Gifts, Brolessness, and More Grad School From the Underworld

by A Dude

Is it weird / concerning when a guy primarily has only female friends? I’ve been casually seeing this guy who’s pretty much only friends with women. He’s admitted this being a “problem,” saying things like, “I really need to find more guy friends.” He’s also a self-proclaimed feminist, and I think he’s more sensitive than some other guys, which may be why he more often seeks female friendships. (Not to stereotype here.)

I also know that some of these friends are either girls that he’s dated a while ago, or girls that he’s had feelings for in the past. So, is this weird? I don’t fully believe that whole thing that men and women can’t truly be platonic friends, but I have really always believed that it’s important to have close relationships with people your own gender (and that these are naturally your closest friendships). I couldn’t imagine being friends almost exclusively with men, so I find it weird that he is. Should I be concerned?

Wait, so this guy ONLY has platonic female friends? Really? I’m familiar with the phenomenon of girls being friends with mostly guys because they “just don’t get along with other girls,” which essentially means they’re a little crazy and enjoy tormenting the meek boys who are secretly in love with them, but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of the inverse. Unless he’s gay, in which case I’ve definitely heard of that.

But I’m going to assume you aren’t dating a gay man, and I guess it’s not a problem as long as the friends are really all just friends? I do think that platonic relationships across gender lines are possible and do exist; I also think a lot of the time they become platonic after not starting out that way. One of my very best friends in the world is a girl who’s basically like my sister at this point — the idea of kissing her is weird and gross. But when we met, in high school, I was a little in love with her and way too spineless to go for it. Ten years later, we’re the quintessential platonic friends, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So the fact that he’s friends with former crushes and distant exes makes a certain amount of sense. Of course, I also have a bunch of very close guy friends as well, including her fiance.

Is it normal for a dude to not have other dude friends? Not that there are rules for what’s “normal,” but … not really? Although if he’s the sort of guy who doesn’t like “dude stuff” (i.e. video games, sports), and doesn’t feel the need for an outlet to hang out and talk about such things with other dudes, well, that’s fine. Different strokes, etc. And if your relationship is good enough that your issue with this situation is that it’s a little weird, and not that you think he’s got a bunch of semi-friends that he’s always trying to hook up with, it sounds okay to me.

Hey Dude, my boyfriend just said one of the worst things to me last night (five days till Christmas): “Don’t even get me any Christmas presents. Just don’t be a bitch that day.”

This was brought on that I was upset that he’s been too lazy to go to the doctor for his herpes outbreak. It’s been a week since we’ve had sex and normally we do it everyday. I’ve been good up till yesterday, I was just so mad that he hasn’t taken care of it yet.

How do I get those nasty words out of my head? Do I get him presents or no? All Christmas spirit within me has been euthanized.

I know we missed Christmas here, so you probably already figured out whether or not to get him a gift. But I hope what you did get him was a dumping (?), because he sounds awful.

I mean, sure, there are contexts and there are jokes. Sometimes in a loving relationship a line like that can be said with the right tone and be sarcastic and fine. But clearly it wasn’t said in a tone you were comfortable with, so it sounds like it can’t really be justified away. As for the herpes thing, well, herpes alone isn’t a dealbreaker. But to be “too lazy” to get treated for something that he could transmit to you shows a lot of selfishness.

You don’t provide a ton of background or context, and any number of other details would illuminate just what this guy’s deal is. But based on what you did report, buying him a present or not doesn’t seem like the issue. Do you really want to be with a guy who shows you so little respect?

My boyfriend and I are in our early 30s and have lived together for five years, supporting each other through good times and bad. It’s never been and easy relationship, but it’s always been worth the effort. Recently, my boyfriend quit his job to go to school full time, a move I fully supported. I was unemployed at one point and he did everything he could to help me get through that period. (I was unemployed because I quit my job to move across the country with him.)

But I was unprepared for how demanding his program would be and how much that would affect our relationship. He doesn’t have the time or energy to participate in the relationship on any level. He’s trying, but school seems to demand everything of him. He stays up all night studying and sleeps on the couch. On the weekends he often sleeps until the sun goes down and gets up to study. When I suggest taking a break from the relationship so he can focus on school, he says he’d rather quit school than break up. I know that’s no solution. I try to do my own thing as much as possible (yoga, friends, books), but at the end of the day I’m still in a committed relationship but living like I’m solo. This guy is very gifted and I want to be there for him during this challenging and important period, but I also want to take care of myself, and I’m slowly losing my mind. What would A Dude do?

That’s a tough one. On the one hand, you should support him in this — he’s trying to improve himself and your life together. On the other hand, relationships are supposed to be fun and fulfilling, so what’s the point in being in one that has you two barely interacting?

I’d say there has to be a compromise. I never went to architecture school or med school or whatever other schools require you to do insane amounts of work, but is he really being buried under so much work that he has to stay up all night, every night studying? Is sleeping until 5 p.m. on weekends part of his curriculum? Is there no way for him to adjust his study schedule a little bit to give you guys maybe one or two nights a week where you can at least share a meal together sans textbooks?

I think it’d be reasonable for you two to talk about small ways to re-focus on your relationship. I’m sure he isn’t loving the situation, either. Rather than make it a me-or-school choice, which neither of you want, start out by planning some little events or times for you to be together doing something fun. He’s got to have SOME free time, even if it’s just taking 20 minute study breaks to share a cup of coffee with you at the same time every day, just to reconnect and remind yourselves why you’re doing this. And even if that’s only a bit of an improvement and doesn’t return the relationship to the place you want it to be, the good news is that school is a finite experience, and eventually he’ll be done with it and better for it.

This may seem like a ridiculous question, but I feel like I really need a male perspective on it. So, here is the situation — I’ve been seeing this guy for just about a month, and we’re really hitting it off. Awesome in every aspect so far. We have great chemistry, and have slept together twice. It wasn’t forced or uncomfortable, and we both enjoyed ourselves greatly.

The thing is, last night he said he realizes he is starting to “really like” me, so he feels like we should hold off on having sex again for a little while. He says he’s most comfortable in two types of sexual scenarios: completely casual no-strings, or committed loving relationship. And since we’re kind of between the two, he’s afraid it could potentially ruin the other (mental, emotional, spiritual) connections we are building. So, is this a bad sign? Or really good? I’ve never been with a man who took this approach, so I want to be sure he isn’t just trying to keep distance or subtly tell me he isn’t interested after all. He hasn’t pulled away in any other aspect, he still texts frequently and wants to hang out just as often, so I guess he really does like me as a person? Why do I feel a weird sense of rejection?

It sounds like you’ve found … a good guy? It’s kind of sad that a dude saying he wants to hold off on sex so as not to fuck up long-term relationship prospects because he really likes you is cause for alarm. I mean, I get it — we dudes generally will not say no to sex, because we’re slobbering cavemen controlled by boners. So sure, this could be seen as a sign he’s letting you down gently because he’s not interested. But if he’s still calling, you’re still hanging out, and everything else is great, well, awesome. If he was letting you down gently, he’d probably stop initiating contact. A guy saying that he’s very interested and wants to hang out a lot AND seemingly has control enough over his hormones to hold off on sex that he thinks might screw things up seems like the opposite of a problem, no?

But really, don’t worry. I’m sure you guys will get drunk and forget about such noble plans before too long if you’re both as into each other as you say.

Previously: Faking, Other Women, and the Top 50 Proposal Jokes.

A Dude is one of several rotating dudes who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Dude? (300 word max, please.)

Photo by kiuik, via Shutterstock