“I think this is a terrific review. As for Don's acquiescing to the claustrophobic conditions for his return, what option does he have, really? The partners think they have him backed into a corner, but he'll fight his way out, even with his hands tied and the bottle cap on the booze.
Two things bothered me in this episode, however. First, the intercutting of scenes (Betty & Don on their respective field trips), and second, more missed opportunities for the former Mrs. Draper. They've turned Bad Betty into Boring Betty, and she could've been so much more.
“I was intrigued by the repeated them of mistakes / misbehavior followed by shame and embarrassment, all of which played out in this episode for several of the characters. Peggy regressed as you say, acting like a child, followed by embarrassing herself, which causes her to act more like a child, ie secretarial musical chairs. Lou is embarrassed by having to deal with Don's "mess" as he calls it, and his overreaction also results in secretarial musical chairs.
I did note the nice touch of That Girl on Don's TV in the background... Marlo Thomas, the innocent, in the Big City to make good.
“Very honest article. Thank you for this. One of the most common ways to self-medicate, I believe, is food. It has a calming, almost dulling affect. It also tends to put more space - quite literally - between people. Naturally, after kids, being around food, less time to exercise are factors in post-marital weight gain. But... I wonder just how many women, without fully realizing it, put on and keep on weight in a marriage as a means of dulling pain.”
“I hear you, Dorothy, on the enormous toll that is taken on everyone involved - health-wise (physically and emotionally), and certainly financially. Sometimes we don't see it when we're "in" it. I also agree, with time, we view things differently.”
“Dorothy, if you haven't already, read Tracy's Huff Post piece on divorcing the "character-disordered" spouse. I don't have the link on hand, but it was illuminating. Certainly for me. When you come to understand that you're potentially dealing with something or someone that doesn't follow the typical rules of behavior, the entire game changes. Stepping back has little to do with anything. There is no stepping back. You're in it - you can't escape it. As long as you share children.
I was dumbfounded by Tracy's piece. I believe I reference it here. (Tracy, wherever you are, again - many of us thank you.)
hp blogger Dorothy Sander on Jan 16, 2014 at 23:47:42
“I will read the piece, but I completely get that dealing with a "character-disordered" spouse or ex requires super human effort to survive, let alone thrive. The stepping back and dis-entangling emotionally can take years and the scars may take a lifetime to heal. I was responding to the comment that seemed to imply that giving up the court battles that often continue long after the actual divorce, as a form of giving up. I've witnessed too many high conflict divorces that resulted not in wins but in continued stress and uncertainty that eventually ruined the woman's physical health, not to mention taking a financial toll. It's the idea of power vs. force, or ego vs. soul; I also understand that as we get a little older we see things differently! I likely wouldn't have been saying this 20 yrs. ago, but that doesn't mean it's not true!”
“I think this was the worst betrayal - as odd as that may sound. It's one thing for people to lash out during (and even after) divorce, but I feel as though the entire process and the aftermath - many years of it - destroyed my belief in "the system." Or rather, many of the systems that I thought would apply a baseline of fair dealings. What I found instead was he (or she) with the most wiles and bucks "wins." And it may take many years (and unscrupulous attorneys dragging things on) before it finally sinks in, as you say - "prolonging" and even aggravating the trauma.”
“Thank you for addressing this issue. Those who haven't lived the experience of looking over their shoulder in the aftermath of a high conflict divorce, when mind games are played endlessly year after year, haven't any idea of the sort of psychological effects that may result. (Hypervigilance is among them, in my experience). I'm so glad you're raising this subject, which too often is dismissed.
How we help? Don't blame the victim, and don't think you're imagining things... when you're not. Seek help from a professional if possible, and likewise, support from friends who believe.
“I agree with those who have said that by the time the couple attends counseling (and at times, only one is willing to attend), the marriage may already be so far gone there's not going back. If anything, the counseling process may drive an additional wedge between the two, or expedite the process of splitting unintentionally.
Counseling of any sort requires a tremendous amount of skill and also chemistry. The right counselor(s) can make a difference, if intervening soon enough, and trusted by both parties.
DejaVow on Jan 9, 2014 at 10:10:29
“First off, thank you for reading my piece. I am an admirer of your many articles, especially the MadMen recaps!”
“So which is better - to marry someone who has been divorced three times, or someone who has never married (and divorced), but may have had a number of long-term committed relationships?
We can only judge individuals and their stories - and truly take the time to get to know them.
Sadly, we still live in a society that places greater social status (for women in particular) on "married" than either version of unmarried (widowed or divorced), and we continue to nudge all our women (especially) into marriage, often prematurely, which is a mistake.
“As a mother, it's impossible for me to conceive of life without my children as part of it. For that reason, I would never say that if I knew I would be divorced, I wouldn't do it.
Setting aside that reason, knowing what I know now, I would not walk down that aisle.
Naturally, none of us have this option of going back, and we do have the wisdom gained from the goo and the bad in our experiences. But as @jf12 just suggested, personally, I wouldn't take the plunge if I had any thought, even remote, that a marriage would wind up terminating in divorce.”
“Friends with benefits? Thumbs up, with caveats...
You need to be able to do it emotionally. You need to keep yourself safe, physically. It isn't for everyone, it may be fine for a short time, it may be fine at a certain age. But it's also important to recognize what it isn't... and when it's time to give it a rest.”
“Why must we continue to pose these questions to, for, and about women's lives when we do not when it comes to men?
Obviously, I understand the biological and cultural differences; we cannot change the biological, but surely we can change the cultural if we will dare to shift the conversation away from "women this" and "men that," not to mention attempting to prescribe how women should best lead their lives.
We are all people, experiencing and acknowledging varying needs and desires at various points in time.
No wonder men and women end up in adversarial relationships. We're still living in us and them, and no end in sight.”
OtayPanky on Apr 3, 2013 at 20:05:53
“DA Wolf: Obviously, I understand the biological and cultural differences; we cannot change the biological, but surely we can change the cultural if we will dare to shift the conversation away from "women this" and "men that," not to mention attempting to prescribe how women should best lead their lives.
It's all about the clicks. Writing about human beings in a sane and sensible way as human beings is BORING.
You know the drill: Dog bites man isn't news. Man bites dog is.
Writing honestly and thoughtfully isn't a money maker...not here, and not on the front page, either.”
jf12 on Apr 3, 2013 at 17:54:12
“Do you want an answer? It is because we can get away, for the time being, with not caring about men's lives; we know the men can be trusted to still be waiting, like hungry dogs who haven't been fed, whenever the women are good and ready. Provided it doesn't take too long. What women are not liking finding out is that it's not up to the women to decide when the men are going to feel like it's taking too long.”
“I believe we could take lessons from our parents or grandparents' generation in this regard. No, I'm not talking about turning a blind eye, though some may choose to do so, depending on the circumstances.
But circumstances are significant. One indiscretion is not the same as a pattern of deception. For that matter, an affair with a spouse's close friend or even family member is a different matter (and depth of betrayal) than a one night slip on a business trip, or even a month-long affair during a difficult period in the marriage.
No, the relationship won't be the same, and maybe it's not possible to reconstruct a new relationship. But too often, divorce is the knee-jerk response, and doesn't factor reasons, circumstances, including lousy judgment.
I believe it's important to look at all the vows that have been kept. I believe it's important to factor in children, shared history, and the family unit overall.
We're hypocrites when we look at the statistics on marital infidelity. We need to wise up and be more realistic.
“Very helpful. I experienced this with one of my teens when he was under stress junior and senior years in high school. He started working out when time allowed (there wasn't much of it, gearing up for college applications, which was part of the stress). He also biked the several miles to school more often. Both helped, just as this helps for adults.”
“While I find this article mildly amusing, I would venture to say that the study design is flawed, and the very approach of isolating body parts from the person as a whole is part of the foundational DYSFUNCTION in our approach to women.
Would we ever disassemble a man and focus on his pecs or his penis to attempt to learn something about the women's sexual politics - or anything else? Doubt it.
Moreover, what is insinuated in the following statement is frightening:
"... Also, knowing that some guys may associate your big boobs with weakness is NOT a reason to have a breast reduction..."
That ANY woman should consider surgery to enlarge, reduce, or otherwise reshape her breasts or any other part of her body thinking it may influence "what some guys think" is pretty twisted thinking.
And the corresponding research & articles on male endowments are where?
A 2008 study reported that 32 per cent of women who underwent the procedure (labiaplasty) did so to correct a functional impairment; 31 per cent to correct a functional impairment and for aesthetic reasons; and 37 per cent for aesthetic reasons alone!
websailor on Mar 9, 2013 at 11:25:44
“You are very opinionated when it comes to woman and their body parts. The article is just an opinion study and should reflect that and nothing more.”
“Excellent piece. And I'm glad you included mention of salary negotiation, with the link to tips. Not only do we need to raise our women with a greater sense of self-esteem, but we need to impart comfort with speaking about money, knowledge of money, ease with negotiation, and the importance of ongoing professional development.
Thank you for this look back so we can see how far we've come - and how far we still have to go.”
“Hey @jf12 - Which one was that? (No. Nevermind!) Seriously... we were having some fun. I don't see "manly" in here anywhere... I see 18 and 20 year olds doing what 18 and 20 year olds do... dressing as expected, or trying to figure out who they are through attire (and yes, hair), or in some cases... going for a chuckle. (Doesn't mean we got one, but at least we were trying.) Happy 2013, @jf12. Hope all's well.”
jf12 on Jan 10, 2013 at 10:03:04
“Yes, you got one, me chuckling. The hair was unexpected since I don't consider it part of "dress", but clearly women do. So I learned something too.
I actually did expect a lot of women to regret wearing hook-r clothes. But most seemd to regret dressing casually (and/or manning up - men's styles, padded shoulders, etc.)”
“Very informative, and an important perspective. But I think we need to look at the reasons that our age group is especially vulnerable to what equates to legal anesthesia, or an alternative to the quick-fix prescriptions (particularly the antidepressants dispensed to women).
Mixed messages in media? Sure. But it's more than that.
How about the prevalence of gray divorce? How about the difficulties of hanging on in the job market over 50, which are even more significant for women? How about earnings disparities and the inability to retire? How about dulling pain and fear with alcohol - even moderate amounts - because it's more affordable than seeing a doctor?
Barbara (Hannah Grufferman) has touched on this previously. (For that matter, so have I.) There are significant "gaps" across the board when it comes to access to communities, opportunities, health care, jobs, and earnings for these key demographic that could otherwise be thriving - in particular, women.
I will quote from an article of my own, relative to earnings and the age demographic:
"The worst performing age group comes in at 73 cents on the male dollar. Care to guess where? Exactly where I thought women would be doing best – arguably in their prime – age 45 to 54. And the 55- to 64-year-old group is the second worst, at 75 cents on the dollar."
“Women are still judged "valuable" based on appearance and it starts very young and is reinforced every way we turn. Even women who are not "fat" but think they are spend massive amounts of time and energy worried about their weight (and yes, uncomfortable in intimate situations with their male partners).
Pamela Madsen has written about this issue - our obsession with a woman's weight and how a woman is shamed if she isn't a certain size - in this culture.
Having lived abroad, I personally found a wider range of womanly figures acceptable though I fear our American female body obsessions are spreading.
Imagine if even a fraction of the energy we spent worrying about how we look went into our brain power, our political process, our relationships, our communities.
What if we truly were able to focus on how we USE our bodies (and brains) rather than how we look?
“I agree with you. My mother hammered the idea of thin = beauty = happy into my head at an early age. It had nothing but negative effects on my selfesteem.”
Greg Albright on Dec 23, 2012 at 00:32:50
“Yes. For example, I associate obesity in both men and women with people who are lazy and eat too much. So I am guilty of assessing value on that particular appearance attribute.
I am completely normal and rational. It is irrational and a little bit crazy to view the issue any other way.
It is sad for the tiny percentage of people who have a legitimate weight issue, that they are judged for the massive numbers of people who are obese because they are lazy and eat too much.
Really... If you are a 200# woman... rather than fighting over those posh parking spots right next to the mall, just park in the back of the parking lot and walk. In a year of shopping you will lose 20#.”
“I read some recent statistics that said in 41% of marriages, one or both spouses admit to infidelity (no precise definition).
57% of men and 54% of women admit to committing infidelity in "any relationship they had).
Do we consider that frightening, or human?
I'm of the camp that believes monogamy is a choice. Harder for some than others. I also believe we should fight hard to keep marriages intact when there is a prayer of working our way back to trust - particularly when children are involved.
Harder for some than others.”
CAcuff on Dec 7, 2012 at 22:21:43
“I could not agree more. It is a choice. I've been attracted to others while in a relationship -- even had mini fleeting crushes. I've also always chosen to not disrespect my partner or our relationship, no matter what. For some, that choice does not come so easily -- or at all. But, I'm with Gwyneth. Nearly every one of my friends and family has strayed at some point. I don't judge them or love them any less. It's just not a choice I would make.
That being said, I don't agree with infidelity. I think in a perfect world of radical honesty, I think it's better to be up front about what is missing/lacking -- or even about one's own frailties -- and give the partner a choice about accepting, staying, working it out or moving on. The one being betrayed should have a choice too.”
gmarcus2 on Dec 6, 2012 at 23:20:27
“I agree. Attraction does not have to mean action.”
“I hope you read the referenced Taha articles. But keep in mind that location, profession, availability /access to family can make a difference. Still, it pays to seriously consider the factors. And birth, toddlerhood is just the beginning, as you probably realized. An income generating partner in the process can help a good deal, but even in that, these days, there are no guarantees.”
“I was struck by Nadia Taha's article in the New York Times a few weeks back, wherein she tackles the issue of the cost of having a child. She took a lot of flack on the article, as I believe that many women do when they don't gush over the prospect of having children.
In fact, while I am a mother and have adored it, having done most of it solo, I know exactly how tiring and expensive it can be. Ms Taha's (two) articles on the subject are absolutely worthy reading - for those who are considering children, and those who are judgmental about other women who prefer only one child, or no children at all.
Ms. Taha is in her late 20s I believe, married, journalist, and living in NYC. She leaves possibilities for the future open - but her reasoning is absolutely sound.
“That is where I am now. I had my first child at 17 and kicked out of my parents house. So I had medicaid. 16 years later and I am now in a place where I want to have another one. What is overwhelming is the cost. My insurance will still leave me responsible for 4 to 6 thousands dollars that I have been told must be paid off a month after delivery. UGH!! I was saving to hopefully take a year off. Looks like I am saving just to get through the delivery.”