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Parallax - Advice            September 18, 2000

   Dig me out of this hole!

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How many times do we get into some situation, a situation that continues for a while, until we realize something is wrong? And then we want to get out fast - but it's not so easy? This week, our terribly smart SHE-HE advice duo pulls out the spades and shows our correspondents how to dig themselves out. There's the guy who is in one bad relationship after another... The woman in a pseudo-relationship that she can't figure out... And we start with the woman who went from girlfriend to best buddy and wants to get back to where she once belonged.

He treats her like one of the guys.
Should he treat her as a lady - or is she really just a buddy?
 Date: 09/18/00

He dates her, he dates her not.
Is their relationship stuck in neutral with no place to go?
 Date: 09/18/00

He's charming, attractive and really not pathetic.
So why can't he find the right woman to marry?
 Date: 09/18/00

More from last week...

He treats her like one of the guys

Dear Conversely,

Email to a Friend I feel so lonely when I am not with my boyfriend. He has a ton of friends and most of my friends are married and busy.

I feel like the dynamic has switched from him trying to get me to go out, to me calling him.

Things are still chemistry-packed between us, and we spent all last week together and had fun. But he treats me more like an old college buddy, saying crass stuff, and I go along with it because he is so funny. I think he thinks things are great because he has this close pal, but I want to be treated like a lady. Anyway, I want to turn the tables a bit to where I can be appreciated again. What should I do? It seems desperado to ask him to be sweeter.

Her view:

Dear Lonesome Lass,

Yes, yes it does - a girl shouldn't have to ask to be treated more sweetly and hear less crass conversation. The problem is you've gone along with it - you've laughed it up. He has tested the waters with you and you've said it's okay to talk about farting. So... you need to switch him back over. You need to provide him a little feedback - which of course cannot be outwardly spoken. The next time he launches into some gross solipsism, show either lack of interest or disgust. And be clear or it will be lost on him.

It's probably a good sign the two of you are more like buddies now. Your relationship is moving into a more comfortable phase - he feels like you're one of his closest friends. But I'm sure every once in a while you'd like some romance - maybe you should take the lead. Make him a candlelit dinner - or buy him chocolates. Do some classic girlie things and maybe he'll follow up on your lead and write you a sonnet.

And on the friends front - you need to go out and get yourself some new unmarried friends and some hobbies. You don't want to focus on him solely anyway. You should have your own interesting life, or things will become very uninteresting for you.

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His view:

Dear Lonesome Lass,

The situation you are in is typical when one partner has a life and the other just borrows it. The problem is mostly your fault, and therefore yours to fix - if you can be thick-skinned and take a few risks.

Note: My colleague thinks everything can be solved with 'a little talk.' She will probably encourage you to discuss it with him. I strongly suggest you don't. And definitely do not ask him to be sweeter - he won't even know what you are talking about.

The reason you have become his 'best buddy' is that you don't give yourself the place you deserve in the relationship. Hanging out with him all the time (especially if you are clingy), and passing most of that time with his friends, is not the best way to act if you want to be treated like a lady.

First off, you have to work on your own friends. I don't care if you beg your married pals, meet new people online, or hire some stand-ins - just put a social calendar together that is independent of him. Then, swallow your loneliness and don't call, or turn down his invitations. Go out with your new friends, or stay home alone if you have to. Show him you have a life. And when you do decide to see him, make sure it is only the two of you. The ratio of couple dates v. group dates should be at least two-to-one, preferably three-to-one.

A few weeks of this treatment should have him chasing after you like he never thought he could.

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