So, you may be wondering, what is this? You may be thinking to yourself, "Yes, Brain, but how are we going to get three elephants and a gallon of wax at this hour?"
Basically, people just keep asking the same questions online about relationships, over and over. I figured that we need a FAQ.
WARNING: If you follow my advice and you turn into a newt, it's not my fault.
- Is there a difference between being in love and just wanting to have sex with somebody?
- How do I know I'm really in love? Maybe I "love" them, but I'm not "in love."
- Is it OK to date somebody who you're friends with?
- Is it possible to stay friends with somebody after you've broken up?
- How should I act on a first date?
- My boyfriend/girlfriend is mean to me, but they really need me. It's OK to stay with them, right?
- My partner has a terrible flaw, but I think it will get better in time. Should I marry them?
- I just met this person recently, should we get married?
Boys and Girls
Q: Is there a difference between being in love and just wanting to have sex with somebody?
A: Um, yes. Next question please.
Q: How do I know I'm really in love? Maybe I "love" them, but I'm not "in love."
A: Okay, that second part of the question is one of my least favorite things that people say, in the whole world.
But the difference is that "I love you" is where love is a verb, and "in love" is where love is a noun.
Verb ("I love you.")
How do you know if you love somebody? Here:
The Encarta Dictionary (which is a pretty good dictionary), defines "love" as:
"to feel romantic and sexual desire and longing for somebody"
I think that's the best definition I've seen.
The Webster's Third New International Dictionary (an even better dictionary), defines it as:
"to feel a lover's passion, devotion, or tenderness for <loved his wife devotedly>"
So, if you feel those things, you love somebody. There are other definitions of the word "love"--these are just the romantic definitions.
Noun ("I am in love with you.")
a passionate feeling of romantic desire and sexual attraction
That same dictionary also defines "passionate" as
expressing intense feeling.
The Webster's Third definition for this one sucks, unfortunately, and I don't have an Oxford English Dictionary around (one of the only other dictionaries I'd trust when it comes to this). So we'll just leave it out.
So, in other words, if you feel intense romantic desire and sexual attraction for somebody, you feel love. If you wouldn't describe it as "intense," you don't feel love.
So, did you understand that? Pretty simple, eh? Those are the definitions of the words you are using. If you feel those things, you feel love. After all, that's what the word love means.
If you feel something else than the above, you'll have to make up a word for it or find another word that fits.
Q: Is it OK to date somebody who you're friends with?
A: Why wouldn't it be? Jeez.
Look, if you want to date them, date them. If you don't think it will work out, don't date them.
If you don't know whether or not it will work out...well, I think there's a certain amount of certainty you ought to go into a relationship with, yeah?
But at the same time, who knows if it's going to work out until you try it?
So the thing is, if you think that it will be a total failure, don't do it. If you think there's a good chance it will work out, go for it, if that's what you both want.
This is a matter of your personal judgement--it's not something anybody else can tell you. If you look at it and you say, "Yes, I want to date this person, and they want to date me, and I think it would be a good thing and I'll be happy because we really love each other," then go ahead. Love is awesome.
Q: Is it possible to stay friends with somebody after you've broken up?
A: Yes, of course it's possible. I've done it. That means at least one person's done it, so it's possible.
Did you really mean to ask, "How do I stay friends with somebody after we've broken up?"
Well, be their friend. Don't be a jerk. Just be their friend. And don't make out.
Q: How should I act on a first date?
A: Gee, that's a good one.
I usually just say, "Be yourself." If the person doesn't want to date you, then that way you'll find out.
If you put on some fake personality, then the other person's going to think that's who you are, and if you end up in a relationship with that person, you might have to keep on being that fake person around them. Do you really want to be some fake person in a relationship? I mean, personally, I much prefer just being able to be myself with somebody.
Also, you should probably be polite. On dates, polite usually means that you listen as much as you talk, and that when you're listening, you are (or look) interested.
Q: My boyfriend/girlfriend is mean to me, but they really need me. It's OK to stay with them, right?
A: In all honesty, you are giving your love and support to a mean person.
You're probably right--they probably do need you to keep them going. They're probably living off of your light.
But what is that light giving them? It's giving them the ability to continue to be mean to you and to harm other people. You are supporting somebody who harms others.
I know, that may be hard to confront. But even if that person is just harming you, you're actually helping them to harm you.
Look at it this way: I'm going to shoot your best friend, but I have a broken arm. You fix my arm, so I can now shoot your best friend.
Don't listen to what they say, only look at what they do. If that person takes your help and then "shoots" you and your friends, then maybe you should think about whether or not you want to support them.
Q: My partner has a terrible flaw, but I think it will get better in time. Should I marry them?
A: You shouldn't marry anybody who you couldn't live with--forever--exactly as they are now. At least, I wouldn't do it.
Many people believe that their significant other will change, or that they can change them, or that love will change them. I've never found any of those to be true. I just assume they'll never change, and I make my decisions based on that.
Q: I just met this person recently, should we get married?
A: Well, this is really up to you, but look at it this way:
How long have you known them?
Now, how long is the rest of your life?
Sure, you're in love, and that's great! But I'll tell you, I've dated people for two years and only then found out that they had some terrible personality problem (like say, an inability to be faithful) that I couldn't live with for the rest of my life.
There's no harm in dating for long enough to know that you want to marry somebody, and to have evidence that they'll be good to be with for a long time.
Really, what's the rush? I think some people get married just because they think it's romantic to get married, but let me tell you, there are lots of romantic things you can do that don't involve possibly screwing up your life.
I know it's hard to imagine now that this wonderful, perfect person could somehow screw up your life, but it's best to really just take the time and find out for sure, by really experiencing them over a long time.
Boys and Girls
Q: Can boys and girls really be just friends?
A: Yes, of course. I have a zillion friends who are girls. (That's an exact, scientific count of my friends who are girls. Exactly a zillion.)
So if it's happened once, it must be possible.
Did you mean to ask, "Is it possible for me to be friends with a member of the opposite sex?" I don't know! You're you! Is it possible for you? If you don't know, try it out many times, and then you'll know. I do suspect it's possible, though.
Q: Why do all boys ________? Why do all girls ________?
A: They don't. There isn't anything that all boys do or all girls do. Boys and girls are just people, like you.
There are certain differences in the ways that boys and girls are raised, in our society. (And there are other differences in other societies. It really is a cultural thing.) For example, girls may be taught to wear makeup. But it's their individual choice whether or not they do.
So there isn't anything that all girls will do, because any one of them can choose, of their own free will, to not do that thing.
Every person has free will. Grant them a little individuality, believe that they can really be themselves. Don't group them all together.
Q: What date is it OK to have sex on?
A: I think this is the wrong question.
I get the feeling like a lot of girls think their body is a prize, or something that they "give away" to other people.
No. Sex is just a communication between two people. A very intense communication, one that you share with somebody you're very close to. In our society, you're only supposed to share it with one person at a time. Them's the rules.
Don't ever feel like you have to have sex just because "he won't like me otherwise."
When you feel comfortable having sex, and you feel like that's the communication you really want to have, and your partner feels the exact same way, and it's not illegal (please, don't have sex with any 12-year-olds), go ahead.
But there's no magic number of days or dates. It's up to you.
It's unlikely, however, that you'll know somebody well-enough on the first date to really, honestly desire that closeness with a person. Remember, there is a difference between being really in love and just wanting to have sex.
Q: What exactly makes somebody a slut?
A: Oh, it's dictionary time, again!
The Encarta Dictionary says:
"an offensive term for a woman thought to be sexually promiscuous"
And the best definition I've found for "promiscuous" (from Webster's Third New International Dictionary) is:
"not restricted to one sexual partner"
So, do you have more than one sexual partner? Do people think you do? Then you're a slut. Otherwise, no.
Note that if you have multiple sexual partners in a brief period of time, then people are likely to think that you are
not restricted to one sexual partneras it says above. So, you could be thought to be sexually promiscuous, and in the eyes of the observers, you could be a slut.
If you think that the number of partners you've had in a short period means that you're seeming
not restricted to one sexual partner, then you're a slut, as far as you're concerned. You can change that, though. Just do your best to be more restricted to one sexual partner.
Q: Do all boys just want sex?
A: Um, no. See the all boys/girls question above.
That said, the drive to have sex can be pretty strong in many people. It can make them do irrational things, like have sex with people they don't love. This is true of both genders, boys and girls.
Usually the difference is that the boy is saying, "I don't love you, but I have this strong urge to have sex with you, so let's have sex," and the girl is saying, "I don't love you, but you really want me and that's flattering, and I also have a drive to have sex with you, so...OK."
Honestly, if you think you're just being used, then don't have sex. Having sex feels good for a short time, but being used feels bad for a long time.
And don't use people just for sex. That's mean. They're people, not chunks of warm meat.
But there are many boys in the world who want love and romance, just like girls. Everybody likes being in love for real and finding a great person to be with.