On unrepentant assholes

I’ve been with my boyfriend almost two years and things are really good between us. We have fun together, great sex, support each other, take turns doing all the boring stuff around the house, try out new things and visit new places together, and generally have a really good partnership going on.

I love him and love being around him, but avoid speaking to him about stuff that matters to me at all costs because I know it will end up in a huge argument and I will want to break up with him.

I’m not talking about stuff like my family or friends or job. If I voice worries about that kind of thing he is a great listener and really supportive. If I talk about my hobbies, again he listens and is enthusiastic with me. I hope I am in return. We believe in each other and encourage each other.

It’s more on a political/hypothetical level that things get ugly. The first warning bell came when I started dating him and saw on his bookshelf the title ‘Why Rape Culture is a Dangerous Myth.’ Or something along those lines. When I asked him about it we launched in to a big argument. I don’t mind debates, but it soon seemed to me that he just totally lacked empathy. At no point is he prepared to concede that, as he isn’t a woman he might not be able to fully comprehend what it’s like to be a woman. He’s all, why should he (as a white man) not be allowed to speak about things because of ‘the accidents of his birth.’ He will argue around in circles about things because he enjoys debating, but fails to ever really listen. Our most recent argument was with him arguing that gay people choose to be gay. He said we should think they have a choice because it is empowering to them, or something equally irrelevant. Time and again I try to explain to him that, just because it would make more sense for the world to be a certain way hypothetically, it doesn’t mean that it is that way; you can’t always reason to conclusions; sometimes you have to accept that there are gaps in your knowledge and that you aren’t the authority on something. He disagrees. He actually said ‘I’ve never bungee jumped but I can have an opinion on it.’ It makes me want to slam my head against a wall.

I don’t know what to do. Am I just being precious and over sensitive? I don’t believe in only being around people who agree with me and always try to listen to other points of view, but I wonder if I’m somehow losing my integrity by being with him.


About half of all the submissions I receive are some version of “Hey, CQ. I really love my boyfriend, but it just occurred to me that he’s a chronic, unrepentant asshole. What should I do?”

Over the years, I feel like I’ve been fairly consistent with my recommendation: dump his ass, learn from the experience, and do better next time.

You, my dear, are with a magnificent asshole.

Act accordingly.


24 thoughts on “On unrepentant assholes

  1. Soleil says:

    He will never see you as a human being. When shit gets tough in life and hardships come up, as they inevitably will, he won’t be there. He’ll throw you to the fucking wolves.

    Please do indeed act accordingly.

    • Valerie says:

      It’ll be worse than that. He’ll act like he’s there while doing something worse than nothing.

      Been there.

  2. Jay says:

    ‘I’ve never bungee jumped but I can have an opinion on it.’

    Couple things wrong with this analogy.

    1. Bungee jumping =/= literally half of the human experience. He’s conflating the experiences of all women with a slightly risky sports activity.

    2. You can have an opinion on something, but people who are actually experienced in bungee jumping (or, you know…being a woman) can absolutely call you out for your overwhelming chasm of ignorance on the matter. Hell, you could have an opinion on just about anything and your opinion could be utter garbage.

    3. Anyone could choose to bungee jump or not, and complete that gap in their knowledge. Short of transitioning, the gap where the female experience is concerned is entirely unreachable for men, and entirely inescapable for women. Of course women would be more knowledgeable about being a woman!

    TL;DR This guy is as ignorant as he is arrogant and has a disturbing lack of empathy for the experiences of people he can’t understand. Find someone who isn’t a fucking walnut.

  3. grouch says:

    I figure that there’s disagreements you can have with people, and disagreements that you can’t. I have a friend who is a firm grammatical prescriptivist, I think he’s wrong, I’m a descriptivist. There’s a disagreement we can have, which doesn’t hurt either of us, and we can talk about it and debate it (it’s futile, but whatever). Then there’s the disagreements where once I find out someone has a certain idea, that’s the end of the road. I broke up with a friend because he thinks that the counterprotestors in Charlottesville were as bad as the Nazis. There’s also the people who think trans people are mentally ill and not as human as everyone else – there is nothing to be said about that. They’re morally wrong, and I can’t suffer that.

  4. WhoAmI says:

    I lost all interest in a guy when I discovered the books in his library and how dead serious he was in learning from such hot garbage heaps (think Nietzsche next to Zizek next to Soral next to de Gobineau). He gave me shit for “judging him because he didn’t think exactly like me” but fuck him i have better stuff to do in my life than sleep with an openly gay nazi.

      • flblbl says:

        (You haven’t read even a little bit of Nietzsche, iessica ?)

        Gobineau I haven’t read but some excerpts of his, and heard of him mostly as one of the core influences in European eugenics in the late 19th, early 20th centuries (think Germany and France before WW2).
        Soral is some bourgeois french designer who got a hot minute of fame when he started doing conversion work for the french nationalist party disguised as pseudo-losophy.
        Zizek I haven’t read, but heard of a lot, and I can see what kind of audience he has. Red flag as well.
        Can you be a 20-something french boy and a Nietzsche fan and not be the son of a wealthy Parisian family who has never met any form of struggle whatsoever during his life ?

        Dear Coquette, why do I end up forming bonds easily with so many gay men who later reveal themselves to be racist grandpas ?
        And why did all my boy crushes in my teens think forcing me to listen to Pink Floyd until I thought it was genius a good idea, even thought they only knew of it because their bobo parents forcefed it to them when they were eleven ??
        Finally why are white tops so commonly racist ???
        When will my intuition give me adequate crushes I swear to god.

    • Chris says:

      I was really bummed out to find my friend’s bookshelf had the new Lena Dunham book in hardback. To pay full retail – “it’s finally here!!!” – and then prominently display it on the shelf was disappointing.

      But who knows how he got it. I mean, I have “Going Rogue,” by Sarah Palin, on my bookshelf. It was a “gift” from my in-laws who never read it. At least, I think it’s still there. I’m not sure.

      • Jessica Sen says:

        Don’t let one rogue book throw you off. It’s about the patterns of interests the people have, the combined character of all the authors they have on their shelf.

        • Chris says:

          A fair point, but we’re also FB friends, and I see what is posted there. Mostly stuff that says “Democrats are great,” and “freedom is important.”

          They are all liberal upfront but when I told them I was going to be having lunch with a CIA whistle blower who went to prison (in retribution) for 2 years, and asked if they’d like to come with me, they said, “no way; I have a job to think about.” Meanwhile, a friend who’s TEA Party-ey said, “I wish you’d have told me about that lunch. I’d really like to have met him, and to have the kids met him and hear his story.”

          The fake progressives who buy Lena Dunham’s hardback at full retail are afraid to have lunch with someone who did a great thing and paid dearly for it, but the sometime-insufferable conservative would have given $100 to the guy’s defense fund.

  5. Morgan Rose says:

    So what if your partner is that way about your hobbies and opinions that he disagrees with instead of politics? Same conclusion: asshole you should dump?

  6. Hannah says:

    As soon as I saw the book title I would have ran out the house, driven away, and sent a breakup text at another location. Really. Run from this man and any like him.

    • Chris says:

      I generally give people the benefit of the doubt, and would have wondered if it was for something he was researching. I’ve tried to read books by Glenn Beck, and have finished a couple by Bill O’Reilly. I also have “The Communist Manifesto,” and am looking forward to reading Jordan Peterson’s book that I think already came out.

      I also read CQ’s book. Instead of judging me poorly for the cover or title, I’d hope someone would say, “what made you buy this?” I could then turn to a great passage, and say, ‘I read a few different advice columns, and felt this one was too good not to have on my bookshelf.’

      • Mr White says:

        Its one thing to just HAVE a book like that. I have Mein Kampf on my bookshelf, but if anyone asks I will assure them that I’m not a nazi, nor am I a nazi sympathizer, just someone interested in leadership (like him or not, he WAS a leader), history and other stuff. That’s the thing – she didn’t just jump to a conclusion, she asked him about it, but based on what she said about it turning into an argument, it sounds like he is in agreement w/ the book & its title. So, I’d have to agree – dump his ass, and cite that fundamentally the way you look at things are very, very different. Any guy (especially white guys) that will judge other people that are things they will never be (gays, women, minorities, etc) – just fucking run. And I say this as a very privileged, VERY white guy. Empathy should be a pre-requsite for humans as a species.

  7. Jessica Sen says:

    I’m buying her book and giving it to every single one of my psychiatrists who’ve zombied me the fuck out over the past two years. I’ll sign off on it, with a sweet little fuck you on pointe.

  8. Rk says:

    I have dated this exact guy. I got too attached and was living a lie and eventually HE dumped ME because he didn’t agree with my “more progressive” values. He hid from me how he really felt about the subjects that mattered to me and then one day he wrote me off. He doesn’t believe the patriarchy exists! It’s bizarre how some people work backwards to explain their own convenient idea of causality where they really don’t know what caused what.

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