Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Ask Polly: How Do I Stop Meeting Arrogant, Mentally Ill Pricks?

Hi Polly,

I finally have been hired for my dream internship, in my field, and utilizing my educational background. In a large international megapolis. But….

After years of dating, I am writing to you for some guidance on how to approach dating abroad/in a totally new place. I recently broke up with the last of a slew of asshole, arrogant, mentally ill prick boyfriends. One of whom raped me, resulting in years of difficult, but productive therapy. I feel like I am in a good place and want to date someone who is professional, reasonable and you know—cool. Not a meanie.

I am just really worried about ways to meet dudes that are safe, healthy and not professionally compromising. Do you have any suggestions for ways to meet people that do not involve 1. Dating people at work or people who know your coworkers (because we all know how that affects careers and work environments), 2. Dating friends of relatives (last asshole was cousin's best friend), 3. Or alcohol/drunken mistake situations (rapist was bartender).

Or, should I just focus on becoming a superstar international lawyer and let romance be second to my career?

Your truly,

Moving, single and confused

Dear MSAC,

Do you mean you're looking for ways to meet dudes that are safe, healthy and not professionally compromising (i.e. don't meet them by doing acid and then bungee jumping, or by striking up conversations at the free STD clinic, or by skipping work to hang-glide drunk)? Or do you mean you're looking for ways to meet dudes who are safe, healthy and not professionally compromising (i.e. friendly, fit men in a different professional field)?

Let's assume the latter! So: You've dated a string of asshole-ish, arrogant, mentally ill pricks. Are you traditionally attracted to men with supernatural levels of confidence? Assholes, the arrogant, the mentally ill, pricks: they often have an irrational surplus of confidence in common.

Here's my tough question of the day, though: Can you tolerate regular men? Men who are stable and/or reasonably established in their lives or their careers, but who possibly appear, at the outset, slightly boring? Men who don't necessarily display their wit and charm under pressure? (The ability to do this is highly overrated in our society. Studies show that sneaky wit and charm in men tend to have better long-term payback for their partners, and it's less often accompanied by dickwaddery and dipshititude.)

First of all, though, let's just admit that the world is filled with semi-unattractive, overconfident men who believe themselves to be well nigh irresistible. Somehow the mere fact of their overconfidence attracts a herd of adoring females who are fifteen to twenty times better looking than they are—which only makes these guys even MORE overconfident. Don't start arguing with me about this, people. You know it's true.

So first of all, I feel strongly that we need to reverse this equation. Aggressive, swaggertastic but average-looking women (like me!) should always land the ultra-hot man-babes.

We deserve them, because we are smart and entertaining and seriously obnoxious, which turns into excitement and adventure over the long haul (in women, anyway). Instead, though, bland little Margarets and Marys in grosgrain headbands who can talk for 20 minutes straight about their favorite lasagna recipe land the really hot guys, because ladies like that seem more relaxing and sexually attractive. (What makes them so sexy? Is it those little sighs of resignation they make in bed that really turn men on?) Betty Draper, minus the cigarettes and the rifle, that's what these ladies are! They're Olivia Newton John—the one with cardigan sweater, not the one in the shiny black asspants! Is it fair or just that almost all of the hot men out there are awarded to these wilty little Strawberry Shortcakes? Fuck no, it is not.

Meanwhile, our semi-unattractive and self-congratulatory male peers are swimming in sexy ladies. They're very relaxed about the prospect of losing you, because they know there are fifty to sixty more just like you to choose from the second they give you the boot.

And anyway, you date one of these guys and it's all peachy at first, all adorable and romantic and special. But don't be deceived! You know that thing that Ferris Buehler does, when his dad is tucking him into his bed for the day because he's "sick"? That little growl, the coy way he blinks his big brown eyes and giggles? Kind of a Zach Braff maneuver? If you meet a guy who does that sort of thing with his parents, run the other way! You know the type. That guy is spectacularly good at charming the pants off everybody, but then he turns into a major dick overnight. He pulls you in with total focus, then wakes up one day and informs you that he's over your whole dumb girl thing, big time. (Yes, women do this, too, obviously. Right now we're not talking about them! Stop interrupting, you!)

You won't know it until it happens! But there will be clues. Maybe he'll slip up. He'll interrupt his talk about how "humbled" he is over this or that stupid thing, and instead he'll say something about his "fans"! He'll say, "I know that you, my fans, want me to be me, because I am precious and amazing just the way I am." And you'll be like, "What? Did you just call ME your 'fans'?" and you'll also be like, "Hold on. That's my line! I'm the one who matters in this picture, dummy!" Or maybe he'll roll his eyes at some woman with her back fat showing, and when you set him straight about that, he'll refuse to acknowledge that today's fashions are basically designed to display back fat at all costs, and unless you're doing Tae Bo during your lunch hour (instead of stuffing onion rings into your face, which is your birthright), you have to dress like fucking Archie Bunker to hide your (adorable, delicious, smallish) love handles.

My point is, it's time to ignore the arrogant pricks (whom you might have more in common with—if you're me, anyway) and start paying attention to the low-key, tentative but secretly hilarious and super sexy guys (who are way, way better than you—again, if you're me).

Also? Don't get drunk and then decide who to date. In fact, while you're dating around, don't get drunk at all. It's a liability. Keep your wits about you, keep your eyes peeled, open your heart, and get out into the world and see who's there. Where are the good, safe, healthy ones? I have no fucking idea where they are. All I know is, you can't see them if what you really want is to be glamoured by some cocksure bozo. Examine your priorities closely, and then set out into the world and do your motherfucking thing! (Without the tequila, though.)

Good luck!


Dear Polly,

Three months ago, I quit my job and moved four hours' drive away to live with my boyfriend, a relationship of about six months that felt especially special given that it had been the longest and deepest I'd had (other than my boyfriend from my study abroad, which, admittedly, was a five-year-er—though starting when I was 15).

Anyway, I knew it was quite a risk. We're both immensely independent and unashamedly introverted people, and a domestic partnership is not something I really imagined for myself. But I loved and trusted him, and felt in my gut that even if the relationship fell apart, we'd remain friends. We're both the type that "takes a long time to get to know/warm up to," but he's been nothing but giving. I wanted to take a few months while still young enough to move "for a boy" and see how it went.

You probably can where this is going.

But it's not a shitshow. I'm making progress in redefining my career, enjoying being a cat step-mom, learning to cook and living comfortably while getting along well with my best friend, as we always have.

We just don't have sex.

The quality of the sex went down steeply very shortly after I moved in, but, being naive and all "we'll figure it out as we go along," I figured this was part of domestic partnership—and the immense love I felt daily made me feel valued and warm. I struggled with feeling down about my job prospects for the first few weeks here with the kind of Eeyore fatalism of Those in Our Mid-Twenties, but my boyfriend, my partner, was supportive and kind. I thought perhaps a lack of bedroom antics may be because his view of me shifted, as my self-view did, into someone rather powerless and just around too often. It wasn't entirely pretty, but I learned to be patient. When I tried initiating sex, this is what he told me: No, but we will soon. Be patient.

Then I got a job, and then another, to make things work. And I felt more on track to being a healthy, attractive person again. Meanwhile, though, it's been a good six weeks since we've even attempted sex—this is included in the three months we've lived together, mind. Maybe that's normal, but I'm 24 and he's 30 and we've been dating less than a year. Does bed-death really happen that fast?

Two weeks ago, when I tried to talk about it in a reasonable way, he admitted that he didn't believe he'd ever want to have sex with me again. He said this had happened to him in relationships before, but that he figured I would have left by the time I "figured out" that his sex drive had dropped to zero. I handled it calmly for a day, and told him he could talk more about it when he was ready. When he refused to talk to me several days later, I broke up with him. A day after that, we got into a massive fight that ended with us hugging and crying and vowing to try to make it work. Eventually, I told him that I don't understand it—that he loves me but just doesn't have any sexual desire—but that I'd like him to see a doctor. I did not explicitly say it to him, but I think he's depressed.

So now I've decided to be patient, and we live as happy partners. Is me wanting sex too much to ask? I don't think so, but when I try to think deeply and rationally about the situation, I really do think he wants to put the breakup on pause while I look for my own place—that we're platonic roommates who kiss, and that he doesn't want to get his groove back.

That's what kills me. I'd stay with him if he just tried. He's encouraged me to date other people, which I have no problem with intellectually, but it's just not what I want, which is him. I love him for the person he is, and I'd build a life with him if it's what I felt he really wanted, and I knew was good for me. I'm hurt, offended, betrayed slightly, though—and devastated that he won't do something to figure out why he has no interest in sex.

Have I just not given it enough time? Am I allowed to really break ties with my best friend for refusing to fuck me?


Dear Confused,

Yes, I would break up with him. He sounds great, and I know this sucks, but this has nothing to do with you. He didn't say he'd work on it, or that he was wildly attracted to you but was depressed, or that this has never happened before. He said this has happened before, and that HE PROBABLY WON'T EVER WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU AGAIN.

I mean, hot damn! The fact that he can say that and not immediately put a therapist and a psychiatrist and a doctor on speed dial, the fact that he's saying "Oh well, no sex drive yet again, but no, I'm not going to talk to anyone about it," the fact that he treats the whole picture like a foregone conclusion? That's really all you need to know. He's pretty sure he never wants to fuck you again, and he's not going to talk about it, with you or anyone else.

Again, this has nothing to do with you. And it's not just about sex. Even though everything else is great, it won't be great over the long-term, even if you DID resign yourself to some kind of platonic relationship. This problem is related to other problems. Problems he doesn't want to solve. Problems he doesn't want to talk about.

Now, I recognize that there are people out there who define themselves as asexual, who would dislike me calling this refusal to have sex a "problem." They'd prefer that I call it a "choice." If I were advising your boyfriend, and if he were actively choosing to live an asexual life, that would be different. For your purposes, though, this is a big fucking problem.

He is not over 50. He did not just have prostate surgery. He did not tell you there was a problem with your relationship, and that's why this is happening. He has a problem that he refuses to fix. He won't fix it for you or anyone else.

So you have to move out and start over. You're too young to be locked into something that's not going to serve you, with someone who doesn't want to face the music (or, at the very least, define what he wants and doesn't want). You cannot waste another minute in this situation. You can't compromise yourself like that—it's bad for your mental health, your life, your career, your sense of yourself.

Honestly, I know that you're in a really, really tough place, but you should feel grateful that at least the situation isn't more ambiguous. People get locked into shitty relationships for so many bad reasons, but because those reasons are foggy and mysterious, they stay way too long and waste too many years of their lives. You don't have that problem! Your relationship is terminal.

Find a new place. Get your own cat. Move forward. You will be sad for a while. But you must repeat this to yourself: "This has nothing to do with me." He knows that, and you know it. Resist the urge to take it personally. Resist, resist, resist. If he misses you when you're gone and vows to look at his problems directly and tackle them in a few months, you can cross that bridge then. But right now, you can't wait around for him to decide. He should've warned you before you moved in together. He is broken and doesn't want to be fixed. Maybe someone out there is just aching to find a great asexual guy. That's not you.


Are your in-laws making you crazy? Write to Polly and complain away! Polly has an appetite for some good old-fashioned Dear Abby-style bad in-law letters.

Heather Havrilesky (aka Polly Esther) is The Awl's existential advice columnist. She's also a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine, and is the author of the memoir Disaster Preparedness (Riverhead 2011). She blogs here about scratchy pants, personality disorders, and aged cheeses. Scary man photo by Arun Kamaraj. Scary clouds photo by Neil Alejandro.

46 Comments / Post A Comment

blueblazes (#238,044)

How about every lady who has a good, safe, healthy one tells us where they met?!

I met my husband at a bar, in the beer garden. Ugh, I KNOW. And he was dressed far out of fashion (but not far enough for hipsterism/irony) with terrible hair. He talked like a salesman, with obnoxious, forced familiarity and way too much eye contact. In short, he was outwardly awful in every way. The opposite of charming.

But when I met him away from social a situation where he felt the need to "perform" for the group, he became this sweet, thoughtful, generous, hilarious guy. And that guy was much better looking, for some reason.

Madeline Shoes (#240,390)

@blueblazes after also dating a slew of terrible people (including one who punched me in the face when I started seeing someone new several months after HE broke up with ME), I met Mr. Shoes at a party hosted by a mutual friend. Our friend is gay, as was everyone else I knew at the party, so I assumed Mr. Shoes was gay as well. Because of that, I wasn't nervous around him (like I usually am with handsome straight men) and we had some intelligent and hilarious conversation. It was only after I told Mutual Friend that HE should date Mr. Shoes that I found out he was not, in fact, quite as gay as I had assumed. Mr. Shoes asked me for my number, called the next day, took me on the best date I've ever been on, and we've been together ever since.

We recently moved into our first place together (after three years), and it's WONDERFUL. In a weird way, I'm happy now that I dated jerks for so long, because I can really appreciate how thoughtful and compassionate he is.

dullhypothesis (#234,533)

@blueblazes I met my boyfriend (who is one of those boring but secretly charming, take-it-slow emotionally dudes) at an improv party. Which is normally full of dicks, but we went outside to smoke a cigarette and he asked me, asking while really fucking caring, about my job. So instead of running for the first charming ass I met later in the night, I kept talking to this guy. It was a stroke of luck that the night I decided to be a nice person, and not a "chase the funniest dude" person, I met a really great dude.

Nabonwe (#12,500)

@blueblazes Seconding a bar! I feel like it's not exactly good advice, but there you go. What was different is that he wasn't hitting on me, and I wasn't hitting on him – we were in a group of people, and I looked over and there was just something about the animation of his face and brightness in his eyes that made me think: I want to talk to him. That was it – not, I want to jump his bones (although eventually, of course, I did) just – I think he'd be interesting to talk to. And he was.

RobotsNeedLove (#236,743)

@blueblazes Online! Wah-wah. He's nice. He cooked me dinner early on. He came to a Christmas market with me and my friends before we'd ever even had sex. You know, nice guy stuff. He has great friends whom he loves and speaks adoringly about.

I thought he was really boring at first. I liked him, but I was like "well, this is fun, and a good distraction from the charming psycho I'm having kinky sex with, but it's going nowhere I'm a maneater RAWR" It turns out he's not in the least boring, kinkier (and more sexually compatible with me) than anyone else, and a great man with whom I can trust my heart and soul. Give boring men a chance.

bowtiesarecool (#245,361)

@blueblazes Mine was also online! Oh thank god, I'm not the only one. Maybe it was different way back when (oh god, five years ago), but he was definitely not the first (ahem, seventeenth) date I'd been on through that site. When we met in a (public, well-lit) restaurant for dinner, we had a really nice conversation! And then a series of other nice conversations, and now over five years later we are getting married. Yay, anecdata!

He was not the flashiest and he was not my first pick of the litter, but it was great to pre-screen some of the real assholes before even meeting. He doesn't motorcycle skydive and he's not a kinky sex fiend and he doesn't spend his weekends in the street agitating for justice or doing avant garde performance art, but he manages stable employment, he's good to his friends and family, is super emotionally healthy, and we have never. stopped. talking. It's really awesome having a decent human being to come home to, and frankly, I have enough platonic relationships with kinky sex fiend motorcycle skydiving starving artists to get my fill of that outside my romantic partnership.

katzenklavier (#245,366)

@bowtiesarecool I feel like we might be constructing a false dichotomy here. I had a very sweet, shy, quiet boyfriend who I romanced slowly before we really started going out. He wasn't super witty or impressive but he remembered all my friends names and asked about them, and he was really sweet to his family. And then he turned out to be abusive and full of rage. Now I'm dating a guy who I met when he offered me a motorcycle ride to the beach, where we had sex behind a shack. He treats me really well and does not appear to be a psycho. "Nice guy" characteristics don't guarantee anything. The only advice I can give this letter write is to watch for indications of possessiveness or attitudes about sex that make you slightly uneasy.

katzenklavier (#245,366)

@katzenklavier I don't mean to devalue these stories though, they are all really sweet! I'm just dismayed by hard it is to read someone's personality even when everything seems to be okay…

bonbonss (#245,416)

@Nabonwe Yes! I meant my fiance at a bar as well. For the longest time I had the idea- you only meet a**holes at bars. He actually did come up and start talking to me and my friend, and not it an obnoxious way, a nice we should be friends kind of way. My friend tried to blow him off and get him to leave, but it turned out he was sitting right next to our table inside. We ended up talking all night, and then when I went to leave he gave me a coupon book with a free oil change… ahhhh love at first sight.

Werner Hedgehog (#11,170)

"Moving, single and confused" sounds a little behind the curve when it comes to dating. This is OK; sometimes the slow learners are the best learners. She identifies places (work/family gatherings/parties) with which she has had bad experiences, rather than the specific personality details of the other person.

I think if she does an honest, mature accounting of what she wants the assholes will fall to the bottom and the decent dudes will rise to the top, wherever they are.

Jane Hu (#5,833)

Polly's response to LW1 is everything. (Paragraph 8!!)

Bittersweet (#765)

@Jane Hu No kidding. Absolutely solid gold.

karenjeannette (#2,499)

as somebody who dated a slightly milder version of LW2's guy, it's my highly unscientific opinion that a disappearing sex drive indicates other negative things. not that it would have to in order to be bad. it really wears you down, more than you might even immediately notice.

lemmycaution (#243,936)

@karenjeannette The fact that he has done this multiple times means he has major issues.

Lack of sex is a huge deal in relationships. When this happens, you should just break up. It doesn't get better.

Myrtle (#9,838)

@lemmycaution I feel for women who get the shutdown after they've had a child with the guy, and find he can't get sexy with a real woman. LW2 got the shutdown on the move-in, that's easier to fix. Move out.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

I may be bozo, but I'm no cocksure.

lemmycaution (#243,936)

Great advice for both LW1 and LW2.

However, to defend arrogant pricks, the vast majority of these guys are not rapists. They will just treat you bad. And then dump you. Or not, they usually end up marrying somebody.

Bunburying (#81,872)

Pretty sure that most self-professed asexuals *don't* consider it a choice, but rather an orientation, similar to gender preference. I don't know whether the boyfriend would consider himself asexual or not but either way his partner is not getting what she needs.

rubyinthedust (#185,652)

is megapolis a type of thing you can build in Sim City?

Mr. B (#10,093)

@rubyinthedust She probably means Toronto, or Cincinnati.

rubyinthedust (#185,652)

also, best ask polly answer to LW1 ever

tedto862gm (#245,351)

The vast majority of these guys are not rapists

Lcanon (#240,865)

The more I read of these letters, the more I am convinced that either I was really, really lucky (lived together 7 yrs, married 18 yrs. in October) or they did things better in the 1950s.

minijen (#234,898)

Oh, LW1, I feel you. My MO is self-absorbed, bi-polar-but-won't-get-help, addicts that hide it well for the first 6 months or so. I have no interest in dating of those again. Since I was the common factor in all of the relationships, it just seemed like it was my fault, and I need to fix myself before dating again. How to do that, I have no clue.

Danzig! (#5,318)

Does the LW2 guy sound "great"? (Lack of) orientation aside, anybody who would say "oh I was just hoping you'd ~get wise~" about a whiplash-inducing behavioral change as profound as Never Fucking Again, and that after someone has MOVED IN for them, is not really the type of person who is fit to be in a relationship with anyone. What a shitheart.

@Danzig! Seriously, this guy was a serious dick luring a woman into a known trap. Like some kind of ironic-punishment anti-rapist.

Hot Doom (#238,614)

@Danzig! For reals! Saying that he thought she'd just figure it out and dump him is such a lazy, selfish dick move. Lazy because he knows it's a problem and isn't willing to do anything about it, and shitty because if she leaves him, he can turn it around and have a pity party for being the one who gets dumped. Ugh, gag me with a spoon.

bananalise (#13,738)

@Danzig! Oh my god, shitheart. Shitheart! Yes. How am I just now learning this word?

Danzig! (#5,318)

@bananalise I am making it a thing… right now

It's not the lasagna talk (yoiks) but the grosgrain hairbands that do it for me. Any woman, even a disturbed and noisy wild-girl, immediately becomes irresistible under such an unoffending nimbus.

I'm uncomfortable with conflating rapists, meanies, and people with an irrational surplus of confidence with "mentally ill." Lots of mentally ill people are really nice, and lots of jerks are not mentally ill. Mental illness is a pretty broad spectrum, and a lot of people with it are in fact professional, reasonable and cool.

rabbitheart (#236,594)

LW1, thanks for lumping people with mental illness into your list of deal breakers! Of course mental illness = jerks unworthy of your love. That makes total sense! You are so smart.

@rabbitheart Jinx! We posted the same thing at the same time, only the angry sarcasm of your comment is a better match for the way I feel about the matter.

rabbitheart (#236,594)

@fondue with cheddar All I can say is, UGHHH, but to you: hey girl! who vets these headlines?

@rabbitheart I don't know. the mentally-ill statement was in the letter, but it didn't have to be repeated in both the response AND the title. I actually didn't even read the whole response because I was so upset at the prospect of hearing any more mental-illness bashing.

Some mentally ill people I've known are jerks for sure, but most of them (myself included) are very nice people who deserve love and make good partners.

@rabbitheart As a mentalist myself I thought the suggestion was that being an unrepetentant jerk is an un-DSMed mental disorder or the tip of a truly mad iceberg not that people with mental disorders are jerks. But I guess you can choose to read it as you wish.

LokoOno (#240,586)

@rabbitheart Yeah and since when do the mentally ill all have a "surplus of confidence"? Not something I've noticed in people with crippling depression, for one.

LHOOQ (#18,226)

I don't think LW2's boyfriend is depressed. He probably just has a very low libido and a lot of hang-ups/baggage/inhibitions.

I've been LW2's boyfriend, or rather, I went through a longish period in my life when I had an aversion to sex. Getting over my fear of fixing the problem was the entire battle. I did eventually work through it, and things are better, but it took a long time. My husband deserves a medal.

There is no way you can put yourself through that agony for someone who thinks that waiting for you to dump him is the solution.

mylayla21 (#245,364)

report his ass and forget about men for now they all want money first so why shouldn't we get it too

Myrtle (#9,838)

LW2, I will wager that you get your own place and he'll find his tingly parts will rise again. The moving in was the buzzkill, reminds him of his mother or something. This is not your problem, as you put him in the Friendzone and are your sparkling self, in search of Boinkables.

carrborite (#245,406)

I'd like to note a part of LW1's letter and the reply that hasn't mentioned. LW1 refers to the "mentally ill" as a category of people in a way that makes the assumption that people living with mental illness are always, and obviously, undesirable partners. When this happens, it further stigmatizes a group of people that are consistently marginalized and misunderstood. People living with mental illness could be experiencing anything from anxiety or depression to bi-polar disorder, and many experience fulfilling and loving relationships. It is dangerous to make swooping assumptions about a broad group of people, and furthers dialogue about that group that is uninformed, hurtful, and regressive. Love the advice, really spot on, love the Hairpin, and love the Awl.

chrysoprase (#245,432)

@carrborite Indeed. I have bipolar 1 and understand that it can be difficult for those close to me. But like a lot of people I try to manage it as best I can and not be a jerk, and I am lucky to have a caring partner who answers "Absolutely!" when others ask him if it is worth it. Despite this, every time I read something that lumps folks like me in with jerks/rapists/abusers I feel a barrage of guilt and shame, and that I am stealing from Normals by trying to build a good and stable life. I don't think LW1 intended for myself or anyone else to feel upset in this way, but that choice of words does sting.

I'm very sorry that awful things have happened to LW1, and they should do what makes them feel happy and safe. I am sure LW1 knows logically that the Venn diagram of people with mental illness and jerks is not just one circle, and would hope they will take a more considered approach in their language in the future. It's a little disappointing that commenters had to point out how problematic it was, and The Awl did not.

DorothyGale (#245,414)

Long-time reader, first-time commenter. I registered to say how disappointed and surprised I was to see the Hairpin/Awl use the terminology of mental illness this way. People with mental health problems are not tantamount to arrogant pricks, assholes, and (especially) rapists.


Yes, we have been through this before here. I understand your complaint.

I am officially qualified to bandy about such terms "crazy," "loony" and "should be in an institution." I do not do it particularly lightly, for the record. :)

But yes, I did want to say that I hear you and do think about this stuff.

Jolly (#245,185)

LW2: If you really like this guy (for some reason, even though he sounds like he is kind of a shitty boyfriend who doesn't want to communicate with you and would rather just string you along before dictating terms), you need to be upfront with him about the fact that if he cannot meet your needs, you are going to get your needs met elsewhere. Either you're on track for an open relationship, or at some point you're either gonna cheat on him or dump him in the name of getting some goddammed satisfaction, so you should be honest about that with yourself and him right now and figure out what you both want. If you or he have any problems with you fucking other people, don't try to talk it out, skip directly to "we are not compatible" and find a new place to live.

But realistically, he sounds like he is being pretty shitty about communicating his ideas about your relationship and coming to a real resolution/understanding, so I'd probably just skip to dumping him anyway.

katerpillar (#245,461)

A couple of problems for me here: firstly, I am agreeing with the most-mentally-ill-persons-are-not-terrible-people thing. It is reasonable to acknowledge that not everyone is capable of handling an intimate relationship with someone struggling with mental illness;it is often a big challenge…. but it doesn't make someone a "douche" or a rapist.

Second, there are a lot of reasons that someone might not be into the sexytimes, and it's not cool to be outright dismissive of them. It doesn't sound like this fella is handling things as well as he might do – the lack of up-front disclosure, for one thing. My recommendation would have been "how about some couples' therapy," not "dump the a-hole." My boyfriend, too, has some issues with his sexuality that are compounded by side effects of medication. When our bedroom time dropped to nothing for a couple of months, I mentioned that I was worried about it, and we started seeing a therapist. He and I are steadily coming to understand each other a little better, and talking about it helped us overcome some of the other previously unspoken barriers between us, including a reluctance to communicate. This might not be the best solution for a relationship that no longer feels worth the effort, but there's always the chance it could help.

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