[Ed note: Jyl is leaving us. This column is reprinted from the July 28, 2010 Flagpole.
I come to you with a conundrum. I feel as though I am an unusual man. I am conscious of the feminist movement and try to treat women with the respect they deserve. I do not feel that I own any woman. I have tried to share my life experiences with several women, but do not try to force my opinions on them. However, I have had less luck with women following this ideology. It seems to me that the more I act like an asshole to a woman I am fond of, the more she reacts positively to my actions. Whenever I treat a woman like she is independent, she runs over me. I do not feel like this is a universal problem among all women, but perhaps this a problem among Athenian women who live in this hook-up-above-all-else town. Perhaps I want to finally get serious with someone. My question to you is this: If not Athens, then where should I live? Where would I have better luck treating women the way they deserve without getting my ass stomped? Because this town is not cutting the mustard.
I get this letter a lot. Almost as often as the one that asks “Why are guys such assholes? And why do they say they want a relationship and then run away after we sleep together?” The answer, as you probably know, is that people suck. Men suck, women suck… we suck. We don’t know what we want, or we do and we don’t hold out for it. We take whatever is easiest and most available to us at the time, because it’s better than sleeping alone, or they live closer than we do to the bar, or we think we’re empowered, or that we’re getting back at the last person that broke our hearts. It isn’t about where you live, even though we would all like to believe that Athens is the only place of its kind anywhere. It’s about who you’re dating. And even that isn’t always your fault. People can look really great on paper or at first glance and then end up being all kinds of fucked up. The only thing you can do is live where and how you want to live and keep trying to meet another person who wants the same things that you do. It’s not easy. There is bound to be a lot of disappointment. You may not even know the right woman when she comes along (at first). But eventually, through what will likely be much trial and error, you will find something worthwhile. You just have to keep at it. What else are you going to do?
I am married to this lady, but now we are separated and headed for divorce. She lives in Athens with our child. I want to move back to be near her my child and to get into the music scene. Her mother and I were together for a long time but I don’t want to get back with her; I just want to be near my sweet little daddy’s girl. Is this a good idea or not?
Confused in Town
Unless you have no custody rights or a restraining order, I can’t see how moving to be closer to your child is a bad thing, CT. Just make sure you have a job and a plan when you get here, and avoid getting too involved in your ex’s life.
I am about to move in with my boyfriend. This is the first guy I have ever lived with, and we have been together for a couple of years and we get along really well. We are both in our mid- to late-20s, and we have definitely talked about the future. No specific plans, but at the moment it seems likely that we will eventually get married.
The thing that worries me is that I read recently that couples who live together before they get married are more likely to break up. I can’t imagine not living with somebody before marrying them, because in my mind it makes sense that you need to be compatible, and living together seems like the way to really get to know whether you can make it work. Am I crazy? I don’t want to ruin our relationship, and I also don’t understand how living together first makes it less likely to work. I am so happy right now. We are picking out glasses and sheets and things, and it seems like the perfect time, but I can’t help being worried in the back of my mind. What do you think?
My read on that statistic (which has been much discussed, by the way) is that couples who get married first and then move in together have already signed the contract and therefore feel more inclined to try to work things out. If you aren’t married, then all you have to do is move your stuff and it’s over, but if you’re married, then it’s a Divorce. As a person who has cohabited with men more than once, I can only say that when it ends it sucks no matter how you cut it. I have never been divorced, so I can’t speak to that, but I think there are people who are more willing to work things out and there are people who are more likely to walk, and that being married may make you slightly more apt to try, but that moving in together is the natural next step to a serious relationship.
I do recommend addressing any potential roommate issues as soon as they come up, however. There is no reason why a toilet seat or a toothpaste cap should lead to a screaming fight, but on the other hand, there’s also no reason why anyone should be expected to simply accept all of their significant other’s habits for what they are. The key is compromise, whether you’re married or not. Communicate, find the middle ground and compromise. And for the time being, enjoy your giddy first purchases together and don’t worry what the statistics say; 96.7 percent of them are made up on the spot anyway.
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