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The October Project: Search Terms

Every month I try to answer the questions people typed into search engines to find this place as if they were questions people asked me. I add punctuation, but I leave the text alone.

1. “Ex no longer contacts me.”

If you have shared custody or financial entanglements, this is a problem. If you don’t, this is probably a healthy evolution of things that means that time is doing its healing work.

2. “Nerdy desperate dating problems.”

You’re probably in the right place. Start here.

3. “I want to hang out with my ex because I’m bored.”

That is not a good reason. Probably you should call literally anyone else.

4. “He says he wants space. What does he mean?” & “What does he mean when he says he can’t give me what I want?”

Statements like this are very often a preludes to a breakup, or a break, or a request to hang out less, or a request to take the relationship down a level in terms of seriousness and time together. Whatever the person telling you intends, a good message to take away from statements like this is that you are being asked or warned to invest less of yourself in whatever this thing is. Don’t make big plans with this person, like, getting a place together or moving closer to them or adopting a pet. Reach out to people in your life who are not this person, and put your energy into other friendships and connections.

5. “Uncle touch breasts petting the cat on my lap.”

There are accidental touches, and then there are touches that might be bad touches (and you know because they make you uncomfortable and they make you type things like that into search engines). If it happens again, this is one of those times to visibly startle, yelp, say “HEY!” and stand up and maybe the cat will end up sort of on your uncle’s face. Someone who touched you totally by accident will be sheepish and embarrassed and never, ever, ever do it again. You’ll know a creeper because he will try to shame you for making a big deal, as if you are the one in the wrong. I give you full permission to make a SCENE. 

6. “I feel cheated on when friend wants new friends.”

That is a sucky feeling and it is really hard to just sit with it and deal with it without making it your friend’s problem, but if you are an adult and you want to keep this friendship, that is what I suggest you do. There is no script for “I wish you wouldn’t hang out with other people without me” that sounds good. Be really nice to yourself, find an outlet for those feelings like a journal or a therapist, and give it some time.

7. “I fuck goats.”

I do not think the goats enjoy that, like, at all. NO BUENO.

8. “Terrible names to call your sister.”

You should probably leave your sister alone and just go your separate ways rather than name-calling, but the Shakespeare Insult Kit is kind of fun.

9. “Once a rapist always a rapist?”

Statistically speaking, yeah. Rapists rape repeatedly.

10. I have a gay boyfriend but I keep masturbating. 

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. It’s not cheating. It’s not wrong.

11. “What does it mean when a man says he doesn’t want you but he doesn’t want anyone else to have you.”

It means that this is someone you should avoid, completely, forever. This is such a shithead thing to say.

12. “Its my husband’s responsibility to clean his poo stain.”

Is he physically able to do this? If so, you’ll get no argument from me.

13. “I feel guilty for breaking a blind date.”

Forgive yourself. You didn’t want to meet that person.

14. “You know she wants to have sex just need to say the right thing.”

The “right thing” probably is to ask “Do you want to have sex?” and see if “she” answers “yes.” Then you’ll know, and you’ll have said the “right thing” to find out.

15. “How to politely, firmly stop attending club meetings due to physical disabilities.”

Email the organizer. “Hi _____, I wanted to let you know that won’t be at club meetings for the forseeable future, so please don’t plan on me. I’ve got some (personal/health/other priorities/whatever you are comfortable sharing, keeping in mind that you don’t need to give a reason) taking my attention right now, I’ll let you know if anything changes. Thanks for all you do!”

Then you don’t need to reply to anything, and you don’t need to go.

16. “What does it mean when she says when and if the time is right we will meet?”

She may want to meet someday, but she does not want to meet either “now” or “soon” or “anytime that is actually planned out and committed to on an actual calendar.”

17. “What kind of question to seduce a female?”

A female what?

P.S. Don’t call women that. It’s dehumanizing and gross.

18. “Is it bad to break up with someone after a week?”

Is waiting gonna make it better? “I am so sorry, I am not feeling it, and we should break this off.” Set yourself and that person free.

19. “He says no relationship but he acts like he is into me.”

Believe the words and get some distance from him. If he changes his mind, he knows how to find you and how to tell you about that, but I’d hate to see you hanging around waiting for that to happen.

20. “Captain Awkward, how do I get my ex back?”

You reach out once to say “Ex, would you be willing to give it another try?” and then you abide 100% by whatever they tell you, is my suggestion. No guarantees, but this one approach is at least honest, respectful, and will get you an answer without wasting a lot of your time.

 

 

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91 comments
  1. Yeine said:

    The goats comment made Nahadoth and I laugh an unreasonable amount.

    • JenniferP said:

      Leave the goats alone!

      • Tehanu said:

        I’m a bit stymied as to how that combination of words ended up landing on this site! Beh, as the goats might say.

        • Season said:

          I came down here to wonder the exact same thing. How in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster did GOATFUCKING lead someone HERE? Were they on like the 5,000th page of their Google search? I can’t recall any letters about goats….I am so confused! Why, and NO, and what? what? what?

          • Lily said:

            Well, there was a post with lots of goats, one time.

          • DameB said:

            “Goatfucker” is my favorite medium-core, one-word insult. (Yes, of course I have categorized all my favorite insults. Why do you ask?) It might work for #8. It’s got a lot of good hard consonants and can be snarled in anger or drawn out in contempt, making it flexible as well as surprising.

      • Marna Nightingale said:

        (He whispers in Humphrey ‘s ear.)
        HUMPHREY. That’s not funny. THOMAS. Not funny for the goats.

    • Itempas said:

      I’m tempted to disagree just to be contrary, but no, ew. I kind of wonder what kind of response they were hoping for from Google though…

      • JenniferP said:

        I am sure there are websites out there that welcome goatfuckers with open arms. This is not one of them. I can live with that.

        • you mean to tell me you’d banhammer aberforth dumbledore?

    • Username and (cat? SO?)name love. Those books are amazing.

  2. Victoria said:

    “You know she wants to have sex just need to say the right thing.”

    It disturbes me sometimes how rape-y some of the search terms are. Thank God they are finding the Captain and not some lad mag. I really hope this person read around the site and reconsidered just how they ‘know’ she want to have sex.

    • paddlepickle said:

      Am I a bad person for kind of wanting to suggest he try “Abracadabra!”?

        • Victoria said:

          Alohomora!

          • kilran said:

            “Expecto Pantonum!”

            It is creepy and rapey and I have unfortunately heard a disturbingly large number of awkward nerdy CIS het males say similar things.

            I think it is the same pool of people who can evolve like Pokémon into Nice Guys: the sort of people who don’t really understand women or ascribe them any kind of agency.

            They see girls they like dating dudes they don’t and can’t understand it. Rather than trying to actually understand or learn about women, they try to bypass all that and learn a cheat code.

            Only women aren’t an Xbox game and don’t come with achievements to unlock.

          • Anna Sthetic said:

            Oompa Thoompa Stick-It-Up-Your-Jumper! (The standard line used by the guy who did all the local kids parties when I was little…)

            Side note: something about the phrasing makes me think it might be a woman. From experience, there’s a definite thing where some women assume that because another woman is queer-identified she DEFINITELY WANTS TO SLEEP WITH THEM, and if she says otherwise she is lying and can be persuaded to admit the truth by some particular combination of words and personal space invasion.

            Not sure how useful it is to speculate, but it’s maybe useful to remember that this isn’t an exclusively male behaviour? I know that it took me a long time to view this behaviour as unacceptable even if it comes from women, because Women Can’t Be Creepy, Right?

          • winter said:

            Anna Sthetic: I agree. I also don’t see any point in ascribing it to cis males. Trans people can be assholes too.

      • Light said:

        “Accio Pants!”

    • meekbookworm said:

      I was curious and copied this one into google (not brave enough to try the goats). Captain Awkward’s #231 was the first response! Don’t care for the other first page options google provided, but at least none of them led to PUA land.

  3. attica said:

    Ugh to creepy Uncle Bad Touch. Here’s hoping the cat is not declawed and can be thus deployed.

    • Nashira said:

      Declawed cats will bite, and usually still have back claws. I learned this from our cat, who had been declawed before she wound up at the pound after being found outdoors. She likes to give love nips and wrestle with our feet when we step over her.

      Seriously folks, do not declaw cats. It’s inhumane and wrong.

      • I’ve never met anyone who had a declawed cat – not heard of it either. I don’t think it’s a New Zealand kind of thing to do, but I admit to trimming my cats’ claws when they are a bit sharp.

        But back to the creepy touching dude, I have had that in my past too. More than a few times – it’s like I have a flashing neon sign over me saying – Pervo’s welcome! I wish I had had the courage to say “Hey what are you touching me for?” or something like that really loudly, but I just grit my teeth and let it happen while feeling sick inside.

        • hrovitnir said:

          No, it’s illegal here. Declawing involves removing down to the first joint of each phalange/toe, so the claws can’t grow back. Not. Cool.

  4. #14: Do these dudes think women are like sphinxes or other mythological creatures?
    “Speak to me a riddle I have not heard and can not solve, mortal man, and you will kindle in my loins a desire only you can satisfy.”

    It’s the same old bullshit of looking for cheat codes, passwords, or One Weird Old Trick vs. remembering that women are PEOPLE.

    #11: That sounds like something a person says before they try to kill or seriously injure you. I hope this person can get away and be safe. 😦

    • yeah, really.

      That means Run, Run Far, Run Fast, and Tell Literally All Your Friends and Family What That Dude Said So If You Turn Up Dead Everyone Points Fingers At Him.

    • Yes, at the very least it means he’s selfish and lazy.You can’t call dibs on people. Good news: he’s revealed how un-dateable he is.

      • You know what it’s like? A dog with a treat they aren’t really into. Some dogs will refuse a treat and drop it because it’s not interesting to them, but if ANOTHER DOG comes up with interest, they’ll growl or snap or eat the treat out of spite, just to keep the other dog from enjoying it.

        • Anandatic said:

          That’s an interesting example, though I’m not sure I feel entirely comfortable with it, since it’s taking an instance of someone trying to take away a woman’s agency, and replacing her with a passive object in the comparison. I like that it reflects on the selfish person who says “I don’t want you, but I don’t want you to be with anyone else” and (quite aptly!) compares them to a dog, but I’m not sure about the rest of it.

          I may be reading a bit much into it, but maybe we can find another comparison? 🙂

          • JenniferP said:

            What alternative would YOU suggest? 🙂

          • shantih said:

            I think it’s a completely apt analogy, actually. The woman is only a passive object without agency or power in the eyes of the possessive man/dog here, not in reality. The analogy describes his attitude, nothing else; it shows his limitations, not hers. In my opinion, of course!

          • In my mind, someone with that “I don’t want anyone else to have you” mentality has *already* replaced a person with a passive object, and to me that’s part of the problem!
            I certainly don’t see women as rawhide chews to be hoarded, but I suspect there are a lot of creepy dudes who do.

        • My dog once took a treat from me at the dog park, dropped it on the ground, and peed all over it. That’s what it makes me think of. I’m not going to eat it, and neither can anyone else!

  5. I went to Dr. Bad Touch, DDS once. When I told him I wouldn’t be back due to all the “accidental” brushes, he said, “Oh I can’t believe I’d do a thing like that!”

    wtf barely covers that response.

    • I once knew someone to refuse to talk about a thing they did because they weren’t “the kind of person that would do that.” WTF, person, you did the thing, clearly you’re the kind of person that would do it, whatever kind of person that is.

      • Ugh. This is my mother, all the damn time. “Oh, I wouldn’t do that.” Except you did. Just now. Not even ten seconds ago.

        It reminds me of Groot and Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy. “No, I just saw you do it…why are you lying?”

        • I saw a really awesome tweet from Cliff Pervocracy which really applies to this situation: “‘I’m not the sort of person who does that’ is what people say when they can’t truthfully say ‘I didn’t do that.'”

          • Courtney said:

            No. You’re the sort who does it AND THEN lies about it.

        • my mother, also. *sigh* of course i want to believe you didn’t *intend* to completely undermine and belittle your daughters with your comments, but since we’ve had this same conversation pretty much every time the family is together over the last few years, i think it’s time to start accepting that you *are* a person who says such things(anyone else who happens to be in the room usually gasps in horror). so stop with the “but i’m a caring person, i would never do that!!” defense. just say you’re sorry without making it a referendum on your niceness as a person/mother.

          • Fish said:

            *slow, serious clapping*

      • Since I never had another dentist who could only get to my teeth via my mammaries, either he’s a liar or really really bad at dentistry, and either way no one I never needed to see again.

    • AJB said:

      I got that the other day on OKC. I’m only on there to meet local people for friendship, and a guy messaged me from another state. I reiterated what it said in my profile and he gave me this whole how-dare-you-missy speech (missy???) and I thought that was that…except he sent another message like a week or two later, I guess forgetting who I was. I told him about our previous conversation and how he ended it and he said “I think you’re thinking of someone else, I wouldn’t do that” but the rest of the sentence went “unless you provoked it.”

      • Kootiepatra said:

        I wish there was some kind of PSA that we could circulate to teach everyone, everywhere: “Being ‘provoked’ is no excuse for doing Bad Things.”

        Being really, really sad is not an excuse to treat people like crap. Being really, really angry is not an excuse to get violent or threatening. Not even if the anger or sadness is completely justified.

    • I had to have the “stop touching my butt–no, I know you didn’t do it on purpose, this or the other three times you’ve done it today. Start making an effort to not do it by accident” conversation with a coworker. In front of our other coworkers. Very awkward. Never would have done it without the Awkward Army spiritually at my back.

      It worked, too. 🙂

      • JenniferP said:

        Well played!

        Had a similar talk with an ex-coworker who kept “forgetting” to zip his fly and then would stand by my cube talking. Every single day: “Hey, your fly is unzipped.” “Whoa, the barn door is open again.” “Oops, your fly is unzipped.” “Wow, you need some new pants, dude.”

        • There was a male TA in the English department (same building as the academic dept I worked in as an undergrad) who would use the one washroom on the second floor, a single-use washroom, and leave the door unlocked. If you walked in on him, he would TURN AROUND AND SMILE. After the second time it happened I started asking other undergrad employees and TAs in the building if it had happened to them. It had even happened to one of my professors when she used the upstairs washroom! When I realized it was actually a pattern and not just him failing to properly secure the door, I complained to my boss. He was eventually barred from being on the second floor at all.

          • Ethyl said:

            I have had the hardest time convincing my lovely (cis male) partner that this is A Thing that some guys do ON PURPOSE, and that is is abusive in its way.

          • It is repulsive and terrible, and a certain kind of male is just so eager for everyone to see his dick that he will do it knowing it’s received poorly. This particular guy was pretty awful–he had no reason to be on the second floor at all (his office was in the basement, his department’s office on the first floor, both of which floors had sex-segregated multiple-user washrooms) and was apparently coming up and using ours *solely* for the opportunity to expose himself to unsuspecting undergraduates.

            It’s annoying to me when men say “nobody actually does that!” Dude, the very first time I was flashed was by a RELATIVE at a family reunion. I was 11. He was in his 70s if he was a day. The last city I lived in, I was flashed at least five times by the same dude over a four-year period of time. On TWO different streets. When blatant, broad daylight (or streetlight in some cases) flashing exists and is a thing, why would surreptitious targeted flashing be accidental?

        • Drew said:

          One of my (female) teachers in high school reported that a male student had flashed her in the cafeteria that morning, one of those “my fly is open and my hands are in my pockets pulling it apart, but as soon as you make a scene, I close it up so it looks like you’re crazy” flashes. Apparently he thought she would be flustered.

          I do not think he was prepared for her ACTUAL response, which was, “You aren’t seriously flashing me with THAT little thing, are you?”

      • In my 20th and last year living in NYC, I told some guy on the subway doing the accidental “my hand holding my backpack is accidentally squished against your butt” thing: “FIND A BETTER PLACE FOR YOUR HAND!” He found a better place for all of him, away from the loud woman.

    • Adrian said:

      I had a problem like that with a dental hygienist, for a while. I think part of the problem was that she didn’t really believe her behavior was inappropriate for a woman. (She might have agreed with me that it’s inappropriate for a male dentist or hygienist to brush or lean against a female patient that way.) But I would tell her “please don’t touch me there,” and she would apologize, and after a little while it would happen again. I eventually started asking making appointments to have my teeth cleaned, “but not by [person’s name]” and I told the office why. They found somebody else who could work with me.

  6. kazerniel said:

    #10: “It’s not cheating. It’s not wrong.”

    I would say it depends on what agreement the partners have. Some couples *do* see masturbation as cheating. But I agree that healthy and mature relationship agreements should permit masturbation.

    • duck-billed placelot said:

      I think this is more like the ‘you can’t sign away your rights’ kind of thing. Like, you can sign a contract that you will work for 10 cents an hour without bathroom breaks with no ear protection in a crazy noisy factory, but that doesn’t make the osha/minimum wage violations legal.

      It’s not cheating. It could be breaking a promise or agreement, but it’s not cheating.

      • Nashira said:

        Some folks do use the term cheating to mean “broken agreement”. I agree that no masturbating is not, in my world, a very good agreement, but I can see how it may be seen as “cheating”.

        • Courtney said:

          Sadly there are a lot of people who assume that being in a committed relationship means one has exclusive rights to every aspect of their partner’s sexuality–including masturbation and fantasies–regardless of spoken agreements. I find it sad and disturbing.

    • DuaeCat said:

      I would say it still doesn’t count as cheating because cheating involves something/someone else. Romantic cheating involves romance/sex/relationship with another person. Unless the masturbation is something that involves other people, it’s not cheating by definition.

      It can be an action that your partner doesn’t want you to do, like some people don’t want the en suite toilet used for pooing, but using the wrong toilet isn’t cheating. And even if you see using the toilet as cheating, it doesn’t make it cheating.

      • Linden said:

        A relative of mine divorced her husband because he was running up huge bills masturbating to live webcam girls he never met in person. I wouldn’t call that cheating necessarily, but it certainly was destructive to their relationship.

        • ReanaZ said:

          See: “Unless the masturbation is something that involves other people” caveat.

        • Laughing Giraffe said:

          I’d agree with this. If you’re sorting out your relationship on the grounds of “cheating is grounds for breaking up”, and THEN try to suss out whether what you did counts as cheating or not, you’re probably doin’ it wrong. If your partner says, “I don’t like that you do X and insist that you stop in order for our relationship to continue”, and X is something that you absolutely cannot live without, the relationship should probably be over whether X is masturbating, looking at porn, having sex with other people, or sleeping with your childhood teddy bear.

  7. awesomesaucehouse said:

    #5 – uncle. This might be a bit tiggery – some description of creepy uncle touching below.

    I want to comment on this as someone with an inappropriately touchy, and totally creepy uncle. This was when I was a teenager, so a while ago now. He was always a little bit accidentally touchy feely, which I kind of put up with because of family obligation of niceness. It started to increase in intensity and severity and more secretive when I started to develop into the nice womanly shape I have now. I actually ended up telling my mum after she found looking quite upset after he cornered me in a back room somewhere. She was incredibly supportive (for which I am forever thankful) and I put a ban on seeing him again. A few years later I saw him at a family function – first time since I’d told him I wanted nothing to do with him. I bent over to pick something up that I’d dropped and he caressed my bottom (I didn’t know he was behind me). I made a SCENE and told him this is why I didn’t want anything to do with him etc. I haven’t seen him since then. Until I made this scene, the family didn’t realise that this uncle was actually doing ‘accidental’ touching to quite a few of my other young female cousins. So yeah – SAY SOMETHING if you can and the earlier the better! If it is a legitimate accident he will be embarrassed and never do it again. If he tries to blame you “’no-one else in the family has a problem with this” or “why are you getting so upset – we’re family” and some other bullshit, avoid him forever, or as much as you can. If it’s a bit too hard to say something, maybe see if you find an ally in your family to provide a buffer for you from him – or at least to look out for you (or each other?) at family functions etc.

    • JenniferP said:

      Thank you so much for sharing this story. I’m so glad your mom handled this awesomely, and glad that making a scene worked.

    • mossyone said:

      I really like your last suggestion. I worried when I read #5 about whether the person writing in can tell their parent(s) about what happened. Are the parents safe to tell? And if so, would it be too hard to do so? Having an ally, like maybe a cousin or sibling, who knows and can help deliberately distract him away from #5 or watch him and say loudly ‘WHAT did you just do??!!’ if they see any inappropriateness could be just the thing if #5 doesn’t feel they can make a scene themselves.

      Thinking about this I remember when I went to youth groups at church there was an older male youth leader who liked to hug me (and others, don’t remember if it was just girls or boys too) and seemed to call the girls kind of…affectionate but borderline sexual nicknames? He was really well liked and highly respected and I liked him too, but when he would touch me I would feel so, so, sooooo uncomfortable and just freeze up. There was no ‘accidental’ brushes thankfully, but still looking back I don’t remember having any adult hug me and give me the squicks so bad as he did. I used to beat myself up for being so uncomfortable around him but now I realise that child me had a right to feel like that. Your instincts about having somebody else touch you can not be wrong. Because no one has a right to even hug you if you don’t want them too.

  8. Taiga said:

    I am consistently amazed by the number of letter writers whose problems boil down to either not being able to say or not being able to hear the word “no”.

    • Marie said:

      I wish I could be amazed by that, but considering how difficult I find it to say no (or to hear it, in certain circumstances), I’m not amazed at all that other people have similar difficulty 😦

      • the invisible one said:

        Likewise. Saying “no” against society’s expectation that we don’t rock the boat, make nice, don’t cause a scene, etc, is *hard*. Pushback against the “no” often doesn’t only come from the person you’re saying “no” to.

  9. Lilly said:

    Re #1 I went on a date with a guy who told me a long convoluted story about how he had bumped into his ex “by coincidence” at a conference he flew thousands of miles to at her school and how he was upset because she refused to talk to him about why she broke up with him two years previously. This was a date, so I didn’t really want to spend the evening helping him talk about his feelings for some other chick, but I did patiently say that if my ex from several years ago whom I had said I didn’t want to be in touch with just showed up out of the blue at my workplace, and asked if I “wanted to talk about what happened” I would be freaked out because it looks awfully like stalking. (He insisted it was a coincidence.)

    I think some guys just don’t want to understand that this sort of behavior is threatening and creepy, even if it was a coincidence, he should not have approached her that way.

    • williamlongfellow said:

      The creepiest-sounding part to me is that he had to know beforehand that he might bump into his ex at her school, so he almost certainly premeditated the “I want to talk about what happened” exchange even if everything else really was a coincidence. Like if I had a thousands-of-miles flight to think about what to do if I see my ex, I’d stick really close to a friend group from my school to avoid making eye contact or starting anything with her. Or maybe a less shy person would have some basic hellogoodbye script ready. But he *thought* about it and STILL decided to totally creep on her.

      • Lilly said:

        I know right?. He genuinely didn’t (wouldn’t?) understand why she didn’t want to talk to him, or why it was totally reasonable and her absolute right not to want to talk to him or that sometimes. And this was years after they broke up. He said he wanted “closure”. Seriously I think this relationship stuff should be taught in schools.

        • Commander Banana said:

          Ugh – I kind of wish we could get rid of closure entirely, because I feel like the only time I encounter it is when someone else is using it as a stick to beat over the head of another person while demanding they do X, Y, and Z. “But that’s not closure-y enough! I need MOAR CLOSURE!”

          Much like the Force, closure comes from within.

          • guest said:

            YES !!!!!!!!! Thank you:)

          • Laughing Giraffe said:

            One person of my acquaintance got very pious about it and suggested that I was the one who needed closure and I was only hurting myself by acting as I was, which is to say by deciding that I needed to leave my living situation, like, yesterday. He was not a nice person.

          • espritdecorps said:

            My friend test for people after breakup with Vader Ex was whether or not they respected my need to never see or hear about Vader again.

            I was surprised how many people put his need for closure over my very clearly stated boundary. Even people who knew the details of the relationship and agreed that breaking up was best, felt I owed him as many long, emotional talks as it took for him to be okay with things.

            Spoiler: There was never closure, there would never be closure. He had a blank check to force me to pay attention to him until I shut that bank down.

    • uuuuuuuuuuuh said:

      I feel like if you’re going to bring up running into your ex, it should be of the form “And then we ran into each other even though I was hoping not to and it was the most awkward fifteen second hello/goodbye ever”.

      • boutet said:

        Possible grooming behaviour I guess. Testing those waters on the first date. Does date think it’s unreasonable to deny “closure” to a long time ex at a random event? Does date think ex’s deserve to be left alone, or continue to owe attention?
        It’s a useful question if you’re looking for a dating partner who will accept your complete disrespect while dating and after breakup. (terrible question and a good sign to the date that this would be a good one to let go early)

    • wordiest said:

      I don’t think it matters whether he ran into her accidentally or on purpose, once you start trying to get someone to explain why they broke up with you years ago, it has become creepy. You lose all of the credit you might have gotten from it being accidental, if it was, because you treated it as if it were deliberate. Accidentally running into an ex is not always avoidable, but how you handle certainly involves choices.

      I like that he brings this story up on dates though. More people should come with clearer warnings that they are best avoided.

  10. #1: My ex has not contacted me, or his nearly-adult daughter for several months now. Ostensibly, we have shared custody, but he never holds up his half: he is supposed to make arrangements for her to fly to his house several states away, and I book the return flight. He’s also supposed to provide health insurance and pay half her medical bills, which he’s never done. He also owes me a fortune in back child support, but I’m letting the DA handle that.

    Despite this it’s honestly a relief when he doesn’t contact us. Our daughter is not fond of him (although she likes her stepmother and talks to her occasionally). I dread him suddenly surprising us with a plane ticket for a trip Daughter doesn’t want to make. Just 9 more months until she’s 18 and I won’t have to worry about it.

    He did send her a text on her birthday. It was pretty funny. It read “I still remember that day 25 years ago when you were born.” It was her 17th birthday. We’re still not sure if he was confused because he was 25 when she was born, or if he made a typo and meant to put 15 and actually doesn’t know how old she is.

    • Well, if he thinks she’s 25, it’s no wonder he’s not paying child support…

      But in all seriousness, wow, that guy…

  11. rydra_wong said:

    Re: 4 “He says he wants space. What does he mean?”

    In the context of a friendship or potential relationship, I think this can also mean “You are ignoring reciprocity and making the other person feel suffocated or overwhelmed. While not necessarily negating the possibility of continuing friendship/whatever with you, they need you to back off and respect their cues before they asphyxiate.”

  12. Light said:

    11. “What does it mean when a man says he doesn’t want you but he doesn’t want anyone else to have you.”

    Run like Godzilla is attacking Tokyo is what it means.

    • seriously, it’s been a couple-three days now and #11 is still freaking me the heck out and I hope that googler is safe.

    • Thanks for All the Fish said:

      My sister’s ex-fiance said something like this once to her while they were still together. It was more like if they ever broke up and she started dating someone else he’d have to kill that guy……run don’t walk.

      • Light said:

        I’m so glad to hear he’s an ex!

        • Thanks for All the Fish said:

          She moved states away and had nightmares for years he would show up to “claim what was his”

  13. Light said:

    19. “He says no relationship but he acts like he is into me.”

    Look at his words and his actions. Believe the more negative of the two. Act accordingly. If you want a relationship, this is not the guy for you.

  14. 42tlh42 said:

    15. “How to politely, firmly stop attending club meetings due to physical disabilities.”

    I was confused by that; I thought perhaps the Googler wanted a polite way to say that s/he thought everyone else was being rude by meeting somewhere s/he couldn’t reach. If so, perhaps the script could be “I can’t physically reach the meeting spot, so could the place be changed, or could someone let me know what’s going on?”

    Did anyone else think that?

    • wordiest said:

      Yes, I did. But I assumed difficult and bad for the person’s health, but not impossible. Such as in a community where most people don’t drive, having the meeting spot be far enough from public transit that getting between the public transit and the meeting spot was increasing health problems, but could be done. Or someone with a non-fatal, but problematic allergy to cats, but the meeting spot is at someone’s home who has cats. Since if the person physically couldn’t go at all, it seems like they’d have already been not going, but if the person feels pressured to do things that are bad for their health, then this could very well come up. Where you both want to stop going until the problem is fixed, but you are likely to be upset about being driven out by the lack of accommodation. Also, the person might want it brought up, because fixing it would also potentially help other people with a similar disability, whatever the relevant issue is.

    • Slow Media Watcher Person said:

      Not really…I have a club (sort of) I had to stop attending due to a gradually-worsening chronic illness. There really aren’t any extra accommodations they could have made which would help me, at this point, but because I’d been a member for many years, my “retirement” was met with a lot of pressuring to stay. Now, as it happens, I’m very much an “ask culture” type of person, so I don’t mind sort of being “guilted” about quitting. It lets me know I was valued and I don’t have a problem saying a firm no. But I could see how, to someone who wasn’t as good with the no-thing, the quotation-marks-guilt could turn into actual-guilt that could make someone keep pushing themselves to attend even if it was becoming exhausting/painful/what-have-you.

  15. Professor Fumblemore said:

    Re: 11 — My husband has 2 ex-wives who both said the same thing to him. They were both horribly abusive, manipulative and stalked him relentlessly. I would be surprised if the Googler of #11 wasn’t already in an abusive situation of some kind. Beware.

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