Laura Shumaker is a writer whose 23-year-old son has autism. He wants to connect with the world, but isn’t sure how — at least not according to unwritten social law and convention. In a clear, spare guest post at Motherlode about a puzzling (to him) non-incident involving a hotel, a hot tub and the girls’ lacrosse team, she expresses her fears, and hopes, about his future as lover and loved. It’s a sweet and smart post, ultimately concluding (spoiler!) that in order to support Matthew through this, she’s gonna have to connect honestly with herself first. Read it, and then this, to (if you’re neurotypical) remind yourself not to take communication and social-spider-sense for granted, and to upend a few stereotypes about people on the spectrum and the possibility of love.
I happened upon your site the morning after my girlfriend dumped me. Your advice columns (and seeing that “I’m not the only one”) have really helped me through this. I hadn’t been in any kind of romantic relationship for four or five years before this one, and I was pretty broken up about the whole thing. But now I can almost sit back a little and think about it. One of the things my ex said in her “can I talk to you” talk was that (of course) “its not you, its me”, and “we can still be friends.” Not having had this work for me at all in the past (the friend-afterwards part) I don’t know how to try and make it work. I’d really like to be friends (and not just friendly, as a coworker mentioned most of his “let’s be friends” relationships went), but I just don’t know how to make that work.
I think my ex has done a lot to help the process, by listening to me a couple of times I’ve wanted to talk/vent, and by being very understanding of my need to talk with her at times. The result is that I don’t despise or hate her, like I have with other exes, and from what I can gather and what I feel, this is a good start to some sort of “friend”-based relationship.
So is there any thing I can do to help facilitate this friend (re)building process? I know that I’m not completely “over her” yet, and I don’t want to seem like I’m too attached. I think she may have already moved on to someone new, and I don’t want
to get in the way. So how do I go about making sure she knows that I am (will be) available for a friend, but not give her the wrong idea, or affect her current relationship (if any)?
Staying friends: mature or masochistic? My ex wants very much for us to be friends, and I’m a little torn over it. I can’t imagine not seeing or speaking to him. It would be like cutting off a limb. But I’m finding myself still hanging on his calls and e-mails. If I don’t hear from him for a week I get upset. Some of my friends think I should just take a breather from him, but I really want to stay in touch, and I have lots of friends who have nice Jerry/Elaine things with their exes. The other thing is that he left me to go back to his previous girlfriend, who he’s still with. So right now, I don’t think there’s much chance of us getting back together, much as I might dream. I also know that it always takes me a while to get over people whether I see them or not. Do you think I’m torturing myself unnecessarily?
Yep. What you are pursuing right now is not friendship, it’s I Can’t Believe He’s Not My Boyfriend. Of course you can’t imagine not seeing or speaking to him right now; I mean, he was your boyfriend — I imagine you’d gotten kinda used to seeing and speaking to him. But listen, we have to be really careful about what “friends” means after a breakup … and about the best way to get there. Advice for everyone:
What was that alligator doing running loose last weekend in Queens? Perhaps officials should question my mother.
When my father was courting her, which was back when people still said “courting,” he spent a summer teaching in Florida. That was also back when one could actually mail baby Florida alligators up North as scaly souvenirs. And so, in lieu of flowers, Dad sent one to my mom.
A teddy bear, sure. Live lobsters, yum. But an alligator? What was he thinking? What genius expert gave that dating tip? (“Fellas: Win her heart with random cruelty!”) Surely Dad knew that his intended was, like him (despite appearances), an animal lover — but with a much less sturdy constitution and a much more bleeding heart. How could he possibly have reasoned that this reptilian keepsake would give her the fuzzies? (Continued…)
That old adage favored by scientists and ‘60s girl groups — “correlation is not causation, no sir” — seems to have eluded more than a few pundits in our day.
One hasty assumption in particular–that sexy media influences kids to have sex earlier–is being challenged in an article in a recent issue of Developmental Psychology. PsychologistsLaurence Steinberg and Kathryn Monahan revisit a much-cited 2006 study by media expert Jane D. Brown which concluded that exposure to sexualized content on TV, or in music, movies, and magazines, accelerates sexual activity in young teenagers.
Steinberg and Monahan reanalyzed the data of Brown’s longitudinal study, but this time took into account the other dimensions of the participants’ lives that may have influenced their exposure to sexualized media and their pre-existing inclination to view or listen to the sexy stuff.
The authors discovered that while a link exists between sexual content and earlier sexual activity, they found “no accelerating or hastening effect of exposure to sexy media content on sexual debut once steps were taken to ensure that adolescents with and without high media exposure were matched on their propensity to be exposed to media with sexual content.”
They conclude, in other words, that the kids who were inclined to have sex earlier were also the kids who’d be likely to consume the hotter media, but the media didn’t, like, make them do it. In OTHERother words, it wasn’t Ke$ha’s fault (this time).
Kudos to Steinberg and Monahan for questioning a long-held assumption, turning the old blame-the-media trope on its head, and for using the word “sexy” about 700 times in their article, making it read like a Prince song.
Most importantly, they turn the focus back to other scientifically established causes of precocious sexual activity: parent–child conflicts and peer influence.Knowing the real causes may lead to more effective ways of helping kids be smart and wise consumers, or not, of the sexed-up stuff they see.
I have the biggest crush and the feelings seem to be mutual — at least they are on weekends. When I see him during the week he ignores me and acts like we don’t even know each other. The problem is that when the weekend rolls around he calls, we make plans, and become physical. I believe that he’s using me, but mutual friends tell me that he really likes me. In a way I know that what I’m doing is wrong, but I just can’t bring myself to turn him down. My question is: Is he just using me, or is he just shy? What should I do?
Yo. You are not an AT&T cell phone. As in free weekend service.
Hang it up.