Dear Worrier Princess: To Love and Be Loved
dear worrier princess is a queer advice column based off the ex-girlfriend of my ex-girlfriend is my girlfriend, an advice zine by maddy court (a.k.a @xenaworrierprincess on instagram).
Queery #1: I want to try to open lines of communication with a friend who ended a very long friendship with a handful of short messages (after ghosting for a few months). She blames me for something I don’t fully understand, but she didn’t want to explain her feelings or talk beyond telling me how angry she was/is. It left me feeling blindsided, and hurt, and it still does. That was nearly a year ago. She didn’t ask me not to contact her specifically but didn’t answer when I asked her what kind of boundaries she wanted around communication. I have given her space, wanting to respect the distance she’s keeping, but I just wonder if only we could talk maybe we could have some kind of healing or at least common understanding of what happened. It was just so abrupt. I want to apologize again, and try to understand, but I don’t know how to do that if she isn’t interested in speaking. What would you do?
I hate losing friendships to weird, incomprehensible drama!! You want an explanation and closure, but there’s a lot working against you: long distance, unclear boundaries, and your friend’s unwillingness to communicate. Sometimes when someone confronts us with anger and disappointment, we immediately apologize and take all the blame because we feel uncomfortable and just want the conflict to end. But you can’t apologize sincerely without understanding what you did wrong. You also can’t respect her boundaries if she won’t tell you what they are.
Send your friend an email or honest-to-goddess letter. Slow(er) communication removes the pressure to reply right away and encourages a more deliberate response. Tell her what you told me: you don’t understand what happened and you’re struggling to find closure. State that your intention is to clear the air and move forward, not re-establish the friendship. You can voice your own feelings of confusion and hurt, too. She ended your friendship in a callous way and left you in an emotional lurch.
There’s a possibility that she won’t reply, or that her response will lead to more confusion.. What matters is that you tried to reach out and understand her perspective. At the very least, you’ll free up energy and time for new friendships.
#2: How do I stop loving my best friend who is also my ex? Is the answer to sever the relationship even though the relationship is good and full of love? I have told them that I am not over them. They remain neutral to that fact, I think. Maybe that context will be helpful. We both are also polyam.
This is rough. As Bonnie Raitt once said, “You can't make your heart feel something it won't.” It sucks when a relationship ends before you’re ready. It also sucks when your ex is ready to be friends, but you’re still grieving the relationship and spending time together makes you feel like garbage.
At its fundamental core, your queery is asking: it is possible to be friends with someone you’re in love with? This isn’t an issue of being monogamous or polyamorous, though it’s difficult to say without more background. Sometimes when you’re tapped into polyam culture, there’s a sense that you’re “above” heartbreak and hard feelings. Or maybe you’re involved in overlapping relationships, so you haven’t found the space or time to properly mourn your breakup. Ignore all this messaging. You can be polyam and still hung up on one person.
It sounds like you’re considering severing the friendship to protect yourself. It’s normal to need distance and time alone after a breakup. I’ve left relationships feeling like friendship is impossible, only to totally change my mind a month later. The trick is spending time apart—no texting, no looking at their social media, no interactions whatsoever. This will help you decide if the pain of being friends is lesser than the pain of severing ties completely.
#3: I’m an eighteen-year-old lesbian. In the aftermath of ending my first serious relationship, I keep thinking about attraction, and how intensely it’s happened with people I was too scared to act on it with, or who were unattainable in the first place. The only times I’m confident with dating are when I know I won’t be heartbroken if it goes wrong. But of course that means they’re not really worth it when they work out. How can I move past this?
Until recently, I was locked in a similar pattern. I’d invest all my time and emotional energy into women who were painfully not into me. I felt suspicious of anyone who tried to spend time with me because I didn’t want to spend time with me. I didn’t believe I deserved reciprocity, so I pushed people away and sabotaged relationships. Impossible love interests felt safe to me. But after so many years of chasing waterfalls and getting hurt, I learned.
Now when I catch myself shirking away from something good, I pause and ask myself: am I self-sabotaging, or do I truly not feel a connection to this person? I also tell myself cornball affirmations e.g. I’m a good friend, my hair smells good, and I don’t take my negative feelings out on other people. I can empathize with people who like me because I like me.
All this to say: this is a problem most humans share!! Have you ever achieved a major life goal and the next day, you feel totally unchanged and just as unfulfilled? Same deal. There’s something mysterious and alluring about people who exist outside of your orbit. All any of us can do is remind ourselves that we’re worthy of love and all good things. You’re a total catch, I promise.
are you in a pickle regarding your love life? do you have a crush you can't figure out how to talk to, an ex you'd like to reconnect with but don't know if it's appropriate or the right time?
dear worrier princess answers your qs about love and strife in relationships in this complex and modern queer world.
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All illustrations for this column are done by Sid Champagne. Sid is a freelance illustrator based in Baltimore by way of the Gulf Coast. You can find them on Twitter @sid_champagne, or Instagram (more cat pics) @sidchampagne