Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Mixed Signals, Mirrors, and Two Accidental May-Decembers

It's December 21 and I need to break up with my boyfriend. If I wait until after Christmas/New Years, I seem like a mooch who just wanted presents (I don't! I just don't want to ruin his holiday!), but if I do it before Christmas won't I just seem like a heartless bitch? I've needed to break up with my boyfriend since September ... ok, MAY, but I'm having a really difficult time with it! I really do care about him, he's a wonderful man, but I'm not in love with him and he does so many silly things that drive me batty. With other boyfriends I've just been brutally honest and called it a day — but I've been dating this guy for almost three years and he sees a future with me — I just don't see one with him. I guess I can figure out how to go about it on my own (though if you have any tips to soften the blow, please share! I've tried to break up with him three times already and he just doesn't get it). I'm really concerned about this delicate "it's the holidays" situation. ACK! PLEASE HELP!

Okay so obviously, I'm more than a bit late responding to this one. ARGUABLY too late to help, and for that I’m sorry. But hopefully this advice might help someone in some far-off Christmas future. Maybe?

Anyway, I hope you dumped him. Even if it was on Christmas Eve, and you had to shout to be heard over the clatter of reindeer hooves. Let’s be honest, the idea that he might think you were only in it for the presents — can we both acknowledge that that’s a deeply unlikely conclusion?

He knows you. Has known you for at least three years. If you were in it for the lavish, opulent Christmas gifts, he would’ve sussed that out by now. And unless I’m missing something about how Christmas typically goes, nobody’s giving each other very good presents anyway. (Unless I AM missing something and other people are giving each other new cars with gigantic bows around them — in which case, please tell those people to date me and I’ll never, ever dump them.)

My suspicion here is that the Christmas thing is not the real thing. You’ve been wanting to break up with him since May! Seven months. To put that in math terms (not my strong suit) you've wanted to break up with him for nearly 20 percent of your relationship.

There’s always going to be a holiday. There’s never going to be a time when it’s super-convenient to dump someone. And, not to be all stern and exclamatory about this, but you can’t say you’ve tried to break up with him three times already and “he doesn’t get it!” It’s your job to make him get it! You can’t just let him hard-sell you into being in a relationship you don’t want. (Advice on how to actually enforce a breakup: probably a subject for another post.)

I think you’re stalling because dumping people sucks, especially when you care about said people. Plus it’s hard to end relationships that are just Not Good instead of Truly, Horribly Bad. But, as a dude who’s been in your boyfriend's shoes, I guarantee you it’s so much better to get the news ASAP. Even if he doesn’t realize that now.

Nothing sucks worse than wondering afterward how long your ex was planning to dump you while you were completely in the dark. It’s embarassing and can make you suspicious in your next relationship. I also think that the time between when a relationship has basically died and when it actually ends is when both people tend to treat each other in the worst ways. If you haven’t already, please let the poor guy go before Valentine’s Day.

Hi dude. Dude, can you give me a reality check? I'm 32, and about 21 months ago I got my heart broken pretty badly, and have not really had a boyfriend since — until recently, sort of. I work for a large organization with different divisions, and this year I noticed a new face. A new and very very handsome face. LIke, tall dark and handsome and just . . . something about him that I liked. Anyway, long story short, I wondered about him for maybe two months whenever I saw him (not too often) until one day we were put into a meeting together, and afterwards he asked me out. We started dating, and the more I talked to him the more I realized he was probably younger than me. I asked, and he said that he was 27. Okay, a little on the young side, but not outside of possible in my book. I told him my age and he wasn't fazed. I asked "doesn't it bother you?" and he was like "ah, no."

He's very mature and smart and we had great chemistry. Then, after we slept together things began to feel kind of serious, and he tearfully confessed to me that, actually he was just an intern at our organization and (gasp!) not only that, but he had lied about his age and is only 23! I initially broke up with him, but he was so distraught and seemed genuinely sorry. He fought me a little on it saying "but come on, did I seem 23? did things seem strange?" and, actually, once he got that off his chest, he relaxed a LOT and I felt even closer to him. He seemed more himself somehow, which was still mature and "on my level" or whatever. I should also mention that he is GORGEOUS, attentive, seems emotionally sound, and communicates well. Also, he looks much older. My first guess was 30. He said he initially thought I was 26, then had upped it to 28 once we started dating and before I told him my age. Anyway, I really like him and he seems really into me and talks about how "rare" it is — both how great I am (he says) and how cool our connection is. Anyway I took him back. Yep. But due to some work things, it will have to be a long distance thing starting pretty soon. Because we both have the time now, we're going to travel together for the next few weeks, maybe even as long as a month or more.

I don't know, Dude — am I crazy to be getting involved with this guy? I want to get married and have children. Relatively soon. Plenty of guys are freaked out about this, at any age. But is it ridiculous of me to be dating a man nine years younger?Whenever I tell people, they automatically say "well, THAT can't be serious." But we've already decided we are in a committed relationship, at least for now. I wonder — what if I was 22 and knew I wanted to get married and have kids within three years? Would it be any different to date a guy who is 23? Is this really stupid? I didn't mean to seek out a younger guy, and he didn't realize how much older I was until we'd already gotten a little attached. So . . . what do I do?

Oh, dear. Just to lay out my credentials here, I am a dude in my mid-twenties who’s always tended to like girls who are a bit older than I am. So if you’re ever going to find an anonymous but sympathetic ear, it’s probably mine. I don’t think there’s anything foolish about you dating someone younger, and feeling feelings about him that are substantial and not just How Stella Got Her Groove Back-y.

And I get why he likes you, too. You’ve got a lot of what most people his age are still piecing together — a real job, a clear sense of what you want from life, furniture that doesn’t suck. To a younger dude, that’s really attractive. Plus, sometimes, dating a more mature person can help a younger dude (dudelet?) grow a little bit faster than he would otherwise.

That said, I would feel SO much better about this if you didn’t want this guy to father your offspring in the near-term. I know this isn’t the world’s most progressive thing to say, but he’s 23! He’s going to be, like, three or four different people in the next few years. Maybe some of them will want to be fathers. Maybe some of them could be good fathers. But what a risk to take!

(Granted: yeah, some dudes are ready to be dads at 23. Some of them aren’t delusional. But they’re a pretty rare breed. He could be one, but how sure are you that he is?)

Annnd, while you should eventually talk to him about where you’re at, wanting-to-have-a-baby-wise, I think it’s kind of worth noting that he’s shown a willingness to lie to you in order to get you to give him a shot. I know that lying about your age is, as far as lies go, relatively minor. But isn’t it possible that the same guy who was dishonest about his age might be dishonest in some other scenario? Like, for instance, if you were to say, “Hey — I’ve got a question for you about the future, and whatever you say is fine. But if you say no I’m going to stop sleeping with you.” Maybe that would be at time when he might maybe also shade the truth?

If I were you, I think I’d take this thing you guys have and enjoy it on its own (evolving) terms for a bit. Travel with him. See how the long-distance thing works. I’d table the baby-making stuff for now, with him, even if it’s just for six months.

I started hanging out with this guy over the past few weeks and I can't tell if he's into me or not. He "friended" me on Facebook and I recognized him as a frequent customer of the record store I work at, so I accepted even though we had never really talked about more than vinyl. He started chatting with me online a bit, which lead to texting, which lead to making plans to go see a band at a bar together. We stayed out late, drinking (neither of us was out of control — but I think it's safe to say we were buzzed) and ended up going to his place to watch this movie we had been talking about and to have some coffee. We ended up falling asleep on the couch and then woke up in the middle of the night and moved to his bed. There was some snuggling and kissing, and as things were heating up I told him I didn't "want this do be a one time thing" and he seemed cool with it and said that we should stop and just sleep. We stopped our make out session but the cuddling continued — which I thought was a good sign — and we fell back asleep.

Since that night we have continued to text and have got together a couple other times, but at the end of every hang it's really awkward! He initiates getting together but at the same time makes it seem almost like he could take it or leave it. Also, because we mostly text, I don't think he's actually said my name ever, which makes me think he doesn't know it — which is crazy, right?  When we go out he makes no move to hug or kiss me goodbye even though earlier in the evening I'm totally feeling flirty vibes. He's told me that he's shy around new people, but it's gotten to the point where I can't tell if this guy is just shy and guarded or if he's an asshole.

Part of my problem is that I (somewhat recently) came out of a serious relationship, so I haven't been on a date in a long time. I'm worried that I'm reading the signals totally wrong. I also am worried that I might be blowing this out of proportion because I haven't felt a connection remotely like this with anyone since my ex. I need your expert advice — do I wait it out, or do I get it together and ask him what's going on?

You’re not reading his signals wrong, he’s just being kind of confusing.

If I’m hearing you right, you’re worried that he wanted to jump your bones but he doesn’t want to date you, and that you’ve scared him off by leveling with him. That’s one explanation for why he would’ve become noticeably more cagey after you told him you weren’t interested in a one night stand. It’s not the only explanation, but it’s possible. Alternately: maybe he just took you telling him to cool it a little bit too literally? Maybe he’s confused about how you feel, too?

To get to the bottom of this, you’ve just got to talk to him. You can only close-read text messages for so long. Put him in a bar, put a couple drinks in the both of you, and then tell him you like him and ask him how he feels.

Also — he has to know your name, right? You guys are Facebook friends.

Dude, do you guys make facial expressions in the mirror? Do you smile and fake-laugh to see how you look? We do that (I do that?), and I wonder if guys do, too. Do you take pictures of yourself on PhotoBooth and then delete them? Also how often do you weigh yourself?

Dudes are sneakier about this stuff, because male vanity is more goofy and unattractive (cf. Zoolander, late stage Axl Rose), but, uh, we do all of those things. Especially the PhotoBooth thing. I’ve caught friends. Another thing you left out: discovering and then worrying about weird, unflattering facial angles. At three-quarters profile, I look like a perfect hybrid between a neanderthal and a cartoon of a hillbilly.

I think the weighing yourself thing varies. I do it a few times a week. I’ll do it less when I’m gaining weight and don’t want to think about it. I used to think that I was part of a small group of covert dude weighers, but more and more I suspect that’s not the case. One piece of evidence is all those men’s magazines devoted to teaching dudes the finer points of eating disorders.

Previously: Old Pictures, Clownish Makeup, and the Unexplained Breakup.

A Dude is one of several rotating dudes who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Dude? (300 word max, please.)

Photo by Ragne Kabanova, via Shutterstock

287 Comments / Post A Comment


Nothing sucks worse than wondering afterward how long your ex was planning to dump you while you were completely in the dark. It’s embarrassing and can make you suspicious in your next relationship.

Christ, yes, exactly this. This is 100% right on the money.


@Emby Yeah, seriously. Spot on. One time when I got dumped (ah, *~memories~*), the opening line was "I have to end this. I knew our relationship really wasn't going to work since I got back from vacation" which had been about... 4-5 months before said break-up. I was like "OH, REALLY?" Totally blindsided.

It fucked me up for a long time, thinking about those months and months of being totally devoted and happy to see a person and sleep with a person who hadn't really wanted it. Again: MONTHS! Ugh, knife through the heart.


@emilylouise Yep. 'Cause who's to say that right now, secure in your loving little relationship that's rosy as the day is long, your partner isn't secretly wringing his or her hands, ruing the day you met and plotting his or her escape, all while keeping up appearances so as not to have to partake of the dirty deed before one is really and truly ready. And if you're deceived, then you're deceived, and more's the pity, but he or she just didn't want to hurt you. He or she just cares about you so much -- just not in that way anymore -- and this hurts him or her, too, you know.

These are thoughts that I have now. Thanks, exes. Thanks a fucking lot.




Yep, I got the whole "But I REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU that's why I just didn't know how to tell you for soooo loooong, it was so hard for me" and it doesn't really soften the blow that much, in fact it kind of makes it worse.

Agreed with @sarabara; LW1 and anyone else in this boat, pllllleaseee don't tell the dumpee that you've been planning on it for months! It is totally embarrassing for the other person and really doesn't do anything to help an already extremely unpleasant situation.


@emilylouise Yeah, my (now-ex) husband informed me after 9 years of marriage that he didn't want to be married anymore and had been feeling this way for years (!!!). I knew things weren't perfect, and we were realllly young when we got married, but I would have much rather known back when he started feeling that way rather than when he was completely done. I'd love to have those years back!!! Maybe by now I would have figured out how to date... eh, probably not.


@Emby Absolutely. I was doing a whole masochistic let's-get-back-together thing this fall, and since I had suffered through the "I've been thinking this for a while," talk once already I literally told him that no matter the situation, day, or method (phone, etc. - there was a distance factor here) he should always just break things off if that's how he was feeling. Except I love Christmas, so I told him he wasn't allowed to do it on Christmas day.


@Emby And then you look back and you can pretty much figure out the time when they actually made the decision and you know that after that they were silently judging every little thing you did.


@emilylouise "But I REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU that's why I just didn't know how to tell you for soooo loooong, it was so hard for me" = "I've been over it for a while but I'm also too much of a pussy to watch you cry." #REALTALK


@Emby YES. Back in high school, I was out to coffee with my (now-ex) boyfriend and he brought up some issues he had been having with our relationship, like communication issues etc. I thought we addressed them well, I agreed to work harder at it, then we made out for a while before he took me back to my place (ah, those virginal days of yore). The next day, I left for my senior class trip to NYC. He had asked me to call him if I was thinking of him, so I did, but he didn't pick up. This continued for 4 days. I am mentally freaking the fuck out by this point and finally just called over and over again until he finally picked up. He told me he had "tried" to break up with me before I left but he couldn't do it.

The next week, he was dating my friend's younger sister. He apparently had been in love with her the whole time he and I were dating. Ugghhhhh.


@Emby One time I went out with this dude who only went out with me because he was in love with my 17 year old sister (who was not interested)! He was like, 26. And he literally asked her out while having a long distance flirtation thing with me. But then my other friend apparently boned him a few years later after my sister and I had left town for good, and he like, cried after or something? It was bad. So I guess I dodged a bullet there.


@Emby My French-ex-boyfriend dumped me THE DAY AFTER VALENTINE'S DAY. I asked him, "How could you sleep with me and do couple-y things with me yesterday knowing you were going to do this today?" He said he "wanted me to have a nice Valentine's Day". Great, thanks, now I pretty much hate Valentine's Day forever except for the discounted chocolate. And it DEFINITELY made me suspicious in my next relationship, in which I also encountered the "time between when a relationship has basically died and when it actually ends is when both people tend to treat each other in the worst ways" part kicked in.

But now I'm stronger & moved on & stuff, and also single, so, yep. More chocolate for ME this year.

Insecurity Millefeuille

@emilylouise "It fucked me up for a long time, thinking about those months and months of being totally devoted and happy to see a person and sleep with a person who hadn't really wanted it." OH GOD, THIS. This is why I am so screwed up over my breakup. Thank you for putting it into words.

It turns out that my ex didn't really want to be with me for the last six months or so of the two years we were living together. And that she moved across the country in part because she couldn't think of any other way to break up with me without hurting my feelings.

I still feel horrible about the time that we were still together when she didn't want to be. I have post-traumatic stress disorder from situations when I was a kid where I did not want physical affection but didn't feel like I could refuse it. It freaks me the fuck out to think that I could have put someone I love through something similar. She says that she doesn't think I did, but it still really bothers me.

Little J.

@NIsForNeville It is very gratifying to see this sentiment set to words outside my own head.

My ex kept me on the no-breakup string for (Only!) three months of our two years together. There was this perfectly lovely opportunity for a less awful break-up experience that I stupidly averted/avoided/postponed without really realizing it. Instead, she ended it when I flew up to see her, and only after she introduced me to her new boyfriend ("No really, we're just buddies! We'll go to his halloween party! Oh no, it's not weird for the three of us to drink wine and play bass together at his house!")

Now I am abusing this space for break-up venting.

The lesson here: If you are the breaker, suck it up and accept that this is a horrible thing. If you are the breakee, don't be afraid to tackle the situation if you sniff trouble in the air!

Good morning, Hairpinners!


@Emby Ok so honest question: I broke up with my ex after a couple of months of thinking it was probably not going to work out. But I talked to him when I first had those iffy feelings and we thought we could work it out. So it was about two weeks at the end where I knew it had to happen and didn't know how. Is that bad? Should I have just broken up with him initially? I had planned to, but he's very good at arguing and convinced me it was a bad idea.


@Jennifer@twitter I don't want to belittle anyone's feelings about getting dumped this way – been there, it's horrible – but sometimes you can't avoid this. Two weeks doesn't even count as stalling, you're just making up your mind. If you're leaving a not-horrible relationship, you're not going to be immediately a million percent sure that breaking up is the right decision. You'll question yourself: am I actually serious about leaving or just going through a rough patch, or on the wrong pill, or influenced by too many break-up movies? And when you finally know, you realize you've known for a while already.

Stalling for 20% of the duration of a relationship is way too long, though. And telling the other person exactly how long you've been thinking about breaking up with them is pretty uncool (I did this once and I think I can justify it. Long story.)


@Emby Right, I mean, not to side with exes who string people along for months, BUT, if you've been in a long term relationship for years (oh, let's say 6, just throwing out numbers) and something starts to feel off, you might harbor a cherished hope that it's just a phase, that things will get better, before months pass and it's still the same. Also, perhaps you live together, and getting your shit together takes a little awhile. Completely hypothetical of course!


@nik Exactly... I'd like to think that if I was 100% sure about breaking up with someone it would take at most a week (gotta figure out the nicest way to do that, hint: there is none).

And yeah, there's no reason to tell someone how long you've been thinking of breaking up with someone. Not nice, very uncool.


@Emby Totally agree that people should break up sooner rather than later. My sister was living with her boyfriend of six years when he broke up with her and explained that he'd realized it wasn't working almost a year beforehand. Right before they moved in together! And instead of ending it, he waited so she had to deal with moving and a breakup all a month before she was due to graduate college (err, to clarify, she did still graduate).

I admit, I did once hold off a breakup, but only because it was a few days before his birthday when I realized I was unhappy with the relationship, and the first time I was going to see him alone would be ON his birthday... I waited until the day after (and I ended up doing it in public during a break in a class we were taking together... oh to be 17 and kind of stupid about dating etiquette again*).

*I am still totally stupid about dating etiquette.




As in, not "phased."

Can we please faze in the proper use of the word?


Someone at work today mentioned the "next faze" of a project. I wanted to march into his office and smack him.

raised amongst catalogs

@atipofthehat THANK YOU! I've been seeing it spelled with a "ph" so frequently that I started to doubt myself and wonder whether I've been a mistaken spelling bully all these years.



He was probably dhased and confuzed.

Edith Zimmerman

@atipofthehat Updated, thanks!


@atipofthehat Omigod thank you. This has been driving me nuts for so long I was starting to wonder if I was the crazy one.

@vanillawaif Comment twins!


@atipofthehat Went to disagree, did research, and now I know. Thanks, Tippy.


@miwome I learned something today!


@atipofthehat: Funnily enough, I read this post AFTER the correction (and therefore with no knowledge of the previous typo) and actually cheered when I saw the correct spelling of fazed. I was absurdly happy to see it spelled correctly.

So thank you, not LW#2.

And incidentally, LW#2, when you find yourself creating a timeline for marriage and babies for yourself (e.g.I don't know, Dude — am I crazy to be getting involved with this guy? I want to get married and have children. Relatively soon.)without specific regard to the husband and father, you are pretty far along the path of bad decisions. It sounds as though this timeline for you existed prior to meeting him.

That seems to be more of a problem than the nine year age difference, but listen to the Dude. Jesus, a nine year age difference when you are 23-32 is LIGHT YEARS DIFFERENT than a nine year age difference between 39 and 30.


@karion I dunno man, I mean if she's 32 and having a husband and doing it biologically is a part of her having babies plan? She kind of does need to have a timeline. I mean it sucks but it's reality.


@Dancersize My boss talks about the current "physical year" in every. single. staff meeting.


@klibberfish OMG..boss, you said??
that would drive me UP A WALL!!


@iceberg: I have never met anyone for whom it has worked out - having a timeline first, then trying to guide the relationship down it. I know folks who had a timeline, hadn't met the One, and they went forward with the timeline on their own terms. I know folks who scrapped the timeline to let things with the One unfold. But I have never known anyone who successfully guided the One down the timeline.

I need to get out more.


@Dancersize I bet I know who it wa-aaas!


@karion Having a timeline that you absolutely must follow to the letter or else you've failed at life is one thing, yes. A stupid thing.
BUT, there is a difference between that kind of rule and just knowing what you are looking for in a relationship (within reason). I get the impression this is where LW2 is at - she knows that she wants the next phase (!) of her life to be the settling-down-having-kids one. So it's important to find someone else who has the same life goals as her, or they'll both be disappointed.
If I were to start dating someone who feels they want to get married and have babies at this point in their life, I would know they aren't right for me right now - and vice versa is also true.


@karion Yeah, if you're planning a married-with-child type of family, it is pretty damn important to realize that it's a collaboration, it's your potential partner's family/future, too, and you can't just slot whichever person seems to fit into the role you imagine, even if they're great.
Timelines do get legitimately, biologically, important to some people at a certain point, but you'd have to get pretty lucky for it to work out if you are too focused on your life-schedule and not enough on what is good for the people involved.


@klibberfish NO. That is just...no.


@karion I would have said the same. But recently (like 5 years) this one relationship has proved me wrong. And there's another (too early to say) for which i have high hopes. I also know, like 8 cases where it didn't work, but I guess there is a small subset of men who just need a kick in the ass. I personally would not be OK with the feeling that someone was not there with me 100% because they were psyched about "the next step", but simply because they felt they should/had to.


@gobblegirl I agree. If you know that having a settled family life and kids is important to you, then you need to know your partner is at least generally on board. Same as how if you know you don't want kids, but travelling for your career is necessary, you need a partner who is ok with that, too. It sucks, but it also sucks to compromise your life or wait for someone who may or may not want the same life you do.

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

When I sit and think about i don't think I've ever been liked by a woman under 25 (I'm 22).

This is inexplicable to me.


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Well, you are very misunderstood.

Lily Rowan

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood I can see it, but can't articulate why without sounding like a dick, I think. It's a good thing, though!


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

Are you by any chance a cabana boy? Because there's something about handing an older woman a fresh towel.


@Lily Rowan It's all that ambition he's got.


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Just go with it. >25 = Awesomer.

Lily Rowan

@atipofthehat Yeah, I think you're right -- it must be the towels.

Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood


@whizz_dumb You don't have to tell me. I love it.

@Lily Rowan Well, I am happy to hear it regardless of possible dickitude.


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

So far as you know.


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

Yes, I have that too (I'm 44), and the same goes for women OVER 25.


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Well, you are a hoopy frood. It was a safe assumption.


"Nothing sucks worse than wondering afterward how long your ex was planning to dump you while you were completely in the dark. It’s embarrassing and can make you suspicious in your next relationship." -- YUPPPPP. I was dumped completely out of the blue three years ago and I still don't totally trust people. It's so selfish to wait to break up with someone because it's uncomfortable for you. (And I've been in both positions.) It'll be worse for the other person, so just suck it up and do it and let them start healing. Ugh this riles me up.


@bunB And also this!: "I also think that the time between when a relationship has basically died and when it actually ends is when both people tend to treat each other in the worst ways."

I remember enduring at least 6 months of pure torture before I finally got my ex-boyfriend to admit out loud that he wanted to break up. The actual break-up was paradise compared to the months of misery and not-knowing and constantly being told that I was just being paranoid.


@werewolfbarmitzvah Tooooootes. And it's even more messed up that he told you were just being paranoid. People, c'mon. Let's all be grown-ups and not lie to each other. Lies by omission count too.


@bunB OMG....LOOOVE the name AND the pic...love me some BunB! where's your pimp c??


6 months is a loooong time to accept bad treatment. why didn't you just dump him?


Yes, why haven't you always been a completely self-actualized person who behaves in a rational fashion when someone you love hurts you deeply? Did you not run a cost-benefit emotional analysis on a quarterly basis or something?


@HoliandIvy Because I was maaaaaadly, pitifully in love with him and was certain that I would crumble into a tiny mound of ashes if I lost him. In other words, I was a very silly, lovesick, inexperienced 21-year-old in her very first relationship.


Sorry, I didn't think through how that would read. I actually meant 'before I finally got my ex-boyfriend to admit out loud that he wanted to break up' made it sound like she knew and was trying to extract it from him.


@bunB The whole you're-being-paranoid thing happened to me recently. I knew something was up. I KNEW, YOU GUYS. And he gaslighted me. A few weeks later, he confirmed that I was 100% right the whole time. I was more upset about that than the actual break-up. Jerk. I will never doubt my instincts again. They are good.


@chevyvan Preach. Though I'm not sure why my stomach seems to knows things before my brain does...


@werewolfbarmitzvah YES. Do we have the same exbf?


@beeline96 I've recently accepted my stomach as the more intelligent of the two organs.


@chevyvan @beeline96 It really always comes from the gut. Man I hate when that feeling hits.


@fishiefishfish The stomach KNOWS ALL. My aforementioned prolonged breakup peeled 25 lbs off of me, thanks to the all-knowing stomach.


@bunB Um.. Bun B? As in Bun B from UGK? As in Bun B from Port Arthur, Texas? Shut the front door. Are you from the Beaumont/Houston area?


LW2, i have experience with dating dudes 9-10 years younger than me -- i was 31 and he was 21 when we fell in love. and it was great -- truly blessedly wonderful -- for a year or so.

but, honestly, the longer we were together, the more it became apparent that we were at 2 different developmental stages. my developmental stage was, "okay, i'm a grown up lady in my 30s! wtf do i want to do with my precious life?" and his was "woo hoo, i'm 22 in new york city and i'm going to drink until i fall into the subway tracks and almost die!" (this really happened.)

granted, that's not a difference that can be chalked up to age alone, and like a dude says, there are definitely 23 year old dudes who are ready for long-term thinking. but just be aware that most people grow and change more between 20 and 30 than they do in the rest of their adult lives.

maybe your dude is fully baked already, but maybe he's not. totally agree with a dude's advice to go slow.


as long as we're going anecdotal here, my grandfather married my grandmother when he was 22 and she was 30, and they had a very happy 61-year long marriage resulting in several fairly well-adjusted kids.
it could definitely work, and it could definitely not work. i'd say don't rule it out simply based on age! and while kid timelines are important, at 32 you've still got a bit of leeway. i would definitely try to find out what HIS kid timeline looks like, but as the dude says, don't make it a dealbreaker straight off the bat.


@tactfactory Agreed. Well-synced life plans are more important than age as such-- it'd be more of a problem if LW2 and her dude were both 27, say, and she was all "Babies! Now!" and he was all "No way!"

My partner's best friend was in his early twenties when he married a woman who was about ten years older. The thing that struck me most when they started dating was how well they fit into each others' social circles, both of which were (at the time) full of people who were thinking-about-but-not-just-ready-to-settle-down. So that may be something to think on in terms of sussing out how feasible this is as a long-term sitch?

Also, I'm not sure if this applies to the LW, but in my experience, the expectations and plans of a 23 year old guy in, say, Kalamazoo tend to differ markedly from those of his counterpart in, say, Brooklyn. Context and/or point of origin may matter here.


@tactfactory I think the eminent long-distance thing is going to ultimately solve this conundrum for LW2--dating someone who's not in your city takes effort, & thus ends up being the crucible to separate "person I want in my life however sporadically & inconveniently" from "person who's a perfectly acceptable choice among many readily available dating options." if their connection grows & deepens despite the separation--& if he continues to be convincingly invested in a long-term relationship despite the babies on the near horizon--then there's no reason he couldn't be a particularly mature 23-year-old. if they grow apart, this is all a moot point & not a cause for worry.


@MerelyGoodExpectations i agree with this for the most part: "Well-synced life plans are more important than age as such"

but i also think that early 20s is practically still teenager-hood for a lot of/most people. there are always outliers, but in general, the difference between 23 and 32 is going to be bigger than 33 to 42 or basically any other age range.


@tactfactory Sure, some 23 year olds are totally ready for marriage and babies, but I'd say that that was a lot more common 61 years ago than it is today.


@madge I was in a very similar situation to LW2. I was 30 and he was 21 when we met. After dating for a few months, we were long distance for a year and then he moved to be with me. It was *the most amazing relationship* in terms of sex and love and fun. he was very mature and we got along great, had the same circle of friends, etc. but in the end, after 2.5 years, we broke up. we were just in different places. at 33, i'm also thinking about the babies and life and what do i want, do i want to get married, etc. and while he said, at times, that he could see all of that with me, he just wasn't sure. he couldn't give me the certainty i wanted. and in terms of his job, he wasn't sure it was what he wanted to do forever, he was considering grad school, while i was pretty settled and psyched about my job and my house. so, after about 2 months of discussion, and therapy, he ended it. it's still so hard. i sometimes wish i had listened to my friends and family who were saying the same things (oh, it can't be serious if he's only 21..22..23), and just never gotten involved.


@thebestjasmine yeah I really don't want to generalize as I have some perfectly lovely 23 year old dude friends and perhaps this dude is mature beyond his years but GAH. I want more out of relationships than these dudes and I am the same age! I can't. Even. I just.

Maybe when I'm in my 30s I'll understand :\


@redheadedandcrazy Yeah, the thing is, there's NOTHING WRONG with not being ready for marriage and commitment and babies at age 23 (I mean, nothing wrong at any age, obviously, but if that's something that you generally think you'll want in the future but you don't want it just yet, it's not a character flaw!). Though this guy lied about his age, which I think probably shows his level of maturity a bit.


@thebestjasmine yes I agree! If I had a dollar for every time I've said "we're just in different places, and we just want different things and THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT" to my ex, i'd have like, probably at least 20 dollars.

not that i want marriage and babies right now. but anyway. I actually think it's unfair to expect a 23 year old guy to want that stuff! If they do, great, but if they don't, hello they are 23 years old.


@redheadedandcrazy This doesn't really have much to do with a big age gap, but my relationship with an amazing person finally ended this weekend because of these EXACT reasons, and accepting that 'there is nothing wrong with that' is the hardest part. (I will try to stop talking about my break up now.)


@lora.bee yah this is me trying to stop talking about my breakup. which was 6 months ago. so don't feel too bad.


@redheadedandcrazy Well that does make me feel less alone, in a way. We can be post-breakup-buddies...? Also known as on-to-great-and-exciting-things-buddies!


@madge The thing I want LW2 to think about is, you are WASTING your prime baby-making years fooling around with a guy who is prolly not going to pan out. If you want kids, then look for a man who will be a good husband. Getting to know each other, getting engaged, married, etc. will take a couple of years even if you meet a great, marriage-minded guy RIGHT NOW. Don't waste another second on this 23 year old. Think of this as advice from your loving, pragmatic Aunt who wants you to be happy.


@Dunemi but--but--I don't actually disagree with your advice in principle, but isn't it also possible that the 23-year-old IS really right for her, a remarkably good match compatability-wise, & perhaps also interested in starting a family in the near term? I know quite a few guys who were happy to become dads in their early/mid-20s, & there's no reason LW2 couldn't start having kids with this guy in her mid/late-30s.

I get what you're saying, but it's not like finding a good partner to have kids with is an easy thing, even if you restrict your search to a particular age group.


@tactfactory Ooh, more anecdotes, this time one generation removed--my parents are six years apart, with my mom older than my dad. They got married when she was 32 and he was 26, waited a few years, had a couple kids (hi!) and we've all turned out pretty well! They're coming up on their 28th anniversary this spring, and are by all accounts adorably happy.

This is just a "it CAN work, even if it mostly doesn't" story. Multiple viewpoints and all that!


@lora.bee on-to-great-and-exciting-things buddies it is!

for the record, i'm sure this is apparent, but i wasn't saying don't feel bad about the breakup I was saying don't feel bad about talking about it too much!


Chesty LaRue

@redheadedandcrazy We love you so much, breakup talk included.
Lora.bee, you too.


@thebestjasmine My partner got married and had babies when he was 21. Not to me, obviously, as he is 9 years older than me. Also obviously, it didn't last, but because she cheated on him (and other factors, but it's not my story, so...) Anyway, it happens. And if he wants kids, but not right now, maybe she would be happy to wait a few years? Either way, it's not so much the age difference it's about whether he wants the same things she wants. Obviously age plays into that, but if the LW has an idea of what she wants, she should be sussing that out with her partner, of whatever age.

I think it CAN be serious, and it CAN work out. It's just less likely to, because of the whole life stages thing. I mean, it's not just about syncing up now, it's about staying synced up in the future, which is harder, but certainly not impossible. And, I mean, she could be dating someone her own age, get married and have babies, and then it all falls apart.

@lora.bee that is hard. It's easier if it's someone's fault, or you've fallen out of love. Breaking up with someone you still like/love, for not-immediate reasons, is so heartbreaking. Obviously. I hear the breakup bunker here at the hairpin has the best qocktails, though.


@Chesty LaRue Thank you so much, oh maan I am so thankful for the support of 'Pinners right now!
@Craftastophies There needs to be a breakup bunker, right. Now.

christina tesoro

@madge "fully baked" made me think, gleefully, of this.

BUFFY: Because? okay. I'm cookie dough. I'm not done baking. I'm not finished becoming whoever the hell it is I'm going to turn out to be. I make it through this and the next thing and the next thing and maybe one day I turn around and realize I'm ready. I'm cookies. And then, you know, if I want someone to eat -- or enjoy warm, delicious cookie-me, then that's fine. That'll be then. When I'm done.

(There is almost nothing that I cannot immediately relate to BtVS.)


@lora.bee @redheadedandcrazy Me too I want to be in the club too! I am pretty heartbroken over a relationship that ended six months ago and can't even remember which New and Exciting Things exist, besides the epic school and work that have replaced romance. Breakup bunker please.


@SuzzyRoche new and exciting things: trying different types of wine! volunteering at a shelter where you can walk adorable troublesome dogs! going out dancing with friends!

other new and exciting things: crying on the subway! crying at work. crying while doing readings because fuck you insulin you are not a good distraction!


@SuzzyRoche Of course you're in the club! Go us! I have already started the cliche signing up for an new class (French!), volunteering (marathon! SPCA! ballroom dancing?), etc. Let's all agree to keep trying new things.

major disaster

A recent ex of mine was more obsessed with his weight than any woman I have ever met. Not only did he constantly weigh himself, but he would then report the number to me, and was particularly gleeful any time he lost weight (he was already very skinny). Note to everyone (dudes and ladies alike): don't do this. It's really annoying.


@major disaster And also very sad. Or, at least, it makes me sad.


@major disaster Oh, you dated him too? We should trade stories sometime.


@MerelyGoodExpectations I think I dated him also. When you tried to comfort him and soothe his insecurities, did he snap that you only felt that way because you were so fat? Or just me?


@major disaster: Whaaaat iiiissss iiiiittt about skinny dudes? Maybe it's my own vanity, but as a Young back in the Stone Age I always made it a policy not to date a guy skinnier than me. And these days, they seem to be everywhere. Urgh.


@tortietabbie: Aaaaannnnddd that's why skinny dudes are the worst.

Chloe Zoidberg Harrison@facebook

@major disaster Aww, I love skinny dudes. Something about being able to lift my partner appeals to me. Then again, it would be physically impossible for my bf to lose weight- the guy has like 0% body fat.


@Chloe Zoidberg Harrison@facebook I have had many a good experience with lovely skinny dudes.


@PistolPackinMama Me too. But after a while, I start to miss... I can't think of a way to say what I mean without sounding super gross. So I'll just say, broad chests to lay my head on.

@tortietabbie Whhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttt.


@PistolPackinMama Love the lovely skinny dudes. Love the bigger dudes as well. Love the dudes as long as they're awesome.


LW1, I waited nearly four months to break up with my boyfriend of three years. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. And I have not regretted it a single day since -- I'm only sorry I waited that long. Rip off the Band-Aid. It hurts like hell, but it is also such a relief.


@Gertrude I took about a month and a half longer than I should have to break up with my boyfriend of almost 5 years. In my defense, I was 20 and I was trying to sort through why I felt so uninterested in him (was it the stress of exams? starting a new job while working the old one too? nope, just not into it anymore).
Once you know you want out, get out.


@Gertrude I wonder what LW1 means by "I've tried to break up with him three times already and he just doesn't get it."

...has she said the words "I want to break up with you"? Or just dropped hints? Hints don't count, but if she has actually told him and later chickened out, then she needs to try harder.

This happened to me once: I kept telling my ex that I wanted to break up, but thanks to all sorts of lingering doubts (and me being a plain old chicken), he'd always manage to convince me to stay. By the time I was absolutely sure that I wanted to leave, he was already pretty convinced that I was never serious about leaving... so he refused to be broken up with.

Break-up talk in a nutshell:
Me: "We're breaking up".
Ex: "No we're not. You haven't thought this through."
Repeat, repeat.
Me: "Yes I have. I've been thinking about breaking up with you every day for two months."

That worked, but it was also a pretty shitty thing for me to say.


My ex used to take pictures of himself ALL THE TIME in the middle of the night. But then I found them because he used my camera and didn't delete them. So, it happens.
Also: OMG LW2 THAT IS LITERALLY AN EP OF 30 ROCK. MAKE SURE YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE HIS MOTHER. Also yeah, I would not get on the 23 year old's case to pack a baby in you, no matter how mature he seems, it's very, very, very unlikely he's ready for kids.

Leon Tchotchke

@Megan Patterson@facebook Not gonna lie, I do this too and then never delete the pictures - except I use my own phone/camera. But as a result I've got probably hundreds of pictures of myself in the exact same pose and making more or less the same expression. If I were to lose my phone and a stranger found it, I imagine they'd get a pretty good laugh and/or think I was probably a serial killer.


@Leon Tchotchke I always delete mine, I hate taking pictures. I always look like a serial killer.


@Megan Patterson@facebook There's also a similar episode of "Friends"! LW#2, does your life sometimes feel like a sitcom?


@Megan Patterson@facebook: what

why did he do this?


@Leon Tchotchke: YES! I do the exact same thing! Well, except they're not pictures of my face...


@Too Much Internet I was asleep, so I can't say for sure. Sometimes for facebook, though I wouldn't be surprised if he was sending them to ladies on the internet either.


@Megan Patterson@facebook At least it wasn't pictures of YOU while you were asleep.

Or maybe he deleted those ones.


@Megan Patterson@facebook I have kept a video a boy made when he stayed over and didn't realise he wasn't just taking a photo of himself. In my defence, he has the best cheekbones.


Three-quarters profile is my most flattering angle, preferably viewed from the right. I always try to position myself accordingly when I'm trying to look attractive to someone and/or taking Photobooth pictures by myself.


@schadenfraulein Ditto! And I look surprisingly different in the 3/4 right view vs. the left.


@schadenfraulein Do you have a good side? I TOTALLY HAVE A GOOD SIDE. I get a little uncomfortable if someone sits on my bad side on a date.


@alliepants Me too! I'm kind of cute--like a young-ish Jennifer Jason Leigh--from the right, and I'm a MONSTER from the left--like Liza Minelli after a massive stroke. A camera comes at me from the left and I automatically switch positions.


Ballpark. Out of. Knocked. Using these words, construct a sentence appropriate to this A Dude.

<3 u, A Dude

PS: I would be a lot more worried about a guy who lies than a guy who is quite a long shot younger than me. Just sayin'.

PSPS: Just ask record store dude for what you want, and let him answer. If this confusing messages stuff gets on your tits like it gets on mine, whatever the answer, you will feel soooo much better.


@PistolPackinMama "If this confusing messages stuff gets on your tits like it gets on mine"

I'm not even sure what this means, but I love this expression and would like to use it in daily life.


@ilikemints It means it's annoying. Confusingly enough, if you're "off your tits", you're heavily intoxicated. Yay Aussie expressions!


@iceberg I once got yelled at by an American for saying 'that shits me off'. Which, I guess is gross? So, sure.

I also got laughed at for saying 'I'll knock you up tomorrow, when I'm back in town.' Which I will accept is hilarious, but had never occured to me.


@Craftastrophies Haha probably too late for you to see this, but I talked about someone "cracking the shits" in my American workplace and they all thought I meant she had diarrhea (as opposed to being annoyed)


LW3, this A Dude was right: the long and short of it is, y'all gotta talk.

But for what it's worth, I'd say the worst case scenario is, this guy you're hanging out with definitely enjoys your company even if he's not trying to date you. He keeps asking you to hang out, he initiated your entire relationship, and it sounds like the first time you guys hung out it was sort of a Long Date (date?), which is usually a sign of a pretty sweet connection.

On top of all that, I think he WOULD be interested in dating you! Still! It sounds to me like maybe he didn't quite get the nuance of what you were trying to communicate in the Midnight Mumble Incident, and so he's trying to be respectful but isn't quite sure what's up. I think maybe the reason he doesn't initiate any kind of woo-woo farewell is that he's not sure if you're trying to date him either?

So! Talk to him. I guess alternately you could just jump him and see what happens; it depends which scares you less. (Maybe work up to it through, like, hugs and kissing on the cheek. Dudes who are Interested always seem to kiss me on the cheek while hugging, so I guess that's a signal?) Me, I'm a talker.


@miwome *thinks about all dudes that have kissed her on the cheek when hugging* ..Ohhhhhhh


@miwome i would guess that he is just worried about rushing you! you told him you wanted to slow down, and he just doesn't know how much.


@rayray Except that the kiss on the cheek while hugging can just be a casual friendly thing, especially in Quebec! And Europe, I think.


@phlox Oh sure, in France I wouldn't think anything of it.


@rayray @phlox Agreed. I have also had to train myself to understand that when people from California are huggy/friendly it doesn't Mean Anything. (I'm from the East Coast.)


@miwome: This letter, more than just about anything I've read lately, made me glad to be an Old Married. So confusing with the texts and the Facebook and the making out and the not knowing names... Hobbles off on walker to take Metamucil...



I'm really, REALLY, not trying to be an asshole, but I don't understand LW 3?

I have been with baby-Ivy's father for 6+ years now, so it's been a while,
but I always required interested parties to make a statement, and make an EFFORT, otherwise, I had other stuff to do.
I think if someone is really interested, then they think it's worthwhile to be clear. And I'm not interested in dating someone who's not really interested.


"Tell me I'll never have to be out there again."

"You'll never have to be out there again."



I don't get it and I'm single, for what that's worth. Granted by "single" I mean going out with a great guy a couple of times a week but he hasn't asked to lock it down, so I'm assuming I'm not locked down. See? Easy!

I feel like that LW3's question boils down to "DATING IS HARD HELP"


@HoliandIvy I dunno, I just feel like people are scared sometimes! And I'd argue he HAS made an effort to spend time with her and show her he's interested in her as a human being, not just a Prospect, and he's made an effort to listen to what she told him about her needs, as he understands it. I totally know what it's like to be scared to talk about it lest it Ruin Everything or turn out to be really embarrassing, but in this case it seems like these crazy kids like each other and should just hug it out. With words. I feel like it would be a waste for her to walk away over a little bit of confusion.

@Bittersweet I feel you. As a Single Youth, this kind of thing is so stressful and I imagine in some ways it was easier back in the day when people Officially Courted? But then again, "casual things" can be really nice. So...I dunno if I'd change it, but it is definitely hard sometimes.

But I do think she's a little nuts to think he doesn't know her name. He found her on Facebook! He must have her number listed under something on his phone, right? That part seems highly unlikely and the product of thinking too much.


And if I am, whatever. I'm in my early 40s.
It's not like I can't meet someone else. It's also not like I have to.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

I think LW3 may want to entertain the very likely possibility that her Dude is just as confused and insecure about her liking him as she is about him.

Also, this applies to anyone who is getting mixed signals similar to LW3:
The Dude In Question may have some issues with sex, intimacy, his body image, etc. Not saying it seems like he definitely does, but these are problems for dudes too! It is possible that his reluctance to get down with her is related to his overall reluctance to get down and is not at all indicative of how he feels about her.

As an example, before my dude and I met he was always weirdly concerned about "pressuring" ladies into doing anything remotely sexual, like even making out. They would always have to make the moves on him or be CRAZY obvious, because he didn't want to be that date-rapey dude. I know this is A Weird Thing (especially since there was no "incident" to incite these feelings), but I'm just saying, people have Weird Things. It might not have anything to do with how he feels about you.


@melis Possibly one of the sweetest movie exchanges of all time.

christina tesoro

@HoliandIvy I agree, and I'm 22. I've just been the one who's clear and upfront one too many times to bother with people who string you along without saying HEY I LIKE YOU. Then again, the guys I've been with haven't, you know, initiated hanging out more than, like, once, so this guy sounds different from some random juiceboxy type guy like the ones I've experienced.

But then...sometimes a guy seems really, REALLY into you but then...isn't? Like it takes a lot for me to be convinced that a guy is into me, but sometimes that ends up happening, and then all of a sudden he clearly ISN'T? And then I'm even more confused and my is-he-into-me-or-not-radar just gets even more broken? SO, point being: Good thing no one ever asks me for advice.

christina tesoro

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me I like the sound of your dude! He reminds me of my brother, who is also an awesome guy. I think more guys should be conscious of stuff like this! Enthusiastic consent FTW!!


@pastina Gahhh in the last year that "he's-obviously-into-me-no-wait-apparently-not" thing has happened to me, my friend, and my sister. Why do (some) boys act like this? It makes no sense to me that they show such affection for someone (sleepovers, cuddling, kissing) and then act all surprised when you bring up The Feelings.

christina tesoro

@bookfreak In the last 2 cases of it happening to me, the reasons were:

Guy 1: (He's primarily jerk but also*) was confused bc his first real relationship just ended, and badly, and I was all conveniently There For Him. The thing that really gets me is that the first time we kissed and snuggled he told me "it felt right" (and this was in a text the morning after, not even in a caught up in the moment verbal admission). Later, when we had a talk about The Feelings (mine, and his lack of) I brought that up and he a) didn't remember saying that and b) apparently meant it felt right IN THE MOMENT.

Guy 2: he Doesn't Know What He Wants and is a self-confessed fuck-up (but like...what?)

I thought maybe this was like a young guy thing, because Guy 1 was 22 and also was my best friend who I've known since kindergarten so maybe there were confusing boundary issues? But no. Guy 2 was 27 and had considerably more life experience. I also thought maybe *I* had sent mixed signals of some sort but also, no, I was (and in general, I am) very clear about what I feel and what I want. It took me some time to say that with Guy 1 because I was being all conscious of HIS feelings (bc of breakup) and trying not to pressure him. With Guy 2 I straight up said "I want dates!" and was in no way gettin nekkid with him that night (we had this talk at a bar after ALL my coworkers were like "pastina thinks you're cute!!!). So we went on a date and snuggled and then NADA. I was even going to take his initial 'I'm a fuck-up' confession at face value but then...date. Crafty bastard.

(Some) boys are perplexing.

This rant has been brought to you by pastina because she is sick and home from work and has nothing better to do than ruminate on past dalliances and annoyances. Feel free to ignore it entirely. :)

*(this parenthetical conclusion took me MONTHS to reach)


LW1, just do it. Or hopefully you did it. I broke up with someone over Christmas many years ago, and while it was hard, I don't think the holiday affected how he felt.


@dale I once got dumped right before Christmas. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the timing was kind of...perfect? The holidays provide a lot of really wonderful distractions: social commitments, family gatherings, friends visiting from out of town. When you think about it, the holiday season is the time of year people tend to feel the most loved and have the strongest support system in place. Oh, and also the most booze.

Emma Peel

@Equestrienne Yeah, I actually think waiting until mid-January would be so terrible, because no one wants to be social and everybody's on a diet/not drinking and it's too late to make New Year's resolutions about how awesome your life is going to be now or to find a rebound Winter Boyfriend, probably. The first few weeks are all about staying distracted and Christmas is perfect for that. Ditto summer.



Nothing says "It's Over" like a lovely Christmas card with glittery snow and other seasonal imagery.


@Equestrienne the holiday season is also the time of year when many depressed/borderline depressed people feel the worst and most alone. I prefer to be dumped in June.


@themegnapkin "I prefer to be dumped in June" is a joke - getting dumped sucks regardless.


@Equestrienne: À chacun son goût, of course - but I got dumped the Sunday before Thanksgiving two years ago and it was horrible. I skipped all the family stuff, since I was busy crying and drinking all of the alcohol in my apartment (including the dusty bottle of Pimm's and the assorted airplane bottles). When Christmas rolled around I did see my family - but had to make an early exit since I was the only one there who was not in a couple, just further emphasizing my misery.

The holidays are generally a stressful and depressing time of year for me regardless, but the whole being dumped for them really sealed the deal. And he should've done it sooner - it was pretty clear once it happened (despite coming as a complete shock to me) that he had made up his mind long before. And that made it worse, too. We'd just gotten back a couple weeks prior from an amazing vacation (or so I thought). And I remember feeling such shame and humiliation thinking back to the sex we'd had on vacay - which I thoroughly enjoyed but presumably was making his flesh crawl, having this horrid person that he couldn't stand to be with pawing at him...

Clearly, I'm still working my way through things...


@ejcsanfran Want to go out to Q Bar tonight and pretend he died in a fire?


@Equestrienne Absolutely. Especially the booze part.
I got dumped the week AFTER I was in Egypt for 3 weeks. He "didn't want to do it before I left because it would ruin my trip".
Pretty sure the absolute best way to get over someone is to spend 3 weeks in a fascinating country with an ocean in between.



Dusting off the Pimm's No. 1 Cup is the worst.


@melis: Q Bar? Quelle horreur! Though I never need my arm twisted to go to the Badlands...

And frankly, I'd be fine if he were just horribly maimed...




@melis: Sorry, I was unaware. Is this an every Tuesday occurrence? Or just every January 24th?


@themegnapkin This(the first comment). My boyfriend and I came close to breaking up a bit before Xmas and I don't think I would've survived it even. It's the season where you're SUPPOSED to be surrounded with people you love and be happy, so it's especially awful for someone that's too depressive to be happy anyway, but would've been the ultimate in shittiness if I lost the person I love even if we had/still have problems.


@ejcsanfran uuuuh that's the worst! I have an irrational (or very rational?) fear about that. What if my whole life is a lie! I will not be put up with. I think I'd rather be cheated on than realise that I'd been really enjoying pity sex for months.

Ugh ugh ugh.

Emma Peel

So, obviously late for LW1, but my boyfriend of four years and I broke up a couple of weeks before Christmas and I've thought a lot about the "don't break up with someone before the holidays!" thing. And I think it's BS.

Yes, Thanksgiving or later is a terrible time, objectively speaking: there's Christmas, then New Year's, then Valentine's Day almost right around the corner, and hoo boy do I notice how close those holidays are together this year. And yes, I spent most of this Christmas season being sort of grinch-y and wanting to punch someone when I heard "Most Wonderful Time of the Year," because... no. Not the most wonderful time of the year. At all.

But I would have felt terrible no matter what time of the year it is. I don't need Valentine's Day to remember that the guy I thought was the love of my life isn't in it anymore. If the time of year had been magically changed to June or something, my first thought would not have been "Wow, this sucks so much less now!" Heartbreak is terrible and gut-wrenching. The stuff surrounding it is just window-dressing.

Plus, the holidays are a good time for family and friends, too. And people are in a giving/generous spirit, and there are lots of parties you can go to distract yourself -- versus in January, when everyone just wants to go hibernate.

TL;DR: If you love someone, breaking up is going to be terrible. Degrees of terrible, at that level, really don't matter. What's terrible is leading someone on, or wondering if you were being led on. Just do it and let them be free.


@Emma Peel agreed! i had a boyfriend once i wanted to break up with, but tragic things were constantly happening to him and his family. i put it off for months and then he announced the latest round of drama, i said screw it, peace out, it was amazing. it's a sucky situation for both people, but no one gains anything by sticking around. also i didn't have to deal with his epic constant issues, which was bliss.


LW #3: It sounds like he's trying to respect your boundaries, albeit awkwardly. If you want a hug / kiss at the end of the night, make the move yourself! He wouldn't keep hanging out with you if he wasn't into you.


@klaus Seconded a thousand times. My boyfriend (now of three years) spent four months just hanging out with me because he was afraid of being a creeper and didn't want to scare me away from being his friend. Go forth and drink enough to drop those boundaries, and in the meantime, enjoy getting to know him as a friend.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@klaus I third this. I said something to this effect along with some other possibilities before I read down this far.


LW2's situation sounds like a case for polyamory if I've ever heard one.


How do I ask A Dude?


@thycllmijj Email advice @ thehairpin dot com.


The last question seems like a weird one to ask A Dude. Wouldn't you think they're all different, just like ladies are?

I'm a lady and I don't weigh myself (although I don't cover my eyes and ears when they weigh me at the doctor's once a year or whatever). I also don't examine my smile or laugh in the mirror. Or take secret Photo Booth pictures unless I need a picture for some specific purpose and want to get a good one. Recreational photo-taking sounds awful.

Maybe this letter-writer is a teenager? Those seem like very-young-woman things to do. I don't really know. Assuming homogeneity for either gender in really anything seems... unwise?

@special_boots-- Yeah, A Dude can't speak for all dudes (though sometimes I wish he did!)


@saraphonic: This dude has never checked out his fake smile (I just real smile, or scowl.) If I ever do take a self pic, which I haven't done in a while since I stopped online dating, I do take 5 then keep only the best one. That's just good photography habit.


@saraphonic I wish THIS Dude spoke for all dudes, about everything, because he is delightful.


@special_boots I've gone through phases of almost never looking at myself in the mirror. It just didn't occur to me. Taking pictures of myself feels really, really weird.

Briony Fields

Erm, the age difference wouldn't bother me so much as the lying does. I had a friend whose boyfriend lied about his age, but only because they'd met quickly at an event and had no idea she would become his girlfriend. She was just a stranger at that point. He came clean when they started dating, that scenario is forgivable. This guy lied AFTER asking her out though, brrr! And fighting her on it when she tried to break up with him? Extra brrr! He sounds a tad manipulative to me, and his behavior, not his age, makes him seem immature.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@Briony Fields That is what I was thinking! I don't think that young dude is a Bad Dude or anything, but, you know, if he were 100% fine with his age he would have said. So either he's insecure about it or he was thinking that the LW would freak out, which is also not cool b/c he is sort of trying to make a decision for her? Either reason does smack of immaturity though and would be worrisome if I were the lady in question.

Noelle O'Donnell

I just came here to say that it is totally a possibility that someone would wait to break up with someone until after the holidays for presents. Not saying this is LW #1's deal at all, it clearly isn't, I'm just saying my roommate from hell freshman year of college waited for her February birthday and Valentine's Day to pass before she broke up with her dude so she could still get presents.

People are so awful.


The dude lying about his age...maybe I'm a pessimist here but starting off a relationship with a lie strikes me as worrisome.

I've only dated one dude who lied about his age, and it turned out that wasn't the only thing he lied about.


@parallel-lines Even though I definitely believe in second and possibly third chances (but 3 strikes and you're out), I tend to agree. Lying about your age is a funny joke that you quickly fess up to making.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@parallel-lines Like it would make me wonder what else he was maybe embellishing in order to present a version of himself he thought I'd like. I figure that could be either for nefarious or immaturity reasons. I'd pick the latter for this LW, but that wouldn't really ease her concern about the age difference.


@EddieMcCandry I also think it's maybe one thing to embellish by a year over or under. But 27 to 23?! Those are totally different ball parks!

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@redheadedandcrazy I'd be interested in his justification for why he did that. To be honest, if he said anything about "an old soul" I would RUN LIKE THE WIND.


@EddieMcCandry And how did it not come up after several dates? And he told you this after you slept together? Kinda sketch.

Andrea K@twitter

@whizz_dumb At least he did so pretty quickly? Discovering my ex had been lying about her age (which is weird when your fake age still leaves an 11 year age gap, but okay) for the entirety of our 2+ year relationship really did help convince me not to keep doing that.

Lily Rowan

He lied about his age AND his job! To someone he works with! Sketch-o-rama. Have a good time with the kid, and call it a day.


maybe I should just ask a Queer Chick about this, but do y'all think that big age differences are the same between ladies? I have always been incredibly attracted to older butch women and now that I'm single I'm wanting to explore that, but I'm nervous! And even though I'll be 27 on Sunday, I look about 18 and have a high voice, which makes me feel like that an older lady would be like, hell no, you're a baby! Not fair to Fictitious Hot Older Butch Woman of my Dreams, but it's always on my mind, so when I go to a gay bar I just awkwardly grin at a lady I'm attracted to and then run away. (sometimes literally)


@heyits: I believe developmental stages in life affect us all, no matter gender or orientation. So I would not say that they are the same between ladies, but rather, it affects everyone differently.


@heyits Speaking from a sample size of two (my roommate and myself), I would say that the age differences are much the same in lesbian pairings as they are between straights. I know that at my age (27), I ideally don't want to date someone who's either more than a couple of years younger or ~7 years older than I am.

My 30 year-old roommate just got chatted up on a dating site by a 42 year-old woman, and my roommate felt that the age-difference was too great.

Kate Kane

@heyits One of the happily married lesbian couples I know has a nine year age difference between them. Overall, I think it depends on the personalities involved more than whether it's two women, two guys, a woman and a man, some elk, etc.

all the kittens in the club gettin nipsy

@heyits from my sample size of my friends and I, it's hardly ever a thing. I once dated someone 12 years older than me. I know a long-lasting couple with a 10 year gap. But... that's all.

One thing I would warn you of is that it's very common among us younger folks to fetishize the older butches. So pursue with care. Most older people are pretty leery of dating someone younger.

Not to say it can't happen for you! But just be aware of the fact that they might get this kind of attention pretty often, so you need to stand out in some way and act more "mature" than others your age.

Fun fact, right before my ex said yes to a date with me, she had turned down another girl because the other girl was too young. And that girl was older than me.


@100kb that's such a good point. I think part of my attraction stems from admiration of the confidence that I see in a lot of the older butches I've encountered (and been lucky enough to be friends with). To see someone so in control and comfortable with their identity is very sexy. So definitely want to make sure that I'm looking to date with the right motive, because nothing is worse than realizing that someone only wants to date you for what you represent, not who you are. I certainly don't want to do that. Such good feedback, folks. Thank you!

all the kittens in the club gettin nipsy

@heyits I worked at this restaurant where my boss was an older butch, and girls would come in and *drool* over her, write her little notes, put I Saw You's in the local paper, etc etc etc. I mean, she was hot. But... it was a bit ridiculous. If they had actually had a conversation with her they would have found out in 2 secs that she was happily married. The whole experience left me a bit weirded out. But her partner was 10 years younger, so, clearly it worked once.


@100kb that is weird. Note to self: do not do that. I'm not much a pursuing type. I prefer to at least get an indication that there's mutual attraction before going for it. Cowardly? Perhaps. But much less stalker-y.


When was around 19-23ish, I used to take pictures of myself ALL THE TIME. It was a period of when I'd lost a lot of weight, grew out of teenage awkwardness, and generally felt fantastic about the way I looked, especially compared to aforementioned teenage years when I would run from a camera because I hated everything about my appearance. I still do it, although maybe once every few months. It's always on days where I don't plan on doing anything except watching an 8 hour costume drama and eat ice cream or something. Usually I'll put on glamorous makeup and do my hair on some outrageous way, put on lots of jewelry, then take photos of myself. It's weird, because when I actually go out, I don't like to get fancy, but alone, with good tv and food, I get super cray.

I think(?) this is a healthy way to chill and generally feel good about myself? Is this a thing people do?


@ilikemints I think it sounds awesome!


@ilikemints It's a thing that this person does. I'm generally low maintenance, appearance-wise, when it comes to going out with friends on the weekends and whatnot. But every once in awhile when I'm bored alone at home, I like to dress up in the most ridic stuff in my closet and just stare at myself in the mirror, or maybe take totally indulgent Myspace-y pics that I will later delete. I also do this with bikinis and sometimes underwear, whatever, I think it's totally healthy and fine if you're doing it for fun and not to pick yourself apart!


@ilikemints I do this sometimes, too. I live with my boyfriend so I don't get the house to myself at night very often. When I do, I will usually watch musicals from the 50s, eat microwave popcorn, watch How to Be a Girl videos or the like and experiment. Last time I learned how to do a fishtail braid and tried out the bouffanty look.


@emilylouise Yeah, it's definitely a hey-girl-hey I still got it kind of thing. Sometimes I pretend I'm in a makeover montage and take before, during, and after photos. I mean, no one but the cats know I do this, so I think it's harmless fun.


@ilikemints I don't do this, but now I totally want to. It sounds like a blast!


@ilikemints Yessss! I didn't grow out of my ugly duckling phase until about age 26 or so, and consequently I do this A LOT.


@ilikemints: I'm sure this sounds totally cray, but if I were a gal, I would dress up allll the time at home and have a closet full of the craziest clothes (and probably make a lot of my own.) Totally envious of the fashion rainbow you gals get to sample from.


@ilikemints Sometimes when I clean up my apartment I put on red lipstick.


@Too Much Internet: In fact, if I can ever get a girl to hang around me for more than two weeks, she's going to have to put up with a period of LET'S GO SHOPPING where I play dress up vicariously through her.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Too Much Internet I can't tell if that sounds like a dream date (I can talk to the boy about clothes??? he probably knows how to dress himself??? AWESOME) or nightmare date (I get bummed when my friends say something looks bad on me! what if my sexytimes boy says it??? I WILL DIE).


@Veronica Mars is smarter than me it sounds like fun to me!

@Too Much Internet you pay for it all too right? ;D


@Too Much Internet I think sometimes my boyfriend gets jealous of the things I can wear. Whatever, he has a tophat and a three piece suit.

@Veronica mars is smarter than me my boyfriend does this. It's hilarious and fun. He's all 'hmm, I think it needs something more, do you have a necklace that goes with that?' 'I think that would look better a bit tighter. I'll go get youa size down.' Once I took him into a fabric store. It was the GREATEST.

@emilylouise I used to do this all the time. It's actually one of the things I miss about being single, and was my sort of NY resolution to do more of. Get fancy and hang out with myself watching tutorials and dancing, etc. So much fun!


@redheadedandcrazy "you pay for it all too right? ;D"

You know it, however it will be a half and half mix of cute/demure and sexah. And buckets of platform pumps.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

Small point about the response to LW1:

"And, not to be all stern and exclamatory about this, but you can’t say you’ve tried to break up with him three times already and “he doesn’t get it!” It’s your job to make him get it! You can’t just let him hard-sell you into being in a relationship you don’t want."

Probably this is not your situation, LW1, but I just wanted to toss it out there for this situation in general: it is not always on the dump-er to make it stick. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we end up in relationships with juiceboxes who are not particularly good at respecting boundaries and who may engage in some emotionally manipulative ways of shrugging off a dump.

I would say that in those cases it is not the dump-er's job to make them "get it." Just sayin'. There can be some tricky power dynamics at play.

Princess Slaya

Excellent advice, as per usual!

To LW3 - As a former record-store employee, here is my rule: "DON'T DATE THE CUSTOMERS."


On weighing yourself: Weight as a metric is actually pretty poor. Your overall weight includes the following highly variable things: the time of day, the amount of water you've drank, whether or not you have gone to the bathroom, what you are wearing, if you've eaten yet, and for girls, the current stage of your cycle. Because all these things change, and overall weight makes no distinction between organs, fat, muscle, and bone density, it is not a good indicator of really anything, and in fact, when tracked too often, results in a very crazy data line.


@Too Much Internet also how much hair you have. right? does anybody else chop a pound or two off for weight of long hair?

no, just me deluding myself? k awesome

(ok maybe not a pound or two. maybe like half a pound.)


@redheadedandcrazy: ... for real real?


@redheadedandcrazy I also subtract an amount for boobs and my butt, because I don't think curves should count against me.


@packedsuitcase There's a joke in here...something with "curves" and "against me"...I've got nothin. Someone more clever take it?


@Too Much Internet I'm only gonna weigh myself after pooping now!


@Megan Patterson@facebook: Fer real tho, weigh-in tracking should only be done first thing in the morning, after your constitutional.


@Too Much Internet That is not usually how my consitutional works half the time. Hahah TMI to the MAX.


@Too Much Internet what do i sound crazy?

yes FOR REAL I used to factor in my hair BUT um, it's possible that was like, some disordered thinking brought on by wanting to weigh a lot less than i did?

oh whatever, disordered thinking, so boring. HAIR COUNTS PEOPLE!


@redheadedandcrazy: *e-hugs*


LW1: Did I write this? I so could have written this. UGH.

LW2: Dude's right.

LW3: I'd just guess that he's now trying to play it cool & seem like he doesn't JUST want to bang you? Also, speaking of close-reading texts... READING BETWEEN THE TEXTS! Where is it??

LW4: Oh yeah, I've definitely looked through guy friends' picture albums on their phones & they have just as many self-taken-shots-at-slightly-different-angles as I do.


@fabel - LIke someone else said above, it's totally variable by dude. I have basically no pictures of myself cuz of ISSUES (there's hardly any of me in existence, really - I'd say under a hundred lifetime total). And scales....ugh I need to use them because I am trying to finally turn around a life of doing horrible things to my body and not being a person who is healthy/happy about their body, so it's a complicated thing.

But it's all over. I know some super-fit dudes who just work-out and eat right cuz it feels good and never use a scale, I know average-seeming dudes who are secretly OBSESSED with their weight, and a million variations.

We do all kinds of mad things. I used to record Late Night Talk Shows and pause the show between the setup and the punchline and try to nail it in advance, in order to cultivate a snappier sense of humor so I could be funnier in conversation.

The best mirror thing dudes do? Whenever we grow a beard/facial hair and decide "OKAY time for this to go!" we shave everything but the mustache first. Then we spend half an hour or so walking around the house with just a mustache, enjoying how spectacular a mustache always is.

That's the secret, dudes love having a 'stache. That is why stereotypically lady-catching occupations firefighters have them - they can get away with them, so they do. I secretly (until now) have a theory that they are so popular among the gay-man community (I mean, as opposed to their popularity in straight-ville) because, being just dudes, they all understand how much WE LOVE HAVING A MUSTACHE.

For the record, I have never attempted to wear a mustache in public because I look like a bad-guy from a C.H.I.P.S / Dukes of Hazzard Crossover episode.


@leon.saintjean In South Carolina, that would be a Good Thing.


@leon.saintjean ahh! my husband does the mustache thing all the time, but only with little hitler mustaches and then asks me a million times how funny he is. i thought it was just him. good to know.


@leon.saintjean My husband periodically fantasizes out loud about growing a looooooong, drooooooopy Zappa-style mustache, and I have this vague sense of dread for the day that he actually goes through with it. (Though I don't know if his face is actually capable of growing enough hair for that to happen...?)


@werewolfbarmitzvah - HAHAHA. So Awesome. So, If a dude grows a full beard, it can take a while to shave. Because we do the following:

1-Long sideburns w/ goattee. Quote lines from Deliverance. Pretend we're the creepy dude who's 23 and hangs out with HS kids in Dazed & Confused. (I know it's not the same hairstyle, but we can't get rid of the goat yet.
2-Trim the sideburns, chinstrap. Pretend to be ancient Kung Fu master.
3-Shorten mustache lengths, pretend to be Zappa. I like to Air Guitar all of "Willie the Pimp"
4-Lose the soul patch, pretend to be Geraldo opening Al Capone's vault or Cheech Marin doing anything. I'm partial to "Dave's Not Here."
5-Final choice. You can (A)Shave it into a John Waters mustache, and watch Pink Flamginoes yelling "Ohhh, this is just NOT FILTHY ENOUGH dammit." or (B)Shave it into the little Hitler mustache. I always felt weird about doing this, but now that Michael Jordan has one, it is awesome, because instead of pretending to be Hitler, I pretend I am Michael Jordan, and I am confused / offended that people are calling it a Hitler Mustache. Then I try to dunk and hurt myself.

Basically, if you make your man shave his beard, his broken ankle is your fault.


@leon.saintjean Why is there not an equivalent of this for ladies? WHY?


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I totally have beard envy. My bf started growing a moustache for movember, but it got too itchy and he shaved it off. I was SAD.

But then I shaved off my long (head) hair, which he was also living vicariously through, so... evens.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Oh, but there is...


LW3...not to make you paranoid, but I once briefly dated a guy and couldn't remember his name. We hooked up after going out one night, and he had a southern name, where his first name was his mother's last name (I think that's a Southern thing?). And I couldn't remember which one was which, so I would just avoid saying his name (awkward). We went out a few times, and once I wound up stealing his wallet in the middle of the night so I could check his drivers' license. #lifebeforefacebook

To be fair, this is probably NOT what is happening to you.


@Ophelia Mulva?


I just read something somewhere (REALLY SPECIFIC, HUNH?!?) that one of the adult developmental stages occurs/finalizes in the late 20's, and this stage has to do with delaying gratification in order to accomplish goals (liiiike, don't spend all that money at the bar tonight, because you can save it up to buy a house, or travel the world, or whatever - or yes, working and going to school sucks, but it means you'll be a baller in just a few more years just stick it out stick it out dear jesus i just want to stick it out).
This is relevant in the sphere of significant romantic partners and their ability to work together for goals. My beau is a doll, and he's also 6 years younger than I (well, 5.5, but he likes to round up because... it makes him feel cool i guess?). Things were great great great, and still are, but we definitely have hit a few speedbumps because I'm 34 and ready to be very strategic about my money, my time, my goals, and he's still learning how to delay his gratification when it comes to this stuff. He's learning VERY QUICKLY, which is awesome, because it gives me a chance to see him be capable of growth - YAY! but if he were a couple of years younger, I think that learning curve may have been too much for us (or any couple) to handle.
So, there's actual psychological science that explains why young peeps can be great, but there are some specific areas where it may be very challenging.


@teenie I know a few people that are good at some of these things at a young age - namely, those people who were taught good money management and investment skills from their parents or learned these skills out of necessity in college. But, a lot of my generation (and younger) learns these things later in life.

This again goes back to "there is an exception for every rule" thing that someone alluded to above.


@teenie it's true! the frontal lobes are the part of the brain responsible for executive functions, which include the "maturity" functions - impulse and attention control, assessing risk, recognizing long-term consequences, picking the best of multiple options, those kinds of things. And general frontal lobe development continues into the late 20s for most people. I'm not going to say that an age gap of 9 years is insurmountable, but when you're thinking about settling down with someone long-term at that age, it's a consideration!


@teenie This is interesting. I am definitely going through this, now. I have been trying to do those things with money, etc, for some time, but it's been haaard. Suddenly, in the last few years, it's easier to see. The immediacy of whatever I want seems smaller, the benefit of waiting bigger. Have just made a 5 year ish plan that I am super excited about. I am excited about my budget. I am an Old.


@Craftastrophies I know! I'm in the same boat - I think I'm a bit of a late bloomer (which also helps with compatibility with my beau) but I'd say in the last 4 years I've become a MASTER OF DISCIPLINE! which is wild considering my past - dropping out of college before my senior year, etc etc.


@Craftastrophies I want to get there so bad. This prolonged adolescence is the pits.
Really, I just get mad that at my age/career level I don't have more money than I do. Damned economy...


LW3: It seems like a self-preservation thing. I'm pretty guarded and as a result sometimes send mixed signals and your guy seems very similar. If you're drinking, snuggling and kissing, I think it's safe to say that he's into you, and you shouldn't worry too much and eventually, he'll relax on his own.


Anecdote: The only time I have ever had a scale in my house was when my male roommate brought one with him. It left with him, and my new (female) roommate and I haven't replaced it.

By the way, it is hella fun to weigh yourself on a scale that has tenths of pounds and find that you have lost a pound just from peeing.



...making you a wee_wee_ramekin?

::: ducks :::


@atipofthehat: Boo this man!


@Too Much Internet Oh, come now. Don't get pissy.


@wee_ramekin: I just love saying 'boo this man' because it reminds me of Half Baked: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76p_ncbffCE


@Too Much Internet

(Sorry, my comment was a punny joke. I have no idea why Tip hasn't run with this already...Maybe he had to go? (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE))


@wee_ramekin: shoot, I did not see that you had continued a thread pun-off. Whoops. That was my




@wee_ramekin urine first place when it comes to punning today, @die_Auflaufformchen.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@wee_ramekin ...or sometimes things that are not peeing as well?


I don't really have time to dream up any hilarious pee-puns, but I just want everyone to know I sat here and went down the thread "liking" every comment. Toilet humor: never too old for it?


LW3: I am so glad you brought up the name thing. I have been in A FEW situations with dudes where they never said my name and I would get paranoid they didn't know it, even though they of course knew it. It sounds insane, but I swear it's a good judge of character. When I am with a guy and they make a point to say my name (especially in text messages), it's definitely a plus.

Recently I was out with a group of people including a guy I had been sleeping with and I gave my "saying a person's name has underlying psychological significance" speech and he's been using my name a lot more often.

Lily Rowan

@parkerb Oh lord. I almost never use people's names in conversation with them, and I think my character is pretty good.


@Lily Rowan I dunno how you would even say someone's name all the time if you're directly addressing them? Other than, like, "HEY ______!" from across the room to get their attention.

Lily Rowan

@miwome Well, you know, miwome, it's funny you should say that. miwome, I know some people make a point of using people's names, but I feel like it's a sales technique. miwome.


@Lily Rowan Oh, Lily Rowan, this is so in character for you, Lily Rowan, you sly, clever little Lily Rowan thing.

Lily Rowan

@miwome Of course, miwome, the most ridiculous part is that now your name is BURNED INTO MY HEAD. And I somehow feel very close to you. So it works!


@parkerb If it's in a situation where I don't have to be called by name(like we're alone), I hate it, it makes me feel like the next thing said is going to be something bad, and it usually is.


@taxine Ayep. Boyfran and I almost never call each other by our names so when we do, we're either out in public/I don't feel like yelling "Hey babe...?" down the stairs when there's a big group of dudes there that WILL all yell "Yes?"/someone is in trouble.


@Lily Rowan I guess it works, but I feel like a person has to sound like a creep to get there and for certain individuals it might aid and abet a tendency to creepiness? But I suppose that's not the point...Lily Rowan.

Chesty LaRue

@taxine My ex was so bad for this, I cringed for a year when someone would call me by name.


Am I the only person who feels like, yeah, LW3's dude may very well be into her, but... is that sort of stress and confusion worth it? I've always enjoyed seeing someone who - through actions or words - can clearly express that they're into me. I had a year long relationship that started how LW3's sounds like it's starting and I just never felt totally comfortable that he liked/loved me. I wanted to feel that like/love, not conjecture it. Dating is stressful enough without wondering whether the person is even into it or second guessing why they are hanging out with you. For me, in that relationship, the second guessing never went away.


@HappyBeet Yeah I got a vibe of "that guy has no idea what he wants and what he's going for." Which...I've dated that guy, it was...exhausting and endlessly problematic. For my poor friends' ears as well as my brain.


@HappyBeet Totally! I've had a lot of criteria for people I date, but now the most important one is enthusiasm. You're gonna sleep with me, get psyched!!

the zazu

From my experience, nothing worse than finding out post-break up that your boyfriend wanted to dump you for a while. It sucks a lot, makes the whole healing process more painful, and creates trust issues. Please, LW1, don't draw out a relationship you don't want any longer. The more you draw it out, the more it will likely hurt him.


@Deleted by user Why did you delete itttt. I would say tell your mutual friends to let him know you want to hear from him! The worst that could happen is that he doesn't respond.


@BoozinSusan: Susie Derkins you put that post right back!


@Too Much Internet Okay, fine! ...I just know I always am SO CURIOUS when people respond to deleted posts. Here:

OKAY guys, soliciting your opinions time: Met a guy, through friends, thought he seemed nice (told him he reminded me of 'Gus' from Psych, he didn't appear to think that was a compliment as much as I did), then, at their wedding a few monthes later, flirted as hard as I could, which, I suck at flirting, but. At one point I sat on his lap (ugh, yikes. "Nope, not a lap sitter, never have been") so I'm pretty sure he got it? Everyone else I knew at the wedding noticed, at least. anyways, this weekend (months after the wedding), the friend was all, "You and dude?" and I was all "Man, I tried, but, no, nothing." but now I'm thinking about it?

At the end of the wedding, he asked for my number, but, uh, no one has phones or pens and paper at a wedding, so I told him to just find it out via friends, and he invited me to come back to the hotel they were staying at that night, but I wasn't going to blow off my friends to possibly deal with Fucking Expectations. But maybe he thought I was blowing him off? After I was the one flirting with him all evening? UGH WHATEVER. What do you think? He is a bunch older, 34, and still single, so maybe he just sucks at this? But on the other hand, all I really know is that he didn't absolutely hate it that I threw myself at him, but has put in zero effort into showing he is interested in me, and that's why I forgot about him, because if he is not going to make an effort, then, I don't care. But that could just be my unwillingness to demonstrably like a person more than they like me? I know, I KNOW I am overthinking this, that is why I need a second opinion for reeeeeal.

Will I get a winter boyfriend if I'm like, "Friend, give him my number and tell him to call me"?


@Marzipan I think he might legitimately not know how to get in touch? So I would tell your friend!


@Marzipan: If I were the guy, I would feel that you had blown me off. Asking a friend to make sure that guy has your number feels like a good plan to me.

Someone said, I think in this thread above, some guys are really really hesitant to be forward (like me, I never initiate).


@Marzipan I don't think not going back to his hotel room would come across as necessarily blowing him off, because lots of girls don't put out on the first meeting. Maybe he was interested, but only as a hook-up, and took that to mean you weren't into the casual thing? Or maybe he can't find you or is too shy to?

I would ask my friend to give him the "You and Marzipan?" and if he's interested pass on your number.


@MilesofMountains Yeah, I misrepresented that - it was more of a 'Me and a couple other people got a room, want to come after-party?'-type invite, I think. But just in general, yeah, I don't follow a guy to a second location.

For the record, we are Facebook friends, and he knows these friends better than I do, so I don't think it's a possibility he just genuinely has NO IDEA how to contact me. I mean, they aren't great/perfect/easy options and I can believe he's reluctant, just, he could, for sure.


@Marzipan If he's on your facebook, I think you should just send him a quick private message of "hey, how's it going?". It might be enough of a push to get him to offer going out again if he's interested, but it's not going to come off as desperate or weird if he's not really interested(but it seems like he was at least somewhat into it)


@Marzipan Also, "...he's 34 and still single, so maybe he just sucks at this?" = EEP! Don't make assessments like that. Just because one is single at the age of (*gasp*) 34 doesn't mean that one sucks at dating or is weird. You have no idea what's going on with this fellow - don't assume he's a dud!


@taxine Uh oh... someone had better call the factory on my defectiveness before my manufacture warranty runs out at 36.5 years.

christina tesoro

@Marzipan "But on the other hand, all I really know is that he didn't absolutely hate it that I threw myself at him, but has put in zero effort into showing he is interested in me?"

I am in the same boat, and I too share a willingness to like people way more than they like me. If you're friends on FB and he hasn't tried to contact you...I would say just move on? I'm in a similar situation right now where I was all demonstrably into some dude and we went on a date and nothing came of it even though I continued being demonstrably into him for a while and just like...ugh. To me, not worth it if the effort on both sides isn't relatively equal.

christina tesoro

@pastina Plus "didn't absolutely hate it" ?! Dude he shoulda been like HELL YEAH. Chica don't waste your time with someone who "didn't absolutely hate it" you deserve someone who is like THANK MY LUCKY STARS LORD AMIGHTY or something along those lines.


@pastina @Marzipan Ladies, I think we need a club of "ladies who embarrass themselves in front of guys/girls they like" because I'm also in the like people way more than they like me boat.

christina tesoro

@Jennifer@twitter I think we can call it the Club For People Whose Awesomely Awesomeness Just Bubbles Over Into Awkwardness Sometimes/Frequently/Probably 95% Of The Time (But C'mon Seriously We're Great and Good for Laughs)


@pastina I will definitely join that club that is obviously for super winners/the coolest of awkward people.


@wee_ramekin I didn't say ANYTHING about him being a dud! I suck at dating too...I don't think that is insulting. Maybe it's something you can only say about yourself? I will cop to making assumptions, and wildly speculating, but that's it.

I don't mean to stigmatize singleness - I've done it my whooole life, and it's cool. And I can see how the age mentioning in particular comes off like, "jeez, single at 34? WOW, gosh, stop being single, what are you doing, did you just forget to get around to finding your one true love, did you forget your mom wants grandkids before she dies, you must just suck at dating", I think sucking at dating is just as much a problem at my age as it is at 34, or whatever age you are being single at, if you are looking for a relationship.

But, I mean, I am still also looking for a relationship. And I guess I kind of would think there is something weird about someone who isn't looking for any kind of relationship at all, ever, so for me, the options I was trying to highlight were 1. he's not really actually interested in ME or 2. he doesn't know how to show his interest i.e. sucks at this.

I know I'm sort of in an empty room here, but it's just something I want to talk about, I guess. I think about it. but I didn't participate in that whole Kate person who was single (And Fine With It!) conversation, because I find trend pieces like that irritating. so maybe I'm just behind on the hairpin hivemind, hopefully we already figured with one out?


@Marzipan In my experience of having done this way too much and thinking there might be interest because the guy was even being flirty but not pursuing at all, I would say this dude is probably not interested. That being said, sending him a quick not too flirty FB message can't hurt. If he's not interested, you just seem friendly.

Also, totally get what you're saying. When I was 22, I dated a guy who was 29 and it took me a while to realize that he did not want a relationship AT ALL. He didn't want to be tied down by anything and generally had the attitude of, well, a 22 yo who just graduated college, wanted to see the world, and felt like any sort of connection would hinder their dreams. I was (and am) pretty settled down, so that attitude surprised me. Either way, it was the attitude, not the singleness at that age that I was WTF about.


@bunB my first serious boyfriend did this to me, he just picked and picked at me, arguing about everything, just generally upsetting me, until I finally pulled him up on it. And he admitted he'd wanted to break up with me for three months. This was after we'd been going out for nine months! I mean, for goodness' sake! Just break up with me dickhead! Took me ages to trust another boy enough to go out with someone else. And now that boyfriend has asked me out again, several times, and I've been able to say no and win! :P childish? Maybe a bit, satisfying? Yes


@LJ winning is the best revenge


I just want to tell LW#2 that I just found out two of my coworkers are dating... She is 37 and he's 23. It's strange to me, because as a 23-year-old I couldn't see myself dating a 37-year-old, but they seem super happy and it's working. So I say as long as you're both have the same vision for your relationship then rock on. Once it seems like you don't have the same priorities anymore, maybe it's time to re-evaluate. But you're in such different stages in life, I would just say tread carefully. But good luck!


@amanda.@twitter Oh coworkers. Try this one on for size: he's 35, she's 19. They're engaged. I hope the best for them, I really do, but...?


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher: ugghhhhhhh


Hey I don't know if this isn't kosher, but I wanted to ask a question (especially since this process apparently take a month to answer--I'm young (just 22) and my hormones demand an answer NOW)

ANYWAY. I recently made a friend in school and he lives in my dorm and everything. I've made a bunch of friends in my master's program and in the building and in class, but he's separate from all that, mainly because he's one of the only people that listens to me ramble about film. So he's super hot but more importantly SWEET and seems to listen to what I have to say about everything, although I might ramble on. And I invited him to some group stuff but he couldn't make it and said he was sorry he had to keep saying no. And then I asked him to dinner when I visited him randomly (it's always me who initiates texts & visits...though I don't do them often because I don't want to be annoying) and he was like "oh I have a girlfriend" but then he was like, you can always visit and hey let's hang out and watch TV and do you want something to eat? So I stayed and watched TV and it was weird. It sucked because I actually did like him, and he didn't tell me he had a girlfriend...but I've been in this situation before where I had a serious thing for a guy who had a nice girlfriend. It just...feels weird because I would like to stay friends but even with the other guy friend, I haven't been able to completely shake that attraction (and it's been more than a couple years!...though to be honest I also have a thing for the girl too, tbqh...them as a couple! I also don't hold out hope or anything though) and I would like to be friends with this guy, I guess after a period (I'm thinking a month...which is proving harder than I thought) of staying as far away as possible (which will be easy because he doesn't ask me to hang out...I've had friends who I would always visit though they wouldn't visit me, usually because they were busy or they have the TV, but I feel a wee bit awk now).

My questions: is this a good idea? We're both new to the city we're in school for, so his gf is in his program. So they'll probably stay together for the whole program, arrrrgh. But eh maybe I'll meet her and get over it and we can all be friends, yaaaaay greeaaaat. My second question: HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? How do I turn off having a crush on a guy who seems to get me and like me and listen to my opinions when so often guys I'm into think I'm silly and too happy and excitable? I thought he felt something too; I wouldn't have asked otherwise. He would call me sweet and say I looked nice and thinks I'm funny and ARRGGH. Am I just crappy with guy friends? But I have a ton that I'm not attracted to, and who I know aren't attracted to me! What's wrong with me??


@mystique: Nothing is wrong. Everything you described sounds very, very normal. You can be friends with this guy, but like you guessed, there should be a period of time where you do not see or contact him. Even though you were not in a relationship, the feelings of romantic attraction must recede so that the feelings of friendship can take hold. (Romance can return later, don't worry.)


@mystique Yikes. And yeah totally normal. Count yourself lucky that he was honest with you from the get-go. At least you know he's not a sleaseball! I would say no more one-on-one time, just group stuff. That might help you see him in a more friendly environment. At least that works for me.


@Jennifer@twitter Yes. Group stuff. Just because someone has a girl friend, and plans on being faithful, doesn't mean they don't/can't appreciate other women. Because as you're finding, we don't have an on/off switch for liking people. So if you don't have a history of say, getting drunk and throwing yourself at people, regardless of the consequences, I'd say try to be friends, because no reason not to enjoy a cool person. But monitor how much you're tempted. I say this as someone who has alot of married friends and acquaintances. Sometimes you develop at least a little bit of feelings. Because they're cool. But there's a big dif. between inappropriate feelings, and inappropriate actions. It also really, really helps to meet the S.O.


@Rrrowena @mystique Yes yes yes to meeting the S.O. It sounds like you've met her already and like her, so as much as you can, hang out with both of them together. The more you see them as a unit, the less romantic feelings you'll have (hopefully, works for me). Whatever you do, don't hope that they break up so you can jump this guy, because that will definitely lead to previously mentioned inappropriate actions. Just let that unromantic friendship develop and it will be totally awesome.


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