Author: has written 5280 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

249 Responses

  1. ozymandias
    ozymandias June 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm |

    I will have you know I not only read this to my boyfriend but then proceeded to have the following conversation:

    Me: Cuntface.
    Him: Shut up, cuntface.
    Me: No, you shut up, cuntface.
    Him: No, you shut up cuntface and make me a sandwich bitch.
    Me: You can make your own damn sandwich! You know why? You’re a cuntface.
    Him: Cuntface.

    …Our relationship is doomed.

  2. Lance
    Lance June 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm |

    Hrm… I wonder how many of those are secret calls for permission to break up, with the initial claims about how nice the partner is acting as a guilt-shield. What’s the old Steinbeck quote? “No one wants advice, only corroboration.”

  3. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward June 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

    Guest post! Guest post!

    (SRSLY I will email you)

  4. gretel
    gretel June 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

    Lance: Hrm… I wonder how many of those are secret calls for permission to break up, with the initial claims about how nice the partner is acting as a guilt-shield. What’s the old Steinbeck quote? “No one wants advice, only corroboration.”

    Bingo. It’s really awkward when you have friends come to you for “advice,” too.

  5. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm |

    Well, some of it is probably also hoping to be able to say “See, even Prudie says that you’re a Bad Wife.”

  6. Andie
    Andie June 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm |

    ozymandias:

    You Two Are Adorable.

  7. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm |

    gretel: Bingo. It’s really awkward when you have friends come to you for “advice,” too.

    If you want them to stop doing that, you might consider opening with “Well, how averse are you to committing felonies?”.

  8. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 28, 2011 at 4:19 pm |

    preying mantis: If you want them to stop doing that, you might consider opening with “Well, how averse are you to committing felonies?”.

    I am SO doing this next time!

  9. Amz
    Amz June 28, 2011 at 4:19 pm |

    preying mantis:
    Well, some of it is probably also hoping to be able to say “See, even Prudie says that you’re a Bad Wife.”

    Yeah, I actually think that’s most of it. It’s not “I want permission to dump them,” unless it is, but more “I am right and here’s a Slate columnist that believes me too!” in the hopes that They’ll Change. Because isn’t that what all letter writers hope?

  10. Rebecca Rogers
    Rebecca Rogers June 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm |

    *like yesterday’s shitty recycling, as Jill’s mom would say.

  11. zuzu
    zuzu June 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm |

    Amz: Yeah, I actually think that’s most of it. It’s not “I want permission to dump them,” unless it is, but more “I am right and here’s a Slate columnist that believes me too!” in the hopes that They’ll Change. Because isn’t that what all letter writers hope?

    Which is why I love it when the columnist tells them they’re full of shit.

  12. Florence
    Florence June 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    My theory is that most of these issues, for issues other than etiquette, and even then, can be boiled down to people having flimsy boundaries or refusing to respect boundaries in their relationships.

    My favorite recent one was the letter to Cary Tennis at Salon by the guy who wants to dump his wife for his step-mother-in-law and doesn’t see any real problem with it. It was appalling enough to make a lot of regular readers wonder whether it was outrageous enough to be a fake.

  13. Ashley
    Ashley June 28, 2011 at 4:44 pm |

    In my opinion, it depends on the severity or seriousness of the problem. Most couples have issues and things they don’t like about the other. I have written to forums asking for advice on my relationship and I can’t stand the people that say to just dump him and I feel like it’s because they have no idea what else could resolve the situation. I’m glad I didn’t listen to them and just dump him because I would have been through a million overall great guys and just ruined it because someone suggested I dump him over a totally fixable problem. I appreciate the people who can help me fix the problem, not just leave as a solution.

    But I understand if you are talking about something serious. I would never tolerate a dude calling me cuntface or anything like that.

  14. rox
    rox June 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    Jeeze, you guys won’t date me if I leave a film of toothpaste all over my bathroom sink, or smell like stinky cheese? You guys are totally prejudiced against the hygenically challenged, I swear!

    I prefer the term “hygenically diverse” if you please. Next you’re going to tell me you won’t date me because my teeth rotted out after that meth binge.

    As if teethless people don’t have feelings! Seriously I know some very kind toothless people and I’m only half kidding…. really I dont think there is any one specific flaw, other than being abusive or cruel (and even still who defines that?) that automatically means you should DTMF.

    The answer to “Should I dumpt this person because of x genuinely socially unacceptable flaw?” isn’t some universal yes but rather should be answered with a more important question, “Do you want to accept your partner as they are if they continue to have x genuinely socially unacceptable flaw?”

    followed by another important question, “Are you asking for social permission to accept a person who exhibits flaw x, or are you asking for permission to leave person who exhibits flaw x?”

    Either one is fine really, if you want to date someone who smells like cheese, or baths in filth, or berates you constantly and you happen to get off on it– whatever….

    The point is: If you don’t like them as they are you should be leaving or reconciling what you do like about them and realizing that you do find their flaws tolerable because you overall enjoy their presence in your life so much. Embrace the leaving, or embrace the staying.

    But really, some people want to stay and still get to bitch about it— also fine— just realize that your staying and bitching is as annoying to people around you as your partners flaw which come on, no one wants to hear you complain about incessently. (Unless they get off on listening to complaing in which case you’ll have a captive audience)

  15. Angel H.
    Angel H. June 28, 2011 at 5:13 pm |

    Really, if you are writing these letters? Think about why in the world you would ever want to be with…

    People who don’t brush their teeth or change their clothes for days on end and reside in a place that reeks of cat piss and where “there is a layer of dirt, hair and scum on practically every surface in the kitchen and bathroom.”

    Actually, this person may have depression.

  16. Matt
    Matt June 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm |

    Angel H.: Actually, this person may have depression.

    Shh, stop being mean to the poor ableist people. They are feminists and they don’t have time for the disabled. They only care about problems that affect them, ie, womens’ rights.

  17. chava
    chava June 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm |

    I’ve known people who live like that who are NOT depressed, fwiw. Could be possible her BF is, but you’d think she’d have mentioned it.

    Angel H.: Actually, this person may have depression.

  18. Ellie
    Ellie June 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm |

    In a recent episode of the Savage Lovecast, a man called in to say his (lovely, great, hot, amazing, whatever) boyfriend was amazingly (perfect, kind, sexy, etc.) except had jealousy issues. The guy is making him write essays about why he regrets being with other men before they ever met and how much better he is.

    I think the formula here pretty much covers it.

    I feel perfectly fine complaining about my gf from time to time with people I trust who understand– sometimes you just need a minute to vent. I don’t have to qualify every complaint with a list of compliments first, though. It’s annoying that she likes to stay out way later than I do? Doesn’t have to be prefaced with how amazing and perfect and beautiful and supportive and hot she is.

    I’m no psychologist, but the formula here seems to align very well with codependency, which I’ve struggled with a lot.

  19. rox
    rox June 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm |

    Also I don’t think socially skilled people realize how hard it is for socially inept people to find partners.

    All of the “Oh there’s tons of fish in the sea” doesn’t work the same if you’re severely disabled, or went through years of social isolation or whatever. There really are some people who no one wants to date— and then they have to make hard decisions about whether they want to be with stinky cheese guy who is really nice, or that guy who used to beat the crap out of them, or no one.

    Years of no one and not so great friendships is pretty… lonely. You get to where certain flaws don’t even seem like flaws any more because it’s just so nice to be in the presence of another human.

    It’s so easy to rag on someone who chooses the not so great partner, but really I’ve been single ten years now and it really freaking sucks. I get berated from people if I date a jerk but look, nice people don’t like me, or I don’t know how to attract them, or I have flaws that make me not good enough for them:

    Either way, I wish people wouldn’t be so judgemental about deciding to stay with a partner who has flaws. Or having flaws. I hate relationship abuse and human cruelty, I don’t want those things to happen— but I also feel pretty deeply for the numerous people I know who live completely single for a large portion of their lives and into old age. I think about a neighbor I had with CP, who couldnt use her arm and had trouble walking and she was so alone, she never had visiters, she wasn’t even that old. I would chat with her whenever I was around. She had no friends other than myself (and I was busy parenting so I wasn’t much available) and some guy who treated her like crap and was clearly using her and disappearing for long periods of time and turning up again for sex.

    While it makes me pissed off at the GUY, who am I to tell her she’s stupid for feeling like his presence feels better than his absence? It’s not like everyone has the internal or external resources to just manifest all these great partners. If I sound disgruntled that’s what years of not getting enough nooky will do for you ON THE ADVICE OF PEOPLE WHO TELL ME I MUST NOT DATE SU?BP?AR?.,

    What is that supposed to mean? I AM subpar, why the hell can’t I date subpar? And who are these people defining human beings as worthy or unworthy of love based on traits they may not actually have that much control over? A lot of these flaws sound like mental illness/traumatic life issues kind of things. Why do we need to rag on people who are struggling? I mean if your partner isn’t changing their clothes for days on end, that sounds like a serious mental illness going on.

    Any reason we need to be so hateful to people just for struggling with life? If there is abuse going on, I sure as HELL want people to get out— but if their situation has limited possibility to find intamacy outside of the relationship their in, is there really a need to put them down, for being willing to put up with a lot of unpleasant behavior because ultimately it feels so freaking good to be held and have someone to come home to?

    If it’s no longer the case that anything about the relationship feels good and being alone feels better, then sure as heck get out of there. But I think people assume that relationships with enlightened kind gentle people are so easy to come by for everyone. It’s not like that for everyone.

  20. Angel H.
    Angel H. June 28, 2011 at 5:42 pm |

    Hey, way to assume (a) that because a person has hygiene issues he must have mental health problems, and (b) that the author of this post and the commenters have never had any sort of experience with depression or mental health issues.

    Including the person who suggested he might have a mental health problem. [points to self]

    The man in question might have depression. Ok? Does that mean that his partner should have to live in filth?He also might not have depression; he might just be gross. I don’t really see why we’re jumping to conclusions about his mental health, and then using that to accuse each other of ableism.

    You were the one who first assumed that the man was just plain nasty. All I’m saying is that that may not be all there is, so let’s not point and laugh at his problems with his girlfriend.

    And if you don’t want to be accused of ableism, then don’t say something ableist.

  21. Angel H.
    Angel H. June 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm |

    chava: I’ve known people who live like that who are NOT depressed, fwiw. Could be possible her BF is, but you’d think she’d have mentioned it.

    True, but she could also be like several people in my family who still refuse to believe that I have major depression, never mind what all the doctor’s have said.

  22. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm |

    chava:
    I’ve known people who live like that who are NOT depressed, fwiw.Could be possible her BF is, but you’d think she’d have mentioned it.

    My sister’s not quite that bad wrt the housekeeping thing, but it’s close. Not depressed, though, just possessed of an incredibly high (like, omg srsly? high) tolerance for filth.

    As for the DTMFA advice–yes, yes, none of us are perfect. But if you’re better off alone (and possibly way better off alone) than dealing with the shitty, borderline abusive, or supergross behavior that your SO is dishing out, it seems pretty basic to point that out, especially in a culture where a lot of energy is dumped into making people (especially women) feel like any relationship is better than no relationship.

  23. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte June 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm |

    Two reasons:

    1) Conflict averse
    2) Fear of being alone.

    But these are personal flaws that a good dumping could probably help a person get over.

  24. rox
    rox June 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm |

    I don’t think society tells women they are better off alone. I don’t think the pressumption that people are better off alone is any more true than the pressumption that people are better off in any relationship.

    Why don’t we let people decide whether a particular relationship makes them happy rather than stick our own pompous agenda on someone else ad pressume WE know better than they do whether they are happier being with someone who has traits that are difficult to deal with, or better of being alone?

  25. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte June 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm |

    Shh, stop being mean to the poor ableist people.

    As far as I know, the ADA does not require that someone be forced to date someone that makes them miserable just because that person suffers from depression. In fact, being with someone who is depressed can often cause a non-depressed person to develop depression. /experience

    You aren’t owed a relationship with the person you want.

  26. Jenae
    Jenae June 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm |

    Meh–people use the “BUT I LOVE HIM/HER” crap to excuse waaaaay too much. My sister’s bf is always criticizing her weight (she’s 50 lbs lighter than when they met) and told her straight out that he’d break up with her if she gained more weight. Yet she insists that she ~loves him~ and she doesn’t want to break up.

    Oh–he also is always throwing her dating past in her face while remaining ultra secretive about his (she doesn’t even know how many partners he’s had, after dating for a year and a half)!

    /cool story sis

  27. mephistephanies
    mephistephanies June 28, 2011 at 6:44 pm |

    I agree, no one should hold anyone to any standards because they just might have a mental illness.

    I hate it when people are prejudiced against hypothetical mental illnesses.

  28. Florence
    Florence June 28, 2011 at 6:51 pm |

    Hold up, ladies. Angel and Matt are here to teach us about depression.

    preying mantis: As for the DTMFA advice–yes, yes, none of us are perfect. But if you’re better off alone (and possibly way better off alone) than dealing with the shitty, borderline abusive, or supergross behavior that your SO is dishing out, it seems pretty basic to point that out, especially in a culture where a lot of energy is dumped into making people (especially women) feel like any relationship is better than no relationship.

    Yes this, and also the other observation about codependency. A lot of relationship support groups spend the majority of their energies on helping members develop healthy boundaries. Part of this is knowing what you will and will not tolerate in a relationship, and give you tools to manage these conflicts then when they occur in the relationship. These letter writers are looking to have their feelings validated by a third party, which in many ways signals a lack of confidence in their own boundaries, and the irony is that in writing the letter they are magnifying their own discomfort with the boundaries being violated.

    Dirty guy’s girlfriend is clearly in love with the guy but knows that his habits are a dealbreaker. She’s writing in to get that validated. Why I love Captain Awkward’s advice is that she not only explores the situation, possible motivations, and solutions, but she also lays out the fundamentals of all relationship advice:

    then seriously rethink joining households, because he just made his need to never, ever, ever feel even a little bit criticized more important than your need to have a sanitary and functional home. You can’t control how he will react, you can only be true to your own needs.

    Love it. People spend lifetimes learning that “you can’t change him” isn’t just a colloquial saying. You really can only be true to your own needs. Everything else is negotiating and renegotiating what shit you will personally put up with, and for how long.

  29. samanthab
    samanthab June 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm |

    Either you consider it mentally healthy to live in filth or you don’t. If you don’t consider it mentally healthy, then any nasty judgment of that person is therefore ableist. “Just gross”-ness is not really a psychologically motivating force, as defined any well-respected mental health professionals I’ve ever encountered. You know full well that any such person needs help, and the fact that you’re willing to condemn them for that need is most certainly ableist.

    He may not be depressed; he may be severely ADHD. There’s no shortage of mental illnesses that could lead to disorder. “Just gross”, though, is a bullshit definition.

  30. Angel H.
    Angel H. June 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm |

    Jill: Ok? But saying “these habits are gross” is not ableist when we have NO IDEA what his mental heath status is, and there’s no reason to assume he’s depressed except for assumptions about how depressed people behave. I would say that’s pretty damned ableist.

    No, what’s pretty damned ableist is telling *this* depressed, mentally-ill person that she doesn’t know what the hell she talking about. I saw some issues in that letter that were similar to what I – a woman diagnosed with MDP – have gone through. I put it out there that he *might* be mentally ill. Everyone starts getting pissy because y’all rather have a good laugh at the guy’s expense instead of consider that there *may be* some underlying issues instead of merely “this guy’s too lazy to clean.” And I’m the one being ableist?

  31. chava
    chava June 28, 2011 at 7:18 pm |

    …really?
    Look, I have a friend with (well managed) ADHD whose partner is completely neurotypical. Their house (not their persons) is pretty damn disgusting–because the husband is too lazy to *call a housekeeper or take out the trash.* They don’t “need help” in the way you’re suggesting. They just need to get their shit together. And yeah, their house is “just gross.” It isn’t a cry for help or a sign of depression, and they’d be pretty irked if you said so.

    samanthab:
    Either you consider it mentally healthy to live in filth or you don’t. If you don’t consider it mentally healthy, then any nasty judgment of that person is therefore ableist. “Just gross”-ness is not really a psychologically motivating force, as defined any well-respected mental health professionals I’ve ever encountered. You know full well that any such person needs help, and the fact that you’re willing to condemn them for that need is most certainly ableist.

    He may not be depressed; he may be severely ADHD. There’s no shortage of mental illnesses that could lead to disorder. “Just gross”, though, is a bullshit definition.

  32. Tony
    Tony June 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm |

    My experience with people who don’t clean well and live in dirty places is that they are often not aware of how their poor cleaning habits (or grooming habits) come off to others. This is because they have been living in this place for such a long time, it seems normal to them. Like the frog in boiling water, the problem has built up for a long time, as has their tolerance level for uncleanliness. I would suspect something similar is true for grooming habits. Kind of like you don’t smell your own body odor or bad breath. Keeping clean is often something that we do for for the consideration of others, and when others don’t care (or are too polite to mention) how unpleasant your dirtiness is, it can be easy to delude yourself that you are doing fine in that department when you are not.

    I definitely agree with Captain Awkward that this person needs to be told (on no uncertain terms) how disgusting their habits and environment is, how inconsiderate it is to other people, and that it this person needs to choose between improving their grooming and cleaning habits and staying with their partner. I wouldn’t get emotional but I would be firm and frank, I wouldn’t mind if the other person reacts defensively either. Sometimes people will react defensively when they are being criticized out of instinct, but still be accepting the criticism in their heart, and you can see that later they changed their behavior or changed their opinion when they no longer feel under attack.

    If they are really mature and care about the relationship, then they should be willing to take a few hours to clean their place, and take a few moments each day to brush their teeth, shower, and do other things most people take for granted. If they aren’t willing to do these basic things, then they probably aren’t going to make a very good partner.

  33. vanessa
    vanessa June 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm |

    eh. for me personally, when i am depressed i tend to get pretty gross–room gets trashed, i shower less, do laundry less, etc. yes, i a smelly teenager.

    i also know people who are just messy and NOT depressed. or who have a higher tolerance for chaos/clutter than their partners.

    but…i’ve never known anyone who was *constantly* unclean without having some kind of mental illness going on.

  34. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm |

    I don’t think I understand why it’s relevant whether or not the partner has depression. As a person who periodically suffers from depression (full disclosure: not now), I don’t think it means a boyfriend should feel like they have to put up with something I do that they find heinous – so heinous, in fact, that they’re writing to someone for validation to dump my ass.

    Sooo… yeah. Maybe the partner is depressed. Maybe not. Maybe he’s a polka-dotted elephant and cannot physically reach around to wipe his own ass with his trunk, accounting for the questionable hygiene. If the hygiene is a deal breaker, that’s the bottom line. I don’t personally find it ableist that people heard “questionable hygiene” and didn’t immediately think “depression” – but my depression never manifested that way, fwiw.

  35. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm |

    Tony: My experience with people who don’t clean well and live in dirty places is that they are often not aware of how their poor cleaning habits (or grooming habits) come off to others.

    That’s been my experience with close friends who were gross. Another few were from different countries where hygiene practices were just different than they are in the US. Deodorant, e.g., has a cultural/class component.

  36. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm |

    Motherfucker, it looks like I said people with different hygiene practices due to differing cultural backgrounds are gross. Sorry for the triple post, but please believe that was just shitty juxtaposition/inability to use my words to convey that standards differ for what normal hygiene practices are with regards to context.

  37. vanessa
    vanessa June 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm |

    I’d add that the same is true of anyone–no one has the obligation to stay in a relationship if the other person has some sort of issue–bad hygiene, tendency to watch reality shows, thinking about voting for Bachman–you just have to do a cost benefit analysis.

  38. zuzu
    zuzu June 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm |

    Who the fuck cares if the guy has mental illness?

    They’re considering moving in together, which means that she will either have to do the work to keep the house sanitary or will have to try to get him to help. Or, she’ll have to give up and accept nasty personal hygiene and a filthy environment.

    None of those are good options. Regardless of the cause of the filth.

    But let’s all take a deep breath and remember what she wrote in about in the first place: His filth bothers her. Why does she have to accept a relationship which causes her such discomfort, or which will require her to become a housekeeper? Why shouldn’t he have to do something to meet her halfway?

  39. rox
    rox June 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm |

    Ok- I think you’re just plain being a jerk by calling people gross. You define them as gross, I define you as a jerk. Ok? Sound good? No? Then STOP. You are being so cruel. NO ONE has to date ANYONE.

    PERIOD. FOR ANY REASON.

    That doesn’t mean that it is WRONG to date some who has problems with cleanliness. Hoarding disorder and chronic disroginization and problems with filthiness have in and of themselves (outside of any other mental illness) been researched as disorders and people who struggle with these things tend to have different functioning brains.

    My mother deals with it and surprise so does everyone in my family even though none of us grew up together because we were all adopted to various homes.

    I didn’t know a single biological relative for 18 years and guess what? They are all messy in EXACTLY the same way I am. Forget to close cabinets? Forget what they are doing while they walk around? Literally don’t understand how to organize things in a way that makes sense? Yes. We don’t really have hoarding, as in accumulation of stuff, but rather just a difficulty seeing what’s in front of us, understanding how to create steps to acomplish– anything– how to categorize.

    I think it has something to do with the drugs…

    But anyways—- My mother still has all the same problems and she has a partner who does the cleaning. If he should want to leave he can leave. They worked it out and have been happy together for 18 years.

    So why the shit do you need to call people gross? Is it ok to call people who experience obesity gross?

    Are people with obesity mentally ill? No? so fair game to call them gross? WTF? No one has to date anyone. If you want to leave a partner fine but there’s no reason to sit around smearing slurs at people who are just trying to make it through life.

  40. Erica
    Erica June 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm |

    zuzu:
    Why does she have to accept a relationship which causes her such discomfort, or which will require her to become a housekeeper?Why shouldn’t he have to do something to meet her halfway?

    Because calling someone out on their filth is ABLEIST. Mentally ill people can do NOTHING about their situation, and people better be sure before they break up with someone that they’re not doing it because their SO’s mental illness, or else they’re a jerk who only looks out for their own interests! GOD, why do people not know this??!!

    Jay kay. As someone with ADHD who can let things become pretty damn cluttered/dirty if I don’t pay attention, I think it’s pretty messed up to assume that my messiness is some kind of intractable trait that other people have to just accept or else they’re horrible ableist assholes. Because they SHOULDN’T accept it. I don’t want to accept it! Hence the structured routines, checklists, meds, etc. But maybe I’m displaying internalized ableism or something like that, obvs I have a lot to learn from people who don’t even have the same problems as me.

    Actually, taking this one step further… narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness. Are people who break up with people who display narcissistic traits ableist? After all, that person might have NPD, it’s not their fault they’re like this. Really wondering.

  41. rox
    rox June 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm |

    There are a lot of behaviors that could be thought of as “Gross” by many people: promiscuity, having hairy armpits, being into anal sex, snorting while laughing, homosexuality—

    The point is, if someone doesn’t like their partners behavior there are pretty much two options– talk to them about it– leave.

    If you talk to them about it and there is no way to resolve the issue, you leave. There is no reason to sit there putting people down for not being who you want.

    Second there is this— you are pressuming that when people write in about their partners behaviors that they are “behaviorally great”.

    It’s possible. It’s also possible that they aren’t that great themselves. If you’re going to rate peoples behavior as either good or bad, or various degrees of good enough to date or not good enough to date:

    WHAT SHOULD THE NOT GOOD ENOUGHS DO?

    If you have two “not good enoughs” then why the hell can’t they date each other rather than be alone the rest of their lives? Sure they might prefer to not have to deal with each others crappy behavior, but they might find that having a relationship is worth it. It’s up to each person to decide that. What I mean to say is, if someone writes in and you scream “dump the MF because they are nasty and gross!” The person might think, “Well, It does bother me this cleanliness issue but this person has been there for me through thick and thin and they’ve been willing to support me through some of my own sucky behaviors like crying too much or pouting for attention, or being a drama queen or things that other people don’t want to deal with– and I want to stay”

    What I mean to say is, you have this idea that everyone can become behaviorally desirable and no-one should date until they fix all of these issues. Well for each person being the best person they can be only gets them so far.

    There are going to be people in society who struggle with more unappealing behaviors than the general population and they will probably want to date each other rather than follow your plan of being single for the rest of their lives as you so believe is best for them.

  42. zuzu
    zuzu June 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm |

    rox: That doesn’t mean that it is WRONG to date some who has problems with cleanliness.

    Again, the letter-writer was going beyond the idea of dating such a person to considering living with him. AND IT WAS MAKING HER UNCOMFORTABLE.

    It’s plain wrong to ignore that.

  43. zuzu
    zuzu June 28, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    Pity fucks for everyone!

  44. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte June 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm |

    You are not entitled to a romance with the person you choose.

    You are not entitled to a romance with the person you choose.

    You are not entitled to a romance with the person you choose.

    Rinse and repeat until it sinks in. This rule adheres even if you have a disability or a mental illness. People choose who to be with because it’s a value add to their lives. If your mental illness is ruining someone else’s life—which is 100% the case if you’re too depressed to clean up after yourself—they have every right, nay obligation to self-care. They have to make sure they are safe and healthy FIRST. Sorry if that rains on your parade.

    Anyway, being dumped because you refuse to get help for your mental illness is often the kick in the ass the depressed person needs.

    But even if that weren’t true, hear this: You are not entitled to ruin someone else’s life with your mental illness.

    My father once gave me the best advice I’ve ever heard: If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re no good to anyone else.

    If you stay with a person whose mental illness is destroying your happiness, DUMP THEM. It’s painful, but they aren’t entitled to take you down with them. If they loved you, they wouldn’t want to.

  45. sarah
    sarah June 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm |

    lets flip the ableist argument around. what if the writer has OCD? her boyfriend is being ableist by not accommodating her needs. Maybe he is depressed too. Are they both being ableist at each other by having their own issues that are affecting their relationship?

    this ableist fingerpointing game is hurting my brain.

  46. Florence
    Florence June 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm |

    And what if the dude is just not mentally ill?

    We’re filling in a lot of gaps with our own shit here. “We” being a loose term.

  47. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie June 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm |

    people better be sure before they break up with someone that they’re not doing it because their SO’s mental illness, or else they’re a jerk who only looks out for their own interests!

    No one is obligated to remain in a relationship with someone who is mentally ill. Period.

    It is not mean or ableist to leave someone who is mentally ill. If my life is being ruined by someone’s mental illness, I owe it to MYSELF (yes, MYSELF! ME! Selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed, self-AWARE ME!) to live as happily and healthily as I can.

  48. rox
    rox June 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm |

    I have no where said a person should stay if they don’t want to stay. I worked with homeless young adults and foster alumni for a few years. A lot of the kids had sever mental illness that impeded basic functioning. Yes even when they were getting help and taking their meds.

    Should they not be allowed to date each other? I’m not arguing anyone should stay when they don’t want to stay.

    I think I made that pretty clear. I am saying that even if treated there are people who have basic functioning problems and often they want to date each other. If someone is not your cup of tea you can leave at any time for any reason, I’m just saying there is no reason to insult people for struggling with life.

  49. rox
    rox June 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm |

    I don’t have a clue why people who would defend a 500 pound person from being called gross would feel free to attack someone with hygeine problem. There is probably a similar degree of free will there as well.

    Can any one explain this too me? Or is this a place where people’s weight can be called gross as well?

  50. Sweet Machine
    Sweet Machine June 28, 2011 at 10:27 pm |

    Should they not be allowed to date each other?

    What on earth? This is an Easter-Island-statue-sized Strawman.

  51. rox
    rox June 28, 2011 at 10:46 pm |

    I am saying— if you claim that certain make people repulsive and undatable and should be thrown out like trash, to use Jills words—

    Then what if some of the people writing in are “trash” also? Why would you treat any partner like trash? If you want to leave your partner, leave. You don’t need to call them a piece of trash. Sociopathic behaviors suck, but the people who are dating someone who hurts kittens and have to write in to find out if that’s bad?

    I’m guessing they probably have some disordered personality traits of their own. And I personally don’t think that means they are a piece of trash if that’s the case.

    I have no problem with people leaving, I’m saying, do we need insults to give people permission to leave a partner?

  52. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan June 28, 2011 at 10:58 pm |

    “Should they not be allowed to date each other?”

    What on earth? This is an Easter-Island-statue-sized Strawman.

    No, no, I think it’s a valid point! And I, for one, believe they should not only be disallowed from dating one another, but they should also then be signed up for weekly pity fucks. Because to do otherwise is aaaableist.

    Also there should be pity fucks for all people who are OCD. Or depressed. Like me! ‘Cause I’m both, so when I’m depressed and messy … I think it’s gross … and I wish I were energetic enough to clean it … OH GODDAMN I’m totally ableist to myself!!! (Ooh, also can I have a free maid service? Along with the pity fucks? Damn, it’s good to be crazy!)

  53. rox
    rox June 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm |

    I also want to add this attitude is actually what ESCELATES abusive behaviors in people. Oh you forgot to take out the garbage? I’m sick of this shit, and I’m smacking you upside the head.

    When women write in and say, “My partner is really critical of me and it hurts my feelings. I am feeling so hurt I just don’t know what to do, he’s always yelling and nothing I do is ever good enough”

    She’ll get a bunch of responses like, “Oh he’s abusive/narcissist/mentally ill/evil and leave him immediately”. Of course the reality is she’s on meds and has bouts of dissociation from reality and can’t hold a job– so in this particular hypthetical situation what you really think is THAT THEY ARE BOTH TRASH. She won’t get the memo because she didn’t describe her flaws.

    I’m just saying that relationships rarely involve one person having all the flaws. And even people in treatment, working on their issues can still have serious flaws for the rest of their lives.

    If one person wants to leave AT ANY TIME, AT ANY REASON they can leave leave leave!!! Even if their partner is perfect in every way and has been really nice! Leaving is ok. I’m just saying some people have worked on themselves up and down and are as good as their going to be. And that might be a perfect match for some other person who is as good as they can be but still really flawed by societies standards. And sometimes they might get annoyed with each other and write into some internet forum and everyone will scream DTMF without realizing that really there are TWO people with serious issues and in the end the person who wrote in might decide to stay and they might genuinely be a happier person for staying.

    How the hell would we know?

  54. Nimue
    Nimue June 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm |

    Tony:
    My experience with people who don’t clean well and live in dirty places is that they are often not aware of how their poor cleaning habits (or grooming habits) come off to others. This is because they have been living in this place for such a long time, it seems normal to them.

    EXACTLY! My in-laws and husband are a perfect example of this. They’re all total slobs, and I’m a neat freak, and yeah it causes some conflict. I normally avoid conflict like the plague, but apparently the one thing I’m willing to get up in arms about is a mess. As far as I understand, they have always been messy, and that is normal. I have always been a neat freak, and that is normal. We’re learning to live with each other.

  55. Miss S
    Miss S June 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm |

    I agree that people who write into these columns either a). want permission to leave or b) want permission to stay. I know, because I’ve done it. As my mom says “If you have to ask five people, you already know the answer.”

    Me talking about my high school sweetheart: “Okay, so we argue everyday, and we break up every few months, and everyone keeps saying he is cheating on me. But..we could still totally get married right? I mean, it works out for some people right? He does really nice things for me too, so I should try to work this out, right? Right?

    My mom: “Do you really have to ask?”
    My five year old sister: “Um, no. You need to let him go.”

    Me: “Okay. Why?”

  56. Miss S
    Miss S June 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm |

    Maybe he’s a polka-dotted elephant and cannot physically reach around to wipe his own ass with his trunk, accounting for the questionable hygiene.

    This is…. hilarious. And I can’t get the picture out of my head.

    Depression might be the reason for having bad hygiene, but it also might not and it seems… fucked up to assume that someone who doesn’t take a shower has a mental illness.

    Plus, it’s fine to break up with someone even if they have a mental illness. No really. It is. Especially if their actions put your mental health in jeopardy.

  57. Shoshie
    Shoshie June 28, 2011 at 11:55 pm |

    Um, I can be a totally gross slobby person, sometimes. Not all the time, but often enough. I’m sure enough that some people wouldn’t want to date me. I don’t think it’s due to mental illness, at least not that I’m aware of. Mostly things like dishes and laundry just rank fairly low on my list of important things. So it can get pretty gross around my apartment.

    Fortunately, my husband can be just as gross. And then we both look at each other and quote from this:

    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/03/am-adult.html

  58. ACG
    ACG June 28, 2011 at 11:57 pm |

    The Boy and I don’t have a lot of hard-and-fast rules for our relationship, but one of them is that I take my medication and keep up with my shrink as directed, or he walks. Is that cruel, unreasonable, or ableist? Not even a little bit. If I choose to go against doctor’s orders and shit gets real–and shit can get really real–it’s my own fault. Even if I choose to impose that on myself, it’s not something I get to impose on him. He can’t be expected to stick around through all of it when we both know there are tested, effective ways around it for me.

    That’s not to say he’s going to take off if for any reason my meds stop working as intended, things stop working with my shrink, or some other life situation starts interfering with my mental health. He loves me, and we stick with each other through hard times. But willfully bailing on my self-care and letting the crizz take over is basically saying to him that I don’t care about our mutual happiness. And it’s not ableist or uncaring of him to say that he doesn’t want to stay with someone who isn’t at least trying to keep things reasonable.

  59. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 12:09 am |

    Ok I just want to repeat again— I have no where stated that ANYONE SHOULD STAY WITH SOMEONE THEY DON’T WANT TO STAY WITH.

    EVER.

    I am saying can we not insult people or say that it’s ok to treat them like a piece of trash?

  60. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 12:17 am |

    I guess I could put it more bluntly, when I struggled with cleaning I got smacked upside the head and told I was a piece of trash.

    It’s find to leave someone if you want to leave for any reason, but seeing their flaws does not justify treating them like a piece of trash.

  61. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth June 29, 2011 at 12:20 am |

    Also…if someone is seriously depressed and refuses to do anything about it for a very long period of time, that isn’t acceptable in a relationship either. If you are depressed to the point where your lack of hygiene is unsafe, then you need to do something about it–i.e., get the help you need or let someone else help you get the help you need. Depression may make you feel paralyzed, but at some point you have to realize that if you want relationships with other human beings, you will have to have the desire to function in a way that is not completely self-absorbed (which depression makes you). Yes, wanting to kill yourself sucks. Lying in bed crying for 8 hours sucks. Not eating for 3 days because your stomach is in knots sucks. You know what also sucks? Being the person who has to deal with that. Anyone compassionate will put up with it for awhile because they love and care about you, but no one (not even your mom) is going to want to spend all their time with you if it involves watching you cry and talk about how much you hate yourself, nor should they. Non-mentally ill people have right to be cared for and treated with compassion, and if you can’t do that, then you aren’t a very good partner. Moreover, it’s enabling. If someone really cares about you, they will get frustrated and demand you do something to help yourself, just like people get frustrated with alcoholics or others engaged in self-destructive behaviors. No one likes to watch people they care about harm themselves. I hate having to do this, but I guess this is when I pull out “I’ve been severely depressed almost my whole life” card, since otherwise people will get pissy at me for disagreeing that OMG DEPRESSION MEANS YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT AND IF PEOPLE COMPLAIN IT’S ABLEIST, but apparently since I am mentally ill, I can say whatever I want about depression :P

    Anyways, I refused to get proper treatment for my depression (I was able to either self-manage or mask it to the outside world well enough) and was an incredibly shitty gf for about a year, and then I got help. Then, after some tough love from my partner and couples counseling, I got on antidepressants and learned to manage my depression in a way that was more healthy and less of a burden on my partner, and my biggest regret is that I didn’t do this years ago.

  62. Allison
    Allison June 29, 2011 at 12:21 am |

    I’m one messy, grungy lady. And I do have a mental illness, but it’s managed. You know what my problem is? I’m fucking lazy and I am not bothered by mess. The fact that I’m not bothered by clutter is not a symptom of something being ~wrong~ with my brains.

  63. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 12:49 am |

    OK for the last time, I have not even once stated that leaving a partner you want to leave is ablist.

    PLEASE STOP TWISTING MY WORDS.

    I am saying, someone like Jill would think I’m a piece of trash. If I want intimacy I can find it from other people with behavioral problems.

    They might treat me bad, but sometimes something is better than nothing when you have years of being totally alone. So I’m saying two things: Please don’t call me a piece of trash.

    Please don’t insult me for choosing to have intimacy with the kinds of people who are willing to have intimacy with me. Judging people for choosing something over nothing tells me you haven’t experienced many many years of choosing nothing.

    Supposedly people tell me this is supposed to be better but it really feels worse. I think I was happier being allowed to hang out with other people with behavioral problems.

  64. ACG
    ACG June 29, 2011 at 1:09 am |

    rox: PLEASE STOP TWISTING MY WORDS.

    IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU. People can have a discussion about ableism/not-ableism without it being in direct response to something you said.

  65. Ali
    Ali June 29, 2011 at 1:21 am |

    I think you’re simplifying human relationships far too much. When love is involved, people become entangled in so many ways–for good or bad. Obviously co-dependency could be involved, or need for validation–but knowing someone (or at least, feeling like you know someone) intimately, for who they are, is often the main issue.

    So, when some horrible issue comes up with your SO, and you start to stew on it, you also think about all the things that make them wonderful. Rather than dumping someone right off the bat, the only thing to do seems to be a huge effort to resolve this horrible issue. If you love this person, that is. The key is knowing how much of yourself you want to give to being with your SO. Seeking advice (whether from friends or columnists) is one avenue many people take on the path to resolution.

    My grandfather cheated on my grandmother. She was very close to “dumping the trash”, but in the end she decided that he was a good man in every way BUT–and chose to stay with him. 40 years later, they are still together, and I’ve rarely witnessed a happier couple. You could say it was only because he changed when she confronted him–but in their case it was better for both of them for him to change rather than to be dumped.

  66. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 1:23 am |

    Ah… ok carry on then.

  67. Unree
    Unree June 29, 2011 at 1:36 am |

    rox, I get what you are saying and I agree.

  68. Anon for this one
    Anon for this one June 29, 2011 at 2:08 am |

    Elisabeth, your comment was really interesting and helped me realise a few things. Thanks.

  69. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 5:52 am |

    Oy. I’ve been clinically depressed (turns out I’ve had bouts of it for most of my life). I’ve also been in relationships where my boyfriend was doing something unacceptable to me, but I was guilted into staying/keeping quiet about not liking it because he was having issues and it wasn’t fair of me.

    Fuck that noise. Yes, I have issues with depression. Yes, I can get messy when I’m dealing with it (or if I’m just sick with a cold for that matter). But I’m not going to apologize for saying that only picking up the chunks of a cat’s kill or leaving a pet’s feces or vomit on the floor is fucking disgusting. I’m not going to apologize for saying that hoarding makes my skin crawl, that a film of dust and dirt and grease on things is actually not healthy and I don’t want to live in it, and that only sporadically brushing your teeth, showering, or changing your clothes is a turnoff.

    That LW’s boyfriend is aware that she is concerned, but he’s not in a place yet where he wants to or can do anything about it. She cannot force him to brush his teeth, change his clothes, shower, or keep his place reasonably clean. If he’s depressed, she cannot force him to get treatment–that’s up to him. I don’t think anyone here is being mean by saying HER needs matter too. And as others who are either non-neurotypical or who have mental illness on this thread pointed out, I’m not the only one who thinks this way. It erases those of us who HAVE these issues and who have been pressured or shamed into staying in situations that were unacceptable to us. It erases and shames those of us who HAVE these issues but also have the unmitigated gall to think that cat kills left on the floor is gross.

    Also? You don’t speak for me. No one is obligated to date me–they can decide anything is a dealbreaker no matter how shallow I may think it is. I am also not obligated to date anyone, and I’m sure as fuck not obligated to stifle MY feelings about cleanliness (or the lack thereof) that are health hazards. I am no one’s therapist or savior. Fuck off.

  70. Angel H.
    Angel H. June 29, 2011 at 8:55 am |

    rox: I guess I could put it more bluntly, when I struggled with cleaning I got smacked upside the head and told I was a piece of trash.

    Same here, which is why this whole thing is very triggering for me. Also, good for those who are able to manage their own mental illness because they can get treatment or they have some other support system. Unfortunately, some of us [raises hand] can’t afford treatment and have no support system. Does that mean we should get treated like trash?

    ACG: IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU. People can have a discussion about ableism/not-ableism without it being in direct response to something you said.

    But where is this argument coming from? It just seems like it sprung up as a strawman because neither I, Rox, nor Samanthab ever said this. I can’t speak for anyone else, but the thing that got me was that the OP started off as a joke. “Har Har! Let’s laugh at these dysfunctional relationships with these dysfunctional people!” Since I saw a little of myself in one of those people, I put out a difference of opinion. Enter Shitstorm.

  71. Florence
    Florence June 29, 2011 at 8:55 am |

    We should all just butt out and let people die of toxoplasmosis, especially if it means avoiding being seen as judgmental.

  72. Florence
    Florence June 29, 2011 at 8:57 am |

    Angel H.: Same here, which is why this whole thing is very triggering for me. Also, good for those who are able to manage their own mental illness because they can get treatment or they have some other support system. Unfortunately, some of us [raises hand] can’t afford treatment and have no support system. Does that mean we should get treated like trash?

    No, absolutely not.

    But neither should a blog be your therapist or its commenters your enablers.

  73. Angel H.
    Angel H. June 29, 2011 at 9:00 am |

    Jill: Speaking of twisting peoples’ words… (If you can find where I said someone with behavior problems is a “piece of trash,” I will give you a brownie).

    Jill: Dump him.
    Dump her.
    Throw that one out like yesterday’s trash.

    Can I get mine with pecans?

  74. Jadey
    Jadey June 29, 2011 at 9:14 am |

    Jill: Yes, obviously, no one should be allowed to date without my personal approval. That is what I am saying, totally.

    So there’s this cute biology student I’ve had my eye on. Do I have your blessing?

  75. Angel H.
    Angel H. June 29, 2011 at 9:17 am |

    Jill:

    Keep grasping at those straws. You might get one someday.

    Also, I’m not your friend.

  76. Florence
    Florence June 29, 2011 at 9:21 am |

    Angel, you showed up and posited that this *may* be a mental health issue (which is complete and total projection on your part, but hey), and then accused everyone else of ableism for feeling unconvinced by your hypothetical while centering *your own issues*. No matter what your mental health status is, it’s extremely inconsiderate to the rest of us who are trying to have a conversation about the BLOG TOPIC AT HAND that actually isn’t about you or your personal problems. It’s also frustrating for those of us who experience similar mental health issues and attempt to engage you on such to be told to shut up because YOUR issues are paramount and you are TOTALLY MORE OPPRESSED than we are (like it’s a competition?). It’s worse that it is an emerging pattern of yours on thread after thread after thread after thread after thread after thread, and that you then become hostile when others call you on it. It’s bullshit, pal.

  77. Girl from Ontario
    Girl from Ontario June 29, 2011 at 9:42 am |

    What Florence said x 1,000,000. I wanted to comment on this thread and engage in discussion, but when I got here it had already turned into an Angel and rox pity fest, and I wasn’t as interested in engaging with that.

  78. Florence
    Florence June 29, 2011 at 9:54 am |

    Jill: :-(

  79. Andie
    Andie June 29, 2011 at 9:56 am |

    Why is no one defending the kitten-stompers? Seems Jill referred to them as trash as well.

  80. Lori
    Lori June 29, 2011 at 9:59 am |

    I have to say, that Jill, you made me LOL last night when I read your post. Because I read the Dear Prudie stuff all the time and scratch my head thinking: “for reals? You are going to stay with that loser after listing all of those flaws?”. Anyway, you are funny. Thanks for making me laugh. And oh yes, you should definitely give relationship advice. For a living.

  81. anonymous coward
    anonymous coward June 29, 2011 at 10:11 am |

    The ableism griefers never saw a thread they couldn’t derail. Every single human quirk or flaw is now a “disability.”

    Fuck that noise. It trivializes actual disabilities, and — if the alleged “disabled” are privileged individuals — it puts another heap of pressure on the oppressed folks, like women vis-a-vis men, who are already expected to pick up after their entitled asses.

  82. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 10:21 am |

    Hoarding and issues of chronic filth are definately not healthy for human inhabitants. In fact I’ve spent a lot of time researching home maintenace and it’s corrolations with both poverty, mental illness, and human health.

    I can gaurantee you that living in a disgusting amount of filth as people have described with grime everywhere and toxoplasma and yuck and ew– it’s certainly not a condition anyone should move into or something anyone should have on their romantic desirable list.

    Poor and severely mentally ill people tend to have this problem and not be able to access services which usually involves a combination of behavioral interventions and treatment for any biological mental impairment (which is not always affective so seeking treatment doesn’t fix this for a lot of people). Poor people can’t access those services. As someone who has lived among minimum wage workers, SSI recipients, drug and ex drug addicts with no teeth–

    The dating world is different. If someone from THAT world writes to one of these sights anything they say about their partner could be seen as terrible, “They have no teeth! My partner sometimes forgets who they are and starts chomping on furniture without realizing it! My partner wears a tin helmut to protect him from the aliens, is that normal?”

    I’m just saying despite that such people don’t matter to you, they exist and some of them know how to use the internet. Their dating world is different and the advice they need is different. And they are probably among the people who you drop your chin at and say “Oh look at what terrible undatable people!” The reality is any of the people from that population that you choose will have some of these traits that you think are so awful, so as they want to date each other, it’s just about which traits you can be ok with, or that perhaps you share in common so it doesn’t bother you.

    No one should EVER be bullied into staying where they don’t want to stay and using a mental illness to force someone to stay is a horrific thing to do.

    So eating to 500 pounds, is that hygenic or healthy? Is it ok to call that repulsive and gross?– I was under the impression this website was into fat acceptance or is it not? Maybe that’s where the disconnect happens because I thought this was an environment that was compassionate about sensitive issues like this that some people are struggling really hard with.

  83. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 10:39 am |

    You don’t have to date someone who is 500 pounds, but there is not reason to call them repulsive and gross. Same goes with how someone keeps their house.

    How someone manages their house or their self care is not the same thing as stomping kittens because you can easily not interact with someone whose home or person are undesirable to you, but a helpless kitten can not get away.

    Having traits is not bad in and off themselves— forcing them on others is where abuse happens. If someone said, “Hey you have to date me even though you think my eyebrows are disgustingly large or else your being prejudiced against my appearance!”
    That would be ridiculous.

    Of course you don’t have to date anyone ever.

    That doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to run around talking about how disgusting people with large eyebrows are and how you will continue to procclaim your disgust with them until they find a pair of tweezers and fix that unibrow.

  84. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 10:45 am |

    A lot of the people who called you on your insulting and erasing bullshit are poor and disabled themselves.

  85. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 10:57 am |

    Drug addiction is also unhealthy and causes health problems. Over-eating is also unhealthy and causes health problems. Avoiding dating people who might be hazardous to your health is perfectly respectable.

    I just don’t see choosing not to date someone as a reason to bash them for things they are struggling with. If you think someone is hazardous to your health, then there is an easy solution: don’t date them.

    Insulting them doesn’t have to fit into the equation.

  86. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 29, 2011 at 11:08 am |

    anonymous coward: It trivializes actual disabilities, and — if the alleged “disabled” are privileged individuals

    I don’t really agree with the jump that the bf in the OP is probably depressed (I’m still pretty sure he’s an elephant, myself), but I want to point out that aside from that jump, those commenters are talking about their own depression and how it manifests. That’s not really trivializing disabilities so much as generalizing their own hurt and pain to some blank canvas. Also, I don’t know who/what you mean by “alleged,” because this isn’t the first time Angel has talked about her depression. It’s a little cynical to imply she could have made up an entire non-NT persona for the sake of Feministe, no?

    Messy depressed folks: as a fellow non-NT person, I get irritated when NT people look at something that happens in the overall population pretty frequently and pathologize it. It’s like they’re setting us up to be more different than we actually are from NT folks. That’s why I never ever get behind possible internet-diagnosis (not even with the guy who ignited himself in that other thread). If that person (or zir doctor, unless he’s Dr. Drew) doesn’t say themselves that they are some kind of non-NT, I choose not to assume it because I think it contributes to that divide. I totally get that you see your behavior in this other person. My gut-reaction would also be “pissed off” if I got called gross. However, I wouldn’t use gross to describe someone I knew wasn’t NT with the same circumstances. Another example is when someone starts screaming into zir phone in a library. I assume they’re an asshole (and NT). If I know they’re not-NT in a way that makes them more likely to scream into phones, I would think they’re doing the best they can.

    This obviously isn’t the point of the thread, but while I can see the benefit in saying, “Hey, maybe he’s depressed” so that we stop making NT the norm (maybe eventually reducing stigma about mental health issues if we acknowledge it’s pretty common?), I think reducing the ideas that “this person is different, therefore they’re unhealthy” is another way to reach that goal. Fucked if I know which is more effective, but for now, I’m backing the latter.

    In the meantime though, I still think you should dump anyone who’s living in a way that makes you deeply uncomfortable, regardless of the circumstances. Also, I never made the dump-trash connection and now it kind of makes me sad, haha. I don’t like to think I dumped men, but maybe sorted them into the recycling bin?

  87. Erika
    Erika June 29, 2011 at 11:11 am |

    I’m not a big commentor, but this one I can’t stay silent on…

    To those that used ADHD as an excuse for messiness. Yes. This is true. I have ADHD and I suffered my whole life for it. I thought I was bipolar for the longest time. I didn’t learn that I had ADHD until I was in my twenties. Now I’ve got meds to manage it.

    But, I think it’s incredibly important to point out…the man that woman wrote about doesn’t EVAR clean. NO condition of ADHD would cause this. He skips showers, brushing his teeth, does not clean stains of the carpet AT THE TIME THEY HAPPEN. Anyone with true ADHD (not the prevalently misdiagnosed) knows by now that it is keeping up with these things that causes us trouble. There is absolutely no reason why I would clean up a mess and then neglect to ACTUALLY clean it. In fact, the typical hyperfocusing of ADHD and the habitual neurotic behaviors it usually fosters (because you can’t trust yourself to do things properly if at all) tend to cause me to be overly through when I’m cleaning something, not completely horribly neglectful in the moment.

    Sheelzebub: Also? You don’t speak for me. No one is obligated to date me–they can decide anything is a dealbreaker no matter how shallow I may think it is. I am also not obligated to date anyone, and I’m sure as fuck not obligated to stifle MY feelings about cleanliness (or the lack thereof) that are health hazards. I am no one’s therapist or savior. Fuck off.

    Thank you! Most abusers have mental issues….would you say that expecting them to NOT abuse people is ableist? That’s horrible. Please do not abuse that term. Ableists are those that try to opress people with disabilities, put them down, or treat them as if they are not as good as others. The SYMPTOMS of a disability do not have to be acceptable just because the person cannot help them. We have to work with disabilities, not just allow them to ruin the lives of those they affect.

    It’s this sort of guilt and BS idea of altruism we have that made me feel sorry for the crying man who had just screamed and yelled at me, called me stupid, put his hand through a freaking door. I sat there and bandaged his wounds. Comforted HIM. At some point, you just have to realize that a relationship is detrimental to your mental and physical health. Hell, a woman stays long enough with a person with a disability in an abusive situation and she finally develops PTSD or some other disorder from what she suffers…is she now able to leave with a clear conscience?

    BTW, I really enjoyed this article. Especialy what Prudence said back to the guy with the “good” wife.

  88. Ali
    Ali June 29, 2011 at 11:16 am |

    Lori:
    I have to say, that Jill, you made me LOL last night when I read your post.Because I read the Dear Prudie stuff all the time and scratch my head thinking: “for reals? You are going to stay with that loser after listing all of those flaws?”.Anyway, you are funny. Thanks for making me laugh. And oh yes, you should definitely give relationship advice. For a living.

    Ok, this is not directed at you specifically, but your post made me think. We talk about the sort of people who write to these advice columns as people who are just looking for excuses to dump/stay in a relationship. What about the people who read these columns? Methinks people who read them to laugh or boldly proclaim “Dump him/her!” strike me as people who like to feel superior when they look at the problems of other people. Or people who need validation of their own to say, “Hey, my relationships can suck sometimes–but look at this person!! At least I know enough to say, ‘dump him/her!'”

  89. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 11:16 am |

    Well feelings are just feelings, you can think anything you like is gross! I really am curious though, do you feel it’s acceptable to call people’s varying wieghts gross?

    Because if you do, we don’t have a problem. It’s the inconsistancy of procclaiming that we can’t say that eating to engorgement over and over again which results in huge layers of fat and disease isn’t gross: and then turning around and hurling the term gross at people who are probably struggling with a similar level of difficulties with their own will and behavior (or are voluntarily choosing and unhealthy behavior) that doesn’t make sense to me.

    I thought this was a place where calling peoples weights gross was not acceptable, (I find it unacceptable myself) but if you find that ok, then at least you’re being consistant and I’ll give it a rest. : )

  90. Esti
    Esti June 29, 2011 at 11:17 am |

    PrettyAmiable: Also, I don’t know who/what you mean by “alleged,” because this isn’t the first time Angel has talked about her depression.

    I took the “alleged” disability comment to be a reference to the fact that we have absolutely no reason to believe that the letter writer’s boyfriend is in fact disabled.

  91. Esti
    Esti June 29, 2011 at 11:17 am |

    Quote fail. I should have known better than to wade into this commenting thread.

  92. Girl from Ontario
    Girl from Ontario June 29, 2011 at 11:18 am |

    rox, no one has personally insulted anyone who has difficulty keeping their place clean for whatever reason. But their habits can and should warrant criticism. There are many people out there in the world, hell, there are many people on this thread that deal with mental illness and difficulty performing day to day tasks. But it doesn’t mean you get a free pass to live in utter squalor. It’s insulting to people who are mentally ill but do find ways to cope and get through their day with brushed teeth and a clean body. It’s not a personal attack, it’s commentary on what should constitute basic hygiene and this man doesn’t live up to it.

  93. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 11:31 am |

    OK– Totally see what you’re saying. Having a biological or genetic predisposition to gain weight is no excuse for gaining weight.

    Giving people with excess weight a pass is an insult to people who exercise, eat healthy food every day, and get medical treatment they need to keep their wieght in a healthy range.

  94. Erika
    Erika June 29, 2011 at 11:34 am |

    Ali: What about the people who read these columns? Methinks people who read them to laugh or boldly proclaim “Dump him/her!” strike me as people who like to feel superior when they look at the problems of other people. Or people who need validation of their own to say, “Hey, my relationships can suck sometimes–but look at this person!! At least I know enough to say, ‘dump him/her!’”

    I think that’s a good question. Personally, if I’m reading those columns other than just to know what some article has references (like in this case), I’m actually usually looking for points and advice I could give to friends if they had this problem–or if I had the problem myself.

    Maybe it’s because I’ve been in crap relationships I CLEARLY should have gotten out of way earlier, but I don’t really think that most of those people are dumb or idiots. I just think they’re human and they don’t want to be alone or have a hard time thinking they could find something better – or, in rare times, really DO love someone and are happy with them, but have one legitimate complaint that they think maybe they could fix. Maybe they just are bad at sharing their feelings and want some advice on exaclty what they should say.

    Personally, if an advice column is the only thing that’s going to get through to some people, then they are definitely worth it…even if some seriously delusional people take up the majority of its time.

  95. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 11:36 am |

    Rox, WTF are you talking about? You’re trying to draw parallels where none exist. I’m not trashing anyone for who they are or their disabilities. I’m saying that it’s gross and a health hazard to leave the entrails of dead mice, cat shit, and cat vomit on the floor.

    Also, if it’s okay to not date/stop dating someone who’s habits or actions are hazardous to your physical or mental health, and if it’s okay to say that, why is it not okay to express an opinion that unsanitary living conditions are gross? Why is it not okay to say that sporadic tooth brushing and bathing is a turn-off?

    Why is it insulting to say that you find someone’s lack of hygeine gross but it’s okay to say that the lack of hygeine is endangering your mental or physical health? How is calling someone a danger to your health any less insulting?

  96. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 29, 2011 at 11:37 am |

    Esti: I took the “alleged” disability comment to be a reference to the fact that we have absolutely no reason to believe that the letter writer’s boyfriend is in fact disabled.

    Oh, my bad if this is the case. Reading comprehension fail, on my part. Where’s Scott Adams when you need him?? In this usage, I agree with “alleged.”

  97. Florence
    Florence June 29, 2011 at 11:39 am |

    Rox, this is not a thread about fat acceptance. Moving the goal posts and pretending it is is getting embarrassing.

  98. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 11:44 am |

    OK– Totally see what you’re saying. Having a biological or genetic predisposition to gain weight is no excuse for gaining weight.

    No, I’m saying that when those habits endanger your health, it’s within your rights to get out and it’s okay to say that you don’t like something. You are talking out of both sides of your mouth–first it’s okay to get out and say something is endangering your health, but it’s bad to say you don’t like something because it’s oppressive.

    And frankly, it’s not bad to call certain habits gross. I think smoking is disgusting, even though it’s an addiction, and it’s a deal breaker for me. I think snorting coke if foul and gross and I wouldn’t date anyone who did it. I think leaving cat shit and spilled food on the floor is disgusting. If my partner didn’t wear clean clothes or keep clean, I’d be repulsed.

    But do go on and twist people’s words.

  99. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 11:46 am |

    I think it’s legitimate to ask why it’s ok to call unhealthy living conditions gross, but not ok to call unhealthy wieght, and unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits gross

    So can you clarify? Is it ok to call fat people gross?

  100. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 11:50 am |

    I do not know about someone’s personal life or personal choices, and those choices do not affect me personally. Being fat isn’t gross or disgusting. A boyfriend whose home is a petri dish of bacteria and a gated community for vermin does affect me personally. I find living in filth gross.

    Can YOU answer MY question? Why is it insulting to call living in filth gross but it’s not insulting to say that someone’s actions are hurting your health?

  101. chava
    chava June 29, 2011 at 11:52 am |

    http://living400lbs.wordpress.com/about-fat-acceptance/

    Fat=not necessarily unhealthy. Even “really fat” like you seem to be trying to push with the “400 lbs” thing.

    And comparing being overweight with living in squalor (with dependent companion animals, no less)…..not cool.

    rox:
    I think it’s legitimate to ask why it’s ok to call unhealthy living conditions gross, but not ok to call unhealthy wieght, and unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits gross

    So can you clarify? Is it ok to call fat people gross?

  102. Erika
    Erika June 29, 2011 at 11:57 am |

    Rox – “Fat” itself is a subjective term. What weight, size, proportions, movement, and lifestyle are you indicating?

  103. Andie
    Andie June 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm |

    I think Rox is really just looking for permission to call fat people gross.

    /thread.

  104. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm |

    Andie– you know that I’m doing the opposite. I find it strange that people don’t see a parallel between eating behaviors that cause disease and household maintenence behaviors that cause disease.

    Every person has the right to choose the partners and environments they desire, so you are free to say you don’t want to be exposed to other peoples behaviors that you don’t like. Calling them gross– well

    Some people think that excessive eating is gross and it is demonstratably correlated with disease. I am saying– IF people who think excessive eating to the point of diabetes, inflammation, fatty liver, heart disease is desgusting are WRONG (I think they ARE wrong)– then why are they wrong? And how is that more wrong than placing the same judgements on people with unhealthy behaviors of home and self maintenance?

  105. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm |

    Rox, will you answer MY question? I’ve asked it a couple of times.

  106. Andie
    Andie June 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm |

    rox:
    Andie– you know that I’m doing the opposite. I find it strange that people don’t see a parallel between eating behaviors that cause disease and household maintenence behaviors that cause disease.

    The difference is simple. Disordered eating behaviours can only cause disease in the person doing the eating. It does not affect the physical health of those around said person. They are not inflicting upon others the physical consequences of their own disorder.

    Living in filth, however, can cause disease in those around, but not necessarily contributing, to the state of filth. To those in the vicinity of the person, this is a detriment upon their own person and as such, I think they have every right to say “Wow, that’s fucking gross. I am out of here before I catch toxoplasmosis.”

    But moreso I think maybe this is all about you getting your feefees hurt. It’s one big tone argument, really.

    And yeah, I’d like to see you answer Sheezlebub’s question.

  107. Alcharisi
    Alcharisi June 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm |

    rox:
    I think it’s legitimate to ask why it’s ok to call unhealthy living conditions gross, but not ok to call unhealthy wieght, and unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits gross

    So can you clarify? Is it ok to call fat people gross?

    Because, in the context of one person dating (and thereby presumably sharing living conditions at least some of the time) another, that person’s unhealthy and unsanitary living conditions/personal hygene are likely to negatively affect their partner’s well-being. The action has ceased to concern only the actor and has thus entered a realm where its objects are justified in placing a value judgment on it.

    Oh, and to add my voice to this chorus: I also have ADHD. Pre-diagnosis and treatment, I could be quite a slob. The fact of my ADHD does not excuse the hardship my slovenliness placed upon my girlfriend. It explains it, yes. But it does not excuse it. The distinction between “explanation” and “excuse” is critical and often elided.

  108. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    “Why is it insulting to call living in filth gross but it’s not insulting to say that someone’s actions are hurting your health?”

    I think it’s perfectly legitimate to say “This behavior affects my health and I want to leave”

    Once you have left you just a have a person with disordered household and self maintenence habits who is harming no-one but themeslves (in the case of dependant animals then yes their behavior is abusive to the animals.)

    I don’t think it’s necessary to insult someone for unhealthy behaviors in their own home which poses no threat to you so long as you choose not to enter their home. If someone tries to force or bully you into their home then they are abusive. Living alone and having an unhealthy home is not harming anyone but the persons self and doesn’t warrent any more judgement than should be thrown at people with disordered eating behavior.

  109. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm |

    rox: doesn’t warrent any more judgement than should be thrown at people with disordered eating behavior.

    Wait, are you saying all eating behavior is disordered if you’re fat? Or that being messy is necessarily a disorder? Both? I don’t… this analogy makes no sense to me.

  110. chava
    chava June 29, 2011 at 12:38 pm |

    OK!
    So, without getting into the good fatties/bad fatties discussion:

    Fat people don’t always and already get that way from “excessive eating,” and they don’t necessarily have any of the diseases you listed. They may or may not have an eating disorder, just like anyone you meet in life.

    But its nice to know that you think being fat is “WRONG.” Do you think you could stop using ridiculous assumptions about fat people to make your point now?

    rox:

    Some people think that excessive eating is gross and it is demonstratably correlated with disease. I am saying– IF people who think excessive eating to the point of diabetes, inflammation, fatty liver, heart disease is desgusting are WRONG (I think they ARE wrong)– then why are they wrong? And how is that more wrong than placing the same judgements on people with unhealthy behaviors of home and self maintenance?

    [...]
    I think it’s legitimate to ask why it’s ok to call unhealthy living conditions gross, but not ok to call unhealthy wieght, and unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits gross

    So can you clarify? Is it ok to call fat people gross?

  111. Alvin Sloan
    Alvin Sloan June 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    If you’re in a relationship with a depressed and/or filthy person, you have a right to “Dump him. Dump her. Throw that one out like yesterday’s trash,” particularly if that one’s “mental illness is destroying your happiness.” But I think I agree with what I take to be Rox’s main point: you are being cruel when you treat them that way and refer to them in that manner.

  112. anna
    anna June 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    I think it’s pretty ableist to assume somebody must have a disability because they live in filth. There are mentally and physically healthy people who live like pigs, and there are plenty of people who manage to keep reasonably clean despite disabilities. Anyway, even if it is caused by a disability, that’s no reason why a girlfriend has to put up with it. That’s sexist bullshit. She doesn’t have to be his unpaid therapist/maid/caregiver. If he won’t or can’t get his shit together and make sure he and the house are reasonably clean, it’s perfectly reasonable for her to leave him. Even if he has all sorts of tragic true reasons why he can’t. She doesn’t have to live in filth for his sake. End of story. Even if the filth is caused by something he has no control over, which I think she would have mentioned if it was.

  113. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm |

    Living alone and having an unhealthy home is not harming anyone but the persons self

    This isn’t true. Try living in the unit next door to or downstairs from someone who lets their pets piss all over the floor and who don’t clean up food and leave feces everywhere. It actually affects their neighbors. They can smell it. The vermin will spread to their home. And buildings have been condemned because of the damage, leaving other tenants homeless.

    Also, how is saying “Your behavior is harming me” less insulting than “Your behavior is gross”?

  114. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 12:54 pm |

    Sure personal health behaviors do affect more than just yourself. I have talked with doctors (who I personally think are jerky) who claim that people without insurance who eat to the point of health problems (we’ll use specifically diets that are linked to disease and not a measure of the level of fat on a persons body)– cause problems for society because then they require medical care that society has the bear the burden of their health costs.

    Some people that I have talked to use this as justification for saying “your behavior is gross and harming society” to people who are struggling with getting a healthy diet or doing exercise.

    Same with drug addiction which also affects society as well. I just wouldn’t sit around calling drug addicts gross even though their behavior is often disordered and unhealthy and can affect society. I think it ignores the complexity of human behavior.

    The same as different people get different results when they take personal responsability for their physical health, people get different results when they take responsability for their mental and behavioral health.

    So assuming a person has a home health problem that is not affecting their neighbors— do they deserve any more judgement than someone who is struggling to eat healthy and exercise or has chosen not to do those things?

  115. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm |

    I can cite a million studies linking lack of vegetables, food additives, and high fat to cancer, diabetis, liver disease, heart disease, metabolic disease, hormonal disease and even mental health problems.

    Does that mean people who eat toxic diets need to be judged as having no excuse for their behavior?

  116. Andie
    Andie June 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    rox:
    Sure personal health behaviors do affect more than just yourself. I have talked with doctors (who I personally think are jerky) who claim that people without insurance who eat to the point of health problems (we’ll use specifically diets that are linked to disease and not a measure of the level of fat on a persons body)– cause problems for society because then they require medical care that society has the bear the burden of their health costs.

    There’s a difference between “Your weight issues result in visits to the hospital that I pay for through my taxes” and “The cat shit and other various fecal matter and rotting garbage in your home is giving me toxoplasmosis and causing my home to be infested with vermin.”

    1) Indirect.
    2) Direct.

    Would it spare your hurt feelings if we didn’t say “That person is gross” but rather “Their habits are gross? The state of their home is gross?”

    Would that make you feel better rox?

  117. shfree
    shfree June 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    I don’t understand where the issues of weight and diet came in during a discussion of household and personal hygiene. What a person eats has nothing to do with cleanliness.

  118. Emolee
    Emolee June 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    Thanks Jill and Chava and Andie (and others I may have missed) for trying to bring some reason to the OMG TEH FATZ derail. I just couldn’t do it this time.

  119. Emolee
    Emolee June 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm |

    I will add this to Rox: If you indeed do not think fat people should be mistreated (as you say, but your other words call into question), then please think before posting things like this as an (unsuccessful) analogy: “eating to engorgement over and over again which results in huge layers of fat and disease”

    Aside from being the very stereotyping that promotes fat hate, seeing this can be very triggering and hurtful.

  120. peggyluwho
    peggyluwho June 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm |

    Word mean things. Refusing to enable is not the same as being ableist. Saying someone who is having a hard time coping with a lack of personal hygiene on the part of their partner needs to set a boundary and know when to GTFO is not ableist. Making excuses like “maybe he (some guy who we know nothing about other than that he is dirty) can’t brush his teeth, because maybe he’s depressed” is enabling. “Maybe he wouldn’t be so depressed if he would just brush his teeth.” Now that, THAT RIGHT THERE, is ableist.

    For reals.

    No kidding.

    Just saying.

    And just because Jill framed it in a “I’m going to drop this in a no-nonsense tone for an added bit of humor” does not mean that she’s a dick. Her point is still valid. It is disheartening to see that so many women still do not have the tools to set their own damn boundaries without making excuses and/or needing validation from an advice columnist to do so. It is disheartening to see that so many women just don’t know how to take care of themselves in relationships.

    And sometimes, most of the time, you gotta make a GD joke out of it in order to stop yourself from turning into a big giant ball of irate walking around the world every GD day.

    FFS!!!

    Now I’m going to take my non-NT ball home, and I’m not going to play with you all any more!

  121. Shoshie
    Shoshie June 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

    Rox, I can say without a doubt that your fatphobia is gross.

  122. Hershele Ostropoler
    Hershele Ostropoler June 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    vanessa: I’d add that the same is true of anyone–no one has the obligation to stay in a relationship if the other person has some sort of issue–bad hygiene, tendency to watch reality shows, thinking about voting for Bachman–you just have to do a cost benefit analysis.

    This is pretty much what I was going to say, about both this post and the previous one: anyone is allowed to leave any relationship with any partner for any reason, including verbal abuse, leaving the toilet seat up, religious conversion (in any direction, on anyone’s part) or just fucking feeling like it. The logistics may be more or less complicated, but there’s no such thing as “not a good enough reason.”

    Propagating that message would make life much simpler.

  123. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie June 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm |

    In my case, my declaration that no, I am NOT obligated to date someone who is making me miserable, whether it’s because they are mentally ill or not, came from Erica’s comment:

    Because calling someone out on their filth is ABLEIST. Mentally ill people can do NOTHING about their situation, and people better be sure before they break up with someone that they’re not doing it because their SO’s mental illness, or else they’re a jerk who only looks out for their own interests! GOD, why do people not know this??!!

  124. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie June 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

    If someone is fat because they eat the raw meat of a rabid rat off of a urine-soaked plate, then yeah, I am happy to say that’s totally gross!

    Wait, how did you … OMG my fat shame is OUT! (sob sob sob) That’s how I gained 140 lbs! It had nothing to do with emotions, abuse, self-hatred, or (in my case) not exercising! It was the rabid rat and the urine that did it.

  125. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos June 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm |

    As someone who has her own mental illnesses to deal with – Zuzu, Florence, Sheelzebub, tinfoil hattie, Jill and anyone else I missed – y’all rock. Seriously.

  126. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    “your behavior is gross and harming society”

    So wait–now it IS insulting to say that someone’s behavior harms someone else?

    You seem to think that we aren’t allowed to think or express any negative thoughts about someone else’s behavior, even if that behavior is unsafe or hurtful. Oh, it’s okay to not date them (though we’d better make sure we’re not dating them for the “right” reasons) but it’s not okay to say, “Your refusal to brush your teeth regularly/clean up your cat’s kills/clean up the mounds of grease in your kitchen grosses me the fuck out.”

    So assuming a person has a home health problem that is not affecting their neighbors

    Squalor to the level the LW described invariably affects the neighbors, and would affect any kids she had with her BF.

    I mean, really, you seem to think that any negative thoughts about someone’s habits is horrible. YET it’s okay to tell them that their habits are a danger to you and you’re leaving them. How is telling someone they’re dangerous to you any less insulting than telling them their habits gross you out?

  127. Erika
    Erika June 29, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

    whoa, just reading over that again….”Mentally ill people can do NOTHING about their situation…”

    What the frick? Since when can’t people with cognitive disabilities do something about it? We’re not legally insane, you know. We just have something going on that causes certain issues the majority doesn’t have to deal with.

    I did something about my situation. hell, even before I knew i had it I developed all sorts of crazy schemey ways to make teachers and others think I knew what the hell I was talking about when I had no friggin clue what the subject/question actually was. We can totally do something about our situations…to say otherwise is to act like we’re not remotely capable of anything. Screw that.

  128. DammitJanet
    DammitJanet June 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm |

    I had someone dump me because of my mental illness. It sucked. It was probably the suckiest hole of suck in the history of suck holes. And I felt really pissed and betrayed and horrible over it for a long time over it.

    But you know what’s better than having someone stay with you because they feel sorry for you? Figuring out what it is about you/your illness that makes long term relationships difficult and then figuring out how to improve that.

    And also? I was really frickin gross for a while. Snotty dish towels all over the house from crying all the time. Ants over running the kitchen. The smell of cat piss and mold and spilled alcoholic beverages. Fleas. Grubby kids. Multiple layers of nasty in the bathroom. It was disgusting and now that I’m better I can say without a doubt that I wouldn’t have stayed with me, either.

  129. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    <i.But I think I agree with what I take to be Rox’s main point: you are being cruel when you treat them that way and refer to them in that manner.

    What? I’m cruel if I leave a situation that is harmful to me by “treating them that way” (breaking up with them)? Yeah, I dealt with that shaming bullshit in the past, and really, no. Just, no.

    You know what’s cruel? Shaming people into dealing with shit they find hurtful and detrimental to their well-being. Shaming people into staying with others they aren’t happy with. Oh, sure, it’s everyone’s right to break up with someone for any reason at all, but it’s cruel to do so.

    Fuck right off with that bullshit. As someone who HAS dealt with depression, that shaming attitude didn’t help me when I was in the thick of it AND in a bad situation with a boyfriend.

  130. XtinaS
    XtinaS June 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    “Mentally ill people can do NOTHING about their situation…”

    The next paragraph of Erica’s comment started with “jay kay”, so I assumed the first paragraph was satire.

  131. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm |

    Erica, I think Erika was being sarcastic.

  132. Alison
    Alison June 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm |

    I have plenty to say but I can’t get into it right now.

    However, it seems a lot of people have misread Erica @ #45s comment – she was KIDDING in her first paragraph. If you notice, her second paragraph starts with “Jay kay” as in – I assume – “J/K” as in “just kidding”. She was doing that wild internet thing known as sarcasm. Please read the full comment before responding to it. Sheesh.

  133. Alison
    Alison June 29, 2011 at 2:37 pm |

    And a few people beat me to it. Refresh faster, Alison! :P

  134. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm |

    If someone is fat because they eat the raw meat of a rabid rat off of a urine-soaked plate, then yeah, I am happy to say that’s totally gross!

    And you call yourself a foodie.

  135. Erika
    Erika June 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm |

    Alison: I have plenty to say but I can’t get into it right now.However, it seems a lot of people have misread Erica @ #45s comment – she was KIDDING in her first paragraph. If you notice, her second paragraph starts with “Jay kay” as in – I assume – “J/K” as in “just kidding”. She was doing that wild internet thing known as sarcasm. Please read the full comment before responding to it. Sheesh.

    Okay, what’s really sad about that? Now we see ADHD at work. I realize, going back, that I read that comment back shortly after it was posted and when I saw SOMEONE else quote it, had completely forgot the original intention.

    Apologies for that. I completely agree with the op on her level of sarcasm.

    Also…what the freak is NT? I keep seeing it and can only think of the Meyers Brigg’s personality thing: Intuitive Thinking

    I don’t get what that has to do with disabilities, though.

  136. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    NT=Neurotypical.

  137. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

    “Also, did you read the part about where his gums are receding and turning weird colors because he doesn’t brush his teeth? Assuming they kiss, or that he puts his mouth on her more sensitive bits, that could be a problem.”

    *blush* I uh, didn’t actually read the description.

    (mumbles apology…..)

    LOL, OKAY!! That all sounds terrible.

    BUT ! But but but!

    ok, you win. Sort of!

    LOL.

    I know that when accessing services and doing everything I can for my health, I struggle with doing dishes every day (more like once or twice a week) and with keeping clothes from getting everywhere and if I didn’t work really really really really ridiculously hard it would be horrifically chaotic. I am lucky in that I was able to identify the problem early in my life, but if I hadn’t seen my biological family members houses I wouldn’t have understood that the behavior was rooted in biology and that is why I’ve done a lot of research on it. In general the research has found that people with high levels of filth have different brains, and struggle with cognitive activities related to categorizing and metabolism. So it’s hard for me to not see it as a mental disorder in and of itself.

    I don’t want anyone to stay in an environment that’s not safe for them and I don’t want anyone to give up trying to improve their behaviors– I just think people will have different results with that even when they are trying.

    So what I mean to say, if someone is so mentally ill that their house is terrifying and they ARE trying to work on it (with hoarders it’s REALLY tricky to make the cahnges last)– I just don’t think they deserve to be vilified. Dumped– sure.

    And no it is not cruel or wrong or anything like that to leave a partner because you don’t want to be exposed to their behavior. Ever. Someone with that level of squalor sounds really disordered to me, but I guess sorting out where will meets disorder is rather complicated.

  138. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    Erika: Also…what the freak is NT? I keep seeing it and can only think of the Meyers Brigg’s personality thing: Intuitive Thinking

    PS, I love that you thought of Meyers Briggs.

  139. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm |

    Sheelzebub:
    Living alone and having an unhealthy home is not harming anyone but the persons self

    This isn’t true.Try living in the unit next door to or downstairs from someone who lets their pets piss all over the floor and who don’t clean up food and leave feces everywhere.It actually affects their neighbors.They can smell it.The vermin will spread to their home. And buildings have been condemned because of the damage, leaving other tenants homeless.

    And since I don’t think anyone’s brought this up: it’s also cruel to the animals who are living in those conditions. Cats who piss outside the box are probably doing it (if they’re not just marking) because a) something’s wrong with their health; or b) their box is fucking filthy, meaning that the person who is caring for them is falling down on the job.

    There was an episode of “How Clean Is Your House” several years ago in which the homeowner had a cat who vomited all over the house (and she left it there, along with her gum and the cat feces). She’d taken the cat to the vet but hadn’t told the vet about the conditions she lived in — which included never cleaning out the catbox, keeping the cat’s food next to the dirty catbox, and dumping the uneaten cat food from the dirty, feces-strewn floor back into the cat’s bowl — so the vet couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It wasn’t until the cleaners from the show visited the vet and described the living conditions that the vet was able to figure it out — when a cat has nowhere clean to relieve itself, it will often vomit up its food rather than have to use a dirty box. As soon as the house was cleaned, the cat stopped vomiting.

    Finally, as someone who has also struggled with depression and addiction and let some housekeeping slide, I can say that anyone who thinks that the depressed automatically go into Collyer Brothers mode and universally eat cat pee sandwiches does not know what the fuck they’re talking about.

  140. Erika
    Erika June 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm |

    Oooho, thanks Sheelzebub!

    Doesn’t it seem important to distinguish between “messy” and “filthy” though? I have to work really hard at it too, but my bad habits tend to involve not keeping up with laundry/leaving random stuff out. Being Messy.

    On the other hand, I regularly scrub the hell out of the bathrooms, keep my animal’s areas clean, and I will become a red-eyed demon from hell if someone messes with the pristine state of my kitchen.

    There is a huuuge difference between actual grime, dirt, scatological stuff, etc…and just messiness.

  141. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm |

    rox:
    I can cite a million studies linking lack of vegetables, food additives, and high fat to cancer, diabetis, liver disease, heart disease, metabolic disease, hormonal disease and even mental health problems.

    Does that mean people who eat toxic diets need to be judged as having no excuse for their behavior?

    You’re certainly giving the judgment the old college try, aren’t you, rox?

  142. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

    Rare Vos:
    As someone who has her own mental illnesses to deal with –Zuzu, Florence, Sheelzebub, tinfoil hattie, Jill and anyone else I missed– y’all rock. Seriously.

    Screw the praise. WHERE’S MY PITY FUCK?

  143. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

    I just see the capacity to function well on a spectrum and if all humans tried their best, there would still be people at the “bottom” of the desirable behavior spectrum.

    And I don’t think it’s WRONG for people with really messed up behavrioal problems who are doing the best they can to like themselves or each other. Meaning if this squalor guy tries to fix himself and he still struggles with it and he wants to hook up with miss “ignores when he comes to visit her”–

    He might genuinely find being ignored bothersome, but he might decide, “hey she is ok with dealing with my health hazard of a mental state and I enjoy her occasional company enough I want to keep visiting her and get a little nooky even though she mostly ignores me.”

    And I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  144. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm |

    shfree:
    I don’t understand where the issues of weight and diet came in during a discussion of household and personal hygiene.What a person eats has nothing to do with cleanliness.

    Oh, come, come! We all know that fat people are dirty, smelly and gross! Rox says so.

  145. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie June 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm |

    I did read erica’s entire comment. Unfortunately, I totes LOOZ the internets because I did not know, SILLY ME, that “Jay Kay” means “just kidding.”

    Please! Someone shame me for that! I haven’t gotten shamed enough today. Plus, if you shame me more, I will LOSE WEIGHT. It’s a fact!

  146. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm |

    zuzu: Screw the praise. WHERE’S MY PITY FUCK?

    .:leers at zuzu, whispers:. Here I ammm

  147. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    I’m just saying in these forums people tend to talk about “their abusive crappy partners bad behaviors” and not mention they often have comparable levels of dysfunction.

    They might both be at the bottom of the “tolerable human being list” so telling them to “find someone better” if they can’t improve themselves beyond where they are wouldn’t make sense.

    I mean maybe they can, but maybe they are kind of unpleasant themselves and they really won’t have many dating options.

  148. Reader question #68: My “friend” is insanely creepy and not getting it. « CaptainAwkward.com

    [...] I give the DTMFA-type posts to Intern Paul (and in the future I will consider passing them to Jill!), but this one is allllllll [...]

  149. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

    Erika:
    Oooho, thanks Sheelzebub!

    Doesn’t it seem important to distinguish between “messy” and “filthy” though?I have to work really hard at it too, but my bad habits tend to involve not keeping up with laundry/leaving random stuff out.Being Messy.

    On the other hand, I regularly scrub the hell out of the bathrooms, keep my animal’s areas clean, and I will become a red-eyed demon from hell if someone messes with the pristine state of my kitchen.

    There is a huuuge difference between actual grime, dirt, scatological stuff, etc…and just messiness.

    You know what, though? Some people will not want to date you because you’re messy. Because they have their own issues with messiness and are looking for someone who won’t reinforce it, because they prefer cleanliness and see you as a more work if they share a living space, or what have you. AND THAT’S OKAY. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. It just means that you two are incompatible on some level. Including what makes for a dealbreaker.

  150. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:22 pm |

    rox: And I don’t think it’s WRONG for people with really messed up behavrioal problems who are doing the best they can to like themselves or each other.

    JESUS CROTCHDANCING CHRIST, NOBODY SAYS IT’S WRONG. PUT DOWN THE STRAWMAN.

  151. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:22 pm |

    Also, rox? What Florence said to Angel about using blog comments as therapy.

  152. Erika
    Erika June 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm |

    zuzu: You know what, though? Some people will not want to date you because you’re messy. Because they have their own issues with messiness and are looking for someone who won’t reinforce it, because they prefer cleanliness and see you as a more work if they share a living space, or what have you. AND THAT’S OKAY. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. It just means that you two are incompatible on some level. Including what makes for a dealbreaker.

    I completely agree with you there. Hell, if I don’t like your facial hair or your haircut and you want to keep it, we are probably not best off together. You can leave someone for any reason really…if you want to leave, you shouldn’t be together in the first place obviously. I hate the shame that people (especially women) are made to feel over their desire to break up with someone. I’ve seen some friends carry on some REALLY horrible relationships just because they didn’t want to “hurt” the other person.

    And you think I let any dude I was dating know how messy I was? Pfffft. I jsut cleaned like a FIEND before a date. But, I’m trying veeery hard these days to keep up with things. My current bf who is just about a near-perfect match as far as I’m concerned, is also messy, so we both just try to keep things neater than usual. It’s working so far…but if one of us gets off track, the other totally understands.

  153. Andie
    Andie June 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm |

    rox:
    I’m just saying in these forums people tend to talk about “their abusive crappy partners bad behaviors” and not mention they often have comparable levels of dysfunction.

    And if they did mention their comparable levels of dysfunction, what do you think the answer should be…?

    “Yeah, he stomps kittens, but you’re no peach yourself. Better hold on to that one, sweetheart, because you ain’t gonna do any better.”

    Yeah, that doesn’t fly with me.

  154. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

    Zuzu, I said nothing of the sort! Yeesh! I think peoples health behaviors are understandable and that we should be compassionate about people who struggle with them, or feel like other things are more important than what we think they should be doing.

    Personal safety should come first, so yeah if someone has a behavioral problem, whether chosen or due to mental illness– we DO have to find a solution that keeps ourselves and people in society safe.

    I just don’t like the idea of assuming that people who struggle with hoarding/self care/filth aren’t trying when it doesn’t turn out with the same outcome you got when you tried.

    Whether they are trying is totally irrelevant to whether you date them. You’ve already established you want to leave and that is enough, no matter what leave!

    But as far as spewing judgement on how hard people are trying, we just don’t know how hard people are trying unless we’re in their shoes. And maybe even then it’s hard to know.

  155. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan June 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm |

    but I guess sorting out where will meets disorder is rather complicated.

    Lol, if you could answer that question you’d be my hero forever. Sometimes I’m too lazy to clean up properly, and sometimes I’m too “lazy” to clean… with the latter meaning “depressed.” And often I’m not entirely sure when I’m being lazy vs. “lazy”, but people are still allowed to say “dude, your place is not clean!” ’cause it’s not.

    Also sometimes I’m just a total bachelor about it — my mom came by my apartment one time and was like “oh, how nice, btw do you have a toilet brush?” and instantly started scrubbing my bathroom. So I just chalked that up to being my first “bachelorette moment” and laughed it off. :p She knows I’m depressed but there was still no offense meant (nor taken) from her not-so-subtly pointing out that my place was a little gross.

  156. Sweet Machine
    Sweet Machine June 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    *blush* I uh, didn’t actually read the description.

    (mumbles apology…..)

    LOL, OKAY!! That all sounds terrible.

    BUT ! But but but!

    ok, you win. Sort of!

    LOL.

    Oh my stars. Are you saying you’ve threadjacked this entire post to argue against some Straw Dating Rules KGB and you didn’t even read the thing the post is about? Perhaps you should rethink your rhetorical strategy here.

  157. XtinaS
    XtinaS June 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

    tinfoil hattie @161:

    SHUUUUUNNNNN

    SHUUUUUNNNNNNNNNN

    …did that work?  ^^

  158. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    rox: I think peoples health behaviors are understandable and that we should be compassionate about people who struggle with them

    Really? Because the language you used to describe those behaviors was *awfully* loaded. And you went on and on and ON about it.

    I also really question your prescription for loneliness: just date someone who treats you like shit because you won’t do any better.

  159. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

    Well is your solution that they never get to experience intimacy for next 60 years of their lives if therapy/meds/self effort is unable to achieve a solution?

    what if the person in question would prefer to get to have intimacy even if it’s with other messed up people? What if they are both better off getting SOME even strange weird intimacy than being celebate monks the rest of their lives?

  160. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:42 pm |

    rox: I just don’t like the idea of assuming that people who struggle with hoarding/self care/filth aren’t trying when it doesn’t turn out with the same outcome you got when you tried.

    Rox, if I have to live with that person, I REALLY DON’T FUCKING CARE. I simply don’t want to live in the filth. Why is that hard for you to understand? It doesn’t make that person a bad person, but it sure as fuck reduces their desirability as a cohabitation prospect.

  161. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan June 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm |

    zuzu: Screw the praise. WHERE’S MY PITY FUCK?

    .:leers at zuzu, whispers:. Here I ammm

    Hold up, PrettyAmiable! Has zuzu clearly established yet that she’s totes crazy and gross and no one will ever love her? That’s an important first step when arranging a pity fuck! If it turns out she’s capable of finding genuine human affection, or in any way bettering her tragic circumstances, then it’s just no good anymore. Also, if you’re both worthless despicable excuses for human beings then you must never hook up. Them’s the rules according to Jill!

  162. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm |

    rox: Well is your solution that they never get to experience intimacy for next 60 years of their lives if therapy/meds/self effort is unable to achieve a solution?

    Then they’re shit out of luck, rox. Nobody owes them a relationship. Or even a pity fuck.

  163. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm |

    I’m not looking for anyone to therapy me, I’m saying how can it be pressumed that messed up people aren’t better off dating other messed up people than being alone?

    How can we KNOW that is what’s best for them? I thought really hard about responding here and I personally think this is a worthy topic. I understand if you don’t think so, but that doesn’t mean I’m looking to get therapy because I disagree with the attitude that messed up people are better off alone than with other messed up people.

  164. Andie
    Andie June 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm |

    rox:
    Well is your solution that they never get to experience intimacy for next 60 years of their lives if therapy/meds/self effort is unable to achieve a solution?

    what if the person in question would prefer to get to have intimacy even if it’s with other messed up people? What if they are both better off getting SOME even strange weird intimacy than being celebate monks the rest of their lives?

    If they’re fine with living with someone’s respective filth/insults/kittenstomping in exchange for affection, then yeah be my motherfucking guest.

    But I’m willing to guess that if they are writing into some advice columnist about it, then they are probably NOT all that Okay with it, in which case, a reasonable answer would be…

    *EVERYBODY TOGETHER NOW!*

    DTMFA!!!

  165. Sweet Machine
    Sweet Machine June 29, 2011 at 3:53 pm |

    I’m not looking for anyone to therapy me, I’m saying how can it be pressumed that messed up people aren’t better off dating other messed up people than being alone?

    This right here is your strawman. “How can it be presumed”? I don’t know–maybe you should find someone who presumes that and ask them, because that’s not at all what this thread is about. Jesus.

  166. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm |

    No one owe’s anyone a realtionship. I’m saying if people at the bottom of the behavioral spectrum are willing to deal with each others unpleasant behaviors, even if they don’t like them, but ultimately decide it’s worth it, how do you know that’s wrong? How do you know they must DTMFA, and that even though they are with someone really messed up it’s not necessarily something they are benefiting from?

  167. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm |

    Ok, I know that many or most of you feel that I was only bringing this up to be jerky but I really felt like most of the relationships I see are in the alternative spectrum of behaviors and I felt like it was important to offer an alternate view. I appreciate being allowed to say my piece even if it is percieved it was off the point. I think I’ve said all that I can or should say and I apologize I couldn’t say it more concretely.

  168. ELF
    ELF June 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm |

    No one owe’s anyone a realtionship. I’m saying if people at the bottom of the behavioral spectrum are willing to deal with each others unpleasant behaviors, even if they don’t like them, but ultimately decide it’s worth it, how do you know that’s wrong? How do you know they must DTMFA, and that even though they are with someone really messed up it’s not necessarily something they are benefiting from?

    Okay, I’ve been shaking my head at this entire derailed thread. For the umpteenth time, NO ONE is saying that “people at the bottom of the behavioral spectrum” can’t date each other! Who the hell are you arguing with?

  169. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm |

    rox: I’m saying if people at the bottom of the behavioral spectrum are willing to deal with each others unpleasant behaviors, even if they don’t like them, but ultimately decide it’s worth it, how do you know that’s wrong?

    OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE NO ONE BUT YOU IS SAYING THAT.

    You didn’t read the article, and you haven’t absorbed a goddamned thing in the thread.

  170. Rare Vos
    Rare Vos June 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm |

    Screw the praise. WHERE’S MY PITY FUCK?

    Well, first we have to establish that youre a sufficiently pure, pristine paragon of perfect feminist virtue cuz, otherwise, we’ll waste all our pity fucking time doing the Strawman Shuffle.

  171. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm |

    Rare Vos: the Strawman Shuffle.

    Is that like the Curly Shuffle?

  172. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm |

    Bagelsan: Also, if you’re both worthless despicable excuses for human beings then you must never hook up.

    Nah, it’s cool. I’m awesome. I saw it written on the internet.(1)

    (1) Citation: Me, just now. http://www.feministe.us/blog. Accessed June 29, 2011.

  173. Natalia
    Natalia June 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    … Is this real life?

  174. Alex
    Alex June 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    First of all, this thread is gold. Thank you, zuzu, PrettyAmiable, tinfoil hattie and Sheelzelbub for the hilarity — as always, it’s made my day.

    Now then, rox, aside from the fat-phobia, the ableism (assuming that mentally ill people are all disgusting slobs — and vice versa — deserving of pity and incapable of handling criticism, seriously?) and the fact you didn’t read the original bloody post, what is this nonsense about people staying in abusive or unhappy relationships because they might not be able to do any better?

    Shit like this really sticks in my craw because a) there are relationships that exist outside of romantic ones, relationships that are meaningful and fulfilling b) not everyone who is single is a lonely spinster/male equivelent (swinging bachelor?), ruing the day ze dumped the kitten-stomping muthafucker c) fucking being single is better than being abused.

    Sincerely,

    A disgusting over-weight, pitiable non-NT messy, desperately single old-maid who doesn’t miss her abuser.

  175. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines June 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm |

    Is this just fantasy?

  176. groggette
    groggette June 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm |

    mama mia mama mia

  177. Jadey
    Jadey June 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm |

    Caught in a landslide…

  178. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery June 29, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

    No escape from realityyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

  179. peggyluwho
    peggyluwho June 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm |

    PrettyAmiable: Nah, it’s cool. I’m awesome. I saw it written on the internet.(1)

    Yeah, PA, you’re ruled out from a pity fuck for sure.

    I, on the other hand, have taken my number. And the number is 42.

    Who has 41?

    (1) Citation: Me, just now. http://www.feministe.us/blog. Accessed June 29, 2011.

  180. becky
    becky June 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm |

    Alright, I made it to comment #116, and can I just say: Why the heck is it impossible to once – just ONCE – have a conversation that includes talking about something (whatever, it’s always the same mechanism) considered “gross” without fat people being thrown in as the go-to control group of OMG grossness?! If you’re so fond of fat acceptance, roxi, then why is this the repeated example that pops into your mind? The analogy doesn’t even make sense (being fat v. behaving potentiall unsanitary). For fuck’s sake…

  181. becky
    becky June 29, 2011 at 5:32 pm |

    Alright, I made it to comment #116, and can I just say: Why the heck is it impossible to once – just ONCE – have a conversation that includes talking about something (whatever that might be and no matter if that classificatino actually makes sense), it’s always the same mechanism) considered “gross” without fat people being thrown in as the go-to control group of OMG grossness?! If you’re so fond of fat acceptance, roxi, then why is this the repeated example that pops into your mind? The analogy doesn’t even make sense (being fat v. behaving potentiall unsanitary). For fuck’s sake…

  182. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward June 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    Thanks for the link and the resulting traffic of really smart nice people!

    I’m just a lady with a lot of student loan debt and few actual life skills who likes writing. I definitely cannot diagnose mental illnesses through the internet. I personally react badly to looking too deeply for explanations/psychological underpinnings when something is going badly in a romantic relationship. How many of us have listened to (or been) a friend who is sleeping with some total douchebag and tried to justify it by describing the person’s illness or childhood trauma? “He cheats on me, yeah, but it’s only because of his childhood issues with divorce.” WHATEVER. STOP CHEATING. THE END RESULT IS THAT HE CHEATS ON YOU AND YOU ARE CHEATED ON. THAT IS BAD.

    I think co-dependent people look at these excuses as reasons to invest further and stay (it’s not his fault, he can’t help it!) and that when you’re learning to set boundaries you have to step back from whatever the other person’s reasons (even if they are really sad reasons that are not all that person’s fault) are and ask “Okay, I’m very sorry for what is going on with you, but the fact is that I need to live in a clean house with a person who cleans himself, so how do we get there? Because that is what I need and it is okay for me to need that.”

    I think some people who write to advice columnists (or ask for relationship advice from anyone) need to be reminded that “Okay, but you could just leave and not have to put up with any of this! So, if you choose to stay – OWN IT. Own what you are getting, own why you are staying, own what the trade-offs are, figure out what you can live. But don’t endlessly dither and never speak up about what you need, or expect people to somehow just know what you feel, or put up with people’s crap and become a giant martyr. Either work to make the relationship better (by communicating what you need), get out, or admit that you are getting something out of it and stay wholeheartedly.”

    If rox ever sort of maybe kind of had a point in there among the bizarre straw men, it might be that nobody’s perfect! We sometimes get things out of dysfunctional relationships that other people can’t see or understand, but we wouldn’t stay in them if we weren’t getting some payoff that is not immediately obvious to others! Sure! Our weird broken little hearts just want what they want sometimes, and we don’t want to be told “DTMFA” because something about the situation (even remaining invested/codependent in an unhealthy situation) feels good versus the alternative. There’s good in him, I’ve felt it!

    And I agree with Florence (again, as usual) that most writers are looking for help with boundaries – setting their own, what do do when they run into other people’s – etc. So a lot of what I write is about setting boundaries and speaking up about them.

    I strongly believe that love is not enough to sustain a working adult relationship. Soul mates aren’t real, and you don’t have one. Not everyone you feel awesome pants-feelings for is going to be someone with whom you can sustain a happy life, and if your heart/loins get too invested before your brain makes a complete evaluation, it can be really hard and heartbreaking and not simple, like, we had to put Old Yeller down, but man, we loved that dog.

  183. Alvin Sloan
    Alvin Sloan June 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm |

    From the original letter: “I love him and want to make a lifetime commitment to him, but I also want him to take care of his body and of the house we’re eventually going to share.”

    Do you really think the woman who wrote that could easily take the advice to “throw that one [her filthy boyfriend] out like yesterday’s trash”? How could anyone discard a romantic relationship that blithely? It sounds like the way an Ayn Rand protagonist would dump her no-good boyfriend, after which she would order her construction company goons to steamroll his disgusting house and everything in it so she could build a clean, metallic skyrise on the remains.

    I stand by my original statement that acting mean to someone is mean. :)

  184. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm |

    Rox, I was going to pretty much lay off because you seemed to read the OP (or at least the part about dental hygeine, etc.) and I wasn’t going to argue with you if we didn’t have anything to disagree over. (HEY. I will argue with people I agree with, but I pay them well.)

    But really–no one said that people who were okay with this couldn’t date someone who exhibited behaviors others found distasteful. The OP was about letters to advice columnists, one of which was from a woman who had serious doubts about taking the next step with her boyfriend because of these behaviors. This wasn’t a woman who was just fine with the situation being lectured that she was foolish to be with this guy. This was a woman who had serious concerns about his hygiene and the safety of his home, and who was concerned about living with that and coping with it on a daily basis. She wasn’t okay with it, not even a little.

  185. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    “throw that one [her filthy boyfriend] out like yesterday’s trash”?

    Jill made that comment about all situations that could be seen as untenable–such as oh, cheaters, dudes who hack into your email account and throw your past in your face by slut shaming you randomly during arguments, etc.

    How could anyone discard a romantic relationship that blithely?

    Ah. So leaving a relationship that is untenable for you is now cruel and Ayn Rand-like. Good to know. Glad you weren’t around when I was with the emotionally abusive asshat who kept using his issues as an excuse. Oddly enough, you don’t seem to realize how, um, mean and frankly cruel it is to expect people to live with an untenable situation and shame them as being horrible people for having the gall to do what’s best for themselves.

  186. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm |

    The reason I was bringing weight into it is that I’ve been in conversations defending people ability to eat healthy and exercise when life is hard and people face differeing amounts of obstacle with doing that and have differing results even when they do those things and for some people it’s just not worth the amount of work they are supposed to be putting into it when it doesn’t generate the amount of “better” it’s supposed to generate.

    So yes my logic was funky– but I was trying to say that ability to manage your home comes on the same spectrum. In the context of relationships OF COURSE you can dislike someone behavior, think it’s unhealthy, never want to be around them or their yucky behaviors again!

    I just disliked the hostility people were showing towards people who struggle with home/self care in general even outside the context of a relationship. It’s like, god is it not enough that I’m such a bad person I don’t date so no one has to put up with me, even by myself (my home does not actually have dangerous filth in it but it always cluttered and messy)— even just sitting here not hurting anyone people have to sit around and bash me even though I have used all services that are available to poor people?

    I will NOT shut up about it because I it’s why I lost my daughter and I have faught so fucking hard to overcome my issues with managing my home. Every one believes that because I have dealt with this for so many years it means that I have not been trying or that I am less of a good person than anyone else. I have gotten to where I can keep my house healthy but I feel like so much of my life is ust focused to being able to do just that and I am never doing good enough.

    and I want to dedicate my life to people who struggle with issues like this (or any obstacle) and can’t access support when they are poor and need to imporve their capacity to manage homelife for the well being of their children.

  187. rox
    rox June 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm |

    (Captain Awkward, I agree with everything in your comment and appreciate your willingness to find my point with my bad logic.)

  188. April
    April June 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm |

    I once wrote a blog post about the douchebag who worked at the gas station down the street, and the guys who came into the gas stations where I used to work, and complained about their creepy, leering, harassing behavior. The comment section turned into a giant festival of comments like, “You are so cruel! What if ALL of those men were disabled to the extent that they weren’t aware of socially acceptable behavior toward women?!” It was all very bewildering, not to mention exhausting and infuriating, trying to argue against speculations about the mental health of the douchebags who’ve harassed me and my sister throughout our lives.

    That’s what this comment thread reminds me of.

  189. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines June 29, 2011 at 6:40 pm |

    Captain Awkward:

    I strongly believe that love is not enough to sustain a working adult relationship.Soul mates aren’t real, and you don’t have one. Not everyone you feel awesome pants-feelings for is going to be someone with whom you can sustain a happy life, and if your heart/loins get too invested before your brain makes a complete evaluation, it can be really hard and heartbreaking and not simple, like, we had to put Old Yeller down, but man, we loved that dog.

    Captain – Your whole comment was awesome, but this especially is so, so true. It should be written in the sky, available on a t-shirt and popular as a tattoo style.

    Because the three saddest words when it comes to this stuff: “But I love him!”, when the ‘him’ in question is really not making the other person in the relationship happy. (using mild terms to avoid flying strawman.)

  190. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm |

    rox:
    The reason I was bringing weight into it is that I’ve been in conversations defending people ability to eat healthy and exercise when life is hard and people face differeing amounts of obstacle with doing that and have differing results even when they do those things and for some people it’s just not worth the amount of work they are supposed to be putting into it when it doesn’t generate the amount of “better” it’s supposed to generate.

    So yes my logic was funky– but I was trying to say that ability to manage your home comes on the same spectrum. In the context of relationships OF COURSE you can dislike someone behavior, think it’s unhealthy, never want to be around them or their yucky behaviors again!

    I just disliked the hostility people were showing towards people who struggle with home/self care in general even outside the context of a relationship. It’s like, god is it not enough that I’m such a bad person I don’t date so no one has to put up with me, even by myself (my home does not actually have dangerous filth in it but it always cluttered and messy)— even just sitting here not hurting anyone people have to sit around and bash me even though I have used all services that are available to poor people?

    I will NOT shut up about it because I it’s why I lost my daughter and I have faught so fucking hard to overcome my issues with managing my home. Every one believes that because I have dealt with this for so many years it means that I have not been trying or that I am less of a good person than anyone else. I have gotten to where I can keep my house healthy but I feel like so much of my life is ust focused to being able to do just that and I am never doing good enough.

    and I want to dedicate my life to people who struggle with issues like this (or any obstacle) and can’t access support when they are poor and need to imporve their capacity to manage homelife for the well being of their children.

    Once again, rox: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.

  191. chava
    chava June 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm |

    Oh, Jesus, don’t remind me.

    April:
    I once wrote a blog post about the douchebag who worked at the gas station down the street, and the guys who came into the gas stations where I used to work, and complained about their creepy, leering, harassing behavior.The comment section turned into a giant festival of comments like, “You are so cruel!What if ALL of those men were disabled to the extent that they weren’t aware of socially acceptable behavior toward women?!”It was all very bewildering, not to mention exhausting and infuriating, trying to argue against speculations about the mental health of the douchebags who’ve harassed me and my sister throughout our lives.

    That’s what this comment thread reminds me of.

  192. Andie
    Andie June 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm |

    In other news, Jills OP reminds me of of This (NSFW)

  193. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie June 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm |

    tinfoil hattie @161:

    SHUUUUUNNNNN

    SHUUUUUNNNNNNNNNN

    …did that work? ^^

    Well, now I just feel like eating a bag of good ol’ fatty-fat-deathfat DONUTS, so maybe NOT!

  194. Becky
    Becky June 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm |

    Rox –

    First of all, for whatever it’s worth,

    rox: Forget to close cabinets? Forget what they are doing while they walk around? Literally don’t understand how to organize things in a way that makes sense? Yes. We don’t really have hoarding, as in accumulation of stuff, but rather just a difficulty seeing what’s in front of us, understanding how to create steps to acomplish– anything– how to categorize.

    The above sounds a lot like ADHD. So if you’re struggling and interested in getting help, that might be something to look into.

    Second – I have ADD and can very much relate to: “I’m trying so hard to keep my residence liveable and it still never seems good enough” and how people don’t seem to understand it’s harder for some of us. But the truth is – when I let mold start growing in the food in the fridge, or let the toilet bowl start turning brown or leave garbage on the floor- that is gross. It’s gross because it’s unsanitary and unhygenic and it can make me and anyone living with me sick. And if someone else couldn’t deal with that – the way the letter writer couldn’t deal with it in her boyfriend – they would be within their rights to dump me for it.

    I’m sorry you feel attacked. And I get it. But this isn’t personal toward you. And if your house doesn’t actually have dangerous filth in it, and your personal hygeine is decent, then people aren’t actually talking about your behaviours when they refer to certain things as gross.

  195. Florence
    Florence June 29, 2011 at 7:22 pm |

    FWIW, a very good therapist told me once that ADD and PTSD often manifest in extremely similar ways for women.

  196. XtinaS
    XtinaS June 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm |

    …I now have a craving for mini powdered doughnuts.  THANKS EVER SO.

    http://www.pointykitty.org/divaricate/lp2/minipowdereddonuts.jpg

  197. Susa
    Susa June 29, 2011 at 8:49 pm |

    Wait a minute. I thought we were supposed to settle for fertilizer breath and dirty fingernails.

  198. Alvin Sloan
    Alvin Sloan June 29, 2011 at 8:54 pm |

    I also like Captain Awkward’s comment a lot. Sheelzebub, I wasn’t referring to physically or emotionally abusive situations. But when the power imbalance is slanted toward the person breaking off the relationship, as in the case of someone going out with “a person whose mental illness is destroying your happiness,” I just think it’s ruthless and mean to advise them to “DUMP THEM. It’s painful, but they aren’t entitled to take you down with them,” particularly if there’s a strong romantic attachment, as there clearly is in the advice column.

  199. zuzu
    zuzu June 29, 2011 at 9:01 pm |

    Alvin, do you think it’s better to ignore your own needs? Do you think it’s better to let yourself be sucked into a vortex you may not come out of with all your marbles?

    Because I sure don’t. And sometimes, people need to hear it straight that they have options like DTMFA. That they don’t have to suppress their own needs because their SO is in a bad place.

  200. Alvin Sloan
    Alvin Sloan June 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm |

    Zuzu, I do get that some people need to be told that, and I guess more often than not women are the ones who are expected to accommodate their male partners rather than vice versa, and I’m sure “DTMFA” can be great advice in the right situation.

    But I imagine the “I can’t ignore my own needs” defense gets applied selectively. Would you use it to excuse, say, a politician who cheated on his wife when she was dying? Can you imagine Edwards (or Gingrich) going on TV with his mistress and saying, “My wife’s illness was getting in the way of my happiness, so I ditched her for this gal. Say hi, honey”?

    Speaking specifically to the case of the letter writer with the filthy boyfriend, and without making assumptions about his mental health, I do think that, if she cares about him as much as it seems she won’t just ditch him without a second thought.

  201. Sweet Machine
    Sweet Machine June 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm |

    Speaking specifically to the case of the letter writer with the filthy boyfriend, and without making assumptions about his mental health, I do think that, if she cares about him as much as it seems she won’t just ditch him without a second thought.

    Which is why she WROTE TO AN ADVICE COLUMNIST about it. Who gave her advice. She has clearly given this a second, third, and fourth thought and still had extreme doubts. I have absolutely no idea why certain commenters here are so invested in the idea that people just giddily break up with their partners all the time. For people who are interested in marriage as an institution (as the letter writer seems to be), the “in sickness and in health” thing hasn’t happened yet. She’s trying to decide whether she can commit to this person for life; if she’s unsure enough to write to an advice columnist about it, well, she probably shouldn’t.

  202. evil fizz
    evil fizz June 30, 2011 at 12:41 am | *

    But I imagine the “I can’t ignore my own needs” defense gets applied selectively. Would you use it to excuse, say, a politician who cheated on his wife when she was dying? Can you imagine Edwards (or Gingrich) going on TV with his mistress and saying, “My wife’s illness was getting in the way of my happiness, so I ditched her for this gal. Say hi, honey”?

    Yeah, having people use the term “needs” as a proxy for misogynistic douchebaggery is a hazard. But I feel that “I need better arm candy!” can be meaningfully distinguished from “I need living space that isn’t going require an intervention from the health department and someone with an incinerator.”

  203. Alvin Sloan
    Alvin Sloan June 30, 2011 at 12:52 am |

    Sweet Machine, that’s as maybe, but I bet when she does leave him she doesn’t just say, “Hon, our interpersonal relationship is no longer a value-add [Comment #50 ] to my life. But don’t worry, I’m sure my breaking up with you will be the kick in the pants you need to transform yourself into a non-disgustoid.” And if she doesn’t say that, but instead just thinks it, well, that’s the same thing: callous, selfish—mean.

    “In the normal conditions of existence, man has to choose his goals, project them in time, pursue them and achieve them by his own effort. He cannot do it if his goals are at the mercy of and must be sacrificed to any misfortune happening to others.” –Ayn Rand, who, despite the archaic pronoun usage, apparently DOES have advice to offer to the modern feminist. :)

  204. Jennifer
    Jennifer June 30, 2011 at 1:06 am |

    Woo, I finally got to the bottom of this thread from hell!

    Rox, nobody here is saying that you, personally, are a horrible slob from hell who should never have love again even if you have to settle for someone horrible. Please stop going there mentally. Please. I can tell from everything you’ve written here that that is where you are going with every single answer you read or write. Stop.

    The point of this post–and hey, let’s use another example instead of slobbery, like verbal and/or physical abuse– is that:

    (a) “Everything is wonderful except for this behavior that is so bad it threatens my life/sanity/health” means that everything is not wonderful. ESPECIALLY IF YOU WROTE TO AN ADVICE COLUMNIST ABOUT IT, YOU ARE NOT OKAY WITH IT.

    (b) Your choices in a situation that bad are always going to be:

    1. Talk it out with the person and/or get counseling to see if the problem can be fixed, and more especially if the partner is willing to fix it.

    If the problem cannot be fixed (which you probably suspect if you are writing for help), or more likely the partner is just fine and dandy with it and tells you to shove off and shut up, your options from there are to:

    2. DTMFA.
    3. Put up and shut up.

    Everyone writes to an advice columnist hoping for the magic #4 answer of “wave a magic wand over him and he gets better,” but that doesn’t exist. Most of the time if your problem, WHATEVER IT IS THAT BOTHERED YOU SO MUCH YOU WROTE TO A STRANGER WHERE EVERYONE CAN READ IT, is that bad, it is probably going to lead to a DTMFA response. Read pretty much any and all relationship threads on Ask Metafilter, there are 99% DTMFA responses to something awful where the partner has no interest in changing.

    I have a friend who is in a verbally abusive relationship right now and has been for 25ish years. She debates leaving him all the time. Who the fuck knows if she will because she “loves” him and he “loves” her. I don’t doubt that, but that doesn’t stop the guy from screaming at her, from demanding she do things sexually she doesn’t want to do, and especially from demanding that he get an open relationship and that he can boink whoever he wants. She tries to set rules and boundaries and every time she says no to something, he immediately goes and does it.

    I keep telling her, either you leave or you accept that he is going to treat you like shit and decide that your “love” is so good that it’s worth putting up with this ALL THE TIME. She won’t do either. I am just waiting for her either to smarten up or fall out of love with him, or for him to finally do something with a girl that pisses her off so much that she decides to go. So far the guy goes thisclose to the line and never quite goes over it. See, that is a DTMFA or put up or shut up situation for a reason. Which is why this original post was so good, because it pointed that out before the giant derail of “ableism.” Sigh.

  205. astronautgo
    astronautgo June 30, 2011 at 1:07 am |

    Alvin Sloan:
    Sweet Machine, that’s as maybe, but I bet when she does leave him she doesn’t just say, “Hon, our interpersonal relationship is no longer a value-add [Comment #50 ] to my life. But don’t worry, I’m sure my breaking up with you will be the kick in the pants you need to transform yourself into a non-disgustoid.” And if she doesn’t say that, but instead just thinks it, well, that’s the same thing: callous, selfish—mean.

    Surely you can distinguish between people talking about why you should DTMFA, and how you should DTMFA? Because what you seem to be doing here is taking issue with the former as though it were the latter.

  206. ACG
    ACG June 30, 2011 at 1:40 am |

    People != their behavior. It’s perfectly reasonable to classify a person’s behavior without classifying that person. If I meet a person who doesn’t shower or brush his teeth, leaves assorted animal feces on the floor, eats off a plate crusted with the food that he didn’t clean off it two weeks ago, and has to sleep under a tent made of newspapers to protect him from the rats that storm his apartment at night, would I say that he is gross? Well, I might, frankly, but it wouldn’t really be right, because I don’t know anything about him. People have issues we can’t know about just by looking at them.

    Would I call his behavior gross? Yes, I would, because THAT SHIT IS PLAIN DISGUSTING. Nasty breath, receding gums, harmful biological agents massing in food preparation areas, disgusting. Regardless of the reason someone doesn’t bathe and leaves cat shit on the ground, not bathing and leaving cat shit on the ground is gross.

    To review: the person, not gross. The behavior, gross as hell.

    And since you seem determined to bring overweight people into it–no, it’s not okay to call a fat person gross. If you can point to a person on this thread who thinks it’s okay to call a fat person gross, you’ll probably be pointing to someone no one likes that much. Is [strawbehavior] chowing down on a bacon-Crisco taco three times a day[/strawbehavior] gross? You bet your ass it is. And I hope the (not-gross) person engaging in such (gross) behavior is able to get help in stopping said (gross) behavior.

  207. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 30, 2011 at 4:17 am |

    Alvin, you may not be talking about physically or emotionally abusive situations, but that shaming bullshit’s been used against me and any woman who’s had the gall to leave her abuser (and frankly, I see any situation where your valid needs are dismissed and where you’re guilted and shamed into putting up with bullshit as a big red flag). Fuck that noise and fuck your damaging, shaming bullshit–damaging, shaming bullshit that is thrown on women (including women who are not NT, and/or who are dealing with mental illness themselves) to swallow shit and repress their own needs (like, oh, a clean home and hygenic partner).

    And really–this BF is being callous and mean to her by expecting her to be okay with him brushing his teeth 4 or 5 times a week and kissing him, and dealing with a hazardous home. You don’t seem to think she counts.

    But I see that in your world, a woman who sees red flags and questions whether she can live with this behavior is callous and mean. Here’s a newsflash–not everyone has the energy to be a man’s personal fucking therapist and emotional caretaker. She has needs, too, and shaming bullshit (and your libertarian strawman) is just as callous and mean. Hell, more so–it’s not as if she hasn’t said anything to him. He has gotten defensive and dismissed her concerns and needs out of hand.

    I mean, really, is there any situation where it’s not callous and mean to end a relationship in your eyes? Because I think if you’re not happy and the person refuses to do anything to change, that’s a damn good reason. “I cannot deal with this anymore and you refuse to do anything to change for the better” is actually a valid goddamn reason, and your apparent attitude that women are now beholden to boyfriends no matter what is utter fucking bullshit.

  208. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 30, 2011 at 4:24 am |

    Also, a romantic partner is not a charity. I don’t think my friend was evil for leaving her drug-addicted husband who ran up $50K in debt. I don’t think my friend was selfish for leaving her boyfriend who hoarded and who didn’t give a fuck that their living situation was making her miserable for years. Staying in these situations for as long as they did actually fucked with their mental and physical health, but it’s selfish, callous and mean for a woman (even a woman who’s already dealing with mental health issues herself) to think she’s anything but the helpmeet of a man.

  209. Yonmei
    Yonmei June 30, 2011 at 4:25 am |

    I mean, really, is there any situation where it’s not callous and mean to end a relationship in your eyes?

    When a man dumps a woman? Pretty sure we’d see a whole double standard there.

  210. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 30, 2011 at 4:37 am |

    Matt, others here have pointed out that they are disabled (and poor) and disagree with you. But I wouldn’t expect a commenter with a history of misogyny and mansplaining to pull his head out of his ass stop his erasing bullshit.

    You’re not fooling anyone, cupcake.

    Matt: Shh, stop being mean to the poor ableist people. They are feminists and they don’t have time for the disabled. They only care about problems that affect them, ie, womens’ rights.

  211. Spot
    Spot June 30, 2011 at 7:01 am |

    “I’m sorry you feel attacked. And I get it. But this isn’t personal toward you.” Bwahahaha, nice touch!

    C’mon, you got her on the ropes, someone finish her off!

    I truly admire the unapologetic visciouness of this site; and they say feminists have no sense of humor? Hah!

  212. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 30, 2011 at 8:07 am |

    Spot, I await your condemnation at the shaming those of us have gotten from certain commenters for leaving bad situations. I guess “viciousness” only matters in certain cases.

  213. Sweet Machine
    Sweet Machine June 30, 2011 at 8:26 am |

    This thread keeps reminding me of the episode of Hoarders where the husband (the hoarder) had piled enough stuff on the stairs that his wife of 20+ years fell down and broke her arm. After the wife told this story, the therapist asked the husband, “And did you clean up any part of the stairs after your wife was seriously injured?” and he said NO. Obviously, the man was severely mentally ill, and his wife and the therapist both knew that. But he didn’t do ANYTHING after his wife broke her arm. Should we have compassion for this man and his mental illness? Absolutely. Should his wife have to live with someone who cannot care that the manifestations of this illness are costing her life and limb? Good lord no, and it’s not ableist to say so.

  214. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward June 30, 2011 at 10:36 am |

    Jennifer:

    Rox, nobody here is saying that you, personally, are a horrible slob from hell who should never have love again even if you have to settle for someone horrible. Please stop going there mentally. Please. I can tell from everything you’ve written here that that is where you are going with every single answer you read or write. Stop.

    The point of this post–and hey, let’s use another example instead of slobbery, like verbal and/or physical abuse– is that:

    (a) “Everything is wonderful except for this behavior that is so bad it threatens my life/sanity/health” means that everything is not wonderful. ESPECIALLY IF YOU WROTE TO AN ADVICE COLUMNIST ABOUT IT, YOU ARE NOT OKAY WITH IT.

    (b) Your choices in a situation that bad are always going to be:

    1. Talk it out with the person and/or get counseling to see if the problem can be fixed, and more especially if the partner is willing to fix it.

    If the problem cannot be fixed (which you probably suspect if you are writing for help), or more likely the partner is just fine and dandy with it and tells you to shove off and shut up, your options from there are to:

    2. DTMFA.
    3. Put up and shut up.

    Everyone writes to an advice columnist hoping for the magic #4 answer of “wave a magic wand over him and he gets better,” but that doesn’t exist. Most of the time if your problem, WHATEVER IT IS THAT BOTHERED YOU SO MUCH YOU WROTE TO A STRANGER WHERE EVERYONE CAN READ IT, is that bad, it is probably going to lead to a DTMFA response. Read pretty much any and all relationship threads on Ask Metafilter, there are 99% DTMFA responses to something awful where the partner has no interest in changing.

    Wild applause.

    Also, Rox, even people with serious issues don’t have to put up with relationships that don’t meet their needs. That is a bad bargain. A lot of your comments are reminding me of the sad dudes who comment on Manboobz – they assign weird Numbers of Datingness to people, like ‘Well, 10s only go with other 10s, so how is a poor 3 supposed to score an 8 ?” (sometimes they try to make that shit sound more official by translating it into Greek – alphas, betas, omegas – it doesn’t work). It sounds like you have assigned yourself some kind of meaningless DateNumber because of your issues with housekeeping and assumed that because you have that number, no one will ever date you, or you’ll have to put up with a lot of bullshit from anyone who will date you in return for them putting up with yours, or that the entire OP (and link – which you didn’t read, and if you did you’d find a lot of commenters being extremely compassionate to the messy person and honest about their own struggles) is designed to remind you that you’re in the shallow end of the dating pool. Look at yourself through a kinder lens, ok? We’re all freaks and geeks. We’re all weirdos. We still get to evaluate each other in light of how well the other person will meet our needs, and often it is kinder/better/simpler to bail on something that isn’t working than to search relentlessly for ways it could work.

  215. rox
    rox June 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm |

    “We still get to evaluate each other in light of how well the other person will meet our needs, and often it is kinder/better/simpler to bail on something that isn’t working than to search relentlessly for ways it could work.”

    I agree with this mentality, however I was trying to point out there are exception where people may have chosen to stay in relationships that have problems (as defined by them) but may be better off (I’m just saying we don’t know.)

    Like when my ex was complainging his gf was an alcoholic and he’s so sick of it and she is wreckless and dangerous and drives drunk and yells and he doesn’t want to deal with it, I said, “Well either leave her or accept she’s an alcoholic and deal with it.”

    The other part of the story is that he is a sex offender who has done really horrific things that no one should have to deal with ever. No one should have to deal with a dangerous alcoholic, no one should have to deal with a sex offender who wasn’t able to change even when taking meds and trying therapy. He decided to stay, they wound up getting married years ago and seem to be better for each other than anyone else they’ve been with. Maybe they’re worse off, I don’t know. I’m just saying that just because someone complains doesn’t mean we know for sure what they are better off doing.

    “Someone finish her off”

    Yes because people with minority perspectives or who are struggling to articulate themselves should be ganged up on and destroyed.

  216. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable June 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

    rox, that person was being sarcastic and critical of all the people who have been arguing with you.

  217. rox
    rox June 30, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    …. (gets a littler tear… aw). It is really hard to have a dysfunctional frontal lobe. I really do try to understand. I do have PTSD and minor brain damage and altered brain functioning from the meth my mother did while pregnant. She had PTSD while pregnant with me and I’ve done a lot of research on prenatal development and that’s basically all kinds of biologically not good for development.

    this doesn’t mean that anyone ever needs to date me or I am asking for a pity fuck at all. It just means that my perspective is different and possibly my perception about whether or not what I had to say is a total derail.

    I don’t dislike any of you for arguing with me, and I want to understand what you have to say as well. I may be genuinely not understanding what you have to say but I still feel like my perspective on this fits in there somewhere. It’s possible that I should not have shared my perspective at all or that I articulated myself so badly I shouldn’t have tried– I don’t think that’s the case, but if my perception is totally off and I was in the wrong for sharing my take on this, I apologize.

  218. zuzu
    zuzu June 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    Alvin Sloan: –Ayn Rand, who, despite the archaic pronoun usage, apparently DOES have advice to offer to the modern feminist. :)

    On how to be a sociopathic douchebag who has no trouble taking what she would deny others?

    I’ll pass on Life Lessons From Ayn Rand, thanks.

  219. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward June 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    Rox, you can just dump people even if they don’t have terrible problems or mistreat you. You can just decide “I was happier yesterday without you than I am today with you, so, yeah, gotta go.”

    We don’t all need to know the complete pros and cons of every relationship and make a balance sheet of whether people should stay together. The letter writer who wrote to me loves her messy boyfriend and is looking for a way to talk about the stuff that’s bugging her. She may dump him if her needs around cleanliness aren’t met, but they may work it out. Jill would dump him out of hand. That doesn’t translate to “Rox is bad!”

    It is a hilarious and true trope in people who write to advice columnists that they always start out by describing how “wonderful” their partner/parent/friend/child is before describing, in many cases, behaviors that will turn your hair white.

    Maybe stop sharing your personal issues in this thread? Because I don’t think it’s bringing anyone to your point of view and I don’t think you’re going to find the blanket validation that you seek.

  220. zuzu
    zuzu June 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    rox: I agree with this mentality, however I was trying to point out there are exception where people may have chosen to stay in relationships that have problems (as defined by them) but may be better off (I’m just saying we don’t know.)

    FOR THE LOVE OF BACON SANDWICHES, PUT THE STRAWMAN DOWN AND MOVE THE FUCK ON. NOBODY’S MAKING ANYONE LEAVE A SITUATION THEY’RE HAPPY WITH.

  221. Captain Awkward
    Captain Awkward June 30, 2011 at 2:25 pm |

    Hee, Zuzu, I picture this conversation going on all over the country:

    “Honey, I’m dumping you.”
    “Why on earth…?”
    “Jill at Feministe is making me do it with her mean judgments that people who never clean are gross. You never clean….”
    “It is true. I am gross. Well, if Jill from Feministe says so, I guess you have no choice.”
    “I really don’t. Jill is making me. Also, Amanda Marcotte agrees.”
    “Did you ask Captain Awkward about it?”
    “Yeah, she said a) you’re gross and b) I should talk to you and see if you would be willing to be ungross. Will you do that?”
    “Sorry. Can’t. I have a mental illness and also childhood issues.”
    “Damn. Well, we tried.”

    Fin

  222. rox
    rox June 30, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    ““Sorry. Can’t. I have a mental illness and also childhood issues.”

    Having a mental illness or cognitive problems is NOT an excuse not to try to the best of your ability.

    But if you were saying that someone with dyselxia who is on meds and in therapy and trying their best should write the letters correctly or they aren’t trying and they are making excuses, it would be cruel.

    If someone writing letter correctly were your requirement for dating (nothing wrong with that!) it would PERFECTLY OK to leave!!!!!!! SO OK TO LEAVE.

    You can leave for any reason. Making the claim that if the person tries and can’t be who you want it’s because they aren’t trying hard enough or is just making excuses in another thing entirely.

  223. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig June 30, 2011 at 2:57 pm |

    Personally, I find bad personal hygiene to be more of a deal breaker than a messy living area. I’m not good at the whole house-keeping thing, so I can understand that for some people, cleaning a messy area is low-priority.
    However, I think stuff like not showering or not brushing teeth is very disgusting and rude. (Unless there are mitigating circumstances like the water being shut off or just not having access to clean water.)
    True story: I knew a guy in high school who’d only take one shower a week because he was ‘concerned about the environment.’ I took this statement with an ocean of salt, because he drove his parent’s Lincoln everywhere.

  224. Alvin Sloan
    Alvin Sloan June 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm |

    Zuzu, I don’t like Rand either; I posted the quote sarcastically because I thought it paralleled some of the more ruthless comments made here. That said, I do understand that self-sacrificing for the supposed good of a relationship is unfairly expected of women more than men.

    However, I do still agree with Rox’s general point that calling people gross is unkind, and I wanted to offer some support of that.

  225. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 30, 2011 at 3:34 pm |

    However, I do still agree with Rox’s general point that calling people gross is unkind, and I wanted to offer some support of that.

    Bullshit.

    You shamed anyone who had the fucking gall to think it was a good idea to leave a relationship that was untenable to them, calling them callous and mean. Some habits are gross to certain people and they are neither mean nor callous for wanting their partner to respect their basic needs. Nor are they acolytes of Ayn fucking Rand.

  226. Natalia
    Natalia June 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm |

    What are these ruthless comments you speak of, Alvin? Seriously.

    Everyone has deal-breakers. I’m one of those people who tends to be very forgiving of the men in her life – sometimes excessively so (if you go by hindsight). I’m surprised and kinda shocked by this idea that anything that’s been said here is “cruel” or “ruthless.” There are really awful ways to dump someone, incidentally, but it’s not as if this is what’s getting brought up here. “Yeah, we dated for over a year, and then I dumped him over a text message! Go me! Oh, and I told him that I cheated on him! With his dad! I’m SUCH a badass!” That’s not what I’m seeing here at all. Getting dumped even in the NICEST possible way still sucks, by the way. What’s worse, however, is someone staying with someone else out of pity, or an inability to move on. THAT shit is downright humiliating.

  227. Dump him/her. « Perceptions of Feminism

    [...] Dump him/her. In Uncategorized on July 1, 2011 at 1:16 am I read this article on the feministe blog, titled DTMFA, and as amusing as it was, it’s a serious issue, and I was thinking, “Thank you” for posting this.  http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/06/28/dtmfa/ [...]

  228. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie June 30, 2011 at 9:39 pm |

    I heart Sheelzebub.

  229. DouglasG
    DouglasG July 1, 2011 at 8:19 am |

    The thread has reminded me of about the only episode of *Ally McBeal* (shudder, but at least they eventually had Ms de Rossi in the cast) of which I can recall much. Our intrepid heroine had a court case against a male opposing lawyer who bore rather a resemblance to Rep. Nadler (D-NY). He was short and not the sort of person that anyone who matched people by looks would propose as a consort for Ms M. After the case, he asked her a personal question about settling in relationships or giving up a dream in exchange for The Best He Could Get, and our heroine was firmly against settling. Thereupon he dumped his fiancee and asked Ms M out, rather to her astonishment and refusal. She was then visited by the furious fiancee. He was about equally TBSCG, though the fiancee was genuinely so over the moon for him that she could live with his not being equally crazy about her. Eventually, Ms M modified her advice, and the couple did marry. The episode ended with Ms M seeing them getting into a limousine after the ceremony and wondering whether she’d done the right thing changing her recommendation.

  230. Erica
    Erica July 1, 2011 at 8:36 pm |

    Haha, sorry for breaking the Internets with my sarcasm.

    Erika:
    Doesn’t it seem important to distinguish between “messy” and “filthy” though?I have to work really hard at it too, but my bad habits tend to involve not keeping up with laundry/leaving random stuff out.Being Messy.

    Oh yeah, totally. I am super messy BUT also extremely anal about dishes/litterpans/food being left out. Because those things smell and attract bugs, and I don’t want either of those things in my house. I have an almost superhuman ability to ignore clutter until I’m almost tripping on it but food and waste are srs bzness. Unfortunately, most of the roommates I had in college were the exact opposite… D:

  231. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig July 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm |

    Erika: I am super messy BUT also extremely anal about dishes/litterpans/food being left out. Because those things smell and attract bugs, and I don’t want either of those things in my house.
    Another yep. I will occaisionally ignore dishes if I have another priority, but I always come back and wash them.

  232. Amanda
    Amanda July 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm |

    I am a gross/filthy/messy person. I also have depression. I don’t think the two are related, because I stay filthy even when my meds are working great, and I’m eating healthy and exercising, and I’m happy. I’m just LAZY and not that bothered by filth. Unless there are actual smells and bugs, I honestly don’t give a damn. If I weren’t married, given that I am currently just studying from home and don’t leave the house most days, I would probably bathe only every three days or so, and I sweat more than your average person, so I’d be all smelly to others and just… not care.

    I am disorganized and throw clothing on the floor and let the dishes pile up until we run out of clean ones. I am lucky enough to have a partner who does a lot of the housecleaning for me (though the kitchen is mine since he never manages to put back my cooking supplies where I want them!!!) and I bathe and wear real clothing on a regular basis out of respect for him.

    Being in a relationship involves finding someone whose flaws don’t bother you personally– he deals with my mess and disorganization, I deal with his video games and drunken philosophy/history lectures and inability to cook (although we have gotten to the stage where he feels competent to microwave his own microwave meals if I’m not feeling well, yes!)

    I could easily see someone being fully justified for dumping me for being a slob, or him for his video games. I’ve personally dumped people for being too lazy, too forgetful, too snobby, too religious, not reading enough, etc. None of those things made them bad people, and I’m still friends with a lot of my exes, but a relationship takes more.

    And if you’re annoyed enough by something that you need to write to a columnist, it might be your breaking point, and that’s ok.

  233. rox
    rox July 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    Amanda I’ve done a lot of research on that actually and there are in fact parts of the brain that are not healed by meds that can affect ability to “see” mess and to create steps to organize and to find categories in which objects fit. In studies with people who are chronically messy they find that they are slower in categorizing, prioritizing and creating steps in a plan of action when doing mental activities.

    I have done a lot of reading about all the research that comes out as I’m constantly looking for solutions to improve my abilities in that area– which have been mostly succesful but inrelated to meds. No meds ever improved it for me either but neither did effort which did not result in what others or even myself thought would happen.

    They did actually find that exercise is so far the only thing that clinically has had some measurable affect on the areas of the brain that seem to be affected in chronically messy/disorganized people. Also related– levels of inflammation and HPA functioning which are things that meds don’t necessarily fix.

    ” Conversely, the inattentive (but not hyperactive/impulsive) symptoms of ADHD significantly predicted severity of clutter, difficulty discarding, and acquiring.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21193171

    “This association is consistent with recent studies suggesting that individuals with hoarding may exhibit substantial executive functioning impairments and/or abnormalities, including attentional problems.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20583294

    People with learning disabilities and dyslexia used to be labelled as lazy too. The reality is that the drugs available don’t actually repair all areas of brain functioning.

    You might in fact be choosing not to clean , but if you ever find that you try to change that and find that something doesn’t seem to work even when you are putting forth effort– I just wanted you and anyone else who struggles with it to consider that like all problematic behavior there are often correlations with biology/trauma/HPA axis/inflammation. You might do better working WITH yourself instead of working AGAINST yourself (SELF STOP BEING LAZY!! JUST TRY HARDER!)

    I find it fascinating that people seem to understanding that with most behavioral disorders shaming doesn’t really improve the behavior. You can leave someone without shaming them for their existance. At least, I believe you can.

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.