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The last person I was really interested in, a lot of privileges intersected and I think it was hard for me. He was a cis white man with economic privilege (he was unemployed when we met, but he came from a family where he was at least getting an allowance and I'm sure he never wanted for anything, and I used to have that same economic privilege, but when we met, I only had enough money to pay for food for my internship, so there were a lot of instances where I felt I had to pretend I was in the same socioeconomic class with him to "keep up." When we got dinner together we'd put down the same amount but I think that, looking back, perhaps we should have worked out an "equitable" arrangement instead of an "equal" one (to borrow a concept from bell hooks).
Later, after he dumped me for someone who was closer for him to get to, I realized he had a lot of other privileges too: his race privilege and his ability to be connected to communities meant that it was easier for him to simply find someone else and enjoy the privilege of being a "feminist" in predominantly white spaces where he would be congratulated for that, and being a white man means he'll never have a problem with people finding him attractive or wanting to be committed to him in relationships. My isolation (as both a function of my class and race) meant that I couldn't take the same things for granted - that I could be loved after he broke up with me, that people would want to commit to dating me because I lived in an area that was really isolated from public transportation. I'm still dealing with all of this over a year later, so it's hard for me to say what is more difficult.
I hit pretty much every category of privilege except close conformity to beauty norms and physical ability (I have chronic back problems, though they don't *usually* impede my day-to-day functioning), neither of which have been problematic (as far as I can tell) when dating someone who is advantaged relative to me along those two vectors. Being aware of that, I try to check my own privilege as much as possible, especially in intimate relationships.
I have run into problems with this in two unexpected areas. First with people who grew up in nuclear families, it's not a dynamic I grew up in so I don't understand it all. People don't always get why I have a difficult time bonding with all (male) members of their family. Secondly, I always have problems with people who have been more emotionally privileged than I have. It's ridiculously frustrating trying to explain that I have literally almost no emotional IQ. on the flip side I notice that people who are very Erroll emotionally versed have no idea how to reach something that Congress so second nature to them.
I voted economic privelege, it's never been a huge problem but I sometimes feel guilty about leeching off my boyfriend even though he's told me more than once not to worry about it.
I wasnt sure if it counted, or if it might be under education (:P), but the hardest 'inequality' i have found in a relationship was having a relationship with someone who had a lot more sexual experience. The boyfriend who i lost my virginity had quite a few previous sexual partners and i always worried that i wouldnt live up to them, or that he would think i was prudish/naive/immature. Luckily, we were in a relationship and he had ended his days of sleeping around (which is where he got his experience from), and he was very understanding and loving when it came to my nervousness about sex
Just in case some of you don't know what we're on about here, when we talk about privilege, we mean: a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most, or the principle or condition of enjoying special rights or immunities.
For example, white privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, privilege based on citizenship status, size, money, etc.
Editor & Founder, Scarleteen: Sex Ed for the Real World
Author, S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and Col
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