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 have been dating a guy for four months. After many ups and downs (with the downs becoming more and more frequent), I decided that I don’t want to continue seeing him. We’re supposed to go on vacation together next week. He pushed for it, and I was initially pleased and excited. But I see no future for him in my life. I don’t trust him and I don’t feel any desire for him, but the tickets are paid for and non-refundable. I feel like it’s not very classy to back out, but it feels hollow and dishonest to go with him feeling the way I do. What’s your take? — Nervous Flyer



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Dear Nervous Flyer,
     I’m going to say this fast and quick, like ripping off a Band-Aid, You ready? Here we go:
     Break up with him and cancel the trip.
     It’s only been four months. Four months! Do you think it’s going to get better, Nervous Flyer? It won’t. Let’s look in the old crystal ball: Scenario #1, you go on the trip. The two of you manage to push your negative feelings aside and get along. The fighting resumes shortly after you return stateside, and you dump him. All of a sudden, you’re the manipulative bitch who lied to get a free trip to Bermuda.
     Scenario #2, you don’t go on the trip and you dump him. He goes anyway and parties his ass off with a buddy or stays home moping and allows you to repay the ticket in installments.
     I can appreciate wanting to fix the sins of a past relationship and grow as a person but given the context it sounds suspiciously like rationalization. Go back and re-read your letter, Nervous Flyer. You’re already halfway out the door. Wasting money and canceling vacations sucks, but do the right thing now and those dollars will come back to you in another form. Good things happen when you’re not fucking people over. Sock a little away each month and soon you’ll be leaving on a jet plane, minus the 175 lbs of emotional baggage.



Dear Miss Information,
     I’m twenty-two and I’ve been dating the same guy off and on for six years. We never fight. When we break up, it’s always because I feel like I need space. But after about a month I always want to get back together. Sometimes I feel pressured because I think I could spend my life with him, but I don’t want that life to start right now. I’m about to graduate from college and I have so many choices ahead of me. Still, I’ve tried dating other guys, and those relationships never last. Am I getting cold feet because I really have feelings for this guy? Or am I going to be a commitment-phobe forever? — Beginning to Feel Bad for Him Because He Fell for a Confused Girl


Beginning to Feel Bad,
     It might never go away permanently, but I do think your commitment-phobia will lessen once you’re in the right relationship. I don’t know if this is the guy, Beginning to Feel Bad. I’m sorry.
     Obviously you have strong feelings for him. That’s why you keep bouncing back and forth. Instead of asking yourself if you’re in love, you need to ask, "Do I see myself satisfied with this relationship in the long term?" Of course you love your boyfriend; you’ve been with the guy for six years. You can love someone deeply but know that you’re incompatible. It’s an automatic feeling, something that comes from way deep down. It doesn’t go away if you ignore it. That’s why you keep looking for an escape.
     This realization can be incredibly sad, especially when it’s one-sided. That’s why people cling to their "But I’m in love!" rationale — it offers reassurance and safety. Shitty part is, it only works so long. Then the thrill of getting back together fades and the old feelings start bubbling up and you’re back to being unhappy and plotting your next breakup. Confusion like yours is understandable, but only to a certain point. After that, it’s self-serving. Now external circumstances are forcing you to make a decision. As you go about making it, keep in mind that your boyfriend’s a person, not an ego prop, loneliness buffer or way to soothe your pre-graduation anxiety.

Dear Miss Information,
     My roommate’s boyfriend has all but moved in. He doesn’t pay any of the bills and he eats all my groceries. My roommate and I split the utilities and I want to make him pay his third. She’s hard to confront and I know when I talk to her about this she’ll freak out and make my life unlivable. She’s my best friend. I just want him to stop leaving pubes on my soap, or at least make him pay for the privilege. — Ms. Jack Tripper


Dear Ms. Jack Tripper,
     I agree that this boyfriend’s a menace, but his name’s not on the lease. You signed on with the assumption that two people would be splitting the bills, not three. If unexpected annoyance meant automatic discount I’d be getting my prescription drugs, laundry and coffee drinks for free. I know that a shitty live-in boyfriend is no comparison, but I’m being realistic. How many situations like this do you know of where the third party has cheerfully come through with a check? For me, it’s nada. Zilch. Zero.
     Here’s the deal: your roommate’s guy is responsible for any long-distance phone calls and movies-on-demand, but heat and hot water are out of the equation. He sounds like too much of a slob to be taking eighty showers daily, and the difference in usage is likely so small it’s not worth getting in a big nasty fight with your BFF.
     When it comes to food, he definitely owes you. You can be passive-aggressive and start hiding stuff in your room, or you can whip out the old Sharpie and let him know exactly which of the perishables belong to you. You could also organize a group trip to the grocery store where you share a cart and divide the cost of the items. He pays for the Swiss Cake Rolls, and you come off like a sweetheart who’s accepted him as one of the family.
     Sucks for you, but it’s unlikely this guy’s going to go away. The only thing you can do is make life around your place more livable. That might mean dropping this notion of fairness and searching for an acceptable bare minimum. Get your roommate away from Mr. Wonderful and talk to her one-on-one. See if you can get her to agree to some changes, such as a set number of nights per week when he’s not around or a few rules about who gets custody of the couch and TV. If you’ve done all this and it’s still the same BS, time to load up the hatchback with liquor and banana boxes and move on before the friendship becomes unsalvageable.
 

 


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