Ever had relatively little contact with someone you normally have much more contact with and find yourself losing sight of the person as a whole? I am currently experiencing this with my long-distance bf* and I feel like I just keep having to pull myself back from the "getting weirded out" spiral. He is a feminist, actively calls himself a feminist, super progressive politically - but he has a couple of things that seem like they point in the other direction, i.e., a direction I'm not comfortable with. Probably the best way to describe these are that they are like residual hind legs on whales or similar - remnants of a prior time, or beliefs/comments that haven't caught up to him today (he grew up in a conservative area and was in college before he got a broader world view and realized how much he disagreed with conservative views). But I find myself getting fixated on things he's said that bother me, and then stringing them all together in my mind, which makes them seem so much more prevalent.
The "man rules" post, of all things, is what kind of prompted this feeling right now. One of the rules listed was something like, "crying is blackmail." And I was horrified to remember that about a month ago he came out with, "I think crying is just emotional manipulation." Granted, he didn't mean it as a man/woman issue and that wasn't the context in which it arose. But . . .
And occasionally he will make (joking! but still made!) comments that, if he wasn't joking, would be horrible. Think, "oh, I don't understand you mysterious women" and so on. The thing is, I KNOW he's joking based on the context of these comments as well as the rest of our interactions.
Yet I will get into this stupid cycle of worrying about whether I'm really dating an MRA in disguise, or whether his progressive-ness is really just a phase and he's going to grow up into a grouchy, sexist, conservative old man. He's already grouchy before his time. Or, worse, whether he really believes the bad stuff and the good stuff is just a show or because he knows that's the "right" answer. Certain things that he has a problem with, allegedly due to inequities, sexism, the role of the government vis a vis people's private lives, and so on, are also things that sexist, non-feminist, MRA types have problems with, and I can easily imagine getting the same overall view on the issue by swapping his objections with MRA-style objections. For example, marriage ("the state shouldn't be regulating relationships! straight privilege is bad! relationships should be a choice and maintained accordingly, not an obligation!" versus "men can't do monogamy!" "device for women to trap men!" "the old ball and chain!"), boyfriend/girlfriend language ("gendered descriptions are harmful!" versus "ewww, implies exclusivity/ownership/commitment"), and so on. Oh, and let's not forget, "people who get married/are in long-term relationships want to be lied to" (the gist being that people tell other people what they want to hear or long-term relationships don't work) and of course, that lovely derivative, "women love to be lied to." UGH.
He sounds like such a gigantic asshole when I present only these parts, and not the other 99.99% percent of him. But what if I'm just the idiot who fell for his crap and this is some kind of bizarre long con (it's been a year and a half)? What if every good thing is a lie that he sees as required for a relationship, and these stupid "jokes" are the real him? Wouldn't that really be too much effort when the good so far outweighs the bad?
UGH STUPID BRAIN/WORK STRESS/ANXIETY/WHATEVER IS CAUSING ME TO FIXATE LIKE THIS. I know it's not helped at all that I've had a really long stretch of super stressful work times. But I can't always maintain perspective, I guess is the really short version, about work, about him, and so on.
The end. If you made it this far, thank you for listening. I will now return to my regularly scheduled program of trying to reign in my mind.
*My long-distance bf and I are both super, super busy the last few months and will continue to be so for at least a month. Normally, when we would keep in touch all the time, like calls or texts multiple times a day (sometimes really short, but still, just checking in) and definitely talking every night at least for a few minutes, we have been giving each other space to focus on work stuff. I really have liked this because (1) I like that he's comfortable that I won't just kind of disappear - I will still be there at the end of the work tunnel, and vice versa, (2) it's good to be able to focus on keeping our respective lives together and then really be able to pay attention/catch up when we do have time to talk. Much, much better than trying to stay in touch when we are distracted and don't really have time, and ending up feeling either resentful, neglected, or some bad combination of both resentful and neglected. But . . . see above.