[Editor Note: Jyl is leaving us. This column is reprinted from the April 29, 2009 Flagpole.]
This is a bit of an old story, I’m afraid, but bear with me. I was in a relationship for a long time. Things were great, then they weren’t, then we split, got back together, etc. Years. So, the first guy I actually met outside of the long-term boyfriend is great. He is attractive, smart, educated, ambitious, etc. And he likes me. So, we date, and it’s pretty hot, but I don’t want to get too serious, because I have just gotten out of the other thing, and also, he is leaving. I won’t get into why, but it is not negotiable. His departure time is not known. I stopped seeing him because I was starting to get attached too quickly, and he obviously wasn’t. We had great chemistry, but he always made it clear that he wasn’t in it for the long haul. He was often too busy to see me, and certainly dating other women (which, to be fair, was within the agreement we made). So, I dropped him like cigarettes – meaning, slowly, painfully, and with several incidents of sneaking one on a lunch break. He protested, but I stood firm. And then I didn’t, and we had a series of great dates, and then I realized that it was happening again. Finally, I stopped for real. This was a couple months ago. And now he is pursuing me harder than ever. I am having trouble resisting, because as I said, he’s pretty hot, and we have great chemistry, and frankly I haven’t met anybody else that interests me at all. I am still quit, but I wonder if I should be. Why bother? Should I just take what I can get while it’s here?
You haven’t told me why he is leaving, and you seem quite convinced that whatever he told you is real, but I have to ask. Are you sure that he is actually leaving? Is it possible that he’s giving you some sort of “shipping out” story so you won’t have any expectation of a long-term relationship? And do you think he’s giving the same story to all the women he’s sleeping with? Whatever the case may be, I think you’ve done the right thing by walking away. And as is often the case, he seems to want you more now that he can’t have you, right? The guy is either an emotional fuckwit or a player, and either way he’s nothing but trouble. You are obviously looking for something real. Stick to your proverbial guns and don’t waste your time. You’ve already had a pleasantly torrid affair, so consider it your rebound and go on to search for something meaningful.
I have been with my girlfriend for a couple of years. We’re talking about moving in together in the fall when both of our leases run out. I really love her, and things between us are great, but I am starting to have doubts about the moving in part. She is a morning person. She has a job that requires her to get up really early during the week, and because she insists that she can’t possibly survive on less than eight or nine hours of sleep, she always wants to go to bed early. Also, she is always tired on Friday because she has gotten up early and worked every day all week, so those nights are usually out, too. This isn’t usually a problem, because I will either go home with her and go to bed or I will stay out with my friends, and she’ll turn in, but I’m not so sure it’s going to make a happy living situation. I have a regular job, but I don’t have to get up as early and I don’t need as much sleep as she seems to. The biggest problem is that she often wants me to come to bed when I’m not tired. I do this sometimes to keep her happy, but sometimes I just can’t sleep, and she gets mad at me if I get out of bed. I have gotten used to her not being as social as I am, but I worry that moving in together is going to create an expectation that I should be home all the time or that we can only do things together. Also, I can’t imagine her being okay with me having people over to watch a game or anything if she has to get up early. I love this girl, but I don’t know if we can actually live together, and now that the conversation has happened, I feel like it’s already over. What should I do?
You need to talk to her. Just because the two of you are great as a couple does not mean that you will make great roommates. It is obvious from the way that you talk about this that her lack of sociability and need for sleep is frustrating to you. Have you told her this? It seems to me that if you are sometimes able to go home and go to bed when you aren’t really ready, then she should sometimes be able to go out on a Friday night or maybe even stay up late on a school night. There is also a possibility that this is not going to ever be the case. If that is true, then how can you possibly expect to live together? And why do you (or does she) feel the need to? It is possible (and sometimes much healthier) to maintain a relationship while occupying separate places. In your case, I think it might be the only way. Either way, you need to talk to her about it, and for God’s sake, be honest. Really think about what living together will mean for your social life and discuss possible ways of dealing with it. Don’t ruin a good thing because you were too afraid to be honest with each other.
Jyl, I have to disagree with the advice you gave to Helpless. Not everybody is meant to go to college. For some people it is just a big waste of time and money, and if she isn’t good at school then maybe it just isn’t for her. I usually like your advice and agree with you, but I think you dropped the ball on that one. A college degree isn’t a guarantee or even a measure of success in life.
While I agree with you in theory, ST, in the case of Helpless, we are talking about sucking it up for a couple of months and finishing her last semester. In which case, I think not finishing is a seriously stupid move. If she had two years left it might be a different situation, but as I said, the money was already spent and the finish line in sight, so I’m sticking to it. She needs to finish.
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