|NEWS FLASH! The Miss Info Reader Contest, with fun and dirty prizes for whoever has the best embarrassing sex story, is being held over for one more week. Get your entry in by 12:00 noon on Sunday, November 16. All names can be changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. Scroll to the bottom of this week’s article for details.
As always, send your sex and dating questions to email@example.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.
Dear Miss Information,
This isn’t a letter about a romantic relationship, but I’m hoping you can help. I had a falling out with my best friend of seventeen years and can’t stop obsessing over it. A few years ago, she got engaged to a guy who’d been cheating on her. When she asked if I approved of the match, I answered honestly with a blunt no. Even though she didn’t take my advice, I supported her decision and stood up in the wedding. After they divorced, I moved in with her and her son, but it was disastrous. She acted like a total bitch — yelling, slamming doors and being totally passive-aggressive. To make matters worse, she was temping at my office. She moved out when our lease ended, and it’s been four months since we’ve spoken. I miss her and want to call her constantly. But I’d have to eat a lot of crow, which isn’t fair: She was the main problem, not me. What should I do? — Miss My BFF
Dear Miss My BFF,
There are many of us who keep our partners close, and our BFFs closer. I knew my BFF and I had gotten too enmeshed when my shrink would interrupt me three times a session to clarify whether the person I was talking about was my best friend or my boyfriend. The relationship was so emotional that my liberal parents were dying for me to come out as a lesbian. While we’re on the subject of shrinks, I’m going to give you a line from a book one of mine recommended. It’s a mantra that helped me when the bond between my BFF and me started to unravel:
"I am here, and you are over there."
Pretty ridiculous, huh? All we need is a picture of a child holding hands with a firefighter or an eagle soaring and we’d have ourselves a great motivational poster. Look closer, though, and there’s meaning: I am me, you are you, and there is a space between us. Our happiness is not contingent on sharing the same point of view or being in total harmony. We’re different people, and we’re both just fine as we are.
For a long time, you were here, but your BFF wasn’t over there. She was on top of you and you were on top of her. Living together, working together and acting as each other’s confidantes suffocated the friendship. The end result was negativity and drama. And saying, "Let’s be friends again, but just so you know — you’re wrong and I’m right" won’t erase all that. But you don’t have to roll over, either. Start by telling her what you told me — that you miss her. You want to be in her life again, but you’re not ready to get into all the old issues. You want to hang out and have fun, minus the arguments. Once you master that, then you can address what went down before she moved out. If she drags a bunch of old grievances out of the bitch closet, hold steady. Do not engage. Repeat your offer and ask her to give it a try. If she’s up for it, great. If not, you’ve got some thinking to do.
What impact it will have on your life if she always believes she was the better roommate? Can you live with that and still maintain your sense of who you are? If you follow my new mantra, you probably can. In order to keep the people we love in our lives, sometimes we have to present an edited version of ourselves. One that doesn’t try to change the unchangeable or hammer away at old, irresolvable issues. The reward we get for our self-restraint is all the awesome stuff we love about the other person, and the fact that they love us, even though we ourselves are similarly flawed.
|Dear Miss Information,
I love my boyfriend of over four years with all my heart and soul, but I am not very attracted to him. We live together and plan to get engaged soon. He also puts up with my low sex drive. The problem is that I really want to cheat on him. The other problem is that I’m only twenty. I don’t want to live without him, but I’m afraid that staying with him is unfair if I’m always hot for other guys. We have talked about this and he knows all the details, but wants to stay with me anyway. As a side note: we were both virgins before we met. Me breaking up with him would be earth-shattering for both of us, but staying with him feels wrong. — Lost in Monogamy-land
Dear Lost in Monogamy-land,
You do not have a low sex drive if you’re constantly horny for other people. You have a low sex-with-your-boyfriend drive. Let’s not get confused here.
Is that a dealbreaker? Put it this way: I wouldn’t be pricing reception halls. You were each other’s firsts. You’re young and haven’t had a ton of romantic experience. I’m not saying that to be some annoying elder. In many ways it’s positive — you love more intensely, freely and optimistically than we oldies in our thirties and forties do. I would kill to go back to a time when I could hear the word "forever" from a guy and not write him off as an unrealistic, over-promising hunk of Gruyere. The downside is that you don’t have a sense of what lies in front of you: the years and years of mistakes, successes, changes and people you’re going to meet.
Every few years, your life evolves into something completely different. In all my various li’l lifetimes, I’ve learned that you cannot manufacture true sexual attraction. I’ve also learned that the relationships we have early on tend to be all-consuming and hugely important, but often temporary. Finally, I’ve learned that love and anxiety are separate and distinct. "I’m compatible with this person in all the ways that matter," is not the same as, "I live in a small town and am fearful I will never find another guy who appreciates ’80s-era horror films on the same level as me." You may never find another guy who enjoys those movies as much as you, but you can’t let that stop you from tossing the half-right-for-you fish off the side of the boat and searching for a more fulfilling relationship.
Before you jump into beds where you don’t belong and hurt your poor boyfriend — take action, young lady! You’re looking at this as break up or stay together, when there are less drastic options. Explore an open relationship. Take a mini-break where you keep your current place but sublet another room and date other people. Go to a doctor and see if there’s anything medical at play. Or take your already existing, amazing honesty — I love that you had the guts to tell him about the lack of attraction — to the next level with sex or couples counseling.
But take the steps now. An engagement may provide a temporary high, what with all the people congratulating you on Facebook. Then reality sinks in and your problems are the same, if not worse. Instead of disappointing your boyfriend, you also stand to disappoint Aunt Linda in Spokane who will never let you forget the fifty dollars she wasted on an almond-colored Mr. Coffee from your registry. Good luck, Lost in Monogamy-land. I’m rooting for you.
Who’s got a tale that beats the period-stained panties off of last week’s Red Streak? Who — besides Miss Info — has met an officer of the law halfway through a handjob? Who’s done the Walk of Shame in a Barney Rubble costume, post-Halloween? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 p.m. Sunday, November 16, and tell me, in 350 words or fewer, your most mortifying bedtime story. (Don’t worry, dear readers: you can use a clever pseudonym or your initials. In the event that you can’t think of anything clever, your name will not be revealed.) The winner will be published in next week’s column. They’ll also win a twenty-five-dollar Amazon gift card as well as a subscription to Nerve Premium.
©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com