10.06.2013

"Dating Tips for the Feminist Man"

I haven't blogged in forever, but maybe it's time to start again. Okay, maybe that's overly ambitious. Maybe it's time to post just one thought. It's been awhile!

Yes to this. Some parts may not apply directly to the men that I date for various reasons, but other parts do, including the following:
  • "Do not run away if things get uncomfortable or you start to feel emotions that confuse you."
  • "If you are in a conflict with this person due to tangled emotions, pick a process and, if you need it, a friend to help."
  • "If you want to be a good male ally, get comfortable with changing emotions - yours and the other person's, and good at talking about them as they change. Life is messy; we have to be able to move with changes as they happen. This comfort is necessary in order to be honest with the other person, and to create shared expectations so no one ends up feeling used or played." [Editorial note: Don't break up with the person because you aren't sure how you feel and you don't want to "lead her on." If you aren't sure how you feel, tell her. Maybe she'll say: "That's okay. I'm not entirely sure, either. Let's keep dating while we figure it out." Or maybe she'll say, "Thank you for letting me know. I need someone who is sure that he likes me. Let's break up." I don't think she'll say, "Why did you lead me on for the past 24 hours when I was sure that you were madly in love with me and we were headed straight to the huppah?" (The next part of the piece says exactly this.)]
  • "Do not tell someone you're serious about them or planning to follow up with them romantically if you're actually not sure."
  • "If your feelings change, simply name the change. If you were interested in a possible partnership or in an ongoing relationship, and then aren’t or are less sure, and you feel bad about that, do not avoid saying so to make your life easier. Just name the emotion and be available and present to the changes in the other."
  • "Stretch yourself."
  • "Give up on trying to be perfect. It just gets in the way. Get used to process. You fuck up, you learn, you grow."
  • "You can take space to get your head clear so you can listen and know yourself better - but that kind of space is measured in hours, or at most days. If you want 'space' measured in weeks or months, you're not taking space, you're avoiding responsibility."
  • " If you find yourself disregarding something she is saying because she is upset as she is saying it, notice that this is sexism. You may have been raised to believe emotion is not rational and is therefore not legitimate. That is for you to unlearn, not for you to impose on others. Emotion and intuition, when finely honed, serve clear thinking. Don't retreat into your head or use logic to disconnect from empathy when you find emotions coming your way; clear thinking is informed by ethics and compassion. Build up your capacity to feel and to respond to feelings in a rational, intuitive, self-aware way."
A lot of this advice would be well-heeded by me, by non-feminist men, by non-feminist women, and by people not currently in the dating world. All around, I would say that it's good life advice.

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