Since When Does Having Needs Make Us ‘Crazy’?

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Ryan O’Connell is a New York-based writer. He likes shoegaze, the Olsen Twins, and figuring out why people do the things they do. Oh, and he tweets

Check back each Thursday for his latest Call Your Boyfriend column.  

My man and I have been together for about a year and we’ve known each other through work for about five years. For the last seven months, we have been in a long distance relationship and it is eating away at my soul. Love this guy to death and was really looking forward to being reunited with him in July after my year-long job commitment is over. However, I just got an awesome temporary job offer, which will prolong my stay 500 miles away from him for at least 3 to 5 months extra. Before I moved, he mentioned something about looking for a job in the big city near me, but no mention has been made since then. I would like to ask him to move down here, but I don’t want to freak him out, sound desperate, or “add crazy girlfriend descriptor word here.” Any suggestions?

-Far Away and Horny

OMG, hi Far Away and Horny!

Before I answer your question, can we just get one thing out of the way first? You are NOT desperate or “add crazy girlfriend descriptor word here.” So many of the questions I’m receiving are totally reasonable and fine but the person who’s asking them is always writing about how they don’t want to come across as crazy. TRUST ME. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. When did we all become so paranoid that our wants and needs are psychotic? We’re human beings, damn it! There shouldn’t be so much shame. Unless you’re telling me that you have violent fantasies about murdering your spouse or that you keep cutting their hair when they’re asleep and don’t know why, you are not insane. So stop. Fear Of Being Crazy is a disease that has infected those participating in the world of modern dating and we must find a cure ASAP.

Sorry about that little digression. Okay, so on to you: congrats on trudging through a long distance relationship! That stuff ain’t for sissies, especially since it seems like you guys have spent most of your relationship apart! Your new temporary job offer does suck, since it means you’ll be separated even longer, but 3-5 months isn’t THAT long when you really think about it. Broaching the subject of him moving closer to you sounds totally acceptable, especially since you said that he was the first person to mention it. I don’t think you vocalizing your feelings about wanting to be closer together is strange at all. In fact, I think it’s weirder when a couple who’s doing long distance DOESN’T talk about being closer together. I mean, WTF? What’s your worst fear? That your BF tells you he can’t move near you? That will be a bummer, of course, but then that just means you have a LITTLE bit longer until you can move. In the meantime, just be focused on the both of you going to visit each other. Things should be as equal as possible. One of the main issues I see in long distance relationships is resentment because one person travels to see the other more and doesn’t feel like their BF/GF is making as much of an effort.

Also, if you haven’t already, invest in a good vibrator immediately.


I have three mini-questions for you,

1.) If you’re into each other on the first date, should the guy make the first move for a kiss? (I’m a little reserved on the first date so I don’t wanna do it.)

2.) Which alcoholic drinks (ordered by the girl) impress guys the most?

3.) Do guys feel more comfortable with meeting up on the first date, or would he rather take the lead and pick his date up from her place?

-Boys, Bois, Boyz

Hey Boys, Bois, Boyz,

Okay, let’s break these questions down with a chainsaw.

1. I totally understand you being hesitant to make a move on the first date. I am TERRIFIED of rejection and am the ultimate ~~~sHy GuRL~~~~ when it comes to going in for a smooch. A guy has to basically be giving me a Handy J underneath the table in order for me to be like, “Wait a second, I don’t want to jinx anything but I THINK this guy might be attracted to me!” The question of who needs to make the first move shouldn’t be so much about gender (“He’s the man! He needs to be the aggressor!”) as it should be about who has more of an IDGAF attitude, but I totally get your apprehension. I feel like, beyond being shy, girls are worried about making the first move because it makes them seem too forward. Then, if the guy doesn’t call the next day, they’re left with a huge shame spiral about kissing him and, oh my God, they obviously weren’t into it because otherwise they would’ve instigated the kiss! It’s all pretty ridiculous but, still, if you aren’t willing to make the first move, then that only leaves the guy to do it. My advice is to just let him know (via smoke signals and friendly body language) that you are down to make out later. He’ll get the hint and if he still doesn’t kiss you then it’s because he didn’t want to.

2. Okay, I actually didn’t know that your alcoholic beverage of choice COULD impress a guy, so I decided to ask my straight-guy friend to see if he could offer some insight. He told me, “Anything too girly like a Cosmopolitan or a chocolate martini turns me off because it makes me think she’s high maintenance. If she orders a vodka soda, it means she doesn’t want to drink her calories, which is kind of annoying. And if she orders whiskey that indicates that she is NOT screwing around. I like a girl who orders whiskey. It’s hot and shows she’s not self-conscious.” Hmm , I love my straight guy friend, but I’m actually going to intervene here and say that you should order a gin and tonic instead of a whiskey. It gets the message across without risking a gnarly hangover the next day. Also, hi, just, like, order whatever you want. If a guy is turned off by your favorite libation, chances are he’s a nitpicker who’s just looking for things that are wrong with you.

3. It all depends on the guy, I think. I’ve lived in New York City for the past five years, so getting picked up in a car for a date isn’t really an option for me. If I were to live somewhere that didn’t have solid public transportation, though, I think I’d want to pick the date up. It’s more personal and it shows that you’re committed to seeing the date through. Taking separate cars seems to communicate to the person, “If this doesn’t go well, at least I can say goodbye and have a quick exit strategy.”

Is there any way that a relationship can progress after physical abuse? Can that be forgiven and let go?


Hello Confused,

This is a very serious and relevant question and I just want to start it off by saying that I’m so sorry if this is something you’re struggling with right now.

The reality of abusive relationships is that many people do forgive their abuser and “let go.” Look at our famous and current case of Rihanna and Chris Brown. Before those two made headlines, we also saw celebrities like Madonna take back Sean Penn after physical abuse. Kelly Preston reconciled with Charlie Sheen for a little bit after he shot her in the arm. And even though they recently separated, Diane Lane took back Josh Brolin after he was arrested for domestic assault. Statistics have shown that many relationships do not end after physical and emotional abuse, but in my opinion, they absolutely should. It’s just not as simple as that.

You asked me two questions though. Could physical abuse be forgiven and let go, which history has shown that yes, it can—oftentimes to detrimental effects. But then there was the other part of the question, which was: Is there any way that a relationship can progress after physical abuse?

My answer to this is no. It can’t. A relationship is supposed to make you feel safe. Your partner is the antidote to the daily onslaught of bullshit you have to deal with and vice versa. You are putting all of your trust in this person. You are making yourself vulnerable and surrendering a certain amount of power to them with the hopes that they won’t take advantage of it.

When that trust is breached—when someone who’s your protector suddenly becomes a person you need to be protected from—the relationship is dead. There’s no progressing from that. Relationships can withstand a lot of pain and hurt but when physical abuse becomes a factor, it exists on borrowed time and you need to get the hell out of there.

A lot of people like to criticize and pass judgment on those who choose to stay with their abusers, which to me seems neither productive nor helpful. I’ve never been in a physically abusive relationship before, so I would never claim to completely understand the dynamic that’s at work here. But I do get that there’s fear. There’s manipulation. There’s insecurity. Basically there is all of the things that love shouldn’t be.

If you’re deciding whether or not to take your lover back after enduring abuse, the only thing I would ask you to do is look at your life and think about all experiences you’d like to have, that you deserve to have. Think about feeling safe and secure, and being with a partner who keeps the darkness out rather than inviting it in.  I want you to think about all of the good things you hope to have in your life and then seriously consider if you could have that with a person who’s laid their hands on you. My guess is that you can’t. My guess is that you know you’re entitled to some fantastic love and this is not it.

You KNOW you have a question. Send it to Ryan.