How to: Break Up With Someone

Hey there, all you lovely people!  Did you miss me?  I missed you.  I’m sorry for my prolonged absence – sometimes life just does things, you know?

I promise I haven’t been completely ignoring you guys, and I really have been intending to write more posts.  In fact, I have one RIGHT NOW that took me a bit to get together.  It’s funny, a few days ago I got an email from a gentleman who ended up taking my advice, and now he’s unsure about whether the relationship he’s currently in is going to continue.  I want to make it very, VERY clear to this particular dude: this post is a coincidence and not necessarily the advice I’m giving you as per your question.  I need a bit to figure out what I would do and also to get more info.

Without further ado, here’s how to break up with someone!

Let’s get something out of the way right now.  Breakups suck.  There’s no good way to break up with someone, and in my own experience, at least one person ends up being really hurt.  They can be messy, and they can really ruin your day, but hopefully these tips will make it a little easier.

1. Be Direct!  Waffling can only confuse the issue.  If you’re gonna break up with someone, it needs to be a real breakup.  It needs to NOT be friends with benefits, or “close buddies” or “we can still be friends”, because odds are if you’re breaking up with someone, you don’t want to be their friends.

2. ABSOLUTELY NO POST-BREAKUP SEX.  Nothing about this scenario will be good, I promise you.  Post-breakup sex leads to confusion, and confusion leads to awkward situations where you’re not sure what your status might be.  Or, weirder, it leads to that gray area of “are we or aren’t we back together?”  None of these places, none of the confusion or anxiety about that confusion, makes it okay to boink your very VERY recent ex.

3. Stay strong!  You had a reason (or three) for this.  I’ve noticed that, by and large, people don’t want to be dumped.  It’s something about how rejection is awful and hurtful and blah blah blah.  When they’re put in this position, they are prone to doing dumb things, like promising you they’ll change, or that they want to “work this out”, or that they will get back together with you as long as there are other guidelines or rules.  Guidelines and rules in relationships are fine, but if you are setting out specific conditions for getting back with someone, things can get hairy.  They’re never conditions that stick.  That change they promise you isn’t change you can believe in (SORRY MR. PRESIDENT).  Sometimes, your douchey ex needs to stay your douchey ex.  You broke up with them because of something.  Stick to your guns.  Chances are you’ll be much better off for it.

I once dated a lady I thought was the shit, and we hit it off and were very clear that the relationship would be over when she moved away for school.  Well, that plan lasted a whole two weeks after she moved, and then we were long-distancing like it was our job.  That ended in lots of tears and her sleeping with several other people.  It isn’t exactly the fairy tale I envisioned, am I right? If I had stuck to the plan of “no it is totally over and that’s okay”, I would have avoided the ridiculous feelings I had after I learned she was cheating on me.  It’s okay to stay broken up with someone, no matter what they say to the contrary.

4. Be careful with your rebounding.  This might go without saying at this point, but do NOT try to have rebound sex with your ex.  Or any ex.  That shit is WEIRD and it can get really weird.  I don’t recommend it.

Sometimes rebounds can be good, but sometimes you can end up projecting feelings about needing to be with someone (like your recent ex), and then your rebound becomes more of a commitment than you were expecting (or maybe that’s just what I do, but whatever).  It’s okay to be wary of feelings with other people, as long as you remember that even the person you choose to rebound with deserves common decent respect.  Be clear with them about getting out of a relationship recently, I can almost guarantee it will prevent horrid awkwardness and uncomfortable conversations down the road.

4.5 Don’t feel you have to have a rebound.  There’s an odd expectation that getting out of a relationship means you get to run around and have tons of sex with other humans… And then reality happens and most of us don’t get to be that lucky (haha, pun intended).  Rebounds aren’t for everyone, and they’re certainly not something you should feel you have to do.  Nobody wrote that it was required for breakups, and look – I’m writing the exact opposite!  It’s okay to just take some time to yourself without running off to bang someone else.  Trust me on this one.

5. Take some time for you.  This is probably the thing I forget most after a breakup, because I’m usually very worried about what the other person is thinking or feeling or doing (or WHO that other person is feeling or doing, if you know what I mean), so I spend more time obsessing over that than taking care of myself in ways that work for me.  Give yourself room to mourn the loss of a relationship if you need it.  Go out with friends if you need it.  If it settles some part of your soul, go get wasted and sloppy-drunk and pass out on your own apartment kitchen floor.  These things are okay, because breakups suck.  Just try not to make the more self-destructive things super habitual, because that can get very dangerous.

You guys, breakups are the worst*.  There’s nothing fun about a breakup.  More often than not, there’s nothing good (at the moment of breakup) about your situation.  (*Notable exceptions include abusive or awful relationships, in those cases breakups are AWESOME).  There are things that make them easier, and things that make them harder.  In my own experience, doing the opposite of the things listed above make breakups harder.

I hope this helps, if this is what you need.  Be good to yourselves and each other, and keep being safe.


How to: Not Talk To Gay People About Sex

Do any of you have something that really just grinds your gears and gets you every time?  I happen to have a lot of them, and if I were to list them all it would require more time and dedication than I could ever hope to expect from any of you.  Consider this an act of mercy that I’m only focusing on one moderately upsetting thing for today.

I had this particular thing in mind for today, because it happened to me last night.  Sometimes being gay can really stink, and a lot of those times happen when you’re interacting with other (mostly heterosexual) people.  One of those interactions I despise is when someone decides it’s a good idea to ask The Question.  You’ve probably encountered it, either in a movie, with friends, hell – maybe you’ve even asked it yourself.  The Question is, for me, as follows: “What do 2 girls, like, DO, y’know… In bed?”

It’s almost always followed by lots of nervous giggling on the part of the asker.

There are a couple of responses that I use for this question, and the one I pick depends upon how well I know the person asking me, and how much I want them to not hate me.

In this case, I was at a bar, so I was able to be all, “I haven’t had enough tequila for this talk”, and that seemed to work pretty well.  (Other fun responses are things like, “Let’s go find out” and “Please shut your face”, but my favorite is, “Well that depends. Are we sleeping or fucking?”)
I’m not a particularly private person.  I’m loud, kind of annoying, and really obnoxious.  I’m outspoken about a great deal of things.  And yet, this one single question leaves me feeling utterly flabbergasted.  I really think this is a prime example of straight privilege, because nobody asks a straight couple what THEY do in bed, right?  Because everyone knows.  But apparently asking gay folks is not only a) super appropriate and acceptable but 2) going to give you an answer to apply to every gay person ever (because we’re all the same, duh!)

I was told that I handled the question like a champ, but I’m still really riled about it.  I also told the particular asker to check things out on the internet.  It’s a wonderful place and there are TONS and TONS and TONS (etc. etc. ad nauseum) of resources on how two ladies might get it on.  Betcha you’ll never guess what happened next.

“I FEEL DIRTY DOING THAT.”

But you feel perfectly alright asking someone you don’t know very well TO THEIR FACE about their sex life?

It would be completely different if this person were asking me about things to do to make one’s sex life more interesting.  I personally feel I have a lot of really brilliant sexytime ideas, and since I’m obnoxiously outspoken, I find very little shame in sharing them.  This, however, was a whole ‘nother scenario.

The moral of the story this week is pretty simple: don’t be an ass.  I don’t care if you’re drunk, I don’t care if you once asked a gay person in a pride parade and they answered.  I’m a different human being, and you should fucking respect that.

We’ll be back for regularly scheduled shenanigans later on.


Self-Help Books Can Actually Be Helpful???

Okay I’m sorry, I didn’t fall off the planet, I’ve just been shirking my duty as your faithful advice blogger for… Well for long enough to risk falling off the planet, I suppose.  I haven’t really done much, apart from the usual going to the gym, going to work, and eating food routine that most people seem to have.  So exciting.

One thing I have done is finish reading a book.  An advice book, no less – something I normally avoid like a cat avoids water.

I’m not usually one for self-help books. I tend to find the advice therein trite, condescending, and in some cases enabling of the behaviors the person reading needs help with. Of course, when my mom handed me this book I went, “Yeah, sure, I’ll read this. Eventually.” Because my mother likes to hand out advice, wanted, warranted, or not, I really just rolled my eyes. And then my girlfriend read the book first. And then something ridiculous happened – she told me it was good. Not just good, but something that I should be reading.

Thus, I just finished reading, The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay, PhD. The book is broken down into a few sections, on love, work, and being a grown-up. Really, the whole book centers on acting like an adult now instead of later, and getting your act together before you’re 30. There are a lot of examples that Dr. Jay uses to describe exactly what she’s getting at, whether it’s the twentysomething boy who was essentially homeless because he grew up in an unsettled divorced parenting situation, or the young Korean American woman who had grown up being teased for being different and a virgin in high school, so she never stopped to consider the sort of qualities she actually wanted in a partner – she just wanted to be wanted.

I wish I couldn’t identify so well with each of the people in this book. I’m way overeducated for my current job. I know this, and I know what I want to be doing, I just don’t know if I can actually put in the work to get there. I just keep assuming that everything will fall into place, because that’s what I’ve been taught to expect. I’ve also been hearing, “You’re young, this is what you’re supposed to do” an awful lot, too.

I think, contrary to popular belief, “YOLO” (you only live once) is part of this problem that leaves folks screwed over in their thirties. The twenties are apparently to be spent partying, traveling, working as a barista at Starbucks, and generally not giving a shit about the future because you’ll think about it “when you’re thirty” or “way later”…. Draw a timeline of how you want your life to go. If you have a picture like that, and “babies” and something like “medical school” are in the same place… You might have to reconsider what you’re doing.

What resonated most with me, for a silly reason, was the entire section on love. Every time my girlfriend and I have had problems of any sort, I have been advised by at least one person to break up with her and find someone else. I’m always told that I will have plenty of time to find my perfect someone, because my girlfriend and I are “so young” (I’m almost 24, for the record). I think getting together at a pretty young age, relatively speaking, is seen as a thing of the past. I have a friend who just got married, and she’s a couple years younger than I am. Do I think that’s too young? Maybe. I don’t know.

The point I’m trying (and failing) to make is that I feel really lucky in love. I don’t think I care if my perfect soul mate life partner match from heaven is out there in the world somewhere. There are another 7 billion people on this planet, of course. But, at this point, I think instead of stressing over whether or not my girlfriend and I are completely 100% totally perfect, I am going to focus on all the great things about being with her. At least in this respect, I feel like I have my shit together.

I wish I had an idea of what I want to be when I grow up. I wish I knew what I wanted to DO with my life. I want to do a million things, and I’m so afraid of all the possibilities that I don’t know where to start, and so I’m just paralyzed by all of them.

This paragraph I just wrote isn’t in the book, but there are a bunch like it. It makes me feel less bad, being as concerned as I am about my career future, because Facebook and the media seem to keep telling me that I should be gallivanting around Europe half-naked and fucking my way through hostels or something to that effect. Those same institutions tell me that I should drink more and do stupid shit because, after all, “you only live once”.

While that’s all probably a good time, I will take my amazing girlfriend, our tiny apartment, and a half-cooked plan for the rest of my life over drinks in an English pub any day. I may not know where I want to go, but I know who I want to get there with, and I really think that’s a big step in the right direction.

I’m not advocating for or against settling down at an earlier age, and I’m not even knocking working for Starbucks.  All I’m saying is that this book is pretty great, I recommend it, and I think we could all stand to get the ball rolling on the rest of our lives a little faster than age 30.

A little ambition never killed anyone.

…Right?


The Trouble With Being A “Nice Guy”

Hey y’all!  No attractive ladies this time, unless you count ME.  But for serious, this is gonna be a pretty intense post so STRAP ON YOUR SEATBELTS!

Someone I have been chatting with online has recently completely exemplified Nice Guy Syndrome.  What’s Nice Guy Syndrome, you ask?  It’s the affliction many young men seem to have, where apart from being a totally nice guy, the dude in question might be using nice guy tactics to gain something FROM whoever is the target of his niceness.

There are whole websites devoted to discussing the ins and outs of Nice Guy Syndrome, and this one in particular has a great definition all laid out…

The technical definition of the nice guy syndrome, simply states that this is a set of behaviors and characteristics that certain guys possess and perform. These include things such as: going out of your way to please people; overly focusing on giving other people what they want; offering unreciprocated favors and gifts; as well as avoiding confrontations and disagreement at all cost.

Now here’s the tricky part about Nice Guy Syndrome… If you’re using any of these tactics to move yourself out of The Friend Zone and into someone’s pants, you’re being a problem.  It’s not cool.  Stop it.

Back to my acquaintance – when discussing people in a position of authority, he declared all of the women to be horrible, harridan-like bitches, but most of the guys were more than fine.  He also fails to understand why essentially being a doormat doesn’t land him knee-deep in ladybits.  These two things are connected and I’m going to come back to this.

In checking out NGS on the internets, I discovered there’s an ENTIRE wiki for geeky feminism!  SO COOL!  But the best part is that they have a fabulous set of reasons why this is problematic for all involved parties.

The biggest issue is that Nice Guys see themselves as a gift to womankind, and get really resentful when women don’t view them similarly.  For instance, a guy stuck in the Friend Zone with a particular lady will end up resenting her for rejecting him, and she’ll have no idea why.  This won’t end well for anyone involved, and that’s crazy and sad.  What you have to remember, everyone, is that just because you aren’t boinking a friend doesn’t make the relationship with that person a complete failure, or any less special.  In fact, I really enjoy having friends without the awkward added pressure of sexytimes interfering.  Maybe that’s just me, but I really just like having good buddies I haven’t seen naked.

Here’s another important thing to remember: rejection happens to EVERYONE.  Literally.  At one point or another, people get turned down for a number of things, be it sex, a date, an audition, an application for a job, an apartment, or even if a stray cat won’t come near them.  This shit happens, and instead of blaming everything else, pick yourself up and move on.

Now, what do these things have to do with my Nice Guy acquaintance?  Here’s the thing: his resentment of some (or a couple) girls who have rejected his romantic advances has bled over and tainted his view of all womankind.  This is especially true for the women who have some sort of authority over him, which explains why he hates all his female bosses.  Long story short, he hates them because they’re extensions of people who won’t have sex with him.  With me so far?  Good.

Here comes the really REALLY important part.  What do you do if you think you might have some issues with Nice Guy Syndrome?

First, take a look at why you feel the way you feel about people around you.  Do you think, if you have friends you want to date, that whoever they’re dating is a douchebag?  Why?  Because they’re succeeding where you think you’re failing.

You might actually be a really, really nice dude, and that’s totally fine.  Actually, that’s more than fine – usually when you’re nice, people think you’re a good person.  Here’s the thing, though.  Other people are nice, too.  Other people are good people who feed strays and pick up litter and listen to female friends’ problems they’re having.  And you know what, they don’t get a medal for that, and they don’t feel they need one.  It’s a good feeling to be a good person, and usually that’s reward enough.

Step back, take a look at why you’re being good.  I guarantee you’ll feel a lot better about your life (and maybe even end up knee-deep in ladybits) if you start being a nice guy for the right reasons.


My Great Excuse

Hello, dear readers.  I’ve had a lot on my mind the past couple of weeks, and unfortunately for those of you who come to this blog for it’s original purpose, relationship advice wasn’t part of my thoughts.  For the next paragraphs, please forgive my soapboxing and frustration; I’m just really appalled by all of this.  I have a lot of feelings about all of this, and I’m telling you right now that this isn’t going to be a funny post.

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the Trayvon Martin case.  Quick recap, for those who don’t know: 17-year-old Martin went to get snacks one night in Sanford, Florida, got followed by a neighborhood watchman, and ended up being shot to death by said neighborhood watchman.

It’s kind of a big mess now.  I think that’s putting it really mildly.  There has been a lot that’s come to light, including the 911 calls made by George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who killed Trayvon Martin.  I don’t know what your personal feelings are, but if I hear a police dispatcher say that I don’t need to be following someone, then I’m going to listen to that person because they’re probably pretty sure of what they’re doing.  The other extremely disturbing part is that you can plainly hear Mr. Zimmerman use a racial epithet, which was censored on many major news outlets.  If you want to listen for yourself, a couple of minutes into it you can hear Zimmerman say “f***ing c**ns”, which is a not-so-nice way to refer to African-Americans.

As if the direction from a police dispatcher to leave the kid alone wasn’t reason enough to be upset, the neighborhood watch rules also explicitly state that watchmen are not to carry firearms.  But we’re not paying attention to any of that.

What’s great is that there has been no sign of Mr. Zimmerman in the last month (Martin was killed on February 26), but friends of his have come forward.  An African-American man named Joe Oliver has been interviewed in several places and pretty much keeps saying Zimmerman isn’t racist because well, obviously Mr. Oliver is his friend.  It’s a very classic “I’m not racist because I have a friend who is a person of color” excuse.  And that’s what it is.  It’s a crappy excuse that is only making a crappy situation worse, and that’s really frustrating.  For some reason in the United States, it’s seemingly not racist unless you’re a blatant, explicit white supremacist.  That’s such BS.

There has been a lot of talk about Florida’s firearms legislation, including what “stand your ground” and “castle” laws mean.  A castle law comes from the old term that “a man’s house is his castle” and thus he has a right to defend it.  So for a castle law, you can use force on any intruder (Indiana has included cops as intruders in a recently passed piece of legislation!)  With the “stand your ground” law, essentially, if you feel threatened in a public place in the state of Florida (literally anywhere), you can use deadly force, so long as you assert you felt threatened.  And then you can walk away.

There’s also a smear campaign happening against this dead boy.  I really can’t think of anything more disgusting than pointing out he was suspended from school for having marijuana.  He’s dead.  He got shot to death by someone.  Isn’t that enough?  I’m disgusted that people are choosing to pick on a dead child, when relevant authorities are refusing to investigate the case.  It’s horrible.

The other horrible part is how incredibly racist we’re all being about this.  George Zimmerman has family of Hispanic or Latino descent, so there are talking heads on television who are now asserting that white people have done nothing wrong and do nothing wrong.  It’s basically being made into Trayvon Martin’s fault because he went outside wearing a hoodie when it was cold at night.  He was probably really weirded out by a strange man following him for awhile.  He was probably REALLY concerned when that same man got out of his car and approached him, or when they approached each other.

Instead of being concerned with the dead teenager who was probably scared shitless in the last minutes of his life, we have people like Geraldo Rivera saying not to let Latino or African-American males walk around wearing hoodies.  He quite literally said, “the hoodie is as much to blame for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman.”  REALLY?!  Ugh.

I realize as a white American woman I have a bit of privilege behind me, I don’t deny it and I try to be aware of it.  However I think a lot of people are missing the point – regardless of who felt threatened, why don’t we let this come out in a court of law?  If Mr. Zimmerman and his friends and family are going to protest on behalf of his innocence, do it where it really will matter.  Get the acquittal and then get help for that itchy trigger finger.

I’m really mad about this, and I think it’s an important conversation we need to have.  I’m not against responsible gun ownership, I’m not out to infringe on one’s right to own or carry or use a gun.  I think, though, if you shoot someone, and especially if it’s a mortal wound and they die, you should go to court.  If you’re innocent, let the evidence show it.


Are Your “Buts” Making You An A-Hole?

So hey, I recently discovered some websites that give me a lot of feelings.  Some of these feelings are akin to, “OKAY REALLY PEOPLE, REALLY?!”, while others are closer to inarticulate rage that makes me want to throw heavy and sharp objects at the person who said the thing.

What, might you ask, gives me these kind of feelings?

I’m Not Racist But…

I’m Not Sexist But…

I’m Not Homophobic But…

There are some really ridiculous human beings out there, folks.  And what’s really funny is that these websites are full of people who can’t seem to grow up and come face-to-face with their own prejudices and feelings that are racist, that are homophobic, and that are sexist.

There are a lot of other statements that get made in everyday use that don’t have this prejudicial slant to them.  You’ve all heard them, you probably hear them on a regular basis and now you won’t ever un-hear them.  Have you ever heard anyone start a sentence with, “Now don’t take this the wrong way, but…”?

I hear that ALL THE TIME.  And you know what’s funny?  The person who leads off that way almost always says something really horrible.  In fact, I’m usually left wondering whether there is a right way to take some comments that start with “Don’t take this the wrong way, but”.  Seriously, all it’s doing is excusing your rude behavior!  This is a good way to sound like a major a-hole.

The other phrase I hear is, “No offense, but…” which is, like the above phrase, a precursor to something really offensive.  Saying this phrase before something is kind of ridiculous.  It’s not a safety blanket that absolves you of whatever douchey thing you’re about to say.

My last, extremely least-favorite phrase of all time is, “I’m sorry, but…”  You’re not sorry.  You’re not even remotely sorry.  Don’t even.

I’m not a stranger to these sort of feelings.  I’m in no way excusing racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, ageist, or whatever-ist thoughts.  Part of the reason I liked reading the websites I linked to above is that, in some instances I see thoughts that I have had.  I’m not proud of that by any means, it just goes to show that even though I’m wonderful, I’m certainly not perfect.  The difference is that I have worked pretty hard to not make excuse statements before I say something or have a thought.

My advice in this instance is to stop it right now.  Just stop it.  Stop qualifying your statements to make yourself feel better.  If you weren’t a bit racist/sexist/homophobic in some way, those thoughts and feelings would not be around.  The trick is to grow up and confront those feelings.  The best plan of attack I can give you is to stop and think about what you’re thinking.  If you would a) never say it out loud or b) never think it without the disclaimer at the beginning, then it’s a problem.

I have a lot of feelings about these things, obviously.  Just please try not to be a douchebag.


WHOA

Hey everybody, thanks to you guys wanting more of my fabulous advice, I just broke 2,000 all-time views on this little blog!

That’s pretty spectacular, and I’m really really flattered.

You know what else is awesome?  Suggestions!  Don’t panic, I have some posts coming up, but if you have questions or suggestions or you just want to say “hello”, leave a comment or email me directly at gaygirladvice (at) gmail.com

Really, from the bottom of my heart, thanks for reading this.