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Look for a pattern in relationship choices

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

It's only been a month; don't get ahead of yourself

Q: Here's the story: Ended a 14-month, toxic, long-distance relationship. I am over it. About a month ago, I met a man who is just very interesting to me. I told him we can't date since he is starting school, is a father to three and financially in trouble. I have been supportive of him and have helped in ways that are possible. I want him to succeed, and I told him he does not need a woman hanging on his neck when he already has his hands full. I am scared to fall for him. It does not help that we talk all the time and spend time together. Am I overly cautious or should I run for the hills?

Always Confused

A: Did your toxic former relationship have a rescue element — did you "want him to succeed," too? If there was anything even close to that going on, please extract yourself from this tempting new pile of quicksand. And, note your self-defeating attraction to unstable surfaces.

You say you're "always confused." If that means you have a series of bad choices behind you, then look for a pattern. We all seek emotional sustenance; if you're continually foraging for things that are emotionally bad for you, then your prospects won't improve unless you stop investing yourself in whether other people succeed, and start asking hard questions about yourself.

If the new guy isn't part of a discernible pattern, I'd still be careful; it's possible you're trying to boost your post-toxic-guy self-esteem by playing superhero. Unfortunately, the boost is usually brief, and the depletion enduring.

Regardless, you've known this guy a month. Your job description at this point is to give and receive good company. Anything more than that and you've got a dependency on your hands, be it yours, his or both.

Booze: It staves off boredom at weddings

ST. PAUL: I'm headed to a friend's wedding later this month and have had to shell out a ton of money to travel there.

The groom has been my friend for 10 years, so I'm looking forward to sharing his big day, but he's clueless enough that he might seat me with my obsessed ex-roommate. He knows I'm not totally comfortable around her but he doesn't know all the reasons, which are many and really creepy. I'd rather not be made to play nice with her AGAIN when I've paid sooo much to be there.

Should I just ask him to seat me somewhere else? I suppose I could hang out at the cash bar .

CAROLYN: Normally I'd say not to bother the couple, but creepiness warrants an exception. Just be prepared for your request to get lost in the shuffle.

ANONYMOUS: Cash bar? CASH BAR!!!??? That's reason enough right there to skip this wedding. Jeez, people, come on — don't you realize that weddings are almost always boring and we NEED to get tanked simply to endure them?

CAROLYN: I can't believe I read right past that. Forget getting tanked. YOU CAN'T CHARGE YOUR GUESTS FOR YOUR HOSPITALITY. Yeargh. If you can't afford it, do beer and wine only or downsize somewhere else.

Look for a pattern in relationship choices 10/03/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 2:35pm]

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