Ask Kayy

Dear Kayy,

I did something ridiculously stupid . but I can explain. I have had girlfriends since I was 15 and haven’t been single for more than a few weeks since then. Whenever I break up or get broken up with, I somehow end up in a relationship really quickly afterward. It’s not like I’m forced into it – it just somehow happens. It seems like I develop strong feelings for girls really quickly, and I like having the security of a girlfriend. I basically ended up hooking up with the same four girls within the same few months. They hang out in different crowds so they didn’t know. I never asked them to be my girlfriend, but because we spent so much time together they just assumed that they were. Eventually the guilt started to kill me and I told them all what I’d done. They all completely flipped out on me and hate me now. I mean, technically I didn’t do anything wrong, but it obviously felt wrong. I feel like the worst guy in the world. Am I totally screwed?

Four-timing Jackass

Dear Four-timing Jackass,

Don’t be so hard on yourself with that title. You’re not a jackass; you’re just a serial monogamist who had a failed conversion to single life. I really don’t think you were mean-spirited in your actions.

For almost your entire adolescence you’ve been in a relationship. Some people would look on you with envy. So many people go through high school and college never finding someone special or always getting crushed by the people they crush on, not finding love until much later.

Some people purposely choose not to enter relationships to keep their freedom and focus on other aspects of life like school work, friends and family. No matter which route you choose or which route chooses you, there are good and bad things that come with it. While you might have been envying the single life, your friends were probably envying the intimacy of a steady relationship.

So you’ve seen the ups and downs of constantly being in a relationship. Yeah, it’s nice to always have someone to say good night to, be in love with and turn to no matter what. But it’s really important that you have those things with someone you really want to be with.You should love your partner, not just the idea of being in a relationship.

That’s how a lot of people get hurt. After being in a serious relationship, it’s easy to get addicted to that intimacy and the idea of being somebody’s boyfriend or girlfriend. But it’s easy to get lost in that and think of yourself only in terms of your significant other, not as someone who is totally worthy who can stand on his own.

It’s important to get that single time, to prove to yourself that you can stand on your own. I’m not saying that if you’re totally in love with someone you should resist it and stay single. I’m simply suggesting you reconsider jumping in and out of relationships without having time for yourself to figure out what you want and what you need out of a partner and out of your own life. Sometimes you can be with someone so long that it’s more difficult to separate your goals from their goals, and it’s hard to tell where they start and where you begin.

It didn’t feel right to you to get physical with a girl and not call her the next day, or to keep hanging out with her. So somehow you accumulated a few (well, four) girls whom you wanted to keep seeing. You’re right, you didn’t do anything “technically” wrong, and you never said they were your girlfriends, but because of your past relationships, you probably acted as if they were. And you thought you could get away with it, but never using the word girlfriend doesn’t change the fact that you led these girls on. Sometimes withholding the truth is just as bad as telling a lie.

Right now, these girls feel totally betrayed. I honestly wish you had asked for advice a little earlier on. This disaster was a long time coming, and I know you felt guilty and needed to impulsively get it off your chest, but there was probably a better way to go about it. It’s too late to fix that now.

The truth is I’m a bit worried that you somehow developed feelings for four girls at the same time. That makes me think that you’re an “in-love-with-love” type of person. That’s not to say it’s impossible to like a few people at a time, but I think liking four girls enough to be your girlfriend is a bit extreme.

I know you tried the hooking up thing, thinking it would help you avoid relationships, but much of the time that you are physical with someone, some sort of feelings are going to come out of it. That’s what leads to a lot of college sex angst: We don’t know if people are our boyfriends, friends that we kiss, stupid random hookups or our soulmates. It’s hard sorting all that out in our heads because our hearts and libidos are making most of our decisions.

So my suggestion is to stay celibate for a while. I’d say you can go on a few dates or have a few smooches, but that obviously didn’t work out very well. Take some time off from love and sex and get your head together. Figure out what you really want from a relationship and in other people. I hate to be clich? and say “go find yourself”- but I think it’s necessary.

I’m not saying that since I was single for a while before I met my current boyfriend that I’ve got my life completely together and I’m totally independent, but at least I know what it’s like to stand on my own two feet. I’m not saying be cold and I’m not saying you should completely turn down a person that you start falling for, but if she’s the right person she’ll understand that you need time alone and that you can only be a friend for now.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, and any time you really want to start dating a girl . take a cold shower.