Fun-Sized Advice

On fun-sized advice

My relationship is OK. Not amazing, not bad. I oscillate between wanting to end it, and sinking into another comfortable night of Netflix with someone I love. I’ve never been this comfortable and I feel like it’s sucking out my motivation to improve other areas in my life. Is this a good reason to leave?
It’s not your relationship’s fault that you’re a lazy piece of shit. Fucking handle your business. Motivate. Improve the other areas in your life. Do it now or you’ll get stuck in a pattern where you think the best version of yourself can only be single.

I’m 25 and just started cutting myself again. What the fuck?
It happens. Go get some professional help. If you need a referral for mental health care services in your area, email me here.

Coke, I just got to Sydney for my best friend from high school’s wedding. So amazing seeing her and her family. Then we got to her apartment and met…him. Her fiancé is a total asshole. I’m kind of freaking out.
It’s not your wedding, so you don’t get to freak out. Be cool. Kill the fiancé with kindness, and don’t make any part of the wedding about you.

I need to make a career change, and I know exactly where to move, I know exactly what I need to do to get a job there, I’m close to having a significant amount of savings, and I even have a partner who’s ready, willing, and eager to go with me. I hate my current job, I’m sick of my apartment and my neighborhood, and I’m even getting tired of my entire city. So why I have I spent all my free time full of anxiety, goofing off, and not planning at all?
You’re paralyzed. It’s fear of the unknown combined with an ugly case of emotional and/or spiritual inertia. You gotta push through that shit.

Rupi Kaur? Thought you were above that kind of yuppy wisdom.
Milk and Honey was given to me by a friend who was dying of cancer. Y’all couldn’t have known that, but at the same time, y’all could also chill the fuck out. My book lists are a snapshot of what’s on my bookshelf. They’re not a curriculum.

The friend who introduced me to this blog oh so many years ago passed away unexpectedly and far too early. His funeral is tomorrow and I’m so glad that you’re posting more right now. It’s providing an unexpected comfort and connection. Thank you.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you read this and think of him fondly.

You followed me on Twitter a year ago, and since then, some of the coolest and most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure to know began following me. I’ve actually become friends with some of them. Sometimes, I feel like a fraud because they see me in a better light based on what they think of as a tacit endorsement from you. Either way, I’m still grateful. You are a part of me, even though I have no idea who you are and you have no idea who I am.
Yeah, Twitter has kinda become what Tumblr used to be for me.

Read your post from August 2013, On the harm in flirtation. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Been messaging some married guy back and forth, thought it was harmless since we’re both not interested romantically – but your post made me stop and think. And I realized his wife would be upset if she knew. I just happened to be hitting the random advice button. So glad that’s the one that came up. Thank you.
Glad the 2013 version of me could help.

Hey Coke. Do you know anything about the contents about your identity contained in this review posted recently to Amazon? Apparently, you’re an almost 40-year-old single mom, who fled L.A. because she was unsuccessful in her career and love life, among other things.
Ha! Every single detail of that review is straight-up wrong. The only thing remotely accurate is the fact that I’m a struggling human nobody like 99% of the world. (I mean, duh.) I do love the idea that my identity is an “open secret” amongst some set of people who are either tragically misinformed or completely full of shit. There’s something deeply satisfying about that.


114 thoughts on “On fun-sized advice

  1. Daffodil says:

    I’m 32 and dealing with urges to self harm again. It’s not just a teenager thing. I suspect this will crop up any time life puts the right type of pressure on me. At least at this point I know the drill for getting help and mitigating the damage.

    • ktk says:

      28; same. In my early 20s, it occurred to me that I don’t *deserve* pain, so now the urge just manifests itself as a desire to scratch at my skin.

      Therapy taught me how to get through it, thank god. But yeah, I think that, in certain moments, some amount of that impulse might always come back.

    • grouch says:

      I used to self-harm, for about a decade. Resisting the urge got easier with the passage of time. Now I sort of think about it sometimes, but I know it won’t help at all.

    • veryinsomnia says:

      My heart goes out to you. I have experienced pain that made me want to cause other pain in order to distract. I held a knife to myself in front of a mirror and thought about it for about a minute, a really slow minute…and even that can’t be close to what it takes to actualize.

    • Cloudburst says:

      Yes and no.

      Recurring doubt is inevitable in just about anything: a career path, a friendship, a dissertation…just any freely chosen project that one struggles through will inevitably come with times of doubt and hardship. Renewing one’s commitment to the project after working through problems ultimately makes the project more meaningful.

      Sometimes committed relationships can persist through these doubts, entertain them, acknowledge them ahead of time, make room
      for them, and remain committed despite the uncertainty. A lot of people prefer not to do relationships this way though. That makes a good deal of sense in an increasingly mobile world.

        • Cloudburst says:

          A lot of people prefer not to commit to romantic relationships. That makes sense for some people. I have friends who prefer to engage in relationships with an attitude that they’ll make it work for as long as it’s comfortable and convenient for both parties, which is a perfectly acceptable way to do it.

          Other people commit themselves to relationships knowing that at some point or another there will be periods of discomfort and doubt.

          • Brooke says:

            That’s what scares me and fuels my doubt when I’m in a good relationship – that the person I’m with has the attitude that he’ll make it work as long as it’s comfortable and convenient for him. Someone who has that attitude isn’t really in it for the long haul and is likely going to have multiple failed marriages, which isn’t what I want.

          • Strangely Rational says:

            Brooke – People who prefer not to commit generally don’t get married in the first place.

            Your doubt is really about something different than people who feel that way. It’s about honesty. The kind of person you’re describing isn’t misrepresenting himself because he doesn’t want to commit. He’s doing it because he isn’t an honest person.

            People who don’t want commitment are no more inherently dishonest than people who do. It goes both ways. A person who wants a long term commitment might hide that fact to develop a relationship with someone they know doesn’t want it in the hopes that they can change their mind.

            The fact of the matter is that every relationship comes with the risk that it won’t live up to your expectations, whether that’s due to a dishonest partner, not making your own expectations known, or simply having unrealistic expectations in the first place. For example, people who expect lifelong happy relationships – even with bumps – are leaving themselves open to major disappointment.

            Reducing that risk for disappointment may mean simply lowering expectations to a realistic level. The fact is that there are many people out there who aren’t willing to put a ton of energy into a failing relationship when it’s easier – and perhaps better for everyone – to end it and look for someone that better meets their needs for that stage in their life. It doesn’t mean that the relationship failed but that it simply ceased to be fulfilling enough to be worth continuing. People don’t always evolve together, and it’s important to evolve in the direction that’s best for you, not necessarily the same direction as your partner.

            I’m not going to turn down a long term relationship if one develops, but I’m always going to be fully aware that neither of us owns the other, and we are always free to leave at any time for any reason. Accepting that now won’t prevent heartache, but it won’t be nearly as bad because I won’t be losing a future I’d planned on having with someone.

          • Cloudburst says:

            Strangely rational—
            Though I’m in agreeement with a lot of what you say, particularly about honestly, I’m not sure that people who expect lifelong commitments are necessarily leaving themselves open to major disappointment. I know plenty of very happily married people in their twilight years who are intelligent, deeply connected, fulfilled, and have endured the complexities of life together. They counter balance the bitterly divorced.

            Love entails risk, certainly, but a one-size-fits-all approach where we stay in this until we’re sick of it doesn’t feel like it deserves he name of commitment. Some people do want to build families. Some people don’t. There is nothing wrong with either approach. I think the key is the capacity to be honest with oneself and one’s partner.

          • Alicia says:

            Cloudburst – I hear what you’re saying, but would also counter that the happily married people in their twilight years did and do indeed leave themselves open to major disappointment. Just because it hasn’t happened, and may never happen, doesn’t mean they’re not still leaving themselves open to the possibility.

          • Chris says:

            I would say that disappointment is inversely related to one’s feeling of personal responsibility in the relationship. If you’re counting on your partner to be certain ways, then you’re going to begin to disrespect them when they fail. I’m very lucky that my wife and I both feel responsible for each other. She knew that for a few years our credit card debt was too high, and that I was trying to fix it on my own. One day she finally asked how much it was – $40,000 – and along with saying, ‘that’s not so bad,’ she said, ‘but that’s basically in place of us having student loans. And the price of me staying home.’

            Big disappointments can also come when you don’t grow together. And you won’t, entirely. You can stay on a similar track by reading some of the same books, watching similar shows, etc. Shared goals help.

            Having kids makes it easy to have shared goals. It also keeps the social circle overlapping to a greater degree, because you do things related to the children.

          • Cloudburst says:

            I think Chris is more after what I mean than Alicia. The people who made it didn’t leave it up to fate, accepting the possibility of disappointment as looming over their marriage, they countered that possibility with a determination to reinvest and strengthen the health of the relationship. What Chris says about growing together if possible is right, about taking responsibility for one another (within reason) is also a part of sharing a life. Devotion still
            means something in a contemporary world, and some may eschew it in preference for a more cosmopolitan existence and ephemeral attachments, but it can sill be had. We cultivate marriages, guard one another’s well-being, nourish a shared culture together.

            It’s doable.

            The other thing is fine if you want to be overly detached, but it isn’t commitment. It’s hanging out together, which you might do…for decades, even.

          • Chris says:

            I never thought about that – that couples would be detached from each other so deeply. If that’s the case, why the get married at all? If it wasn’t that way, but turns into it, I can see the reason for breaking up.

            What’s funny is how even the closest couples have private lives. The other day my wife and I were visiting a store t meet the parents of my daughter’s friend, and my wife said to me,”Oh, I get coffee here sometimes.” I didn’t even know my wife had started drinking coffee.

            Sounds trite, but it’s all relative.

          • Strangely Rational says:

            “The people who made it didn’t leave it up to fate, accepting the possibility of disappointment as looming over their marriage, they countered that possibility with a determination to reinvest and strengthen the health of the relationship.”

            Here’s the fundamental problem with that line of thinking and gets to the core of what I’m saying. You can make that determination for yourself. You can choose to invest everything you have in your relationship. You CANNOT make that decision for your partner. And you also cannot be sure that they are telling you – or even themselves – the truth when they say they’re going to work with you no matter what.

            You can think you know someone inside and out, but you don’t. Anyone who insists that they can is fooling themselves.

            Trust me, I know this all too well. I’m in the process of divorcing the “love of my life.” We had a long history, a deep love, an almost psychic connection, and an intensity for each other that lasted over the years. I poured my entire heart and soul into that relationship. When things started getting tough, I made sacrifices – endured the effects of his mental illness, his addiction, his deception, his increasing emotional abuse – while thinking that he was trying as hard as he could in therapy. And honestly I don’t know – maybe he was.

            The day that I discovered the true depths of his betrayal – bad enough that I can’t even discuss it here, worse than infidelity or anything named above – was the day that I realized that all my determination and investment in the relationship did nothing more than make my loss and heartbreak that much more devastating.

            What choice could I have made to avoid leaving myself open to that kind of pain? Just one. I could have promised myself up front that I would leave if and when the relationship ever stopped being a positive force in my life, and then kept that promise.

  2. Sam says:

    The Sun and Her Flowers (Rupi Kaur) just came out and it’s honestly very good so far. The nice thing about books is you can read a vast range of them without shame; they’re one of the few areas of life where you shouldn’t be consistent at all. The more variation, the better.

    • Chris says:

      Agreed. I read “The Communist Manifesto,” and was very interested to see that the USSR was talking about free public schools and child labor laws about 60 years before the US enacted either. Also, and this was an absolute gem, under Marx, women would no longer suffer the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie as they swapped wives, but instead would be in a collective pool that could be picked from. Yay Communism!

      I once tried to read a book by Glenn Beck on gun control, but didn’t get very far. I might check out his Christmas novel, but there’s about 5 books in my pile, making up maybe 3000 pages, so unless I wander passed it in the library, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

  3. Rimi says:

    I fucking loved Milk and Honey, it provided emotional sustenance and a means to mourn and examine my own shit.
    Her second book, not so much into, and I have friends who think she is garbage – her denouncement of her influences was certainly embarrassing and shitty; but the poetry that featured in her first book and her spoken word Ted Talk were both powerful, helpful and, ultimately, authentic.

    • alex says:

      Yes, exactly, it was genuine. Her poetry never tries to be something that it isn’t. I know people find her overblown and supercilious, but art speaks to us for different reasons under different circumstances, and I find literature snobs exhausting. Plus, being overblown and self-serious doesn’t preclude sincerity.

  4. clipper says:

    is it possible for a married man to have friendly online discussions with another woman when they have no romantic interest in each other without it being flirtatious in some way? do you need some kind of romantic interest on either side for flirting to be a concern? is it the online part that makes it weird?

    • Aletheia says:

      That’s like asking if married men and “another woman” can be friends in real life without it being flirtatious in some way. Yes, of course it’s possible. It happens all the time. Being different genders (or of the same gender, if the people in question are either gay or lesbian) does not automatically mean that there will be flirtation.

      I think that part of the problem with online is that it’s much more difficult to read the tone of what’s written, at least compared to in person, where there’s the tone, body language, how things are said (pauses, etc.), and so on that help to get a person’s point across.

    • is it possible for a married man to have friendly online discussions with another woman when they have no romantic interest in each other without it being flirtatious in some way?

      It depends what they are talking about (whether in person or online). In my view, intimate conversation – “I had a fight with my wife about X” – is not appropriate. My husband has many women friends whom he will see when he is out and with whom he corresponds on facebook. I don’t mind. I would mind terribly if he shared information with them about our relationship.

      • clipper says:

        Would it bother you if your husband had the “I had a fight with my wife about X” conversation with a male friend? Not trying to be argumentative, just honestly curious. From my experience, men talk to each other about that kind of stuff all the time. If a female friend could help him see the light in a given situation and your relationship improves because of it, what’s the problem?

        • name says:

          I think the answer to your original question is that yes – a married (or otherwise committed) man can have a friendly chat with a woman, including about his current relationship, without it being inappropriate. This principle can be adjusted as per the relevant sexual and gender identities of the people involved.

          My boyfriend’s two best friends are women (although, one of them is a lesbian, so perhaps less directly relevant to your concern). I would feel sad for him if he felt like he couldn’t discuss our relationship with them. They were his friends before I was in the picture, and everyone needs to vent about their significant other sometimes.

          • Thracian says:

            Nope. I call foul.

            It is not true that “everyone needs to vent about their significant other sometimes.” I don’t think that’s necessarily healthy behavior. I talk to my wife about our problems and I don’t try to sheer up support from my friends. It wouldn’t be fair because I couldn’t give them her side of the story. Also, we noticed something a while ago about our friends who vent about their significant others: those relationships tended to end or suffer infidelities. The couples that lasted were the ones that mostly kept their fights to themselves. If we need mediation, we get couples counseling.

            And couples counselors worth their salt will tell you the same thing. You really shouldn’t be regularly divulging relationship conflicts with friends. It’s a recipe for broken trust, contempt, and damaged intimacy.

            The only time I would bring another person into the mix is if I felt I was legitimately in over my head— and that would be a real crisis.

          • Strangely Rational says:

            “Also, we noticed something a while ago about our friends who vent about their significant others: those relationships tended to end or suffer infidelities. The couples that lasted were the ones that mostly kept their fights to themselves.”

            Correlation, not causation. Hasn’t it occurred to you that the people most likely to vent are the ones whose relationships are further along in the process of breaking down already?

            And by the way, just because a relationship lasts doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

          • Thracian says:

            Strangely Rational– I’m sorry for your divorce, and I’m sorry for his betrayal, and for the breakdown in intimacy and for all the bitterness that you must feel now. I don’t blame you for wanting to reinvest in other things, including a self that is grounded without the marriage.

            When there has been a rupture like a death or a divorce it is necessary for a person to rebuild a relationship to the environment, to grow in ways that establish an even finer balance. Your ex was not honest with you, and I’m sorry. I don’t blame you for the way you’re speaking now. However, it is profoundly bad advice to suggest that we all reserve a healthy mistrust for others. That undermines the project of secure relationships. Any kind of healthy relationship must be grounded on trust. That we can never really know another person is true to a point (we can never really know ourselves, either) but without the capacity to trust others, we die.

            I hope you find people you can trust, Strangely Rational. I’m sorry for what was done to you. And I hope your ex finds himself worthy of someone’s trust somewhere down the line.

  5. Buddydear says:

    Alright sweet commenters. I’m at the end of my rope here and maybe you can help.

    What do you do when something ugly and sad has become the centre of your story of you? When your life becomes a Before and an After, all prosaic daily unhappinesses remind you of That Thing That Was Done To You, all achievements are despite it and yet aren’t enough to make It have been ‘worth it’… I want to throw it into the ocean but it keeps bounding back to me like some kind of rabid puppy.

    • Chris says:

      Ah, excellent Q, Buddydear. This is like that load of nonsense where people always say bad things are like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon. In reality, the butterfly must emerge from the cocoon to survive; without that particular very necessary act, it won’t be able to thrive. Also in reality, people who have completely UNnecesary acts thrust upon them are made to think that those things they survived were actually good for them.

      Well, they’re often not. They may have prepared you for the next time that terrible and shitty thing was near, but you know what would have been better? If you’d had zero instances of that happening.

      For example, let’s say the terrible thing was being accused of a crime you didn’t commit. Did the interrogation aid you in some way in the future? I bet it did. Would you have been better off never to have been slandered (literal definition) and then harassed? Most definitely.

      Let’s say the terrible thing was physical harm. Did the physical harm prepare you when next confronted with such a threat? Of course it did. Would you have been better off………?

      This event, or series of events, is not the core of your being. It is not even a fucking speck. It just seems that way because the spotlight is on it. Like a microscope on an atom, it seems significant, but it’s time to sink it, and let the crabs and mollusks eat it up and shit it out.

      Will you ever forget it? Maybe not. But it is not you, and it is not of you. It is merely something that happened, as infinite things have. The shadow it casts is not even dead; it’s fake. What is real is you, and your shadow is long and deep.

      • Buddydear says:

        How do I reconcile it being one of an infinite number of things that have happened, with acknowledging that it was a particularly significant thing to me, with significant effects on my life? How do I put it in a perspective of insignificance and distance, and not have that be denial/avoidance?

        Or how do I acknowledge its significance and effects without making it the centrepiece, illuminated in a spotlight that shows it in brilliant detail while casting its shadows on everything else?

        I sense I’m still in a trap, where each option by its incomplete nature eventually turns me around to the other, and neither can be my home for long. It’s like all I can do is shine my spotlight on that one thing, or turn my spotlight off and equalise everything into pitch black. I feel like there’s an answer out there, a way out, but every time I can feel it for a moment it shades into one or the other familiarly unsatisfying state.

        Maybe it’s too soon. I don’t know.

        Thank you. Your comment made me cry which probably means something or other. I just don’t know what.

        • Chris says:

          Your comments are resonating a lot with me right now, Buddybear. I’m going through something similar – reconciling some bad things that happened to me (one in particular that was made worse by shitloads of smaller ones) in my past with other issues I’m having now, realizing the connection, wondering if I’ll ever get past it and be able to work towards what I want without The Thing constantly weighing me down.

          It’s been slow going, and there have been some days where just getting out of bed feels like an insurmountable task, but I can feel myself steadily climbing out of the hole. For me, finding ways to express how I’m feeling, be it through talking it out in therapy or with people I trust, or (especially) making art. Weirdly, writing silly fiction I don’t intend to show anyone has been a big help. It’s like, if this character can get through this, hopefully I can too.

          It’s goofy as hell but fuck it, it makes me feel better, and maybe it would work a little bit for you too.

        • Chris says:

          Buddydear, you may not forget, and you may continue to struggle with letting go.

          As a person who obsesses over things, I find that I carry things far too long, and far too far.

          Just the other day I was in court (for work) and saw something that reminded me of an old boss (job I left 2 years ago). The entire rest of the day I was going through all these things in my mind, mostly work-related, and it was awful because it’s fake. Those things were real 2 years ago, but they also died and become dirt 2 years ago.

          I was down in the dirt, which is okay because there are some valuable things to do there (grow things , mainly), but I’m not growing anything there; I’m jumping into the graves of my past and trying to make them something they aren’t, and never will be.

          Is it possible you are doing the same thing? Attempting to resurrect things that can never be?

        • Chris says:

          Buddydear, you may not forget, and you may continue to struggle with letting go.

          As a person who obsesses over things, I find that I carry things far too long, and far too far.

          Just the other day I saw something that reminded me of an old boss (job I left 2 years ago). The entire rest of the day I was going through all these things in my mind, and it was awful because it’s fake. Those things were real 2 years ago, but they also died and became dirt 2 years ago.

          I was down in the dirt, which is okay because there are some valuable things to do there (grow things , mainly), but I’m not growing anything there; I’m jumping into the graves of my past and trying to make them something they aren’t, and never will be.

          Is it possible you are doing the same thing? Attempting to resurrect things that can never be?

    • RocketGrunt says:

      You gotta process that kind of thing, get past it, and not let it define who your are or how your life is. In my case, That Thing That Was Done To Me defined my romantic relationships and affected my interactions with men in general, and a couple years in counseling took care of it. Now it’s just something that happened, and it doesn’t mess with me anymore.

      • Chris says:

        That’s awesome you got passed it. I had an issue I’d held onto for way too long. I finally swallowed it down and bit that bullet for my kids – to give them a better life.

        I was lucky because the new thing was so much bigger to me than my petty grievance.

    • ktk says:

      • Make a list of the things that used to make you happy. Force yourself to do some of them every damn day.

      • You *can* shift and rewrite your story. It’s painful and hard and so, so worth it. Therapy helps. Art helps.

      • Process That Thing in whatever way works for you, and seek help if you want/need it. Shoving it away will always make it come back more ferociously.

    • Jessica Sen says:

      The Thing That Was Done to your past self.

      It’s over.

      Have compassion for the person who went through that, and realise that you are no longer that person.

    • Strangely Rational says:

      You can’t and shouldn’t try to throw it away. You have to embrace it as a part of what made you the person you are now, because you can’t go back and erase it.

      I’m not saying that you want it to be the center of your identity; as you know, that’s not healthy. I went through several years of increasing trauma that only “ended” (at least, stopped piling up) a few months ago. I’ve always been caught in the trap of seeing my life as being everything that’s happened up to now. I too asked myself if there was anything that could happen to make up for it, to bring me to a place where I could see my life to date as a net positive? That would take a lot of spectacular things happening over many years.

      One day, though, a thought occurred to me. Why can’t I just change how I define what “my life” is? Why can’t I decide that instead of seeing it as everything to date, I’m going to see it as everything from now on?

      That was a huge moment in my recovery.

      My past isn’t alive, so I need to stop seeing it as a part of the life I’m living now. It’s a part of my history. And if my life starts feeling difficult and unmanageable, I can look back at it for reference to see how much better things are now than when I was in the middle of it, and how relieved I am that it’s behind me instead of in front of me. Does it hurt to think about? Sometimes, yes. But hurt doesn’t have to equal suffering. Suffering is what happens when you work too hard to resist a hurt that you can’t avoid.

      Can you just decide to think this way yourself? Not immediately, no. It’s a place you have to get to. My goal here is just to let you know that such a place exists, and that you can find it. What you have to do to get there depends on just how severe this thing that happened to you was, how recent, and how vulnerable you were at the time.

      Think about your emotional wound and try to come up with a physical one that’s comparable in severity based on how much you’re suffering and how able you are to get through it without help. What level are you looking at? Cold? Stomach bug? Broken leg? Gunshot wound? Then ask yourself what you would do about that condition if you had it right now. Treat it at home, make an appointment with a doctor, go to the hospital, or call an ambulance?

      Whatever it is, you need to do exactly that, except with a mental health specialist instead of a medical doctor. Your mental health is every bit as important as your physical health and should not be given any lower a level of priority.

      I’d highly recommend that you at least see a therapist if there’s any way you possibly can. If you’re hesitant to do regular therapy, then start with just an evaluation to at least get a better idea of what you’re dealing with. You could have anything ranging from depression to PTSD, and you’ll be better able to approach this – even on your own – if you at least know what you need to address.

      But just in case you absolutely can’t do that, please at least look up Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). That’s made an enormous difference in my ability to deal with my trauma and having to accept the loss of a part of my life that I’ll never get back again. It’s typically done in a group setting, but there are also lots of resources you can read to see if anything about it might be helpful. The section on distress tolerance contains one of the most important things I’ve ever learned: radical acceptance.

    • Derpy Bear says:

      I’m in the same boat. I’m in therapy. only a few sessions so far but it has been helpful. I actually managed to talk about something awful I went through as a child only a few sessions in.. I thought it would take months or something like that but it just came out. I guess my new therapist is good.

      You can’t change the past (I’m learning that myself) Acceptance is hard (again working on that myself)

      Not sure where you live and what therapy options are but if you can afford it/benefits cover it then it’s worth a try for sure.

  6. Teamsalamander says:

    Trauma recovery is not a straight path. Yeah, rewrite your story if you want but the prologue already went to the printer and there’s not gonna be another edition. What helps me is noticing and aclnowledging when I’m using a coping mechanism and why because it prevents spin out. If I’ve spun out the only thing that helps is conversation with a kindred spirit or loved one. I have been in recovery since I was 4 years old. The early years were easier because I repressed so much but the chickens came home to roost in early adulthood. 25 years and I’m strong, bitter, tender, and a fucking badass. Embrace yourself babe, and don’t take any shit.

  7. alex says:

    I just read the Amazon comment, and, jesus, how fucking sad. I’d love to know which one of Coquette’s posts hurt him so deeply. (Maybe the warnings about meth? A Bernie slight or something?)

    • RocketGrunt says:

      I think everyone would be at least a little disappointed to learn her real identity because we’ve all built up a specific image of her in our heads and there’s no way she could fit everyone’s expectations. This person probably heard this rumor and was offended that she’s (allegedly) not what they wanted her to be.

  8. Laura says:

    The thing is, even if Coquette is a 40 year old woman with children who recently moved from L.A. in search of new opportunities… that’s not a bad thing. Like, how is that an insult?

    • Mono says:

      As coke herself once said, wouldn’t that be even more impressive?

      The funny thing about writing, is that fiction is often the only place one can tell the truth. Just because cokes ID might be less glitz and glam and sex and drugs, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of truth here. If it didn’t ring true for people, no one would read it.

      • Chris says:

        And we can all recognize “the life” won’t be as true as what people imagine. Just because Coke was able to tell the difference between a man and woman going downtown while she was blindfolded, had an MD administer X with Sliquid, and did a bump off 9 inches of drummer, doesn’t mean those weren’t one-off wild times between 25 years of dedication toward a solid career in a lame field.

        After all, how many times do you need to experience something for it to have been a defining or fascinating moment in your life?

  9. Jax says:

    Wrote to coke about this but I need an answer soon and have nobody to ask about it… I also love a lot of the regulars in her comment section.

    So I started talking to a guy on tinder who said that he had just moved to my town with a buddy. I started talking to another guy on there who said the same thing. I asked if they knew each other and they were in fact talking about one another. One of the guys suggested a threesome. I’ve always wanted to try one… but I had always pictured it as a FMF one and not a MFM. I’m still excited by the idea but kind of scared. Like I don’t know them and I’m a little insecure. If anyone has any advice, it’d be much appreciated.

      • Jax says:

        Thankyou! I typed threesomes into the search and didn’t find what I was looking for. I forgot about this post! I never thought anything in it would ever apply to me back then. I appreciate the response, more than you know 🙂

    • Chris says:

      Be open to the idea of getting to know them over the course of 6 months. Neither of them knows you, so neither of them cares about you. If you had a 3-way with a SO, then brought someone in you both thought was cool, you’d have your SO to be your advocate, and also to guide the whole thing toward your fantasies. With these 2 guys you’re taking a chance on something that has an incredibly big potential downside, and a highly unlikely possibility of working on the upside.

      Think about it: Maybe the only thing these dudes are into is double butt penetration (where they both go in at the same time). Here you are, maybe not even knowing that’s a thing, and it’s all they can talk about while planning their time with you!

      The point is, you don’t know. And you’ve never done this before. You need the care and expertise of someone who has done this who also cares about you. Here, you may get neither, and you definitely don’t have the latter.

      Hope this helps.

      • experimental says:

        I’m sorry, why does she need to get to know them “over the course of six months”? She’s trying to fuck them, not date them. And why can’t she guide her own fantasies? What the fuck?

        Safety is one thing, but fuck this weird, condescending comment.

        • WhoAmI says:

          Agreed. I’ve been invited by two men for a threesome a few times now, and you sound overly paranoid about it Chris.

          I say, play it just as safe as you would for a one-on-one hook up ; your intuition is to be trusted to an extent, and you won’t be able to relax and enjoy the fun if you’re worried about your safety. There’s no upper limit to how many precautions you can take in those kinds of circumstances to reassure yourself ; but any more than that is just overkill. If you can’t ease your mind into it no matter what, forget about it for now ; you’ll have other opportunities for a MFM threesome sooner or later.

        • Chris says:

          I said, “be open to the idea,” not, ‘hey, you better do this.’

          It’s an alternative POV, experimental, which is what she’s asking for.

      • Jax says:

        I do feel like 6 months is way too long of a time to try to set up a threesome. I don’t think it would take that long to establish the trust required for one. I do agree that neither of them care about me at the moment and possibly never will… I’m not looking for them to care about me. I just wanted to know some tips in order to feel safe and at ease and maybe how to actually go about it. I don’t want to look or feel awkward, though maybe it’s unavoidable in this type of situation. I don’t have an SO and don’t want one right now so that idea is out the window. I know how to say what I like, what I don’t and when to stop. Lol butt thankyou! I actually didn’t know double butt penetration was a thing… but I already know I’m not into it and can tell them so if need be. Thankyou for your opinion though! Truly. I’m happy to try to look at it from all sides.

        • Chris says:

          No problem, Jax. You seem to have gotten that when I said 6 months, I meant a reasonable timeline for you to see if these are guys you’re into. At first glance, they might seem doable, but maybe you just hate a guy who’s a bad tipper, or is married but lies about it.

          Good luck.

      • Lit says:

        Y’all are being a bit hard on Chris, no? My guess is that he has teen daughters; he’s trying to be cool and sex positive but is actually freaking out a little.

        • Chris says:

          Lit, that’s hilarious that you nailed it on the head like that. I have 4 daughters, and 2 are older.

          The other side of it is that I would personally rather wait. It’s not an issue of drive; just wanting to have a deep intimate intellectual and emotional connection to go. Even if I was going to be with more than 1 person, I’d be seeking something more in those moments.

    • Lit says:

      I’d recommend that you find someone in your life you can talk to about this. You need to guarantee your safety and you need to know where to go for emotional support.
      As for the threesome, go on as many dates as you want with either or both of these guys. Define what you expect from the experience, know that it will be different from what you expect and remember your boundaries.
      The flirtation, seduction and foreplay were amazing my first time having a threesome with two men, the sex was a little awkward. One of them ended up being my first and only romantic partner and years later we’re still together, and the guys are still best friends.

      • Jax says:

        Thanks! I’m going to let my sister know who I’m meeting, where and when I will text her next. I can’t really tell her much else though. She’s the closest person to me but we don’t talk to each other too much about our sex lives so that’s why I came here for answers. I’m going to take you up on the idea of having dates with them first. The one guy already suggested meeting him alone first if that would make it less intimidating. That’s really cool that you’re still with one and that they remained friends! Thanks for the advice! 🙂

        • Lit says:

          If you and your sister don’t talk about the naughty stuff, maybe you can frame your discussions around issues of trust, respect between partners, intimacy, consent etc. My younger sister and I find it icky to talk about the details of our sex lives, but very natural to talk about the feelings and reflections on our experiences.
          Have fun on your dates and give us an update (if you want) 🙂

      • Chris says:

        Excellent points on dating them singly and together. By being with them individually, there will be more of a feel for the experience.

  10. experimental says:

    I love this website but the design is driving me crazy. I know I’m being a bitch right now. I just don’t understand the fonts or the layout or anything. Coquette deserves a better website! Let us donate!!!!

    Also before any of you asshole mansplainers try to explain web design to me, fuck off.

    • Chris says:

      Uh, u obs don’t know about sqrtl and C#, but it’s ok because you have lady parts.

      Since I’m a big man with money I will make a donation. Now we just need a reliable dude to handle the C@$H.

      • Jessica Sen says:

        I once saw a Cantonese TV drama where a girl with massive boobs killed annoying flies by slapping her tits together when they flew towards her. Is that a good enough use of my lady parts, or do I still need Big Daddy Ca$h?

  11. Mono says:

    When there are mass shootings we get into politics of race, religion, guns, and mental health. We’re so brainwashed by the idea that men are inherently more violent than women that we don’t discuss the most obvious demographic telling us what’s going on: all these damn shootings are committed by men. Angry entitled men. Where is the feminist response to this issue?

    • Chris says:

      What are you looking for, exactly? An abolishment of man-ness? Perhaps estrogen vaccines before 1-yo that are renewable every year?

      • Lit says:

        I think you misunderstood Mono’s comment. I think they were arguing against the notion of male essentialism. Little boys aren’t inherently more violent than little girls, and it’s a tragedy on every thinkable level that violence plays such an exaggerated role in men’s lives.

        • Chris says:

          I was responding to: “Where is the feminist response to this issue?”

          What is the feminist response? I don’t have it, and am not qualified to contribute to it.

          • Lit says:

            Education, education and more education has always been the feminist response.
            Teaching boys and girls about their biology, the social structure they live in, philosophical, epistemological and historical responses to the problems they may face in life goes a long way. Gun violence is a public health issue in America and domestic violence is a global issue. We can collectively chose to orient our children’s education so they may think about it earlier, they may take steps like seeking mental health related care for themselves or others, and in general deal better with difficult situations.
            Another feminist response is to put a fucking limit on the number of guns someone can have. I like shooting and ballistics, and I’m working on getting the appropriate permit to own a rifle. It’s a shit ton of work but at least nobody is getting randomly shot. When we have mass shootings (doesn’t happen often, but it happened once in walking distance of my home and it was devastating), it’s related to organized terrorist groups with financing from abroad, not just some gun collector who was angry at the world.

      • Mono says:

        Chris, you are proving my point. You’re so sure that this is what men are that you can’t imagine that this is a result of cultural influences of male entitlement and toxic masculinity. I’d like to point out that this isn’t just about violence, but about entitlement – entitlement to other people’s lives. And that’s certainly learned.

        The world is of full of men of every kind that never do these things. Sure, I’d ban all guns, but the question remains, why do a select few white men in America and select few muslim men commit these crimes of mass murder? My take is that they’ve been taught that when the world doesn’t go their way, they are entitled to take it out on other people, even going to the extreme of taking other people’s lives. It’s the most extreme expression of sometimes extreme toxic masculinity shared by these two cultures.

        I don’t see any reason not to call out men on this bullshit. I don’t want you to take an estrogen pill, and I don’t want to hear bullshit that this is an inevitable aspect of maleness, I want men to develop and enforce a culture amongst themselves of respect for all people. Is that really so hard? Such a high bar?

        • Chris says:

          Now I see your question: “why do a select few white men in America and select few muslim men commit these crimes of mass murder?”

          My most honest answer: I like your initial thesis about entitlement, and don’t have anything to add to it.

          From Experience: As a dad, coach, and former martial arts instructor, my experience is that young boys are more physically aggressive than young girls, which could be cultural, at least in part.

          From Experts: Neuroscientist David Eagleman stated in his book “Incognito,” that merely having a Y Chromosome makes you 800x more likely to be a violent criminal, based on crimes stats. Having said that, that could be largely bullshit, but if it was 99% bullshit, that would mean that men are 8x more likely, which is a very significant difference between the sexes.

          • WhoAmI says:

            If I’d have one thing to add, it’s that overall men have higher levels of testosterone than women. Not to say it makes one automatically more violent ; but you can’t expect the same emotions and feelings and reactions from a person with and without testosterone. It’s something people who transition always witness ; the change in hormonal balance also change their emotional responses.
            So yeah, it’s definitively cultural and learned for the most part, but the biology of male bodies sure doesn’t help.

          • Re-re says:

            My boys are rougher than my nieces. Testosterone plays some part. Anyone who thinks different is just ignorant. The culture thing is also true too because when my nieces hit each other they are punished, but if they hit my boys I don’t want to hear it because I know they been hit harder. They just don’t like they can’t hit back.

          • Ridley Scott's Ghost says:

            Yeah Re-re, no. Your sons deserve the dignity of knowing that they can’t be attacked without repercussions. Sure, a toddler hitting a teenager is one thing, but if a 15 year old girl hits her 13-17 year old boy cousin, she needs to be punished for everyone’s sake.

            Because she will eventually catch a fist in the mouth, and it won’t be from someone who cares. And wen it happens, the family will be in an uproar about how you can’t hit girls (and then they’ll have a totally unironic convo about gender equality at work).

  12. Jan Argarin says:

    Just. Thank you. I hope you know how much your posts help. Especially when you feel you are worthless and no-body will ever love you.

  13. Half-Assed Aspiring says:

    I’m not the person who wrote to Coke about struggling with the big move and career change, but I was in the same place at the time. Aside from the partner part, I could have written that exact same comment.

    Well, I did it. Her answer gave me the push to finally quit my job, move cities and start my new life.

    The problem is, I’m still doing the same fooling around and slacking off due to emotional paralysis that I was doing before, and I can’t figure out how to push through it. I know I have to, and quick, because I put all my savings on the line for this (I took the “move first, job later” approach due to having several months of living expenses saved up. Yes, I am aware some people will think that was an incredibly stupid idea). But even that high-stakes short-timeline situation isn’t lighting a fire under my ass the way I thought it would. I pushed through the paralysis enough to get here, but I’m struggling to get further than that.

    I guess my question is, how do I begin pushing through the next layer of paralysis? How do I force myself to make that next step?

    • Chris says:

      Perhaps considering a purpose beyond yourself. What if you decided that the first paycheck was going to help [someone/something you feel is desperately in need of such funds]?

    • experimental says:

      I read this book my therapist recommended called “Unfuck Yourself” (or something) because I struggle with the same paralysis, and the idea is just to force yourself to do it and push through, avoiding engaging with anxiety-inducing thoughts.

    • Chloe says:

      Do you have a financial safety net who would still pay your bills while you’re living in your new location even after your cash runs out? If so, that’s why you’re still goofing off and not behaving like a responsible adult. Don’t blame paralysis. You are deciding what you do.

      A financially-responsible adult with low cash reserves and no financial back up plan in a new location would be desperately searching for employment for a significant portion of the day – whether it be going door-to-door job searching at businesses with their CV/completed application forms, applying online via job sites, signing on at temping agencies to find a stop-gap job while searching for their ideal job, in addition to exploring the new town/city in free/low cost ways, such as visiting museums and art galleries, participating in sports teams or volunteering at an organisation to meet others in the new community which could also lead to potential employment opportunities – so that they are able to continue to financially support themselves to prolong this choice – if it, indeed, is what they want – and to establish themselves in their new community.

      If being forced to move back to where you desperately wanted to leave in the first place because there isn’t someone willing to bankroll your move after your cash runs out, then maybe you should have taken a vacation instead of/prior to attempting a permanent move.

      Best of luck!

  14. tiny_earthquakes says:

    “…a pattern where you think the best version of yourself can only be single.”

    Is that why I feel like ending my relationship even though we are absolutely great together, give each other endless emotional support, and love our very mellow, very comfortable time together? After spending some months by myself in a foreign country, I learned some things about myself that I couldn’t have learned while being coupled up. Now I’m afraid settling for a serious relationship so early in life (mid-twenties) could prevent me from developing a lot of what I feel is still stunted. But then again, it could be the start of an unhealthy pattern I didn’t even know existed.

    How do I reconcile my love for my boyfriend with the desire to develop myself in ways that require me to face the world alone? (And I mean, do they really?)

    I don’t know.

    • Chris says:

      This is different for everyone, Tiny.

      I got married at 22 and couldn’t imagine my personal development having been any better (or nearly as good) in the subsequent years.

      You may be on to something about an unhealthy pattern. A guy I grew up with fell into a pattern of always breaking up the moment things got “too intense.” It made sense when his work took him away from home most of the year, but when his life changed, he was still in that rut.

      Having said that, would going back to your boyfriend be going backward?

      When you think of being with your boyfriend, what do you see?

    • Just says:

      We don’t need her. I made a new site called Dear Coqet. It’s just like Dear Coquette except I’ve morphed her persona into the Portland conservative yuppie she’s become.

      For Ex: Dear Coqet, My BIL is such a douche. He inherited $7,000,000 and now drives around in a fancy car and eats only the most authentic tacos. WTF is wrong with him? Signed Trailer Trash

      Dear T.T.: stop being jealous of your BIL’s success. He’s a real American now, and you’re a shitlick who just missed clocking in at the SpeedWay. Don’t come bitching to me when you don’t get your $0.25 performance-incentive raise. You didn’t deserve it anyway. Toodles.

  15. Rex Bologna says:

    It’s funny how much you can come to hate a few words strung together when you repeatedly return somewhere, hoping for change, and find none.

    “My relationship is OK.”, 4 words which really eat at me, and have for over a month.

  16. Jessica Sen says:

    I saw like, 236 Buddhas today at the Ayudhaya ruins and I’m not even joking about how generic they looked. The point is that everyone’s a Buddha or something, so some common people were buried in graves under a Buddha statue at a temple. Then I climbed the steep steps and upon reaching the peak was a small dome with 8 golden Buddhas with people offering shit like bottles of water and right in the centre was a well and 8 storeys down was two men sorting out coins on a piece of yellow cloth like what the fuck really. Anyway but if everyone is a Buddha why are some bigger and more elevated than others? And there was this Buddha head that fell and a tree grew over it and the rules clearly stated that tourists weren’t allowed to take a photo where the person was elevated over the Buddha head but there were these two European tourist girls who were doing a cutesy pose standing above the Buddha head and I was so offended and said loudly “SOME PEOPLE JUST DON’T HAVE RESPECT FOR OTHER CULTURES” and it was too late because they’d already taken the photograph and exhibited their bad morals, but I ended the night having the best cocktail ever – it was called innocuously the Queens of Hearts but tasted like how bubble bath smells like, just frothy and deliciously sweet and complete, like an earnest ecstatic experience.

    How are your holidays going?

    Tomorrow is Boxing Day, so you either shop or you visit the dead revered king, depending on your location. There were croissants at breakfast but the toaster was very unreliable which ruined the prospect, and there was also a giant clock (analogue) whose minute hand moved not gradually but suddenly at the turn of the minute and it compelled me to watch it to the point where I was not making any conversation with the polite company around me.

    But the highlight was meeting the stray dog that ushered me out of the ruins when the sun had set

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