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Love Ad Nauseam- Advice on Love, Sex, Gender, Kink
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Dear Lovers-
A good friend of mine expressed interest in going out with me. I was really surprised because he isn't flirty at all and I really had no idea he was interested. Also, he recently broke up with his girlfriend of 2+ years. I like him a lot, but I'm not sure that we'd really make a good couple. Although it might be fun to go out with him for a while, I can see it going nowhere, even from here. I'm not sure if this is a rebound relationship for him, or if I'm being too pessimistic, but it is all compounded by the fact that he's really terrible at talking about anything personal or serious. Even though writing this seems hopeless, I am still interested in him, and I sort of want to just go with it for a while, but I'm afraid it'll just hurt both of us. Any thoughts?
-Lost In Uncommunication

Mr. Gyrl Says:
If he broke up with his long-term girlfriend and the right away expressed interest in dating you, this may not be the right time for you to see each other. This depends on what each of you want from the relationship. If you just want someone to cuddle and go on dates with for a while LIU, then you might want to suggest something to him. If you're looking for a long-term relationship you may want to look elsewhere. Before you start anything (or don't) you two should have a conversation about what each of you are looking for. He may be uncomfortable talking about personal or serious issues, but you're not psychic. If he can't handle a conversation, he can't handle a relationship. You're both going to get hurt if you're looking for different things and don't talk about it. For your part try opening your mind about where it could go. Nothing dooms a relationship faster than a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believe me, I know from personal experience. Yes LIU, this could indeed be a rebound. If it is, both of you need to accept it and make your decision from there. So, all in all- talk about it. I said it once and I'll say it again: If he can't handle a conversation, he can't handle a relationship.

Zie Lover Says:
My experience with rebounds is limited, but I can tell you that if I had started dating within the first 2 months (or even a few more) of breaking up it would have been to accomplish one of two goals: take my mind off my pain with amazing sex, or have someone take care of me and make everything better. If either of those are roles you're looking to fulfill, go for it. If not, hold off for a little while. If he's really interested in you, chances are he'll still be interested in you in a couple of months. In the meantime, like my partner in crime said, talk to him about it. If one of you or neither of you is in the habit of talking really openly about feelings and expectations, it might be a little awkward, but I promise you will be glad you did.

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Without further ado, today's column, in a slightly different format.

Dear Lovers,

I have a few questions. I'm not an experienced dater so it might sound stupid.

1. All girls flirt with all guys right? Not because they're special but because they're the opposite sex?

Zie Lover Says: I wouldn’t say that all girls flirt with guys. First of all and most obvious, there are the girls who aren’t attracted to guys… which isn’t to say that people only necessarily flirt with people they’re attracted to. I find that flirting is a way of communication, a particularly fun way of communication, but I’m not about to flirt indiscriminately. Plus there are the girls who don’t feel comfortable flirting, or who find other means of communication more effective or fulfilling…

Mr. Gyrl Says: Zie has said the beautiful and obvious thing. Not all girls flirt with all guys, for various reasons. I don't think there's ever a generalization that's 100% true when it comes to human behavior. I know that some girls flirt with guys because it's expected, but I think that's the least compelling reason to do it. Flirting is meant to be fun, devious and/or amusing along with many other adjectives but I would not say compulsory should be one of them.

2. When a girl says she hates a guy, and then proceeds to pick on him and tease him, does she really like him?

Z.L. Generally speaking, I’d say yes, in a middle school sort of way. Either that or she’s just mean.

M.G. Depending on age and circumstance and the extent of hte teasing, I'd agree with Zie. However, after a certain point they really do just hate the other person. Look at their other behaviors and how they act when it's just the two of them or they're in smaller groups as opposed the people the bully feels like she has to show off to.

3. Would you consider a girl to be very self-centered if she thinks that most guys that she sees either like her or want her?

Z.L. Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes she probably just has a complex.

M.G. True or not, it's how she treats the situation. If she absolutely flaunts it and constantly talks about it and herself and stories of how various people couldn't help but stare then, yeah, that's self-centered. A certain amount of that's just good self-esteem, but it can get excessive. This is personal experience speaking. However, if she's basing her identity on how much other people want her than she's got bigger things to worry about. More on that further down.

4. How can you tell one of your friends to stop flirting with a guy you like, if she doesn't even know she's flirting?

Z.L. First of all, if you just like the guy (i.e. if you’re not dating him), what gives you the right to tell her to stop in the first place? However, I can see where he might fall for her when she’s not even attracted to him, because her unknowing flirting makes him blind to you, and that would be incredibly frustrating. In that case I would say just tell her that maybe she’s not trying to, but she’s flirting hardcore, and would she please be mindful of that when she interacts with him.

M.G. What Zie said. You're also obviously asking questions in regard to a certain situation. Sounds like she gains self confidence and power by getting the sexual attention of others. I say be pretty straight up with the guy, try to hang out with him when she's not around and let him see how she behaves around other guys. If she actually has intentions toward him, you two can discuss that. If she's just being predatory, be honest with her about how it's hurting you and if she continues then you don't need her as a friend. Not to start things but watch how she treats you- when you're around other people are you her friend or her sidekick? Does she make little jokes at your expense? Does she need to have the full attention of all the men in the room? If so, watch out honey. On the other hand, she may just be a flirt. I would say to be honest and open about her actions affect you and take it from there.

5. Finally, if a girl is married and is supposed to be "in love" with her husband, why would she even notice that other guys are looking at her?

Z.L. I think that just because a woman is in love with a man doesn’t necessarily mean that she only has eyes for him. It’s completely natural and completely normal to notice other people, even to be attracted to other people, but in a monogamous marriage the difference is in whether or not she would be willing to act on that. I’d say that most people who say they are only ever attracted to or only ever notice their husbands are either lying or deluding themselves. Besides, when a guy’s checking you out, how can you not notice? Just because you’re in a monogamous relationship (which is what I assume you’re talking about) doesn’t mean you’re blind.

M.G. Amen. Sometimes husbands (and wives!) take a certain satisfaction in knowng that they have what other people want. Personally I think it's a bad foundation for a relationship but it's certainly not a poisonous aspect as long as it's not within control. There's possessiveness and then there's abuse. It's okay to know and acknowledge that you're wanted, as long as you're not actively looking to stray outside of whatever agreement you've accepted with those you love. Many good times have been had from acknowledging that you're desired...

All in all, I say to talk to her about it. A lot of this sounds like things you probably wouldn't want her to hear to her face but obviously want to talk about. It's better to resolve a situation than to bitch about it to other people. And believe me, she will know. This is something you want to bring up when you're feeling secure and calm and safe, not when she's feeling pissed and defensive and betrayed. Talk gets around, believe me.

~Alotta ?'s

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Dear Readers, before I move on to today's column, I would like to apologize for the lack of material in recent months. Our inbox has been flooded- with ads for various "love drugs" and tracking numbers on our Estee Lauder shipments. Today's column is lacking a response from Zie Lover, as Zie is currently off exploring the Midwest. Zie will be back in a few weeks and will hopefully post a response then. As always, feel free to write us at the address provided!

Mr. Gyrl

Dear Lovers-
My girlfriend and I have been together for 8 months now. It's a very serious relationship. For the first like 6 months, we were with each other every single day. Then I lost my job, lost interest and focus on school. I told a few white lies and excuses and I regret it every day. I'm not sure if she doesn't trust me, or if she's falling out of love. Some days are better then others. I sometimes think its the heat but I'm not sure. She doesn't seem the same. She thinks our relationship is just about sex, and I try to assure her it's not and it's sooo much more to me. What do I do to get her trust back, and for her to spend more time with me and for her to know our relationship isn't just sex? I talked to her not to long ago and I asked her if I still make her happy and she said "I don't know, I'm not happy anymore". I asked is it me or it is something else, and she wouldn't tell me. What do you think it is?

-Not In It For The Sex

Mr. Gyrl Says:

It sounds to me like she's trying to get out of the relationship. Your honeymoon phase is over and now she wants out. Alternately, you've been together every day for six months. It's pretty easy to get over-loaded with someone at that point, especially if other time-consuming things like work and school are cut out. My advice is to spend some time doing things apart, see each other a few times (i.e. 1-3) a week. I suspect multiple factors are making her unhappy, and you do need to regain her trust. The only way to do that is by staying loyal and honest. It takes time. As far as the sex issue goes, she may be projecting her own feelings on to you. If she feels like you're just using her for sex, maybe you should stop initiating sex with her for a while. Remain affectionate, but make it obvious that you're there for other things. If she still thinks it's all about the sex then it probably is- for her.

Zie Lover Says:
Thanks for covering for me, Mr. Gyrl. As for the problem at hand: my last relationship lasted nearly 4 years, and there were definitely times when I wasn't sure I still loved him. However, I knew that the mind (and even more so the heart) is a complicated thing, and I learned to recognize that when I felt that way, usually something else was bothering me. Something I wasn't admitting to myself. Now, I haven't seen you together so I can't make any judgments about how she really feels, but what I can suggest is this: listen. If she says she needs some space, give it so her. If she says she's not happy, ask her if she knows why. It's entirely likely she hasn't considered this.

You say you try to assure her it's not just about the sex. Words aren't enough, you need to show her. If she still doesn't believe you, despite everything you do, then like Mr. Gyrl said, that's her problem, not yours. See if you can spice it up, but if you're making all the effort and getting nothing back, bail. It's not worth it. Best of luck.

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Dear Lovers-
I'm in need of some advice. I recently entered into a long distance relationship. We've never met face-to-face but I'm really into her. Some of my friends are advising against it because we live a three day bus ride apart. How do I make this work?
- Feeling All Right, Always Willing to Adventure Yonder

Mr. Gyrl Says:

I'm not one to knock long distance relationships FARAWAY, but I will caution you: they're hard. Again I chant my mantra: communication is key. You don't get to see each other every day, it's hard to get an accurate mood reading of someone on the phone. Depending on the amount of disposable income one has, you may only get to see your dearest two to three times a year.
Read on, brave loverCollapse )

Zie Lover says:
First let me comment that Mr. Gyrl sounds at times like the wretched love child of Hallmark, a romance novel, and a travel guide. That said, allow me also to commend Mr. Gyrl with covering the subject so thoroughly that there is, really, little left for me to say. I can also vouch that long-distance relationships are hard, though I'll point out that the one long-distance relationship I endured was after we had already had 2 years of serious face-to-face dating. I think if it had been less I would have given up on it. On the other hand, this was a monogomous relationship, and I was a bit lonely anyway, which couldn't have made it any easier. From my relatively inexperienced position I would recommend that this relationship be allowed to be a secondary relationship, at least until the two of you actually meet face to face. Don't be afraid to re-evaluate how well it's going often and honestly. Best of luck.

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A while back I had a huge drama-full breakup. As in friendships and relationships going boom and badness. Thing is, I still dig him. I broke it off because it seemed to be the right thing to do in that situation and I could never really see myself becoming (or being allowed to become) a part of his/their family. I hadn't talked to him in months and seen him in longer until the other day when I called his house and talked with his wife. A few hours later (he wasn't even off of work!) I got a call back, and he had to go and so called me back again an hour or so later. I'm remembering what I miss about him and how much fun we had. Unfortunatley, I'm also remembering the High Drama there was. I'd like to reopen the lines of communication and maybe even think about starting to date again, but I'm not sure. What do you suggest? He intoxicates me, but I'm afraid I might get a little too drunk.
- Not Only Dizzy, Really Anxious and Mostly Alarmed

Zie Lover says:

If you feel like reopening the lines of communication, NODRAMA, go for it. There's really no harm that can come of that. But before you start seriously considering dating him again, and probably before you start talking with him about it, I would recommend that you very seriously consider why you broke up with him in the first place. If you don't remember specifics, maybe go back through your journal and see what you wrote about it, or talk to friends with whom you discussed the drama while it was happening.

Okay, a little anecdote for you, because for the most part I've been really good about refraining while giving love advice (I think). I have a sister whose thought process often seems to go "Ooh, danger-- I'll go closer!" Since she's five there's lots of dangerous things to explore; hot stoves, outlets (with paper clips), my other sister when she is in her foulest mood and about to blow, fighting dogs, boys who chase her and try to kiss her.... You name it, she's there. Don't be my little sister in this case. And if you do decide to give it a shot, don't forget to evaluate how it's going; are you happy with him? Does he care as much as he says he does? Does the drama look like it will resurface? Don't get so intoxicated you forget which way is up.

Mr. Gyrl Says:

Bravo, Zie. I agree. NODRAMA, you seem to have pretty solid reasons for breaking up with him- remember those reasons. In a relationship you need to have a ceratin amount of control over yourself, especially in tumultuous situations. You seem to want to give that control up. Find someone else! Just because you get drunk off of vodka doesn't mean you can't get drunk off of wine. Perhaps you'll learn to control your binges as well. Remember your support network, and keep them around you- they will be your anchor to keep you steady and your net to catch you when you fall.

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Dear Lovers,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for four months, after a long
friendship. We seem made for each other, and we're both very in love.
We've talked about spending the rest of our lives with one another.

My problem is with what he feels he needs in regards to sex. We were
each others first, and we both want to be explorative and a little
freaky. But he says that he wants experiences with other people, and
he knows that he'll want this in the future as well. I think if he's
talking about swinging or a menage-a-trois, that's one thing I could
be down for because it's something about us being together. But I
think he may want to be alone with other people for sex as well,
developing his own sense of sexuality.

I don't want to hold him back by telling him not to, but I'm not at
all kosher with him having flings. If this is really what he's aiming
for I'm at an impase for what to do. I know he loves me, and if I give
him an ultimatum he may chose me over what he 'feels he needs', and
may later come to resent the decision. But if I let him go, to sow
his wild oats, I'll be breaking both our hearts.

What's your advice?

Trying (Really!), Only Interested Slightly

Zie Lover says:

I can relate, TROIS. I'm actually in a similar situation-- only I'm in your boyfriend's shoes. I have been with the same guy for 3 years, he was my first although he's 3 years older than me and much more experienced in some areas. In a way he's ready to settle down, which it sounds like maybe you would be willing to do? I, on the other hand, am curious and do want to know what it's like with other people, both emotionally and sexually. But at the same time I don't want to end it with this great guy. We both see a possible future for us, but I know that I have no idea what will happen between now and "the future." So here's the conclusion we have come to: I am moving away in less than a year, and at that point we are breaking up. This is my take on it: I don't necessarily think this is the end of "us." I do plan on dating other people, and I couldn't ask him not to. I do plan on keeping in touch with him. I don't plan on saving my heart for him, but I am not going to furiously try to erase all feelings I hold for him either. It is my expectation that if we are meant to be together we will be together; maybe not next year, or 3 years from now, but eventually. On the other hand, I have come to peace with the fact that this may be the end for us. I know that he is the best lover/partner I have known, but I also know that this may partly be because my experience is very limited. If I am with other people and I still feel the same way, I fully intend to make this clear to him. He has said the same to me.

I can only tell you to leave your options open and never allow yourself to be pressured into doing something you are hesitant about or don't want to do. I hope you find resonance in something I have said. Good luck.

Mr. Gyrl says:

As usual, I agree with my fellow lover *points to Zie.* The first thing: ultimatums always equal bad. What I think the situation needs is more communication and a reality check. You may think this will be your one and only but I can guarantee you there will be others. I don't think this should be a breaking point for your relationship right now. Enjoy what you have and talk about it. I think you should both keep in touch with your feelings for each other. Don't make it a point of obsession. Yes, some day there will be another for both of you. I can also say from personal experience menage-a-troix and swinging are not generally a good experience. Jealousy abounds, particularly if the menage-a-trois or swinging is at the behest of one partner and not the other. Also not recommended if you're looking to achieve long term monogamy through these acts. Cuz hey, starting a war will bring peace. A time will come; accept it, embrace it, and live for now.

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Dear Mr. Gyrl and Zie Lover,

You two have become renowned love experts in my little sphere of
existence, but I'm wondering if you interpret dreams. To test out your
potentially new-found ability, try this one I had last night:

I don't remember the beginning, or maybe there was no official
beginning, but the first part I remember is when I'm in a public
bathroom. At first it's nice and clean, and I go pee and when I wipe,
for some reason I look at the toilet paper, and something is moving.
As I look more closely it gets sort of blurry, but my mind registers
that it's a leach (although it looks more like a sperm made of a blood
clot, in case you were wondering). I am immediately mortified that
this thing was anywhere near my precious cooch, in fact it may have
come out of it! As I look more closely at the bathroom, I realize
there are leaches everywhere, all over the floor, some intact but some
squished by shoes. Luckily I'm wearing my combats, but it's still
nasty as hell. Then suddenly I'm in a room with this guy who is a
prince and he's about to marry this gorgeous woman, who happens to be
a doctor, or she was or something, and I ask her if I can talk to her,
because I want her to check if there are any more leaches because I'm
afraid to myself. We go into this other room with a fainting couch,
everything is kind of dim although there are windows. I don't remember
the actual examination, but I remember her telling me everything is
fine, no more leaches or anything else nasty like that. Then I'm
supposed to help her into this dress (also gorgeous, there's an under
dress which is white with a blue pattern around the collar-part, and
then a thin, sheer green sleeveless dress that goes over it, which is
zigzaggy at the bottom) so we're in this little changing room with a
curtain. But for some reason I'm the naked one, and she's standing
behind me and she keeps trying to finger me and her finger is really
hot and she's hot but I'm not attracted to her. Then her fiance(e?)
walks in on us and I'm suddenly clothed again and it's like it never
happened. And this all means what, exactly?

-Trying, Incredibly Restless, Expecting Dreams

Mr. Gyrl says:

The prince represents your ideal man. You're afraid he's going to be stolen away by a powerful woman who you respect who's really hot, who you possibly dated before. The leaches meanyou are afraid of your sexuality, and you go to women when you're hurt.

Zie Lover says:

The leaches mean you are seeing something or someone in its true light, something or someone you assumed was good, clean, or safe. As to the prince and the beautiful woman, you are seeing beautiful and happy things or relationships, and you are afraid that you ruin them.

Chances are you don't. Go make some cheesecake.

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Dear Lovers-
I've got a suede flogger that's been used in, ah, intimate ways- any suggestions on how to clean it?
-A Kinkster

Mr. Gyrl says:
I assume you don't want to bring something like this to the dry cleaners ;) Also that might be bad for the handle. Use a damp cloth with gentle soap for cleaning. A harsher soap may make the color run and/or leave stains! For marks or stains, use a stiff brush, sponge or a damp cloth. On larger pieces, use a circular motion while cleaning. For drying, blot dry and hang or lie flat. This will help keep your leather pretty and straight, meaning better and more consistent hits and marks.

A reminder for all of you out there- anytime you use any toy in an intimate manner (i.e. contact with genitals and/or bodily fluids) and you plan on using it on another person, make sure you clean it. This is not only a courtesy, it's a safeguard. STIs can be passed from something as seemingly innocuous as saliva. Even if your partner thinks that they're clean, some STIs take 6 months or more to show up on screenings. Please play safely, for yourself and for others. Remember- Safe, Sane and Consensual.

Zie Lover says:
Uhh.... antibacterial?

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Dear Lovers-
So, I've been dating this girl for a couple of months. I really like her, but sometimes I feel that we're worlds apart. She's only a few years older than I am and I'm pretty mature for my age, but so is she. We have fun when we're together but we don't really see each other much. I really do like her, I think she's a wonderful person, I enjoy spending time with her and she's sexy as all hell, but I just don't feel like it's all there. I know it's not just a sex thing, since we rarely have sex- something I kind of enjoy about this- but I still don't see why she wants to date me. She just mystifies me. She's also probably moving very far away so I know we're not gonna get too serious. We're not in love and neither of us has delusions that we are. That's totally okay with us. Any thoughts?
-Usually No Surprises, Usually Really Easy

Mr. Gyrl says:
So you're not dating seriously. You both seem to understand that. Have you talked to her about any of this? Communication is the basis of any good relationship, no matter how serious it is. You say you're mystified by her- get to know her a little more. You've only been dating for a little while, give it time. You also say that you rarely have sex like that's unusual. Maybe that's a good thing- it gives you a chance to develop a meaningful relationship, not just a sexual one. UNSURE, maybe this is a healthy thing for you. If relationships were easy, they wouldn't be worth it. This is a chance for you to grow and develop. Talk to her, you may discover things about yourself.

Zie Lover says:
Wow, someone who isn't having huge relationship problems! No cheating, lying, backstabbing, unwelcome kink, lack of welcome kink, or any of those OMIGODWHATDOIDOOOOOOO issues. Before I get to my response, I want you to take a moment and be thankfull that your love life is not totally fucked up.

Now that that's done, I would like to second Mr. Gyrl's advice because said Gyrl is wise in the ways of love, *bow* *bow*, etc. But mainly because, and not just for you, this goes for everyone, communication is so very key. If you can't talk to each other, what have you got? I mean unless it's a strictly sex relationship, which isn't the case here. So on to the specifics. If you're having trouble getting started with the daunting task of uncovering this wonderful person's mysteries, start lightheartedly. I'm sure she has things she wants to know about you too-- you could do something like each write down 5 questions on a separate piece of paper, stick them in a hat (or coffee can, or empty donut box, or whatever's close) and take turns drawing out a slip of paper. The trick is, of course, that you both answer completely and honestly. I'm sure you can think of a multitude of other ideas. Then if these first lighthearted attempts lead on to more touchy subjects, keep two things in mind: you care about each other and it's okay to make yourselves vulnerable; and respect whatever boundaries the other person puts up. Also maintain your own. Don't push them, and don't let her push them either. If a subject isn't ready to be broached, give it time. Best of luck.

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We figured we should introduce ourselves, as we're handing out advice and all.

Mr. Gyrl
I'm a pretty normal person. I'm a genderqueer sapiosexual polyamorous pagan dance geek kinkster switch traveller singer writer of bad poems and performer of decent spoken word, college educated professional in business casual with a soon to be purple mohawk. I like cheese, pineapple and canadian bacon on my pizza. Tofu makes me happy, as does finding art in the middle of nowhere. I've been to almost 70% of the states in the last 3 years. I've been playing psychologist and advice-giver ever since my best friend asked me why they didn't get as many valentines cards as I did. I figured it was time we finally made an open forum for it and spread the love like nutella. I'm also the internet junkie, so my replies are usually posted first.

Zie Lover
I guess I'm normal too, but only cuz I'm the only me I've ever known. You know? Ha. Apparently I don't like run-on sentences as much as Mr. Gyrl, but I'll give you what I can: I'm a pseudo college student person who thought zie was cool enough to start a love advice column. So far, dear readers, you have only enforced this idea. I don't *actually* have a huge ego, but I can pretend when I'm in that kind of mood or when I've had too much turkey. Yes, I'm writing this the day after Thanksgiving. Tell me if it gets too outdated and maybe I'll renew, refresh, and rejuvenate it. Only if you're really nice. Oh, and my sweet side kick(er) will be known to your ears (eyes, and so on) as Zie's Lover. Listen to him, he knows about love. Oh lord, does he ever. ;-)

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