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Insight From Reading Advice Columns

Updated on May 11, 2011

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Cheaters, Teens & Ticking Clocks

With Valentine's Day coming up, it seems that there is at least one article on love to be found in every newspaper/news site I’ve looked at recently. The advice columnists who, last month, were advising their readers to give up bad habits for the New Year are now telling their readers to give past lovers a second chance. With Hallmark making people obligated to feel in love on the 14th, the jerk who stomped on your heart is looking pretty good. The days leading up to Valentine’s Day can be very scary days. Intelligent people start to question if leaving their significant other was the best decision. Every past girlfriend/boyfriend is “the one that got away.” People, please remember why they became your ex.

It amazes me how many people seek approval to continue in a bad/bad idea relationship. This one writer asked for advice on how to trust her married boyfriend. Well, honey, your boyfriend’s wife must trust him not have a girlfriend. He most likely gives her an excuse (Darn those late office hours!) and then goes to play with you. How can you trust this man? You can’t. Trust and this man aren’t synonymous and you’re a fool for thinking they can be. Girls, stop getting involved with married men. Try to think more highly of yourself. If that’s impossible, consider the feelings of his wife. If that too is impossible, congratulations on finding your Prince Charming. May you enjoy many years of hidden happiness and praying over pregnancy tests.

I love reading the letters from teenage girls. They all write about how they’ve found the one and evil parents are breaking them up with a move, a punishment, etc. They write that they have been dumped by the boy of their dreams. It is the end of the world and the columnist needs to cut the right wire before it explodes. As we’ve all been teenagers, we know what the end of the world feels like. We sympathize with the writer. We laugh at the writer. We are so thankful we are not the writer. With all that we’ve faced since that age, our worlds must’ve ended a million times. The definition of an ending world changes with every minute you live. Teenage love woes are replaced by bills, bosses, aging not so gracefully, sick parents, and in-laws. Mean as it seems, given the chance, wouldn’t you like to depress the girl further and tell her that one day Joey will be forgotten because Phil, Tony and Mike will have stomped on her heart too? The world doesn’t end with a first broken heart; it starts a whole new one.

There are the writers in more committed relationships who are doing everything, but tie a rope around their boyfriend and drag them to the alter, to get married. They ask the columnist what they should do to move things along. They ask how they can change to become more “wife material.” They describe how happy they are with “Luke” and you can feel how perplexed this poor woman is through the page. The columnist tells her to calm down. There must be a logical explanation as to why they’re not married yet. She suggests that they have an “open and honest conversation” and that the writer should send in another letter after to tell her what happened. I wish the columnist had said a little more. To begin with, what should this “open and honest conversation” consist of? “Luke, you say you love me, but we’re not married yet. My clock is ticking so loudly that I’m surprised it doesn’t wake you up at night. Can we please set a date so we can get married? Oh and, heads up, my mother wants grandchildren so you’re going to get me pregnant the second we’re married!” Furthermore, what if Luke tells his girlfriend that she’s pressuring him into taking a step he isn’t ready for and leaves her? What should the writer do? I’m sure the columnist assumes that Luke will take kindly to this conversation and that the follow up letter will have a wedding invitation attached to it. I hope that Luke’s girlfriend will be rational and not start to hyperventilate about her clock. I hope that she asks him for his honest opinions and tells him that she’ll love him no matter what those opinions may be. Luke may adore his girlfriend with everything in him, but be so afraid to get married that he doesn’t even want to discuss it. If these two have gotten to the point when marriage should be considered, I think this conversation should go smoothly. However, if Luke’s girlfriend has only held that title for a month, Luke should back away slowly. No one wants to find their pet cooking in a pot in their kitchen.

It is reassuring to know that this love storm will blow over by March. While it is amusing to watch from the side lines, for the people who are involved in the hunt, the storm can be brutal with side effects lasting long past March. To the hunters, I urge to remember your own self-worth and to never comprise the things that make you special to become the image that someone has of you. To the prey, remember you were once hunters. Treat the hunters with kindness, consideration and caution.


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