SL Letter of the Day: Infantile-ism

Comments

103
zzzzzzzzz grow up zzzzzzzzzzzzz
104
Were I in Boyfriend's shoes, I imagine I would respond to that gambit, (even Dan's very gently worded version) with, "Oh, so you are saying you think I _should_ be jealous? Is there a _reason_ for me to be jealous? In that case, the trip is off. Or else go, but I won't be here when you get back."

Then, after a couple of seconds of deer-in-the-headlights from her, I would explain, "Either you are trustworthy, or you aren't. There is no in-between. If you are trustworthy, then there is no reason for me to feel jealous, period. In fact, if you are trustworthy and I feel jealous anyway, that would make me a paranoid, controlling asshole. Is that who you want as a boyfriend? Because that isn't me.

"So...what's it going to be? Trustworthy? Or not?" And then calmly return to whatever it was I had been doing.

Shorter version: I trust you completely, but I am completely not interested in head games.
105
@100: "So in order for me to have that "well, we got *that* out of our system; now we can just be friends," I have to have had uninspiring sex."

So what you're saying is that you're *not* automatically platonic friends with every person you've slept with.
106
It seems like we've been getting way too many Letters of the Day recently from idiot 20 year olds in relationships that aren't going to last out the year, no matter what Dan tells them. Where's the fun, kinky stuff these days? It's starting to sound like a relationship advice column in a college newspaper...

Oh, and if you and your best friend have hooked up, even if it was back in high school (all of, what, a year ago?) you are not one of the "few girls ever to have a "100% platonic relationship with a member of the opposite sex." Good God.
107
@104: The problem is that what she's telling us here is not what she's going to be telling the boyfriend.
108
@105: I'm not, and I don't think that if I were only south of 30 I would be. That was my point--I was responding to seeker6079's contention that he thought the attitude a generational one, and I think that despite that being the kind of popular attitude expressed, it is possible that at least some people under the age of 30 feel differently depending on different variables, as I do.

If your point is to expose BIATCH's misunderstanding of the phrase "100% platonic," my comment is not meant to address that.
109
Gotcha.
110
@95 and @100:
That's interesting, and correct re my assumption on the under-30 guess. I'm about the same age as you, and grew up in a fairly ordinary suburb but went to Catholic schools. Pretty much every date carried with it the assumption that it was at least potentially Step One on the road to marriage; the notion of a relationship for "just right now", or a hookup would have been seen as either odd or wholly unacceptable.
111
@107: Yes, that's true; according to what she wrote, she was intending to just start acting weird on him to make him nervous. Hopefully she can see 104 as an example to figure out why he isn't in the wrong for not displaying jealousy. (I have to admit that was just a modification of my response to salespeople who want to sell me the extended warranty: "You mean I'm actually going to need one? Then sell me a different product. One that isn't so damn likely to break.")

You touch on the other thing that bothered me, though. If she sees his lack of jealousy as uncaring, what happens when her first couple of gambits fail to get a rise out of him? She will see that as confirmation of her fear, and she will escalate and escalate, until she either actually does cheat for real (probably rationalizing to herself the whole time that it's okay because he clearly doesn't care about her), or she succeeds in making him totally paranoid. (What a cruel thing to do to a naturally trusting person.) Or, best result, he figures out what she's up to and drops her for being a manipulative drama-torture-artist.

112
@95,97: I thought hooking up got easier after the first time, when you realized you weren't going to fall madly in love, and you were both a bit relieved.

Speaking of generational differences ... "hooking up" which doesn't carry sexual implications among the older (35+) set. As in, "Seems like every time I ask this 20-something female friend of mine if she wants to hook up, we end up fucking. Which is awesome, but confusing."
Then the newly single, nice-boy, older guy gets schooled and discovers he's been boldly propositioning his younger female friends. And, even more shocking, they've been accepting without raising an eyebrow.
113
@100: Upon reflection, what you said. The situations where it was easy to stay friends all involved unremarkable sex.
114
@111: "If she sees his lack of jealousy as uncaring, what happens when her first couple of gambits fail to get a rise out of him? She will see that as confirmation of her fear, and she will escalate and escalate, until she either actually does cheat for real (probably rationalizing to herself the whole time that it's okay because he clearly doesn't care about her), or she succeeds in making him totally paranoid."

You're thinking about this too rationally. Her letter indicates to me that in the absence of nervous tension and drama, she self-generates enough to keep her entertained. She doesn't want a stable relationship, she wants something a little more scripted.
115
@93(seeker), all in all I do see myself agreeing with you; it's just that my experience with listening to women and men complain about what went wrong in their failed marriages/relationships (people tended to like me as a confidante; but my sample is probably smaller than yours, only about a few dozen people of both genders) made me think differently, more along the lines of 'people who don't know how to talk about things -- make big secrets of, or have big emotional/negative (and I include here also ignoring) reactions to, sexual things are more or less evenly distributed'. You've never seen a marriage split because the woman wanted X and her husband wouldn't do it; I heard precisely this story from two women, former girlfriends of mine, about previous boyfriends. (In both cases, said women were submissives, and their boyfriends just couldn't process that.) But indeed I have, as you, heard that more often from men than from women.

You wrote:
In file A it might have been because the wife didn't like her husband enough to want to do the kink with him; in B it's because she didn't know she had the kink (or wasn't willing to face it) until the next lover came along, in File C because it's a kink she can only engage in with someone with whom she has an emotional distance (and so on and so on).

Well, this is indeed a list of people who didn't know what to do with their kinks, and were ashamed/afraid enough not to be open about it with their husbands. I've met women like that. I've also met men like that -- hell, I myself was once the male equivalent of your file B, and I've met a few male C's ("I can only do this with a prostitute"). But all in all... not knowing what one wants, feeling that what one wants "is wrong" or "bad", and disconnecting it from the person one loves (a kinky version of the Madonna-whore dichotomy) are all symptomes of a culture that still tells people the wrong things about sex.
116
@112: ""hooking up" which doesn't carry sexual implications among the older (35+) set. As in, "Seems like every time I ask this 20-something female friend of mine if she wants to hook up, we end up fucking. Which is awesome, but confusing."

I find that bizarre.

"Meet up", sure. But the origin of "hook up" involves goods and services being "exchanged", so there's the implicit suggestion of canoodling. That, or your friends are sleeping with their drug dealers.
117
I've slogged thru all the comments here, and I'm STILL left with OH FOR FUCKS SAKE.
118
@116: If you mean that it was bizarre of me to not know I was propositioning someone, then in retrospect I have to agree with you, but I thought I was asking if they wanted to hang out.

In my defense, "hooking up" meant "meeting up" to most people (at least that I knew) until the last 15 years or so. I still hear people my age (44) or older using it to mean "meeting up." When the relationship allows, I explain the new meaning to them, lest they accidentally proposition any younglings.
119
@116 I'm 40, and we used to say "hook up" to mean "meet up" all the time; it was very standard and never occurred to anyone that it meant an exchange of anything. I have to carefully remember not to use it.
120
+1 for "hook up" meaning to connect schedules, not body parts.
121
oh, I always have to edit myself so I don't say "hook up" meaning to meet up when talking to anyone under 35 or so!
122
@seeker6079 (63, etc)

The anecdotes you have collected in your tenure as a divorce lawyer are no more or less reliable than the anecdotes supplied by kinky women here. Neither are data, and neither are a more valid a source of information or truth than the other--and its embarrassing to pretend otherwise.
123
@1. Yes we're out there. And we struggle sometimes with finding kinky guys. I met a guy recently who asked what I was into. I gave him a very brief and nonspecific answer since we hadn't hooked up yet. he asked me what S&M was. Needless to say, we didn't hook up.
124
@1: I am a kinky woman and do exist, but I admit that my relative rarity causes me to have very few dating/relationship problems and therefore I have no reason to write to Dan.
125
I think there are lots of kinky women whose kink is scary to themselves AND not very appealing to the kind of reasonable adults they want to marry. There are more submissive men AND women than there are dominants of either gender. In my experience the solution, as Dan says, is for people to do a better job admitting their kinks, despite their fear...and for everyone to be more GGG about playing the role their partner wants them to, from time to time.

None of which is any help to the LW now, but maybe in 5 years, with a different lover.
126
@63 seeker,

Some time back there was a letter from a guy about his ex-wife, with whom he had attempted to try BDSM, showing up in pictures online being disciplined by a local couple. Dan of course gave advice about how the LW should deal with it, but no one came up with a why it happened. I think your cases explain it.

Needless to say the LW was distraught by his, and his ex's, circumstance. It seems so pointless that she couldn't share with her then husband unless she couldn't stand him, but you indicate the opposite, that she cared too much to deal with his knowledge of her. I was wondering though, do you ever see couples reconciling after the kinkster comes out?

It all seems so sad.

Peace.
127
@99 - you nailed it on the head. Her self-manufactured drama screams "Pay attention to me!" even though it isn't worth it. Next guy will be a different situation so she has another excuse to write in.
128
@126 - Not a single reconciliation. In those cases the wife, having had a chance to explore that part of her sexuality, never looked back to the now-dead relationship. The marriage was like an aircraft that broke up because of the failure of one part: the pilots might go on to fly other planes, but there was nothing that anyone could do to turn wreckage into a flying proposition again.

@122. Really? I rather think that embarrassment lies more in raging against every single post on the web which isn't a peer-reviewed paper, but, hey, whatever floats your boat. One thing that I have noticed, though, is that the tendency to say "that's not data!" increases in angry lockstep with how much the sayer disagrees with what is being said, whereas things (s)he agrees with cease to be invalid and magically become things like "valuable firsthand accounts" or "applicable life experience".
129
@128 seeker,

Just out of curiosity, while you didn't see reconciliation in those cases, what about in others (in the general case)?

It seems counterintuitive that relations end because one party held the other in too high a regard, but we are talking about humans here. At least nowadays the freedom to try again to find whatever it is they are looking for exists. I wonder, Swingrich notwithstanding, if the batshit right would want to decrease the possibility of divorce after they get rid of contraception. Maybe they feel that if they've got to suffer, everybody's got to suffer.

Peace.
130
@undead ayn rand, who wrote:
She doesn't want a stable relationship, she wants something a little more scripted.


Indeed, and there is where her young age becomes clear. She made me think of my 9-year-old daughter who keeps coming up with scripts that have to be literally played out without any deviations for fun to be had. As if people started out paying more attention to roles than to other people, and only with time learned that people are the important thing, not the roles they play.
131
@128, it is indeed a fact that people tend to use the "that's not data" argument more often when they disagree. Another human frailty isn't it? We like the things that support our viewpoint and dislike those that don't.

I'm a little curious about another aspect of your experience: what was it like to be a divorce lawyer? The impression that movies give is that it must be either very sad -- the lawyer deals with lots of little human tragedies, often evitable ones, and then becomes disillusioned with relationships, or then somewhat 'evil-like' -- the 'bad divorce lawyer' preys on people who let their doubts or insecurities instead of their love make the decision. Do any of those seem familiar, or are movies (as they often do) just exaggerating?
132
I hope that BIATCH's twisted world view is something she can grow out of.

I was curious about this: "a few jealous (or vindictive) ex flings who would go out of their way to fuck us up."

By calling them "flings" she's saying those women were never important to her beloved long-distance boyfriend - they never meant anything to him, certainly not nearly as much as SHE means to him. Because she's the real deal. They were just "flings".

If he never felt love for any woman before her, maybe that's a warning that he's just not a loving guy, and she's not going to get the adoration from him that she craves. Though that's something I'd worry about more with a 40-something man than a college kid.

Also, just wondering what she means by the "ex flings" going out of their way to "fuck them up". Canceling their dinner reservations? Putting extra garbage in their bins so the garbage company hits them with a surcharge? Kidnapping their pets? Breaking their windows? Stabbing them with knives?

Haven't slogged through the whole comments section - has the LW chimed in?
133
LiveAndLet @132.

No, the LW hasn't chipped in.

Also, you said
If he never felt love for any woman before her, maybe that's a warning that he's just not a loving guy, and she's not going to get the adoration from him that she craves.
. I'm glad you said "maybe" simply because I've seen very nice people in their 30s, 40s and 50s find their first real love. It's lovely when it happens, and didn't reflect an inability to feel love before, just that they never found anybody who made them feel that way before.
134
I'm under 35 and tend to use 'hook up' to mean meet up with someone who's schedules tend to clash with mine making meeting up tricky.. never occurred to me I was propositioning my mates! I am in the UK tho so maybe it's different..

Otherwise, I thought I was a kinky girl and in a pretty kinky relationship until I started reading Dan Savage, now the fact we indulge in spanking (my kink) and a little watersports (his) and fantasise about alot more and are GGG enough to indulge each other seems quite vanilla by comparision..
135
Whoops.. should have read 'seems quite vanilla by comparison to some of Dan's letters!' I got distracted midway though commenting..
136
seeker6079, @133

You're right! I saw that happen at least once, come to think of it. Good to remember.

When I wrote that, I was thinking of a dear friend whose heart was broken by a man in his early 50's whose dating resume was full of 4-month-or-so relationships (guess how long theirs lasted).

I'd like to avoid heartbreak, so I try to find patterns and red flags, something that will keep me and people I care about safe from experiencing that kind of pain. But overgeneralizing is not a good thing - I know that I don't like to be judged that way.
137
Maybe he's not particularly concerned about your going away because he can't WAIT TO GET BE FREE OF YOU FOR A SUBSTANTIAL STRETCH OF TIME! Is this guy even your b/f or have you deluded yourself into thinking this? Long-term relationships usually have the added plus that boundaries aren't as clearly drawn as day-in and day-out interaction. Maybe the lack of jealousy is because he's more into dating/being with stable WOMEN as opposed to someone who is still in passing "he's so dreamy" notes in high school.

You may be a few mind-games away from that very awkward conversation when you (pathological need for attention) get gently sat down, hands taken in hands and politely told by a wonderful, independent, easy-going and 'whatever' attitude guy who has been nothing but compassionate, level-headed and kind that, "you're not exactly what I'm looking for in a long-term relationship...."
138
You said it all in your first sentence:

"I need serious help."
139
@121
oh, I always have to edit myself so I don't say "hook up" meaning to meet up when talking to anyone under 35 or so!

And I'm still not sure what "make out" precisely means.
(Not a native English speaker, not living in an English-speaking country.)
140
@139 Euro,

"To make out" means to cuddle and to kiss, usually clothed.

Peace.
141
@140 Married --
"To make out" means to cuddle and to kiss, usually clothed.

Thanks! When I asked this question previously (not here) I couldn't get an answer. Presumably people did not believe that it was a real question and not some kind joke.
142
Some kind of joke, obviously.
143
@141: In my experience, it usually implies kissing with tongue- you wouldn't call it making out if it were just a series of closed-mouth kisses.
144
@139 etc: "Making out" may also include some amount of manual bodily exploration of a sort that pushes the boundaries of the word "cuddling."

Basically, more than a hug and a kiss, and more than a cuddle. but less than overtly sexual activities.
145
@139 etc -- if you came during a make out session, that would be quite a surprise. But not unheard of ;-)
146
@144,

I was trying to include the "groping" aspect in a simple definition, but couldn't come up with one without using the baseball analogy.

@140 Euro,

1st base is kissing.
2nd base is touching her breasts.
3rd base is touching below his/her waist (and I suppose oral).
Home is intercourse.
(Listen to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" for a comedic example)

Making out is cuddling, kissing, and perhaps going as far as 3rd base (again usually while clothed).  

Peace.
147
Interesting expression, "making out". I always found it a bit puzzling: why this choice of words for this meaning? The only other meanings for 'make out' I knew of where 'perceive with effort, decipher, discern' ("because of the fog, I couldn't make out the details of the landscape") and 'make out a check'. By what metaphor did this verb + particle combination come to mean "sexy kiss-and-cuddle"? All etymonline tells me is that the sexual meaning is first recorded from the end of the 1930s; how it appeared, by what metaphor or comparison, is, as far as I can tell, still a mystery. Do you guys have any ideas?
148
@147, I don't own this book, I looked at it online through GoogleBooks. So I don't really understand why the title is about "Shakespearean and Stuart literature," but it gives at least some definitions from the 20th century. Still, for what it's worth, this seems plausible to me:

>> 'make out', in early use to indicate the making of the score that concludes a game, which is recorded from 1939 with the meaning 'to have sexual intercourse.'... 'make' [as] seduce is recorded from 1918. (p. 846)>>
From Gordon Williams, A dictionary of sexual language and imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart literature (1994)

Granted, none of that explains why it came to mean less than full sexual intercourse. Maybe someone else has a clue.
149
But more importantly, what was meant to be indicated by the ASTERISK TO NOWHERE?

(Thanks, @10.)