unravelling at night what she had woven during the day, as a clever ploy to “buy time” and stave off hungry suitors - Odyssey

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arguments and tactics

From: a friend I need to tell i appreciate more often
Date: 15 March, 2014 
To: a friend in need

Those all sound like good reasons to break up with someone.  I have to admit I was concerned the other week when you described him as perhaps a reformed woman hater.  as much as I like to think that as people have new experiences they grow and their personalities develop and they realize previous opinions they held were wrong - there is a large male population that outwardly expresses socially progressive views because they have been brow beaten into submission - but that's not a real reformation of spirit.  and when they feel challenged - whether because a woman got a job they didn't or a woman is writing her PhD and exploring ideas they didn't - they get defensive and resort to belittling.

I dated a guy who was certainly not an overt misogynist and I think would self-describe as progressive and supportive of women. but whenever we tried to have a thoughtful conversation about politics he would draw from his own stable of facts and hammer those facts in counter to my more theoretical musings to make his point and "win" the discussion.  that's definitely one way to win a debate and at the time (I was quite a bit younger than him) I thought he must be very smart and well-read to know all these facts but over time I realized that that's exactly all he had, this stable of tired facts that he would trot out. and they are impressive but if he was just listening to what I was actually saying he would have realized that there were connections between his facts and my broader, perhaps less developed or concise, musings.  a better man (or woman) would have encouraged dialogue and discussion to highlight the ways in which we were talking about the same thing AND the ways we weren't and then we could have both developed as opposed to him deciding that he had sufficient facts for life and should just defend and protect those existing facts and me feeling like my ideas weren't valid because there was something out there that challenged them.

I didn't really think that much about this tactic at the time. the relationship ran its course and ended.  but as I got older I started to realize this is a common tactic among some people - to use a few comfortable facts to hammer their opponent.  it's not specifically anti-female but it just seems that more men have been groomed to use this tactic and when someone does not - like asking a question or wondering about the strength of an idea, they subconsciously see it as weakness and an opportunity to be Right and use their helpful facts.  it's really fucking annoying.  I don't think it comes from a bad place necessarily but it definitely kills a conversation and wastes a lot of potential mutual growth.  I mean you could emerge from a conversation still thinking your original POV is right for you, but wouldn't hearing the other possibilities be good?

im not saying my boyfriend is perfect - not by a long shot - he's often sullen when he's stressed (as you saw) and his obsession with knowing the Right Answer often causes him to nitpick points that are really ancillary to the arc of an idea but at least I feel he respects my intelligence. 

for someone like you - someone for whom learning is so important - you should be with someone that you can comfortably share that with.  obviously no one is perfect and everyone you meet will be flawed but you need to be with someone who has the same values as you. 

I would say, if the sex is good and you're having fun then just continue to have fun even if you realize long term there's not enough there to sustain a relationship - so long as it doesn't prevent you from seeking other, more positive relationships, but it sounds like it isn't fun any more and I know this is an important year for you school wise so maybe ending it is the right call.  you know yourself best and if your instinct was to end it now then I think it's good you listened.  too many people stay in limp relationships because they fear being single or optimistically keep giving their partner extra chances when really everyone should just go their own way.

sigh.  im at work. I suspect you are working too.

- important friend


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