morning after bully

I’m going to write about something that I’ve heard from multiple women. And it’s somewhat disturbing.

The scenario:  A pair, a twosome, who are not really a couple, gets hot and heavy, no immediate protection is immediately available, they take some calculated risks and enjoy themselves…aaand, the next day, the guy freaks out.

Him:  “I’d like to talk about something.”

Her:  “Okay.”

Him:  “We’re not in a relationship.”

Her:  “Right. I’m aware.”

Him:  “We had unprotected sex last night.”

Her:  “Yes, we did.”

Him:  “I’m concerned about the risk of pregnancy.”

Her:  “I’m not.”

Him:  “You’re not?”

Her:  “No. You didn’t ejaculate inside me, and I’m not in a particularly fertile part of my cycle. It’s not like this is the first time…”

Him:  “I know, but we’re not in a relationship now, and that would make it worse if you got pregnant.”

Her:  “Yes, and we’re not going to be.”

Him:  “But you don’t know that… So maybe it would be better if you took a Plan B. You know, the morning after pill.”

Her:  “Yes, I know about the morning after pill. I know my body. I’m not concerned about pregnancy. And I’m not willing to make myself sick and give myself horrific cramps for a day or two or three because you’re freaking out about a choice we made last night.”

Him:  “I’m trying to share my feelings. Does that matter?”

Her:  “I am taking your feelings into consideration, and it’s ultimately my decision.”

Him:  “What if I went to the pharmacy and picked it up and brought it to you?”

Her:  “No, thank you.”

Him:  “You know, the other options are much worse than a day of not feeling well. Think of how that might affect yourself or me emotionally… It would be worth it to be 100 percent sure…”

Her:  “I’ve known precisely one person who’s taken the morning after pill, and it didn’t work; 40 weeks later, she gave birth to her daughter. So it’s not 100 percent certain.”

This might go on — via text, phone or both — for hours. It might go so far that she feels bullied. And, from what I’ve heard from girlfriends, it’s entirely too common.

Think about that:  Even now, some guys think they have a voice in telling a woman what to do with her body. Even if they try to be reasonable, try to be persuasive, try to lovingly suggest, there’s no getting around what it is:  bullying a woman to take the responsibility for something both would have, ideally, been responsible enough to talk about before things go out of hand. Often, these guys aren’t normally such douchebags; they simply don’t get what they’re asking / demanding. It’s a big deal!

No woman should feel pressured to do something with her body that she doesn’t want to do.

This scenario is a great reminder that women still face the consequences of unprotected sex:  our anatomy makes us more susceptible to contracting certain types of STDs than men and we risk pregnancy and the choices associated with it (abortion, single parenting, etc.). As long as men have penises and women have vaginas, this is the way it’s going to be; it’s simply biology.

But there are things we can do to take care of ourselves, and I ask all of my sisterhood to join in and engage in emotional, as well as physical, protection:  Keep condoms on hand and require their use. Or find lovers (if you’re of that age) who have had a vasectomy. Make sure they are compassionate, loving souls, who trust you to know your body. And know your biology with confidence.

do you have romantic regrets?

A recent NY Times article cited a study about regrets, saying 44 percent of females had a romantic regret…

I suspect there are many of us who occasionally think about the one that got away, the friend to whom we never confessed our true feelings, the relationship we unintentionally sabotaged, simply because we didn’t know any better…

Most of us who have gone through a divorce or major break-up have probably thought more than one of these regretful thoughts:

  • Why didn’t I settle for the guy / girl before him / her?
  • Why didn’t I leave sooner?
  • Why didn’t I work harder?
  • Why didn’t I see his / her true nature before we got married?
  • Why doesn’t he / she want me anymore?
  • Why wasn’t I enough?

None of these are productive questions. As I’ve said before, even if these kinds of questions were answerable, the answer(s) would never be satisfactory. If there were easy answers, I’m hopeful that we’re all smart enough to find them unacceptable. What could possibly explain away the upheaval, decimated self-esteem, cock-eyed financial shenanigans and ruined dreams (especially of our children)?

Perhaps later in the process, we’re asking instead:

  • How could I have done that?
  • Why did I behave so poorly?
  • How did I let that slip in front of the children?
  • Why did I fight so hard for or hang onto that (home, piece of furniture, or other physical object) for so long?
…or any number of other possible regrets.

This morning I met a strong, incredible and divorced woman for coffee. She asked me what happened, and I told her, “we just disagreed.” Yeah, it’s probably a cop-out. After awhile, the pain and resentment fade, the drama no longer seems to create a compelling narrative, and it seems I’m mostly looking forward.

When I’m feeling nostalgic, I just dig through my iTunes for this classic Dave Mason song:

So let’s leave it alone, ’cause we can’t see eye to eye…

There ain’t no good guys; there ain’t no bad guys;

There’s only you and me and we just disagree.

I’d like to think I’ve mostly moved on. Every so often there’s a flash of anger. I can hear it in my tone of voice when I’m cleaning the basement and marveling to anyone who will listen about something my ex hung on to, or when I come across another of his ineffective home repairs. Mostly, though, I am grateful for the lessons, grateful for our children, and very pleased with the woman emerging from the experience.

Do I have regrets? Sure. But most are fading regrets of misbehaviors that I’d like to think taught me a little something. There’s no one who got away. In this Zen moment and every other, everything is as it should be.