Q I'm a 27-year-old gay man. I had a really great first couple of dates with a guy, so for the third date I invited him to stay over. I cooked a nice dinner, we watched a movie and we had a lovely time in bed together. In the morning, we had another romp. At one point, he was rimming me, and unexpectedly, unintentionally, I farted in his mouth a little. His reaction was along the lines of "EW! EWWWW! EW!" Mine was along the lines of trying to apologize through uncontrollable laughter. I said, "C'mere" and pulled him in to kiss me, and we finished with what I thought was minimal awkwardness.
Later in the day, to be cute, and even perhaps start a long-term shared joke, I sent an e-card that read, "I'm sorry for farting in your mouth." I then left town for the weekend, and when I got back I tried to get in touch with him. He sent the following text message: "i'm not sure about this. yr a sweet guy but i'm dating some other people...i just can't have farts in my mouth.
"i think i would have handled it a bit more respectfully."
Is a sense of humour about the inevitable off-colour moments too much to expect? I mean, this was one strike you're out, not even a chance to talk it over. He dumped me over TEXT, for fuck's sake! Good riddance, I suppose. But did I really handle this wrong? --Flatulent Anilingus Result: Termination
A You handled this beautifully, FART---that's why you got dumped via text message.
They don't cover this in sex ed, I realize, but the average idiot knows there's just one thing a person wants from someone who's just "unexpectedly" farted in his mouth, even just a little, and it's not an e-card. It's a lengthy, abject, mortified, immediate and heartfelt apology. And after a rimmee farts---a blessedly rare occurrence---it's the rimmer's response that sets the tone for what comes next. Your guest was horrified and disgusted. When you saw his reaction, FART, you needed to take your emotional cues from him, make your apologies and reassure him that it wasn't intentional and express genuine remorse.
Instead, you laughed in his face, pulled him in for a kiss and sent him a flip e-card. Basically, you did everything you could to give this guy the impression that you're either an inconsiderate asshole incapable of reading another person's emotional cues, FART, or that you may actually be into farts---or worse---and that you intentionally farted in his mouth. I would've dumped you, too.
Yes, a sense of humour about those off-colour moments is not too much to expect. But no relationship progresses to the laughing-off-the-fart-in-your-mouth stage, FART, until after---long after---you've demonstrated to the person you're dating that you're a fundamentally decent, considerate person, worthy of their time and affections.
Q Every so often, I have to fight the urge to contact an ex-boyfriend from college. It didn't end well (I cheated). It's been over a decade (more like 15 years) since we last spoke. I'm happily married, have two children and live in a completely different part of the country now. Yet I feel sad that we don't still know each other. The reasons for the indiscretion are complicated and include, among other things, stupidity and youth. (Also the fact that the indiscretion involved a different ex-boyfriend who pleaded for one final hurrah---and then I told the then-current boyfriend that it was forced, which it wasn't, which the then-current boyfriend rightly didn't believe.)
I want to explain myself, move on and be forgiven. But if he wanted to be in contact with me, he would be. And yet I still hold out hope that someday he'll contact me or that we'll bump into each other. Should I contact him? --Can't Let Go
A You should suck it up, CLG. It's killing you that someone out there might hate your guts (with cause), might think you're scum (because you behaved like scum) and, we can safely presume at this stage, is content to have you out of his life. This bothers you because you're not scum, of course; no person is defined by the two worst mistakes she ever made. (I'm referring to (1) cheating and (2) making a false accusation of rape. What would've happened if your then-current boyfriend had gone to the police? Or taken the law into his own hands? Thank god your then-current boyfriend didn't believe you.) I don't think you should contact him, CLG, not until you're a little more interested in what you could give him (a long-overdue apology) and a little less interested in what he could give you (absolution).
Q My wife and I divorced three years ago. Six months ago, I began seeing a good friend of my daughter's. I knew this was dangerous territory, but I really liked this girl. A month ago, we decided to take our relationship public. My daughter reacted poorly. She did not demand we break up, but she let me know our relationship made her uncomfortable. And she was rightfully upset about some personal information my girlfriend had told me about her.
In past weeks, my daughter has gradually edged my girlfriend out of her personal life. She has also begun to spend less time with me. She tells me she does not want me to have to choose between her and my girlfriend; although, if she stops spending time with me, that's exactly what she's doing. She's upset, but I'm a grown man, and I just want to be happy. And in spite of the age difference, my girlfriend makes me very happy. What can I do to make my daughter more comfortable? --Father Doesn't Always Know Best
A It's nice to know your girlfriend makes you happy "in spite of the age difference." Anyway, there's nothing you can do to artificially force her comfort level. While emotional blackmail---"My girlfriend makes me happy, but I will sacrifice my happiness for you, darling, if that's what you want..."---may result in your daughter spending more time with you and your girlfriend now, her resentment will do irreparable damage to your relationship with her over the long run. So stop whining, and continue to enjoy the girlfriend in spite of the age difference.
Then, apologize to your daughter for keeping the relationship from her for so long and for the invasion of her privacy that already took place. Then, give your daughter the space she needs and the privacy she has a right to.