Pity dater and the doomed papa

Joey cracks up watching “Swagger Wagon” on YouTube.

This girl in my math class had a really big crush on me. I admired that and we made out. Now I’m at a loss if I should actually date her. We’ve been talking, and we’re arguing more than anything and we haven’t even started dating. She thinks I’m too vague, indirect and fickle. I’m wondering what I should do at this point. I don’t like hurting someone’s feelings and breaking hearts and don’t want to get a bad reputation at college.

You admired her crush on you? You liked her simply because she liked you? Then you made out and now you’re wondering if you should date her? Absolutely not. Actually, I don’t think you should date anyone until you develop a habit of being honest. One of the greatest acts of love you can engage in is telling the truth, kindly. She says you’re indirect, fickle and vague because she realizes that you’re afraid to tell her you don’t want to be with her. She’s pushing you to say it. She needs to hear you say it. But you think the truth will hurt her feelings. She may be disappointed, sad, even regretful, but those feelings will be temporary. The longer you stay connected, the higher her hopes for a relationship with you and the more painful it will be for her when you finally grow a backbone and say you’re not interested. Or, worse still, when you meet a girl you do want to date and ditch the math-class babe, she will likely interpret that as evidence she is not good enough to be loved. Hey, if you really cared about her, or yourself, you would not have made out with her. She’s not bright enough to realize that offering herself to you sexually won’t necessarily make the two of you into a couple. But you knew that, right? So why did you take advantage of her weakness for you? Answering that question will reveal what you need to transform in your personality to avoid being the heartbreaker you say you don’t want to be.

My dad always dates women that are bad for him. I’m 14, and I don’t understand why he does this and what can I do to help him.

Oh, honey! Most adults and teenagers choose dating partners based on an unreliable and volatile determinant—feelings. Consciously or unconsciously, they select partners because of the hits of emotion they get, much like an addict looking for the next high. If your dad selects a romantic partner mainly because he likes the way he feels when he looks at her or when she looks at him or because he likes the attention he gets when people see them together, it’s a problem. Ditto for being with a woman because he likes how he feels when she’s touching him (or vice versa), her response when he says romantic things to her (and vice versa) or how he feels about himself when he rescues her from yet another crisis she created. A relationship based on feelings is sustained only when the couple is within eyesight or reach of each other. That’s because emotions are transient, arriving and exiting unexpectedly. So, yeah, emotions are one of the criteria to be considered but should never be the prime factor. A relationship based on emotions will always be like riding in a twin-engine plane during a raging storm. Sometimes they’re exciting, but too often have life-and-death scary drama.

So how can you help your papacita? Tell him what you learn about yourself, him, love and life by watching his doomed relationships. By holding up a mirror, you might inspire him to understand his tragic choices and make the changes necessary within himself to grow into real love.

Meditation of the Week

“One researcher studied daily conversation and concluded that 80 to 90 percent of human conversation is about the immediate social world inhabited by us and the people we know,” notes Hal Niedzviecki, in his brilliant book, <i>The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors</i>. Are you egocentric?