merissanathangerson

Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

Wild Friends After Marriage

In Drama, Marriage, Mental Health on January 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Dear Yenta,

My husband’s best friend’s wife causes a lot of problems. We have a child, and they do not. They, in turn, do not understand what life is like with a child. They expect us to be able to drop everything and go out drinking, partying, etc. at the drop of a hat. Not only do we not want to do this, but we can’t. Recently, they didn’t show up at my husband’s birthday party. He shrugged it off, even though I knew he was very hurt by it.

A week later, she sent me numerous messages about how I took her husband’s best friend away, and they didn’t even know who my husband was anymore. This caused major issues. It has now been a month, and we just saw them this past weekend. Today was her husband’s surprise birthday party, and we did not attend. I have been under the weather, and my husband just didn’t want to go. She immediately attacked him via text message, claiming that I was not ill and telling him that he needed to be there. After he told her I was indeed ill, she proceeded to tell him that she understood that he needed to take care of his son, but he needed to also be there for his friend.

I want to protect my husband and go off on this woman. I have plenty of things to say, and I am at the point where I would really like to scream them at her. My husband is hurt. His friend never says anything to him, but his wife has plenty to say, only when she wants to start trouble.

Sincerely,

Allie

Not a friend for the wife and kids. Sorry, Lindsay.

 

Dear Allie,

The key to this question is in the first sentence, “My husband’s best friend.”  While this situation affects you, hurts you, irritates you, riles you, cranks on your nerves, it is ultimately your husband’s business.

Where are the men in this?  Aren’t there key voices missing from the scenario?  This guy’s wife is a pill, and that is a shame, but you certainly a) don’t have to entertain her antics and b) are only involved by extension.  This woman’s fears of your husband’s evolution and change, and her lack of boundaries altogether, are really her problem, not yours.

I would encourage your husband to face his friend and man up on both of your behalf.  All the angry text messages and sideswiping might just be a vile reaction to poor communication.  If this was your husband’s best friend before he found you, it is his job to smooth the transition from wild boozehound to solid husband and father, not yours.

And it is your job to protect yourself and your family.  Tell your husband how much this is upsetting you.  I think he needs to speak to his friend one on one, spend some quality time showing who he has become and how much he still cares.  That is, if he still does.

Sometimes people grow apart as they make smart and mature choices.  A friend from the old “bar days” may not translate, at least not immediately, into adulthood.  With time relationships change, and even through giant life shifts, the relationships that count evolve.

In ten years this couple may be a non-entity, or friends in a different capacity.  Sometimes when alcohol is involved in a friendship, it takes time and trust to find a new way to interact, sans social lubricant.  This requires investment and reconnection, and that job, as I said, falls on your husband’s shoulders, not yours.

Helpful Tips On Sober Friendships:

While your situation is different, take the lead from alcoholics who remake their lives, liquor free.

-Ask your friends to meet you in a place that doesn’t serve alcohol, a movie, a coffeehouse, a hike, a show.  Redefine the relationship with new physical perameters.

-Assess your friendship.  Was it contingent upon drinking and wild behavior?  The real friends remain, after sobriety.  Figure out the nature of your connection.

-Make new friends, based on your new lifestyle.  These may be the real lasting friendships.

-Be brave enough to let go of old friends who do not support the new, healthier you.

Ak Yenta Anything!  Click Here.

For more Yenta, visit Ask Your Yenta at JewishJournal.com.

Merissa Nathan GersonCreate Your Badge

Advertisements

When Gay Means Guinea Pig

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health on January 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

Advocate.com calls Sarah Silverman a "Serious Gay Ally" for boldly declaring she would not marry until "All Americans can legally wed."

Yenta,

When my boyfriend and I first started to date, I heard through the grape vine that there was speculation one of his brothers might be gay. I immediately told the person who told me this to not spread rumors and that it wasn’t true. Please note that I am in no way homophobic! I am extremely liberal and I have walked in numerous gay pride parades in support of loved ones. I want everyone to be happy and I would never judge anyone upon their sexuality.

I met this brother, who is absolutely gorgeous. They have 4 brothers in total. Immediately, we had a lot of respect for each other and spoke to each other with ease. I had asked my boyfriend how on earth could he still be single, and I heard that every girl in their town was trying to hook up with him. It’s his good looks that led everyone to notice when he wasn’t hooking up with the good looking girls who threw themselves at him. Now that he is 24, it does seem a bit odd that he has never dated a girl.

As time went on, I couldn’t help but hear more and more about his sexuality from people from their town.  One night, a friend (even though this was not a FRIENDly move) asked my boyfriend about the sexuality of his brother in front of a group of people. My boyfriend got extremely awkward and didn’t say anything. Since him and I talk about everything under the sun, I thought it was strange he did not bring this up to me afterwards.

Recently, I received a phone call from a friend asking me about the situation. Her sister had told her that her boyfriend (my boyfriend’s brother) had confided in her and told her that the brother wrote them a letter months ago explaining that he was gay, and told them everything.

So at this point, we have been dating for years, and I know the truth. I want to show him that I am here for him no matter what, and I would never judge anyone for their sexuality. I don’t know whether he is embarrassed to tell me, or if he just doesn’t want to admit it to himself just yet. But what I feel most horrible about is that people are talking about it. Should I tell him just how many people have mentioned it to me and claim they know it is true? I have told everyone that has asked me that I have no idea and that it is none of their business to begin with. My boyfriend and I are very serious, and when I think of his family I think of them as my own.

Yours truly,

Trying To Do The Right Thing

Dear TTDTRT,

The first time I read this and answered this, I thought all along you were talking about the brother, not your boyfriend.  So, disclaimer, the paragraphs that follow this are a sassy response to that assumption.  See end for answer to actual question.

Original still-relevant answer to incorrect reading of question:

A big red flag in life is when someone openly declares “I am not….”  Usually, the need to declare what you aren’t, alludes a bit to what you are.  Ie, if you are so adamantly “liberal” and so die hard “not homophobic” then you would probably not be writing so much to prove it.

It sounds to me like this whole deal with your man’s brother batting for the home team is more about you, than about his homosexuality.  There is no evidence in this story that he is suffering, or that he needs you as an ally.  In fact, there is no imperative for a healthy sexy gay man to come out to the whole wide world.  There is no debutante ball for the homosexual emerging.

It sounds, however, like you really want to host a debutante ball for your boyfriend’s brother’s coming out.  What if he doesn’t want a ball, but wants a small dinner?  Ie, what if this guy is perfectly content being gay, living gay, and not speaking up and out about it?  You sound like you feel a need to communicate your acceptance, desperately.

How to be truly accepting?  Maybe stop heeding the talk and gossip about this guy and his private life.  People talking about him is not his problem, nor should it be yours.  It isn’t as if he killed a bunny, he lives an identity.  That’s it.  People’s fascination or repulsion is generally their own problem.

I would say stay out of it, work on your own relationship to homosexuality, and let this guy live a life in peace.  Be his friend, fine, but not in order to save his homosexual soul.

There are a million ways to exercise this need you have to be an ally to the homosexual community.  Try joining StraightForEquality.org, FriendFactor.org “Where straight friends stand up for their gay allies,” or join a Facebook group for allies to make your support publicly known.  Posting these groups on your profile is a great way of showing allegiance.  These are ways of also making yourself visible as a safe space should this guy ever decide he needs you.

Below is a list from GLAAD.org “The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,” of 10 ways to be a straight ally, without needing, necessarily, to use gay friends as guinea pigs.

10 Ways to Be an Ally & a Friend

1. Be a listener.

2. Be open-minded.

3. Be willing to talk.

4. Be inclusive and invite LGBT friends to hang out with your friends and family.

5. Don’t assume that all your friends and co-workers are straight. Someone close to you could be looking for support in their coming-out process. Not making assumptions will give them the space they need.

6. Homophobic comments and jokes are harmful. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you find them offensive.

7. Confront your own prejudices and homophobia, even if it is uncomfortable to do so.

8. Defend your LGBT friends against discrimination.

9. Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.

10. If you see LGBT people being misrepresented in the media, contact us at glaad.org.

Also check out “What Would A Queer Ally Do,” or “Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays, PFLAG.org for other resources.

You might, in trying to do “the right thing” be getting too mentally involved.  In lieu of your boyfriend, maybe just ask him about it.  Your fear of the subject isn’t helping.  You don’t need to say, “hey, everyone knows your brother likes men, they are all gossiping!”  Why not just gently mention the truth?  Or, another option…don’t mention it and use the resources I posted to begin to show you are an advocate for the gay community.

Visible advocacy makes it more likely that your boyfriend might come to you.  Either way, be brave, try not to skirt the truth because in cases like this one, it throws everything out of proportion.  Also, try not to presume your boyfriend’s silence is a matter of shame and suffering or that his family needs your help.  This assumption doesn’t bode well for how you view homosexuality.  It is also possible that your boyfriend just doesn’t care if his brother likes girls, boys or smurfs.

Click here to Ask Yenta anything!


Merissa Nathan GersonCreate Your Badge

My Coworker is “A Pig”

In Career, Drama, Mental Health on December 21, 2010 at 10:54 am

 

Loud, large and boisterous: Mimi Bobeck of "The Drew Carey Show"

 

Dear Yenta,

I work in an office with about 10-15 other people. The problem is this particular woman. She’s a 55 year-old reject, who gets off on not doing her job correctly, cussing people out after she gets off the phone with them and stealing. All of this upsets us, but the real thing that is the worst, is the fact that she’s such a pig. I do not say pig loosely. For example, her first day of work, it was a girl’s birthday and she brought a bunch of cupcakes in. Well, she took one to eat and then she took two and hid them under her desk to take home with her. Another coworker thought it would be funny to hide them from her. This lady went around to every person in the office asking, “Where are my f-g cupcakes?”

I had a party for my wedding at the office, we ordered pizza and she ate 5 large pieces. Whenever we have any sort of food or candy here, she immediately stuffs her face and half of the people here don’t even get a taste. If there’s something in the kitchen, for everyone, she will take the entire plate to her desk and leave it there until it’s gone. She only works on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays, so on Tuesday & Thursdays we will bring in goodies to share. Well, apparently she started coming in on Tuesday and Thursday specifically to steal our candy. We had an entire bag of snickers bars and we look this morning and they’re ALL gone. We have a service where we provide candy and snacks to clients who use our offices. She constantly steals all those snacks blatantly.

How can we stop this? She makes it unbearable!

-KK, Baltimore

You say traif, I say troubled. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear KK,

In the paradigm of meditation and religiosity, it is asked of the individual to look at every feeling, every emotion, and every reaction as stemming from within their own troubles.  Not only that, but taking it to the next level, it is up to the individual to see those around them, and their irritations with the world, as mirrors of their own irritations and impatience with themselves.

This being said, perhaps you see yourself as “A reject who doesn’t do their job correctly, a pig.”  These are rough and strong words, fully judgmental, and they act as a distancing device between you and your co-worker.  It sounds to me like she is not “a pig” but a woman with food issues.  This is an opportunity for compassion, for patience, and for extending your heart to another.  For help with this, try DharmaSeed.  You can download hundreds of live talks to your ipod that will help make you a better person.  It is not her who makes your workday unbearable, as you said, but it is your reaction to her that makes your day so awful.  That reaction, unlike her, is something you can control and change.

 

You have a tall order ahead of you.  If I were your boss I would take you aside and ask that you cultivate a more open relationship with your community.   A banding together against this woman for her ways reminds me of the rough edge of a middle school playground.  Your first task is to look at yourself.  Why you are so judgmental, and why you don’t find a place for this woman in your heart?  What is a “reject” but the person we are afraid of accepting?  What about her mirrors your own fears, dilemmas or troubles?

And second, why not seek to understand, or at the very least, remedy the situation rather than balking and repelling.  Be honest, “I know you love candy, so we brought you extras.”  If she is ashamed of the breadth of her desire for food, showing her that you accept it without shaming her might prevent her from feeling the need to hoard and hide.  Bring her extra cupcakes.  Don’t scorn, pander.

This woman might need help.  (See Overeaters Anonymous, http://www.oa.org.)  She may, in fact, feel like “a reject,” explaining why you see her as one.  Even troubled women who hoard food and seem like losers in an office setting are human and in need of a little love.  Find her story, take her to lunch, and humanize the person you have marked as the enemy.  You will be surprised, I promise, by what you find.


Merissa Nathan GersonCreate Your Badge

He Almost Loves Me

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health on November 6, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Three's Company. But two is ideal. (for some...) Whatever floats your boat.

Dear Yenta,

I started seeing a really amazing guy about a month ago. We have a lot in common, to the point where we clicked instantly in almost every way and hung out constantly even before we were dating. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have him. We went together really well, I thought.

The thing is, he broke up with his girlfriend about two months ago, maybe a bit more; not long at all. It was because, for one thing, he found out that she was planning to cheat on him; and for another, they were headed to different colleges in different places in the fall. They’ve remained friends, albeit not talking much, and recently she called him to apologize for planning to cheat on him and to explain herself in some way. This led to him admitting to me that he still had strong feelings for her, that he didn’t think he was ready for a relationship with someone else yet, and that he was sorry for getting into something with me so soon. He really, really likes me, he says, but just…isn’t ready. Okay. I suppose I understand. So we called it off.

However, he and I have remained friends, and there is an extreme undercurrent of…I don’t know how to explain it. It’s more than just sexual tension between us now. More like it seems as though we both wish we were still together.

I understand that he needs space, and I want him to work this out within himself, especially if it means that he and I could maybe have another chance later in the game. But what if it just seems to me like he made a mistake? Is there anything I can do? That was lengthy, I’m sorry. But I’m miserable about this break-up and I guess I don’t know where to turn.

Sincerely,

Is He Mine?

Dear IHM,

Thank you for turning to me.

Unless you were totally and completely meant to be, I don’t really understand why you want to give this dude another chance. A) His heart is tangled with someone else. B) With that entanglement, he is dragging you with him through his mud. C) If he enters half-way now, what does that mean about him later, when someone else comes along and he gives you one half and her the other?

A wise woman friend once told me that everything should be judged by the first month of a relationship. She said if it is easy, then it is right, but that it should never start hard. Ie, a relationship that starts hard/complex, ends as such. I will amend her words with a “never say never.” Point? This man might be your future husband, (or your future bad husband), who knows. But it is up to you to set the standard as to whether he is worthy of your heart.

I don’t know very many women who like to be someone else’s emotional leftover. It is not crazy to expect that your significant other puts you first, top of their list, above other loves. In fact, it should be expected that your partner does not tie their heart to another love tree.  You, in a monogamous American construct, are meant to be the one and only. But if you like love triangles, jump!  (Click here for more on safely dating multiple people at once.)

A word on sexual tension: it is common. Yes. It is a common and normal thing to have sexual tension with close male friends, close female friends, close any other type of friends. But what I am weary of in your case is giving that fat nugget of tension too much clout.

It sounds, from all the way here in Jerusalem, like you are being dragged through someone else’s drama as a crutch. Ie. You, the woman who he doesn’t have to invest in nor discard, are there to squeeze his hand when he feels blue. In the meantime, everything you mention is about him, his space, his healing. What about you? Who is loving on you? Are you his healer, his lover, or his girlfriend? Sounds like none of the above.

If he takes the plunge and shows a valiant display of chivalrous affection, if he takes risks, puts one foot in front of the other, gives you solid evidence that you are his queen, not his mistress in the wings, then I would say, go for it. But until then, seek not sexual tension, but sexual gratification elsewhere.

Really want him? Try FriendtoLover.com: “Just Friends to Doting Lover: How to Turn That Secret Crush Into a Real Relationship.”

Seriously, though, you deserve so much better. Find yourself a proper prince.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

When DENIAL Strikes

In Breakups/Divorce, Drama, Mental Health on September 5, 2010 at 7:10 am

Caution: Blindness is not always involuntary. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Hey Bubby,

So a close female friend of mine told me a couple of months
ago that a friend of hers had just moved here and suggested we hang
out. I met her friend for drinks and we ended up making out at the end
of the night. I told my friend about it a couple of days later –
expecting her response to be anywhere from ambivalent to supportive –
but instead she responded, “I will tell her not to date you.”

Apparently, she thinks I was an asshole to one or two of my
ex-girlfriends. (I really didn’t do anything that terrible to them.)
I’ve seen her friend a couple of times since and I’m not crazy about
her or anything, but my friend’s threat has really gotten under my
skin. Why would she be friends with me if she thinks like that? I
don’t want my friendship with her to end, but I don’t think I can be
friends with someone who feels like that about me. I don’t know what
to say to her and she’s ignored me when I’ve tried to continue the
conversation. Basically, it seems like she’s done talking about it.
Also, she isn’t jealous like she wants to date me or anything.
That’s not the issue.

-Zadie In Waiting

Dear ZIW,

Might you be in denial? According to MindDisorders.com, “Denial is the refusal to acknowledge the existence or severity of unpleasant external realities or internal thoughts and feelings.” It seems to me that when a woman tries to protect her friends against the perils of dating a man, it is never in vain or without prompt. What happened with these exes? Did you unwittingly behave in a way unbecoming of yourself?

I don’t think any of this is so weird. You can love your guy friends as buddies, but not want them to go near the hearts of your female friends if you know they can be hurtful. Romantic involvement is not what your relationship with this friend entails, so the judgment of that side of you is null and void to your friendship. If she were IN love with you and thought you were a jerk when it came to dating, then you might want to question the integrity of your interactions.

It sounds like she cares about you, but doesn’t love the idea of you hurting another friend. It also sounds like she is controlling the conversation. But if you are in denial, then that is a pretty typical response. Some people hate going in emotional circles. When they know something and they find their partner in conversation faking like that shit doesn’t exist, well, continuing in that manner can be a sincere waste of time. Try reading The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life by Eviatar Zerubavel to better understand this phenomenon.

Her girlfriends are going to trump you, because life sucks like that sometimes. So, do some personal gravedigging and yank up those skeletons. Re-visit the endings to those relationships and see if maybe you forgot to see something in the mirror of your ways. I wouldn’t abandon this friendship, I would abandon the self-avoidance.

According to LiveStrong.com we can confront denial by:

* Asking ourselves honestly why we are in denial.
* Asking ourselves what are the benefits to be gained by our denial.
* Recognizing the negative consequences that result from our denial behavior.
* Allowing ourselves to express negative or embarrassing emotions as we confront our problems (e.g., crying, feeling lost, feeling confused or feeling scared).
* Allowing ourselves to admit to being out of control.
* Trusting others to help us with our problem.
* Admitting our vulnerability and our need for assistance.
* Risking the loss of acceptance or approval by those who may be unable to handle our open, honest admission of our problem.
* Recognizing that denial is a natural stage in the loss/grief response.
* Believing that out of failure comes success; accepting the failure as a chance for personal growth.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

How To Seduce A Bisexual

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health on August 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Dear Yenta,

I recently went out with a charming and cute young lady. However, up
until last week, I was pretty sure she was exclusively into other
women (from common acquaintances and context). But we hit it off
really well, and we have great chemistry when we dance. I’m sure she
could be bisexual in this day and age, but I don’t want to offend her
by trying to make out with her if she is really only into girls. I
also have no desire to ask her, “Are you gay?” Any suggestions?

Cheers,
Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Chick chock? No. Slow and steady wins the race.

Dear Barking Up the Wrong Tree,

When you like a straight woman, how do you know she is into you? Would you just walk up to her and start sucking face to express your lust? My guess is, no. Bi and gay women aren’t politically correct specimens, waiting to be offended, they are just women.

List the signs in your mind that indicate a green light with a straight woman and then apply them to your relationship with this new woman. There isn’t a huge difference when a woman is or isn’t into you, if she is also into women. The same rules apply, your mind just gets more wrapped up in the possibility of rejection when all genders are competing.

Give this one time, test the waters, do what you do, gently, nothing too intense, to show her you are looking for more than friendship. Go slow and watch, like you might with any woman who you are truly interested in. If she takes the bait, then keep moving in the romantic direction.

Gay and bi and straight are just labels used for identity markers, politics and convenience. She might be gay, she might be bi, she might be into you, and she might not be. Treat her like a woman who you find appealing, and just see if those feelings are reciprocated. Also, “this day and age” is perpetual, you never know, never knew if a woman you were with initially wanted a woman more than she wanted you. Again, you never know. Just jump.

Ask Yenta Anything!

E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using www.send-email.org to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Lesbianism Ain’t Always Easy

In Breakups/Divorce, Dating, Drama, Mental Health on May 27, 2010 at 3:29 pm

It wasn't easy for Callie Torres to embrace this moment on Grey's.

Dear Yenta,

I’ve been in a relationship with someone who has been reckless with my heart.  I am in my first lesbian relationship. We began dating shortly after she was broken up with by her ex-gf.

After a few weeks of dating me, she dumped me for her ex then a week later asked me to be her gf again. I was really hurt but still had strong feelings and we got back together.  Should I stick it out knowing that she could possibly get back with the ex again?

Sincerely,

Woman Burn

Dear WB,

What I read when you say someone has been reckless with your heart, is that you opened your heart to the reckless.  I spent many a year as a Women’s Studies major, and then many years to follow attempting to ditch the victim/oppressor mentality.  We choose our lives, and shape them accordingly.  This woman is abusing you because she can, because you said she could.

In this case, there are a number of things you can learn from this new relationship so as to guard your heart from suffering in the future.  For one, be aware of your emerging self.  If you are newly out, or newly consummating your gayness, this might leave you vulnerable to wicked edges.  If the women you are dating in this first phase aren’t solid, caring and together, you might be more susceptible to recklessness.

It is not easy, those first weeks, months or years of an emerging identity in a society that still debates the legitimacy of lesbianism to begin with.  There are a long list of issues that come to the surface ranging from homophobia to questions of scripts and behavioral norms.  Do you have a community supporting you?  Are you using this woman as your support network?  That could be disastrous, and also explain why you would put up with this type of cruel flip-flopping behavior.

One book that comes highly recommended is How To Be A Happy Lesbian: A Coming Out Guide by Tracey Stevens and  Katherine Wunder.  Look for GLBT events in your community, or find out if there are peer groups, support groups, or basic fun events where your community can expand beyond this mean woman.  Also, try calling the GLBT National Support Hotline at  1-888-843-4564 instead of funneling yourself into this woman and her split heart.  They also offer Online Peer-Support Chat.

Another thing to beware of with both women, men and in-between, is that anyone who is freshly out of another relationship may not be totally present for you.  No matter how much this woman may like you, and no matter how much you feel for her, her heart is still tied up with the past.  This means she can’t be the girlfriend you deserve because she is still busy being a girlfriend, or navigating the oddities of being an ex-girlfriend to her ex.

It’s as if this woman gave you an awesome new toy(her), and then realized suddenly that she wanted it back.  When we receive people into our hearts and bodies we want to be sure that they are as present, as unattached and as loving as we are.  This recklessness that you refer to is her problem, but more so, it is your problem that you engaged in a relationship with the reckless.

Thus, YOU have been reckless with your heart.  Be gentle and patient in seeking women to love.  The beginning of a lesbian dating life is not always easy, but the signs of a maladjusted lover run clear across the board.  Steer clear of women in love with other women.  You will find another person to love, one that is as loving as you are.  In the meantime, look for some solid queer friends to support you in your identity and weave your way out of this destructive relationship.  You deserve a love all your own.

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

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Pursued by a Cheater

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health on May 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Dear Yenta,

I am a college student living in the dorms. Last week, I met one of my friend’s roommates at a campus celebration. A bunch of us were hanging out and this guy (I’ll call him B.) was talking to me a bit, etc. After the party, he added me on Facebook and started talking to me on Facebook chat right away, commenting on what I had been wearing and asking me a bunch of questions. (This guy, by the way, is SUPER attractive.)

Over the past week, we have talked a lot online and hung out once in person (but we were with his roommates as well), but he always tells me that I should come visit and is pretty blatant about hitting on me. Last night I was hanging out with some of his roommates and someone spilled that B. is moving out of their apartment and in with his girlfriend. (Apparently they had broken up and recently got back together.) WHOA–SHOCK.

He has never mentioned having a girlfriend to me. By chance, right after I found out, he messaged me on Facebook chat, and when he found out that I had been with his roommates, he asked why I didn’t come say hi. He doesn’t know that I know about his girlfriend and his move-out plans, so I carried on a short, polite, relatively banal conversation, even though I wanted to ask him point-blank about the girlfriend and us. Nothing has happened between us (thank goodness) except some flirting, because I wanted to take it slowly (I am a little bit weary of pretty boys), but I developed a pretty bad crush and the messages he was sending me made it seem like he was interested too. I don’t know if I should ask him about the girlfriend or let our little flirting game go on or cut him out of my life completely. I’m sure I can get over him quickly because I haven’t known him for that long, but I feel really hurt and betrayed and don’t know what to do. Please help!

Thanks!

-Crush Has a Girlfriend

Bacon, Egg and Cheese = Un-Kosher. Seek love elsewhere. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear CHAG,

There is nothing worse than feeling amorous towards a seductive man and then suddenly learning he is taken.  This sucks on so many levels, but the worst level is that you liked him, he jump-started your heart, and then it turns out his integrity is down the tubes.  That is a sad dating moment.

According to Esquire’s article, “Why Men Cheat: One man’s unfiltered, unadulterated explanation. Well, maybe a little adulterated,” by Anonymous, “If you cheat, you must believe this much: that fated love is a lie, and monogamous love a deception. If you cheat, these two sentiments are your guiding light.”

A really intuitive woman knows that a man who cheats is hurting.  There is something achey on his part, involved in hurting those he loves.  A lottta women love pained men, because they get to potentially swoop in and save them. Or, get cheated on or cheated with.

So there are like six hurts here, your hurt at losing out on a crush, your hurt in learning your crush was a douche, your hurt that is really his hurt passed through action, your own hurt that would lead you to a man like this, and so on and so forth.  Even monsters garner our love when they suffer.

Blah.  With all that hurt maybe spend a day at Spa World and stop Facebook chatting with the mofo.  He can hit you up all he wants, but you really need to guard your own and not worry about him.  Maybe he would one day be a friend, but I doubt it.  Cultivating a community of friends is a deliberate and important act, not one built on a foundation of deception, lies, and manipulative behavior.

This guy sounds like the dumps.  The sooner you cut him loose, the sooner you have space in your heart to welcome new, pretty, kind AND truthful suitors into your court.

According to How to Spot a Cheater Within 15 Minutes of Meeting by Paul Dobransky, you fell into the following traps.  Please avoid them in the future.

1) “They are VERY controlling, or VERY easily “controllable” (overagreeable)”

When a man spittles up compliments like a baby and his breast milk, you know you are barking up the wrong tree.  Love matures with time, not incrementally based on your hot outfits.

2) “They use the word “SHOULD” a great deal as in “You should sit down over here,” “You should get a different haircut,” or “You should treat me like a king/queen.” This person is likely to CHEAT.”

Yes, your little friend pulled this one on you repeatedly.

3) “They are “oversensitive.” Try a little sarcasm and see what they do.”

4) “Neediness. (Whether an attention hound, or a passive, shy type) Alongside “oversensitive” is any other similar word: “high maintenance,” “prima donna,””entitled,” or otherwise one with low self esteem, they are more likely to cheat. You will have an intuition about this, a feeling like they are pulling on you too much, leaning in on you. Scan your emotions for this, and also notice whether their body language actually physically is too close to you, leaning toward you all the time, or too much attention placed on you. This person is likely to CHEAT.”

5) “Trouble with the word NO. They either can’t say NO to you or others, or can’t HEAR NO gracefully from you and still be interested in continuing conversation.”

Ah yes, you say bubbye, he says hello.  Ugly.

And the clincher:

6) “Outright abuse or lying.”

Homeslice lied in his pursuit of you.  Period.

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

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

Surviving A High School Reunion

In Drama on May 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Dear Yenta,

I am also 28 and go to my reunion this weekend from high school.  I feel fat and ugly and unaccomplished, even nervous and excited.  I feel a million things and like I could burst at the seams.  Do you have any ideas on keeping my cool come Saturday night?

Sincerely,

Ten Years and Still Eighteen

Do it up, or wear it down. Either way, they will see what they want to. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear TYSE,

Lucky for you, I just survived a long weekend of ten-year high school reunion madness.  It was all those things you feel before, and then during it was just, yes, high school.  It was high school at lunch, high school at dinner, high school at a bar only better outfits and less drama.

If I could have had a few notecards to hand out they would have addressed the following:  1) My body.  2) My mood.  3) My career.  4) Where I live and why.  These are four repeated points of contact.  One card might read: “Dear high school once-friend now quasi-stranger: Do I look tired?  Well, let me tell you…” Or “Do I look fatter to you?  Well, let me explain the origin of these flesh pockets.  This little handle is from a bakery in Provincetown, this one from the burritos in New Mexico, and this one from the cookies in Vermont.”  I would have written all about the nuances of body shifting and why, from car accidents to surgeries, over and out.

But no one says, “tell me the story of your body.”  What I took from this inner knowing of my own business, and the surface reality of saying hi to 100 people from my past: do not judge lest ye be judged.

Some people have their shit figured out, some people don’t.  Some people got fat, some people got hot, some people got sick, some people got svelte.  Some people drink too much, some people became yogis and so on and so forth.  In the end, who cares?  Remember that your body, your heart, your career and all other elements of your being were formed by a real life full of real experiences, same with everyone else.  Anyone judging you is denying their own complexity.

If I were to go to my reunion all over again I would have gone with a beer taped to my hand and no expectation of any depth.  This is a HIGH SCHOOL reunion.  Expect hugs and expect smiles and just ride the party wave, go home, and resume living as you did before.  Placing any clout on the scenario is useless. They aren’t really judging you.  And the ones that are suddenly fall off like barnacles because we aren’t in high school anymore.  We are old now, like 28-years-old, and we have dreams.  Dreams and high school drama don’t mix.  So drink up, hug hard, and remember this is one night of your long and amazing life, a night all about remembering a yesterday that has already passed.

For inspiration, watch this clip from Oprah, “The High School Quarterback Who Became a Lesbian,” about Kimberly Reed, who twenty years ago was Paul McKerrow, the star of the local football team, returning with a new body, a new name, and a new life.

“All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends, I still can recall, some are dead and some are living, in my life, I’ve loved them all.”

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

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta

When To Say “I Love You”

In Dating, Drama on May 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Dear Yenta,

When is too soon to say “I Love You?”

Sincerely,

Mr. Lover Man

Love is about nudity. Make sure they can handle seeing you bare your naked heart. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Mr. L,

First, a disclaimer.  Only you know yourself and your lover.  No Yenta can tell you what’s best.  But here are some ways to derive a system of gauging love and its profession.

As one woman once said, recoiling at the words “I Love You,” “That’s the nicest thing you can say to anyone, isn’t it?  Thank you.”  This coupled with a severe look in the eyes and rigid body language is the reaction, I am guessing, you are seeking to avoid.  The question is less about when, and moreso, about how, to whom, where, etc.

Say it too soon, some people run.  Why?  For a number of reasons.  Here are some rational explanations as to why those three words can be terrifying, followed by a list of ways to safely profess your undying love to anyone, anywhere, anyhow.

1)  Commitment Phobia

Early declaration forces decision into the relationship.  Ie, commitment.  It is an ultimatum in some ways, like saying, “this is where I am, up here on the love platform, and if you can’t join me here yet then we are through.”

2) Self-Hatred

Saying “I Love You” is also a big witnessing of another.  To be seen in our entirety and then loved, as sweet as it sounds, is hard.  We are programmed to doubt ourselves, so when someone says, “I don’t doubt you, I adore you,” our fears come shooting out.  Ie, “Am I worthy?”  “Will you still like me in a week?”  “You don’t know that I killed my cat when I was five, when that comes out you will regret those three words.”  Things like that.

3) Falsity

The Sakyong , Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche once spoke of how the act of declaring your love is a moment once-removed.  “I Love You” is really a redundant expression.  When love is real and alive and vibrant it lives between two people in their eyes, their touch and in their actions.  To then state it is an afterthought to the reality of the love that was already alive between you to begin with.

One way to cope with the fear that it is too soon, is to express your love rather than declare it.  A declaration without the backup actions will scare anyone away.  That, and the human heart and mind can only handle so much adoration in one dose.

4) Vulnerability

Saying “I Love You” is making yourself extremely vulnerable, exposing all of yourself.  We build trust and intimacy so it is strong enough to hold the intensity of really loving and seeing each other.  If the web isn’t strong enough, we lose that foundation and find a closed-door in our face.

I once fell in love and professed my feelings so emphatically and intensely that the boy ran away for weeks before secretly admitting his mutual adoration.  It was too much, like love vomited all over him, like a basket overflowing and his arms couldn’t hold it.  Give the person you love enough love that they can hold it, see it, feel it, touch it and know it.  If love is somehow palpable, held, breathing and doled out in digestible doses then your loved one will better be able to meet you.

Ways to Gauge the Moment and Properly Profess

1)  Evaluate Intention

The questions you want to ask yourself before surrendering your heart in the name of a four letter word include: What do you lose if you say I love you?  Would it compromise anything, the sex, the honesty?  Do I love this person, or lust and hunger for them?  Am I professing to pin them down, or lift them up?  Can your relationship stomach this admission, even if it is true? Make sure this is love, not just hunger for sex and security, etc.

2) Actions Speak Louder Than Words

So say I love you when you feel like it, but be sure your actions back up your words, and that your words aren’t some way of cornering someone into commitment.  That isn’t love, that is ownership.  Because you want it to be true, that simple truth needs to resonate with your behavior.  If you give your partner a cold shoulder most of the time and suddenly spout loving words, they might coil in fear.  Don’t just say it, do it.  Saying I love you without action, is a lie.

For help, click here for 60 ways to say I love you.

3)  Time Will Tell

When in doubt, wait.  Generally if it is torture to hold it in, you need to start expressing yourself, stat.  But it is a hard and thin line between doubt and fear.  Doubt can be guided by intelligence and intuition, whereas fear is laced with cowardice.

According to some secret sources, before the two month mark is too soon, at the four-month mark is perfect.  According to a sage, wise at the art of love and poker, “It’s never too soon to say I love you, Merissa.  I’m not one for rules and regulations when it comes to these things.”  Advance day by day, step by step, with your own heart thumping loudly and leading the way.

Click here for a list of 100 languages in which to say “I Love You.”

Click here for a CNN article on why women should wait to say it.

Click here for an article on The Different Ways Men Say “I Love You.”

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

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
Ask Your Yenta