LoveFAQ is a weekly advice column for geeks, by geeks about love, life and maxing out your romance meter. Got questions for LoveFAQs? Send them to [email protected].
I went out with this girl for 2 years. About 6 months ago, she broke up with me for reasons that are still unclear to me … she said I was too “safe.” However, because she’s a student at the judo club I run, I can’t really get away from her.
About two months after the break, she came to me and begged me to help her move, since nobody else would. Because I’d promised to help before the breakup, I felt obligated to help. I took the day off and after about 8 hours of moving (4 hours by myself), her new boyfriend shows up to carry the last lamp out of the truck-and of course he got the credit for ‘helping’.
Then last week she called me and asked me to take her to the ER. I spent 14 hours overnight in the ER with her. The boyfriend showed up after I dropped her off at home and got her “happy pills.”
I’m an inherently nice person and I’m never able to say “no” when someone asks for help. She wants to stay friends, but it seems I’m getting the shit-end of the stick (she didn’t come to the ER when I was in there a month ago). I really just don’t want to deal with her anymore. Am I right to think I’m being used? How can I get out of this?
Tired of Being Nice
You’re not being nice. You’re being a doormat. And she’s not your friend – she’s your slave driver. Friends don’t take advantage of each other like this, to say nothing of emotionally blackmailing someone into lugging their moth-eaten crap halfway across town without so much as the promise of pizza and a case of beer.
She only comes to you when she needs help because she knows you’ll never turn her down (especially since her current beau is less than accommodating – but hey, why should he be? After all, she has you). But you aren’t a moving service, you aren’t an EMT and you aren’t a store-to-door pharmaceutical delivery service. You are her ex. You owe this woman nothing. So give her what you owe.
Getting out of your situation is simple, although it will take some willpower on your part: Stop engaging her. Don’t answer the phone when she calls. Block her from your IM and Facebook. Strike her from your Twitter and Tumblr follow lists. You still have to see her at your judo club, of course, but don’t talk to her beyond a polite and civil “hello”.
Don’t even tell her you’re doing this. Just do it. Excise her from your life as quickly and quietly as you can, because the bigger fuss you make over it, the more likely it is she will pull you – or you will invite yourself – back into her drama-whirlpool.
I do sympathize with your position; two years is a long time to be with someone, and you develop certain patterns, even habits, of helping the other person when they’re in need. Letting those go is terrifying, but it’s all part of moving on.
Maybe you’re not ready to let her go yet, but you can’t preserve the relationship you two once had by letting her walk all over you. You’ll just end up with bootprints on your face.
So do yourself a favor and cut her out. She isn’t worth it.
Dear Love FAQ,
I’ve been seeing this guy for just over 2 months now, and things ‘seem’ to be going well. I just have one complaint. I’m the only one who will initiate any communication. Don’t get me wrong, I make sure not to come across as pushy or clingy. And when we do talk via text, email or phone, things are great. He’s never once ignored me, or not returned a missed call. And, of course, when we are together things are positively electric.
He lives in another city about an hour away via train, and I always seem to be the one arranging our next date. He’s always eager to meet up, and even if he can’t, he’ll always suggest an alternative.
I’ve never actually dated someone before (at university, one didn’t date, if you catch my drift), so this is all very new to me. Am I simply out of sight and out of mind?
Hit Itself In Its Confusion!
This is a tough nut to crack without seeing the two of you interact. He might simply be shy, or absent-minded, or have a complex about initiating conversation (don’t laugh; some of us can’t even order a pizza over the phone without going into convulsions). On the other hand, perhaps he’s just not that into you – although if he’s as eager to get together with you as you say he is, I suspect that’s not the case.
Since he always calls you back, and he’s quick to suggest alternatives whenever your schedules don’t align (after all, if he didn’t like you, he’d just let the matter drop), then perhaps he’s just trying to play it cool. You said that you actively take pains not to appear too pushy or clingy – maybe he’s just trying to do the same thing.
Often in a new relationship, we err on the side of caution not because we don’t like the other person, but because we think we like them too much. That might be the case here. After all, you two do live in different cities, and you’ve only been seeing each other for two months. Perhaps he’s just nervous.
No matter what, though, if it bothers you, talk to him about it. Don’t make a big deal about it, because it isn’t. You’re both adults here, and adults nip problems in the bud before they blossom.
Once you’re done that, ask him to give you a call. Then wait until he does.
Dear Love FAQ,
I’m an adult, and I’ve never had sex. To be honest, I’m fine with that. For many reasons, I want to wait until I’m married to do so.
However, I’m constantly told that sex is part of a normal boyfriend/girlfriend dynamic, and that I’m “doomed to fail” if I do this. What should I do?
Full Health Bar
Dear Full Health Bar,
Find someone who believes as you do, and then not have sex together.
Then tell everyone else to shut the hell up and quit judging you. It’s none of their business anyway.
Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor – just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don’t take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.
Got a burning question (or a question about burning) for LoveFAQ? Send your emails to [email protected]. All submissions are confidential and anonymous.