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It Came From The Search Terms: September Morn

Every month (thanks to nice Patreon supporters!) we examine the things that people typed into search engines to find this place.

1. “My bf is younger to me by two years and is half bald..but still he criticizes my looks.”

Criticizing your partner’s looks is not a good dynamic. What would it take for both of you to decide “I like the way you look and will say only nice things about that“? Because that’s what you deserve.

2. “My husband hates when I masturbate.”

Has he explained why it bothers him? How does he know when you do it? Does he masturbate? What’s your sex life like together? What would happen if you masturbate anyway?

I think that the relationship you have with your own body is your business and even if he is uncomfortable with it you should still do it! But before anyone issues ultimatums or makes “rules” for the other person, it’s worth getting to the bottom of what this is really about. Control? Envy? Feeling left out?

3. “Tried to be friends after relationship but it didn’t work.” 

Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Here’s a poem:

Friendship After Love
After the fierce midsummer all ablaze
    Has burned itself to ashes, and expires
    In the intensity of its own fires,
There come the mellow, mild, St. Martin days
Crowned with the calm of peace, but sad with haze.
    So after Love has led us, till he tires
    Of his own throes, and torments, and desires,
Comes large-eyed friendship: with a restful gaze,
He beckons us to follow, and across
    Cool verdant vales we wander free from care.
    Is it a touch of frost lies in the air?
Why are we haunted with a sense of loss?
We do not wish the pain back, or the heat;
And yet, and yet, these days are incomplete.

 

4. “How can I make my make my male crush whom we’ve been been chatting come visit me?”

There is no making, there is only asking. “Would you like to come visit me?”

5. “My boyfriend keeps following me wherever I go.”

This is creepy and smothering. What would happen if you told him you didn’t like this and asked him to stop?

If the thought of asking him to stop is scary to you – you can imagine him being furious or refusing to stop or “punishing” you somehow – think about calling a trained person and talking through some ways you can safely get away from this guy and his behavior.

6. “How to write a long overdue apology.”

Keep it simple. “I realize this is long overdue, but I want to tell you how very sorry I am for (what I did). I hope you are well. Sincerely, (you).”

Don’t ask the person for anything, don’t justify, just say you’re sorry and be specific/take ownership of what it is that you did to hurt them.

7. “How to say no after you’ve already said yes.”

“I know I said I would (do the thing), but I thought about it more and it turns out I won’t/can’t/don’t want to/won’t be able to. So sorry for the confusion/inconvenience/change of heart.”

8. “Husband always asking if I’m okay.”

Some questions come to mind:

Are you okay? Is everything okay?

Is there a question you wish he would ask instead?

Is there an elephant in the room?

Does he think that you seem tired/sad/down in the dumps/cranky/not quite yourself/are you behaving in a way that would make it seem like something is not okay?

Is HE okay? Like, is he asking you if you are because he wants to talk about something but doesn’t it want it to seem like his idea? Is he a particularly anxious person?

This could be an annoying tic he has or it could be that he’s observing something about your health/happiness and wanting to check in. Figure out the subtext of what this question really is.

9. “How I can creep sex my friend.”

a) Watch this video. Put on your Halloween costume. Ask your friend to put on their Halloween Costume and if the two of you can have sex with you while you both have your Halloween Costumes on. Creepy, right?

b) Go to Scarleteen. Read every article on the site. Especially look at anything about “consent.” Don’t have sex with anyone until you fully understand consent.

10. “Short story on boss seducing his junior wife for promotion.” 

I think the site you are looking for is called “Literotica.” It should have come up on the first page of search results, but, anyway, you’re welcome.

11. “Why does my mom find something negative in all my boyfriends?”

I don’t know, maybe but it’s worth asking her this directly. “Mom, why do you find something negative to say about all my boyfriends?” It could be she thinks that you have terrible taste, it could be that she thinks that you want her opinion, it could be a control thing. Has she noticed this pattern? 

12. “Staying with him just because he was your first sex.”

Staying with someone maybe needs more/better reasons than that? Ongoing, current reasons, like being in love and having a healthy, good relationship that makes you feel great in the present day?

13. “A guy who is still on dating sites after he proposes to you.”

This is definitely worth talking about. “Why are you still on dating sites even though you want to marry me? Can you help me understand?” Make sure you both have the same needs & assumptions around monogamy, commitment, what “cheating” is and isn’t, transparency, flirting, etc. and that you’re both comfortable and on the same page with this before you get married.

If he says he’s just looking for “new friends,” please remember: MeetUp.Com exists. There are ways to find new friends that are not dating sites and that don’t make you feel suspicious and uncomfortable.

14. “How to tell your son his girlfriend is not right for him.”

Realize that you only really get one shot at this, and that the end result might be your son distancing himself from you instead of leaving her. Is she mistreating him? Is your worry for him worth the risk of having him turn away from you?

Son, I know you love (girlfriend), but ever since you have been with her you seem really unhappy. There seems to always be conflict in your relationship, when I’ve seen you together she doesn’t seem to treat you with kindness or respect. I know as an outsider I don’t have the whole picture, but as someone who loves you and wants you to be happy, I don’t feel right staying quiet when I can see that you are suffering. I love you, and I’ll try my best to accept (girlfriend) for your sake as long as she’s in your life, but I hope you’ll think about what I said. You deserve to be with someone who treats you well.”

15. “9pm to 4am sexing”

Change your dating profile name to “Diligent Night Owl”?

16. “When a boyfriend wont introduce you to anyone in his life.”

This is never a sign that things are awesome, is it? Either something is fishy, like, he has another partner or spouse and you are a “side” relationship, or something is really messy with his family & friends and in trying to “spare you” the “drama” he is making you question his commitment and your place in his life, or he wants to keep you a secret for some reason. If you aren’t a Capulet and he isn’t a Montague and your families aren’t mortal enemies bent on mutual death and destruction, ask to be introduced. If he won’t introduce you, ask him directly, “Why not.” Maybe stop seeing him if he refuses or if the answer does not satisfy you.

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59 comments
  1. Jo Riley said:

    Re #8: For a period a few weeks ago my boyfriend opened almost every phone call/in-person conversation by saying “are you okay?” in this really concerned voice. I wasn’t having a great week, but it certainly wasn’t bad, and I didn’t think I’d been doing anything particularly unusual.

    I asked him about it and he said “No, you haven’t seemed not-okay lately, but you also didn’t seem not-okay right before you almost broke up with me.” Which… was fair. A month or so prior I’d been having a lot of doubts about our relationship all of a sudden and was miserable when I was alone/with friends but avoided showing it around him until we could actually talk about it. (That talk ended up leading to a two-week break, during which I obviously decided not to break up with him.) I’d even brought him cookies earlier that week.

    So another option is: Sometimes loved ones suspect–often reasonably–that you might hide your not-okayness from them, which might cause them to ask more often.

    • TinyTeacher said:

      Also re: 8.

      I run toward anxious (okay, I leap and vault toward panic), and am super sensitive/empathic and have a tendency to over-ask the “are you okay” “are we okay” “are you mad” type questions when something doesn’t *feel* right. In order to curb this behavior, I make this deal with my special people: “If you promise to tell me when things AREN’T okay, I’ll quit bugging you about it.” Then when things feel funky, I allow myself *one* question: “How are you doing?” or “Something seems off. Can I help?” and if the answer is, “Nope, you are misreading me.” I try to let it go.

      YMMV, of course.

      • syrens said:

        I DO THIS TOO!
        At least the leaping and vaulting towards Big Anxiety stuff and the related tendency to check-in significantly more often than is necessary. (Thankfully, my wife is the same way, albeit to a lesser extent, so we’re pretty patient with each other when it comes to this stuff).
        If #8’s Person is asking “are you okay” a LOT, maybe they could ask it back? Like “Hey, I notice you’ve asked me that three times in the past 15 minutes. Are you worried that I’m not okay, or that we’re not okay? Do you want to talk about it?” They might get a helpful answer.

      • Alianne said:

        OH THANK GOD NOT JUST ME.

        I love my spouse dearly, they are just the kind of person who expresses their anger/annoyance by loud dramatic sighs and muttered mumbled annoyances and, when asked how they are, will growl “FINE” with no other details, And later, when whatever is bothering them is settled (one way or another), they will apologize and explain in more detail what was bothering them and why. So I have worked very hard to absorb the knowledge that their happiness is not the same thing as my happiness, and have used my words sufficiently to convey “Hey, you seem bothered, please let me know if it is A) something that involves me, and B) if I can help somehow. Because I love you. Okay?”

  2. Amber Rose said:

    Also worth considering: if your looks are being criticized and your reaction is to do the same thing back, maybe it’s time to evaluate if you’re really attracted to this person? It’s OK to not be attracted to someone. It’s just not ok to take that out on them.

    • It certainly isn’t cool to do tit for tat and be like ‘well YOU’RE going bald at [x age]’, especially as male pattern baldness is a very sensitive issue. (My poor brother has thinning hair at age 22 and is pretty miserable about it.) But I did wonder if this was a woman writing in and if she specifically mentioned age because the criticisms had something to do with either 1. something about her not conventionally attractive (see- those guys who are attracted to non-conventionally attractive women but are so insecure about it they pressure their partner about her looks anyway), or 2. something to do with her ‘letting herself go’, which is usually age related. The whole thing sounded like an angry reaction and I have to say if either 1. or 2. was the reason, I wouldn’t exactly blame our searcher for being angry. However, we don’t know, and I think the only advice I can really offer is that the writer may have to accept that there is no easy and magic option for ‘my partner stops being a dick about my appearance’, and then decide if it’s worth it to them to put the amount of emotional labour in to make the partner see that they are being hurtful. It may not be and that’s totally fine.

  3. Somniorum said:

    What even *is* creep sex? Because it sounds awful and not like a thing anyone would do to somebody they consider a friend.

    • espritdecorps said:

      TW: rape
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      ***
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      ***

      It seems to be a genre of porn where men attempt to have sex with a sleeping/relaxed/distracted woman without her waking up/noticing or not waking up/noticing until it’s too late for her to resist effectively.

      So rape. And not something you should do with anyone, especially someone you call a friend.

      • It seems to be a genre of porn where men attempt to have sex with a sleeping/relaxed/distracted woman without her waking up/noticing or not waking up/noticing until it’s too late for her to resist effectively.
        My reactions:
        1. GROSS.
        2….Distracted? Like, “Whoa, I was so immersed in this novel that I didn’t notice you putting your dick in me”? Do people actually think this is a thing that can be done?
        3. Whether it could work or not, still. GROSS.

      • Light37 said:

        Urban dictionary defines it as someone who sneaks in to watch people having sex without their consent.

        Either way, ugh.

        • espritdecorps said:

          *Apologies for being pedantic*
          The urban dictionary entry that pops up is for sex creep. Which is plenty gross.

          I searched for creep sex with safe search turned off on the password protected device used to keep my erotica and porn away from the kids. Google assumed I was searching for porn and brought up tons of videos tagged with creep sex that shared a similar theme.

          But yeah, besides the Captain’s awesome monster cosplay sex, there’s nothing happy that comes from putting those two words together.

          • Jackalope said:

            Yes, I will confess that I loved the Captain’s response. Except that a lot of those costumes are itchy. They’d probably better wear the more expensive ones so they won’t be distracted by annoying fabric issues.

  4. Pam said:

    Even reading the title put the song in my head- no video needed! Glad to be of help bringing back this feature, since I love it.

  5. VG said:

    #14

    It seems as if “I think this person is wrong for my son/daughter” is almost always code for:

    – this person is not our race/religion/social class
    – this person is not ambitious/successful enough (for the male partner of a daughter)
    – this person is too ambitious/successful and/or not nurturing enough (for the female partner of a son)

    In none of these cases should the parent say anything, because unless the partner is physically or verbally abusive, it’s the child’s job to decide what is right for them and what they want to get out of the relationship. I say this as someone who married a man who was completely “wrong” on paper–different race, different religion, unable to work due to disability–but still completely “right” for me.

    • Majikkani_Hand said:

      Sometimes it also means “I am secretly homophobic and choosing to find something wrong with each partner until the gayness is cured/goes away, because of course that’s how it works” (Not in this case, obviously, since the genders are specified and opposite.)

      I haven’t had to deal with that one directly, thank goodness, but I’ve seen it often enough to add it to the list just in case it helps anybody else.

      • efmather2006 said:

        It can also mean “I think Partner is a substance abuser and somehow is ‘making’ my son/daughter abuse substances also, because Partner cannot be a symptom of a problem that already exists.”

        Too many examples of that in my extended family, unfortunately.

    • Drew said:

      I’m trying really hard to read it as “I don’t think my child is happy with their current partner.” That’s about the only positive spin I could put on it.

      • Dana said:

        My mom could have written that comment, and the sad part is that she was right, and that the guy was poison for me, but that when she objected and criticized it only made me cling harder. It took me about four more years and tons of misery to leave him on my own. Nothing she said would have made any difference. And the more she criticized the more I resisted. Because I hated the thought of her controlling me. I was an adult, right?

        Just a sad data point for the Captain.

      • Elizabeth said:

        Me too, but then I feel like it would have said “not good to him” instead. “Not right for him” implies that there is a Right kind of person to date and a Wrong kind of person. :/

        • SingHallelujah said:

          I was in a relationship for several years with someone who was clearly not right for me, but was decent enough to me. He wasn’t Not Good To Me though he wasn’t awesomely wonderful either. I think my family might have characterized that as not right for me. We just didn’t have enough interests in common and didn’t really want the same things out of life.

      • wondering said:

        There have been three times in my family where family has said “I don’t think that is the right person for you.”

        Time the first: Aunt married anyway, relationship soured over the course of a couple of years. Divorced.
        Time the second: Turns out sister was being controlled, gaslighted, and emotionally abused, and only needed the support of family to get out safely.
        Time the third: Youngest sister in a relationship with a man who shouts at her and makes her cry. These things I have witnessed. She has broken up with him multiple times, but keeps getting back together. Ultimately, she loves him and “doesn’t want to sleep alone”. So all we can do is now is let her know that she can stay with us anytime and hope for the best. But yes, damn straight we told her we didn’t think he was right for her.

        Let’s not pretend that families and friends can’t see red and black flags waving and not want to do something! Yes, bigots complain about Partners too, for bad reasons, but there are very good reasons to speak up too.

        • Cactus said:

          I definitely agree with you. The thing is that when you’re the one who’s in the terrible relationship, but it’s relatively new, and you can’t quite see those red flags yet, but you DO know your own family’s foibles…it can be hard to take. My mom was…not okay with my first boyfriend, to put it mildly. She shouldn’t have been. He was a creepy rapist user. However, he was also from a lower-income family, and his background was very different from mine. So it was VERY hard to tell, as a 16-year-old, when my mom made her vague statements about him “not being right for me,” what she meant. I still have no idea. Two weeks before I started dating him, when he was just my crush of the moment, she gave me Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel Speak as a gift–a book I had never heard of before. The rapist in that book shares a name with that first boyfriend. So I don’t know if it was some sense of danger, or classism, or fear of teen pregnancy, or all three. But I do know that my belief that it was classism led to my stubbornness to kick in full-force.

    • Sonja Coppenbarg said:

      Or the family could be seeing abuse red flags. There isn’t any way to tell from the question.

      • Jackalope said:

        Yes, or even if it’s not an issue of abuse, they could be seeing that the two just aren’t… right for each other. I remember when 2 friends of mine were dating each other and it was obvious to EVERYONE outside of their relationship that they were not good for each other, weren’t happy together, and just didn’t fit well together. I think I said something to him ONCE about, “Hey, is this really working out for you? Because it doesn’t seem like it from the outside,” or something like that. Eventually they broke up and have both gone on to marry other people in relationships that are much more stable and better for them. It’s not the parent’s choice whether their child stays with this person or not, but I can say that if my close family/friends saw that I was in a relationship that was not going well I would want them to let me know their concerns. Because sometimes it’s too easy to justify things to yourself for Reasons and you stay in a situation that’s making one or both of you miserable for longer than you should.

    • Mary said:

      I definitely felt like my best friend’s (now-ex)husband wasn’t right for her. He didn’t seem to appreciate the things that I thought were brilliant about her, he was mardy with her friends when she’s very social, he nagged her about stuff, she often talked about things he’d done that annoyed her – I don’t think he was abusive, he was just Not Fun, and now they’re divorced she’s saying a lot of the stuff that I thought five years ago.

      I am pretty sure I might one day think all those things about someone my child dates. I mean, I didn’t say to my friend, “hey, don’t marry him, I think you’re making a terrible mistake!” because I didn’t think she’d listen to me, and there’s obviously a pretty high chance that my child wouldn’t either. My daughter isn’t even two yet, though, so I have no idea whether the “there’s no point saying anything” or the “please don’t marry this person, they don’t make you happy” instinct will take precedence if we’re ever in that situation, though!

    • johann7 said:

      Agreed; the phrasing is telling. It’s not, “This person is mean/abusive/a scam artist/some other actual danger,” it’s, “not right,” which simply suggests, “I wouldn’t choose this person.” Lucky for you, concerned parent, it’s not your choice to make, as it’s not your relationship.

    • In my family it was code for “I want my son/daughter to be foreveralone so she can dedicate her life to pandering to my whims and wishes, as God no doubt intended.”

  6. Tapetum said:

    My then boyfriend (now husband) didn’t meet any of my family until we’d been dating for nearly three years. Part of this was pure proximity issues – we were at college on the east coast, and my parents lived on the west coast. Nonetheless, I could probably have gotten them together earlier if I’d really tried (and did regret not having him ever get to meet my grandfather, who died before we graduated college). A lot of it was not so much protecting him from my family as it was trying to make sure that he didn’t ditch me in a panic over my nutso family. I didn’t hide them, so much as I was trying to make it clear that being with me didn’t mean that he had to deal with them extensively.

    This mostly worked, though he has had to put up with various periods of time where the family has to be dealt with. Mostly he’s good about just doing some eye-rolling and not giving me grief about it. Though he was the least surprised person in the whole family when Mom was actually diagnosed as a high-functioning paranoid schizophrenic a few months back. He seemed more surprised that we hadn’t noticed – but the whole family dynamic was centered on making Mom’s “oddities” workable, rather than trying to sort out what they were or fix them.

    • RSVP said:

      Same here. The idea of introducing a man to my family, especially my mother, filled me with panic.

      • RiverSongTam said:

        Ditto, but the question was not family-specific, the way I read it. I surely would not introduce anyone I care for to my mom until it is absolutely unavoidable, but I will happily integrate a special someone into one or more of my friend groups, once the relationship is more than two months old. I think it’s a question of how long they’ve been seeing each other and whether “anyone in his life” is exclusive to family members, or does it mean friends as well. I wonder whether the question-writer done the introductions on their side, because that can be a factor too.

  7. Vasha said:

    That “Are you okay?” question reminds me of an interaction with a store clerk a few days ago. I went up to the counter and out of the blue the clerk asked me if I was okay (I was perfectly okay), then repeated the question while she was ringing up my stuff. I said “Yep, fine. And you’re not having the greatest afternoon, huh?” She said, “Oh, allergies, sinuses, it’s nothing” and I said “Yeah, allergies are a killer” and a few other bits of small talk. That was it, except on my way out she once again said “I hope you are well” or something like that. Now, she actually seemed way off and was acting like she had an absolutely blazing headache (slightly dazed and unsteady, squinting, signs of pain). I suppose I could have bluntly said “You obviously are not feeling okay, is there anything I can do?” but… is that something you can ever say to someone who is ringing up your purchases?

    • Sullie said:

      YMMV but as a former retail worker and as a not-okay person who interacts with other not-okay people, sometimes, go for it?

      To illustrate: Just yesterday I was at a fast food restaurant waiting my turn to order. There were 3 registers open, but the previous customer, an older white man, seemed to be monopolizing ALL of their attention at once. Anger was radiating from this guy. I actually tried to stand so far back from him that I tripped over a wet floor sign.

      FINALLY he left the counter area and I approached. I looked at all 3 of the women at the registers and asked them if they were okay. I got 2 grimaces and a “Yeah I think we’ll be okay as soon as he leaves.”

      I don’t know dude/lady/friendo. Maybe I’m weird. But I think there are definitely times where it’s really valuable and helpful to say to a stranger “Hey this situation seems Not Okay to me and I don’t like that it appears to be causing you suffering.”

      • twomoogles said:

        Yeah I also think it’s different if there’s an obvious thing causing the not-okness. When I worked fast food and had a crappy customer I always *really* appreciated somebody saying “ugh, that person was such a jerk” or even a sympathetic smile. Buuut if it was just me seeming unhappy I’d probably rather they not say anything, just be extra nice, cause even if something is wrong it’s not really appropriate for me to say “yeah actually I’m having a really rough time dealing with my family” or something. nor would I really want to go into it when I”m at work and have to fake cheerful for the rest of my shift.

      • I used to love when people would do that when there was an angry customer. It really helps remind you that some customers see you as human even if they all can’t.

        There is a limit to what customers can do in other situations though. When I was 19 I had a retail job where I had not been issued with the uniform approved fleece jacket and therefore that winter was standing next to the drafty automatic door, wearing 2 T-shirts under my work shirt, so cold I constantly felt like I was getting an illness. Customers would often ask me ‘are you cold?’ to which I would say fervently ‘yes’. But then, there’s nothing they can do to solve the situation. They can’t lend me a coat because it’s not shop approved. (Actually as it turned out I was allowed to wear a plain fleece jacket I brought in. NO ONE told me for several, freezing weeks! Thanks everyone!) Talking to managers rarely works, there are very few decent retail managers at least not that I’ve ever met.

        Then there was the job where I was expected to sit at the counter while I was in the middle of a mental breakdown that no one was helping me with (long story). There’s nothing a customer can do to stop my workplace bully or make my manager a person who cares about how his staff feel. Sometimes I preferred it when a customer would thank me for doing my job well (I still did my job well amongst all of that, for a while at least,and none of my fellow staff were paying attention to how much slack I was picking up).

    • BigdogLittlecat said:

      Yes! say it! (if you mean it, of course) People behind registers and counters are people, and given how “the customer is always right” is often used to justify being rude and nasty to them, a gentle kindness might make all the difference in their day.

      • I’d like to second this.
        I work in customer care, and the validation of a third party coming over and going “OMG that person was nooooot OK to you!” is often a huge relief, because (apparently unlike entitled, angry customers) I don’t come at every situation with the assumption that I’m blameless. Someone telling me that no, it wasn’t me, can stop me thinking for minutes or hours about the ins-and-outs of an incident, trying to work out how I may have contributed to it or I how I could have handled it better.

  8. twomoogles said:

    Gah, I have an irrationally annoyed reaction to people asking me if I’m OK, especially if they do it more than once. I have a naturally serious/sad expression if I’m not doing anything so I get this a lot. It is very frustrating, especially when they keep doing it, because it signals that I am doing something wrong, or behaving in a way that makes them think I’m “Off”. I will turn it around on people who keep at it and ask them what makes them think I’m not OK….some of them have an exaggerated opinion of their “ability to read people” (which has got to be second only to multi-tasking for “thing people who think they are good at are often not”, but anyway).

    My thing is just..ok, so I’ve told you I’m OK. You still think I’m not. One of two things is happening. A) I am OK and you are misreading me or B) I am not OK, but don’t want to talk about it at the moment.

    I also once had a guy who would keep asking this during makeouts, which was…disconcerting.

    • johann7 said:

      I also have a resting frown (genetic on my mom’s side), and I’ve used, “Well, I was okay until you wouldn’t stop asking…” more than once. I suggest asking someone whom you think might be not-okay exactly once per apparent mood change, and no more. The polite/respectful thing to do is take one at zir word. Even if one is really not okay but says ze is, ze is communicating that ze doesn’t want to discuss it (right now, with you, whatever), so you should let it drop until the person is ready, if ever.

  9. egl said:

    Re 16: It depends on how long they’ve been dating whether this is a bad sign. The querier could be trying to rush the relationship.

    • peeta8 said:

      To *anyone* in his life, though? Maybe not his parents yet, but does he have any friends? (Anyway, there are 2 of them in the relationship — one person’s “rushing it” might be the other person’s “bad sign.”)

      • Yeah, I’m going to go with saying that if you’re close enough to be called someone’s boyfriend, you should probably start introducing them to people you know. It’s fine if you haven’t made it to Facebook-official yet, but after that it’s time to at least have a drink with a buddy or two.

        • egl said:

          Rushing the relationship would likely mean also calling someone your boyfriend before the title really applied.

    • Elsajeni said:

      Maybe! But there’s not really one “right” timeline to meet each other’s friends and families, so I think the Captain’s advice works regardless. If the boyfriend feels like the searcher is rushing things, he gets a chance to say so; if that answer doesn’t satisfy the searcher, then maybe they’re not right for each other and they stop seeing each other. It doesn’t really matter which one of them is right, it just matters whether they’re compatible.

  10. Chelle said:

    Oh hi #4 😦 I have a male crush I’ve been chatting with who I want to come visit me and it is a little bit the worst. We’ve talked about hanging out IRL, and he always sounds up for it, but won’t actually make any plans to make it a reality? He’s got grad school, which I know means his life is devoured, but we’ve had conversations like “we should hang out!” “yes we should!” “okay when are you free?” “it’s hard to say before partway through the week, with homework and stuff” “okay, well, these two weekends work for me, can we pick one and then touch base midweek to say if we’re on or not?” “sure!”

    Aaaaand nothing (he doesn’t pick one, and no further plans are made). It’s really hard to tell if he’s just a fun combination of busy and disorganized or if my jerkbrain is right and he’s trying to give me a polite brush-off. 😦

    • Lucky Pulsar said:

      It sounds like you’ve tried several (or more) times to get some concrete plans going with this guy, and it has not been successful. That can be really disappointing.

      He might not be using his words, but he is using his actions. And his actions from your description say very clearly “No, thank you.” That is his answer. It may not be the answer you want, but it is the answer he’s giving you.

      It could be any number of things keeping him from giving firm plans, but those reasons don’t much matter when he avoids making those plans every time and also doesn’t even seem to be calling to say “Actually, now’s not a good time afterall.”

      The end result is that he is not making plans with you.

      Step back. You made an effort. Earnestly. Put that energy into yourself, into relationships that are a more reciprocal right now. If he wants to actually make plans, he knows how to get in touch with you.

    • TO_Ont said:

      To some extent it doesn’t entirely matter which it is, though, does it? Maybe he has very little free time but feels like other things are a higher priority, maybe he’s exhausted and meeting up feels like too much work, maybe he’s scatter brained, maybe he just doesn’t want to say no.

      Whatever the reason, if he’s so busy or disorganized he can’t manage a coffee date, then he probably can’t manage an in-person relationship either… After all, that’s lots of coffee dates! And even longer dates!

      • TO_Ont said:

        I just reread your post and you mention ‘coming out to visit’, which I guess means this is long distance and visits need to be longer because of the travel. That makes it understandable that it would be difficult to get away for a weekend, but in the end I think it doesn’t fundamentally change the question…. Because a relationship would presumably involve doing that not just this once but repeatedly. It sounds like it’s not happening… Or not in the forseable future, which amounts to the same.

  11. dragonlady said:

    Re: #8: One of my sisters asked me if I was ok. I said I was. She KEPT asking that and I KEPT saying I was ok (I was). Until I wasn’t because she KEPT asking it and I finally had to say, “I WAS ok; now I’m not!” SO irritating!

  12. JMegan said:

    #6, I once received an apology from someone who had done a number of really damaging things to me and my family. It went like this:

    ~”I’m sorry I did [that specific thing]. It had [this kind of an impact] on your life, and that must have been [hurtful/awful/etc] for you.”

    ~She went on to tell me some of the changes she was making in her life (notably, seeing a therapist and not doing drugs any more.) Not to excuse her behaviour, but to take responsibility for it and to let me know that she was trying to make things better for herself.

    ~Finally, she said she wasn’t asking me to forgive her, and she wasn’t expecting a reply. The point of her apology was to let *me* know that she knew she had hurt me, and that she was doing her best not to to it again.

    I really appreciated the apology, and told her so. We’re never going to be friends again, because she really did do a lot of damage to our relationship, but I could see she had put a lot of thought and effort into that email, and it did mean a lot to me.

  13. RSVP said:

    September Morn is one of my all time favourite songs. Just had to put that out there. 🙂

  14. Myrin said:

    I now totally want to read the story #10 searched for because I can’t for the life of me figure out what is apparently going on in it. I mean, “boss seducing his junior” seems straightforward enough, but what’s a “junior wife”? Is she his junior in the workplace but also his wife? And if not, where’s the senior wife in all this? And “for a promotion”? If anything, shouldn’t the junior person try to seduce the boss to get a promotion? But if she’s already his wife, why seduce him in the first place? And why is this workplace set up in such a way that someone directly supervises their spouse or can at least give promotions to them? I have so many questions!

    • JenniferP said:

      It’s VERY specific, right? 🙂

  15. Vicki said:

    I have a feeling I know, and that the searcher actually meant “his junior’s wife,” i.e. the wife and junior are not the same person. (Their kink is OK, and the Captain has sent them to the right place.)

    • Theaz said:

      Yeah, junior’s wife is also what I assumed.

  16. Anon, Goodnight said:

    Re #2:

    I have massive side eye for guys who express negative things about women masturbating. I understand why the Captain offerred gentle, “let’s suss out the issue together” scripts, but I have yet to meet a guy who said that he “hated it” when his female partner masturbated who didn’t end up being possessive and controlling. I consider #2 to be a massive red flag. (Not guys who are confused about how to handle it when they walk in on a woman having private time, but the ones who either verbally express dislike/disapproval or who huff around in a fit after they find out thst it happened.)

    • The Awe Ritual said:

      I’ve been in one of those relationships. He genuinely felt abused by my, um, self-abuse (and also felt that my wanting foreplay was mean and unfaiiiiiiiir, poor Dickens: if I needed him to do chores to enjoy sex, I really didn’t enjoy sex and didn’t really love him…) In retrospect, yes, it was absolutely abusive of me to be sleeping with him, and it was horribly immature and icky of me to try to continue on in a relationship where something that kept me healthy and sane hurt this guy so deeply. Find out the “why,” try to solve it, as the Captain said, but be aware that this can be a bad sign for BOTH of your continued mental health.

  17. Anon said:

    Re #6: I’ve been kind of obsessing over a memory of when I did/said something really racist in front of some friends of that race. I said it as a joke but it was really inappropriate, and I’m horrified at my past self.

    I don’t have any contact with most of them, but am Facebook friends with one. I haven’t planned on saying anything because I don’t want to make it about me and my feelings. But should I apologize like the Cap’s example? Is there some other way I can stop obsessing?

    • Mary said:

      Do you think they would have a reason for caring? If you are only doing it for your own pace of mind, that’s a bad reason. If they didn’t know you well and you said something awful and you think their reaction was, “ugh, clueless person”, then their reaction to getting an apology will b almost certainly be, “ugh, clueless person, what the help, delete”.

      The only time I’d do it is if you think they did actually like you and care about you as a person. If you think their region at the time was, “woah, shit, person I thought of as a friend just said horrible racist thing, I’m hurt and horrified to hear they’d think that”, then a late “no expectations, but I still feel bad about that, I’m so sorry” might be meaningful. If you don’t know which it is, I’d err on the side of this being your stuff to deal with without involving anyone else.

      Would a significant donation to BLM or similar help? There are a lot of civil rights activists saying straight up that a donation of material funds is one of the best ways that allies can help fight racism (I’m assuming you’re white, apologies if that’s not the case!) Basically, you need to switch your brain over to, “I did it, it was shit, the best way to make amends is to pay it forward” and maybe something specific like a donation would help do that?

  18. AthenaC said:

    Hi #11! I didn’t realize my mother had another secret family out there somewhere – who knew?

    I swear, I could bring home St. Joseph for a husband and he STILL wouldn’t be good enough. Anyway, the best advice I can give you is to work toward a point where not one iota of your happiness is dependent on your mother’s approval. Because you will never NEVER get it. Enjoy your life, be happy with YOU and YOUR choices, own your choices (good AND bad!), learn from them, and just keep getting better.

    Ideally one would be able to actually listen to wisdom from the previous generation, but when you’re in a situation where their perspective is no good or irretrievably slanted, your best bet is just to ignore.

    Good luck!

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