Dear Amy: Everyone claims that college is the best four years of your life. My friends always pressure me by saying that I only have a limited opportunity to go wild and have fun.
Recently, I have been having a lot of one-night stands and really casual sex.
The moment I realized how damaging this was for me was this past weekend where I hooked up with a guy who I thought was super-cute and honestly would like to get to know better.
The next day a group of us (including him) hung out. I pretended not to care about him. He was flirting with some of my friends (and other girls), so I decided to flirt with one of his friends.
I don’t even know him that well, but I was avoiding how I was really feeling by flirting with his friend.
Why do I keep doing this and how do I stop? In this world where double standards are such a thing, I try to be the bigger person to pretend that I don’t care, but I do.
I was truly upset when the guy I hooked up with was talking to one of my friends and I got jealous. — Young, Confused, on Edge
Dear Confused: First this: The same subset of people who claim high school is the most awesome time of life also claim that college is your last chance to “be wild,” etc.
As a relatively ancient person, I’m here to tell you that no phase of life has a lock on awesome. And the experience of wild abandon is most wonderful when you are mature enough to treasure — down to your cells — the true joy of feeling your own “aliveness.”
Other reasons why people look back on the college years with such fondness involve the challenges of diving into your intellect, growing up alongside a diverse group of people, arguing over the great realm of ideas, exploring your spirituality, learning how to live authentically — and yes, also having sexual experiences.
As a young woman, you have the right (and the duty) to claim your own power, and I want to congratulate you, because what you are going through right now means that you are growing! Growth equals change.
Pretending you don’t care about someone is not being “the bigger person.” Jealousy is a natural human emotion. Learning to love yourself means that you will treasure your own complex emotions, and you won’t beat yourself up for feeling your feelings.
An evolving person who has overindulged (on drink, drugs, food, sex) will have the dawning realization: “Hmmm, this isn’t working for me anymore.” And that person will then explore behavior, examine motivation, and choose to live differently.
This is your time.
Dear Amy: I caught my fiance cheating! He was sending nasty pictures of himself to another woman. He swears he’s never slept with her.
We are supposed to get married in two months! I’m devastated. Everything is already paid for and most of the money that has been spent is money we can’t get back.
Please help me. I have no idea what to do. — Heartbroken
Dear Heartbroken: I’m so sorry you are going through this.
Is your fiance sorry? Other than defensively stating that he hasn’t slept with this other woman, has he explained why he did this? Has he done this before? Does he not consider this cheating?
You need to try very hard — for now — to put wedding thoughts and wedding talks on hold for at least two weeks, while you two talk about this. If you are having clergy perform your ceremony, you two could seek to meet with them in order to air your concerns.
Only you can decide if this is a true dealbreaker for you, and your decision will be based on the confrontations and conversations that flow from this episode. If it is a dealbreaker, then losing this money will (honestly!) be the best money you’ve ever spent.
I highly recommend reading: “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most,” by Douglas Patton, Bruce Stone, and Sheila Heen (2010, Penguin Books).
Dear Amy: “Frustrated Mom” does not understand why her mother does not want to babysit her grandson one day a week.
Your answer was perfect. This grandmother is done raising children. The daughter needs to grow up. — D
Dear D: This grandmother was willing to babysit, but not on the schedule that her daughter insisted upon. Response to my answer has been mixed, but I thank you.