The Doc really screwed the pooch on today's advice about the boyfriend lying about watching porn [rant/disc]

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Post by Prajnaparamita on Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:05 am

Caffeinated wrote:
I'm not a fan of snooping, but in a case where a partner could be cheating and potentially exposing you to serious risk of disease maybe there's a case to be made for it. A minor STI caught early and treated can remain minor, but left untreated can cause serious problems sometimes including infertility. Not to mention risk of HIV.

Right, and with my experience with mental health, and watching others struggle with it, I think there are some other cases where it might be acceptable, such as those where doctor-patient confidentiality would go out the window. For example as in the case of someone who is suicidal and might be attempting to get their hands on a gun, or has contacted others with intended plans, and so on.

But this isn't a case of that, not even close. Nobody's safety or wellbeing is at risk.

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Post by Wondering on Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:35 am

Lying is lying is lying. For me, that's a deal breaker and not okay. Now, I'm talking about this outside the context of an abusive relationship because I think all bets are off when you're the abused in an abusive relationship and trying to survive. BUT I'm getting a strong sense here that the LW is being cast as an abuser for saying she didn't like something her partner did and extracting a promise about him not doing that again. That's all we know. Everything else is extrapolation. And if that's enough to make someone an abuser? I'd venture we're all abusers.

Porn /= masturbation. Generalizations to the contrary notwithstanding. She said nothing in her letter about asking her partner not to masturbate. She only said porn. Now, maybe she did also mean or ask that about masturbation. That would be a different, bigger issue. But it's more extrapolation.

This is where I'm coming from in this: 1) not an abusive relationship, 2) only asking him to stop watching porn, 3) not asking him to stop masturbating, 4) being lied to, 5) being on the receiving end of a broken promise, 6) being subsequently shamed by the advice giver she wrote in to ask advice from.

I'm really bothered by all of it.


Last edited by Wondering on Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:56 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by reboundstudent on Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:40 am

PintsizeBro wrote:In your cases when you wished you had snooped... you already didn't trust your now-exes. You already knew that on some level the relationship was broken. How would snooping have helped? Why not just end things? There's this tendency in our culture to think of breaking up with someone as a way to punish them when they did something bad, but I think that's unhealthy. If you're unhappy, that's reason enough to go.

It's for similar reasons as Eselle. The few times where I've been the one to break up with a guy based on a gut reaction, as opposed to something very obvious that he has done, I have caught hell from friends, acquaintances, and others (dating forums like these, for example.) If I've tried to talk about it with a partner, I've got labeled anything from insecure to "crazy." And there is a very strong cultural narrative-at least among the nerd social circles-that you are the only one responsible for your insecurity, and it is never your partner's problem, ever. Get a weird twinge in your stomach when you see your partner having tickle-wrestling fights with a girl he knows has a crush on him? Gaah, Marty, you're so paranoid. Hear constantly that skinny redheads with tattoos are the hottest? Man, Marty, you're so insecure. Your boyfriend has his long-standing crush (who, btws, he thinks is hotter than you) staying alone in his apartment after a night of drinking together and you are expressly not invited? Geez, Marty, stop being so controlling!

Gut instincts may be enough to break up with someone, but they are not enough to save you from people consistently nit-picking your decision. Those I listed are above are all real-life examples of exes of mine. In every single case, any kind of discussion with my partner or asking for advice from others lead to the responses you saw. Being unhappy should be reason enough to go; but if other people don't agree with why you're unhappy (they, for example, blame you for having unrealistic expectations, or too "high maintenance" desires), you are going to be reaping that every time you talk about a dating problem. "I really struggle with being single." "Well maybe if you hadn't dumped that super sweet guy over your insecure gut feeling!"

Iron-clad proof of cheating is usually 1) the only way you can actually get your partner to admit to it; I've had guys straight-up lie to my face and blame my insecurity until I provided evidence and 2) one of the only "Get Out of Jail Free" cards if other people think your boyfriend is just so sweet and nice and wonderful.

I mean, to bring it full circle, this whole thread got started because the LW got called an abuser, told she'd be single forever, what she wanted was 100% unreasonable, and that she's an insecure, controlling prude in Dr. NL Prime. The overwhelming response was not "Hey maybe you guys aren't a great fit; it's okay to break up." She was unhappy, her partner is unhappy, and yet the answer is not either a compromise or to end the relationship, but that she absolutely needs to change. That response, I've found, is not uncommon...
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Post by Caffeinated on Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:17 pm

reboundstudent wrote:
PintsizeBro wrote:In your cases when you wished you had snooped... you already didn't trust your now-exes. You already knew that on some level the relationship was broken. How would snooping have helped? Why not just end things? There's this tendency in our culture to think of breaking up with someone as a way to punish them when they did something bad, but I think that's unhealthy. If you're unhappy, that's reason enough to go.

It's for similar reasons as Eselle. The few times where I've been the one to break up with a guy based on a gut reaction, as opposed to something very obvious that he has done, I have caught hell from friends, acquaintances, and others (dating forums like these, for example.) If I've tried to talk about it with a partner, I've got labeled anything from insecure to "crazy." And there is a very strong cultural narrative-at least among the nerd social circles-that you are the only one responsible for your insecurity, and it is never your partner's problem, ever. Get a weird twinge in your stomach when you see your partner having tickle-wrestling fights with a girl he knows has a crush on him? Gaah, Marty, you're so paranoid. Hear constantly that skinny redheads with tattoos are the hottest? Man, Marty, you're so insecure. Your boyfriend has his long-standing crush (who, btws, he thinks is hotter than you) staying alone in his apartment after a night of drinking together and you are expressly not invited? Geez, Marty, stop being so controlling!

Gut instincts may be enough to break up with someone, but they are not enough to save you from people consistently nit-picking your decision.  

This all sounds like a good reason to never tell people why a relationship broke up, but rather to keep to vague things like "we grew apart" or "it just wasn't working" or "not quite the right fit but we wish each other well". Hard to argue with those, and if someone does, they're easy enough to repeat like a broken record. As soon as other reasons are brought up, there are some people who seem to want to argue with those reasons.
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Post by eselle28 on Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:32 pm

Caffeinated wrote: 
This all sounds like a good reason to never tell people why a relationship broke up, but rather to keep to vague things like "we grew apart" or "it just wasn't working" or "not quite the right fit but we wish each other well". Hard to argue with those, and if someone does, they're easy enough to repeat like a broken record. As soon as other reasons are brought up, there are some people who seem to want to argue with those reasons.

I typically tell people that's why I divorced, mostly because "he threw me down the stairs and broke my tailbone" tends to be a bit of a conversation sinker. They're useful scripts for shutting down conversation, but they don't shut down judgment, and by using them I'm basically accepting that many people (especially the ones who know that I was the one who wanted the divorce and he initially objected to it) will judge me as being the bad actor in my marriage. It's still the right choice for me, but I'm sympathetic to people who don't want to be judged by others as flighty or irresponsible - and I'm especially sympathetic to people who don't want to judge themselves as flighty or irresponsible for ending a relationship based on vague misgivings.
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Post by Caffeinated on Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:52 pm

eselle28 wrote:
Caffeinated wrote: 
This all sounds like a good reason to never tell people why a relationship broke up, but rather to keep to vague things like "we grew apart" or "it just wasn't working" or "not quite the right fit but we wish each other well". Hard to argue with those, and if someone does, they're easy enough to repeat like a broken record. As soon as other reasons are brought up, there are some people who seem to want to argue with those reasons.

I typically tell people that's why I divorced, mostly because "he threw me down the stairs and broke my tailbone" tends to be a bit of a conversation sinker. They're useful scripts for shutting down conversation, but they don't shut down judgment, and by using them I'm basically accepting that many people (especially the ones who know that I was the one who wanted the divorce and he initially objected to it) will judge me as being the bad actor in my marriage. It's still the right choice for me, but I'm sympathetic to people who don't want to be judged by others as flighty or irresponsible - and I'm especially sympathetic to people who don't want to judge themselves as flighty or irresponsible for ending a relationship based on vague misgivings.

Do you think it's a somewhat gendered thing to judge oneself or feel judged by others as flighty or irresponsible for ending a relationship? Is it mostly women who feel the need for proof or official reasons before ending things? Or do men feel that way too, but with maybe somewhat different bad results that they worry about?
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Post by eselle28 on Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:08 pm

Caffeinated wrote:
eselle28 wrote:
I typically tell people that's why I divorced, mostly because "he threw me down the stairs and broke my tailbone" tends to be a bit of a conversation sinker. They're useful scripts for shutting down conversation, but they don't shut down judgment, and by using them I'm basically accepting that many people (especially the ones who know that I was the one who wanted the divorce and he initially objected to it) will judge me as being the bad actor in my marriage. It's still the right choice for me, but I'm sympathetic to people who don't want to be judged by others as flighty or irresponsible - and I'm especially sympathetic to people who don't want to judge themselves as flighty or irresponsible for ending a relationship based on vague misgivings.

Do you think it's a somewhat gendered thing to judge oneself or feel judged by others as flighty or irresponsible for ending a relationship? Is it mostly women who feel the need for proof or official reasons before ending things? Or do men feel that way too, but with maybe somewhat different bad results that they worry about?

Oh, that's an interesting question. I can only look at the external social judgments that are out there to be internalized, but I'd say that at least in terms of marital relationships that men seem to face a lot of those judgments too. I think they might be slightly different judgments, but I think there are a lot of them floating around and that it's possible they may even be more severe. I mean, when I think of a 40-something guy with a couple of kids who initiates a divorce, I think the stereotype of him might be that he got tired of domesticity or wanted to find a younger partner unless someone added negative details about his wife's behavior.

With non-marital relationships, I do think straight women get a lot of messages about the need to find someone to marry and have children with before reaching a certain age in addition to the usual social bias against ending relationships, and I think a good number of women struggle with that. But possibly men deal with some different message that they also struggle with.
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Post by PintsizeBro on Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:08 pm

Caffeinated wrote:Do you think it's a somewhat gendered thing to judge oneself or feel judged by others as flighty or irresponsible for ending a relationship? Is it mostly women who feel the need for proof or official reasons before ending things? Or do men feel that way too, but with maybe somewhat different bad results that they worry about?
I think you're on to something here.

RBS, if I'd been in your position with a girlfriend who acted the way you describe your exes acting, none of my friends would have judged me poorly for ending things, even if I had no hard evidence that she was cheating. Is that because I'm a man, or because your friends aren't supportive of you in general? My money's on a little of both.

Now that I think of it, this might also be a nerd vs. non-nerd thing. When I wanted to make more friends in college, I tried joining the tabletop gaming club, but I never really felt welcome. So I joined a fraternity. I still think of myself as a nerd (I even work at a startup), a lot of fraternity guys do, but I guess I'm just too removed from designated-nerd social circles now.

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