Size, and where’s the virtue?

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been dealing with some emotional stress for well over a year. I’ve recently found out my wife’s ex was much more well-endowed than I am. I understand that’s not the most important thing, but it is messing with me mentally. One reason is, a long time ago when she was drunk, she asked me why it was so small. When I came across pictures of him, it all came back.

I feel like we need to talk about it, but I don’t know how to start. I know she will get mad and I don’t think she would tell me the truth. A lot of things go along with these feelings, which is part of why it bothers me so much. I probably need to just let it go, but it continues to haunt me. We have been married a long time and have had our share of problems. How do I get past this? Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated. — NOT MEASURING UP IN ALABAMA

DEAR NOT MEASURING UP: What, exactly, is the “truth” you are afraid your wife will conceal if you bring this out in the open? If she thought you couldn’t satisfy her needs, she wouldn’t have married you. The question I would like answered is where those old photos were when you stumbled across them. Were you going through her belongings because you feel insecure about things other than your anatomy? This does need to be discussed when you are both sober, because if you remain silent, your insecurity will only grow worse. Please don’t wait to do it. (c) DEAR ABBY

Ouch. Even as sexually inexperienced as I am, I know this: you should NEVER tell a man that it’s small. Holy shit. (I mean, unless you’re trying to insult him, of course. Best insult ever.)

Yeah, that’s totally wrong. For one thing, it accomplishes nothing. For another thing, from what I understand, men are very, very sensitive about it, especially when it is actually small or could potentially be perceived that way. And the sad thing is that half of all men must be in the lower part of the bell curve, because that’s how statistics work.

I feel sorry for this letter writer. His wife is a doink to have said what she did, and to have kept indecent photos of her former husband. Who the flip does that?! Never mind, I don’t want to know.

I just have a few thoughts for this letter writer:

  1. Some women are poorly endowed in the same area. I’m not talking about chest size, but some women’s bodies aren’t going to be happy if the man is well-endowed. I’ve heard of women who need a smaller man to better fit them.
  2. It must be an awful, painful thing to obsess over. It could help to remind himself, every single time the thought, ahem, arises, that his wife left the other guy despite his magnificent manhood. She chose the letter writer, even after she sobered up after calling it small. I’d get in the habit of reorienting my thoughts thusly every time it bugs me.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 39-year-old woman who has been in a relationship for five years and married for two. Abby, I am consumed with regret for marrying this man. He’s loyal and has a good job, but he spends most of our money on food (eating out at work, drinking expensive beers, buying tools, etc.) and he is probably the most negative person I know. His negativity is so overwhelming it has pulled me down closer to his level than where I started when we met.

I feel trapped. I don’t want to be single at 40, and I know somewhere in there I love him, so I’m working on my own energy so it won’t affect me so much. He just makes everything so miserable with his attitude. He exudes bad energy. He pouts, throws temper tantrums, is rude, condescending, and EVERYONE around him can feel his bad moods. He has only recently started therapy and I want to be patient, but I have this loop playing in my head — “I hate his guts!” I know it’s not true, but I am so resentful and remorseful for marrying him. Is there anything I can do to save my marriage? Is it even worth it? — SECOND THOUGHTS IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: There is something you can do, and I sincerely hope you will take it to heart. Recognize that “pouting, temper tantrums, condescension and (constant) negativity” is hostile and abusive. I am glad your husband is receiving professional help to improve his behavior and attitude. Now it’s time for you to do the same. If you do, it will help you to clear your head and your soul. It will also give you deeper insight into whether this is worth it.

P.S. Saving your marriage will have to be a joint effort. This is not something you can do on your own.

This made me really sad. I’ve been there, where you put all the pressure on yourself to fix your attitude, when in reality, the other person needs to fix the problem. Too often, people have a tendency to force themselves to accept someone as he/she is, rather than acknowledging that it’s on the other person to get it together. Of course we should support each other in self-improvement, but ultimately, this is all on the letter writer’s husband. She shouldn’t be carrying the entire burden of changing her outlook.

But toward that end, he’s in therapy, and thank God, is all I can say. In the meantime, I don’t like how the letter writer’s taking her thoughts of “I hate his guts!” and shoving them from her mind, as if it’s wrong of her to feel that way. Whenever you have to talk yourself into loving someone, that’s a bad sign. I’d say, if she hates him, she hates him. She should act on that truth rather than trying to force her mind to bend.

Sure, if she thinks it’s not virtuous to hate someone, she can decide she merely dislikes him, but that’s not the point. I’m not sure they should be together, and neither is she. I suppose there’s a chance that the therapy might help, but quite honestly, if I were the letter writer, I’d move out until such an event occurs. It could be like, “Once your therapy has helped, come and find me. I’ll be at [such-and-such location].” Because I’m sorry, but at this point, I’d be a miserable mess having to even spend five minutes a day with Mr. Pouty-Pants.

I was intrigued by the concepts of this letter. Trying to force yourself to make the best of a bad situation seems virtuous on the surface, and indeed, it can be. Suppose you’re on a boat that’s crossing the ocean, and you can’t get off until you reach the next country? You may as well make the best of it, because what choice do you have? But if you’re in an unhappy marriage with someone who pouts, throws tantrums, and is condescending, it’s not the same scenario. In today’s world, we’re mostly free to leave any relationship at any time, and this is one of those times that I’d run screaming.

And I know it’s personal preference, and that some people might not run screaming, but in my experience, when you subject yourself to this level of continued stress, you could be doing permanent damage to your overall mental wellbeing. Any mental illness that’s lying dormant within you, just waiting for a stressful event to wake it up, will come to the surface; and/or you could get chronic-PTSD. I’ve come to realize that it’s never worth it to take that risk, and I’d feel worried about anyone who would choose to go down that path. I’d advise against it wholeheartedly. Get out!! Get out now!!

It’s a false virtue to force yourself to like someone who has a horrible attitude and bad behaviors. False virtue alert!! False virtue alert!! The true virtue here would be for the letter writer to put herself first and to honestly face what she feels, and to give credit to her feelings, because Pouty-Pants merits them.

4 thoughts on “Size, and where’s the virtue?

  1. I wonder if letter writer #1 also happened to be drunk when wifey was, and that’s why it was small at that particular stage of the game. And if they’ve been married a long time, how is he coming across these dick pics? Did he suddenly find her old-school camera-phone from 20 years ago?

    What really stood out for me from letter #2 was that she doesn’t want to be single at 40. That’s not a good reason to stay in a crappy relationship, so she needs to sort out whatever is going on there for her so she can make a decision based on the relationship itself rather than staying by default for fear of being single.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very keen insights all around!! Go you!!

      That’s a very good point! I didn’t take into account the whole phases of nudity. HA HA! I’m that inexperienced. Too funny. And I bet you’re right about letter writer #2. I hope she gets her priorities in order! I’d rather be single than be with this guy.

      Liked by 1 person

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