POSTED ON MARCH 11, 2009:
The Advice Goddess
Martyr, She Wrote
My boyfriend of five years has severe anger and money issues. I constantly helped him out financially, professionally and personally. If I refused, there'd be a fight. Still, I love him dearly because he's a good guy. He's always said I'm "the one"; that every other woman has left him, but he wanted to grow old with me. Two months ago, he left me, but came back a week later, teary, saying we'd go to therapy. The therapist said he had Attention Deficit Disorder, and once he got on medication many of our problems would be resolved. A week later, things were great until he said he didn't love me and left again. He's flying to Peru to see a girl he dated 15 years ago, hoping to propose. He called her his true love, and hurt me more by saying he'd "wasted" five years with me. But, I know this fling won't last. I still truly love him, and I hate seeing our relationship going down the drain like this!
You note that every other woman has left him, like it's some accomplishment that you're still there. Sorry, but "Woman survives on barely any dignity for five straight years" isn't quite on par with "Woman trapped in car for five days stays alive by drinking her own urine and eating the headrest."
You spin what you had with him as some great love story, and that's not totally off. Your denial of reality is right out of "Titanic" - the scene where DiCaprio's character is about to freeze to death in the North Atlantic, but first manages to mutter, "I don't know about you, but I intend on writing a strongly worded letter to the White Star Line about all of this." Next, you claim he's "a good guy." How so? When he's screaming and maybe even throwing things at you, does he stop for a moment to write a check to the American Cancer Society?
Of course, you were never "the one," just the one who paid his VISA bill. And guess what: He hates you for it - for being somebody who'd do anything to keep him around - and probably hated himself for needing you too much to ditch you. You weren't his girlfriend; you were his caseworker. You don't love him; you enable him. And, you weren't with him for who he is, but for who you're not. Being with him makes you feel like somebody, and keeps you too busy cleaning up the giant litterbox that is his life to look at your own. To be fair, you two do have one big thing in common: a really low opinion of you.
Don't get your hopes up about the ADD meds, which were apparently sold to you as the Glinda the Good Witch of pharmaceuticals. They might help him be more focused and less impulsive, frustrated, and angry, but there's no medication in the world that will make a mean guy nice. Remember, this is a man who told you he "wasted" five years with you. If you ever loved somebody, you don't say stuff like that to them. (If you have nothing nice to say, well, be a dear and make something up.) Like psoriasis, the guy's bound to come back. In preparation for his return, change the locks, change your phone number and pledge to stay out of relationships until you couldn't imagine putting up with a guy like him. In the meantime, if you're jonesing to feel needed, become a Big Sister (bbbs.org), and light up somebody's life without paying five years of their electric bills.
This Snub's For You
You say we guys shouldn't let rejection bother us, but take it as a sign to approach the next woman. Well, it's a big deal to be rejected. It's an even bigger deal to then see the girl laughing with her friends about what just happened.
- A Man
What were you, curious about what it was like to be one of the Christians thrown to the lions? Unless you're some rare golden boy, there's no worse time to hit on a girl than when she's in a group. She isn't really out with friends; she's out with 12 Judge Judys. Each is sure to find something wrong with you - because you aren't hitting on her, or because she's trying to protect her friend (perhaps from ever having a boyfriend). You can resent what it takes to get dates, or you can do what it takes: Look around your daily life to chat up unaccompanied women, and stop basing what you think of you on what other people seem to think of you. While the sound of female laughter is an adult version of the wedgie, consider the alternative: the sound of the clock ticking away the decades as you sit home staring at the chalk outline of your sex life.
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