Here, your weekly installment of Ask Lynn, BG’s alter ego’s column at MSN.com (powered by Match.com). This week, we meet “Hope It Works,” who has a serious disability that keeps him from doing certain things … though not from meeting people online. Now, he’s met someone pretty special, but he doesn’t know when or how to give her his full story. On the one hand, he says, it’s a lot to lay on someone you barely know; on the other, of course, he knows it’s something she has to know. What to say without scaring her away? See what Lynn thinks — and then come back here to share your own thoughts!
July 8, 2008
April 26, 2012
Reuniting on October 12, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
Help me oBG-Kenobi, you’re my only hope! Okay, a year ago I moved to New York City from California to begin graduate school. I left behind a guy there with who I had a very drawn out, sticky, co-dependent relationship for about 5 years. Here’s the background–we started dating senior year of high school. While we had similar interests, what kept us together was this unhealthy nurse-patient relationship with a constant cycle of fighting and breaking up to keep things interesting. He has a disease that’s making him slowly go blind–it’s sort of like a progressive tunnel-vision. And that was diagnosed when he was 13 (sometime around when he had just seen Top Gun and decided that he wanted to be an Air Force pilot) and then he was declared legally blind when he was 16, right after he’d signed up to get his driver’s permit. So far he hasn’t learned to cope–no disability training and his old room is filled with model fighter planes. Spooky.
But with sheer will and determination he’s pursued interests in athletics and music which you would have never thought possible. The down side is that he always plays himself as a victim and constantly alienates his friends with his “everyone is out to get me” attitude. I’m sure if he would ever consent to seeing a psychologist, a lot of this behavior wouldn’t come as a surprise. So my role in this relationship is that I’m the only one who really understands him and he was incredibly emotionally dependent on me. For me it was a “I needed to be needed” thing. The problem was that he has no ability to handle conflict–arguments escalated quickly, he could be so easily provoked it was laughable, but what wasn’t so funny was how quick he was to say cruel and terrible things to me when he was angry. My way of handling it was to be a peacemaker or avoid conflict entirely–for a long time I had no spine to fight back, and anyway, it was easy to anticipate what would anger him (ie everything). As a result, there were a lot of things I never told him because I knew how he’d react (like that he wasn’t the first person I slept with even though he thinks we were eachother’s first–could it get any worse??). So for 5 years we were on again, off again, each time I would forgive and hope/think that maybe he’d changed. Yes I had low self esteem in my relationships. We were together when I decided to go to New York for graduate school and he was considering coming out here after he finished an extra year of college. But by the time I was ready to leave I had a few epiphanies and realized that enough was enough and now was the time to start over. I told him that I was going to New York and I am on my own now. And that was *supposed* to be goodbye for good. It has been one year and I had not heard from him. The time and distance has allowed me to heal and understand the mistakes both he and I made. But now out of the blue I receive an e-mail from him–HE’S MOVED HERE!!!
September 15, 2010
We use a lot of offhand shorthand about being “crazy” for someone or, on a not so good day, about a “psycho” ex. But figures of speech aside, what — as Jezebel (and, earlier, BG) have asked — is it like to date while you yourself are struggling with actual mental health issues? (Related: or with autism?) Sheesh. Obvious but necessary thing to say: Dating is hard enough when you don’t have (say) an eating disorder. You know? What do you do on dates when just the thought of just “grabbing a bite” is a source of unbearable stress? When (as with disability issues) do you disclose: soon enough to be honest, but not so early that you scare them off? How do you even get out there in the first place when — as one woman interviewed told Jezebel — you walk around with “this core self-belief that, basically, [you] suck”? Read the whole piece for some insight and perspective, but perhaps the key message therein is this (from Dr. Sarah Ravin):
Choose a partner who brings you joy and pleasure and fun. Try to view dating as an opportunity to grow emotionally, meet new people, practice new skills, and take healthy risks. If dating seems very stressful or boring or anxiety-provoking, you’re either not ready to date yet or you’re dating the wrong person.
“Sounds,” as Jezebel notes, “like good advice for anyone.”
May 17, 2010
MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. Meaning that you can find MSN/Match.com’s “Ask Lynn” columns –penned by BG’s alter ego — over at Happen now as well.
This week Lynn responds to Hoping It Works, a fellow who’s online relationship is ready to go IRL, only he’s left out certain information about himself. No, it’s not that he’s gained 20 pounds since his profile pic shot on Spring Break ’96 — it’s that he is has a disability.
I don’t know how to bring this up into casual conversation because we have not had that many online conversations. I’m concerned about saying too much or having too many rules that will turn her off, but if I don’t say enough it could cause a situation that’s dangerous for me.
What to say and when to say it? Read the full letter at Happen for Lynn’s take, then add your own in the comments or experiences below!