Running scared from that other ‘L’ Word: Love

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My girlfriend is getting too close for comfort. She says my past heartbreaks are obstacles to me feeling the same way about her as she does about me: in love.

She leaves things at my house and wants to introduce me to her mom. Then I want to bolt.

Why do people do this when things are fine as is?

Dear Phobia:

None of your girlfriend’s actions constitute a lifetime obligation. Stick around long enough to discover what’s next. Progress comes from outside your comfort zone, and an extra toothbrush in the bathroom isn’t that bad.

She is the one who said your heartbreaks are obstacles, but you included it, so it might ring true somewhere in your subconscious. Consider whether an emotional shield against being hurt in the future could hurt you in the present. Sit openly with that possibility and weigh how it makes you feel.


I’ll never forget my ex’s alcoholic, spiteful, cheating and backstabbing behavior. It was bad. Like, call-the-cops bad. Hair-pulling, throwing things, the whole nine.

That was years ago, but an acquaintance who wasn’t around back then is dating my ex now. I felt I owed it to the friend to warn her about this toxic P.O.S., so I did. Now she’s mad at me.

I was just trying to protect the friend from trouble, but somehow now I’m the bad guy. I give zero fucks about the ex, but how can I move forward with the friend?

Dear Hardcase:

Even if you’re right, you’re wrong. Injecting your experiences on someone else, much less unsolicited, is not your place. Their relationship is not about you.

Your dire predictions may be accurate, but maybe not. Just because the ex was a nightmare with you doesn’t mean she hasn’t changed or learned her lessons, or that your friend will make the same mistakes you did.

On top of all that, you’re the exact wrong person to offer these people advice. To you, she’s the asshole who wreaked havoc. To your friend, she’s a burgeoning romance trying to grow. You’re the odd woman out.

Your friend’s reaction was predictable, even probable. You can try to rebuild trust by admitting to yourself what you did wrong and then apologize sincerely.

Assuming you’re able to repair the damage, stop judging – even and especially if you’re right about their eventual bad outcome. If your prediction is correct, be prepared to take “I told you so” to the grave to save the friendship.

The Q is intended for entertainment purposes and not as professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected]

Illustration by Brad Gibson

This column appeared in Q ATLus magazine. Read the latest issue online here:

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