Some people have problems that require delicate advice from a qualified professional. Others just need a random a guy on the internet to kick ‘em in the teeth (with honesty, that is). I’m the latter. Welcome back to Tough Love.
This week we have a man who is dating a woman who is openly anti-gun. Trouble is, he’s a secret gun owner himself.
Note: I’m not a therapist or health professional of any kind. People ask for my advice and I give it to them. End of transaction. If you have a problem with it, feel free to file a formal complaint here. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with it.
So, I’m in an odd position. I have been seeing a wonderful young woman for about two months now, and we have compatible views on everything but one little thing.
She is anti-gun. She said something along the lines of “Yeah, I wanna take your guns.” Now, the problem here is I enjoy owning and using guns at the range, had gone hunting in the past, and feel that a blanket removal of guns isn’t the right solution. I also own a few family heirloom guns that I do cherish. The rub is I haven’t told her this mainly because we haven’t been seeing each other that long. When is it appropriate to start airing differences on such sensitive topics?
Thanks! Not Anti-Gun
Hey Not Anti-Gun:
The sooner you talk about this in a relationship the better. Honestly, it sounds like you’ve already had an opportunity to be open about this and you didn’t take it. That’s a mistake, NAG. I understand the hesitation to tell her—it’s not exactly a first date ice breaker for most people—but there are some things you seriously need to consider here before you go hiding this any longer.
First off, you’re not giving her any benefit of the doubt. You’re assuming that disagreeing about this one issue means you can’t eventually find some middle ground, or simply “agree to disagree.” Yes, guns are a very hot topic right now, and she once said she wants to “take your guns,” but did you ever stop to think that maybe you can educate her and possibly convince her to rethink her stance to something less extreme? You have an opportunity to open up dialogue here where you can both learn something about the other side. Maybe in her mind all guns are nothing but killing machines—not the hunting, target-shooting, heirlooms they are to you. Being anti-gun doesn’t have to mean being anti-all-guns the same way that being pro-gun doesn’t have to mean being pro-all-guns. And if it really is a deal-breaker for either of you, there’s no point in wasting your time, right?
Second, nobody would feel good happening across a gun stashed in your place, especially a woman who is anti-gun and doesn’t know you have one. Red flag, bro! According to the CDC, nearly one in three women will experience abuse in their lifetime, and often times that abuse is domestic. Add on the fact that having a gun present in a domestic violence situation increases the chance of a woman being killed by 500% and it doesn’t look good. Those are scary stats—and she’s probably somewhat aware of them. Now, I’m not saying you are an abuser or a killer—you sound like a very responsible gun owner to me—but in her mind you still could be! Think about it from her perspective. She hasn’t known you all that long, and as far as she knows you’ve been honest with her. If she spots a couple guns in your closet, she’ll wonder why you never told her about them (technically a lie of omission), and there’s a chance she’ll get spooked. So, it’s better to be honest about it, and ASAP.
Now, when you do finally bring this up, NAG, explain how you see your guns and what they mean to you. Be honest about your stance on owning firearms, and how you don’t want to see a blanket removal of them because [reasons]. Tell her that you use and store your firearms safely with gun locks and all that jazz (hopefully you do), and tell her how you acquired them (knowing they were all acquired legally might dissuade some discomfort). In the end, she might be more understanding of an heirloom hunting rifle that belonged to your great grandfather than an AR-15 with an extended clip and bump stock.
Look, it may not work out. If she’s that passionate about the topic, she might take off the minute you tell her you’re a gun owner. But being honest about who you are and what you believe is the right thing to do when you’re dating. In the future, you don’t necessarily have to open with your stance on guns during the first date or anything like that, but if it comes up naturally in conversation like it did with this gal, don’t hide the truth.
That’s it for this week, but I still have plenty of blunt, honest advice bottled up inside. Tell me, what’s troubling you? Maybe I can help. I probably won’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but sometimes what you need is some tough love. Ask away in the comments below, or email me at the address you see at the bottom of the page (please include “ADVICE” in the subject line). Or tweet at me with #ToughLove! Also, DO NOT EMAIL ME IF YOU DON’T WANT YOUR REQUEST FEATURED and PLEASE KEEP IT SHORT. I do not have time to respond to everyone just for funsies. ‘Til next time, figure things out for yourself.