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January 22, 2014

Reality Check

Matters of the Heart and Loins

Editor’s Note: Next week our new advice columnist will introduce herself. To get her off to a good start, send her your questions now, so that she can start thinking about them. Send them to advice@flagpole.com or flagpole.com/getadvice.

I am dating a girl that is way out of my league. Don’t get me wrong: I am thrilled. She is beautiful, smart, funny and a great person. I love being with her. It’s just that there is a major part of me that wonders when she is going to figure out how off balance we are. I am a decent-looking guy, and I am relatively smart. I got good grades in school and I can hold my own in conversation about plenty of things. The thing is, she is a fucking genius. I mean, a literal, off the charts, skipped-grades-in-school-and-graduated-early kind of genius. Plus she has travelled all over, and she does volunteer work, and she has great fashion sense. All of my friends are blown away by her. I have dated attractive and smart women before, but not like this. Also, my parents love her. It was almost embarrassing how much they fawned over her (“What a find!”). They practically proposed for me. Guys I don’t know will come up to me and go, “How did you do it?” And I’m like, “I have no idea.”

On top of all of this, she doesn’t seem at all fazed by her own awesomeness. She thinks I’m great. I am in grad school, studying something that will never make me any real money, because it’s what I’m interested in. I have no ambition to be wealthy, or travel the world, or save the children. It’s not that I don’t think these things would be good, fun or honorable, it’s just that I don’t tend to think that big. She has plans. She always has plans. She is going to Europe next January and she invited me to come along. Of course, I want to go, but I am not sure I can save the money. When it comes up and I mention that I’m worried about finances, she just says “We’ll figure it out! Save a little at a time; it’s not that expensive. We’ll get there!” I just don’t have that kind of confidence. In fact, I’m starting to feel like I don’t really have any confidence anymore. Which I am well aware is stupid and ridiculous. Why am I so intimidated by my awesome girlfriend? I am so afraid I am going to ruin this thing just by crumbling under the weight of it. Help!

 

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Man, you have got to relax. Think of it this way: She is smarter than you, right? And she thinks you’re great, so clearly you must be. Just go with it. Next time she mentions Europe, ask specific questions. Find out exactly how much you need to save and then figure out how much that is per week and just start doing it. You don’t have to be super ambitious or super wealthy to have a good life. Maybe she likes you because you don’t care that you will never make a lot of money but you’re still pursuing what really interests you. Don’t overanalyze it and don’t put her on a pedestal. Did it occur to you that she might be crushed under the weight of everyone’s opinion of her? Or their expectations? Just be the guy you are, the guy she clearly likes, and be good to her. Have fun and see what happens. Maybe she’ll turn you into a better person by osmosis.


I have a new girlfriend. Well, really, I don’t even know if she is my girlfriend yet. We have been hanging out a lot lately, and we have kissed a couple of times. I really like her, and I have for a long time. She told my best friend that she really likes me, too, which is why I finally got the balls to ask her out. Anyway, we mostly hang out in a big group of people because we have a lot of the same friends.

Anyway, she has had a lot of family stuff going on lately. Like, serious stuff, where her brother is in a lot of trouble and her mom is really sick. She hasn’t been out, and I barely see her at school, and we aren’t talking a lot. We weren’t really talking or texting that much yet anyway, but now she is obviously busy with bigger problems than me. Her other friends haven’t really seen or heard much either.

The thing is, I really want to talk to her more, and I want to go and see her, but I don’t want it to be weird. I don’t know her family at all and I don’t want to bother them at such a tough time, but I want her to know that I am here if she wants to talk to me. I don’t want to mess this up because I really like this girl. Can you tell me what to do next?

New Guy

 

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The best thing for you to do is tell her that you are there for her if she needs you—needs anything, a shoulder, an ear, an ice cream sandwich—but that she shouldn’t feel obligated to keep in touch if things are messed up right now. You can either call her and tell her, or, if you feel like you don’t even want to do that, drop her a quick message. Let her know that you know she is going through a lot and that you wish you could help but that you are trying to stay out of the way and let her steer right now. She will appreciate your honesty and understanding, and that gives her a chance to reach out to you if she needs to without the possibility of overstepping your bounds.


I have been dating this guy all summer. We are both in school, but had the summer off to work and play, and it has been so cool. We went camping, hiking and canoeing together. He came over to my sister’s apartment for a barbecue. We went to Six Flags. This is literally the best relationship I have ever had. We never fight or argue. He always says nice things, pulls my chair out, etc. It has been a whirlwind romance and I really thought we were falling in love. But now that school is back, he has no time for me. Ever.

He has all this stuff to do with his house during rush and all, and I understand, but I still think he could at least come over some nights afterward. We went from spending every single night together for the last two months to me not even being introduced to his friends. I am trying to be patient, but I am kind of depressed and I’m getting angry. He says I am being irrational and that he has a “duty” to take care of his brothers first. These are not his blood brothers, mind you, and they do not need taking care of. All I’m asking for is some of his time. I thought things were so good! What did I do wrong? What am I not seeing here?

Left Out

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Sounds to me like the perfect Summer Fling. Embrace it, revel in the memories of the fun and sun and sex and the good times. Don’t ask what happened, and certainly don’t blame yourself. Instead of making it more complicated and ugly, marvel at the simplicity of it. Think of it the way you think of the summer itself: “Well, that was fun. What’s next?” Go download “Melt Show” by the Old 97’s from iTunes, listen to it on repeat for a few days, and chalk the whole thing up to experience. At least you had the summer, right?

Now, go find a guy that is more interested in being with you than he is in hanging out in a dank basement full of sweaty dudes, spanking complete strangers that pass for his fake family. I think we both know that you deserve better. As they say, you can take the boy out of the frat, but you can’t take the frat out of the boy. And unfortunately for you, frat season is in.

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