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 last boyfriend and I broke up because he was a total slob: multiple dogs and cats, day-old dishes in the sink, etc. My current boyfriend is meticulous to the point of being obsessive. His place looks like a model home (though I got him to discard the worst of the imitation greenery), and he can’t finish a meal without beginning the mental clean-up.

In some cosmic practical joke, he considers my place a filthy disaster. (By most standards, I am a pretty good housekeeper.) He also works obsessively — at last count, sixteen days in a row with only a few hours off here and there. And no, I didn’t pick him because he was the exact opposite of my old boyfriend. How do I get him to relax? — Not a Happy Housewife


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Dear Happy:
Love does strange shit to people. I was reminded of this last month, when I hitched a ride with my best friend’s new boyfriend. His car was like something out of Trainspotting, with dirty socks, cigarette butts and other assorted filth covering the backseat.
I choked back my gag reflex and looked to my buddy for a similar reaction. What I got in return was a slight giggle and a Mona Lisa smile. The girl who once criticized me for being a slob (like you, Happy, I pride myself on being a good housekeeper) was now hooking up with a guy whose vehicle is a rolling health code violation. The difference between you and my friend, Happy, is that you’ve been on both sides of the Swiffer WetJet. You know what it’s like to be with someone whose standard of cleanliness doesn’t measure up to your own. You also know what it’s like to be nagged by someone who’s an uptight douche.
On to your boyfriend. His workaholism, combined with the housekeeping thing, is troublesome. Either your boyfriend is the critical, controlling type who’s miserly with his time and his affections, or he’s just a nice guy with a case of OCD. Let’s hope it’s the latter, though my experience argues otherwise.
Bluntness may be the key to making him relax. The next time you’re in a fight about cleaning, calmly say, "I will do chores A, B and C at such-and-such a time" and "I won’t do chores X, Y and Z because we already did them/it’s not necessary/you’re acting like Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, and it’s fucking scary." Sometimes, control freaks just want to know where they stand. Once they do, they’ll either quit their bitching because they know it’s useless (you already said you weren’t going to alphabetize the contents of the kitchen cupboards), or they’ll give up and do it themselves (which, incidentally, is not a bad proposition).
If that doesn’t work, try chipping in for maid service. Even though it’s technically not his place, if it bothers him that much, he should be willing to help pay for his neurosis.



Dear Miss Information:
As a divorced single mom, I rarely have an opportunity to date more than one guy at a time. If I do, I usually pass it up, preferring to focus on just one opportunity for lust, love, or whatever. But now I find myself attracted to two very different guys. I’m wondering how I might go about dating (and sleeping with) both of them without going crazy.
Guy #1 is a no-holds-barred, kinky sex fiend. Sexually, I’m a bit obsessed with him and want to keep pursuing the relationship. However, he’s a full-time single dad, doesn’t have much time for me and often cancels dates at the last minute. Guy #2 is a self-admitted love junkie, and I feel like I could learn a lot from him. It’s been a long time since anyone I’ve known or dated has professed an interest in finding love.
Am I setting myself up for overwhelming complications and heartache? Or is there a way to have twice the fun and twice the enrichment? — Getting Greedy in My Middle Years

Dear Greedy:
Hell yes, you’re setting yourself up for complications and heartache by dating two guys. Does that mean you have to give up both immediately? Hell no. Before you go any further, think about what you want most in a relationship. If it’s someone who can stick it to you day and night, go with Guy #1. If it’s someone who can put together a bookshelf and knows your cats by name, get on Guy #2.
I know you want both. And I want to own a time machine so I can go back to 1978 and fuck Leif Garrett in his prime. Some things just aren’t realistic. That said, if you must continue seeing both of these characters, you have to set some boundaries. Guy #2 has to know you’re dating (and sleeping with) other people and aren’t interested in anything serious. Spare him the details of Guy #1′s sexual prowess. Saying shit like "Oh, I’m seeing someone else, but don’t worry — it’s purely sexual" is only going to wreck his self-esteem and may contribute to some serious boner issues the next time you’re in the sack.
Also, make sure you’re not fucking with Guy #2′s head by doing and saying things that cross over into boyfriend territory. That means don’t send him to pick up your prescriptions or call him crying after a fight with your boss, etc. His self-admitted love-junkie status means you should keep him at arm’s length. Your mutual sanity is at stake. And don’t assume Guy #1 doesn’t deserve full disclosure too, even if he is mostly a fucktoy. Better to be open now than to hurt his feelings later.
My guess is that you won’t be able to sustain this double-your-pleasure shit for long. Either you’ll make a decision, or one (or both) of the guys will bail. Until then, foxy mama, try to keep your head clear, your heart open and your condom drawer stocked.



Dear Miss Information:

Recently, I accepted that my on-again, off-again relationship of nearly ten years is going nowhere. We still talk, but I have made it 100% clear that because he will not give me a definitive answer about our future, I’m moving on. I’m proud of myself for finally taking control after so many tumultuous years. However, I have two questions:
1. My best friend insists that I cut off all communication with him. No emails, no phone conversations, no seeing each other, ever. But I’ve done that in the past, and he always ends up back in my life. Also, I don’t want to cut him off. I still would like to talk with him, see how he’s doing, let him know what’s new, etc. I feel completely confident that I can move on but keep him in my life. Am I crazy? My best friend (who’s put up with my whining and tears for years) doesn’t think I’ll have enough distance.
2. I have been using an online personals site. I’ve been getting a few responses, including one from a total hottie who wants to meet up soon. The thought of that scares me to death! I don’t know if I’m gun shy, or if it’s because I’ve put on weight recently due to medication. I don’t feel confident about meeting anyone right now. Should I work on myself before doing this online thing? Or would I be passing up a golden opportunity with a hottie? — Every Which Way


Dear Every Which Way,
Sorry, kiddo. Your best friend is right. You’ve got to cut off all communication with this guy if you genuinely want to make a break. There’s too much history and bullshit under the bridge for you two to be buddies. Saying, "I just want to see how he’s doing" sounds about as authentic as an addict saying, "I just want to hold the crack pipe; I’m not going to smoke it."
Ten years of ups and downs has left you emotionally vulnerable. Any — and I mean ANY — contact with him, no matter how platonic, could lead you two right back down the shit-paved path to fights, breakup sex, hurt feelings and a whole host of unpleasantness.
I know it’s depressing to picture him out of your life, but that’s the way it’s gotta be. What you give up in the short term — the initial, feel-good rush of being with someone who makes you feel secure and understands you — is far outweighed by what you’ll get back in the long run: a more balanced mental state and the chance to meet a guy who can, and will, give you what you need.
That leads us to Mr. Hottie. Many would advise you to hold off until you’re a "better you" (whatever the fuck that means). My advice is, go for it. A new love interest can help take your mind off things and make the breakup that much more permanent, something you apparently need. But take it slow. If the weight thing is making you feel weird, make sure you explain it to Mr. Hottie before you meet so there are no surprises. Whatever you do, don’t go running back to the old boy if your first foray goes badly. Just because you have a few bum dates doesn’t mean you and he are really meant to be. Indulge in a good bitch session, give your vibrator a workout and move on to the next thing. There’s no need to make the same mistake twice.
 

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