5 Signs You Have A Foot Out The Door Of Your Relationship

 

 

I know firsthand how hard it is to recognize when it’s time to cut your losses and stop trying to make a relationship work. When you still have one foot lingering in the door, you want nothing more than for your partner to convince you to put the other one back in too.

But I also know from experience (and from John Mayer) that keeping one foot (or “half of your heart”) in a relationship when the other is already out is not fair to you or your partner.

halfofmyheart

 

If you’ve caught yourself exhibiting any of the behaviors listed in this article on Thought Catalog, chances are you have a foot out the door and need to either put it back in and give the relationship a fighting chance or take the other foot out and rip the bandaid off.

How to get through a quarter-life crisis

Disclaimer: I am in the midst of a quarter-life career crisis. I don’t have experience getting through a quarter-life crisis, but in the process of experiencing one, I’ve been talking to a lot of helpful people and doing a lot of reading and soul searching. I’m compiling these pieces of advice mainly for myself, but I thought I’d share them in case they inspire you as well. 

1. Give up the idea of a career path. Maybe 50 years ago, more people treated college like trade school and graduated expecting to work in the same field forever. Now, a hypothetical career “path” might look like this: study philosophy, become a consultant, start a business, sell it, go to law school, clerk for a judge, work for a law firm, and work for a nonprofit, all while teaching yoga on the side. If there’s one thing you love so much you can’t imagine doing anything else, hey, you’re one of the lucky ones. But if not, don’t worry – there are endless ways to combine all your interests.

2. Be honest with yourself. You’ve probably gone through enough job interviews to get in the habit of crafting a linear narrative of your path (see above) when in reality it may look like a road with a bunch of forks and you’re jumping between prongs. In conversations about your career development, give up that narrative. There’s a place for your pitches about why X industry is the next big thing and X job is really great amalgamation of your skills – job and school applications require is to explain our backgrounds in a way that makes sense –  but sometimes these pitches become so rehearsed you forget you ever considered other possibilities. Maybe you studied creative writing in college and have worked in publishing since but have always wondered what it would be like to be a software engineer. While you probably wouldn’t tell this to a prospective employer for an editorial job, allowing yourself to feel that curiosity may lead you to explore options you otherwise would have overlooked.

3. Ask for help. Reach out to literally everyone you know in fields you’re considering. I vastly underestimated the number of people  who were willing to meet or Skype with me to answer career-related questions. This is also an excellent way to keep in touch with potential mentors, employers, or recommendation-writers.

4. Don’t let your job define you. If you’re lucky enough to have a 9-5, the post-5 pm world can be as much a part of your identity as your workday. You can take a class, join a Meetup group, attend a workshop, take a night job or freelance position, or work on a side project. It’s up to you whether you consider yourself, say, a project manager who writes poetry or a spoken word poet with a day job.

5. Remember your fifth-life crisis. And your tenth-life crisis. Because people who are vulnerable to quarter-life crises are generally vulnerable to other crises as well. When I look back on my early crises, I think, what was I so worried about? I mean, I was a *kid.* I had plenty of time to figure things out. In a few years, that’s probably how we’ll all look back at this period.

Good luck, and know you’re not alone.

So I’ve started this Tumblr

I realized I’ve been writing a lot these days about the challenges of dating as a feminist (exhibit A, exhibit B), so I’ve decided to create a blog dedicated to this topic. You can now follow me on dwfdatingwhilefeminist.tumblr.com.

I’m calling it Dating While Feminist, abbreviated as DWF – similar to DWI or DUI – because dating while feminist can sometimes truly feel like a liability. You’ll be hearing about some dreadful and hopefully laughable dating experiences, what they’ve taught me about our f***ed-up society, and how I attempt (and sometimes manage) to retain my feminist convictions and even occasionally some faith in humanity.

The idea for this blog came about when I was dating someone who was altogether adequate except for his lack of feminist allegiances. Some people suggested that, given the state of the dating market that straight women face, I can’t afford to be so picky regarding this criterion. I’m using this blog to demonstrate and commiserate about how bad the market really is – but argue against settling as a solution.

She’s Just Not That Into You: The Book That Should Have Been Written

Disclaimer: This article is about heterosexual relationships because it is written from my own experience, but I’m sure there are similarly interesting things to say about same-sex relationships, and I hope we can talk about them too.

Don’t want. Don’t act. Sit there and look pretty so that a man will make the first move. “You’ve got to get him to say hello.”

Field advances; don’t make them. Be the gatekeeper, not the one walking through the door.

Play “hard to get;” give him the thrill of the chase; be the prey to his predations.

Any woman who has grown up in this society is accustomed to these messages.

What if all this time, instead of preparing women for a lifelong waiting game while men take the reins, we taught men (and everyone else) about waiting for and giving the reins to women (or anyone else)?

Our society’s unwillingness to hear a woman say “yes” contributes to the lack of respect for a “no.” If men believe they are wired to want and women are wired to be wanted, there leaves no room to consider what women want – or don’t want.

In our current cultural climate, women’s desires are silenced to the point that men believe their only options are exerting pressure, manipulation, or worse.

These beliefs about our innate wiring are especially insidious because they get passed off as descriptive – merely stating a fact about diverging desires. Yet they quickly become prescriptive by suggesting that those unsatisfied with their roles are not in touch with their supposed instincts, and that rather than changing the status quo, “all they have to do is surrender to their nature.”

So here’s the advice that I wish everyone who has pursued me would read:

Give me the chance to pursue you. Don’t wait for me to say no. Give me the chance to say yes, or even better, to pose the question myself. I may not have been taught to pursue, but if I am “that into you,” I won’t let you slip away for this reason. And if I don’t take you up on it? That may be painful or uncomfortable, but not as much as sexual harassment or assault!

And in case this advice leaves any ambiguity, here’s a handy “She’s Just Not That Into You” guide.

If she doesn’t give you her number, she’s just not that into you.

If she ignores your texts, she’s just not that into you.

If she moves to the other side of the dance floor, she’s just not that into you.

She’s not playing “hard to get;” she’s just not that into you.

If she maintains a secure distance between you, she’s just not that into you.

If she sits there stiffly while you try to put your arm around her, she’s just not that into you.

If she doesn’t kiss you back, she’s just not that into you.

She’s not being coy; she’s just not that into you.

If she says no, she’s not into it.

If she tells you to stop, she’s not into it.

If she just lies there, she’s not into it.

If she’s not into it, that’s not being coy or playing hard to get; that’s sexual assault.

Instead of writing and reading books and articles about what men are or aren’t into or how men can pursue what they’re into, I envision a world where people took what women were into seriously.

Better yet, I envision a world where people take seriously what each individual is and isn’t into, without gender-based assumptions.

This world, where the absence of a “yes” is a “no,” is a world where everyone has the chance to say yes. It’s a world without a hunter-hunted, active-passive, or receiver-received duality.

In this future, there wouldn’t need to be a book called “He’s Just Not That Into You” or “She’s Just Not That Into You.” People would read something more along the lines of “Phe/Ze/They May Or May Not Be Into You Depending On What Signals You’re Receiving.”

I’ve seen glimpses of this future. It’s that moment when the bill comes and you’re not sure who is going to pay. It’s that moment when you’re not sure if your partner is in the mood (for whatever, really) and must get up the courage to ask.

It’s also that moment where you decide to treat someone who has paid for your first few dates. And that moment when you both lean in for the first kiss. It’s terribly awkward and terribly romantic.

And terribly exciting. After all, these moments are forging new territory – territory far preferable to a world where women wait for men to be “into them” and men must be taught to care what women are into.

The 5 Covert Sexists You Meet Online

Any online dating profile containing the word “feminist” is bound to elicit some unsettling reactions, some merely misinformed – “I’m not a feminist; I believe in equality” – and some outright adversarial – “I guess you don’t want a man with balls” (that’s an actual OKCupid message). You probably won’t give these people* a second glance. But some are less upfront about their sexism. They may even make it through a few dates before you come face-to-face with their covert but insidious beliefs.

1. Mr. Nice Guy

His MO: He believes he deserves a gold star for treating you like a human.

His case for himself: Guys like him are a rare lifeboat in a sea full of douchebags, so you’d better grab onto him before you drown.

Why I’m not buying it: Mr. Nice Guy is not an escape from the douchebags; he’s one of them. The minimal respect he would show a man should be a given, not a source of pride. Men like him believe a woman is a prize that you win for beating a villain in a video game or being a “nice guy.” Entitlement complexes are dangerous.

2. Mr. Guilt-Free

His MO: He would never advocate sexism, but he’s not too eager to challenge his beliefs about gender differences or update his views based on your personal testimony. “Privilege” is not in his vocabulary. He thinks as long as he’s not a mean person, his actions couldn’t have a negative impact on society. He also believes that owning his desires means not questioning their problematic roots. He’s probably attracted to conventionally feminine qualities. He also probably sees no issue with racial preferences in dating.

His case for himself: Like the nice guy, he believes simply being a decent person is enough. He wouldn’t deny that women have been oppressed historically, but hey, he didn’t do it.

Why I’m not buying it: Mr. Guilt-Free may be fun for a few dates, but after a while, you’ll probably get tired of him getting defensive when the topic of sexism comes up or dismissing your personal experiences.

3. Mr. Free Love

His MO: He’s all about sexual liberation, but his version of liberation is men taking liberties with women.

His case for himself: He’s a free spirit. He likes to test limits. Life is an adventure, live on the edge, blah blah blah.

Why I’m not buying it: Unfortunately, he’ll probably try to test YOUR limits. Mr. Free Love will try to push things a litttttle further physically than you seem willing to go – and might even whip out (pun intended) that “sexual liberation” rhetoric to guilt you into going there. Sexual liberation means not being ashamed of your sexuality, but he would have you think it means sharing your sexuality with everyone. Nobody should ever try to influence what you share and whom you share it with.

4. Mr. Separate-But-Equal

His MO: Whether backed up by evolutionary pseudoscience, New Age spirituality, or even just cultural difference, he celebrates gender essentialism as a form of diversity.

His case for himself: He believes in respecting one another’s differences. Yin and yang energies, male and female brains, etc. should all be considered equal – what’s not to like about that?

Why I’m not buying it: It’s hard to feel respected or equal when you’re being squeezed into one half of a yin-yang or one side of an evolutionary strategy. Mr. Separate-But-Equal isn’t listening to you; he’s finding a way to interpret all your actions as “feminine”: If you bring up an issue in the relationship and then move on and talk about something else, this is feminine fickleness; if you want to spend a day hanging out without any strict plans, this is feminine flexibility; if you want to talk about something he did that bothered you, this is feminine emotionality. Everything you do is fucking feminine. And everything he does is masculine: He probably believes that he is more logical, more visual, more sexual, etc., leaving little room for you to possess those qualities or him to possess “feminine” ones.

5. Mr. Men’s Rights

His MO: He fears that feminism is excluding men, resents the masculine stereotypes he has had to live up to, and counters your complaints about being a woman with anecdotes about why it’s hard to be a man as well. He’s also the kind of person likely to believe that he faces disadvantages by virtue of being white, straight, or middle-class.

His case for himself: There’s an appeal to someone who challenges gender roles and advocates some beliefs that are central to feminism, such as more balanced divisions of labor and challenging stereotypes.

Why I’m not buying it: We all agree that men should not be oppressed, that feminism shouldn’t reverse the current hierarchy, etc. Feminists aren’t trying to do that. I know it’s hard to be a man, and feminism is trying to change that too, but don’t try to compare our experiences or use yours to counter mine. A true ally will be sensitive to women’s struggles without claiming to fully understand them. Plus, Mr. Men’s Rights is often guilty of mansplaining.

Online dating is filled with these people, and sometimes they have noble intentions, and sometimes they really want to improve, and sometimes they’re just extremely attractive and hard to resist – but resisting them will be worth it once you find a true ally! While I’m all about educating people to become better allies, this education has to be solicited and should not be the condition upon which you are willing to date someone. Unfortunately, trying to give someone a feminist makeover is usually not only poorly received but also an ineffective use of your time. And it’s not your job

What behaviors have you noticed that reveal a date’s covert sexism? On a more positive note, what are some behaviors indicate that a date is an ally?

*As always, this is written from the experience of a heterosexual woman without the desire to speak for others but with the desire to learn more about their experiences.