Sunday, August 23, 2009

Advice for the Lovelorn

Dear Snapper:

As an advice columnist, I hope you can steer me in the right direction.

I am a 40 year old woman with what one might call a "checkered past." My love life has always been a mess. I was raped when I was 16 by a guy who was supposed to be a Prince Charming, but who turned out to be a monster.  It really messed up my ideas about relationships, not to mention my self-esteem. I have had sex with many, many men - some of whom I only knew for a few minutes before jumping into bed with them. I have been married several times - never happily.

I was engaged to a great guy who dumped me for a woman who wandered into our lives and needed help. Before I knew it, she'd hooked up with my fiancee' and I was left alone.

My first marriage was to a man who never stopped thinking about, talking about and running to his ex-wife, who seemed to be under foot 24 hours a day. This marriage ended when he left me for that first wife. I felt like crap.

My second marriage was to a much older man who I didn't love, but who I thought could provide me with business connections and a way to further succeed on a professional and financial level. He turned out to be a cruel, manipulative person who loved to watch others fail.

My third marriage was to my my second husband's son - my adult step-son. Things started out well enough, and we even had a baby together - a child I adore. Eventually, though, things changed, as my third husband became psychologically unstable and he tried to kill me and kidnap our little girl.

My fourth marriage was unbelievably foolish. He was a much younger man - very handsome and sweet, but I was not really in love with him. I thought he could be a good father figure to my little girl, who he cared a great deal for. Unfortunately, I was less than honest and ruined this marriage. In retrospect, I realize that, while he was a great guy, he was immature and wasn't really in any position to be a father to my child, anyhow.

My next affair with was a really great guy - a solid, law-abiding man who is loyal and true, if a little dim-witted. He would have taken great care of me and of my daughter, but he bored me to tears. I broke his heart by having an affair with his father, who fell in love with and proposed to me. I came close to marrying him, but I stopped myself before the wedding. I didn't feel worthy of such love.

This brings me to my present situation. The person I'm currently involved with is great - fun to be around, a good listener, great with my little girl, patient with me and all of my little neuroses. The person I'm involved with doesn't have an obsessive ex who shows up on our doorstep, a crazy, manipulative father, or a mental health issue.  What, then, is the problem?

First of all...the sex. There isn't any. Like...NONE. Nada. In fact, we haven't even kissed. Ever. I've been patient, but there's only so long a healthy woman can wait.

Second, for reasons I can't go into, my partner and I have not really told anyone that we're a couple. I've wanted to do this for some time, but my partner has always found some reason why we should wait.

Third, there's the whole mixed family situation. My new love has a 19 year old son who is incredibly over-indulged. He's rude, obnoxious and disrespectful. In short, he's an overgrown baby with a chip on his shoulder, and he's never called on it. If anything, he's treated with kid gloves. Infuriating!

This would all be fine, I could live with it, and I was coping just fine until something unbelievable happened. One day last month - a really important day for us, actually - my new love up and left town. Just like that. No note. No phone call. No email. Nothing. I went a little nuts, thinking the worst. What if they'd been hurt or worse? Days passed, and then weeks, then it was more than a month and still no word. I was a wreck, but I finally decided that the only thing I could do was move on, concentrate on raising my little girl, and try not to think about my broken heart. Just when I was getting back on my feet, who should pop back into town, acting as if nothing has happened at all, but the person I love. They want to just pick up and be a family, and I'm being called "stubborn" for having not automatically following the plans that have been made for me without a thought given to my own wishes. 

I won't lie - I'm still in love with this person, and very, very attracted to them. I feel, however, that I've been betrayed. I certainly don't feel as if I can or should trust someone who watched as I put my life on hold for a relationship with no intimacy and refrained from kicking a particular teenaged boy in the ass, only to reply to these things by abandoning me and my child, betraying my trust, and dismissing my feelings. 

What should I do?


Oh, The Awful Lovers I've Attracted

Dear O.T.A.L.I.A.:

Your love life sounds like a soap opera.

I'm tempted to tell you that the woman you're in love with (Didn't you know I'd figure you'd lezzed out the minute you stopped using pronouns?) is another in a long line of crappy partners you've chosen over the years. It sounds as if things between the two of your started out really well, but went nowhere fast. You say there's been no sex at all? Not even a kiss? How is it that you two even consider yourselves to be in a relationship if there's no sex, no kissing, and no one even knows you're supposedly a couple? Are you like super-top-secret girlfriends, or something? 
I'm tempted to tell you to run, run fast, pass GO, and don't look back, because it sounds as if this woman is being less than careful with your heart, and you've had enough of that in your life. I'd be tempted to give you this advice even if it were a man we were talking about, because no one deserves to be treated like a second class citizen.

I won't bother telling you these things, though, because I can tell from your letter that you're determined to be with "this person" and that what you're really asking me isn't should you do it, but how should you do it? Here is my answer:

1) Tell your wannabe girlfriend that you've taken as much crap from her kid as you plan to. Put your foot down and tell her it's a dealbreaker: either the jerk starts showing some common decency, or you're walking. You mention that he's 19. That's a man, not a boy. Besides telling your girlfriend, tell the son, directly, that you're finished with his crap and that, frankly, he can just keep his distance if he can't act like an adult. 

2) Tell your wannabe girlfriend that there's nothing "stubborn" about not being a doormat, and that she has no right to dismiss your feelings. Demand a decent, detailed explananation, a sincere apology, and acknowledgement that she has done something incredibly cruel and hurtful. Tell her that, until you feel there's some self-awareness coming from her, you can never be with her, and you certainly won't trust her to be there for your little girl.

3) Tell your wannabe girlfriend that you are willing to discuss possible plans for your future together, but that you do not let anyone else make plans for you.

4) Tell your wannabe girlfriend that, when two adults are in a romantic relationship they kiss and have sex, case closed. Tell her that, if you make the decision to take her back into your life, there will be intimacy, and you will not wait for it. You've waited long enough.

5) Tell your wannabe girlfriend that, if she really wants to be your girlfriend, she won't be afraid to let people know. In fact, if she loves you and wants to be with you, she'll want to yell it out to the world. Make it a condition of any reconciliation that there be no more secrets, no more waiting, and no more bullshit. 

I wish you well. Frankly, I think you deserve better, but we both know how this is going to play out.

All the best,


© 2009 Lana M. Nieves

Limited Licensing: I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the Creative Commons Attribution license, granting distribution of my copyrighted work without making changes, with mandatory attribution to Lana M. Nieves and for non-commercial purposes only. - Lana M. Nieves


MJinTenn said...

I can't even say how happy this blog post makes me. What rational, definitive conditions. What a clear articulation of what should be done to win Liv's heart and to begin to win her trust! Flowers and cookies just won't cut it.

And how sad that the person who should be prostrating themselves to win our girl's heart not only HAS NO CLUE that she should do them, but a gets befuddled look on her face every time Liv doesn't fall into her arms. She has been written as either emotionally dense or deliberately obtuse.

And she whose name I shall not speak has the nerve to call Liv stubborn? No dear, you need to be telling your bump that Liv's not STUPID, and that he or she better hope that Liv gives in because she's the best hope that kid's got of growing up normal and not a felonious girlfriend-knocking-up gangsta-wannabe creep. Submitted for evidence: Jellybean.

You made my day Snapper, and it's not even 6 o'clock yet!

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank you so much for writing this! I'm really very not excited about Natalia's return at the moment, for all the reasons you so eloquently and funnily pointed out.

Now let's just hope that Olivia takes your advice to heart!

Snapper said...

Kirenerys, anyone with so blatantly geeky/cool a DS9 reference as your nick is tops in my book.

ocean1blue said...

Hey Snapper! I think the Tennessee Williams routine on the Doris Roadtrip was the foreshadowing of how this was all gonna play out. Olivia said she didn't want to be pathetic, but, let's face it, if Nat had come out when Liv was yelling her love at the top of her lungs, then Liv would have taken her back, no questions asked. I don't think there even would have been a "You left me." or "I don't trust you." uttered at all. Maybe Doris can get through Nat's Disney version of life and tell her exactly how shitty she was. All Olivia is doing at this point is trying to get her equilibrium back.

Snapper said...

I know full well our girls end up together, that Liv will take Natalia back. I'm just annoyed as hell at the writers, yet again. First they invent pod-Natalia, who just drops everything and leaves without a word. Now they bring us the Natalia who has zero remorse. What. The. Fuck. Instead of being sincerely sorry over the pain she's caused, she's all, "I know this is hard, it's been hard for me, too." Wait. WHAT????? To my ears, that's just this side of, "Buck up...things are tough all over."

And don't even get me started on the way she's plotted out a course for Olivia and Frank and Emma's lives, with herself as the center of the universe. I've always stuck to my guns about Frank really, truly being the good man he's been trumped up to be, and I stick by that.

ocean1blue said...

Yes, "Writers Screw Up Yet Again" is going to be the final epitaph for GL. To me the first bipolar writing episode was when they had Jellybean show up to do chaperone duty at the spa? This after the great wedding story arc? I hope you are planning to write about the highs and lows of Otalia, and all the Otalia missed opportunities, because I am really looking forward to reading your analysis of the whole mess after it is all said and done.

Anonymous said...

Bwahaha! Thanks for pointing out the hopeless flaws in this ridiculous plot arc and wrapping it all in a tasty little package of snark!

Anonymous said...

just found this and it is totally made of WIN!

Anonymous said...

you had me at...
My love life has always been a mess. I was raped when I was 16 by a guy who was supposed to be a Prince Charming...


thank you for this post. loved every bit of it.

Anonymous said...

me again!

forgot to thank you for the Olivia 1.0 History crash course. it was worth the read.

more power!

Anonymous said...

Snapper your last few posts have made many excellent points about Natalia's and Olivia's relationship. But the question that I keep asking my self about the storyline, and its many arcs is: Why is it so important to see a kiss or sexual intimacy? I ask this question because every Otalia's fan and viewer know Natalia and Oliva had a committed relationship before the wedding and the pregnancy were written into the storyline. Natalia has been committed to Olivia every since the heart-transplant. The writers have given her vows-like dialogue to say. When I realized in May where the storyline was headed I was upset. I have come to this conclusion, lately, I have seen a lot of loveless sex and sex with no commitment on Guiding and a kiss doesn't necessarily mean anything.
Natalia slept with Frank i.e. had sex, and she was not in love with him... no commitment. CBS, P&G, and Telenext can sell sex without the commitment and love to their viewers between the opposite sex. Commitment, love, and sexual intimacy between a same sex couple was a hard sell, and TPTB was not willing to lose in any rating shares.
There are least two aspects to this "mess": How does a business please all its viewers(customers), and stay profitable? At the same time: How does a production company tell a story in the most authentic way at the risk of losing business.

Snapper said...

No business can please everyone one earth. For many years, long before there even was an Otalia, Guiding Light was a business that was sinking. I've mentioned before that the talk of cancelation was around as early as 1995. It's a pretty sound business practice that, when what one is doing fails miserably, to the point of catastrophe, one should try something different. GL didn't even try to bring n a same-sex story line to daytime until catastrophe was already well on the horizon. In other words, Otalia had nothing to do with this show failing. I fanything, the early days of Otalia were a real throwback to very traditional GL/soap values, character development and pace. Just as I'm now annoyed that the brakes seem to have been put on Otalia, it was only about five months ago that I was in no rush for intimacy between these two. I figured things would progress along and, some time in April or May they would kiss and then, eventually, come out to the world. I actually *loved* it that the story was progressing at a pace that was very much like soaps of old. (The current state of affairs is a different thing, entirely...because these characters are REGRESSING, now, IMO.)

When I interviewed Tina Sloan for Red Room, one of the things she told me was that P&G has received nothing but positive publicity and press thanks to Otalia, and that the storyline did nothing but good things for the show. You know what this tells me? That Otalia, and stories like it (not neccesarily gay stories, but character-driven stories, carried out by strong actors who share chemistry...stories about the human condition as it actually exists) could have saved GL, if only someone had thought to invest time and money on them maybe five or six years ago.

Again, the show's ratings were on a downward spiral for YEARS before Otalia was even a concept, so the whole "we don't want to lose ratings" thing is bullshit. And, frankly? The ratings system is bullshit, anyhow. Almost no one I know watches their soap operas in real time, on television. Most people I know watch soaps on their DVRs later in the day, on Soapnet, on a network website, or on youtube.

Anonymous said...

This is just a question I am on your side.

What would a kiss in the context of this storyline imply or represent to you?

The kiss to me would have represented tangible proof, since kissing is a normal part of intimacy in any relationship; although personally I am not comfortable with public displays of physical sexual affection. The intangible proof was the inspired acting; although, there was no kiss(lip-lock) or sex(whatever you can imagine) you could feel and see the love, and as you said it was a throwback to traditional soap values and character development.

Snapper said...

What would a kiss between these two represent to me? It would represent their entree' into normal Springfield life, and the end of the network-imposed banishment to the world of neutered, sexless, guilty homosexuality.

You say you're against pubic displays of affections, but keep in mind....there's nothing public about this, or there doesn't have to be. As viewers, we're voyeurs into their lives. When we watch Natalia and Olivia in the farmhouse, we're not watching a public spectacle. Part of the allure of the soap opera is the opportunity to watch characters interacting in private. As viewers, we like being in on characters' intimate secrets and private lives without having the burden of having to actually KEEP these secrets - something that is impossible to do in real life.

Anonymous said...

That was a total riot....I needed that....O.T.A.L.I.A. would do well to heed it.

he he

signed, anotherolive