I know, guys. You’ve been hurt. You’ve been frustrated — terrified, even — by the behavior of some of the women you’ve been with. Some of it has been legitimately bad behavior — invasions of privacy, violence, manipulation — but rarely has it come from nowhere. Which is exactly what the label “psycho” implies.
When we call a woman “psycho,” we dismiss her completely and suggest that she has no grounds for her emotions and behavior. Let’s be honest — seven times out of 10, the guy did something. Whether or not we view a woman’s reaction as appropriate to the offense, a woman freaking out “for no reason” is a lot less frequent than we pretend it is.
For example, here are six behaviors often labeled “psycho” that are just as often justified.1. Google/Facebook Stalking: We really can’t underestimate how regularly men simply mistreat women in dating situations. Or how arrogant, whiny or boring some guys can be. Most women who have been dating for any length of time have at least one horror story. Many have a dating horror story compendium. Ask around.
Guys, you probably have friends who have are players and manipulators — can you really fault a woman for trying to find out everything she possibly can about a guy before she goes out with him? Tweets, Facebook pics, articles — this stuff isn’t secret. It’s information that’s readily available.
The rub is that the Internet is deceptive and you never really know about a person until you meet them in person. Sometimes you gotta take a chance, but to go in with any less than all the information? That’s like jumping out of a plane without a parachute.
2. Having Cats: Have you heard this? That having cats, even one cat, is now supposedly indicative of a woman’s craziness? As if a kitten is some kind of gateway drug that leads to a heavy hoarding and daytime TV habit. This is ridiculous, wrong-headed, Seinfeldian thinking. Plain and simple.
3. Wanting Sex: “She can’t get enough. She’s like, a crazy nympho, or something.” Guys. We seriously need to stop putting women down for wanting to have sex with us. Besides being an unfair double-standard, it’s just counter-intuitive. Because we want women to want to have sex with us. And many of them do. Please, don’t screw this up for the rest of us by acting like a woman’s insane for indulging her innate desires, okay?
4. Jealousy: I’ll grant you — jealousy that is completely unfounded and provokes a wildly disproportionate reaction is a little scary. But cursing you out in front of the whole bowling alley because you were flirting with the shoe rental girl (who you were totally flirting with) and accusing you wanting to break up (when you have been wanting to break up and have been too chickenshit to say so)? Or stealing your phone and reading looking at your text history (when you have been texting with your ex again and lying about it)?
5. Wanting Babies: It’s like this — men can wait a lot longer to father children than women can to mother them. Women might sometimes worry, as they get older, that if they wait around for a man to be ready to have children, they might miss their window. So, a woman might bring this up earlier than than is comfortable for a man, in order to gauge his reaction.
Uncouth? Probably. Unnattractive? Maybe. But psycho? It’s actually pretty practical, if you think about it.
6. Trashing Your Stuff: The need for trust and acceptance in our lives is universal. And powerful. So powerful sometimes that we promise each other unconditional love in the throes of courtship, before we can possibly comprehend the subtle conflicts that will arise between us. These conflicts breed doubt. But, at this point we’ve already promised trust and acceptance — emotional safety. We don’t want to go back on it so we try, despite our doubts, to make it work.
Let’s say you’re in a situation like this, and the doubt becomes a certainty that she’s not the one. Out of nowhere, you take it all away. Without her consent. And there’s nothing that she can do about it.
So the injured party acts out. She suddenly can’t bare to look at your records that are still in their bedroom and reminding them of how just a week ago the two of you were cuddling in bed, listening to Astral Weeks and talking about the future. How could you be talking about the future just a week ago and now ending things so definitively?
So she throws your records out the goddamn window. It’s not very rational, and it sucks for you, but nothing about any of this has really been rational, has it? You made promises you couldn’t keep in the heat of the moment and then retracted them. For no reason that you could explain.
To her, you’re the psycho.
And besides, it’s not like she set your car on fire.
This story was originally published on How About We’s blog The Date Report.
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