My boyfriend is increasingly saying bad things about women. What should I do with that?

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My boyfriend and I have been together for about two years now, and until recently, I felt like our relationship was perfect. I met him through, and found him very attractive: he is confident, polite, and has his life in order. We have a lot of mutual friends and enjoy doing things together (we like eating out, clubbing, and going on nice trips), but we’re very different in some areas. Our first long conversation culminated in a bizarre discussion about Kim Kardashian. Although he does follow her on Instagram, he thinks it’s “wrong to make money with her body.” He told me he saw it as proof that women are easier than men because they can use their bodies for money. I, of course, do not agree with this statement. “Nice of you to bite a bullet like that,” he said at the time, adding with a wink that “I still have a lot to learn about the world.” I thought the opposite: his views would become more nuanced over time.

For a while this seemed to be the case. But sometimes he still drops really misogynistic stuff — especially when we’re out with his male friends and alcohol is involved. For example, he believes it is right for men to earn more than women because “by their reasoning they are often better employees.” He also once said that we should “be really normal with all this MeToo shit.” Not that he would condone rape, but he believes the line between transgressive behavior and flirting is blurry. In the end, it always comes down to the same thing: he has a sense that as a man he’s having a harder time than women in this day and age, due in part (as he puts it) to “hysterical feminism.”

I feel like he often said things that pissed me off, because he likes to argue. I love it too, so it just felt like a game. Such a discussion between us could be very heated, but it never led to an argument. But in recent months, I feel like he’s started getting more and more involved with it. For example, he listens to a podcast by misogynistic influencer Andrew Tate. Sometimes he also puts it down while eating because “I really need to hear what Andrew has to say”. I’m really sick of what I’m hearing.

He is increasingly critical of women: they are gold diggers and sometimes “ask for a beating.” He finds it normal for some men to like younger women, as this is “natural selection”. These days it bothers him when I talk about my career because he finds it “unattractive”. We don’t live together yet and lately he’s been texting me to check what I’m doing.

It’s not all misery: there are also beautiful, loving moments between us. I noticed he says those weird things mostly when he’s feeling down or having a bad week. But the thing is, he hasn’t been feeling well lately. I hope he gets help, but he won’t hear about it.

Not quite sure what to do. I still love him deeply, and in doing so, I feel like I can help him. At the same time, I find the way he talks about women disgusting. I don’t even dare talk to my friends about it, because if they hear the things he talks about sometimes, they’ll never want anything to do with him again.

Is this a period in his life that he will come out of again? Or are we fundamentally too different to be together?



Dear M.,

You hear more and more stories about couples having opposing political ideas and ideals, and about the friction that can cause. Outside American search From 2020 shows 43 percent of single Democrats do not want a relationship with a Republican. At the same time, 24% of Republicans would not want to date a Democrat. or think about Conflicts escalate Within relationships around corona measures, such as wearing a mouth mask or not. Recently, actress Julia Fox was accused of not being a feminist because she dated Yi (a man who is now not quite known for his progressive views) for a month. And the Reddit is full With questions from distraught women who don’t know what to do with lovers who (like you) listen to anti-feminist Andrew Tate. On Reddit, the answer is always: get rid of that misogynistic friend, which, of course, is a great solution. But what if you’re not ready (yet) for that?

“Obviously, there are fundamental differences between you and your partner. That can also be upsetting and painful,” says relationship therapist Joy Storr. “I gather from your letter that you still have feelings of love and that you can also have a good time together, but his statements cause tensions. This is complicated.”

While you still feel love for your boyfriend, you’re also indicating that you think very differently about the world. In addition, his beliefs are in line with the movement in which women – and therefore you too – are seen as inferior. So the question is: How much do these differences affect you, and are there any ways to bridge the gap between you and your friend?

Research by British organization HOPE not Hate found that by 2020, half of the 2,076 young men interviewed believed that “feminism has gone too far, making it difficult for men to succeed in life.” Sarah Brack, professor of sociology of gender and sexuality at the University of Amsterdam, said the following in a previous interview: “Feeling that you are losing your place in society because of feminism, for example, can make you insecure. Society is changing. Feminism and LGBT rights have made progress Trans people are also becoming more visible. And yes, it means that the classic form of masculinity is under attack. It also means that as a young man still searching for his or her place in society, you can become insecure. Giving up privilege or status is rarely easy: You may get angry, or feel like a failure, or feel that there is no prospect for men like you.” Men like Andrew Tate are capitalizing on this — turning those feelings of insecurity into confident rage against a common enemy: women.

“In my consulting room I see many men who no longer know what their role is in society,” Storr says. According to her, this also causes them to feel insecure within the relationship: they fear that they can’t really offer anything to their partner in this new reality, and that they might lose the relationship as a result. In the conservative division of roles, the division of tasks is more clear: as a man, for example, you earn a living. According to Storr, it is important that we acknowledge this confusion and uncertainty. “As a therapist, I want validation of those feelings,” she says. “I would say, you’re not alone in feeling this, and it’s okay to talk about this. It’s interesting to dissect your partner’s ideology layer by layer. You can only take steps in your relationship if he gains insight into his behavior and the emotions that lie behind it. Of those The point onwards, you can meet each other.”

So marital therapy is definitely recommended, where you have that conversation with the help of a third person. But if not, is there anything you can do on your own? “You notice that your partner seems to be stuck in their own thoughts,” says Storr. “There is a little movement in his way of thinking and behavior. He says things that touch you and you respond to him from that feeling. As a result, you are now in a conflict situation: the distance between you is increasing. But you write that you still feel love and want to make an effort to understand it. From this feeling, it can be Create a space to come together again.”

You can try to look at the problems he raises from afar. His distaste for your profession and your opinions on MeToo feel very personal to you, because he’s inevitably about your experiences, too. But according to Storr, you have to remember that these kinds of extreme statements stem mainly from uncertainty. “It may be helpful to ask him again in a quiet moment, when there is no conflict, why he says things like that. Ask him how his ideas came about, and whether he discusses it with his friends, for example. As hard as it is, try Create a safe space where he can know what’s behind his thoughts without being judged.” And, Storr adds, be aware that his way of thinking is more about himself than it is about you, just to protect yourself.

“Many couples get so quickly defensive in such a conflict that the conversation becomes hostile and never really gets to the heart of the issue. You also often see partners pulling away from each other instead of coming together,” she says.

“A deep-seated conflict doesn’t always mean love ends right away. Little by little he may start to understand and work through the emotional reasons for his thinking. When he gets to that point, he can come back towards you a little bit. And then you can point out what his words are doing to you, and how they affect you.” “. According to Steur, you have to take into account that it can also happen that he doesn’t open up, that can cause some pain and that can also cause additional cracks to appear in your relationship.

While you obviously love your partner and his opinions may not be a direct reflection of how he views you, it is still possible to hear how he feels about women. How do you guard your borders? And how do you make sure that your mental health does not suffer from your need for his help?

It is very important to think about what is acceptable to you. Listen carefully to your own feelings, and dare to draw a line. There is a possibility that you will not be able to solve the problem, and it is better to part with each other. “Talk about it with other people, too, if you feel the need to,” Storr recommends. And according to Steur, it’s also important to keep a close eye on whether you can still continue to talk to him. If it doesn’t work out, it’s also okay to decide that the relationship isn’t working. “You did your best and you really couldn’t do more than that,” she says.

Of course, it’s common for partners to disagree about important matters like raising children or dealing with money. But some differences are so basic that they can feel like an attack on your identity as a human being. “In my profession, we call that difference in ‘your core,’ something that seems so essential to you that you can’t compromise,” says Storr. So now it’s up to you to decide if these differences between you and your partner are too great, or if you still see room to accommodate each other.

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