Advice

On beginning and endings

Dear Coquette,

I’ve been hooking up with my neighbor for a couple months now, and I’m starting to catch feelings (like most girls do) but I know that he doesn’t want a relationship, or at least the responsibility that comes with one. Hell, I don’t even know if I do, but being around him is unbeatable, and what can I say? The sex is great. What to do?

First of all, quit denying that you are in a relationship. Yes, you are in one.

Don’t freak out. I didn’t say it was a committed romantic relationship, but it’s ridiculous to assume that a couple months’ worth of friendship and sex doesn’t count as a relationship. You’re definitely not girlfriend and boyfriend, but so what? Labels aren’t as important as you might think, and you certainly don’t need them to comfortably define the parameters of this thing.

The next step is to figure out what you want. Relax. There is no rush. All you have to do is stay honest with yourself. If your emotions for this guy keep getting stronger, acknowledge them. If you feel like you need a certain level of commitment, let him know. If you start getting jealous or possessive, air that stuff out. Whatever you do, don’t deny your feelings.

Maybe it works out, maybe it doesn’t, but the most important thing for you to focus on right now is emotional honesty.


I was reading The Coquette from way back, back in 2010, when I got to a post you wrote about a relationship ending that was wonderful while it lasted (you spoke about externalizing your pain with exercise, which I thought was pretty great and I may try it out). I’m rounding the corner on what has been the most perfect and honestly fun relationship. It’s ending too soon, due to renewed distance, and there’s nothing to be done. I want to just be grateful it happened and enjoy the end of it, but my heart creaks and breaks when I think about leaving it behind. How do I deal? Will it just go away? I really don’t want it to.

You’ve got the right idea when you say you want to be grateful and enjoy the end of the relationship. More that that, you can even enjoy the heartbreak. It’s not as difficult as you think. All you have to do is accept the inevitable.

Everything ends, and acceptance of that fact will lead to a more peaceful experience. You’ll still have negative emotions, but they will manifest as sadness instead of anger or frustration.

That’s a good thing, because a little bit of sadness accompanied with fond memories is something you can learn to enjoy for its own sake.  Bittersweet is an acquired taste, but it can be savored nonetheless.

Your relationship is ending. Don’t bargain with it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t bang your head against it. Just accept it, and allow your heart to break.

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