‘Ben­e­fits’ friend doesn’t show in­ter­est

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - [email protected]­dick­in­ Twit­ter @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: I’m in­volved in a “friends with ben­e­fits” sit­u­a­tion with “Steve.” We are both in our late 30s. We tried dat­ing, but he told me he didn’t see long-term po­ten­tial in me. We stayed friends with ben­e­fits, ba­si­cally act­ing like we are dat­ing. I’ve al­ways had ups and downs with him, mainly in­volv­ing me re­act­ing in an up­set man­ner.

I re­ally re­sent him, but I also like spend­ing time with him. I re­cently moved, and right now he’s my only friend. I get so up­set with him. Lately he’s been call­ing me “An­gry Ash­ley.”

We’ve taken breaks be­fore, but one of us has al­ways caved. Re­cently, I told him that I need space. I have been good about not con­tact­ing him, and he’s not on my so­cial me­dia, but do you think that with enough space he will for­get the way I acted and even­tu­ally want to have a re­la­tion­ship with me?

I am good to him, and some­times he acts like he likes me, too ... we just haven’t been talk­ing or spend­ing time with each other as much as we used to, and I’ve been feel­ing needy and clingy.

Can I turn this around? I haven’t talked to him in four days.

Dear Dumb: Even if you could pos­si­bly turn this around, should you? No.

Don’t hope he will for­get the way you’ve acted. Promise your­self you WON’T for­get the way HE’S acted. If you en­joyed this “friends with ben­e­fits” re­la­tion­ship, then I’d sug­gest that you should keep on. But you don’t en­joy it.

“Steve” is not par­tic­u­larly nice to you. He has ac­tu­ally told you that he is not into you, longer term, and longer term is what you want.

I ac­tu­ally give this guy some points (OK, one point) for hon­esty. So why don’t you be­lieve him?

You should pour your ro­man­tic and dra­matic en­ergy into this breakup. Make your­self a wall cal­en­dar. Draw a big red X through each day that you are suc­cess­ful in not con­tact­ing him. Write lit­tle af­fir­ma­tions in each daily square. Watch “Swingers,” “Fever Pitch” or what­ever makes you smile. Lis­ten to Joni Mitchell, Ri­hanna, Adele and Kelly Clark­son. Join a gym or yoga class. If he con­tacts you, don’t re­spond. Don’t.

Sched­ule lit­tle out­ings and ac­tiv­i­ties for you to do that don’t in­volve “Steve.” You need to meet new peo­ple, have new con­ver­sa­tions and find new things to do. With time and TLC, you will reap much greater “ben­e­fits” than you had with this re­la­tion­ship.

Dear Amy: I am a 77-yearold woman. I am still work­ing and very ac­tive. I am of­ten ad­dressed as “young lady” by wait­ers, tour guides and all kinds of other public ser­vants and, cu­ri­ously, the per­son say­ing this is al­ways a man.

To me it is like them ad­dress­ing me as “old lady” to make a joke, and I cringe when I hear it but say noth­ing. I think th­ese peo­ple would be sur­prised to learn that it is em­bar­rass­ing for me to have strangers nearby turn around to see the old lady he’s talk­ing to. Any ideas as to how to re­spond and how to get men to stop us­ing this phrase?

Dear Not Young: I just en­coun­tered this phe­nom­e­non per­son­ally for the first time. While pass­ing through a busy air­port, I was ad­dressed as “young lady” — twice! My first im­pulse was to think that I was look­ing par­tic­u­larly an­cient, be­cause, like you, I as­sume that this con­de­scend­ing phrase is di­rected only to­ward el­derly women — in­tended, I guess, to make us feel youth­ful and ap­pre­ci­ated.

And so, to all of you nice men out there do­ing this — please stop.

I went to Twit­ter with this dilemma, and I’ve cob­bled to­gether a re­sponse that has a dis­tinctly Mae West ring to it: “First of all, I’m not young. And I’m def­i­nitely no lady.”

Dear Amy: “Con­cerned Cousins” thought they might have lo­cated a pre­vi­ously un­known cousin af­ter their un­cle’s death. Why on Earth would you sug­gest that they try to ful­fill el­e­ments of their un­cle’s un­signed will, which you al­ready pre­sume is not valid?

Dear Bad Ad­vice: I sug­gested that if th­ese cousins could ver­ify this per­son’s iden­tity, and if there were pho­tos or ma­te­rial items be­long­ing to their un­cle that they could (or wanted to) part with, they should con­sider do­ing so. Just to be nice.

Copyright 2019 by Amy Dick­in­son

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