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Eugene Weekly : Savage Love : 1.20.11


I am a 23-year-old straight female. A year ago, I moved across the country after college to live with my boyfriend of four years. He is in graduate school and is the only person I really know here ã I am working two part-time jobs, and my coworkers are either much older than me or a very long commute away ã so I have been hanging out with him and his friends in my free time. Ive developed a huge crush on one of his good friends, and I dont know what to do about it.

I feel really guilty about it, even though I havent acted on it and doubt anything would happen since I see this friend only when we hang out together in groups. Im not sure if I should tell either my boyfriend or the friend about this attraction because it would possibly (certainly?) make my social interactions totally uncomfortable and I am basically friendless outside of my boyfriends social circle. Its hard to get over a crush you see all the time and havent been directly rejected by. Any advice you could give me about how to approach this?

Uncomfortably Ogling Friend

Once in a great while, I donate the right to answer a Savage Love letter to charity. Grant Thornley was the winning bidder in an auction last fall, and the money he spent for the dubious honor of giving advice in this space went to organizations that support neglected children and the homeless. Grant is a Seattle-based career-management consultant, and what follows is Grants advice for UOF:

"Itd be one thing if youd said, •Ive fallen head over heels in love with a friend of my boyfriends; hes my soul mate, and Ill die if I am not with him. But you didnt say •love, you said •crush, which to me is something that is both surmountable and surely not worth fucking up more than one relationship.

"Its intriguing, UOF, that you dont give any indication of how things are between you and your boyfriend right now. Obviously, you're pretty committed ã been together for four years, moved across the country to be with the guy. Yet, despite this pretty serious level of commitment, the primary negative outcome you see of admitting to your boyfriend and/or crush that you have these feelings is that it would make your social interactions •uncomfortable? You dont mention your boyfriend possibly being hurt, or perhaps screwing up his relationship with your crush, or causing a rift between you and your boyfriend. you're worried about uncomfortableness. It seems like you almost dont care. I think theres something else going on.

"You moved far from home ã do you feel isolated? Do you feel bored and/or lonely? If your boyfriend is busy in grad school, it could be that you're also feeling neglected. Plus you're working two jobs ã and even if theyre both part-time, thats still a pain in the ass. I think it might be that you're just not feeling great about life in general right now, and this crush is symptom of that. But acting on an impulse that could make things worse for everyone isnt the way to fix any of this.

"If you're friendless outside your boyfriends circle of friends, get some friends of your own, forfucksake. If youve lived in that new locale for a whole year and have not met anyone you could be friendly with, you're not trying. Look for people who have similar interests, whether its fine art, tea making, needlepoint, video games, rugby, animal husbandry, or whatever floats your boat.

"Theres a saying where I come from: •Dont shit where you eat. Do not crap in the only social circle you have right now, UOF. Walk the fuck away from this friend of your boyfriends, and find some friends of your own. Oh, and if you're so VERY susceptible to crushing on a friend of your boyfriends, it sounds like you and the boyfriend need to have a talk ASAP, because you, my friend, are just not happy right now. Good luck.”

Thank you, Grant, for your generous donation and your well-written response Ä and now, if you dont mind, Im going to jump down your throat:

Whenever a married/partnered/girlfriended/boyfriended person wants to fuck someone who isnt her spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend ã when a technically unavailable person finds herself crushing out on someone else ã people insist that the crush has to be a symptom of something. UOF, for example, wouldnt be having this crush, Grant writes, if she werent feeling neglected, unhappy, and isolated. By implication, people who are content at home ã people who arent feeling neglected, unhappy, and isolated ã dont have crushes.

I dont mean to jump down Grants throat Ä or not just Grants throat. This is a point you hear people ã advice columnists, couples counselors, Drs. Laura and Phil ã making all the time: Married/partnered people who are happy at home dont experience inappropriate or awkward crushes on others. The eyes of happily partnered people ã to say nothing of their genitalia ã never, ever wander. So if you're having a crush on someone you're not supposed to, well, that must mean something is very seriously wrong with your relationship. Its a symptom. Of something. Something dire. Diagnose the illness, treat it, and youll be cured.

This, of course, is complete and total bullshit. Happily married/partnered/boyfriended/girlfriended people have crushes on other people all the time. Not because were unhappy or because theres something wrong with us or because our relationships are somehow diseased. It happens because ã I hope everyone is sitting down for this ã however attracted we are to our spouses/partners/boyfriends/girlfriends, other people are also attractive.

So its entirely possible that you have a crush on this guy, UOF, because hes hot and you want to fuck him, independent of your feelings for your boyfriend and/or his graduate program. Crushes are normal, and our relationships ã closed or open ã would be less stressful if we werent expected to go around pretending that we never find anyone else attractive. And our relationships would be more likely to survive the inevitable, normal, natural crushes-on-others if we werent led to believe that attraction is a zero-sum game, i.e., that finding someone else attractive means you must find your partner less attractive.

All that said, UOF, while your crush doesnt have to mean something, it still could. The indifference you display toward your boyfriends feelings, which Grant rightly highlights, could mean that your crush is the person you really want to be with. Sometimes, people meet the people they wind up with under awkward, embarrassing, and painful circumstances. This could be one of those times.

Help! Im a 21-year-old female with a 20-year-old boyfriend. Weve been together about a year. Eight months ago, he was in a horrible accident, which left him without his left hand. We didnt have sex until after he was hurt. The sex is great, but he will only do it doggie-style, which is fine, and he doesnt do foreplay! Nothing! But he expects blowjobs and handjobs every time we have sex! Is our relationship screwed? Every time I bring this up, he tells me he doesnt know what I want him to do. Hello! Its not that hard!

Please Help Me

Im not sure what his missing left hand has to do with Ä anything Ä but, um, here goes: Take your one-handed boyfriend at his word, PHM. Chalk up the complete lack of foreplay ã lacking for you (it sounds like hes getting plenty) ã to his youth and inexperience, and provide the direction he needs. He says he doesnt know what to do. So tell him: a hand here, a tongue there, this squeezed, that rubbed. If he cant do as hes told, tell him no more doggie-style, no more blowjobs, no more handjobs, and no more girlfriend.


Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.