Formspring Friday: These Queers Desperately Need Your Advice Because We’re Stumped

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I hope you put on your compassionate pants this morning, because it’s time for another Formspring Friday! Formspring Friday is when you or someone like you leaves little question-gifts in our Formpsring inboxes and in turn, we regift these questions right back to you in the form of a weekend-long processing / feelings atrium open thread. It’s also a time when I share unrelated imagery with you for no apparent reason.

dollykitten

If you have a longer, more in-depth question you’d like answered by an Autostraddle Editor in our You Need Help column, email us at youneedhelp [at] autostraddle [dot] com. More info on our Formspring situations are at the bottom of this post. Let’s get started!

11 Formspring Questions For You To Answer

1. I just started dating this amazing girl. She’s a WOC from an inner city neighborhood; I’m a white girl from the suburbs. We both live in the city now. It feels more necessary than ever to school myself on my privilege. Where do I even start?

2. In love w/ bff, she flirts with me sometimes (for attention?), told me when she was drunk that she thinks she’s bi. She and bf break up – I kiss her, she doesn’t kiss me back or reject me either. She hooks up with guys when we’re at clubs, it hurts. What do I do?

3. I went from being angry and sad to just over it and over her. How can I let everyone/her know that I want it to be over now?

4. I have trouble dating someone if I don’t know them well yet. It’s just weird, sharing myself intimately with an almost-stranger. But if I get to know them too well and still like them, I’m worried the let down if they’re not interested will be big. Help!

5. I’ve always been told that one of my best attributes was that I’m very calm and don’t let things get to me. I used anti-anxiety meds for yrs&recently quit – glad I did, but I’m angsty now&wonder if I’ll disappoint people since some of that serenity’s gone?

6. I really need to curl up in someone’s lap and be read to. How do you deal when there’s no way to get what you need?

7. How do you deal with people who attempt to humiliate you with pointed, intentionally disbelieving questions like ‘So, (insert name), you’re a lesbian now?’ as if you’re faking it? This keeps happening to me and I’m sick of it.

8. My ex recently acknowledged that she hurt me, but said it was in the past & didn’t think it smart to revisit. No apology for what she did. To me it feels like, I hurt you but it’s too hard/awkward for me to apologize, so too bad. Am I wrong here?

9. My girlfriend is having serious shoulder surgery but we still want to have sex. Any creative ideas?

10. I’m generally a “sleep with whomever you wanna” type of person, but recently my best friend (dude) keeps banging all the girls (not all straight) I (not dude) am into. Is there a fix? Can I be like “please stop”?

11. My roommate has major problems cleaning things correctly / remembering to clean things at all, which he attributes to his ADD. I know notes are usually passive-aggressive, but could I *talk* to him and offer to leave notes/make signs to *help* him remember?


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Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and she thinks you're fucking rad. She's 33, has two kids, two dogs, one Megan, some personal essays and a lot of emails in her inbox.

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61 Comments

  1. Thumb up 5

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    #7. You deal with it by owning who you are. If they don’t believe it, that’s their problem. But you don’t owe anyone an explanation, and you certainly don’t need to ‘prove’ yourself. Next time they question you about your sexuality, just state it matter of factly and act like it’s no big deal. If they can see that you are comfortable with who you are, they will treat you as you expect to be treated. If they keep asking you, ask them why they’re so interested in your sexuality. That will get them to shut up.

  2. Thumb up 6

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    #6. curling up in someone’s lap and being read to sounds amazing :) but if that’s not an option there are some other things that might work. It sounds like you really need to feel taken care of, so maybe do things that keep you feeling like you’re taking care of yourself. Snuggle up in a blanket and put on a book-on-tape. Human contact is so important to feeling cozy and taken care of– when I feel down I call a friend and we have a cuddle party :)
    Also, my lap is always open for someone to curl up in via internet <3

    • Thumb up 1

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      You could also tape yourself reading your favourite story and listen to that. It can be really nice to hear your own voice played back to you. It is also good for getting feelings out if you have no one to talk to.

  3. Thumb up 13

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    #6 I have a lap and enjoy reading to people. We should set up some kind of lap delivery service/exchange program, uniting literate people who have laps with people who need a cuddle and a good story.

    Cal has better ACTUAL advice while I work out the finer points of the exchange program…

  4. Thumb up 3

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    #11 – I have ADD and I will often forget about things because I just. do. not. see. them. It has driven past roommates nuts and I honestly do not mean to bother them. I’d say to talk to your roommate, see if notes/letters/texts/whatevers are okay, and move on from there. You could also see if there are any triggering wording in notes (I don’t do profanity due to a roomie’s bf’s notes–even though the guy did not live with us) that would bug him.

    • Thumb up 1

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      I have ADD and while I haven’t lived with roommates yet (having not graduated high school yet, I live at my parents house), your roommate probably knows they’re hard to live with at times. a lot of the time, it’s a matter of me just not remembering to to laundry or clean up or whatever unless someone’s talking to me about it. if notes don’t work well, see if your roommate would be okay with you texting them reminders? those can sometimes be pretty helpful

    • Thumb up 1

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      My thoughts are that your roommate probably is frustrated too about their inability to cope. Could you two sit down together and come up with a system that works for you both? If they won’t discuss it to try to cope, that’s a different issue that you then have to deal with. I have attention problems and my partner makes a list with me, then I got through it and do the things. Just one example.

      meet each other halfway.

  5. Thumb up 5

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    1. With the caveat that this is based on my own experiences as a middle-class white person trying to unfuck my ideas about race:
    If you haven’t already, read Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” (http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html). Read the works of womanists/feminists of colour such as Audre Lorde or bell hooks. Look around for blogs by people of colour that you can read regularly. Above all else, listen, then listen some more.

    2. I think you need to get some distance from her. Obviously being around her is upsetting you and, to be frank, when someone’s actually into you they behave like it (eg. when you kiss them, they kiss back).Try and spend some time with other friends and get some space from this girl until it hurts less to be around her.

    3. This question is kind of vague, so my apologies for the somewhat vague reply, but unless you actually need to verbally break up with someone and notify friends of this, there’s no real reason to broadcast to anyone that you’re ‘over’ someone/thing. Just demonstrate by your behaviour.

  6. Thumb up 6

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    1. Read things written by WOC, whether on blogs or books or essays, because race definitely impacts a lot of how we see the world in other ways, so even if you’re reading something about the queer experience or something else you know about, it might have different aspects to it if coming from WOC. If you’re a book/essay person, the writings of bell hooks might be a good start. or if you have a friend with a women’s studies textbook, it’s a good way to at least understand the vocabulary of different types of privilege and stuff. You could try and google specific phrases about privilege of specific types, which might link to some good blog/Tumblr entires. Blogs and Tumblr are really good because anyone can share their experiences regardless of background, because having a degree and contacts in the publishing world doesn’t make someone’s experiences more valid, you know?

    2. Sorry you’re in that situation, I know it hurts. I think the best thing to do might be to try and cool your feelings (which isn’t easy, I know, I’ve had a bff-crush before too). Maybe get some physical distance for a bit if that will make it easier to cool down. Sometimes it helps to go to a LGBTQ* group or something because then you realize that there are lots of other people who you would have a chance with and who would be glad to be with you, should you desire (even if you don’t, it’s nice to remind yourself that there are other people out there).

    Also, because of the kissing, you could talk to her about what happened, just to see where you both stand. Sit down with her when there’s nobody else around and no chance of being interrupted and tell her you want to talk stuff out if she is up for it. But if you think this approach will have her feel on the defensive or like she is being ambushed, then don’t do this.

    6. You come over to my house with a large stack of books :)

    Alternatively, staying busy can help during lonely times, maybe making a craft or starting a project or reading to yourself with a warm mug of soup or something. Also, if you have a friend or a couple of friends who you like being around, give them a call if it’s feasible.

    9. Oral. Or in the spooning position so that her surgery shoulder is off the bed. Or with her sitting on a chair. Or she could use a vibrator on you so she wouldn’t have to move much.

  7. Thumb up 5

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    #2 Girl, be careful. You probably don’t want to be in that situation at all, perhaps this is just from experience of being hurt by a best friend. The bottom line is, right now she doesn’t know what she wants and is figuring her shit out, and she may let you be part of it, or you could just get more hurt because of it. You have to decide if you want to step back and let her run wild or if you just want to cling to the hope that you may be together. It sounds like she is opening up to you (telling you she thinks she’s bi) and maybe isn’t ready to deal with a lot of things she’s going through. You have to let her come around to you. You can’t push her to want to be with you too. If she does want to try things with you then she’ll do it. But otherwise, it’s real hard to sit on the sidelines and be in love with someone. You might just have to distance yourself if it hurts too much, or if you can step away from those feelings and just have a friendship. It might be best just to give yourself space from her for awhile and see if it gives you a clearer head. Now that I have had a significant amount of space from my best friend/more than that, I realize that her “flirting” is to make herself feel good. She feeds off the attention and praises of others and it is a part of her insecurities about herself, she needs me to like her to feel good about herself. I’m not saying your girl is like this, but she could be. Now that I have no romantic feelings anymore and don’t respond to her flirtations she is confounded, but that’s on her, she just needs to figure out how to have the confidence to be herself. And I realize that she just wanted me to keep liking her, but she wasn’t willing to treat me like a lover or significant other. Just some things to think about, be careful. Step away and think about if it’s better to get back to being friends or if you want to wait/hope for her to come around to you romantically. Ultimately your own happiness is the most important thing and the only person that can shape that is yourself. So if you ever end up realizing that you’re hurting a lot more than feeling happy then you have to make a change and you’ll love yourself more because of it.

  8. Thumb up 2

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    1 and 2: talk about what’s on your mind.

    2: find a (dignified and classy) way to see what she wants out of what’s between you two.

    USE YOUR WORDS.

    1: consider asking her/discussing what she’d think was advisable if the situation was reversed (i.e. if you were the WOC and she was from the suburbs. maybe use that as a stepping stone.

  9. Thumb up 6

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    Re. #11: Notes may be passive-aggressive, but that whole “I have ADD and you can’t have these expectations of me” nonsense does not fly. (I’ve got ADD and it’s a struggle for sure, but it doesn’t absolve me of being a bad roommate, for goodness’ sake.) That said, I must admit that “just clean thing when you see they need cleaning” is not so helpful for me, and I’ve had to learn to be proactive and ask for more structure.

    Definitely talk to him and ask what would help. For me, checklists help a lot (say, if weekly chores are split into rotating duties–one week it’s my job to do the bathroom and vacuum/dust; the next I deep-clean the kitchen and take out the trash, etc.), and/or expectations for daily and weekly tasks. For example, doing dishes also includes wiping down the countertop, or cleaning the bathroom means also cleaning the base of the toilet (a place I used to always forget and didn’t realize it was driving my roommate to distraction)–focus on the things that are least tolerable to you. Good luck!

    • Thumb up 4

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      Word, It sounds like just excuses to me. My wife has ADD, but can clean, because she’s found good work arounds. You do NOT have to clean up after your roommate.

      I had the worst roommate that wouldn’t clean at all- you’d think an adult would understand what ‘cleaning’ meant, but many don’t. For example, I had to tell her ‘When you shower, please remove your hair from the sink drain.’ Etc. She was just so damn privileged. So we ended up having to actually spell out what cleaning meant- and how often to do it- which she still didn’t do all the time, but did more often. If I could start over I would have made a kindergarten chore chart of all the things that needed to be done every few days and who did them, and check them off- before it got so tense we all wanted to strangle her in her sleep with her shower drain hair.

      So spell that shit out, clearly, and make him check it off if needed.

      • Thumb up 3

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        I’m glad your wife can clean. I have ADD and am in my mid 20s. I’m learning how to clean/figuring out strategies.

        “you’d think an adult would understand what ‘cleaning’ meant, but many don’t. For example, I had to tell her ‘When you shower, please remove your hair from the sink drain.’ Etc. She was just so damn privileged. So we ended up having to actually spell out what cleaning meant- and how often to do it- which she still didn’t do all the time, but did more often.”

        That’s offensive. It’s privileged to assume that just because you have been taught how to clean/happen to have a brain that makes it easy for you to see things like hair in the drain, everybody who hash’t/doesn’t is lazy. I am not a lazy person. I have worked wicked hard to get the help I need to form strategies to clean. I don’t see things like hair in the drain. I just don’t. And part of the reason it’s taken me so long to figure out how to ask for help is that over the years I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard how lazy and dumb and privileged I am etc etc etc. ADD is a syndrome and also a spectrum. Maybe what your wife finds hard, OPs roommate doesn’t, and vice versa.

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          I assume the person you’re replying to didn’t mean privilege in a SJ sense but like her flatmate being really entitled because at home her family or housekeeper did everything for her and she didn’t know how to. Which, by the way, can often be a sign that your parents are rich enough to hire someone to clean up or don’t work long hours in wearisome jobs so they have the energy to do it for you. (Or it may not, some parents are willing to sacrifice themselves like that to clean up after their kids.)

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            Um, yeah. She had no problems with ADD, she had a housekeeper growing up. She never had to clean ANYTHING in her life. That is privileged. And also? Not my fucking problem when you are messing up my shit.

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        Cleanliness is not always a matter of privilege, and certainly judging others’ level of cleanliness can in fact be a patronizing sign itself of a privileged person believing they’re more civilized.
        Some people don’t mind living in relatively dirty environments and are simply better suited to live with others like them or by themselves. It only becomes a problem when they expect others to pick up their slack.
        The way we relate to cleaning is also tied up with how we were raised. My father was OBSESSIVE about cleaning to the point that he would become very agitated if everything wasn’t perfectly tidy and didn’t want a friend who used a wheelchair to come over during the winter for fear that he would track slush into the apartment. When I moved out I was keen to relax and leave my dishes by the sink for a day or two. As the years have gone by, my habits have evolved as cleaning has different connotations for me, but some people rebel against their families’ preferences and stay that way. And everyone has their own priorities. I still don’t give a shit about the cleaning the bathroom mirror, while my roommates don’t care about washing the walls but I can’t stand how dirty they can get.

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          I assume Tali knew the circumstances of her flatmate’s lack of cleanliness and that’s why she mentioned privilege.

          By the way, liking or not minding dirty environments is not an excuse. By all means do what you want in your own house, but if you have flatmates and they have asked you to clean up, either move out or clean your own shit.

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          Seriously. You guys. If you are dirty and it is affecting other people, if you have had mice and roaches (as we had) because your roommate leaves rotten food on tables, or not washing dishes for weeks, or literally never cleaning anything ever, IT’S A PROBLEM. And that problem is one that is OKAY to bring up. I don’t care if you were raised with maids and have never cleaned before, now is the time to learn!

          And as a POC raised by a woman who was, in fact, a housecleaner, I can tell you my ‘privilege’ is that of a human who just likes to not have mouse shit in my food, thanks.

  10. Thumb up 3

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    11. Ask your roommate what he thinks would work for him. He’s had ADD his whole life, so he’s hopefully come up with some strategies for managing it in other areas of his life (e.g. schoolwork). Maybe he has some ideas of how to modify those strategies for housework. Particularly if this is one of his first experiences living on his own, he may have always had a parent to do his cleaning for him or constantly nag him about cleaning, and you’re his roommate, not his mom. You should not have to take on that parental role.

    Personally, even if my roommate talked with me first, I’d find the note-leaving kind of controlling and neurotic. If he feels like he needs written reminders like, “scrub the inside *and* outside of pots” or whatever, maybe he can write them to himself. Or maybe chore responsibilities just need to be more regimented. Rather than, “sweep the kitchen floor when it’s looking dirty,” maybe there needs to be a “sweep the kitchen floor on Sunday nights,” rule. Then, even if you have to endure a weekend of a dirtier-than-you-would-like floor, at least you know that on Monday, things will be clean.

    Oh, and re the phrase: “cleaning things correctly.” Any method of cleaning a thing that results in that thing being clean at the end of it is “correct.” If he takes 2 hrs to clean the bathroom and you could have done a more thorough job in 15 minutes, you know what? At least the bathroom is reasonably clean at the end of it. The rest isn’t worth stressing over.

  11. Thumb up 4

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    3. I went from being angry and sad to just over it and over her. How can I let everyone/her know that I want it to be over now?

    Disengage. Haha, just stop responding to all the old stimuli. People will eventually get the hint and follow your lead. Create new patterns, talk about new things.

    4. I have trouble dating someone if I don’t know them well yet. It’s just weird, sharing myself intimately with an almost-stranger. But if I get to know them too well and still like them, I’m worried the let down if they’re not interested will be big. Help!

    Why not let the person know? Also go on dates that aren’t so classically romantic, but do things like kayaking or museums lectures, so you have a great excuse to spend lots of time with them but are doing something not just all about you and them. It’s not been a problem for me getting to know the person beforehand, as long as you let on to your intentions.

    5. I’ve always been told that one of my best attributes was that I’m very calm and don’t let things get to me. I used anti-anxiety meds for yrs&recently quit – glad I did, but I’m angsty now&wonder if I’ll disappoint people since some of that serenity’s gone?

    You should feel good for yourself first. Worrying about other people’s reactions to you only increases your anxiety. Try developing a routine that helps you cope with your feelings and such. Like create a feel good playlist, take a bath, meditate, tea, candles, etc. Even for only 15 minutes every day. That’s what I do to help my anxiety etc. Also I agree with the above comment, don’t try to bury your feelings. Calmly experience them and learn how to release them =]

  12. Thumb up 2

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    1. Hey, it’s never too late to start learning about white privilege…in fact I often feel like my schooling will never be over. Like other people have said, there are a ton of tumblrs and websites, mostly authored by POC, that do a great job of explaining how whiteness and white privilege affect daily interactions and invalidate other identities. Here are a few off the top of my head:

    http://sap.mit.edu/content/pdf/white_privilege_checklist.pdf
    racialicious.com
    http://racismstillexists.tumblr.com/
    http://wontbetelevised.tumblr.com/
    http://redroom.com/member/tim-wise/blog/this-is-your-nation-on-white-privilege-updated
    microaggressions.tumblr.com
    yoisthisracist.com

    and if you are of the vegan persuasion, Breeze Harper runs an amazing blog about black feminist anti-colonialist veganism (and in my opinion is worth a read even if you’re not vegan because it talks a lot about how racism and classism affect food access): http://sistahvegan.com/

  13. Thumb up 2

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    1. As a white person of privilege constantly trying to further my own identity development and become an active anti-racist, I’ve come across a few resources to share:

    Tim Wise The Pathology of White Privilege: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZJUa0PJGBY

    Books
    – Racism without racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in the United States. (Eduardo Bonilla-Silva)
    – Silent racism: How well-meaning white people perpetuate the racial divide. (Barbara Trepagnier)
    – Understanding white privilege: Creating pathways to authentic relationships across race. (Frances Kendall)
    – White like me: Reflections on race from a privileged son. (Tim Wise)
    – Witnessing whiteness: The need to talk about race and how to do it. (Shelly Tochluk)

    Most of all, be patient with yourself. Continue to LISTEN, spark conversation and make connections across lines of difference in order to learn. We must all strive to grow in this area, while accepting that we can’t always move through this journey as quickly or gracefully as we’d like. :)

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        If you really want to learn about racism, reading essays written by a privileged white man is really not going to help. Wise is incredibly problematic. PoC who speak on the same issues as him are attacked and threatened whilst he receives cookies and pat on the back for being such a good white man. It’s the usual example of when a white person speaks everyone listens but when PoC make the same points it’s ignored. He makes other white liberals feel comfortable but does little to combat the general racism faced by PoC everyday. He also has a history of defensiveness when called out on his ignorance and the fact that his opinions are prioritised over PoC.

        http://www.peopleofcolororganize.com/analysis/word-wise-unpacking-white-privilege-tim-wise/

        If you really want to be a good girlfriend, speak to her about her experiences. Don’t be patronising or assumptive and expect her to be your learning tool. Don’t pretend that Lena Dunham is a feminist hero. Read websites like Racialicious and Womanist Musings, read the works of Audre Lorde, Chandra Mohanty, Bell Hooks and other WoC feminists to educate yourself.

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      I started reading that essay and I’m really confused by the “Black masks” they mention that anarchists wear at rallies. Are they talking about plain black clothes and masks? I don’t actually see how that has anything to with race, because I’m pretty sure that black flags (and by extention masks and whatever) in anarchism came from the fact that it differentiated it from the colours of national or political flags. Not from people trying to adopt non-white signifiers.

      I’m really interested in this now.

  14. Thumb up 2

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    1. I can’t talk about general academic books and I don’t know what your girlfriend’s background is but I really recommend personal essays, zines, blogs, and even tumblrs. There are lots of opinions there and sometimes in the same place. I really encourage you to start thinking critically about the ways your privilege shows itself in your life, it doesn’t have to be in huge things but even basic things like your education or the objects you buy when you go shopping. Even though people are not under an obligation to educate you and all that, it really does help if you can ask someone close (your gf) what their specific perspective is. POC are not a single uniform mass and her opinions may be different from a blogger’s. If you say something rude without meaning to and she is hurt apologize and recognize that you messed up.

    2. This one is really tricky because you don’t know exactly how she feels – if she thinks of you as a friend or a potential FwB or a girlfriend. If you’re not afraid of talking to her, talk to her. You’re both grown ups so hopefully after a few days or weeks it’ll stop being awkward if it’s awkward at all to begin with… and it doesn’t have to be awkward if you don’t make it that.

    3. I assume you are not currently dating or seeing her anymore (if you are, just tell her you’re over it) and that your problem is that people keep talking about it. Actions speak louder than words and in this case showing that you’re over it – that you’re ok and living your life – is the best you can do. People will stop talking about it eventually. Confiding in that friend who can’t keep a secret can be a good idea too if you don’t think it’ll backfire. As to letting her know, there’s probably less a point in that than in showing your friends but again with time she’ll realize it.

    4. I realize that in the lesbian community things tend to move fast, but if you look at straight (or queer people in relationships with people of the opposite gender) relationships, you’ll see that they move much slower. Usually you get a few dates just to get to know this person and after that you decide whether to be just friends, call it quits or get on with it. There is nothing wrong with doing that in queer dating, either, that’s what I usually do too. As to the let down, you’ll live! Every relationship ever has the potential of heartbreak but if you are held back by it, you won’t get any of the better parts either and you will be heartbroken anyway. Most of the time you’ll end up having a friend so it’s cool.

    5. You won’t disappoint people – you may take them by surprise but I do think that people who like you will find other things to like. You are more than just that characteristic. I can’t think of anyone who befriends others because of a trait like “is very calm”, there’s usually something else. It may confuse people and it may take everyone (including yourself) a while to adjust to the new dynamics but you’ll probably get used to it eventually. Also, you yourself need to come to terms with that – it sounds like it’s a trait that was so deeply ingrained that you almost defined a good part of your life by it and now you can’t. However, you probably changed more than a few times in your life and this is just another change.

    6. Think that you’ll find that person soon enough and improvise with pillows and hot tea for the time being.

    7. It depends – what is your relationship with this person? Are you close? If they are a friend or family member you should talk to them and ask them to stop. If they’re just a stranger, find a witty comeback or ignore them.

    8. You’re right, it sounds like your ex is not giving you a proper apology. However, maybe that’s her equivalent of an apology or maybe she’s too embarrassed to go ahead and talk about what happened.

    9. I have no idea? I mean, most basic sex things could probably be done anyway if you’re careful and if she’s in a comfortable position (preferably with a lot of pillows). I don’t know how severe the shoulder surgery is, though.

    10. While both of you can have sex with whoever you want as long as it’s consensual, if you’re friends I do think he should extend some consideration to your feelings. Does he know about your feelings for these girls at all? Does he know this is upsetting – like, it’s common sense, but if you come across as not caring that’s what he probably thinks? You might need to talk to him and communicate clearly the fact that this is hurting you and that he should stop or tone it down.

    11. Yes! In defense of notes, they can be helpful if your room mates forget about things a lot or if it’s hard to talk to them for a reason. In your case they’re more than justified as they’re not being written with an aggressive purpose and if you talk to him first that will probably clear up your intentions.

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    1. I’m really glad you want to start examining your privilege. Besides reading the things that other commenters have suggested, talk to her, and listen without protesting that “not all white/middle-class people are like that!” because it’s infuriating and invalidates the lived experiences of lower-class POC. Prepare yourself for some difficult, uncomfortable conversations, and trust that you can unlearn some of the oppressive ideologies you’ve internalized up until now. Good luck.

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    1. I second the Invisible knapsack! Also “The American Dream and the Power of Wealth” by Heather Beth Johnson has a great intro chapter on the lived realities of systemic racism and classism. Joe Stiglitz has a new book called “The Price of Inequality” that is key economic theory herein. I add these two because of the intersectionalities of race and class and gender that you are asking about! Gotta be able to connect the dots!

    5. Disappoint other people or disappoint yourself? Other people will love you if you come to terms with these amazing facets of your complex and endless being!

    6. Audible.com and cats. In the meantime call a friend, we’ve all been there.

    11. Checklist and/or calendar of duties. Seriously, my gf and I live together and we do this. It seems crazy but it saves so much stress and time. Put the calendar somewhere you have to see it and require it to be checked morning and night or something. Check things off as they are done. It has stopped almost all of our laundry bickering…almost.

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    1. keep learning and educating yourself. learn how to apologise gracefully. tell her that you’re trying and that you want her to tell her if you say/do something horrible. read and watch things about WOC. there are hella resources out there, esp. tumblr has lists of media by/for/about WOC.

    4. practice getting to know people. practice feeling uncomfortable with other people and being okay with it. give up ideas of being in control of how relationships will go and people will perceive you.

    5. Read this: http://captainawkward.com/2012/02/06/186-the-lie-of-strength/

    6. fuzzy blankets, comfy couches, audiobooks. also getting friends who love to cuddle puddle. it’s great.

    7. make them feel guilty for hurting you. throw it back in their faces since they’re won’t keep their douchecanoery out of your face.

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    thank to dr odudu when my man left me for another woman on xmas eve, me and my man was together in the same table drinking i never knew were this woman come from my man started run after her ass and i try to wedraw my boyfriend back it was too later my boyfriend said is all over just like that when i contacted dr odudu via odudu@gmail com that is when i believe on automatic magic power that work fast without delay after two days my man come back to me the way dr odudu told me that is how it came to pass am happy now with the help of dr odudu are you in any problem that you feel nor thing you can do about it just contact dr odudu@gmail com and see you problem being restore in just am hours good luck or call +2348051913076
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    1. I think the main thing is just pay attention — to her, to your own barely-conscious thought processes. Watch out for making assumptions that she has grown up with the same experiences you have — but also don’t assume that she’s necessarily come from some alien world, either. I worry that viewing this relationship as a venue for you to examine your privilege could turn it into a bit of a self-improvement project, whereas it should be about this amazing person. Listen closely to her and think about what you are saying in response. I think you will be okay!

    2. This girl sounds like she is not very good for you at the moment. But if you’ve kissed, a conversation is definitely in order. It’s possible that she’d be open to a relationship and is scared to pursue it, but you need to address this directly if you ever want to find out. It could also be (and this seems, sadly, a little more likely) that she is, like many people, a bit of a mess following her recent breakup and her actions don’t have much to do with you at all. But find out! Just have that conversation: “So, when I kissed you. Was that weird of me to think you might be interested?”

    3. Wait, are you broken up already, or not? If you’re not broken up, do that. If you are but now you feel finally good rather than conflicted about the breakup . . . well, no course of action is really required, right? I mean, if she’s still calling you, shut that down; it’s totally reasonable to need a period of no-contact. But what’s this “everyone”? You’re not asking permission to go around saying how over her you are, right? Because, don’t do that. Nobody is dying to know whether you are really and truly over her. They will understand if you just stop focusing on her. If you loudly insist on this, you will convey precisely the opposite.

    5. I don’t think you have to worry about disappointing people. I’ve often been viewed as a fairly unflappable person, despite the fact that I’m pretty much just a pile of writhing anxieties packed into human skin at any given moment. The way you interact with the world need not be driven by your insecurities. And if you were able enough to devise a plan for staying psycho-emotionally healthy while going off medication, it sounds like you have this under control.

    7. “Yep!” Smile (no need for sincerity). Walk away.

    8. This conversation sounds like it was a bad idea to begin with. I think people can be very good friends with their exes, but it’s not for everyone. I would not advise trying to extract an apology. I would advise keeping your distance indefinitely.

    11. Could you institute joint cleaning times? Like, every Wednesday night you’ll both take a few hours to do your respective chores? Turn some music up loud and get it done and it won’t be so weird for you to be keeping tabs on him as he works.

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    11. My roommate has major problems cleaning things correctly / remembering to clean things at all, which he attributes to his ADD. I know notes are usually passive-aggressive, but could I *talk* to him and offer to leave notes/make signs to *help* him remember?

    I’m pretty sure there is no good solution to the messy roommate situation. I vote find a new roommate. I should know, I’ve been the messy roommate and the clean roommate in both situations.

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      If the roomate has ADD and is a generally cool person who is willing to listen, I think notes could help if he’s willing to read them and do what they say. New roomates may not be as awesome and in my experience even roomates without ADD can suck at cleaning up. The difference is that sometimes they’re willing to listen and fix their habits and sometimes they persist in the idea that they’re right that you should wash their dishes and pick up their trash.

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    1. As a white person with a Latin@ partner, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to unpack my personal knapsack and be aware of the privileges I have due to my race. I’d say that one of the biggest, best things you can do is to just make sure that you do not speak over your girlfriend’s feelings and opinions on stuff related to race and racism. Even if you were not dating and had never dated a person of color, it would still be good to work on understanding institutional racism, but in this case, your goal is not to just be an generally aware and respectful white person but also to be a good partner in your personal relationship with a specific woman of color who you care about a lot. She is going to be your best guide on this front. That doesn’t mean you should ask her to teach you everything about racism, but be open to her thoughts and input, and let her know that you’re open to them.

    A specific thing that’s come up in my relationships, which you may not experience or interact with in the same way, but that’s useful to keep in mind is language. People who aren’t total asshats and/or Quentin Tarantino (also an asshat but popular enough that he doesn’t get called on it very much) usually know that you shouldn’t use racial slurs as a white person. However, there are parts of language that may still hold particularly charged meaning to folks of color that need to be respected even if they’re not obviously slurs to you. I didn’t know the unpleasant and racist history of the word “Hispanic” until I learned about it from my partner, but now that I know, I avoid it and I encourage others not to. Likewise, when I was doing some pre-BDSM play boundary negotiation with a black Dom friend, one of his very clear boundaries was that he never, EVER wants to be referred to as “boy,” because for him that term of address is inextricably tied to the long legacy of white people talking down to black people as though they are lesser or childlike. I don’t call anyone “boy” at random, but it was a cultural dimension of the word that I’d never really thought about, and I’m glad I had the chance to learn. Your girlfriend may have words that grate on her because she has to deal with their microaggressive use far too much. If she tells you a word or phrase doesn’t sit well with her, respect her reasons even if they’re unfamiliar to you. In general, if you just give her the respect you’d give any partner with particular awareness that issues of race are always going to be an area of knowledge for her in a way they’ll never really be for you or me or other white people, you’ll probably be fine.

    I’ll end with a couple links I’ve found helpful, though there are a lot of great ones in this comments section already:
    http://www.zinelibrary.info/files/combinedallyshippdf.pdf
    http://whitepriv.blogspot.com/2010/02/10-ways-to-be-and-ally.html
    http://blog.shrub.com/archives/tekanji/2006-03-08_146

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    hiiiii thank you all for your ideas. You’ve given me a lot to think about, and a lot of you have amazingly spot-on instincts about what’s going on (especially considering the small amount of information that fit in the formspring question).

    There are (as I feel none of you will be shocked to learn) Bigger Problems (unrelated to ADD) with my roommate situation going on also (and I am making an effort to keep my frustration about big un-fixable things from leaking into discourse about cleaning, trust me). I’m not going to go into them here because it’s not the internet’s business.

    I did some stuff (drew some lines, among other things) between writing the question and now that more-or-less took care of the things that were bothering me the most. I would really like to implement some of the chore chart/check list ideas, but communication is so hairy because of the Big Problems (which have gotten worse since I wrote the question) that I’m probably just going to leave it unless there is some miraculous improvement.

    I am however going to use something like a chore chart for my next roommate and all of these ways to go about it are very useful. Thank you all so much, and thanks to Laneia for posting my question!

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      Ouch, I’m sorry to hear about the Big Issues. Unless they’re something that can cause you harm I still think you should draw some lines; living with people is about negotiating everyone’s boundaries but it works both ways. If communication is completely impossible (especially if it doesn’t come from a place of accusing but rather of helping them achieve a level of cleanliness that makes it possible to co-habit with them) I think you should ditch him and find a new roomate.

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    10. I’m generally a “sleep with whomever you wanna” type of person, but recently my best friend (dude) keeps banging all the girls (not all straight) I (not dude) am into. Is there a fix? Can I be like “please stop”?

    your friend’s a jerk if he knows you like those girls
    tell him that

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    1. I wonder, does your gf know that you think she has a born handicap of sorts, compared to you, because in your opinion you are “privileged” through being white and she is UNDER “priveleged” through being non-white? And that you are soliciting advice from random people about how to deal with this uncomfortable and guilt-inducing problem of you *supposedly* being higher in social status than she?

    Stop the self-flagellation. Contrary to the beliefs of many here, being a WOC doesnt automatically make one a second class citizen in the eyes of each and every member of society. Get to know her. Her family, her childhood, her favorite foods and why are they her favorite, her music tastes, her political views and the reasons for them, her other media interests (sports, movies, etc). Ask for her opinion on what you guys see or experience together. Ask “why do you think so?” you can read all the books on privilege, but the only way you could know how did she experience her “lack of privilege” and not inadverdently offend her is to get to know her more and more every day.

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      Couldn’t have said it better. Though it is always a good idea to read up on white privilege, racism, etc., I find it astonishing that the interest in these matters stems from merely dating a WOC (for the first time?). Her experiences do not have to be congruent with those of all the writers, blogs, etc. that were recommended. Maybe she would prefer not being seen as some kind of “other” that has to be studied first.

      Listen to what she has to say and whether she has the desire to discuss these issues with you. Be respectful of her views and experiences as an individual. Educate yourself on racism – but not because you happen to date a WOC, but because everyone in society should. And don’t make any assumptions about your respective privileges without having consulted her first.

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      Took the words right out of my mouth.

      I am all for educating yourself, but it is such a slippery slope into the realm of white guilty syndrome. White guilt syndrom is annoying for EVERYONE.

      Frankly, trying to understand your privilege is wonderful, but try not to spend so much time getting into the “me” “them” “us” “them” “self” “other” crap. I say be adaptable. Address situations as they come up–discuss, contemplate, read, educate—but I would recommend just enjoying your lovely partner and embarking on the adventure you are taking TOGETHER.

      You didn’t choose how you were brought up, but you can choose how to be. Don’t forget that, and don’t forget to pay plenty of attention to nurturing your present self and, thus your future self by proxy.

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    8. My ex recently acknowledged that she hurt me, but said it was in the past & didn’t think it smart to revisit. No apology for what she did. To me it feels like, I hurt you but it’s too hard/awkward for me to apologize, so too bad. Am I wrong here?

    DO NOT STAY FRIENDS WITH HER. Just don’t. You will keep getting hurt and she will not. Which is the worst possible situation especially if she is in the wrong. If, however, you are polite but cold and refuse to be her friend, she might be forced to see the consequences of her actions.

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    #11: I’m another commenter with ADD chiming in here to say ADD isn’t a get-out-of-cleaning-free card. I think it IS a get-out-of-cleaning-conventionally-free card, which you appear to be sensitive to — trying to help him with the notes, etc. Yay! You’re a great roommate!

    However, I don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea for you to pursue that idea, even though it’s super sweet of you to want to help. Simply put, I bet reminders, gentle or naggy, wash RIGHT off that back. And if you take on the role of reminding him until he follows through, you run the risk of swiftly falling into a mom/teenager type relationship, which you will both hate.

    I think the best thing you can do is to make this as much HIS problem as possible. Sit down with him, talk about the division of labor, and whatever he wants to take ownership for (paying bills, cleaning, shopping, whatever), build some automatic accountability for him into the system. Like, if he says he’ll pay bills but forgets, he covers all the late fees himself. If he commits to a certain amount of cleaning but forgets more often than X times, he will start paying for a once-monthly cleaning service. Etc. This can and should be a lighthearted conversation, because he should appreciate your willingness to work around whatever unconventional system he wants to rely on to accommodate his ADD. If he is surly or resentful, your problem is not that your roommate has trouble cleaning, but that your roommate is an asshole!

    His system = his problem. Then everyone can be happy!

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    One – thank you all, so much, for your thoughtful responses and resources.
    Two – I definitely don’t regard this as a self-improvement project – it’s more a matter of not fucking up (through my own ignorance) one of the best things to happen to me in a long time. It’s not like I haven’t ever tried to check my privilege before, but there’s another level to unlearn when you’re in an intimate relationship. and I just like to do lots of extra research on things.
    Thanks for the advice, everyone.

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      I’m also white person who grew up in the suburbs and my spouse is a POC who grew up in poverty in the inner city. The only thing I have to add is to have a sense of humor! And also to know that your girlfriend doesn’t expect you to know everything, and has enough experience with white people to not expect your perfection….and generally if you are open minded and kind then you are going to be alright.

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    Number 3: I love this question, as I have been going through a similar thing in regards to how other people need to be involved in a relationship. If your heart is telling you that you need to end it with this girl, first off do it in person. Its really the best way. In regards to telling everyone, I honestly don’t think you owe it to anyone to tell them. It is not “their” relationship. It may be hard when they bring said girl up, but if they are your friends, they will likely just be like oh ok and move on. maybe even offer up suggestions for your newest conquest. hope this helps :)

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    10. maybe your friend is in love with you and he has sex with the women you like so that YOU don’t have sex with them (and keeps you all to himself)

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    2) I’ve been in a similar situation and I’d say go with your instinct that she wants attention. I believe that’s whats going on with my own version of this story. If she never comes to you with any affection when she’s not drunk it’s probably the liquor talking and the fact that she knows that you like her. Also, you could just ask her what the dealio is.

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    2- been there, done that, got the scars to prove it. If it works, it’ll be amazing. If you push for it and it doesn’t work, you’ll have broken something beautiful and irreparable. So, let her lead. Accept that what is meant to be will be when it is meant to. Enjoy what you have, make sure she knows that you care deeply for her regardless of her sexuality and that her friendship is important to you. Good luck.

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    I can speak to #6 from my own perspective. I feel this way myself.

    I recently moved to a small town for a little “mental-health vacation”, and I am completely isolated here. There is nothing more lonely than having no one nearby and no way of getting to anyone you do know.

    I can’t really solve your problem, more than I can say “oh gods, me too”. I have found comfort in audio books, reconnecting with folks I’ve missed over the years via the Interwebs, and reaching out to communities like Autostraddle to try and keep the human contact happening as much as possible. If we lived anywhere near each other I’d say “hey come on over!” or, similarly, “hey, can I come over?” In the meantime, however, we can connect here, right?

    Having a cat also helps.

    Well, sometimes, because cats can be real jerks.

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    6) sometimes it helps to identify what the feelings and beliefs are behind the need. like, when i feel i need to curl up in someone’s lap and be read to, sometimes it’s because i feel sad and afraid, because i believe that i’m on my own and have to fend for myself. (of course, there are a whole slew of other feelings and beliefs that could be prompting my need, depending on the day!)

    so, if those are the beliefs causing my discomfort, while probably nothing will be quite as satisfying as curling up with a partner, calling a friend and talking about why i feel vulnerable, talking to an authority figure who can help me feel like someone’s looking out for me, or writing a list of the ways in which i already take care of myself and my emotional needs can help.

    and then, as suggested already – taking care of myself in what ways i can! a hot water bottle in bed with a good book or uplifting movie can do wonders. and cuddle a pillow. it worked for Harry Harlow’s monkeys…. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bhharl.html

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    2. You should take a break from that friendship for a while. As much as it sucks to feel like you’re loosing a friend, it isn’t worth it to lose yourself. It sounds like she could be using you for attention and it’s easier to let yourself be used than to break it off, but trust me it ends up hurting a lot more if you stick around to be stepped on.

    5. Your friends will love you no matter what! If they’re your true friends they won’t care if you’ve changed a bit. You’re still the same old you. As Dr. Seuss said, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” So just be you and don’t worry about it.

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