Monday, November 30, 2009

Is the ability to love innate?

Dear Edahn,

How do people learn to love? Is it innate? Or does it have to be nurtured in infancy? And if it wasn't, are you basically fucked?

I'll tell you how I see personality. I believe everyone has a core that radiates joy, love, and peace. From the age of 3-5 it shines pretty bright. As you get older, language develops and needs (for status, recognition, power) become stronger and more pressing. Thinking and worrying eventually take over and covers up that core.

In most people, that core comes out to play around certain people or during certain activities. Family, best friends, (some) psychologists, and comedians can help shore up worrying and thinking and expose the inner core. Likewise, artistic projects, contemplation, and Flow can expose the core. In other people like psychopaths, the core gets buried deep but I believe it's still there. (I don't think anyone can really tell whether it is or it isn't. There's some evidence that psychotherapy can help psychopaths, but how and to what degree is hard to tell.)

A good upbringing can help expose the core by helping kids develop mental resilience, Trust*, and calmness. That makes them available to connect to others and care for them, from one core to another. A checkered upbringing can bury the core under layers of confusion, self-doubt, and worrying which then requires excavation by developing mental resilience, Trust, and calmness. There's no research either way, but I would guess that 99% of people fall somewhere in between those extreme. Of those, lots of us, myself included, are looking to make contact with that core through all sorts of techniques and tricks. That's what mysticism is really all about.

*"Trust" is capitalized because I'm talking about universal trust

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hope your turkey doesn't blow. Har har.

See you again on Monday,

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Have you ever considered what people look like from space? I can't say I know since the highest I've ever been has nothing to do with my altitude, but I imagine we all look like little germs moving around and interacting with each other.

If you take a minute to think of yourself as an amorphous germs, floating around and interacting with other germs, something cool happens. The labels you normally ascribe to yourself -- "Edahn," "me," "I," "human being," "animal," "playa" -- suddenly evaporate. That, in my opinion, puts you more in touch with reality. You're directly perceiving yourself and others, rather than perceiving through the "veil" of thinking, analysis, labels, and names. It's kind of like taking off your sunglasses. It also helps you see how you -- a germ -- aren't fundamentally different from the germs around you, or even the environment you live in. As Alan Watts' might have said, you've separating the territory from the map.

[Obligatory plug: If you like this blog, please share it! Tomorrow's question: telling someone about your sexual past.]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How do I find myself when I'm in a relationship?

Dear Edahn,

Here's my deal. In my teens through my early twenties, I was in an unhealthy relationship for about seven years. It ended badly. Looking back, I truly dislike the person I was during that time in my life. I really sucked and wish I could have that time in my life back. I regret almost everything about it.

I've been mostly single for the past five years. I've had a couple of girlfriends, but I find myself worrying about turning back into that person that I was and ultimately freaking out about being in a relationship as a result. I just don't feel like myself when I am in a relationship. Naturally, this ends with me breaking up with whoever I'm dating. The more time goes on, the more upsetting the thought of being in a relationship becomes to me. I know there are awesome people around me who I should probably be dating, but every time the thought of having a girlfriend comes up, I nearly have a panic attack. I keep telling myself that, at some point, someone will come along and I'll stop caring about the obligations and drawbacks of a relationship, but, realistically, I'm not sure. Is there something I can do to help me understand that I can be in a healthy relationship, preserve who I am and be happy all at the same time?

I completely understand what you're going through and I don't think you're alone at all. In fact, it's funny that you wrote me today. This exact question is what I want to dedicate my life's work to and something I've been thinking about recently. It's a dilemma I've struggled with for years and continue to work with, though I have found some techniques that work.

First off, what's going on? People like you are special. You understand things like beauty, authenticity, and naturalness. Not everyone does. You see value in it and when anxiety makes you question yourself, the naturalness gets hidden. You immediately know something is off. Is it really off? No. It's all working according to plan. Your mind is identifying a threat and going into "threat mode." It's actually trying to protect you by monitoring the threat -- the girl, a gap in conversation, rejection -- it's just clumsy. It's kind of like a new mother who sees threats everywhere she looks and keeps her kid sheltered, preventing the kid from becoming self-reliant.

You say that you don't like yourself when you're in a relationship. In truth, there are two things that change when you get into a relationship. The first is that you become a self-conscious dork much like everyone else, myself included. (I say that endearingly, not mockingly.) The second is that you become very self-critical. You reject yourself. This is what people mean when they say "conditional acceptance." You're understanding when you like the person you're being, but when you start getting nervous and dorking out, you cut off the compassion and understanding. Instead of saying "it's alright" or "it'll be okay" or being playful with yourself like you would to a friend in need, you place demands on yourself to be someone else and escape the frozenness.

So the first (and most critical) step is in finding a reason to be patient with yourself. The reason is simple: you're hurting. How would you respond if you saw someone at Starbucks who was clearly and genuinely hurting over something? Grieving? Depression? Inner conflict? Confusion? What would your gut tell you to do? It would tell you to ask them if they were okay. You would be nice, kind, maybe offer a few words of encouragement or just listen compassionately. You and I are in the same position, aren't we? In those moments of intense inner conflict, either before a date or when things start getting serious, we're in pain. We're confused, afraid, lost, and maybe ashamed of the person we are and worried about the future. As soon as your recognize that you can't help but be supportive and understanding.

So start recognizing the times when you're in inner turmoil. Just recognize it for what it is -- real, genuine pain. You'll start to see that even if you're not shining at the moment, you're okay. You're safe. You're still pretty awesome even though you're not perfect. You might even see how all the hardship you went through actually had a purpose, in bringing you to this moment and teaching you some valuable lessons. This is how you slowly find yourself even when you're lost. Eventually you'll have all the evidence you need to see that you can be happy, yourself, and in a relationship at the same time and you won't need any gimmicks or pep-talks to give you some fleeting hope.

[Obligatory plug: if you like what you read, please share our site with your friends. Next up: GERMS!]

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Sesame seed" stuck in my "keyboard"

Dear Edahn,

Uck -- I have a sesame seed stuck in my keyboard and it's right under a letter I like to use a lot... have any advice? Otherwise I'm going to have to continue to be creative with my vocabulary. ;)

Since it would be really boring if I told you to put your mouth on your keyboard and suck it out, or use a tweezer or even a damp toothpick, I'm going to assume that your question was really metaphorical and super-deep. It is obvious to any moron, then, that your "favorite key" represents the feeling of pleasure, and that the "sesame seed" is really a psychological sesame seed -- a nagging thought or feeling that something is off and in need of repair which frustrates your experience of pleasure. Thus, your question is really similar to Buddha's question 2500 years ago: how do I escape frustration? Good question.

I don't really think you escape frustration. You just learn how to deal well with difficult situations. You learn when to fight a situation, and when to yield and be strong or even put on a smile. You also learn how to fight, so you're not making the situation more chaotic and difficult to manage but easier. Becoming sensitive to these differences and knowing how to respond appropriately is the essence of Wisdom. It's not a science but an art in that you're using your intelligence to guide feelings of peace from inside to the outside.

So, what will you choose to do? Get the seed out? Buy a new keyboard? Wait for the seed to move? Copy/paste your favorite key aNd eNd up typiNg like this from Now oN? That would be pretty fuNNy.

[Next up: Afraid to get into another relationship after 7 years. If you liked this post, please share it with your friends on Facebook or Digg it. Thank you!]

Friday, November 20, 2009

AskEveryoneElse: Who's your hero?

Dear Everyone Else,

Do you have a hero? Are they real or fictional? Tell us about them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Girlfriend gaining weight while I'm losing attraction

Dear Edahn,

I've been dating this girl for about eight months now. We communicate well and know when to argue and when to just let it go. Recently she put on weight and I'm starting to find her less sexy. (I'm not a fitness nut but like being healthy.) How do I approach this subject without hurting her?

I don't think you're at the point yet where you need to address it through a conversation. For one thing, most people's weight fluctuates a little and there's a good chance it'll drop back down in due time. Moreover, a conversation like that is risky even if done with genuine care. Instead, I'd suggest you start by making a couple modifications to your routine.

The first thing you should do is make sure you eat healthy. You don't have to make it obvious that you're eating healthy..."YES, HI, I'LL HAVE THE LIGHT SALAD WITH THE LIGHT LETTUCE AND INSTEAD OF DRESSING I'LL JUST POUR MINERAL WATER OVER EVERYTHING. What kind of hamburger did you order again?" Just try and make conscious choices about what you're putting in your body.

The other thing you can do is exercise together, but make it fun. You can run or jog together around your neighborhood and set up occasional race, winner gets oral. (Note: make sure you will win, and if it looks like you're going to lose, cheat.) Another option which seems to be gaining popularity these days is hiking. Hiking is nice because you can set up a picnic with a bunch of overpriced organic food when you get to a clearing and do the nutrition thing as well. I personally find the local hikes to be incredibly boring and unchallenging but if you're with your girlfriend, maybe you can make it interesting somehow. Somehowê

Personally, I'd probably opt for lifting weights together. The payoff is pretty immediate (feeling calm afterwards and sore the next day), and the venue is ripe for joking and fun. I was recently dating a girl who was trying to lose some weight. We'd meet at the gym and I'd force her to wear ridiculous power-bandanas with me. When she'd lift weights she'd complain that the weight was too heavy, and I'd complain that she was a complainer while comparing her strength to that of an infant parakeet. We'd also gossip about the weird habits of everyone else at the gym and their gimmicks for generating attention. It was cool and became a good platform for flirting.

Try and be discreet about it. If she doesn't want to go with you, just nag a little. You can tell her in a very serious tone that you'll be her best friend if she goes with you and stretch out your hand to confirm the deal with a formal handshake. If she still refuses, tell her she's a dick and try again later. As soon as you start noticing some positive changes, give her a sleazy compliment. If none of this works, write back and we'll talk about ways to bring this up in a conversation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is it wrong to picture yourself with another woman?

Hey Edahn,

Sometimes during sex I imagine I'm with a different girl, and not my gf. It helps me get 'unstuck' if I can't get off. Do you think this is normal among men and whether or not this will damage my relationship?

It's pretty normal assuming the "different girl" isn't your mom...or mine. I am guessing that you're anxious about not performing well or about getting so anxious that you don't perform well, which is super common.

Is it a problem? I wouldn't really call it a problem. The question is whether you're addressing the situation, your "stuckness," in the best way. Right now you've found a technique to help you get your mind off the situation and onto something safer. That's okay, but you're not going to really be connected to the person or connected to yourself as long as you keep mentally checking out. The alternative is to confront the anxiety and protect your dignity.

The big secret that anxiety doesn't want you to know is that it goes away if you're patient. As long as you don't know that, anxiety keeps renewing itself with worrying about the anxiety itself. If you know it'll go away and things will be restored to normal, you can relax. My advice for you is to be patient with yourself and forgiving rather than critical and demanding. It's okay to get tense and stuck. It happens to both guys and girls all the time. It's a normal stage to go through when you're having sex with someone. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong. If you decide you're just too stuck, just take a break. No shame. Maybe you'll try again later that night. The important thing is the way you relate to yourself and treat yourself, with kindness, patience, and dignity, and maybe a little humor. As you practice, you'll start to find your mind a little calmer and and more available.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Emotional Pollution

Where ever you live, you're probably being exposed to all sort of pollution. The obvious kind is chemical and comes in the form of smog and waste. The more subtle form is emotional pollution. Emotional pollution happens when you come into contact with people who are irresponsible with (or just unaware of) the way they affect the environment with their decisions, their anger, their jealousy, and their pessimism. When you're around them, they suck you into their negative thinking and judgmentalism and sap the levity, humor, and joy from a situation.

The good news is that while chemical pollution is difficult to convert into a less noxious form, emotional pollution is a bit easier if you have the right tools. You first have to vigilant and aware when you're entering a polluted area. The sooner you identify it, the better. Next, you have to avoid contributing to the person's negativity. Don't join them, but also don't fight them, since fighting them is just another form of negativity. You keep your composure, keep your levity, and keep your optimism close to you and quietly model a different way of thinking and living.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Period Sex with my Diaphragm

Dear Edahn,

Hi. I just met this real hot guy but I got my period on the same day. I'm wondering if the guy will know it's that time of the month if I put in a diaphragm.

I've read some conflicting reports. Some sites say it's okay, and that your diaphragm will collect blood as long as the flow isn't too heavy. Other sites such as MayoClinic advise against using a diaphragm at all during your period. Everyone seems to agree that it's disgusting.

To be prudent, I'm going to go with MayoClinic's advice and suggest you just wait it out. If you have more questions you can call your doctor.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Hello peeps.

How do you like the blog? What would make it rock more?

I think I'm going to add a few more articles and try and make everything a big shorter. 2 paragraphs max, and maybe, once a week, do a super-long psychoanalysis for one lucky poster. What do you think? More pics? Other content?

Some rants? Let me know.


Friday, November 13, 2009

AskEveryoneElse: Do women prefer dominant mates?

Dear Everyone Else,

A debate has been sparked on my listserve about whether women prefer dominant mates or not. What do you think?

[Your answer here]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do men care about how many guys a girl has slept with?

Dear Edahn,

In your opinion, do men care how many guys a girl has slept with?

In my opinion, I think it depends. It depends on the guy and it depends on the type of relationship you're in.

The average guy would probably want someone who's slept with roughly the same amount of partners he has, or a bit fewer, but more than zero. If you've slept with many more people than he has, there's a chance he'll feel inadequate or inexperienced and judge you for it. Stated otherwise, 0 < ♀ »± 3 .

In the US, the average number of partners tends to vary. In 2002, 30% of men ages 20-59 reported sleeping with more than 15 partners (compared to only 9.4% of women). That percentage is probably higher when you concentrate on a younger crowd of 20 and 30 year olds, especially those who went to college. Of course there are exceptions. There are guys who probably won't really care as long as you haven't hit the triple-digit mark,  << 100
and there are some guys who'll be looking for virgins, ♀ = 0
and find girls who'll pretend for them, = 13-13 = V .

But even if you don't fall into someone's range, I wouldn't worry so much. A good friendship filled with ample care and play can induce anyone to look past their rules and associations and appreciate you for who you are, ♀ = ♀ . There's also no rule that commands you to tell him before you're comfortable and ready. If you feel like your number is approaching more than 2 standard deviations above the norm, maybe it's time to relax and call up some ex boyfriends.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Do I get too wet during sex?

Dear Edahn,

My problem is a bit embarrassing: when I have an orgasm, things get really wet, like soak the sheets wet. I never know whether to warn the guy before, or to just ignore it when it happens. If I warn the guy, I feel pressure to actually have an orgasm, and then I sometimes don't end up having an orgasm, so I usually dont warn the guy. I usually just let it happen and then pretend not to notice it if he doesnt bring it up, or just giggle or something if he does bring it up. So, two questions: is my little problem really unhot? and how should I deal with it in bedroom situations?

Is it unhot? That all depends on your attitude about it. Do you think it's sexy? Do you think there's something erotic about it? Something a little dirty? You wouldn't be the first person to see the high-kink value in your gift. There's a whole subculture of sexual deviates (*awkward twitch*) who are really into this stuff. I hear. If you think of it as something hot, your guy will think it's hot, and then you can start taking precautions to avoid making too much of a mess. A simple towel should do the trick.

Here's what you're going to do:
A. Go surf the web for some "squirting" videos. Watch enough porn until you start to see how hot this all is. Make sure the sound is on.
B. I get that you want to be able to warn the guy but at the same time don't want to generate too many expectations about your having an orgasm. The first time, don't worry so much. Don't be embarrassed about it; think of it as a symbol of your superpower. If he makes a comment like "damn, the sheets are pretty wet" you can say "you didn't mention you're a detective!" or, if you prefer "yeah, you really made me cum a lot." NO GUY WILL EVER HAVE A PROBLEM AFTER THAT, GUARANTEED, OR YOUR MONEY BACK.
C. The next time you have sex, suggest you put a towel to protect the sheets from being sullied by you kinky ass bitches.

Have fun with it and stop being so worried. If we all had sex the exact same way, the Matrix would be a boring place.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When is it time to try medication?

Dear Edahn,

I am needing some advice on a problem that has been eating away at me for the past few months: when should you accept that you need outside help, possibly even medication? I think I have been suffering from depression for a few years now, following what would easily be considered the most successful relationship of my life. I am over the relationship, and definitely no longer have feelings for the guy, but that is about where I can mark the beginnings of my feelings. I have never actually been able to call myself suicidal, as I do not want to kill myself, and I know that I probably never would. However, I do want to die. If given the option right now to be killed in some sort of accident, I think I would take it. Because of this, I react very calmly in emergency situations. Not much fazes me. I almost don't even have a flight response, I feel like I should just let whatever happens, happen. I even take unneccessary risks. Oddly enough, I've never so much as gotten stitches in my life, go figure lol. 

I spent a year or two with that being almost my only symptom, sure I had ups and downs but it didn't seem to stand out from your average person. However, during the past six months or so, it has worsened. There are weeks where I cry daily for hours at a time, I feel hopeless, and I am extremely irritable which is not even close to the person I used to be. I currently have no set job, and don't care to find one. I sleep all day, y'know, the usual. I can't decide if the reason this has all taken a turn for the worse is situational or not. There are definitely obvious causes, but I don't seem to be able to get by them. Recently, as in the past few days, I've felt I have a bit more fight in me, and I want to be happy again. I have been changing my life around bit by bit, and trying to eliminate the things that get me down, but I am struggling with one decision. In the summer, this depression landed me in the hospital for a day, and it was suggested I go on antidepressants. I refused, I was never one for meds. However, I have a few friends who have tried it, and it seemed to really help them. I am considering trying it, but am still uneasy with the decision. When should you accept that you need help to pull yourself back together?

Well it sounds to me like you're focused on all the stuff that is defective in your life and in yourself, and that that's causing you to feel destroyed and empty. On the other hand, there is something very special going on inside you. For the first time in years, there's an impulse to build something beautiful. It may not be strong -- it doesn't have to be strong -- but it's beeping inside you like a faint signal. 

That's something you should cherish and listen to. If it's telling you to start growing and make changes, then work with it. The changes you choose to make are up to you and with all the suffering you've endured 1) no one really has a right to tell you what's appropriate and what's not, and 2) I think you should trust yourself. Suffering creates depth of character and a certain intimacy that's hard to acquire by other means.

What do you think is the right move for you? Meds? A therapist? A new lifestyle? A new approach to handling yourself? More care? More attention? Listen to that impulse. I have a lot of faith in you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Should I date my boss?

Dear Edahn,

I am attracted to a guy, and I am pretty sure he likes me too. I have never told him anything, but to make a long story short, he knows I like him. We have been playing cat and mouse games for a long time now, and I really don't want to do it anymore. I am at a point where I'm ready to let things out in the open because these games are starting to play with my emotions, and the things is that I don't even know if there's something there with me and him, if we got together. So, I just want to stop playing games and get things clear, and either forget about him and move on, or ask him out and see where it leads. The thing is, he's my boss. And I haven't started anything with him because of this. It would just be awkward if we had to work together and at the same time be together romantically. 

What do you think about this whole thing? Should I get another job and then ask him out (or lead him to ask me out) or just forget about it all?

So your options are:
   A. Find a new job then confront him.
   B. Confront him then find a new job. ;)
   C. Start leaving uncomfortable notes in his locker/cubbie like "stop playing with my heart you bastard" followed by "we were meant to be together, I know it."
   D. Show up to work after everyone else has left, completely naked except for 3 Post-it notes covering your private no-nos and deliver some ultra-cheesy line like "looks like there's only one thing left on my To Do list, boss."
   E. Stay the motherfuck away.

As much as I'd like to see option C or D, my vote is for E: stay away. Even if you were able to get a new, equally satisfying job, and even if he did have feelings for you, transitioning from job-mode to relationship-mode is tricky.

The presence of an artificial barrier between you -- your professional relationship -- is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it keeps you physically apart. On the other hand, it brings you together because there's nothing on the line. You're able to get really close because you're not worried about anything bad happening like rejection or betrayal. You also always have a default/backup dynamic you can always resort to if things get uncomfortable. If, for example, things get too intimate and you start to feel uncomfortably vulnerable, you can fall back on your job roles and talk about something else. You're left with a convenient way to get out of any threatening situation. Whether you actually use that to get out of situations isn't that important; the important thing is knowing you have that option. It's like an insurance policy: even if the shit hits the fan, you know you have a way out so you're more relaxed, more available. It's the same reason people get close to "off-limits" married people.

If you can appreciate how your professional relationship has helped you get close, then you can see how abandoning that relationship means you're also abandoning the insurance policy that comes with it, thereby introducing risk and anxiety. You no longer fall back into your professional personas. You're going to have to learn how to get to know each other and relate to each other outside of those roles. There are some exceptionally talented people who might be good at making that transition, but I imagine that most people, myself included, would find it incredibly tricky and uncomfortable. I think of it like being on a blind date, but instead of labeling your discomfort as "routine" and "normal," you think something is "off" and get all tripped up.

So, is it possible to make things work out? Yeah. But is it going to be a smooth transition? I doubt it. And, if you like your job, why risk it by looking for a new job where you might hate your coworkers or hate your work? Best bet is to desexualize your relationship, draw some boundaries around what you're going to talk about, and start seeing some other people. If you elect to disregard my advice (foolish mortal!), find a new job and stalk your prey, then I'd recommend trying to befriend him rather than date him. You can turn the friendship into a relationship down the line if things go well.

Friday, November 6, 2009

AskEveryoneElse: Where to meet Mr./Mrs. Right

Dear Everyone Else,

The best place to meet a quality girl/guy is _________________________.

Best or most popular answer wins.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Question: What do Biggie Smalls and Edahn have in common?


How to get over a guy you dated a year ago

Dear Edahn,

I dated a guy for a couple of months last year, this time of year. He was the first guy in a long time that I truly felt connected to, like there was a possible future. At first I wasnt even attracted to him physically. He definitely liked me more than I liked him, but after dating for about six weeks we went on vacation together and I let myself fall into it at that point, and I fell hard. A few weeks later I could sense that things were off-- he was becoming less available and I know from my all too extensive dating experience that he was trying to fizzle out of the relationship. I called him on it, and he told me that he was not in a good place for a relationship (he had come out of an engagement only weeks before we started seeing each other, and he was extremely busy with school-- both things were true, and this wasnt your standard "I'm too busy for a relationship" excuse) He told me that he needed time free of responsibility to anyone but himself, so that he could make decisions without having to take anyone else into account, and that he needed time to refocus after his past relationship, that we should stay friends, and that in a couple of years, when he had his shit more together, we could try again.

I would normally toss this away as an attempt to let me down lightly, but we actually did stay in touch for a few months afterward, hung out a few times without hooking up, and gchatted as well as phone calls. This too started to fizzle with time, and I eventually gave up any hope of us rekindling our flame. Ive tried to move on; Ive dated many guys in this last year. I just dont feel connected to any of them the way I did to him from the get go. As this time of year comes around I really really miss him. I recently heard that he's been sort of back on the dating scene, but we havent spoken in at least 6 months. Hearing about him possibly dating someone else still really affects me, and the thought of him with someone tears me apart. I didnt realize that I missed him this much until I heard that-- how do I get over this guy? how do I learn to not compare the feelings I have for potential new guys to the feelings I had for him? is there really such a thing as "not being ready" to be in a relationship, or is this just an easy way of saying "I'm not ready to be in a relationship with YOU"?

I think you never really got over this guy and also picked up some ideas and habits that are tripping you up. So, let's try and do a little psychological scrubbing and organization.

1. Guys like to give girls mixed messages to spare their feelings. We don't want to hurt you, so instead of saying "I'm not interested in you" we concoct excuses like "I'm too busy with work" or "I need to figure things out" or "I'm not ready for a relationship." Sometimes we would really like to be friends, other times we just offer friendship to soften the blow, but in either case, we're not interested in a romantic relationship. The bottom line is if he liked you he would choose to accommodate you despite his confusion and circumstances. The fact that you were able to be friends after doesn't change the analysis.

You can take that information different ways. Most people respond by thinking that rejection implies that they're messed up or broken, as if they're not put together as well as the person who just rejected them. It takes a little time to develop the integrity necessary to challenge that assumption and see the reality of the situation: we're just not a good fit. That second interpretation doesn't assign fault to him, or to you. You just see it as a mismatch between two unique people. It didn't work out, but you know what? I'm still pretty fucking awesome, with or without someone else.

2. There's a tendency to idealize past relationships in a process I call "biased review." Basically, when you scan your past relationship for memories, you choose the warmest ones that give you a familiar feeling and neglect all the bad stuff. You forget the times when you didn't connect, when you felt awkward, when you questioned your attraction and the strength of the relationship. You end up idealizing and romanticizing your relationship and then start missing it even more. I think this is going on here.

How do you correct this? Just make an effort to actively remember all the bad stuff. Whenever you start reminiscing, force yourself to consider the worst parts of your relationship as well.

3. You don't have to stop comparing your new dates to your old relationship. You just have to be smart about it. There were good things you had in your relationship that you can keep in the back of your mind. That's one of the benefits of dating: you figure out what's important to you and what meshes with you (and, of course, what doesn't). Dating people with great qualities helps me refine my "search filter" to screen out le spam.

The same goes for you. There's no problem making comparisons between your ex and your new dates; just be reasonable. If a guy isn't warm or interesting or playful, kick his ass out of the running for Top Boyfriend. If, on the other hand, you're expecting an immediate sense of familiarity to be there without getting to know the person and you can see how you're being unreasonable, then just chill out. You can just ask the guy a question about his ab routine or his favorite shape (or his favorite website) instead. You're a smart girl and you know when you need to make an adjustment.

Hopefully this'll give you some stuff to think about and shake things up a bit. Then all you really need is some time to let the old wounds heal so you can rejoin the rest of us miserable, irascible single people. Awesome! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We need more questions!

C'mon folks. I know most of you personally and know you have tons of problems -- some that you are aware of, most that remain buried in your subconscious. So let's have it!
  • Good questions!
  • Stupid questions!
  • Stupid questions you already know the answer to!
  • Philosophical paradoxes that defy all common sense!
  • Homework problems!
  • Color you can't identify!
  • Baffling things you find in the shower!
It doesn't even have to be a question!!! You could maybe just send in a picture of a fruit with some esoteric punctuation marks. (See picture for example.)

You can email or just leave an anonymous comment here. Mucho gusto.

I want to kill my boss

[Dear Edahn,]

Where's my daily dose of askedahn-- I'm in procrastination mode--- also, I'm having homicidal thoughts about my boss, any advice?

Yes -- don't kill him. Try, instead, to not kill him.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Telling a friend you have feelings for them

Dear Edahn,

I come to you looking for advice on a recent issue between me and my ex boyfriend. He broke up with me in the summer, but we have managed to remain very close friends. Although I never lost feelings for him, I knew the break up was necessary and so was able to continue on with the friendship with no major problems, however always kept my feelings well hidden. 

Recently, he has begun to open up about his depression, and says he has had thoughts of suicide. I was as supportive as possible, and he is now getting the professional help he needs. The problem is, one day while at his house, he began to get physically close to me. This really took me by surprise, as I felt sure he no longer had feelings for me, and this is typically NOT something he would do out of emotional vulnerability. So, I did not stop him, however I also did not really respond back; I suppose I reacted similar to a deer caught in headlights. All that really happened was some cuddling on his part, but it was clearly more than friends. Since then, we have continued on like we were before, however neither of us ever spoke of the occurance and there were a few times he seemed awkward, like he wanted to say something but couldn't. So my question is, in cases like this, is it better to forget it happened, or just straight up ask about it? I am curious to know if he still has, or has regained feelings for me, even though I know that now is not the time to get back together due to the other issues. However, it always seems like both of us are this close to bringing it up, but sort of waiting on the other to do so first. Is it a mistake for me to just come out with it? Thanks for taking the time to help.

If he is on the verge of suicide, then the best thing to do is let things settle and stabilize. A discussion about your relationship and feelings for one another will automatically complicate things. Attraction and desire pump drama, intensity, worry, and longing into a relationship. Those things will destabilize a relationship. The challenge in a relationship is a find a way to work with those feelings and create something stable and nourishing, but now isn't the time to add more challenges in your ex's life. So the best thing you can do now is keep the issues on the back burner and just hang out and be friends.

When the storm eventually passes, you can bring up the situation and your feelings in a casual, flirtatious way. The more casual (and less serious) the better, because it implies that you're relaxed. That tells him that he doesn't need to craft any particular kind of response to spare your feelings or save the relationship, and that keeps him cool and connected. You might say something like this:

You: "So interesting night back on [whenever it all went down]!"
Him: "Yeah? How so?"
You: "You totally want me. It's obvious." :)
Him: "I do?"
You: "Yeah all that 'can I put my head on your boobs' stuff wasn't as smooth as you thought." ;)
Him: "I was just laying down!"
You: "I thought it was pretty nice, actually."
Him: "So did I."
You: "I gotta admit, lying there with you brought back some old feelings in a good way."
Him: "Yeah?"
You: "Yeah. It was cool."

You can leave things there and then transition into doing something friendly with him like watching a movie of getting food or shaving each other's backs. LOL. Then just see what happens. You can't really fuck it up if you're playful and not too serious about the whole thing, so you don't have to worry about the conversation going exactly like that. Those are just some lines (royalty free) that give you a sense of the right mood. As long as you think of what happened as something kinda nice and charming, rather than this super-cereal event that-has-to-be dissected-or-else!, you'll be fine.

Monday, November 2, 2009

How do I tell my partner I have an STD?

Dear Edahn,

How/when should one tell their special someone that they have an STD? I just had a guy tell me last night right before we started to have sex and it kind of ruined it for me. Made me think if he could have disclosed it sooner, would I still be with him, or in actuality not return any of his calls.

Clever guy. He anticipated that you'd refuse his advances and chose a time where it'd be easiest for you to accept the risk and do it anyway. I don't know what his delivery was like, but if I had to make such a disclosure, I'd probably try one of these two approaches:

1. The Casual Approach

While pretending to do a crossword puzzle on the date just prior to having sex (i.e., the second date) I'd say something like this:

Me: "I need a disease, 9 letters, rhymes with 'pizzeria.'" 
Her: "Gonorrhea?" 
Me: "Yeah! Thanks! Hey, that totally reminds me. I have syphilis. Okay, now I need a 6 letter word for 'sly' beginning with a 'c' and ending with a 'y.' It's not 'choppy'..."
Her: "Crafty?"
Me: "Yes!"
Us: [Coitus]

I'll bet most of you who just read that are thinking "he didn't even tell her about his STD!" Look again, guys.

2. The Direct Approach

I'd arm myself will all available statistics and information about the STD so I knew how to field any question as well as avoid giving it to my partner. I'd be ready to explain to her exactly what we'd have to do to avoid transmission (protected sex, when we couldn't have sex at all, and how long that would last) and make sure to highlight the good parts, maybe with a little humor; for instance, I might say: "we could still have sex the other 330 days of the year. Some days we could even have sex twice to make up for the deficit, which I would be amenable to."

The biggest stereotype about STDs like herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea is that you contracted them by sleeping with a lot of shady people. I'd address that concern by explaining how I actually got it while stressing the sympathetic parts ("she said she was totally clean," or "I didn't think donkeys could carry that") and minimizing the parts that made me seem like a hooker. Note: For those who actually got the STD by sleeping with a lot of shady people, you can instead explain how you've changed and now only sleep with one shady person. If you're still sleeping with a lot of shady people, then, well, the chances are the girl you're about to have sex with is dirtier than you are, in which case you don't have that much to worry about, save of course contracting an additional STD to complete your collection.

I'd probably make the disclosure a date or two before I felt like we were going to get down and dirty. I'd start the conversation by genuinely asking her if she's been tested recently (nothing too funny) and letting her answer first; then, based on her answer, I'd explain my situation using the above considerations. I'd put it all out there and tell her that I'd understand if she didn't want to get sexual yet; at the same time, I'd ask her to see that I'm not a total whorebag just someone like her who made a mistake, that I'm no longer careless, that transmitting it was unlikely after taking simple precautions, and how badly I wanted to be intimate with her. If I kept getting turned down, I'd start picking up partners at more sympathetic venues.