Latest “Oh dear gawd no” at Captain Awkward:
I have a problem. I am a feminist. Why is that a problem? Because my boyfriend, as generous and thoughtful and funny and sweet as he is, doesn’t get it. At all. We’ve been dating for over a year and I love him, which is what makes this so hard. About three months into our relationship, I noticed that when I’d bring up some women-centric issue (i.e, the Steubenville rape case), his argument was “Well, she shouldn’t have been drinking so much.” Which, of course, is awful and, yes, I may have gone to bed angry that night.
I chalked it up to him just “being a guy” and being influenced by the world’s habit of blaming the victim, etc. But then, as our relationship progressed, these things just kept. popping. up. To the point where he told me that he believes in Men’s Rights and he thinks feminists are crazy and damaging. I’ve told him my feelings on this and how hurtful and scary I think these opinions are. He’s told me that he may be influenced this way because of a (really bad) past relationship, a relationship which I knew all about when we started dating.
I love how she says “and I may have gone to bed angry that night,” like one admits to having done something she’s not proud of.
We all have our dealbreakers. Somewhere. No one set of dealbreakers is quite like another. Some are issues that seem ridiculous to most people, some are mostly-agreed to be reasonable. I have some dealbreakers that’ll rule out a lot of great people because my neurology is full of weirdness, and I’m sure there are plenty of people whose dealbreakers rule me out due to qualities entirely outside of my control. Such things happen. Fine.
And then there’s stuff like this.
We’re all influenced, in some ways or others, by the world’s bad habits of treating people in shitty ways for shitty reasons. Some people are more influenced than others. Meanwhile, some people are affected much more profoundly than others by the world’s shitty treatment.
There are certain topics on which both partners need to be in agreement if the relationship is expected to last. Things like: where should we live? Will we have children, and if so, how many? What happens if one of us becomes too sick or disabled to work, or needs long-term care? If partners can’t get on the same page as basic questions such as these, the relationship is untenable.
If you’re a feminist, and your partner thinks feminists are “crazy and damaging,” that’s a pretty serious incompatibility.
So, he sort of may have gotten that way because of a past relationship that messed him up? Okay, I’m sorry to hear that, but even so? You can’t save everyone. It’s not your responsibility to make up for what someone else did to him. That way lies madness.
Now, what happens if you start acting like of those “crazy, damaging” women he so reviles? What happens when you forget to be on your best behavior, and do something that takes away your exceptional Cool Girl status? Suppose shit happens, and someone rapes you when you’re drunk? Will your “generous and thoughtful and funny and sweet” boyfriend suggest you shouldn’t have been drinking so much? And if that argument happens, how do you think you’ll respond? Because I am telling you now, no matter how much Mr. Thoughtful Generous MRA accepts your differences of opinion with him, you still have to live in the world as a woman. How much shit will you have to deal with, all alone, because Mr. Thoughtful can’t be trusted to be on your side? How many times will you have to figure out whether to plow through some fresh fuckery all by your lonesome, or to let him see what’s happened and deal with him asking why you didn’t handle it some other way, because you have to worry about showing him you’re not one of the good ones after all?
How to deal with it? DTMFA. Maybe not this week, but really, get out of there while you still can. If it sounds like a laundry list of reasons to break up, that’s because it is.