1. godsandgenerals4ever
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    godsandgenerals4ever Member

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    An open, honest woman un-realistic

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by godsandgenerals4ever, Jan 5, 2012.

    Another question on the topic of romance: I've created a story being given much hard knocks over at another forum where the female character is in an abusive relationship, confides the gory details of it to a good male friend of hers who, in turn, urges her to break-up with him and even steps up for her when her BF is being verbally abusive on the phone. Finally, she cuts the rope.

    Yes, this is kind of a "hero gets the girl" tale, one done in rebuttal to a fantastic claim I read by a so-called "dating expert" many moons ago who claimed no man could get a girl he liked away from her mean boyfriend.

    Nevertheless, I keep getting docked by everybody who has read and cared to comment on it that no woman would be so open with a man ... and yet my mom is an open, honest person so there is at least one honest woman that I know of.

    So what gives? Can an open, honest woman who is the love interest of the male lead be realistic or does she need to get so infused with "chick logic" the guy loses the girl and not wins her?
     
  2. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Hmmm. As a woman I can only speak for myself, since we are all so vastly different. I have females I confide in. If I were in an abusive relationship, the idea of adultery or even the idea of adultery would terrify me of retribution. I would never confide in a male friend for fear my abusive partner would become jealous and hurt me even more. Cowardice? Maybe. But it would be in the essence of self preservation. I do have female friends that know all, even the abusive aspects of my childhood. My husband knows these aspects too. However, as a child I would never have even let on what was going on. I was convinced it was normal. That all families had issues like mine and the loyalty to family that was instilled in me was one that said "you do not air the family's dirty laundry". I was strong enough to get out of it and to set healthy boundaries with my family with the help of my spouse. However, if HE were the abuser, again the fear of retribution would prohibit me from telling another male what was occuring. If it were a male confidant he would be gay. Someone that would not pose a threat to my abusive boyfriend's ego.

    That being said, perhaps your love interest could be bi, but had been in a series of male/male relationships causing those around to believe he was truly gay. At that rate, the "victim" could confide thinking he was safe and would not fall for her, since she wasn't his type in her mind. Just a thought.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see why a woman cannot have such a relationship with an obviously straight male. I've had a couple such relationships, and the confidences were mutual. The only reason I could see is if she knew the guy was interested in her as more than a friend - then, yes, fear (of both men) could over-rule the friendship. But if she was unaware of it, it's entirely possible. Once she was out of the abusive relationship, she would most likely be gun-shy, but I don't think it would be insurmountable.

    Don't forget, abuse is about control, and abusers typically try to isolate their partner from any friends or family. It wouldn't matter if it was male, female, friend, relative, gay, straight, whatever - the abuser doesn't want the partner to have anyone else, especially not a confidante. If she has someone who encourages her to open up, she's going to do it, even if it does take time to get there.

    In other words, I think your critics are being a bit narrow-minded, if not sexist.
     
  4. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    My Dad has often had female friends confide in him about their jerk boyfriends (not abusive, just jerks). He also has a male friend who is constantly confiding in him about his (the friends') abusive girlfriend.

    Chances are she wouldn't confide in someone who seemed to be a romantic rival to her boyfriend, but some women have male friends they confide in, and sometimes they end up realizing said friend would make a very good boyfriend.

    One warning I have is that it really isn't easy to convince someone to get out of an abusive relationship if they haven't decided they want to - my Dad's been bugging his friend to leave his girlfriend and he keeps making excuses for her. The reason is that when she's stable (she's bipolar and has substance issues), she's actually a very nice person. He just keeps focusing on the good and glossing over the bad. Make sure you know what attracted her to this man in the first place. Abusive partners aren't one-dimensional monsters - they have good and bad qualities like anyone else. And very often they don't want to hurt their partner, that's why they keep promising not to do it again. Problem is they can't control themselves, they have some kind of emotional issue that makes them lose control. Typically the abused partner knows the abuser didn't want to hurt them and feels sorry for them. And abused partners are often quite low on self-esteem to begin with, so it's hard for them to be selfish enough to risk hurting their partner in order to save themselves. (Plus the fact that abused partners are most at risk of serious harm when they've just left the abuser. Some have even been murdered when they try to leave the relationship.)
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I"m extremely direct. I hate passive-aggressive people who are never clear about anything. So yes, lots of women are straightforward and honest, even though stereotypical rom-com type movies often don't like to portray us that way. ;)

    In terms of openness/honesty, that depends on personality, not gender. I think it's more an issue of introversion vs. extroversion and how private someone is with their personal life. It's their sense of dignity, too : some people are hesitant to share anything that they may think will make them look weak.
     
  6. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Answer: It takes all kinds. Stereotypes are there because they are trends, not rules.

    Write your character as she is demanding to be written. If you try to fit a character into stereotypes in an attempt to make them more believable, they become nothing but that stereotype and therefore NOT believable.
     
  7. Baba Yaga
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    Baba Yaga Member

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    I could see if it working if she had known the male lead previously (as in, before the abusive relationship started) and trusted him as a friend. I hope there is enough transitional time between bad BF and good BF though... I hate it when a woman runs straight out of the arms of one man and into those of another, even if the relationship was not an abusive one.

    After being controlled and beaten down emotionally in that relationship, she would need time, space and the (platonic) support of her friends to find her self-confidence again.
     
  8. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    I think this is less a matter of "open, honest women" and the psychological characteristics of people who allow themselves to get into those kinds of relationships.

    Basically, people external to the relationship where one partner is abusive and domineering usually have very little power over the victim's decision making. This is spoken out of personal experience and there are a litany of others who would say the same.

    The woman in your story will have had their free will beaten out of them (verbally or physically) by this point because if they hadn't, they would have left of their own accord. While a less-than-loyal woman may fall for a guy she takes a shine to, abused spouses suffer low self-esteem, self-efficacy and emotional dependance on their partner. While it's possible for them to break free (with varying levels of difficulty and success) it's rarely as simple as "this guy makes sense - I'm going to dump that jerk" because of the inherent weaknesses in the person's will.

    I'd recommend speaking to actual people with experience in dealing with these matters if you want to keep this as realistic as possible. Counselors and psychiatrists (specifically relationship and marriage ones) would get this kind of thing all the time (to varying degrees, of course). If this is a book for publishing, the research costs may well be worth the expense.
     

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