Is my online flirt stopping me from dating in real life?


I met a woman online a few months ago. We exchanged numbers and texted almost every day since. (She lives in Spain; I live here. We’re both in our twenties.) What started as an online sexual affair has grown into something more: We use pet names, watch TV shows together, and confide in each other. We also have online sex. We know this isn’t a real relationship, but if we lived in the same place it would be great! I’ve been honest about trying to date women where I live, which she doesn’t like to hear, but I haven’t had much luck. Do you think this online relationship is stifling my ability to find someone in real life?


No one can tell you what kind of relationship you want. There are numerous varieties. However, be careful about investing too much in fantasies. You have never met this woman in person. It’s all pet names and good times, with a few infidelities thrown in – as you search for someone close by. No wonder she doesn’t like to hear that: you’re killing the (artificial) mood!

Let me give you a taste of what’s missing here: stale morning breath, bickering about cleaning the bathroom, and figuring out how to make up for it. Good times, right? But by working through everyday friction, you create firmness and confidence. I understand the appeal of your stress-free setup, but I’m concerned that your dating bad luck is partly due to the convenience of this virtual arrangement. You can avoid most conflicts and compromises, the basics of healthy relationships.

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I also wonder why you don’t mention that you’re visiting this woman after months of non-stop communication. If that’s not in the cards, or if you want a more conventional relationship, go ahead (cautiously) — and reset the distance parameter in your dating apps. The next time you match someone, keep seeing that person after the initial bouts of difficulty. Try to work it out. The illusion of infinite choice on the apps is your enemy. Of course, there is always another profile. But there is never a good relationship without compromise.

Nothing to say but ‘Thank you’

When I was in elementary school, my father ran off with his secretary in an unoriginal way. We saw little of him. A friendly neighbor stepped up. He even took me to a father-daughter dance at school. Fast forward 20 years: My mom invited him to my wedding last summer. He gave us a generous cash gift. But I just learned he’s an election denier. Do we have to return the gift?


I’m sorry your good-hearted neighbor is prone to baseless conspiracy theories. But what does that have to do with it? He was invited to your wedding. Unless you left out something important, he didn’t give a shit about politics, and he gave you a bounty. Write him a thank you note and move on.

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They don’t speak. Their relatives will not be silent.

I’ve been totally estranged from my brother for years. I’m relieved to be rid of him, and he feels the same. So why are relatives, friends and acquaintances urging me to get in touch to repair fences? Most of these people have no idea of ​​the cruelty I endured for years, but they insist on the importance of family. They may be well-intentioned, but their intrusiveness annoys me. How can I politely insist that they back off?


Newsflash: Most of the people urging you to make up with your brother don’t really care what you do. Lifelong relationships are few and far between, and many people don’t like hearing about family breakups, so they push for reconciliation. I tell you this to ease your grief: Their insistence is probably not personal.

You know the pros and cons of having your brother in your life better than anyone, and you’ve made your decision. Now, if you are the one sharing your estrangement, stop it! You invite unwanted concern. If others bring it up, say, “Let’s talk about something else. My relationship with my brother is complicated.” That should work.

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Who said this was a speed course?

For weeks I planned a special meal at a fine restaurant with my sister. I envisioned three courses: a cheese board, an appetizer, and a main course. I booked an early table so we could spend a few hours catching up and enjoying our meal. The place wasn’t busy, but the waiter brought out all the food at the same time – so we ended up gulping it all down. What should I have done? I was too stunned to say anything when the plates were on the table.


At this point in history — I’ve watched waiters become frontline workers during the pandemic and survived the James Corden egg yolk omelette affair — I hope we can all agree that servers deserve respect. That doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes (often caused by misunderstandings in the kitchen), just that we shouldn’t act like monsters when they do. Next time say, “We prefer one course at a time. Please leave the cheese and take the rest for now, okay?’ Problem solved!

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