I posted a challenge on twitter: pick my blog topic. Mr. Will suggested that I write the following:
I originally thought this post would take the direction of a partner not being able to perfom sexually or have a dampened sexual interest if the other partner is experiencing very low self-esteem. It seemed like the automatic answer… but it was not one I could related to. Despite being in a relationship where I had terrible self-esteem, it appears it did not have an affect on my partner’s libido.
And thus, the Asshole Test was born. You have a feeling how things should go, “If X then B therefore C.” However, if things don’t go that way and there’s nothing wrong with your original premise, it’s time to consider that perhaps things are wrong because your partner is an asshole.
What you think should happen: If you say something negative about yourself, your partner should support you by contradicting you, complimenting you, talking to you about it. They should take some action to help you with this. It can be a listening ear or a full-on lecture of how wrong you are. Regardless of the method, your partner is there to work through this problem with you. Your partner realizes that your problems affect him/her/them and works with you on them.
The asshole test: They take no action and don’t bother to help. There’s no voice of support or positive statements about you to help you see through the negative comment stream in your head. Your problems are not their problems. You feel very much alone facing them despite the person sitting on the couch next to you.
What you think should happen: Your partner thinks highly of you and reminds you somewhat often. When your partner compliments you, they make sure you hear them and understand what they mean. If you doubt their words, they make an effort to explain why they think or see that about you. Your belief in their words is important to them.
The asshole test: Your partner doesn’t pay attention to you. Compliments are forced or a reaction to an event or something you say. You fish for compliments in hopes of hearing them, but even when they’re said you don’t really believe them. Your partner says them to make you feel better, not because they actually want you to know how they feel.
What you think should happen: Your partner checks in with you to see how you are feeling. They check your emotional state and ensure you are OK. They care about your happiness and work to help make sure you are happy. Your partner watches your facial expressions and body language for cues to see if your physical and emotional states match.
The asshole test: Your partner asks why you are so emotional and gets upset when you need special attention. Their day and life is more important than yours. Your partner does not check in with you and does not pay attention to see if your smile matches your
What you think should happen: If you’re having a day where you can’t see any good in yourself, your partner will understand why sex may not be appropriate (but hey, if it is, that’s cool, too). Your partner respects your emotional boundaries.
The asshole test: Your partner has no idea why your feelings are tied to your sex drive. The fact that your feelings impact your desire is inconvenient, annoying, and gets in the way of what your partner needs. Its your fault that you don’t have sex; you’re guilted into it out of obligation. Sex is fought over. Your partner makes you feel even worse about yourself since you can’t meet their needs. Your partner’s sexual needs (often? always?) come first.
I’ve been through all of this…. once with an asshole, and now with how I think things should go. In my lows, I was so uncomfortable with myself. I was self-conscious, awkward, and unhappy. I couldn’t trust my partner with my true feelings because he didn’t ever try to understand them.
Things are different now. I had no idea I was with an asshole, but at some point I found my voice and realized that, although I had made a choice to be with him, I didn’t have to stay with that choice forever. I had a choice to leave, walk away, and stand up for myself.
You always have a choice.