The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

Another Brick in the Wallow

I’ve missed countless opportunities because I fail to speak up in the moment. A pretty girl smiles at me on the bus. Ten minutes later, I will wish I’d stayed on the bus and struck up a conversation. The same thing happens with business opportunities. At the critical moment I need to act, I go into a fog of some kind, weighing my options. Much later, I’ll realize that gold was put in my lap, and I’ll endure a lot of shame from not being present enough to recognize that. I’m all man when I have a girlfriend (which I don’t now) and will do anything to make her feel secure. But because of my problem with seizing opportunity, I’m much lonelier than I need to be. I’m realizing that I’m an irretrievable mental defective.

— Hopeless
 

You’ve heard that 80 percent of success is just showing up? Well, the other 20 percent is not acting like you got glued to the toilet seat shortly afterward.

You diagnose yourself: “I’m an irretrievable mental defective.” Um, no — probably just a drama queen with risk aversion jets set a little high. Your freezing in the face of opportunity is probably due to an “approach-avoidance conflict,” a type of inaction-producing psychological stress that occurs when an opportunity has both positive and negative aspects that make it simultaneously appealing and off-putting. For example, with the girl on the bus, there’s a possible date versus a possible rejection. The closer (and more possible) the opportunity the larger the negative aspects loom. This leads to indecision and, in turn, inaction. When you have some distance (say, a few hours after you get off the pretty girl express bus), the positive aspects take center stage, and going for it seems the thing to do. Only then, this no longer takes a nervous “hello” across the bus aisle; you need one of those “missed connection” ads and $3,000 for a private detective.

You need to practice opportunity-spotting and preplan what you’ll do when it knocks so you won’t respond like a bratty preteen girl: “Go away! Nobody’s home. I hate you!” Recognizing opportunity takes knowing your goals. Articulate them, and then identify five opportunities a day and seize at least two of them. This requires simply taking action despite your indecision. Assuming you aren’t weighing the opportunity to blow through a bunch of stop signs, what are the likely damages? Step back and do a little cost-benefit analysis. If, say, you’d talked to the girl on the bus, worst-case scenario, she might’ve glared back at you, giving you an ouchie in the ego for what, 10 minutes? Doing nothing leaves you with lasting regret, shame and self-loathing. Doing nothing repeatedly should help you get a headstart on becoming a bitter old man, thanks to all the years you’ve invested standing near the ladder of success yet never once having a woman in a bikini shinny down and hand you a mai tai.

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).

Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

Going Code Turkey

I broke up with a boyfriend a few years ago because I wasn’t getting what I wanted from him. I’d give him subtle cues, and when he didn’t respond in the ways I was hoping for, I blamed him for being thickheaded. I’ve ended many a relationship because of this. The dudes didn’t have a chance. I now see that we women can skip years of frustration by getting clear with our partners about what we need from them. Understanding this now, you’d think it would be simple for me to follow through. Yet, I’m continually surprised at how strong my “have him guess!” impulse can be. Letting a man in on my feelings actually takes a lot of courage and stretches me like nothing else.

— Challenged
 

It isn’t hard for a boyfriend to make a woman happy instead of pissed off for days. He just needs the right answer to “Hey, honey, guess what it means when I put my hair in a ponytail and walk out of the room!”

A guy gets to the point where he can’t be sure whether he’s in a relationship or a really, really long game of charades. (Either way, it helps if there are occasional breaks for angry sex.) Although men and women are psychologically similar in many ways, studies by social psychologist Judith A. Hall and others find that women are more accurate in sussing out the meaning of nonverbal cues. The problem is, we humans all have a tendency to assume others’ minds work just like our own. So, you conclude that a guy is withholding and mean when he seems to ignore what you think should be obvious — that your left nostril flaring is code for “Tell me you love me right this second!” (Not to be mistaken for the flaring right nostril’s “Take out the trash or I’ll kill myself!”)

To your credit, you took a hard look at yourself and admitted that you were wrong. As for why you’re having difficulty putting what you now understand into practice, Yale psychology professor Alan E. Kazdin explained on my radio show, “Knowing doesn’t control doing.” Doing actually takes doing — in your case, repeatedly pushing yourself to express your feelings, despite how uncomfortably vulnerable it makes you feel. Repeating behavior over time actually rewires the brain and, in Kazdin’s words, “locks” the new behaviors in. Eventually, healthier behavior should come more naturally to you — like recognizing, without animus, that the way to get your boyfriend to admire your sexy new haircut is by telling him you’ve gotten one, not by glaring out at him from under the subtly different slant of your bangs. (As every woman needs to understand, his not noticing your new do doesn’t mean he’s stopped loving you; it means you haven’t shaved your head.)

 

Taking out the trashing

I am online dating and assume people will Google me before we meet. Two years ago, I briefly got involved with a crazy woman. When I realized how nuts she was, I broke up with her. She started an Internet campaign against me, posting horrible things about me online. These are obvious lies and clearly seem to be the rantings of a crazy person, but most are nearly impossible to get taken down. Should I casually mention these in an online chat with potential dates? (“Oh, by the way, if you read anything terrible about me online, it’s written by a crazy person.”)

— Maligned Guy
 

A person should get to know you a little before she learns you’re a 300-year-old incubus who poisoned our groundwater and killed the neighbors’ dog and made it look like a suicide. Since ranting crazies tend to sound, as the saying goes, a few balloons short of a parade, a prospective partner’s big worry is likely to be that sick drama is relationship-as-usual for you. The best way to dispel this fear is by letting someone see who you are before seeing who the Internet says you are. Wait until after the first date to reveal your last name. (If questioned, plead online dating prudence.) Create a new email address you use for online dating only so no one can use your regular one to Google your identity. And then, on your date, you could casually mention the nutty former ex — ideally in a way that suggests the experience was very much out of character for you. Assuming you come off solid and balanced, this should help dispel any suspicions that your ex is nuts because you drove her there or that you have some scary tendencies yourself. Although women these days tend to be pleasantly surprised by chivalry, they are always looking to weed out the sort of man who’ll end their evening with a considerate offer like “Can I walk you to my trunk?”

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).

Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

eBuy meets girl

My previous relationship was passionate but was with an emotionally abusive man. I’ve been dating a new man for five months. I wasn’t initially attracted to him, but he ended up sweeping me off my feet because he’s the most generous man I’ve ever met. He’s all about me. He goes out of his way to do so many nice things for me — even buying me things I can’t afford. We’ve had fun, but I’ve had doubts creeping in, like about how he’s still not my physical type. Also, I’m not sure we share enough interests or, quite frankly, are on the same level intellectually. Then again, I know he’d go along with anything I wanted to do, because he just wants to make me happy. I’m just not sure that’s enough. Because of all the pros about him and my previous bad choices, I made myself give him a chance. Perhaps I’m just sabotaging things because subconsciously I don’t feel I deserve all this kindness.

— Hesitant
 

Wanting to want someone isn’t enough. Eventually, when he starts getting all smoochy-feely, your head will lecture your retreating funparts, “Come on … he’s so nice. You should want to get it on,” and your body will counter with, “Unfortunately, you’d rather have your face eaten off by a raccoon.”

If only one of the “many nice things” this guy does for you could be transforming himself into somebody you’re actually attracted to. You, like many well-meaning but misguided idealists, want to believe you can become attracted to somebody the way you can learn to fly-fish or bartend. Sure, great people sometimes get more attractive as you get to know them. But for them to get attractive enough for you to want to get naked with them, they have to have enough of the stuff you need in a person to go “hubba-hubba” instead of “yawna-yawna” or worse: “Get away from me, or I’ll scream.”

You say you’ve had doubts creeping in, and around the top of the list should be, “Is he a man or a purse dog?” It’s a bad sign if he really would “go along with anything (you) wanted to do.” His unflagging eagerness to please suggests he’s one of those guys who think they have to buy a woman’s company with their cash and compliance. On a more positive note, this pleaserhood does resolve the matching interests issue, since one big thing you have in common is that he likes whatever you like. (Have you nicknamed him “Xerox”?)

If you don’t feel you deserve a nice guy, that’s something to address, but not by bolting yourself to some all-weather Santa you find borderline dumb and about as sexy as grout. You need to hold out for physical, emotional, intellectual, and best friend-ly chemistry. A guy should also be enough of a person to sometimes find what you want to do hellishly boring or excruciatingly girly and suggest you do it alone or with a friend. If he’s right for you, at times when he isn’t right there with you, you’ll probably find yourself wandering off into fantasies about him — and not the sort in which the guy gets kidnapped immediately after paying for dinner.

 

Groin Pains

I’m 21, and I’ve just gotten my first girlfriend, this amazing girl I’ve known since high school. I lost my virginity to her, and I’ve since started having sex dreams about my female friends. Two of these girls are recently single and have been hanging with me a lot and using me for a shoulder to cry on. I love my girlfriend, but the opportunity for stepping out, combined with my overactive libido, has me worried.

— Itchy
 

When you’re a 21-year-old guy who has just discovered sex and is looking to remain faithful, loving someone deeply is a start. It also helps to pay someone to knock you unconscious and encase you in a block of ice. Welcome to the 20-something male libido. In other words, of course you’re having sex dreams about your female friends. (You were expecting recurring thoughts about stenciling wall art in the front room?)

Life consists of tradeoffs. You can have a girlfriend or a sex buffet. Pick one. And be realistic. Your heart might belong to your girlfriend, but if other parts of you are raring to go all Dora the Explorer, you may need to have a bunch of sex friends before you’re one woman’s boyfriend. If you do choose love, be mindful about how easy it is to succumb to temptation. Keep yourself out of harm’s way with some fidelity-promoting rules, like that you aren’t allowed to be alone with lonely single women, except maybe those who’d have a hard time catching you because they are 90 and didn’t get the motorized scooter that goes up to turbo.

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).

Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

The Advice Goddess

The Advice Goddess

 

 

Till dead end do us part

I’ve been separated from my husband for two years. (Our divorce isn’t yet final.) A terrific man sought me out when he was breaking up with his girlfriend, but then he got back together with her and said we could only be friends. We still get together at times, and he told me, “I’m just not ready to give up my girlfriend, although I may feel different when your divorce is final.” I’ve tried moving on, but whenever I get to a good place, he calls and is interested again! I normally wouldn’t allow this behavior, but I enjoy his company so much!

— Crushing
 

The fact that a man calls for you to come running isn’t necessarily reason to do it, unless you’re a golden retriever and he’s got a dirty tennis ball to throw you.

Assuming you live in North America and not a culture where marriage is a big tent filled with lots of wives, a man’s involvement with another woman should immediately disqualify him from consideration. Accepting continued contact with a downgrade to “only friends” works if you can shift the man into the friends-only slot, but it seems you can’t, and it seems that’s just how this man likes it. You’re now his ego’s girlfriend and his backup entertainment when his girlfriend’s getting her nails done.

OK, so technically you’re not yet available, but that’s just a matter of paperwork; you aren’t romantically attached to another person. What’s keeping you stuck on this man is a psychological fishhook called “intermittent reinforcement.” When rewards for our behavior (like affection or attention we’re shown) come regularly and predictably, we relax and take them for granted. But the stuff that sods the ground for an obsession is random, unpredictable reinforcement — a guy you can’t have who occasionally surprises you by throwing you a bone of hope: telling you that he isn’t ready to give up his girlfriend but “may feel different when your divorce is final.” Sure, and the moon may grow a mustache and start orbiting your dentist’s office.

So, no, you aren’t stuck on him because it’s so darn enjoyable being with him. It’s because he’s turned you into a lab rat frantically pushing a bar for a hit of rat chow that only sometimes comes. The way to kick the habit is to recognize this, detach, and have the self-discipline to stay detached. Send him a message that it’s over and not to contact you again, and then do everything in your power to keep that from happening: Mail your phone to a stranger in China and hole up in an out-of-the-way motel. Of course, you could just change your number and not answer your door, but going to at least a little more effort might help reinforce that you have a new policy: No matter how handsome, amusing, and compelling a man seems, you will chase him only if he also happens to be sprinting away with your purse.

 

Everything happens for a raisin

I am 18 and took a baking course at a cooking school, where I met this dreamy 19-year-old guy. We both constantly found lame excuses to be around each other, so I was fairly positive our attraction went both ways. I get that men need to show their interest by asking you out, so I flirted and flirted and waited and waited for him to ask me out, but he never did. Now the course is over, and I’m wondering what I did wrong and whether I missed out on the love of my life!

— Confused
 

Perhaps he was hoping he could get a girlfriend the way a dog gets food scraps: just wait for a woman to fall on the kitchen floor and then carry her off in his teeth. He may now be hitting himself upside the head with a wire whisk for showing all the mojo of garnish. This also may have been a situational crush — one that he couldn’t follow through on outside the test kitchen due to his having a girlfriend or even a boyfriend. Or maybe he’s just being 19. At 24, with a little more experience, he might do more than make like a kid staring into the bakery window. Sadly, all that matters now is what he didn’t do. But you did the right thing by not making up for a guy’s inability to squeak out a request for a date. Keep on flirting, and stop fretting that you may have “missed out on the love of (your) life!” Sure, you may have — if you’ve always dreamed of a day when you’d spot a white horse galloping toward you in the distance and, as it drew closer, see that there’s no prince, only a bag of frozen vegetables duct-taped to the saddle.

(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)


It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).


Read Amy Alkon’s book: “I SEE RUDE PEOPLE: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society” (McGraw-Hill, $16.95).

DIGITAL EDITIONS

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

SUBSCRIBE

COMMUNITY EVENTS

SUBMIT YOUR VENTURA COUNTY EVENT HERE.

You must be registered and logged in to post your events.

UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. Multiple Ones: Contemporary Perspectives in Printmedia

    August 22 @ 8:00 am - October 23 @ 8:00 pm
  2. Rev. Karen’s Mid-Month Devotional Retreat: Utilizing Your Innate Power

    September 15 @ 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
  3. The Climate Reality Project: Ventura County, CA Chapter, General Meeting

    September 15 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
  4. Morning Stretch to Classic Rock

    September 16 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am
  5. Conejo Valley Quilters monthly meeting

    September 16 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  6. Dancer’s Body Barre

    September 16 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  7. Egyptian Belly Dancing

    September 16 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  8. 2019 EDU|CAL Annual Symposium

    September 17 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
  9. Loni Love Headlines Levity Live

    September 20 @ 7:30 pm - September 22 @ 9:00 pm
  10. 2019 Quilt Rooms and Gardens Tour

    September 21 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Get hooked up!

Get hooked up!

Join our mailing list and get updates and other cool stuff.

You're in! Thanks!

Share This