I’m writing with a deceptively simple question. How can I be vulnerable? Some pertinent background: I’m an academic, working in a field that requires me to live in very remote places for extended periods of time. I find my work incredibly engaging and rewarding, and I know I’m lucky in this regard. Still, the life of an academic (particularly a traveling academic) is often isolating. I don’t have a place to call home. My family is deeply dysfunctional; although I love my parents and siblings, our relationships are fraught and I have never felt unconditionally loved by my parents. I was diagnosed as a child with OCD, and [...]
Big, bold Wallace Stevens rests there in his entirety, several pages dog-eared with the poems you wanted me to read. There is the copy of Flannery O’Connor’s stories that I can only open if I turn past the title page where, in black loopy ink, your well wishes wave. There is the paperback of Leaves of Grass that has no name on the inside cover, but I know it belonged to you. There is the cheerful, brightly colored edition of Goodbye, Columbus that is always trying to say hello with tennis courts and swimming pools on the first page; your definition of what it meant to be rich.
These are [...]
The amazing man I'm with told me to improve my looks when we first got together. We've been together four years now. Here's the story:
When he first met me, he had fallen for me straight away, always coming in for coffee on my shift at the local cafe, always texting first, offering rides home, asking me out first. He was very sweet and persistent.
I was hooked and I said yes, yes I will be your girlfriend. Then some shit started…
He never complimented me on any of my physical traits, yet every weekend we hung out, he would somehow manage to tell me that [...]
I’ve been seeing a dude for about three months. We met online, during an intensive dating-people-online phase of mine prompted by the end of a six-month relationship prior. When we met, I had pretty much given up—not in a resigned, self-pitying way; my attitude was that online dating was wasting too much of my time and energy, with unsatisfactory results, so I was going to keep myself open to romantic possibility, but not actively pursue finding someone.
Then I met this dude—we went for coffee, and I was surprised at the ease of our conversation, and we kept seeing each other and it kept being really nice. [...]
I feel sick just writing this, and I don't want to lose something good, so here goes:
I'm a 34-year-old single mother of a beautiful, sweet, and healthy three-year-old boy. I never imagined having kids, but accidentally became pregnant three months into a destructive relationship. I kept the child and eventually got rid of the man (with the help of a domestic violence counselor and a restraining order), which was a healthy decision.
You see, healthy decisions are not my forte. With a few exceptions, I usually date the damaged bad boy, the alcoholic who needs rescuing, or the tortured artist. I scrapped all that when [...]
My boyfriend's longtime friend, who is also my friend, is getting married to a woman we dislike. And by dislike, I mean, good Lord we think he's getting himself into a world of hurt and abuse, and we don't know the best way to address it to him.
Our friend is a caring, thoughtful, capable man in his early 30s. He's from a middle class American family, but he's far from home and not wealthy himself so we usually hang out in cheap dive bars and hole in the wall restaurants (until he met his fiancée). He's kind of shy and a little awkward around women. He can [...]
I'm a 32-year-old single woman. I love my life—my friends, my job, the city in which I live. I have a creative outlet and I exercise and I have a lot of passion for living. But inside I have a problem with bitterness. I feel bitter every single day. I can't stop thinking about the men who have hurt me, and I think about at least two or three of them every day (not always the same ones), sometimes during the day, but mostly at night when I'm trying to fall asleep. I think about when things were good, and then how they hurt me, and I wonder [...]