Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.

Dear Miss Information,

I stumbled across a compromising video of my ex on an amateur porn site. She was my first true love, and even though I have since married, that lost love will always linger. She is married too, and lives far away. I’m not in contact with her and don’t plan on seeing her again for the sake of our marriages, closure and my own sanity. I was shocked when I saw the video. She wasn’t that sexually open-minded when I was with her! Obviously, part of my reaction was jealousy.

I have two questions: 1) How do I get over this?, and 2) Is there an obligation to anonymously or non-anonymously contact her in case she doesn’t know that video is out there? Beware the Power of Porn


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Dear Beware the Power of Porn,
Stumbled? Really? Sorry, Chachi. Joanie calls foul. The Internet is as full of porn as the universe is full of stars. The chances of accidentally finding your ex amid the millions of thousands of wank options are slim to none. You were probably searching for her using a more deliberate method. Which is okay. We’re all curious. But let’s can it with the whoopsie and own up to our actions.
As for what you should do now: forget that the video exists, straight off. I’m all for porn, but jerking it to a video of someone who broke your heart isn’t going to do much for your marriage or help you move on. What you need is a substitute. Scout around for something equally delicious and fucked up. It’s not like you don’t have options.
But damn, Miss Info! It’s like a boobie car accident. I can’t stop watching! Fine then. Watch it. You’ll lose interest eventually. Boners need variety. They can only subsist on one nutrient for so long.
Whether you give it up now or later, do not get caught. Your wife is not going to buy the "I was playing Boggle against the computer and the next thing I know. . ." ruse any more than I will. She’ll feel hurt and jealous and creeped out. It’s one thing to wack it to a random porn starlet, another to do it to someone you know. Even if you’re not using it to get off, it’s still going to be disturbing. And rightly so.
What to do about the video: Tell me, is your ex over eighteen? Was anyone doing anything with children or animals? Does the video look and sound like it was consensual? Then don’t worry about it. If something doesn’t sit right and your conscience is really bugging you, go ahead and send her an anonymous email with a link to the site. No name, no commentary. Just a simple, "Hey, thought you might want to see this," is sufficient.
As for the jealousy aspect, all I can tell you is that people change. Years ago, I was anti-porn. It was a discussion with my sister on a Disney World tour bus that changed my mind, not the magic wang and brilliant sexual tutelage of some former lover. We’re ready for new experiences when we’re ready. I’m sure you’re scads of fun in the sack, but it’s not always about you, love.

 

Dear Miss Information,
After seven years with my girlfriend, I’m on the verge of ending it. I like our friends, where we live, and even her family. But the relationship itself almost doesn’t exist anymore. A million little things have started to bug me, but I know that’s a symptom of the larger problem, not the cause. I just don’t know how to leave her. I’m scared to death that I’d be making a huge mistake, and I don’t want to hurt her. I feel like I’m postponing the inevitable. She’s aware that things aren’t great, but I don’t think she knows how close to the edge I feel. How do I end this? What’s the best way to do this to give both of us a healthy, fresh start? East Coast

Dear East Coast,
My dad’s a big word nerd. For real. The man shits Scrabble tiles. Part of his affliction is that he’s constantly reading signs. I remember him freaking out over one in particular. It was at Kennywood amusement park on the "Raging Rapids" water ride. It said: "You will get wet on this ride." Not "may get damp" or "perhaps will be sprinkled" or "very possibly misted." Will. Get. Wet.
It’s pretty much the same with breakups. Just substitute the word "hurt" for "wet" and a heart full of sad for the soggy t-shirt, fanny pack, and lost Ray-Bans. There is no way to break up with someone and not hurt them. There is no way to break up with someone and not get busted up yourself. There is no way to predict how much hurt there’s going to be or what it’s going to feel like until you actually do it. They’re all unknowns.
But you do have some knowns: anxiety, annoyance, dissatisfaction, that squiggly "this just isn’t right" feeling that dominates every waking thought.
So the question is, are the unknowns worse than the knowns? I’d argue they’re not. Even though the unknowns may hurt more initially, they’re much more prone to change in the long term. The healthiest, freshest starts I’ve seen (and experienced) are the ones that put a fair amount of distance between the couple and observe these Five Don’ts:
Don’t #1: Don’t agree to delay the decision. Stay in the here and now.
Don’t #2: Don’t hash out the minute details of previous arguments. It’s not constructive.
Don’t #3: Don’t tell them you’re unsure about what you’re doing, even if you are.
Don’t #4: Don’t expect good feelings or positivity out of the other person. You’re the dumper, which means you have to accept your role as asshole.
Don’t #5: Don’t do what makes you feel good, do what you know is right. It’s hard to be cold to someone you care about, but sometimes it’s the best thing for them.


Dear Miss Information,
My boyfriend and I have been dating for about six months. We’ve exchanged I-love-yous, and by all accounts, we’re really happy together. I knew that he was planning a trip abroad in the next few years, but this weekend he sprung the news that he’s planning to leave for Paris next December for about eight months. To me, this came as a big, sad surprise, but he reacted along the lines of, "Well, everything has to end sometime." I was not only hurt by this, but a little incredulous that he was acting so cavalier. I’m going to be out of the country for a few months next winter as well, but I don’t think he’s willing to try anything long distance. Is it too soon to be worrying about this? Is it unfair to criticize plans he had before he met me? Can we enjoy the remaining months of a relationship that’s on self-imposed Death Row? — MC

Dear MC,
C’est dommage, mon petit chou. Your boyfriend is, how you say, le weasel-face? After half a year and all those I-love-yous, this relationship deserves a more formalized dump.
That said, are you making it easy for him to scoot away without having any difficult discussions? "I think" this and "I’m incredulous" that. How about actually calling him to the carpet — "What you’re trying to say is that you want to dump me come December. Am I correct, fucko?" In less middle-school terms, it might be, "Let’s talk about how we imagine the relationship evolving when we go away to our respective foreign countries."
Then again, maybe you’re the one with pierres dans la tête (rocks in your head). Has he always been sort of non-committal? Are you the one responsible for generating all the forward momentum? Who initiates contact more? Who pushed for exclusivity first? Who led the charge changing social-networking profiles from "come and get it" to "someone already done got some"? Maybe he’s been trying to tell you something all along. I got stood up on New Year’s Eve by a guy who had been acting like a fucktard all week. It hadn’t stopped me from getting my hopes up. We’re all human.
Is it too soon to worry about it? No. What he’s proposing is a breakup. He needs to say that. Like Will Ferrell says, it’s "kind of a big deal." It’s not something you gloss over. Hurry up and talk to him about it. Then you’ll know what’s up and how you want to respond.

 

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