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’m almost positive my ex-girlfriend is trying to ruin my life. She’s a straight girl who was in a lesbian relationship with me for around two years. After our slow and messy breakup, she began infiltrating my non-mutual friend group and in particular calling my best guy friend to hang out all the time. She’s admitted to me in the past that she hates him, but now is always with him, and it’s gotten to the point where he’s started calling her instead of me. The post-breakup times we’ve all gone out together, she flirts with him to get his attention away from me. She’ll call me and invite me to go out with them, only to rescind the invitation when I accept. In addition, I owe her money and she’s holding it over my head. Should I result to some dirty tactics to get my friends on my side again, or should I just let them go? — Friend Theft


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Dear Friend Theft,
You can’t force affection and loyalty from someone who doesn’t want to give it. And while it seems that your ex is initiating the majority of the contact, your best friend does have a mouth. If he were more emotionally intelligent and tactful (or perhaps just more interested in staying friends with you), statements such as: "Hey, let’s invite Friend Theft!" or "I don’t think Friend Theft appreciates the way you’re always trying to massage my cock when we go bowling," would be quick to make their way out. Since they’re not, I can only assume that your friend is — on some level — enjoying the attention.
We tend to like people who like us. Despite extenuating circumstances. Despite the inappropriateness. Our egos go, "Aw, shucks," and before you know it, we’re smiling at the friendly barista. The same one we were warned to stay away from by our coworker who accused them of latte-doping with 2% instead of skim and giving surly customer service. Asking your friend to outright spurn your ex’s flirtations and overtures toward friendship is, in a way, asking him to go against a natural inclination.
Another natural instinct: being irritated when people owe us money. It’s interesting how this little tidbit doesn’t appear until more than halfway through your letter. You frame it in a way that makes it seem like you’re the innocent lamb being dragged around by the bank book and she’s the big old meanie. I don’t see any explanation about why you owe her the money, how thankful you are that she loaned it to you, or when you plan on paying her back.
Anger is irritation’s kissin’ cousin. Some, like your ex, choose to express it passive-aggressively — doing things she knows will get under your skin. Two years is a long time for a bad breakup, and I’m not saying the only reason she’s doing this is that you owe her cash. It’s just one of what I’m sure are a ton of reasons — some justified, some totally not.
I do, however, think that if you want to start rebuilding this shithouse of a friendship, you need to come up with and communicate a believable, attainable plan for repaying the money. Once you do that, a noticeable decrease in the passive-aggressive bullshit will probably follow.
Dirty tactics won’t win back friends. Friends are either on your side or they aren’t. When one ex and I broke up, my friend "Ashley" not only told me when my ex asked her out, she also forwarded the email, unsolicited, along with a few choice comments as to the overwhelming cheesiness of my ex and the unlikelihood of such a union. Ashley’s not even a super-close friend more of an acquaintance. So why are you wasting your time on these two? Ashley’s the kind of chick you want in your corner. If the situation doesn’t improve after you’ve repaid the money, get the hell out. You’ve done the right thing and don’t need to mess with the wrong kind of people any longer.
 

Dear Miss Information,
I’ve been dating online for several years now. It’s really the only way for me to meet people to date since I don’t meet people in my daily life. The two long-term relationships I’ve had (both lasting well over a year), I’ve known even before we met in person that there was a connection. I keep looking for that same instant knowledge and I’m not sure if I’m being unrealistic. They say you know within ten seconds of meeting someone if there is possibility, but am I cutting short other potential relationships by not giving them enough time? My old rule used to be, if I wasn’t thinking of the person on the way home after meeting them, it wasn’t right and there’d be no second date. I would occasionally go out a second or third time, if the person seemed perfect on paper, but is there a good guideline for how much time to spend with someone before you write him off? I mean, if I’m not feeling fireworks (or even the urge to be kissed) after, say, three dates, is it safe to assume I never will? I’m not into wasting my time or anyone else’s, but at the same time I don’t want to make decisions without giving someone a fair chance. — Westerner

Dear Westerner,
Me, is that you? When it comes to dating habits, you and I are like Britney and Cheetos. If I’m not feeling it by the end of the first date, I’m not feeling it. If I’m wishy-washy I’ll occasionally go ahead with a second. For a particularly stubborn case of the I-don’t-knows, I might even do a third or fourth. Like you, I wonder if I’m being narcissistic and infantile. I’ve never been one for all that flowery Shakespearian "I’m going to die without thou" stuff. My romantic ideal is two old farts visiting the Hoover Dam and bickering over Wet Wipes in matching sun visors. It’s more about comfortable friendship than the wrenching away of undergarments. Then why is physical attraction or rather, the lack of it such a tough obstacle for me (us) to get over?
The conclusion I’ve come to is that, for a long-term romantic relationship to exist, an initial sexual attraction is a non-negotiable. You don’t spend time thinking about why you need air or why you’re such an immature ass for craving water. You want it because you need it. You just do. End of fairy-tale story.
Keep doing what you’re doing. Give a small number of "good on paper" suitors a second chance to set your loins on fire, and give a smaller subset a third and fourth.
Finally, make a new friend at work, go to a different grocery store, hit the gym at non-regular hours looking scary-hot. Make a commitment to interface with one new male a day and keep yourself honest by starting a bet with your friends or keeping a little diary of it. It can be as big as a conversation that leads to a date solicitation, or as small as "Excuse me, which way is the snake-food aisle?" Online dating should be one part of a multi-pronged approach. The side benefit will be that once you start meeting people other ways, you’ll feel less neurotic and more badass. You won’t always be second-guessing yourself.

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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com