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,
My boyfriend and I have been in a long-distance relationship for the last year and a half. Recently, we decided I should move to his country. After four months of living happily together, I asked him to ask his housemate to move out. He responded by saying he can’t ask this guy to move out because he promised never to ask him to move out — not until he wanted to leave. It’s not like his friend is super-poor and will be living in the streets. It’s not about the rent, either. I offered to pay his housemate’s share. My boyfriend says he doesn’t want me to move out, and he’s asking me to continue staying in the apartment. But I’m twenty-seven and he’s thirty-two. Living with his housemate is out of my limits. I’m moving out now, and he’s okay with that. Am I being a drama queen, or does he not want to be in a serious relationship? Confused in Another Country

Dear Confused in Another Country,

Hard to make a call on this one without getting the other side of the story. From what it sounds like, he’s not that serious about getting serious and he’s using the housemate as a means of delaying. Then again, he may view the four months you call "happy" as full of fighting and drama and bullshit. He never knew how hard it was going to be having a new girlfriend come live in his space. He cares for you a lot. He’s just not ready to make a call yet.

I’m going to leave you to work this one out more or less by yourself, but with a few questions to consider:

1. Are your limits fair? Rents are high and I’m sure you’ve read on a cave wall somewhere that the economy is in the shitter. Does your irritation with his roommate have real, tangible roots or are you more worried about what your friends and family are going to think? If so, what are you aspiring to? Do what works. Let the dillhole with the Fendi bag and the Ferrari worry about keeping up appearances.

2. Why didn’t you discuss this before? Why you failed to settle the roommate situation and set up a rough timetable for living solo and/or getting engaged/married is totally beyond my understanding. It’s not like this was a whirlwind cross-continent romance. You had a year and a half to plan. The fact that you didn’t is a sign that one or both of you was experiencing some indecision.

3. What will his roommate moving out actually mean? That he’s willing to make a compromise? That he wants to get hitched? That you have an extra room you can turn into an art studio or something? Since you didn’t do the talking before, do the talking now. Think about what you want and why you want it and be willing to bend a little. There might be a way to get what you want without chucking around the ultimatums. His willingness to consider new solutions will be a better indicator of his level of commitment than a backed-into-a-corner decision. Those usually backfire.

Dear Miss Information,
I’m a bit of a tomboy, and someone who’s never really let the you-can’t-do-that-because-you’re-a-girl mindset stop me from doing or saying anything I want. So my relationships with men have been different than most women’s. Males have generally been playmates first, playthings second. I’ve gotten pretty adept at short-circuiting any unwanted sexual tension. From my teenage years through most of my twenties, I enjoyed fantastic friendships built on mutual respect and appreciation. Now I’m in my thirties and things have changed drastically — especially with my male friends married or in serious relationships. I’ve gone from being the "girl who understands" to the last rung on their social ladder. What has prompted this change in my male friends and what should I do? Have they all started drinking the "social appropriateness" Kool-Aid? Are their significant others that uncomfortable with them having a single female friend? What’s going on here? — Consummate Buddy

Dear Consummate Buddy,

Jealousy. Beyond that, your peers are getting older. Social calendars slow down and become less diverse as we age. A small, tightly-knit group usually composed of a few same-sex friends/coworkers, spouse and immediate family takes the place of a larger, more loosely assembled group of male and female acquaintances, what marketing dorks call a "tribe." It’s why you’ll never see anyone over the age of forty with mixed-sex company in your average TV commercial. Viewers get confused.

So do husbands and wives. Not everyone is as evolved as you when it comes to gender roles, Consummate Buddy. Sexual jealousy is one of the most difficult emotions to repress. For some, that angry hot nausea one gets from seeing their cutie pumpkin angel talking to that skanky piano-store clerk is hard-wired.

Especially if she’s a cute, confident and single piano-store clerk. You get where I’m going with this, Consummate Buddy? Some of these wives and girlfriends might really want to like you, feel guilty about not liking you, or not know what to do about not liking you. You might think we should all be above this by now, but you’ll have to accept it as the reality. Once you do, you’ll start to see them less as the mean gatekeepers standing in the way of your dinner dates and more as real, very fallible people.

This, in turn, will make it easier to befriend them a more workable long-term approach than trying to pit your friends against their partners. Is it fair that you have to kiss up to someone who’s been cold to you, or worse, openly hostile? No. Is it fair that you have to feign interest in someone with whom you have nothing in common, just because your friend can’t be bothered to grow a set and tell her to fuck off? I’ll go with "no" on this one as well.

But being right is not as important as getting the desired result. Change your approach not so much that it makes you feel like a total sell-out, just slightly. Don’t be shocked if you find yourself enjoying the new additions to your social circle. Some of my best friends are ladyfolk, and I was a hardcore guy’s girl all through high school and college.

Previous Miss Info

©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com