I recently attended my high school reunion, where I ran into my sweetheart from those days. We had been in an intense but non-physical relationship for a year, but “Cat” and her family were devout Catholics. She couldn’t bring herself to come out yet. I was head-over-heels for Cat, so it was very frustrating.
Anyhow, while talking at this reunion, we discovered that the sudden end of our relationship was based on a stupid misunderstanding. She seemed as shocked as I am.
She gave me serious mixed messages like: “I’m in a relationship/I’m still very attracted to you”; “I don’t know if I still feel the same way/I’d still be with you if X didn’t happen.”
So, Ms. Behavior, what should I do?
My first inclination is to hightail it to her house, and throw myself at her. One friend tells me to forget about it, as it’s heart-flattening material. Another is too busy swooning with the romanticism of it to give me any practical advice.
I still turn to jelly when Cat looks at me, and I have a sense that the relationship is worth another try. On the other hand, I don’t want to persuade her to leave her relationship—even though I’m much more fun than the woman she’s with.
What if she says no? What if she leaves her relationship, wants to be with me, and then freaks when she sees my pierced labia? Should I hang a St. Christopher’s medal on it just in case?
—Still Crazy After Not-So-Many Years
It’s not surprising that Cat still gives you mixed messages. The circumstances have changed, but the essence of your dynamic has not: “You can have me. Oops—no you can’t.” Cat is still ambivalent. You’re still hooked in.
The best thing you can do, if you want to protect your heart, is to stay still. If you rush over to Cat’s house, she’ll suck you dry (figuratively speaking), then vacillate between you and her current girlfriend.
Let Cat sort out her feelings, and come to you. If she doesn’t, you haven’t lost anything. If she does, you can take your time, and see if you feel like jumping into it with her.
Don’t worry about your labia piercing. It will be an object of curiosity and intrigue to those who haven’t seen one up-close.
But get rid of the useless St. Christopher medal. You won’t need it unless you’re planning to travel. Instead, replace it with a St. Jude medal. He’s the dude for hopeless cases.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
Dan, my boyfriend of five years, is about to go to his 20-year college reunion. I have no desire to go with him, nor has he asked me. We have a monogamous relationship, and I always have trusted him.
But I feel threatened now for two reasons: (1) Dan has been working out and losing weight in anticipation of the reunion; and (2) He’s planning to spend time with his old college roommate, Bob, who was also his first boyfriend.
Dan and Bob had a hot relationship back then, as Dan tells it. I’m worried that they’ll end up hooking up during reunion weekend, or worse, get back together, and Dan will break up with me.
Do you think I should mention my concerns before he goes to the reunion? Or will that only fuel the fire of his passion for his old boyfriend?
Dear Mr. Insecurity:
Feel free to tell Dan how much you love him, and that you feel a little threatened by his reunion.
But if you’re tempted to detail every frightening scenario that has passed through your tortured little mind about envisioning his joyous life with his first love, while you spend the rest of yours as a grieving widow, crying and masturbating yourself to sleep every night—don’t do it.
Most people like their partners to be a tiny bit jealous, but no one likes an insecure weenie. Talk yourself off the ledge. Breathe deeply. Your confident assumption about your boyfriend’s loyalty likely will help you more than an outburst of anxious wheedling.
Try not to be threatened by Dan’s extra crunches and pushups. Everyone likes to look good and appear happy at reunions. Sometimes, a health club membership is all it takes. Later on, some must rely on plastic surgery for reunion rejuvenation.
If all goes well, Dan’s attachment to you will keep him from succumbing to the desire to reclaim his hot, muscular, erotic past.
© 2010 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.