Today’s random topics – dogs, the Halo Effect, Helen of Troy.
Recently, I took home yet another stray dog. He was running into traffic and looking for trouble, so it was easy to tell myself I was doing the right thing. I like to think of myself as a dog humanitarian (dogitarian?). The truth is, I’m just massively impulsive. I usually do the first thing that occurs to me without thinking about the consequences. Unfortunately, I’m just smart enough to come up with lots of justifications for my impulses. Which makes me a lot like you, and Helen of Troy.
Sidetracking a bit from the theme of “why don’t men call,” you had recently referred to a “certain psychological itch that needs to be scratched” (having something to do with women who are attracted to men who don’t call).
Here’s my question: What advice do you have for an attractive, intelligent woman who has been to therapy and, on an intellectual level, understands completely the root of her certain psychological itch that causes her to again and again fall for men who make her life a living hell? How does this woman, who understands completely that her poignant ache has little to do with the man whom she is currently pinning away for, finally begin to find love that makes her happy?
Grateful for your insight,
Inertia. Inertia is the problem and inertia is the solution. Inertia and will-power. God, I hate that word, but it’s true. You have a bad habit, one that millions of us share. Namely, you are attracted to the wrong people. The most difficult part of giving up any bad habit is the beginning. That’s when you need the most will-power. Once you have a beginning, then you start to create a new habit. Then, after much time, you will have inertia working on your side. But like most bad habits, attraction has a powerful hold over our minds.
“As a fletcher makes straight his arrow, a wise man makes straight his trembling and unsteady thought, which is difficult to guard, difficult to hold back…
It is good to tame the mind, which is often difficult to hold in and flighty, rushing wherever it listeth; a tamed mind brings happiness.”
Personally, I have no control over my mind. My mind is like a classroom full of five-year-olds with guns and liquor. Still, I think ol’ Buddha has the right idea. In the final analysis, we can only control ourselves. Which is good, because it’s wrong to control other people and it usually makes them cranky.
I had a really good female friend, that at first I had no desire toward, but as we got to know each other the more I wanted her. I was not sure as to how to approach this, so I just came out and told her how I felt. I now recognize this as the bad “Stu” move that it was. When she told me she did not want to risk the friendship, I told her I need some space from her. That was in January and I have not spoken to her since. Is there a way to worm my way back into her life without becoming a friend again? Continue reading
1) Why don’t they call when they say they’re going to call?
2) My semi/non-boyfriend & I have a treaty whereby we each have the option of seeing other people. The problem is this: he casually mentions other women (e.g. having lunch with them) but doesn’t say anything about who they are or if such encounters are dates. And this is not in the normal flow of conversation — he definitely brings up these incidents on his own initiative.
The prevailing theory is he’s baiting me to see how I’ll react, possibly because he’s insecure about my feelings for him. So far, I’ve given no reaction nor requested further details (my view is the only way the treaty will work is if we proceed with willful blindness as to the other’s activities). I like him but we’re not ready to be exclusive (thus, the treaty). Why do you think he does this and what, if anything, do I do about it? Sure, I could just ask him, but that would be far too healthy.
– Dazed and Confused
Let’s start with the first question, which is older than the pyramids. Back in cave man times, after a caveguy and a cavechick slept together, the caveguy would say, “I’ll leave you a cave drawing, and let you know when we can get together again.” The cavechick would check the cave walls for days, but no cave drawing would appear. Finally, weeks later, she would find a cave drawing of some wooly mammoth being chased by a bunch of guys with spears. She would then try to deconstruct the meaning of the cave drawing (much like modern day archaeologists). The actual meaning of the cave drawing is, “I’m gonna be hanging with my friends, chasing water buffalo.” What does this have to do with your question? I’m not entirely sure, but I think there must be some connection.
The italicized phrase above your email address says, “Do you have burning philosophical questions about love and relationships?”, which implies that you might respond, or at least be deeply touched.
So here’s my question, “what is up about love and money?” No, that’s too advanced, let’s begin with one of my simpler burning questions, “what is up with love?” People ask you out, smile a lot and gaze into your eyes. You spend New Years together, plan a joint vacation, and move in together… and then– boom, they don’t like the way you cut vegetables for shish-kebobs, they don’t think you’re upholding your end of maintaining the house (especially the guest bathroom), and they think you are too intimate with your best friend. They wish you would exercise more and then they start leaving quarter-glasses of orange juice around to dry up. Finally, they stop thinking it’s so important to let you know when they’ll be working late and they start hogging the covers. Why do we do that?
Next time we can talk about love and money.
Recently, my editor told me that my column needed to be edgier, and not so “Hallmark Cardy”. So, allow me to give you an edgy answer; people ask you out, act nice, then get you to move in with them because they smoke crack and gamble, and they’re hoping that you’ll pay for their drug habit and their debts.
Now for the Hallmark Cardy answer – I think people fall in love with the idea of love and not necessarily with an actual person. An actual person smells and leaves things lying around the house. Unfortunately, I think we get many of our ideas about what a relationship is supposed to be from television and movies, which generally suck. (I know, everybody says that, but it’s true, so back off).
In movie relationships, the obstacle to love is usually something like, ‘your father is a gangster and my father is a cop.’ In real life, the big obstacles are, ‘I haven’t accepted my own faults, so your faults bug the shit out of me,’ or, ‘I didn’t get the reinforcement I needed from my family as a child, so I need you to make up for twenty years of neglect?’ Continue reading
I’ve been friends with a man for around 2 years. I had a boyfriend until the last couple months, so we haven’t been more than friends (even though I suspected he would be interested in more). We have just recently begun to think about anything else. We know each other well enough to know that we aren’t good long-term partners for each other and yet we like each other a lot. He suggested casual sex, continuing to have fun and hang out, but both of us would still be looking for something more suitable.
Does this seem like a waste of energy that would be better put to use by waiting for Mr. Right and getting on with my life and doing something less emotionally volatile with my time? I don’t really think casual sex is possible in a relationship that lasts for any amount of time, you either decide you don’t really like this person or you decide you do, either way, it isn’t casual anymore. And what about our friendship? That could end up going down in flames. If fooling around with your friends is such a good idea why don’t people do it more often?
Please sign me,
It is a waste of energy and you should get on with your life, unless…
A) You have incredible, mind-blowing, red-hot monkey sex.
B) You have mediocre sex, but you die before you ever get a chance to meet Mr. Right.
C) You are incredibly attractive and your friend is me.
Otherwise, let me tell you why it’s probably a bad idea to fool around with your friend. Continue reading
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Do you have burning philosophical questions about love and relationships? Ask Steve: firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve (Duncan North) is a teacher, writer, relationship counselor and founder of the International Beach Party. Steve studied philosophy and mathematics at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In 2000, Sony Pictures Classics released The Tao of Steve, a film inspired by his life and philosophy. His work includes (and is entirely limited to) a romantic advice column (The Tao of Love), some magazine articles, two screenplays (The Tao of Steve, Hell Can Wait) and numerous apology notes.