Musings from outside the mainstream.
It sounds like the same old story. And maybe it is, for all we know. But, based on what was printed and shared, Dear Abby is guilty, again, of perpetuating a male stereotype while not challenging the female’s role in this scenario. Let’s review.
BETRAYED OUT WEST writes in about her “on and off” 14 year relationship with “Wayne.” They’ve been “back on for the past four,” but her problem is one of trust. Wayne, as it turns out, has a nine year old child and “didn’t mention it until four years ago.” This, incidentally, was during their last break up.
Plus, Wayne says the child was a result of a relationship that only lasted a few months, while the mother says it was a one night stand. BETRAYED is apparently hurt because he told her he didn’t want to have kids with her. And, well, he’s got one.
Abby’s response to BETRAYED is that the reason they’ve had an on/off relationship for 14 years is “because he has a problem with commitment,” as well as a “problem with leveling with you.”
Well, sorry Dear Abby, that’s a dated viewpoint. It’s a perfect example of women defining relationship, placing blame on men and taking no ownership of their own role in the situation. For one, we have no other details to make any kind of judgement regarding Wayne and how long he’s known about the child. What was their dating pattern the previous 5 years? Regardless, she’s known about the child before their latest “on” period and yet she chose to get back in bed with him.
So four years later she’s still resentful?
Look, we can only guess how much contact they have with each other during off periods. And I do have some sympathy with BETRAYED. Remember the part in When Harry Met Sally where Sally’s crying and says “He just didn’t want to do those things with me”? This seems very similar; he didn’t want to have a child with her. But then why is she still with him? That’s on her, not him.
My issue with Dear Abby is if after 14 years of an on again off again relationship and the guy can be labeled as commitment averse, how come the woman doesn’t get a label? Passive-aggressive maybe? Or, how about not calling anyone names? We’re not supposed to call women loose or sluts if they have many partners or want to play the field. But guys can still be called players or commitment-phoebes?
Let’s assume that Wayne and BETRAYED are adults. They’ve had an on again, off again relationship for 14 years. Neither should have to defend their choices or the results of their choices to each other during the off times when they get back together. And if BETRAYED wants more in terms of commitment, then she should move on and that’s what Dear Abby should have said, without the name calling.
BETRAYED, I break up with people if they don’t treat me the way I want to be treated or if I’m not getting what I want or need in relationship. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.