Editor’s Note: we are running selections from some of Jyl’s old columns until we have a new advice columnist. Thanks to all who have applied. We think we’re getting close to a decision.
There is a new girl in my life, and when we first started dating I was happier than I had been in a long time. It's hard to explain, but I was pretty torn up after my last girlfriend and I went our separate ways. Now, I am perfectly content and my friends all say that I've returned to the old me; aside from the fact that they say we flirt so much it's sickening to be in the same room... Anyway, if life was perfect I wouldn't have to be asking a complete stranger for advice.
My problem comes from my ex-girlfriend. When we broke up she wouldn't even speak to me, wouldn't return my calls, and I swear sometimes she would flirt around me just to upset me. After a couple of months, my current girl and I started dating; I kept everything pretty quiet because I didn't want to deal with the drama that I knew would ensue. My ex has now realized there is a new lady in my life—we work in the same office, so she would have to be oblivious not to—and has proceeded to make herself my shadow. She even went to our boss and requested to have the same days off as me! I'm glad she's speaking to me again because I always wanted to stay friends, but every time I try to go out with my girlfriend she's calling me, wanting to hang out, and I feel obligated to see her. My girlfriend called me yesterday to tell me that she wasn't sure I had sufficiently moved on to be dating another girl. What do I do? I'm caught between two women and I'm not pleasing either—all I wanted to do was be the nice guy! I don't want to lose my girlfriend; I really do love her, but I don't want to lose an old friend either. Is there a way for me to make everybody happy?
Torn and Confused
I don’t know about everybody else, TC, but you can make me happy by cutting the bullshit. You might be convincing yourself of your nice-guy martyrdom, TC, but I’m not buying it. You’re trying to have it both ways, and it’s not working. Come on!! This is the kind of crap that women usually pull, TC. Your new lady is right. You have to make a choice. Your ex is your ex for a reason: it didn’t work because it wasn’t right. And now after punishing you for months, suddenly she wants to be all buddy-buddy again? Gimme a break! And why the hell do you feel obligated to see her?! Do you really like the new one or not? If you do, you need to tell your ex to get lost. You can’t just keep one waiting in the wings in case it doesn’t work out with bachelorette number two. You’re playing games and you’re allowing your ex to manipulate the situation. It’s stupid and unfair. If you don’t want to grow the fuck up then go back to your ex. She’s obviously a goddamn child, too.
This new guy I am dating is super sweet and I think I’m falling for him. We met through mutual friends and he lives in another town, but we see each other pretty often. The problem is that I just had a birthday and he bought me some pretty, lacy underthings. I know this sounds great, but it really isn’t my style. I am and always have been a white cotton panties and wife-beater type of girl. I am a proud tomboy and don’t appreciate him trying to change me. When I opened the present, I was very surprised and a little bit mad, but I think I faked it pretty well. I oohed and aahed and said thanks and then shoved them in the back of a drawer as soon as he left. I’m kind of mad because I feel like he’s trying to change me, but I really do think he’s awesome, otherwise, and I don’t know if it’s worth fighting over. What do you think?
Just because he chose to buy you something lacy doesn’t mean he wants you to stop being a tomboy, NG. In fact, he probably finds your tomboyishness attractive or he wouldn’t be dating you in the first place, right? As long as he isn’t nagging you to change your whole style and way of life, I would look upon his gift as both a compliment (you are hot and feminine and would look awesome in lacy underthings) and a fantasy (I really want to see you in the roll of lace-clad sex kitten because it contradicts what people surely expect of you and would be our little secret). Unless he is giving you other indications that he is trying to change you, NG (in which case show him the door), I would indulge him a little and see how it works out. You may find that you like that lingerie in spite of yourself.
I am in my late 20s, average-to-pretty (so I’m told—I don’t think about it much), and single. I have dated and dated and dated, and recently I just got tired and kind of over it. I haven’t been on a date in months, and I am not terribly unhappy about it. I have been getting to the gym, getting more sleep, and hell if my nails don’t look great. But my friends have taken up trying to set me up with a guy. I laughed about it at first, but then I realized that one of my friends, Crystal, actually has very good judgment. She is a serial monogamist, has dated before, but mostly has managed to avoid the shitty dates with dumb or inconsiderate men that I have dealt with. Plus, her new boyfriend seems very nice, and she seems very happy.
The other night I was at home glued to "Justified" (Timothy Olyphant is all the man this woman needs right now) and giving myself a pedicure when I got a text message. It was Crystal, and she was having a drink. “Chatting with a gorgeous, intelligent cyclist. I gave him your number.” I am a bike enthusiast and a very outdoorsy girl. Crystal knows this. She also knows my type. A few minutes later, I got a text: “Hi, HH, Cyclist Guy here. Crystal thinks we should meet. Are you up for a drink? Or a ride?” I was a bit taken aback at first, and I didn’t know how to respond. Should I try this? Is it weird that I would just go on a blind date with a guy she doesn’t know and I have never seen? I don’t know what to do! Please help me. I don’t want to end up being a crazy cat lady, but I’m not sure if blind dates are the way to go.
Happy Hermit Reconsidering
I don’t think it’s weird. If Crystal is a good judge of character and a good judge of what you like, then meet the guy. Keep the first date light and an easy-out kind of scenario in case it bombs, and then hope for the best. You’ve got nothing to lose.
I am in a bad situation and I need some help. My boyfriend of a few years is in a bad place. He is depressed for various reasons, and there are a lot of crappy things going on in his life. He is not a clinically or chronically depressed person, so it isn’t like I’m worried that he’s going to kill himself or anything. He is just in a bad place. I am trying to figure out how best to be there for him and support him, but since there is nothing I can do about any of his problems (or anything he can do except wait until the bad parts pass and then try to recover), I often feel helpless.
I have been trying to be supportive and maintain a good mood and let him vent and also do things that make him feel better. I try to be affectionate and touch him a lot, and when I think he might be in the mood, I try to initiate sex. I have been putting off as many of my own needs in these departments as I can, because I know grief and depression do not often make one feel sexy.
So, here’s the thing: he seems to be pulling away. I mean, physically, when I try to just hug him or hold him or scratch his back or whatever, I think he thinks I’m trying to sleep with him and he seems like he’s getting upset—like he thinks I am being selfish and I only care about what I want. But the opposite is true. I feel misunderstood and helpless and I don’t know what to do. Should I just back off? I feel compelled to explain myself but I don’t know if it will just make things worse.
Rock, Not an Island
Just tell him everything you told me. Tell him you’re not sure how to help but you’re trying, and tell him you’ll back off but only if that’s what he wants and that he should initiate when he is ready. Be careful not to completely ignore your own needs for too long, though. Be sure you communicate so you don’t end up resenting him.