Monday, September 15, 2008

Hoorah. I have received some problems to advise upon.

Mariella writes:

I’m falling for a guy I met on the internet but he’s already got a girlfriend. I know he feels the same about me, but I worry that maybe I’m being stupid.

I’m 25, he’s 28 and from my home town. We met for a drink a couple of weeks ago and got on so well I went back to his flat.

We chatted for a bit and as I was pretending leave he leaned across and kissed me. I kissed him back and it felt so right, we ended up shagging like bunnies.

Since then we’ve talked on the phone or texted every day and we’re getting very serious about each other. It would be perfect – if it wasn’t for his girlfriend.
It doesn’t stop me because I’m single and hurting no-one. He told me about her when we first started talking but she lives about 30 miles away so isn’t around all the time.

He said last week there is no future for them and that he’s not happy. He goes to see his girlfriend every weekend but still finds time to shag me. He sends me texts saying “im so lucky 2 hv u. u’re sngl & cd hv ny bloke u wnt”. (His texting drives me crazy.)

At the end of the day he’s the only one I want and I’m willing to be just his lover as long as I have to, but do you think he will dump his girlfriend for me? Please help, I'm desperate.

Well Mariella, I have to agree with your beau on at least one point: he is indeed "luck 2 hv u". He's thinking: "this jolly nice girl knows I'm behaving like a bit of a cad, and she's still into me! That's pretty sad, but it sure is convenient!"

He's not only lucky, he's clever too. By being honest about his behaviour
he's left all the hard moral decisions up to you. He's saying "you're fully aware of getting yourself into, so it's your fault if you get hurt, not mine". "Honesty" can work a bit like the idea of "opportunity" for free-market capitalist ideologues. Women, black people, the poor, etc have, legally speaking the same opportunities as anyone else, ergo if they don't succeed it's nobody's fault but their own.

Some people these days seem to think that honesty gives them a moral license to do whatever the sod they want in relationships. Like Catholics who go around sinning because they know their sins will be absolved next Sunday, or anarchists who think they're at moral liberty to engage in any reckless actions they like during joint street demonstration as long as they "information-share" in a touchy-feely "spokes-council" meeting before the event.

So-called "Sensitive New Age Guys" hide behind their "honesty" all the time. I once had a flatmate called Daniel who asked his girlfriend Angela for an open relationship - but only open on his side because she had more "emotional strength" than he had, whereas he claimed to be far too fragile and "sensitive" to bear the idea of her with another man. Daniel even asked Angela for her permission to have sex with another one of our flatmates late one night, and when Angela said "OK" he immediately exited their room, walked down the hall and woke our flatmate up to ask for sex. But at least he was impeccably honest. Angela was very angry about it and, naturally, felt abused and manipulated. But frustrating as it was for her, there was nothing she could accuse Daniel of having done wrong.

But back to you, Mariella, and your honest lad. One thing you should bear in mind is that just because he's not happy in his relationship with his girlfriend it doesn't necessarily mean he wants a relationship with you. Not unless he explicitly says so. I think it's very revealing - suspicious, even - that he has deliberately stopped short of saying that that he does.

Of course, you're naturally making the assumption that by cheating on his girlfriend with you, and by having these heart-to-hearts with you about his intentions to leave her, that he'd rather be with you than his girlfriend. But see it from his perspective: it's very convenient for him to let you linger under this misunderstanding because it means you'll stick around and give him an easy life, rather than become all "difficult" and offended by the idea that you're just a convenient shag and not what he'd consider "girlfriend material". He may feel a little guilty about letting you get the wrong end of the stick, but as he keeps reassuring himself: he's been totally honest, he hasn't made any promises, nor even admitted any feelings for you (all he's said is that he feels "lucky 2 hv u" - and it's quite clear that he does indeed "hv" you, in a romantic sense). Strictly speaking, he owes you nothing at all, and if at any time he leaves his girlfriend he can always turn around and say "I never said I wanted a real relationship with you, so why are you acting like I have?", and he'd be well within his rights to do so.

And that's the way it is, I'm afraid. Technically it is your fault if you get hurt, and he wants to keep it that way. He's covered all his bases so that he can do whatever he likes in this situation and exit the scene having done, strictly speaking, nothing wrong (unless his girlfriend ever finds out what he's been doing with you, but hopefully she never will because that wouldn't be nice for her). You and I could gnash our teeth about what a cad he is and so forth, but in a court of moral law we'd have nothing to fault him on.

So what to do? G
o on what this guy actually says and does, not what he seems to be saying, or appears to want from you. Take the highly pertinent information he's offering you - specifically: "1. When I'm not happy in my relationship with my girlfriends I have no qualms about seeing other women and, probably, 2. I'm only shagging you because my girlfriend isn't available on weekdays" - and consider it objectively. Is this the beginning of a mutually respectful and mature relationship? As things stand, probably not. Are you willing to risk sacrificing your second-class shag status in order to see whether he actually thinks you're worth more to him than that? You probably aren't willing to do this, but it's in your best interests to do so. And if, like this guy claims, you "cd hv ny bloke u wnt" have you considered perhaps finding another bloke who's more into you, and who is less... confused (to put it kindly).


At 1:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, so you're being an agony aunt now? You may have missed your calling. If you need some more inspiration, here's a good exemplar:

At 7:20 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am quite impressed with your ability to frame Mariella’s circumstance, and to arrive at such constructive advice with regard to her rather “… confused” shag mate. Your explanation concerning honesty-as-opportunity is most valuable, especially to those who commit the offense. I, however, disagree.

Nowhere does Mariella use the word ‘honest’ to describe her otherwise evasive coital companion. I suspect that when Mariella said, with regard to her lover’s full disclosure, that “[h]e told me about her when we first started talking but she lives about 30 miles away so isn’t around all the time,” that you may have read this as honesty, and right by you. But, when the fuck-focused dick of deceit pressed on to say that “there is no future for them and that he’s not happy,” I suspect that HE WAS FUCKING LYING IN THE MANNER OF A FUCKING LIAR FUCK, WHO LIES, and fucks, I suppose.

To characterize this person as honest, there should be an observable pattern of honesty. And, with regard to Mariella, who understandably wants to believe that her lover is into her, your advice is valuable– to Mariella, he may pass as ‘honest.’ But look it! I think we (and others) both (all) know that Mariella’s douche (Please, pardon the gendered insult. When the day arrives where there is a masculine hygiene product fit to squish into a dick hole, I will use it pejoratively, I swear.) of a partner is not being honest. HE IS CHEATING ON HIS GIRLFRIEND. I don’t know any honest people who do this.

So in short, my critique comes by way of how we can further characterize and frame Mariella’s lover, and her situation at large. Mariella’s partner is not honest, but deceitful, irresponsible, and evasive: deceitful to his girlfriend by cheating; irresponsible by way of creating a situation where Mariella ‘feels’ desired, but is fucked; and evasive because you are right, “in a court of moral law we'd have nothing to fault him on.” But what about Mariella?

Mariella explained, “I worry that maybe I’m being stupid.” In response to this, I raise a question. Can a Mariella be held solely responsible for a situation when she wants the information that she is given by another regarding that situation to be the truth? She likes this guy. Why not see to it that that liking is sufficient and legitimate?

Mariella, you are not “being stupid.” You are merely a victim of deceit trying to put together an incomplete puzzle. You are unable to apply Kipper’s otherwise fantastic advice to “[g]o on what this guy actually says and does, not what he seems to be saying, or appears to want from you” because it ‘seems’ as if all ‘appears’ to be going well, TO YOU. Well not to us.

I often find myself to be the worst sort of advice voyeur. I so rarely have advice of my own. But in this instance, I advise that you surround yourself with an epistemic community suitable to call out deceit. And this you have already done.

And in closing, you asked, “do you think he will dump his girlfriend for me?” If it walks like a fuck and quacks like a fuck, it is probably just a fuck.


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