Tag Archives: jerks

Dear Captain,

I live with my partner of several years. I love her very much. We share a lot of hobbies, including a theater club. My partner is *exceptionally good* at theater – a result of a decade of passion – and most of our friends are theater people. But recently I’ve been discovering that her passion – one of her defining qualities – has been making her relationships within this community harder. 

People have been talking to me for about a year now about her long-standing habit of being incredibly bossy, having incredibly high standards for herself and resenting it when other people don’t live up to them, and making it hard to enjoy this activity at all when she’s there with them. One person we’re close to, he worked with her on a performance a few years ago, before I even met her, and he told me that after that performance, he decided never to work with her again because she made the experience unbearable. As I’ve asked around, others (who she respects deeply) have agreed with me that her behavior is fun-killing all around. People I love are no longer participating in events with us because she lacks empathy when dealing with people in a theater context.

Granted, she’s incredibly empathetic – she’s a teacher by trade – but she feels that when she leaves the classroom, she doesn’t want to have to make so much effort just to, I guess, have friends that value her outside of her intellect. Now she has lupus and is in pain a lot of the time, so most of our friends have sympathy for that. But this seems bigger than just being in chronic pain. (Or is it?) 

I have told her what her friends think of her (well most of it), and have pointed out that most of our friends think her behavior is hurtful, undermining, and steamroll-y. She responds that I need to stop caring about what other people think about her. She’s defensive and tells me to ignore what other people think. 

She’s also bossy about other things in our shared life together. Others have interpreted this as abusive, and one person was shocked to see her apparently bark orders at me. (Granted she was in immense pain at the time.)

I regularly check in with myself – I’m a past victim of abuse – but it doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t feel like abuse. There’s no emotional put-downs, no manipulation, no threats. We’re highly effective communicators except for this issue. There’s raw anger and frustration, and defensiveness, but missiles are never directed at me as a person. She just underrates the amount of pain she causes others in pursuit of our hobby. 

One or two friends have wanted to stage an intervention. These plans never panned out. I’m not sure whether or not to force the issue. She is in therapy, but I think a couple’s counseling session or two surrounding this would be helpful. I’m not entirely sure what could be done other than me saying ‘You hurt me because you make people feel bad when they’re around us by raising your voice, arguing about the finer points of staging or scriptwriting, and being condescending’ and her being like ‘Well, I’m sorry, but that’s who I am.’ 

Thoughts appreciated.


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Dear Captain Awkward:

I told my crush that I like him and he said he wouldn’t tell anyone and he told people. Now everybody knows. What should I do?

Red Head

Dear Red Head:

Every single person that that guy told has had a crush on someone themselves, so hopefully they’ll be cool and not judge or try to embarrass you about it.

You might get some gentle teasing or people bringing it up. If that happens, I suggest you pause for a second, roll your eyes, and say “Correction. I did have a crush.”  Practice saying it in the mirror or with a friend so you won’t get flustered.

You were brave and cool for telling your crush about your feelings, and everyone here is secretly giving you an awkward high five. You couldn’t have predicted he’d act like a big jerk who would use your sincerely expressed feelings to feed his ego, and you didn’t do anything to be embarrassed about. Even if he didn’t share your feelings, the right thing to do in that scenario is to say “I wish I felt the same, but I am very flattered and glad you told me. Of course I won’t tell anyone.” And then duh, don’t tell anyone.

Keep being awesome and awkward.

Hey Captain Awkward…

So! I used to be BFF with this guy. I eventually ended things after it took a turn for the weird – he became incredibly demanding of my time and attention and started telling me things that, frankly, freaked me out. Our friendship ended after we took a trip together, during which I became increasingly uncomfortable with how dependent he was. I needed space, and I took it. And I guess he was pretty pissed. When I came to my hometown for the summer, he started showing up at my house, calling all the time, that kind of thing. I got a letter and several emails demanding that we ‘talk about this.’ I was freaked out and resolved to avoid him for, oh, the rest of my life.

Anyway, the rest of my life lasted… awhile. Eventually, we began talking again (I don’t really remember how this came about, but we’re from a small town so, you know… you run into people) and I thought everything was cool? We talked. He seemed to be in a better place. We were never close again, but we were friendly enough and hung out a few times without any weirdness. He remained friends with some of my friends and became quite close with a couple of them. I haven’t spoken to him in awhile, but, before recently, I would have said we were at least on friendly terms.

Cut to the present day, when I finally learn his version of what happened between us. Namely, that I threw myself at him, was
rejected, and (I guess) was too humiliated to face him again. I know some people believe his version of events. He is a skilled liar when he wants to be. Honestly, this is the second time I’ve found out way after the fact that someone lied about me and everyone took it as truth and just didn’t tell me. But at least the other time, the person said we had sex – so I could pretend it was at least a little bit flattering.

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A cake with "nothing" written on it.

What do we like about this boyfriend of yours?

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m in a long term relationship (7 years now) that started in my last year of high school, and has been my only romantic relationship. As you may imagine, it’s been…interesting. He’s a great person, with many admirable qualities, whom I still like a lot as a person and enjoy spending time with.

So, there’s a big conflict in our relationship that we haven’t been able to sort once and for all, despite talking about them a bunch of times:

He is really opinionated about my appearance (clothes, hair, weight). He feels that he has a right to comment on it, and gets really passive-aggressive when I don’t give him the opportunity to voice his opinions (ie. I dye my hair and he goes into a snit for days about how he doesn’t like it, and can’t talk about it because I don’t want to hear his opinion on it and oh the angst). It’s gotten to the point where getting a fucking hair cut is fraught because I prefer my hair short and he likes long hair. And it really all comes down to the fact that he’s not as attracted to girls with short hair/dyed hair/wearing goth make-up/ overweight/ insert here. Or he feels I’d look better in skirts/longer hair/ contacts/ more “normal” makeup, etc.

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