Formspring Friday Waited Up For You

Well hello there weary traveller! It’s been a long haul but here we are, all together again, under umbrellas and tents we made before the sun went down. And stars! Don’t forget that we’re always under the same stars. I’ve missed you. Have you missed giving advice to strangers on the internet? It would seem that you have, because you’ve emailed us and sent in Formspring statements-not-questions saying as much. In this great land of Ask And Ye Usually Receive, aka Autostraddle, we aim to please, so it’s with great pride and humble love that I bring you this week’s Formspring Friday!

visual representation of the feeling of fall, sometimes

For the uninitiated, Formspring Friday is where queerdos just like you leave questions in the Formspring inboxes of Autostraddle editors and we, in turn, present them to the grand readership for answers. There’s lots to think about today. Lots of feelings. I’ve marked two of these questions with ** to act as a trigger warning (rape, self-harm). If you have a life question you’d like to submit, see the bottom of this post for more info re: that.

17 Formspring Questions For You To Answer

1. How can I ask my new friend out in a way that isn’t dismissive of our budding pal-ship? And won’t cause weird awkward feelings?

2. So I’m finally home. It’s been a whole month since I came back from my exchange program and I’m not doing ok I miss my gf (should I say ex already?) and I miss my life in general. I already got a job here and I promise I’m doing my best but I’m in pain. Help?

3. I just started seeing this girl and she’s lovely and we get along so well, but she keeps her nails very long. Don’t get me wrong they look beautiful but fahk those things hurt! How do I ask her to trim her nails gently without embarrassing her?

4. Is it ok to be offended when someone tells me I look gay?

5. I’m not a-sexual, after three years of celibacy/debate I got just drunk enough to approach another person for physical contact and it rocked, but how can I do this in a healthy “I know your last name and will speak to you again” kind of way?

6. It’s been three years. I should be over her. But I want to call her and tell her that I’m sorry and that I just need her back. It’s like I start to wonder if this was the thing to do, ya know?

7. So right now I could 1.) move to California which would be a pain and scary but ultimately great 2.) get back with the ex and move to Cali later and be more financial stable in love+ life 3.) do nothing and stay sad on the east coast. Help?

**8. Recently one of my closest friends started hooking up with a girl she knew I was really into and I was raped at a show and I lost my job and can’t pay my rent and will probably get kicked out. I really want to talk to her about all of this, but is it emotional blackmail to say that there is no worse time in my life for her to have done this to me, and am I a child for feeling hurt?

9. I talked to my mom the other day and she sounded so sad again. I’m beginning to think that I made a mistake by going out of state for college. How can I help her when I’m on the other side of the country?

10. Any advice to getting over my anxiety and responding to OkCupid messages?

11. Girl I am kindamaybe interested in professed her like for me yesterday. However, I am leaving for a three month jaunt in Europe in a few weeks. What do I do?

12. The girl I was casually seeing and having a good time with just told me she likes me too much to keep doing a causal thing but also cannot be in a relationship. What the hell do I say to that?

13. When’s the right time to have the talk about seeing other people vs just each other? REALLY like her and it makes my heart hurt to think about her seeing someone else right now but don’t want to sound too eager since it’s relatively new.

14. I’m in love with a 31 y/o and I’m 21. We’re matched so well and my parents really like her, but don’t know how old she is. We met in a job where age wasn’t really a noticeable factor, so it didn’t matter much. I’m worried to tell them but feel like I must.

**15. I have some pretty bad, fairly recent self-injury marks. Is this something I should tell my girlfriend about before having sex with her? I don’t know how to explain it without freaking her out, but there’s no way I can be naked and hide it.

16. How do you know if you are just going through a stage of being annoyed with each other and a bit disrespectful, and when it is time for you to break up?

To send your question via Formspring, choose an editor:

Riese | Laneia | Rachel | Laura

More writers’ Formsprings can be found on Autostraddle’s tumblr presence. Due to the high volume of questions and feelings, not every question or feeling will be answered or published on Autostraddle. We hope you know that we love you regardless.

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lnj has written 310 articles for us.


  1. “Don’t forget that we’re always under the same stars.”


    I must remember that more often.

  2. 6)Freshly divorced, I hope this isn’t where I am in 3 years. But I’m afraid I might be. It depends on why you broke up. It also depends on what you are willing to live with.

    3 years is a long time. Think about what you would regret more, calling her or not calling her. Only you know.

    • I’m a bit less freshly divorced, just wanted to say that it can definitely, absolutely get better. I was pretty sure I was permanently damaged for a while there, but I really love my life right now. Hang in there.

      • Logic tells me it will get better, but when you are deep in it you just get lost in the feelings. Hearing it from someone in (kind of) the same boat always helps.

        • I know exactly what you mean. It’s grief, logic rarely helps. Feel free to PM me if you ever want a sympathetic ear, I think it was much harder for me because I’m the first of my friends to get divorced (and the gay one! So much shame) so I felt really isolated and lonely for a long time.

      • Do you mind if I ask how long the permanently damaged feeling lasted? I got divorced a year and a half ago and still think about her all the time.

  3. Oh and I wish people would think I was gay. But sure,your mind, you are allowed to be offended by anything.

  4. #15. I would definitely have a talk with her about it before sex, though by no means do I think you’re obligated to. If she is not supportive of you then perhaps you wouldn’t want to be with her intimately anyway. I have no idea what your situation is like, but you may really worry her if you’re not seeking any professional help so that may be something you want to consider.

    Also, by being open about it, hopefully it will enable you to be more emotionally open with her in the future so that you can have healthier ways of coping.

    I used to be into cutting designs onto my skin and I have two that are fairly obvious. If someone I was sexual with was judgmental about them, I would not see them again.

    I hope things get better for you and that your girlfriend is loving and supportive.

    • I agree that its something that should be talking about first. I mean, if you see fresh-ish wounds on your girlfriend’s body you’re gonna be concerned, so the conversation would happen anyway, and it’s a serious thing to talk about so during sex is probably not the best time. I know if I were with someone who was self harming I’d want to know if she was sensitive about being touched in places where she’d cut and whether she wanted me to help or to just stay out of it and be supportive. Echoing the hope that your girlfriend supports you and sending good vibes <3

  5. 12. The girl I was casually seeing and having a good time with just told me she likes me too much to keep doing a causal thing but also cannot be in a relationship. What the hell do I say to that?

    I think for starters, you need to know what *you* want out of this. Do you want a relationship? If not, you need to be completely clear about that. Also, it sounds like she needs to be more specific about why she says she doesn’t want a relationship. Maybe she just thinks it will scare you off. Maybe she doesn’t want complete exclusivity. Basically I think the best conversation you can have with her at this point is to be clear about what you feel and want and ask her to be more specific about what’s motivating her as well.

  6. I am not perfect with advice, and may be slightly tipsy after dinner and wine. With that warning:

    1. Ask her do go do something with you. Go play pool, mini-golf, take a cooking class or something you would want to do on your own, but would be more fun with your new buddy.
    2. If she’s your ex, say “ex”. You have to start getting used to it. Something that kept me distracted was staying active- I took up swimming, because you can’t mope when you’re swimming; you’d drown.
    3. Don’t point out that it hurts, just say you think it’d be way more incredible if she had shorter nails and could stimulate your g-spot better with short nails. (I have no idea if that’s true, btw.)
    7. Don’t stay there and be sad. You should probs move to California if you want to be there. Don’t stay with the ex-GF for financial stability! Or any kind of “stability”. If that’s the best reason to be with her, you’d be settling, and you (and she!) deserve better.
    8. You need to take a step back, give the situation some time, and evaluate if this person is really your friend. You’re under a lot of pressure, and it might be better to avoid her at this point, rather than confronting her.
    9. Letters. Care packages, even. Something tangible. She will get used to being on her own… Also, encourage her to take a class or take up a hobby where she’ll meet other peeps!
    10. They are nervous too! It’s hard to talk to strangers, especially sending that first message. Find something in their profile to ask them about. And if you aren’t interested, say that.
    11. Tell her how you feel. Go from there. Plan on lots of email and find out if your cell company has an overseas text message package. :)
    12. Walk away. She needs to figure out her own issues, you can’t do that for her.
    I’m not sure how to answer the other questions.

  7. 8. I agree that you need to talk to someone, but maybe you should talk to someone besides your friend first. Have you spoken with a sexual assault counselor? When I needed help, I found free counseling in my area using this RAINN page as a jumping off point:
    I found that talking to a counselor also helped me with other issues that I never saw as directly related to the rape.
    I think that it’s perfectly reasonable to talk to your friend if she’s hooking up with someone she knows you’re into, regardless of other circumstances. It’s not emotional blackmail to come to a friend and say, “I feel hurt when you…etc.” But, I recommend that you find support from other friends and from a professional counselor/therapist/LCSW or what-have-you.
    #8, I am sending you positive energy. I really, really hope things get better!

  8. 8. You’re NOT a child, your feelings are 100% LEGIT. Sometimes life’s timing is actually the WORST THING EVER and you just want to punch it in its face. I know that no one “belongs” to anyone and we can’t really call “dibs” on people, but if your close friend KNOWS you were really into this person and still did it…sigh. I know that’s a tough situation but it’s called boundaries and they did not respect yours!

    You’re allowed to tell them that you’re feeling shitty about this, and you’re allowed to tell them all the reasons why. It’s NOT emotional blackmail because you know what, you’re going through some truly impossible incredible shit right now, and a close friend crossing a boundary and knowingly tipping your shit scale is a shit move on their part. They’re supposed to be there for you right now, and that was not the way to do that. You also don’t need to tell them anything but what you’re comfortable telling them. If you don’t want to talk about some of the things you’re dealing with, you don’t need to mention them to prove the scale of shit this represents to you, or your feelings, etc. Tell them exactly what you feel comfortable telling them, and don’t feel pressured to say anything else. They’re in the wrong here, NOT YOU. You are an incredible awesome babe who doesn’t have to deal with their shitty decisions right now, and fuck them for knowingly taking away something good in your life.

    Also, if you want someone to talk to about some of the things that have recently happened to you, shoot me a PM and we will skype or text or email it out, okay?

  9. YOU GUYS. i’m the author of question number 14 and before anyone uses up their valuable advice words on me let me just say i told my parents and they don’t care. and it’s fine. and my date surprised me with football tickets and man am in love.

    • I was gonna tell you if they already liked her it would surely be fine, so I’m glad it was :) Enjoy your football date!

  10. #8 – Kate wrote an amazing post on being a survivor and there were many other terrific AS members having a discussion there, so please accept her offer.

    #13 – Especially interesting, since I think I got a request like this. Certainly a very strong hint in that direction. In most cases I would have been weirded out that it was being brought up so quickly or would have resented her for it and bailed, but it just made sense. I think circumstance determines stuff like this, and it doesn’t feel like she’s being pushy, or has a bad motive. Or maybe I’m just that intrigued. I guess it depends on how much she likes you. And you didn’t tell us how “early” it is.

  11. #4 I think you have internalized homophobia. And I think its common. It’s something to work on, not something to feel bad about.

    • Different viewpoint: I’m femme and “pass” and I’m offended when people say I DON’T “look gay” because, um, what does gay look like? I feel like when people say someone looks/doesn’t look gay theyre basing it on gender presentation and stereotypes, so hell yeah that’s offensive, why should being masculine of centre always be associated with being attracted to women? That feeds into the myth that all lesbians wish they were men.

      I don’t know if that’s where #4 is coming from or if your interpretation of her question was right, just how I understood it :)

  12. #3: She can take bits of a cotton ball and put them under her fingernails, then wear gloves and the nails won’t scratch you and she won’t have to cut her nails.

  13. can I throw in another 14ish question..?
    I recently started to hook up with this girl (wow.. it’s already 4 months now O_o).. we’ve been best friends for a few months first and then one drunken evening it happened and now we’re sorta kinda thogether(ish) and it could all be great..
    I am 27 and she is 20 and I know I probably shouldn’t mind but my head keeps bringing the subject up (s e v e n years) and I start to panic and may be I’m also still a little overwhelmed by everything (she’s the first girl I’ve ever been with) but I can’t seem to find my place in our little ‘arrangement’.. I thought about telling her, that I just want to be friends.. but I’m not sure that’s true.. also I don’t want to hurt her but I’m a little lost and don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do

    anyone here with similar experiences/solutions/chocolate chip cookies?

    • Are you reminded of her age on a regular basis? Like, does she say/do things that make you think “wow, she’s definitely 20.”
      If not I would say, age is just a number. But if you two are at different stages of life/development, I can see where that could become a problem.

      • hmmm.. I’d say that I remind myself of her age quite frequently.
        I don’t really think it’s about how she behaves rather than how I start to feel I should behave..
        It’s like there’s this pressure to be ‘the grown up’ – I can’t really explain, this sounds stupid (v_v)

        also, I have a younger brother her age, and his friends used to try and flirt with me and while I always found that to be cute I would have never (ever!) considered to start something with one of them – way too young! and now I always see myself as this older … I don’t know.. like I have to constantly remind myself that I didn’t lure her into my van with candy. haha..

        • So this last week I was talking to a girl at a gay bar and she was nice and we were getting along pretty well. Then she discovered that I’m four years younger than her. All of a sudden, she kept making these weird comments like, “Wow, this song is so old. Oh my god, you must’ve just been a CHILD when this came out!” Seriously, she said that to me. And other stuff too. I got the hell out of there.

          When people are at similar life stages and maturity levels, then age is just a number. And it’s kind of an asshole move to act otherwise. I was honestly offended that this girl kept bringing up our age difference because it made me feel that she didn’t see me as an equal. I know that you feel what you feel and it’s hard to change that, but I think you should try to do your best to stop thinking about the seven year age gap. Partly because seven years isn’t bad at all and also because treating her as “younger” shows you don’t respect her.

          • Hi Erin,

   that sounds like a crappy evening ^^”’
            but that’s not how I act around her. I don’t bring up her age (besides of in my head).

            I see your point, but it’s not that simple. I don’t want to have those thoughts and I am working hard to forget the gap – I have no idea why it keeps popping up??

            we were best friends before anything happened between us and she knows that I trust and respect her – I do.
            (besides: to acknowledge that someone is younger, doesn’t mean that I see them as inferior.)

          • Maybe she wasn’t trying to insult you and just felt insecure about being older? I mean I wasn’t there so I don’t know her tone, but she could have just been trying to diffuse her inner awkward feelings. Benefit of the doubt and all of that.

            Also, I have friends that are younger than me (I’m late 20’s, they are early 20’s), and I say things like that just as a joke, not because I think of them as inferior/immature/etc. Conversely, I’ve had younger friends turn the table and make fun of me for being so “old.”

            Just some thoughts from a person on the “older” side of the fence!

            Also also, it’s interesting to hear your story, because it will make me think twice before I say something like that with a younger person that I don’t know well. I would HOPE they don’t think I’m talking down to them, because it’s definitely not my intention!

          • I agree with Tierney. Take from an “old lady”….I’m sure it was her own insecurities. I am in my 30’s and just in the process of coming out… I look a little younger than i am and don’t share a lot of interests with women older than me. One of the big things stopping me from coming out totally is fear of my age. I feel like I am toooooo old to ever find a woman that i would want to date….and that would want to date me. When I get out there and start dating, I hope that more women feel the same way you do and focus on other things….and I’m not saying I wanna cradle rob, LOL!! I just don’t wanna spend the evening at the bingo hall…. ;D

    • My first relationship was with a girl 8 years older than me. My best relationship was with a woman 15 years older than me. So what I’m saying is you’re totally not in an impossible situation :) Autostraddle even wrote an article about it:

      I echo everyone’s advice: it’s all about maturity and being in the same place in your lives. Figure out what you both want out of life now and perhaps in the near future (if you’re getting serious) and enjoy. It shouldn’t be too much different than a relationship with anyone else.

      • Hi Launa,

        thanks, I will read that article as soon as I finish writing this : )

        But can I ask you something – you being on the other side of the gap .. did you ever feel weird about it?
        or did your girlfriend ever talk to you about feeling insecure about being with you?

        I mean I know you’re all right.. it’s about being at the same place and we’ll have to figure that out.. I’m just really nervous.. (also have I mentioned that she’s my first..? yes.. I have.. but still (a little hurray to myself for finally hopping onto the bandwagon *hurray*))
        ok enough of that (*happy*)
        we’ll talk…

        • I’ve never felt weird about it, but I’m also pretty dominant. I’m genuinely attracted to older women and I really wanted each of my girlfriends. I chose to be with them. I initiate conversations and I don’t play mixed message games, so my lovers don’t have to read between my lines. Being so straight forward tends to nip insecurities quickly.

          My first girlfriend ever was eight years older than me and I honestly didn’t even realize there was an age difference. We wanted the exact same things and got along well. No one cared. All of our problems had nothing to do with age.

          I had one girlfriend, who was 15 years older than me who had some insecurities at first. She hinted about them to me by making self-depreciating jokes and once teasing that she could have been my mother. When I confronted her about it, she told me she was insecure that I would leave her for someone younger. We were able to talk about it, about how I was truly attracted to her and wanted to be with her *because* of her age, experience and maturity, not in spite of it. Eventually her insecurities went away.

          You should talk to your girl about this. Express your concerns in a way that doesn’t make her feel like you’re questioning her maturity or attraction to you. Odds are she just wants to be with you and age doesn’t bother her. This will be hard to accept, but you have to. Accept that you’re fantastic and landed an amazing lady. You’re worthy. Your feelings (and her feelings) are valid. Trust each other to tell the truth. Like in any relationship, always, always talk about whatever you’re feeling as soon as you can communicate those thoughts rationally so they don’t fester.

          Then just enjoy! Life will happen however it’s supposed to happen. Worry creates self-fulfilling prophecies and it dooms good relationships. Have fun! That way, if you spend your whole life with her or only next weekend, you’ll have no regrets. :)

          • wow launa.. thank you so much for sharing!
            reading this made me feel so much better..!
            I’ll definitely reach out to her, and just hope for the best.. she really is special to me and it’s true.. may it work out for weeks, months, years or our whole life. no regrets.

            ..never regretted having no regrets, so..

            thank you! :’)

  14. #2 As being currently on exchange program, I can sort of relate (even though my gf is actually in my home town). The big thing is to decide if you want to go into long distance relationship-mode or not. YOU ALSO HAVE TO TALK TO HER ABOUT THIS. If you do, she’s still your girlfriend. If you don’t, you have to tell her so that she can become your ex. There are ways of surviving LDRs, most of them exist if you have internet. Skype or other video chat program is essential. How far away is she? How often is it presumable that you can meet?
    Relating to “missing your life”. Are you returning to the same place that you were in before you left? If so, there should be some people there you know. If not, it’s like the beginning of that exchange program, i.e. trying to find things to do in a strange place. You are allowed to miss your life, but please don’t let it stop you from getting another one. It’s not worth it.

    #4 First of all, if you feel offended, you are offended. Feelings are that way. We normally can’t chose how to feel, but we can chose how to act. You need to figure out why you’re offended. Is it because the person saying it really means “gay” as a substitute for “ugly”, or some other derogatory term (you can probably tell by their tone of voice)? Is it because you think, that they think, that you conform to a gay stereotype that you don’t like? Is it because you don’t want to “look gay”, you want to pass as straight and just have people leave your sexuality alone? Is it because you don’t want to be put in a box? Is it because “gay” has bad associations for you?

    Try and figure out why you’re so offended, it’s the only why to deal with it (and you obviously want to deal with it, otherwise you wouldn’t write in :)). Sometimes the only way is to not give a shit about what people say, other times it might be an idea to challenge your own ideas about what “gay” is.

  15. RE: Number 3. I know you don’t want to be offensive but this can lead to OH JESUS I’M BLEEDING.

    So one time I sent a girl to go cut her nails (legit kicked her out of bed and was like ‘there are nail clippers in the bathroom). BECAUSE I WAS BLEEDING, OKAY. So ask her to cut the nails and/or use gloves, because the health of your bits is more important than tact is, in this case.

  16. 9. I talked to my mom the other day and she sounded so sad again. I’m beginning to think that I made a mistake by going out of state for college. How can I help her when I’m on the other side of the country?

    After the fact, I heard that my mom was super upset for most of my freshman year at college because I was horrible about staying in touch. Just email her every two to three days and let her known that you’re busy, you love her, you’re having a great time in college, you’re learning, your building a life, etc. Maybe skype or call once a week, too, etc. Also, encourage HER to write to YOU. It’s important to keep up with what’s going on at home. Encourage her to share the good and the bad, the exciting and the mundane. It’ll keep you feeling connected to home, and motivate you to write back.

  17. Number 7:

    MOVE TO CALIFORNIA! This is pretty much my general life advice for most situations, actually.

  18. 7. So right now I could 1.) move to California which would be a pain and scary but ultimately great 2.) get back with the ex and move to Cali later and be more financial stable in love+ life 3.) do nothing and stay sad on the east coast. Help?

    If you’re going to be more stable in love and in life, go with #2. If you love your ex, and she will contribute to your happiness, then why the hell aren’t you with her now?

    And as for option 3 here, never ever do nothing and stay sad, no matter where you are. It’s just not worth the heartache. She probably misses you too, more than she can explain.

  19. 4- It’s ok to be offended by anything that offends you! So much of this depends on context, but just remember that there are some of us out there who use that phrase as a term of endearment, synonymous with sexy. For some of us (ahem) the gaya the betta.

    16- When your heart hurts. When you start compromising your happiness for hers. When you happiness is inextricably tied to her(s).

    Take some time apart to refresh and break the cycle you two have going on. Do something new, kick it old school and write her love letters (like paper and pen old school). Have a technology-free weekend together. Take a 24-hr vow of silence with each other and only talk with your bodies. Sometimes our mouths do a lot more harm than good. Make your last-ditch effort everything you’ve got, but walk away before you lose yourself.

  20. 3. Direct her to this:
    Ok, maybe that’s not the most tactful method of dealing with the issue. But be honest and up front about your parts/keeping them intact and you should work it out easily.

    10. When you’re anxious about responding to messages, remember that most people on OKCupid (or any online dating site slash in real life, for that matter) are anxious too. They’re likely just as nervous about meeting someone and the potential for a connection or rejection as you may be. Something about your profile stood out to them, because you’re the bees’ knees/cat’s pajamas and all that jazz. Just be yourself and don’t overthink your responses and remember that you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you. (:

  21. everyone move to california so that when it breaks off of the earth we’re at camp all the time with no way to escape

  22. 5. May I suggest the internet, at least at first? Whatever your forum, it can take away so much anxiety because you can be totally explicit about what you want. And then anyone who responds to you will already also want what you want; you don’t have to deal with the stress of negotiating that in person.

    7. Move! Even from your short question it is clear that this is what you want. I moved to a city where I knew almost no one and had no job prospects, just because I figured it was the kind of place I wanted to be. When I got there I worked temp jobs and waited tables and felt miserably lonely and worried about money but also, at the same time, felt so happy and excited every time I left my apartment because I had this whole place to explore that I loved. It was the right decision. I’m still here.

    8. Among all of these very hard things, I’ll start with a less hard one, the girl thing: I’m of the school of thought that a person you like is not an expensive item that you can put on layaway until you have saved up enough bravery to claim her. There’s no dibs-calling. It will be necessary, probably, to put away the idea that your friend has “done this to you.” The problem is in fact that she was probably not doing this with any thought toward you. It’s a sin of omission, it can probably be forgiven, but you may not be able to put your emotional resources toward that end right now. Feel your feelings without judgment, but be guided in your actions by the knowledge that, though it feels like the world is conspiring against you right now, these things are not intertwined as they seem. If you can set this aside enough to share all these other things with your friend, I think you should, because you need all the resources you can get. Lean on everyone. Don’t be afraid to be loudly needy. If you live with roommates, let them know right away that things may be tough financially and see if you can work out some options. Even if you’re on your own, landlords can be more flexible than you might think — they may be able to work out a payment plan. And if you can seek out free counseling resources, do that. This is long long long, but I’m rooting for you hard.

    9. I’ve been in a similar situation. We’re not the guardians of our parents’ emotions, though (or anyone’s). Are there other relatives nearby you could clue in to the fact that your mom might need some extra care right now? It might also be less draining and guilt-inducing to express your love and support by writing her a kind, warm letter every week, and keeping phone calls briefer. Then she will also have something she can take out and look at when she needs to feel loved.

    11. Three months is not so long! People go without dating anyone for three months all the time without even meaning to. If it’s only “kindamaybe,” though, I’d wait and sit on it while you are away and maybe she’s around when you get back, maybe not. That’s the price your heart pays for its indecision. If you think about it and conclude that it’s closer to “definitely,” though, tell her! Don’t make promises, probably, but this knowledge might sustain the two of you through the separation.

    15. Before anything: I’ve dealt with self-injury, this is easier-said-than-done stuff, and I am not even coming at this from a perspective of “stop self-injuring.” But I think you should tell your girlfriend, not for sex-embarrassment-reduction purposes but because she is your girlfriend. It’s my sense that tons of women, maybe most, have known someone who’s self-injured at some point in their lives. So I wouldn’t worry so much about freaking her out. If I were in this situation, my personal script might go something like: “Hey, I wanted to tell you something since it’s something you’d probably end up noticing. This is kind of embarrassing, but sometimes I’ve cut myself to deal with anxiety and depression, and I have some marks from that. It’s not because I want to kill myself or anything, it’s just a tactic that helps me feel better sometimes. I don’t do it often anymore, and I’m trying to find different ways to deal, but I thought you should know.” None of this may be true for you, but say the things that are true for you and let her know how you’d like her to handle this information: if you want to be able to tell her when you’re dealing with the impulse to self-injure, or even if you don’t want this to be an ongoing conversation (which I think is legitimate, by the way; I know it can seem very invasive to feel like someone’s monitoring your psychological state), tell her that. She will be a little sad and worried, unavoidably, but it’s better to get this on the table than to let her accidentally notice and then worry far more about this scary secret thing. Good luck!

    • I definitely don’t believe in “dibs-calling” either, which is partly why I felt so bad about feeling bad. I also felt silly for caring about it at all when I had so many other things going on in my life that were so much worse. However, it’s difficult to let go of the idea that something was done to me, but not because my friend started hooking up with the girl I liked. Without going into detail, the circumstances in which it began were particularly humiliating and insensitive, and that’s partly why I took it so hard.That and the fact that I’m hypersensitive and emotionally vulnerable right now, so it’s easy for me to overreact to every little thing.

      Anyways, it is super scary and weird and embarrassing to see the question I sent out when I was drunk and depressed here on Autostraddle for all to see. I have a really difficult time with reaching out to people and asking for help, so thank you to everyone, especially Kate, who replied. I could use all the support I can get right now, so if anyone else, particularly other survivors, would be willing to talk, reply to this post and I will PM you.

      • Hey! Yeah, I do not think it is silly at all to feel that way (and particularly if your friend was being brazenly insensitive about it, yuck), it seems natural. And I hope I didn’t come off as dismissive by suggesting putting that problem between you on ice for the moment — when a concatenation of things have been going badly for me, there have been times when I’ve reacted explosively to one perceived wrong among many just because it was the easiest fight to pick. And it’s ended up burning bridges or making things even more difficult for awhile afterwards, when really I think I’d have done better to reserve my emotional energy and my friend network to tackle the bigger issues. Anyway, I am not a rape survivor, but I’d be glad to be a friendly ear or whatever kind of support I could be, so please feel free to be in touch!

        • Don’t worry, it didn’t come off as insensitive to me, I just wanted to explain myself better. I sent that question over a month ago, no more than a week after all of this, including the rape, had just happened, so the wounds were still fresh. Since then I have not burned any bridges with her, because this is just one misstep in what has been a very supportive friendship. Ultimately, she is much too important to me to ruin our friendship over this one thing. It still stings a little sometimes, but it pales in comparison to everything I’ve been dealing with since.

  23. 3: Just tell her. “Your nails are too long and they hurt.” There is no nice way to say it. Then she will apologize, fix them and you can go on having nice non-painful sex :)

    If after 3 years you still miss her that much, I would say drop her a line. Chat casually, if you aren’t already. HOWEVER if she dumped you DO NOT attempt to get back together. If it was mutual or you ended things and regret it then you could slowly try to rebuild in that direction.

    I have also been a self-harmer. I would tell you girlfriend this before sex takes place. Trust me it’s better than your girlfriend and you getting it on happily then she turns on the lights and gets freaked out by the fresh scar on your body. Best handle that one out of the bedroom.
    You can explain that it is a kinda messed up coping strategy that you have that you are dealing with.

  24. No. 3
    Strongly encourage her to start playing the piano. Then she’ll have to cut her nails short, or face the wrath of her piano teacher.
    No seriously, just talk to her.

  25. 10. Any advice to getting over my anxiety and responding to OkCupid messages?

    The best advice: just pick a person and send a message. After the first one, it gets a lot easier. Some people won’t message back. Some people will answer you and you’ll realize that they aren’t what you’re looking for. Rejection is hard for anyone, but if you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never find the Right One. And if someone’s already messaged you, good news! That means they already think you’re cool!

    15. I have some pretty bad, fairly recent self-injury marks. Is this something I should tell my girlfriend about before having sex with her? I don’t know how to explain it without freaking her out, but there’s no way I can be naked and hide it.

    I have self-injured for many years. Many of my old scars are easily visible. If you are still self-injuring, then the conversation you’re talking about should happen before you’re both getting naked together. Depending on how well you know each other, you may find that she already suspects that there’s something going on. I’ve spoken to friends who knew me when I was cutting, who I thought I had kept in the dark, and they’ve all either known or had their suspicions that something was going on.
    Also, one reason you should talk to her sooner, rather than later, is what you already mentioned, that she might “freak out”. My first week living in a college dorm, one of the other girls who I’d only seen in passing, knocked on my door in a panic because she’d seen my bare arms in the bathroom. I spent twenty minutes explaining to her (while she cried) that I was not suicidal, and trying to calm her down. If your injuries are that bad, and recent, your gf will definitely care about you enough to be worried, and you should be prepared to have a long conversation. Imagine how you would react if you saw those same injuries on you gf’s body. Most websites that deal with self-injury also have sections for family/friends of self-injurers, and some even have articles for how to talk to people about your self-injury.

  26. 4. Is it ok to be offended when someone tells me I look gay?

    It’s always okay to feel what you feel but it’s also important to understand why we feel what we feel. Ya feels me?

    But for real, maybe you should take a step back and think “why is someone telling me I “look gay” affecting my mood?”.

    Is it because perhaps you’re uncomfortable with your manner of dress acting as a signifier for your sexual orientation? If that’s the case maybe there’s some deeper issues there with self acceptance or internalized homophobia.

    Or is it possibly that you have a different view of your personal style that you don’t consider “gay”? Besides what is “gay” anyways, ya know?

    Labels for people are just like covers to books, they’re supposed to give you a feel for what’s contained inside but are really just ways to make people feel like they can take comfort in a false sense of knowing what they’re getting when they open the binding.

    What i’m trying to say is just because that popular book has a picture of a grey necktie on the cover doesn’t mean it’s about big business or being dapper. That chizz is actually Fifty Shades of Gray which someone once described to me as “Mommy Porn”.

  27. #2

    Reverse culture shock sucks. Really really bad. You’ve just had this really amazing fantastic unbelieveable time and now it’s over and you have to go back to ‘normalcy’. Except normal doesn’t even feel normal anymore because you’re adjusted to a different kind of normal. You had the chance togrow and change in a way that almost everyone back home didn’t. They couldn’t relate to you, and it’s not their fault that they can’t, but such is the rub.

    This is all normal, even if icky. I remember coming back from a 5-month world tour and feeling like I broke up with 50 people at once and feeling so rubbish for a long time after it. It was one of the best times of my life and now nothing else seems the same again. I had a wedding to go to not long after this trip and I pretty much spent all my time on the computer trying to talk to my tripmates. It was lonely and crazymaking but I needed it.

    Talk about it. Talk about how you feel. You may need to find new people to talk to – the people who knew us before our big trips and didn’t go to one of their own won’t be able to understand. They may be supportive, or they may think it’s all so boring. Don’t waste your time on people who think your story is boring, that you’re bragging, why can’t you jut get over it already. They don’t deserve your heart. I find that sometimes it’s the acquaintances that really come out for you and care.

    As for your girl: it so sucks to have to leave behind someone who obviously made you very happy because of circumstances you cannot control. Can youkeep in touch with her? Hope is not lost.

    I’ve been where you are. Feel free to get in touch.

  28. 5. I’m not a-sexual, after three years of celibacy/debate I got just drunk enough to approach another person for physical contact and it rocked, but how can I do this in a healthy “I know your last name and will speak to you again” kind of way?

    Fuck buddies are the key to my life! It doesn’t work out for everyone but in my situation I have my friends, and then I have my friends that I love in a totally just friends way, and they love me in a totally just friends way but we can hookup whenever but things just aren’t weird after it for us. If you want a fuck buddy relationship just make sure you and her are on the same page, and in my experience, these relationships work best with new(er) friendships; not your life long best friend/sole sister.

    11. Girl I am kindamaybe interested in professed her like for me yesterday. However, I am leaving for a three month jaunt in Europe in a few weeks. What do I do?

    If you are only kindamaybe interested in her don’t start anything with her until you get back from your trip. It means that you are freer to fool around while travelling, and once you return you two can sort out your feelings for each other.

    15. I have some pretty bad, fairly recent self-injury marks. Is this something I should tell my girlfriend about before having sex with her? I don’t know how to explain it without freaking her out, but there’s no way I can be naked and hide it.

    As a self injurer I have this exact problem too. My scars are so deep and they make me feel self concious about being naked with others, because it is often the first thing someone will notice. In my experience I have never told any hookups or ONS about my self harm because it is none of their fucking business, but with my (ex)girlfriend I discussed it with her before we had sex. If I am to be in a relationship with someone then they sure as hell should care about me and any baggage that comes with me, it opened up our relationship and made me feel more secure. If she is someone that cares about you she wouldn’t want to make you uncomfortable, but she should just want to look out for your mental health. It is a tough talk to have, but it is so much easier after.

  29. 16. How do you know if you are just going through a stage of being annoyed with each other and a bit disrespectful, and when it is time for you to break up?

    I feel like the moment I knew it went beyond just annoyance is quality of time spent together. When you start getting downright mean and all you do is argue and I truly mean all the time. You are not just having a small bickering or just disagreement which I think is pretty normal. Every little thing starts to get on your nerves. There is a sense of loss of intimacy in communication and in the bedroom. There has to be open communication about your problems and a real effort to attempt to get better with each other. Sometimes your intuition is the best tool.. it’s usually right.

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