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Wall Or Nothing

I'm 34, as is my boyfriend of two years, who just broke up with me. He sweepingly cites "incompatibilities," and refuses to go to couples counseling. I'm devastated, as I was finally coming to believe he was "The One." I'd always assumed my "investment" in him would eventually pan out, and he'd want commitment as much as I do. Well, he remains content to continue living with his parents, only seeing me one night a week (after which, if sex happens, he insists on going home). He lunches with me occasionally, but wants to "play it by ear" when I try to schedule romantic activities. We've never broken this routine, which is dictated by his family, work, solitary hobbies, and male friends (in that order). I envy girlfriends whose significant others treat the relationship as an integral part of life. Was my asking for quality time and more togetherness too demanding? Should I consider this relationship a lost cause, and is my prognosis as bleak as I feel it to be? I still love him and can't imagine many other fish in the sea will make me feel the way he did.--Still Hooked

You're wise to assume that guys who catapult out of bed immediately after sex aren't hanging around in every bar on the planet. After all, there are a number of lesbian establishments where such guys are in extremely short supply.

But, ooh, the way this guy made you feel! How -- like he was paying for the room by the hour and didn't want to go into overtime? How ... special. The first night he made the mad dash back to mummy and daddy's after sex was the time to remind him that he'd been in your bed, not the express lane, and to point out that it was a regular old bed, not a "Craftmatic Ejectable." Since you never drew the line, all that got drawn was your face, and he took this as your tacit "go right ahead!" for his continuing weekly quickies and for using you as a social buffer zone when all his other options fell through.

Had you stood up for what you wanted from the start -- being treated more like "The One" than "the one-night stand: super-saver package" -- you would have discovered two years ago that expecting "quality time and more togetherness" from this guy is like trying to hold up a bank with half a ham sandwich. He's simply the wrong tool for the job. Nevertheless, you decided to wait him out -- even though he gave you no reason to believe you'd ever get more of an emotional return on your "investment" than you'd get from a goldfish. Perhaps you'd come up with a plan, like the notion that you might get him to stick around for 20 more minutes after sex if you hid his shoes and socks.

Love is blind, huh? Well, maybe it's time love got a seeing-eye dog. If you weren't so desperate to avoid looking at anything but The Road To The Aisle, you wouldn't be where you are now: wondering why your best bet for lifelong intimacy isn't a man whose idea of great sex incorporates a clean getaway, and whose romantic m.o. appears to be modeled on the Berlin Wall. (OK, that's not completely fair; it's possible to hold on to a piece of the Berlin Wall.)

Happily Ever Now

I'm divorced, as is the single mother I've been seeing all year. We're keeping our relationship secret because she doesn't want men in and out of her children's lives, and I don't want children, step- or otherwise. Instead of going out in public, we meet at hotels, which is exciting for both of us. We laugh constantly, have great discussions and great sex, but since we both know nothing will come of this, aren't we just wasting our time?--Enjoying Going Nowhere

Clandestine fantasy fun not doing it for you? Need a little more reality in your reality? Flip through pictures in magazines of happy families. These are advertisements. They're supposed to make you want to be like the people in them. Of course, in real life, the handsome young dad is probably gay, the smiling mom's probably a model who eats only amphetamines, and the chocolate lab and the children are rented. In much more real life, everybody's screaming over the ringing phone, the barking mutt, and the under-parented delinquents. This is considered a "productive" relationship. You, too, could be out pounding the pavement and the personals for the child-free version of "productivity." Or you could simply content yourself with being content. Come on -- think about how lucky you are: You're a mister-ess. You've got all the excitement of an affair and none of the betrayal. It's working for you, and it's working for her. Count your blessings, and use plenty of birth control.

Copyright 2003, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

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