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Parallax - Advice

June 23, 2003


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The key to a great relationship involves communication and honesty. If you've fallen out of love, don't lead the poor soul on. If it's over, it's over. Don't play people and don't use them. Remember the rule: Tact is kind, diplomacy is useful, euphemism is harmless and doublespeak is dangerous. As our liberated linguists of love will advise, 'Say what you mean and mean what you say.'

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Building buddy

Dear Conversely,

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For the past thirteen years, I've lived with my 'boy-fiend' who is a compulsive gambler. As he is unaffectionate, does not like children and is very controlling, I am planning to leave him. Seven months ago, I met a man who lives in my building and we have been secretly seeing each other. I am in love with him. He says he is falling in love with me and wants to marry me, but he dates many women. After we went to church on Sunday, we were supposed to spend the day together. Another woman called him and he told me he was going out with her because he made a date with her the day before. After a big argument, he cancelled their date and stayed with me. If he really cares about me, why would he make a date with this woman the day before?

Her view:

Dear Dense,

Are you an idiot? Your clandestine fellow touts a marriage that should be scheduled around his dating-other-women schedule. What you have landed in your exciting cheating fashion is called a player. He dates many women, tells all of them he is in love and cannot wait to get married, and then has great sex with all of them.

Why don't you offer up a group wedding? That would allow for easier scheduling and save him the time of dealing with multiple wedding tasks. It also serves the purpose of making introductions among all his girlfriends. Should this life sound appealing, then by all means, shop it up for a ring, buy houses and start looking into private detectives who follow cheating husbands and take photographs.

By the way, you really should have broken up with your apartment-mate a long time ago. It's time for a life with someone who actually cares about you.

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His view:

Dear Dense,

Frankly, you have too much going on to be multi-tasking. The tensions of dealing with a boy-fiend at home while dating a serial dater in secret are getting to you.

The premises you lay down in your letter are so contradictory that it's almost impossible to believe a sane person would actually believe them. You say that 'he is falling in love' with you but 'he dates many women.' He must not be 'falling' too far if he still has emotional energy to pursue other ladies.

You wonder why he would make dates with others, if he really cares about you? The answer is obvious, but since you don't seem willing to see it yourself, I'll spell it out. He doesn't really care about you.

At a minimum, his definition of love and really caring are different than yours. In the worst case, he is blatantly playing you. In either situation, you should take care of the boy-fiend first, and then work on your neighbor. Alternatively, find a more laid-back character to cheat with while you sort out the mess at home.

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