Sunday, May 11, 2008

You Don't Own Me!

Last night I dreamt that I got back together with my most recent ex-boyfriend (henceforth known as "The Liar") specifically so that I could break up with him again, because there was yet another reason that had not been addressed. Clearly, there are still some things that piss me off and need to be addressed.

*Disclaimer: I am switching back between second and third here. Understand, that unless you recognize yourself as "The Liar," places where I use the second aren't actually directed to you (except in this sentence), and I am just mentally telling off The Liar.

The Liar and I struggled a lot with the power dynamic in our relationship. Even worse, he did not recognize that it was a problem, even when I would point it out. In fact, he would ofttimes react angrily, kind of proving my point. Given that he was male, and older than I, we were already, in socio-political terms, poised to have an uneven balance of power in our relationship.

He was bossy and controlling. But, I am a stubborn filly who fought against that.

Point one: he tried to tell me how to dress. There are a few occasions when it is okay to offer suggestions on attire to me. For example, if you know something about the weather. i.e., it is appropriate to tell me I should bring my raincoat. Not controlling, just helpful. Another example: if you are taking me to an event that requires specialized clothing, such as a beach trip or a costume party. A third reason you might tell me what to wear is if you are bringing me to a formal event, such as a wedding. Then you can tell me "hey. it''s a formal event." [Side rant: The Liar and I had been together for 3 years when his best friend got married, and he refused to take me as his date. Of course, in retrospect, it is because his card house o'lies would have come crumbling down if he had.]

But, what he would do was insist I dress sexier, or cuter, or younger, or older, or whatever. Here's the deal. I am not a paper doll, and I am not there for you just to dress up in sexy outfits so you can look at me. There is a HUGE difference between "You look Sexy" (good) and "go put on this outfit that I think is sexy" (bad).

He tried to make me change. Now, if I want to change something about myself, and you want to be supportive of that, it's wonderful. But, do not, unsolicited, tell me what I should change about myself. Can you believe that he told me I would be a happier person if I lost weight? He paid for that, let me tell you. [abbreviated version: blah,blah, unrealistic body standards imposed by the media, blah, blah, my height and frame versus how much weight you claim I should lose, blah, blah health issues of being underweight. blah, blah fuck you.]
He also wanted me to move to an apartment he liked better, with no regards for my financial situation. He also wanted me to get rid of a bunch of my stuff in my apartment because he didn't like it. (remember that we weren't living together).

There are more examples, I am sure, but the issue was this. He claimed to be in love with me, and he claimed to like me because I was smart, strong and independent. But, at the core, he still viewed me as a sex object that he wanted to control. The more he tried to control me, the more I resisted, and then the more controlling he attempted to become. It was a vicious cycle that had no resolution. I refused to become his fantasy, and he refused to see that there was a power struggle within our relationship. It had to end.

There doesn't need to be a power dynamic in a relationship. In a healthy relationship, partners are equals, and want to be such. Save the control for games!

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