HTT: Should I start up an on-again-off-again love (again)?


✨ Here’s the Thing is back baby back baby back just like Chili’s baby back ribs. ✨

Not to be annoying as hell because nothing is more obnoxious than a “I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging! 😝” post, BUT I was off work last week working on An Exciting Project (being off work), so I didn’t write any Here’s the Things. Should I have announced that instead of just not doing any Here’s the Things? PROBABLY.

OOPS.

Anyway, let’s dive in and fix peoples’ lives!!!!!


A BIG ANGEL:

I dated a girl on and off for over a year, where off was essentially because she didn’t want a capital R situation and I did at the time. The last reckoning there was about 7 months ago, and afterwards I resolved to move on entirely (a cordial enough disembarkment, but unfollows across the board, no communication since). 

I recently see her Hinge profile and click X, meanwhile the next morning, I wake up to a like and a nonchalant message from her. 

I’m happy in my current spot, and have been dating interesting people (if not ones that have left the same impact). I think I’d probably be happy dating other people and her again without feeling the need for something more, but I don’t know. 

So, is this just another ploy (I usually do the distancing when this situation doesn’t solidify, and she usually re-engages later like in this example), or from my now-less-vulnerable vantage point, is it worth a cautious approach again?

SOPHIA:

To quote one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Mike Wazowski, “PUT THAT THING BACK WHERE IT CAME FROM OR SO HELP ME!” And that thing is this relationship. You put that down right now and you stop it.

Unless this person is funneling you thousands of dollars a month and has bought you a beautiful rescue dog named Twizzlers and knows how to solve the climate crisis and all she’s asking for is that you date her in exchange for fixing everything , YOU SHOULD NOT BE DATING THIS PERSON.

I know you think that the only reason that you guys were on and off for so long is because you wanted a relationship and she didn’t, but that is not it. I virtually guarantee it. Because when a relationship is really, really, really good, you tend to find ways to make it work for both of you. You don’t tend to go through protracted breakups every few months. Being on-again-off-again is almost always a sign of insufficient communication on one or both persons’ parts.

When you keep getting back together with someone and then splitting up it’s because you’re both into each other but the relationship sucks. And that situation blooooows, don’t get me wrong. It sucks that you guys aren’t on the same page about important things but still find one another hot, but continuing this Tango of Poor Communication will not work.

Why? Because you still have no idea what each other wants!!! She’s just messaging you because you’re a nice person whom she is attracted to and whom it feels nice to talk to. She’s not messaging you because she now knows that you are ready for a casual relationship (which I also have my doubts about). And you’re now thinking of reaching out to her because you assume she still wants what she wanted 7 months ago and maybe you want it now, too. Neither of you has any clue what’s going on you just know you like getting naked or making out or whatever freak shit y’all are into. I get that. It is inordinately pleasant to be around a person who has seen you nude and hasn’t run off screaming. It’s thrilling, even.

But AGAIN, you two do not work, which has been proven to you time and time again if your account of how much you were on and off is true. If you two were good at communicating, you guys would have been on then off ONE TIME, as soon as you realized you wanted different things. And then you would have gone on your merry (sad) little ways.

Instead you guys got caught up in eddies of horniness. It happens. Some people are so dazzling that it feels like you ought to throw what you actually want out the window just for the chance to be in their orbit. (See: all hot people). But what ends up happening is that they grow bored of unfettered adoration and you grow resentful for giving up what you might one day want (a Relationship) and often you realize that they don’t like you as much as you like them.

Because I do think you like her more than you’re even ready to admit to yourself (which is fine and valid!!! You don’t have to always be honest with yourself!!!!!! It’s ok to tell some sneaky little lies to get through the day/month/year! Just don’t build relationships off of those lies). I think that it is incredibly difficult if not impossible to scale back relationships from more to less committed. I know you two were not ever fully capital-R Relationship committed, but you wanted that. I find it difficult to imagine that you will start things up with her again and not return to that longing, which is a VERY REASONABLE LONGING.

Could it work? Yes. Your letter was short and obviously cannot explain all of the nuances of your guys’ relationship/non-relationship. It is very likely that you know better than I do what to do with your own life (shocking, I know!). But you hesitated enough and feel conflicted enough to write a letter to me, which tells me that at least some part of you knows this is a dipshit idea. At this point, starting up this relationship again would be like picking up an unwrapped Reese’s off the ground. Yeah, it might work out just fine and be very enjoyable. You’ve had Reese’s before and they tasted great. But also why are you risking eating candy off the ground?!??!

I’ll put it this way, “Remember when we dated toxically for a year a few months back? Let’s try that again,” is NOT a good start to a relationship of any kind, casually or otherwise.

Then again, there is unmatched luxury in being an utter dipshit in the name of romance, and if you need to learn your lesson again, go forth and try to get back together. I wish you both the best.

ASK A QUESTION!


Sophia Benoit writes this very newsletter; she also writes about sex & relationships for GQ, tries to write about Fleetwood Mac for GQ, avoids writing by tweeting at @1followernodad, works full-time as a researcher for Lights Out With David Spade, and has had bylines in The Guardian, Reductress, Refinery29, Allure, and The Cut. You can reach her or yell at her at 1followernodad@substack.com.