My girlfriend and I have been dating for over a year, and I have to say that it has been a roller coaster of emotions. Let me start off by saying that this is the first girl I approached. I knew that we should be together and I knew was not going to stop until I got her. I just felt like it was me and her and that was all it could be. I loved her, I still love her, but she is driving me crazy!
I should have noticed some interesting quirks she had early on. For instance, she is a magnet and people are just drawn to her energy. She has a long list of friends that love her. That’s a wonderful thing, right? I didn’t seem to realize that her keeping people around all the time was a signifier for her fear of being left alone. She gets angry if I miss telling her one specific detail in my day. Just the other day she got mad at me for not telling her I stopped off to get a burrito. She gets mad if I am excelling in my career, even if she is as well.
We moved in together about four months ago and I can’t even have people over. She gets mad about her privacy. (Note: I have had people over maybe two times in four months, and she is always having people over.)
I am just getting more and more resentful as time passes. There is so much tension sometimes that my chest feels physically tight. I am 26 years old and I may have an early heart attack. I don’t want to give up on her. I love her, and I have tried talking. I have used as many tactics as I can think of. Sometimes she admits that she is controlling, but the behavior continues. We fight if not every day, then every other day. I am so blown away by the things she gets angry about, and I can’t understand why we can’t just be happy. Is it time to pull the plug and say love is just not enough?
Anna says: Girl, yes! You know this. There’s not a clause in the Happily Ever After contract that says, “Recipient may suffer premature heart attacks from not telling someone about an impromptu burrito run.” Hell, that’s not even a clause in the Happily Ever Till Tomorrow Morning contract.
Get out of there before the damage becomes irreparable. You can’t “just be happy” because you aren’t happy, simply put. Wishing won’t make it so. Love is not a “roller coaster of emotions.” Nor is it fighting every day, or abiding by house rules that only apply to one person. Love is mellow and appreciative. Love says please and thank you. Sure, love gets into the occasional fight, but it doesn’t make it a habit. And it certainly doesn’t induce heart palpitations or crazy-making feelings. What you have is intensity, but it’s not sustainable. You can’t build a lasting relationship based heavily on drama. Though lawd knows we’ve all tried to make it happen at one point or another. In any dramatic relationship, when those lows start to outweigh the highs, that’s when it’s time to call it quits. I won’t pretend that quitting will be easy, especially since you live together, but quit you must.
I remember this one girl, we were on and off for eight months or so, and each time something awful would happen, which was frequently, I swore I would never see her again. I think the longest I lasted after making one of my many never again! speeches was three days. Eventually she left the state, which made it far easier to actually never see her again. I won! But not really! When I finally found someone who loved me in a meaningful way, what amazed me most about the whole experience was how easy it was to be with her. There was so little hair pulling and gnashing of teeth. We fell effortlessly into each other, like a “plunge into the warm waters of beautiful routine,” to quote Michael Chabon’s Mysteries of Pittsburgh.
You deserve this ease, my friend. You more than deserve it. You’re entitled to it, to the kind of happiness that’s never portrayed in movies or on TV because it would it boring. But you’ll never get it if you stay in this unhealthy relationship. For your literal and metaphoric heart, your peace of mind, and hers, you need to walk away.
I met a girl recently that I really like. The problem is we look like sisters. It’s made certain social situations really awkward. Plus, gross. What should I do? Ignore it?
Anna says: Get thee to the nearest Sally’s Beauty Supply and dye your hair, like, three different colors immediately. While there, you can also get a fake facial piercing, e.g. a bejeweled cheek flower or miniature candy cane. (It’s almost the holiday season, is what I’m saying!) This probably won’t stop people from thinking you and your girlfriend are sisters, but at least you’ll henceforth be known as the “quirky” one in the family.
OK, fine, you don’t really have to go all Jem-and-the-Holograms-meets-Miley-Cyrus to convince someone of your relationship status. I feel for you though. When I dated Lisa Loeb, it was like a nonstop Ya-Ya Sisterhood Traveling Pants party until she dumped me for constantly making her sing the Dawson’s Creek song, and probably because I always mistook her for Paula Cole.
OK, fine, none of that is true either.
A few ways to get around people perceiving you as siblings: Be very affectionate in public. No one’s going to pull a Gyllenhaal question on you if you’re making out, holding hands, or being obviously couple-y. Unless you live in Mississippi or something.
Borrow each other’s clothes less often. I know, the only great thing about the existence of the closet is that it can double when you’re in a queer relationship, but if you want to convince people you’re not kin folk, it’s best to rarely be seen wearing each other’s cardigans. Or, you know, cardigans period.
Lastly, (winning advice coming your way!) feel less awkward. On the scale of terrible social interactions we must face, where one equals being seen with someone wearing those weird toe shoes and 10 equals the first time you run into your ex and her new hot, rich girlfriend who is also Leisha Hailey, your conundrum falls in the three area. Why are you the one who ends up feeling awkward, anyway? That burden should fall squarely on the asker for being such a Nosey Nelly Furtado, especially if you make any kind of Oh no you didn’t face.
Take heart! The fact that you look alike is probably a good thing for your relationship. New York magazine points to one study that shows couples tend to look alike more often than non-couples. There’s even a dating site called findyourfacemate.com, which pairs you up with people who have similar facial characteristics. So the next time anyone attempts to make fun of you, throw Science in their face! Literally throw it at them. Then people will stop asking you questions altogether because they’ll assume you’re crazy. Win win.
Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at annapulley.com and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your Hook Up questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.