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Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

He Likes Guys. He Likes Girls. Does He Like Me?

In Dating, Drama on March 31, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Choosing him as a friend or a lover can be a thin distinction. Photograph courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Yenta,

I am with a man who is bisexual. He says he’s sworn off men and seems to be really into me…at times. In fact sometimes it is extremely passionate. But he is not only bisexual, but also extremely troubled mentally.

Anyway-we hung out for 9 hours the other day at my apartment and he did not make one move which I think is strange-we did not even kiss. Usually when I am with a man and it’s new (we have only been together one month) its very passionate. What to do?

-Does He Like Me?

Dear DHLM,

You have given me lots of random tidbits, but I don’t completely see how they connect. From your question I don’t totally see what his bisexuality has to do with anything, except that you doubt his attraction for you. This could be the case with anyone, and does not necessarily have any bearing on his attraction to men. There are lots of things that can be happening here. My first inclination is that you don’t like this guy/are overwhelmed and confused by his nature.

Something may simply be amiss with him, or between the two of you, not related to sexual preference. Some relationships start physically wild, and others don’t. Some people are comfortable with doubling up on both emotional and physical intimacy, and others aren’t. It is possible that you and your man just need to move slowly if your connection warrants nine hour conversations. Long deep talks and long deep kissing is sometimes a lot to handle in one day.

Because you have been dating for less than six months and are already full of doubts, maybe convert this relationship into a friendship – as soon as possible. They say that it should be easy at first. I don’t always buy this, but I do believe that if you doubt their attraction for you it is a deeper issue. In those six first months, whether you are doing it daily or saving yourself for the lord, at the very least you should feel undoubtedly wanted.

You could talk to him, but I don’t think there is much to ask. “Do you like me?” That is awkward, and should be obvious by now. He might have deeper issues which you could try to discover via conversation. It is all a matter of how much wading through someone else’s demons you are up for.

Why, a better question to ask, are you drawn to him? What of yourself do you see in this man? What are you meant to learn from this encounter about your own inner workings?

Sounds to me like you got yourself a buddy more than a boyfriend, and in the end, there’s no crime in that.

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Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation 101

In Mental Health, Sex on March 29, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Dear Yenta,

I recently heard about autoerotic asphyxiation. If someone dies this way, is it suicide by masturbation? I am confused.

Sincerely,

Creeped Out in Texas

You say potato, he says hanging can be delightful.

Disclaimer: PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. I DO NOT CONDONE LIFE-THREATENING SEXUAL PRACTICES.

Dear COIT,

Also known as “The Breathless Orgasm,” erotic strangulation is a complicated method to orgasmic madness. In layman’s terms, this sexual practice involves restricting airflow either through a noose, a plastic mask, or any other number of methods in order to induce a type of hallucinogenic blissed-out state.

The pleasure-causing agent is hypoxyphilia, defined by Sex-Lexis.com as “facilitated by the lack of oxygen produced by self-strangulation or from being strangulated or asphyxiated by a sexual partner, up to, but not including, the loss of consciousness.”

Restricting airflow has been a means of inducing highly ecstatic and/or sexual states since the 1600’s. Breathwork is generally used as a religious and spiritual healing method, and used to calm the body and/or induce extreme pleasures. See Conscious Breathing: How Shamanic Breathwork Can Transform Your Life by Joy Manne. So it makes sense that this type of breath control/restriction induces something of a high, like being on the top of Mount Everest and heaving for air.

Auto-erotic asphyxiation, according to GoAskAlice, “is the practice of cutting off the blood supply to the brain through self-applied suffocation methods while masturbating.”

Asphyxiation, ie, cutting off breath, was used to cure erectile dysfunction back in the day. And when men die by hanging, they often die with an erection. This whole phenomenon is complex, and related to oxygen flow, blood flow, and perhaps the eroticization of death and dying. This, coupled with an orgasm, is supposed to provide complex and intense pleasure.

Obviously, when toying with breath restriction, there is the possibility of going too far. For example, see this explicit opening to Six Feet Under where a man dies when strangling himself with his belt to increase his self-pleasure. Or, check out this article in the UK Sun when a pop-star died of “unknown causes.” Doug did it too, on Weeds.

This is rarely a case of suicide, and more often than not, a case of a failed exit plan and freak accidents. Ie, when someone dies from poorly executing their sexual fetish. Most people who engage in this practice do so knowing they are toying with the possibility of death, and therefore make a point to have an emergency way out of their noose.

According to ForensicPsychiatry.ca, “the individual is usually careful to use some kind of safety mechanism intended to prevent accidental death in the event of unconsciousness. In most cases hypoxyphilic deaths are a complete surprise to family and friends as the deceased was typically in a good mood and giving every indication that they were looking forward to the future.”

David Carradine died this way in 2009, read this article from FOX News for more details on his death by erotic strangulation.

The mechanism involved in this type of pleasure is classified as a mental illness in the DSM manual. I am not inclined to agree. Autoerotic Asphyxiation is considered a “paraphilia,” defined by Merriam-Webster as “a pattern of recurring sexually arousing mental imagery or behavior that involves unusual and especially socially unacceptable sexual practices (as sadism or pedophilia).” According to American medical practitioners it seems to be socially unacceptable to want to strangle oneself for the fun of it. As long as they don’t die, I hold off on all judgments.

For more detailed info, try reading:

The Breathless Orgasm: A Lovemap Biography of Asphyxiophilia
by John Money, Gordon Wainwright, David Hingsburger

Autoerotic Asphyxiation: Forensic, Medical, and Social Aspects
by Sergey Sheleg

Will I Ever Find Love?

In Dating, Mental Health on March 28, 2010 at 1:09 am

Fun does not always translate to relationship material. Photograph courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Yenta,

I think I am going to be a bachelor for the rest of my life, and I am not sure if that’s a bad thing. My life is always in a lovely state of chaos, rarely a dull moment. I love going to the movies/the bar/the theatre/the museums by myself. I like not having to answer to someone. And, if I may borrow from our lady Emily Dickenson a bit, I absolutely love dwelling in possibility. But she died single.

Was she happy to merely “dwell in possibility”? So I think perhaps I am just scared to actually settle down, settle being the operative word. Having only had 3 major loves in my life with a scattering of nipped-in-the-bud potential heartbreaks, maybe I am actually NOT cut out for the whole relationship scene. This path I have carved out for myself is a lonely existence, but at least it’s mine and no one else’s. So I guess the question is Yenta: Never? or Never Say Never?

-Alone Forever

Dear AF,

Oye. Honey, first off, three major loves is more than most people can bargain for in an entire lifetime. You are blessed. As for finding a fourth and lasting major love, you will have to step back and take inventory on your life and your lifestyle.

This process actually completely sucks. It is the tough work of seeing where we are lying to ourselves, and often requires a new friend, a pre-existing honest friend, or an outside party to help reveal the truth. If you are leading a jet set lifestyle, so be it. But if you never stop moving, never rest, it is possible that you are running around to avoid whatever it is you will find when stillness arrives.

This is a common practice – running haywire on adrenaline to avoid the muck. The muck is where the tools for love are. The grit and grime of whatever it is you are avoiding is like a little key. Usually, once discovered, it unlocks a barricaded heart and lets love in.

So, a few questions: are you REALLY happy? Or faux happy? Are you REALLY looking for a partner? Or is now just not your time? Maybe you are living 100% perfectly and the moment simply has not presented itself. Is there a timeline you are working with that makes you feel inadequate right now for not having that type of love?

And then, wonder about your patterns. Look at your past relationships, the big ones. But more importantly, look at the flirtations, the fizzlers, the moments that bombed. What happened? Who are you choosing? Are they men? Boys? Women? Girls? Are you barking up the wrong tree? Or is it the tree right, and you just happen to be climbing all wrong?

If there is something you do regularly to sabotage the possibility of love, it will be hard to determine what it is. Whatever we do to avoid things tends to be momentarily subconscious. So find yourself a battle plan, whether it be a serious solitudal exploration of the interior, a support group of women friends, interviews with all your exes, or an arsenal of professional help. Do what you need to do to figure out where, when, how and if at all you are pushing love away.

Never, my dear, ever, ever, ever say never. We get what we wish for.

She Dumped Me and Now I Hate The World

In Breakups/Divorce, Dating, Drama on March 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm

All that misery was probably born elsewhere. Photograph courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Yenta,

I was recently dumped by a girl I was seeing for a month. I know it’s lame, and I may be reacting too much for such a short-lived experience, but I really liked this girl, and the breakup came out of nowhere, since things were going really well. Her reason was that she recently reconnected with an ex, and she felt guilty stringing me along. I’m having difficulty coping with the pain, and I’ve tried binge-drinking, making sad music mixes, and I’ve repeatedly listened to the Breakup Episode of This American Life. I really want her to feel the sadness that I do, but more importantly, I want to be happy again. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Wallower

Dear Wallower,

No matter what a lifetime of My So-Called Life, Dawson’s Creek, 90210, Part of Five and Gossip Girl will tell you, this kind of misery is not totally normal. When I say “normal” I mean to say that it is not an acceptable social standard to fall apart because some girl you knew for a month decided to go back where her heart came from.

That being said, I know that love can expand and flourish in even just a week. Time does not negate intensity, and I have no doubt that this relationship felt vital and moving. But, in the end, you are an adult and this human you loved on was not someone of enormous importance in the scope of your vast existence.

This means that something else is wrong. What is going on in your life? Could you be using this as an excuse to cry about other things? Chances are this chick just triggered a massive library of self-esteem issues. She just triggered the rejection valve and now you are probably wondering something along the lines of “Am I lovable? Will I ever be loved? Am I a freak? Why don’t she love me anymore?” Etc. A little sting is normal, a full-on collapse is another story.

Get out your diary and write a little ditty about what you are going through. Figure out why this woman, who you don’t totally know, was so awesome for you. Was it her, or was it the having of a girlfirend at all that felt so amazing? What did she validate for you? What are you projecting onto this woman, what kind of importance, what kind of role, what kind of romantic notions?

If you are seeking your self-worth from a stranger, it will leave you dead and cold in the heart region when they walk. Ie, look for that spark, that love, that acceptance within you and the bottle and This American Life won’t seem so delicious.

You want her, you say, to feel this same sense of gigantic loss. But she probably didn’t turn you into a mountain as you did her. Your loss is not necessarily about the girl. It is about all the things that being seen by another with loving sparkly eyes might do for you, things you should look for from within.

Be nice to yourself, remember who loves you. Spend some time doing things that nurture you, like running or swimming or hiking. Happiness will come inevitably, since all bullshit passes. But right now you might want to dive into why you got so miserable in the first place. My hunch: get some professional help for a short while to explore why it is you are so devastated by this loss.

How Do I Support Them Through Chemotherapy?

In Health and Body on March 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Dear Yenta,

I just found out that my close friend’s mother has cancer. They have been good family friends since high school. She is undergoing intensive chemotherapy as I write this and I am really sad about it. Can I do anything to help? I don’t know what my place is, do I call? Write? Email? Who do I support, my friend or the family, and how?

Sincerely,

Cancer Sucks

Positivity can be a sufferer's salve.

Dear CS,

Thank you so much for asking this important question. Cancer touches all of our lives and finding ways to navigate illness and friendship can be very difficult. My first words of advice are to follow your heart. This sounds simple and obvious, but it is often the last thing we remember to do in these situations. Where does your instinct take you? To comforting your friend? To sending your love to their mother? Or do you feel the need to care for yourself first?

When people are sick, they are generally terrified and in pain. This is a horrible combination, and often horrifying for the onlooking community members. The greatest thing you can do for someone who is suffering is to be fearless. This means looking at their broken heart, their decaying body, their excruciating suffering and being able to see it without balking.

This is a tall order and very few people can handle it. It means smiling even when someone is coughing up blood, seeing their beauty and not shying away in fear of their and your mortality. This translates quite simply to caring for yourself so you can care for others. Fearlessness comes when we feel safe in our bodies, in our communities and in our minds. This means that in order to be there for your friend and their family you need to up your own self-care so that when they come to you crying, you have the strength to hold them up.

So. My simpler advice on caring for the families of those suffering from cancer: be dependable, be kind, and be real. If you can’t handle the gruesome elements of physical decay, stay on the periphery with consistent phone calls, e-mails, letters or packages, checking in regularly. This doesn’t need to be “hey, how is dealing with the demise of your mother’s life?” but more, “how was your day?”

A simple and regular conversation goes a very long way; it offers a safe place to be normal. It shows your friend that you are there, to experience all elements of life, the ups, the downs, and the in-betweens. This is the first thing you can do for your friend, and by extension, for their mother.

The only rule with phoning the sick/suffering is that you can’t need anything in that call. Your job, when they are ill or grieving, is to give and be strong so they can feel normal and at peace. This doesn’t mean always asking and probing, just not needing. It means keeping your end light, and their end however they want it to be. ie, if they want to hear about your problems, share, but let things be on their terms and expect nothing in return, not gratitude, not kindness, nothing.

All their energy will be going towards staying alive. So when you call, prep yourself in advance. Make sure your tears have already been shed, your back already rubbed. We are there, when people are suffering and dying, to comfort, not to be comforted.

Other things: send a simple e-mail, “I love you.” Send little packages of things, be a bright light in their dark days. Imagine what cheered you up when you were down, or what you wished for, and offer up your dream friendship to another. Send cards, drawings, thoughts and gifts. Just let them know, in a million ways, that you are thinking of them, that you value their life, and that you can handle the gruesome underbelly of humanity.

Again, a fearless face when you are terrified can be nearly angelic. Smile, be positive, don’t be afraid to open and wield your heart. Someone in pain ALWAYS recognizes goodness and kindness, even if at the time they don’t have the words to show it.

For other ideas, or ways to help cancer patients:
E-mail any questions, fears or concerns to the live support group at the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Call 1-800-813-HOPE to help yourself with your own grief/sadness so you can help them. This is a free service from CancerCare.org.
Volunteer for or steal ideas from ChemoBuddyClub.com and ChemoAngels.com.
Read these tips from cancer survivors on how to be there for a friend in chemo.
Search the Shared Experience Cancer Support Database for online answers to all your questions from first hand accounts.

She Wants To Sleep With Everyone

In Breakups/Divorce, Mental Health, Sex on March 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Desire can be a sign of positive bloodflow. Photograph courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Yenta,

I’ve been dating my best friend Taylor off and on for about two years now. It’s been really great and I love him so much. He’s helped me through my dad’s death in the past year and we are very close. Lately though I’ve started having feelings towards other people and being less interested when we are intimate. On top of that, I’ve stopped ignoring the feelings I’ve had for one of my good girl friends. She wrote me a letter and in it told me how she’s always felt about me.

She said in it that when she first met me that she knew there was something nerve-wracking and beautiful about me. I don’t know what to do because I think about her all the time and how wonderful it would be to be with her! I think about the way her eyes sparkle when she laughs and how she always looks perfect to me and I just have this desire to be with her, even though she thinks she is dorky. I don’t know if this is just a phase or not. Also, lately I’ve just been wanting to have sex a lot. With Taylor and with my other guy friends that are interested in me, or my ex boyfriends. It’s like I don’t even care anymore.

Am I morally obstructed for wanting to be with more than one person?

-Sweet Jewish Girl

Dear SJG,

You would only be morally obstructed if you were to act on all of your desires while feigning commitment to your boyfriend. There is no sin in entertaining thoughts. However, nine times out of ten, when you start thinking about sleeping with everyone around you more than about sleeping with your man, it is a sign that things between you aren’t right.

When people help us through hard times, it is hard to let them go. Your boyfriend, I have no doubt, is a wonderful man who made the pain of losing your father far less difficult. But just because someone was there when you needed them most does not mean you need to be with them forever. Relationships shift and it might be time to end the romantic element of this one.

According to Elisabeth Kübler Ross, there are 7 stages of grief. These are:

1) Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.
2) Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.
3) Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
4) Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.
5) Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.
6) Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
7) Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.

You, I am guessing, are somewhere between the Testing and the Acceptance phases. It sounds like you have waxed and waned through the hard work of letting a parent go and are now ready to begin to come alive again.

You can still show your love and your friendship, but sticking around out of obligation or guilt is not what relationships are about. Your desire to sleep with your friend and to sleep with everyone else is just your body’s way of saying that it is time to move on. Get bad with your lesbian half. Find what makes you tick.

Sometimes, sadly, those people who help us through hard times also remind us of the suffering we experienced. It might be time to end your intimacy with your boyfriend because he holds a lot of the grief you just walked through, and now you need distance from those feelings. It isn’t fair, but it can be part of the process of mourning, moving on, and continuing to live a good life.

You only live that good life once, so be true to yourself. You can show your love and appreciation for your boyfriend without being his significant other. It is possible to end this era of the relationship, while expressing how important he was and is to you. For help, see these tips on gentle breakups from AllWomenStalk.com. Figure out what you want and then go get it. Just be sure to be kind and gentle as you untie yourself from this guy: he sounds like someone who deserves it.

A Canadian girl at breakfast this morning also advises going out with a royal final hurrah. She suggests giving your man a threesome before dipping out. To each her own.

Penis Power w/ Alexyss K. Tylor

In Health and Body, Sex on March 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm

And now, a word from another…

Alexyss K. Tylor, author, lecturer, motivational, speaker, and television host is best known for her talks on Vagina Power.

Described as annoying and often hilarious, behind the facade she has plenty to teach us.

For her column at MilkAndCookies.com, click here. See below for a tutorial on Penis Power. Other video topics to browse: “Sperm Power,” “Spiritual Sexuality,” “Penis Addictions,” “A Man’s Life Force Is In His Nuts,” and many more.

Find Alexyss on Twitter under the name “Vagina Power.”

She Can’t Stop Masturbating

In Health and Body, Mental Health, Sex on March 15, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Enough is enough. (Ella vibrator/G-spot stimulator from ToysInBabeland.com)

Dear Yenta,

I’m a woman in my late 20’s. I live alone & I have a boyfriend in another country. When I’m busy I watch porn. Sometimes one cum isn’t enough, I have to have 2 or 3 before I stop. Then, it’s 12 am and I haven’t even started what I have to do for the night. It’s affecting my sleep and my productivity. How can I still get my orgasmic needs taken care of while not cheating, or without completely wrecking my nights?

-Horny and Hating It

Dear HHI,

When your orgasms start interfering with your ability to accomplish basic tasks, then you know you have a problem. As much as I am a fan of sex and sexual exploration, open-minded self-loving and general sexual satisfaction, I think this is about way more than “orgasmic need.”

An orgasm can easily be confused with other emotions. When one needs a constant orgasmic release, this might have little to nothing to do with sex, and way more to do with an excess of energy in the body, most often nervous energy, that should be handled in ways far more satisfying than chronic masturbation. It sounds as if you are projecting your life’s anxiety onto your orgasm.

In a number of religious and spiritual practices there is a lot of attention placed on training, suppressing, or fine-tuning sexual energy. I know only a little about chakras, but it sounds to me like you might need yours balanced out. Instead of focusing on how to find the most mind-blowing orgasm, you may want to find other ways to calm your body and mind. Also, look into the emotions wrapped up in your porn addiction: what is it that you are using this practice to exit from? What is your sex practice connected or disconnected to?

Deep Breathing, Qigong, Meditation, Yoga, Acupuncture, Reiki, Acupressure, Reflexology, Running, Swimming, Dancing, Singing: these are all ways of either expelling or redirecting that groin region buzzing. You will probably then find that with slight masturbatory abstinence and a lot of OTHER physical activity, that every orgasm counts for more.

I.e., there are two ways of coming for a woman. (Probably like fifty to a million ways of coming, but here are two disparate examples.) One: you come, come again, come again and keep going for as long as you feel but never are present in your body, nervously triggering the musculature of your interior into a skittish “pleasure” frenzy. OR, Two: you come once, twice, three-five times, but the quantity does not matter. In those instances you are present in your body, experience every nuance of sensation because you are calm and coming to sex for the experience rather than the release.

This kind of orgasm is supreme. It will build and as it does, you will feel that steady increase in intensity. And then, the orgasm itself will be something you can feel not just with your vagina, but also with your feet, your arms, your heart, etc. Obviously this is not the case for everyone, but for you, this is the goal. Stop triggering your clit like a murderous gun and learn to be still with your body so that each orgasm individually satisfies you in a deeper, more comprehensive way.

All in all, my friend, you may simply be a sex/porn/masturbation addict. For help with this and more, try these resources.

FreedomFromPornAddiction.com

Sex Addicts Anonymous

SexualControl.com

Or, you could try seeing a Sexologist, like this one in San Diego, to explore what you are projecting onto your orgasms.

Another avenue, Tantric Coaching.

Or, try this stellar option. It is a CD of subliminal sound training meant to hipnotize you out of your sexual hunger.

Had Enough of Her 54-Year-Old Lover

In Breakups/Divorce, Dating on March 12, 2010 at 3:15 pm

His age doesn't negate a fragile heart. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor

Dear Yenta,

I am caught in a love triangle.

Boy number 1 is actually not a boy. He is a 54 year old man and I am a 29 year old divorce’. I have been seeing this guy for about 2 years and we’ve been through a lot together–health, crises, business closing… We have always been the support system for each other, but as he ages, I feel like I am, to put it bluntly, riding on a sinking ship. He is perfect in all other ways—he massages my feet (and likes it), he always brings me flowers, he takes me to the spa for dates, cleans my house, loves my dog, loves my family, is funny, sensitive, fabulous in bed, writes me poetry every day (sometimes twice)….but he has serious old man syndrome and I wanna party with the good years I have left.

Boy number 2: Think John Travolta in Grease with tattoos and hair died in the pattern of a skunk’s tail. This is the only man in this town my ex-husband threatened to kill if he touched me. A true ladies’ man [plural possessive intended]. But, at the same time, a dedicated father, a sweetheart with a devil’s tongue, and the sincerity of Honest Abe.

I know there is no chance of a real relationship with the greaser, but nevertheless, I don’t feel I can devote any more of my life to a kind of crotchety old man.

What should I do?

Caught In a Love Triangle

CILT

Dear CILT,

My guess is that the problem is less this “old man’s” aging, and moreso your own. I have to say it bothers me that you call your man of two years “crotchety” when you and I both know that he isn’t. If he were so ancient, you would not have enjoyed all he could do for you for so long.

What is important here is why you chose a man fifteen years your senior, why suddenly that doesn’t float your boat anymore, and what this new homeboy represents. What I imagine is a big piece of the allure of a much older man from the get-go is how youthful, alive, fresh and gorgeous you feel. As he ages, you get to be the specimen of virility, something and someone that makes him feel ageless which in turn makes you feel ravishing.

But those feelings don’t last. In the end as flawed as we are as human, we are also whole, and my guess is that you desire a more balanced love. It is not so much a matter of his years, as much a matter of the incompatibility. Another thing about an older man is that there is something safe, some Daddy-esque element that keeps you from worrying about being hurt (again). If you found him post-divorce, then he was probably a rebound man to help sew your heart back together.

Now, as you start wanting other men, different men, and yes, younger men, it is your heart’s way of saying it is ready for a deeper love, one that is less about being supported and more about mutually enjoying one-another. I caution you against calling this man names, his age was null and void when he was tending to your needs, so don’t be cruel by suddenly using it as a reason to ditch out.

I say the greaser and your ex are both people you can now live without. They are sirens, directing you forward. One taught you how to be loved, another taught you what kind of passion and youth you desire, and now you can move forward and seek a partner who is really your match, sharing your stage in life so you can pass through the next twenty years in cahoots.

He Hates My Friends

In Dating, Drama on March 10, 2010 at 2:11 am

Dear Yenta,

I’ve been dating a boy for six months and we’re very close. The problem is, he’s clingy. He doesn’t like my friends at all, so when I want to hang out with them and I invite him to come along, he won’t do it. What he will do is pout for the rest of the night, making it difficult for me to enjoy an evening with the girls without worrying about whether or not he’s okay. What’s worse is that the girls I usually hang out with have boyfriends as well, and they occasionally join us with no trouble. It’s only my boy that causes snags.

I’ve spoken to him about it and he admits to being jealous of these girls. But I only have so much time in a day, or a week, or in the school year before we all go home for the summer, and I’m not going to spend every second of my free time with him. He and I get along really well when it’s just me and him, or me and him and his friends, but he treats my friends with so little respect that I don’t know what to do. Help!

-BF Hates My Peeps

Boo Hoo BORING. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor

Dear BFHMP,

Blah. A man who can’t adapt to multiple social situations and is “jealous” of your girlfriends sounds like bad news to me. What are you supposed to do while he is pouting? Obvi. Pay attention to him. You asked for a boyfriend, not a child.

“If a relationship is not the easiest thing you have ever done in your life for the first six months, run (don’t walk) to the nearest exit,” says Tiffany Ranae Widdifield in “Should I Keep Him or Dump Him? Three Guidelines for Navigating Relationships.” “Relationships are hard work,” Tiffany explains, “However, in their infancy, they should be fresh, vibrant and exciting. You should feel as if you have met “the one.””

I’m with Tiff. Still, these situations always have more to them than meets the eye. Who knows, except maybe you and your dude, where his nervous insecurities stem from. What we can see is that he is capable of social normalcy, but something about your friends makes him check out.

Either your friends suck or your boyfriend sucks or neither suck, and you just happen to be wearing two left shoes. What are you ignoring? That is what this boils down to, right? What are you pretending is not happening? There is something up with your man, or something up with your friends. Period.

He is your boyfriend, of six months, not your husband for life. If things aren’t working and you put up a good fight to strive for normalcy, start weighing options. No one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean you need to ever settle for someone who potentially stunts your growth. There is, however, a fine line between sorting out differences and growth stuntage. As Tiffany later writes, “That’s why rule two is so important to follow: If the second six months of your relationship is not filled with arguments, and doubts, and the unmitigated desire to throttle him, Run!”

Are you in the first or second leg of the 6 month window? Is this, “learning to love him,” or “shit, I am dating a complete loser?”

Another option: ignore everything I have said thus far and be strong in the face of an annoying scenario. No law says you must integrate friends and boyfriend on a nightly basis. Find him afterwards, or in the morning, or for lunch and enjoy the things you were going to do anyways in the meantime. In fact, doing everything together, spending every outing as a pair, might not be the best way to keep things breathing. Autonomy should not kill a good relationship.

Enjoy your life however you see fit and maybe he will come around. Otherwise, no matter which way you spin it, he will become someone you resent for raining on your friendship parade. When the summer comes, give him your time then, and your friends your time now. But my gut instinct is that if the fish stinks, chuck it.

For more help take the “Is he a good boyfriend quiz” or the “Should you dump him quiz” from Seventeen.com.

Also, for pointers, try 10 Ways to Be the Best Boyfriend or Girlfriend by Sparklife.com, A brief guide on finding the right relationship, keeping a proper perspective and remaining optimistic throughout a sometimes grueling process from Aish.com, and If the Buddha Dates: Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path.