Posts Tagged ‘boyfriend


holiday gift ideas for the hopeful BF

Reader M. B. writes:

The holidays are fast approaching and I am at a complete loss about what to get my girlfriend this year. We’ve been together for a while and I want to really get her something special. I’m not really good at getting gifts, and I really don’t want to mess up. So what do you suggest?

Dear M.B.:

I’m so glad you asked! You might remember this piece once upon a time, wherein I spent several hundred words consoling a lady to be glad her husband got her any gift at all for their anniversary, and telling her that it was her job to let her husband know what to get her if she didn’t like his gifts.

That still goes — it’s your girlfriend’s job to let you know if your gifts are terrible. But the fact that you know you’re a terrible gift-giver to begin with and are asking for advice means maybe you don’t want her to have to have that conversation with you. Good job!

Gift-giving around the holidays can be a pretty stressful event, but there are a few things I can say for sure about what you should look for. It all depends on your girlfriend, of course. You’ve got to know what she likes, However, most of the ladies I know have the following rules for gift giving on “major” occasions (aka anniversaries, winter solstice holidays, and birthdays):

  1. Give me something I wouldn’t just buy for myself (either because it’s too expensive, or it’s impractical, or any other number of reasons).
  2. Give me something that I will actually like or use (i.e. not something you’re getting because you actually want it).
  3. Give me something whimsical and romantic.

Now, let’s be honest: there are girls out there who don’t care about gifts. These girls are actually angels, and as we all know, angels are sexless, so be careful with them.

If your girl does care about gifts, then you’re going to have to figure out what she likes for yourself and go from there. If she has said over and over again how much she loves X, get it for her. She’s making life easy for you.

Low on money? Services count, too, but not IOUs for services. Don’t give her a promise that you’re going to clean the house; actually clean the house. It’s a much better surprise if you just do it without promising beforehand than if you say you’re going to and then never get around to it.

I decided to conduct one of my highly scientific surveys and ask my girlfriends what they want for Christmas this year. I told the girls to “dream big”. Here’s what I heard:

"Yay! Presents!" Image: photostock /

  • A massage and/or spa day (mani, pedi, facial, soak). This was definitely the one all my girlfriends could agree on. These can get expensive, but they’re extremely thoughtful and say “go on, pamper yourself”.
  • The house cleaned (not just “picked up” but seriously scrubbed). The laundry done. The dishes done. Not just now, but forever. In other words — buy her a year’s worth of a cleaning service. Even just one visit from a cleaning service can make everything better for a long time. It doesn’t sound really romantic, but it’s extremely thoughtful.
  • A trip somewhere (with you!). “A vacation” came up more than once (we must be a stressed out group — massages and vacations for all!) Of course, you can take her somewhere that isn’t too far away and isn’t too expensive. Even just cleaning up your apartment, lighting some candles, and turning off the phone for a night can be good. Your time can be your greatest gift.
  • A CSA or Co-op membership. If she’s a foodie, being able to get amazing ingredients at lower prices will matter immensely. Having them delivered to her door every other week? Amazing!
  • A wine club membership. So you can share a bottle or two together every month.
  • Extremely nice lingerie. Nope, not Victoria’s Secret — try La Perla or Aubade. Worth the price upgrade, plus you’re going to have to do a little detective work to get the size right. And, you know, it’s kind of great for you, too.
  • An iPad or Kindle pre-loaded with some of her favorite books or magazines, and a few new ones to boot. Technology + you’re thinking about what she likes to read.
  • All the work done on the car (oil change, tune-up, a fix for “that clicking sound” — this is stuff you can maybe do yourself!)… Followed by a nice little drive to a romantic dinner (food you made yourself counts!).
  • A piece of designer clothing (“boots” was a big response among my friends) that you know would look sexy on her and is maybe a bit out of her price range. Again, you’ve got to know the girl’s taste, and her size. When you get this one right, you get it exactly right. Also: consignment stores and good antique shops are excellent for this. And the women who run those shops will be tickled that you’re looking for your lady.
  • Tickets to a show — her favorite band, opera, or musical. Bonus points if you get them a few months in advance. Extra bonus points if she didn’t even know the show was coming through your town.
  • Jewelry. Girls love sparklies. BUT WATCH OUT. If she’s expecting “the ring” and you get her diamond studs, it’s going to be a really awkward moment. Furthermore, if she’s not sure how serious she wants to be and you get her a really expensive necklace, you’re heading for doom. Just put some thought into it and be smart. If you know a jewelry designer and can have something made for her, that’s pretty awesome.

Here are a few gifts I’d steer clear of:

  • Any pet. Yes, kittens and puppies are cute, but they’re also a huge responsibility. No one should ever be given a pet as a gift unless a lot of discussion has gone into it first. (Don’t even get me started on people giving bunnies as gifts. Oh man.)
  • Any exercise equipment or gym memberships unless she has specifically asked for it. Are you encouraging her new running habit, or inadvertently telling her that you think she’s fat? Careful!
  • Nothing. This is absolutely the worst thing you can get a girl for a holiday, even if she swears she doesn’t want anything. Get her a card, at least.

Now, again, I must stress that every girl is different, and my girlfriends are probably crazier/funnier/awesomer than most, so don’t just trust what I write. Listen to your girlfriend and take some time to think about what she likes. That’s the most important thing about gifts — the thought. If you really, really can’t think of anything, ask her for a list. It’s a bit lame, but you can’t go wrong that way. You already know you’re not great with gifts, and if she’s the right girl for you, she’ll be able to accept that, too.


girlfriend is getting fat

Reader F. G. writes:

My girlfriend is getting fat. What can I do?

Dear F.G.:

Holy loaded question, Batman! That’s quite a lot to take on. First, I have to address a few, ehm, political issues.

Let’s start with the term “FAT”. This is such a weird word in our culture. It means “big”, it means “unhealthy”, it means “ugly”, it means “having mass”… I have to wonder which of these your girlfriend is becoming. Is she just getting bigger? Is she becoming unhealthy? Are you concerned because she’s becoming unattractive to you? Or because you’re worried she’s going to come to irreversible harm?

As you probably know, our culture is obsessed with being thin. Regardless of how much we rail on about the harmful effects of anorexia and bulimia, or how many of those Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty” commercials we see, we still live in a more fat-phobic society than one that celebrates actual health. We equate being thin with being attractive, even though “skinny” girls are often in just as much (if not more) trouble than “fat” ones.

Therefore, saying your girlfriend is “getting fat” makes me want to punch you in the face. Given the weight we give that word (haha, pun intended) in our culture, the fact that you would use that word to describe your girlfriend makes me feel like you’re probably a crappy boyfriend to begin with. Don’t ever talk about a girl getting fat if you care about her. Period. We have enough issues with media-inspired self-loathing; we don’t need help from our (supposedly human) boyfriends.


Size isn't always a good indicator of health. Image: Michal Marcol /

But we must talk about the real obesity epidemic in our country. Yes, lots (if not most) people are overweight in our great nation, and few are doing anything to stop it — i.e. exercising and eating better. It’s just so easy to get cheap, fast food and sit on your butt in front of the TV all day.

Being overweight also means someone is generally much more likely to get life-threatening diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc. Extra weight can also harm joints and cause other mechanical problems. So while it’s dangerous to encourage girls to hate their bodies and be thin, it’s equally dangerous to let them think it’s okay to be unhealthy and overweight.

As a real, loving boyfriend, you are allowed to care about your girlfriend’s weight as a health issue. I’ll give you that much.

Now let’s decide if your girlfriend really has an issue, or if you’re just being a shallow jerk.

I have a love-hate relationship with the National Institute of Health’s Body Mass Index, because it doesn’t always work. This is because people are individuals, and not numbers, so being “average” doesn’t actually mean anything. Many of my friends who are more in shape than anyone I’ve ever met weigh a lot (muscle weighs more than fat, FYI), and thus have a BMI that is a bit too high for their height. The BMI doesn’t take your fat percentage, cardio fitness, or muscle mass into account, so it’s not always totally useful.

Still, if you look at the BMI calculator, you’ll see that a “normal” weight is about 40 lb. in any direction for a given height. For instance, for my height (5′ 7″), I can be anywhere between 118-160 lbs and still be “normal”. That’s a pretty big range. So if your GF is just gaining weight, she could still be in a healthy range, technically. And you’ve got nothing to worry about (beyond your awful fat phobia).

Basically, what I’m saying is, if she’s just gotten a bit bigger over time (perfectly natural as girls age), or maybe she’s going through a rough patch and is just gaining a bit of weight as part of it, my advice is for you to change your attitude about “fat”. Girls gain weight. It happens. If it’s not life-threatening for her or isn’t part of an unhealthy lifestyle change (maybe it’s just her metabolism, or she’s on a new medication), then you need to just be emotionally supportive. If it’s just a few pounds, she’ll probably lose them once her life gets back to normal anyway.

A friend of mine once asked what he could do about the fact that his GF was getting cellulite. I told him to dump her and find a new GF if it bothered him, but good luck because we all (at least 80-90% of us) have cellulite. Girls who don’t have cellulite are either extremely lucky, or have been subjected to unnatural surgery (gods bless ’em). I told him to deal with the fact that girls get dimpled skin on their asses as they age, or get over having a normal, healthy girlfriend.

I offer you the same advice, if you’re just over-reacting to an increasing number on your girlfriend’s bathroom scale. Deal with it. Or be shallow and date a 19-year-old until she starts gaining weight, at which point you can just repeat the process eternally and never have to be emotionally mature or deal with a real, human girlfriend who has imperfections.

If, however, you are really concerned because your girlfriend has picked up some unhealthy lifestyle habits, then I will gladly offer you some better advice.

1. Don’t be the pot calling the kettle black. Chances are, if your girlfriend is eating poorly, you are, too. One of the hardest components of a weight-loss plan is that our closest friends and relatives hold us back by offering us cake, candy, cookies, and cheeseburgers. Maybe you have the exact same (crappy) diet as your GF, and she’s just got a less hyper metabolism (tends to be the case in women vs. men). If you want her to be healthier (and possibly thinner), you’re going to have to commit to it, too. Anything you ask her to do, you’ve got to be willing to do right alongside her.

2. Talk frankly with her about your concern for her health. Notice I said health, and not weight. Screw the numbers, screw the BMI, screw the cellulite or muffin tops. Tell her you want her to be happy and healthy, period. Make sure you’re not accusing her of being a fatty, or of being unattractive, or of any of the other fears we girls fall prey to when we’re gaining weight. Have a discussion with her, meaning listen to her side of things. I’m guessing she knows she’s been gaining weight. She’s probably less happy about it than you are. Work with her to come up with a plan for helping her out.

3. Help her set goals. Like most mammals, human beings train really well if there’s a reward system in place. Sometimes, looking and feeling better is a reward unto itself, but that can take a long time to take effect. If she’s not going to become more healthy merely for her health’s sake, she’s going to need something to strive for that will actually motivate her. My sister and her husband had a trick where if she made a fitness goal (lifting a certain amount of weight, running a certain distance in a certain amount of time, etc. — NOT losing weight), she got a present, like a pair of boots she really wanted or a new dress. Make the goals reasonable, of course; if she’s very over weight right now, shedding pounds may be an easy goal to accomplish in a few weeks’ time, as weight loss is always easier at the start of a training regimen. A great idea is to make her promise to eat 5 vegetables a day for a week, and if she accomplishes this, at the end of the week she gets a non-healthy treat, like ice cream. This limits her intake of unhealthful food by making it a reward rather than a right, and pushes her to replace the unhealthy food with good stuff during the week.

4. Be supportive. In every aspect of the word: emotionally, physically, spiritually. Do research for her on new workouts or recipes. Volunteer to cook meals. Pack her lunch. Buy her a new pair of running shoes or a set of exercise clothes. Sign up for a gym and go with her every night, or take her out for a walk before dinner. Listen to how she feels. (Pro-tip: that’s what makes a good BF in the first place.) Don’t ever tell her she looks fat, and don’t rail on about your disappointment if she misses a goal. Losing weight and being healthy can sometimes take tough love, but she should get that from a trainer, and not her boyfriend. She needs real love from you.

So, there you go. Godspeed, amigo.


more about crushes

Reader H. C. writes:

I’m in a steady, stable relationship with a great guy. However, I have developed a crush. I admit it. I think about this other guy all the time. I’m not interested in breaking things off with my boyfriend or anything. But do you think I should tell him about the crush? Or what should I do?

Dear H.C.:

A friend of mine in college once surprised me by saying: “Just because I’m in a relationship, it doesn’t mean I’ve lost my ability to have crushes.” This surprised me because until that point, I had always considered thinking about someone else as tantamount to wanting to be with someone else, which was tantamount to actually cheating on your significant other. (Good ol’ Judeo-Christian values: thinking = acting.)


Get it? Image: Boaz Yiftach /

For many people, I think that my initial hesitation concerning having a crush when you’re in a “serious” relationship would probably ring more true than my friend’s non-chalance . If you’re thinking about someone else, it could be a sign that you’re not getting what you need out of your relationship. It means there are elements to your current relationship that you need to address, but instead of doing so, you’re just finding someone new to feel good about.

At the same time, I think there are people out there who are capable of being interested in someone else in a “crush way” without wanting to do anything about it. This was how my friend in college was. Was he deluding himself? I don’t know. But he stuck with his GF for quite a long time in spite of his other crushes.

Obviously every relationship is different. Depending on how much you and your boyfriend share with each other, you could tell him all the details of the crush. In some ideal relationship I have yet to see on this planet, you two could talk about it and it’d get the whole thing out in the open, out of your head, and away from any possible danger of it happening. And you’d be closer for the sharing.

But for the most part, I’d advise against it. First of all, you’re going to make your BF jealous. Probably. If he’s magical, maybe he could stand hearing that you’re thinking about someone else. I know very, very, very few boys (if any) who are capable of that kind of circumspection.

I think you should tell someone about it, though. One of my high school teachers advised me that the best way to get rid of a crush is just to talk about it until all the magic is gone. Have a friend sit with you and talk to you about the guy. He’s probably not as great as you think he is. Find his flaws and focus on them.

More importantly, address what it is you may be missing in your relationship that you find in this crush. If you’re really thinking about this other guy all the time, is it because you really want to be with him? You’ve got to decide if you’re fooling yourself into thinking the relationship you have with your BF is what’s worth saving.

Chances are, if you’ve got this crush as bad as you seem to think, your boyfriend already knows about it. Boys can be very intuitive sometimes. Unless you want to end the relationship (which you say you don’t), I think you have to find a way to get over the crush, and find a way to make it up to your boyfriend. In this situation, you may actually have to tell him about the crush, although the key here is that you’re telling him because the crush is over. You’re recognizing you may have hurt him and that there are issues you need to work out, and that you’ve chosen to work them through rather than just crushing on the new guy.

If your crush isn’t that serious, and you haven’t been overtly obsessing over the guy, you’ll probably get over it soon enough, and you won’t need to tell your boyfriend anything. Of course, I still think you should figure out what your underlying issues are and find a way to sort them out.

And if you can’t get over the crush? It may be time to admit that your relationship with your BF isn’t right, and you’re interested in something with this new guy. It may cause a lot of tumult, but better to be honest with yourself and both these boys than to keep leading a life of lies, eh?


the right gift for the new her

Reader Z. N. writes:

You talked about what to get your new mother-in-law for the holidays, but what about a new girlfriend? If you’ve only been dating a few weeks or months, what’s the expected gift from new boyfriend?

Dear Z.N.:

Expectations vary from girl to girl and from relationship to relationship. I don’t know your GF, so I can’t tell you if she’d prefer a book to a pair of earrings or bath salts.

a present!

Image: Francesco Marino /

There are other factors that go into what you get a lady for Christmas or Hanukkah beyond how long you’ve been together. For instance, how serious are you two? I know you said she’s your girlfriend, so I’m assuming you two have had the exclusivity talk at least. If you’ve only been “dating”, and aren’t exclusive, a nice card and a flower or special candy or something is probably fine. If you’ve only been hooking up, I don’t even know if I’d advise giving her that much. It depends on how much further you want the relationship to go. Giving someone a gift or card at the holidays means, “I care about you and want to continue getting to know you better.” Giving something to a hook-up could give a signal that you’re interested in more, so be careful with that.

Furthermore, if you guys were friends for a long time before you started dating, you might be more serious with each other than a girl you’ve just met. You probably also know a lot more about her, and buying a present should be that much easier for you.

While I can’t say for certain what your lady friend would like or what’s totally appropriate, I do have a few tips to steer you clear of asshole boyfriend territory:

Get her something. Anything.

I could say that if you’ve only been dating for a few weeks, she probably isn’t expecting anything for the holidays. But that would be a lie. Even if a girl says she doesn’t expect you to get her something for the holidays, and even if you’ve only been dating for a day, GET HER SOMETHING FOR THE HOLIDAYS. I don’t care if it’s a single rose from the gas station down the street or a box of wine, you give her SOMETHING. Same goes for birthdays. Otherwise, you’re that asshole boyfriend who couldn’t be bothered to get creative. Trust me on this one.

Don’t get her something you want.

Apparently guys do this all the time. It’s probably something you won’t have to worry about until later on in the relationship (i.e. when you’re actually living together), but it’s something you should check yourself for anyway. My major advice here: Avoid electronic equipment unless she has specifically asked for it. A pair of nice headphones? Okay, not a bad idea, especially if she’s been complaining that her earbuds are busted. A new Wii controller because you play Wii a lot at her place? Mehhhhh that’s not very personal. Even if you play Wii together, that could be seen as veering more into “I’m a guy and I will use this” territory. The reason we give gifts is to show people that we’re thinking of them, not of ourselves. Keep that in mind.

Don’t spend too much.

If you give her diamond earrings after your first two weeks together, you’re setting the bar pretty high. Diamonds after two weeks? What happens at your first anniversary? A house? If you can find her something nice for under $50, go for it. I’d say $25 is almost steep if you’ve only been together two weeks. There are lots of inexpensive gifts out there. Don’t blow your load early — save a little something for a few months down the road. Expensive gifts are typically gifts that are supposed to last, and should be saved for relationships that have lasted and/or will last.

Show off your knowledge of her.

This is your chance to prove to her that you’ve been listening. Even after two weeks of being with her, you should know at least some of the things she likes (and dislikes). Don’t go out on a limb with something you’re not sure she’ll enjoy. Play it safe. Even if it’s just something small like a bottle of wine or a gift certificate to a place she’s said she likes, you’re sure to win if you show that you know what she likes. It’s probably too early to know her taste in jewelry, too, so unless you’re sure you know her inside and out, I’d advise you to watch out in that arena. Food or a gift certificate are probably your best bets here, too. (And no, I don’t think a gift certificate is a bad idea for a new relationship, as long as you get it for something or somewhere she really likes. Just don’t play this card after you’ve been together longer than two months.)

And my number one advice for you: Don’t stress out about it. Remember that it’s the thought that counts, and a little can go a long way.


relationship status

Reader N. E. writes:

My girlfriend and I have been officially exclusive for a few weeks, and we’ve definitely had “the talk” saying that we’re “in a relationship”, she’s my gf, I’m her bf, all that. However, we haven’t updated our relationship statuses on Facebook to reflect this. She gets lots of flirty posts from guys on her Facebook wall, and I feel like if she would just put that she’s “in a relationship”, this would stop. Is it reasonable for me to want her to do this?

Dear N.E.:

I have a way better idea. How about you pee on her leg? Mark your territory! Make sure everyone knows she belongs to you and she’s no longer allowed to talk to anyone else, anywhere, ever! Why not make her cover herself entirely in a burqa when she goes out while you’re at it? Or forbid her from speaking to any man, anywhere? Better yet, make her delete all of her male contacts on Facebook. That oughtta’ fix everything.

Or you could quit being a jealous dork about things.

The relationship status option on Facebook is a hairy little object, and a cause of much distress in our modern, wackadoo times. I’ve had the relationship status backfire on me plenty in the past.

I once teased a guy I was seeing rather casually about changing his “single” status, because he wasn’t really single if he was seeing me exclusively. Instead of leaving it blank or just removing the status from view, he put that he was in a relationship with me. I couldn’t refuse the ensuing request, seeing as I’d asked him to do it, but it suddenly made our relationship a lot more solid than I’d been intending.

Once for April Fool’s Day, my boyfriend at the time and I changed our status to “engaged” and I put a picture of a ring up as my profile pic. Congratulations and comments abounded, including such gems as: “It’s not official til it’s Facebook official!” Needless to say, people were plenty ticked when we revealed it was a joke.

Basically, people take the relationship status on Facebook really, really seriously. It feels less serious than real life because it’s digital, and so easily changeable. Just one click and you’re suddenly single, or divorced, or widowed. But it appears to have even more of an impact on our lives than real-life symbols of affection, like going on dates, holding hands, or even kissing. Perhaps it’s so serious because people from around the world can see your relationship status right there on your profile page, whereas if you’re actually having a real life relationship, the only people who know are the people who actually see you in person.

In this sense, the relationship status can serve kind of like an engagement ring (albeit less serious) (and less expensive). You’re basically telling people that the two of you have decided to be in a couple. That’s just precious. Really. Shouting it from the rooftops is awesome.

So yes, you’re right — if she had that she was “in a relationship”, the flirty comments would probably stop.

But who cares? Does digital flirting really bother you that much?

The other side of the Facebook relationship status coin is that it’s really nobody’s business. I have plenty of friends who have been together for months and still haven’t changed their Facebook relationship statuses. It’s not that they’re not “serious”; it’s that the relationship is theirs, and not anyone else’s.

And, in fact, there may be several reasons for her not to change her status. Does she have a jealous ex lurking in her past that could get horribly upset if he found out she was seeing someone else? (Sounds like she’s into dating jealous dudes, if you’re any indication.) Is her mom extra nosey? Does she have a crazy sister who would hunt you down à la “So I Married an Axe Murderer”? Maybe changing her status has less to do with your relationship than with the fact that she doesn’t want snoops to know what’s going on.

So sure, you can talk with her about it. Or just send her the relationship request without bringing it up in person. She’ll either accept it or not.

But I’d question your reasons for doing it. If it’s because you’re deeply in love and want everyone to know about it, ok, fine, send her the relationship request. If you’re just jealous, don’t. I think you should work on being secure in yourself and your relationship first, instead of going around painting your name on all her underwear or something.

Think about it this way: if guys are writing flirty things on her wall, she’s a hot number. And she’s chosen to be exclusive with you. What a lucky dog you are, Facebook relationship status or not!


girls with boyfriends

Reader D.K. writes:

I went to a party this weekend and met a very beautiful woman. She was a professor and studying to get her PHD. We talked for most of the night and eventually she said, “You seem like an interesting person, I’d like to get your number so we could talk more.” I didn’t even have to ask for hers! No sooner did she do this than her bf walked up. He was a really tall skinny drink of water. And while I’m no prize myself I was clearly better looking than he. Question is, should I follow up on this or should I steer clear of some potential drama?

Dear D.K.:

My immediate answer is: steer clear of the drama! One of my personal rules is that I won’t get involved romantically with someone who is in a “committed relationship”, whether it’s bf-gf, marriage, or whatever in between. Even open relationships are off limits to me most of the time, just because I don’t want to deal with the drama. I have no problem with other people doing whatever they want, but I personally will refuse to be “the other woman” in any situation. I also don’t have a competitive bone in my body, so if a guy expresses that he even likes another girl, he is all hers in my head.

That said, your own morality must dictate your actions here. If you feel you can withstand the kind of drama that is inevitably going to result, and you have no qualms being “the other guy”, go for it.


I'm sure she's magical. Image: Francesco Marino /

Keep in mind that she may just want to be friends with you. This is one of those “When Harry Met Sally” moments, where I have to explain to you that some ladies just want to be friends with a guy, and you respond that guys can’t be friends with girls because in reality, the guy just wants to sleep with the girl. Just because you’re interesting (and better looking than her current partner) doesn’t mean she’s definitely got her eyes set on you for any purpose beyond just getting to know you. Especially if she was willing to get your number at a party where her boyfriend was also in attendance.

Furthermore, unless she gave you her number, she’s the one in control here. You might not even have the chance to pursue her. If she wakes up Monday and realizes getting your number implied something she didn’t mean, she may decide never to call you in the first place.

Keeping this in mind, if you do decide to pursue things with her, you might want to clear the air from the beginning to see what she’s after. Ask her if she intended her advances to be seen as romantic or just friendly, because you noticed she had a significant other at the party. You’ll probably figure out what she’s after pretty quickly without having to ask, but it may be best just to know up front so you don’t spend months chasing after a girl who isn’t playing chase. She may be in that relationship for the long-haul, and you may have no idea what you’re actually up against. Your best route here is to ask her.

Maybe you’re the competitive sort, and even if she has no intention of breaking it off with her bf, you’re going to pursue it romantically anyway. I can’t understand the reason you would put yourself through that sort of hoop-jumping and heartache, but if splitting up couples is your thing, have at it.

One piece of warning here. I’m going to grab a quotation from Othello on this one: “Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see:/She has deceived her father, and may thee.” That’s Desdemona’s father, Brabantio, warning Othello that if his daughter is capable of deceiving her father, she may very well deceive her husband, too. My take on this is: would you trust a woman who left another man for you, not to leave you for another man? Just something to consider. Maybe you are better looking than her current bf, and maybe you’re more interesting, too. But I doubt you’re the most interesting or good-looking guy she’s going to come across in her life.

Good luck, whatever route you decide to take. She sounds charming and fun, and you may just get a great friendship out of the deal. Maybe she has some hot, actually single friends you could snipe, too — you never know.


bad crush

Reader O. F. writes:

My boyfriend works as a manager at a movie theater, and his employees are all a lot younger than he is. One of these younger employees is a 17-year-old high school girl who obviously has a major crush on him. She’s befriended him on Facebook and got his cell phone number somehow and is sending him flirty text messages. Obviously I don’t think she’s competition for me or anything, but it’s annoying to me. What can I do?

Dear O.F.:

he loves me not...

He loves me... He loves me not... Image: graur razvan ionut /

First of all: ewwwww! Your boyfriend let her friend him on Facebook? Is she a “limited profile” viewer at least? That’s disgusting. Maybe it strokes his ego to have a not-quite-legal girl lusting after him, but it’s extremely tacky and inappropriate to even indulge a little bit in the fantasy, I think. Ick.

Technically, as her manager, he should be drawing lines between personal and professional, especially since she’s so young. I can maybe see why she would have his cell phone number for emergencies. Maybe. MAYBE. But if she’s sending him personal text messages and flirting, he needs to tell her to stop.

Unfortunately, you can’t make him tell her to stop. Knowing men as I do, if he’s already let her be friends on Facebook and has no problem with her having his cell phone number, you asking him to put an end to the stupid flirtation is going to elicit a response you’re not going to be happy about. Be prepared for “you’re overreacting” and “what, it’s just stupid fun” and “who cares if she has a crush on me”.

He should care. He should realize how utterly devoid of moral character it is to indulge a young girl’s fantasies, especially if it’s just for his own ego, and even moreso if he’s in a position of professional power over her.

And in other news, how crazy would he go if you were openly allowing flirtation from someone who clearly liked you, regardless of their age? He’s not considering your feelings in this at all. He gets a D- in boyfriendage, in my book.

However, I don’t know the guy personally, and I can’t say much about whether he’s just trying to be nice, or is enjoying the attention, or whatever. Maybe there’s a Facebook culture at his work, or people are particularly friendly, or something, and it would be odd if he wasn’t friends with the girl on Facebook or didn’t have her contacting him via text. If he’s got her on limited profile for Facebook, and he never responds to her flirtation, maybe I could let it slide and tell you to suck up your jealous pride and remember he’s chosen you, anyway.

Nevertheless, it seems ugly to me. You may have to swallow your pride and conquer your jealousy, but I’d say at least tell your partner how you feel. Don’t let it fester if you’re annoyed. Maybe he’ll realize it’s bugging you and change his mind about letting this go on. Listen to what he says, too, and see if you can see things from his perspective. Maybe he can rationalize the relationship to you to make you feel better about it (though I doubt it). If you’re in love, give him the benefit of the doubt.

But just let him know that your advice columnist finds it tacky, unprofessional, and ridiculous, from an outside perspective. And that I think he’s being more selfish than friendly.

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