Carolyn Hax: Beyond speed-dating rejection; boyfriend overcome by emotion

Carolyn Hax
Columnist April 28, 2012

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

A friend and I just attended a speed-dating event. She glowed. She wound up with something like 20 “very interesteds” on her contact card. She already has several dates lined up. I will add that she is single only because her last relationship ended due to distance.

Meanwhile, I was excited to participate but somehow wound up feeling like a draggy frump and a bad conversationalist. Zero “very interesteds” and only a handful of “interesteds,” meaning close to 90 percent of the people I met have no desire to see me ever again.

With the disclaimer that I understand these things are forced and don’t mean anything in the scheme of things, I am feeling really, really down about myself. I feel like the night was a snapshot explanation for why I am unhappily single. Please knock some sense into me. Thanks.


D.C.

You had an off night. Any reason it has to be more than that?

Why, yes, there is a reason, she said, answering her own rhetorical question: Maybe history says you’re not one to glow in circumstances like these. But even that’s a narrow band of significance.

Please take it from someone whose own parents called her an acquired taste: Not acing the two-minute-conversation test means little besides “Don’t seek happiness in someone you know for two minutes.”

Judge yourself on the quality of your friendships. Artificial constructs can be useful in a limited way, absolutely — as long as you also regard any failures in them in just as limited a way.

Hi, Carolyn:

Last night I was watching a movie with my boyfriend. During one scene, he started to tear up, and by the end he was pretty much crying. I was flabbergasted at first — my boyfriend is pretty “manly” (to his credit, the scene was sports-related) and doesn’t get emotional easily. While the scene was moving, I would not say it was a tear-jerker.

I made the mistake of laughing.

Well, that made him angry, and now he is not speaking to me. Was I wrong, or is he being oversensitive?

Crying Boyfriend?

Both, but, to borrow some insight from my 8-year-old, you started it.

And wow, you were so much more wrong than he was. His silent treatment is juvenile, yes. But it pains me to think of someone who doesn’t normally show vulnerability getting a ridicule beat-down for it. Maybe the scene wasn’t all that moving to you, but who knows what he has buried inside him that this scene dredged up?

And it was “to his credit” that it was a sports scene? Wow.

Tell him you were totally out of line and have some biases you need to root out.

Your happiness — apart or together — is directly proportional to how safe you feel with the people you love. So, think for a moment how important it is for you to feel safe with a boyfriend, then do whatever you can to be that safe place for him. His willingness to trust you will depend largely on your sincerity, but also on his courage. That’s what it will take for him to show his heart around you again.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com. Subscribe at www.facebook.com/carolynhax.

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