Nothing pulls at me. I have a great self-care routine, generally have my shit together, and I have good friends, but I feel like my life is still characterized by fleeing pain and loneliness at a low level. It’s been this way for years. What now?
If nothing pulls at you, go push on a few things until something moves. (And for the record, fleeting pain and loneliness at a low level is a fairly normal resting existential state. There’s nothing wrong with you at all.)
Do you think people have to learn to be by themselves (i.e. Happy and content being single) before getting in a healthy non-codependent relationship?
It’s not that people have to learn to be by themselves. It’s that people simply need to learn to be themselves. Being single isn’t the important part. The important part is being health and happy as an individual whether or not you’re single. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s critical to healthy relationships.
If you could implement any single policy through the US legislature with the guarantee that it would go through, what would that be?
If I only get one, it would be a massive campaign finance, lobbying, and redistricting reform package via Constitutional Amendment with a line item that included open, early, and mandatory voting. (It has a lot of moving parts, but I consider process reform to be one single policy.) Essentially, I would get all the money out of politics, end gerrymandering, and involve every citizen in the democratic process at both the state and federal level. Do that, and suddenly all good things are possible.
Voting Strategy – I’m registered Independent in NC so I get to choose which party I want to vote for in the primary. Personally, I would love to see Bernie get the nomination and the presidency. Do I choose Republican and vote for Trump as I think he is the easiest republican to beat or do I choose Democrat and vote for Bernie who I would like to see win it all?
Vote for Bernie. There will come a day when you’ll be proud to say you did. (Similarly, if you vote for Trump, there will also come a day when you deeply regret it.)
My boyfriend and I live in Asia. He’s just been gone on a long trip where he’s had a shitload of fun and taken a shitload of drugs. We’re in a monogamous relationship, so would it be a trust issue if I asked him to get tested before we have sex when he gets back?
Yes, it would be a trust issue, but hey, if you feel the need to ask, then ask.
I truly wish the world were quieter.
Move to Alaska.
Would you go monogamous for a starmate?
Sure, but the point is that I wouldn’t have to.
Do you play chess?
Of course I do.
How many submissions a day do you get since you left tumblr?
Hundreds. (Way more since leaving tumblr.)
70 thoughts on “On fun-sized advice”
The problem with mandatory voting is that voting is a right and in order for it to be a true right we must be free to not exercise it. If voting were to be compulsory it would not longer be a right.
I’m not necessarily opposed to that but there’s a reason we don’t currently force everyone to vote (well…there’s a reason other than the one that it enormously benefits the people already in power).
Works for Australia. As does gun control.
Voting isn’t a natural right. It’s a legal right, and quite frankly, it has a long history of being little more than a privilege in America. In my humble opinion, I feel voting should be the duty of every citizen, which is why I want it to be mandatory.
And remember, mandatory voting doesn’t mean you have to choose a candidate, because you can always write-in your choice or vote “none of the above.” Mandatory voting simply obligates every citizen to show up at the polls. That’s what’s important. Participation. Essentially, this is one of those times where the whole “freedom isn’t free” maxim genuinely applies. (And in instances where civil disobedience is necessary, refusing to vote would be a valid form of protest.)
Yup. My husband is Australian, and voting is compulsory in Australia. You can go to the poll and tick the box that you’re abstaining from choosing a candidate, but you have to show up.
He was pretty appalled when he found out voting is not compulsory in the US.
I didn’t know that about Australia. How is mandatory voting enforced? Carrot, stick, both?
Fines if you don’t show up, free sausage sandwich on the day for when you do show up. ‘Sausage sizzles’ in Australia have a bit of a cultural legacy, so its all very ‘straya on the day to have a sausso sanga and vote for Pauline Hanson. You can also mail in a vote in case of sickness or travel, so there’s literally no excuse.
Stick. If you don’t cross your name off the electoral roll, you get a stiff fine. If you’re overseas or otherwise unable to vote on election day, you have to submit a vote via post.
People are usually pretty horrified at the mandatory voting idea, but I’ve got to agree with your husband (I would, I’m Australian too): the idea that voting isn’t compulsory sends shivers down my spine.
That said, our government has been a farce for as long as I’ve been alive, so choosing not to donkey vote (showing up and writing your thoughts on a ballot, thereby rendering it invalid) is sort of like choosing whether to get punched in the mouth, or the stomach.
Hell, I’m American, and I agree with my husband. I think cultural opposition to compulsory voting in the US is rooted in racism more than anything else.
And classism and sexism!
The secret ballot is actually fairly new. It used to be that you would have a red ticket or a blue ticket and you would present that at the polls. Each party would have roaming thugs that would beat up people holding the wrong ticket color. This lead to a strategy called “vest pocket voting.” Where you would keep it hidden until the last moment. There were articles written about how “unmanly” this technique was. I got this all from an NPR segment btw.
I’m okay with that if and ONLY if everyone has the option to do it via absentee ballot or if we develop secure technology to do it online.
As of right now, I don’t qualify for absentee voting in my state, but I have an anxiety disorder that can sometimes make it difficult to leave the house. If I’m having a panic attack, impossible.
In fact, what do they do about it if someone becomes violently ill on election day? Do they have to produce a doctor’s note or what?
You could have searched for the answer yourself, but obviously if you’re unable to vote on the day you provide a reason for it. Whether it’s recognised as valid, even with federal and state guidelines, is probably subject to the person assessing it.
I’m sorry, I didn’t realize there was a site that laid out this plan for the US. Is there one? Because I have searched, and I can’t find any details about enforcement.
Having to provide a reason is sticky. If it involves producing a piece of paper signed by a doctor, then that means a trip out to get one instead of resting and taking care of my illness (plus pay any applicable copay). Or if I blow a tire, I need a note from a mechanic.
I can think of numerous valid reasons that someone might not be able to make it at the last minute. If we’d take them at their word, fine, but a lot of people would just make up excuses. Wouldn’t keeping track of all this be a mess?
It seems to me that instead of making it straight-up mandatory, we should find a way to do it electronically. If we could make it that easy so you can do it at work or at home, a lot more people would do it.
I’ve sometimes missed voting because of a terrible migraine. In these cases, the Electoral Commission sends me a letter asking me why I failed to vote. I write that I had a migraine and they’ve always accepted that as reasonable. I’ve never been fined. In Aus, voting is compulsory at every level of government – local, state and federal. Elections are always held on a Saturday, and you can absentee or postal vote if you know you won’t be there on the day.
I’m going to add my voice the chorus advocating mandatory voting. I wish more countries would introduce it.
To the person who asked the question about voting for Trump, here’s a scary projection: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-02-26/trump-will-become-president-statistical-model-says?src=usn_fb
I only pay attention to fivethirtyeight.com
What is the high water mark of submissions you’ve received?
A lot of people in history have been dismissed as a joke until they’re actually elected. Do not vote for Trump under the misguided assumpted that it can’t happen here. Please!
Jesse Ventura, Arnold.
Nah man. Trump is in his own category of truly awful neither Arnold nor jesse was like that.
Totally agree that Trump is worse. Just making the comparison to candidates that weren’t taken seriously early on yet won. Arnold’s relative competence was a surprise to many, but I think Trump’s incompetence would be limitless.
Alaska ? Hell no. I’ve wanted to see an aurora forever but if I’m going that far North it’ll be Iceland (I mean, what’s cooler than living on an active tectonic ridge ?)
Anyways, I was thinking more Vinales Valley of Cuba, or, preferably, not running away from everything I know and love, but thanks for the suggestion 🙂
I don’t think her suggestion was literal. She’s saying if you can’t take the heat (or in this case, the noise), that’s on you. Suck it up or get out of the kitchen. I could be wrong.
By the way, if you had something so specific in mind already, why would you ask?
Of course it’s not 100% literal dimwit. And sending a short sentence at midnight to so who receives a shit ton of submissions from people in heart-wrenching situations asking for life-changing advice isn’t asking a question, it’s throwing a bottle into the sea.
Also, CQ telling me to leave central Paris for Alaska is just so incongruous it’s hilarious, so I’m grateful for the answer.
You too 😉
Did you mention to her that you live in Paris?
Either way, it was a perfect response. Not many places that are truly quiet, and that’s one of them.
Or I suppose she could have suggested ear plugs.
You could move to another “”big”” French city, like Lyon or Lille. Just sayin’
Actually I live in Anchorage and it’s one of the best places I’ve ever lived. Never dips below freezing. Also lived in Fairbanks, shit show of a town. However a short drive out of either town and you get pure unfiltered nature. It’s the most beautiful state and quite serene.
What kind of field do you work in, if it’s ok to ask ?
And as to your claim Alaska is the most beautiful state, I appreciate your enthusiasm, even though there’s fierce competition from other natural wonders in the US. But just the idea of moving to the States is terrifying (in regard to the politics, the guns, and the healthcare system), especially when you’ve got Canada just next door.
I don’t understand. I looked up Anchorage to check it out and it’s below freezing every day of the 10-day forecast. I’ve been there and loved it, just confused by your statement.
They meant “never dips below absolute zero.”
As an Alaskan, sometimes we ignore the whole “Freezing point is 32 degrees” thing and count from zero down. It can lead to confusion with people Outside. (For non-Alaskans, that’s everywhere but Alaska, so if we tell you we’re wintering Outside this year, we are not actually camping out all winter.)
I love Fairbanks! It was a great place to live.
Re: Voting strategy. It’s unlikely that Trump loses in NC, so voting for him as a “he’s the easier opponent” long game is pointless. He doesn’t need the help.
Bernie, however, needs every vote he can get. ESPECIALLY in NC. Vote Bernie.
Yes! I’m in NC too. Bernie or bust.
Seriously. I know a lot of people who want sanders but are voting around him. This is a case where you need to vote for the person you want to win! The Trump train needs no extra votes.
I never got the chess thing. Do any of you guys play? What do you think of it?
Are you serious? Chess is great. I began playing as a child and it’s a testament to my privilege how surprised I was to learn that there were people who didn’t even know how to play.
Nope. I never learned how. I pretty well scarcely know what the pieces do (the Queen is important, I hear). In my field, most people play chess, and a lot of them have some skill at it.
Personally, I always found it frustrating, boring (I hate games), and not worth learning at a later age, and I have a lot of other frustrating things to do with a higher payoff.
Nowadays I’m awful at chess, but my mother is Indian so I grew up playing chess, and I can still play or watch others play for hours at a time, if provided with good company.
Serious players will think only in terms of strategy and that’s fine, but I really appreciate the human interaction around a chess board (looking at your opponent concentrating, comments of onlookers, people getting impatient for their turn at the chess board, people bickering about obscure rules, etc.).
What are you implying? My Mom is Indian and I don’t play chess? Please watch your words and racism, next time. Thanks! 🙂
Why are you policing an Indian or half-Indian woman’s tone?
I didn’t express myself properly, I apologize. What I meant with “the chess thing” is its whole cultural significance/status (enough to get an “of course” answer from CQ). I’m from a non-chess country, so I don’t know. I don’t think I know anyone who plays it, or maybe it just hasn’t come up.
There are chess and non-chess countries?
Love chess! I like the excitement/tension of having a winning plan but not knowing if I’ll get cut off and having to plan moves ahead.
My dad taught me to play from a young age though, I imagine its more difficult to get into randomly..helps if you know a player too.
I like to imagine that Barack Obama writes in the politics questions. Especially the one about a new SCOTUS judge.
Lol love it! He writes to Coke while smoking. 🙂
CT for Q1: The OP writes “characterized by FLEEING pain and loneliness,” not fleeting. That sounds more actively desperate, distressed, avoidant than the baseline. But then they also use the phrase “at a low level” which doesn’t sound so intense after all. Trying to “flee” is either maladaptive or reflects something pretty bad/repressed, but yeah “fleeting” sadness is just the human condition!
Typo on OP’S part, or should “fleeing” change the answer?
I think fleeing pain and loneliness is definitely part of the human condition. Although I’m in therapy so… maybe it’s not normal!
OP here. Not a typo. I did mean it in the active, desperate sense. That being said, I think CQ’s reply works either way. The pain and loneliness are still fleeting when I am fleeing from it. It’s just a matter of perspective and which is the active force. That matters, but not necessarily in the case of this question.
I actually feel like kind of a drama queen for using my word choice over hers.
Do you think it’s not unhealthy for someone to jump from relationship to relationship all their life, never being single for more than a couple of months?
Is this referencing a specific question, or are you just asking in general what I think about serial monogamists? I’m not sure what it is you really want to know.
I’m referencing the second question, but your opinion on serial monogamists is pretty much what I’m getting at.
To be clearer, can someone learn to be himself or herself without ever really being single for long?
I am not coquette but….
…can? sure, someone can, someone could, someone will. Can you? Who knows, maybe, maybe not, maybe just enjoy your relationship and if they ever end figure stuff out then. As long as you feel you live a life you enjoy and there’s no inner conflict, why stir the pot?
Just how I see things.
If someone is incapable of not being part of a couple, I think they are lacking something as an individual.
Haven’t been single =/= incapable of being single.
Preferring to be coupled is fine, and so is serial monogamy. Leaping from person to person (with desperate dating attempts in between and being unable to discuss much other than their relationshipless status) and the occasional feeling that their sole dating criteria consists of “person is breathing and their chosen gender” suggests that this is someone who needs to do some work and be on their own for a while.
You just described my best friend. He’s middle aged, thrice divorced and just got dumped by someone who didn’t fancy him in all the four years they were together. He whinged about her for the whole length of the relationship and, despite still being in love with her, has rushed straight into a new relationship.
He’s cheated on his new gf with the ex, and is lying to both of them. I’m fed up with his drama and inability to be single while he sorts himself out. Sad thing is, this guy trained as a therapist and tries to ‘coach’ me regarding cutting off my toxic, alcoholic ex! I’m trying to disengage and move on, his opinion “as a therapist” is that I should sleep with the ex until I meet someone else. Ugh.
I hate you for clarifying the difference between being by yourself and just being yourself, its way easier to ignore and not think about it. Like, ugh. I mean, I knew this already but it’s totally different reading those words from someone else, especially you.
It’s great though not to be in a romantic relationship. I think part of being yourself is also figuring out weather it’s outside pressure or inner longing that compels you to seek out romantic partnerships.
When I find myself enjoying being myself and being by myself I masturbate. The upside to existential angst.
I don’t know, i really think i’m not made for monogamy, but am i saying this because i do want to fuck other people when i’m with someone. Is this a sign of a being in the wrong relationship or a sign this is my nature. How do I figure this out and how do can one discuss it with the partner.
I really struggle with this and I’m afraid it might actually fuckup my good relationships…
If you’re already in a monogamous relationship this can be really tough. Opening up is a lot harder than starting out open.
That said, monogamy doesn’t come with a standard rule book so either way you really need to discuss what each of you are or aren’t comfortable with the other doing, and what each of you needs the freedom to do.
Start by making your own list. Are you comfortable with your significant other (real or hypothetical) having other partners? To what extent? Do you want to know about it? Then list what you need. I’ve found that the first list tends to inform the second.
Open relationships aren’t really any harder – they’re just less conventional. Any good relationship requires discussion and reevaluation, and it’s often uncomfortable.
To the Asian dweller asking about boyfriend:
Ask. Do it in such a way it doesn’t sound like you’re accusing him of sleeping around. You also have to know what kind of person your boyfriend is. Will he be the type of take advantage of the situation where there are plenty of available and free women when the primary partner isn’t around? Etc
I’ve had 2 separate experiences with people I was in a long term relationship with go on trips(one spent a month in Vegas and when I wanted to join him, he shut it down). They swore up and down they didn’t do anything except getting masssges and just hanging out in bars. Forced one to get tested and that’s how they found out they had syphilis. Saved me a lot of stress because we didn’t use condoms. The other one refused until he went to the doctor for a routine check months later and found he had HIV. It was fun stressing out that the dumbass may have infected me because I relented after he got in a snit about ‘not trusting and taking my word for it’. Thankfully, I didn’t get it.
It might be an issue of trust, but better to be safe and STD-free than to not trust
Wow, I’m sorry you had to experience those situations. I’m glad to hear you retained a clean bill of health, though. You’re a smart lady.
Holy shit, that is terrifying.
What the fuck are these guys even thinking? It’s bad enough to cheat, but to put your bare dick in a stranger and then come back and possibly infect your girlfriend?
I hope you are picking better guys these days, and I’m glad you didn’t get HIV.
Wow, first they lie, then get mad at you for not being an idiot. I’m glad you’re ok.
Wow that Bernie or Trump question did not age well.