The Vine: February 4, 2009
So. I'm 41, and I haven't had sex for eleven years. For most of that time it wasn't for lack of trying — I just couldn't seem to make it past a first date except with a guy who turned out to be a drunk with not so much intimacy issues as entire volumes. Such is life.
Then I went through a bunch of crap in a short time (my dad died, I had a very ugly breakup with my best friend, and I lost my job) and fell into a bad period of depression, out of which I'm still digging myself. (I'm on medication, and have had a ton of therapy.)
Obviously, I wasn't in a good place to date, so I stopped looking, and haven't really started again. Nor do I particularly want to at this point. I've been on a couple of dates this year and found myself really unenthused. I'm just not into it right now; I have other priorities, like finding a permanent job and getting my incredibly fucked-up finances back in order.
But I assume that at some point in the future I'm going to date again. I'm bound to meet someone who interests me enough to bother eventually. The question is how I can approach the subject of my long dry spell without making the guy think there's Something Wrong With Me. When do I tell them? What do I tell them? It's hard enough having to talk about being depressed and on medication, much less something like this. I'm aware that it's a really long time, and it's bound to look a little strange. Okay, a lot strange. I mean, eleven years.
A few years ago I was in a therapy group with a woman who'd gone twelve years, and at the time it seemed unimaginable. Now it's me. And I'm really self-conscious about it. I could joke about it the first few years, but it's not so funny anymore. And I don't want guys to feel pressured by it, like I waited so long on purpose and have crazy expectations of them or something.
Not Quite A Cat Lady Yet
I don't think the question is what to tell prospective partners, or when; it's why you would feel obligated to disclose it at all.If it's a man you have feelings for, I assume you would tell him eventually, because if you trust him enough to enter into a relationship with him, you'll want to trust him with that information — and let him trust you to tell him something that, like it or not, has become an important thing to you.
But if it's just some dude, he's not owed the information.Sex for the first time with a new partner is seldom all that cinematic; it's not like he'd somehow divine that you haven't Done It for eleven years, and if you really feel you have to say something, a jokey "it's been a while" should cover it.
You have in fact had sex before; it has in fact been a while, it's true, but…I'm not saying you shouldn't stress over it, although ideally, you wouldn't, because it doesn't really help anything.But try to keep in mind that this matters far far more to you than it does to anyone else; try to keep some perspective on it, even if it's hard.For any man who really cares about you, it's an interesting fact that's important to you.For any man who isn't all that invested?None of his business.
I think that because you think it's almost disfiguringly shameful, you also think you have to cop to it ASAP, but it isn't a criminal record; it isn't something like HIV where, ethically, you should say something.You aren't subject to lemon laws.It's not actually a negative, to other people with any sensitivity; it just…is.If you don't want to "confess" to it, don't.
I've been having a slight dilemma with getting over an ex.
Around two years ago I was with a guy that in my eyes was perfect. Didn't care if I shaved, preferred me without make-up, truly appreciated me as a person, blah blah perfect-guy-cakes. We split without closure (I had returned to the person I had left him for out of guilt and confusion — I had only been with girls before, and my dating him had been amazing but incredibly confusing at the same time, what with my him-induced doubt about my sexuality).
Shortly thereafter the ex and I split, and since then I have not been able to get this guy off my mind. I've compared everyone I've dated since to him and consequently yielded very, very poor results in my relationships. I don't want to try and contact him again but questions linger about how he may feel about me, and that is enough to keep me distracted in all of my new ventures in love, even two years later.
I guess my question is, how do I get over him, stop thinking about him, and not let the fact that I am not over this man ruin my relationships?
This guy introduced me to Bob Dylan, how could I NOT love him?
Dear Hattie Carroll,
(Yeah, I had one of those too.)
You just do it.You put one foot in front of the other, you trust that the feelings will fade in time, and you get on with things.
In the meantime, avoid relationships entirely for a while, because you hold onto the memory of this guy for a reason, and until you figure out what that reason is, you won't be able to let go, and you won't be able to commit to anyone else.When you say that "questions linger" about his feelings for you…I don't know.He loved you, and you fled back to your ex.You had your reasons, you're human, you'd do it differently if you had it to do over, but I suspect his stated feelings, if he were asked, would be that he's sorry things didn't work out, but they didn't, next case.
I don't say this to make you feel bad, but after two years, this isn't really about the guy anymore.It's about you, and some anxiety you have about commitment.And we all have those anxieties, we all pin our hearts at one time or another to people who don't actually have anything to do with the larger issues — it's normal.But you have to acknowledge that something else is going on; you have to forgive yourself for that; and you have to confront it, without distractions in the form of guys that you have no future with because you live in the past with this other thing.
Maybe it's your sexuality, maybe it's something else — it doesn't matter.Stop dating for a while and think about what you may be getting out of letting your idealized past with this guy interfere with your present.
Hi Sars –
I'm 42, which means my high school graduation gift was a sleek typewriter…but by my sophomore year in college I had switched to a Mac.In my first year of business school we had a lecture on how to set up email accounts. I have worked remotely for years, and am a blog junkie, so I'm on the computer all day long.So while I'm not a technology neophyte by any means, I also didn't "grow up" with today's technology but learned it as an adult.
I'm now a "grandma" in my job — I think the person closest to my age is 32 (our CEO) and my clients are 24-28.It's important that I appear relevant with them (my credibility depends on my being able to relate to them, and although they certainly know I'm older, my bio on our website doesn't indicate just how much older), plus I've come to believe that one way to avoid aging and seeming out of it is to keep up with technology.
But how do I do that?I don't even know where to start.When I need to know something, I learn it (can't imagine my life without text messaging), but I don't even know what I don't know.How does one stay current?
Not a Luddite…but not a whiz kid either
You're talking to someone who still owns a TV with a VCR built into it, which I haven't upgraded because it still works.And this is not an ancillary TV, either.This is the TV I recapped on for ten years.Mr. Stupidhead is forever threatening to "accidentally" spill a beer inside it and force me to upgrade.It's not that I'm afraid of the technology per se; it's that I feel like I don't have time to learn new systems, especially when the current ones still work for me (although my definition of "work" is pretty elastic at times).
So, I sympathize, but I don't know how much I can help you.I will ask Mr. S to step over here and make a few suggestions.
I'd also advise, just off the top of my head, adding Lifehacker and Gizmodo to your RSS feed.The two blogs are civilian-friendly (read: "I understand what they're talking about…most of the time"), updated constantly, and even if you don't read every article, it'll give you an idea of what technology and gadgets are on people's minds.
You'd also probably enjoy Omar G's "All Tech Considered" segments on NPR, or keeping half an eye on Glark.org, where he sometimes updates with early-adopter thoughts.
And of course the readers will have some ideas for you in three, two…
Tags: boys (and girls) etiquette Glark Mr. Stupidhead Omar G sex workplace