Dear Ms. Behavior:
The advice I need has to do with having my cake and eating it too. I’ve met a totally cool woman who is smart, cute, funny, thoughtful, and present. She’s willing to partake in a dynamic that is slow-moving and low-key.
As I’m navigating that, I also greatly am enjoying the single life I’ve created for myself in the past nine months. Last night, I went out with friends, and was reminded of how uncomplicated (very different from soap-opera-style lesbian drama that continues to swirl around me) my single life has become.
I don’t want to give up my nights out, but I feel guilty for having what feels a bit like a double life. I’ve been completely honest with the new woman about where I’m coming from, the pace at which I am willing to engage, and what I’m up to when we aren’t hanging out together.
I just can’t shake this feeling that I’m supposed to make a decision, and pick one over the other. But I also fear reverting to old ways, where I disappear into the relationship hole way too quickly. I am not interested in dating anyone else. I just don’t want to give up the social life I’ve got in place.
So, am I being selfish in wanting (and somehow currently managing) to have both? Is the bottom going to fall out sooner or later? Or, is this just how better-adjusted adults engage?
Dear Cake Girl:
If the woman you’re dating isn’t pressuring you to give up your life of boozing and carousing, don’t waste your precious time worrying about it.
Soon enough, when you’re cohabitating cozily in matching flannel pajamas, and have begun spending all your time together searching for a sperm donor, your free nights will be only a vague-but-fond memory.
Meanwhile, you may want to do a little self-exploration (perhaps with the help of therapist) to find out what the dreaded “relationship hole” actually represents.
Do you lose the ability to think and act independently when you’re in a couple? Do you need to reject intimacy because you fear you’re actually a cling-on?
While vagina dentata is typically a straight male phenomenon, perhaps you are metaphorically afraid of your girlfriend’s darkest places, and are anxious about being chewed up. (If you think Ms. Behavior has gone too far, remember that you’re the one who used the word “hole.”)
If you find out how “better-adjusted adults” engage, please do enlighten the rest of us. Meanwhile, enjoy your nongirlfriend and your single life for as long as you can sustain the combination.
If you manage to keep both going for a year or two before taking the inevitable plunge into merging, you probably can make some money writing a book. Best of all, when you appear on Oprah, the caption beneath your head will specify “Lesbian Guru.”
Dear Ms. Behavior:
My girlfriend, Jane, and I live in an apartment building above our best buddies, Sue and Shane. The four of us are very tight: We baby sit for each other’s cats, we eat together twice a week, and we hang out on the weekends.
The problem is that our foursome has been interrupted. Jane’s best friend from college, Bess, and her girlfriend, Maya, visit us once a month.
A few months ago, when they were here, they connected with Sue over a shared interest in Buddhist meditation. Now, every time they visit, Bess and Maya spend more time downstairs with Sue and Shane than they do with us. Plus, we now have to schedule everything around their meditation, which is disruptive.
So, now, because the three lesbian Dali Lamas get up at 6 AM to meditate, it has killed our Sunday morning breakfasts with Bess and Maya, as well as our late-night dinners at local restaurants drinking wine.
I know it’s petty, but I hate that Bess and Maya now seem closer to Sue and Shane than to us. Plus, all that ridiculous talk about spirituality is just plain annoying.
Should I say something to the four of them? Should Jane and I mention that we feel left out?
Don’t worry—it will pass.
Buddhists, especially those who are relatively new to the practice, eventually tire of one another, or burn out on the whole idea of nirvana. Bess and Maya soon will remember how much they like to eat, drink, and laugh out loud. They will recall that your shallow breathing and pitiful flaws are compelling.
Meanwhile, don’t try to “fix” anything by complaining that you feel left out. Just relax in the knowledge that they’ll be back, and that you’re OK exactly as you are.
© 2009 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is the author of Do What I Say: Ms. Behavior’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Etiquette (Houghton Mifflin). Signed copies are available directly from the author.