NiNja (No Income No Job) Love
June 15, 2009 5:12 PM   Subscribe

How do I get through this rough patch in my relationship OR do I DTMFA? 3 years into this, my, what a strange rut we've gotten into.

**The main question: How do I get through this rough patch in my relationship or do I DTMFA?**

Me: I'm a late 20's very privileged White male working on my PhD, and I help with the family real estate business. I've had some setbacks on my dissertation, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend. I live at home with parents, and I was, up until recently happy to help out with the biz. I'm finding that my parents have no appreciation for what I do-- and that's tough but I can bargain in my mind that it is justified work for my being able to live at home for free. With two major projects recently finished, I am ready to try to get a job in my field-- the best one I can without having my PhD done, at least. I have a reputation as a sort of lazy guy, I don't really study, I have an excellent memory, etc. At this point though, I see the importance of buckling down, and I'm doing my best to find work in my field.

She: Same age, Asian female, and an employed doctor. She also lives at home, and is already out-earning her parents. Her mother is really strict, probably borderline, and hates our being in a relationship. Her dad and brother (who used to be a good friend of mine, we're at least civil now) are both epic doormats. She had said before that she wants to get our relationship stuff "figured out" by the end of this year. Basically, she wants to figure out about marriage. Her mother is a tyrant that she fears, and she isn't honest with her about spending time with me. Recently, she has stopped putting out. Wow, that sucks.

Something happened lately, (maybe within the last 3 weeks) I'm not sure what exactly, but she really has come down hard on me. All of a sudden, I'm not progressing fast enough, etc. I asked her today if she still has faith in me and she says that she doesn't. Ouch. I asked her what that meant, and she said that she knows she can be "pressure-y" and that maybe she needs to step back and let me do what I need to do. I don't know that she's planning on breaking up with me, I think she wants to sort of give me a chance to make good on "my" goals. Also, she's breaking into tears a lot with me. She's not a real crier usually.

I feel like all of the love got sucked out of the relationship. She seems distant, and no longer like a partner or a friend or anything. We've been together 3 years, and I'm finding myself not wanting to hang out with her. It's like she's trying to make me into this Ken doll that will suit her. While it may have some of the same goals, her pressure is like the antithesis to the support that anyone would want in a relationship.

So, it all sounds pretty terrible, I know. We've been together for three years, and I love her, and I'm just not sure where it can go from here. I'm scared about facing the real world, I'm getting no support from her or my family (I'm in therapy, luckily). I don't think I could marry my little Ice Princess as she is now, but I don't know that that is what she will always be. "DTMFA" is a valid vote, and I'm even more interested in any insights in how to fix things or advice about riding things out or whatever other observations/reflections you might have! Simple or elaborate! Thanks.

Throwaway Mail:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (50 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you know what might have happened 3 weeks ago (ish) to cause her to suddenly 'come down hard' on you?

It sounds to me like she has some kind of pressure from her mom to meet some goals X, Y, and Z by times A, B, and C. Perhaps Mama Ice Queen started to pressure her about those things? It also sounds like you don't know what you want. 3 years is pretty long, is your relationship at the point where marriage is the next step?

Figure out what you want, how well (if at all) that gels with what she wants, and go from there. I'd suggest talking to her about it once you've done that. But I'm just some person on the internet.
posted by axiom at 5:26 PM on June 15, 2009

I don't think DTMFA really applies in this situation. You're both late twenties, she's looking for more commitment, you're looking for .. . something at least. You really need to figure out what you want from the relationship, not the other way around
posted by Think_Long at 5:27 PM on June 15, 2009

Wow. I was all set to be open-minded and supportive and helpful...right up until you referred to having sex with your girlfriend of three years as her "putting out." Through sheer willpower I forced myself to read the rest of your post. If I had been looking for a reason to overlook that wretched term I would have been sorely disappointed.

Here's the nicest way I can phrase this: you and your girlfriend do not want the same things. End it. Now.
posted by philotes at 5:30 PM on June 15, 2009 [42 favorites]

Uhm...the 'Ice Princess' doesn't sound so good to me. The way you present yourself here as kind of a slacker sounds a bit at odds with what a girl like that may be after in a fella, too.

It's hard to say with any certainty, not knowing you and your situation and all, but it sounds like a good time to cut it off with her, finish your PhD, leave the parents house and stand on your own feet for a while. It's hard to do things without 'support', sure, but how much can you really be getting from someone you refer to as an 'Ice Princess'? Also - no sex? What?

Be independent for a while. It may be scary, but you'll never know who you are until you do.
posted by Pecinpah at 5:31 PM on June 15, 2009

Wow. I'm sorry; that sounds terrible.

It's not as simple as DTMFA, but trust your instincts that "something" has happened lately to change things. Maybe it's another guy. Maybe it's family pressure. Maybe it's something you don't know anything about, but your choices are either to (a) sit back and let it happen, which sounds like it'll end badly for your relationship, or (b) talk to her and find out what's going on.

It probably won't be a pleasant conversation, and maybe you won't learn anything more than you know now. But if she's not willing to talk to you, that'll tell you something too, because you can't move forward in a relationship with somebody who just isn't willing. In any case, you really need to talk to her before deciding anything.
posted by captainawesome at 5:31 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I also don't think your situation is clear-cut enough to get a DTMFA ruling; I think it's a matter of two people who've been together for several years trying to come to grips with what you each want (and having an inkling that you may want different things). If I can be honest, you own description I don't think I could marry my little Ice Princess as she is now seems to indicate some real resentment and/or hostility on your part, which seems like a red flag of long-term problems, not just a three-week bad patch.

My standard recommendation in relationship-filter threads is the book How to Be an Adult in Relationships. It may be good to read, even as you guys are in this state, to see if it can help you both find ways to communicate more clearly what you're needing or expecting from each other. It doesn't necessarily mean that you'll each be able to mutually meet those needs and expectations, but at least you might be able to have the conversation more directly (while still being loving and respectful).
posted by scody at 5:36 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Something happened lately, (maybe within the last 3 weeks) I'm not sure what exactly, ... I think she wants to sort of give me a chance to make good on "my" goals. Also, she's breaking into tears a lot with me. She's not a real crier usually.

Errr, IMHO she wants to break up with you but isn't strong enough to follow through yet, thus the ultimatums and cutting off sex. I think you're the one who is getting DTMFAed in a passive way. Either her timetable for getting married is off, her mother is putting her foot down, she doesn't respect you anymore, or she's interested/seeing someone else.

I would ask her point blank what is up and outline your points in a nice way. It'll probably end in tears as well, but it sounds better than the limbo you're in now. I'd keep all of your PhD/job info out of the discussion - it's only tangentially relevant.
posted by benzenedream at 5:37 PM on June 15, 2009 [7 favorites]

"Ice Princess?" Seriously? You're awfully judgmental about everyone but yourself here: your parents don't understand you, your SO's mom is a tyrant, her brother and dad are doormats. You sound like you're in love with your own awesomeness. It doesn't sound like your girlfriend is trying to make you into a Ken doll - it seems like she wants to plan for a future that might involve - god help her - getting married, living together in maybe your very own place, and all that fun grown-up stuff. In response, you bitch about not getting any and insult her family. No friggin' wonder she's crying.

Oh, yeah, advice: dump her. It'll be a kindness to everyone.
posted by logicpunk at 5:39 PM on June 15, 2009 [55 favorites]

Recently, she has stopped putting out.

It's over. She is just avoiding confrontation--which she learned to do because of her parents, and now she applies it everywhere. Of course you have to talk to her about it, but don't get sucked into the avoiding tactics yourself.

The fact that you call sex "putting out" is a big problem. On the other hand, the fact that she stopped having sex with you is a bigger problem. Generally, one doesn't stop fucking their partner, after doing it a lot for a couple of years, unless they've got something better going on the side. Lots of extenuating circumstances, of course, medical conditions and stuff. Don't make excuses for her though! Let her explain herself, and decide based on her reasoning.
posted by Chuckles at 5:50 PM on June 15, 2009

Wow, I somehow missed "she has stopped putting out" on first read. That's not about her being an "Ice Princess." That's about her being an actual human being who's clearly not feeling emotionally or physically connected with you.

You guys need to communicate, urgently. And I would strongly urge you to remember that healthy, loving communication requires that you listen as much as (if not more than) you speak.

So ask her to tell you what she's feeling. Then listen. Don't get defensive. Don't plan out the next phase of your argument in your head as she's talking. Be humble and truly listen.
posted by scody at 5:51 PM on June 15, 2009 [10 favorites]

It seems to me that your girlfriend has genuine affection for you, but your slacker ways are not jibing with parental expectations of conventional success. They may think you're a slacker loser with a case of yellow fever who diverted their daughter from the life they've been planning for her, with a conventionally successful man --- I bet they wish she were dating a doctor.

The fact that she has not dumped you suggests she is giving you a chance to get your shit together and prove that you can achieve up to the standards she and her parents expect. She wants you to become someone that her parents can be proud to have as a son in law --- because she wants them to be pleased. The fact that she's not "putting out" suggests that her parents' displeasure is enough to get her to clam up sexually. It looks like you are on very, very thin ice.
posted by jayder at 5:53 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

The fact that you used ICE PRINCESS as a tag doesn't bode well. Kind of like using HORRIBLE BATTLEAXE as the tag for a marital counseling thread.
posted by benzenedream at 5:54 PM on June 15, 2009 [12 favorites]

Dude. She's ready to be a grownup, and she's realizing that you aren't the man she wants to build a future with, for whatever reason. It may not have anything to do with what you think, but I have to admit, I'd have a really hard time thinking about a future with someone who was so dismissive of my family and hadn't shown any of their own motivation towards building a future together. Hence, pressure and tears and awkwardness and loss of sexual attraction.

Also, I don't know how long ago she "stopped putting out" (sooooooo charming, by the way), but if she's suddenly coming down hard on you about getting your life together, and is bursting into tears regularly, I just hope for both of your sakes that the sudden change wasn't seeing a double line on a pregnancy test.

So yeah, it's time for you to put on the big boy pants and initiate a serious conversation. Be ready for big changes -- either making a serious commitment to change things, or to say goodbye.
posted by amelioration at 5:56 PM on June 15, 2009 [11 favorites]

you're both in your late 20s. you both live at home. she lies to her mother about the time you guys spend together. you have been wasting your time at school and plugging along at a family business in exchange for free rent. none of this sounds like you guys are ready for any serious commitments.

also - you're going to get torn up a lot in this thread because the language you chose, but i think it's very telling for another reason. people give and receive love differently. some are very verbally emotive and some feel their actions should speak louder than words. if you give love in a way she can't receive and she gives love in a way you can't receive and neither of you are willing to give or receive love differently, this probably isn't a lasting relationship.
posted by nadawi at 5:56 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Someone you call "my little Ice Princess" isn't "putting out"?
You don't want to hang out with her and don't think of her as a friend?
Good God. You do realize how this sounds to people outside the relationship, don't you?
Stop wasting each others' time.

Have you ever stopped to think that a lot of the irritation, bitterness and hostility you're feeling toward her might be a result of your dissatisfaction with yourself?
You live at home, you don't have a job, your parents don't appreciate you. Any way you look at it, that sucks.
Fix your life and worry about finding a new relationship later. Life's too short.
posted by aquafortis at 5:57 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

That change? Three weeks ago?
That's when she broke up with you in her mind.
Now it's just a matter of making that a reality.
posted by bartleby at 5:59 PM on June 15, 2009 [18 favorites]

I'm scared about facing the real world

Intuitively, I think your question is really about this, but it is easier to bash the people around you and ask some strangers whether you should dump your girlfriend.
posted by milarepa at 6:00 PM on June 15, 2009 [10 favorites]

She doesn't sound like a "MFA." It sounds like you are in two very different places in your lives, and you are both struggling with the fact that you care about each other, but suspect that this is not the relationship for either of you right now. Down the road who knows, but from your description, it might be time to part ways. Try to be kind to each other. Wanting different things isn't wrong, but turning on each other as you sort this out would be.
posted by katemcd at 6:03 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Has she really done anything to deserve the DTMFA tag?

Sounds like you've both decided to move in separate directions.
posted by mattoxic at 6:06 PM on June 15, 2009

Others have commented on the tone of your post and your description of your girlfriend, and you really don't sound like a particularly sympathetic character. I could be wrong, but my reading is that you're more bothered by the fact that you aren't getting any ("wow, that sucks") than her crying in front of you, a lot. You mope that you're getting no support from her; but is she getting any support from you?

This relationship doesn't sound viable; it's probably time to end it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:08 PM on June 15, 2009 [9 favorites]

There is nothing wrong with a woman in her late 20s who already has a career to want to think about marrying her boyfriend of three years, or to want to know that if she does, she won't just be supporting your ass the whole time.

I'm not saying your lifestyle is wrong, but you are acting like her wishes are wrong, which is well, wrong.

Think about this, if she came here posting her side of the story, I think she'd get a lot more DMTFA responses than you will.
posted by ishotjr at 6:10 PM on June 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

Just to put this another way....speaking for myself, things I would look for a in a boyfriend:
I'm attracted to them, we're sexually compatible, we respect each other, I enjoy spending time with him and vice-versa, he's supportive of my ambitions, listens to me, helps me with stuff, my family doesn't hate him. Additional factors I'd tack on if we're talking husband material: I don't think I could be happy if my life didn't include him, I can't imagine being without him. We're in lurve. Etc.

Now go back and read your letter, and see how it's like opposite day.
posted by Diablevert at 6:21 PM on June 15, 2009 [9 favorites]

My take is, admittedly, kind of harsh, but your post kind of sets my teeth on edge. She's waking up to the fact that you are not really motivated to be a grownup -- in school, work, relationships, life. She wants someone who can be an equal partner. She's tired of the whole Slacker PhD trip, but hasn't made up her mind 100% to dump you yet. She will soon.
posted by MsMolly at 6:24 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sorry, I clicked into parent mode on this one... If she were my daughter, and you came to me with this question, using those words, you would be wondering what hit you...

I agree with those that have said that both of you need to move on...
posted by HuronBob at 6:30 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

She definitely doesn't deserve the DTMFA tag, but you might.

Look, she sounds like she is trying very hard NOT to pressure you, but that you have taken so long to figure out (if you have figured out) what you want to do that now she is alienated from her own family and torn up inside.

So she takes a step back, tells you the two of you need to figure out what to do by the end of the year, and your response is to sulk because she isn't "putting out" while her heart is breaking? She's an ice princess--but she's crying all the time? Could you be any less empathetic?

Let her go. She shouldn't have to wait for you to grow up when she already has.
posted by misha at 6:33 PM on June 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

You're being dumped (already.)
I think you know this.
I don't think you'd make ironically snide remarks about the girlfriend -- guaranteed to make the literalists here jump down your throat -- if you didn't know it.
The way you tell your story makes you sound like a loser. You chose to tell it that way. What you want, clearly, is to hear that you suck.

But not everyone has to be a go-go achiever. She's not the only girl in the world. What your parents, her parents, your girlfriend, Metafilterians think about what your life should be just doesn't fucking matter at all, really.

So why do you want us to tell you you suck?
posted by Methylviolet at 6:34 PM on June 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

I don't have anything new to add that hasn't already been said. Just adding weight to what has been said.

After three years, given that you are in your late twenties, she wants the relationship to progress. She has probably tolerated your 'lazy' efforts because she was in love, but thinking you will pull your socks up at some stage. She has probably had to spend a lot of time defending you to her family.

I would guess that three weeks ago, she decided you weren't ever going to change and she couldn't continue to think you would. I think she probably still loves you (tears etc), but realises that the relationship is not going to make it.

If she is passive, she is likely to sit by until you get fed up with it and dump her (but she'll be somewhat expecting it).
posted by AnnaRat at 6:44 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Why the heck is she living with her parents when she is out-earning them? She needs to take charge of her own life, not be told by her mother who she should be seeing, or waiting for a man to marry her and take her away from all that. She's probably really miserable. Can you maybe try to help her figure out what she wants out of life, as opposed to what she's being pressured into?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:52 PM on June 15, 2009

These years should be your prime. You don't want to spend them in your parents' home with no income and a girl that doesn't like you anymore. You're never gonna be this young again and you'll never be happy in this relationship or any other until you find your own meaning and control. She's left you already - feel free to leave her first, it makes no difference, really.

Get that job you were talking about, but wrap that degree up, too. If it was worth it to you to start it and sink all this time and money into it, then it's damn sure worth finishing. You can't really be free without a place of your own, so escape your parent's home at all costs. You get some money and get some dignity, the girl thing takes care of itself. It's time to make moves, man - ending this relationship would be an excellent opening play.
posted by EatTheWeek at 7:15 PM on June 15, 2009

This post is missing the FishInBarrel tag. Brother: you're being dumped. Log off the Internet, move out of your parents' house, and put your analyst on danger money, baby. Now.
posted by waxbanks at 7:31 PM on June 15, 2009

There's so much judging going on in this thread, that I don't feel the least need to add to it. Instead, I'd look at it without passing judgment about either party.

Never mind who is at fault. Going forward, even if the cutting off of sex doesn't mean she's getting ready to dump you (and I think that it usually means just that), ask yourself this question:

1)Do you want to live with the kind of woman who uses sex as a tool/weapon/pressure? Even in a "good" cause, to motivate you etc.? Because if she's done it once, she'll do it again. And again. And again. Every time there's a problem, this may crop up. Speaking just for myself, I'd rather the other person level with me, instead of passive-aggressively pressure me without explaining what the deal is. If she doesn't feel like having sex - cool, that's understandable. What is not cool is using it as a tool.

2)Do you want to live with the kind of person who is so subject to her mother's whims? Personally, I would not tolerate in my life having a giant mother-in-law cliche to live through. Is she a grownup emotionally? Or does she have separation issues? It's really very simple. Either her primary loyalty is to you or to her family (i.e. not just her mother). As I see it, no marriage can be a truly happy one with such divided loyalties - or more importantly, where her loyalty to her family trumps her loyalty to you every time. I don't mean she must have rows with her family or cut them off, but she has to be strong enough to clearly say to them: my relationship with my husband/boyfriend/partner comes first. Period. And you must do the same for her.

3)Do you want to live with the kind of person who will cry for weeks and change her behavior, yet not tell you clearly and unequivocally what her concerns are? Because that is a pattern. It will happen over and over again. There is no communication. All her instincts are wrong - she doesn't trust you to either be able to handle the truth, or she's a coward, or she's confused, or contemptuous of you. Lack of communication = miserable relationship.

Again, I stress - I don't judge you or her. Maybe you are a monster, and she's doing her best - or the other way around or anything in between, gray rather than black & white. Doesn't matter. Ponder the questions above - because those apply regardless of anyone being at fault or not.
posted by VikingSword at 7:33 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

You come off in this scenario like a starter boyfriend. It sounds like she's coming to accept that you're not changing into husband material and not making steps to. Probably she feels like she's having to talk you into into it and make a lot of excuses for you to her family. She must realize that you're making a fool of her, because all this lying to her family on your behalf is not going to get the outcome she wants and you seem pretty flippant about the whole thing. Resentment building on both sides - this kills love. My guess is one of you is going to reach the breaking point eventually and it'll be over.
posted by Marnie at 7:36 PM on June 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

The way you talk about her reeks of contempt. One of the four and worst, horsemen of the relationship apocalypse. Time to get out. I'm not saying DTFMA, because she very well not be a mother fucker, but I still think you two are over.
posted by whoaali at 7:53 PM on June 15, 2009 [6 favorites]

Just to expand on what the question 3 I made above: everything has to be taken in context. Sometimes, people are beholden to their parents temporarily, because f.ex. they are beholden to them financially while studying or whatever, and in time they'll separate, but right now don't want to rock the boat.

However, this is not what's happening here. She already out-earns her parents. She's not materially dependent on her parents - she is emotionally dependent. Proof? She still lives at home - and feels compelled to please her mother and kowtow to her every whim, and seek her approval. That is not healthy. Definitive proof that it's not healthy? She lies. She lies to them about her relationship with you. To me, this is the kiss of death. She's a liar - not because she's starving and must lie to a stern master on whom she's dependent. She lies, because she has the emotional life of a 5-year old vis a vis her mother. She is not an adult, emotionally speaking. She can't set boundaries for her mother. Then she lies to her - and to you. That is bad - very bad. If she lies about relationship issues to her mother - she'll lie to you, because she's a liar.

We are all familiar with mama-boys and mama-girls who never outgrow this and never learn to set boundaries. This is a miserable way to go through life with such a spouse. You'll forever be fretting about the say strangers have in your personal life, your relationship with your wife. Every holiday will be a nightmare. She'll be on the phone to her daily. Constant visits. You'll always be either in the poky, or on parole. And you'll never be certain that she's not lying to you, or to her family - frequently both. Such a person is not a prize. Such a person is to be avoided. Imagine what people would say about a husband who is under the heel of his mother to the detriment of his wife? It's the same wrt wife vs husband.
posted by VikingSword at 8:26 PM on June 15, 2009

What bartleby said. She's already dumped you, she just hasn't gotten the words out yet. She's done waiting for you to shape up. Sorry. Better luck shaping up before you get another girlfriend.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:21 PM on June 15, 2009

Imagine what people would say about a husband who is under the heel of his mother to the detriment of his wife? It's the same wrt wife vs husband.

These situations are not uncommon in non-American cultures, particularly traditional Chinese families and some Indian ones. If the OP isn't ready to cope with that cultural divide-- and he doesn't seem like he is-- he should get out to spare them both a lot of heartache.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:33 PM on June 15, 2009

Your girlfriend is facing up to the fact that all the nasty things that her over-controlling mother has been telling her about you are, in fact, completely true.

In other words, she isn't the MFA in this relationship. You and your "Wow, that sucks" privilege are.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:41 PM on June 15, 2009 [4 favorites]

You both sound fucked up, and I'd say you should dump her quickly.
posted by kldickson at 9:51 PM on June 15, 2009

You clearly resent her from the tone of the post. She clearly resents you. You two should end it.
posted by Happydaz at 10:41 PM on June 15, 2009

Maybe the reason she's not 'putting out' is because you both live with your parents! Where are you supposed to do it? That's a libido killer if ever one existed.

One of the many reasons people move out is so that they can have normal sexual adult relationships.
posted by Flying Squirrel at 1:35 AM on June 16, 2009

does everyone except me just obviously know what DTMFA means?
posted by mary8nne at 3:26 AM on June 16, 2009

DTMFA = Dump Their Motherfucking Ass (although the Wiki says Dump The Motherfucker Already)

More here.
posted by elfgirl at 5:50 AM on June 16, 2009

I just want to touch on something VikingSword said--we have no evidence that this woman is using withholding sex as some kind of tool or manipulation. The vast majority of us seem to have come to the same consensus --that she is trying to distance herself from the poster because she doesn't believe the relationship has a future. Why would she have a sexual relationship with someone when the emotional relationship has fallen apart?

For someone who said he wasn't going to be doing any "judging", VikingSword, you really took off with that highly imaginative scenario of what future life would be like with this woman. Somehow I feel that if they kept having sex, with all the other stuff going on, you would just condemn her for "sending mixed signals."

OP, there's lots of good advice to this thread. Please consider an answer that doesn't resort to misogynistic projection.
posted by misha at 9:05 AM on June 16, 2009 [6 favorites]

DTMF"A" means Already, not Ass. The point is its over, its been over, and you need to step up and DTMFA.
posted by RajahKing at 9:18 AM on June 16, 2009

Yeah. DTMFA. Sorry man.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:28 AM on June 16, 2009

You used the terms 'putting out' and 'Ice Princess' un-ironically. You don't really say anything about truly loving her. She has figured out that you are not ready for long term commitment leading to marriage.
posted by theora55 at 9:47 AM on June 16, 2009

misha, you need to read what I actually wrote, and then react to that.

I wrote:

"Going forward, even if the cutting off of sex doesn't mean she's getting ready to dump you (and I think that it usually means just that), ask yourself this question:

1)Do you want to live with the kind of woman who uses sex as a tool/weapon/pressure?"

Note the hypothetical here - my money is on the fact that she's getting ready to dump him ("and I think that it usually means just that"), and that's why she is not having sex with him. See? Yes?

Now, I follow this up with saying that even if I am wrong in this case (and I have no way of knowing one way or another) and she is not doing it because she's getting read to dump him, then does he want to live with a woman who uses sex as a weapon. In other words, I'm not committing to either scenario, I'm saying that neither scenario looks good here - whether she's withholding sex in order to dump him OR - note OR - it's a hypothetical - whether she's using it as a weapon (which hypothetical I then expand on). At all times, I firmly put it in the category of hypothetical. At no point do I say that she in fact is doing so, merely that if she is doing so, then that is not good.

I do not judge her at all. I am talking in the abstract - which I explicitly state several times - including: "Again, I stress - I don't judge you or her. Maybe you are a monster, and she's doing her best - or the other way around or anything in between, gray rather than black & white". I put that in again (in addition to the beginning of the post) for the dull, but for some, even that is not enough, to wit:

For someone who said he wasn't going to be doing any "judging", VikingSword, you really took off with that highly imaginative scenario of what future life would be like with this woman. Somehow I feel that if they kept having sex, with all the other stuff going on, you would just condemn her for "sending mixed signals."

OP, there's lots of good advice to this thread. Please consider an answer that doesn't resort to misogynistic projection.

For someone who passes judgment as easily as you do - in this case highly inflammatory accusations of misogyny - your judging abilities are extremely feeble. Learn to read - then criticize based on that. Your statements directed toward me were uncalled for, based as they were on your inability to comprehend what you read. Good rule of thumb: before you attack anyone, ever, think again - and then once more.

I don't want to derail this thread or participate in a flame war, so I am not going to engage you further in this thread. If you feel the need to take this any further, there's always me-mail.
posted by VikingSword at 10:07 AM on June 16, 2009

There's been enough speculation already. I'll only suggest:
  • If you haven't already, you need to decide what you want in this relationship going forward;
  • Find out what the current issues are -- she's stressed elsewhere and needs your support while she sorts them, you're stressed need more support from her, or the relationship issues are primary and you need each other's support and to come to a place of mutual understanding and agreement;
  • Notice how you handle this as a couple -- life will toss both at you, sometimes at once, (maybe it just has) -- and decide whether what you see and experience are what you want for the long haul.
Observe this with your mind open to whatever lessons it might hold for you personally. There's probably some gold in amongst the other stuff.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 10:08 AM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd add, speculatively of course, that you seem to think being forthcoming about things like privileged white maleness and a reputation for laziness is going to buy you sympathy. And this makes me wonder if you might be the kind of guy who'll read all the criticism above and maybe feel a bit embarrassed, but mostly just decide that your critics couldn't possibly really get you. Jeez, so you used a bad couple of phrases--you're still a sympathetic guy, right?

Well, for all we know, that's the case. But if you aren't already doing so, I'd encourage you to do yourself a hard favour and really ponder the other possibility (cf. the comments by philotes and logicpunk).

(From a fellow white male Ph.D student who, though clear on the sexism front, has experience considering himself above reproach in relationships, only to realize that, uh, shit, I'm not.)
posted by Beardman at 3:10 PM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

After reading all the responses, I know this must sound really strange, but I've been sitting here the whole time thinking, "whoa - harsh."

I really didn't detect any of that stuff you mefites are going on about. You're all reading into his choice of language and taking it a bit too far*. I think: here's a confused guy who maybe needs to grow up a little bit, and how the hell do you know if he is using the term ice princess "unironically"? I read it as him trying to make light of the situation (perhaps not in the most sophisticated way), and I also interpreted "putting out" as him using a conversational tone rather than making the entire post sound depressing with technical terms like "sexual intercourse" and "relationship" and "commitment". You guys have gotta admit, after awhile all those posts start to look the same. However... I do have a quarrel with the term "putting out" - I haven't heard it since the 90s and never thought I would again.

Yes, of course, I see where you guys are coming from (we've already established the guy might need to grow up a bit) but I definitely don't think his choice of language betrays some sort of sexist asshole tendencies. I think it just oozes his slacker youth.

The question for the poster is, are you ready to grow up a little bit? You're going to have to eventually; it's just a matter of whether it will be on your own terms, or whether you're willing to put in a bit of extra effort to make somebody you love happy.

I promise you it won't take much to show your girlfriend you're making progress and effort.

* Now I'm going to go read the original post again to see if it does sound as sexist etc as you all think. Maybe I missed something.
posted by mjao at 6:07 AM on June 17, 2009

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