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Parallax - Advice            May 8, 2000


   Boring men, shy men, and bossy men

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The weighty moments when everything hangs on a crucial decision are the ones when smart people turn to Conversely's SHE-HE advice team. This week our duo looks at the plight of a young couple grappling with an opportunity (or a curse?) to work together. But our hardy pair of advisors can also navigate the rough waters of lackluster evenings in bars, and lackluster mates. We start with the woman who discovered a boring man in her bed...


EXTRA!! Her boyfriend's boring!
- Should she help him get his act together, or dump him ASAP?
 Date: 05/08/00

He can't meet women in bars
- So who can? Or better yet, who wants to?
 Date: 05/08/00

So, what about working with the person you're dating?
She says PASS, he says GO.
 Date: 05/08/00

From our archives...

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They have very different educational backgrounds.
Can the relationship outlast their mismatched ambitions?
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 Date: 04/24/00

He cheated, lost her, and wants her back.
Can he 'buy' her love, or does he have to earn it?
 Date: 04/17/00

'I just want a fling, that's all...'
The words every woman wants to hear, or - too much brutal honesty?
 Date: 04/17/00

She's only 26, dating and... divorced.
Should she tell, or will it scare them away?
 Date: 04/17/00

Stuck in girlfriend confusion.
Is he really in love with two different women, or suffering from self-delusion?
 Date: 04/17/00

An innocent work-date blows up in his face...
But is there more to his wife's outraged reaction?
 Date: 04/17/00

Woman vs. Girl.
Proper respect vs. crass sexism, or Mature and wily vs. innocent and exciting?
 Date: 04/10/00

Happiness struck when she least expected it.
Does this call for self-flagellation, or is the situation not so dire?
 Date: 04/10/00

Personal ads in cyberspace:
The cure for superficial bar talk! A miracle waiting to happen! Yee-haw!
 Date: 04/10/00

He's very elusive of late, she never sees him.
She thinks he might be cheating. Innocent or guilty?
 Date: 04/10/00

She's close to being borderline obsessed.
Only a crush, or a prime excuse for exquisite drama?
 Date: 04/10/00

Boyfriend is a born-again liar.
Should she take the highroad or hunker down and help him out?
 Date: 04/03/00

Dream-lady's cat throws him into asthma fits.
Simple case of allergy medication, or woman-cat-man love triangle?
 Date: 04/03/00

Is there a simple rule about which color rose for what occasion?
Or is a rose is a rose is a rose?
 Date: 04/03/00

He keeps calling and calling, he just doesn't get it...
Should she let him down easy or yank out the plug?
 Date: 04/03/00

Correspondent questions the social value of 'significant other.'
Anarchist, revisionist, or clueless?
 Date: 04/03/00
Bar

EXTRA!! Her boyfriend's boring!

Dear Conversely,

Email to a Friend I have recently figured out that my boyfriend is really a little boring. Actually, a lot boring. And this is the man I thought I was going to marry... He's the smartest guy I know and I used to look at him like he was the only man on earth. We work together and everyone thinks he's amazingly brilliant. He loves me too - and he's so sensitive and caring. But I think I've been in love with him for so long that I forgot to notice that mostly he just works. We never go out anymore. He doesn't plan any fun things for us. I'm lucky if he even gets a chance to show up at the ones I plan - so I've just given up. I think I want to break up with him and go out with someone more exciting, and I wonder if this happens to most couples. Do they kind of settle in and do less fun stuff and focus mostly on work? I've heard that most married people loose interest in sex - that would be terrible. Am I over-reacting? I do love him but I'm so bored and lately I've started flirting with other guys - and it's been good. What do you think I should do?


Her view:

Dear Flirt,

I think a lot of couples go through the phase of moving from 'exciting new infatuation' to 'settled in the relationship.' The dynamics change quite a bit: less fun, more stable - it's just the natural progression.

On the other hand if he is a worker bee and you are a slacker then this relationship may be a difficult one. If he has no time for you or interest in any shared activities then you are basically alone and naturally you will begin to notice other guys who have more interesting things to do than develop complex software models to rule the world, or whatever.

I think that before you do anything rash and storm (or cheat) your way out of the relationship, you should talk with him. Say it all very candidly. Tell him you are bored, lonely and thinking of leaving. At least hear what he has to say about that. If you're not happy with the response then by all means have at it and walk out. But I think you owe him a conversation and a chance to redeem himself - remember you do love him. And keep an open mind, of course, or he's doomed to fail. I would suggest a little holiday - take a weekend together and see if you can reconnect.

Give it a real try, but if you can't get the spark back then I suggest leaving sooner than later.

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His view:

Dear Flirt,

They say there is an ancient garden somewhere where flirtation coexists with 'fun things.' If we could find this place, I think some of us would probably demand a life-time membership - while others might settle on a weekend pass. Maybe your boyfriend is one of the latter - the ones that believe there's such a thing as 'having too much fun.' I suggest you break up with this guy - he's reducing the pool of available, fun-loving femme-fatale's like you.

This would probably be the best thing that could happen to your man. He'll get jolted. He'll take less for granted, he'll realize work is not all there is, he'll have a few affairs... OK, maybe he'll just keep on contributing to society and not even notice, but in that case he's a lost cause - the kind that doesn't know or care about the secret garden.

Hopefully this will help you learn enough about boring guys to enable your alarms to go off sooner next time. I'm not saying that everything in a relationship can be fun - but damn, if you don't at least try occasionally... Life is too brief for that.

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