Baltimore Sun

Love bomber has powerful epiphany at bar

- By Amy Dickinson askamy@amydickins­ Twitter@askingamy Copyright 2022 by Amy Dickinson

Dear Amy: I’m a 65-yearold woman. I’ve been divorced three times now, and have also had a couple of other serious love relationsh­ips — all unsuccessf­ul.

I’m single now and trying to understand what I’ve been doing wrong.

I’m the one doing the leaving every single time, so my “excuse” has been that I have a “broken picker,” but that sounds like BS — even to me.

I was reading your column and the topic of “love bombing” came up.

That’s me! That’s what I do!

I even caught myself love bombing last week! Some drunken idiot had started flirting with me at a bar, and even as I was thinking to myself “What a fool this guy is,” I was practicall­y fawning over him, doing the whole hangingon-every-word response.

In that moment, I recognized my pattern of meeting an interested man, “reeling him in” with all that flattery and attention, and then realizing he’s a totally inappropri­ate fit and discarding him, often only after years of misery.

What is wrong with me and how do I stop?!

I’ve wasted nearly my entire life in this self-sabotaging behavior, and I just want to scream and hang my head in shame.

— Yikes

Dear Yikes: Barroom epiphanies can be extremely powerful, but the point of enlightenm­ent is not to waste time beating up on yourself, but to take the insight forward to make some changes.

You are probably already very charming and appealing, even when you’re not overwhelmi­ng your male prey. My theory is that when you apply your charm with a fire hose, you fall in love — with yourself.

Your behavior seems on the surface to be all about the other person, but it’s really all about you.

I suggest that when you realize that you are actually “enough,” you’ll stop lobbing your love bombs at every man in sight.

Stop doing that, and see how it feels! This would require that you deliberate­ly suppress your charm, stop leaning in, handle the anxiety that goes along with being quiet, and see if you still love yourself if you put the pin back into the love grenade and do more active listening.

Listen to an idiot for five minutes, and you’ll know he’s an idiot. You won’t need to marry him and then reject him years later. In the process, you’ll build up a residual affection for yourself and confidence in your own discernmen­t.

Ask a friend to remind you to reel yourself in. A wingwoman would really help to keep you honest.

Also, need it be said? Therapy.

Dear Amy: I have been struggling with self-harm for several years now.

Every time I get explosivel­y angry, I end up attacking myself (usually by scratching the insides of my arms, or my face/ lips with my nails or some other sharp object).

The last time I did this was three days ago, and this time I had to come clean.

I have now finally opened up fully to my partner and to a few of my friends, and they have been amazing and supportive.

This time I want to stop for good.

Is there anything else I can do to stop myself?

— Want to Stop

Dear Want to Stop: You’ve already taken many positive steps: You understand the pattern when you engage in self-harm. You’ve told people about it. You want to stop.

You can recover. Specialize­d therapy will help.

It might help you to read more about self-harm in order to fully understand the triggers and response. The Trevor Project has helpful informatio­n, as well as a lifeline: thetrevor

My friends at Crisis Text Line want you to know that you can text them, 24/7. Texting when you feel the pressure rising can help you to cope with the feeling while avoiding the self-injury.

Text HOME to this number: 741741.

Dear Amy: “Protective Fiancee” told about a female acquaintan­ce aggressive­ly hitting on her fiance, “George.” I liked your advice until I got to the part where you suggested that she could confront this woman at a Fourth of July party at someone else’s house, and “enjoy the fireworks.” No!

— No Explosions

Dear No: I was being sardonic, and I agree with you.

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