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|Dear Miss Information,
I broke up with my longtime boyfriend about four months ago (based on your advice — no pressure!). To a large degree, I’ve moved on. I’ve casually dated a couple of other guys, and I’m not as miserable without him as I thought I’d be. But I’ve turned into one of those bitter singles. When couples invite me to have dinner with them, or even just go to a party with them, I find myself making excuses even when I have no other plans. When my friends in happy relationships act like they’re in happy relationships — even just by giggling together at an inside joke — I feel like they’re rubbing my nose in it. And when they try to set me up with one of their "single friends," I resent their placing me in a different, lower caste, even though I know this isn’t their intention. How can I stop feeling so resentful around couples? — Life Gave Me Lemons And I’m Sucking ‘Em
Dear Life Gave Me Lemons,
You’re sad and bristly because you’re bummed out about being single. You start dividing people into two groups: singles and couples, and form these big blocky assumptions surrounding each and what their lives are like. Single life: sad, hard, horrible. Couple life: easy, breezy, completely fulfilling. These are exaggerated versions of reality, and about as real as Lindsay Lohan’s latest rehab attempt.
Start paying attention to the way you’re viewing these situations, and ask yourself if your view is a product of the temporary (emphasis on that word) state you’re in. You don’t have to suppress your emotions and aim to be Ms. Never-Gets-Upset. Feel those emotions fully, girly. But put a little perspective alongside them. Here. You can borrow my Fonzie cup. It’ll help you feel more sane and keep you from crying in the bathrooms of restaurants (one of my personal specialties).
Most of the couples you know will eventually break up. Then the people in them will be single, you’ll get a boyfriend, and the situation will be reversed. In the dating game, we all have to take our turn.
I’ve said this to other readers, but it’s worth reinforcing: no one knows how neurotic you’re feeling at any given point in time. If your coupled friends stop inviting you out, or start slipping bottles of Prozac and pamphlets about "mood management" under your door, then fine. Get your ass to a therapist. But for now, be bummed, be all right with being bummed, and turn down those invitations. There will be time to uncage the social butterfly later. The extra time can go to single friends, dates and skulking. But never all three at once.
|Dear Miss Information,
I’ve been hanging out with a friend of some friends. We like the same music, dislike the same politicians and connect on a level beyond small talk. I might be interested in something more, but I’m a shallow dimwit and am turned off by his appearance. Personality-wise, this guy is the best thing to happen to me in ages. And we’re spending tons of time together. Am I dumb to not make a move? — Superficial or Scared
Dear Superficial or Scared,
You like redheads. You like boys with silly mustaches. You like guys who are short and built like a fireplug, but prefer rangy and ridiculously tall. Oh wait, that’s me. Not you. See what happens when you don’t trust your libido to do its job? You wind up with Jesse, the six-foot-six freak with the red bushy Tom Selleck who works at the Sunglass Hut.
So you’re not attracted to him; it doesn’t mean you’re shallow. It means you’re not attracted. You really want to be attracted, and holy Toledo, is it frustrating. But the required components are "mental and physical," and you don’t mess with the formula, unless you want a series of half-assed relationships that don’t work out.
The best move is no move at all, but I bet you’ll ignore me. The alternative is to conduct a very small, scientific test, where you get physical a few times and see what that does for you. What I mean by "very small" is the following: 1) You kiss him and do a little basework. No fucking, making love, etc. 2) You do this no more than once or twice. 3) You keep it confined to the two of you only. No gossiping among friends.
Then you might have the information you need to sort it out. If you don’t want him as a luvah, for Jay-Z’s sake cut him off. Step away from the comfortable-but-unfulfilling companionship and flattery. Get brave, go on a few dates, and see if you can find a more physically exciting specimen.
|Dear Miss Information,
I’ve been dating my girlfriend for two years, and in the last several months my libido has dipped and leveled out way below my woman’s needs. She’s fantastically understanding (as she is about all things) because she knows I have a stressful new job, and I’ve told her a few other partly true other reasons why I’m not in the mood. Since we’ve started dating, she’s gone from a diet of cigarettes and cheap Chinese to almost-quitting, eating three squares a day and joining a gym. Nonetheless, she’s gained twenty pounds. Absolutely nothing will change how much I love her, and I’m really proud of how she’s changed her lifestyle, so I feel especially guilty that this weight gain is diminishing my desire for her. I already do the bulk of cooking and go with her to the gym a few times a week, so I can’t encourage her any more without becoming obviously nagging and hurtful. I’m completely crazy about her, so why is this affecting me so much? Is there anything I can do? — Shallow and Sorry
Dear Shallow and Sorry,
I never really had a weight problem growing up. Part of it was luck and genetics. The other half came from my mother. She suggested I take fewer scoops during my third grade ice-cream binges. She barred access to the Fruity Pebbles and corned-beef hash when I was a high-school stoner. It worked because she was direct about it. She didn’t shame me, but she didn’t dance around the issue, either. Truth be told, it hurt. I remember crying a little. But then I starting watching what I ate, lost the weight, and got over it.
What I see here are two problems that both relate to the same goal: having a killer sex life. This is not "your low libido" and "her weight gain" — you need to start thinking of the two of them together. Take a break from the carrot crunching and tofu chopping and sit the GF down for a discussion about your sex life. Tell her that you’ve been thinking about this problem a lot and all the factors that go into it. One of these factors is her weight gain. It’s not the only factor, but it is a factor and it’s affecting your attraction. You hate hurting her feelings, but you love her and you love having sex with her. You feel like being direct about this is the fastest way to get back on track. You will continue to work on yourself and evaluate the ways you might be contributing to the problem. You will also shower her with support and encouragement and continue to be a faithful, loving awesome guy. (BTW, this convo should have a background tape of compliments and "I love you’s" playing throughout.)
Now that you’ve laid it out directly, and probably endured several days of emotional fallout, prepare yourself for the following realities: 1) She might not be able to lose the weight. 2) She might be totally comfortable being a little heavier and not want to go through the pain in the ass of getting back down to her college level. If what you say is true, that "nothing will change how much you love her," then you will be patient, chill your ass out and start worrying only if the twenty pounds become two hundred.
Readers, I’m sure you have a lot to say about this. Is this approach good? Does it suck? Ever been in this situation before? What did you do?
©2007 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com