Carolyn Hax / Life Advice

Love Life's a Mess

Hi, Carolyn:

This is a pretty painful question for me to ask. Over the past two years (since graduating from law school) my love life has been a mess; I've had about 10 pseudo-relationships that burned out quickly and have had to recognize I'm the common denominator.

I discussed this with friends and they gave me the "tough love" talk: I move too quickly. Specifically, I jump into bed too quickly and wind up coming off as easy.

This was exceedingly difficult to hear from close friends, but corroborates comments a few past boyfriends have made. Now I feel just ... awful. I don't really know what I'm doing wrong or how to change my approach, and I feel like this contradicts all the messages I've gotten in my adult life about sex being fun and not having to be a power chip.

I'd like the next relationship to have half a chance at success, so what can I do to make that happen?

-- Tough love

If it helps, it was a pretty painful question to read, too.

Not just because you're obviously hurting -- you are, I'm sorry -- but because it sounds as if your friends' well-meaning honesty crossed over the fine line between constructive and corrosive criticism. Do you really want to hang on to men who would judge you for having sex at the same point in the relationship they do (barring some trippy violation of the laws of physics)?

For these few past boyfriends, I have only a "wow."

Is the double-standard alive? Sure, in some men.

...continued

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