Archive for the ‘Dating’ Category

Boyfriend Addict

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health on May 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Dear Yenta,

I just broke up with my boyfriend of about 4 years, 3 weeks ago.  Our relationship had been dying for the past 6 months (but had never been easy.)  He does not live in the same city as me.  I’d been attracted to a very good friend of mine for quite awhile, and a few days after I broke up with my boyfriend, we hooked up.  We’ve been hooking up ever since, and spending a lot of time together. . I’ve been very clear that I do not want to be in another relationship right away.
But, he is  a very good friend that I spend a lot of time with anyway, an now adding the physical stuff in just makes it more intense.  I’m having a great time with him, and don’t want to stop, but at the same time, We’ve pretty much slipped into relationship mode very quickly.
He stays at my apartment a lot, we talk almost every day.  It’s hard to say  “I don’t want to be in a relationship” with this person that I spend so much time with and care so much about. It’s not about commitment phobia, it’s about wanting to actually feel single and have fun with that. What to do?

-Piper Got A New Man

You think you are innocent, you unwitting wooer. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,


This is the opposite of commitment phobia.  This is commitment mania.  This is a common disease amongst young attractive women.  They break up, and are immediately swooped in upon, yanked from the gap between lovers, and reinstated into committed existence.  A lot of women envy women like you, with weird rose-colored glasses, because you are the woman who seems to always know how to get the man.
The real question is, how to get off the man.  Yes.  You sound like you want some time to yourself, but are being wooed so fast, and giving in so quickly, that there isn’t, literally, any space for solitude.  With a man’s legs draped across your own, it is difficult to choose the to be alone.
What do you do?  What everyone else wishing to be in your shoes is told.  You need to step back, breathe, and figure out your pattern.  Why is it so easy to give in to this man’s desire for you?  Why is your desire so all-consuming?  Is this about “friendship?”  Or are you using that as an excuse, as a way to guiltily bind yourself to this next suitor?
Friends let friends grieve.  Isn’t that what being single begins with?  A period of grieving, a deep sigh, and then a hot pink dress and some girlfriends at a bar?  Maybe.  Single, it sounds like to me, means worrying about you and not the men who plant themselves in your heart for a hot little minute.  It might mean Carrie-ing it up, but I think it is different, something about disentangling from the influence of a constant partner to decipher who you are and what you really want.
You say, “Homeboy, I love sleeping with you, but I think this is bad timing.  I haven’t had a chance to process what happened with my ex and need that time for myself.”  He might pout, stomp, slam things.  He might ignore you and continue to try and seduce you.  He might hate you.  Whichever it is, you basically need to make a decision about who you are choosing, you or the suitors.  If he is really your “friend” he will get it, let you breathe. 
Your job, however, is more important than his.  He might run or he might woo, but you need to be sure you don’t follow him as he seesaws.  Your job is to be strong in your decision, and not give in when the loneliness comes creeping in.  Being single is bold and brazen and sometimes torture.  The reason why many women never get off the commitment train is because that space between is not easy to navigate.  It is not all martini parties and one-night stands and brunches.  When the going gets tough, you have to be careful not to run sobbing back to this male friend, because chances are you will wind up in his bed for many moons to come.    

For more on serial monogamy, click here.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

I’m A Dating Machine

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health on April 29, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Sometimes the uniqueness of humans is daunting. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear Yenta,

I am currently seeing 3 people, I like them all for different reasons, and I am having fun.   Although, I do feel cheap at times, and like I am using people.   I don’t know what to do. I spend a lot of time keeping these relationships going and am running out of my own personal time.   I would also get bored if I stayed with just one. I don’t want to hurt anyone and there has been no talk of commitment, but something just doesn’t feel right.  Do you have any advice.

Your avid reader,


Dear Morgan,

Seems to me that there are two ways to approach this: 1) look at you 2) look at the people you are choosing.  You either choose people who are one-dimensional, and are therefore unsatisfying on their own, or you are diverting attention from yourself so you don’t have to be more than one-dimensional to begin with.

Yes, it is the dimensionality of this dilemma that concerns me.  There is no law about dating one person, and no law about intimacy being a must.  The only rule I would set for dating is your own happiness, and not harming others in that pursuit.  You sound unhappy and like you are harming yourself, using dating as a diversion from sitting still with your insides.

If you find yourself bored and feel cheap, thirsty, and like a user, then you are engaging from a funny angle.  Maybe it is the nature of engagement that is the trouble, and not the choice of partners.  Are you sleeping with them quickly?  Disclosing large secrets about yourself to each one?  Is it too much too soon?  Or are you running too hard towards each other, leaving not enough breathing room?

Dating is a matrix and only you know your own point of entry.  Take a breather, maybe a night off or a morning coffee break if you can’t handle life without the dates.  Look at the different components of this situation.  A)  Who are these people you are dating?  Do you actually like them?  B)  How do you engage them?  With your genitals? Your mind?  Your heart?  All of the above?  C)  What would your ideal partner look like, the person that wouldn’t leave you bored?  D)  What is wrong with you?  Seriously.  Why are you feeling so thirsty and at once so un-sated?  Are you maybe too old for “fun,” in the traditional lacking depth concept of the word?  What are you using these dates to avoid?

Just hunker down and figure your junk out.  It should be easy, then, to decipher a battle plan.  Maybe you need five partners, maybe you need none.  Maybe you need to talk more, hang out less, stop snorting drugs on your dates: change whatever it is that keeps things from feeling interesting.  When life gets dull there is ALWAYS a way to liven things up.  More often than not, though, that dullness comes from within us, a sounding board reminding us to stay on course.

Meditation could help, anything to assist you in turning inwards and finding your answers.  For more on dating multiple partners, click here.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Should I Tell Him I Have HPV?

In Dating, Health and Body, Sex on April 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Dear Yenta,

I went to get my PAP and check on my sexual health status.  I was told the doctor would screen for HPV but that at my age (late 30’s) it was to act as a screening for cervical cancer. I was told it might appear only later to disappear and that in my age bracket it wasn’t really anything to be concerned with, just that I would have to come back next year rather than in two years (I guess they only do an every other year exam now).  I went and did my AIDS test, and had abstained for a 8 weeks to make sure I was “all clear” when they did the exam.  I began a new relationship soon after, and felt great to report that I was healthy. A few weeks into the relationship my results came in saying my HPV test was positive, but not to be alarmed. The meds that are available are for twenty somethings…so I was not prescribed anything.  Now the problem is when I started to research HPV I found that I may have passed on to my lover – because one only needs to have CONTACT even with a condom on.

There was also mention that he could already be carrying it and not know as men can’t really be diagnosed with it. Of course fear struck that I might have passed along unwittingly….and reading more about it is anxiety laden.  Why didn’t my doctor tell me it was transmitable?  Does it matter? Do I tell him what’s up, wait for the results of next year? I know honesty is essential but will it matter if he knows? I feel like it’s my business and that since he wouldn’t know if he was a already a carrier or is one now, and it doesn’t effect his health than why bring it up?

Hoping To Soon Be HPV Free

Don't leave your man in the dark. He has a right to know what's happening down under. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,


Oye.  I am so sorry for your troubles.  First off, yes, your doctor should have told you more about how contagious HPV really is.  Second, as much as I hate this fact, sexual health and education are also an individual’s responsibility.  When diagnosed with a disease, especially one down below, it is always good to research the wazoo out of it, just to be sure you protect yourself and others.

For information on your STD, click here.  For STD testing, click here.

That being said, I also understand shutting down when the internet spouts terrifying data and statistics.  What this all boils down to is the fact that you are at present a sexually active adult with a “lover.”  This means that this “lover” may take other lovers, and, unwittingly, spread HPV like wildfire.  While yes, our own health is our own business, when we bed another we are inviting them into our physical storm.

Ie, by sleeping with this man you exposed your health to his health and mixed accordingly.  Now your HPV is his potential HPV and his potential HPV is your HPV, etc., etc.  Even if you don’t transmit a disease every time you fornicate, you are ALWAYS taking that risk, condom or no condom.  Diseases are mean and they jump ship fast.

The way I look at it:  if you are mature enough to have sexual intercourse, then you are also mature enough to have a conversation about the realities laced therein.  Talk to your lover and ask him about his history, now is a good time as any, and tell him about your HPV.  At the very least, you are preventing the proliferation of a mean little disease.  At best, you are owning your body, your actions, and your sexual relationship and rising to the occasion like a proper fierce woman.

Click here for tips on telling your partner about your STD and/or  clickhere.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

When You Love A Loser

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health on April 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Ike was feeding off of Tina's power.

Dear Yenta,

I recently fell in love again with the wrong person. This is a habit that now annoys me because I know what I am doing wrong and still do it. The man is wrong for me because he, quite honestly, is completely crazy. He is violent, irrational, sadistic, unkind and completely ruthless and unpredictable. You probably wonder why I am with him. I see so much beauty in him when he is not being mean. I don’t know, Yenta, what to do now because I am in this, and he has an effect on me that I can’t resist. Help. I know I am smarter than this.


Dear SC,

My first questions for you would be to ask, how bored are you? How happy? How supported and how stimulated? When we take ourselves out of healthy living environments and live in places that draw on our weaknesses, it can be nearly impossible to resist temptation. Your job is to cultivate a life that easily yields healthy choices. And in the process, forgive yourself because self-sabotage is American women’s middle name.

One friend suggests Pema Chodron’s Getting Unstuck on ways to overcome and understand addictive life habits. While alcoholics and narcotics abusers are ushered into meetings for their addictions, women addicted to loving harmful people might not find their support group so easily. (See below for a list of support groups.) You have a problem. For whatever reason you are bending your power and walking towards these “wrong people” with an open heart. You need to face yourself, be honest, and do so with assistance.

Sometimes fierce and bored women choose men that are toxic because it is thrilling, stimulating, an exercise for the mind, body and spirit, a game of survival. Others choose these men because they can’t accept their own goodness, can’t stomach their power and brilliance. You know which of these you are. Work on finding the root to this action. Why would love look like this to you? Professional help could be a great avenue for finding those answers.

And finally, this love is not “love” as much as an addiction to a feeling, ie, “it hurts so good.” There is a rush that comes from being emotionally tortured, but not a lasting one. In that moment it is like when a cat is dropped from a high height and always lands on its feet. You sort of plunge yourself into the depths and get off on the test, finding your footing despite being tripped so hard.

So figure out what it will take to find that footing, that love, that peace inside without needing the eyes of someone with a critical voice and an unstable core. Stop “falling in love with their potential” as one friend puts it, and start being honest with yourself about the whole package. He is nice in the morning, but mean at night. Ok. So nice only comes then, in the morning, and you might need to seek the dude who is nice always, even when angry. Anger is fair, violence and cruelty are not. Advance accordingly.

Read Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change by Robin Norwood or
How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved by Sandra L. Brown, M.A.

For help and/or basic questions, try an Al-Anon meeting in your city. While the program is designed for people who love alcoholics, the method of this group applies to people who love anyone addicted to self-abuse. What you describe is the pattern of a woman who might benefit from this support network.

In an emergency, or again, with basic questions/help contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

You can also create your own support group as I guaruntee you are not alone. Working with a group of friends to help support each other in setting higher love standards is effective, you can even create your own 12-Steps/Sponsor system where you work through your pasts together and choose people to be on call in dating emergencies.

Take this quiz, “Are You A Bad Boy Addict” from

Are you a genuine Bad Boy Addict? Let’s see.

1. Are you always looking at the cocky, macho type guy who seems tough?

2. Do you want the guy who struts his stuff and exudes sexuality?

3. Will you have sex with a guy who obviously is using you for sex only?

4. Have friends told you that you let men abuse you?

5. Do you only want a man who is distant, independent, and very self confident?

6. Do you choose a man who will quickly physically fight to protect you?

7. When a relationship begins, do you think you can change your man?

8. Do you let a man hurt you physically?

9. Do you let a man criticize you, put you down, and still want him?

10. Do only players turn you on?

11. Are you always available for your loser lover?

12. Does your man always seem unavailable and unpredictable?

13. Do you want an edgy guy who is exciting and dramatic?

14. Do you let your man cheat on you , stand you up, and take it?

15. Has your ‘bad boy’ borrowed money from you and never paid it back?

SM ISO Babysitter/Girlfriend

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health, Parents on April 14, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Mother, may I? No, thank you! Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear Yenta,

I am dating a man 12 years my senior, who is going to court soon to gain custody of his 6-year-old son. Though he previously had custody every other weekend, he has not had a relationship with him for several years due to difficulties with the mother. When he did have custody, he relied heavily on his girlfriend at the time to help care for his child (much to the chagrin of the birth mother). He has made remarks about me playing a similar role in his son’s life. He refers to his son as “the kid” or “the little crumb snatcher” and has nightmares about hitting or molesting his child (he was molested as an adolescent by his sister’s husband). My concern is this: while I don’t mind occasionally helping out & I am sensitive to his fears, I don’t want to be used as a babysitter and/or chaperone. I also think he should bond with his son without me there. How should I deal with this situation?


Dear Insta-Momma,

Honestly, I think you should get out of this situation. It is bad news when a man with serious issues from his childhood chooses to pass off the hard stuff to his woman. This man needs to be in therapy to remedy his nightmares, face his past, and therefore step up as father of the year.

Children grow attached to people, like women who care for them. I think we forget this when we find single Dad’s sexy, that we are dating a man AND his children. If your boyfriend is pawning off parenting on his girlfriends, then his kids are finding attachments to temporary women. Are you looking for marriage? Is this a fling for a moment or an investment forever?

Motherhood is for life. It isn’t a job you get real vacations from, or sabbatical. It is a heart contract, an action contract, and a commitment between you and the children you choose to raise. For this, we have birth control, condoms and choices. Ie, to marry or not to marry, to date or not to date, to bring life into the world, not to bring life into the world. I am, as I witness the horror of shows like 16 And Pregnant, more and more an advocate of abstinence.

Since abstinence is irrelevant, as the children already exist, and since you will probably continue to date this guy no matter what I say, here are some options. For one, set limits. Let this man-friend of yours know that you are happy to be involved – to a point. Make those limits crystal clear and if he crosses your threshold, express it. Yes, how you need to treat this guy is a lot like PARENTING. This involves being clear and being firm so that the child/boyfriend is steered in the proper direction.

Also, a gentle suggestion that he seek a remedy beyond your arms for his nightmares would be a smart move. Not only for you and for him, but for those kids. Violence and abuse recur in cycles for precisely this reason. Fear of hitting someone often results in hitting someone, because the energy bottles up and the thought is planted. Chances are he will hurt someone at some point unless he battles those demons.

It sucks, royally, when people we love were hurt in their pasts. But unless you truly love this man and want to weather many storms, remember that his past is his and you shouldn’t be the one shouldering the pain of his torment. That pain is his to resolve, and yours to know of, to rub his back, to support him, but not to carry as your own.

For parenting/step-parenting resources, see below:

Package Deal: My (not so) Glamorous Transition From Single Gal to Instant Mom by Izzy Rose

The I Hate Being a StepMom forum.

Jobless Boyfriend is Mooching

In Career, Dating, Drama on April 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm

He should be rubbing your feet after a long work day, not begging for cash. Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear Yenta,

I have been with my boyfriend for over 2 years now and we love each other very much. I am 25 and he is 28 and we were best friends for a couple of years before we even started dating. However, lately some issues have been cropping up that I don’t really know what to do about.

I have always made more money than he does, and both of us are okay with that and it’s never really been an issue. I have a job that I love (but I work long hours and it doesn’t pay very well), and he is a musician who works part time. He pays when he has money, I pay the rest of the time, and we’ve never had a fight about it or anything.

The problem now is that boyfriend lost his job several months ago and while he told me at the time that he was going to do everything he could to get a new job, that hasn’t been the case. His mother convinced him that he should stay jobless and just focus on his music. She has been paying for his apartment, car, etc. to help facilitate his career. This is all great, and he is doing very well with his music career and things are really happening for him. However, this has not translated into him making money…at all. He brings in maybe $100-$200 a month. So, he is constantly asking me for gas money, food money, etc. which I really wouldn’t mind paying for except that I really don’t make enough money to feed two people, keep 2 cars full of gas, and pay my rent and bills. On top of this he is always wanting to go out to the movies, or go get a “treat” after dinner, or go out with friends to places that are a little out of my budget when I’m not paying for two people. I find it really frustrating and I know he is mooching, but at the same time, I love him and if I had the money I know I wouldn’t mind, but I really can’t afford to be spending this much money on him.

The other problem is that now that he is not working, he spends most of his time at home alone (since he doesn’t have the money to go out and do anything) and it has resulted in him being really clingy and constantly complaining about how we don’t have sex often enough and how I don’t hang out with him or sleep over enough. I see him almost every day and we have sex about 3 times a week and I sleep over 1 to 3 nights a week. I feel like this is pretty reasonable considering how much I work and that I have a really stressful job as well as several hobbies I take part in and I am working on starting my own business.

Essentially, how do I talk to him about this in a kind and gentle way so that he doesn’t feel attacked? He is sweet and treats me nicely, we have a ton in common, and I love him very much and I really don’t want to break up with him, but I need things to change.

–Bringing home the bacon

Deart BHTB,

What his mommy thinks is best for your boyfriend might not be what is best for your relationship. Your boyfriend IS mooching, in a sad and selfish way. You, however, don’t seem to be doing your job which is to set limits.

To begin with, you sound like you have been lying to yourself for a while. Your question begins, “I have always made more money than he does, and both of us are okay with that.” Both of you, obviously, are not ok with that. You also say, “he is a musician who works part time,” in the present tense, only to later reveal that he has been jobless for months. How long have you been feeling uncomfortable?

Some men have a tendency when given a little love, a favor, to thirst for more. It is like a disease, the “I remember what it felt like to be my mother’s prized possession” disease, one that can wreak havoc on a girlfriend’s patience.

Yes, we would all like it if people knew never to walk beyond boundaries, to never take advantage of others. But in truth, communication of need is a two person job. How is he to know that he has gone too far if for what sounds like months now, you have been biting back your words?

On the one hand, you need to stand up for yourself. On the other hand, he shouldn’t be acting out in order to wake you up. What part of “small paycheck” does his not understand? It does not translate to exorbitant spending. Your man needs to know when enough is enough, both independently and from your cues. He needs to know that you work hard, and should appreciate that fact if you are busting ass to support his extracurricular habits. So step one, should you wish to keep him, is to sit down and have an honest talk about limits. Your paycheck is not a negotiable reality, it is what is paying for your life, sans stipend from home.

This conversation could be hard because in theory you should have been articulating your limits all along. Your boo is probably testing the edge of your generosity. He might not consciously sense what he is doing, but what you describe sounds like deliberate button pushing, squeezing and molding your generosity and affection in hopes of finding where they might run thin. Think adolescent boy. You need to be the woman you are and tell him how you feel, lest you return to teenagerhood yourself.

To do so, just gently tell it like it is. Don’t accuse him. Explain your needs, your limits, etc, speaking from a personal perspective. The only way this will work is if you don’t make him out to be a jerk, rather show the flat truth of your five figure waning salary.

Also, be realistic and prepare yourself for the possibility of a tantrum on his part, a shutting down, or a lack of adult understanding. If his mommy is treating him like a king, he might expect you to do the same. No one sets rules for the king. Your boundaries, however, are your god-given right. Stand firm for taking care of yourself.

As for the job situation, I would like to give a shout out to my many artist and musician friends who do find a way to bring in cash and focus on their craft. When I worked in Adam’s Morgan in DC there were tons of well-established musicians, rockers, singers, painters and more who tended bar and pulled espresso shots. As I travel from artist residency to artist residency I can’t tell you how many people I meet who straddle artistic success and a side-job. I am not inclined to agree with his mother, not if he wants to keep you in his life. Money doesn’t grow on women.

Your boyfriend’s mom might need to stay out of it, and you need to step up the backbone. You can love someone and tell them, “no.” In fact, good pure love always seems to have a safe expression of when enough is really enough.

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,

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.

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,

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,

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?



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.

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,

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


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.