Seven years ago, my wife of 11 years left me and married my moneybags boss. Next, my girlfriend dumped me for my wealthy friend. Then, a different girlfriend left me to marry my best friend. Another girlfriend realized she was a lesbian; another couldn\’t say \”I love you\” back. Although I was a struggling grad student when my wife and girlfriend ditched me for rich guys, I now have a prestigious job and a large income. (The woman who dumped me for my wealthy friend mysteriously came groveling back when I got money.) I\’m a sensitive guy with a lot of love to give, but I\’ve been hurt so badly, I feel safest home alone with Chinese take-out. How can I overcome my fears before I die of loneliness?
— Most Likely To Be Left
You\’re looking for Action! Adventure! Romance! To ride the rapids of love — with all the drama and suspense of a nice warm soak in the bathtub; or, in action/adventure terms, something more \”Die Hard With A Plush Stuffed Bunny\” than \”With A Vengeance.\”
\”But … but …\” you say, between sobs, from under your bed, where you\’re hiding out with a plate of lo mein, \”Love … doesn\’t … last!\” No, it often doesn\’t. In fact, a relationship is one of the more high-risk ventures you could enter into, precisely because it\’s based on love, which is a feeling. You can promise to stick around, but you can\’t promise to keep feeling a certain way. So, relationships end. Lovers use each other up. They go become monks. Or run with the wolves. Or with the babysitter.
The way you see it, other guys all have black labs with bandannas while you\’ve been assigned your very own black thundercloud to follow you around. OK, so your wife left you, and your girlfriend left you, and your other girlfriend left you, and maybe your other girlfriend left you for your other girlfriend, and so on. Surely there were a few good moments, or even a few good years, between \”Nice to meet you,\” and \”I\’ll be by at 5 to pick up the rest of my stuff.\”
A good long snivel can be satisfying, but as a preventive measure, self-pity has nothing on self-awareness. So, you\’re always the one who gets dumped. Maybe that\’s because you\’re not one to admit it\’s over and do the drop-kicking yourself. Look for patterns. Do you pick gold diggers, schemers, women out of your league? No, it\’s not your fault that a woman didn\’t have her sexuality worked out. What you should look at, however, were signs you missed that a woman was \”not that into you\” (or, say, anyone with a penis).
You say you have a lot of love to give. Would it be terrible if you ended up giving it to a number of different women? And, what do you really have to mope about anyway? You had an 11-year marriage and numerous girlfriends. There are guys out there who haven\’t been kissed in a decade and women so desperate to be touched that they plot to have strangers back into them in stores in hopes of getting one of those little \”pardon me\” after-grabs. Instead of being terrified a relationship will end, why not accept that it could, and resolve to enjoy it while it lasts? Sure, you could get hurt again. That\’s the price of having love in your life. If you decide you can\’t afford it, fine. Just understand what you\’re setting yourself up for — one day trying to look back on all the fun you\’ve had and realizing you\’ve mostly had chow fun.
I had a wonderful boyfriend for a year, but now it\’s over. The thought of other men touching me gives me a sick, skin-crawling feeling. I tell men I meet I want to be friends first, but on the third date, they usually want more. So, how does one get over a relationship?
It\’s Friday night, and you could either go on a date or put a bologna sandwich on your head and go sit on a giant anthill. Of course, the ants are unlikely to spring for dinner and a nice bottle of Bordeaux. Granted, you do say you \”want to be friends first\”; you just don\’t mention that you mean for three years. (That\’s some meal plan you got there.) Best of all, you get to dwell on your relationship by comparing your ex to all these new guys. That\’s the antithesis of getting over it, which takes spending enough time alone to debrief yourself and move on. There\’s no set time frame for healing, but you have no business dating until you have more to offer than \”Buy me dinner, watch me itch!\” — although it might be a clever ploy if you\’ve got your eye on The Orkin Man.