“going green” doesn’t include recycling your shit

QUESTION FROM A GREEK TRAGEDY READER: Hi Stephanie, I’ve always felt that you give great advice that cuts through the bullshit even if the incident you’re discussing has never happened to me. Well, here comes the day when I need someone to cut through my bullshit and help me see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I was dating this great boy who I was really into but who turned round four months down the line and told me that he wasn’t happy with the way things were going. The truth is that we were better at being friends than a couple, but I always hoped things would improve. And the fact that we didn’t connect very well resulted in us breaking up three times over those four months, and there being a complete absence of any physical relationship, even though I craved it greatly. So, though I’m not completely bummed about the break up, it’s still difficult to see him around considering we have nearly all our friends in common. And the fact that he broke up with me on the phone when I was traveling on work hurts a bit because it didn’t seem like he respected me enough to tell me to my face. It was a bit rough but I’m trying to get over it, even though he’s just below the surface everywhere I go.

One month later, I think I’m making the same mistake again with another boy who is also my very best friend. He knew everything about the old boy, all the problems we had – and was there for me throughout. The other night when we were hanging out, he kissed me, and one thing led to another, and we ended up in bed together. And it’s been four days of being stuck to each other. I’m not sure whether he’s my rebound or if I really like him. All I can say is that we connect really well and he’s everything the other guy wasn’t. At the same time, I just lost one good friend and can’t stand the thought of losing another if things don’t work out. Which is why I want to run like the wind. But he’s into me and he makes me feel really good about myself, which makes the deciding part even harder. I don’t seem to know anything anymore; I can’t seem to make a decision and stick to it. Would be grateful for any advice you can give me. Or even a knocking on the head. Good guy friends are difficult to come by and I don’t want to lose mine.

Thank you so much, and keep up the awesome posts and photographs!

straight up advice

This was the most telling detail of your missive: “But he’s into me and he makes me feel really good about myself, which makes the deciding part even harder.”

Therein lies your problem. You need to figure out how to make you feel really good about yourself. It’s called self-esteem for a reason. Yes, it’s lovely to receive compliments, to hear how funny you are, how ridiculously hot, kind, whip smart, so damn adorable, but—and it’s a but worth sitting down for—what happens when he stops saying these things? What happens when the newness dwindles? When you begin to feel you’re losing your “hold” over him, that he’s just not as enchanted as he once was? You feel rejected and frustrated, and you become a wee bit psycho. Basically, you take it personally, and if you’re anything like I used to be, you then make his life miserable with all your whining for attention. Bottom line: you need to learn to make you feel really good about you, without him.

The fact is that he says you’re “hot, kind, whip smart, so damn adorable” because he sees these things in you, because you ARE all those things, but you shouldn’t need him to know it or believe it. This is why you’re stuck in Chapter 3. Ahem, chapter 3 of Straight Up And Dirty: Cereal Monogamy (The cereal spelling makes sense in context). You hop-scotch your way through relationships because that’s how you’re holding onto any feelings of worth.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter. What you do with regard to this specific friendship, this specific guy, doesn’t matter when you look at the bigger picture. Until you iron out your own kinks, with whom you get kinky is the last of your problems. And this problem will repeat on you for the rest of your life, rebound to rebound, until you learn to feel good about you without a him.

 go ahead, ask

If you have questions or need advice on anything from where to eat to how to get over the bastard, just email your question to my advice email address. Am I a doctor? I don’t even play one on TV, but people keep asking, so I might as well air it and share it.



  1. Sorry, I can’t get past the part where you call them ‘boys’. Are you an actual adult woman dating actual grown-up men? That may be the first hurdle.

  2. If you just lost one good friend, why then, only a month later, would you jump back into the same boat with another friend? Everyone who’s anyone knows that the worst thing you can do in an opposite-sex friendship is start sleeping with each other. Not only do you put your own relationship in jeopardy, but you run the risk of making major waves with your mutual friends. What if things end badly? What if you can’t handle being in the same room together? Your mutual friends are then put in the position of feeling like they have to either run interference or choose between you (or both). I think you answered your own question if you asked if you were making the same mistake. You are.

  3. Yes, he’s a rebound. That’s not always a bad thing.

    But….you shouldn’t be convincing yourself to like him just because he makes you feel good about yourself. The 75-year-old security guard in my building tells me I’m pretty and makes me feel good about myself. This doesn’t mean I should date him.

    Don’t worry about losing the friendship with this guy as you already lost it in the bedroom. I’m not saying you made a poor choice, I’m just saying things have already changed.

    Take some time to yourself, and attempt to date someone outside of your circle of friends. You’re not doing yourself or your new bedroom buddy any favors by settling for him.

    Good luck!

  4. I think if you have already been having sex with this dude, the whole (let’s just stay friends ship has sailed. Maybe that’s just me. It also does not sound like this new relationship is necessarily a repeat of your first one, as you actually seem to like one another in the relationship – unless your first one started out like this too. Again, not enough facts.

    I would say at this point, you should just enjoy this relationship for what it is, an opportunity to date and learn about yourself, as well as another person. And recognize that you may lose another friend at the end but I do not see a way of avoiding that at this point.

  5. I think the fact that she refers to the men she is involved with as “boys” is very telling. I don’t know what it’s saying *exactly, but it bothers me tremendously.
    If this first guy and she didn’t connect and had no physical relationship… then, it wasn’t really a relationship. It was wishful thinking on HER part. Move on sister. Give this other guy who IS DIGGING YOU a shot. And if it doesn’t work out, well,that’s what happens sometimes.

  6. Too late. You have lost your guy friend.
    I think that it is impossible for a straight girl and a straight guy to be friends; it is always centered around sexual tension, even if very small.
    I think you can have straight male colleagues, your doorman, men you volunteer with, meet in a group, etc., but it is impossible to have a straight male friend you can to dinner with, catch a movie with, etc.
    I don’t have any male friends. Too much controversy.

    1. woah!! are you living in 1880?? That is complete BS. I’ve got loads of male friends I have dinner with, go to a movie with, hell, I’ve even shared a bed with a couple of ’em when needs must. And I can honestly say that NOTHING of a sexual nature, not even a tiny kiss, has ever happened with any of them. Jesus, please stop with the crap about “every m/f relationship is based on sexual tension” – you’re doing a disservice to both the male and female gender. Believe it or not, some of us are evolved enough to function above our basic instincts.

  7. Advice is not my specialty, but I can speak from experience. I’ve had two very similar experiences. The first lasted only about a week and it for a while after. We got over it and we’re still great friends. The next was my very best friend; I felt the same way you do – couldn’t get enough of him but was scared of how it could end. Eight years later, I still smile when he calls my phone and when I hear him open the front door. Good luck.

  8. Can we, as women, collectively agree to stop calling males above the age of 18 “boys.” I realize that it can be used as a device to insinuate a lack of maturity, but seriously…stop it. You may say man, beefcake, dudebro, WHATEVER, just not boy.

      1. I was wondering if he meant this as an unfinished SAT-style analogy. Like, “a lot of women are to NEEDY as a lot of people on the internet are to TIRED, KNEE-JERK GENERALIZATIONS.”


      2. hehe. I also love to correct incorrect spelling and/or grammar, especially when the mistakes come from assholes.

      3. I think he was setting up one of those SAT-style analogies.
        Women are to needy as men are to obtuse.
        As in, sure some are, but we’re adult enough to not draw vast generalizations.

  9. First and foremost, you already crossed the line with the most recent guy. So see where that goes. But if, or rather when that relationship comes to an end, try being single. Buy a decent dildo and get your shit together. Bed hopping isn’t going to land you a solid relationship if that’s what you’re after. If you aren’t looking for a relationship then still get your shit together, solo. Until you get your head on straight you’re going to perpetually find yourself looking for love in all the wrong places. And you clearly don’t have the emotional fortitude for a simple roll in the hay.

  10. I sort of disagree with both of you. I feel like men and woman can be friends IF the issue of any sexual tension is never discussed. Ever. Just completely ignore it. The moment you address it, the friendship is over, or at the very least, will never be the same.

  11. The first guy didn’t like you. The second guy does. This isn’t neurosurgery.

  12. So…everyone complaining about her use of the term ‘boy’ never uses the word ‘chick’ to refer to a female, correct? And no chick-lit, chick film….just sayin’.

    To SK: I used to check in often, but now not so much — there is so much on the page that it takes too long to load. Perhaps time for a Coco Chanel edit?

    1. Using the term chick isn’t the same as using the word boy; girl would be the equivalent.

      And no…I don’t refer to any woman/female/owner of a uterus a “girl” after the age of 18.

      Chick=dude. Just sayin’.

  13. Keep seeing where things go with the new guy, because hey, why not? Either you’re having a rebound or you’re having an actual relationship that might go somewhere, but either way, you’ve screwed yourself for friendship so you might as well go all in. Be VERY sure you are not just doing this to make the first guy jealous (I would imagine there’s an element of that) and suss out sooner rather than later if you like him beyond a rebound. And then…STOP SLEEPING WITH YOUR FRIENDS. There are literally billions of men in the world; surely you can find a couple to date who won’t ruin your entire social life when things end. Take a full-on break from dating, spend some time on yourself, and when you’re feeling sane again and like you’re able to make good decisions, start dating again. Jesus, I hope you’re a teenager.

  14. yes it does take forever to load; the only one that does, out of the many blogs I check often. Myabe it is aol?
    but would appreciate you doing something about it.
    it is annoying.
    still love you though!

        1. Author

          Oh, the sorrow. I am trying. I’m sure it’s some background image that’s taking up a honkin’ amount of space. Sigh. I need a technical guru to plunge in and get her hands wet in this blog. I don’t have the time to pick my way through code. Mama needs to write! Thanks for keeping me posted on the crap load time. I really do appreciate it.

      1. for me, the loading glitch isn’t the new connect bar at the bottom, it’s the bit at the top asking me to add it to my RSS feed.

  15. Great advice Stephanie. I’m in a totally different situation right now, but it’s still exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you

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