Dear Ms. Behavior:
I’ve known Tommy for a year. He always says that his boyfriend and he are breaking up, and that he and I would be great together. He also said, “I don’t know exactly why God has put you in my life, but he must know what he’s doing.”
I am not religious, but I took this as a serious statement about Tommy’s interest in me. I’ve thought a lot about being with him. I’ve waited for this breakup he promised, although my friends have been skeptical, and have warned me that it may never happen.
Well, Tommy and his boyfriend finally broke up about a week ago. This obviously should be good news.
But, last night at a party, I overheard Tommy tell this guy Al that he is finally free, and that he always has thought he and Al should be together. He said the same thing he told me: “I don’t know exactly why God has put you in my life, but he must know what he’s doing.”
I pretended not to have heard, but I was really bummed out, and left the party. As I was on my way out, I ran into an old friend, and told him what happened. He told me that Tommy had once given him the God line, too.
Should I ask Tommy about this? Or should I just back away completely?
I have feelings for him, but I also don’t want to waste my time on a dead end.
It’s bad enough Tommy apparently has a standard line he uses, but worse that his line invokes The Almighty, as if God were his wingman in a string of potential hookups. While some truly believe God guides their every move, Tommy’s declaration sounds manipulative.
You really can’t expect to combat that level of dishonesty with discussion. Let him go, and be happy you dodged the bullet. Remember that a direct confrontation with this guy may invoke floods, vermin, locusts, and a dozen other plagues upon you.
Be happy you got off easy.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
I thought it was a good idea to introduce my oldest and dearest friend, Anna (who is also my ex), to my new girlfriend, Valerie. I’ve encouraged them to spend time together. Valerie is a great, competent, funny woman, though she is a bit high-maintenance. I always choose high-maintenance women, so it’s no surprise to anyone.
But lately, Anna takes every opportunity to bust on my girl. She says Valerie is demanding, bitchy, doesn’t appreciate what she’s got, etc. This is really stressing me out.
Truthfully, I’m beginning to see Valerie through Anna’s eyes, which is distressing, because I don’t want to be influenced by anyone else’s point of view, and I don’t want to allow Anna to ruin things. Now, I find that I’m avoiding Anna, and also trying to keep Valerie away from her.
Should I tell Valerie what Anna has said about her (with the hope she’ll recognize that some of it is true)? Or should I try to smooth things out between the two of them?
Dear Valerie’s Woman:
Ms. Behavior can’t help but wonder why you and Anna broke up, but it must be for a reason. Maybe she gets drunk, and wears her panties on her head, or owns shoes and hats that offend your design sensibility. But, more likely, it’s because she’s too judgmental and very critical.
Either way, Anna is no longer your girlfriend. It also doesn’t sound like she’s necessarily the kind of friend who’s concerned with helping you to be happy, so you have no reason to allow her to have so much influence on you.
While friends often provide honest and necessary feedback about romantic prospects, sometimes, they’re not objective, especially if they’re jealous or competitive.
Your instinct to keep Anna and Valerie apart is a good one. Keep in mind, too, that you have an obligation to your girlfriend not to allow Anna (or anyone) tear her apart.
Best friend or not, Anna’s comments have the potential to damage your relationship with Valerie, so she needs to be kept on a leash (or better yet, tied up in the yard) until she behaves better.
© 2008 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to email@example.com. 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.