The woman who mistook her sinkhole for a boyfriend
Q: I’m thinking of postponing my wedding. My fiance seems incapable of being apart from me. We dated long distance, so I didn’t realize the extent
of his clinginess until we moved in together. If I want some “me time,” he gets offended. If I don’t stand or sit next to him or cuddle with him, he claims I don’t like him. If I eat lunch with a friend instead of him (as I do daily), he’s upset. Even when we spend time with my family, there are repercussions (moping and drama when we get home). I do try to take his upbringing into consideration. His parents divorced when he was 9, and neither wants much to do with him or his brother. Initially, I found his behavior sweet…as in, “How cute that my fiance wants to come with me to the grocery store or to buy shoes,” but now I’m thinking, “Hey, Crazy, calm down, I’ll see you tonight, and I can go to the store without you.”
A: Even an emotionally together person can feel a little pang when their partner’s going away for a time — like, to Europe for a week, not to Rite-Aid for a box of tampons.
Other women betray their partners by having illicit sex. You only have to have illicit lunch (eat a burger with somebody who isn’t him). Grab a little alone time, and it’s like you’re slutting around on him — with yourself. For him and his unresolved issues, every day is the first day of nursery school: “Mommeeee, don’t leave meee!” On the plus side, he’s probably potty-trained to the point where he wears boxers instead of Huggies Pull-Ups.
You might end up giving birth to a clingy child, but you sure shouldn’t marry one. In a healthy relationship, two fully functioning adults come together; they aren’t bolted together. They stay together because they love each other — meaning they respect and admire each other, have more fun together, and are better together than alone. What you have isn’t love, but a guy dressing up pathological need in a love suit and manipulating you with cuddly-wuddly coerciveness: “Just stay and snuggle — or I’ll pout till the end of time.” You’ve got a choice: live with constant conflict or avoid seeing your family and friends — or doing anything that’ll trigger his abandonment issues, like going to the mailbox or the ladies’ room.
Hang with crazy long enough, and it can start to seem normal — to the point where you’re only thinking of postponing your wedding instead of mapping out routes to flee.
Even if your fiance wanted to change (and it seems he hasn’t yet been motivated), he isn’t going to become a full, independent person in six months or a year. It’s probably tempting to try to make it work and make allowances for his past, but just picture yourself once his neediness has not only the force of habit from your putting up with it, but a state license behind it. Sure, you can always get divorced — that is, if you can figure out the combination to get out the front door.
Single trite female
Q: In February, I discovered my girlfriend was cheating on me with her millionaire ex. I told him, and he told her to beat it. She tried to patch things up with him, but couldn’t, and came back to me two months ago, saying she loves me and wants to marry me. But I’ve started catching her in lies again. For example, she said she’d be studying at home, but she wasn’t answering her phone (rare for her). I dropped by at 10, and she wasn’t there. This was just two days after she took me to dinner and told me, “One day the world will be ours!” What gives? What alternatives do I have besides ending it?
A: Good thing you’re not on the parole board. You’d only need to hear a guy talk like a motivational poster — “Good is its own reward!” “Tomorrow is a brand new day!” — and you’d campaign for the release of some serial killer who kept all his dates in jars in his basement. Of course you want to believe your girlfriend’s “One day the world will be ours!” but she has yet to show herself to be ethical, and it’s wildly unlikely she’ll become ethical now. What alternatives do you have besides ending it? Well, you could stick around and be lied to, cheated on, and placated with aphorisms: “Our love is here to stay!” (As long as you don’t call or come by after 10.) “Our love is like a rose!” Well, okay, we’ll give her that one — in that it has something in common with getting stuck with a thorn, coming down with necrotizing fasciitis, and losing an arm.
© 2010 Amy Alkon, all rights reserved.
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