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

Dear Miss Information,
My "boyfriend" and I met online and have been dating for five months. After the first month, I asked him to be exclusive. He said he wasn't ready. Since then, we've spent almost every day/night together (like six out of seven days a week). We've had a few talks since then — most recently, a month ago — about whether or not to be exclusive. He still says he's not ready, but he can't possibly be dating anyone else seriously. I'm ready. All the other guys I've been dating in an attempt not to get too attached to him just make me realize how amazing he is. Do I give him an ultimatum and hope that he chooses to commit, rather than lose me? Or do I continue to wait and hope he comes around? Should I keep bringing it up every month or so, as I have been? — Non-Exclusive and Tormented


Dear Tormented,
Despite my folks shelling out upwards of ten grand a year on tuition, I managed to sleep through most of college economics. One thing I did pick up was the concept of cost/benefit ratio and the impact it has on making decisions. There was also something about guns and butter, but I'd advise you to stay away from both at this point in your relationship.
There will come a time, Tormented, when the emotional costs of waiting for your guy to stop dicking around will outweigh the benefits of being with him. And that's when you'll know it's time to break things off for good. Until then, you have a few choices. If you're sure he's not seeing anyone seriously (and using protection in the sack) you can let up on the commitment stuff and relax over what's essentially a monogamous relationship without the formal designation.
Since that would never work for a neurotic like me, you can also try having a talk with him to clarify his fears. What does he think he'll be missing out on by making a commitment? How does he think things will change? I know you guys have discussed it before, but this time make it crystal clear how much this is troubling you and causing you to re-evaluate the relationship. Tell him it's not about threats and ultimatums, and more about self-protection. Why should you invest any more emotionally in something with an unsure outcome? If he's the kickass guy you say he is, he'll understand.

Dear Miss Information,
I'm that most pathetic and contemptible of all creatures, a married guy looking. For various reasons, the thing with the frigid and demanding wife ain't gonna work out, and for two very specific and adorable eight- and ten-year-old reasons, I can't ditch the witch and move on. I've already dealt with the "life sentence of involuntary celibacy" issue with some success, but once or twice a year just ain't enough.
I've got this one soccer mom with big brown eyes in my gunsights. I want her to know I'm not her soulmate, but I'll eat her five times tonight and I'm just warming up. How do I let the girl know I'll do her with the ravenous enthusiasm of a prisoner released, and still be a gentleman at the same time? — Headed for Hell

Dear Hellboy,
Most gentlemen I know don't refer to the mother of their children as a "witch" and eat strange pussy while their wife and kids are away. Sorry to sound so condemning, but if you're looking for some sort of go-ahead, you've come to the wrong place. Just because I talk dirty doesn't mean I advocate dirtbag behavior.
You're in a sexless marriage, and that sucks. But there are alternatives. Divorce is one of them. But since you can't bear the thought of exposing your kids to a loving and functional relationship (i.e., any relationship other than the one you're in now), let's take a look at what else is out there. There's cheating, which can lead to awesome things like sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy. These risks seem small in comparison to the thoroughly and indelibly fucked-up relationships you'll have with your wife and kids once they find out (and they will if you don't knock it off). How's the thought of your eight-year-old flunking out of school and winding up on anti-depressants as a boner killer?
There's one more possibility — working it out with your wife. This can take a number of forms, from therapy (couple, individual, or both) to some sort of ‘arrangement' with your wife, whereby your extra-marital activities are mutually agreed upon and regulated. I'm full of shit, you say? The wife will never go for it? Well, have you ever asked? If she dislikes sex as much you say, she may look at it as a welcome relief. Of course, you still run some of the same risks as cheating (disease, pregnancy, etc.), but the emotional stakes are much lower.
Whatever you wind up doing, try to remember that you always have options. Lying to people you love doesn't have to be one of them.

Dear Miss Information,
I want to get back with my ex. We're both home from college and staying with our parents for the summer. We dated for three months a few years ago and broke up because he was leaving for college. How can I get back together with him with the understanding that I don't want to continue once school starts up again? I can't fuck this up too badly, because our parents are friends. — Lusting for the Ex

Dear Lusting,
In addition to teaching us new ways to wear pajamas in public and fashion bongs out of fruit, college kids also make our jobs easy. Like mine. Let's do a little Summer Sluttin' 101, shall we? First, assess the situation. Go on a "just friends" date and see if he's still available and hasn't gotten a girlfriend, discovered he's gay or joined the clergy. Next, make your move while making it clear you're only up for a short-term fling. This is always awkward and can ruin that Danny-and-Sandy-in-Grease-type reunion, but it's summer. You've got no time to waste worrying about how and when you'll eventually break it off. It's better to set his expectations from the start.
If he's game, have at it, but keep it low-key around the folks. You don't have to hide your relationship (pretty hard, since you're using their toilet), but there's bound to be a bunch of "awww…don't they look cute" type stuff, and you don't want to give them false hopes. If he shows mixed feelings or proposes marriage during your first week back, it's probably best to interview other candidates for a three-month temp. You don't want to mess with his head and take a bunch of ex-boyfriend baggage back to school. Your room is small enough.

Previous Miss Info

©2005 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com

Commentarium (15 Comments)

May 27 05 - 10:18am

Dear Miss,

Let me reaffirm. You are hot!!
However, the advice you gave the college lady (is this an appropriate term for her, hmmm, I dunno.) about getting with her ex for a couple of months is just dumb.
Interesting how you peaked with supreme responsibility when asked about cheating and committment, but then went "noodle" when talkin about "sluttin".
I think you owe Miss Lusting a rethink.

May 27 05 - 10:44am

PJC, are you kidding? I think maybe you're barking up a moral tree that doesn't need barking. The difference between the married guy and the college girl are about as grand as can be. The married guy is looking to be dishonest and play with the emotional well-being of both his wife and his children. However there's nothing wrong (from my point of view) with a person who wants to get a little poon without the commitment -- ESpecially when it's all laid out on the table beforehand! If she wants to get it on with a guy who's completely aware that all they're doing is fucking and hanging out with no plans for developing something any farther, what reason is there not to do it? Seriously! Is it "noodle" and "sluttin" that's bothering you? Are you going to stress out on terms? I think Miss Info was right on the mark with both of her bits of advice, if you ask me.

May 27 05 - 10:48am

Liked your response to the married guy Headed for Hell, but I think it's stretching things to say that cheating leads to STDs and pregnancy (any more than any kind of sex would). One can cheat wearing a condom too.

May 27 05 - 8:03pm

no, you're right on girl...love your stuff, and your stupid blog (when are you going to stop giving it away for free, get an agent, and make a mint...you do have what it takes, take it from me!)

May 28 05 - 8:53am

To the girl who's waiting for an affirmation of commitment...
Miss Information's advice is fine, but as a married woman
who's never really had the are you or aren't you with me
converation with anyone, I'd say the letter writer is
worrying over nothing. She's with him 6 nights a week.
She and he are struggling over a verbal definition of something that is probably already there, and they have different reactions to it. My advice is, go on as you are,
have fun, and assume he's with you as much as you are with him. If you find out otherwise, feel free to kick his ass-
personally, I think majority time spent together in intimate positions is authority enough over another person to make
some assumptions. You don't know what will happen in the
future. Commitments come in a lot of weird ways, usually
because at the right time you both find out that you want
the same thing.

May 28 05 - 1:40pm

The situation of the married man is a complex and difficult one and I think your advise was too superficial. I'm sure there's much more to this story but we are only listening to one side of it and unfortunately we'll have to stick to it.
This man doesn't want to leave his frigid demanding witch, and like most spouses in similar situation is using the kids as an excuse to his unhappiness.Blaming yourself for your unhappines is a first step towards facing your inner issues that are stopping you from being happy. A lot of people don't want to deal with them so they'll rather blame it on others. Sounds to me like a tipical love story: mutual dependency for x reasons (in his case some really fucked up ones). By wanting to fuck "soccer mom" he's following exactly the same pattern: running away from the problem Ahhh! The sacred institution of marriage...

May 28 05 - 3:44pm

Alright pal, she won't give you the advice so I will: don't get caught. This is very simple dictum, but I can't emphasize enought how many men manage to fuck this one up. They let emotions get into their heads. They start to want to get discovered because on some level they feel they the erstwhile source of misery ought to know. Or maybe they start to feel invincible because they never knew they could be getting away with this. Or some other such bullshit that causes them to get stupid and sloppy. Anyway, here's the cornerstone to not getting caught: be careful and never take extraordinary risks. How can you pick-up women and be careful? First you got to meet women, so go on a self-improvement binge. It's a very safe move, (it may even improve the situation domestically) but it will help you meet women, boost your self-esteem and hone your vibes. Second, "careful" cheating means you have to trick the women into seducing you. With any luck, she'll blame her wily self for your adultry. That way, you know she'll keep her yap shut. Step 2 is an art in itself, and I certainly don't have time to go into the fine details here, but at least I've tried to give you the information you wanted (rather than a hefty dose of moral grandstanding which is particularly jarring considering how commonplace cheating is).

May 28 05 - 5:12pm

In response to WBB:
Sure...go and fuck all the soccer mums you can get away with and manipulate them into thinking they seduced you.On the meanwhile be very careful that the frigid "witch" doesn't catch you. One question: You're fourteen years old,right?
(Baad boy)
You should be in bed by now and not surfing on adult websites. Mamma is going to be angry at you.

May 28 05 - 5:13pm

In response to the posting below:
Sure...go and fuck all the soccer mums you can get away with and manipulate them into thinking they seduced you.On the meanwhile be very careful that the frigid "witch" doesn't catch you. One question: You're fourteen years old,right?
(Baad boy)
You should be in bed by now and not surfing on adult websites. Mamma is going to be angry at you.

May 30 05 - 4:54pm

Erin, your comments to hellboy with respect to his kids were right on the mark. The healthy thing for the kids is to be exposed to a loving functional relationship between two adults. And if he can't have that in his marriage, then he needs to get a divorce so that the kids see him in sucha a relationship with someone else. The prospect of the kid doing poorly in school, on anti-depressants, etc is not far-fetched but realistic. That can happen even if he stays in the lousy marriage and doesn't get caught, because somehow, at some level, kids know and it does affect them. It's rough stuff. I know. The hard way.

May 30 05 - 4:56pm

You are wise beyond your years. (See my comment on your advice to "Hellboy").

May 31 05 - 12:45pm

Dear Miss information:

I am an old married man and much in love--your response to the guy who wanted your permission to cat around was very refreshing--you are a good egg. Keep up the good work--my wife and I have suggested your column to our sons 22 and 26 and they have thanked us.

Jun 01 05 - 5:01pm

I don't think you're mainstream enough, miss information. You would do well to spend more time reading Anne Landers and cosmo to realy hone your art.

On the boyfriend who doesn't want exclusivity, you manage to make the assumption that a monogamous relationship is the end-all-be-all for human interactions, and that he wouldn't be a kickass guy if he didn't agree. Nice, btw. Good job with that one. Nicely enough, you never mention the possibility that they could have a meaningful and loving relationship without exclusivity, even while you reaffirm all her preconceived notions about healthy relationships.

On the married guy, you manage to not address his question AT ALL. Come on. Let him make his own decision. If that's what he wants to do, then tell him what he wants to know. I am sure he's already thought of and heard PLENTY of high-handed moralism. It's disingenuine, and frankly pathetic.

The real advice on whether to cheat or not is to be absolutely sure that you won't feel guilty about it. If you decide you've done wrong, it will make you feel even more unhappy. If you can do it without remorse, then go for it and don't get caught, and if you can't do it without feeling bad, then don't do it at all. Be true to yourself-- fuck the moralists.

Here's another tip. Talk to your wife about yourself and your needs and your thoughts. Don't even mention her role in the marriage, because she is already well aware of everything you dislike about her. Be the real man you always were deep down inside, and stand up for yourself, and be willing to roll with the punches, whether it means divorce, a license to screw around, a new commitment to fixing the marriage, or whatever. At least you'll be able to feel good about yourself for doing something.

And if you decide, after careful consideration, that you are totally ok with fooling around on your wife, or either through divorce or mutual agreement you find yourself with the freedom to prowl, then I suggest you check out some of the material that's available on the web to help you demonstrate your more attractive qualities. Quite a bit of it is written by manipulative pigs, but there is still a lot that isn't, and you will be able to figure out for yourself which stuff fits in with your personality and world-view and which stuff is just creepy. Try www.fastseduction.com as a place to start.

On the whole, lately I've been feeling like www.nerve.com just isn't as progressive or sexy as they'd like you to believe, and this column is by far the greatest offender on the site.

Sorry for the harsh words, that's just how I see it.

Jun 04 05 - 12:47am

In response to Zeb:

"..The real advice on whether to cheat or not is to be absolutely sure that you won't feel guilty about it.."

There is this woman in my building who's been cheating welfare. She always NEW she wasn't doing anything wrong. As she put it "That was MY money". Timothy Mac Veigh also knew he wasn't doing anything wrong. Au contraire, he thought he was making Americans a favour by blowing up a federal building. Both of this people didn't had one drop of guilt. You're theory is kind of childish and sad Zeb.
Regarding that website you're recomending married guy (fastseduction.com) I just logged on to it and had a ball.
It's designed for nerds with no life who think there is some kind of er.."formula" to get into a woman's panties.
They are making money by playing with men insecurities. Which is great because finally we have a "Cosmo" version for men! LOL.
European female 32

Sep 12 10 - 7:07pm
Pick Up Women

I agree