Thanks to our girl Judy McGuire for calling my attention to the latest advice column from Salon’s Cary Tennis. A woman writes to Tennis that she’s “in a loving but violent marriage” in which her husband has “only” beat her up a couple of times, including the time he punched and stomped her while she was pregnant. She’s writing to Tennis because she’s upset that the domestic violence hotline she called advised her to leave her husband and she wants to know her other options. Shockingly, Tennis offers her an alternative to getting the f**k out and never looking back, but first he indulges in a little rambling prose.
“In this fictional world you are safe. So I can speak to you one soul to another. I can grant you the freedom to see yourself as the object and creation of your own limitless imagination. Then you are free to inquire: What do you want, O dish thrower? What do you want, O restrainer, kicker, puncher? What is it that you are hungry for?”
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There are dealbreakers and then there are dealbreakers—and a past history of domestic violence is a dealbreaker on a lot of people’s list. Salon.com’s advice columnist, Cary Tennis, fielded a question from a former abuser who’s nervous about telling his new girlfriend he physically abused his ex-wife half a dozen times during their marriage.
After divorcing, “Ex-Abuser,” as he signed his letter, entered therapy and said it helped him “understand my reasons for the abuse, and the effect it had on both my wife and our relationship.” Also after the divorce, he and his ex-wife went to therapy together and “the abuse was addressed and some amount of nascent healing took place.”
Now Ex-Abuser is in a new relationship with a woman he seems to want to spend his life with. Trouble is, he hasn’t told her about his past. Not only is he afraid his new girlfriend will ditch him if she knows, but his ex-wife is threatening to spill the beans herself. And that, obviously, would be bad. Keep reading »
I’ll never forget the first time I met the mother of a particular ex-boyfriend. We were vacationing together in the South of France (glamorous locale, yes, but not the place you want to spend a week with your boyfriend’s family!) and I was sort of stunned by the physical relationship between my then-boyfriend and his mother. I should say they’re from a different cultural background than I (they’re Middle Eastern) and maybe that was part of it, but they literally could NOT keep their hands off each other. They hugged, kissed on the lips, caressed each other. It was seriously bizarre. At one point, my ex-boyfriend’s mother even talked about his “golden penis” (over dinner!) — a term she said was some kind of figure of speech in their culture. Um, ohhhkay. Needless to say, it was trés uncomfortable for me and when we broke up several months later it was with much relief that I realized I’d never have to endure another mother-son make-out fest ever again. Remembering all this, I read today’s letter in Salon’s advice column with a lot of empathy. Read it yourself after the jump. Keep reading »
Cary Tennis, Salon’s resident advice columnist, answers a rather ridunculous letter in his column today. A man writes in that when they were married, his first wife always wore her hair short despite years of him asking her to grow it long, and she bit her fingernails, too, a habit he says “annoyed” him. Since divorcing her many moons ago, he’s remarried and has had several more children with his second wife. His first wife remarried, as well, and the children they had together are all grown up and remain close to both parents as well as their younger half-siblings. All sounds good, right? Well, not so much. You see, wife #1 has recently grown out her hair! AND she seems to have stopped biting her nails!
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Recently, a woman wrote to Salon columnist Cary Tennis seeking advice about a broken heart she’d been suffering for over 10 years. In 1997, the woman “set free a beautiful man to live the rest of his amazing life,” three years after meeting him on an island in Hawaii, where she works and lives. He was there temporarily and made it clear he’d be leaving eventually to pursue his career and Ph.D. elsewhere. Nevertheless, they forged ahead with a relationship, and she fell very much in love with him. She even got accidentally pregnant — a pregnancy she decided to terminate, but she feels that the experience forever “fused” her to this “amazing” man. Soon after, he left Hawaii, like he always said he would, and now, nearly 12 years later, the woman still cannot get over him. She says that since they are in the same career field and he has a father in Hawaii who “sometimes needs her help” and a brother who visits Hawaii occasionally, she cannot escape him. Why, she can even order a “poster of his partner through the National Geographic bookstore” if she wanted, so obviously, “there is nowhere to hide.” Keep reading »
A women wrote to Salon.com’s resident advice columnist, Cary Tennis, and as usual, I was a little confused by his answer. That is to say, I really couldn’t figure out what his answer was. The woman wrote that she met a guy a few months ago on Craigslist’s “Just Friends” section. She was new to town and just looking for someone to hang out with, but it didn’t take long before things between them became a bit more romantic in nature. The problem is that when they were just “platonic,” the guy expressed how much he dislikes like blondes, as well as redheads, and that he’s “really only attracted to brunettes — dark brunettes, with dark brown hair and matching dark features.” Unfortunately, this woman is a strawberry blonde, and now she’s self-conscious about her hair color, especially since every time this guy talks about a “girl he thinks is good-looking, or thought was good-looking in the past or whatever, the issue of how dark her hair was always seems to come up in the same way that a normal guy might mention a woman’s legs.” Oh, and “until relatively recently,” she writes, “he was in an extremely long-term relationship with a girl who matched his “ideal” to a T. But he broke up with her. Then again, he’s also mentioned he’s mildly attracted to his cousin. What the hell is going on?” Keep reading »