I really do think it's part of the weird racial dynamic between white women and black and mixed-raced women in this country. White women get that "I own your body" stuff, too- see, street harassment of all women, "why don't you smile more?", people adjusting your clothes without asking, etc. And then instead of being like, "yuck it sucks when other people express ownership of someone's body," they go ahead and express ownership of the bodies of women and men of color. I mean, WTF. Recent example in addition to this post: Cameron Diaz petting (!!!) Richard Ayoade's hair while talking about pubes.
Oh, MAN. Responses like this is why I excitedly anticipate Wednesdays. Polly is spot on and cuts right through our own bullshit as usual. <3
The amazing thing about being ok with being human (you know, NOT being a Cool Girl [this terminology is Polly too, I think] but being like, "Yeah I'm a bitchy harpy with feelings who wants you to have conversations with her sometimes,") is that you start being amazingly ok with your partners being human beings, too.
I used to have this crazy resentment thing going on, like, I'm suppressing my feelings and I have to shave my legs every time you come over and you're not fulfilling my feelings and how dare you have feelings and flaws because I'm not allowed to? And then I kind of had no choice but to be really really real, really fast, with my now-husband.
I guess when it comes down to it, that's really what good old schmaltzy "be yourself" is all about. Not "be a supreme jerk," and not "be the shiniest glitteriest version of yourself with no flaws ever," but "be a human who is kind to other humans and also farts sometimes."
I just want to add something else here, LW, because him posing as someone 8 years younger is potentially worrisome. If his catfishing targets are legally of age, you don't have any liability in the situation as his partner, but if they are underage and you know about it and don't do anything, you are actively condoning his behavior. This is by no means the same thing, but reading up on Marion Zimmer Bradley (http://www.sff.net/people/stephen.goldin/mzb/) and her husband's abuse of young boys (and her tacit approval by virtue of not stopping him) might serve as a warning for those continuing to stay with partners who are exhibiting predatory behavior.
@Sharilyn Neidhardt Or, "I'm a weenie who doesn't need you to treat me with respect & consideration."
Either way, it sucks SO MUCH. WHy do we do this to ourselves???
@rosyfive "Was that needy, crazy, desperate? Some of my friends balked when I told them this story. But you know what's ACTUALLY crazy, needy and desperate? Allowing a guy to treat you like an option, while a part of you dies inside and you start to hate yourself for not having the balls to walk away. Blowing up at him and crying about how he "doesn't love you enough" after you've strung the situation on too long and have reached an emotional breaking point. Like Polly says, saying what you want and relaying it in a calm, open manner shows that: you're mature and smart enough to know what you want, you think you deserve to get what you want, you're not ashamed of what you want, and basically that you know your self-worth and it's HIGH."
YES YES YES THIS so much. You are rock solid and amazing and I respect you so much for this comment.
Oh my god, Polly, I had the boyfriend who didn't say he loved me for a year!
I mean, after three months I definitely had feelings so I was like, "Look, I'm going to say I love you sometimes but it's ok if you don't say it back. You shouldn't say it unless you feel like it." I meant this. At that point, I considered myself a tough broad who didn't regard her feelings as important but cared for the fragile feelings of guys I was dating. And so thus began another 9-11 months of me saying it and him not saying it. And you know what? It was totally a joke between us, etc, but it HURT. It hurt that he didn't feel it.
When we broke up and then got together, I became more ruthless. Really, having been heartbroken already over this dude was the key to standing up for myself. And you know? He hated it SO MUCH. I had forced him to give me the key to my lovely apartment (80%of the reason he was dating me, I still believe) when we broke up. When I took him back reluctantly, I didn't trust him to respect me, so I didn't give him the key. He hated this and nagged me about it until I told him it was absolutely never happening EVER and then he'd make passive aggressive comments about it when we were together or "forget" he didn't have a key and then be sad, etc. He started saying I Love You but I realized I didn't feel it anymore and it made me question why I would put up with him treating me just as badly as he had before.
So I dumped him.
And he screamed at me and called me a selfish cunt, etc etc.
Honestly, it was the best compliment I've ever received.
Now, the guy I married had some vulnerability/communication/trust issues since he'd been in some bad relationships, and he was not on the same level with me when we started regarding commitment. But,difficult and painful as it was, I laid out my needs and wants and fears and expectations, and he laid out his, and we were able to begin the process of working out how to be together.
So anyway, anecdata and all, when you're not getting what you need, so much better to stand up for yourself. If you don't, you'll never know if he would have turned out to be amazing for you. If you do, you will discover who he is. Is he just having a little trouble or is he actually kind of a douche? Only one way to find out and nothing to lose but Future You's Self Respect.
The best thing I ever did for my mental health and relationships was to say "I would rather be single and have no friends" to myself over and over again until I believed it. It's funny how when you value your own company you start cutting out friends/lovers who treat you badly and with whom you cannot be yourself. I got so happy being alone and planning solo vacations and daytrips and taking myself to the movies whenever I wanted that I went through a weird phase of occasional resentment (I could go to grad school anywhere I wanted if I didn't have to worry about you, etc) when I began to readjust my life toward being one of two. I'm happy now, but taking care of yourself for once can be quite rewarding and wonderful.
One time I actually got to live the bitter dream- I sat down at a cafe table across from my brand-new ex and I told him that the way that he chose to break up with me (not answering his phone for two weeks and then texting me that he'd met someone else) really blew and that in the future I hoped he would show women more respect and break up with them using his words to their faces.
And he? Shrugged. That was basically it.
In retrospect, I give him kudos for acquiescing to my request that he meet me in a well-lit public place one last time because I had something to say to him. That was hard for him to do.
For me? Frustration of being heard but not understood.
My point here is that Polly is so spot on here it is ridiculous, and also that you cannot control other humans and that sometimes they are shitty to you and that is just how life is. And also that even getting that mythical, brittle "closure" is sometimes less a triumphant closed door than a sheepish little fart.
@sunnyciegos That whole thing about loving yourself is a cliche because it's so freaking TRUE.