My girlfriend of a year is 21, and I’m 22. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her, but there are issues. She has money problems, including $14,000 in credit card debt. Yet she demanded I get a credit card, and when I refused, kicked me out and said we couldn’t live together until I got one. But I’m most disturbed about our night at a concert.
She got really drunk, started arguing with some hippie girls, and ran off. I tried to follow, but she’d disappeared and doesn’t have a cell. I was really worried, looked all over town, and finally went to bed at 3 a.m., feeling helpless. The next day, as I was leaving to look again, the hospital called. Some Mormons brought her in after finding her passed out in the bushes. She accused me of not caring, saying she would’ve stayed up looking for me. Her parents blame me for her drinking, and said I’m a bad boyfriend because I wasn’t there when she needed me, sleeping instead of continuing to search. Meanwhile, the last time she got drunk and disappeared, she was making out with a guy I used to work with. This is my first long-term relationship, and I need to know, who’s the whack one in the concert situation: me or her?
As looking for love in all the wrong places goes, looking till you find it passed out in the highway underbrush, drooling on a squashed Pringles can and missing a shoe, pretty much tops the list.
This girl doesn’t need a boyfriend; she needs a search party with tracking dogs — just in case the Mormons take a night off from combing the bushes for drunks. Unless you’ve left out some bit about tying your girlfriend up and forcing Jack and Cokes down her throat, the one to blame here would be the party who’s doing all the partying. Next in line is the party that failed to teach their little partier any sense of personal responsibility, then failed to pick her up by the scruff of the neck and drop her in rehab. Instead, they tell you it’s all your fault. Right. Are you in a relationship or a scavenger hunt? You’re apparently expected to go door to door at 3 a.m.: “Sorry for waking you, Ma’am, but I need a cup of colored sprinkles, three mothballs, one tanked, belligerent girlfriend, and $14,000 to pay off her credit card debt.”
What’s missing from this picture? (Besides about eight hours of her consciousness and her right shoe.) That would be any sense of remorse on her part for the worry, lost sleep, and parental berating she put you through. Of course, you don’t seem to require that — or any sign she has even a passing interest in your welfare or happiness. And you really have to ask who’s the whack one? Um, that would be you. And not because you went to bed at 3 a.m. the night she set out on her wobbly 10K, but because you’ve been sleeping through this entire relationship. Wake up, something’s burning! (That’s because you’re in HELL.)
You need to do two things: Get out, and don’t repeat this behavior. Well, actually, do look all over town for a woman — one who shares your values and interests and makes your life better because you’re with her. In other words, no, you don’t just say, “Wow, she’s pretty!” and call it a day, or you’re liable to end up with just another pretty face — face down in the bushes.
Boycott meets girl
I don’t think I’ll ever truly tolerate “the guy should always make the first move” deal you advocate, Amy. I know it works in many, if not most, cases, but I’m so bloody tired of this expectation that men take all the risks in dating.
— A Guy
You don’t have to tolerate this, same as you don’t have to tolerate paying your rent — providing you’re willing to tolerate living under a bridge. But if you’d like a girlfriend while you still have teeth, you should stop whining about asking women out and just do it. This doesn’t necessarily mean making the first move, but maybe the first overt move. Women often make the first move by flirting with men they like, signaling their interest in being asked out.
It’s a dance. It isn’t fair or unfair; it’s simply what works — how we’re hard-wired to behave after a million-plus years of evolution. Still, if this really doesn’t work for you, there is another option: Drive through the seedy side of town and roll down your window, and you’re sure to get offers. Of course, bringing one of these honeys home to mom and getting her back to the corner before she charges you time and a half may be a challenge.
Amy Alkon’s just-published book: I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).