Tuesday, February 5, 2013


"Texts or calls often and promptly"

"Oh, and this was maybe the 10th time in my life I’d had this rare, magical experience so far. The first was in sixth grade, with a boy who never spoke to me but gave me his ID bracelet through a friend and let me wear it for a week before having that friend ask for it back. And the last time, when I was almost 30, it felt exactly the same, so you can see how much I learned from each of the eight interceding experiences."
—Our own Jane Marie, on love at first sight.

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Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood

ive def felt love at first sight but it was for my cat?

Judith Slutler

@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood I've wanted to be friends with people at first sight... Actually this is how I end up picking boyfriends too, somehow. But at the start it's all "YOU ARE COOL LET'S HANG OUT" just like it would be for an awesome-seeming woman. And I'm not bisexual!

Sometimes I really wonder what love at first sight would be like though


@Josh is like Germany Ambitious and Misunderstood Yes - cat love at first sight I totally get - I am constantly wanting to spend the rest of my life with kitties I've just met who probably claw the furniture and play the gravity game at 2 am and bite my ankles as I get in and out of the shower. It is real and true and deep.

As for humans, while I've definitely felt crazy shocks of electricity the first time I laid eyes on someone (I'm talking about you, gorgeous Australian-Italian photographer who turned around and literally took my breath away), that's not love to me. Lust, attraction - yes. Love - no. I guess I just don't like to use the term that way?




Jane Marie. you described this so well. now I need to take your advice.

Leslie Green@facebook

JAAANE!! This is, like, the best article ever. It made me tear up at the end--"BRB"!?! Are you serious! Too sweet.

And,most importantly for younger readers and everyone else, it's just so darn healthy and well-adjusted. I really enjoyed reading this and your genealogy piece yesterday; I'm so glad you're not just doing beauty stuff!


@Leslie Green@facebook Yeah, Jane, this is just so so so so wise.


@Kristen Yes, JANE, this was great! It's hard to write for younger readers without talking down to them, but you nailed it!


@Leslie Green@facebook I literally gaped at that last bit. Oh my god.


Loved this Jane. For three years I had a raging infatuated crush on this guy, I had a class with him that was up a hill, so I'd be walking up to class and getting out of breath/good cardio work out, and so all of those factors just swirl together where I'd see this guy (not at class) and my heart would pound. And then my heart would pound extra hard going up that hill and it just kept reinforcing and reinforcing itself. It was ... kinda messed up. Sadly.

Question that is relevant to my life, say you've gone on a date with one guy, and you're not at all attracted to him, but you enjoy talking to him, what do you dooooooo. Can you become attracted to somebody? I know that you can, because it happens with me and my friends, I fade in and out of attraction to them at various times. But, I'm talking online dating. I think it's best to cut my losses. Go for a second date just to see, or something. Ahhhhhh online dating is stressful.

Lily Rowan

@redheaded&crazy At the beginning of online dating, I just try to decide if I want to spend another hour with the person, not how I feeeeeeel about them. (Of course, once I've decided I do, if there was no "spark" the guy often blows me off, but whatever -- his loss.)


@redheaded&crazy Ooh what a conundrum! On the one hand why waste time with someone you're not AT ALL attracted towhen there are so many more fish in the sea, but then, (a) you could make a friend (who might have hot friends) and (b) you could practice low-stakes dating. Depends on where you are in your life - (b) was helpful to me after a particularly crushing breakup - I ended up being the one to say "let's not do this anymore" and it was a relief to find the world didn't have to end just because the "relationship" (not a relationship) did.


@Lily Rowan @iceberg I like what you both are saying about treating it as low-stakes dating. I'm feeling better because I turned a friday night drinks date into a weekday lunch date, which definitely feels wayyyyyy more manageable to me. friday night drinks are just so ... suggestive.


@redheaded&crazy although my heart/brain/vagina do not really understand the concept of low stakes, and much prefer to make EVERYTHING into high stakes. BUT I AM TRYING TO LEARN THEM BUT GOOD.

Champagne and potato chips

@Lily Rowan Absolutely agree with the "one more hour" thing. A friend if mine gave me some great advice as I was freaking out about whether and how much I liked the person I was about to go on a date with and what to do about it: "Look, it's just dinner. The most important decision you have to make tonight is 'do I want chicken?' Later on, you can decide if you like him enough to go on one more date." It seems obvious to me now, but at the time I did not even consider the idea that I didn't have to decide my future marital status within the first few hours I spent with a guy.
Really changed the whole ball game for me.


@Champagne and potato chips but but but (wait for it) what about decisions like "are we going to kiss after this" "is he going to try to hold my hand" "what if he puts his hand on my leg"

Lily Rowan

(I do, however, now get REALLY INSULTED when I've talked myself into giving the guy another shot only to find that he was not actually interested in me. HOW DARE YOU!)


@redheaded&crazy Depends how much you enjoyed talking to him? I'm a huuuuuuuge proponent of the gradually-becoming-attracted-to-someone-as-you-get-to-know-them thing, but you can often get an indication of just how much you're going to like the person relatively early on. If you enjoyed his company in the same way that you enjoy talking to some random person while you're stuck in line at the bank and then you never see each other again and think no more of the encounter, that's not necessarily further dating material. But if you enjoyed his company to the point where, all romantic scenarios aside, the idea of hanging out with him sounds like a lot of fun and you'd feel enthusiastic about the prospect of another conversation with him, then you've got some potential there. The basis of a great relationship is a great friendship, in my opinion at least, and if you genuinely have fun together, then there is definitely a possibility that you could gradually transition from "eh, whatevs" to "yes, this dude!!!!"

sarah girl

@redheaded&crazy For a data point, I didn't feel a "spark" on one first date with a guy, although i did enjoy talking with him. He asked me on another date, so I decided to give it a try.

Turned out, it just took a little while for the attraction to grow, and we've been together for over a year now.

It could happen!

Champagne and potato chips

@redheaded&crazy I guess the thing for me is that you don't HAVE to make those decisions right away, they can be procrastinated until you feel like you have a good answer? Like if you don't know right away if you want to kiss him, you don't have to decide to kiss him till later, you can kind of wait and see. And while you can decide that you want to hold his hand or put your hand on his leg, you can also decide to table that for another night? I guess I saw it more as "these decisions are non-mandatory but are there as options if you want them, but you can equally just ignore them and eat your chicken."


@redheaded&crazy I once drunkenly hooked up with a guy I totally hit it off with talking at a party, but wasn't very (slightly, but not very) attracted to, regretted it, he wanted to go out, I admitted I wasn't interested, he said he still wanted to be friends, and I was initially a little weirded out but now we actually are friends. It's great because I really really love talking to him, and it's slightly extra fun hanging out with him because there is this very small frisson of sexual tension - not enough to want to go out but enough to be fun. So unless the person definitively wants to date you or never see you again, and you're probably not at that point yet, I think it's definitely worth going out again.


Thanks all. I do enjoy talking to him enough to go out for a lunch date. I'm not feeling the physical attraction, and there are some factors like age and what's he looking for that I feel aren't really compatible. But I'm gonna try and take it one date at a time. Yes. (Although I'm still prepared most likely on lunch date to cancel the friday drinks date and explain that I'm just not feeling ready/into that kind of date idea)

These decisions are non-mandatory. Right.


@redheaded&crazy I have become a strong proponent of "just hanging in there", and I feel like that really has changed in my life a lot from how I was before. I have a great boyfriend and a great relationship and we are in serious talks about "Our Future" (eep! yay!) but I nearly peaced out a bunch in the first year and I think people don't talk that much about that kind of stuff- no one wants to say, "I nearly walked" if you love that person and maybe have them know that. No one wants to hear that you didn't just love the person right away.

The thing for me is fighting all my self projection and expectations. Everything that sort of went a little wrong in my relationship I'd build into the whole future. And the thing that made me stay was that every time I grew up a bit and actually told him what was wrong he took it like a champ and changed when he needed to and stood up to me when I needed to be told I was expecting too much or reading the situation wrong. Anyway, so the first two years were a back and forth of euphoric "I'm so in love! He's adorable, we're adorable!" and then rapid spirals into, "THIS THING THAT HAPPENED MEANS WE MUST BREAK UP WE AREN'T COMPATIBLE, DESPAIR". And every time I'd reach a misery breaking point, usually while we were doing something that was supposed to be fun and and then I'd break down, say what was wrong, cry, ruin the evening, etc. And then we'd talk over a series of days or weeks or so on and then recover and move forward.

I guess the thing is it hasn't been easy for us. And all my friends I know with their "soulmates" as we get older and more candid, I always learn that every relationship that looks lovely on the outside has its ingrained incompatibilities. One of my friends who is happiest actually broke up with her husband for a whole year while they we figuring out their big incompatibilities.

I never thought I'd be the person to tell other people to fight "chemistry" and it's a hard line to walk, because I don't ever want to say you should stay with someone boring or sort of good enough. But I do think that for me, my flight response and catastrophic thinking was really interested in wrecking things in a relationship that is a really swell, interesting, and loving relationship. And I'm a fussy snob who is extremely used to getting her own way. And the longer I am with my boyfriend and talk to him and know him, the more he does things like cut my vegetables thinner, turn down the music volume when I get in the car, or check in on me when we haven't talked in a while. I was just thinking this morning, "oh we haven't done any romancey dates in a while, I guess I should bring that up, maybe ask to do something someplace with low lighting and makeup", and then he texted me to ask me if we could do a datey-date thursday. It made me think that in our early days I would have thought, "we haven't done anything romantic in a month, he's taking me for granted, incompatible, break up!" and I had to move past that to saying, "hey we haven't been that romantic lately, can we make a point to do that" to a point where he actually had the same thought about the same time I had it and acted on it faster than I did.

Also all the annoying things we do that drive the other person crazy- we had to get used to those. He thinks I talk too loudly and interrupt too much, I hate when he picks his fingernails and checks his phone constantly, we are't ever going to stop feeling that way, but you get used to it- it turns into background noise. I'm really glad we both hung it in there through those kinds of things- which I feel like are the things people focus intently on in the first dates and months. Because they're not the big ones. We had to learn a lot about each other and forgive some of it and adjust some of it, and it took time, time I think is well spent.

A relationship has so many moving parts. If you think that you need all the wheels to always be running in perfect synch and if one wheel is jammed that the whole machine is broken, then it just is so much harder to find someone. If you get to a place where you can say, "well the sex wheel is a mess right now, but our hang out wheel is good, our kindness wheel and support wheel are awesome, and I remember that the sex wheel was running well about 2 months ago, so it's not permanent", then I think you can stay pretty happily with a person, who is a regular old imperfect person just like you are.


@E Thank you for this; it was lovely. I've been struggling with something similar lately - happily single and dating for years (all the ME time in the world and a ton of variety, no complaints) but have gotten really good at 'next!'-ing dudes for some pretty minor/possibly imaginary on my part issues. Now that I'm dating a way rad guy, I'm stuck in those patterns and just kind of spinning my wheels, unsure of what to do when we hit a snag. This gives me some things to think about.


@omgkitties You are welcome! I had to do a lot of thinking to learn about this. I think it's helpful to remember that a relationship is a mutual decision to stick with what you have. And that's not something our culture values! We are always upgrading our phones and clothes and computers and cameras and jobs and everything- no wonder we all want to throw away the friends and lovers we have anytime they do something a little annoying. I feel like two books really helped me realize this- the first was "the seven principles for making marriage work" which really works nicely on any type of relationship (I think there's one that's not marriage specific called "the relationship cure" but it wasn't in print when I went looking), the other was "The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving Kindness". I'm not a very religious person, but reading that book occasionally kind of zaps me out of myself.



I think it's possible. When I first spent a night (makeouts only) with my now-boyfriend, I was left feeling like I'd made a huge mistake. I didn't think we were compatible. I sort of wrote him off despite finding him kinda cute. He ended up hunting down my number and we hung out a few more times. After two weeks I was suddenly struck with "hey, i'm actually REALLY into this dude". The rest is history. I think it's worth it to give this guy a chance.


@redheaded&crazy And I gotta say, I've been trying this "don't tell your friends every single thing" about guys I'm casually dating, and it is SO helpful. I'm not hiding anything, I just don't need to review every text and every date and every correspondence. The less head space you can devote to this, the better. I didn't realize how analyzing a near perfect stranger was getting in the way of enjoying myself.
I would like to point out that I'm 31.


I need to take this advice so badly, especially point #3. I tend to drop perfectly nice guys who I otherwise like if I'm not immediately physically attracted to them because I feel like I'm leading them on. I just don't know when you "know" one way or the other about a person without that immediate attraction.


Wow the first part is like a therapy session in writing, and then the personal story at the end is just adorbski.


How do I get this in my life?

Roxanne Rholes

@chrysopoeia Singles yoga?


@Roxanne Rholes There's enough awkward sweating on my dates already.


@chrysopoeia okcupid?


Jane is so awesome.
I broke up with dudefriend last night so this post is both awesome and timely!
Now pardon me whilst I go cry off this stupid dopamine withdrawel and try to find funny pictures of cats.


@teaandcakeordeath oh dear, I am so sorry!
how about http://kittenwar.com/ ETA UGH not working, try cuteoverload.com :)


As you can tell, I have been doing my research!


jane i love this so much and have about a bajillion friends i want to send it to! is that like giving someone who's bad with money a book on personal finance, though? oh well!


@madge It's just good advice for everyone! Maybe post it in your facebook feed or BCC-email it to everyone, so it doesn't feel as pointed?


@iceberg facebook has its uses! i resisted tagging anyone specific :)

oh! valencia

JANE. That was magnificent. The part about your parents building architecture in your brain about how to love and be loved makes SO much sense to me. I was one who hit the jackpot with a guy I was friends with for a long time first, but I've seen my sisters fall hard for guys who were so much like my dad, in a bad way.

Now, I don't know that I needed more motivation to love my daughter well, but I have it. It would be so much easier to recognize "true love" (ugh) when you've been taught what that is from the beginning.

Champagne and potato chips

Did the comments on Rookie make anyone else feel kind of old and out of touch?

fondue with cheddar

@Champagne and potato chips I did not read them because it's not The Hairpin! Here it is safe, elsewhere thar be dragons!


@Champagne and potato chips I read a few but stopped when I remembered they're teenagers and don't deserve my judgement.


@Champagne and potato chips I had the opposite reaction! I was like "Aw, teenagers!" and tried to imagine what I would've said if such a place had existed when I was that age.

But, yeah, did have to reserve judgment because teenagers can't help what they are. (Which is "teenagers.")

Judith Slutler

@SarahP This is also how I feel about Rookie. It seems a bit like Hairpin Jr.


@Champagne and potato chips the comments on The Hairpin make me feel old and out of touch, but that doesn't stop me reading/enjoying it!

fondue with cheddar

@churlishgreen Me too! Some things are universal, and those things are the glue that keep us together. ;)

Then again, teenagers are a completely different animal.

fondue with cheddar

“Go get that person and put their body inside our body and keep it there until the day one or both of you dies..." OMG that sounds just like my boyfriend, who has said on many occasions that he wants to unzip me and crawl inside. I think the dopamine lasts a lot longer with him than with me, because he still seems to be addicted to me, whereas I don't feel the need to be around him all the time. I love him dearly and he is my favorite person in the world, but I don't have that intense need anymore.


@fondue with cheddar I often wonder if guys get it more. I feel like I am Katniss and they are Peeta. Every. Single. Time. Not that I'm not happy to see him, but that he practically pees on the floor with joy every time I come home.


@blueblazes Are you sure you're not actually dating a puppy that is wearing a rubber mask? Nixon, maybe?


@MollyculeTheory That is horrifying. @blueblazes Maybe us dudes do get that over-excited thing for longer. The coming home thing is a little different. When an ex would come home I'd always downplay my excitement because sometimes (usually) she'd come home crabby and I didn't want to be the inappropriately jovial "What do you wanna do, this is the highlight of my day so far" one.

fondue with cheddar

@blueblazes I always assumed it was because he was in a horrible, abusive marriage for 20 years and that now he's just overjoyed at how not-terrible I am. But maybe it is a Thing?

@whizz_dumb I am crabby a lot (due to circumstances and depression) and "What do you wanna do, this is the highlight of my day so far" is exactly how my boyfriend is a good deal of the time. Sometimes this makes me feel like a terrible person.

Judith Slutler

@fondue with cheddar Oh yeah, I have so many issues with perceived expectations that talking to me on the phone or seeing me should be some kind of little dopamine surge for my boyfriend. And then I cry or have a panic attack! Wow I am terrible at being the highlight of someone's day.


@fondue with cheddar I am the puppy-with-a-rubber mask in my relationship. I think people like us choose people like you fairly often, because you can you imagine what it would be like if BOTH members were puppies? Pee all over the floor.


@blueblazes My son literally does a happy dance when I come home from work. what's the point of this story? It's not just romantic love that makes dudes act that way I guess. and I also definitely feel unworthy although it does turn me into a human puddle.

also "stop talking about your damn kids, iceberg."

fondue with cheddar

@Emmanuelle Cunt That sucks but it's also kind of endearing.

Judith Slutler

@iceberg NEVER stop talking about your kids!

Are They Biting Ducks?

@fondue with cheddar It is definitely a thing! I sometimes feel bad that my boyfriend is SO EXCITED to see me, and I'm just not an excitable person, really.


@fondue with cheddar It is totally A Thing. My husband is just like this, and I often refer to him as a human *insert appropriate dog breed here* because...it just fits.

honey cowl

@blueblazes I don't think dudes get it more? My BF & I are both "pee-on-the-floor" joyful! (Which is a phrase I will be using all of the times now.) How cool is it that THIS PERSON IS HERE NOW AND I LIKE THEM SO MUCH YAY! That feeling is equal-opportunity across the genders.

fondue with cheddar

@Are They Biting Ducks? @honey cowl That's it...some people are excitable and some aren't. I wish I were excitable, because it seems so much more fun.


@fondue with cheddar I don't know. I just feel like Mr. Blueblazes lives to please me, which is incredibly sweet but also a lot of pressure? I'm kind of a low-key person, so it is hard to work myself into a frenzy of joy at the sight of him. I'm always happy to see him, though. And I miss him horribly when we're apart for more than 8 hours. I guess maybe dopamine makes me feel warm/secure and makes him feel... exuberant?


I'm definitely a pee-er.


@redheaded&crazy I mean, obviously.

fondue with cheddar

@blueblazes Shit, what's it like to feel exuberant? I haven't felt exuberant since I was a teenager.


@honey cowl I just broke up with someone a month ago partly because the "so excited to see you" bit was missing. I dearly hope to find that someday with someone, because, cheese and rice, when you find THE Person who is categorically AWESOME with a capital A, how can you NOT be excited to see them all the time? How is it that their presence wouldn't ease the offhand daily stresses and nuisances that we go through as humans? HOW?? I just have difficulty with the "ehh, whatever" response. I want the "pee on the floor" response, because dammit, I am that wonderful! Although, I'd call my version more "heavily wagging tail in happiness" rather than "pee on the floor," but, semantics...

fondue with cheddar

@sugarfree Just because it isn't "pee on the floor" doesn't mean it has to be "ehh, whatever", though. I'm happy to see my boyfriend, I'm just not excited because I rarely get excited about anything.


@fondue with cheddar I honestly didn't mean it as an indictment of anyone's particular response, so don't take it personally. It's just that I've been in too many relationships where the level of excitement/enthusiasm/genuine joy between me and the other person was so mismatched that I've realized I need it to be closer to mine. I refer to Jane's lovely article, where she mentions realizing she needed to find someone who was able and willing to remind her periodically about their feelings. Some people look on that as unnecessary and dumb, and some of us want that. Different strokes is all it is.


@redheaded&crazy i literally do the "happy puppy dance" sometimes when my mister comes home. i'm the pee'er too.

fondue with cheddar

@sugarfree Oh, it's cool...I didn't take your comment personally. It's true that your feelings for each other should be similar. There's no room in a healthy relationship for "meh"! And anyway, not everyone expresses their love the same way. Where one person might be happy puppy excited to see their partner, another person might look at them and deeply sigh and feel content and at home. Same depth of feeling, different expression. In your case it sounds like there was not the same depth of feeling.


@fondue with cheddar I'm calling it: This has been the most diplomatic discussion involving figurative OR literal peeing on the floor.


@fondue with cheddar I just want to take everything you say and file it all away in the "things that help me understand my husband better" folder.

fondue with cheddar

@SarahP Aww, you're making me blush! I went through hell to learn what I've learned. Of course, there's a lot that I still don't know, too! I love talking with other 'Pinners about relationshippy things because it's so enlightening without being judgemental.


I did the list too! except it was a little notebook, i dubbed it my "dating manifesto". it was started when i also was post-divorce dating. after an exceptionally embarrassing post-break-up loss of temper i experienced with one especially triggering ex boyfriend, it became obvious that i needed to do something differently. and it worked so well... i listed what i wanted, then red flags, then complete deal breakers.

and now i'm married with my lovely husband of almost 6 months who is giving, caring, forgiving, and forgivable (and hot). hooray for you Jane, it sounds like you found the same!!!


Oh man, this is perfect. I reaaallllyyyyy wish I'd read this 15 years ago, but it's still (veryveryvery) relevant to my interests now.

lasso tabasco

Love this! I want Jane to tell me her entire life story- she sounds like she's had an interesting life so far!

Reginal T. Squirge

"or hate rap music at worst"


So many gems in this piece.


This was so, so good. It’s so, so useful. Thank you Jane!

I am having this awful situation right now where I am totally infatuated with someone and it is making me act literally like a psychopath. I have a great job I’m really good at, great relationships with my parents and friends, I go to bed early, keep my room neat, and lead an orderly, productive and otherwise happy and well-adjusted life, but everything involving this guy I just act literally certifiably insane. Like, where it would be reasonable (I swear to god that I am not exaggerating with this) for him to get a restraining order against me. I actually decided to quit drinking because I can’t come up with any other way to prevent myself from getting drunk and texting or calling him repeatedly. I can tell how crazy I am acting and I would do anything to stop but I just can’t. He remarkably has continued to be friendly toward me when we run into each other but I keep doing this over and over again and it’s so humiliating and makes me feel terrible. I’m considering trying to see someone (therapy wise) about it.


@Ellie change his name to "Do NOT Call or Text" in your phone?


@iceberg I have considered this but it probably wouldn't deter me at all? Also his phone number is on the internet so I can't lose it forever. I'm considering asking him to forbid me to contact him, ever.


@Ellie wait, so, but are you both single? is he not interested in you romantically, has he said so specifically? have you banged? what is the backstory???!!!


@iceberg The backstory is insanely complicated. He is a little bit interested in me romantically. We were both initially attracted to each other and hooked up in September while very drunk. Then he was sleeping with this other girl we know so I slept with his friend. He started dating said girl but broke up with her in December, which he told me when he came to a party at my house, at which he said that he "wouldn't have sex with me, but would do sexual things with me" but that we shouldn't have sex bc he is too aggressive for me and would hurt me (I have not stopped thinking about this since). Also, before that, we also almost had phone sex and almost hooked up one other time (after I had been out with him and the friend I slept with) but didn't, but he said he would fuck me some time in the future. After that was when I really went nuts. Mostly with just getting blackout drunk and texting and calling him repeatedly. I also do genuinely stalkerish things like drive by his house and run into him "accidentally" which I hate because I can tell how deranged and inappropriate it is. If the genders were reversed it would be so fucked up. Lately we mostly just run into other at the gym but I haven't seen him since my most recent episode of drunk texting/calling on Friday. This whole stupid drama is ruining my life but I think stopping drinking is a good start?

ETA my sincere apologies for spewing such a lengthy self involved diatribe for everyone to have to scroll past.


@Ellie Aw darlin', that sounds so chaotic! I'm sorry you're in such a state.

You mentioned in your first post that you're considering therapy. I'd say that sounds like a good idea, especially if you feel like you KNOW your actions are unhealthy, but you can't stop doing what you're doing. That sounds like an issue that might have a root in something other than this fella (who is...giving a lot of weird signals, by the way, from my reading), and it sounds like something that would be worth tackling in therapy.

Good luck!


@Ellie Yeah his responses are not helping your behaviour. It's that inconsistent reward thing

I just started going to therapy myself and I feel like it's pretty great, so, seconding the wee one's advice there. Stopping drinking sounds like a good idea, because YOU seem to think it's a good idea. drinking can tend to remove those social-ahame roadblocks that stop us from doing Bad Idea Things when we're sober.


@Ellie Oh and also maybe you need a sponsor? someone you can call text instead of him? or maybe just like, write an email or something but never send it?

he probably has a weird dick.


@wee_ramekin Thank you for replying!! I agree that it's probably a really good idea and I have some other things I would want to talk about too. I even have some referrals already that my PCP wrote me a long time ago! (And yeah, the confusingness of these kind of mixed messages is also not helpful.)

@iceberg - that is a good idea! I do like therapy (have done it several times before) and think almost everyone can benefit from it. Good that you are appreciating it! And inconsistent reward is soooooo spot on. I am hugely, hugely responsive to inconsistent rewards (of all kinds).


@iceberg sorry that last part was kind of a previous Hairpin joke, not to make light of your situation but sometimes laughing a little bit helps.


@iceberg oh god, that inconsistent reward thing. Inconsistent Reward, you intoxicating mistress of despair, DAMN YOU! DAAMN YOUUU!!!!

victorian rose

@Ellie I've been in a remarkably similar situation. And all I can say is good luck. I thought I had moved past mine, and finally closed that chapter, but the dude decided just recently that he wants to talk/be friends again after TWO YEARS of no contact, and telling me he NEVER wanted to speak to me again. So while I wanted to say "fuck you!" I am incapable of saying "no" to him.


@Ellie Made an account just to say that whenever anyone says ANYTHING remotely like that you "shouldn't have sex bc he is too aggressive for me and would hurt me" you need to RUN, literally. That is what a potential rapist says when he knows he doesn't give a damn about your consent or boundaries, but doesn't want to take responsibility for it, instead making it sound like (amongst other things!) it is your choice whether or not you want to "have sex" in a way that will get you hurt. "Hey, I'm gonna assault you maybe. Stay if you want?" = nonono. My abusive ex did that all the time, combined with Inconsistent Reward, and guess who needs two therapists and maybe a lawyer? (tmi?) This is bad news. You deserve better!

So yes, getting therapy sounds super helpful but don't blame yourself for acting remotely cray because you need that support to stay away from a toxic person! And whether or not you think it will help in your current state of unsurety, do all the usual things like changing his name in your phone to "DO NOT CALL OR TEXT". They will help eventually!


@CappaMug Ohhhh, now I feel bad for mentioning this detail. I interpreted it as really not in that context and took it in a provocative way because it followed previous discussions of that kind of sex. Also he's had multiple opportunities to, like, take advantage of me in a blackout state but instead has sent me home in a cab and been nice to me. But I do take your comment seriously and thank you for responding. Obviously, it's been very weird and (as wee_ramekin said) chaotic overall.


@Ellie Oh no, never feel bad! I should have added a disclaimer that, in my experience he "meant" it in a provocative/teasing way (and this is the same ex who wouldn't even make out with me after I've been drinking so I've always seen it as Inconsistent Punishment as well as Inconsistent Reward), but at the end of the day it's still a pretty mind-gamey thing to say. And a red flag is a red flag is a red flag, especially when flown by him! I hope you're right and it's not as extreme as my example.


@CappaMug Oh, that makes sense. Yeah, that sounds really really familiar. It's like "You want it, but you can't handle it!" which obviously makes me want it even more. Mind-gamey for sure. Anyway, thanks again for your input.


I wish I could send this to myself ten years ago.

It led me down a spiraling pit of "Ask a Grown ____". Paula Pell's twitter sometimes bothers me, but she is a damn good advice-giver. Also, I would like to marry Kumail Nanjiani.


I was hoping this would be here today so I could tell you how much I LOVED everything about it!! Yay Jane, I wish you would write more things like this for ye olde Hairpinne!

Atheist Watermelon

This. This is exactly why I can't do online dating... I have felt the "spark at first sight" thing with exactly one guy my whole life, and am otherwise the sort of person who used to develop gigantic crushes on emotionally unavailable guys- somehow even more ridiculous and irresponsible, if that's possible?! Like, I had to spend the time getting to know them in order to figure out that they were unavailable, and only THEN become obsessed with them while they jerked me around enjoying the attention and would finally- sometimes after years!!!- reject me outright. Anyway, I feel as though I have literally no idea what kind of guy is right for me, I just know that I have to get to know them in order to find them attractive, so online dating doesn't work, because there's all this pressure to like each other right away, but on the other hand, my ability to become attracted to people is kind of broken, so... what?! argh. And yup, I come from a not-so-great upbringing. Thanks, parents. For whatever reason, I seem to be attracted to the personality traits of my mother, but the emotional unavailability thing is definitely my dad. Whaaaaat.

Anyway, haven't been attracted to anyone at ALL in years, I think my oxytocin maker is broken...?


I actually think your situation sounds ideal for online dating, I wouldn't knock it. I admittedly have limited experience with it; I went on four dates several weeks ago and then promptly deleted my profile. BUT, only one of the dudes ended up being lame and it gave me an opportunity to figure out what kind of possibilities existed after I'd gotten out of a LTR. The people you're meeting online are more than likely also talking to / dating other people so it feels pretty low-stakes and casual. I came to the conclusion that I'm not ready to open myself up to anyone yet, but it's nice to know that weird portal exists as an option for when I am.


Confession: I have a dumb inexplicable crush on a guy I work with and I am currently in a relationship with another guy! I really love my long-term boyfriend of 3 1/2 years and have zero intention of leaving him or cheating on him or pursuing this thing because my boyfriend is in all respects better than this dude, and I don't even get vibes that this guy is into me or anything, but I still get like, dumb and giggly when he's around and look forward to talking to him and ugh

Conclusion: crushes are dumb and make no sense


Jane, you did a great job with this. It's great. Such good advice for the youngins and well-written and funny and smart to boot!

Another angle for anyone else dealing with this: For some reason-- could be my independent lady mom, could be my moon in capricorn and venus in virgo-- my brain architecture was built to be incredibly distrusting of my own romantic impulses. I really overcompensated and practically avoided dudes I thought were supersexy and sought out those I thought, from a rational perspective, were "good catches." As a result, I dated more than a few dudes who really should have stayed friends. Many of these dude were awesome, but the relationships, lacking any real spark whatsoever, were frustrating.

Now, I am dating a guy who I am truly head-over-heels for. It wasn't necessarily LAF, but when it hit me, it hit me HARD. It was actually difficult to let myself go for, be vulnerable to those feelings. I also didn't have very good crush management skills because I hadn't really been practicing them for twenty-some-odd years, so I just didn't even know how to cope.

Turns out-- lucky me!-- that he is also a wonderful human being, not at all a hot jerk. But I might never have known that if I'd run away in terror. It took a lot of, like, bravery.

So, while I do think it's really important to train your heart, I also think it's important to let it run a little wild sometimes. Sometimes the latter is more closely aligned with smart Jane's therapist axiom, "It is never weak to ask for what you need," even if you are asking yourself.


THIS ARTICLE. RIGHT IN THE FEELS. Jane get out of my head. (NO NO NEVER LEAVE.) I started copy-pasting things to quote and comment on but it would have been, like, half the article, so.

(Possibly related: You guys I might have signed up for an OK Cupid account but not uploaded a picture or activated it because I am so nervous it's ridiculous!? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah)


@par_parenthese get it girl! *encouraging shoulder pat*


@iceberg Are there men in the world who are kind? Just tell me there are men in the world who are kind.


@par_parenthese yes, there definitely are!


I am 24 goddamn years old and I needed to hear all of this, right now. Thank you, Jane.


I love this. I know myself (and my track record) well enough to know that I will make these mistakes again, though. And then maybe one more time after that. But knowing is half the battle, or something.

ALSO: There's a book called "Attached" by Amir Levine and it's excellent. I'm not a fan of self-help books and only read this book after a particularly nasty spell of "I just want to love you, but you are so unavailable." It speaks to everything Jane said in the article and provided a lot of insight/perspective as to why I'm attracted to people who are mean to me.

This is 40ish

Crushes.. a reason to shave your legs and get you out the door on a Monday morning



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