Worried

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

My significant other has been having a really hard time lately. They’ve been depressed for a few months now and I\ think this is the first time they’ve ever dealt with depression. I’m not sure I’ve been much help. I can offer support, but I’m obviously not a professional. They don’t really want to see a professional though, and I understand that’s their choice, but as their SO I’m worried about them. How can I broach the topic of them seeking professional support?

Sincerely,
A Worried Partner

Smitten

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I’ve had a thing with a senior for a while. It’s not really going anywhere and I’m not sure it should. He’s a nice guy, but he’ll be gone in a couple months and I’ve still got a few years left at Reed. Being with him makes me happy, but we’ve started this relationship so late in the year I’m not sure we should continue it. What if I develop real feelings for this guy? Is this worth pursuing or should I let it die before it becomes anything too real?

Sincerely,
Smitten

Romance Rookie

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I started seeing someone about a month ago and, on the surface, it seems to be going pretty well. We’ve been on several dates and have a blast every time we’re together.

Seems great, right? But here’s the problem: this is the first time that I’ve ever dated someone casually, and I can’t tell if I am outside my wheelhouse. I might not know how “casual dating” works, but it seems like this guy is stringing me along. When we’re together, I am completely confident that he is interested in me, but lately, whenever we’ve tried to make plans, he’s come off as aloof and has even cancelled on me a few times. At first, this seemed like a clear signal and I assumed that he was no longer interested in me, but he continues flirting with me, texting me all night, making plans with me, and then backing out of those plans.

I really like this guy and want to spend more time with him, but it seems like he’s jerking me around. Is he just flaky or is he uninterested? Or is this all just part of the “dating game?”

Sincerely,
Romance Rookie

Anxious Dodger

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I dated a girl from Reed all of last year. Over the summer, I found out she was taking the fall semester off. We decided to end things because the long distance was really hard. I've been at Reed this past semester and I've been doing really well. I've moved on and I haven't spoken to my ex since we broke up over the summer. But she's back this semester and I've heard from mutual = friends that she wants to talk to me. I don't really want to have this conversation. I know she still likes me and I'm just not a confrontational person. I see her a lot in the halls and around campus, but I've been trying to avoid her. I can't keep this up all year, so how do I make it clear to this person that I don't want to rekindle our old relationship?

Sincerely,
The Anxious Dodger

Dazed and Confused

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I am a very nervous person when it comes to hooking up or asking someone out. I have never been in a long term relationship. I have never really hooked up with anyone unless I was inebriated and I’m not really comfortable with that. There have been times when other people have wanted to hook up with me, but they were inebriated and I was not at all. It’s not that I didn’t like the person, it’s just that I wasn’t comfortable with the situation. This brings me to my first question: what is the best way to say no to someone? Should I be worried about hurting their feelings? What if I do actually like them, but I am not comfortable in the moment?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I love my partner very, very much, but we’re seniors. I have to decide if I want to pursue opportunities after college around the country, or limit myself to places my partner may be going. Is it worth it? How do I know? I’m not sure my partner would do the same for me (if their future was a little more up in the air and mine was more concrete), but it’s something we're sort of avoiding. How do I know if it’s special enough?

Sincerely,
Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Solitary Sweetheart

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I haven’t been in a relationship or had any hookups in the two years since my last girlfriend. At first I thought I was just recovering from the breakup, but as time went on I began feeling more disinterested in other people and more apprehensive of connecting romantically with somebody. At this point I feel neither willing nor able to initiate contact with people who I have any vaguely romantic interest in, but I’m increasingly lonely and unsure of how to express those types of feelings. The only thing bigger than my fear of being rejected at this point is my fear of what to do if my feelings are actually reciprocated.

Got any advice on trying to rebuild a love life?

Sincerely,
Solitary Sweetheart

Alone not Abroad

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

How do I cope with my significant other being so far away?

We knew that studying abroad would have its fair share of trials, but this seems like too large of a burden for my heart to carry. We have always been trusting of one another—strong on our own and even stronger together—but now it seems that we are both relying on someone who isn’t even available for a simple “Skype date.” Our times never match up and one of us is always having to stay up too late (me) to make time for the other.

I want to do well in all my classes, but not having my SO here makes it that much more difficult to focus on my studies. I’ve even considered telling them that we need to take a break, but don’t want to ruin their study abroad experience.

I feel so broken and hurt and jealous, I don’t know how to make us both feel better. Whenever we do talk, it always leads to one of us arguing about the other ignoring us, or a jealous accusation of spending too much time with our “friends.” I can’t help but fear that maybe we didn’t get the chance to form a solid foundation before they left, but I know we have something special. But nothing is more painful than spending time with friends, getting inebriated at a Reed event, and sending out an “I miss you” text, only to receive a “same.”

I don’t think I can do it anymore Miss Lonely Hearts, but I also can’t stand the thought of losing them or them being with someone else. Please what should I do?

Sincerely,

Alone not Abroad

Chaste and Confused

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I came to Reed a virgin, and sort of assumed college would happen and I'd be de-virgined pretty quickly, but a few years later I still haven't found the right person and I still haven't had sex.

It's not that I haven't found anyone that I could have sex with, if I wanted to. I've hooked up with people during my time here, and we probably could have had sex if I'd wanted to. But I'm 21 now, and being a virgin at 21 feels pretty freaking awkward sometimes.

I want my first time to be with someone I love, but I've never fallen in love with someone at Reed and been in a position where we could have sex. I do, however, hook up (i.e. make out, grind, cuddle) with guys occasionally, but I feel like the fact that I have no idea what to do with a penis sort of makes it awkward at a certain point, too.

I'm stuck in this endless loop of being self-conscious about hooking up with guys because I don't feel comfortable getting them off and then it feels weird and awkward, which makes me not want to hook up with anyone. But then if I don't hook up with anyone I will never learn what to do with a penis, which will only make me feel more shy and awkward about hooking up with anyone, and it goes on and on.

Part of me just wants to get this whole sex-for-the-first-time thing over with so I can have casual hook-ups (I feel like I might be missing out on the whole "casual college sex" thing), but I also don't really feel comfortable sleeping with someone I don't at least sort of love. What should I do?

Sincerely,

Chaste and Confused

Back Away from the Future

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I’m in a relationship with a guy I really love. He’s a year older than me (he graduated last year) and we’ve been together since my freshman year. I know that might sound like I just have never really been with anyone else, but we’ve been on and off before and we always get back together because we really love one another and we’re committed to working things out.

I’m pretty worried about our future, though. Since he’s been out of school a year he’s gotten a job in Portland that he really likes and a lot of his friends still live in the area, so he feels pretty settled down for the foreseeable future. But I’ve been applying to grad school programs for next year and I haven’t gotten into any yet, so I have no idea where I might be next year. He’s the only reason that I’d be staying in Portland, because I don’t really want to stay here. . .so if I got into grad school in Seattle or New York or something I’d be moving there, and if I didn’t get into any grad schools I kind of want to move back home and reapply next year? I don’t think that it’s fair to ask him to follow me home (on the east coast) and then just keep following me wherever I end up, but I don’t know what else to do. I really don’t want to break up with him, but I can’t think of any way that we can stay together.

Help!
Back Away from the Future

Alonely

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,

 

There’s this guy I know who recently left Reed, who I lived with for a year. He dropped out and, while we used to talk every day when we knew each other, our conversation gradually became more infrequent after we stopped living together. Before he left we only really spoke in passing, nodding to each other on the blue bridge the way Reedies do when they want to acknowledge, but not engage. Since leaving, I know he’s been pretty isolated. "Loneliness" was the main reason he left Reed, and I can’t imagine it has improved since he moved back in with his parents. Now it seems like he’s trying reaching out to me. He keeps texting me. He wants me to friend him on Facebook. He wants me to add him on LinkedIn. I don’t even have a LinkedIn. I don’t really want to speak to him but I’m not sure quite how to tell him to leave me alone. It feels wrong to just keep ignoring him but I don’t want to say “fuck off” either.  


– Alonely

Jimmy Brooks

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,

Before I came to Reed, I had a great girlfriend. I know you have to be close with your gf but we were super close... she used to call me all the time, sometimes even in the middle of the night. I knew when I left to come to Portland things would be different, but I guess I didn’t realize how different they would really be. So many things have changed since I left. We didn’t talk much during last semester, and I think things are pretty weird between us now. Even though I’ve lost contact with her, I’ve been hearing a lot about her from our friends that are still in the city.

Here’s the thing: ever since I left the city, my girl got a reputation for herself. I mean, everybody knows. She’s started wearing less and going out more, and I’ve heard from our mutual friends that she drinks glasses of champagne out on the dance floor. She even hangs out with some girls they’ve never seen before.  

As you can imagine, Miss Lonelyhearts, all of this has got me down. She’s got me stressed out! My mind just goes in circles. I’m constantly thinking about how it was with her and all the things we did together. Most often, I find myself thinking about how she used to call me on my cell phone late in the night when she needed my love. I knew when that hotline bling that could only mean one thing. But now, she doesn’t need my love. I wonder all the time if she’s bending over backwards for someone else, or if she’s getting nasty for someone else. She used to stay at home and be a good girl. Now, she’s never alone! It seems like she’s always with someone else. In my opinion, she doesn’t need nobody else. She should just be herself! But right now, Miss Lonelyhearts, she’s someone else.  

I’m not asking for advice on how to get her back. Ever since I left the city, she and I just don’t get along.  She makes me feel like I did her wrong. Yet, I need help with this break up.  She’s changed for the worse. I still like her; I think about her all the time. I care for her, but she’s not the girl I used to know. How do I go about this??

Much love,

Jimmy Brooks

 

Halloweenie

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

There’s this guy I’m sort of friends with who acts really freaky towards me, I think without realizing it. Whenever he sees me on the quad, he comes over and interrupts the conversation I’m having to say hello and then tries to change the conversation, so that suddenly I’m talking about his thing and my friends have disappeared. When we’re hanging out with our mutual friends he sometimes jokingly puts an arm around me, which makes me really uncomfortable! When I’ve asked him to stop, he says that he was only joking and everyone laughs but me. One of our friends told me that he has a crush on me which makes everything worse. I just want him to leave me alone!

Over fall break he Facebook messaged me, asking if I wanted to be a group Halloween costume with him. He said he’d thought of a really funny idea but nobody else would do it with him. The last thing I want is to spend all of Halloween matching costumes with him like we were dating! How do I tell him to leave me alone, both on Halloween and forever?

— Halloweenie

Gender Blender Defender

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I’ve been dating a non-binary person for a while now and my parents have been asking me about them. My SO doesn’t identify as either the male or female gender. I’m pretty close with my parents but I don’t know to refer to my partner in front of my family. A little neighbor girl in my apartment complex approached me one day and asked if I had a hamster. I said no. Then she asked if I had a girlfriend. For simplicity’s sake I said yes but it felt wrong. I know my SO doesn’t care what I call them or what my parents call them but I find it difficult when trying to explain the complexities of gender to people not as well versed as Reedies usually are. Any advice?

—Gender Blender Defender

with Agony Aunt

Exciting changes abound, readers! This week I, Miss Lonelyhearts, have entertained my first ever write-in guest: PSU’s Agony Aunt, author of the popular advice column, “Ask Auntie.” We had such a wonderful time writing together that we couldn’t give you just one of our letters. Offered in the stead of my normal column, then, is a charcuterie of council — a panoply of pointers — a few short letters to get you through your day.

Pioneer

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

In the Spring, I signed up to take a course at Lewis and Clark College through Reed. I went to our registrar’s office and filled out my paperwork, and Ben promised me that all would be figured out over the summer. On the Monday of O-Week, however, a scary thing happened. I checked my mail and addressed to (my name and mailstop) 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd was a tuition bill for $22,000 from Lewis and Clark! Following this obviously startling bill, I’ve started receiving installments of the Weekly Bark, which I must say is both more concise and perhaps more exciting than SB Info. I’ve even considered buying a Pioneers sweatshirt, and have entered their bookstore raffle to see if they will pay for my textbooks for this semester. I want to maintain my Reed spirit but their campus is beautiful, their lawns aren’t filled with smokers, and I swear, even their squirrels seem a little more alive than ours. They crawl up the trees filled with youthful vigor and don’t seem to be plagued with a sense of stress about upcoming paper due dates.

What should I do, Miss Lonely Hearts? I just want to be able to enjoy Daft Ball without hearing jokes about what a Reedie and a Clarkie have in common. (answer: they both applied to Reed.)

Signed,

Reed’s Confused Pioneer

F. Wayne

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,

In high school I had this friend. She was more of a satellite friend than anything until the fall of senior year. You see, she and I had another class together (I think it was English). For this class we had to do these group projects. As fate would have it she and I were paired up.  It was quickly decided (by her) that we would work at her house on the coming Saturday. I wasn't too psyched for it, but when Saturday came around I went to her house and my word I am happy I did. I got to the house and rang the doorbell and her mom answered. I mean, my friend was pretty cute, but her mom had got it goin’ on. My jaw dropped a little bit and my heart fell madly in love. After that Saturday, Stacy (my friend) and I became very good friends.  We would hang out during school, but more importantly I would come over after school. Maybe we’d hang around by her pool. Whatever our plans were, I would always be sure to suggest that we go to her place just so that I could talk to her mom.

After the school year ended, Stacy's mom asked me if I wanted to make any extra money during the summer. She suggested that I mow her lawn. I was quick to agree. There was this one time in particular that I will always remember. While I was mowing the lawn, Stacy's mom came out with just a towel on. I could tell she liked me from the way she stared and the way she said "you missed a spot over there."  

Well unfortunately I left for Reed at the end of that summer which meant I also left Stacy's mom before anything could happen.  Last semester I decided to leave it as just a fond memory and move on, you know? But just the other day I got this text message from Stacy! It rekindled all of my emotion for her mom. I haven't responded because I didn't know what to say. Miss Lonelyheartz, she's all I want, and I've waited for so long... I know it might be wrong but I'm in love with Stacy's mom.  What do I do? What do I say?

– F. Wayne

Sexy in Seattle

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts,

 

When I was home over winter break, a good friend of mine introduced me to two friends of hers whom she’d brought home with her from college. The three of us hit it off — well, we did much more than hit it off. I ended up having sex with both of them. At the same time. By the way, none of us had really planned on a threesome, and I’m not usually the kind of person to be so sexually exploratory. It was equal parts exhilarating and extremely stressful. But anyway, it turns out that the person who I did most but not all of the sexual stuff with had been a virgin, and this was their first sexual experience. Fast forward four months, and this person has a summer internship in Seattle! They messaged me to let me know that they were coming to the PNW, and asked if I wanted to hang out. Since our relationship up to now has been purely sexual, I’d be kind of interested in having some kind of a summer hookup. But I have no idea what they want! Is this so that we can become friends? Is this for sex? Something more complicated? What should I do?

 

— Sexy in Seattle

Heartbreaker

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

I started seeing this boy last spring and he's great. He makes me feel attractive, he always supports me, and our times spent together are full of laughs. Here's the thing: he keeps fighting me. Literally. Just last week he tried to tickle fight me into submission. When he was about to lose, he shouted "I'll never surrender!" and pulled both me and him off the bed onto the hardwood floor below. Now he has a concussion and everyone in the dorm is monitoring his health to watch for a relapse.

I'm starting to worry that this relationship is gonna be higher maintenance than I initially expected and I don't think it would be fair to leave him. He's severely concussed, but I want to get out and I'm starting to suspect that his behavior is deliberately reckless. I love him, but his decisions are draining me.

What should I do?

– Heartbroken Heartbreaker

Happy New Years

Dear Miss Lonely Hearts,

Have you ever vomited in front of your extended family? Me neither. . . . until Christmas. My family has a tradition of eating Thai food on Christmas Eve (don’t ask me why). I ate too quickly — the pad thai was the G.O.A.T* — and I vomited at the dinner table all over the garlic chicken. My whole family saw me. My stepfather shook his head. My brother laughed. My grandmother cried. I did all three at the same time.

— Happy New Year’s