At the beginning of a relationship, things are often kept pretty light and bright. At some point, though, you wear out those surface-level conversations and real life starts to set in. Although it may not be super obvious from the get-go, you may realize that you and your partner don't agree on important issues. It can be difficult and disappointing to get to this place, but you may need to know what to do if you realize your partner is a misogynist. Because misogyny, like so many other -isms and issues, isn't always apparent right away.
Honestly, you could be in pretty deep, your feelings and heart completely entangled, before coming to the realization that a joke wasn't a one-off or as lighthearted as it may have seemed at the time. It can be difficult to confront or call out misogyny sometimes, especially if the situation is a bit complicated or you feel like you have a lot on the line. If your head and your heart are at odds, it can be difficult to sort out exactly how you feel or what your next move should be.
Although this may mean that the relationship has run its course, it's also possible that with a little bit of education and more understanding (and maybe a little patience on your part), your partner come around and leave misogyny behind.
1. Define It
Making sure that you both know what misogyny means can help change the way your partner thinks about his or her words and actions and also how you respond. The website for the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines misogyny as "a hatred of women." Additionally, according to Psychology Today, misogyny is often unconscious, meaning misogynists don't know they're misogynistic. That means you have to recognize the kernels of hatred in words and actions, and call them out when they happen.
2. Call It Out
This can often be the most challenging part, as confronting a loved one is never easy. But addressing the comment or action right away shows that it's unacceptable and abhorrent. Don't laugh it off or assume it was just a one time thing, but do remember that attacking will only make them feel like they need to be super defensive. Try to keep your cool and have a legit conversation.
3. Explain The Why
You called out your partner's misogynistic comment, but now what? Explaining why the comment is derogatory and hurtful is important to helping prevent future issues. Just like you need to explain why you're angry about something, you need to explain why something is misogynistic so there aren't as many repeat offenses.
4. Share Your Experiences
Women in particular deal with both subtle and overt misogyny practically, so chances are you have more than your fair share of examples and experiences to share with your. Since most misogynists don't even realize they're acting that way, explaining your past dealings with these issues can help them understand that there are real effects to what they're doing or saying without even realizing it.
5. Encourage Questions
Changing things that you've said or done without realizing the problem can take a little bit of time. Letting your partner know that it's OK to ask you questions about how misogynistic actions or statements make you feel, or why this or that is an example of sexism or misogyny, opens up a dialogue between the two of you and helps them take the little steps forward that need to be taken.
6. Make A Break
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may come to the conclusion that it's time to walk away. If your partner can't or doesn't want to change, you can't force it. Going your separate ways may ultimately what's best for you. And, in the end, your partner won't be able to hide in the "I didn't know that was misogynistic" shadows anymore.