The Vine: February 11, 2009
I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but I don't have the sources to back me up: I'm doing a couple of different volunteer things that require me to receive and sometimes edit text from other people, and I keep on running into people putting two spaces after a period.
Now, my understanding is that two spaces was proper when people were using typewriters, non-proportional fonts, etc, and now that most things are printed in proportional fonts having only one space is standard. However, I don't want to start editing the hell out of people's stuff if it's just a matter of preference, as opposed to something that should not be done…have to walk carefully around these volunteer-type people.
So, can you/Garner/Webster's back me up and give me the authority to banish the double spaces?
Don't get me started on the serial comma…
Dear That Line Starts Right Behind Me,
Garner didn't have any words of wisdom on the subject; the AP Stylebook didn't either.But the Chicago Manual (15th ed.) has this to say: "A single character space, not two spaces, should be left after periods at the ends of sentences[.]"While the text didn't add anything about the rationale, I believe your assumption is correct.
I still insert a double space after periods because it's automatic; I learned it in typing class 20 years ago and I'll never break myself of it now.But it only takes a quick search-and-replace to get rid of them, and if a volunteer takes issue with it, perhaps he or she isn't busy enough, and needs to be given other tasks to focus on.
I was up until very recently seriously involved with a man who was deployed to Afghanistan about four months ago. We started dating in April, after we met at some mutual friends' wedding. I was the maid of honor, and he pulled the "I introduced the bride and groom, now bride owes me" card and proceeded to fiercely pursue me.
I was actually living with someone else at the time, so I wasn't really all that interested at first. It was only after weeks of flowers, emails, and a meeting over drinks (which was supposed to end with me very nicely telling him to get lost), that I finally gave in. He told me about the upcoming deployment and assuming everything went well up to that point, asked if I was "okay" with starting something with the knowledge that he would be away for at least a year. After much thought and a few more weeks of talking constantly, I decided it was worth a shot and went with it.
Fast forward to me dumping boyfriend-of-the-moment, moving out, and completely immersing myself into our relationship. For five months it was as close to perfect as I'm comfortable being. He made me happy and vice versa. I am not going to try to describe our relationship, as words don't really cut it. We just…worked.
Cut to two weeks ago. Specifically, our 10-month anniversary. Boy is in Afghanistan. I am home when I'm not working. I do not go out. I do not speak to other boys. I behave in the manner an Army "wife" is expected to. I probably do a better job than 80 percent of said wives. And one day over AIM messenger, I am dumped.
Boy says he tried as hard as he could to love me the way he thinks he should, but he just couldn't do it anymore.There was no fight that started it, only a bit more distance in conversations. There were none of the problems most deployed couples seem to have. It was literally out of the blue. Obviously, I was crushed.
We still speak on messenger every day since It happened. Really, not a whole lot has changed except for the lack of "I love you"s at the end of the conversations.I'm almost content to let it be, but I feel like I've come to a point where I need to make a decision one way or another. I don't want to stop talking to him, but I still have the exact same routine as I did before we "split" (wake up, talk to boy. come home, talk to boy), and it's fooling my brain into thinking everything is fine and its so obviously not.
I've tried to talk about it with friends and I keep getting the same speech; he doesn't deserve you, you're better off, you're too young to sit around waiting anyway. But the cookie-cutter friend reassurances don't really seem to fit the situation. I don't feel like this is a typical break-up, but there's a very good possibility I'm in denial.
I don't want anyone but him. In the past after a breakup I've jumped right back onto the dating wagon, usually landing in a long-term relationship because of it. This time, I can't even bring myself to look at anyone else. The thought of dating, sleeping next to/with any other man makes me almost physically sick. I've thought about it over and over and can't picture myself with anyone else.
I feel as if his decision was not based on how he feels, rather, by the situation he's in. He is at war, after all, and a long-distance relationship is probably made that much harder by the conditions over there. I know he sees other soldiers' wives running around on them, and that would cause anyone to doubt things.Also, I know he feels guilty because I'm only 24 and most of my friends are running the scene while I sit at home (completely my choice).My friends tell me all of these reasons are just excuses I'm making for his behavior, but I feel like there are extenuating circumstances. Thus, I need your input.
So my question is this: Should I try to wait it out and see if he comes around? Try to change his mind? Or just stay here and ride it out until he comes home like I've been doing for four months? I feel as if I have invested insane amounts of time and emotion into our relationship, and I feel like moving on right now would just be a waste of all of it. Right now, being lonely feels like a better alternative than giving up.
I very well might be making excuses for him and being incredibly weak for not being able to just shrug it off like everyone recommends. I need an objective voice, Sars.Any advice at all would be much appreciated.
Tired of trying to get advice from the cat
It's not weakness, and it's not about shrugging it off; I don't think your friends want you to act like you don't care.But it is time to start acting like he dumped you, and that means telling him you don't want to communicate with him for 90 days, then blocking his IMs and not responding to any calls, emails, Facebook messages, whatever.
I agree that extenuating circumstances do exist that would make it dicier to cut him off for three months than in a relationship between civilians, like if you thought cutting him off would fuck with his focus or cause him to endanger himself — but the thing is, the breakup was his idea, and if he didn't think that would have consequences, he…should have.He doesn't really get to keep you hanging on waiting for him to get home when he's not interested in doing the heavy lifting.
And you know, he doesn't really get to keep you at home twiddling your thumbs, either.You can tell yourself whatever you want about Army-wife culture, but 1) he didn't marry you, and 2) even if he had, going straight from work to home to work to home is ridiculous.He doesn't own you; you're allowed to go play cards with some friends or something, and he can suck it up and trust you.
You don't sound to me like you have any idea what you want from your life outside of whatever "boyfriend of the moment" is in play.You dumped a guy you lived with to go out with this guy, and now you don't want to let go of this guy because of everything you've invested in, and given up for, him.But is this really what you want — this guy who pursues you hardcore, then changes his mind?This guy who expects you to sit at home, doing nothing, being a good 19th-century girl and darning his socks, while he's away — and you're not even married?What do you want to do at night?What do you want to do with your life?
You're allowed to care, you're allowed to be sad, you're allowed to feel ripped off that you gave up your other boyfriend for the soldier and everything was great and then he got deployed and it ruined everything.You're not the first woman the Army fucked sideways in this regard; you're not even the first today.It's a shitty situation.But it's time for you to do two things: 1) accept that this is over, tell him that you are moving on, and do it; and 2) think about why you need so badly to play this obedient, mated role.Don't date, don't move in with anyone, don't take orders from anyone but yourself.
He can "come around" or not; he's not the only one who gets to make decisions here.You could have negged him back when he started wooing you; you could have told him to get bent when he started acting distant.I understand he's deployed, but that doesn't mean he's going to break if you stick up for yourself, and if he does, well, he should have tried harder in the relationship if he didn't want that to happen.Stop acting like what he wants is the only thing that counts.
In the past, I've often opted to avoid situations that might lead to arguments. I thought I was being smart. But recently I've been reading a little bit about being passive-aggressive and also about rationalizing things. So now, of course, I'm suspicious of all my motives.
Giving someone the silent treatment is a form of passive-aggressive behavior. I'm guessing the same is true of avoiding someone. The other day I decided to beg off from a social situation because I thought there was a higher-than-average chance that it might degenerate into a verbal argument between one of the people there and myself.
If avoiding these situations isn't the answer — I assume that it can't be both passive-aggressive AND the answer, but please correct me if I'm wrong — what, then, is an appropriate response?
I wouldn't call avoiding the situation "passive-aggressive."It's…"avoidant," and that's not always a bad thing either.You chose the least uncomfortable of the available options for everyone involved, and yet another term for this is "courteous."
But there's more than one way to avoid an argument, and the way you describe this particular situation makes it sound like it's a weather report.You can choose not to take the argument bait; you can choose to walk away if things get heated.You can stay away from touchy subjects.You can exchange pleasantries and then excuse yourself after five minutes.You have options here — you do.Arguments don't just move in like warm fronts.
"Passive-aggressive" isn't the same thing as "unable to handle confrontation effectively," and I think you've conflated them.Neither is exactly a positive, though, so maybe it's time to switch your reading list to books like Difficult Conversations or The Dance of Anger and learn not to see your interactions in such a binary fun/arguing way.
Tags: boys (and girls) etiquette grammar