Thursday, June 28, 2007

Romance over the Web

I'm in college and halfway around the world from my boyfriend. I only get to see my boyfriend once a year, but we talk often on IM and on the phone. Unfortunately usually when he's online or calls me, I'm in class or doing homework. I don't know if he's getting tired of this, but he tells me he loves me every chance he gets.

I got mad at him last week because my Internet was messed up and he told me that since it wasn't working that he would go to bed. I texted him and told him "Fine! Go to bed! This is the only time I get to talk to you and I am trying to fix this Internet and you're going to go to sleep on me?" He replied with "If you're having a hard time with the long distance relationship, this is even harder for me, bye! Have a good day!" We resolved it and are still together, but I can't help thinking he really is having a hard time.

How can you juggle up a stressful college life and a boyfriend who lives in the other side of the world?

Loving from afar

Dear Afar,

Long distance relationships only work if there is an end in sight and regular visits. Eventually, for you two to grow as a couple, you have to be in the same place at the same time for a while.

You weren't clear in your letter whether or not you were attending school away from home, or met your boyfriend at school and he moved away. Either way, I don't think seeing him once a year is a good solution in the long term. Both of you are starting to snap.

Do you love him? Have you been together a long time? Do you want to make this work? If you answered these questions with a yes, call him. Figure out if you both plan to have your lives intersect again. This may have to wait until the end of school for both of you.

If you haven't been together long, this relationship is probably more work than it's worth, and much less sex than there should be. I'd consider breaking it off and staying friends. Maybe your paths will intersect again and a relationship will be feasible.

Aunt Amy

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wanting her covered

As I've been getting to know my girlfriend, we've been sharing more about our pasts and habits. I'm writing you today about one of them.

I don't like the idea of other people looking at my girlfriend naked. She's very comfortable with that, but I'm not. Apparently she doesn't have a problem changing openly, like when she shares a tent with friends while camping.

She has a very nice body, and I would like to be the only one to see it. I love her and I don't want her to be naked around other guys. It's just not right for other guys to see her sweet's just not right. Am I being selfish?

Disapproving boyfriend

Dear Disapproving,

I know a few people like your girlfriend, who don't really care who sees a stray body part while she's changing into a bathing suit. Those people tend to do this around close friends of the same sex.

You didn't describe your girlfriend as a professional stripper, nor as an exhibitionist. Thrusting those probabilities aside, I think it boils down to your girlfriend feeling comfortable around her friends regardless of of their gender.

But of course, you wouldn't like this. Being naked immediately means sex or an orgy, doesn't it? In your eyes, her body is such a peach that someone else would immediately take a bite if they saw it. That's why no one is ever allowed to see it again. She's your dessert, no one else's.

Since that's not the way she sees it, she's probably not going to listen to you if you ask her to never undress in a situation where people are undressing unless it's with you. Some people are just not supermodest; usually that Puritanical trait goes out of favor in locker rooms as you get older. You should see the number of old biddies who are naked at the Y! I'm certain their husbands or partners aren't complaining about that.

I don't think your feelings are selfish so much as kind of normal, but this is one of those situations where your girlfriend probably won't feel the same way as you do. Take that information for what you will.

Aunt Amy

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dangerous habits

I have known my best friend since I was 3 years old. We've grown up together, and we know pretty much everything there is to know about each other. He has told me that I know him better than he knows himself.

But despite our close friendship, we have had very different upbringings. He was raised by his mother, who is, I suppose, what you may call a permissive parent. He wasn't very strong on discipline and never made him push himself in school. As a result, he was held back a year. In high school our paths diverged slightly, he turned semi-goth and plunged into a deep depression. We finally became closer again in sophomore year, and have remained that way since. I always knew him to be a good guy and despite his appearance and reputation of taking drugs and being a trouble maker, I knew that wasn't the case.

Only now, I have found out that he is picking up some bad habits. He has picked up smoking, which I don't suppose was too difficult to predict since his mother is a heavy smoker, but it is still not a good sign. He has gradually been smoking more often, and despite what he tells me, I am certain that he will get hooked. He even tells me that he has an addictive personality, and I tend to agree.

But I also found out that he was driving without a license, and getting drunk. Drinking is typical of a lot of teens, but I think that there will come a point that he will be in so deep over his head with the choices he is making that he can't control them anymore. What's more, he crossed a line with me that he swore he would never cross. I know it can only get worse. His mom doesn't know about any of it, and this is my dilemma.

Should I tell someone about what he's doing? He'll be 18 in a few months, but he'll still be in high school. I know that he needs to worry about himself and that I can't live his life for him, but I want to try to prevent a disaster before something happens that that he can't get out of. Where is the line between being a good friend and keeping his secrets and acting negligent to the point where if I don't step in, and there is something I can do now, that he will get himself into deeper trouble?

Concerned for her friend

Dear Concerned,

Yes, I do think you need to tell someone about his behavior. He's moved from the appearance that he's "dangerous" (dressing goth, being depressed) to actually being dangerous (getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking). He has crossed the line of which you speak.

You have a few options as to how to get the word out. If you're comfortable with his mother, you can speak directly to her. However, I think it would be a better idea to speak to someone at school, such as a counselor or a teacher to whom your friend is close. Tell them your concerns. They will take it from there, most likely calling his mother and informing her.

After you say something, realize that things might not go perfectly. If your friend realizes you have said something, he might get mad. Know that 18 is not a magic "I'm an adult" card for most kids, who are still living at home and going to school. His parents will most likely have an influence on him after his birthday.

I know it might feel like you're betraying your friend, but he's making choices that could change his life and the lives of others in a very negative way unless someone says something. Since you know, it has got to be you.

Aunt Amy

Sunday, June 17, 2007

When hormones attack

My girlfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. We are both 22 and have talked about getting married in two years. Because we are Christian we gave up sex until we are married. I am doing my best to resist, but the hormones are running rampant and my libido is alive and well.

Recently she has gotten cold feet about marriage. She wants to marry me, but doesn't know when. We're not virgins due to past mistakes and right now I don't know if I can hold out longer than two years.

I think sex is a good thing and I want to obey God and love her. I am stuck. What is the Christian thing to do?

Want it back

Dear Want,

I can't tell you what the Christian thing to do is in this situation. I don't think God can play a role in your sex life at this point.

Let's look at that facts. Both of you have had sex before. While you call it a mistake, it's clearly a mistake you want to make repeatedly with your current girlfriend in every position possible. I don't quite understand why you'd search for a second virginity at such a young age. Such decisions are usually made by older people.

Thing is, you're both 22. You haven't completely grown as people, and getting married now is statistically more likely to end in divorce than if you waited 5 more years. You may never get married anyway, because your girlfriend sounds like she is not ready. This fact is probably not good for your relationship, especially if you're waiting on sex.

It comes down to this: If you want to have sex, have sex. You are doing yourself no favors not having sex when you've had it and clearly enjoyed it. I do not want to imagine a God who would punish you every time you have sex before marriage, because most of us would be doomed. If you're following your religion's logic, you've already broken that rule. As long as you're not being unChristian in your other actions, I think you're going to be fine.

Aunt Amy

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Groomsman-thong connection

I am getting married in September. My fiance asked my brother-in-law to be a groomsman. My sister is a bridesmaid. My sister automatically said that my brother-in-law couldn't be in the wedding because she would not allow him to go to the bachelor party held at a strip club.

I know she has her insecurities, but I'm really upset. This is my wedding day and I think she could make some exceptions. He could just not go to the bachelor party. I think this whole situation is very disrespectful to me and my fiance. Asking someone to stand in your wedding is a big deal and should be respected.

This has affected the relationship I have with my sister. Am I overreacting?


Dear Bride,

I'm inclined to agree with you on pretty much all points. Your sister doesn't seem upset that your fiance has asked her husband to be a groomsman so much as the strip club orgy that's sure to follow.

"Wait, what?" I can hear you asking. This is exactly what your sister is thinking. Some women really don't like the idea of their men ogling other naked women because they think they might cheat. It's very possible your sister thinks the same whether or not her relationship is in jeopardy. This is her issue to work out.

If the lady doth protest loudly again in your presence, I wouldn't respond. Her husband is going to have to make this decision on her own. No matter what happens with the strip club, here's hoping he chooses to stand by your soon-to-be husband in support of your pending marriage.

Aunt Amy

Sunday, June 03, 2007

An Internet thing

At the tender age of 16, I find myself feeling intense feelings for a boy. At first, I was absolutely positive it was merely obsession, because I: 1) met him on the Internet, 2) hadn't known him for more than six months before I started feeling like this.

I'm pretty average on maturity level, but I do have a solid head on my shoulders. So I figured if I got to know him better, the feelings would either straighten themselves out into oblivion or into something a little bit more clear. I'm pretty sure I messed up with my plan somehow, because as soon as I started telling him a little bit more about who I was (in hopes he would do the same), he started closing up, talking to me less. After that, I slowly edged back a bit, because I didn't understand why he was being so cold towards me, and I still don't.

I'm 16 and have never had a boyfriend, or even had feelings this intense. I don't have many friends, and can't tell my parents because they've warned me that they'll restrict the Internet if they find I've been getting too involved with those on the other side of the wires, and my sisters would tell my parents out of concern (it's not a strict family, but perhaps an overprotective one).

Eventually I tried again, and then made friends with one of his friends. She was really nice, and figured out from the way I talked about him that I had feelings of a more romantic variety towards him. She called it puppy love, and spilled the beans "by accident" to him. He immediately contacted me and told me that I was "too young to know what love is" and that "I shouldn't tempt him, not at my age". Now he won't talk to me at all, ignoring me when I try to initiate contact.

I still have feelings for him, though I'm pretty sure that it was never the kind of love that people get married to. I'm just really hurt by the way both of them treated me. They were the ones who called me "mature for 16," and then she goes and mocks me, and he tells me that I can't love yet.

I'm pretty sure that it isn't true, what he said. Maybe I shouldn't have feelings for a man 7 years my senior ("not until I'm 18 years+," WTF!?), but I think I'm allowed to love anyone I want, and that I can love anyone I want. Or is what he said true, and it's just all hormones and no brain until after I'm legal? I don't get where he's coming from, especially when I told him I didn't want to even think about romance, just friendship, until I was older and more able to have a mature relationship.

Miserable and Confused

Dear Confused,

As I'm sure you've realized, the Internet has a vastly different dynamic than in real life. When I was 17, I met someone who was in his late 20s on the Internet in Napster chat. We started talking about politics and music and who knows what else. We took our chats off Napster and eventually started e-mailing. Our relationship has faded since because he is not usually at a computer, but that tends to happen.

I think the difference between my relationship with him is that while I could love his opinions, I didn't know him and couldn't think of him in a romantic way. As for him, well, he is married and shouldn't be talking to young girls on the Internet if he is going to flirt with them or try to bed them.

I'm pretty sure the reason your Internet friend laid off was because he could tell you were interested in him on some level. You can tell him you're only looking for friendship, but you're telling me you have intense feelings for him. There is an allure in a 16-year-old which you might not be aware of. Sixteen-year-olds often look like adults and can sometimes be coerced into having sex with much older men. They're immature forbidden fruit, and at 23, your friend would have probably gotten into trouble if he kept getting closer to you.

No matter how mature or level-headed you think you are at 16, you're not. You can be in love with someone at your age, but real love is mutual. I'd forget the Internet and try meeting some boys your own age at school. They may not be the boys you marry, but you will get relationship experience and be able to identify what you want in a partner.

Aunt Amy