Savage Love

By Dan Savage
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 4, 2011

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Q: I was hanging out with a guy who is in a relationship. I told him nothing could happen, and we decided to keep things friendly. A while ago, I made the drunken mistake of climbing into the backseat of a car with him, and things got racy pretty quickly. He asked if I was on birth control; I told him yes, because I was, and he penetrated me and came inside me after one thrust.

The next day, I got all emotional, and he’s since stopped talking to me because I freaked. Here we are a bit later, and I just had a pregnancy scare. Had I been pregnant, I would have had an abortion. If I’d actually been facing an abortion, I would have called and told him. Would that have been the right thing to do?

I wouldn’t have asked for money or support; I would have told him solely because it would have felt wrong not to. I had some feeling, like he should know—because he has a right to know, you know? I can’t imagine I’m the only woman who’s been faced with a “to tell or not to tell” situation. Weigh in?

Classy Lady

A: A woman who is pregnant and has decided to have an abortion should tell the guy who knocked her up about the pregnancy and her decision to abort… unless she sincerely believes—or even legitimately suspects—that the guy is gonna bully, badger and/or do violence to her in an attempt to prevent her from choosing abortion.

Guys need to know when they’ve dodged a bullet, CL. Being made aware that he came this close to 18 years’ worth of child support payments can lead a guy to be more cautious with his spunk—and, in some cases, more likely to support choice.

Take the guy you fucked: He needs to know that not all birth control methods are foolproof and not every woman who claims to be on birth control is telling the truth and/or being diligent about taking those pills every day. Hearing that almost-a-daddy bullet whiz past his head may convince him to put on that condom the next time he’s fucking a woman he isn’t serious about, even if she is (or claims to be) on birth control.

And… um… gee. This bit is going to get me scratched off NARAL’s Christmas card list, which will be a real bummer (last year’s card was great: “The Crusades, the Inquisition, clerical sex-abuse scandals—all of this could have been prevented. Happy holidays from your friends at NARAL”), but I gotta be me. A guy—a good, decent, nonabusive guy—should be told about an impending abortion so he can, if he feels the abortion is a mistake, make a case for keeping the baby. It’s still the woman’s choice in the end—there should be absolutely no question about that—but the fetus, if not the uterus, is his, too. It’s only fair that the same guy who would be on the hook for child support payments if you decide to go through with the pregnancy be heard out before you follow through on your decision to end it.

Q: I’m a 24-year-old mostly straight girl with a great GGG boyfriend. My problem is with an ex-boyfriend. We met when I was on a break from school. A few months after we got together, I went back to finish my degree in a different state. He was wary about a long-distance thing, but I wanted to try it, and I made promises about our future that I probably shouldn’t have. Then the day after we broke up, one of my ex-boyfriends died. I was a total mess for months and completely incapable of dealing with the breakup, which was hard for the guy I’d just broken up with. We wound up ending things on a really bad note.

But it’s still not over. He hasn’t ever gotten over our relationship, and every few months he calls or e-mails with some new issue or wanting to talk. He’s been verbally abusive, and I often want to cut off contact, but because of the death of my other ex-boyfriend, I’m really scared about losing contact with exes. He told me he almost killed himself a couple of years ago; I don’t know if it’s true, but I can believe it. He accused me of raping him—saying that he’d consented to sex with the understanding that we’d be together forever, and when we broke up, I violated the terms of the agreement under which he had consented to have sex with me. Now he’s demanding that I admit to having raped him and threatening to post that I raped him on my Facebook wall.

I don’t know what to do. I have no interest in getting back together, but I know I hurt him and I feel responsible. I’d do a lot of things differently in hindsight, but I don’t think I’m a rapist. I know this sounds like a typical crazy-ex story, and I should probably just cut him off, but that feels wrong and I’m worried about him.

Freaked Out Feeling Stuck

A: Everyone you’ve ever dated—including the boy you’re with now—is fated to die. (You, too, FOFS.) Which means that, as the years grind on, you will eventually lose contact with each and every one of your ex-boyfriends, should you be fortunate enough to outlive them all. You will also one day lose contact with your current boyfriend, if you stay together, or he will one day lose contact with you if you precede him in dropping dead. It might help you cope with the coming inevitable losses, FOFS, if you cut your crazy ex out of your life now, while he’s still alive. Think of it as an exercise in letting go.

Stop taking his calls, stop returning his e-mails, and block him on Facebook. You can urge him—in one final e-mail—to move the fuck on already, to get help, and to get a grip. Tell him that you’re both too young to waste the rest of your lives processing a failed relationship, and you can add, perhaps in a P.S., that consensual sex in the early stages of a relationship—the stage at which dreamy, ill-advised discussions about a shared future are most common—does not retroactively become rape should that relationship end.

Finally, FOFS, while your ex sounds nutty and vindictive, your reasons for staying in touch with him are slightly batshit. People lose contact with exes all the time. Get over it. If you’ve convinced yourself that hashing shit out with your manipulative ex is the compassionate, loving thing to do, you’re wrong—it’s not helping him and it’s making you miserable. Or so you say. The longer you go on helping your ex pick at his scabs, the more you look like the kind of controlling, vindictive ex who doesn’t really want her exes to get over her.

HEY, EVERYBODY: There’s a bill moving through the state legislature in Tennessee that would make it a crime for a teacher to say the word “gay.” If this bill passes, a bullied gay kid wouldn’t be able to go to a teacher or school administrator for help—as if things weren’t already hard enough for gay kids in the Bible Belt. More info at wesaygay.com.

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