We all need a little guidance now and then, so whether you’re stressed about a fling gone wrong, a recently wrecked relationship or how to handle a stage-five clinger, Real Live College Guy Dale is here to help you navigate the college dating scene.
I have been dating my boyfriend for almost six months, and for the most part, we are a really good fit. However, we disagree about one very serious issue: society's objectification of women. He is completely convinced that women are empowered and content, and advertisements that feature sexualized images of women do not have a strong effect on the psyches of young women everywhere. He also does not believe that there is a connection between objectifying women's bodies and the prevalence of sexual assault. I love my boyfriend, but I am also a proud feminist and a women's advocate. I know these are very real issues, and it feels like a personal affront that he minimizes an issue that is so central in my life and education. How do we move forward as a couple from this point? –Misogyny? in Minnesota
I’ll be honest with you, Minnesota: I’m not sure you should move forward as a couple. While minor conflicts are normal in relationships (neither of you knows what to eat for dinner, for instance), conflicts involving important personal ideals are another situation completely.
You’re right: these are important issues, and they impact you directly. To me, it seems entirely normal that you would be offended by his inability to understand where you’re coming from. At the same time, you love him and everything outside of this particular issue is fine.
But your ideals define you as a human being, and you’ll carry them with you from college to later in life. As much as you might love him, your relationship may very well be temporary. Sure, you could ignore his opinion entirely, but differences like these linger, and they’re going to spur arguments and lead to unhappiness.
What you need to decide for yourself is whether or not his inability to sympathize with your ideals is a deal-breaker for you. Personally, I think it should be. I think that something like this is going to leave a growing crack in your relationship. He should at the very least understand where you’re coming from, but it doesn’t sound like he does. Perhaps more so, it doesn’t sound like he ever will. Can you really thrive in a relationship where your ideals aren’t respected? Do you even want to live with a relationship like that?