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Dear Captain Awkward (And Awkwardeers),

I’ve been in a fantastic relationship with my partner for a few years now. He’s incredibly supportive of my mental health, and

Kinky and Healthy are two different - but not mutually exclusive - things

Not an effective fighting strategy.

complements my personality perfectly. However, and this may seem a silly concern, I’m worried about the fact that we never argue. Basically, I’m concerned that this might mean that we aren’t communicating well enough.

We have had disagreements, but usually that happens when I say something that’s concerning me and he agrees with whatever I’m saying. It’s not really an argument because he quickly turns around to my way of thinking. Or, less often, he would air an issue and I would see it as reasonable and agree to help fix it. And for a while, this was great! I felt that our relationship must be going amazingly because we never argue!
But the thing is, I’m now sort of scared about what will happen if we ever do fight. Because when we haven’t even really had any of the little arguments, who knows what will happen if we end up in a big argument? Because surely it can’t always happen that we just agree with the other person’s opinion. What about when we have to start making big decisions like whose job dictates which city we live in? Whether we have kids?
And I’ve noticed that I’ve started avoiding conflict because it’s got to a point where I’m scared of The Fight. The Fight seems to me to be this big inevitable thing looming that sooner or later we both have to deal with… and I don’t know how I’ll handle The Fight. So sometimes, I don’t mention things that upset me because I don’t want to lead to a fight. And that means I’m kind of bottling up grievances which I know full well isn’t healthy. We have an amazing relationship, but I’ve always thought that good relationships were about dealing with the bad as well as the good, and what if it takes us years to realise that we can’t handle the bad?
It’s not like everything’s been sunshine and roses. As I mentioned earlier, he’s been great with my mental health, but that means that he does the majority of the housework, as well as working, and although I’m working hard to be able to contribute more, it’s something that definitely hangs over me. I think the guilt from knowing that he basically just cares for me a lot of the time also means that I’ve stopped talking about things he does that sometimes upsets me, because I feel like I don’t deserve to be unhappy with anything he does when he’s great and supportive and puts so much time, and effort, into making our home a safe place for me. As well as trying to avoid The Fight. And I feel like, hey, I’ll have forgotten the bad thing he said tomorrow, so why argue about it now? It’s probably just me being over sensitive anyway, right? But what actually happens is that it still hurts tomorrow, just feels too late for me to bring it up, so just gets added to the pile of Things That Hurt Me. 
(Note: the things he says aren’t generally actually nasty things but just things that are badly worded and hurt my feelings. For example: “you’re looking beautiful today! I think that dress makes you look thin” and like I’m certain he means well but I’d rather be able to accept the fact that I’m not thin rather than feel like his image of me on beautiful rests on his image of me as thin, y’know?)
Basically, how can I call him out on things that make me sad at the time? I kind of need a method to use when usually I’d just lose my nerve and stay quiet because I’m now kind of really fearing conflict. 
And what if The Fight does happen and we end up having a big argument, either now or in the future? How will I be able to convince myself that this isn’t the end of the world and that our relationship has the potential to survive that, when so far it’s been built on a foundation of mostly harmony and agreement? I feel like we’ve been constructed by all our friends as The Couple Who Never Fight, The Perfect Couple, and I’m scared of realising that we’re not.
~~Conflict Avoidant
Who stands like this anyway?

Hey, I’m up here. My eyes and brains are not located in the belly. Helloooooo?

Dear Captain,

I’m pregnant – yay! It’s still pretty early, but if things go well, I’m on my way to being a big gassy pregnant lady. (Right now I am a small gassy pregnant lady).

However, I’m already dreading handsy co-workers who I know will touch my stomach, comment on my weight gain, start referring to me soley as “mamma” and judge everything I do by how good it is for the “baby” (I recently saw one of them cover the ears of a pregnant woman – and not one with whom he was particularly close – when someone used profanity.)

These people are both very sweet and well-meaning, and entitled and infuriating. I’m trying to plan my responses well before I start showing without a planned response, I know I’ll come across as rude and cold, while they’ll look like super-awesome guys who are just trying to be so cool and friendly!

Can you help me come up with some scripts that a) help these well-intentioned bozos realise why their comments and contact aren’t welcome, or appropriate and b) don’t make me sound like the mean office grump who hates good tidings?

– Not “Mamma” Read More

I LUUUUUUUUV YOUUUU

Doug wins at relationships.

Hi Captain and Awkwardeers! I have a problem that may or may not be an actual problem and is probably easy to solve, but asking friends for answers gave me nothing but contradictory answers, so I thought maybe you could help.

I’m young (in college) and just started dating one of my friends. It’s great. I’ve known him for a long time, we share interests, we’re comfortable together, butterflies are in full effect, et cetera. The only problem is, I have no idea what I’m doing! I’ve never dated anyone before (I’m twenty-one) I don’t really have any girlfriends I could ask/am not comfortable asking my mom, so I’m essentially fumbling my way through the dark without a flashlight or roadmap. When do you move in for a kiss? What are the milestones? What does and doesn’t constitute PDA? What about gift-giving, is there ettiquette for that? Will our shared group of friends be uncomfortable about our dating? How do I get over feeling shy about asking him this stuff? How SHOULD I feel about this guy, anyway? I have experience with crushes, but not with what a mutual adult relationship actually feels like. The cumulative effect of all this is that whi le I really enjoy spending time with him, I spend the time we’re NOT together panicking about what I might be doing right or wrong. Is there any kind of Relationships for Dummies guide for people like me?

Sincerely,

Confused in Canada Read More

The television couple that I picture you two as.

As amazing as these past couple of questions have been, they’re also kind of depressing. I want to thank the following questioner for presenting us with a pleasant, happy sort of problem in which no one is being even a little bit of an asshole. Cheers!

Hello Captain (and Awkward Army)!

So here’s the deal. I’ve been married to a ridiculously fantastic, supportive, patient, loving husband for just under  a year now, and we’re still delightfully twitterpated. We’ve worked hard to create a mutually supportive relationship, to Use Our Words (and our ears) and to work as a team whenever possible. Overall, that’s working great….but there’s one problem: I have Words to Use a whole lot more than he does.

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Summer Lovin’! I have now exposed myself as An Old.

Dear Captain Awkward,

I am a recent High School graduate and I  am going to start college in the fall somewhat far away from my home state (about an 11 hour drive) and i am so excited I’ve made a countdown and I’ve befriended all of my soon to be classmates on FB and found a blog run by a student who goes to my soon to be college etc etc. I feel like college will be a great time to start over and kind of reinvent myself (I’m shy, somewhat introverted, anxiety prone, and awkward).

I’m also in love with my high school crush and just recently he told me that he loves me and I know he’s serious and telling the truth and everything and it’s great because I love him back. The thing is in the fall I’ll be leaving him for a new life basically. New friends, new habits, new state, new love interest possibly. And he knows this. And he told me he’ll just have to accept my decision because it’s my life and not to put my it on hold for 4 years because of him.

The thing is I really would have put my life on hold for him . I really do love him but I know what he says is true. And I suppose it is pretty naive to think I won’t find someone I really like in college (which is what I was telling myself).

We’ve never been in a relationship with each other though we got really close the last 2 years of HS. And we actually kissed the last like 3 days before graduation!

I don’t really have much freedom to go out and he definitely does not so our chances of physically being together this summer are slim to none. (We have been texting, tweeting, and skyping however).

Here’s the thing. I have some hope that when I return home for the winter break I’ll have more freedom from my parents and that me and him can hang out and go on dates etc. I haven’t told him because if it ends up we don’t keep in touch or he finds someone else I don’t want that to be a broken promise and a hurtful reminder or what could have been. Idk. I just don’t want to make a promise and then not be able to keep it.

Also, I’m kind of hoping that during the time i’m in college until the winter break when I come back home that he’ll have matured (I guess is the right word) a little bit. I’m pretty sure my mom wouldn’t approve of him if we ever started dating and I brought him home to visit. He’s what my mom would call a ‘project’ (because he got ok grades in HS, is not going to college, doesn’t really know what he wants to do, etc) .

But I’m getting ahead of myself! I still have 2 months before I go to college and then from there 4 months until winter break.

Is it stupid to have some hope for the future? Should I get it into my head that we will never be together? Should I voice my thoughts and concerns to him? And how can I get the chance to hang out with him this summer?

Sincerely,

Hopelessly in love college bound student

Dear Captain,

The Expectation: Easy, seamless, romantic, mint and jasmine scented sex with Jon Hamm.

I am in an awkward sexy-times situation (the best kind of awkward! …Or is it?), and am in need of a script and Jedi hugs.  Halp?

I grew up in a horribly repressive, fundamentalist Christian household; the entirety of my sexual education came from the church, and can be summed up into:

1. All men want is sex.
2. A woman’s most precious gift to her future husband is never having any sexual experience whatsoever prior to marriage.
3. Women are responsible for protecting their purity from all those sex-crazy men, and if they don’t they are BROKEN FOREVER.
4. Women don’t want sex, ever, actually (and if they do they are SINFUL FOREVER).

(Yeah, helpful things like consent, healthy relationship dynamics, birth control, anatomy and the actual mechanics of how things work Down There?  Not even mentioned.  Anyway.)

So, all that (plus some childhood abuse thrown in just to make things more fun) resulted in my being pretty fucked up in the whole sexuality arena. I’m 23 now, have done a ton of work on this, and am seeing a wonderful therapist, but… I’ve got a long way to go.  I often feel like I’m a teenager for the first time, just discovering that my body can be awesome and that all dudes are not out to get me and that I don’t have to beg God for forgiveness after kissing my long-term boyfriend.  It’s awkward and messy and scary!  And occasionally great!  But also REALLY SCARY, because everyone else around me went through all this shit when they were, y’know, actual teenagers (and most of them without the whole church+abuse factors).  Thus, my current dilemma.

I recently started seeing this beautiful, attractive, awesome man and things have been going fairly well.  We haven’t had sex yet (and I haven’t ever, actually, but am thinking that this might be a good first experience), but we’ve fooled around and cuddled and all of that lovely stuff.  The problem is, I have no idea how to reciprocate the sexy things he does for me, and I’m scared to try to initiate things when a) I don’t know what I’m doing and feel really dumb, b) he’s WAY more experienced than me, and c) I’m still fighting all that ridiculous sexual programming from my growing-up years.  We had a short chat about it last night, after he brought up the “Why don’t you do things for me?” conversation, but I’m kind of at a loss as to how to just… start. 

So, in summary.  I’m working through some issues, but want to make my manfriend happy, but don’t know how to do the things he likes or how to ask him what I should be doing or get past the feeling that I am sexually stunted beyond recovery.  I’ve used my words and told him some of what I’ve written here (and we will be having further conversations on the matter), but what do I do/say in the heat of the moment when I am feeling dumb and not knowing what to do?

Thanks,
Jesus Is Not My Boyfriend

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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?
 
Thanks,
Cold Face, Warm Heart