Robot Hearts: On moving on and moving too fast

There’s a new lady in town to challenge Jack, folks. Read on as they both weigh in on handling post-divorce woes and one night stands.

Editor’s note: The time has come for Susan to move away from Robot Hearts and on to bigger and better things. But, don’t worry, ladies! The wonderful Tess Dixon has graciously decided to come on board. She has written for us before, and you can also read more from her on her blog.

Question #1

My ex-husband broke my heart, moved out, and disappeared for a while. It’s been a hard few months, but I’ve moved on, and things are looking up now. My problem is that lately, my ex has been showing up at my house. He wants to come in and either talk about money issues or unload yet another lengthy explanation of why I’m actually better off without him. As his closest companion for several years, I feel somewhat obligated to give him a sympathetic ear. But how far do my obligations extend, and how do I gracefully make it clear that his visits and explanations are unwelcome?

-Collecting Barnacles in the Fan

Tess: He can concoct any number of speeches about the validity of the breakup, but if this guy’s feet keep bringing him back to your living room, it’s obvious that he doesn’t feel that things are really “over.” He is probably using these conversations as excuses to still feel connected to you in some way, or as an effort to rid himself of his crushing sense of guilt — like if you suddenly see some Big Reason for the breakup in your life, he will feel absolved from any pain that he caused.

For the purposes at hand, you need to forget about your past with him and think of him as just another person. The only true obligations you have toward him are the obligations that any two humans have toward each other: common decency and granting simple requests (when possible). Since you have already put up with his intrusions several times, I’d say you’ve fulfilled your obligations.

As for a plan of action, it should be as simple as telling him to please stop coming to the house. But if he’s the kind of guy who won’t give something a rest until he fully makes sense of it, you should first make sure that you’ve answered all of his questions as completely as possible. It may be prudent to write a short letter that explains exactly why his presence is no longer required on your doorstep. This will provide tangible closure, and this way you won’t be constantly interrupted or talked over (as is the case with many verbal conversations).

Jack: Wow, the new girl Tess bringing actual advice to the table. We might be able to fool people into reading this column for something other than entertainment.

Well shit, as a man (boy) who once balked at a girl staying at his apartment past 11 AM, I’m sort of out of my element here. But I’ll still give you my opinion (which is as good as gold). Do you still love this guy? Let’s pretend you said “no”.

Just man up and tell him that you have to move on and that he needs to vacate your life. If you know him well enough (and he’s not Chris Brown) then you will probably come out unscathed, and he’ll have his feelings and his heart hurt for a bit. But fuck it, you’ve had a broken heart too. I know that it’s easy to say “move on”…so…I’ll say it. Move on.

You need to meet a new friend or a lover who is also looking for love (Urban Cowboy anyone? anyone?). I’d suggest stopping by this place I keep hearing about…uhh, what’s it called again? Oh, it’s Cha Cha’s Cantina…where everyone is awesome and the bartender has hair that rivals Brad Pitt’s do from Fight Club (which was perfectly coiffed).

Robot Hearts: Using shameless plugs to cover up inexperience and weak advice since Jan 09’.

Question #2:

(Preface: Male: 27 years old, Female: 22 years old) So I met this girl a week ago at a bar. She seemed nice and intelligent, in addition to being beautiful. I was very excited for our date. I waited a few days, phoned her and set up it up. I took her out, expecting a few drinks and a “getting to know each other” session. Instead she decided that we were going to get trashed. Okay cool, I’m a man, I didn’t balk at her plans. The problem with this situation is this: We had a great time, we had great conversation and yes, we got trashed. I was smitten before the appetizer. Then…da da da da dum… We ended up sleeping together on the first night. The question is, how serious can I take this girl? She’s 22. She’s smart. She’s pretty. She let me violate her on the first night and didn’t even ask me to wear a condom (I did anyways)…. WTF????

-Confused in the River District, Richmond

Jack: If there was ever a question that I could dominate, this is it. You hung a curve ball out there and I’m like Alex Rodriguez when he was juicing.

Traditional values and mores will tell you that she’s a ho fa sho, but it’s 2009, baby. I know that MOST of the readers of this column will disagree, but it’s a fact that sleeping with someone on the first date is not taboo anymore. In urban areas, old fashioned values just don’t carry as much weight as they used to, and I know many lead pipe strong relationships that originated from a first night bang. Sex doesn’t hold that secret stigma these days, which to many people’s dismay (including me), sucks balls. But it’s life.

You need to look past the first night sex and take a strong look at her as a person. It’s not hard to tell if a 22 year old girl is on your level….or on Heidi Fleiss’s level. If you really like her, then forget about what happened and keep getting to know her. I’d like to believe that you can turn a “ho” into a “housewife”.

At the very least you got sex, which I hear is fun. I’d be willing to bet that if you think that she’s that smart and that awesome, things will turn out alright. Uhh, maybe…

Tess: Very astute of you, my dear Confused, to feel suspicious of this girl for sleeping with you on the first date. It makes sense that when a girl chooses to sleep with you right off the bat, you say “Hmmm…is this a habit of hers?” And then come the rapid-fire conjectures of how many men she’s been with, whether you’re adequate, etc. etc (see previous Robot Hearts column “Lighting one fire and putting out another“). But before you assume too much, keep in mind that you don’t know everything about her. It’s possible that this could be a fluke, and she doesn’t normally behave that way. And you shouldn’t assume that it’s always the female’s responsibility to impose a waiting period on having sex. Perhaps she is thinking the same thing about you right now — “Why did that sleazeball let me sleep with him on the first date? Can I take him seriously?” So perhaps you should be asking whether to take yourself seriously.

The question is not whether or not you can turn a “ho” into a “housewife.” It’s why in the holy name of Nathaniel Hawthorne would you ever want to?

Even if she is worthy and intelligent, you need to ask yourself if you’ll be able to respect her now. The fact that you are asking an advice column if you can take this woman seriously, instead of running through the streets calling her name in West Side Story fashion, tells me that you’ve already made your decision.

Would you like to be similarly fulfilled?? Send your relationship questions to and start the argument. Check out past columns at Robot Hearts, and keep tabs on Jack at Jack Goes Forth.

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