Convenient Marriages, Crazy Friendships

Quickest way to not get some for the forseeable future? Quickie marriage with your French ex-girlfriend. And yet another Disappearing Act dilemma …

Q: I have an old girlfriend with whom I am still very close. She’s from France and she’s a hard-working, home-owning, tax-paying member of American society. She’s currently spending thousands trying to get her green card. But with the economy, her work situation may soon take a turn for the worst. If she gets laid off, her green card chances vanish. She is not a migrant worker or illegal alien, so her chances of benefiting from bleeding heart liberal immigration reform are non-existent. We’ve talked about getting hitched so she can stay in the country, then a quickie divorce in two years. But I sense it might be difficult meeting new girls and explaining my marriage of convenience. How much of a downer would that be to talk about on a second date? – Do I Say I Do?


A: Not nearly as much of a downer as those you’ll face if she decides she doesn’t want to get divorced after all, is entitled to half your assets, wants to have children or any number of other potential nightmares. If those don’t scare you enough, then rest assured that being married to a French ex-girlfriend with whom you’re “still very close” will do a fine job keeping you from even getting second dates – let alone laid, I might add.


Q: First I met this woman named “Vicky” through a mutual friend. I ended up [having sex with] Vicky for several months without the friend knowing because it would have ruined their friendship. Then with no argument or anything, Vicky stopped e-mailing, returning text messages and calls. If you’re kicking it, having a good time, there is NO drama and the sex is great, why wouldn’t Vicky just contact me and say, “Look, I’m seeing somebody seriously now so I cannot be in touch with you any longer?” Versus just vanishing?


The second situation is with “Rhonda.” Two summers ago she came to visit me. A week turned into a month because of how much we were enjoying one another. (There was absolutely NO sexual interaction.) Then she met some guy in NYC. Again, she just vanishes without saying a word. I’ve even shot her an e-mail telling her that she’s ruining a perfect friendship and she has yet to reply.


The third situation was with “Melissa.” I met her a year ago and she gave me her business card. After running into her two more times, I finally e-mailed her and we went on a lovely lunch date. I was getting to know her and she seemed like she was getting to know me too as she called and texted daily. No sexual interactions, just a great startup friendship. She was even talking of inviting me over for a romantic dinner. I sent some flowers to her job one day and she was thankful for them. I also left an inexpensive gift certificate for her where she gets her manicures and pedicures. To this day, I don’t know if she’s used it as she’s never returned any e-mails, calls, texts from that point. Same thing — if she’s seeing somebody why not tell me versus disappearing like a thief in the night when it was a perfect friendship?


I don’t know if these women think I’m going to curse them out or call them names, but that’s not my nature. I’m a man of respect. What’s your opinion about why some women just back out of the perfect friendship without saying a word? – Confused


A: Good Lord, I need a drink.


See, folks, this not-so-little gem illustrates one of the myriad challenges of this gig: Deciding how much of the letter writer’s (LW) original content to retain. You want enough to illustrate key detail – and behavioral patterns – but not so much that you drive readers off in frenzied search for razorblades. And I sincerely hope you’re all still with me at this point.


Back to you, Confused … You may very well be a “man of respect,” but you’re also a man of mixed signals and overblown expectations. You keep talking about these “perfect” friendships being ruined, but all I see are: 1) a friends-with-benefits situation that, for whatever reason, wasn’t working for her anymore; 2) a textbook room/board/companionship mooch until something better came along; 3) a blown shot at a (girl)friend thanks to your premature gifts.


I recently wrote about “The Disappearing Act,” that unfortunate trend in dating where somebody disappears like a thief in the night, as you say, with no explanation whatsoever. Yes, it happens, and yes, it always sucks. But when something keeps happening to you, you have to own up to the fact that you’re the common denominator. You’re half of these weird friendship/romance hybrids, emphasizing that there’s “NO sexual interaction” and “NO drama” yet attracting all kinds of it by proffering your body, your home and loaded gifts like flowers. You sound like a nice enough guy, Confused, if a bit overzealous. So it’s time to stop agonizing over why you’ve been wronged by these women, and start figuring out why you seem to keep choosing such flaky types – for friendship, romance or whatever else — in the first place. Oh, and stop putting so much pressure on yourself to create and maintain “perfect” friendships, ok? They don’t really exist, anyway.

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