Monthly Archives: May 2012

Don and Joan from Mad Men sitting in a bar together.

“Why didn’t you ever send any flowers?” “You scared the shit out of me.”

Dear Captain Awkward,

I hope you and your army of awesome readers can help me! I’m 28 and I find myself in the awkward position of getting divorced and simultaneously losing my best friend. Long story short, I was also dating my best friend and we broke up so she can go back to her Darth Vader Husband. I’m really hurting, but I know that I created a lot of my hurt by my own choices because I was blinded by happy pants-feelings and my own need to fix/nuture the people in my life.

What I need help with is this: I have a long history of picking people in my life who need fixing. Specifically, I meet and quickly become close friends with beautiful, intelligent, articulate women who either have relationships with Darth Vaders or end up having relationships with Darth Vaders. And I’m talking baby daddy doesn’t have a job and gives you a curfew and tells you how to spend your money (uses your paycheck to buy pot, etc) and maybe hits you Darth Vaders. I then keep my mouth shut for months (years) attempting to keep the peace because I care for these women a great deal and value their friendship. Eventually though, I end up telling them how I feel about their partners because I get so frustrated with the situation. Then, my friend inevitably leaves me because her relationship with her Darth Vader is more important to her.

Okay, so I probably should keep my opinions about other peoples’ relationships to myself, and if I’m not going to I should use my words instead of building it all up. But this is my question, how do I find people who don’t have exceptionally dysfunctional relationships? Is that even possible? Because while I’m rebuilding my life (I tend to have only a few close friends and my friend tally is very low right now), I’m hoping to invest in some relationships that have staying power. I don’t want to lose a friend in 3 or 5 years because she likes to date assholes. And even more importantly than that, how do I stop picking people who need fixing? Are there signs? Like big neon flashing ones that say “broken and in need of a codependent relationship” so that I can avoid or keep at arms length?

I’ve lost two friends to Darth Vaders in the past year, and I don’t know how many more losses of friends I can take. And when I start dating again, I’d really like to have a better way to determine if the person I’m dating is capable of being my partner not my project. Also, is it me? Am I just that fucked up and I don’t even know it? Are there really that many Darth Vaders in the world?


Keeping company with Darth Vader’s wife

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Both Bingley and Jane are like, “OMG OMG OMG TOUCHING! YAY!”

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m afraid my question is a little on the vague and general side.
I feel like Jane Bennet, whose “feelings, though fervent, were little displayed.” I just don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, and for the most part I’m very happy to be that way. But I think it’s been a problem for my intimate relationships. Three or four people I’ve dated have said I seemed unenthusiastic about them, especially in the early stages of the relationship, even though, in actual fact, I was very excited about them. The first couple of times this was said to me, it was in the context of ” . . . and so I didn’t think you would mind when I started dating someone else instead” and I figured it was a self-serving excuse and/or projection. But it’s been said since then, in less ambiguous circumstances, and I feel like I shouldn’t brush it off.
I’m newly single, so this issue has been on my mind as I think about starting to date new people. But I don’t know quite what to do. Using my words seems appropriate, except I have no idea what words to say. I was intrigued by Commander Logic’s recent suggestion about practicing being positively assertive – I’m good at being assertive in other areas, so this seems like something I could work on and something that would be useful in making me a little less reserved. I would love to get some more suggestions.
To be clear, I don’t plan to go full-on Charlotte Lucas and display feelings I don’t actually have. I just hate the thought that my gentleman callers have been feeling unappreciated. There’s a lot of dating advice out there telling people how to play it cool – what can I do to play it a little hotter?
Cold Face, Warm Heart
Darth Vader holding out a Shiner Bock, source: Hungry In Houston

Do not date this man, even if he offers you your favorite beer. Source: Hungry in Houston.

Hi Captain,

I’m in a sucky situation. I’m in love with one of my friends and he doesn’t treat me very well – even as a friend.
I started seeing him very shortly after the end of a very long, serious relationship. I said “this has to be casual, don’t ask me what we are or where this is going, OK?” and he didn’t. Some time went by, we were seeing each other a lot, sleeping together, hanging out at his house – it was great. And then I found my feelings for him were actually pretty strong.

This is a follow-up to this post:

Velociraptor coming through a curtain or tent.

Velociraptor bride: Still v. bitey

Dear Captain Awkward:

First of all, I want to thank you and your commenters SO MUCH for being such kick-ass human beings and providing so much support and insight into the situation when I was so blind to what was going on. If I could, I’d invite you all to a rad internet BBQ and not make you bring your own booze.

The advice you and your commenters gave was wonderful, but I unfortunately can’t follow it now because:

1) Marla and her boyfriend got engaged right after I sent you the first letter, and she had asked me to be her maid of honor a very long time ago.

2) I’ve been trying to have a conversation with Marla about how she’s been treating me because the slow-fade tactic just isn’t cutting it, what with the wedding taking place this summer. Part of me wants to repair our friendship, but a large part of me never wants to see these terrible people again.

3) Every time I try and talk to Marla alone, she either flakes out on plans or brings her boyfriend. I don’t want to have this conversation with him there! It’s getting really infuriating because I’ll show up the restaurant/coffee shop we’ve agreed to meet at, call her to see why she’s late, and she’ll say “Oh, yeah, I’ve just been cuddling and watching TV with boyfriend, I don’t really feel like going out. But soon, ok? Bye!”

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Dear Captain Awkward,

Here is my problem. I made a bunch of friends when I was in my 20s. Then, when I was 30, I went back to school to finish my BA, and because my GPA from my first round of college was so very low I told all my friends I was going to have to really concentrate on school because I had to get all As in order to raise my GPA up high enough to qualify for the professional program I wanted to attend after school. (Long, tangential story about the GPA – please accept that I really did need to get all As.)

I spent three years as an undergrad, then two years as a grad student, then one year in the professional program, and now I am finishing my first year in my new career. I love my career. I love my job. It is everything I ever wanted. I was also highly successful at school, was published, got awards and fellowships, and basically rocked academia.

My friends all left. I didn’t have time to maintain my friendships, but I had assumed we were all adult enough that they would understand why I wasn’t around as much and would still invite me to do things with them once I was free again. This hasn’t happened. I now hear about all the crafting circles I’m not invited to, the dinners, the fun events, etc. I have hinted and then pointedly told people I’m available again and even though they all swear they’re still my friends, I don’t get the invites.

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David Tennant as the 10th Doctor Who, looking full of mischief and charm.

Take a lesson from the Doctor, and choose only awesome people to ride in your TARDIS.

Dear Captain Awkward,

I have become convinced that I am turning into a cold, emotionless robot a la Britta-Bot if you’re into Community (<3)

Anyways. I ended my last serious relationship about a year ago, and since then I’ve been on a few first dates with some pretty cool people (or so i thought?). These dates have all gone down the same way: we get dinner/see a movie/get coffee and I get the feeling like we’re hitting it off really well and I can really see myself seeing the person again; they awkwardly invite themselves back my place for a drink, and eventually they make a move or start trying to bring sex into the conversation. At this point, I go on red alert and a voice in my head goes “ABORT ABORT ABORT” and I basically shove them out the door.

I did sleep with one woman, but neither of us really wanted to go on a second date. I still talk to a couple of the people who I kicked out of my apartment, and even after very frank conversations with them about how I want to be just friends, they would come over and start hitting on me again! One “friend” kept trying to touch my butt, and another kept “jokingly” offering up graphic sex acts in return for simple favors like sharing my onion rings. I started ignoring their texts/phone calls/emails/facebook invites. I’d rather spend all my time alone than spend an evening trying to awkwardly fend off uncomfortable advances. I’m just really bummed because it seems like these are the only people who are interested in me at all, but I feel more emotions listening to 80’s music than I felt on any of these dates. Is my friend-dar broken?

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In linkmania and internet fame news, Proffitt from Good Girls Gone Geek interviews me about this here site today.

And now, a question.

Hey Cap’,

I’ve wound up in a rather unpleasant business arrangement, and I was hoping for some advice on disentangling myself from it.

To summarize: For the past 2 years my sister and I have been the regular babysitters for a single mom (we’ll call her Jen). She only has one kid, and the pay isn’t bad (though definitely less than we make at other sits), but over time things started to get weird. There were some major warning signs, but I was naïve enough to brush them off.

Warning sign 1) Jen started getting us tangled up in the custody dispute with her ex. Turns out he’d been under investigation from child protective services for neglect, and she wanted me to report anything her son had told me while I was sitting. Things got even worse when she dropped her son off for a babysit one day, and warned me her ex might come looking for him. She told me I should “lock my doors and hide in the basement if he shows up.” Naturally, I was pretty freaking appalled that she dumped that on me and expected me to roll with it!

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