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Amy Alkon


Mr. Swipe Right I'm a woman who's both loving and seriously hating Tinder. Guys on this app mostly want to hook up, and even those who say they want a relationship are flaky, often disappearing after a single date. Sure, this sometimes happens with guys I meet in …Read more. Mr. Throng I'm a 35-year-old woman, and I've been involved with a guy around my age for almost two years. It's been "open." Well, that is, he's had the freedom to sleep with other people. I haven't wanted to. I finally realized that I am not happy with this …Read more. Ben Hurry I'm a woman in my 40s, and I've been happily married for 22 years. Unfortunately, my husband and I have never been very compatible sexually. I had read so much Cosmo in college that I believed sex was something we could work on. Well, he is quick in …Read more. Shove Hurts I've spent hundreds of dollars on a relationship coach, who instructed me to cut off all sex and even all contact with the guy I was dating until he agreed to marry me. I knew he loved me and wanted to marry me; I just wanted him to do it faster. …Read more.
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Bride And Zoom


I'm in love, and I just said yes to marrying the man of my dreams. We've only known each other for two months, but we're in the Peace Corps. You really see the core of a person when conditions are not so comfy. We're planning on traveling home to get married on our next monthly break. (We get two days off.) Afterward, we'll have a big celebration back here with all our local friends. My best friend's begging me to slow down, but my parents married two weeks after meeting, and that worked out. Marrying now feels very romantic and like the most right thing I've ever wanted to do. What's wrong with saying yes to romance? — Excited

It's easy to find a lot in common with a guy when you're both living thousands of miles from home: "Wow — you live in a mud hut?! I live in a mud hut! You have a hole for a toilet? I have a hole for a toilet!"

This could very well be the voluntourism version of two 14-year-olds deciding they're the second coming of Romeo and Juliet because they like EXACTLY THE SAME MUSIC AND MOVIES! Eventually, the 14-year-olds hit their 20s. (Life in one's 20s, like life back home, includes a few more complexities.) A mutual obsession with geeksta rap suddenly matters lots less when one turns militant vegan while the other has problems with hunting, but only because she prefers her meat already killed, skinned, and cooked, and delivered to her with a side of asparagus on fine china.

You say you're in love, but it's the part of love that can't be trusted — the infatuation stage. (Say hi to your hormones, because you're their bitch.) Anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher and her colleagues found that infatuation correlates with a surge in the neurotransmitter dopamine, and Fisher told Psychology Today that infatuation shares elements of a cocaine high — "sleeplessness, loss of a sense of time, absolute focus on love to the detriment of all around you." In other words, getting married now is like signing a binding lifetime contract while on an extended coke bender.

It doesn't help that the human brain is like a grabby toddler, prone to go for immediate rewards without weighing the consequences. Later, it comes back around and does the adult job of justifying all of its unwise choices. For you, even the absurdity of marrying somebody you barely know becomes a justification: "I'm not an idiot; in fact, I'm bright! So marrying somebody I just met isn't idiotic; it's romantic!" You also turn your parents' marital impulsivity into precedent. Guess what: They were dumb — and lucky. They turned out to be compatible, as you two may — or may not — two years from now, once you're back in the land where chicken is something sold in shrink-wrap, not something that hops across your head at night.

Waiting to get married doesn't preclude you from throwing a party.

Use those two days back home to invite your friends to celebrate with you, to witness you experiencing the joys so many of us take for granted — hot showers, doing laundry in a washing machine, and encountering enormous bugs, but only the kind that come with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty.

Gone With The Schwinn

I'm a 31-year-old guy, a part-time model, newly single, and scared to talk to women. Yesterday, I saw a beautiful woman checking me out at Whole Foods. I didn't know what to do, so I unlocked my bike and rode off. This happens maybe three times a week. — Getting Ridiculous

The roof of Whole Foods will not open up while you're shopping, and a beautiful woman will not fall into your cart and say, "Oh, wow — I've been waiting for a man like you to take me home and smear me with cruelty-free peanut butter." Sadly, this means you'll need to approach a woman, open your lips, and make words come out about something she's wearing, doing, or carrying: "Kelp steaks! They're even better than the tofu T-bone!" The way to get comfortable doing this is by actually doing this. For two weeks in a row, give yourself a weekly quota: You have to make moves on 21 women you'd be interested in dating — three per day — even if it takes going out expressly to find women to hit on. If you fall short one day, make it up the next. Come up with a punishment, like giving $50 to charity, should you fail to meet your weekly number. Every woman you talk to isn't going to go out with you, but you'll certainly get more dates than you do with your current strategy: "A beautiful woman is looking at me! Quick, unlock the bike and speed away!"

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email ( Alkon is the author of "I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle To Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society."



It's Amy Alkon's Advice Goddess Radio! "Nerd your way to a better life," with the best brains in science solving your love, dating, sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — — 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. The call-in number during the show is 347-326-9761. This week, Dr. B. Janet Hibbs on how fairness is the key to happy relationships (and saving relationships in trouble).


11 Comments | Post Comment
LW1: You sound really immature. How old are you? You're high on emotion and you shouldn't be making life decisions while high. Marriage is not romantic. It's a legal arrangement that has deep and lasting repercussions when it doesn't work out.

LW2: If you're running away then you're not ready to date. You just got out of a relationship. Take a break. If later you want to date again and are still too scared to approach a woman all you need to do is smile at one. Yes, smile and they will approach you.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Diana
Tue Sep 4, 2012 11:05 AM
When I first met my hubby I knew after 2 hours that he was the one for me. I knew that I would marry him. However, we dated for a year before he proposed and were engaged for another 4years before we actually got married. That gave us plenty of time to get to see the other person's crazy side and decide if we could live with it.
If it is really love and meant to be, then why the big rush? Terminal illness? Low down and figure out if he has any habits that drive you nuts. My hubby never puts clothes in the hamper, leaves lights on all night, and does not know when to stop talking. I can live with that (but sometimes the chatter makes me want to hit him with a frying pan like in the cartoons).
Comment: #2
Posted by: MT
Tue Sep 4, 2012 12:04 PM
LW2 - Well, you could try "hello."
But as Diana says, if you're not ready to date, just don't worry about it.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Paul W
Tue Sep 4, 2012 12:29 PM
If LW2 is newly single, the question naturally follows - why? Did she break up with him, die, get kidnapped by aliens? Was it a (relatively) clean parting, or was there cruelty that wounded his heart? Just as importantly, how did they meet, if he is as shy as he claims? One wonders if the letter underwent some serious editing to hide this info.

Also, just a slight modification on the "charity as punishment" idea. If LW2 wants to make the donations an actual punishment, he needs to write the checks for groups he despises. Otherwise, he'll justify his continuing shyness as a virtue. And then give them to a frenemy who can monitor his progress and drop them in the mail if he fails at his task. (Credit given to self-improvement business paperback where I read this.)
Comment: #4
Posted by: Snarf
Tue Sep 4, 2012 2:57 PM
LW1: Enjoy being in love. It's a wonderful thing. But don't get married until you've been together in your real life, which is far away from where you are now. Or, get married and understand that a painful divorce is a possible consequence to rash behavior. You're young. Don't also be (too) crazy.
Comment: #5
Posted by: LouisaFinnell
Tue Sep 4, 2012 3:21 PM
I knew before our first date was over that I wanted to marry my husband and we were talking about marriage within a month. We married about 7 months later and we just passed the 37-year mark.

That said, I find myself agreeing that the LW may be rushing things.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Tue Sep 4, 2012 9:17 PM
LW1 -- "You really see the core of a person when things are not so comfy." Very true -- the problem is, there's a difference between discomfort that you didn't expect/sign up for and discomfort that life just foists upon you when you're not looking for it. You both CHOSE the Peace Corps and all the discomforts that come with that. Moreover, you're seeing how he responds to a certain set of circumstances -- circumstances that, while quasi-long-term, are temporary, right? You can put up with a lot of things when you know those things are just temporary. So, you're not seeing the "core" of this guy -- you're seeing him handle a set of circumstances that he CHOSE. Please understand you really are seeing just one side of him.

As for your parents -- Amy is right: THEY GOT LUCKY. It happens all the time -- but that's not exactly a good reason to bank on it happening to you. People win the lottery all the time -- but you're not using that as your retirement plan, are you? Well, from the sound of your letter, maybe you are.

Lastly, you commit one of my great pet peeves: using one of the stock hyperboles to describe your current love interest. Whether it's "The Love Of My Life" or "The Man/Woman Of My Dreams" -- every time I hear one of these, I want to vomit. I love my husband. We've been happily married for more than 17 years and recently had a baby together. I love him, admire him, respect him, trust him and enjoy him on so many different levels. He is my best friend and my lover. Of course, he also has his faults. He's about 40 pounds over weight, he frequently snores, he never makes the bed and frequently leaves the remote out where our 1-year-old son can get it, even though we have a drawer it's supposed to go in when we aren't watching TV. I can assure you that the man of my dreams wouldn't have any of these faults. But see, the man of my dreams is just that -- a dream. He doesn't exist. I'll take the real thing -- warts and all -- every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Whenever I hear people refer to their SO as "the love of my life" or the "man/woman of my dreams," not only do I want to hurl, but I immediately question that person's maturity and handle on reality.

Time to grow up and slow down.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Lisa
Wed Sep 5, 2012 8:28 AM
LW2 -- Oddly enough, I think both Amy and Diana are right, even though they gave such disparate advice. Depending on how new the "newly single" status is, you may simply not be ready to date right now. But on the other hand, the fact that you are writing to an advice columnist asking for help approaching women, that suggests that you WANT to be ready. So, first assess whether your shyness is something new (or newly exacerbated). If it's new, then it probably is related to your "newly single" status and may be an indication that you're not quite ready. If you've always been this way to one degree or another, then it probably has nothing to do with whether you are ready or not. Either way, once you've determined that you ARE ready, take Amy's advice and get going!
Comment: #8
Posted by: Lisa
Wed Sep 5, 2012 8:35 AM
P.S. for LW1 -- For the record, my husband will tell you that he knew he wanted to marry me by the end of our first date. It took me a little longer -- about two months. We were engaged after about four months. But we didn't get married for about a year and a half after that. We did that for a reason. So, do I believe it's possible that you can meet someone, fall in love and know s/he's the one in a short amount of time? ABSOLUTELY! But unless someone's got a terminal illness or some other truly compelling reason to rush things, what harm is there in waiting? If he's the one for you, he's still going to be the one for you a year from now. Seriously.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Lisa
Wed Sep 5, 2012 8:40 AM
LW1 -
A lot of what you say already sounds like rationalisations, and it ain't gonna get better as the rose in your glasses fades to grayer reality. Like Amy said, your parents turned out to be compatible, you may not. Also, the expectations people had from marriage then were far more realistic, and meeting them was actually within the realm of the possible. Too many people nowadays want the Walt Disney princess storyline, without having to even work on it... Yeah, woah Nellie, slow down, but you're not likely to listen. The reason you wrote to Amy is because you were hoping she'd tell you to just follow your heart and not listen to all these grinches who are raining on your parade with their dour predictions - you don't WANT a reality check.

Comment: #10
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Sep 6, 2012 4:26 PM
I met a guy in the Peace Corps in Morocco. Every weekend I would go visit him in the town where he was stationed and it was so romantic...then he left, and went back to California. He invited me to come with him, and when I left, I moved in with him in California.
Big mistake! Things are a lot more fun when you only see each other once a week, and don't have that annoying day-to-day stuff to deal with.
I lasted five months, then moved back to my home state.
Oh well- at least I didn't marry him!
Comment: #11
Posted by: Mary
Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:46 PM
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