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Advice Goddess



Slowing the spread of affection

The doctor I'm dating routinely multitasks at work, but I find it rude when she does it in our relationship. When we're on the phone late at night, she'll be doing three other things simultaneously. When I finally said something, she told me she purposely does this because she's scared of loving somebody too much. This, however, doesn't stop her from calling to have me tell her how much I love her. But, how can I tell she's even interested in me when she's talking to me while e-mailing and watching a documentary? I'm not ready to give up on her, as I believe we could have a loving relationship, but I need some love and attention, too. -- Boyfriend Comes Last

I can just see her at work: Some poor old guy is flatlining, and she's on her cell phone making a hair appointment while crawling around on her hands and knees looking for the back of her earring. "Hang in there, Mr. Jones, I just have to see if the colorist is in on Wednesday."

And there you are, all "emotionally available," spilling your guts to her over the phone: "I was a loser as a child, and my hamster was my only friend, and then the fat little neighbor girl sat on him." All you're looking for is a bit of empathy on the other end of the line -- preferably something a little more heartfelt and personal than "YOU'VE GOT MAIL!"

There was a right time to say, "Hey, why don't you call me back when you aren't busy?" and it was the first time you caught her typing, watching seals getting it on, and playing "Greensleeves" on the harp with her toes. But, because you didn't put your foot down then, and are still only flirting with putting it down now, the power balance in this relationship is probably blown. Your first clue? How freely she tossed off her howler of an excuse that she's not rude, just "scared of loving somebody too much." (Where does she get her lines, out of the recycling bin at "Guiding Light"?)

What you're working hard to spin as human frailty is actually a more solid substance -- the kind you get rid of by hiring a bunch of cowhands and passing out shovels. But, but ... maybe she's sincere! Maybe she is -- if her condition also prevents her from joining you at fine restaurants unless she can knit, pay her bills and invite the busboys to pull up a chair so the conversation won't get too personal. Funny, though, how she's never too busy to hear how much you love her. Lemme guess ... that's the one time you have her undivided attention?

Just like good things, bad things also come to those who wait. Go ahead, hang around, if you're up for more of the same, like all those meaningful little glances over your shoulder at the TV. Yes, you can have a loving relationship -- providing you find a woman who's actually loving to have it with. Telltale signs you've found such a woman include interest in who you are and what you're doing, and concern for your feelings beyond making excuses in order to keep on hurting them. Maybe you'll someday find another woman who makes you feel the way this one does. (Ignored, unimportant, uninteresting ... used?) If you do, look back on all the fun you had sitting in the waiting room of this current girlfriend's life. You should find yourself taking a pass on your next opportunity to work your way up a woman's to-do list -- exciting as it must be to go from fourth place to third when the Ty-D-Bowl commercial comes on.

Slight of ham

I'm a British woman who spent several wonderful days with an American actor whose theatre troupe performed in London. He said it was "love at first sight," and wanted me to visit him in America. After he left, he called and e-mailed sporadically, then disappeared. I feel lied to and betrayed. -- Sold Out

"Will our love last?" is a question many people ask. Generally, though, most feel pretty secure that their love will at least make it through the weekend. Of course, there's a big difference between "love" and "love at first sight." The latter would more correctly be called "raging hormones at first sight," or "Wow, this is new and exciting." The guy probably was genuinely jazzed at first glance. At second glance, continuing to see you at all probably seemed rather impractical -- as did phoning you to reel it back to "moderation at first sight." Yes, you had a short run, but the reviews sounded pretty good. Maybe your best bet is appreciating it for what it was, instead of sitting around crying because it isn't Cats.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail (

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