Originally published on March 11, 2010.
I am a girl who sabotaged my relationship. I was angry; I had complaints. But my real issue was a store of repressed childhood trauma, and I was working it out on the closest person to me, my BF. We had something magical, and I destroyed it. I am now willing to give 110 percent to fix it.
We no longer have sex. We are hardly on speaking terms. I know now that my relationship skills are stunted—more childhood baggage—but I want to save my relationship. Do you have any tips on initiating sex with someone whom I have traumatized or on improving communication with someone who is so resentful? I am willing to give it time and effort, accept my faults, and breathe deeply rather than react in anger when we talk through things.
Saboteur Addressing Dysfunctions
I'll get to your problem in a second, SAD. But first, a Savage Love programming note: I don't usually mention where I'm writing a particular column, because it doesn't really matter whether my computer is sitting on Ann Landers's desk or resting on Apolo Ohno's ass. (I will let you know when I am writing in a bar, though, because alcohol can impair an advice columnist's judgment.)
I'm writing this column on an airplane, and I was totally in the zone when I noticed that the guy sitting next to me on this airplane was reading my laptop screen. So I wrote this: "HEY! YOU! YEAH, YOU! THE GUY SITTING NEXT TO ME ON DELTA 2360! STOP READING THIS SHIT UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO ADD!"
Okay, SAD: Unless your boyfriend is a weight bench or an exercise ball, you weren't "working it out" on him. You were taking it out on him. Now, maybe you've been led to believe—by your counselor, by Oprah, by some other idiot with an advice column—that you can just throw up your hands and say, "Childhood issues! Childhood baggage!" and everything will be magic again. Sorry, SAD, but sometimes the damage is too great. Your boyfriend won't speak to you? Won't fuck you?
Accept that you—not your issues, not your baggage, but you yourself—screwed yourself out of a decent guy. End it, get your ass into therapy, and make an effort to resolve your issues and unpack your bags before you inflict yourself on some other dope. You don't have to be 100 percent healthy before you date—no one is 100 percent healthy—but you do have to be in relatively good working order.
And what does the guy sitting next to me on this airplane think?
"I've dated girls like her," says TGSNTMOTA. "Daddy issues. She should get over her shit before she dates someone else, you know, but she probably won't. Girls like her never do. But maybe this one will, because you're pulling her up short. And she should move to an island—Hawaii, the Big Island—because being on an island can really help you work through your shit."
TGSNTMOTA—who was nice and wound up exchanging phone numbers and still text once in a while to this day—weighed in on the other letters. You can read the entire TGSNTMOTA column here.