Ask Dr. NerdLove: How Can I Drama-Proof My Relationship?

Hello Dr. NerdLove,

Your pillar here and on Kotaku have helped me a great deal before and I’m currently in a situation where my friends are giving contradictory advice and I felt like that was the ideal place to turn for clarity.

There is some context before I (she/her) enter this specific situation: I am currently a graduate student in a program with a fairly small class size and that’s led to a somewhat poisonous atmosphere where gossip reigns supreme. I have managed to stay fairly under the radar with a reasonable quantity of work, maintaining my private life totally personal, distracting questions, and making it clear I do not tolerate BS in regards to work. The worst my relationships with classmates gets is that the degree of remote but cordial coworkers.

I became close with just a few classmates and realized a couple of months ago that I have feelings for one of these. I was planning on talking to him about it and seeing if there was any chance he would be interested, but lately things have happened that have made me wonder how well I know him. He and I are friends, but we have known each other for less than a year and lately he pulled some shit that prompted plenty of class gossip. Some have fairly obvious, deliberate lies, some fairly obviously directed at his buddies to find out what our response would be.

A couple people were hurt by what happened, but we have talked to him about it. It was a very honest conversation and we are all still close. I thought I’d worked through it because the hurt was accidental and what happened was a group of mishaps and honest stupidity. The entire story wasn’t even that bad it was only a collection of stupid decisions in the worst possible circumstances.When we spoke, he also seemed to understand that a whole lot of his activities came out of the very typical man thing where he did not unpack plenty of his justification before just diving into things. He appeared to be serious about trying to be better and also to thank before he acts. However, I am hearing different accounts about what happened from various people, and a few friends who do not understand everything have fairly negative opinions about him today.

My question is this: if I still have that conversation about relationship with him? I have kind of powerful feelings for him, and I do trust he explained the truth about what occurred. I really don’t want to get sucked into this bizarre middle school drama my app has going. Is it selfish to be concerned about my reputation? I actually just want clarity but is that worth all of the possible hassle?

Before I get to your particular question, RA, let us work backwards. Yes, it is totally reasonable not to want a relationship due to the drama-bomb it may set off on your life. It might be that they’re in the center of a controversial and bitter divorce. They could have a profession that puts them under the microscope, along with your relationship them may invite people to pry into your life also. Or they are someone who lives their life by the”hold my beer” doctrine and does not give a second’s thought to the possible consequences of their actions… especially if those are impacts which other individuals have to manage.

However, by the same token, I have seen plenty of awesome individuals who have been fucked over by circumstances out their control. They’d orbiters and stalkers who strove to make life miserable for anybody who’d date them. A whole lot of times, the objective of these movements is not simply to fuck over someone for the LOLs but to completely isolate them from anything resembling a service community — from friends to lovers to co-workers to companies.

I’m not gont lie: it takes a special sort of person who’s willing to stand together with the target of that type of potential shitstorm, and those people can be tough to discover.

So in the abstract: {} understandable that you may decide to not date someone due to the possible drama. However, by that same token, you are allowed not to date someone for any reason you decide on, in the drama llama in their own lives to how their nose whistles when they breathe. Folks get to choose what their private deal-breakers are, however absurd it might seem to an outside party.

Now with all that said, let’s discuss your situation, RA. You have a couple things that you would like to take into account before you dive into this specific relationship.

The first is straightforward: how much can you trust this man versus the men and women who have first-hand details? However, by the same token… sometimes that gossip is not malicious, it is defense. There’re tons of spaces where data is distributed by whisper networks since the culture supports and defends the poor actors over their victims. Even the famed Shitty Media Men record was shared as a means to let girls know who to be watching for, not to slander innocent guys because FUCK YOU PENIS, THAT’S WHY.

So you are gonna need to make a gut-check about if this man is being straight with you — both about what happened and how he is trying to do better.

The next question is: how much does this gossip really influence your life? It is one thing if you are handling high-school bullshit — snickers from the halls, whispers and dirty looks and absurd rumors. It is another if these are behaviours that may actually affect your life — both in the here and now and when you complete the program. Are these individuals who’ll attempt to isolate you from friends and family by making linking with you poisonous to their social wellbeing?

When it’s just annoying high-school mean-girl shit: are you ready to dismiss it or grit your teeth and power through it till you complete your graduate program? If it’s the latter… well, frankly, if things are that bad, I would be more concerned about getting the fuck out of the program over relationship someone.

But the last question you need to ask is the most important: is this man worth the possible headaches? This is not an idle question; any relationship will come with its own particular challenges and it’s own slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Some of us are completely worth it; they are reasonable people in unreasonable scenarios, and a connection with them will be enriching and amazing that it is worth the fight. Others are not; they might be a dirty great time, but the possible drawbacks outweigh what they bring to the table. After all — as Alanna Massey famously put it — dick is abundant and of low value. Everyone has their flaws, so concentrate on the great and what attracts you to him. If he’s a fantastic man who perhaps needed to learn how to think before he acts and reveals he’s really willing to meet his potential, then it could well be worth the possible gossip and drama. If this is a man who is a fantastic time but not always a love for the ages… well, there are other Slab Squatthrust’s out there who do not include a side-order of dull social politicking.

Very good luck.

I am a woman in a long-term relationship with a guy. We do not have too many problems in our relationship and those we do have we have talked about and are actively addressing. There’s 1 thing though, that is sort of come up as an issue that we have talked about but do not really know how to fix: stickin’ it in my bum.

He has never done anal and wants to try, I have tried it and love it with a considerate partner (which he is). However, the couple of times we have worked our way up to it, his body hasn’t actually cooperated. He is hard while he lubes up me and I am playing with his penis, but he goes soft when he attempts to put it in. I guess he’s psyching out himself — he puts a whole lot of focus on how he sees this as a sort of gift that I am honoring him (I really don’t see it that way, but I never saw any harm in that belief until today ), and I wonder whether he is dealing with performance anxiety. We have talked about it and he sets down it to lack of stimulation whilst managing the logistics of speed and positioning, but admits he might also be placing too much burden on the act to have the ability to perform.

We have set an unspoken grip on things for now — I guess if he keeps trying and failing it is going to turn into a Big Thing in his mind and it’ll get worse. We’ve got a perfectly satisfying sex life without it, but I know he still wants to try (and I am kinda excited about being his first in this specific arena).

Do you have any ideas about getting over the cock-softening mental block? I am more than delighted to keep him physically aroused during prep, but I would love some suggestions about the best way best to maintain his heads in the game also.


I guess part of the problem your boyfriend is having is that he sees anal as this large undertaking — the type of thing that is generally reserved for porn rather than something that girlfriends do. The fact he’s treating this as a”present” you are giving him, instead of a new and distinct sexual activity that you like, leads me to think he thinks you are not into this. If he is holding on to this idea that you are doing things under some type of duress, or that you are only doing this for him, then I am not surprised he is deflating a bit. It is sweet — he does not need to do something he believes you don’t want — but it is going to be a continuing problem if he can not bring himself to take”YES YES YES” for a response.

Now there’re various alternatives for the physical side of this equation. The two of you can, by way of instance, head over to the local sex shop and find a cock ring. Lots of men and women use cockrings to keep their erections; the rings help limit the blood-flow within an erect penis so the blood can not leave the penile tissues and leave him at half-mast. This would help mitigate the dilemma of trying to maintain his hard-on through the prep and warm up.

However, I guess the better answer is to dial back on penetration for today and instead, work anal play in a routine sexual routine. When it’s the (gentle) use of hands, a butt-plug (be sure it has a flared base) or other forms of anal stimulation and play, the more he experiences you appreciating buttstuff, the less he will see it because this sacrifice you are making on his behalf. By demystifying it and taking it out of being this deep event and more just one more way the both of you please one another, he will have the ability to escape his mind and put his focus where it belongs: on both of you.

She and her partner Matt have quite a few great educational comics about anal sex and anal play, which might help him get over any hang-ups he is considering getting up in there.

Very good luck.

This post was formerly published on and is republished here with permission from the author.


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