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Author Topic: searching for histories of others with decent boyfrineds from outside the "scene"
naplement
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[woman here] The title of this group is "Need others who've been where you're at to help out?", so I'd like to ask you if you ever had a relationship with a guy [as they are in a different position than women] who wasn't really educated in feminism etc, but happened to be simply a decent human being, so you could construct a happy and egalitarian relationship with him. I am asking you this, because I am too depressed to judge things rationally right now, but between the shitty media around me and what goes on as "normal" in comments at forums in my language (in my second-world country), I am beginning to panic and/or considering emigrating, because the pool of possible boyfriends who are age-compatible, single and make part of the tiny feminist, traditional-gender-role-questioning etc. scene is extremely small, so there seem to be a very small chance of finding anyone without 1. getting into stuff I am not that much wanting, but better than nothing, and at least the theories are compatible 2. giving up the expectation of being treated as an equal 3. emigrating somewhere where "normal" is different, which would need a lot of effort and risk and money.

I am trying to tell myself that it's not just about theory, which depends of your social background, but also about being decent and a good person, which can happen to anybody in any context... so there might be people with whom I might have healthy relationships, even if they haven't read all there is to read about all this gender stuff (and it's only the depression and anxiety that made me unable to imagine this)... but... I don't know. I'd be glad if people from similar positions would tell me their experience.

ps: if guys want to comment, I'd be curious of their perspectives too.

[ 02-09-2012, 09:16 AM: Message edited by: naplement ]

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Heather
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I do think it's important to recognize that this isn't always just about cisgender guys. Because lord knows, plenty of women aren't on board with feminism either, some are outright misogynist, and two women won't automatically have an egalitarian relationship (or have the same levels of cultural or social power or agency) just because they're both women.

That said, if you want personal anecdotes, I can think of two different relationships I have had in my life, one with a cisgender guy, another with a cisgender woman, who were not people I'd describe as having a lot of feminist background or sensibilities before we dated where that was manageable. Easy? No. Especially not at first (and in the case of one of those people, his social circle was always the most challenging part of this, rather than he himself). But okay, ultimately? Yep.

I think it's important to remember that all of us are in process in life, whatever our gender or politics. People don't tend to be static, especially when we're younger, a time of life when we are often particularly ever-changing and what we think and feel is usually more flexible than it will be as we get older.

And part -- one of the biggest parts, really -- of what intimate relationships offer us is an opportunity for growth, help in our own personal growth (and that means for everyone in a relationship, not just one person or one set of politics). So, when we really connect with someone and create and sustain a relationship, none of us walks out of it the exact same people we walked in, unless we just don't participate in that relationship.

I'd also bear in mind that general forums and the media tend to be representations of lowest-common denominator thinking. In other words, the idea that either of those things are representative of any people as a whole is, I think, a very problematic idea that doesn't tend to hold water.

[ 02-09-2012, 10:25 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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naplement
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Thank you. I know that these problems are present not only in het repationships, or for cis people, I only simplified the question to this because that's what I would personally be dealing with. Also, I try not to set myself apart from the rest of the humanity (or 99% of it) as The Enlightened One, I try not to be disrespectful to others, and I know how much our views are defined by personal history and how they can change (I did change a lot in my life too, and I probably will continue to do so).

I just want a relationship where I am not held up to a rigid standard of How All Women Should Be, and where we can build something more from what we happen to want and less from what we are supposed to want (or what gives him status). I want to have a relationship as described in the articles around here about love, and I am afraid that what passes in most places as "common sense" about relationships would get in the way. [Frown]

also, re: changing, I guess it's also good to have some minimums you want to protect (boundaries in this domain, too), what do you think is a realist way for dealing with these? Is it useful to have a lsit of what are the most basic things I don't want to change, or life is so chaotic that fixing things like this would be of no help?

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Heather
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Well, I'm not sure a list of what we don't want to have change about ourselves or our lives in relationships would be all that useful, but I do think a list of the things you really value and like about yourself -- and that feel like the core of who you are, to you -- and what you want and are looking for in intimate relationships can be. Obviously, those lists may change over time, but they probably would be helpful to you.

I also think what you said here is helpful:
quote:
I just want a relationship where I am not held up to a rigid standard of How All Women Should Be, and where we can build something more from what we happen to want and less from what we are supposed to want (or what gives him status). I want to have a relationship as described in the articles around here about love, and I am afraid that what passes in most places as "common sense" about relationships would get in the way.
That says a lot about what you want, and is certainly something you can keep in mind and bring to the table when pursuing and developing relationships.

Can I ask if the things you are worried about in this post are troubles you have been having in dating/intimate relationships so far?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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naplement
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well, I am officially not in "dating mode" now, but again, I hardly ever was, the difference being that this time it's voluntary (not like there were any good offers to refuse). I want to get out of the depression and to have better friendships first. But I also feel the need to have some hope on the horizon, even if not reachable in the short term, that's why I have started this topic.

In the past, I had one relationship with a guy who was really good in these fronts, this one I have screwed up because of Issues, and a second one which was doomed from the start due to different expectations, life plans, worldviews, geographical locations etc, but the actual interactions were really sweet and respectful, and this ended because of the incompatibilities. Both of these were quite short. In rest, I am chronically single, inexperienced and without much first-hand experience in my head to balance those awful media representations.

I used to frame much of those two guys' niceness as "youthful naivity and idealism" (both were a bit younger than me), but I hope I was wrong.

(Also, I had some interactions with a guy who was quite rigid in stuff like wanting to pay for food, and I ended up realizing that he is actually a jerk, so I got reminded that there are some limits I should maintain).

I will definitely make that list.

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Heather
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So, it sounds to me like your reality with dating so far -- limited though it has been -- mostly stands counter to your fears about it in this regard. Do I have that right?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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naplement
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There is 1 example of a guy who was part of the tiny feminism-conscious etc subculture, so the fact that he was good at this front is not really an example for what I was asking (I was curious about "outsiders"). The second one is better for this, but I don't know how our relationship would have developed if we had fewer of the differences in the rest of the things. I never had a functional relationship.

edit: sorry for not being clear enough in my answers.

[ 02-09-2012, 12:04 PM: Message edited by: naplement ]

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Heather
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Well, you might also want to know that, unfortunately, a guy saying he's feminist or being part of those communities doesn't mean he's automatically okay, either, or earnestly gets those things. [Frown]

My point was that it sounds like, so far, what you're afraid of hasn't really been a barrier for you, and like you experienced, that's hardly the only thing that can make relationships work or not, be good ones or not.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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naplement
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I know that any theory can be used in shitty ways (and I have experienced how is it to have [theories I otherwise respect] used against me). I liked that first guy because he was a good person, not just because the ideas in his head. In rest, I just don't have enough experience. Even the idea that good relationships are possible at all is one I got from reading and listening to others. [I don't want to be dramatic, just clarifying.]
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Heather
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Btw, naplement, thought of you and this thread the other day when my ex -- one of the people I brought up at the top of this thread -- called me. We haven't been together as a couple now for a few years, but we consider each other family and are very close friends. Can't imagine my life without him in it in some way: would be like losing a brother.

But he called to thank me for a couple things, personal things, but the gist is that my approach with him then and now, which has an awful lot to do with my feminism, has seriously benefitted his life, made him feel stronger and safer in himself, changed the way he relates to people for the better.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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naplement
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Thank you.
In the meantime, I have been thinking about this, and also talked with my psychologist, and my present position is that while I still do believe that some guys (and women, but they don't matter for my dating intentions) do follow too many macho rules for me to ever be in a relationship with them, I don't have enough information to know, statistically, how prevalent is this in my city (and I do know a few great guys here, so it's non-zero)... and then this basic information has got "infected" with my fears and anxieties coming from personal sources, so it built this huge fear that felt legit, but it was part rationalization. So before anything else, I have to untangle the rational beliefs (which I do want to keep) from the fears (which were also logical in their own way at a certain point in the past, but they aren't helping me now). [Smile]

Also, if we are talking about giving thanks, this site has helped me a lot in getting an idea about what a healthy relationship, and good boundaries, can look like. Thank you guys.

[ 02-15-2012, 08:01 AM: Message edited by: naplement ]

Posts: 124 | From: hungary | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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