Dear BLCKSMTH: Bad Advice For Good People

 

Dear BLCKSMTH: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve regretted?

Tweeting a comparison last week between the death of the baby dolphin in Argentina and the demise of my last relationship. Haha! Heh. Ugh.

Dear BLCKSMTH: You look really young for your advanced age, and you seem so full of energy! What’s your secret?

Honestly, between my day job and the writing, I don’t even know when I find time to hate myself so much! But the secret to looking young:

  1. Cry a lot, it’s nature’s “collagen injection” for the area around your eyes!  2. Get in debt  3. Rub your face in silky cat fur at least twice daily  4. Cry some more!

Dear BLCKSMTH: I’m on Scruff and I’ve noticed a guy who I would really love to get with. He’s really flirty and seems genuinely interested back, but when I see him out, he clams up, doesn’t make eye contact, and seems really awkward. What is going on? Signed, J. in Portland

Ugh THIS GUY. I know him. Not really, but I’ve been through this a zillion times before. I swear they should invent a new dating app for fuck-ups called Fumblr. You can only go on there if you intend to reschedule the first date three times, or tell your date about the other guys you’re currently dating, or if you hide your “friends” list on Facebook.

Honestly, the fun/frustrating thing about dating apps and any social media is that they let us hide behind a veneer of how we want the world to perceive us. Yeah, you may be seeing my profile picture and assume I’m on the beach sipping cocktails, but at any given time of day, odds are I’m pooping. This guy you’re interested in may be painfully shy in real life, or super intimidated by you, but online he can be a FaceTuned dating-app superhero, and he can assume a charming flirty personality. I think the important thing is to assume no bad intentions, realize that’s his stuff not yours, and make a bold first move to see how he responds.

That being said, if someone is rude or cruel to me online, I have no compunctions about calling them out on it in the real world. We’ll all in this together, jerks.

Dear BLCKSMTH: I’ve started dating a guy whose brain I really can’t read. Even on the first date, I thought he wasn’t into me and then he surprised me by kissing me at the end of it. We’ve only had sex once and then just been physically affectionate the other times, and when I saw last week that he was on Grindr and said hi to him, he blocked me. He’s still in touch with me via text a lot, but seems to be having a really busy week. Am I being led on? Signed, M. in Chicago, IL.

People can be mysterious and full of intentions and contradictions (“You’re so handsome you’re out of my league!” he said, not returning my texts ever again). The first thing I noticed is that you seem to not be asking him a lot of questions when you’re confused by his behavior. Yes, he may be hot and you may be excited by him, but there’s clearly a component of this courtship that’s generating anxiety. When you say you “only” had sex once, was that enough for you? It sounds like you wanted more. It sounds like when he blocked you on Grindr you just kept talking to him via text as if nothing happened, even though it was significant to you. Don’t get me wrong, that could be nothing on his part: personally, once I like a guy, I usually block him on those apps for a bit because it gives me anxiety to see him on them talking to other guys (as I wrote about before).

Please ask yourself this: “Am I getting everything out of this I need? Is there something that would make this better than it is?” And then come up with a game plan to have a conversation with him about it. It seems to me, just based on the above, that you’re a pathological accomodator (and I’ve been one too!). That’s basically a very serious-sounding way to describe the act of sacrificing your needs for someone else’s convenience or company. It appears that there  are things you need that you’re not getting, whether it’s physical intimacy or communication or validation. It’s an easy habit to fall into once we realize it’s safer not to rock the boat. My advice is to have the conversation sooner than later. If he’s truly seeing you as someone he likes having in his life, he’ll listen, truly hear what you need, and respond generously if he can. Win-win!

Dear BCLKSMTH: I’m dating someone who I was crazy about at first, and after almost a year the feelings are fading. I’m scared to confront him because he’s been hurt deeply before. What should I do? Signed, J. in Kansas City

Yeah, this doesn’t hit close to home at all, haha (brb, weeping). Good news and bad news, and the good news is it’s not too late to save things! You’re catching this in the beginning of the feelings fading and there are things you can do to rekindle the spark. The bad news is you’re going to have to do the most uncomfortable thing, though, which is to tell him. Do keep in mind that he has no idea this is happening, similar to how you didn’t notice you misspelled “BLCKSMTH” in your letter to me. We all have networks of friends who can give us advice, and it’s useful to reach out for their advice if they know the two of you well; the ones who only know one of you are going to give biased advice and basically be a mirror to whatever you’re saying because they’re not invested in the two of you as a couple.

If you’re in a committed relationship, you’ve presumably made a commitment not to only your own best interests, but also to the best interests for the relationship. If you’re confronted with something in the relationship that’s not working for you, or if you’re distracted by someone else who is threatening the relationship, the best thing to do is to tell your partner and decide together how to go from there. It’s very likely that the simple act of this conversation will feel fresh and bring the two of you closer together. If you don’t then you’re in the relationship for only your own best interests, which means you’re not actually in a relationship, just pretending to be in one. Also, when I talk about “rekindling the spark”, I can’t help you decide what that is, what brings us closer is different for everyone.

If you’re not comfortable with this type of tough conversation then you’re not ready for an adult relationship yet. You should remove  yourself from a dating pool that includes people who expect honesty in a relationship, and consider seeking help.

 

Send in your Good Questions for Bad Advice to mkschndr@gmail.com. Wallow in my self loathing by reading about the slow healing process, or listen to me audibly cry when I mention my ex on Matt Baume’s podcast! Let’s be horrible people together.

3 thoughts on “Dear BLCKSMTH: Bad Advice For Good People”

  1. Seriously. You need to get over this shit. You’d long distant 2 month relationship to the “love of your life” ended forever ago. Everyone sick of hearing about poor Michael. Nobody feels that bad for you when you go this hard about it…. It’s not cute to keep playing the woe is me card. It’s certainly not helping you find someone else. It’s coming off pathetic. Immature for a 40 something year old to keep talking about. And coming from someone who has been in a couple long term serious relationships, you sound like a newb. That’s never truthfully experienced one. Which scares guys away FYI. Anyone that’s endorsing it is also a newb. Seriously dude, give yourself a break and stop being so self involved. And I’m sure you’re going to write a fucking blog post about this. Explaining your emotions further. Woopie prove my point some more.

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