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Terms Of Unendearment

I have been dating the love of my life for ten months. At first, we had sex frequently. We were crazy about each other. Eventually, the sex started tapering off. We still spent a lot of time together. We'd sleep in the same bed, but we rarely had sex. About two months ago, she said that we both needed space. That turned into seeing each other about twice a week, and by then, we had stopped having sex altogether. Six days ago, I freaked out because she didn't call me at a certain time, and she always calls when she says she will. Five hours later, I left a few messages and started calling her about every hour. Finally, I called and found her home, but asleep. Her roommate told me that they had gone out together, and asked me why I was so upset. She said that maybe my girlfriend didn't want me to know everything she does. When my girlfriend and I finally talked, she told me that she doesn't know what she wants anymore; not just in our relationship, but in life as well. She wants to date me, but says she wants to be able to date others, too. What does this mean?


YOU'VE BEEN driving around without your lights on for ten months. Take a page from The Advice Goddess' Breakup Dictionary:

As soon as "sleeping together" started to mean putting on pajamas, the writing was on the wall (in letters visible to late-stage glaucoma patients, blindfolded magicians' assistants, and astronauts orbiting the earth): YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS PROBABLY IN TROUBLE.

The term "needing space" can be confusing, since its meaning varies according to location. If, for example, you and your girlfriend are wedged into an airplane bathroom with your clothes around your ankles, "I need space" indicates: "BACK UP! The paper towel dispenser is stabbing me in the shoulder blade!"

If, however, "needing space" is mentioned in any location which lacks a blue-flush steel toilet with a trap door in the bowl and signs threatening the death penalty for sneaking a cigarette; "needing space" translates into something like: "Being with you still beats being smacked in the face with a wet pinata...but it's a very close call."

No sex at all? This one should be easy, even for you: "Is that a toe-tag on this relationship, or have you been opening beer cans with your feet again?"

I hope it's all starting to click for you, because I'm getting a little tired of playing Noah Webster. Next time, avoid being so attached to your idea of the relationship that you forget to notice the reality of it. As for this time...It's dead. Over. Finito. Kaput. That's all there is, there isn't any more. Move on. Time of death? Let's put it this way: Do you own a carbon dating device?

Copyright ©2000, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, Ask The Advice Goddess, which appears in 60 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.