Heartbreak, Friendship, and the Girl Who’s Always on Some Sort of Restrictive Diet

A friend of mine has been on a series of back-to-back super-restrictive diets over the past few years: gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, fiber-free, meat-free, and multiple combinations thereof. She suffers from the same kind of irritable bowel symptoms that seem to afflict at least half of the twentysomething women I know (including me!), and so she’s been trying to figure out what foods irritate her. Usually things are better for a month or two, and then they return to bad. She’s a lot more knowledgeable than I am about health in general and about her own body specifically, but it seems to me like it might be stress, and maybe anxiety about food in particular, that’s causing the problem. So my questions are at what point does this cross the line into eating disorder territory? Should I approach her about it? If so, how?

Eeek, your friend does sound like she’s crossed the line into total No Fun territory! Why is this the only thing she talks about? How can you stand to be around her? And wait, why do you care so much about her tummy issues? Is “fiber-free” even a thing? Don’t you guys watch Pregnant in Heels? My advice is to watch Pregnant in Heels and talk about how awful the people are on that show together. Or call a mutual moratorium on talking about food and diets for a while. In fact, do that, here’s how to set it up: Talk about your own diet for a while and then, halfway through, be like, “Haha, we’re being those people who only talk about their diets! Remember when we used to read books and/or watch TV? Look at us! Actually, you know what? I’m having a fresh new thought now: Let’s not talk about that stuff for a while and see how long we can go. I’m serious, because I’m starting to feel like I’m turning into one of those women/people and I need to nip it in the bud!” (See what you did there? Do that!)

This is a question about queefing and if it can be avoided. Now, I’m definitely past the point of caring if I queef during or after sex. Dudes just have to deal with the fact that my vagina is a vibrant mechanism and will likely make noises if pumped full of air. However, recently I have been plagued by queefs while at work. And only when I stand up and walk after sitting for a while. I wish I could just, like, air my vag out for a second while standing by my desk, but, unfortunately, the queefing only starts once I’ve started walking by the millions of people’s desks that are on the way to the bathroom. I have no private office or private corner in which to queef in privacy, for the record. The thing is, I’m not embarrassed by the idea of my coworkers knowing that I’m queefing. I wish so dearly that it were socially acceptable to just announce it. But it is not. And they therefore must labor under the delusion that I can’t control my farts. Which is embarrassing. Is there a way to avoid queefing? I suspect this is a symptom of sitting for long periods of time or sitting the wrong way. Is there a right way to sit? Alternately, and as a last resort, how do you own farting in the workplace?

Wow. This is a new one for me. I’ve always thought that queefing only occurs when air has been pushed into the vagina by a penis or other object. By any chance has a man been banging you (and catching air) from behind in your cubicle without your knowledge?

OK, I’m sorry! Here is what you need to do: You need to ask your gyno about this. Maybe there’s some kind of perforation happening, because how is the air getting up there in the first place? If it turns out that it’s just something that’s normal and happens, try asking for a totally different kind of chair at work. Say you have a back problem. Or get a standing desk, maybe! There has to be a solution to this, because you can’t just go on this way (no, there’s no way to own habitual farting in the workplace), so definitely start with your doctor. (Sorry so stumped!)

Sorry this is kind of a long one. But I have no idea how to react or what to do, literally all of my closest friends until recently have been dudes, so I’m a bit uneasy with girl jealousy issues and things like that. I have this friend – I used to call her a close friend – who’s no longer speaking to me, pretty much. It completely cuts me up and I miss her like crazy. It’s also difficult because I don’t really know 100% of what’s making her so angry. She said she needed some space, which I’m willing to do, but it’s been about a month since we’ve stopped talking entirely and I’m scared I’m going to lose her permanently if I don’t do something. Here are some things that have been going on:

a) We live together along with a guy, we all go to the same college, and for the first half of the year she and I of partnered off, always hanging out with each other. Literally we were together all the time, and I think it distracted her a bit from her studies; she got behind on a lot of essays and over the holidays decided to move her desk back to per parents house to study, since they live in the same city. Part of it could be just plain old friend-overdose, I know towards the end of the us-always-hanging-out period I was getting a little sick of her too, always getting annoyed at her for little reasons.

b) There’s this ex-boyfriend of hers who I met a few months ago. I knew he was her ex, I knew she was really obsessed with him back in the day (back in the day being four years ago), something which he never really reciprocated. I ended up quasi-dating him anyway. I KNOW, not good. But I figured that since she’s been dating this other guy for two years now, it might be OK? (She’s a bit insecure, since her current guy insists on having an open relationship, something she’s not 100% happy with.) Anyway, things with me and guy one didn’t work out, partly because he’s a douche, and partly because I suspected, but never voiced, her interference in the matter. So about two months ago, I found out that at one point — during the height of me and him quasi- seeing each other — she actually took a train to his dorm and slept with him. I knew she had visited him, but she told me she hadn’t done anything, and I wanted to believe her. They both lied to me about it. I got upset with her, and chewed him out a little as well. But I was mostly angry at her because it felt like a bigger betrayal. I’ve seen her maybe once since then, we used to at least chat a bit on facebook but now those have stopped altogether.

c) She’s voiced several times, usually when drunk, that she kind of hates the fact that I’m really outgoing (her words). She has this group of friends she’s known for a long time which I’ve integrated quite well with. I’ve been giving them a wide berth, obviously, ever since she and I have stopped hanging out. Anyway, I think she thinks I’m this tower of confidence, which I’m really, really not, and I suppose I’m a bit jealous of her too in a few ways – her looks, the things she can afford, etc.

I sent her a text since I no longer care about the guy, telling her I overreacted and that I’m sorry. She didn’t respond and I don’t want to send anything else because I don’t want to intrude if I’m not wanted. Is it completely hopeless? I don’t know how to make this right, or if I even can. It’s really hard for me to let this go, so I’m willing to do pretty much whatever it takes.

There’s a lot going on here so let’s unpack it a bit, but yes, it’s hopeless. Here’s one thing first, though:

You kind of sound like one of those girls who’s like, “I’m only friends with guys usually because for some reason girls never like me!” and that reason is because you think they’re jealous because you’re so pretty. That is never the reason, and don’t be that girl. If girls don’t like you it’s you, period. Now, to the unpacking!:

1. If one person asks another person for space, the person being asked for space should interpret it as the end of the relationship. I know that’s way harsh, Tai, but it’s common sense. Keep in mind that there’s a gigantic difference between “it’s for sure the end of the relationship” and “the person should interpret it as the end of the relationship.” The goal here (in life) is to try to act exactly like a person with healthy self-esteem, even if you have to Meryl-Streep-it to within an inch of its life (as most of us do, especially before our 30s), and a person with healthy self-esteem would reevaluate a relationship and step away from it if asked for space.

Basically, having been asked for space means you make no steps toward the person until s/he makes a step back toward you. But even if that happens, really search your soul – was this person manipulating you by asking for space and then coming back into your life, or did they just need time alone in general to figure out their own shit? Do you think they would have asked anyone for space or just you? (This isn’t really for you, it’s for the other people reading this. Read on to find the answer to your case.) It’s really hard to see how a friendship could continue after space has been requested, honestly.

2. Regarding All the Drama: It seems like neither of you is ready for a grown-up friendship. For (just one) example: Don’t have friends that you’re jealous of. It’s one thing to admire your friends (you should! you should surround yourself with people who have qualities you wish you had, or had more of, and one of those qualities should be likability, and you should like them) and find yourself occasionally envious of them, but only envy them in ways that motivate you to be better. If you find yourself going to a dark and ugly place in your head regarding a particular friend, it’s time to focus on other friendships because this isn’t a healthy one. (And I don’t even know what to do with all the stuff with the dude! Everyone here is behaving immaturely. Including the forced-open-relationship guy, but that’s a whole other thing.)

3. This line kind of says it all: “I sent her a text since I no longer care about the guy.” Huh. What about what she cares about? Why is it all about you? If I remember correctly, this person asked you for space after you slept with her ex and then she went and slept with him, so she should be #1 on your No Text List! From both the “I think she sucks” and “she hates me back” directions! I actually feel like I need to write you an entire book about boundaries here, but you sound really young, so maybe this is part of your learning process. Go forth and focus on healthy friendships, and also learn some humility maybe – it will serve you well in life.

Any advice for dealing with total, complete, utter, devastating heartbreak?

Awww, honey. First: I’m really sorry. Everyone has to go through this at least once in order to be a whole human being, but it’s absolutely one of the worst things. Not knowing anything about you it’s hard to give advice, so please take or leave the following suggestions, which will no doubt come across as trite, but have been proven to help.

1. This is going to sound fucked up, but hear me out: If there’s a legal way you can get your hands on some anti-anxiety meds (any of the -pams, but xanax is the best), and you’re not in recovery or something, it’s okay to do that. There’s a reason why they give people sedatives after they’ve been through emotional trauma. It won’t help very much, but it will take some of the edge off while you do the work and wait the time for the healing to happen.

2. (And this is really #1): You can’t have any contact with the person who broke your heart. “Contact” includes not only contact that you initiate, but also contact that the other person initiates, as well as online stalking them. Nothing and nobody can help you if you’re not following this rule, and your friends should police you on it (ask them to!). If you do not follow this rule, you don’t deserve to feel better. Yep, it’s that important. Tough love. (Obviously this does not apply to co-parents, though I would say it DOES apply to pet owners. The one who gets dumped gets the pet/s.)

Especially, be very careful not to fall into one of breakups’ most classic blunders: the “I Must Cover Up the Last Contact With a New Contact” blunder. (Oh, this blunder has happened to us all, and it’s the worst!) Even if the last contact you had with this person involved you hyperventilating, throwing a full glass of water on his or her laptop, threatening to sleep with his or her friend or rival, and then suddenly and inexplicably, I don’t know, crapping your pants in front of him or her and/or his or her new significant other, YOU SHOULD STILL NOT HAVE FURTHER CONTACT because it will still, STILL, make it worse. No matter what. It’s an absolute law of the universe! Maybe today can be the first day of nobody ever making that blunder again. The world would be a much less self-loathing place.

So get a cheap calendar and some foil stickers from the drugstore, and every day that you have No Contact give yourself a gold star. After two weeks of gold stars, you will officially feel better. After one month of gold stars, you will be noticeably Adjusting Well. (Do not let anyone find this calendar. Keep it under your bed.) (Also: I really did this and it worked.)

3. You gotta hurt. This is the worst part, but do you really want to get over this thoroughly and move on with your life and not still be talking about this person many years from now? OK. Then you have to go to all of the places where the pain is and feel every single bit of it. You have to seek out the pain like you’re playing a videogame where you get a point every time you find and deal with another aspect of your heartbreak. You have to tread and re-tread all the neural pathways and smoke it all out and give voice to all of your deepest fears about your loss and then conquer it by telling a new story about it. The story that’s always worked for me is “I was lucky to experience this relationship and I’ve learned from it, and just because a relationship ends doesn’t mean someone failed.” Just kidding, that has never worked for anyone, but try it on anyway because hopefully that’s how you will actually feel in a few months. Only time works, but it always works. You will get over this person. You are NOT the exception to the rule. Feel the pain until it bores you.

And I wouldn’t say this if I was sitting within slapping distance, but you actually can turn this into something you will look back on as a positive experience, with both the relationship and the heartbreak being a step you absolutely had to take on your life’s journey to something better. People, and not particularly strong or wise people, and people who were completely blindsided and doubled-over with grief at their initial heartbreak, do it all the time.

Also: I’ve found that good comedy shows are the absolute best heartbreak distraction. You really cannot cry at a comedy show, especially if you’re sitting near the front. (But for the love of god: not improv! Stand-up.) (Also: big hug.)

Previously: Talking to Women, Gchat Crises, and Pre-Adolescent Fumbling.

A Lady is one of several rotating ladies who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Lady?

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