Tag Archives: relationships

How Girls Learn Emotional Reciprocity (and Why Boys Don’t)

From that same Metafilter discussion:

“Adolescent female friendships are LEGENDARILY difficult and drama-prone. And they are! Being an adolescent girl and navigating the emotional landscape of female friendship is hella hard! It’s not just media hype to sell Mean Girls narratives! But I think the narrative the media wants to attach to it is “girls are so over-emotional and mean to each other” when actually I think the deeper narrative here is, “Girls make intense emotional demands on their friendships in ways that boys don’t, and girls have hyperdramatic adolescent friendship landscapes because they are learning to engage in reciprocal emotional relationships without an adult to mediate them. Adolescent girl friend drama is children learning to manage reciprocal emotional relationships like adults. Boys friendships are not, culturally, allowed to be so intense, dramatic, or emotionally-involving, so I think boys do not get the opportunity to learn and practice adult interpersonal relationships in the same way, and boys friendships simply do not place the same emotional demands on them. Girls MUST learn to function with emotional reciprocity in their friendships or get shut out of them; emotionality is so proscribed in male friendships that they simply never face that demand.

“So you have a lot of girls arriving in their late teens and early 20s with a decade of watching adult women manage other people’s emotions and considering it a skill to emulate, and then a decade of struggling through the whirlpools of adolescent female friendships and learning to do the work themselves. They’ve served their apprenticeships. They face demands of reciprocity from other women they’re friends with, and they’re accustomed to the idea that relationships involve giving as well as taking.

“Some boys, however, arrive in their late teens and early 20s without having ever had a peer make emotional demands on them, and without having ever had to function in a peer relationship where they have to both give and take. Their closest emotional relationships are with parents, and parent-to-child is give-give-give so the child is take-take-take. I think a lot of these young men, it has literally never occurred to them that someone they are emotionally close to would make any emotional demands on them, because that has literally never happened, because their early childhood years were full of nothing but women, and their adolescent years featured culturally-limited friendships that were emotionally superficial. So some of these guys? Yeah, they finish college and start dating seriously and they’re perfectly nice guys who have literally no idea how to function as emotional adults because they’re only just now starting to practice. They have the emotional literacy of 11-year-old girls. And, yeah, basically someone’s going to end up having to raise them from 11-year-old-ness in interpersonal relationships to adulthood, because it’s not really a task you can accomplish in the absence of other people with whom to be interpersonally related. …

“And Because Patriarchy we’re going to act like that’s just how 23-year-old men act and all roll our eyes instead of recognizing that, no, they’re actually behaving like 11-year-old girls, but it’s pretty embarrassing for them because it’s one thing when you’re 11 but when you’re 23 you really ought to know better. And at 11 you’re just making everyone around you miserable but at 23 you have the full power to ruin lives with your bullshit.

Full discussion in context.

Dating an Emotional Charlatan

From a Metafilter discussion about modern dating and emotional labor:

“A few years ago, one of my friends began dating an accomplished lawyer who made good money. He was charming and generous. He 100% seemed like he had his shit together and could keep up with her. He cooked for her occasionally and his home was clean and comfortable.

“When they moved in together, his mother emailed her a list of links to Brooks Brothers and his measurements. He had never bought work clothes for himself. During the year they lived together, she had to put him on an allowance because he ran out of money most months. He wanted takeout every night and would pout if she offered to cook instead. His idea of helping out around the house was to unload the dishwasher once a week and demand enthusiastic praise for it. At the end of that year he put extreme pressure on her to re-sign their lease. She ended up paying hundreds of dollars to break the lease two months later, when she broke up with him “out of nowhere.”

“I assure you, the men who are good at fooling women into believing they are competent adults and quality partners are good at fooling you into believing the same. This kind of emotional charlatan isn’t someone a few unlucky women meet in their 20s–these men are everywhere, across professions and classes. I’m definitely skeptical of your confidence in determining which men are good partners from the outside. If women–who have a much larger stake in not dating man-size toddlers–are so often wrong, how do you know that your assessments of other men are correct?”

Full discussion.

Domestic Abuse Survivor Tells a Future Victim What Happens Next

A survivor of domestic abuse explains what happens next:

“He doesn’t think you can make your own decisions. He doesn’t want you to be able to, either.

he would rather pay me the same amount to not work and stay home/stay with him.

He would rather sacrifice money to have you as personal property in his control.

I’d be relying in him to give me my “allowance”. What if he decides he’s not happy with me, I just end up out of pocket?

It takes away all of your financial independence.

1) This is his intent, and your danger. Abusers aren’t just fucked from day one, or even year one. They show their true colors once they have you financially and emotionally stranded.

He is saying he wants your time to the point of paying for it.  Not only are you now his whore, but there’s another level… Do you hang out with friends without him? Is it a problem if you do? Does it make him feel like he isn’t important, or that it’s taking too much time away from him? This may not have popped up yet, but once he is the sole breadwinner I can garun-fucking-tee that you won’t be seeing friends or family without him, and only when he’s okay with it.

2) you are neither smart, or an equal in his eyes. Look back at arguments. I don’t doubt that he compares himself to you… He already did that with finances.

3) I bet you really feel like he loves you. I bet he’s really good at making you feel that way… Just a little less so recently. Come to think of it, I bet a lot less recently. It’s not that he’s making you feel worse, he’s just worrying about your needs less. All those romantic things you love him for are from quite a while ago.

4) you’re going to stand strong, and he’s going to try to make it up to you romantically if he’s a good abuser, but something like this doesn’t rear it’s head in a normal relationship in the first place. He is going to be sweet as pie for a few days, or maybe even weeks if he works hard, until he’s annoyed that you still aren’t doing what he wants.

Am I crazy for being pissed off about this?

No, but it’s crazy scary that this is something you’re asking. It should be obvious, especially when you’re saving up for a house with him that he can’t even wait to financially isolate you in order to expedite getting a house faster.

Leave. This is fundamental, and he will not change, only hide it until you’re in his control. His intent is clear even if you don’t want to believe it. I’m sorry, and I try to rarely advocate leaving, because this sub is where you go to seek solutions, not to be told to throw in the towel. The difference here is that at this point the cheetah has shown it’s spots, and anything he does now is trying to hide them. He is waaay too sneaky about what he’s doing.

A normal person who respects you might offer you the choice to be a stay at home spouse or mom if you want it… But he’s trying to pay you to do it, getting mad that you’re trying to support yourself like he’s pointed out that you don’t do as much as he does, and is telling you that he won’t even allow you to do certain things for independence, even if it means financing a future together. You can’t win.

You are going to be controlled and abused by him. Remember, abusers must lure you in first with seemingly beautiful acts of love and kindness. Nobody thinks they’ll let themselves get into a relationship like that, but you’re going down that path right now. You need to get out. By the time it’s bad you won’t have friends, family, or money to turn to in order to escape.

Even if you don’t leave, build a financial safety net that he doesn’t know about or control. Sadly, many will not heed advice to get out when the signs are in plain red lights spelled out for you. Denial is a powerful thing. At least make a safety net for yourself so you aren’t powerless when the time comes.”

Full thread http://www.reddit.com/r/relationships/comments/1ywh5l/me_23_f_with_my_partner_23_m_3_years_he_wants_to/cfojpdt

Graphic from http://www.domesticpeace.com/

Rom-Com Death March Reduces Divorce Rate

Divorce rate cut in half when couples watch relationship movies together:

“Study participants were sent home with a list of 47 movies with intimate relationships as a major plot focus and asked to watch one a week for the next month, followed by the same guided discussion for about 45 minutes. Which approach proved most effective? To the surprise of the researchers, all worked equally well. All three methods halved the divorce-and-separation rate to 11 percent compared to the 24 percent rate among the couples in the control group. Partners in the control group received no training or instructions but were otherwise similar in age, education, ethnicity, relationship satisfaction, and other dimensions.”

Full list of the movies http://edu.surveygizmo.com/s3/1508519/movie

Full article http://www.mdconnects.com/articles/302/20140131/divorce-rate-cut-half-couples-who-discussed-relationship-movies.htm

On Marriage and Long-Term Relationships

“If I got the chance to create a spouse in a computer program, I wouldn’t have created a woman like my wife. I would have done what most people would probably do, and tried to create someone with whom there would be no friction. While you need to find someone you’re compatible with, you don’t need to find someone exactly like yourself. A lot of growth will come from the disagreements you have, and maturity will come from the healthy resolution of those disagreements. It’s the rough waters of the river that turn a rough rock into a smooth, shiny stone. We’re not as young as we were, and are bodies are a bit softer. There isn’t the same burning passion, but there is something, and I’d say it’s something stronger than passion. Relationships are like a forged blade. At first, the fire burns red hot, and everyone around can see and feel the heat. People are envious of that heat, but the truth is, a blade must be cooled and tempered to reach its full strength. The tough times in a relationship are the waters that strengthen the blade. Our blade needs polished from time to time, and at a glance, it’s nowhere near as impressive as your red hot blade, but it’s so strong, it could probably cut through stone.”

Photo from Daily Mail: America’s longest married couple prepare for 81st wedding anniversary

A Marriage Is Like an Ikea Kitchen

“A marriage is like an IKEA kitchen. Bear with me. You fall in love with the showroom display. You put down your money and you get it home and there it is. Completely disassembled. Except that you didn’t get the instruction manual, though you kind of have an idea of how it should go because you’ve put together a BILLY or two in your time. Anyway, it’s a thousand pieces of particle board and dowels and allen key screws and fasteners. You know what it is supposed to look like, because you can see it there in your mind where you have visions of baking cookies, but you’re not quite sure how to put it all together. The good news is you have help: your partner. The person you’ve chosen to build your kitchen life with…. Look, it’s not about whether you build a perfect kitchen. It’s about how you build the kitchen, despite the fact that you don’t have the instructions. Do you work together? Do you smile over the mistakes, figuring things out along the way, making the best of it? Do you experiment with new approaches, use new tools, collaborate and co-operate? … Life is indeed a “some assembly required” project, but your partner absolutely should not be one of the things that also needs assembly. It’s okay, and in fact very healthy, to insist and demand that your one life be shared with someone who is not angry, mean and fucked up and will instead cheerfully work together with you on solving problems together.”

Commenter on Metafilter thread, Dealing with someone who is “always right” – marriage communication

Walking Away

“This is how drama keeps you engaged; it makes you believe that if you just think about it enough, you’ll unravel the mystery and be able to find the magic words/gestures/actions to enable the other person resolve their issues and love you (out of gratitude and admiration) in return. … This is all bullshit. It is shit that comes out of a bull. Every time. There’s never any reward in this game. It was never going to be awesome. You were never going to be able to fix him. This is not due to some flaw on your part, but due to some damage on his part that you did not cause and that you cannot cure. … People can literally waste their lives on this sort of dysfunction. Believe me: walking away from it will be the greatest gift you can give yourself.”

My first heartbreak and confusion is keeping me from moving on – relationships breakup | Ask MetaFilter.

Nail That to Your Bedpost

“‘I seem to have fallen in love with someone else. I’m moving out.’ … Finally, she agreed to meet me in a pub in the West End. A bustling, crowded, very public place. I suppose we both thought that would help reduce the possibility of unseemly emotional scenes – not that she was really given to such things. Which made it doubly affecting when I arrived at the pub and immediately saw her, very openly weeping, as I entered. My heart melted. She was as upset as I was. She was having dreadful regrets. There was hope. I walked up to her, put my arm around her. She leaned into me, buried her face in my shirt, crying audibly. I had never heard her do that before. I stroked her hair, said… I don’t know… gentle, loving things. All was not lost. There was hope. She pulled away, didn’t look at me. ‘He’s left me!’ … I stood up, looked at her with vague disgust and just… immense disappointment. And I took off my wedding ring, tossed it on the table in fron of her and said, ‘Nail that to your bedpost.’  And Walked out. And never saw her again.”

Commenter on a Metafilter thread about when to stop wearing your wedding ring during a breakup.