When it is too hard not to judge an AskMeFi. August 8, 2010 6:47 AM   Subscribe

When it is too hard not to judge an AskMeFi. What is the proper response when the questioner is just such a turd that you can't avoid calling her out on it?

In the How can I tell my Husband I don't Love Him Without Totally Crushing Him thread, I and most other responders did not make any serious attempt to avoid judging her.

Yes, that's probably wrong. But she seems like a sociopath to me, at least a borderline personality. I know that my post was pretty darned judgmental. At the same time, it was helpful in the sense that it tried to use arguments which would appeal to what I see as a cold, cynical, possibly sociopathic personality. "You shouldn't do this because it will affect you personally, here is why."

In my experience, that's how you appeal to a borderline personality. Make it about what they'll lose if they continue on X path. No arguments of morality or social conscience tend to work on such people.

Later, Tzikeh said: "Please ignore the people making judgments about what kind of person you are. I have no idea why they think that's a proper response in an AskMe. And as for the person suggesting that this situation constitutes some kind of mental illness, I don't even know what to say. As harsh as it is, this is *hardly* unusual. People marry people they don't love all the time, and people get divorced all the time."

Tzikeh's response is true, but ... gah. What to do when you do have something valid to add but the questioner apparently is coming from a place where only purely selfish reasons will register with her? Ignore it? Don't even try to help?

Honestly, I was trying to help (mostly him, but her to an extent). I am certain that it would be better for everyone if she shut her mouth.

What to do? What is the AskMefi "right thing" to do here? I feel wrong just helping a person I think is probably a borderline personality without at least calling her on her crap. Is that against the rules or the spirit of AskMefi?

How could I have responded in a more helpful way while keeping the intention of influencing her behavior by directly appealing to the (probably) borderline sociopath questioner's motivations?

(Not interested in debating whether she is really a borderline or not. I'm more interested in what to do when this kind of situation comes up.)
posted by Invoke to Etiquette/Policy at 6:47 AM (156 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

You move on, unless you want to be an ass, then you open a metatalk.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:52 AM on August 8, 2010 [52 favorites]


but the questioner apparently is coming from a place where only purely selfish reasons will register with her?

How do you know this? You seem to be doing an awful lot of projecting here. Seriously, sociopath?
posted by ClarissaWAM at 6:55 AM on August 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


If you can't (or won't) just answer the question, go away and let others answer it.
posted by pracowity at 6:59 AM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


You should avoid answering questions that remind you of the situation with your ex-wife, because you come off as a bitter, petty, angry man who should be banned from offering any sort of advice in relationships.

This MeTa less like an AskMe problem and more like you still coming to terms with your previous marriage. I'm sorry you had to go through that, and are obviously dealing with the pain of it, but seriously, keep on walking past those types of questions. You're doing a lot of projecting.
posted by nomadicink at 7:08 AM on August 8, 2010 [61 favorites]


Thanks, @cjorgensen, evidently I want to be an ass.

When you think your advice will help everyone involved, but your answer is judgmental, be quiet. Got it. There's no gray. Good to know.
posted by Invoke at 7:09 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


at least a borderline personality.

You know, I was considering making a callout about that AskMe for a different reason: people (here and elsewhere) need to fucking stop armchair-diagnosing everyone with borderline personality disorder. It's not a DSM codeword for "crazy bitch."
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:09 AM on August 8, 2010 [181 favorites]


What is the proper response when the questioner is just such a turd that you can't avoid calling her out on it?

Are you some sort of marionette out of control of your own actions? How can it be impossible to avoid commenting? Just don't do it. Close the thread. Close your browser. Turn your computer off. Bake some cookies. Go to the park.
posted by grouse at 7:12 AM on August 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


This kind of crap conjecture and armchair diagnosis would not stand in thread, so doing it here strikes me as a shitty attempt to bypass moderation. If we're to assume it was a good faith question from a person with a problem putting the focus of meta on the asker is lame.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:12 AM on August 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


God, yes. Metroid, a million times yes.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:14 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, how is the person in that other thread crazy, or mean, or horrible? Seems like a person who made a mistake, is trying to own up to it, and wants to do right. Your response here says a lot about you but nothing about the issue you're trying to raise.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:18 AM on August 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, I was considering making a callout about that AskMe for a different reason: people (here and elsewhere) need to fucking stop armchair-diagnosing everyone with borderline personality disorder. It's not a DSM codeword for "crazy bitch."

I think I'm in love ...
posted by squeak at 7:19 AM on August 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I feel like you're fishing for some sort of validation, but it's different for everybody how we gauge the amount of judging that's appropriate for a given question. The ideal would be to only address the question at hand without any speculation, and if that's not possible then to let it pass by without comment.

Specific to your example, "I was trying to help" and "calling her on her crap" are mutually exclusive. Especially because she is not your ex-wife, so you have no real idea what her crap is except from what she's written in the question.
posted by carsonb at 7:19 AM on August 8, 2010


You are not the asker's psychiatrist. Do not diagnose people on the internet. The end.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:20 AM on August 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


Actually, less sarcastically, I do appreciate @nomadicink's response. Much like I was trying to do with her, his response tells me on a personal level why I should refrain, because it makes me look like a petty, angry man, which helps nothing.

That makes sense. When it comes to these sorts of situations, I am still angry. True.
posted by Invoke at 7:24 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought borderline personality was judged partly on whether someone uses the "@username" annoying horribleness here.
posted by nevercalm at 7:26 AM on August 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


AT nevercalm: sorry.
posted by carsonb at 7:28 AM on August 8, 2010


AT ALL MEFITES: not sorry.
posted by carsonb at 7:30 AM on August 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


When you can use your own situation to present something helpful, good. If you feel the need to tell the poster they're a sociopath, it's time to click the little red X in the corner and go take a walk. I find this to be a good rule of thumb.
posted by CwgrlUp at 7:30 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The pathologising effect of internet forums. No one is ever simply talented and highly strung - they have to be mildly autistic. No one is ever just an arsehole - they have to be a sociopath or someone with borderline personality disorder.
posted by WPW at 7:31 AM on August 8, 2010 [14 favorites]


If she were a sociopath why would she have posted the question in the first place?

Oh, I don't know - this call-out upsets me. So now I will close this page and look at some baby pygmy hippos. They always make me feel better.
posted by Evangeline at 7:31 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've certainly seen AskMes in which I thought the person did have serious personality issues or was exceedingly selfish. This isn't one of those. It's worded plainly and respectfully and takes full responsibility for the situation and the feelings; in addition, the OP has avoided acting on her outside-the-relationship crush, and to her credit is seeking to understand how to deal with this problem without dashing everyone's life to pieces in the process. This situation does happen to people. I do think you may be bringing some personal baggage into the question.
posted by Miko at 7:35 AM on August 8, 2010 [24 favorites]


There's no law forcing you to answer. As long as we're being judgemental, I thought you came off much nuttier in your answer than she did with her question. And now this post seems like an attempt to keep spewing bile.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:36 AM on August 8, 2010


I have never really loved baby pygmy hippos.
posted by pracowity at 7:37 AM on August 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


That is one ugly AskMe. (Admittedly, I read the first ~50 comments for the popcorn factor.) Your answer in it is barely an answer. It's an anonymous question, one that is surprisingly cogent and well-written for its type. That you leap from the content of the question to "turd" "sociopathic" and "shut her mouth" says much more about you than the asker. Let's look at your "judgmental" response:

Do you even answer her question? Are you giving any advice? Are you helping the asker with your unique viewpoint? Barely, ever so barely. You open with a damnation on this anonymous person's character, claiming that you know who she is when, demonstrably, you do not. Then you follow it with over two paragraphs of your own life story, which slips under the limbo bar of acceptable because it charades as relevant anecdote, and finish up with a vague threat, an order, and an aspersion on her unknowable character.

That's not helpful. That's not contributing. That's not taking all of the facts to hand in a rational manner and providing a unique viewpoint. That's directly aggressive in the wrong place at the wrong time to the wrong person.

You could have instead said the same information without claiming to know the asker, and without being such a "turd" yourself. You could have said, for example, "I had a similar situation with my ex-wife. If you tell your husband that you never loved him, he may be inclined, as I was, to use morally questionable techniques to screw you over in the divorce. Having a history of mutual love, regardless of its truth, can make both parties proceed in a much more civil fashion during what is a very difficult process." You didn't have to blame the asker, call her names, project your problems onto her, or make some kind of armchair diagnosis, to get the same information out there.
posted by Mizu at 7:38 AM on August 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


You're not required to point out why you think your advice will appeal to the OP. There's nothing about the advice you gave that required you to say that you think she's a selfish, horrible person.

You can say, "I don't think you should tell him because it'll be better for you in the end" without tacking on, "you horrible person."
posted by meese at 7:38 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to imply the OP really is a horrible person, in case she's reading this.
posted by meese at 7:40 AM on August 8, 2010


What is the proper response when the questioner is just such a turd that you can't avoid calling her out on it?

Avoid doing it. There's no such situation where you're literally going to die if you don't call an OP out. If you can't write a response without name-calling, just take a deep breath, force yourself to turn off the computer, and go do something else until you feel less frustrated.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:44 AM on August 8, 2010


I'm sorry your wife left you. I hope you eventually get over it.

Until then, stay out of relationship AskMes.
posted by timeistight at 7:50 AM on August 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is the proper response when the questioner is just such a turd that you can't avoid calling her out on it?

The OP has responded in the thread, right after the MeTa callout.

The response is: if you can't be constructive, go someplace else. I was cautious about approving that AskMe when both cortex and I were going to be around because I knew people would flip out. Many people have had people tell them things that were that level of hurtful and one of the things AskMe does poorly is this sort of situation where people who have been similarly hurt show up to basically say "this is how it feels from my side" in uncharitable ways.

If you read the thread, you will see that many people responded similarly but without the "you are a sociopath" angle and I thought a lot of those answers were good. "Hey, you can't stop him from being really hurt, here is how you mitigate the situation. Move on, for everyone's sake"

Basically what was done here, a barely-acceptable answer in AskMe and then a MeTa thread pointing to your own answer and also calling the OP all the names you felt you couldn't call her in the thread, is really a worst case scenario. You don't know her. Life is a lot more complicated in real life than on the other end of a keyboard.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:52 AM on August 8, 2010 [24 favorites]


I agree with most of the other people here: if you have an answer, post it. If you don't, don't. Judging is never part of an answer. It's gratuitous. And even if it's riding along with a legitimate answer, it's harmful, because being judged makes many of us defensive. If you say, "one plus one is two, you asshole," I probably won't hear the "two" part because I'll be distracted by the "you asshole" part.

Also, don't try "to help." The goal in AskMe isn't "to help." It's to answer questions. The problem with "to help" is that, while well meaning, it's vague. Someone might interpret it as, "What I think would help this person most would be to give her false information" or "What I think would help this person most would be a stern lecture."

Just. Answer. The. Question. Or, if you can't, don't. Or, if you can't without editorializing, don't.

THIS is extremely problematic: "First, I didn't believe her. I still don't. Emotions are funny things, they are incredibly easy to back-rationalize and to invent memories around. Unless you have a journal where you discussed with yourself your ambivalence toward him at the time you were dating, I suggest that you are rationalizing and inventing motivations."

I know you're talking about your ex-wife, but since you're making an analogy, it sounds like you're also talking about the OP. "You say you never loved your husband; that's a lie." At least, if I was the OP, that's how I'd interpret what you wrote.

THAT is about the most insulting thing you can say about anyone: "I know what's going on in your head better than you do." The healthy response, when someone says that, is to walk away. If I say I'm happy and someone tells me I'm not, we're done. Clearly, I'm talking to someone who doesn't have an iota of respect for me or anything I say -- even about something I am in a better position of knowing than anyone else. And if I walk away, nothing "helpful" that you say is going to actually BE helpful.
posted by grumblebee at 7:54 AM on August 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


She's not even close to borderline personality disorder, and I wouldn't even say she's said anything particularly horrible. She seems a bit self-involved, but who isn't?
posted by empath at 7:58 AM on August 8, 2010


The OP has responded in the thread, right after the MeTa callout.

Wow, her response is particularly moving and touching.
posted by nomadicink at 8:02 AM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow. Am I missing something here or did you just call an anonymous questioner:

* a turd,
* a sociopath, at least a borderline personality
* a cold, cynical, possibly sociopathic personality
* apparently is coming from a place where only purely selfish reasons will register with her
probably a borderline personality
* the (probably) borderline sociopath questioner's motivations

And then have the gall to say you're NOT INTERESTED IN "DEBATING" WHETHER SHE'S BORDERLINE?

What in God's name is wrong with you? I'm ashamed for you, and apologize to the OP on your behalf.
posted by mondaygreens at 8:05 AM on August 8, 2010 [32 favorites]


Yeah, OP: my response to you in the thread was pretty frank, but I definitely don't think you're a sociopath or anything. I can understand the train of thought that led you to your current situation and commend you for trying to resolve it. Don't think that we're all disgusted by you or anything.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:08 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


If your response is likely to make the asker sorry they asked for help in the first place, in what way have you helped?

(This is something that's good to keep in mind for real life situations, too.)
posted by Gator at 8:16 AM on August 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


You have no idea what you're talking about:

"In my experience, that's how you appeal to a borderline personality. Make it about what they'll lose if they continue on X path."

You think that convincing people with borderline personality disorder of something is a matter of convincing them that it's in their own best interests? Using logic? Really?

These are people who harm themselves physically and often in other ways, too (compulsive spending, risky sex, overeating, drug use). It is a key component of the disorder. Does the OP self-harm? No. If anything, she is overly concerned with her own interests. So why would you think she has BPD?

Do you think that a person staying in a marriage for that long despite impulses to the contrary, as well as maintaining a multiple-year outside relationship, is likely to have a disorder partially characterized by impulsive behavior and unstable relationships?

The fact that you think sociopathy and borderline personality disorder are mistakable for one another indicates a lack of familiarity with the deeper structure of borderline personality disorder, as opposed to the effects it has on others.

I'm not even going to go into how fucked up it is to imply that people with BPD lack "morality or social conscience". They have a disorder. Many of them can be cured of it. Not all of them are abusive, by any means.

Don't bring up borderline personality disorder again until you research it enough to know why you're very, very wrong.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:27 AM on August 8, 2010 [26 favorites]


Maybe instead of replying with vile, anger, and projections of your own world, 1) DTMA(answer) and don’t post, and 2) get therapy. I honestly hope that you do consider the second suggestion, if you are doing this in your own life, too.

We don’t know what is going on in your life, but if you project all this stuff from one askme question, one wonders…

Do you do this to other people in your life? Project anger? Treat someone as if you understand their inner world and label that person as a(n) [insert insult] (Ex-wife, new partners, friends, children). For their sake and your sake, it may help to learn to deal with this.
posted by Wolfster at 8:29 AM on August 8, 2010


When it is too hard not to judge an AskMeFi.

If you mean when is it too hard not to manifest that judgement in a comment, the answer is "never". It is never too hard to just not answer if it's a problematic question for you; you are welcome to judge it in your own mind as much as you like, but that's as far as it goes.

What is the proper response when the questioner is just such a turd that you can't avoid calling her out on it?

The proper response is to flag the question if you think it deserves it and to close the browser window and go do something else. There is no magic threshold in play that excuses bad behavior, no "you must be this annoyed to disregard the guidelines" rule. If you find yourself characterizing a question in terms of it being "such a turd" that you must say something about it, you are interfacing with askme in an unhealthy way and need to short circuit that reaction and go do something else for a while, period.

That can be tough to remember at times if, as a couple folks have noted, it's something that really pushes some buttons for you. The emotional attachment that comes with a particularly personally difficult subject is a totally understandable thing. But that's a you thing, not an askme thing, and it's not fair or really at all okay to make it into an askme thing. Not fair to askers who come here in good faith or to other community members who have to deal with overtly negative or deraily stuff coming into a thread they're otherwise trying to constructively approach in the spirit of the site.

So, yes: if you get as far as asking these questions in the way that you asked them in this metatalk, that's time to put the thread or the site down for a little while. Which is okay bordering on extremely healthy to do sometimes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:29 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


"in addition, the OP has avoided acting on her outside-the-relationship crush"

Really? Then how does he know about it? How does she know that he loves her back?

Telling people something is an action.

Sometimes it's incredibly harmful.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:32 AM on August 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think the relevant points have been made. Is there a reason why this thread should stay open besides just flogging Invoke? Seems like he got the message and has replied accordingly.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:40 AM on August 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


What to do?

Sometimes if I feel too strongly about the subject matter, I write a long heartfelt response, and rather than pressing "Post Comment", I just close the browser.

I do this a lot, and it helps.
posted by belvidere at 8:46 AM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Not interested in debating whether she is really a borderline or not.

Dude... I'm really not trying to pile on here, but for the love of infini, if you are not interested in defending/debating this point, don't include it. Indeed, it might be best to altogether avoid anything that sounds like you are ascribing any particular diagnosis whatsoever.

We see IANAD all the time, well, YANAP, so avoid trying to speak as one.

.
.
.

This may be a fruitless hope... but I hope this is closed soon.
posted by edgeways at 8:48 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel wrong just helping a person I think is probably a borderline personality without at least calling her on her crap. Is that against the rules or the spirit of AskMefi?

Two things:

1) Like ifdss#9 said, the armchair diagnosis of her as borderline personality seems waaaaayyyy off the mark. "Marrying a really great guy and hoping to fall in love with him because of how great he is" doesn't sound like the kind of thing a borderline personality would do.

2) You are trying to find ways to justify people judging her in AskMe. There is no piece of advice where a side order of judgment makes the advice better, especially one where the OP makes no bones about the fact that their past behavior is not great, and are not trying to defend their behavior.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:53 AM on August 8, 2010


How could I have responded in a more helpful way while keeping the intention of influencing her behavior by directly appealing to the (probably) borderline sociopath questioner's motivations?

Do it without any diagnosis.

No psychiatrist in the world would pretend to be able to diagnose a person, the way you have, by merely reading a question they've posted on the internet.
posted by marimeko at 8:53 AM on August 8, 2010


After I've been sarcastic and biting, it is difficult to make a straightforward statement, but here goes:

I was wrong, and I will simply avoid such threads in the future. Thanks for making it clearer to me that my response was not helpful, and actually against the rules. If I can't avoid a moral judgment then I am too close to the situation to help anyone, and simply look like an ass.

As without sarcasm as I can make it via text, I'm saying "thanks for the clarification."
posted by Invoke at 8:53 AM on August 8, 2010 [59 favorites]


You're my new hero. No sarcasm. You're obviously not an ass.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:58 AM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Three cheers for for Invoke!

We should make him a rum cake!

and by "we" I mean someone who can bake!
posted by nomadicink at 9:02 AM on August 8, 2010


Well said, Invoke.
posted by Rumple at 9:03 AM on August 8, 2010


Dudes, let me tell you something. As an undergrad I spent a year interning at a group home in Chicago for women with severe borderline personality disorder. There is absolutely nothing in that question that indicates anything vaguely like borderline personality disorder.
posted by The Straightener at 9:04 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


CTMFTA.
posted by holgate at 9:05 AM on August 8, 2010


Invoke -

Thanks for making it clearer to me that my response was not helpful, and actually against the rules. If I can't avoid a moral judgment then I am too close to the situation to help anyone, and simply look like an ass.

I'm glad you posted that here, but - if it's not against the rules (Mods? Clarification, please?) I think that this apology belongs in the AskMe thread, too.
posted by tzikeh at 9:09 AM on August 8, 2010


Invoke, you are awesome and classy! Bravo!
posted by grumblebee at 9:12 AM on August 8, 2010


Okay, everybody, hug it out!!!!

(I like rum cake.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:58 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I mentioned this before, but I flag the living shit out of those "answers" that are a tiny little bit of "help" baked into a steaming-hot insult pie.

Sometimes the "answer" part is just there as a hedge against deletion, but mostly you can see the respondent is just getting off on being judgmental. I don't care how helpful the answer part is, I will flag it every single time. Even if it's useful advice, that's not the way to give it. What is the Asker's motivation to follow advice coming from someone who just insulted him? If anything, it's validation to do the exact opposite.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:20 AM on August 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


(This is a general comment and not related to this situation, where I see it all got resolved for the best.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:21 AM on August 8, 2010


Yay! A thread I can contribute to!

Amy's Mom's Rum Cake
1 c. chopped pecans (opt.)
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. cold water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. Bacardi dark rum

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 10 inch tube pan. Sprinkle pecans over bottom of pan.

Mix all cake ingredients together. Pour batter over pecans in pan. Bake 1 hour. Set on rack to cool. Invert on serving plate. Prick top.

GLAZE:

1/4 lb. butter
1/4 c. water
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. Bacardi dark rum
Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in rum.
Drizzle and brush glaze evenly over top.
posted by ApathyGirl at 10:52 AM on August 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


Oy. I know my answer was a bit frank, and I tried hard not to "judge" but to make some observations/comments from an honest POV given what limited information the OP gave us. I'm glad to read her response, as it gave more insight and demonstrated that she grasps the situation and she seems to have her "head on straight", despite the issues she's grappling with (I'm VERY happy about her comment re: can't control her thoughts but can control her behaviour). Anyways, I hope my answer didn't come across too harsh, but I understand it could be seen as fairly blunt.

I also want to distance myself from another poster who mentioned giving her husband the child as (basically) a consolation prize--I had suggested considering giving him full custody for awhile as it seemed by her question that she was interested in hooking up with her 'friend' and might not have the child's best needs in mind. I do think that it may still be a good idea, since although she says that she doesn't plan on being with him any time "soon", what does that mean? After the divorce is finalized? After the child is old enough to understand? In 10 years? Is he even willing to wait that long? I had to assume, based on the info given, that the OP does eventually want or hope to be with her friend romantically (and I still do), so I think that point still stands.

However, I do apologize if it came across harsh and I thank the OP for the follow-up with further information (which could, in hindsight, probably have helped shape the responses a bit better).
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:56 AM on August 8, 2010


I just think it's so weird the number of people who rushed to the conclusion that marrying someone without being in love with them is fundamentally flawed, and that doing so therefore means you have some kind of borderline personality.

Many, many people marry without romantic love and make successful matches and I do not judge her for doing that. "In love" is not actually a functional requirement of a good partnership, although it may well be one for you personally. The idea of marrying for love is a rather recent one in human evolution.

Given that, I'm saying that she actually could make this work if she wanted to. She could instigate no-contact with her crush, go into counselling, and try to regain the connection she felt with her husband when she made a rational decision to spend her life with him. She already chose not-love and I think she has an obligation to try hard to make the marriage work on that basis. But apparently she doesn't want to do that, and frankly it's the "and now it's hard because I've found love and I've changed my mind" that I am finding completely selfish.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:05 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree with DarlingBri that you don't have to have burning, passionate, "True" love with a capital T in order for a marriage to work (I mean, even if you do have that, how long does it really last for most people?) BUT if you don't feel that and your partner does and thinks that you do, it would be a good idea to be up-front and honest with them before accepting a proposal/getting married. Nobody wants to be the person their partner "settled for".

[Note: I'm not saying that this is the case with the OP, just putting it out there in general, although it is possible that this is her situation--it's hard to tell without that info.]
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:14 AM on August 8, 2010


PS. That cake is better in a bundt. Like... way better.
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:21 AM on August 8, 2010


There are two hallmarks of giving good relationship advice: 1) don't project your own life and feelings onto the asker, but do submit your own experiences as possibly useful illustrations; 2) learn to read between the lines to see where the asker may be misrepresenting, misunderstanding, or distorting the situation (but don't assume she's doing so.)

Carolyn Hax does a great job at the latter.

Invoke, the problem with your answer is that you projected your own life onto the asker, and you assumed she wasn't telling the truth, but without really indicating what in her narrative made you think that.
posted by yarly at 11:28 AM on August 8, 2010


Metroid Baby: "You know, I was considering making a callout about that AskMe for a different reason: people (here and elsewhere) need to fucking stop armchair-diagnosing everyone"

Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays!
posted by Rhaomi at 11:51 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Invoke.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:05 PM on August 8, 2010


Okay, everybody, hug it out!!!!

(I like rum cake.)



peers around rapidly scanning room for that nasty scmhoopy

*holds bottle of rum out*
posted by hugbucket at 12:32 PM on August 8, 2010


Invoke: "(Not interested in debating whether she is really a borderline or not. I'm more interested in what to do when this kind of situation comes up.) "

But you kept referring to her as one.

*headdesk*
posted by IndigoRain at 12:33 PM on August 8, 2010


Mmm, rum. I'll have a nice Antiguan 5 year aged rum please (yes, I'm a rum snob now).
posted by 1000monkeys at 12:35 PM on August 8, 2010


Okay, sorry posted without reading the entire thread. *hugs all around*
posted by IndigoRain at 12:42 PM on August 8, 2010


I always thought rum cake was that dry, horrible stuff filled with raisins. So I was all, "ewww, rum cake." But ApathyGirl's recipe is filled with no raisins but, instead, delicious things.
posted by meese at 1:59 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


peers around rapidly scanning room for that nasty scmhoopy

Schmoopy recently retired. That's honestly probably the right thing for hugbucket to do as well at this point.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:17 PM on August 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


I never thought I'd be a member of a site with a grudge match between entities named Schmoopy and hugbucket. It boggles the mind. What's next Fluffy Wuffy Teddy Bear vs. Pretty Kitty Cat?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:35 PM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm going to copy a relevant and good comment made by aydeejones in an earlier thread:

http://metatalk.metafilter.com/17611/All-nondispassionate-responses-will-be-culled-That-is-all#636637
I think most of us have made decisions in our lives that would cause others' eyes to roll in disapproval. One cannot safely ascertain the intentions of every AskMe poster but I think it's safest and most charitable to assume a certain degree of sheepishness / humility on the part of the asker, even (or especially) in the case of someone who may come off as defensive, and if you're truly so experienced and clear-headed as to see right through their "bullshit problem" (my characterization) you should also possess the necessary social graces to provide an answer that does not serve to denigrate or humiliate them, unless your way of thinking and functioning in society is not sufficiently "advanced" to advance to others in the first place. This is a typical social etiquette issue IMHO; many of the the clearest, most powerful thinkers often lack the necessary tact and patience to advance their ideas in away that does not put off the very people they are so desperate to convince, and of course "those people" are such fools for letting their emotions get in the way of a Vulcanlike understanding of the real world as it is.

I don't think AskMe was ever intended to give exasperated, tortured geniuses an opportunity to vent their frustration with the inevitable shortcomings of every individual person, but it often seems there are too many people with a trigger-finger just dying for a shot to offer their paternal and acidic "assistance," which is always based on their own specific experience, always colored by their own personal shortcomings and frustrations.

Posters frequently make themselves vulnerable to condescending lectures but the purpose of AskMe is to provide answers and not to sufficiently punish or humiliate people for making unacceptable decisions.

I don't have anything against answering a question "outside of the box" so to speak, as the most insightful answers often do fall outside of the narrowly-defined scope of your typical question. I do take issue with any effort to make an asker feel small, stupid, foolish, etc, as if to punish them for modeling yourself at a different time, or somone else that pissed you off at some point in your very finite and short existence.
posted by aydeejones at 2:42 PM on April 13, 2009 [-] [!]
posted by Catfry at 2:54 PM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would just like to say that the word "schmoopy" fills me with incredible anger. I am neutral on "hugbucket."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:11 PM on August 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Okay, everybody, hug it out!!!!

This has been on my mind lately, so I might as well post it here:

I recently spent some time on another community blog, and was totally shocked at the amount of casual misogyny. Every single post or picture of a woman consisting but nothing but details about how each poster would like to fuck her - this from a community that I think considers itself progressive. Despite enjoying a lot of the site's content it was just super, super unwelcoming and frankly disturbing. I deleted my account today.

ANYWAY. This all made me really, really thankful for metafilter. I know we sometimes duke it out (about gender, and about many other things) but it's so wonderful to have a place where people listen to one another, and try to be respectful and sincere (as much as any group of people can be, anyway.) And when there are lulz, they aren't at the expense of rape victims.

So big hugs to all you wonderful mefites out there. You all are amazing. Thank you for working for such a welcoming environment.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:16 PM on August 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


I too would support a ban on diagnosing people with Borderline Personality Disorder. It has been tossed around quite a bit in the last three months. It's like back when everyone discovered Asperger's.
posted by salvia at 3:59 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the Borderline Personality Disorder Cookbook:

1 (12- to 18-pound) whole baby pygmy hippo
15 quarts water
6 1/2 cups kosher salt
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil, for basting

INSTRUCTIONS

Rinse baby pygmy hippo in cold water and set aside. Line a 32-gallon garbage bag with 2 more 32-gallon garbage bags. Place water, salt, and sugar in the tripled-up garbage bags and stir to dissolve, taking care not to puncture the bags. Place baby pygmy hippo in the bags, remove excess air, and tie tightly. Place in a 15-quart container in the refrigerator and brine 12 to 24 hours, turning once.

Heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack on the lowest level. Remove the baby pygmy hippo from the brine and pat dry with paper towels; discard brine. Lay the baby pygmy hippo on its side and stuff the interior with 15 to 20 large (20-inch-long) pieces of lightly crumpled aluminum foil until it’s filled out. (This will prevent caving during roasting.)

Transfer the baby pygmy hippo to a baking sheet fitted with a roasting rack. Arrange it stomach down with the back legs tucked underneath and pointing forward, and the front legs tucked underneath and toward its sides. (You may need to add more foil if it is not sitting properly.) Prop up the head with foil or a large ramekin to keep the back aligned. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven.

Roast the baby pygmy hippo, rotating once, until it reaches 130°F, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the foil, baste with oil, and increase the oven temp to 400°F. Roast, basting every 15 minutes with oil and rotating once more, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F, about 45 minutes to 1 hour more. (If the ears or nose become too brown, cover with foil.) Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before carving.

posted by UbuRoivas at 4:33 PM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just think it's so weird the number of people who rushed to the conclusion that marrying someone without being in love with them is fundamentally flawed

Not so much marrying someone without being in love with them, as tricking them into marrying you under the pretense that you do. Romantic love in a marriage may not have mattered that much once, but it's still older than women's suffrage or slaves' emancipation or any number of fun things we didn't have four hundred years ago. You can't just wave it away.

Also: Several answers in the AskMe were a bit dismissive of the OP's feelings for her friend, and his for her. I thought that was rather out of line. People break up their marriages over money, work, family interference, and an assortment of unpleasant emotions all the time; I've never understood why they attract so much more scorn when they do it over love. The OP done her husband wrong, and should take full responsibility for the consequences. That doesn't mean she can't be, and stay, in love with this other person. Hopefully she treats him a lot better.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:37 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas:

Does the Baby Pygmy Hippo need to be killed and skinned first?
posted by Some1 at 5:12 PM on August 8, 2010


I am not dismissive of love.

I'm much more a fan of the kind of love that says "you know what, not only are we not going to get together, you're going to work on your marriage and I refuse to interfere with it. I do not want you to divorce him for me. I do not want you to break up your family. "

Love that's like "hey, just so you know, I love you and we can't be together while you're married...so..." Well, it's not horrible. It just doesn't strike me as all that great, either, especially when there's a 4 year old involved.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:15 PM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was maybe a bit dismissive of her feelings for her friend. In my case, it came from personal experience where feelings (for which I ended the relationship I was in) seemed very real but turned out to come from part of myself that was not very wise, and my attempt to act on them did not survive even minimal testing. In fact, several years of reading AskMe has taught me that lots of people get crushes outside of their primary relationship, and in general, it's best to disregard the crushes and view them as natural but meaningless or as an indication that work needs done in the primary relationship. That said, I do remember one or two comments like "I left Person A for Person B and now we're living happily ever after," so it's not like the feelings never have something meaningful to tell you. Mostly, though, I'm a big believer in the idea that feelings rise and fall, but love is what you do.
posted by salvia at 5:24 PM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does the Baby Pygmy Hippo need to be killed and skinned first?

Good god, no. You need to roast it alive. With its mother watching.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:25 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh my god you people are baby killers. And roasters. And haters in general.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:05 PM on August 8, 2010


My mom left my dad when I was 10. At the time it sucked, but when I was old enough to really look at the situation, I totally understood. My dad was a well-meaning idiot, who married my mom when she was (a very naive) 20. He then proceeded to drag her back and forth across the country looking for work, which he found but never an actual good job (while having 4 kids in 6 years). She's told me several time about how close to edge they came, where either neighbors brought them food or my grandparents gave them money. My dad would spend money on whatever caught his eye, and my mom would figure out how to scrape us by.
My mom stood this for about as long as she could and left with a man we knew from church. At the time this was pretty shocking and I felt that she had deserted my dad, so I stayed with him out of loyalty. He was a very nice man but completely irresponsible, and I never really saw that side because my mom would always cover for him. Without her around, it became rather obvious even to my 13 year old self. After two years with him I took off and lived with my mom.
My stepfather is also a very nice man but he is also a very hard worker and knew how to deal with money (not rich, just upper blue collar). Living with him taught me a lot of things about personal responsibility that I never would have learned from my dad.
My mom and my stepfather are still married (34 years later), and are very close to my brother and sisters (and their grand children) and me. My dad died a few years ago, none of us had seen him in a while and what contact we had had, was mostly trying to help deal with his finances, which were completely screwed.
The moral of the story is that my mom was not a sociopath and my dad, despite his financial short comings, was not an evil bastard who hated his kids. They were both just people caught in a situation that defied conventional methods of correction. If I was my mom, in retrospect, I would have done the same thing. At some point or another, we are all people who are caught in situations that defy conventional methods of correction, lets hope the world judges us less harshly than some of you have here.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:32 PM on August 8, 2010 [27 favorites]


Internet fraud detective squad - one of the reasons I found some of the AskMe responses so inappropriate is that the OP didn't say much at all about what kind of love her friend is expressing. In fact, all we know is that the two of them HAVEN'T done anything, in two years, and don't have any plans to.

In any case, while I'm sympathetic to the idea that you should be willing to put aside your own feelings for the long-term well-being of the person you love, I don't agree that that necessarily means encouraging them to stay in their bad marriage. Sometimes (as in this case IMO) getting a divorce is the right thing to do. I'm not saying that every time you get a little crush you should set your family on fire. I'm just saying that the priority can be not simply staying married, but maximising happiness, emotional health and true stability for everyone in the situation. I leave it up to the people involved to decide how best to do that.

Salvia, I hear you and respect your experience. You're absolutely right that leaving your partner for someone else is risky and not the best idea. I only object to baseless assumptions about the third party's character and the strength of the outside relationship, and the conviction that it won't last. So much of it comes from moralistic notions rather than actual information. And it's personal for me for me too, because my father left his first wife for my mother, and they stayed together (and adored each other) for seventeen years, until he died.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:14 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


it's personal for me for me too, because my father left his first wife for my mother, and they stayed together (and adored each other) for seventeen years, until he died.

Yeah, it's personal on all ends. I sometimes think most AskMe responses should be "in my experience ___ because I personally did ABC, which turned out thusly" or "I personally believe ___, because I was hurt when someone did XYZ." I wish more people cited their sources. Those comments don't always read as well, because they often include lots of unrelated details and sound like the commenter is just talking about themselves rather than focusing on the poster. But they do strike me as the most accurate.
posted by salvia at 7:52 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


DarlingBri: “I just think it's so weird the number of people who rushed to the conclusion that marrying someone without being in love with them is fundamentally flawed, and that doing so therefore means you have some kind of borderline personality.”

Agreed. My own take has generally been that the problem here, as with many, many problems with modern marriages and other partnerships, comes from the complete misunderstanding of love inherent in the ridiculous distinction people seem to make between "loving" someone and "being in love" with someone. Whatever "being in love" is, the way it's described by most people it's solely the realm of teenagers. This is such a common image now, with so many permutations and variations: the spouse standing there, about to leave, sadly confessing that "I'm just not in love with you any more." As though this "in love" were some mystical priesthood determined by tarot and the stars, subject to vague and unknown whims which none can know. Bullshit! Love is something you do. It's an action, and it's the habit of constantly refining that action. Yet people are still under the impression that it's this passive spiritual state that's supposed to keep acting on them! – they're still convinced that you can be in love at one moment and then not in love at another, inexplicably and unexpectedly! That's why the most obvious answer in these cases completely eludes them. When your problem is "I just don't feel as though I love him any more," the obvious solution is: love him. Try it. Do the thing. I realize that people find themselves in all sorts of complicated situations, but when people complain that they don't feel as though they're "in love" at precisely the moment when all the exciting and wonderful emotions that always attend the beginning of love die down, it's pretty clear that what they mean is I don't feel it acting on me any more, so it must be gone. Well, yeah – that's because it's your turn.

But there's really no room to say this in the thread at this point And anyhow, that's a little broad, and maybe too blunt, for an answer to that question in particular. It's just something that bothers me a lot in general, because I hear it all the time. I'm pretty certain that it stems from our parents' generation (I'm 31, my parents were in their youthful prime in the 70s) and the remarkably misguided ideas about love and emotion they developed, apparently as a result of the admixture of sentimental 50s notions of love they got from their parents and the crazy ideas floating around during the birth of pop psychology and the "human potential" / self-help movement in the 70s. That's why so many of our parents got divorced, often apparently pointlessly; because they got to 40 or 45 and suddenly woke up with this vague feeling that things in their lives were not precisely the fairytale they'd been told to expect by their parents – and, at the same time, they found themselves surrounded by a society that told them that their highest goal ought to be their own "fulfillment," whatever that means.
posted by koeselitz at 8:39 PM on August 8, 2010 [25 favorites]


I completely agree with koeselitz on the love question, and am usually in threads about crushes passionately recommending that the OP turn their attention to the original partnership. However, in reading through the short post, I just thought: this person has already tried. They've been trying for a long time. And this isn't one of those dithering, chaotic, drama-filled expressions: my sense was that the decision has already been made, and the question is about how to communicate it. In other words, I don't read this as "can this marriage be saved," I read it as "I'm on my way out. How do I manage this respectfully and sensitively?"

I see that as a legitimate question. The OP's description of her reasons for marrying revealed, to me, an honest reflection on her own mistakes and failings. What I hear in my head when I read this is not the usual content of an AskMEelike this (which, in essence, you can kinda translate to "I'm bored because the romantic/fantasy element of my marriage/relationship has worn off through time and dailiness, and I'm seduced by the drama of being attracted into an outside fantasy-driven relationship") but instead "I've come to the end of the road. I made a mistake entering this marriage and I'm shortchanging both of us. It's time for me to end this honorably."

That does happen. While always sad, this kind of decision isn't always a naive mistake.
posted by Miko at 8:52 PM on August 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


Maybe people could work harder on their relationships; I don't know. I've never been married; I've had a few live-in girlfriends that ultimately didn't work out; I'm not an authority on this stuff. At all. But the OP didn't say that the feelings she had for her husband had faded -- she said that those feelings never were. And I don't know why she then married him -- it could be that she'd been burned and was looking for someone safe, it could be that she felt insecure and was looking for somebody to provide for her, it could be that he was acceptable to her friends and family in a way that someone she really wanted wouldn't have been, it could just be that she thought her notions of romantic love were bullshit intended for teenagers so whatever -- but she did marry someone who she never loved. And while the whirlwind and flash of it all may be something that's only reserved for kids, romantic love is something that exists for adults, too. Or so it's my understanding. My take on her situation isn't that she plans to run away with this other guy. It's that the existence of this other guy in her life reminded her that romantic love, which hasn't been a reality for her in years, is A Thing. If it's not a thing in her marriage, I think she's justified in getting out of it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:01 PM on August 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Invoke, I agree with you whole-heartedly. There are cases where sometimes it feels like this person needs me to be an ass to them. But, as I was schooled earlier last week, this is not what we do on metafilter. We are a community and we reach out and try to take a broader view of the world and try to understand that not everyone fits into our little boxes.
posted by TheBones at 9:06 PM on August 8, 2010


Your response was perfect.
posted by TheBones at 9:14 PM on August 8, 2010


I agree with koeselitz. In fact, one of my favorite AskMe comments is another comment by koeselitz about love, and I humbly offer my follow-up comment as a footnote to his point.
posted by salvia at 9:20 PM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm actually a little surprised this question was so controversial. The poster acknowledges right off the bat having made a gross error in personal judgment by marrying someone she knew at the time she was not in love with based on the naive assumption she could maybe grow to fall in love with him over time. Now, years later, having realized the futility of that belief, she is asking how to inform the husband she wants out of the marriage in such a way that causes him the least amount of hurt. As far as "How do I get out of this marriage?" questions go, this one was downright kind.
posted by The Gooch at 9:21 PM on August 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is this nonsense about the poster being a sociopath and a borderline personality? Making a psychiatric diagnosis of a person based on an anonymous question? Come on. The right thing to do might be to realize the EXTREMELY limited knowledge you have of the writer's personal life, seeing as how it's all based on one anonymous question, and refrain from calling her names.

I'm a little disturbed by the frequency of responders on Ask MeFi in general who make armchair diagnoses of others based on very little information, and present these diagnoses (typically of psychological disorders) as if they're trained professionals and know what they're talking about!
posted by citron at 10:23 PM on August 8, 2010


I just want to say that I really regret what I said in that thread. I kind of wish I could delete it. I'm sorry, OP, for pathologizing you and your problems in that way; that was incredibly rude and unkind. I especially regret using the phrase borderline personality disorder; I think I might have been the first one to use it in that thread, and it was stupid and lazy and ignorant and possibly hurtful. Metroid Baby correctly noted that BPD is not a euphemism for crazy bitch; it is of course a very real disorder which should not be casually thrown around. I think DarlingBri's response was fantastic and I wish I had responded with her wisdom and kindness.

I apologize to you, OP, and I apologize to metafilter for dragging that thread down. I'm really, really sorry for being such an asshole.
posted by clockzero at 10:48 PM on August 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I would be willing to bet that the poster is at least in her 30's. And wasn't falling in love with anyone else at the time. And she was probably thinking a la Lori Gottlieb, "I'd better settle now and he's my good friend and I really really want a baby and I probably won't get one if I wait for true love to happen."

Really, I strongly think that's what it probably is. Just a woman prioritizing her biological clock and desire to have a nice someone to raise the child with (instead of sperm bank) instead of borderline sociopathy.

I'm not saying it's great or that I approve, but it doesn't necessarily mean she's mentally ill. God knows I've had enough people screaming at me to settle and settle early since I turned 18 (gee, my relatives are great) that I can understand the pressure to just get married already even if he's not the right one or something is wrong. Especially if The Clock Is Ticking, which a lot of women have going on these days. Especially if he's a perfectly nice guy that anyone should be able to fall in love with, and can't she just force herself to... someday?

So chill out.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:55 PM on August 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


That Lori Gottlieb book and the attitude behind it sucks so hard that I hate to see it invoked as a reason for doing anything, even being understanding toward others! In fact, I doubt the OP was influenced by that way of thinking because she sounds smart and thoughtful, so she surely saw it for the flaming pile of bullcrap that it is.

I'm not denying biological realities, but Gottlieb takes it to a whole new level of false scarcity, superficiality, and manufactured desperation. Fuck that noise.
posted by salvia at 11:28 PM on August 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


So now it's on to being willing to make wagers about the woman's age and desire to reproduce?!

As people have noted, feels like there's a not-trivial number of AskMe responses that bring the respondents' baggage into it, torch the questioner.

A recent question by a woman struggling with her finances, finance-related matters with her boyfriend had some classless, atrocious responses.
posted by ambient2 at 11:29 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is? About time.

I'll offer the following odds:

66-1 Borderline Personality Disorder
15-1 Body Clock
16-1 He seemed like an alright guy at the time
10-1 Family and/or peer group pressure
20-1 Astrologer or tarot reader said the signs were favourable
8-1 Wanted sex but religion required me to marry first
100-1 It was a dare by my friends

(offer not valid in places where online gambling is illegal, or where jokey comments are misconstrued as legitimate bookeeping)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:05 AM on August 9, 2010


What are you offering for --

Respect, admiration, and "perhaps I will GROW to love him, I thought?"
posted by salvia at 12:21 AM on August 9, 2010


(as a combo, I mean)
posted by salvia at 12:21 AM on August 9, 2010


What I'm most upset about is how people use the term "sociopath" to describe people they don't like. That isn't the case.

Its kinda like the term "supermodel". Now everyone who's ever been wearing a spring dress in a Sears advert is a self-proclaimed supermodel.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:37 AM on August 9, 2010


I'm pretty certain that it stems from our parents' generation (I'm 31, my parents were in their youthful prime in the 70s) and the remarkably misguided ideas about love and emotion they developed

Honestly, I think you ought to give your parents' generation more credit for being intelligent adults who knew what they felt and wanted. You talk as though their stupid teenage feelings just rolled under the fridge or something and they just couldn't be bothered about them anymore. Probably not how it happened. Life changes people. Couples go around getting married in their early twenties, when they haven't even settled on a brand of deodorant yet. Is it any wonder that by the time they're 40 or 45, they've learned that they actually don't want to love, look after, come home to, have sex with, confide in, or perhaps even talk to this other person that they settled on decades ago? That their lives aren't over and they want to take a shot at enjoying themselves with someone they actually want to be around? Yes, good for them if they won't ever give up on their marriages. But if they decide not to brute-force it at some point, especially if they don't have young children, who is anyone else to declare them misguided? Who is anyone to say anything at all about whether two people stay married or not? It just doesn't seem possible to me that a significant number of couples, let alone an entire generation, is simply doing love wrong. Today we have more legal and social freedom than ever to decide how we're going to conduct our relationships, and everybody's deciding. I find that many people, faced with all this terrifying freedom, almost fetishise the slightly-more-distant past as this time when people put love in its place and knew how to stay married. But where I'm from, that past is not so distant. I look at my mother's older sisters, whose marriages were arranged for them as young women (though some are divorced now), and I'm glad I don't have to will myself to love anyone, if I don't think it's a good idea.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 12:47 AM on August 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Respect, admiration, and "perhaps I will GROW to love him, I thought?"

Sorry, that one's been scratched.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:59 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well done, Invoke.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:15 AM on August 9, 2010


Respect, admiration, and "perhaps I will GROW to love him, I thought?"
Sorry, that one's been scratched.

I'll take that bet, but the best I can give you is even money.
posted by dg at 4:55 AM on August 9, 2010


One comment here from the OP who is not, I don't think, up for a debate here.
Miko and Kittens for breakfast nailed it. I had a deeply cynical attitude about love apparently, which is not surprising since I grew up watching all the nonsense that Koeselitz detailed so vividly. All our parents and their fairytale loves that went so terribly awry because they were based on this passive state of grace that mysteriously descended upon you and that made everything – the fact that you had nothing in common, the fact that he was an alcoholic and completely irresponsible, or she had completely different values from you – hunky dory. Well, I was not going to do that. If love is something that descends on you, it can evaporate just as quickly. I was going to convince myself that love is something you do, something you build, something you make every day. I was going to will myself to build this because I know that the simple act of building something – the act of creation -- can sometimes engender love all by itself. Look at what we made! This is worthy of love!

Turns out I’m way more of a romantic than I thought, though. Turns out you – or at least I – can’t will love. When I felt what I felt for my friend two years ago – this intense, overwhelming, chemical attraction (it’s not completely lust, exactly, more like passion, more like ease, like just clicking, just getting each other), it did exactly what Kittens described. Oh, I thought, so THAT’S what they are talking about.

The reason I started therapy was because I said to myself “Instead of obsessing over this idea of “true love” and focusing on all the things you DON’T feel for your husband, why don’t you SUPER FOCUS on all the things you DO feel for him and see if this can sustain you, especially given the fact that you have a child.” Advice from people like DarlingBri has reinforced this and has been helpful. But ultimately I doubt I will stay with him, because as much as I like him and care for him, I do not love him. I do not want to lie anymore about love to myself, or to him, or to my kid.

This has been a fucked-up weekend, let me tell you, reading about how I’m a crazy bitch who deserves to lose custody of our child because I made a huge mistake and am now trying to own up to it in a way that doesn’t destroy someone I care for. I am certainly selfish, and naïve, and deceitful, and miserable, and scared, and sorry, but I don't believe I am that different from a lot of other people. It has been illuminating how important love is to all of us and how angry people get when it is betrayed. That more than anything is what this thread has taught me.

Clockzero, thank you for the apology. When I read your initial reply, I thought “what if he’s right? Maybe I’m so messed up and crazy and I don’t even know it and I’m never ever going to be capable of doing the right thing and I've already totally ruined one life and I should just kill myself before I screw up my kid.” But then I thought, wait, no, THAT’S crazy, and went outside and fed the chickens. I accept your apology; it’s OK.

You folks can stick around and talk about this some more if you want to, but I don't want to keep bugging Jessamyn about posting my responses. Ima go to therapy, and talk about what I learned here. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:48 AM on August 9, 2010 [19 favorites]


From koeselitz's comment that salvia linked to:
People in serious, lasting long-term relationships often can feel like they hate each other but still have the love that animates and motivates their relationship quite living. That's because love is not a feeling, it is an act of will, and as such talking about it as though it were a feeling – i.e. "I just don't feel like I'm in love anymore" – is silly. You either deeply care about a person, forcibly creating a future in your mind about them, or you don't; but it's not some wind that blows here and there as it will, it's a choice you can make.
I genuinely don't understand this.

If love is not a feeling, it is an act of will, then why not tell all the single people to grab the nearest person of appropriate sex and will themselves into loving them?

Love is maybe half-half. It takes work. But you can't do it without the other half, which is feeling, and compatibility, and chemistry. Or at least many people can't, and it's not some moral failing or misguided notion on their part. And this:
But love is damned serious, so if you're going to break up with her you need to approach the conversation with more than the shoddy "love but not in love" distinction, which is never satisfying to a soon-to-be ex-partner and which never offers any kind of closure.
If anything, for me that offers more closure than any explanation you can give. Because it sometimes is just chemistry, it's just compatibility. It just is. Nobody has to be blamed. Nobody has to walk away, feeling they failed in some way. Because why should they? God. It's just people, trying to connect! There will be misses! That's fucking all! How do you manage to moralise even love?

This is not at all to say relationship is a passive thing; there is a lot you can do to help it grow. But if it doesn't, sometimes it's just not meant to be — not in some superstitious sense, but in the sense that it's not within your control.

Because you can never fully know a person. And if you could, you can never know how a person will grow in the future, who the person will become, in five, ten, twenty years. And who you will become. And this:
People in serious, lasting long-term relationships often can feel like they hate each other but still have the love that animates and motivates their relationship quite living.
Just, for the love of god — why? Never mind yourself — why would you subject the person you love to something like that? The world is full of people who have broken up long-term, committed but miserable relationships, and have found happier lives, for both people in the relationship. I just don't get it, on any level. I don't get how in this day and age, with so many examples of how it has worked out better for so many people, why we still cling on to this idea. It causes so much fucking pain! It makes people stay in their unhappy lives, it fills people with judgement and blame and bitterness.

I would bet, or at least I would hope, that in a hundred, hundred-and-fifty years' time, if the human race is still around, that marriage won't be the default any more. I can see the worth of commitments between friends maybe, the idea of knowing there is someone out there always looking out for you. But how can you promise romantic, sexual love, always and forever? No one can.

But this is no disrespect at all to people who are married, or want to be married. If it works for you, I cannot be happier for you. There are few things sweeter than seeing a couple who have been happily together for a long time. But if it works for you — even if it took a lot of work or will on your part — at least realise that there is still luck involved, that you found someone who you can work with in the first place. Other people have not had that luck, so they are going to continue to try, and miss; people will be hurt, hearts will be broken, but then they heal — if you don't tell them it's some failing on their part, make them think they are broken. It's like people warning of broken families from divorce — has it occurred to you that you may be making it worse for the kids by calling it "broken"? That saying it's broken assumes there has to be a default, unbroken state, and that there's something wrong with the people involved when a family is not arranged that way? I always read in Askme threads how many people who were children with divorced parents saying they were glad or relieved their parents separated, and I just don't understand — why are you telling people their families are broken? The irony here is that the OP in the Askme bought into this idea that you don't need to be in love, and she tried, and now she's getting both barrels from people because she wouldn't stick with it until the bitter end. Why do we do this to ourselves and each other?
posted by catchingsignals at 6:49 AM on August 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


> All our parents and their fairytale loves that went so terribly awry because they were based on this passive state of grace that mysteriously descended upon you and that made everything – the fact that you had nothing in common, the fact that he was an alcoholic and completely irresponsible, or she had completely different values from you – hunky dory. Well, I was not going to do that. If love is something that descends on you, it can evaporate just as quickly. I was going to convince myself that love is something you do, something you build, something you make every day. I was going to will myself to build this because I know that the simple act of building something – the act of creation -- can sometimes engender love all by itself. Look at what we made! This is worthy of love!

I don't know if you're doing the right thing or not (and neither does anyone else here), but 1) you've responded with admirable equanimity to all the nonsense and vitriol you've been subjected to, and 2) you're a damn good writer. I hope when you get your love life sorted out, you come back as a regular MeFite (probably better not choose imarriedaguyididn'tloveandpissedyoualloff as a username, though).
posted by languagehat at 7:57 AM on August 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


OP, I actually have a lot of respect for you. You're intelligent and mature and responsible. Don't let anyone tell you different, and ignore the garbage advice in that thread. I'm sure you and your husband and your child are ultimately going to be okay, despite the nasty stretch just in front of you, because you're more than capable of seeing what needs to be done and doing it.

And I do hope that if you are a contributing member you'll stick around and that if you aren't you'll become one. We can always use members who can write well and are as thoughtful as you.
posted by orange swan at 8:37 AM on August 9, 2010


(Not interested in debating whether she is really a borderline or not. I'm more interested in what to do when this kind of situation comes up.)

No, of course not, because you've already made that decision. I didn't get anything from her post that would lead me to believe she's fucked in the head. She made a big mistake, yeah, but that happens. You're apparently perfect tho...so you wouldn't know about that.

Here's what a borderline or sociopath would do in her situation: stay married for 25+ years, have 4 children, then fall in love with their boss and dump the guy via email while he's out of town, move out and never speak to him again, and leave the pieces for their kids to pick up.

That's what my mom did. I sure wish she had half the consideration and thoughtfulness that the OP has.
posted by cottonswab at 8:55 AM on August 9, 2010


Sorry Invoke...I shoulda read thru the responses to see your apology before piling on. I just get a little frustrated seeing people who are truly struggling with life and trying to figure shit out getting these knee-jerk diagnoses. Hurting someone doesn't make someone a sociopath...we all hurt people. But normal people don't do it intentionally...and a good person feels a lot of anguish about hurting someone, which I definitely get from the OP. She describes her husband as a good person, someone she respects, she wants him to be happy. My mother, before she left my dad, told me this: "My next-door neighbor's husband died, and I was actually jealous, because she sure got off easy!" Exact fucking words. I wish I could say I was exaggerating. If you were the victim of someone like that, I really feel for ya.
posted by cottonswab at 9:19 AM on August 9, 2010


I fully believe you can grow to love someone. I married for love and, in India, in my particular culture, the idea of "love marriage" is met with such disdain. Growing up, I always looked down on people who married for love, believing they were more likely to have all kinds of dramatic problems that come with the inevitable falling out of love.

In this country, it's the opposite. You'll never have good things happen if you haven't fallen in love, if you don't believe you're meant for each other and hold firm in that belief. People are always asking me if I've had an arranged marriage and they think it's interesting and I think they think arranged marriages are exotic and sad and some think they're just the best idea, in the end.

She could grow to love him, but you have to be in the right kind of culture for that. You can't be in the United States for that kind of thing to happen. You have to have lots of closeness in the extended family. But the American idea of love doesn't support the arranged marriage and the idea doesn't sell in the real life of Western society. The OP is right. She can't go on because she's a romantic.
posted by anniecat at 9:31 AM on August 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


OP, if you're still reading this, I'd like to clarify my previous comment. I didn't mean to imply that you are a "crazy bitch," and I sincerely apologize if that was your interpretation. I was speaking in very general terms regarding the alarming tendency of casual observers to jump to a BPD diagnosis when they hear about people (particularly women) making choices that may not seem rational or wise or typical.

I don't think you deserve to be called names, casual or clinical. I believe you are in this situation because you are human, and I suspect it is not an uncommon situation. And you have responded to this shitstorm with a level of grace and insight that few people could sustain if put in your position. I wish you all the best.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:32 AM on August 9, 2010


First I was all BOO! and then I was all like YAY! then there was a bit of Hmmm now I'm sticking with Ahhh.

What an emotional roller-coaster.
posted by quin at 9:39 AM on August 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Woah, cottonswab. Out of curiosity, have you done anything with this experience? Like, used what you learned from your mom to work with people in complicated circumstances? You seem to have a lot of compassion and empathy, instead of bitterness. Good on you.
posted by staggering termagant at 10:22 AM on August 9, 2010


If anything, this anon question is far more worthy of the turd moniker.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:23 AM on August 9, 2010


Is this thread where we engage in drive-by insults against random anonymous AskMe posters?
posted by grouse at 10:25 AM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


But this is no disrespect at all to people who are married, or want to be married. If it works for you, I cannot be happier for you. There are few things sweeter than seeing a couple who have been happily together for a long time. But if it works for you — even if it took a lot of work or will on your part — at least realise that there is still luck involved, that you found someone who you can work with in the first place. Other people have not had that luck, so they are going to continue to try, and miss; people will be hurt, hearts will be broken, but then they heal — if you don't tell them it's some failing on their part, make them think they are broken.

I read this and found myself wanting to take a step back to take another look at this landscape of commodified "love" ~ a word that marketing communications has dismantled so badly that we don't really have any vision left of it anymore, 'cept what Seinfeld or your Friends say.

I know what AnnieCat is talking about - you need a culture that supports the particular form of socially acceptable pair bonding you are prepared for. I, myself, found myself in an unusually challenging situation, educated in International Western style schools abroad I had the veneer of 'romantic love' exposed over my home culture. Although I must add that in my parents case, it was romantic love, my father's father had approached my mother's father for her elder sister who was also unmarried. They had to quickly find her a husband so that my mom and dad could get married *grins that those two old fools*

Otoh, what was I supposed to believe or see for myself? I had no idea - I probably was the only girl in my age group unable to envision or form any mental picture of a "happy lovelife in future equivalent" whether your standard white picket fence etc or running away on a motorcycle. So when my continued singledom got too much for the whole family and I was dragged off to an astrologer who predicted success (of course) I dubbed the experience of the whole shebang "The Great Husband Hunt" and kept my lady friends over at the HomeArts BB highly amused with daily updates.

Yes, my father unleashed the might of the good Indian father who seeks A Suitable Boy high and low *rolls eyes* until one fine day he sends me a password and log in to a shortlisted database of potentials online. He was in Singapore and I was in New Delhi, what? Ja, Papa's an early adopter of technology, this was in the nineties.

Long story short, I told myself that it could work - after all, I'd exchanged long emails debating (overthinking) topics - mini MeFi experience - and I figured that as long as we could talk to each other everything could be figured out and the small voice that worried there'd be no spark or chemistry was silenced into the background

Not so long later, after I'd been helped to leave him by my Bschool friends and was in treatment for PTSD, I was asked by a very attractive young man why I'd chosen to marry my exhusband.

I had no answer. I still don't. There is no neat and clear cut answer like "ooo we fell in love and had to get married just because"; instead there is the miasma of complex social and cultural expectations, customs and norms, obligations and subtle complexities of face and respect along with so much more that there is no answer.

How I do tell one of you brought up to go on dates to check a guy out that I know now that had I even had the opportunity to go out with him a few times I'd have never given him the time of day. The interwebz are a scary thing, you can Dr Jekyll in the morning at work and Mr Hyde at home in front of the TV with your Bud.

Shit happens.

How do you clean it up honourably and do the best for all concerned is what it means by having values, and thus integrity and character.

I think that you ~ OP ~ may rest assured that you are doing the best for yourself and your little boy.
posted by infini at 10:30 AM on August 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


The irony was that it was because I was on the shelf (31/32) that we had to take the arranged route, people get married earlier in India, which is where I was living in my twenties.
posted by infini at 10:42 AM on August 9, 2010


And just to clarify further, OP, when I said upthread that BDP is not a euphemism for something else, I didn't mean to suggest that you are in fact that other thing, but that my regrettable use of the term BPD amounted to nothing more than a callous insult, for which as I said before I am very sorry.
posted by clockzero at 2:11 PM on August 9, 2010


Anon-OP, I want to add to the chorus that you sound very thoughtful and adult. It's a bad situation you're in, but I really don't want Mefi to add to how bad it is. Good luck.
posted by meese at 2:28 PM on August 9, 2010


Today at the supermarket, i encountered (and bought, but as of yet have not eaten) Ice Cream sandwich flavored Pop-Tarts. Now, I like PopTarts and weird flavors as much as the next guy, but isn't the point of a Ice Cream Sandwich (at least partly) that it's fucking cold.
posted by jonmc at 4:34 PM on August 9, 2010


Are you doing that to be coy? Here ya go, jonmc: PopTarts in the Freezer.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:56 PM on August 9, 2010


I eat my PopTarts hot, sir, like a good American. or something.

anfd frankly i'd have to eat an Ice Cream sanwich PopTart hot, just fo rthe thermodynamical movelty of it all.
posted by jonmc at 5:48 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The obvious solution is a slice of ice cream sandwiched between two pop tarts.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:06 PM on August 9, 2010


And then deep fry it all.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:07 PM on August 9, 2010


Seriously, jonmc, do you have a twitter account? I would totally read it, but I'd rather read it there than here.
posted by lalex at 6:16 PM on August 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


As far as things just clicking in a way that they never did in a prior relationship--relationships are different. Love is different. I have been lucky enough to experience multiple happy romantic relationships at the same time, and they are SO DIFFERENT it's crazy. The love feels different. If you have the idea in your head that there is ONE kind of love that is THE love, then I guess finding someone and realizing that you love them would make you inclined to discount the love you already have as fake love. Impostor love. Completely different from this new (and therefore more immediately rewarding) love.

So that old love starts to look disposable in the service of the "real" thing because isn't love important? Shouldn't we all have real love?

I guess the answer, as far as I see it, is no. Love is great, don't get me wrong, but it's basically your brain being stupid and trying to pair-bond so that you'll have someone to go get diapers for you 10 months down the road. Making decisions based on that--decisions that hurt people! Little, tiny people who depend on you, even! seems foolish and self-centered in the extreme.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:44 PM on August 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yummmmmm
posted by salvia at 6:53 PM on August 9, 2010


Also, I agree with ifdssn9's statement there, every word. But I felt bad favoriting it, because the OP sounds nice and thoughtful, so I want to state, it's with no ill-will or venom towards her.
posted by salvia at 6:59 PM on August 9, 2010


Today at the supermarket, i encountered...

I'm going to politely ask again that if there is still an active conversation in a MeTa thread that people not start derailing it with food/recipe talk or alphabet or lobster games. If the discussion's not your thing, that's fine; MeTa is a 100% optional MetaFilter destination.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:29 PM on August 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


I prefer to read it here.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:34 PM on August 9, 2010


I'm going to politely ask again

That's the first time I recall seeing that from either you or any other mod, so taken on board for future reference, but I'm pleading not guilty to any food related comments up until this point.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:46 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


salvia, it's not just the OP.

It's the collision between the myth we spin about monogamy (if you commit to someone that means that you have to forsake all others) and the myth we spin about romantic love (it is worth pursuing at great cost).

If you're in a committed monogamous relationship and then you find romantic love elsewhere--something has to give.

Often it's the commitment, instead of the monogamy or the romantic love. But monogamy and romantic love are super important in our culture so hey, what can I say. My personal approach is to ditch the monogamy because I sure as hell can't ditch the romantic love or the commitment. But I'm not everyone and the way I do things isn't right for everyone, and I understand that.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:00 PM on August 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


> That's the first time I recall seeing that from either you or any other mod, so taken on board for future reference, but I'm pleading not guilty to any food related comments up until this point.

I have seen it more than once, and it was not directed at you but at jonmc, who does this shit constantly.
posted by languagehat at 9:12 AM on August 10, 2010


Jessamyn, can you clarify whether it was a comment for the community or for jonmc? Because I'm unsure as well. I was quite surprised that it sounded like a general request.
posted by Catfry at 9:16 AM on August 10, 2010


It seemed like a general request with a bit of implicit specificity. While lots of people launch into alphabet games or recipes or whatever, jonmc is one of the few who just totally try to derail a MeTa post by making pointless random comments about what he did that day in some boorish attempt to let everyone know that this is all just dumb and they should go outside or something. It's silly because he doesn't have to be here at all, and certainly not in the role of arbiter of acceptable use of time.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:20 AM on August 10, 2010


It's a general thing, but was prompted specifically in this case by jonmc's doing the thing that he does way too much of. There's been kind of a rash of overt, gun-jumping OKAY NOW WE WILL STOP DISCUSSING THE TOPIC stuff in Metatalk over the last while, more than the baseline chatter level of metatalk, and we're trying to push back on that a bit because it's getting frustrating.

There's a bit of discussion about it from this thread about a week and a half ago, starting from that comment from Jessamyn.

It's not a "no goofing around" thing, but people need to not get aggressive or obnoxious about it and it feels like there's been sort of a conspicuous collective failure on that front lately. The recipe thing specifically had thrown it into stark focus, but jonmc for example knows better than to just chuck random "i had a cheese sandwich" stuff into active threads and does it anyway and that's really getting tiresome.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:23 AM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Could it be that jonmc is is a sociopath?
posted by staggering termagant at 9:37 AM on August 10, 2010


man, I love it when we get together like this. It's like going to a picnic where everyone hates each other.
posted by shmegegge at 11:12 AM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironic since just yesterday we were talking about looooooooove
posted by infini at 11:26 AM on August 10, 2010


Oh ok, I hadn't seen that earlier comment.
I think I was thrown because jonmc have been talking about foodstuffs in meta for as long as I have been around. I do think meta threads can be quite aggressively derailed in the way you say and I agree that it can be tiresome.
Also, I don't want to be antagonizing team mod so that sort of request is something I like to know about. When it is buried in a 100+ comment thread it can be difficult.
posted by Catfry at 12:33 PM on August 10, 2010


Yeah, we're not likely to make a metatalk post ourselves just to say like "HEY CUT IT THE FUCK OUT" about something unless it's somehow reached nuclear levels despite attempts to just throttle it back via steering comments in naturally recurring discussions.

The recipe thing seems to have cut way back since that discussion, which is nice; my feeling is that the same folks who are most likely to start dorking around preemptively in a metatalk thread (and I'm honestly one of them sometimes but I try to keep it to a minimum) are folks who are really comfy regulars to Metatalk and so who read a lot of the threads just to see what's going on.

So that works in our favor when it comes to trying to sort of nudge things into true without having to have A Discussion about it, though obviously it's not a 100% permeating approach and so it's fine that not everybody will get the memo at once. So we're likely to end up reiterating those nudges a few times before word gets around. No one's in trouble or anything, really, it's just a "please adjust your goofometer" sort of thing where a lot of people showing a little more restraint will get us back into more acceptable territory.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:27 PM on August 10, 2010


MetaFilter: please adjust your goofometer
posted by grouse at 1:29 PM on August 10, 2010


Now that Cortex put a hole in the bucket, where do I go for some hugs?
posted by infini at 1:35 PM on August 10, 2010


There may be a support group of some sort in your town. Barring that, torrent some Hugga Bunch.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:43 PM on August 10, 2010


CwgrlUp wrote: "If you feel the need to tell the poster they're a sociopath, it's time to click the little red X in the corner and go take a walk"

What if your computer doesn't have a little (or big) red X anywhere on the screen? What then? Huh?
posted by wierdo at 2:45 PM on August 10, 2010


And more seriously, I think that there's an argument to be made in both directions. Sometimes telling people they are a fool, shitheel, or whatever is in fact helpful. However, it seems like when you can't be polite, it may be better to just avoid answering that particular question. You don't have to do them all.
posted by wierdo at 2:47 PM on August 10, 2010


I'll cease and desist since people seem to feel awful strongly about it, but if you look back in the archives, many of the longer meta threads became goofery fests near the bottom, as a kind of signal that all the hostilitiies had wound down, and nobody really got all that upset about it. It was actually kind of considered to be promoting camaraderie. These day we have three-digit MeTa threads on an almost daily basis, and they are almost always the same old people saying the same old shit about the same old subjects. They seem to enjoy it, so I won't interrupt.
posted by jonmc at 4:53 PM on August 10, 2010


jonmc, the end-of-thread goofery is generally fine (although historically there have been at least some people who were annoyed even by that); what's not so great is preemptive stuff that feels like not so much "well, this thread is clearly a ghost town now" as it is "hey, I have lost interest (or never had any in the first place) in this thread, so I'm gonna make with the random ejecta".

I don't want to pick on you overly because I'm actually with you on the general notion of post-game silliness, but it's the lack of a clear sense of discretion about that stuff, especially as an on-going pattern of behavior, that's the subject of the complaint and the nudging. You're hardly the only person who has done it, but you're definitely an old hand at it so we're talking to you as much as anyone, certainly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:03 PM on August 10, 2010


Understood, but I said my final peice there to make you aware of the fact that this is symptomatic of pther things on the site.
posted by jonmc at 5:10 PM on August 10, 2010


obviously it's not a 100% permeating approach

I was thinking that if we were permeating 100% of the time, surely that would call for more recipes.

It took about five passes before I finally read it as "something that permeates", rather than a neologism for permanent eating.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:20 PM on August 10, 2010


I don’t agree with Cortex and Jessamyn. Some questions, or questioners, on Ask MetaFilter are so repugnant they require an expression of repugnance. Case in point.

Ask MetaFilter isn’t a “support group”; our purpose here is not to provide unmitigated “support.” Answering a question can entail questioning the question or the questioner. Those actions are to be distinguished from namecalling and armchair psychoanalysis, if those are the issues that bother people the most here.
posted by joeclark at 9:29 PM on August 10, 2010


Man, some people just can't get their heads around the concept of "Don't be a dick in AskMe." Thank god for the mods with their SMITE buttons.
posted by languagehat at 7:35 AM on August 11, 2010


*grabs Cortex and gives him a big squeezy hug and a smacking great kiss*
posted by infini at 9:23 AM on August 11, 2010


*looks around rapidly*
posted by infini at 9:23 AM on August 11, 2010


“Dicks” should ask fewer repugnant questions.
posted by joeclark at 9:50 PM on August 12, 2010


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