I feel like I have been going on the perpetual first date for the past two years. I meet a guy, go out with him, get bored or pick him apart within a week and move on. My friends tell me I am too critical, but I think high standards are a good thing. What do you think?

--College, USA

I think if you're such a prize you should have better taste.

Still, I've mailed out your certificate for being the official, the undisputed, the Most Fascinating Person at the Table for two years running. Yay! Too bad the fights were all fixed.

Not being interested in everyone is healthy; the ability to say no means your yes will actually mean something someday. But to have every single person you meet catalogued and carted off inside a week? I don't buy it.

When no one is up to snuff, ever, "high standards" start to sound like "picking people apart so I can feel superior." Isn't it possible that all this criticism stems from a shaky view of yourself? No shame or denial necessary; you're in college, you're supposed to be wondering who the hell you are. Can't get answers if you don't ask questions, right? But at least acknowledge that you haven't got life all figured out. And that interesting people can't be your goal if you see each one as a threat.

If nothing else, before you resume the date-N-ditch, please ask yourself: What do I lose if I give these guys a chance? And if I can't, shouldn't I just stay home?

Dear Carolyn:

I am 29. She is 28. We moved into a new apartment together nine months ago, after five months of dating. I know, foolish.

She became belligerent, caustic and argumentative. When asked what was wrong, her response was, "I don't want to talk about it." She no longer laughed at my jokes, looked me in the eye, etc. Finally, she decided to talk, saying she wanted to break up, that our relationship had no future because I "always have to get my way, always have to be right, and never listen." None of my friends can believe this.

Since she held back her feelings, punished me along the way and decided we had no future, shouldn't she be the one to move out? She says she is "in no hurry" and wants to "remain" friends.


Your romance is on the side of the road in a twisted metal heap, and you're ready to fight for the radio.

Not that you always have to get your way or anything.

When a guy says, "Ask my friends how wrong she is" to prove how wrong she is, I'm inclined to think she's right. At least in part. She may have all the behavioral finesse of a 2-year-old late for her nap (and her remain-friends proposal may be the Howler du Jour), but have you given any thought to her point?

If you haven't, you might have just proven it.

Still, with sulking like that, I have no doubt she's more than her share of wrong, too--and it's hard to get perspective on any problem when it's currently sharing your sock drawer. Which brings us to who moves out, when:

The mature one, now.

Right or not, any time you contemplate a crusade in the name of principle, you have to factor in the number of hours the stress will shave off your life. "One" seems excessive here. Ask if she plans to relocate, and if she doesn't, get your name off the lease and go.


My fiance and I are supposed to get married this June. I haven't even started planning the wedding and I really have no urge to do so. My fiance keeps nagging me to start, but the truth is I really don't think I want to get married in June. I really, really love my fiance, I just don't think I'm ready. He is definitely ready. He's 30 and I'm 20. How do I tell him this without jeopardizing our relationship?


Please, have a seat. Have a . . . have a club soda.

You're too young for this.

If you don't feel comfortable saying to him, "I'm too young for this," then you're really too young for this.

You need to think less about preserving the relationship and more about preserving yourself. Your relationship is worthless if you aren't happy with it, for one thing, and he is worthless if he doesn't understand that. Though I suppose it wasn't so long ago that he was a guy in his late twenties hitting on a teenager, so when it comes time for your fiance to demonstrate his maturity, I wouldn't expect the moon.

Be honest with him, now, and don't let anyone--him, your family, your friends, anyone--make this into a right-or-wrong issue. It's a how-you-feel issue, and you don't feel like getting married. Good enough.

Write to Tell Me About It, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or tellme@washpost.com, and join Carolyn's live discussion at noon today or at 8 p.m. Monday at washingtonpost.com/liveonline