The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

Vroom with a view

I’m a 34-year-old woman, dating a 27-year-old guy for three months. We have a great time together, but he’s balking at making an official commitment, meaning he doesn’t want to call us boyfriend and girlfriend. He says he feels we have long-term potential and doesn’t want to date anyone else, but needs time to be sure about us so he doesn’t get hurt again (as he did by his last girlfriend, whom he felt sure was “the one”). That makes sense, but the other day, he told me he loves me. How can he feel that way and still not consider us boyfriend/girlfriend? I’m in my 30s, and my friends are getting married, and I get down on myself sometimes for being single. Am I selling myself short by waiting?

— On Hold

An impulsive relationship is something to have with a pack of mini-cupcakes in the supermarket checkout line. If they aren’t all they seemed to be, you’ll probably complain a little — that you wasted 79 cents, not the “best years of your life” and the last of your viable eggs.

OK, it’s a little weird that a guy who blurts out “I love you” is squeamish about the B- and G-words, but keep in mind that the last woman he gave his heart to slammed it in the hurt locker. Also, people hate to fail and resist having their failures formalized. If he doesn’t call you his girlfriend, maybe those won’t be real tears you’ll cry if you break up, and he won’t have screwed up another relationship; he’ll just have dated somebody awhile and moved on. But, even if he is driven by fear, his insistence on taking it slow is a good thing: It suggests he learns from his mistakes (an important quality to have in a B-word) and means he won’t be that guy who calls you his girlfriend pronto and then treats you more and more like some woman he passed on his way to the men’s room at the corner bar.

Because you can’t know how long his holding-back period will last until he stops holding back, you can start to think the worst — that he’s just toying with you or, even worse, that you’ll have a mortgage and three kids together and he’ll still be introducing you as “my lady friend.” To allay your fears, mark a deadline in your head — perhaps two or three months from now — to see whether the relationship’s progressed to a point you’re more comfortable with and to bail if it hasn’t. During that time, try not to be so goal-focused that you forget to look critically at how compatible you two actually are and explore your own motivations. For any “official commitment” to last, you have to want him, specifically. It can’t just be that he’s your last chance to experience having everyone turn and gasp as you walk down the aisle — that is, unless you’re in such a rush to get to church one Sunday that you put on stockings but forget to follow up by putting on pants.

 

Life in the fastened-to-her lane

Every woman I’ve ever had a relationship with has freaked over my friendships with other women. Even a relationship with someone I really loved ended because she couldn’t stand my talking to and occasionally meeting up with female friends. There’s nothing romantic going on with any of these friends, nor do I have any interest in anything ever happening, but explaining that is always hopeless.

— Maligned

“Love is all you need,” lied the Beatles. Sure, it might start out seeming that way. You meet that special someone, butterflies whirl, Disney woodland animals break into song, and you fall into bed and see no one but each other for three to six months. Eventually, however, you start to long for contact with other humans — not because your scruples are on the blink but because you’ve heard all of each other’s most hilarious stories at least twice.

Most couples keep sexytime activities on the restricted list, but there will be many other interests you share with friends and not each other. Hanging with these friends doesn’t threaten your relationship; it enhances it, making you more interesting to each other because you aren’t each other’s sole mental, social and emotional watering hole. It takes a secure woman to understand this — one who needs you because she loves you and not because she skipped over building a self and is using you to cover up the empty slot. A secure woman accepts that there’s always a risk you’ll leave her but understands that the best way to guarantee you will is to make you feel bonded to her — like a fly writhing out its last remaining hours on a strip of flypaper.

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).

Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

Nobody to codepend on

My boyfriend and I were invited to dinner at our friends’ house. An hour after the appointed time, another friend of theirs, a woman who’s been single for at least a decade, still hadn’t left her house. She called with a crisis about what she was bringing, wearing, etc. (She always seems to have some crisis.) The hostess calmed her down, telling her to just come. Upon hanging up, she said that she thinks marriage both requires sanity and helps keep people sane and that people who are unmarried and living alone for an extended time seem to get increasingly neurotic. That seems a bit unfair, but I can see her point.

— Unhitched

It can be harder to indulge one’s eccentricities in a marriage. Before you even turn the front door knob to head off to work in the morning, there’s your spouse blurting out, “You know, that tie really clashes with the Kleenex boxes on your feet.”

In other words, no, a wedding isn’t a rose-petal-scattered transporter beam out of neurosis or more serious psych problems, and we shouldn’t be quick to assume people who get married are more well-adjusted than people who don’t. Some states require a blood test before you marry; none tests to make sure you aren’t cuckoo for more than Cocoa Puffs.

Psychologist Dr. Bella DePaulo, in Singled Out, shows that many studies claiming married people are much better off than singles have serious flaws in methodology, and the modest claims of solid studies are frequently distorted, exaggerated, and turned into media catnip by the agenda-driven. As a result, “single” is so automatically viewed as the companion to “miserable” (and the prelude to getting your face eaten off by your cat) that even respected researcher Dr. E. Mavis Hetherington can’t see her faulty reasoning in concluding, “Happily married couples are healthier, happier, wealthier, and sexier than are singles.” Note that she’s comparing HAPPILY MARRIED people with ALL single people. Yes, shockingly, happily married people are happier than clinically depressed single people and all the married people who just couldn’t stand the nonstop joy and are getting divorced.

Your friend makes a mistake in throwing all the single eggs in one basket. Some people are single and living alone because they have unresolved issues, and some are because a whole lot of other people do. Others simply prefer living alone. (Why have a mancave when you can have a manhome?) Studies do show definite benefits to being (happily) married, such as having a sounding board, a ready source of sex and hugs, and someone to help you pick up the pieces when you drop them. If you’re single, these benefits aren’t unavailable to you; they just take more thought and effort to obtain. For example, you can share a house or duplex with a friend, create a community of friends, and have at least one close friend who knows just about everything about you and is allowed and even encouraged to tell you when you’re being an idiot. Whatever you do, don’t let that “dying alone!” business get to you. Somebody can tough it out for 30 years with a person and, wouldn’t you know it, have that final heart attack just moments after their spouse runs out to the store with a coupon for 40 cents off cottage cheese.

Curb feelings

Does approaching a woman on the street and asking her out ever work?

— On The Prowl

Sites with dating tips for men encourage them to approach women on the street: “Just walk up and say hello! All you have to do is be confident!” That second part is very good advice, because then you’ll look less like you’re dying inside when the woman treats you like you just walked up and said, “Hi, my name is Rapist!”

Instead, use what social scientists call the “foot-in-the-door technique.” Various studies show that when you get a person to agree to a trivial first request (like signing a petition), they’re more likely to say yes to a more substantial request that follows (like donating money to the cause). In France, psychologist Nicolas Gueguen sent three men, ages 19-21, out on the street to approach 360 women, about the same age, and ask them for a drink. When the men asked straight-out for a date, only 3.3 percent of the women said yes. When they first asked women for a light (for a cigarette) or directions and then the drink, 15 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively, agreed to go for a drink. Researchers are unsure why this works, but it seems that preoccupying a woman with helping you at least gives you a shot at distracting her from the directions you really want: “Could you tell me the best route into your pants?”

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)


It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).


Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

Talk blurty to me

Why are women so worked up about hearing “those three little words,” and why must they turn them into such a minefield? If a man says “I love you” too soon, he gets dumped because he’s a clingy, needy Nice Guy. If he waits too long, he gets dumped as a suspected commitment-phobe. Even when a man operates without any calculation — freely and happily telling a woman he loves her — he runs the risk of some cutting or insulting response from her or no response at all. (I have gotten tripped up by timing this wrong a number of times.) Methinks there’s a bit of self-loathing to the women who pull this baloney.

— Expressing Myself
 

“I love you,” said right away, suggests that you have great admiration for a woman’s unique and special qualities, such as being female, human, and willing to return your calls.

Early on in dating, should you find yourself brimming with emotion and unable to hold back, “I love bacon!” is a safer thing to blurt out. When somebody says that, even on the first or second date, nobody suspects he’s just hoping to use bacon to patch some gaping emotional void. This is probably why, no matter how soon or how fiercely you express your love for bacon, bacon will never respond by running away. To be fair, bacon also lacks feet.

The “I love you” a woman does want to hear is the one that’s shorthand for “I’d like to be the one who’s there for you when you can’t quite get the Velcro to close on your adult diaper” — or that at least indicates a desire to point the relationship in that direction and see how it goes. This is not a conclusion you hop to in a handful of dates. It comes out of feeling that who the woman is resonates with who you are and what you care most about, and takes seeing her less-than-lovable sides and deciding that the downsides aren’t big and hairy enough to cancel out the upsides.

As for your stumbles in the “three little words” zone, if you’ve told a woman you love her and gotten an “insulting” response, could it be because you scribbled it on a dollar bill and tucked it into her G-string? Being into a woman isn’t enough. First, she has to be together enough to be open to being loved. And, yes, there actually has to be a relationship between you — one developed enough and mutual enough that even if her response to “I love you” isn’t “I love you, too,” at least it won’t be “Sorry … have we met?”

 

Her suction cup runneth over

My girlfriend of two years is the bomb but is becoming a little needy. We live together and both have office jobs, and I’m cool not talking to her until I get home, but she’ll text me several times a day. If I don’t respond, she texts me a sad face or some statement about how busy I must be. If I’m hanging with friends in the evening, she gets upset if I don’t call her at least once. I really love her but feel indulging her need for more contact will only cause her to be more demanding.

— Tugged On
 

Affection is not a gateway drug. Texting your girlfriend a few extra “luv u babe”s or “thinkn of u”s during the workweek isn’t the first step to carrying her everywhere with you in a giant BabyBjorn. It might even help her stop treating that device in your pocket like an “Angry Birds”-enabled wireless leash. Consider “the dependency paradox,” researcher Dr. Brooke C. Feeney’s finding that, in a committed relationship, the more a person felt they could count on their partner to be responsive to their calls for comforting and support, the more autonomous and self-sufficient the person would be.

Ask your girlfriend to try a monthlong experiment in managing your mismatched need for closeness: You’ll commit to giving her more frequent verbal reassurance that you love her and are there for her and to dashing off a few sweet texts to her at slow points during your workday. She, in turn, needs to respect some boundaries, meaning not going all funeralface when you don’t respond to every workday text and not expecting to hear from you when you’re out with your friends unless you end the evening in a ditch or in jail. After 30 days, take stock. I’m guessing you’ll find your girlfriend feeling — and acting — much less like the sort of woman who’s about two unreturned texts from sobbing to a packed restaurant, “He’s decided to take a break from the relationship!” (Translation: “He’s in the men’s room.”)

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)


It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).


Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

Not just another pimply face

I’ve loved my fiancée deeply for her intelligence and beautiful personality since the day we met five years ago. However, I don’t think I was ever really attracted to her. In fact, lately, I’m increasingly repulsed by her. I hate her slouchy, tomboyish walk, and I’m turned off by her unfeminine manners. She constantly has pimples; her breath smells; and her lips are always dry and chapped. I go through the motions with her in bed, but it’s become very unsatisfying. In all fairness, she has a great body, beautiful eyes, and a beautiful smile, and I really do love her and feel absolutely horrendous for sounding so superficial. I could never actually cheat on her, but I’ve been having thoughts of it, and that alone makes me feel terrible.

— Conflicted
 

In any relationship, there’s an inevitable erosion in hot and steamy, but you’re with the wrong woman if your sex face could easily be mistaken for your standing-over-a-septic-leak face.

OK, so your fiancée could win inner beauty contests, but beauty on the inside just isn’t enough unless you’ve been reincarnated as an endoscopy camera and sent on safari down her digestive tract. Then it wouldn’t matter that your favorite thing to do in bed is roll over and realize she’s away on business or that your sexual fantasies involve picturing her fully clothed, scribbling out a purchase order for a warehouse of zit cream.

Looks are especially important when getting into a long-term relationship (especially the “till death do us part” kind), because if you’re careful crossing the street, you’ll be spending a really long time looking at the person. The ultimate in well-intentioned cruelty is marrying somebody you aren’t attracted to and will come to despise as you find her increasingly physically repellant. You should instead figure out what your “type” is and only get together with someone who fits solidly into it. We all have a type — looks, smell and behavior we’re drawn to. For some people, it spans a broader spectrum of humanity (and in some cases, farm animals). For others, the range is smaller, which is fine, as long as they accept that they’re narrowing their options — and don’t narrow them so far that the only woman they could ever go out with is Jessica Biel.

The least hurtful thing you could do now would be to hop a bus back in time and sleep in on the morning you met your girlfriend. Barring an ability to bend the laws of physics, you should break up with her immediately. (Tell her the relationship just isn’t working for you anymore, not the whole ugly truth.) When you love a woman you aren’t also in lust with, you should resolve to love her only as a friend — same as you would some loyal hairy guy you know who’s also “beautiful on the inside.” Nothing comes between the two of you, either — save for the feeling that a roll in the hay with him would pale in eroticism to a roll in a river of cat vomit.

 

Deck the halls, not the guests

At a Christmas party, a drunk man made a lewd comment to my wife. When she told me about it afterward, I got angry and told her I wanted to approach him and tell him not to disrespect her. She said that only crazy people do that and that she was sorry she’d even mentioned it. Isn’t demanding that he apologize to her the right thing to do? What man just lets this go?

— The Husband
 

Historically, men fought duels to defend a woman’s honor when her virginity was called into question. Just wondering: Is there any real worry that people at the Christmas party now suspect your wife has had sex after marriage? Sometimes you make a situation worse by taking action. This would be one of those times. The guy was drunk (which means you may have to remind him of what he said before demanding he apologize for saying it). He’s creeped on your wife only once; he hasn’t started following her around the supermarket, muttering that he’d like to jingle her bell. By chewing him out for what seems to have been a passing drunken incident, you would probably turn it into a lasting incident, creating lasting social discomfort for your wife. And as endearing as it is that you’re raring to go all Sir Lancelot on the guy, by showing your wife you can’t hold back, you’d likely cause her to hold back news of anything more emotionally charged than a spilled drink. Save your energy for offenses with a continuing negative effect, like the neighbors who leave their blindingly bright Christmas display up until Easter, making every moment you spend in your living room feel like a year being interrogated by the East German Secret Police.

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)


It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).


Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

New Kid on the Bloc

I spent the last two years in the Peace Corps in Eastern Europe and just committed to another year. Before my assignment, I was dating a decent guy, but I told him it was temporary. When I was home on leave this summer, it was evident he hadn’t let the relationship go. I reiterated that I just wanted friendship, but when I was back in Europe he e-mailed, asking if I still love him. He’s always been really supportive, and even visited me in my first year, but I again told him I didn’t have romantic feelings for him. He asked for time to get over us. I promised not to contact him until he contacted me. This month, after three months of silence, he messaged me saying he wanted to talk, but now he won’t respond to my e-mails to set up a Skype date. I miss him terribly and wonder if I made a mistake ending it with him. Then again, I’m living in a culture where women my age are all married with two kids, and I’m getting a lot of pressure to get married.

— Confused
 

Assuming you aren’t willing or able to “date local,” this guy is effectively the last man on earth for you, at least for a year. Yeah, sure, you could go on a dating site and pique some new guy’s interest, but imagine the directions for the first date: “Hop a 16-hour transatlantic flight, take three buses, transfer to the local mule cart, and tell Szylblczlka to turn left at the second group of goats in the road.”

Until recently, even with thousands of miles between you, this guy’s been conveniently located: stuck on you. It sounds like you admire his good qualities — sort of in the way a great auntie appreciates her little grand-nephew’s accomplishments in the macaroni arts. But, romance? Nuh-uh. Not feelin’ it. Friendship only. And that’s final. Well, sort of final. Because, while absence, punctuated by the occasional Skype chat, couldn’t make the heart grow fonder, there’s nothing that gins up feeling in a girl like the sudden and inexplicable disappearance of a guy after years of his tongue-dragging, tail-wagging, puppydog-like reliability.

Adding to this allure, you’re the single lady surrounded by all these happy villager couples. This leads to you telling yourself that maybe you’re only now recognizing the guy’s wonderfulness, but what you’re really saying is “I don’t particularly have feelings for him, but he’s always had feelings for me, and I’m kinda lonely over here in Upper Eastern Wherever, where the milkmaid next door just got married at 14.”

Paraphrasing Kant on how people shouldn’t be treated as means to an end, “Don’t be a user! That’s, like, so bogue.” Instead, engage in a truly humanitarian gesture — leave the guy alone so he can get you out of his system and go find somebody else. Ideally, she’ll also “miss him terribly” when they’re apart — but not simply because he’s the one man she has contact with who lacks both a wife and the belief that pink #300 sandpaper doubles for White Cloud and a glass of warm water is the week’s bath.

 

Casing Amy

I’m a straight man who’s become friends with two bona-fide, card-carrying lesbians. One I met hiking and the other is a coworker. Dominique and Angelique (not their real names) are both very attractive. I consider each a good friend, have lunched with them, hugged them, and met their respective unattractive partners (each of whom looks like a man). I know they are not interested in men, yet I continue to have prurient thoughts about them, and find this continuing attraction to gay women confusing.

— Wrong Hots
 

Wait. You’re a heterosexual man who has the hots for hot women who get it on with other women? Weird. And yet, there must be other men out there who feel as you do, considering the vast selection of videos titled Hot Lesbian Action, and the paucity of titles like Two Lesbian Soccer Moms Nuzzle On The Couch While Sharing A Bag Of Kale Chips. Guess what: You aren’t attracted to gay women; you’re attracted to extremely attractive women, some of whom happen to be gay. (Not surprisingly, when coming up with aliases for your friends, you reach for names that are more stripper than lady field hockey coach.) If you’re content to remain a les-bro — a straight guy who’s friends with lesbians — your lesbian friends can provide you with priceless benefits: unlimited insight into the bizarre thinking and behavior of women. Just be sure you always keep a firm grip on the bottom line: If they were into men, they’d be dating a man instead of a woman who kind of looks like one.

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)


It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).

DIGITAL EDITIONS

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

SUBSCRIBE

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SUBMIT YOUR VENTURA COUNTY EVENT HERE.

You must be registered and logged in to post your events.

UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. Multiple Ones: Contemporary Perspectives in Printmedia

    August 22 @ 8:00 am - October 23 @ 8:00 pm
  2. Sunset Networking Event co-hosted by Ferguson Case Orr Paterson and Ventura Chamber

    September 19 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
  3. Loni Love Headlines Levity Live

    September 20 @ 7:30 pm - September 22 @ 9:00 pm
  4. 2019 Quilt Rooms and Gardens Tour

    September 21 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  5. 3rd Annual Southeast Ventura County YMCA Reach For The Stars Gala

    September 21 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  6. Premiere Party for “Beyond Function: Fiber, Wood and Clay”

    September 21 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  7. Fundraiser for Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI)

    September 21 @ 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
  8. Oxnard National Drive Electric Vehicle (EV) Showcase

    September 22 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
  9. Chamber On The Mountain presents Tomer Gewirtzman, Pianist

    September 22 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  10. Morning Stretch to Classic Rock

    September 23 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am

Get hooked up!

Get hooked up!

Join our mailing list and get updates and other cool stuff.

You're in! Thanks!

Share This