Believe me when I say it can literally be the difference between life and death.

You can need your partner to be sensitive to your condition and still be perfectly fit to have a relationship. The dichotomy of defective/healthy you propose is depression talking, telling you that it's impossible so why bother. But it's wrong. It's designed to be wrong. The binary isn't healthy/broken. It is treated/untreated, managed/unmanaged, buckwild Babadook/basement Babadook. Reasonable accommodation isn't just for workplaces. You are allowed to have needs, including the need for accommodation for your medical condition. I encourage anyone to express that need. It's actually part of being in good working order. Nobody has the obligation to be healthy. Not you, not me, not anyone. We don't get a choice in that. But long-term partnered people do have a moral obligation to take care of themselves as best they can. Unlike the diagnosis, what we do about it IS a choice. This healthy/broken->fixed formula of romantic fitness is an illusion conjured up by the very disease we're struggling with. It doesn't work. IT'S DESIGNED NOT TO WORK, because depression wants to live and tricks you into keeping it alive.[/rant]

Sorry about the tangent, but that healthy/broken->fixed formula kept me down for so much longer than it had to. It really hurts my soul to see other people struggle with it. It's fake news. Throw it out.

37

"you based [sic] told her that her boyfriends is a childish snot, and she shouldn't put up with his shit. I don't think either of them benefited from your advice." Am I reading that differently than everyone else? Mental illness or no he IS being a childish snot and she SHOULDN'T put up with that shit.

I'm going to firmly plant my flag for team asshole here. It doesn't matter how thoughtful or compassionate she is during the break up, he is going to melt down no matter what. And no one in history has ever gone "maybe they have a point!" To being told they need therapy during a break up. If she goes into it thinking "he can't help it it's the trauma" that's only going to weaken her resolve. Cut the cord, he's the only one who can decide he needs help.

38

Yes, It can still be done with compassion rather than a nasty way or ghosting. And if there is affection there, and they do do something solid about their dysfunctional responses, offer to stay friends.
Stop being lovers, that’s the most important break. Stop activating these infantile patterns.

39

What does the last LW mean by “getting cleaned out, etc, beforehand?” Are they exclusively having anal sex? Because if she’s douching her vagina she needs to STOP.

40

As Sportlandia pointed out, this guy is full on self depreciating. How all your ex bf’s behaved would be a separate path to go down. I didn’t answer the letter on SL, it was two letters from therapists which aroused my interest. They do the work with lots of disturbed people, they know the signs.
There are myriad ways a person can hook you into their patterns, some more dysfunctional than others. What I can suggest as an older woman who also wasted too much time indulging dysfunctional behaviour, from men, is to close it all down the First time it happens.

41

TLC @35: Wonderful comment, thank you. This concept of "you must be in good working order" smacks of ableism to me, too. It could be interpreted as meaning that no one with mental health issues is entitled to try to find love. And that's a shitty attitude. Particularly as so many of us had crappy childhoods, and as mental health issues like depression and anxiety can strike anyone. Yes, "manage it better" is the key. But better isn't perfect. It will never be perfect, and if someone is constantly on a knife edge believing that their partner will leave them at the first relapse then that is a terrible way to live.

Sure, no one is obligated to stay with anyone for any reason, and that includes mental health issues they won't admit to, won't get treatment for, or (especially) use as a fig leaf for abusive behaviour. No one is obligated to stay if their partner IS getting help, but it's still too much. And we also have to acknowledge, as a wise commenter pointed out, that not everyone lives in countries where mental health care is affordable or even widely available. Compassion is key here, for both partners -- the partner who understands their partner can't help it, and tries to work round the issue patiently, and the partner with the issue who understands their partner does not deserve to be subjected to their crazy and tries their best to work it out.

Clementine @36: Great example, and I'm so sorry about your husband.

Beedeetee @39: The last commenter is a dude. Gays celebrate Valentine's Day too, you know.

Lava @40: If you'd followed your own advice, you'd be speaking as an older woman who'd never been in a relationship.

42

I hear and agree with everyone's concerns about the 'in good working order' catchphrase.
(Including that "nobody knows when exactly" it's true per TheLastComment@35.)
But I still want to use it; I simply see it as shorthand for 'having one's shit sufficiently together to have a healthy relationship'. With some LW's it seems not that difficult a call and good advice to give them. Er, particularly when the /LW/ is the one whose first steps need to include getting their shit sufficiently together (as the 'working order' advice about one's partner might have little practical benefit beyond striking their ears as rationalization for dumping their partner).

@35 TheLastComment
I liked your comment very much, so much I thought to myself that time this one could be (in a mike-drop sense) the last comment in the thread.

@36 Clementine Danger
I'm /so/ sorry you lost your husband!
I'm /so/ happy and encouraged by what you've done to transform your own life! YGG!

@37 BabyRae
"And no one in history has ever gone "maybe they have a point!" To being told they need therapy during a break up."

I'm sorry that you could think that's true, Baby. But you're wrong, and I don't have to go far to know you're wrong about "no one in history", because once upon a time I was the person who went to therapy and solved an issue pointed out to me during a breakup. It was a subsconscious issue, so I couldn't see it and even had to go to therapy before I /knew/ I had it, but my point is I did go because I know that nothing is more important than exploring every possible hint of a chance for growth however unlikely one thinks it is true. For you to think that no one looks at life this way means at minimum that you don't, to which I'll just observe that the people who are most adverse to therapy are often the ones that need it more that the ones that go.

43

Baby @37: No one is saying that BAWL should tell her boyfriend he needs therapy while breaking up with him. We're suggesting she tell him he needs therapy as an -alternative- to breaking up with him, and gauge his response in her decision on whether to proceed with the breakup.

Curious @42: Good point that while "are they in good working order" might be an unfair standard for others but a valid standard for oneself.

44

[This concept of "you must be in good working order" smacks of ableism to me, too.]

Why? To me this seems to be a willful misinterpretation of the phrase. 'Good working order' doesn't mean 'has no flaws' I think it means being willing to deal our problems. Same with 'GGG' It doesn't mean 'must do everything a partner requests no matter how reckless' as much as it means 'be willing to listen and try new things'.

Depression may not be curable but it is treatable. Many issue may not have permanent fixes but there are things that can be to alleviate the problems they bring.

That's the rub. The boyfriend doesn't need to be perfect but he does need to realize this behavior is damaging to both of them and be willing to do something about it that isn't marinating in self-hatred.

And it's not fucking 'abelist; to ask your partner to treat you with respect and decency. Hell I've never that word that used in a way that doesn't mean 'I have a medical issue so I get to be an abusive asshole'.

Clementine 'buck-wild Babadook' and 'basement Babadook' are great terms. I'll have to work them into my vocabulary. Also my condolences.

45

@41 BiDanFan - I stand corrected. As a vagina owner, I tend to see things from that perspective if they are easily construed that way. Trying to be better about that. My mistake. And as a queer person, I have no doubt that all orientations can celebrate Valentine’s Day, even if I don’t.