Think more care­fully be­fore next re­la­tion­ship

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­ DEAR EL­LIE

Q. I’m 23 and only had my first re­la­tion­ship re­cently. I wanted one badly since I’d only dated guys briefly. But af­ter sev­eral months with my “boyfriend,” I was bored.

We didn’t have a lot to say to each other. And the sex wasn’t that good. So I called it off, say­ing I just wasn’t as ready as I thought for a re­la­tion­ship.

He then blamed me for push­ing the re­la­tion­ship on him. Then he kept tex­ting how he’s missing me. Now he’s act­ing like we’re still to­gether and plan­ning dates with me! How do I get the mes­sage across that we’ve bro­ken up?

A. He’s fol­low­ing one of the fa­mil­iar pat­terns in the ways peo­ple — es­pe­cially those who are in­ex­pe­ri­enced — re­act when they’ve been dumped.

At least it’s a gen­tle re­ac­tion, rather than more neg­a­tive pat­terns — shout­ing, threat­en­ing, spread­ing ru­mours, etc.

If there’s any sign of these, you’d need to end all con­tact. But also look at your own han­dling of this “re­la­tion­ship.” Next time, want one with a par­tic­u­lar per­son, not just the idea.

Be sure the at­trac­tion is that per­son’s per­son­al­ity, in­ter­ests, and the way he treats you. Sex is also bet­ter that way. You still need a backup plan

Q. I’m 18 and fell in love with theatre at 15. Since then, I’ve been in a few com­mu­nity plays and can’t see my­self do­ing any­thing else.

My par­ents are some­what sup­port­ive but they still, un­der­stand­ably, want me to have a backup plan. They say that I’m very gifted at act­ing (so do cast mem­bers of plays I’m in), but they may just be bi­ased.

Prob­lem: I’m ex­tremely neg­a­tive. I tell my­self, “It’s an un­re­al­is­tic dream.”

I have a gut feel­ing that I’m meant to make it big. I think I’m pretty enough to be an ac­tress but not drop-dead gor­geous. I’ve been told that I stand out from most peo­ple be­cause I have nat­u­ral red hair, big blue eyes, and a great per­son­al­ity.

But am I dream­ing too big? Do I need to get re­al­is­tic and just go to col­lege? Or, do I move to a big city, try to get no­ticed, and chase my dream?

A. Go­ing to col­lege is one of the best starts to achiev­ing your dream. Theatre cour­ses, school plays, join­ing a school­based drama club are all foun­da­tions to learn­ing more about act­ing.

Few great ac­tresses get there on the colour of their hair. They have sim­i­lar pas­sion for theatre, but they do not al­low neg­a­tivism to over­whelm their goal.

How­ever, hang­ing out in a big city try­ing to “get no­ticed” also isn’t enough. It can bring out worse doubts and dis­ap­point­ments.

Act­ing skills im­prove with read­ing great plays and literature, know­ing his­tory, study­ing psy­chol­ogy to un­der­stand char­ac­ter, etc. Col­lege can pro­vide much of this back­ground. And a de­gree can also kick-start a mar­ketable fall­back plan to­wards re­lated ca­reers.. I’m get­ting bet­ter, but still a slob

Q. Eighteen years ago I was an im­ma­ture, self-cen­tred, con­trol­ling, un­civ­i­lized slob when I went on a dat­ing site look­ing for love.

I found the “vilest” woman. Over time, she’s changed me into a ma­ture, car­ing, un­con­trol­ling, civ­i­lized slob. We broke up twice early on and got back to­gether af­ter I promised her I’d change. Why couldn’t I have bro­ken my prom­ise like all the other jerks out there?

So far, I’ve bat­tled suc­cess­fully to re­main a slob, though even there I’ve softened. Is it too late for me?

P.S. I’m a mildly autis­tic adult who’s a tad off­beat.

A. If your pur­pose in writ­ing was to show that “off­beat” hu­mour and style plus will­ing­ness to adapt to a part­ner’s needs, can sus­tain a re­la­tion­ship, you’ve just suc­ceeded. Con­grats! You’ve also shown that autism can bring its own charm to a lover, and make a re­la­tion­ship (if not the “slob” as­pect) more fun.

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