Advice From Paradise

Q: I have a new girlfriend. I’ve told her everything about me in the short time we’ve been together, but there are certain questions about her history that she doesn’t answer, by saying she doesn’t want to talk about it. Why is she so secretive and how should I respond to this weird aspect of our relationship? A: The problem is not that she has secrets. I mean, everyone has a lot of their life confined in their head, like a Quasimodo castle of memories up there that no one will ever know about. The problem is that she told you she is keeping secrets from you. I operate on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to this sort of thing, but now it’s out in the open to nag and gnaw at you. The best thing for you to do is to be as understanding as […]

Issues

Q:  I’ve been having issues with my relationship for a while. I don’t know what to do or where to start, but sometimes it feels hopeless, and other times it feels great. What can I do to mend a relationship (marriage, actually) that has such high highs and low lows, and it’s been like this for like ten years? Thank you. It’s been a weird night. A: Hey there. Well, it sounds simple, but I’d like to reassure you that you’re not alone. All relationships are difficult. The idea of a long-term relationship is a bit absurd if you take a step back—you put two strangers in a room, sprinkle some love dust on them, and tell them to spend every second that they’re not at work together, for the rest of their lives. And neverfight. But clearly there is something keeping you together all these years, and hopefully it’s […]

Q: There’s this cute guy that I work with. He has a girlfriend. We’re pretty close friends at this point, and hang out after work sometimes. In fact, he goes out a lot at night, and she’s never with him. Recently, one of his friends told me that he gets “close” to many girls, but never cheats or leaves his girlfriend. Why does he do this? Are they in love and that’s just their style? Why lead girls on and get close to them? It’s very confusing. Thanks! A: There should be a word for this type of guy. How about “FBT”: “flirtatious, but taken.” No, wait! I’ve got it: “ASS,” for “always seems single.” Yeah, that’ll do for now. I’d say one of two things is going on here. The first scenario is a somewhat mythical relationship archetype, I’ll call it “separate togetherness.” This is when a couple hardly […]

Going Green

Q: I recently had a panic attack when my friends told me that I have to accept that a certain girl that I’ve been seeing has other guy friends, because we are not officially dating. Am I crazy? Thank you. A: Did you know that Shakespeare named jealousy the green-eyed monster after cats, who have green eyes and taunt their prey before the kill? Well, it sounds like all these “guy friends” are taunting you in a similar way! When we’re in a relationship, especially in the beginning, we fear that the end is in sight, and the other person is just playing around with us until they get bored and break our heart. But this is an irrational fear, and right now you should try hard to exorcise it. It’s not going to help in any way, and it’s very unattractive, too. So be strong! You got this! Song […]

Blindsided

Q: How do you get over someone you feel you’re truly meant to be with, but they claim they’ve lost all romantic feelings for you? Total blindside. It’s been eight months. Thanks. A: I was blindsided once like this. I spent a lot of time asking questions that couldn’t be answered, blaming myself, then him, then myself again. I finally stopped when I realized something very simple: We just weren’t a good fit. The realization was kind of like learning a language or how to play an instrument. At some point, after many months or even years of frustration, the veil lifts and you’re like, “Oh it makes sense.” This is because a “fit” implies that both parties agree that the relationship is working. And if it isn’t working for you both, then the idea that you’re meant to be with him or her is negated. It was especially brutal for me because of […]

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