am a 26-year-old female, and I’ve been with my boyfriend for
almost five years. Our relationship is pretty good, for the
most part, but I’m having a few reservations. I don’t really
know how to broach this subject, because I feel like I’m just
being a bratty little princess. But here it goes:
I feel like I’m at the bottom of my boyfriend’s priority list.
He’ll stay up until 5 AM working on something, but he won’t
sacrifice an hour to do something with me. He leaves for work
around 9:30 AM, and most nights doesn’t come home until 10
PM. Every household expense must be split exactly 50-50, regardless
of the fact that he makes four times what I make. If I eat
a little more than my fair share, he makes me pay him back.
He has a car and I don’t, but he’ll only ever give me a lift
somewhere (like work) if he’s already going that way—but he
still makes me pay for gas, even though he was already going
that way. He doesn’t bat an eyelash at spending $2,500 on
new stereo equipment, but puts a $50 capper on my birthday
dinner, saying “if it goes over $50, you’re paying the rest.”
If I’m stranded out in the middle of nowhere in the middle
of the night and call him crying (this actually happened),
he’ll tell me to call my other friends first and if none of
them can come, then I can call him back and he’ll come get
me—but I’m paying for gas.
We only ever have sex when he’s in the mood. Then, if I want
to change position because I don’t like being twisted like
a pretzel, he gets angry and stops. So if I want it, I just
have to pretend it doesn’t hurt to have my legs pushed so
far back they’re gonna pop out of my hip sockets.
He wants me to go to college, which I’m doing this September,
and so I asked him if he would let me pay slightly less than
50-50 for rent so I could afford it. His response was: “Lots
of people put themselves through college, why should you get
any special treatment?”
Here’s the thing, though: Isn’t it only fair to split our
expenses 50-50, even if it breaks me? And isn’t it fair to
ask for gas money when he has to do all the driving? Can I
expect a man to spend more on me than I can spend on him?
I don’t want to be showered with expensive gifts and lavish
vacations, though, I just want to feel like I’m worth something,
you know? Am I being selfish?
If you’re a new reader, SAD, you may not be familiar with
this handy acronym: DTMFA. It stands for “dump the motherfucker
already,” and halfway through your letter I started muttering
DTMFA under my breath. By the end, I was screaming DTMFA at
my laptop. On an airplane.
Look, SAD, this isn’t a relationship. It’s a hostage situation.
Your boyfriend is an asshole. Wait, maybe I’m not being
fair—to assholes, which are as delightful as they are functional.
Your boyfriend is a piece of shit, a loose stool, a santorum
slick. And you, my dear, have the worst case of lousy- relationship-induced
Stockholm syndrome that I’ve ever encountered. Stockholm syndrome—when
a hostage begins to identify with, and feel sympathy for,
her captor—is the only possible explanation for the final
paragraph of your letter, in which you meekly justify your
boyfriend’s appalling behavior. Stop identifying with your
captor! Stop making excuses for the way he treats you! DTMFA!
To steel your resolve to leave this piece of shit, SAD, let
me clue you in to a few secrets of healthy relationships:
Where a large income disparity exists, household expenses
are split based on the percentage that each individual’s income
means to a couple’s total combined income. If he makes four
times what you make, he should pay—and pay gladly—80 percent
of the household expenses, while you pay 20 percent. By insisting
on a 50/50 split, your boyfriend is treating you like a roommate,
not a girlfriend.
Moving on, a boyfriend is someone who comes to your aid when
you need him. If you get stuck somewhere and you call him,
he jumps out of bed and comes to help you—as quickly as he
can. He doesn’t tell you to call everyone else you know, or
leave you standing out there in the rain. He certainly doesn’t
hit you up for gas money! Yes, yes: We should avoid overburdening
our significant others, SAD, but we have a right to expect
that they will be there for us during emergencies.
I could go on and on, SAD. Sex? A loving boyfriend may make
special requests about positions—hell, he can make demands
(and a good girlfriend can as well)—but he does not force
his girlfriend’s body into uncomfortable positions against
her wishes, and he doesn’t withhold sex to punish her if she
refuses to consent to being so abused. College? Yes, lots
of people put themselves through college, but lots of people
have partners who helped them out when they were paying their
way through college. Birthday dinners? Only a piece of shit
threatens his less-well-off girlfriend with having to pay
the difference if her birthday dinner goes over $50.
DTMFA, SAD, DTMFA! You can do better—hell, being alone would
be better than being with this asshole. DTMFA!
I’ve been engaged to Max for a year. We’ve been together
for four. We have a 6-month-old baby. Last spring we tried
living together but by fall I moved out because Max wasn’t
coming home for several hours after work every day. He would
go over his friend Renaldo’s house instead, leaving me to
care for our child all day and night. I am a full-time student
and I need his help! I just found out that Renaldo is gay.
Max seemed surprised as well. However, he is still going over
to Renaldo’s. Max is very comfortable with gays and despite
not living together our sex life is good, no noticeable changes.
Dan, is my fiancé gay? Tell me before I marry him!
Out More Often
Dunno. Inconsiderate, unreliable, lousy partner, neglectful
parent? Yes, yep, yup, and ya. Shall we set aside the whole
pole-smokin’ issue, HOMO, and focus on what’s really going
on here? If this is how your fiancé treats you when you’re
engaged and have a new baby, how the fuck do you think he’s
going to treat you after you’ve been married for a few years?
You too need to DTMFA, HOMO. DTMFA!
Point of Personal Privilege: I’ve mentioned a certain ex of
mine in this space a number of times over the years. Tommy
Ladd was the kind of person everyone should hook up with when
they’re first becoming sexually active. He was as wise as
he was sexy, as kind as he was funny. He was older but not
too much older, cynical but not jaded. We were only together
for one semester at college—but, oh, what a semester. Tommy
was comfortable with sex in a way that I wasn’t, and to this
day I’m grateful to him for beating—sometimes literally—the
hang-ups out of me. Tommy died suddenly last month. The planet
is a less-interesting place without you on it, Tommy.