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Ask Mom & Spawn: My Boyfriend is the BEST … Except We Have Different Political Values

Janz wrote in because she loves her kind and loving boyfriend, and she also has some strong opinions about politics in America. Unfortunately, her BF doesn’t seem to share them. What should she do?

“I love my boyfriend, and I’ve never questioned him being the one for me until recently. I DETEST Trump and the bullshit he is putting our country through, and the Kavanaugh hearings sent me over the edge. I thought my boyfriend would understand why this experience is upsetting for women, but he was completely dismissive and defended what happened. We never argue unless it’s about politics, it’s actually our only sticking point. His response to this entire ordeal has made me question his values and morals. It makes me wonder if he really respects me as much as he says he does, or if I’m just “good wife material”. It’s so hard for me to understand anyone who still thinks Trump is a good man, especially after he mocked a sexual assault victim. MY boyfriend is so kind, but when he defends these assholes, how can I trust him? How do I deal with this in my relationship? Please help.” – Janz

@CrazyJewishMom: Janz, I wish I could tell you to castrate him, but if we castrated all the men who handled Kavanaugh in a way that made their girlfriends and wives want to beat them with a sack of quarters, there would not be many men with intact testicles. And as a mom, I need those testicles for grandchildren.

@KateFriedmanSiegel: Uh, using that as a jumping off point, I agree with the underlying idea that a lot of men don’t really get it and didn’t handle what was an extremely emotional and raw week for a lot of women terribly well. I think even the most “woke,” enlightened men struggle to grasp the overwhelming way that sexual violence permeates every part of a woman’s consciousness because it’s just not part of their lived experience.

@CrazyJewishMom: Did you just say “woke”?

@KateFriedmanSiegel: I did. I was trying to explain how all consuming it can be to my fiancé  so I asked him: What’s it like when you walk home from the subway to our place? He described an experience of daydreaming, thinking about work, sometimes even zoning out and only snapping back into focus when he was unlocking our front door. When he finished, I described what the same experience is like for me: I have never once zoned out, I walk with my headphones in so no one will try and talk to me, and I grip my key between my thumb and my index finger to use as a weapon should the need arise (assuming I don’t have pepper spray on me). The entire walk home, I scan the people walking around me for threats, and if someone is walking close to me, or I think they may be following me, I’ll slow down or duck into a store to see if I’m right. If someone is on the street while I’m unlocking my building, I’ll take a fake phone call to make sure no one tries to follow me inside: “Hey Jon, I’m home, but do we still need salt? I can run to the store. Oh, ok great! Ok see you in a sec!” (And when I was single I made up a male name).

@CrazyJewishMom:  I do the same thing with driving…if I think someone is following me, I’ll drive to a fire station.

@KateFriedmanSiegel: Yeah, and that’s just one tiny moment out of a life filled with moments in which, as a woman, I have to make similar, stressful calculations. And those are the good days, when I’m not actually followed, grabbed, or rubbed by a stranger’s erection on a bus! I think men (for the most part) just don’t understand the exhaustion that comes with constantly trying to not get sexually assaulted. And for good men, who would never consider sexually harassing let alone sexually assaulting someone, I think the realities of it are entirely theoretical – it’s just statistics, not friends, colleagues, sisters, girlfriends, etc. It’s not an excuse, and I think it’s extremely problematic, because ultimately it’s another person not believing women, but I just don’t think the callousness always comes from a place of depravity. If you’re anything like me, the Kavanaugh hearings were extremely painful and opened up a lot of uncomfortable conversations with the people you love, but I think that’s ultimately the best way to change someone’s mind or help them see your side. I think you have to make it personal and help them understand how it impacts someone who they love. I personally believe there could be much harsher punishments and enforcement standards, but that’s a conversation for another day.

@CrazyJewishMom: Listen, the Kavanaugh hearings were a tear gas blowing, shit tornado of a week for a lot of us. I agree with my spawn, try talking to him in a calm moment about why it upsets you personally. People from different political parties have happy marriages all the time!

@KateFriedmanSiegel: Yeah, I think the crucial thing you need to figure out is if your values are fundamentally misaligned. Everything is so heated right now in this country, and everyone seems to just be reflexively digging in, plugging their ears and screaming partisan talking points. All of these conversations are nuanced, and I think it’s a good idea to try and respectfully explain what you believe to your boyfriend, why and how it impacts you personally (esp regarding sexism and sexual violence), and then try to listen to his beliefs and get to the heart of why he believes the things he does.


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