Dear Me: Review the Rules Edition

Posted on October 11, 2010


Dear C_girl,

I am a 35-year-old single woman.  Until October of 2009, I hadn’t been on a date for over six years.  Now, I’ve been dating a guy for ten months.  He is recently divorced and pretty emotionally damaged from it.  I think I love him, but he treats me like I barely exist most of the time.  In all of these months, I have never met anyone in his life, no friends, no family, and that includes his kids.  He has never told me he loves me…I don’t think he’s ever even told me he liked me.  He rarely spends the night.  We’ve broken up twice over his refusal to stop seeing other people, but I always miss him so much that I pull things back together.

Our first date was magical, and our first kiss was like nothing I’ve felt since I was a hormonal 14-year-old.  In the beginning, he was very sweet and we had some really amazing times together–oh, Snowpocalypse, you lovely interlude–but it’s been downhill since about April.  I feel like I spend all my time thinking about things that might make him happy, twisting myself around and around to find a shape he’ll like, and he only thinks about me when I’m right in front of his face (almost certainly doing something that I have suggested and then planned.)

We had plans to hang out today, and I waited all day for him to call and firm things up.  (I always do it, and I’m trying to wait and let him be the initiator more.) I had bought a new outfit, gotten a pedicure, plucked and waxed, and cleaned my house–my usual routine.  Finally, at 6 p.m., I texted him (even though I spent the whole day swearing to myself that I wouldn’t.)  He said that he had a cold and had been napping…when he finally replied, over an hour later.  Basically, he was going to stand me up without ever getting in touch with me.  So instead of spending this amazingly beautiful day picking apples and then cuddling on the couch drinking cider, as I had envisioned, I spent it waiting, fuming, reaching out after I swore I wouldn’t, and then sobbing heartbrokenly for hours.  All in all, sunny Sunday fail!

My question is, what am I doing wrong?  How can I make this work?


Dear Me,

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.


You need to be moved up to the top of the self-esteem transplant waiting list, because yours has obviously failed entirely.  Why would you let someone treat you like this for longer than it takes to find a cab ride home?  I have a strong feeling you’re leaving out the worst and most degrading parts, too.  I guess it’s a good sign that you still have the sense to protect yourself somewhat.

Leave him.  Yesterday.  Stop wasting your time and hurting the cause of single women everywhere; for every one of us who lets a man treat her badly, that’s one more man who never learns that it’s not okay to treat people badly.  Did you really call him to make sure he wasn’t angry at you after you pointed out that standing you up is rude and got no response?  Really?  (You left that part out of your letter, but I am omniscient.)

Let’s review the rules:

1.  If someone wants to see you, he will.
2.  People tell you who they are; believe them.
3.  You can’t fix people, even if you want to with all your heart.

You need to date yourself for a while.  (And I don’t even mean that in a dirty way, but I suppose that too.)  If you spent half as much time worrying about your life as you do about this boy, just think what you could accomplish.  What would you tell a friend in a similar situation?  You’d stage an intervention, for god’s sake.

And I know I don’t even need to mention your ovaries.  Tick fucking tock, sweetie.

As a general guideline, when your situation is so ridiculously, humiliatingly bad that you can no longer go to your friends for counsel but are forced to turn to questionable online sources, it’s time to make some serious changes.

You know better than this, don’t you?  If not, fake it ’til you make it, baby.


P.S.  You really, really, need to find a new shrink while you have the fortitude to dial a phone…and the way things are going, that’s a limited time proposition.