Dear Ms. Behavior:
I met my friend Jim when he was a call boy. Our fourth time together, during our first all-nighter, I offered him a chance to change his life. I would support him, and ask for no sexual favors.
After nine months of seeing each other, I rented an apartment for him. Several months later I offered him an older car to use. I transferred the title and insured the car in his name, but kept the actual paperwork in my possession. After two short weeks we had a nasty fight and we have not gotten back together since, except for two quick dinner dates without spending the night together. I got fed up and asked for the car back; Jim refused, and I got a lawyer to write a letter. He still refused.
I do still love him, but I can see that he has used me. Am I wrong to ask for the car back and go through with a lawsuit? Jim is seeing someone else now. He is paying for his own apartment now and has a job.
Ms. Behavior cannot offer legal advice, but when she imagines herself in judicial robes (as she often does) the title issue strikes her as fishy. If you did not intend for Jim to keep the car, you should have kept the title in your own name.
You may feel used, but the deal you made to “change Jim’s life,” was not one-sided. Your agreement helped Jim, but keeping Jim also made you feel good (i.e, powerful, sexy, or desired). So try not to feel victimized by a situation that you arranged. You’ll be more at peace if you can see that you and Jim both benefited from the relationship.
Now Jim has a job and is paying for his own apartment, so it sounds like your assistance did help him. When you offered him the opportunity to change his life, wasn’t your intention at least partly to be generous? You say you love him. If that’s true, your feelings for him probably did not end the moment you stopped sleeping together. Maybe it would actually make you both feel happy if you allow him to keep the car.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
My girlfriend of five years called me recently to dump me because one of her gay male friends shared with her the fact that I had spent the night at his place. Yes, it was that kind of sleep over. She did not know I was bisexual and I saw no reason to tell her. When she informed me that she did not want to see me again and the reason, I said, “Fine.” I was tired of her B.S. anyway.
Now I am fully immersed in the gay lifestyle and have no intention of doing any more switch hitting. When my ex realized I was not going to ask for her forgiveness and try to make amends, she really got pissed. Now she really wants me back. What should I do?
Why were you so hostile toward your girlfriend?
“Who me?” Ms. Behavior hears you saying.
Yes, you. You didn’t just have sex with some other loosey goosey dyke, you had sex with a gay man. But it’s wasn’t just some random poofter you boffed, it was your girlfriend’s friend. You kept your sleepover with him a secret from your girlfriend, which presumably created some drama because of her friendship with him. You saw “no reason” to tell your girlfriend that you’re bisexual and you also apparently forgot to inform her that you’re a cheater. (It doesn’t sound like you were having an open relationship.)
You stirred up a lot of drama and now you don’t seem to feel responsible for any of it. You talk about how your ex feels (pissed) and what your ex wants (allegedly you, although frankly, it’s hard to imagine why), without mentioning how you feel or what you want. When she dumped you, your only response was “Fine.” Now that she wants you back, you don’t know what you want.
If your ex were to write to Ms. Behavior, Ms. Behavior would suggest therapy, since your ex seems to suffer from a frightening lack of ability to protect herself.
You should consider therapy, too. A skilled therapist might help you to discover what lurks beneath all that alarming detachment. Perhaps you were wounded by Mommy or Daddy. Clean it up and you may be lucky enough to find something pleasant underneath all that frothy drama.
© 2012 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.