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Musings of a conflicted feminist.
As I get older I feel like I know less rather than more about many things. Relationships are one of those things.

I would love to have a partner to share life with BUT (&it's a big butt) I look back at my past relationships and the relationships around me and don't like what I see. In my own relationships and those of many of my friends I see the male partner taking the role of the "final decision maker". Idk if its a product of the way we were raised or if it's a biological tendancy. It's an academic question anyway. The one truth I've seen is that people give up their autonomy in exchange for love and its often the woman giving more.

I've tried going my own way anyway and that ends up with angry,resentful men. I have no interest in subverting my desires or goals to someone else's. I've tried compromise but I always find that I am the one compromised at the end of the day.

In a low moment I whined to a friend of mine that I'm just the kind of person bound to end up single and nothings going to change that. I think ,minus the dramatic whining, that is probably more true than I realised when I said it.

By OpposingOpposum9
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13 comments

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1

Honest compromise is the only solution....There are men ( and women, as well ) that insist on having their way without considering their partner's feelings/needs... Terrible foundation for a relationship. And long as there is a willingness, on BOTH sides, to make honest compromise, the relationship will flourish...You have to approach sensitive subjects with honesty & candor, but facing them is something you must do...I have never tried to tell any of my previous partners how to run their personal lives, never forbade them to go where ever they needed to go or tried to tell them who they could associate with... I cannot figure out for the life of me why anyone would want to... It's fun being supreme boss, I guess, everything going YOUR way... but only for you & nobody else... Why would anyone want to be involved in a relationship like that ?

Beansdad Level 5 Mar 25, 2018

Man sometimes all I see around me is partners being super jealous and controlling. The worst part is everyone seems to think that is a sign of how much they care. Like "if it doesn't bother you that I interact socially with people of the opposite sex, you must not love me".(this was a thing actually said to me by my last partner) Its really pervasive.

1

I have known people like yourself and I must say it isn't always the others you must contend with. You should ask yourself many questions and having done that start your quest anew. My friend was great with me but he was not great with his family . It was more likr they were a noose around his neck, His wife wasn't any better and I was surprised it lasted 20 years.

Marine Level 8 Mar 25, 2018
4

Hi again Bird, I've thought a lot about the same stuff, and yes, this is a quandary.

The way I see it, the real issue is a double whammy;

  1. the people in the potential relationship are new to each other, hence on their best behavior AND shy about addressing deeper topics.

  2. the BIGGER problem, as I see it, is that both parties do NOT look into their own persona, each staying 'blissfully' unaware of their own preconceived biases.

The solution, tho simple to state, is not easy to implement. If the couple begin thinking/discussing 'long term' they might think about listing possible future conflict areas. (money, children, combining homes,... what else...?) ... If your future together matters, discussions are necessary... What do you, gentle readers, think?

1

I was married lasted nineteen years
Looking back I consider it successful
Looking for someone to enjoy the great outdoors
Can you say rafting mountain bike
Campfire I'm really quite religious
Been an outlaw all my life

Johanvail Level 4 Mar 25, 2018
6

This is reminding me of bell hooks again, and her argument that society conditions men to be "go-getting" and primarily concerned with their own performance and women to be passive and primarily concerned with being liked, leading to the situation that most women cannot find happiness in relationships. It's all very well to be aware of that and opposed to it; actually breaking ourselves out of it after so many years of conditioning is a different matter, of course, and it's why I'm convinced that the majority of women are better off, and will lead happier and more enriched lives, by remaining single.

However, to love and be loved in an equal partnership is a wonderful thing; I hope you'll find someone who will love you for who you are and won't try to stop you being you. smile001.gif

If you are not a feminist in love, you fail to recognise someone who does not love you. Feminism makes love easier; otherwise, there is the danger of feeling romantically drawn to someone who does not see you as an equal. - Gloria Steinem

Jnei Level 8 Mar 25, 2018

Yes. I find that when I get "go get 'em" everyone becomes a critic. "You spend more time at work than with your kids", "why do you have to be so pushy", "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar". All for simply behaving the exact same way my male colleagues do. Because I'm female this is seen as a problem. I've seriously considered trying to pass as a man and see how I'd be treated.

@Blindbird That would be a very interesting experiment - I bet if you did exactly the same things as a woman one day and a man the next, you'd be called "an over-ambitious bitch" the first day and "a dynamic leader" the next. Seeing people's reactions when you revealed it'd been you all along would be priceless too!

4

I am a 50/50 person, and if it is obvious that I know less about the situation, I am happy to give up any portion of my '50', and vise virsa. But you are right, that can be a problem. My last girlfriend was a feminist. Yet, I found she expected me to do all the 'manly' things...whatever that means...but the stereotype. I don't mind doing my share of anything, but I was taking care of two households at the time (hers and caretaking my mom). It wore me out. One thing I am awful at is making arbitrary decisions, if I don't have an opinion one way or another, I don't venture one. (Though, as I type this, is this because I am not invested? Hadn't really thought about that...hmmm). But 50/50 is how it has to go...plus that allows you to exult in victory and laugh in defeat...haha

I think being invested in each others' lives in a more or less equal way is important, even if that investment simply means supporting what the other wants to achieve. For me, it often means I take some kind of pro-active role, which usually involves educating myself and looking for ways to make it easier. Where I usually run into problems is that the other person doesn't do likewise.

@bingst This is true! When 'let's' really means 'why don't you'....haha. My problem is that I like a bit of chaos in my surroundings...it feeds my creativity. But too much diffuses me. This caretaking thing has allowed me to become more organized out of necessity. But this has had effect when it comes to things like, what do you think of this color? Is it pink? No. Then I like it. (I don't see shades of red.) Or furniture organization, wall decorations (nobody wants me to decorate their walls with my taste, unless you run toward middle inquisition...hehe). The things I consider mundane...which aren't to other people. And that is my problem.

6

I guess I'm going thru something similar. Maybe if I tell you what I'm going thru that can be a comment on what you've said. I kind of have the masculine version of what a lot of women have. They seek out the attention and approval of men; daddy issues, and I seek out the attention and approval of women; 'mommy' issues if you will. I am too often incapable of recognising the wrong kind of woman because women are supposed to be right and I'm wrong. Or I'm supposed to save a woman. I know, fucked up right? Getting out of a relationship/marriage right now cause I am tired of waiting for her to get unstuck. Me helping wasn't working either. My moving on is a good first step but my lonelines and need from my failed marriage caused me to develop a connection with a woman with daddy issues. The exact worst thing I could do. However all this has been a painful AND tremendous learning experience. I know I can't let go of 'myself' so much in any kind of relationship. I also can't save anyone from themselves. And maybe the most important thing is to not expect to have that serious, deep connection. Don't even look for it but only let it happen if it does. Otherwise my assumptions for a healthy relationship; emotional health, physical connection, good communication and space haven't changed. I'm just not going to try and force the issue. You're right it can be very lonely but I think it can lead to a better place. We should not give up our hard won self-awareness just to avoid sleeping alone. I hope I haven't been too self-indulgent in my comments. With you in the struggle. Peace.

kmdskit3 Level 8 Mar 25, 2018

Not at all. Thanks for sharing your experience.

5

I truly am a consensus seeker in all areas of a relationship. There are a surprising number of women who have a problem with that. I have heard "You should be the man and take charge" or "It's sexy when you are dominant" too many times. Some women want both. It's very hard to walk that tightrope! I'm ahead of my time on this issue I guess.

I thnk I'm like this, too. I like the idea of consensus in a relationship.

I like that.

5

Relationships are about "common ground." They sometimes require work and sacrifice to be fulfilling, as well as rewarding for both partners. Personally, I value a woman's freedom and independence as much as my own. I think a relationship should be a matter of give 'n' go, but you should never sacrifice your "true" self for anyone. I also think couples should have some "me" time, as I think that's healthy for both. You should be able to stand on your own, but want to share your time with your partner. Of course it's up to each couple to find that intersection which actually defines that overlap, which we call (also mathematical definition) a relationship.

randy2084 Level 5 Mar 25, 2018
4

I've been sitting here trying to think of some wise and sage advice...... I got nothing! smile001.gif
Mainly because each of our experiences is different and so I could tell you what I think and someone else could too, but it may not be right for you. So we share our experiences and views and hope that you can take away from that something, anything you can use.

I tend to be optimistic about most things and I love being in love and sharing moments. I think how that plays out for me, especially at my age, could vary in many ways (maybe not living together, most likely not marriage, etc) and I am open to that. I understand that I won't meet a man, marry, and live happily ever after but I am hopeful that it will be some variation of that.

I'm a rather strong woman so I haven't experienced much in the area of losing my autonomy. Plus, I have absolutely no problem compromising. You must in order to have a successful relationship. You do it with your friends, so why not a partner. But compromise is fluid and not always 50/50 so understanding that is important. Having said that, when one person feels that they are doing all the giving, it MUST be addressed EARLY and BEFORE it gets to a point of no return. Communication is key!

I may end up a single woman the rest of my life, but I hope that isn't the case. I am proactive in finding a partner but not obsessed. I go about living my life with the hope that there is someone out there for me.

Just one last thing. We must work and fight for what we want. It could just show up one day but more likely than not, you have to make it happen. And it can take time so have patience.

BeeHappy Level 9 Mar 25, 2018
6

Another thing: I find it far to easy to slip into the roll of follower. There's a comfort in letting someone else make your decisions. It's like not exercising because you're tired though. If you give up to that laziness you lose the energy you do have and the potential energy you could have gained by exerting yourself. Eh idk.

But you can see this now. All that's left is to remember to act on it, when the opportunity arises.

Yeah, that was what destroyed my marriage. My wife was thrilled to have me making all the decisions. And after five years of that, boy, I was making some incredibly dumb decisions. It seems unlikely I will remarry, but now at least one of the things I really look for in potential partners is one that doesn't hesitate to say "Doug, that's BS, you're thinking is all wrong on this." Because sometimes, yeah, I am full of it. smile003.gif

6

Yeah, most if not all of the "successful" relationships I see in friends and family more or less involve one party being subsumed by the other. I prefer not to be the subsumer or the subsumee, but I have yet to figure out how to do that. And yes, the older I get, the less I know. And I was an idiot as a young man.

Druvius Level 7 Mar 24, 2018
5

No. You are perfect just the way you are. Any man that would cage a blindbird simply isn't what you want. And to compromise that would be to give too much. Patience. That's all. I need to learn it, too.

smile015.gif

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