Advice

Miss Information

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Today’s Miss Info is all about hot bartenders and friends. Got an awesome best friend? A deep, abiding regard for the person who pours your shots? Are they single? Want to hook them up? I’ll post one eligible single per day on my MySpace page for the week of Oct. 8-12. Visit my MySpace blog for information and instructions. Will they find love? Or just a bunch of stupid band invites? We don’t know, but it’ll be interesting. Good luck!


Dear Miss Information,
My boyfriend and I are very happy — living together, a dog, talking about marriage, the whole bit. Of course, we have our issues, as does everyone, but there’s one thing that makes me insane. He goes to the same bar every evening after work (without me — I work evenings) and reads or meets up with a male friend to chat. I know that one of the bartenders there has a huge crush on him. He knows this as well — she told him — and he continues to go there and hang out. I realize he’s a regular, and he can’t control what other people do. But he can control how he comes across, and I doubt she’d confess such a thing without any prompting or reason. These things don’t evolve from nowhere. I know he’s not cheating on me, and he wouldn’t, but isn’t this slightly disrespectful to me? I see red whenever he mentions that he’s going to the bar, and my imagination goes wild. Am I just looking for problems in a seemingly perfect situation? — Kind of Insecure


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Dear Kind of Insecure,
Are you taking this too seriously? Your boyfriend is a decent fellow, but you’re having a hard time being the dowdy live-in girlfriend and having to compete with some hot-to-trot male fantasy with a cocktail shaker?

You don’t really go into all the ways you’re acting out. I just want to urge you to take a quick look at yourself and all the ways you’re adding croutons to the crap salad before I start in on your boyfriend.

Now. People do what they do because they’re deriving a payoff from their actions. It’s the basis for all human behavior and one of Dr. Phil’s Ten Life Laws. (Go ahead and hate, it’s okay. Just know that you’re being really predictable for your demographic, and sometimes wisdom comes from big bald-headed Texas sources). Something is making it worth it for him to keep going to this bar, even though there are other, less controversial drinking venues.

What are these payoffs? Put on your reading glasses, Kind of Insecure, I’ve got a whole slew:

1) It strokes his ego. He’s not used to female attention. The only females he sees on a regular basis are you and the marginally attractive woman who works at the Wendy’s near his office park.

2) It makes you jealous, and that makes him happy because he likes you. He’s doing the classic salesman schtick — the post-close — making the buyer feel happy about what she’s already bought.

3) It makes you jealous, and that makes him happy because he doesn’t like you. Well, not wholesale doesn’t like you. Maybe he just wants to cause trouble. Did you just say earlier that you’ve been fighting a lot?

4) It keeps him from having to confront the bartender. Raise your hand if you can’t get enough awkward conversations. Yeah, me neither. He doesn’t have lurid fantasies about boning her. He’s just being lame and avoidant.

5) It’s a way to keep the relationship on hold. You’ve got a golden retriever and an upright canister vac. This is not a three monther. It’s motherfuckin’ Go Time and this pseudo-affair is a symbol of his hesitation.

Coming to a resolution will require:
1) Your boyfriend being really honest with himself.

2) You ditching any immature, jealous behavior and unreasonable expectations. Take some halfway measures — for instance, he only goes a set number of days a week — while working on the underlying causes.

How to do that? Make a concerted effort to ease up on the fighting. Have more sex. Making sure you have two fun talks for every serious one. Sometimes the best way to get at a problem is to approach indirectly. You’ve talked about this so much it’s not going to get better until you start to ignore it. Once you start relaxing around each other, you won’t focus so much on this issue.

 

Dear Miss Information,
I am dating a wonderful, caring man, but there’s one problem: he doesn’t like that my best friend is male. He thinks it’s inappropriate for me to be close with another man. There’s nothing romantic between my friend and me; there never has been, and never will be. I’m not giving up my best friend of over five years. Is it even worth it to continue this relationship? I’m falling in love, but I don’t think he trusts me. Do most men feel this way about their girlfriends and close male friends? — Girl Friend



Dear Girl Friend,
I’m not psyched about the phrasing of this question, Girl Friend. I think you’re introducing gender into a situation where it doesn’t necessarily apply. Whether you’ll feel threatened by this type of relationship depends more on your personality and life experiences than on which set of underwear filler you were assigned. Plus, when we start saying “men always do this” and “women always do that,” our arguments become exclusionary and inaccurate. What about gay people? What about people who were raised by wolves? What about gay people raised by straight wolves?

Talk to your boyfriend and see if you can get him to spell out exactly what behaviors he considers inappropriate. Bear in mind, I’m not talking about a "tell me about what bothers you so I can tell you why it shouldn’t bother you" type discussion. Treat it like a gentle exploration. (Does that last phrase sound like it belongs in a geriatric ass play workshop, or is it just me?)

“Hey Josh, would you be upset if Jim and I went to the apple farm?”

“Would it bother you to see Jim hug me, or is something like that okay?”
“Josh, would going on a man-date one-on-one with Jim help at all?”

Josh might clam up and pull the old passive-aggressive “Do whatever you want! I’m fine!” What the fuck ever. You know and I know that’s just code for, “I’ll act docile now but toss you into a flaming abyss of resentment later.” Alternately, Josh could reject all of your compromises wholesale, leaving you with no options short of hanging out with Jim in an airtight facility with a chastity belt, a pit bull, and a Pinkerton guard.

If your boy pulls either of the above, you’ve got a decision ahead of you. You can: A. Let Joshy know that his behavior is unacceptable and he’s going to have to try harder to compromise, or B. Drop the friendship with Jim entirely. It’s instinctive to call the person who dumps the best friend an asshole, but I don’t know. Relationships can’t always function on directives like “Fair is fair!” and “You can’t tell me what to do!” I wish they could. We could dump someone and call in PriceWaterhouse as auditors.

There are some people who are willing to sacrifice a friendship (or a town, country, family member, job, etc.) for what they believe to be their one, true love. Others choose to hold on to what they have and try their luck finding their True Love, Part II. Keep in mind that even a best friendship involves risk. What if you give your boy the boot, then two years later have a falling out with Jim and find yourself pining for Josh.

If I were you, I’d consider bailing on old Josh, especially if he continues acting stubborn and uncooperative. It’s early in the relationship. Opposite-sex best friends are so common now. It won’t be hard to find someone you dig who’s more receptive to the idea.

 

 


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©2007 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com