Oh, here’s something I noticed while I was away that I wanted to run by y’all. So, say you are dating someone. Say that someone promises you s/he will show up for something you’re doing, but then at the last minute, decided s/he doesn’t want to do that and then gets angry that you don’t cancel your plans, because, if you really loved him or her, you should always choose to spend time with him or her rather than doing something that you enjoy, even if you were planning on doing the thing you enjoy with him or her.
While I was away, I finally realized that, in genera, when you’re talking to women, the significant other in this situation might be called “controlling” or “abusive.” But, if you are talking to men, especially about a significant other who is a woman, if you want the man to hear what you’re saying without getting defensive (because he is “not a victim”), that behavior is “manipulative.”
You know women have to be just as jackassy as men, but I was missing the insight that “manipulative” was the female-gendered version of “controlling.” But now I wonder if this is part of the reason it can be hard for straight men to realize when they are in unhealthy relationships–the language used to describe them doesn’t include words straight men recognize as applying to them.
Anyway, I thought I had smarter things to say about this, but I don’t. Just that I was like “Oh!” when I figured it out.