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Zan

I worked with a lot of women who had boyfriends like that. I don't understand why women disrespect themselves so much. I wasn't interested in anyone unless they treated me like a queen. If my husband had asked me to iron all his shirts and make breakfast for him before we were married, I would tell him that he would have to earn that benefit first. How to earn it? Putting a diamond on my hand and putting a decent roof on my head and meeting all my finacial needs. That may seem like asking a lot but if I am going to take care of him and have his babies I want to make sure he is going to do his part. Just the fact that this boyfriend expected all this of you when you were boyfriend and girlfriend and both in college which is on of the craziest busy times in your life is appalling. Good thing you got rid of him. Think of how things would be if you married him. If he treated a girlfriend like a servant how would he treat a wife?

When I was considering my husband for my life mate I wanted him to be more than just a ligitimate partner for life but for a provider and someone who would put me before himself. I used to half jokingly tell him that in marrying me he would get me, my carpayment, and my dog (my dog is a Shi-Tzu and he hates her :))When he married me he did.

Reading you post, I am just boggled about how women will stand for this kind of treatment. How many nurses did I live with who lived with boyfriends who treated them like trash and reaped all the sexual benefits of marriage without the decency to put a stone on their finger.

Remaining sexually pure until marriage is another subjct but I think it ties into women disrespecting themselves with men.

I have to go . TeleTubbies are on and that is my window to take a shower.

-Zan

Alice

I said a hearty AMEN reading that. Sounds like my ex, with whom I lived for two years. Looking back, I can't even believe I put up with most of his "demands." Where was my backbone? Was I so blinded by "love?" And if so, why on earth did I think love=doing his laundry?

I was thinking about your previous post on this issue last night, and I just might do a post on this topic.

aisy

I think your post brings up a good point for both men and women... expectations!Perhaps the boorish behavior of your ex would be well suited for another woman because she would have that as an expectation of a woman's behavior in a relationship. I'm not saying that is right but I realize more and more that not all women have the same beliefs as me when it comes to roles/rules etc in a home/relationship.

Unfortunately many women "think" that is how they should behave (do all the housework, cooking etc) but when it comes to actually doing it they are left frustrated, isolated, and discouraged. Perhaps it is the role of women (and I would argue men as well) in the future to teach their sons and daughters that a mutually satisfying relationship is based on respect, and a DESIRE to help your partner not OBLIGATION. I'm not articulating my thoughts very well, but I think a desire to make your partner happy and fulfilled would lead to more selfless acts and not this tit for tat "you do this, i do that" attitude.

norbizness

Whatever happened to the passive-aggressive approach; i.e. letting one's abode fall into such a state of disrepair that one's girlfriend, feminist leanings or not, would be compelled to do something about it?

Dammit, Baldrick, that's not a very cunning plan at all.

heather

I read a book a while ago "He can't hear what you don't say." The author pointed out that men tradtionally do a lot of things around the house that we don't think of as "housework" like fixing appliances when they break, yardwork, killing spiders, maintaining the vehicles, being the one that checks on strange noises in the night, etc. That made me alter my view a little on the division of labor in the household. But, also, I think you touched on an important point - each of you most likely has a different standard of what constitutes "clean." And having differing values in this area, you probably have different preferences in terms of how much time you're willing to spend cleaning. So, I think we should take that into account too when we're talking about division of household chores. But when all is said and done, I really think the only way to do it is to write it down. Make a list of everything that needs to be done, and how often, and split it up in a way that both of you feel comfortable with. ANd don't forget kids! They're a great labor resource!

The Happy Feminist

Thanks for the comments. I never thought that I would be someone who would allow myself to be treated that way. When I explain the circumstances it sounds like such a clearcut case of disrespect but in the course of a full and busy life with lots of other things going on, it just wasn't that obvious to me at the time that I was being taken advantage of. I also questioned my own judgment, wondering to myself if I was overreacting because of my feminist ideology. I was also a lot younger then!

Zan, I don't really tie the lack of respect to the fact that I was sleeping with this guy before marriage (on the first date even!)-- and, in any case, it doesn't make any sense to me for a man to decide that a woman is not worthy of respect because she did something with him that he wanted to do also. I also slept with my husband very early on in our acquaintanceship, but somehow he has managed to respect me throughout the 11 years we've been together.

drumgurl

A diamond is a symbol of respect? I am engaged, but I don't have a diamond. Diamonds are so wrong for many reasons -- for example, children in Africa are murdered or have their limbs amputated just so greedy Americans can have their diamonds. I do not understand how pro-life/pro-family people can buy them with a clear conscience. I also don't like diamonds because they don't DO anything. You just look at it. It doesn't move. It doesn't make you breakfast. It doesn't appreciate in value. Why do diamonds make any kind of logical sense? I would rather spend 3-months salary on a new drumset. Okay, I've digressed.

I personally can't understand the division of labor problem. Women think they're "stuck" but they're not. They have a choice! If you're not happy, walk. Don't get mad. Don't nag. Just walk. That isn't rocket science, is it?

I don't even think most men expect women to be their servants. Most guys would gladly choose a great sex life over an immaculate house. That's a win-win situation for women in my opinion.

But... if he's paying the bills, then yeah, you should be picking up after him. I forgot to mention that part. That's only fair.

Helena

I can see how a situation like that might have happened; in a way, I, too, have been there. It is weird how blind we are at times but I guess that is what life is about - living and learning. People in their early twenties are quite vulnerable. Suddenly, they are expected to deal with it all, mostly without any first-hand experience. Sure, there are people who got it all right the very first time they are faced with situations like that but personally, I'd call it luck rather than talent.

And then there is the thing called love and the way we see love. We know that no partner is perfect and that we must make compromises. It is not always very easy to see where to stop. Sometimes, it is not even easy to stop when you know that you should. I work as a clinical psychologist in the public health care system and I see people in horrible, abusive relationships every day. Sometimes the relationships are so violent that I have to step out of my neutral position and frankly tell them that I probably can't be of any help as long as their destructive relationship is going on (of course, I try to say it more elobarately and also try to help them to get out safely). Some of them say that they know it, they would like to break up or get a divorce but that they can't, that there are some other ties that can't be untied (like attraction, strong feelings etc.). Of course, it is open to debate what it is really about and it may probably tell us also about the way the domestic violence makes these people to look at themselves and their partner. And of course, we shouldn't stop there, we should still try to help. Yet the sad fact that remains is that sometimes life is not about making wise decisions but seemingly irrational ones - and people just can't break free but keep on repeating their vicious circles over and over again.

The Happy Feminist

Drumgurl -- in fairness, I think Zan was using the term "put a diamond on my finger" metaphorically. It's not about the diamond but about the commitment. That being said, I assume most Americans and Europeans use the diamond ring as a symbol of engagement. Personally, I don't have any kind of engagement ring, mainly because my husband and I became engaged when we were both still poor students and it would have been foolish for my husband to spend so much money on a ring at that point-- plus I am not jewelry connosseur. I am just as happy with costume jewelry as with the real thing.

Helena-- I think you hit the nail on the head in a lot of ways. Especially the part about not knowing when to stop compromising. I remember as a young woman that I was so busy holding myself to a high standard that I didn't think to hold my boyfriend accountable.

tr1c14

Even if Zan *was* using the term "put a stone on my finger" metaphorically, I found it very disturbing that she appeared to see it being about him taking services without rendering payment, rather than about him disrespecting your right to your own time.

The impression I got was that it would be perfectly OK by Zan if this guy had called you up on your day off, and without saying please or thank you demanded that you drop everything you were doing and wash and iron his shirts, and then got angry with you for having other plans, as long as you were married. Because then he would be entitled for you to be his indentured servant or something.

At least that's how I took it. Zan, if you're around I'd appreciate some clarification.

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