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Friday, April 2, 2010

Savage Love Letter o' the Day: Two Little Words

Posted by Dan Savage on Fri, Apr 2, 2010 at 10:14 AM

This letter actually came in August...

I'm a 21 year old straight guy, and I've been with a wonderful woman for almost two years now. Everything used to be great, but she's slowly been changing. Her mom is bipolar, and she is starting to exhibit a lot of the signs of generalized anxiety disorder. Usually, this would manifest itself as anxiety about exams and school, but recently it has gotten worse. We spent this summer apart, doing a long distance relationship, and she began to stress out about me not emailing her frequently enough. Even though she was literally on the opposite side of the world, we were emailing about once a day and chatting online four or five times per week.

Here's where it gets a little messy. She was freaking out over our relationship, demanding constant reassurances that I wasn't seeing other people, that I was in love with her, etc. I tried to comply as best I could. Then, I find out that she logged into my email account. I confronted her and we had a five hour fight which concluded with her promising that it was a momentary lapse, she only read a couple things, then logged out. I forgave her, but told her that she had to trust me more, and had to work on her anxiety problems (including suggesting seeing professionals). A couple weeks later, after a few days where I had been too busy to send her any long emails, she calls me and tearfully confesses that she didn't just read my email, she had also logged into my Facebook and Skype accounts to read my private messages.

I don't want to be in a relationship where my partner is insecure and doesn't trust me. What I want to know is, is it ok to break up with someone because of something out of their control? I know my girlfriend, and this isn't her. She is trusting and loving, but her anxiety has turned her into a different person. Should I just forgive her again and hope she gets better?

Dating A Woman With Problems

I emailed DAWWP a two-word response when his letter arrived: "Break up." And today DAWWP wrote back to say...

I just wanted to write to you and tell you that you were totally right. Because I am young and naive and foolhardy, I tried to stick it out with this girl. It got progressively worse and worse and eventually ended horribly a month after I wrote to you. But now I've had some rebound sex and am currently involved with a fantastic lady! If you have any readers who, like me, are on the fence about something, they should think again and listen to you! Thanks again!

No Longer Dating A Woman With Problems

You're welcome, NLDAWWP. And here's a bonus SLLOTD that came today:

I'm a young straight feminist male, and I've been dating my feminist girlfriend monogamously for almost two years. Recently I've been coming to terms with the fact that I am turned on by rape fantasies. Of course I find the idea of actual rape repugnant—this is probably, of course, an important reason why fantasizing about it turns me on—but I thought I might like to simulate my fantasy in some way. I sent out some feelers with my girlfriend by initiating a conversation about kinks and asking about what type of kinks she would hypothetically be comfortable accommodating. I asked her to imagine that I fantasized about feeling up women on the subway and wanted her to simulate that fantasy with me. Her response was that she would try to "cure" me of my desire, help me figure out and work through the psychological gender-power issues behind it, and try to show me how enjoyable consensual sex is. My first thought was, "Well that's not a way to be GGG...", but then I reconsidered. Would indulging that fantasy only reinforce the patriarchal patterns of thought which I've tried to expunge from my brain? How much of a point does she have?

Feminist Rape Fantasist


Break up.

The fine print: I'm not telling you to dump your girlfriend because she won't let you feel her up on the subway, FRF. She's under no obligations to fulfill your rape or rape-lite fantasies. If they squick her out, they squick her out. But you're not going to have a happy and fulfilling sexual relationship with a woman—feminist or not, squicked out by simulated non-consensuality or not—whose first impulse when confronted with a run-of-the-mill, completely consensual role play scenario is to pathologize her partner, to declare him sick, to set about "curing" him, and to imply that he's not interested in consensual sex when consensual sex was precisely what he proposed. There's nothing wrong with you, FRF, nothing that needs curing or requires expunging. But your girlfriend regards you as a sicko and a rapist/potential rapist and, thanks to her, you're starting to see yourself that way too. This relationship is already over. Make it official: break up.

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