Example #429 of why I quake in terror at the notion of heading to the altar: This guy was so mad that his wife didn’t have dinner on the table when he got home that he burned the house down. He had the clarity of mind to tell her to get out first, thankfully, but that begs the question: Why the house? Because — to my mind — the house represents a life made together, a life (to his mind) become dry tinder that apparently needed very little to go up in flames. He was out to destroy the whole picket-fenced picture.
Perhaps stranger still was his wife’s reaction: “Why did he feel he had to burn down the house. Why?” she asked. “Because it’s not like he can’t cook, he can cook.” (Right, so if he couldn’t it would have been OK to torch the place.) Clearly, we’re dealing with a scary, unbalanced guy here. My guess is this wasn’t his first offense, nor (though of course this wasn’t her fault) her first moment of denial.
Now look, I know that most marriages (or husbands, anyway) don’t deteriorate to this extent. But imagine if you will, this same couple 20 or 30 years ago. Maybe he rides a hog and has a soft spot for bluegrass. She’s a dish – and makes the best cherry pie this side of the Appalachians. They get married on a warm summer day, a lifetime of kisses and shared meals and Jim Beam swirling in their mind’s eye. Then what happens? The same thing you see in a lot of marriages. Her face gets lined and her sweet concern starts to sound more like nagging. He grows hair in weird places and his sexy wild side becomes gruff and tiresome. And so on. I’m not against marriage. I’m just hoping we (if there is ever a “we”) can work together to keep a different kind of home fires burning.
My live-in boyfriend (who’s 30, I’m 41) of three and a half years told me he wanted to ‘just be friends’ this past September. I moved out. He got engaged New Year’s Eve to a woman (she’s 29) with whom he had a brief fling in college and has heard from or had visit him a couple times a year for the past nine years (each time they met, she was all over him like the proverbial cheap suit). They are to be married in May. I have two questions. Will this marriage work? and Why do I still care?
Why do you care? Of course you care. Are you kidding me? Even Breakup Girl cares, and she doesn’t even know these people. Dumped you in September, engaged in December?! Yeesh. All I can say is, she may have been all over him like a cheap suit, but oddly enough — as the genuine-article fashion zombies from the 70s and 80s attest — sometimes it’s the cheap ones that last.So this thing could be a flimsy rebound, or it could be some solid perma-crease that somehow never got ironed out. Or, gulp, it could be an age thing. So I don’t know if it’s going to last or not, but I do know that you’re not allowed to obsess about it. Write to Breakup Girl, speculate with your friends — but I can trust you not to pull any “I must stop the wedding” Julia Roberts antics, right? Buy your bad self a pricey suit and find some gent who doesn’t have his past mixed up with his future.
Ohmigod! This guy, my kinda friend, just told me he wants to ask me out. He’s really strange. He’s a bisexual, which is totally cool with me if we’re friends, but not as a boyfriend. He paints his nails and dyes his hair and carries around hair cream. The whole thing just kinda creeps me out. I’m really spazzing now because it is so odd to be around him. To tell you the truth I don’t even like him that much! I feel really bad but! Ahh help me please!!!!!!!!!
– SOOOOOOO Stressed
Dear SOOOOOOO Stressed,
Ohmigod! Relationships are, like, complicated enough, even when they start out on the right foot. But believe you me — and I think you’re catching on to this — “I don’t even like him that much” is soooooo the wrong foot to start out on, even if the toes thereupon are sporting some phat shade of Hard Candy. So if you do want to hang with him, say, “Hey, thanks a million, I’m not sure dating would work, but hanging out would be great,” and then walk the talk. If you don’t want to hang out with him, say, “Hey, thanks a million, I’m not sure dating would work.” And let me leave you with one question: is it odd to be around him because you’re profoundly concerned for his feelings, or because — much the same way Cordelia used to find it “odd” to be around Buffy, Willow, and Xander — the only vote he’ll get for Popularity King is from the hair cream lobby? Think about it.
Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 5:27 am
We all know the fable of the conniving woman — call her the femme fertile — who schemes to “trap” a man by “accidentally” getting pregnant. This story at TheNation.com from BG’s alter ego, on an issue we’ve long been tracking here, turns that tale, and our understanding of “unwanted” pregnancy, on its head. It’s an important read for anyone interested in, or touched by, domestic violence or sexual abuse, especially when they — all too often — overlap.
Leyla W. couldn’t figure out where her birth control pills kept going. One day a few tablets would be missing; the next, the whole container. Her then-boyfriend shrugged and said he hadn’t seen them. She believed him—until she found them in his drawer. When she confronted him, he hit her. “That was his way of shutting me up,” says Leyla, who is in her mid-20s and living in Northern California. (For her safety, Leyla wishes to withhold her last name and hometown.) He also raped her and, most days, left her locked in a bedroom with a bit of food and water while he went to work. (A roommate took pity and let her out until he came home.) Thanks to the missed pills, she got pregnant twice, the second time deciding against abortion. (more…)
Filed under: Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:56 am
This, my friends, is what Tumblr was made for: Hot Guys Reading Books. (BG has a friend who had to break up with someone when he discovered the only books she read were her own dream journals.) Gotta say, when it comes to relationships, reading is fundamental.
Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:09 am
Ripped from the headlines! Turns out our True Confessions retrospective last week has a breaking-news counterpart: efforts to reprint a Massaponax, Virginia high school yearbook in order to remove anonymous R-rated secrets and confessions scattered throughout the pages (along with “quotable quotes,” sometimes [mis-?]attributed, often containing sexual innuendo). Such as:
“I have sex with people just to feel wanted.”
“I worry all the time my ex-boyfriend will use the naked picture I sent him to ruin my life.”
“I had an abortion and my mom doesn’t know.”
“I’m pregnant with my best friend’s boyfriend’s kid.”
Much of the ensuing uproar seems to have focused on the content as “inappropriate,” with parents scandalized and administrators rushing to defend the school as a place where a lot of “good” things happen, too. To be sure, stuff like “I smoked so much pot I woke up high” pretty much is inappropriate for the yearbook. But to me, this is not (just) about keeping “treasured high school memories” clean and pretty. It’s about listening to — to the degree the confessions are true; but why wouldn’t they be — what may constitute, in part, an end-of-year cry for help. If the grownups involved trade their whiffs of moral outrage for a bit more of this, from the principal — “If these things are going on, we want to be supportive and we want to help those students and provide them with appropriate resources” — then future Massaponax graduates might be more likely to succeed.
Filed under: blogs — posted by Breakup Girl @ 5:41 am
BG can’t believe it’s taken her this long to stumble across the incredibly useful, borrowed-from-techno concept of “relationship hacks.” (Then again, I’m one of those Luddites who hasn’t yet tweaked her iPhone to circumvent AT&T.) I’m not talking about hacky comics who are all, “Aren’t men and women different? FOLKS!” or hacking your way into your sigO’s Hotmail account, or their MIND, in order to access suspect correspondence, offshore account numbers, etc. I — along with a whole bunch of smarties who beat me to it — am using the basic metaphor of re-configuring a system to function in ways not part of the original design. A clever fix, a wise workaround. There is a Relationship Hacks website, but a livelier and more recent conversation seems to have gone on in this Ask Metafilter thread. To get the ball rolling, Wyzewoman poses this question:
A few times over the years, I’ve solved a relationship problem in a way that I was really proud of, because the solution met everybody’s needs when it looked like such a solution didn’t exist. I still turn back to these examples when I’m faced with a new difficulty, because I may be able to model a new solution out of the old ones.
An example of what I’m talking about: a roommate declared one day that he was no longer willing to share dishes with me: I didn’t wash them well enough for his liking, even after repeated reminders. Well, that sucked — it would be extra time, expense, and bother. But, we were able to talk about it calmly, and we worked out that really it was only the glasses that I drank milk out of which weren’t getting cleaned well. So I suggested that I get a set of milk-drinking-glasses, just for me, and that we continue to share the rest of the dishes. And it worked! We never fought about dishes again. The lesson I learned from that: try to whittle a problem down to its smallest core, and solve that. [Emphasis added by BG.]
It’s just a silly example — drinking glasses! — but I’ve remembered this incident for years, and modified the solution in various other issues of household maintenance. I’d love to have other examples to draw upon going forward. So, MeFites, when did you come up with a relationship solution that you were particularly proud of, and what lessons did you draw from it?
Responses include: Never use “but,” “should,” or fake “I’m fine”; the FailDance(tm); and my favorite, The Great Game of Moral High Ground. Read, learn, apply, and come back here to share your best hacks. (As above with the glasses, roommate — and family — relationships count, too.)
Here’s my situation. One of my friends is seeing this guy who I think is a really big jerk. In fact, I think he is extremely manipulative and emotionally abusive. Here’s a little sampling of his behavior: He constantly accuses her of having affairs with other people, even when he must know it isn’t true. He is always grilling her about her activities, trying to insinuate that she is doing something wrong — meanwhile, he can do anything he wants, including seeing his ex-girlfriend for a few drinks if he wants to. He insults her about her appearance, calls her in the middle of the night to check on her, tells her all of her friends are stupid and unworthy of hanging out with him, etc., etc. He has also had temper tantrums where he has thrown things at her, ripped up her photographs … you get the idea. I know that this is classic abusive behavior, and that the next step could be physical violence. I don’t know if it is going to go that far.