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Friday, April 20, 2012

303

Semi-Secret Affairs, Smanging, and the 88 Percent

Long story short, I finally grew a spine and broke up with my fiancé because he only added stress to my life, never gave any time to our relationship, etc. I moved out of our apartment, got drunk one night, and ended up hooking up with my boss. This situation seems to be turning into a very fulfilling relationship, except for one thing: I can't tell anyone about it, and this makes me wonder how serious it is.

First, we don't want to make other people at work feel uncomfortable. They shouldn't have to deal with our relationship ups and downs, so we agreed not to tell them. Second, my boss is friends with three of my exes, so we haven't told our friends because we don't want to make them uncomfortable. Also, my boss used to have a thing with my best friend. And third, we don't want to tell our families unless it's serious, especially since my family is still in shock over me breaking off my engagement.

Advice? I really want to tell my best friend, at least, but I don't know how to deal with the discomfort and potential issues it would cause. How should I deal with this?

If you can't really tell people you're in a relationship, you're not in a real relationship. It sounds more like one of those hook-up alternate dimensions in which there are only two people having a wonderful secret affair. Those are nice, too. But secrets eat away at you, and at some point you're going to have to let all of these people in on it, and although they may be tough conversations to have and things might be a little awkward, your real friends will still like you and people who truly care about you will be happy with you. You're not the first to have a relationship with your boss. You should be able to roll out this information gradually to people a little at a time. Everyone will find out eventually if it's truly a serious thing, and the longer you go without telling people, the worse everyone will feel for simply having been excluded. Everyone involved is an adult who should be able to deal with it. Exes, just never worry about exes.

No relationship built on secrets can stand for very long; it's like trying to build a house of cards with slices of American cheese. It's a difficult transition from having a very private relationship to a very public one, but if your relationship can't even last telling other people about it, then you don't really have very much. Love isn't about sneaking around and lying to people. 

I've recently met a man, and we seem to have a lot in common. He's also very funny, and that's important to me. While on a date one night, we made plans to watch a movie on a future date, and he invited me to come to his place. Two days later, I arrive at his house and was unpleasantly surprised by the messiness. Dust bunnies all over the hardwood floors, piles of random junk all over, layers of dust on the bookcases. He has a couch for seating, and there wasn't room for me to sit because of random stuff strewn on the cushions. When I used the bathroom, I was afraid to sit down, and after washing, dried my hands on my pants to avoid the rather grimy looking hand towel. I didn't see trash anywhere, and I didn't go in the kitchen, but I am assuming the trash was not overflowing, as the house didn't smell. So he doesn't seem to be dirty, just messy.

Now, I know I'm a little OCD when it comes to cleaning — I'm the type of person who moves all the furniture to clean underneath every time I clean. I don't expect anyone else to have the same cleaning compulsions I do, and I understand he is a single man (he's 37, divorced, sees his kids on weekends) and maybe isn't dedicated to housework. But I was uncomfortable with the mess — I had an overwhelming desire to just start cleaning his house. But, I was also irritated (hurt?) that he didn't even make an effort to tidy up, knowing I was coming over. He's pretty laid back, and I've never mentioned my cleaning OCD, so maybe he didn't think anything of it. But, what if we progress further? I'm not sure I'd be willing to get in his bed — who knows when his sheets were last washed?

I'm wondering — is there a nice way to bring this up to him, without hurting his feelings? Or is maybe his lack of cleanliness is something I should just get over, since I honestly don't think he realized the clutter would bother me? And he's been great (so far) in other aspects?

I am an extremely messy dude. Much messier than your dude, it sounds like. And I think we messy dudes do not face our own messiness until other people confront us with it. Like "Dude, why do you sleep on a pile of old pizza boxes?" Just as he could not know your OCD-ish ways, you could not know about his messy ways. And that doesn't have to be a tragic conversation. You are surely not the first other human being to let him know how messy he is. So he is aware of it, he just may not know what to do about it. Some people just don't know where to begin.

And your relationship should progress to sex, if you want, but maybe at your apartment to start. Has he seen your apartment? I think you need to introduce him to the level of clean you're looking for. He'll say something like "Wow, this is the cleanest apartment I have ever seen," and then a lightbulb will appear above his head in a thought bubble. And he'll think to himself, maybe I should try to approach this level of cleanliness the next time this lady comes over my place. If he doesn't get the message, you can just don a French maid costume and clean his place just utterly thoroughly. He'll begin to associate cleanliness and sex (which is a very powerful motivation). Or you can tell him if he doesn't clean [gestures widely] he won't get to see [gestures downward]. Very few things do motivate men, but sex is definitely up there. And then you guys will laugh about his dust bunny days while feeding each other strawberries on the Rhine. Some people find dusty bookshelves charming I am telling myself as I type this last sentence. Because dusty bookshelves are like the best thing about the terrifying place I live.

A Dude, I need some help. Actually pretty desperately, I need help! Recently I have found myself sort-of-but-not-really involved with a manfriend who goes to my university and is involved in several of the same extracurricular/social circles as I am. We're friendly and generally have a good time when we interact but don't seek each other to hang out, usually. BUT. After a fancy event, under the vague influence of alcohol, we banged and it was fun. We bumped uglies again a few months later, also very enjoyable. Last weekend I found myself at his place again, and as I was leaving in the morning, I wondered to myself, "is this/ could this be a thing?" I would like to ask him. Especially because I can already feel emotions towards him creeping up on me. The problem is that I do not want to be that girl who is clingy and silly and over-assumes based on a few interactions. However, I would like to have some ownership over the situation and feel like I can express what I want. So I guess my questions are: 1) to you as A Dude, do you think smanging it on three separate times merits a conversation? (Other, platonic manfriends have indicated to me that three occasions is not very meaningful to a guy.) And 2) how does one bring up this kind of conversation in a not-scary, not-clingy way?

Three sexual encounters does seem fun. I don't know what smanging means and I'm a little scared to Google it on a work computer. When uglies bump it can be quite exciting. At some point you will have to, like, go on a date with this dude. I've had relationships that went on for months without dates, they were just physical and no dates. Usually it was because we just couldn't get along when we weren't smanging.

I don't think having a conversation about feelings is all that clingy. That would in fact be a radical redefinition of the word clingy. And emotions can be fun for everyone. When men fall into a pattern, they may feel like a relationship is simply physical, and those can be great, too. How can the conversation go? It's really just about dating, moving from the smanging to include the dating. "Will you take me to The Hunger Games after we're finished smanging?" Or, "I'm hungry from all this smanging. Let's go out for Thai food." If someone just kept showing up and smanging me, I don't know that I would ask so many questions, for fear that the smanging would end. But it will end, your dream world filled with smang. And it sounds like you kind of want to date this dude. So try to nudge him into a public, normal date-like thing. If he's unwilling, you can decide how much longer you want to smang him. And if you stop smanging him, you can always use him later for drunken late-night smanging.

So, I  dated this guy for more than a year, and within that year he became increasingly distant. It got to the point where I couldn't actually tell if what I had was a boyfriend or casual acquaintance. There were some valid reasons for his distance — while we were dating, his very close friend passed away suddenly at a young age. He had also had a few other friends die over the past year. Understandably, he was having a hard time dealing with that. I wanted to be there for him and try to help him not to fall into a depression. He kept rejecting me to the point that I had to leave the relationship. Nothing I did was helping and I wasn't getting anything out of the relationship for myself. It was a very sad breakup.

Fast forward a year later — I hadn't heard from him at all. He writes me out of the blue to say that he hasn't stopped thinking about me; any other girls he's tried to date aren't as good as me ... He has been in therapy for over a year and sounds like things are going well for him. He's realized that he pushed me away when I was only trying to be there for him. He says he previously never thought he could have a nice life, but now he thinks that's possible with me.

It's all very romantic. I admit that I still have feelings for him. At one time, I had thought we'd be able to have a great life together. We are a lot alike. We are both artists and we love to travel. My biggest concern in the communication. Is he going to shut down the next time something goes wrong? Or is it a risk I could take for the chance of real happiness with someone?

You can't really predict how a person will react to something down the road. And you really shouldn't deal with problems now that you don't actually even have yet. If you're willing to give this dude another chance, take it slow and let him win your trust back. Look him in the eyes and tell him you want to deal with things together, that you don't want to be shut out again. It sounds like he's aware of and working on his issues. That's really all you can ask. No one can predict where your lives will take you. But you don't have to jump right back to the point you were at. Trust is even trickier than love.

I have loved people I have not trusted. It's not much fun. There may ultimately be no way to pick up where you left off, and it's possibly also just a nostalgia "grass was greener" thing. But who knows. Sounds like you ought to give the dude another shot. People deserve second chances, don't they?

When you think of all the ways you have to be (or would like to be) compatible with someone — mentally, sexually, pheromonally (maybe?), physically, mundanely (like what if everything is perfect but she just can't, can't, can't stop chewing with her mouth open, and for better or worse that's just something you can't get over), financially, reproductively (plans for kids, etc.) — it's incredible you ever end up with anyone at all. Or, maybe not that, but it makes sense that the special ones are so few and far between. But, my brain would love to put some numbers on this. How compatible — percentage-wise — do you need to be with someone to make it work? 75%? 50%? (And by "make it work" I mean "work toward a long-term commitment that might eventually involve children.") I know compatibilities can shift and go forward together, too, but I'm curious to know what you think of this math. Or is this a too-chilly way of looking at love?

I don't think there's an exact number. But let's say 88%. I don't know how to quantify pheromones. But I think a happy spectrum of someone you want to make kids with and have 50th wedding anniversaries with could be around 88%. Lots of people make kids with people they shouldn't and have 50th wedding anniversaries with people they've grown to openly despise. 50% feels pretty low. And so does 75%. It is hard to meet good people who satisfy everything you're looking for. And I guess we settle too often and end up disappointed in the choices we've made.

But what you're looking for will change over the years. The thing we find annoying today, the eating with their mouths open, can either be snipped in the bud "I LOVE YOU! BUT DON'T EAT WITH YOUR MOUTH OPEN!" or outweighed by all the other stuff. You can preface most hard things by saying "I love you and am crazy about you but." 12% complete despairing dissatisfaction seems like a reasonable amount to have to carry around; we're humans not angels.

And you also want a little leverage on them for when they find something you do annoying. Stop chewing your nails! If you've allowed them to eat with their mouth open then you'll reach a détente. But you'll kind of just KNOW when you want to make someone's babies. Your stats will fall away into meaninglessness, because that desire is pretty rare and kind of intense.

Previously: Lies, Kissing Biblically, and Translucent Officewear.

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 Felix Mizioznikov, via Shutterstock



303 Comments / Post A Comment

EpWs

I just need to say that there is a delightfully insane music video out there by a rapper--I want to say Young Humma, something along those lines?--that not only defines "smang" it, but also has a dance to go with it. The second I am not on a work computer I will find it and link it and then you can all share in its oddness.

Katie Heaney

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher THIS IS WHAT I CAME HERE FOR: lemme smang it.

EpWs

@Katie Heaney BLESS YOU, HEANEY

EternalFootwoman

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher His vigorous facial expressions when he's dancing are the best part. Also, he references the Wild Thornberries, which I love. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt5ghXdq6Z0

Jenn

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Haha. Beat me to it. For those who can't watch the vid: It's when you smash it, then you bang it.

Katie Heaney

@Katie Heaney "Imma have you lookin like a Wild Thornberry."

Katie Heaney

@EternalFootwoman ahhhhh jinx

EternalFootwoman

@Katie Heaney It's a lyric so good it deserves double mention.

EpWs

@Jenn But really you should all watch the video at your earliest convenience. PIGTAIL BRAIDS.

sarah girl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I love this song for introducing the phrase "cooch contusion" into my life.

Also, watch some of the other Turquoise Jeep videos, they are almost all solid gold. SLICK MAHONY is the best.

breeandcrackers

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher mmmmmm, youuunnnnggg huuuuuummaaaaa lord, almighty, I love Turquoise Jeep records.

Come to think of it, discovering TJR was one of the only good things about hanging out with a dude as mess/messier than LW2's gentleman friend. So, maybe it's worth it?

EpWs

@Sarah H. I know what I'm doing this evening.

Katie Heaney

@Sarah H. I have a fondness for "Fried or Fertilized" myself.

sarah girl

@breeandcrackers Did I mention I like to DANCE

Maven

@Katie Heaney OMGGGGGGGG "cooch contusion."

candybeans

@Sarah H. COOCH CONTUSION!!! Finally, I have a name for my trivia team.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@Katie Heaney Is this vid for real? Because it looks like an SNL digital short/parody.

anitabath

@Sarah H. Sex Syrup on repeat, for ever. And if by some horrible omission any of you have missed Did I Mention I Like To Dance - you don't need another dance instruction video EVER AGAIN. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxi73RQlLB8

Katie Heaney

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me As best as I can tell (and I have researched this ... at length), Turquoise Jeep is Flight of the Conchords-esque. As in, they cannot possibly be serious, it has to be comedy, some of the members are wearing glue-on facial hair.

alannaofdoom

@anitabath Oh my god. I want to go to there.

hotdog

@Katie Heaney My favorite is the disinterested look on the dancers' faces. I am so glad someone resurrected this video in my life.

Diana

@Katie Heaney

I'm really happy that the rest of the world is finally going to understand my smanging references, but how is it none of you have referenced the best part of the video - the girl who could not possibly give less of a fuck about what she is doing! I'm pretty sure her stage name is Contractually Obligated.

cee
cee

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher @Katie Heaney
the moment i saw the word 'smang' i knew some brilliant soul would have this in the comments. turquoise jeep are a shining light in my heart.

though obviously the best lyric is "i like to mix it up, i like to do stuff"

LeafySeaDragon

@Katie Heaney OMG DED

jenergy

@Katie Heaney I SO WISH I WASN'T AT WORK RIGHT NOW!! For various and many reasons, but obviously mostly because I need to check out this Turquoise Jeep phenom. I AM SOOO CURIOUS.

EpWs

@Sarah H. No one can convince me that Flynt Flossy is not, in fact, Eddie Murphy.
@anitabath That video is AMAZING. Flossy has some SKILLZ.

EpWs

@Katie Heaney Oh WOW they are like a phenomenal combination of Lonely Island and Flight of the Conchords. I wasn't convinced but then I saw Go Grab My Belt.

mlle.gateau

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Thank you for bringing this absurd corner of the internet to my attention. This is The Best.

"I'm a magician, here's a new trick for you." Wow... just... wow.

girlandtonic

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Oh my good lord. So not only do I love The Hairpin because, duh, but also because now it has introduced me to Turquoise Jeep and I (and my boyfriend, and my roommate) cannot. stop. watching. all. the. videos.

anitabath

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher CHARLIE MURPHY. It has to be, right?! And we know he's funny because we might remember him from such television shows as Chappelle's Show.

bananagram

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher OMG THANK GOD. I got really uncomfortable and had to turn it off. But now I can enjoy in peace. Cooch contusions for all!

jackeemarie

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Have you seen "Fried or Fertilized?" It's THE BEST.

EpWs

@jackeemarie OH MY GOD.
@anitabath HAS to be. Please, please, please.

atipofthehat

I built a house of cards with slices of sharp cheddar, but I eated it.

EpWs

@atipofthehat The relationship was built to last but the house was built of cheese?

atipofthehat

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher

I should never have carpeted the place with Branston Pickle and toast points.

tessamae

But what is smanging??? I feel so un-hip.

breeandcrackers

@tessamae the ultimate sexyfuntimes: smash + bang (if you didn't see the above link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt5ghXdq6Z0)

Megasus

@breeandcrackers That sounds...horrible actually

Jolie Kerr

Wait whoa whoa what? A home in which you can't SIT ON THE TOILET SEAT isn't "dirty, just messy"?? I'll not even speak of the grimy hand towel.

I need to go sit somewhere with my smelling salts. (They smell like bleach.)

highjump

@Jolie Kerr No garbage can in the bathroom? Am I reading that right? What the hell?

mackymoo

@Jolie Kerr Jolie you are never coming over to my apartment.

EternalFootwoman

@Jolie Kerr The thought of getting into a bed in that house gave me a full-body shiver. Just. No.

The Lady of Shalott

@Jolie Kerr THANK GOD I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO THOUGHT THIS. If I went to a house where I felt that I couldn't safely sit on the toilet seat, it would be the last time I ever graced that place with my presence.

(N.B., I have done this, I can only say don't visit houses where five college boys live without any sort of cleaning supervision because you will cry.)

Jolie Kerr

@mackymoo Look I don't really give a fig how people choose to keep their homes. It's no skin off my nose if you like to live amid clutter, or if filth makes you feel safe. Different strokes for different folks. It's just when people are like, "Oh it's not dirty, it's just messy!" when describing a home in which the toilet seat is NOT FIT FOR A BARE HUMAN BUTT that I get a little side-eye-y, ya dig?

TheDragon

@Jolie Kerr
Jolie, you may come to my house, but only if you only come to the bathroom. I think it's because I always ended up with bathroom duties growing up, but my bathroom is always spotless. The rest of the house has piles of stuff everywhere (and some stray food, eek!), But the bathroom looks like something out of a magazine. EVERYTHING even matches!

City_Dater

@Jolie Kerr

And I must say, as a semi-clean-person, that the way one lives when is not expecting company might be a little icky, but anyone who has ISSUED AN INVITATION (and to a person he hopes to see naked, no less) and then not bothered to clean might as well be draped in red flags.
My place can get horrible, no lie, but if I know people are coming over I clean the bathroom and run around with the broom and dust mop, etc. Even if I don't hope to draw a guest into my (clean) sheets.

Porn Peddler

@Jolie Kerr Reason number one I can't bring myself to sincerely miss college.

Killerpants

@Jolie Kerr et al. Yeaaa. Afraid to sit down in bathroom or touch towel = equals RED FLAG. In my humble experience, adult dudes who can't keep a place clean enough that you're not terrified to use the towels or sit on the toilet tends to reflect deeper issues that probably won't jive well with a decent relationship. I mean, if you were someone who didn't mind the filth that would be cool because it wouldn't phase you and we wouldn't even be here. And the fact that he didn't take the time to make it so you could even use the toilet without feeling grossed out says to me (again, this is just my experience with SEVERAL dudes just like this) he's got major ish. Dust bunnies, whatever. The other stuff, nuh uh. I mean, yea, you could try saying something to him and seeing how it works out. But if it were me I'd have to see some real, immediate, and consistent difference.

TheDragon

@City_Dater

Goodness gracious me too! At the bare minimum I throw all the junk in a spare room, shut the door, and run a vacuum and a rag with cleaning goop around the house. You can do that in an hour.
Now, knowing that my parents are coming to visit, I've been cleaning for the past couple days. @Jolie Kerr - I have before pictures.

yamtoes

@City_Dater What if he actually had cleaned up, if only a little? Does that make it better (he made some effort) or worse (his house is usually even more disgusting)?

thebestjasmine

@Killerpants See though, this girl describes herself as OCD about cleaning (I don't know if this means that she's really OCD or just using it in a colloquial way, and if it's the latter, she should Not Do That Anymore), so I'm not sure if her fear of sitting down on the toilet seat is based in any kind of reality or is just because she was paranoid after seeing a dusty bookshelf (who does not have a dusty bookshelf???) (I mean, who is not a crazy Clean Person, sorry Jolie).

Bebe

@EternalFootwoman So, my husband is neater than I am in many, many ways (I have clutter I never know what to do with). Before we shacked up, his apartment was crowded with stuff (life in NYC), but usually clean. Then we moved in together and I discovered that he was unaware of the weekly Changing of the Sheets. He changed them when he thought they looked "dingy", i.e., MAYBE once a month. AND he had a black bathmat, which was ugly but whatevs. And it turns out he NEVER WASHED IT. The whole time we were dating before moving in, my neat - even slightly anal - man NEVER LAUNDERED HIS BATHMAT AND I STEPPED ON IT. Surface clean is no indication of actual clean!!

mackymoo

@Jolie Kerr That is not to say I don't appreciate you! I wasn't raised in a very clean house, so I am having to learn things the first time like the housewife hipster I am. I agree that the toilet is an issue, but dust on bookshelves seems petty. Is he the kind of guy who maybe had a busy week, or is it just laziness?

Killerpants

@thebestjasmine Well, good point(s) there. And as I glance back over, she does say "...don't think he realized the clutter would bother me." Clutter is different than filth. Though I guess ultimately what it comes down to is if she truly can't live with clutter and/or filth, this probably isn't the person for her. He seems pretty comfortable with his messiness. If she can be flexible on some things, she can politely address them ie "I have to be honest, I love spending time with you and being in your home, but I feel a little uncomfortable in your bathroom and wonder if you would be willing to give your toilet a quick scrub for me?" or some such, and see how it goes.

laurel

@Jolie Kerr Nooooo, smelling salts are made of ammonia! Do not mix bleach with smelling salts!

gobblegirl

@Jolie Kerr I paused at that too! I consider my place as "messy, not dirty," in that I have papers and books stacked untidily on my desk, have clean laundry still in the basket next to the closet, makeup scattered next to the sink, etc. Not fit for company, but not unhygienic.
His place seems (to me) hella nasty. If that's how he chooses to live that's fine...but let's call a spade a spade!

Ham Snadwich

@mackymoo - Dusty Bookshelves is my stage name.

faville@twitter

@Killerpants I agree. I had a long, tumultuous relationship with a guy who had so many issues that his own mother said she felt sorry for any woman who fell in love with him. Our first date (planned in advance!) was movies and pizza at his place (this was my choice; I wanted to get laid.) Dude went out and bought a $300 VCR for the occasion (yes, I'm old) but his place was a utterly filthy. Seriously, there was algae growing in the toilet, that's how bad it was. I should have taken that as a warning!

datalass

When I read this letter, I instantly flashed to all of the Dear Prudence/Carolyn Hax/Amy Dickinson, etc., letters I've read through the years where partner 1 is going crazy because partner 2 never does any cleaning and could live happily in filth. I've stopped believing relationships like this can really work.

AniaGosia

@Killerpants I'm with you on this - red flag! LW, unless you're only looking for something super casual, don't even bother. This guy is in his 30s and has children! Does he let them visit him at that house?! If you get involved with him, this will end up being a major problem down the road, I am sure.

thebestjasmine

@Killerpants Yeah, it seems like she somehow extrapolated clutter and dust on his bookshelves to "can't clean a toilet." And people are saying that children shouldn't be allowed to come to his house, what? Have any of you ever seen a house where children live? Talk about clutter. I mean, maybe this relationship can't work if she's that over the top about not being able to deal with clutter, but maybe she should think about what realistic cleaning standards are for other people first.

mkpatter@twitter

@Jolie Kerr Even two and it can get...horrifying.

EternalFootwoman

@datalass I totally agree. An honest analysis of my relationship-and-roommate history has led me to conclude that I really can only live with someone who has a certain level of pre-existing neatness/cleanness. I am not allowed to date the severely messy.

oodelally

I don't think it's a total deal breaker. Anecdote time - my mom is a neat freak and my dad is quite messy, but having a clean house makes her happy, so he keeps his mess confined to the garage, and she doesn't complain about it, and they've been happily married for 32 years. Keys to handling the mess tolerance inequality: the messier person needs to be willing to change their habits so the cleaner person will be happy and comfortable, and the cleaner person needs to let the messier person have a space where they can make a mess and not feel bad about it.

crawdad

@Jolie Kerr I definitely welcomed a breakup with a dude who had a repulsive apartment (consistent PEE drops on the toilet seat! eternal laundry mound! unclean dishes put away with the clean dishes! etc etc etc
why do dudes think college lasts forever??

DillyBean

@thebestjasmine Thank you for the OCD comment! I don't know why people think OCD is the same as being tidy or uptight, but it IS NOT. First, people who have OCD are not necessarily exceptionally tidy or uptight about cleaning. Second, it is a serious mental illness that causes an enormous amount of genuine pain in people's lives.

jennfizz

@AniaGosia This! I'm guessing she might be getting a bit of a glimpse into the reason this mad is divorced. Maybe it was a test? Can she handle the REEEAAALLL ME? Or maybe he was hoping she really was OCD and that she'd clean his house?

PrettyPoe

@Jolie Kerr Yes. This. I am ACTUALLY "messy, not dirty", and it annoys me when people co-opt my label. You can ALWAYS sit on my toilet seat! I clean the bathroom once a week! There are clean clothes in a pile on the couch, and books on every horizontal surface, and a billion craft projects in process, but even OCD people can pee at my house!

AniaGosia

@thebestjasmine I didn't mean that children shouldn't be allowed to visit him, but that this guy is an Adult (ostensibly) - if he hasn't managed to get himself together enough to keep the toilet clean despite being in his late 30s and having kids (who presumably spend time there), then it is probably a lost cause to try to get him to change.

lovelettersinhell

@thebestjasmine I am a terrible person, but I find it hilarious that you called someone out for using ocd as a descriptor, but then used crazy in the same way. (And as a mentally ill person, I honestly don't care when people use crazy that way, I am not trying to ne rude but just express my amusement at that juxtaposition!)

thebestjasmine

@AniaGosia I don't think it really matters to kids if there's clutter and dust on his bookshelves. I mean, I think if someone has standards of cleanliness that want a clutter free house with no dust, it's going to be pretty hard to find a guy who is like that too. There is no evidence that there was anything wrong with the toilet, just that because she saw clutter elsewhere in the house, she was afraid to sit down. He's probably not going to change, no, but she needs to figure out if having a boyfriend with a clutter and dust free house is the most important thing to her.

thebestjasmine

@lovelettersinhell Is the use of crazy offensive to mentally ill people? Because I've never heard anyone who was offended by that word, since it seems pretty universal. And I've known MANY people with OCD who really don't like it when people use OCD to just mean "super clean" (including one in this thread). Especially since OCD is an actual diagnosis and crazy isn't one (like, I would never say "You must be mentally ill!" or "That's schitzo!" as a joke).

AniaGosia

@thebestjasmine I guess I got the impression that it was actually disgusting, not just cluttered and dusty. Rereading it though, maybe he is just messy. Still, if it's that important to her that she was afraid to pee and to be in his bed, then it seems like it would be a major point of tension between them.

Hot Doom

@highjump I am sooo late to this thread, but I read it as she didn't see trash anywhere, like actual piece of crap lying around, nor did she see smell trash, so she assumed there wasn't a bin in the kitchen.

HOWEVER, since I've been in the UK, no trash cans in bathrooms seems like it's a normal thing here. Please, any actual Brits, feel free to correct me on this, but of all the homes I've been in, only one or two (out of 6 maybe) have had trash cans in the bathroom. And this has got me trippin' like what. Like, isn't it skeezy to put bathroom trash in the kitchen (the only place i've found bins so far)? I've definitely gone through all the cabinets and cupboards to see if a bin was hidden and there wasn't one. WHAT IS THIS?

crawdad

@LolaLaBalc where are people supposed to put their tampon applicators? build a castle out of them??

Porn Peddler

@crawdad You'd like that, wouldn't you?...

...crustacean.

timesnewroman

@LolaLaBalc Hi again! Your sample seems skewed to me, a bin is a perfectly normal and standard part of bathroom furniture. Only time in my life that I experience bathrooms without bins is at the homes of university students, especially all-male households. Could this explain your bad luck with bins??

Hot Doom

@timesnewroman I don't know! Now that I think about it, this has occurred at people's parents' houses. Like, I would expect it in a dude house, but parents? Maybe it's that the moms are past menopause and don't need that sort of thing. This has become so common though, that I carry little plastic bags with me JUST IN CASE. Also, I'm neurotic and create a lot of bathroom rubbish, it would seem.

thebestjasmine

@crawdad Best thing about OB Tampons! No need to worry about where to throw away the applicator.

whateverlolawants

@LolaLaBalc In Ecuador, they ALWAYS have trash cans in the bathroom... because that's where the toilet paper goes. (I've been told it is like that in many other countries.) It *IS* gross, but it's not as bad as you might think. Get one with a lid, empty it every few days at the least, and it's fine. I'm a pretty Neat Person, so you can trust me. A bathroom without a trash can there is... I don't even want to think about it.

Xanthophyllippa

@crawdad The relationship was built to last but the castle was made of tampon applicators?

I'm more worried about the actual tampons, TBH.

Hot Doom

@Xanthophyllippa Welcome to my sordid tampon castle dilemma. No bathroom rubbish bin+ used tampons and Q-tips= invitation to worst castle-building supply cottage industry in history.

Xanthophyllippa

@LolaLaBalc Don't forget the used condoms.

EternalFootwoman

@LolaLaBalc Q-tips! I have a friend who doesn't keep bags in her trashcans and it squicks me out SO MUCH. I didn't discover this until one day when I took a shower at her house, used a Q-tip, and then had nowhere to put it. There was the trashcan, basically useless, with no bag. Gross.

Hot Doom

@Xanthophyllippa The used condoms could be the moat-liners.

redheaded&crazy

The answer for LW1 is so helpful to me! Question though, do you think it's still a good idea to keep it secret for a little bit at first for the reason of like, seeing if it might work out at least a little bit before dragging people into it?

atipofthehat

@redheaded&crazie

Secret until you know it's a thing. Then flip a coin to see who gets a new job, because someone will have to. (If one is the boss, not equivalent coworkers.)

34inch Stems

@redheaded&crazie I've felt this way before, and it was all about saving face. If my friends didn't know, I wouldn't look foolish when it didn't work out. It's self-preservation. It's probably healthy to a point, but it's so much more FUN to gush about it with your friends and if it doesn't work out, you'll have a well-informed support system.
If the guy is the one suggesting you keep it a secret...that's different, and kinda of a red flag.

Apocalypstick

@redheaded&crazie You can't navigate and set up a new relationship AND deal with people asking questions all over the place. It's nice to have a bit of privacy breathing room.

SarahP

@redheaded&crazie For me, I think as soon as "it not working out" could have an impact on you at all is about when I'd tel people. Which for me, because I am a giant ball of sappiness, would be really early. But if you have a "secret" breakup--even if you weren't an official thing--and then want comfort, you either can't turn to anyone or risk making your potential comforters feel bad when you tell them "oh, yeah, this thing has been going on but I didn't want to tell you at the time."

**From my point of view, anyway. Your friends might not be as huffy as me about secrets ;)

atipofthehat

@redheaded&crazie

CANADIAN LOVE HOTELS

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

LW1, if Alanis speaks to you, you are in A Bad Place (I'm sure it's not that bad).

Ophelia

@redheaded&crazie When my husband and I first got together, we didn't tell our friends about it. Partially because of the potential for drama, partially because it was "our" thing for a little while, and partially because when we did, they all say, "oh, duh. Told you so." and that was kind of irritating. That said, once we realized it was A Thing, we came out, so to speak.

wee_ramekin

@redheaded&crazie I actually don't see why it's a problem to keep it from people that you work with, especially if one of the people in the couple is the boss. The LW's letter gave me pause, because it sounds like they aren't telling anyone and that seems odd, but keeping your relationship from your mutual co-workers seems like a polite thing to do, from my perspective.

I dated one of my co-workers (not my boss), and we didn't tell people we were dating the entire time that I worked there (1+ years). The employees at the place where I worked were all pretty close-knit during business hours (meaning, we didn't all hang all the time outside of work or anything, but we did all get along and tell each other about our lives at work), and my ex and didn't want to throw off the chummy dynamic that everyone had by letting everyone know that the two of us were sleeping together/in luuuuurv. True, this did make it extremely difficult in some ways when we broke up, since I had to keep a very stiff upper lip at work, but I think it would have been one MEEEELLION times worse for my co-workers if they had known that we were dating and then had to deal with our break-up.

datalass

The one thing I'd add to all the preceding good advice is that, with work-based romantic relationships, if you want to be kind to your coworkers then maybe signal to them that you and your love interest are at least friends.

A couple at my workplace recently announced they were engaged after a year of totally super-secret dating. Because one of the couple is pretty sweet and well-liked and the other is kind of slacker and a pill, the entire office had that stomach churning moment when we tried to work out whether we'd ever slagged on the unpleasant partner to the sweet one.

MilesofMountains

@datalass I think that's why I'm a bit uncomfortable about keeping it a secret long-term. What if one of LW's coworkers goes to her boss because they have a problem with LW? Maybe the boss thinks he'd be perfectly professional and wouldn't think less of the coworker for bagging on his girlfriend, but I don't believe it.

bananagram

@datalass So, I'm currently dating a co-worker. I feel like thinking of it as either "must keep a secret" or "must shout my love from the rooftops" is a false choice and maybe overthinking it a bit. We didn't make a LOVE ANNOUNCEMENT to anyone, including most friends, but just went on dates, held hands in public, spent more time than normal together. Most people figured it out eventually. Those that cared, asked. No one really cared.

So just, I dunno, cheeell y'all.

highjump

I very much support the advice that you can successfully get back together with someone, but you can't do it by trying to pick up where you left off.

liznieve

@highjump
Agreed. Also, in my experience, people just don't change. They might realize why they're being horrible, but it won't necessarily stop them from being horrible.

Not a blanket statement, but just In My etc.

atipofthehat

Even an awful slob will clean the place up for a date.

If you can't do it yourself, sir, find a way to hire someone who can!

somethingobscure

@atipofthehat Get rid of your Dudes, seriously, they are revolting

34inch Stems

To all HP commenters who came down here to comment on LW4: Can someone please explain sexual compatibility to me? I feel very connected to my man in bed, but our sex drives are different. He wants it all the time, but I'm more a 2-4 times a week kinda person. In all of your wise experiences and opinions, what does this mean? KTHANKSBYE

EpWs

@DaMao Is the difference in sex drives a point of conflict? Are either of you frustrated with the other because of your libido? I feel like different sex drives don't become a problem until they start causing conflict.

As far as sexual compatibility in general? I think it's just about if you two work well together in bed. It can range from having kinks that line up to just being willing to do what the other person's interested in even if it's not your favorite thing on the planet. Dan Savage defines this as being GGG--good, giving, and game [for whatever, within reason].

34inch Stems

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I like the 2nd part of that reply, very helpful. As to the first, occasionally it is. When I'm not in the mood, he'll say "I wish you wanted me as badly as I want you..." which totally ISN'T the case. It's just that sleep is more appealing than sex, but I can't seem to get him to understand that. So yes, it's a conflict.

EpWs

@DaMao I know there are many 'Pinners with very different libidos from their partners and they make it work with a variety of different solutions, so I'm going to bow out of that part of the question and wait for them to come in with their very sage advice!

CheeseLouise

@DaMao Hahaha because your 4 times a week does sound like all the time to me, but then I still have a greater (stronger, whatever) drive than my man. He's like a once a week guy. I think being compatible when you're actually Doing It is more important than having the same drive. I'd say it's 75%/25%, in the parlance of LW4.

Porn Peddler

@DaMao I'd say mismatched libidos are a common sexual incompatibility. I think any category of compatibility actually encompasses a whole bunch of particulars under one heading (ie domestic compatibility: how important it is for you to have NO DISHES IN THE SINK at the end of the day, how often you clean, how "lived in" you like to keep your home, how much space you like to have, etc) so under sexual compatibility, there's frequency with which you want to bone (and we have covered ten-fucking-million times that lots of ladies on the pin are DTF AT. ALL. TIMES.), how frank you are about sex, how emotionally invested you feel in a sexual relationship, the particulars of how you like to bone (with/without whips/chains/toys/aggression/dirty talkin' etc) and so on and so forth.

So imagine that overall compatibility is the top of a pyramid and below that you have a bunch of categories (including "Sexual compatibility") which are themselves split into lots of particulars (libido, preferences, emotional investment, blah blah)

Bambi

@DaMao My husband and I have this problem and it has been a bit of conflict in the past. What we've done to address it is for me to up my game a bit (let's face it, I may not be in the mood, but I can definitely get there pretty quickly) and/or have had times where I've helped him out but we didn't have sex (if you know what I mean). And for him, he's not been as demanding on the 6x a week thing. For my husband, sex = intimacy, which is why it became a conflict. Different libidos are hard, but if you both work at it, you can get around it.

Bambi

@DaMao My guy says the same thing. He thinks that I don't find him as attractive as he finds me because I don't want sex as much. I've basically taken to letting him know that he's hot (when he looks good) to combat that problem. Guys just don't get that it's chemistry for those of us with a lower libido, not love, attraction or anything else. I'd much rather sleep too, but sometimes you just have to take one for the team.

tortietabbie

@DaMao My dude and I are like this, too. Even down to the time of day when we like to have sex. I'm more into morning/evening sex, he likes it right when we get home from work (which is when I absolutely do not want to be touched). He wants it every day, no matter what. Depending on what point I'm at in my cycle, I want it 0-5 times per week.

For us, it's all about communication. He's up front about when he's horny and I'm honest about whether I'm on board or if I'd rather he just jerked off and left me alone. And then we respect each other's boundaries. I have been coerced into having sex I didn't want to have in the past in order to keep my partner happy and I'm not going there ever again.

(Your dude's comment about "wishing you wanted him as much as he wants you" gets my hackles up because it smacks of emotional manipulation, but I'm trying to reserve judgment. Sometimes partners are just misinformed! Once my dude admitted that he thought me needing clit stimulation to get off meant he was a bad lover.)

Bambi

@tortietabbie 'wishing you wanted him as much as he wants you' isn't emotional manipulation, it's a low self-esteem comment. My husband truly feels I don't want him like he wants me, which is bunk. I totally want him, just not for sex every day.

34inch Stems

@Bambi, @Tortietabbie, @Third Wave Housewife, @CheeseLouise, @Everpresent Wordsnatcher, Thanks for the great feedback, communication seems to always be the most important factor. It's relieving to hear similar stories that I can relate to.

estraven

@DaMao @everyone differential desire is an extremely common problem! I don't have time for the kind of extremely detailed explanations of my own situation that I have given in the past, but if you give my username a click you will find the older comments. I will also recommend again Emily Nagoski's blog. That post, and the others it links to, and a lot of other stuff on there, is specifically meant to help couples having this problem.

Whether or not a couple can work out the issue depends on the particular two people involved, but there are definitely ways of dealing with it.

H.E. Ladypants

@Bambi As someone who found herself saying something very similar in a pile of tears I can agree that it is not necessarily a manipulative thing. It's very easy to start feeling that way after a certain amount of being turned down- which is why communicating fully is so, so totally important.

unfortumissy

@DaMao I totally relate, and also really appreciate seeing all these thoughtful replies. While I know that culturally it's much more acceptable for a woman to have a low libido than a man, it seems like the circles I run in (like, er, the Hairpin) sort of skew the opposite. So, weirdly, it makes me feel like both a bad girlfriend and a bad young, hip feminist that I only want to have sex 1-3 times/week.

My fiance would like, ideally, to have sex twice a day (more on weekends!) and though he understands that's a little impractical, he still feels rejected sometimes (which, @tortietabbie, is, I think, what makes "I wish you wanted me as much as I want you" NOT emotional manipulation. At least in the case of my fiance, he's usually just trying to express why/how he feels hurt by what he sees as a rejection).

Anyway, we work through it, but it's probably the thing we've argued over most over the years (well, that and cleanliness). a couple times a year, we have a sex month--every day that I'm not on my period, we have sex (unless, obviously, something happens and/or one of us [me] just really, really isn't capable of getting in the mood). It seems to help him feel a lot better, and usually just getting in the habit helps--admittedly, it feels like a chore some days, but not a bad chore.

H.E. Ladypants

@estraven Wow. Thank you so much for that link. I just got totally lost in her blog and will probably continue to do so. Thank you, thank you!

Myrtle

@unfortumissy As a person who is not happy with my boundaries in relationships in the past, your "It seems to help him feel a lot better, and usually just getting in the habit helps--admittedly, it feels like a chore some days" fills me with dread and horror. Not to freak you out, just-well, don't make the mistakes I did, because I broke my own heart with the sanctioned rape.

gravybean

@Myrtle Thank you. I actually logged in to say I've gone through the same thing and I'm never, ever sacrificing that much of myself so someone else can feel "wanted" again.

unfortumissy

@Myrtle Nope, it doesn't freak me out. I've been in very bad situations before, and the one I'm in now is great. I guess what I said would sound harsh to lots of people--I guess what I mean is that getting into it can feel like a chore. Like ohhh we have to make out now? Can't we just watch Justified? But once I'm there, I'm into it.

Myrtle

@unfortumissy I'm so glad you're happy, Missy!

redheaded&crazy

by the way my dream relationship involves a weekly chore day where there is an explicit understanding that lots of sex will be had at the end of it all.

atipofthehat

@redheaded&crazie

Ha!

terrific

@redheaded&crazie The thought of incorporating this into my relationship makes me gleeful.

EternalFootwoman

@redheaded&crazie So, do you wanna go out sometime?

spoondisaster

@redheaded&crazie My new manfriend and I will clean his room or my kitchen or some parts of our respective apartments and then bone. It is (s)excellent motivation.

Porn Peddler

@redheaded&crazie My dream relationship involves a weekly sex day where there is an explicit understanding that lots of sex will be had all day.

SarahP

@spoondisaster I'm imagining that this is great pavlovian conditioning. Any straightening up at all--and suddenly, sexytimes!

SarahP

@SarahP I need to tell my husband about this. This would be the best possible way to stop me from leaving my shoes out.

spoondisaster

@SarahP It totally is! Clean up and you get to get the bed/couch/whatever messy! It's awesome. Ladies (or gents), teach your gents (or ladies) to clean up in a few simple steps!

redheaded&crazy

@EternalFootwoman yes, yes I do! We can go shopping for cleaning utensils and sex toys (intended to serve the purpose separately or together)

redheaded&crazy

@Third Wave Housewife also yes this seriously. I sometimes wonder if I have a limit. I must have a limit? I wish I had enough experience to know the upper limit (if it exists) so that I could appropriately warn people. Because I'm sure I must have one! Saying my desire for sex is limitless ... I ... ???? sigh.

atipofthehat

@redheaded&crazie

There is a limit!

Not to desire; but, when all desires come true for a while, human skin is finite.

Porn Peddler

@redheaded&crazie Right around valentine's day, we had a three day stretch of SEX EVERY DAY!!!!! After day 3, my hips and junk were in bad shape, and I was just like KEEP IT COMING (HURR HURR OH MY GOD)

redheaded&crazy

@atipofthehat I believe it! I would just like to know what it is!

atipofthehat

@redheaded&crazie

According to my experiments, 7 times per day over the longer term is the most that skin can endure.

And when skin begins to degrade? Things become a little less fun. (It hurts, let's stop, we can't stop, ow, oh!, etc.)

Megasus

@redheaded&crazie And the sex toys will be dishwasher safe and go in there after every use!

EternalFootwoman

@redheaded&crazie Haha, best date ever!

spoondisaster

You knocked this one out of the park, A Dude! A++, would Dude again.

werewolfbarmitzvah

Dag, yo, where you guys working with everybody having lusty affairs all the livelong day! The biggest scandal in my office in the past 5 years was when my boss wore jeans one day.

EpWs

@werewolfbarmitzvah <3 u for "dag, yo." Homestarrunner?

MilesofMountains

@werewolfbarmitzvah My work is entirely scandal free...except this one lady who has the most epic, entertaining drama involving affairs and surprise weddings and uncertain babydaddies and oxy-fueled incarcerations. I'm a little in awe that she has that much energy to devote to her outside-work activities. I barely have the energy to fold laundry at the end of the day.

liznieve

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher
Or Skeelo.

frigwiggin

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Homestar! Runner! "Dag, yo" has crept into my regular vocabulary, but every time I type it I think people will probably just assume I left the N out of "dang."

Reginal T. Squirge

"If he doesn't get the message, you can just don a French maid costume and clean his place just utterly thoroughly. He'll begin to associate cleanliness and sex (which is a very powerful motivation)."

Whoa. I was waiting for a "haha, j/k" after this somewhere but maybe I missed it?

needsmoresalt

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I missed it, too. Also, I have been with messy guys, and the only thing they associate with having a woman cleaning up after them is that women will clean up after them.

Apocalypstick

@needsmoresalt He'll just learn the important and valuable lesson that if he sits around in his own filth long enough, someone else will deal with it.

Susanna

@needsmoresalt Exactly. This man is waiting for a woman to clear up after him.

Reginal T. Squirge

@needsmoresalt Yep. Looks like this dude is just a terrible person.

EpWs

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Yeah, I'm getting a little tired of the "Want a dude to do something? Just manipulate him with your vagina!" act.

MilesofMountains

@needsmoresalt Exactly. I am itching to take a Magic Erasure to the stains in my boyfriend's bath tub, but I will not because I have been down that road before, and it leads no where good.

beanie

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter yeah I was a bit surprised people were loving this dude. DUDE! That's terrible advice, and personally I find it a little degrading.

ilikemints

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher The only way I feel like the Vagina Manipulation could possibly work in this situation is "Clean your gross house if you ever want to put your P in my V, and that goes for every time, not just this once ".

sarah girl

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Yeah, this is such "Cosmo" advice.

Killerpants

@needsmoresalt @Apocalypstick WOOOOORD.

redheaded&crazy

this whole sex as a motivation for cleaning really only works for me if it's both parties involved. it may be just because i personally find sex to be a powerful motivator but it's like "let's do this together! because it's nice not to live in squalor" and then reward ourselves. A clean room is a pretty good reward for me. Sex is a better reward!

beanie

@Sarah H. except they left out giving a blowjob with an icecube/scrunchie/other random household object after.

needsmoresalt

@beanie Yeah, I don't get it. I also found the writing itself to be completely uninspired, like reading someone's English homework. But if anyone has any advice that's not just "be sexier" when it comes to being with a messy person, I would like to hear it. My bf seriously never thinks about cleaning anything. He's not a jerk about it; he'll clean something if I ask him to, but ONLY if I ask him to.

EpWs

@redheaded&crazie Exactly! If it's a reward for both of you, that's one thing. But sex as a bargaining chip, where one person's manipulating the other? No bueno.

slutberry

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter My Gentleman doesn't want me to clean his apartment even though it is making him sad because he would feel terrible that I cleaned his apartment. And that is not an aphrodisiac.

beanie

@needsmoresalt do you live together? We just have a designated cleanup day (Sunday) and divide chores then. However, during the week our place is a general mess.

rararuby

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter THANK YOU! I was scrolling down to see if anyone else had raised this before I did.
No way not never.

needsmoresalt

@beanie Yeah, we live together. And he does clean on his day off, if I ask him to. I guess it's more that I want him to be more mindful of the house's general cleanliness level. Like I want him to clean up after himself when I'm not there (not leave dishes in the sink, or clothes on the floor, etc). I don't want to come home and find a huge mess, because I just don't find that appealing or inviting.

Ophelia

@needsmoresalt Have you said that to him? "Look, I know we have different standards for cleanliness, and I'm glad that you clean on your day off. It's just hard for me to come home to a mess, because I find it (stressful, depressing, whatever). Can we figure out a way to clean as we go, and not have the mess pile up?"

Also, Crap Baskets. Definitely get him a crap basket.

raised amongst catalogs

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICH!

AniaGosia

@needsmoresalt You may need to be really specific about what he should do. He may not really see the mess (esp. if he was raised in a messy house) and/or not be sure exactly what he needs to do. Really super specific instructions have helped my mister a lot. As in: Gather up all the dirty dishes, put them in the dishwasher, add the soap and turn it on. Seriously.

H.E. Ladypants

@needsmoresalt All you can do is reiterate that!

I live with a pretty messy dude, too, and I've given myself a one nag per week rule. I'll pick one thing, like not leaving clothes in the living room and say, "from now on I think it's be really cool if our cloths went in the hamper!" I try to say "we" to reinforce that it's a thing I do too and to not pick on every habit at once but one thing at a time that will make our house more orderly.

As a formerly very messy person I know, "fix yourself" is an overwhelming task. As a person who sadly annoyed or bothered roommates in the past with lack of cleanliness, I know guilt trips and tantrums only make a person feel like a failure. So I try really hard to be positive and to say thank you and reinforce things when he makes an effort because I know that the act of making sure the dishes get in the dishwasher is easy, breaking the habit is quite hard.

I think this approach is going okay for us. We have a baseline idea of how clean the house should be kept and when I need him to do things, I ask- but I'm always totally specific. And slowly general mindfulness seems to be picking up. I just have to keep reminding myself it's about habits and not about not caring. (This is also a good motivator for me, too, as the cleaner person. Sure I want to toss my clothes on the bedroom floor and forget about them but then I'm breaking my own rule. :P)

And, yeah, this sounds like a gendered thing but it's also a messy person/clean person thing. And as a former messy person, I can really only go back to what worked/helped me and move on from there.

mustelid

@needsmoresalt What AniaGosia said. I mean ultimately everyone is responsible for their own actions, but people who were raised in clean houses and taught the skills to maintain those clean houses really have no idea how difficult it is to learn those skills as an adult. You have to unlearn a lifetime of filth and learn the "common sense" about cleaning (what products to use, how to apply them, how often it really needs to be done, etc.). And there is usually a big dose of shame and disgust heaped on, at the least just from yourself, and worse possibly from someone you love who is frustrated with you even though you're trying your best.

Also, I am the messy person and my mister is the clean person in our relationship, so it's not necessarily a gendered thing. I just happened to fall in love with someone who was raised by a super-neat stay-at-home mom who made sure the kids did their chores and then went on to join the military briefly. He just happened to fall in love with someone who was raised by a single father who was always messy, and got even worse when he was left to raise three young kids on his own.

Myrtle

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter I yelled downthread at this also. But in a calmer moment I suggested put that French maid costume on Mr and let him clean while she watches.

Megasus

@needsmoresalt Yeah it fucking does. #issues

D.@twitter

@beanie YES. I thought this "Dude" was just that, a dude. And therefore, kind of terrible in the advice-giving department. Also it sounded like that instead of thoughtfully answering questions, he simply googled old Cosmo columns! AND, the guy who acted like an asshole, then disappeared, and a year later is trying to suck you back into his emotional vortex b/c no one has been able to live up to an idealized woman upon whom LW4's face has been bestowed, but who doesn't actually exist...Dude wants to give /him/ a second chance? WHAT?! NO!! GOOD LORD. That is like /anti-advice/.

And finally, LW3? That's not going anywhere. Don't talk about feelings; he'll just post about your conversation on his frat's listserv (oh yeah, that's a thing) along w/ something like, "LOL this chick is crazy as shit." It sounds like you need to distance yourself from the situation a little bit. Let him earn your attention. As you grow older, the need for game-playing seems to decline, but college boys are horrible, selfish creatures, whose narcissism can border on sadism, and as such almost certainly deserve to be manipulated by self-preserving ladies.

Saskquatch

@ReginalTSquirge@twitter Oh thank god you said that. Clean it up? No, never! WTF!

needsmoresalt

Nipped in the bud.

SarahP

LW1, I don't know what kind of business you're in, but if it's one with an HR department or person, you and your boss need to talk to HR pronto. And/or if there is any sort of employee handbook, check there too for rules on relationships. Because if it is not cool with your work, or if there are protocols you have to follow but aren't yet because it's secret, if anyone finds out and it gets back to your work, it could be a problem for both of you.

I am mostly for not keeping relationships secret, but only tell people after you make sure it won't cost you (or him [him? no gender pronouns above, but I'm going to guess him because you used the male form for fiance]) your jobs.

SarahP

@SarahP By "people" I mean "non-HR people."

beanie

@SarahP especially since it's her boss...I doubt that will go over well with everyone.

laurel

@SarahP Word. I worked in an office with a boss/employee relationship where when they went public they transferred the non-boss employee's supervision to another person and everyone thought it was fine.

Kristen

LW 3: A few nights ago, I was hanging out with my boyfriend, and I forget how the conversation started, but he jokingly yelled at me, "Don't call me your boyfriend! I don't like putting LABELS on things," and I came back with, "Stop being so clingy! I'm not comfortable talking about my FEELINGS!" and we went back and forth for a few minutes in that vein before collapsing in hilarity on the couch.

Point being, I am semi-old now (30)and I cannot believe, in retrospect, that I was ever conned into believing that talking about feelings with a dude you were hooking up with was this embarrassing uncool thing that only clingy girls did. Today, if somebody I was boning, however casually, got judge-y or weird on me because I tried to have a conversation about my feelings, I would laugh out loud, walk out and then make fun of him to all my friends. Seriously? Feelings are not spiders or the Ebola virus. If a guy gets "scared" when you try to discuss yours with him, you should dump him and find a new hookup buddy who isn't terrified about something that your average kindergartner can handle hearing about on Sesame Street.

TheDragon

@Kristen Thank you for being older and wiser than I am and sharing your wisdom.
Sometimes wisdom is common sense. But sometimes we think too hard/much to listen to common sense.

lil_bobbytables

@Kristen Just so you know, there is a very good chance that "Feelings are not spiders or the Ebola virus." is going to become either a sampler or throw pillow.

chickaboom

@Kristen SO LEGIT. Dump all the cowardly men and then we'll just all watch Sesame Street.

Mad as a Hatter!

@Kristen Judging from that exchange alone, you and your boyfriend sound like Awesome People.

TheBourneApproximation

@Kristen That whole letter made me glad that I am older and out of college and not single. Mentioning feelings after sleeping with someone on multiple occasions is now considered "clingy"? Hell, people can't mention emotions or ask someone out without being afraid to be seen as desperate? This letter feels like it could have been an example in one of those crappy conservative opinion articles on "college hookup culture." Seriously, if the guy freaks out, it is not because you did something wrong, it is because he is an ASSHOLE.

rararuby

@Kristen Oh thank you! I spent years desperately trying to not be 'that' girl, until I realised that she was just a patriarchetype and that talking about my desires, fears and vulnerabilities actually got me a lot closer to what I wanted than sitting around waiting for it to fall into place while trying to remain 'cool'

redheaded&crazy

@rararuby "patriarchetype"

fucking genius shit.

tessamae

@Kristen RIGHT! Because most problems in relationships are caused by OVER-communication?? Ahahahahahaa.

Ophelia

@Kristen I love this, because sometimes (starting about 2 months into dating) either my husband or I will literally jump on the other one, dangle off their shoulder/neck and say something like "Am I being too clingy? Do you neeeeed mooooore spaaaace?" and then dissolve into giggles.

canoe

@Kristen uh so true! i recently tried to have a feelings conversation with this dude i was boning and he basically refused to answer and laugh at me, at which point i should have realized he was an emotional child and ran, but instead stuck around for awhile, was hurt and humiliated, and then realized he was an emotional child and not worthy of my time. i blame mercury retrograde

lesson learned.

Prostitute Robot From The Future

@Kristen This comment should be made into t-shirts, mugs and posters.

Myrtle

@rararuby http://onlynina.tumblr.com/post/21447614797/rararuby-oh-thank-you-i-spent-years-desperately

weird? I was looking for a definition of "patriarchetype"

Myrtle

@rararuby http://onlynina.tumblr.com/post/21447614797/rararuby-oh-thank-you-i-spent-years-desperately

weird? I was looking for a definition of "patriarchetype"

rararuby

@Myrtle wha? wow is that what comes up when you google it? Can i put this on my CV?

lizaboots

@Kristen Applause! The other thing about hiding your feelings is that it just might work; the dude won't know you care, will assume you don't, and will act accordingly. Save yourself, him, (and the other people you will date/sleep with to prove to yourselves you're blasé about it all) the heartache. Just talk.

julia

Maybe it's bc my reaction to the reply to LW2 was "Really? She should just invite him over and hope he's a mind-reader? Or do it for him for sex?" But... not too big on this dude.

SarahP

@julia Yeahhhh I feel like expecting one's manfriend to pick up hints so early in the relationship (or at all, but especially early) is a little unfair. It is okay to talk about the fact that you have different standards of cleanliness, and you are okay with that up until a point. Then define the point (useable toilet seat, for 1).

rararuby

@julia Also not liking this A Dude

laurel

@julia Yes. If she wants to be subtle instead of straight up telling him his home is gross, she can respond to a compliment on her place by saying, "Thanks, I spiffied up special because you were coming over."

atipofthehat

Dear Edith & Jane,

As many have suggested, it would be nice if you would number these letters. Or letter the letters!

SarahP

@atipofthehat Lettering letters?! Crazy talk.

Emby

@atipofthehat Maybe unicode symbols?

LW, Yeah, that messy dude sounds like he needs a stern talking to. If he doesn't change his behavior after you've made it abundantly clear that you can't put up with that, then it's time to bug out.

LW This. So much this.

LW Yeah, 88% sounds about right.

atipofthehat

@Emby

Exactly! Or (ooh! ooh! ooH!) each LW is assigned a recycled Relationshape?

SarahP

@atipofthehat LW"Tubular shape coming out of a square," you are too good for him!

atipofthehat

@SarahP

Whoa, Squigglebox, major red flags. You can do better. This was my favorite dude of all time at first, but he let us all down on Soggy Dodecahedron's problem.

isavedlatin

I am typing this next to a dust bunny bookshelf. I've dated dudes that wanted to give me "organizational tips" and liked to passive aggressively point out the giant clothes pile on the chair. Here's my thoughts: if we live together, you have a right to say something, and I have an obligation to respect your cleanliness tolerance level. Otherwise this is my house that I pay rent for, so it's gonna be the way I'm comfortable with. Messy, dusty: okay. Dirty, smelly: worrisome. It doesn't smell, so....? Not saying I'll never clean it, I'll just get to it on my on time, MOM.

sarah girl

@isavedlatin Yep, I agree. It's all about being respectful. My boyfriend and I are both kinda messy people (mine is mainly depression-related, ugh), but have done our absolute best to be kind to each other about it.

You might be able to find subtle ways to help - if you're in the kitchen preparing something and throw something in the trash can, say "Hey, this looks pretty full, do you want me to take the trash out for you?" Not in a guilt-trippy way or anything, but with a generous spirit.

Although yeah, sometimes you do have to lay down the law. My bf had a horribly clogged bathroom sink for so long, and I finally went "OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO FIX THIS" when I came over one day, hormonal as hell, and had to change out my Diva Cup. (I ended up using the tub, but he fixed the sink that weekend, ha.)

ejcsanfran

"I have loved people I have not trusted. It's not much fun."

Sing it, mister...

hands_down

Am I the only one who was wondering where the hell LW#1 works that her boss has hooked up with her best friend and is friends with three of her exes?

ilikemints

@hands_down I'm thinking bar? Which is why you shouldn't date bartenders.

beanie

@hands_down I'm sure her best friend will just be so happy for her! JK that seems pretty shady. This office is prime for a reality show!

Emby

@hands_down LivingSocial. $50* says it's LivingSocial.

*Internet money

ejcsanfran

@hands_down: Ewing Oil?

SarahP

@hands_down I was kind of assuming a bar or restaurant, because my friends who work in food service often hang out/drink/have fun with their coworkers (who are usually all within the same age group).

hands_down

@SarahP You're probably right though I was having fun imagining the most intense office ever.

meetapossum

@ilikemints Seriously. Especially at a bar where you're a regular. Don't ruin the bar!

atipofthehat

@ejcsanfran

THAT'S TIGER OIL AND YOU'RE FIRED!
Now, get back to work.

somethingobscure

@hands_down yea that seemed like an excessive amount pens dipped in company ink

skyslang

@ejcsanfran Denver Carrington! Definitely Denver Carrington.

catsuperhero

@hands_down This actually could have happened at an office I used to work at. Think Google-type startup atmosphere. Employees were actually encouraged to date, because those who stay together work together more hours! It might be a perfectly legit, though liberal, office environment.

That said, I gotta echo what (I think) only one commenter has said: Even in places where employee dating is kosher, dating where there is a power differential (i.e., you and your boss, LW) is generally a not-so-much. If it comes out after a year, say, that you've been dating your boss...well, people are going to question that raise/promotion/plum project/etc. regardless of whether any of it deserves to be questioned. Going to hurt both of you. Get thee to HR, promptly, the both of you. Chances are good that a transfer to another department or even just to another boss are going to be in order, but a lot of companies won't out the relationship. It'll just be due to "different interests" or "going a different direction within the company." If it is a real thing (or even if it isn't!) keep it a secret as long as you want...except from HR. You don't want legal troubles for either of you.

lizaboots

@hands_down Yes! Actually, I was wondering where she *lives* that the dating pool is so...cozy.

DH@twitter

Dear Hairpin, Thank you for expanding my vocabulary today. SMANG IT.

angelinha

LW1: "We don't want to..." - RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG. Your boss doesn't want to. He doesn't want to. Making people feel uncomfortable is not a real reason for keeping a relationship secret.

wee_ramekin

@angelinha While I think there are some definite red flags about the LW's situation, I am taking her at face-value when she says "We don't want to...".

I dated a co-worker; the entire time we dated and worked at the same place (1+ years), we kept our relationship on the DL. The employees at the place we worked were all pretty friendly with each other - we didn't hang out all the time outside of work, but we all knew a lot about what was going on in everyone else's lives in a friendly way. My ex and I didn't want to throw off this chummy dynamic by letting everyone know that we were intensely in lurv and also boneing.

I think it would have been inconsiderate to be open about our relationship and possibly make our co-workers uncomfortable, and I think that DOUBLY so when I think about how awkward it would have been for them when we broke up had they known about our relationship.

Porn Peddler

LW1: Initial assessment questions- do you FEEL you can't tell anyone because of the reasons you listed, or did your boss/boything demand that you not tell anyone?

candybeans

12% complete despairing dissatisfaction seems like a reasonable amount to have to carry around; we're humans not angels.
I find this comforting. I don't exactly know why, but I do.

cmonster

LW 4/the person who is considering dating the distant man (since we can't seem to get the letters straight!): there are so many similarities to this person and someone I recently dated I really think it's the same person.

To see if it IS, does he often sign his correspondences with his first initial?

If it ISN'T, be careful be careful be careful. I'm sure he does deserve a second chance, but keep your feelings in check until you're sure he isn't just leaning on you for the sake of the depression. I am completely heartbroken due to this individual using me for support and then cutting out when he felt better. :/ You might be better than these other girls, or you may be one of the many who don't live up to unrealistic expectations (ie curing all his problems).

QtheQuidnunc

@cmonster Oh God! I'm not LW4, But, I thought the same thing and now I'm even more paranoid.

EternalFootwoman

@cmonster O. My. God. I know this man. I seriously know this man.

For real, what is the initial? Because I'm not sure what would be worse--knowing that the man I know is a serial loser/jerk or knowing that there are more than one of him.

cmonster

@EternalFootwoman Ahh! I didn't think of it that way - more than one of him!?! Nooo. I'm scared to say.

It's D.

phlox

@EternalFootwoman I dated someone like that too, he even had a friend who died, but he didn't do the initial thing. There must be many of them out there.

LW, you should ask him "Are you going to shut down the next time something goes wrong?" and figure out (together!) a real plan that doesn't leave you feeling rejected.

cmonster

@QtheQuidnunc Even if we're not all dating the same terrible person, it's kind of nice to know other smart ladies were duped by his charm, too.

EternalFootwoman

@cmonster Ugh, I regret to inform you that mine was C. There are more than one of him.

It is good to know I was not the only one duped. Looking back, I think, "EternalFootwoman, what in God's name were you thinking? That was terrible!" But at the time, he seemed so great...

cmonster

@EternalFootwoman We were so close. One letter. I am going to be eternally distrustful of all c/d named men from now on.

Yep, there were sooo many signs that I chose to ignore because he was (objectively) the most attractive person I had (still have) ever seen. I was blinded by handsome!

runner in the garden

@cmonster I'm pretty sure this describes the vast majority of dudes until they go through a growing-up process.

paddlepickle

Oooh, I dunno, LW3. In my experience, if you've hooked up a few times with months in between, especially if you're in the same social circles so have had plenty of opportunities, and he's never indicated any interest in making plans with you alone, I think it's most likely that this is never gonna be 'a thing'. By all, means, bring it up, and cut it off if you feel you want more than he can give but. . .Expectations management is key here. Don't expect a 'yes' answer because I would be very surprised if you got one.

SarahP

@paddlepickle But he might be thinking the same thing about her! She should definitely say something.

Ophelia

@paddlepickle Having been LW3 in the past...yeah. And, just to add insult to injury, you might well go get Thai food, and you still won't be dating, though you may well go back to periodic smanging. (Sorry, Bangkok Bistro, for that supremely awkward dinner couple sometime in 2001)

paddlepickle

@SarahP It's possssible, but I really don't think it's likely. She didn't mention having received any signs from him at all that he might want more; nothing like 'we've been flirting a whole lot whenever we see each other!' or 'he was really cuddly this time we hooked up and said my eyes were like shooting stars'. Just 'we've banged while drunk and it was fun and maybe I want more'. It really seems most likely to me that all he's thinking is "we bang sometimes when we're drunk and it's fun'.

rararuby

@paddlepickle Once, I was hooking up with a guy for drunken banging and it was awesome fun. So much so that we were going out drinking several times a week so we could up the frequency without changing it from drunken banging.
After about 4 months, we were enjoying ourselves so much we were like, hey, maybe things could ALSO be great outside of the banging. So we went on a date. We had a really awkward conversation over sushi about Nietzsche (we were young and pretentious) and both left feeling on the wrong side of the argument and never went back to the awesome banging. I mean, no regrets, it had to end at some point, and that was probably the best way it could have.

paddlepickle

@SarahP Also I don't think she shouldn't say anything- she should, since it's on her mind. But I just think she should be fully prepared to not hear what she wants to hear.

redheaded&crazy

@paddlepickle because I'm a wimp, my approach to things is to very delicately phrase them allowing room for somebody to gracefully not tell me what I want to hear, and also how I will gracefully respond in such a situation.

Yes, this extensive pre-conversation-planning has worked out for me exactly 0 times. Why do people never respond the way I imagine they will?!

redheaded&crazy

@redheaded&crazie "No I'm sorry I need you to go back and say this instead. Great. That works much better for what I have to say in response."

EternalFootwoman

@redheaded&crazie Glad I'm not the only one who pre-plans conversations. I'm always so eloquent ahead of time, but people will insist on deviating from the scrip, leaving me at a loss for words.

chickaboom

So, I feel for LW #3. I like that this Dude is such a stand-up Dude that he doesn't even really consider this as a possible problem, but any time a lady might initiate that type of conversation — even casually — there is a nonzero possibility that it backfires as "clingy". Because... gaslighting, amirite? Ugh. But LW#3, sounds like you're on a threshold where it'd be totally appropriate to suggest hanging out outside of the smangin' hook up zone. Good luck!

gobblegirl

@chickaboom It depends how she introduces it.
If she says to him, "hey, want to make this a thing? There's a cool exhibit at the gallery downtown I've been meaning to see" rather than "Now let the conversation about Feelings COMMENCE!" it should be cool.
And if he says he's just in it for the smanging, continue with that if you choose, or ease your way out of quietly. No hard feelings, all faces saved!

tessamae

@chickaboom "Because...gaslighting, amirite?"

Love that you called it that! Such a good movie. Even if it made me distrust EVERYONE. :)

laurel

@chickaboom Yes. And to find out, how 'bout straight up asking him out? Like, not right after smanging, but some time in between smangings. Like, "Hey, would you like to go see 'The Hunger Games' with me tomorrow?" If he says yes, boom. If he says no, but how 'bout Wednesday, boom. If he says no, smanging it is.

skyslang

@laurel I like your approach! Simple, direct, easy-going. I mean, it's just about hanging out, so no need to make it be all big and dramatic.

laurel

@skyslang I mean, it's pretty much about becoming friends, no? As opposed to acquaintances who get naked?

skyslang

@laurel Exactly. Sometimes I think we (human beings, Americans) make things much, much more complicated than they need to be. Simple is always best.

koume

@chickaboom If he thinks that her asking him out on a date after they've been having sex is clingy, then I'm not sure I would recommend him as prime dating material anyway.

beanie

Not to discount lady #1 on being in a serious relationship, but she just broke up with her fiance which makes me think she's more in a rebound phase. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but jumping into a relationship with your boss just seems like a red flag overall.

atipofthehat

@beanie

"At first it seemed fine that he wanted me to move into a basement room and cut off all communication with the outside world...."

Sometimes it's like yelling "No! No! Don't open that door!" to the person in the horror film.

Ophelia

@atipofthehat ...and you just channeled @saythatscool

skyslang

@beanie Yes. There are so many red flags about this relationship. He's "had a thing" with her best friend, he's friends with 3 of her exes (THREE!), he is her BOSS and she just broke off an engagement? I think this dude totally missed it with his response.
Continue having sex and hanging out if you're having fun, but be seriously cautious. Drama alert!

fabel

I must be in some kind of mood. The first two LWs got under my skin-- like, LW1's boss situation was so hard to follow (best friends? exes? also, girl, YOU JUST left your fiance, right? AH!) that I want to tell her to just kill the whole thing.

And, judging from other comments, I guess I'm in the minority, but I just don't think dust bunnies are that big of a deal? And the "ohh, I don't even feel comfortable sitting down on the toilet & god, who knows when the last time he changed his sheets was" all seemed overly fastidious? Maybe my opinion is skewed by the apparently filthy way I live/would live if I had a bachelor(ette) pad. I don't know. Gah.

Lila Fowler

@fabel I feel similarly about the second letter. LW2 should definitely talk about this issue with her man friend, but if this is really THAT big of a deal for her then I think maybe this is just a sign of incompatible lifestyles. I'm Not A Clean Person and I don't really see it as a personal character flaw. I step up my game when I'm dating someone, but ultimately I spend very little non-sleeping time in my home and am not particularly interested in keeping it up. If I was working full time, dating during the weekdays, and entertaining my kids every weekend, very little cleaning aside from Laundry/Dishes would be done.

paddlepickle

@fabel I would agree, but I have been in a friend's apartment where the bathroom was so dirty that I really didn't feel comfortable sitting on the toilet. I squatted the way I would in a gross gas station bathroom because. . .it was as gross or grosser than a gas station bathroom.

However, I do feel like she's kind of searching for outs. If I were reallly into a guy I would be grossed out but wouldn't consider at all whether it would be a dealbreaker. I'd just be like 'duuude clean your bathroom' and that would be it.

skyslang

@fabel Girl, I am right there with you about the lady dating her boss. Sounds like a very, very bad idea to date this guy.

sarah girl

@fabel I COMPLETELY agree about the LW2 responses. (sorry, venting ahead)

I sometimes feel like a freak around here, because I am also Not a Clean Person. As I wrote somewhere else, this is mainly the result of years and years of depression, of low energy and low motivation stacking on top of each other until I won't even walk into my kitchen because it's too overwhelming. AND THEN, on top of that, I feel like a fucking failure because women are supposed to be the clean ones who vacuum and change their sheets all the time and find joy in cleaning out their cupboards, while men are the icky gross ones who just don't get it. It makes me feel like a horrible example of a woman (and a grown-ass woman, at that), like most other women would find me and my place disgusting and thus judge me. Which in turn makes me more depressed and less likely to clean blah blah blah.

I know a lot of this is low self-esteem twisting things in my brain, but ugh. I can't even read the Ask a Clean Person posts anymore (<3 u Jolie, you are still great).

skyslang

@Sarah H. Being clean does not make you a good person! Being messy does not make you a bad person! And BTW: the messiest people I have ever known are (in ascending order) my post-college roommate Meredith, my English friend Nicholas, and my sister. Seriously, her place is a disaster. And yet, I love them all. SO MUCH!
I've got a lot of men friends who are fastidious, btw.

Barry Grant

@skyslang "Being messy does not make you a bad person!"

You know what? A cluttered house is not the Ebola virus either. Moldy smelly garbage, that's a health hazard. But dusty? There are much, MUCH better things to worry about.

mackymoo

@Sarah H. Yeah ditto those low energy feelings. Saturday mornings are my designated cleaning time, and if it doesn't happen then, it doesn't happen. I have a hard time feeling up to making dinner, let alone washing the dishes afterward.

Cleanliness seems a bit like religion. Do what works for you, but don't make have expectations for other people. Unless your religion includes dog torturing or drinking out of moldy cups.

BadWolf

Last LW: I think, also, that some kinds of compatibility are more important than others? Like, it is less important, in my experience, that you have off-the-wall organic sexual chemistry with someone than that you have actual personal chemistry. Does that make sense? My ex, I swear, the first time I looked at him, my undergarments burst into flames. I cannot tell you why, he's kind of goblin-like and not some spectacular Adonis of a man, but I was paralyzed by my attraction to him, and remained attracted to him physically for a very long time after I realized his personality made me gag. And my current beau...well, it took me a long time of loving him as a friend to realize I was attracted to him, and it definitely wasn't the same sort of feeling. But you know, you can fix small mismatches in your sexual compatibility much more easily than you can fix some dude's shite personality. I don't mean major, major things, but like, by talking and busting out your best GGG-face...chances are all will be swell, or at least perfectly well.

And then...some things just don't matter? Do I wish my beau wouldn't do certain things? Sure. But they do not matter. He is a grown-ass man, and if he doesn't want to, I don't know, brush his hair (that is a made-up example, but whatever), that is his business.

yamtoes

@BadWolf I agree, except instead of "some kinds of compatibility are more important than others" I feel it's more the case that "some kinds of compatibility are more important to some people than others." For example, sexual chemistry might be super important to some people, and much less so than others. So as long as you and your partner are compatible in the ways that are most important to you (and vice versa), you should be good.

BadWolf

@yamtoes OH! Yes, yes, this is what I meant. This is all very subjective, and you gotta know yourself and your needs and all that. Yes.

chickaboom

@BadWolf seriously what is up with that ? i had exactly the same sitch a long time ago. the dude was terrible, definitely not adonis, the sex was so-so, sometimes painful, and yet, damn. if i saw him tomorrow i'd bang him then & there. WHY. is this what they mean by pheromones?

sarah girl

@BadWolf Ugh, yes. My two worst relationships were with dudes I had INSANE sexual chemistry with. Why???

somethingobscure

The marriage was built to last but the house of cards was built of cheese.

PotatoPotato

LW3 / Smanglady: I'm not sure I agree with A Dude here. Smanging and then going out for food and assuming he knows that's A Date....not sure that will end well. I think you can start there and see if he starts to ACT like it's a date, but ultimately you need to just wait until you're together, privately, calmly, and say something like, "Hey, smangbuddy, we do this casual thing, and it's great. Do you have any interest in it being anything other than casual smanging, or what?" And then listen.

And if he says no to it getting more serious, maybe decide if you're really actually comfortable with the FWB situation, or if it's gonna turn into one of those shitty situations where you pretend you're totally cool with casual, but develop emotions anyway and the whole things goes down like a paper airplane on fire in slow motion.

EternalFootwoman

@PotatoPotato Definitely listen and definitely be super-honest with yourself about what you want. Because no good will ever come of continuing to smang someone who wants to simply smang while you wait for them to fall in love with you. If you want more and he doesn't, the best thing to do is stop seeing him (or at least stop smanging).

PotatoPotato

@EternalFootwoman: TRUTH.

aswedishfish

For the last LW, I like Dan Savage's formulation: the "one" is the .68 that you round up.

piekin

Once I was dating this guy - it was still in the very early stages, mind you - and he had just moved into a new apartment. I went over to his place to help build Ikea furniture (I'm a mensch, what can I say?), and when I went to go use his bathroom I found a GIANT TURD just swimming in his toilet bowl. There are no words, really.

cmonster

@piekin Ha! Once I went over to my new boy's house and saw the same thing. I froze, terrified, because he had roommates, and I didn't want him to assume it was me that had left it swimming! And when I tried to flush it, it didn't. go. down. So then I was really trapped - he obviously had heard me flush, and I was not comfortable asking for a plunger on the second date.

BoozinSusan

@cmonster Need to know how this ended up.

Megasus

@piekin Honestly, if it's in the bowl, I'm not too squicked out. I mean, it happens sometimes that you accidently forget to flush. Or at least it does to me?

piekin

@Megan Patterson@facebook If it were like, my boyfriend of many years, I would care a lot less. But this was definitely still in the sexually-charged, trying-to-impress first few weeks, and if you can't remember to flush your big dookie before a girl you wanna bang comes over, you're gross.

Xanthophyllippa

@piekin I feel like there's probably an episode of "Scrubs" built around that very premise.

frigwiggin

My boyfriend and I are both Quite Messy (having grown up in messy homes), and while I do get a little bummed when I look around our apartment and realize it wouldn't be on, like, a home styling blog, it's no big deal! Plus we both work full time so sometimes the toilet gets a little gross, whatever. I dunno, it's never been my biggest priority. (My biggest priority, obviously, is hanging out on the internet.)

Diana

LW3, I met this guy and we started hanging out casually and then hooking up a few times and then we weren't really sure what was up. He brought it up and I, trying to be the "cool, non-clingy girl", quickly assured him that I "wasn't looking for a big relationship or anything serious out of this" and he nodded vigorously in agreement. Well we were both full of shit and luckily somehow our subconsciouses figured it out. We're still dating two years later. Just have that conversation, girl, you owe it to yourself!

karion

It is hard to single out the brightest red flag in LW1 - boss, rebound, or the fact that he is her best friend's ex (of sorts). Yowza. My advice to her is that, absent compelling, irrefutable evidence to the contrary, assume that this is a Bad Idea Jeans relationship. One she won't be proud of later, and one that will likely cost her at least one friendship, and, more than likely, respect at work. Minimize the collateral damage and keep it on the DL.

As for LW2 - he felt comfortable having you over with his house in the state it was in. He is comfortable in the mess. While I do believe people can and do modify their cleaning habits, especially if they experience first hand the benefits of cleaner living, be mindful of the guy who is looking for a cleaning Lady.

Also, just to be fair, the other extreme is kind of awful, too. The anal retentive, clean guy who doesn't like anything to get dirty. But that's a whole 'nother topic.

Myrtle

I can't read LW2 any farther after I saw "you can just don a French maid costume and clean his place just utterly thoroughly. He'll begin to associate cleanliness and sex"
NO and Fuckno.
He'll begin to associate you with "free labor" and "mommy" and he'll get someone else for sex. Also, never clean a guy's house. Also, argh! Dudefail.

jenergy

@Myrtle Amen sister.

Myrtle

@jenergy Better idea- HE puts on the French maid costume and cleans his house while she observes and coaches. I'd say spank his exposed end with your jeweled boudoir slipper if he doesn't do a good job, except then the house might never get cleaned.

jenergy

@Myrtle Amen sister.

Miss Maszkerádi

After reading LW2 and ensuing comments I am having a massive guilt attack about my currently genuinely disgusting kitchen and paper/book/sock/shoe-strewn tiny apartment right now. I mean--I'm FEMALE, and by most measures an adult, this isn't supposed to happen to us, is it?

Granted, I'm a fifth-year undergraduate senior somehow dragging my exhausted and mentally fried self, finally, towards graduation (I didn't fail anything, I transferred schools hence five years) and recently extricated myself from an upsettingly dysfunctional relationship (my first relationship at all, to make it worse) that sometimes still gives me mild anxiety attacks when I think about it, but I SHOULD NOT BE LIVING IN SUCH SQUALOR.

Please, dear Hairpin, have mercy on the recently de-lurked, shy but but devoted Gentle Reader, and give me exactly the right sort of loving and encouraging kick in the backside to get my shit together. Sorry to rant-threadjack out of nowhere. Don't hate me? :(

sceps yarx

@CountessMaritza Let the mess lie there! Mess, mess, beautiful mess.

You've been going through three separate things that each, taken individually, would be hella stressful: you moved, you're finishing grad school, you had a terrible break-up. Now is a good time to have a messy apartment. If you had a tidy home I would be worried you were a robot without feelings!

I'm a messy, stressed out person, too, and when I am anxious I tend to judge myself very harshly. It's like, I want to be some kind of super-woman who can do everything perfectly and never feels sad or tired or weak. But you know what? I am human, and messy. And tired. And the people who love me, my friends and family, have grace for me, even when I don't have grace for myself.

Don't worry about your mess. Call someone who loves you (mom, sister, best friend) and let their love for you carry you through the hard days. You DON'T need an encouraging kick in the backside or to get your shit together. You DO need some love and laughter and grace and some healthy, flawed, tragic, beautiful messy life.

Miss Maszkerádi

@sceps yarx Thanks :) I knew I loved you Hairpinners even before I showed my...er...face. I actually did get a burst of energy and cleaned my kitchen rather thoroughly--satisfying! and now am on a roll to at least for tonight be one of those weird artsy types who gets all her best work done between midnight and 4 AM...getting stuff done makes me feel optimistic...

I guess it's just that I'm at the place in my dealing with assorted shit (and assorted stressy-but-good things, like being close to graduating and academic plans for next year shaping up well) that I've DONE my wallowing and feeling like shit and now I'm ready to launch myself out of it...but lighting the fuse still isn't the easiest thing in the world.

CrossWord

@CountessMaritza No! You are a filth goddess, and you are beautiful. And so am I.

I am in a similar position and was feeling guilty and overwhelmed by the mountains of dishes I needed to wash and the laundry that covered every inch of my floor, and I was freaking out to my therapist and do you know what she said? Leave. It. Until. Summer. The whole thing, or as much as possible. Buy underwear. Buy paper plates. Other people's standards of cleanliness are not worth your sanity. You will clean up when you're less stressed. Don't let this add to it.

All that said, my dear Mama is coming to town on Tuesday, so I loaded my car with all my dishes and carted them to my friend's house because she has a dishwasher. Everything else is getting stuffed in the closet.

sceps yarx

@CountessMaritza I can relate. I have been going through some really stressful times, and have been a giant anxious ball of self-denegration. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, there's a time to leave things messy (without hating yourself) and a time to start cleaning.

I want to figure out a way to do my dishes and clean my toilet in a way that's not based on shame or guilt. Like instead of thinking "I should clean my bathroom because that's what grown-ass women do and if I don't do it I'm a failure as a human being," maybe I could start thinking "I choose to clean my bathroom today, even though I don't enjoy cleaning, because it would be lovely to sit on a clean toilet and look at a lovely clean sink". Or how about, "I am choosing to put away my clothes because I like it when they aren't so wrinkly, but I am free to do it or not do it because they're my own clothes and it's my own life." I'm still trying to figure out this positive self-talk thing. But honestly, I am at the point where I'd rather have a totally messy house than make myself clean in a way that is harmful to my spirit.

sceps yarx

@CrossWord P.S. Your therapist sounds awesome!

Miss Maszkerádi

@sceps yarx Are you me? That's EXACTLY the problem I have, beating myself up for not doing things instead of doing them out of voluntary desire. It's a very sticky vicious cycle and if I can ever break it fully, I will somehow ascend to unicorns-n-rainbows glory and rule at life.

Tonight some weird mental short-circuit happened and I finally just hauled myself off the couch, told myself I was completely free to stay up to whatever hour I felt like doing my work, and I needed to clean my effing kitchen already. And then I actually got into it, I scrubbed the counters with Comet and mopped the floor and everything, and it was really cathartic. BELIEVE in the power of mysterious cleaning catharsis. Of course by tomorrow I'll have forgotten all of this sudden wisdom entirely, and there'll be "nothing new under the sun", just an old pile of books and laundry.

Miss Maszkerádi

@sceps yarx I guess it's just--repeat your own FREEDOM to yourself like a mantra. I feel constrained and shouted at and berated by my own self-criticism when I get in those moods. Or like my mother is looking disappointedly over my shoulder or something. But finally I just, for the moment, believed enough in my own freedom and free will to actually start doing something. I could get weirdly metaphysical about this if I'm not careful..

Hot Doom

LW4 Noooo, don't do it! Or, if you do get back with him, do as other commenters have said and wait until your feelings have steeled enough that you won't be devastated if you do break up again. I got back with my ex after a year, and it sounds like we had a similar emotional situation, where by the end the first time around, it didn't even feel like were a couple. He was depressed about his life, and had low-self esteem, and all that mess (definitely not the same as the deaths of friends though, so that's the only reason I'd say to consider giving him a second chance) and I looovved him (I thought) and it was a very hard, sad breakup. Anyway, he came back a year later after I had sort of moved on and said basically the same things your guy has said to you, and we got back together, because it felt very romantic and like suddenly things were finally coming together with us. It ended after a month, because the same little emotional incompatibilities came up again.

Anyway, I don't know your or your guy's life, and maybe that one douche I dated has made me cynical, but if he was pushing you away in a tough time to the point of not even really being together while still together, chances are, it'll happen again. As my friend told me after the first break-up and I was having trouble getting over it, 'no guy is worth all those tears' and in that situation it was true (sorry wonderful dudes out there, this applies to both genders). I'd say be really, really careful, but if you have to be so careful in the first place, how can it be a good thing?

Chadwick Crawford@facebook

Eating with your mouth open is a deal breaker. No reprieve.

cinderellen@twitter

If you're dating a woman, showing her your place to provide a demonstration of a desirable level of cleanliness might be effective, but with a young man, probably not. He'll never in a million years make the connection. You'll have to come right out and say "you're a pig, I won't smang you until you clean this shit up".

AshleyRiegle

Some relationships are awkward in the beginning and require secrecy/anonimity in the short term. But if you can't even tell your best friend about what's going on, something is most certainly off. Ashley, Co-founder singleforareason.com

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