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click to enlarge Ask the Advice Goddess - Jim Stawniak
Jim Stawniak
Ask the Advice Goddess

BE CRUEL
I'm 24. My on-again/off-again six-year relationship with my ex ended two years ago when he dumped me for cheating on him. Two months later, I met my fiancé. Recently, my ex finally became willing to talk on a friendly basis. He didn't seem to know I was engaged, and I thought he deserved more than finding out via phone. We spent five hours together. He was charming, funny and handsome as ever. He kept trying to hold my hand and kiss me, but I couldn't do that to my fiancé. At the end of the evening, I told him I was getting married in a month. He got all cold, left abruptly and now refuses to speak to me. His text messages are short and rude. He insists he doesn't want to be with me. Should I believe this? I don't want to marry the wrong man! Is he really not interested, or is he just trying not to mess up my wedding plans?

-Down To The Wire

Do these stabbing pangs of conscience you're experiencing compare to any you've suffered in the past; say, during the emotional aftermath of backing over the garden hose with your car?

Ever the humanitarian, you decided against a simple courtesy call to inform your ex that you're about 20 minutes away from becoming some other man's wife. No, this was a job for Miracle Bra! You saddled up the twins and off you went. For five hours, you and your team led him on, encouraging him to work up nice, big false hopes, then make a boob of himself by making moves on you.

According to you, that's what he "deserved." But, why? Does he use parakeets for target practice? Get his kicks pretending to help little old ladies across the street, then ditching them in the middle of busy intersections? Or… are you just tweaked that he turned your infidelity into an exit strategy - dumping you and refusing to say a civil word to you for two years straight?

You can't seem to fathom that the guy might have a concern or two that does not revolve around you, yourself, and your needs like paparazzi swarming Cruise and Holmes. Tragically, there's probably more standing between you and a fiancé trade-up than a crushing fear on your ex's part that your daddy might forfeit his deposit to the caterer. Perhaps your rendezvous was a little too reminiscent of his previous ride through your meat grinder. Or, perhaps he, at least, recognizes that a marriage is supposed to be a joint venture - not simply a way of ensuring that there's one permanent staff member present at all times to meet the queen's needs.

The wrong man to marry is any man who'd seriously consider a woman who puts about as much thought into choosing a life partner as she does into picking a bowling date for Saturday night. (There's a bit more to making a marriage work than finding a guy who's charming, funny, and handsome enough to keep you too busy to answer any calls for self-examination or personal growth.) Because you've never had time alone - you've always just hopped on the first man-bus to come along - you probably have no idea who you are or what's important to you: key details in determining whether you've met your match or your first ex-husband. At the moment, you have no business making a serious commitment to anyone you don't have to follow down the street with a pooper-scooper.

CANON FODDER
I've fallen hard for this amazing girl. The problem is, she's my stepsister's best friend. Worse yet, my stepsister said this girl thinks I'm a great guy and would date me if only I weren't her friend's brother! Is there a way around this rule?

-Relatively Stymied

What if they had the Age of Enlightenment and nobody came? Apparently, there's some stone tablet somewhere that says you can't date a friend of your stepsister. There are good reasons to avoid dating family friends; for example, if your family members tend to befriend the unbalanced or unattractive. Assuming neither one of you is the type to fight breakups with fire, steak knives or mudslides, what's the problem? (Well, besides prying her away from those stone tablets.) If you ask her out now, she's likely to say no. Ask your sister instead - to invite you whenever the group going out includes her best friend. Once she spends a little time with you, she's sure to conclude that spending a lot of time with you makes more sense than adhering to the dating world equivalent of "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." (Sorry, but if you're experiencing chest pains, it's in your best interest to get yourself to the emergency room, not run out for a fruit salad.)

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail [email protected] (www.advicegoddess.com).

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