Milked and honey
Q: My girlfriend of two years just left me, saying she’d fallen out of love. Prior to leaving, she moved into my condo as part of our long-term plan to buy a house together.
She insisted on many renovations, and I went along to make her happy. I put in $5,000, we borrowed $15,000 from my grandmother, and we both signed a contract to pay her back. Now she’s gone, with $800 she cleaned out of our joint account, I’m up to my eyeballs in debt, and she refuses to pay. I’m being forced to sell the condo. To make matters worse, she confessed she’d had doubts about the relationship before moving in — although she never voiced them; she just demanded expensive home improvements! But, this is all background. My problem is my friends, who met my ex through me. They know what happened, but tell me I have to get used to her being around because they intend to keep inviting her to parties. So, are these people really my friends? They speak words of friendship, but don’t back them up.
A: You lost your love, you’re losing your condo, and Granny’s sending over two thugs to break your legs if she doesn’t get her money or a great-grandchild by the first of the month. Your friends feel really bad for you — just not bad enough to drag themselves out of the booth where they’re drinking appletinis with your ex, who’s got everybody in stitches with her stories of condo construction hell.
You approach love with the hopeless optimism of a degenerate gambler. You threw money you didn’t have at a relationship you must’ve sensed wouldn’t last, like treating it as a sure thing would make it one. In our e-mail exchange, you admitted that this girl had never shown much interest in anyone else’s needs, including yours, and even neglected her cat. Hellooo, life partner! You also said she owes $40K on credit cards, $50K on student loans, and makes only $40K a year. Yes, here’s a woman who has "great credit risk" written all over her...collection agency notices that come in the mail every day.
Of course, when a couple breaks up, their friends are sometimes lobbied so hard by both partners that they find it hard to figure out the real story, or they think it isn’t their place to get in the middle. But, this wasn’t a case of "We had communication issues" or "We were just brought up differently." She robbed you. There isn’t a lot of nuance in that to parse. So, in addition to a love who didn’t act all that loving, it seems you have friends who act like acquaintances. There’s a common denominator here, and it’s you — a guy who’d rather not divide the people in his life into their proper categories: those who’ll go to the ends of the earth for you and those who won’t cross the living room.
You can have real love and real friends — if you’re honest about who’s there for you and who’s just there. Friends are people you can count on, anytime, anywhere, for ransom or bail. The rest are just warm bodies you bump into with some regularity. Sure, you call them friends — but only because "Meet my friend Bob" is snappier and sounds nicer than "This is Bob, who really has nothing to say to me, so he sends me Internet forwards threatening me with seven years of bad luck unless I forward this to 10 more idiots."
Legs Wide Crossed
Q: I've gone on more dates with this girl than I've ever had with any other girl. I've always gone out for drinks, then to a girl's place or mine for no-strings-attached sex. When I make moves on this girl, she pulls away, saying, "It's too soon." I feel our dates have been a waste. I'm ready for a relationship, and like her enough, but I'm not sure how much longer I can play the dating game without sex.
A: You clearly have a sex deadline and it's somewhere around the five Jack 'n Cokes mark. What's with the extension for this girl? Are you really ready for a relationship or just not ready to admit there was one that got away, and with nary a button undone? For a guy who's been on more dates with her (what, two?) than anybody he's been with, you're pretty clueless about her motivation. So what is she waiting for? Commitment, a wedding, the cows to come home? You'd better tease it out of her fast so you can decide whether you'd best be on your way. As much as you say you like her, a woman who's saving it for marriage makes a poor partner for a guy who's saving it for the alley behind the bar.
© 2009 Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.
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