We want to be loved, accepted, respected, understood and have partners who are attracted, honest and committed to us.
It’s the 10% – whether it’s biological or sociological – that causes so much of the friction.
Witness this article by Laura Hilgers, which does a great job of setting up a straw man argument and knocking it down.
Her take is that too many men say in their dating profiles they want “no drama” relationships despite the fact that relationships, inherently, will present conflict. Therefore, men are ridiculous and unrealistic.
It’s an easy angle. After all, men DO say they want “no drama” relationships three times more than women. And, obviously, there is no such thing as a “perfect” relationship where two people agree all the time. So isn’t the author “right” about men and their foolish fantasies?
After all, men DO say they want “no drama” relationships three times more than women.
No, not really. Here’s are three important things she’s missing.
- She took a phrase from a dating profile that suggested that men prefer easy, low-maintenance relationships (true) and extrapolated it to mean something extreme: “Here’s somebody who probably won’t listen if I’m having a bad day”…a problem-free partnership with someone who has no life experience…a woman who never gets angry or afraid or sad, who never worries about her family or struggles in her job.”
- She didn’t consider why men said that they want “no drama” relationships; because many of their previous relationships involved a lot of drama. “Drama” isn’t merely a bad day or a health scare. Drama is the feeling that any stray word or thought could result in a fight, an apology, an outburst, a silent treatment, a relationship discussion, or a breakup. Drama is not feeling accepted by your partner. Drama is feeling like you’re doing your best and you’re constantly disappointing her. Drama is trying to be even-tempered and patient only to find that if you disagree or maintain the right to your own opinion, you’re wrong. This is not territory exclusive to women whatsoever, but I think anybody would have the right to say that they want less of this in their relationships.
- She didn’t seem to consider that women put similar markers in their profiles, warning all potential suitors of being liars, players, too old, too short, too poor, and maintaining unhealthy relationships with exes or mothers. Like the guy who says “no drama,” a woman has every right to avoid these types of men. The problem is that she shouldn’t advertise it in her dating profile.
Which is why paragraphs like this drive me up a tree:
“Vanessa Valenti, co-founder of the feminist website Feministing, had a different take. “I think it’s pretty sexist,” she told me. “You might as well say ‘no humans,’ you know? But sexist behavior exists offline, just like it does on dating apps. This is simply another medium.” She added, “I think there are unrealistic expectations put on women to be accommodating at all times in their relationships.”
Ms. Valenti said that when men say they want no drama, “they’re signaling to others that they’re someone who’s incapable of witnessing and honoring another person’s feelings.” She also expressed concern that the numbers are higher, at least on OkCupid, the younger the men get.”
Valenti implies that not only is there no nuance or validity to men wanting “no drama,” but that the idea of wanting an “easy” relationship is sexist itself. Yet none of these authors can see the parallels with women who put in their profiles that they want men who are, fundamentally, honest, financially stable, and commitment-oriented.
How that’s any different than a man who doesn’t want to walk on eggshells his whole life, I don’t know.
There’s one more thing that upset me about this article:
“This precariousness seems like all the more reason to find a partner who can face the challenges and roll with them. There are days when you accidentally sideswipe your neighbor’s car or you have to check someone you love into rehab. Other days are steeped in joy. The kind of partner I’d like shows up for it all.”
There’s rolling with the drama of life, which is necessary for every couple, and then there’s the drama CAUSED by someone in the couple due to his/her insecurities, anger issues, lack of kindness/sensitivity, etc. ALL of us want someone who sticks by us in tough times and ALL of us want someone who doesn’t CAUSE the tough times.
And personally, I don’t think it’s unrealistic at all. In fact, I think it’s the only way.
Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.