Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

I really dislike my therapist. I just started therapy for an anxiety disorder (couple sessions in). Should I feel some kind of click? Or is that not important at all? I really don’t know anymore.
Find a new therapist.

Holy shit. I think you just changed my life by introducing me to Bumble. Tinder and POF were laden with creeps, and here I’m actually finding attractive, professional dudes. Since ladies have to message first, I’m curious to know what your opener is? “Hey” is getting boring already.
I typically start with a “Hey there,” and then I ask a friendly, general question like “How’s your day going?” or “How was your weekend?” or “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

I need a guide about how to casually date through dating apps. Every time I log into one, I don’t stay 48 hours. Too time consuming, too tiring, and too many people thinking I’m a Manic Pixie who’s supposed to save them from their boring lives. Any tips?
You realize that you just described your entire love life in a nutshell, right? The dating apps aren’t your problem. You are.

I’m in the happiest healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in. Why can’t I stop Facebook stalking his ex and mine? Why do I give a fuck about what either of them are doing?
Because you are an insecure little monkey who gets a jolt of dopamine every time you click on their profiles. (It has nothing to do with how happy you are in your current relationship.)

I want to go on antidepressants, but I’m worried that I’m just muting normal human sadness and blues.
You needn’t worry. That’s neither how human sadness nor SSRIs work.

If I’ve never written anything do I really want to be a writer?
You may want to be, but you aren’t.

I’m in LA for the summer. I have no car and no friends in the area. Am I doomed to a dull few months?
Depends. Are you hot?

I feel like there is this line that marks when my relationship is done. I can’t tell if I’m on it or past it. If I am on it, I can’t I tell if there is anything I can do to keep from crossing over.
The line only exists if you draw it.

Who is your favorite advice columnist?
Me. (Duh.)


65 thoughts on “On fun-sized advice

  1. VeryOff says:

    Omg, if some woman wrote ““Why is there something rather than nothing?” as an opener, I’d fall over. She’d be waiting a while for my reply though…cuz i dunno yet.

    • Alexander says:

      Just go with: “Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?” You can only fight memes with danker memes.

    • Becky says:

      I usually go with “have you heard about the exhibit that is just a raw chicken breast swiping right forever on Tinder?”

        • VeryOff says:

          I prefer the circular irony of oversimplifying it to “Nothing is unstable.”
          So, everything is stable.
          Both are true.

          • VeryOff says:

            Argh. Even though you didn’t use a question mark, I’m going to reply. If your definition of everything includes nothing then you have a contradiction. That contradiction is unstable based on your definition. So ultimately, the reason there is anything is contradiction. If you say you disagree I may cease to exist.

          • WhoAmI says:

            Everything isn’t the only opposite of nothing, something is one too. Especially in physics ; to break the perfect vacuum you only need a single elementary particle to exist. To create a universe, you only need the pocket of space-time associated to it to brutally “expand”.

            Pure nothing has no scale either and that’s exactly what plays against him in the Nothing V Anything fight.
            Sounds cooler than some philosophical contradiction to me. 🙂

          • VeryOff says:

            But because we don’t know what nothing really is, we can’t ever be certain that it’s unstable. It only has a probability of being unstable to a possible degree. So there is the outside chance that nothing is stable. And while you might think that physics is more interesting or fascinating than a semantic conundrum, and I’m not necessarily disagreeing, the degree to which nothing effects us is functionally zero. And…I think that makes me the most universally jaded person I know.

          • WhoAmI says:

            It’s quantum physics, It’s mathematic formulae one after the other, there’s no outside chance, no can’t ever be certain, no probably, no “not knowing what nothing really is”.
            True, it’s impossible to grasp rationally, but it gives exact, working results. That’s the thing with the whole field of quantum physics really.

            Nothing not really being a thing is also why matter can hold together pretty well althought it’s mostly made of empty. If the kind of nothing science can imagine was a thing inside of our universe and stable we would be pretty fucked honestly.

          • VeryOff says:

            Actually, quantum physics is how we know that we don’t know where anything is…until we measure it. So any place that nothing could be, has a chance, no matter how infintesimal that it might be occupied. We literally cannot measure with enough precision to prove that nothing exists. The only place nothing can exist is in math. So the reason everything exists, is because nothing can’t exist.

          • WhoAmI says:

            Dude, if nothing couldn’t exist (which is different from : exists in a very unstable state) the Big Bang theory wouldn’t be relevant.
            Also you might want to do some readings on interpretations of the uncertainty principle, probability amplitudes and the various interpretations of the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment (especially de Broglie-Bohm’s, cuz sometimes Copenhagen’s is wack). I think you’d get where I come from a bit better.
            I don’t want to get patronizing (too late for that ?), I just don’t want to turn this comment section in any more of a pain in the ass to navigate and read with another long winded comment (again, too late for that ?).

          • VeryOff says:

            De Broglies wave function is how quantum tunneling works and it’s why the encertainty net can be cast very widely. The Big Bang is only our current best guess and it’s not even well interpreted as it could be better described as “the big everything everywhere all at once.” Those are my hazy recollections of where I last left it. And I feel like we are beating into the ground what should have been a semantic haha.

  2. says:

    I wish I could tell the person who’s reluctant about antidepressants that I just started an SSRI for the first time in my life (literally took the last pill of my first pack today). Rather than ‘muting’ anything, I feel all of my emotions in a more balanced way that makes me more capable of coping with them. I still feel them, but the sadness doesn’t defeat me. I’m no longer moody and withdrawn.

    My greatest fear was that an antidepressant would “change me.” The only thing it’s done is peel back the layers of hopelessness and bullshit, and now I actually feel like me again. Does take longer to orgasm, but I’m looking at that as a fun sex challenge.

    Caveat: I got really lucky and the first SSRI I took worked for me. I had a long conversation with my doctor to help us determine what would be right for me or whatever.

    • Lena says:

      Hey! That was me! Thanks to you and Coke for the advice.
      I’m working up the nerve to make a doctor’s appointment, but I’ve found a lot of contradictory information about antidepressants on the internet. I know that most of the internet is not a reliable source and I really need to talk to an actual medical professional, but it’s enough to psych me out! There’s a lot of stigma against psychotropic drugs in my family. I’m not diagnosed with anything (although I do have a family history of depression), so I’m constantly fretting over whether or not I have Actual Depression and if trying antidepressants is a good decision.

      • says:

        Hey!! This is exciting! I totally understand your hesitation; I’m in my late 20s and have known for years that I should probably seek out antidepressants, but I thought I was being “strong” by “handling it on my own.” I’m in the same boat as far as stigma with psychotropic drugs, a family history of depression, and no prior diagnoses (although my doctor was treating me with non-benzo anxiety medication). I really understand where you’re coming from on all these levels.

        For me, what stands out is that you have all these doubts and concerns about antidepressants, and yet you still think it might be an option for you — that’s a signal to me that something is going on with you beyond some run of the mill blues. Something I’d really want to stress is that trying an antidepressant doesn’t mean it’s permanent. If you decide you’re unhappy with it, you can ask your doctor how to safely discontinue it. If your first medicine doesn’t work, ask to switch.

        Also, your medication is none of your family’s fucking business, so keep them on an information diet if you feel like they’d give you shit for it. If you’re on their insurance plan, communicate that to your doctor. My prescription is way cheaper to get without using my insurance; it costs $4/month at Walmart (use a site like Goodrx to compare drug prices and find coupons).

        Don’t be afraid to tell your doctor your concerns for a prescription. I’d heard that some SSRIs can make you gain weight, or are really hard to stop taking. Some might make your blood sugar fluctuate. Tell them every. single. one. of your concerns. The fear you have that made you write Coke? Tell them all of that shit.

        Taking charge of your mental health is a brave and courageous thing. You’ve got a lot of grit, sis. You can do it.

      • The Coquette says:

        Make the damn doctor appointment. (If you need help finding a doctor, let me know.) Take control of your own mental fucking health. Quit being scared of this shit.

      • Gaybeard says:

        Make sure you have a professional who monitors your drug usage and takes the side effects of SSRI’s and other anti-anxiety/depression meds seriously. I had a doctor who didn’t monitor me and put me on concurrent medications that made me fucking loopy. I second what Coquette is saying and I don’t want to scare you off, just a reminder to be active in your recovery process and to demand the proper care from the professionals you interact with. A common side effect of certain SSRI’s is killing your libido. If that’s something that’s important to you then make sure that the professional you’re dealing with takes that side effect seriously and is willing to adjust your medication appropriately. Use that example as a barometer to make sure the person helping you takes you and your quality of life needs seriously.

      • Amanda says:

        Just wanted to chime in also to encourage you. I went through depression about ten years ago and I tried talk therapy for six months, but it wasn’t enough. Within three weeks of starting antidepressants, I was well on my way to feeling better. I only needed them for about a year, and never again. Some people have a harder time finding the right one. In my case I needed a secondary prescription for sexual side effects but it was all so worth it. Therapy is great too, to help you get out of the patterns of thinking that lead to the negative emotions. Good luck!

        • Strangely Rational says:

          Or use an antidepressant with a lower incidence of sexual side effects in the first place. I’m on Wellbutrin, which is very effective with a much better side effects profile than SSRIs, to the point that I’m honestly not sure why anyone would start with an SSRI.

          The two most problematic SSRI side effects for me – weight gain and loss of sex drive – are not only less of an issue with Wellbutrin, but in some cases are actively improved by it. In other words, it can cause weight loss and an increased sex drive. Not to say that it always will, because everyone reacts differently, but it would be my recommendation of the first thing to try.

    • Lotcal says:

      Hey K squared, my partner started SSRIs about 18 months ago. There was a definite loss to sex drive and ability to orgasm for a couple of months but it went back to normal once he settled into the drugs.

    • StephenM3 says:

      I’m pretty sure I’m good-looking, but my social skills are massively underdeveloped. Great at first impressions, get along great with people in general, tend to shrink away as soon as connections start to form because I genuinely have no idea what to do. (I blame the fact that I moved around way too much in the ~8 years since high school, right when I was getting over some extreme teenage shyness I ceased to make any long-term connections. I blame that, but of course it’s probably more complex.) Anyway I don’t really have any friends other than childhood connections I see like once a year. Something I’m working on, trying to get out more, figure out how to forge connections and maintain them at a time when seems like everyone my age is downsizing socially.

      Maybe my story here could’ve been its own ask for advice. But mmm. Answered your rhetorical question I guess.

  3. whatev says:

    As someone who moved to L.A. not too long ago and didn’t know anyone or have a car the first few months: just rent a convertible and go explore. Uber works too. Go to an outdoor show. Free yoga class on the beach. Medidate on the self-realization fellowship. It’s only dull if you let it.

  4. Alexander says:

    I don’t stalk my exes, but I check on my exes’ exes. Why do I feel the need to do that? Dopamine and insecurities? I really thought I was the only one who did that, feel a little less fucked up knowing someone else does it too.

    • The Coquette says:

      It’s not insecurity about your relationship. It’s insecurity about your life. You don’t trust your own heart and mind. You need external validation to measure yourself. You check on your ex’s exes because you need a control group of external data points to determine your own internal levels of self-worth and happiness.

      • zhenya says:

        how do you wean off of the external validation? being self-aware/recognizing it doesn’t seem to be enough to stop looking for it and getting the temporary high.

        • tbunny says:

          You have to make a shift in your mind. Realize and accept that you have a core of inalienable worth regardless of where you stand in any kind of external hierarchy (which are mostly imaginary anyway). The dependence on this kind of external validation is in my opinion a holdover of your inner-child, focused on (parental) approval. As an adult, you can approve yourself. You have a right to like yourself Mr. Rogers style, just for being you, not because of some score or ranking.

          • Brynn says:

            As an addendum to this, I’d like to add that enjoying external validation isn’t a bad thing. In my opinion, it’s even okay to need it once in a while. We all have days where we feel like a bag of shit. You need to be able to get out of that rut on your own, but it’s nice to have someone around to slap your ass into motion.

            But if you begin to notice some sort of pattern, you gotta nip that shit in the bud. Deconstruct why you keep returning to _____ for validation. What does it make you feel better about, specifically? What’s in the way of you recognizing your own value/resilience/goodness? Are you attributing a flaw with false breadth and importance? Clear that shit out.

            And perform some regular self-maintenance whether you feel you need it or not. Don’t wait for the day that your mom dies and your SO dumps you to start being conscience of your emotional posture. You will be overwhelmed.

          • zhenya says:

            oof. thanks y’all. you touched on things I’ve been mulling over for a while now with my therapist, making tiny incremental progress :-/

            @Tbunny – you hit the nail on the head with the parental approval bit. I come from a family of soviet immigrants (myself included) and been raised on a steady diet of shame and heavy judgement. So it’s no wonder I’m an adult whose self-worth hinges on the validation and approval I get from others, regardless of how irrelevant they really are.

            @Brynn – “What’s in the way of you recognizing your own value/resilience/goodness?” on an intellectual level I can and have recognized that I am resilient/inherently worthy of love/etc. For whatever reason, it’s hard for me to feel this way without the external validation. I can tell myself the words, but it feels hollow. Especially when it comes to attractiveness (I’ve been thin most of my life up until a few months ago, and have had a hard time separating my thin identity from who I really am – but that might be a whole other can of worms?)

            I guess it just keeps coming back to: why, if I can give myself approval (and I do), do I still feel infinitely happier and better about myself when someone else recognizes that I am attractive/smart/worth knowing and loving?

          • tbunny says:

            Overcoming a lifetime of self-denial is a long and difficult struggle. Accepting (developing awareness of) and appreciating your own feelings is a big part of it: by doing that, instead of denying, repressing, distracting, you are actually learning to love yourself, and learning to regulate yourself. You are healing the lack of love you experienced as a child, when your feelings were denied, shamed, etc. You are learning that you can have painful feelings and live. That feelings have a life-cycle when you let honor and appreciate them. Once you’ve done that for a while, then you can actually start to get to a point of having a basic respect and appreciation for yourself that’s not tied to money, status, possessions, etc. all of which may be nice but all of which are contingent and don’t really give you inner peace and freedom. Then you can start to examine the unconscious beliefs that you absorbed as a child about how, basically, you are not allowed to like or be yourself, want things for yourself, etc.

          • Mil says:

            @Zhenya are we the same person!? I too, come from a family or Soviet immigrants (myself included) and also, say “oof. thanks y’all” and also, am working day-by-day towards consistent internal validation.

            I just thought a kindred spirit might amuse you. Oh, and to at least try to address your last question: It might be because it’s easy?

            (Tbunny has a great explanation, and I love this statement: “then you can actually start to get to a point of having a basic respect and appreciation for yourself that’s not tied to money, status, possessions, etc. all of which may be nice but all of which are contingent and don’t really give you inner peace and freedom.”)

            It is much more rigorous to break the habits of self-shame or lack of self-worth than it is to get those things from someone else (who will not always be there, but you will always be with you, until you are no longer.)

            This is gonna take work. I can attest, lol. I think the things that have worked best for me are delving deeply into my personal philosophy, as well as attempting (key word) to develop good spiritual/psychological habits, whether through meditation, journaling, affirmations, all of which I try to apply to “releasing the notion of self” overall. I’m sure you’ve noticed if you’re a longtime reader or explored this blog deeper, CQ advocates for ego-killing often in her advice.

            Peace, and much Love!

  5. Giuliana says:

    not to scare OP, but i never found an SSRI that did not turn me into an emotionless zombie. i was prescribed them because they were supposed to lessen the severe anxiety i was diagnosed with. i tried around fifteen different medications and none has made me feel the “normal” that was being aimed for, but rather like all my normal useful emotions were blocked. could not cry over stuff that was legitatemly sad, and was never happy either.

    ultimately i did CBT therapy instead of medication, which helped me get my anxiety under control. i understand depression is a different thing (and i have not been diagnosed with depression or been medicated for it, even though i was given SSRIs). either way, until i tried CBT i was feeling hopeless about the medications. i felt very indifferent about life constantly and that is not what i wanted… anyone else have a similar experience, who was told medication could help fix their brain?

    • Elsie says:

      Paxil + CBT has saved my life umpteen times. It takes effort. I still have to be committed to sticking around even if it’s another dark day.

      Some people have one arm. Doing some things takes extra effort for them. I’m in the same boat, brain-wise. I do what I can, when I can and don’t beat myself up when I can’t.

      Some days I’m a zombie. That’s OK. Some days I’m too embarrassed to go out in public. That’s OK. Some days it just takes extra effort to make an emotional connection with people and I do have the energy. Go me!

      When deciding on any course of treatment you have to pull out a balance sheet and asses the good and bad. Paxil helps me deal with more problems than it causes. YMMV.

    • Sat says:

      I tried sertraline and turned me into a zombie. I switched doctors and she agreed that I should not take that kind of medication and put me on Wellbutrin. It works wonders for me! There are a lot of different kinds of antidepressants so with a bit of luck you can find one that will work.

      • Strangely Rational says:

        I was on sertraline as well for awhile, and I’m currently on Wellbutrin. Big difference in energy – much more with Wellbutrin, I’m slowly but steadily losing weight without making any dietary changes, and it hasn’t damaged my sex drive.

  6. Katie says:

    I’m not the person who asked, but the line about the problem being me & not the dating apps was the most helpful relationship advice I’ve ever received. Oof.

  7. Becky says:

    Honestly, I’m still pretty meh on bumble because it seems like most of the dudes in my area are still skeezy and/or looking to get their dick wet. It’s fine to be a hookup person, but I’m not a hookup person. So for me it’s just a lot of telling guys I won’t send them nudes.

    • The Coquette says:

      It’s not your app’s fault if all the men near you are skeezy. (And if a dude on Bumble asks for nudes, REPORT THEM. That’s the whole fucking point.)

      • Becky says:

        wait really? you can report a dude for being creepy? LIKE, THAT IS SOMETHING THEY ACTUALLY ACT ON?

        huh. there’s gotta be some kind of internalized misogyny around the fact that it literally didn’t even occur to me that’s an option.

    • Brooke says:

      I haven’t tried Bumble but most of my girl friends who have say they rarely get a response back on the messages they send. That’s mainly my issue with Hinge. Most guys don’t usually message and when I do message, I rarely get a response back. I think a lot of people just use Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder for the fun of it versus to actually date. Or they use it just to hook up. At least, that’s been my experience with these apps mostly. Although one of my friends did get engaged to his now fiance six months or so ago from Tinder. 🙂 They were dating for a year and half or so prior I think. And one of my best friends is dating her current boyfriend of eight months from Hinge, so it could happen.

      • Becky says:

        yeh, I met the guy who lives with/financially and emotionally supports me and my daughter on okcupid. online dating isn’t ENTIRELY garbage.

  8. Nerdlinger says:

    Bumble lady, you have an entire profile to mine for openers (provided they’ve actually filled it in, generic ones are okay for empty profiles). Ask about a pet in the picture. Ask about a hobby you see. Ask about a recent film or series if it is in his interest list. If the purpose of the app is to flip the script, it also means don’t repeat the failures of so many dudes on OKC who just spam “how are you’s” and overused zingers.

    • Livvid says:

      Agreed. I usually pick something in their profile to ask about/compliment/discuss. I use the tone in their profile to gauge what kind of approach to take (sarcastic? Earnest? Ironic?) Not different from how I’d approach a guy in real life (or girl for that matter) – one size fits all zingers are boring. Once you’ve been in online dating for a while, you start to learn certain best practices and nuances. I’ve been using dating profiles for years now, and it’s just starting to get pretty fun for me now that I’ve stopped taking everything so seriously and started taking initiative. Again, not untrue for meeting people in real life as well. Don’t be afraid to get rejected!

  9. Joe S says:

    You’re (still) my favorite, too. Feelin’ a lot of good “in sync” vibes from your stuff lately, related to my recovery and personal development. Take care out there.

  10. Nina says:

    To the person who dislikes their therapist: definitely get a new one. The whole healing process is built upon the relationship you establish with your therapist, so it’s important to have someone you like and feel safe with.

  11. Notsofia says:

    So once you know that it has nothing to do with the relationshop, but everything to do with your own insecurities, any practical tips on resisting the urge of stalking?

    • Anon E. Mouse says:

      I tried using Leechblock (an add-on for Firefox) to stop myself using the websites, as it was primarily social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (and it’s third party viewers like Pikore and Ink361), which helped somewhat as I didn’t require those sites for work and I’m not actually a user of those platforms. I re-routed every one of those sites to the random page of Dear Coquette (I thought I might as well learn something). However, you could try re-routing to a meme like this one: and it might be the metaphorical bitch slap you need to get off their pages and do something else?

      I admit it is difficult and when the urge got too difficult to resist, I did check because I knew the password to unblock the sites. The only real option I found was filling my life and more importantly (at that time), my mind, with something else to focus on. For example, I bought books to take my mind somewhere else, I went for walks, exercised more (with headphones in to concentrate on the activity), I joined clubs that I already had an interest in but that were more teamwork-based so I had other people and a combined goal to focus on, I dedicated my time at work to tasks that needed to be done, rather than procrastinating when I could. Meditation also really helped. Even like, 10 minutes of deep breathing helped take my mind onto another topic and centered me (as new-agey as that sounds). You could even consider volunteering to give yourself some perspective? But sometimes, giving someone who cares about you a call – a friend, a parent, a sibling, or even just an impartial voice on a telephone – can help. I’m not sure where you are in the world, but in the UK we have an organisation called Samaritans, you can visit them here and if you need someone to talk to, about anything, they can help, too.

      Sending positive vibes and hugs.

      Good luck!

      • Päivi, käsittääkseni EU on hyväksynyt muitakin gm-lajikkeita, mutta jäsenmaat saavat jossain määrin (?) itse määrätä suhtautumisensa niihin. Eli Suomessa tuota ei edelleenkään saa viljellä, vaikka itse lajike EU-tasolla onkin kelpuutettu. Tuoda kai kuitenkin saa. Suomessa elintarvikkeissa tulee olla merkintä jos gmo:ta on käytetty raaka-aineena (yli tietyn rajan joka oli jotain alle prosentin), eli vahingossa et tule tuota syömään. Elukat onkin sitten toinen juttu, niillehän gmo-ruokaa syötetään jo nyt surutta.

    • Anna says:

      It’s completely OK to discretely stalk someone, but you have to compartiment and limit it so it doesn’t become emotionally overwhelming.
      I find social media and email obligations overwhelming in general, so I give myself an hour every day to deal with the overwhelming stuff. I still allow myself to access social media and email during the day, but anything that could trigger anxiety goes to the “I’ll deal with that later in a specific time I previously reserved for that kind of shit”. I also fine tune my notifications on my phone and on FB so that I don’t receive notifications from certains people (like my ex) or groups or whatever (includes the stuff I’m going to check at the end of the day anyway).
      Also, diversify your highs. Those crushing insecurities aren’t going to go away immediately, whatever I tell you, though you should be working on them in the long term. Find other things that boost your self esteem. It can be as simple as looking up to a light grey sky and admiring the singularity of your own perspective and consciousness. Point is, you need to train yourself to appreciate a certain number of accessible and reasonable mental “treats” that make you feel better in the short term.
      Create a system that works for you. Review it and fine tune it regularly. When feeling overwhelmed by your stalking and the metacognition of stalking, you should be able to resort to a thought process that simplifies the situation, and you should create the physical and mental ressources to do that. This isn’t how you resolve existential insecurities, but it does save you a lot of grief.

    • Raspberry says:

      Notsofia, have you considered simply deleting your Facebook? It doesn’t technically address the underlying need to compare, but when you can’t compare, you compare less and care less. Other than that make the effort to get out and have new experiences that require you to be present. Volunteering is good. Also simply reading or exercise. This is just my opinion. I actually love not having a Facebook.

  12. sam galetar says:

    comment on “If I’ve never written anything do I really want to be a writer?”…

    somebody said “there’s loving to play tennis, and then there’s wanting to be a tennis player”. if you love to write, nothing can keep you away. if you wanna be a writer, just dress funny and drink exotic drinks, and lie about it. be honest!

  13. Annabea says:

    Maybe it’s my area or maybe it’s just me, although I have have luck on tinder, but does anyone else find they don’t make many matches on bumble?

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