Robot Hearts: Who Are You Again?

Unforgettable, that’s what you are. Well, actually, it seems some of you aren’t.

Question #1

Up until recently, I had been exchanging emails with a guy I met at work…we are both huge movies fans, shy, nervous around the opposite sex, etc. It’s like my own little Nicholas Sparks novel….things seemed pretty perfect. Of course after almost a whole week of awesome emails, he just stopped replying. I didn’t think much of it because I realize that he has a life, but a few days went by and I discovered that he stopped emailing me because he met a girl at a wedding. I wasn’t expecting (hoping…but not expecting) to go out with him, but I was heartbroken that he just sort of blew me off. My question is, why do you think he just stopped talking to me like that? Give it to me straight, I can take it and maybe just maybe forget about the one guy who I just can’t forget.

— Hoping (But Not Expecting) In the Workplace

Tess: Dear Hoping: I have sympathy for you because you have been given The Cold Shoulder, that cheapest and most often used of all the weapons in a player’s arsenal. Why did he stop responding to you, even though you were just beginning to get to know each other? Because he doesn’t have any interest in you as a friend, and was only trying to see if the dating thing would pan out. And now that he’s got that base covered by the girl he met at the wedding, he doesn’t need to continue being polite to you. Since explaining this to you (even in a nice way) makes him squirm just thinking about it, he’s chosen to be a wimp and just say nothing. My advice to you is to treat this just like any friendship you’ve initiated and haven’t gotten much response on: give up, get over it. If you’ve offered someone your time and friendship and they’ve treated it as something to be ignored, you’re lucky to have escaped a relationship with such a careless soul. Of course you should still be friendly and polite when you see him, but since he’s made it abundantly clear that he won’t be putting out any effort to get to know you better, he shouldn’t take up any more of your time.

Jack: It’s not that this guy is a wimp (unless he mentioned the words “Nicholas Sparks” in one of those emails, because then yes, he’s a wimp) but the fact of the matter is, he forgot about you because of this new chick. I frequently go the cold shoulder route when I don’t really want to hang out with a girl anymore. While it’s an easy and a somewhat bitch-move on my part, it’s usually not intentional. I just tend to forget and move on. Yes, I’m an asshole when it comes to breaking up with girls, but at least this way I can avoid all of the ugliness that coincides with a split, and the girl can always wonder what it was that she did wrong, without ever getting a clear response. So those are good things…right?

A side note: Comparing an email exchange to your “own little Nicholas Sparks novel” tells me two things: You’re delusional and that you might be expecting a bit too much out of this whole dating and love thing. Let’s work on getting you a date with a real live human being first. After that your love affair can involve renovating houses and making out in the rain and long walks on the beach and other Nic Sparks chicanery (I had to Google “The Notebook” before I wrote those last few sentences).

Question #2

I’ve been seeing this guy for three months now, and it’s been great. I can’t find a flaw with this guy. That is, until the other night. We were engaged in a romping act of the sexual variety when nearing the climax, he moaned out “Lydia!” The problem is, my name is Lisa. He had mentioned that he had a long term relationship that he had gotten out of a few months before we met. Her name was Lydia. I immediately stopped the good-lovin’ and got pissed. Should I be worried? Was this some type of Freudian slip? Has he been imagining that I’m this “Lydia” girl when we have sex? He denies it all and says that he was in the moment, couldn’t tell his ass from his elbows and it was simply a stupid mumbling mistake. What the hell is up, Robot Hearts?

–Definitely Not Lydia in RVA

Jack: Hmmmm, this is a good one. First, think of it this way: Have you ever imagined the person you were sleeping with was someone else? Even for just a second? I’d be willing to bet that you have. Now the question is, how often is this “great” guy imagining that your naked visage is that of his ex-girlfriend “Lydia”? You will never know because he’ll never admit it. So where does that leave you?

Well, you gotta sit him down and find out exactly where he stands. Does he still have feelings for this Lydia chick, or is he all about you? Even if he says you (which he will), it will take a long time to get over his faux-pas, especially when you decide to let him bang you again.

While I’ve never actually called a girl by the wrong name in bed, I have fantasized that she was a different girl. In fact my mind wonders almost every time I have sex, but it always goes back to the girl that is underneath me, or above me, or on the sex swing, or wrapped in the dead camel carcass, etc. I’m pretty sure every guy does this every once and awhile. In the end, I think you just need to accept the things you can’t control and simply “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Unless that idiot mentions any other girls name in bed again, because then you get a free pass to punch him squarely in the ball-sack and get the hell out of there.

Tess: Why, Jack! Did you bring the phrase “dead camel carcass” into this sexually-related conversation just to make me gag, or was it a happy coincidence? I knew for some time that you and I would need to find a problem phrase — much like “practice holes” for you and Susan — but I confess I didn’t think it would involve the body of an innocent desert-going mammal. You really know how to make a girl feel special.

Anyway, Not Lydia: Some of us are just terrible with names. It takes me way longer than three months to remember the names of most people, even ones that I see often. I can speak for the rest of the chronic name-forgetters when I say that whether we remember your name in no way reflects our level of affection for you. I realize that this happened to you during a moment of particular intimacy, but I don’t think it means you should cue the fit of rage. In fact, I’d say that freaking out over a one-time blunder indicates some insecurity on your part. “Of course he must love this mysterious Lydia more than me; I’m so boring / uncool / whatever enough to hold a man’s attention,” and so on, and so forth. Don’t sell yourself short. If his mistakes are few and far between, you are obliged to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Now if the Lydia problem starts to occur more often, and he makes no attempt to apologize or bring up the subject, then yes, it’s time for a chat. Like Jack says, you should ask him if he still has feelings for Lydia…whoever that is.

Would you like to be similarly fulfilled?? Send your relationship questions to and start the argument. Also, check out past columns at Robot Hearts, keep tabs on Jack at Jack Goes Forth, and see what Tess is up to over at Parasol Party.

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Jack Lauterback

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Perplexed on said:

    I was exclusively seeing this guy a few months back and for a while things were amazingly amazing. After a while though and because I’m wary of guys in general, I picked up on the subtleties of him shutting me out and called him out on it and we ended up “calling things off.” It turns out that his ex had found out that we had just started dating and she decided she wanted him back. (He was the dumpee, so naturally, he’s going to be curious). It’s been over between us for two months but we’ve maintained a pretty deep and inexplicable connection.

    Since he decided to give her a chance, they’ve been off and on in the harmonious involvement department and every time they’re off, it’s because of a huge blow out and he comes running to me. He knows she’s terrible for him and he knows that they’re not supposed to be together and yet he keeps going back for more. He tells me this and seeks my advice about it.

    I don’t want to be used and because it makes me feel like I’m playing a big time second fiddle as well as making up for her shortcomings as his confidante/adviser, I’ve told him to leave me alone because being his friend his getting harder and harder for me, emotionally. He says he’ll do it, and stays away from me for a day and then tries to revive our friendship.

    I see that he’s doing this to both of us (his ex/current/on-and-off-whatever and me) and I kind of understand why he’s doing this with her. I just don’t get what his motives are with respect to me. I can’t figure out if he’s just an attention-seeker, trying to hold onto me because he knows his current whatever is going to end (at some point)and he wants a back up, or if he’s just scared to let me go (because we legitimately did have something awesome until the girl threw herself into the mix), or all three.

    I don’t know what to think in this situation and I don’t know what to do. I care about the guy a lot but I’m feeling increasing stupid for doing so. Do I stick around but sit back and watch their stuff explode, do I keep advising him or do I run like hell?

  2. frankie jane on said:

    Sigh. These are the kinds of letters that make me sad to be a representative of the female gender.

    Hoping: It was a casual email correspondence, at WORK, no less (i.e. primarily a nice diversion from a boring day), not a courtship. For your own good, lay off the Sparks.

    Not Lydia: What Tess said. No big deal. And hey, better than the guy my friend slept with who yelled out “Go Steelers!” when he finished, am I right?

  3. sarah on said:

    True story frankie jane hahaha way better…

  4. “Go Steelers”?!?!?! You’ve got to be kidding me. As if the Steelers had anything to do with it.

  5. Dear Perplexed: We’ll answer your question soon…

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