There’s a viral TikTok that says men don’t like women, they just like sleeping with women to get validation from other men.
This is one of those weird ideas that immediately feels true, not necessarily because this is what actually happens, but because it reveals the need for something to explain why straight women have to deal with the worst of both worlds from men who will both act like they don’t respect or like women but also won’t just leave them alone. The idea that there’s a reason men talk to us other than actually liking us rings true. It could be this theory of needing male validation or it could be something else. What the actual reasoning is isn’t really relevant.
Last year I discovered a guy I’d met on Bumble earlier that year had a long term girlfriend with children. I deliberated a lot and eventually sent her a message explaining the dates I’d been intimate with her boyfriend as lightly as I could but with enough detail that he couldn’t gaslight his way out of it. I thought really hard about doing nothing at all but I kept thinking about the way I think about a guy when I’m really into him and I felt like if I were in her situation I’d want the concrete evidence so I could at least take him off a pedestal and be grounded in the reality of who I was dating. I’ve had friends tell me I’m wrong about this. I accept that it could have been the wrong thing to do. I think I did the right thing, but who knows?
The girlfriend was not pleased. I shouldn’t have expected her to be. She didn’t care that he had slept with other people while they were dating and she thought it was creepy that I thought she would. Fair enough. She also told me that when she confronted him about it, the guy did not remember my name. I had previously been devastated that the guy ghosted me and devastated when Facebook served me his photo in another girl’s profile pic (which was how I found out he’d had a gf the whole time), so unsurprisingly I was also hurt by this, but at least not in the same way. It was a turn into too dark for me territory. Dark enough that nothing is worth that price. Even if I am insecure and desperate to be loved, there is nothing aspirational about a guy who is so disassociated from the present moment that can sleep with me a handful of times over the course of four months and not know my name later that year. If this is all the dream is then to me at least, the dream is dead.
For the record, people can do whatever they want. It’s none of my business if men are out there in full on five year relationships not remembering their partner’s name or cheating on their girlfriends. I just ask that I be left out of it.
Here’s a funny video Jimmy Kimmel made about dads who can’t remember basic details of their children’s lives. The first father interviewed is asked if he and his son are close. The dad says of course. The father is asked if he’s an involved parent. He says of course. The father is then asked when his son’s birthday is. The dad laughs and says “that’s a good one.” The next dad interviewed is also asked if he and his daughter are close. He also says “yes”. He can’t name her favorite subject in school or what grade she’s in. It goes on:
I don’t know how I can feel safe in a relationship with someone whose idea of closeness is not actually paying much attention to the person they profess to feel closeness with. But clearly that behavior is not that uncommon. Watch the video.
There is a lot of pressure on me to feel delusional for thinking intimacy with someone I met on Bumble is closeness. I do feel delusional about it, so don’t worry. But what comes next?
If it’s true that I’m delusional, then isn’t it also true that maybe the right thing to do is not prey on an intellectually vulnerable person? Wouldn’t it follow that it’s kinda wrong to use someone else’s false belief in order to extract sex and validation from them? Or am I both at fault for being crazy and not being constantly vigilant that people might be helping me prop up my delusions in order to advance their own interests?
If my beliefs are delusional, they still serve me. I like my life and the person I am. I love my friendships and relationships with family and I get pleasure out of the things I do for others. It seems like I’m perfectly capable of having healthy relationships with my beliefs in other areas of my life. I have a stable financial life. I bought a house this year. I’ve held the same job for eight years. The way I love never seems to be a problem until I’m in the vicinity of a guy who has something to hide. Then, suddenly, there’s a problem and the problem is me.
I think what this guy’s gf was getting at is that he’s not out there pining for me. They’re together and she feels they can move on. I have no trouble believing this.
But I didn’t seek him out. I didn’t ask him out. I didn’t make him ask to fuck me. Even if it’s for the selfish reason of helping me not be insecure I am a big believer in enthusiastic consent. This is how I can be so confident in remembering my relationships as not being one-sided. If this guy had a gf he wanted to be committed to, he should have left me alone. If anyone wants to think I’m delusional for believing that physical intimacy feels intimate to me, I cannot express how welcome they are to never ever come into contact with me. I leave people who don’t want to be around me alone.
What I’m not going to do is be held hostage into both describing my human needs for closeness with another person as crazy andhold the responsibility for others who want to use me to fulfill their needs while pretending to disagree with me about what’s happening. There are a lot of people who love to fuck and love to talk about how it means nothing to them. I don’t begrudge them their belief or their favorite pastime. I’m open about who I am and what I believe and I expect to similarly have my beliefs respected. I expect that someone who thinks my beliefs are delusional would go his separate way.
The unexpected part is discovering that I’m supposed to feel ashamed about my beliefs or feel that mine are particularly unreasonable and still think it’s okay for men to be fucking with me. I’m supposed to break up with people who don’t agree with me, but they aren’t expected to leave me alone when they discover that same incompatibility.
I believe you should probably know when your kids’ birthdays are and what their favorite subject in school is, at least if you’re going to self-identify as an involved parent. I think it’s reasonable to ask that men with serious girlfriends with children not interact with women looking for love under the pretense of being available for that love. It’s perfectly okay to disagree with me, but then you should remove yourself from the equation. If it’s true that I’m delusional, then it should also be true that I’m left alone.