Ask Auntie BubboPants

Look at all of us doing the thing that is being back! There is much that happened between then and now, I’m not sure I can cover it all. The best thing I can do is throw my arms in the air, spin around and yell, “thank you for your love!!” so that it covers all the sky.
So, let’s see what we can get going here.


Dear AuntieBubboPants,
Hi, firstly thanks for the last time you gave me advice, it was really helpful and well-thought out. Of course, I didn’t want to hear it at the time, because I was young and foolish (still are! Thank heavens for teenagers) but it did make a lot of sense, on reflection.
To this problem, in short, I have troubles with fidelity, mostly when the SO is “out of sight, out of mind”. Last year I had a backwards and forwards between 2 boys, one who became my boyfriend and the other who became my first love, who I lost my virginity to. There was another fling in the summer, during this, a different boy (a good friend) and then my bf broke up with me, quite understandably. Then I sort-of dated a best friend, cheated on him with my 1st love and then another friend and then went off on a gap 6 months, breaking everything off.
To be fair, the vast majority of this cheating was not sex (only the 2 main ones) but it still was not good, and I do regret it.
On my gap year, I met a boy. A lovely, wonderful, 5 years my senior, boy who adores the bahinky out of me. He is now my bf, as of beginning April. We spent a lot of time together, my first real grown up relationship, and I love him. However, I finished my gap year in July, and we’ve continued dating, he’s coming to see me this Christmas (I’m in England, he’s in the Middle East, just for geography’s sake) and he’s talking about moving to England.
So good, lovely bf, parents hate him, cheated on him in the summer twice while drunk, he instigated a “do whatever you like but don’t tell me policy” and then nothing til this week.
This week, I started medical school. For those who don’t know, English medical students party HARD, especially the first 2 weeks, so called Freshers. I got drunk and slept with an Italian down my hall, then drunk again and with a 2nd year. And then I slept with him last night again. And it sounds terrible, but it is amazing with him, (let’s call him Steve) and we’re probably going to continue this. It’s not even a friends with benefits situation, more like acquaintances with benefits, but it is just…highly enjoyable. And I can’t bring myself to regret it, at all.
So I have a wonderful bf (slightly feckless, little ambition, treats me well) a string of past misdemeanours and infidelity, and someone who I just sleep with.
How can I ask my bf to come see me when I am clearly not interested anymore? Or ask him to come to different country, try a committed relationship with me? Or am I still interested, just hormonally driven? (I don’t know)
And mix that with an exhausting high-stress environment which I already love, as in this is exactly what I want to do with my life, and you have my confusion
I would like your honest opinions please, even if boils down to “gosh, you are a slut”. And maybe a little advice, because I don’t think anyone else understands my very confused head.
Many thanks,
I’m In Med School, How Did That Happen? I Can’t Use A Toaster!

Dang! Also, Dang! Let’s see what I can do.

my first real grown up relationship

No, no, this is most assuredly NOT a grown up relationship. To be blunt, I think it is going to take a bit before you have a real, grown up relationship.
So, we’re going to break it down a bit. You date people, sometimes you enter into some sort of commitment, you cheat which betrays any form of commitment. I know you will say that it probably was not a real committed relationship, but just the fact that you know these action were cheating makes it so. You entered into a relationship where there was some sort of expectation of commitment and you broke it.
What the hell! Seriously!
It’s obvious that you are simply not ready for solid commitment or exclusivity. This in itself is not a problem, but the way you act is going to cause problems. If you like and respect the person you are dating you have to ask yourself, “do I think my boyfriend deserves to have a girlfriend that lies, sneaks, and is unfaithful?” Does he? Does he deserve to be treated like this? I’m just going to go ahead and say that he does not deserve what you are doing.
First thing you do is end things in a polite and respectful way. He deserves a partner that is honest and he can not seek one out so long as he is committed to you.
Second thing to do is to consider what you are looking for in a partner, or! maybe you need to accept that you don’t want a full time, committed relationship right now. You know, that IS a very real option for you. It is absolutely okay to not want a solid relationship right now and just have little flings or friends with benefits situations. If you want to eventually be in a real grown up relationship then you had better grow up. You don’t want any commitments? Fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you NEED to be honest about it. Stop lying and pretending, it hurts people who don’t deserve to be hurt. Don’t make commitments you won’t keep. Go out and cultivate friends with benefits, it’s fun to have those. Be honest with them, make sure they understand your intentions.
Also, I would like to remind you that part of acting like an adult is being proactive and responsible. Use protection, birth control AND disease prevention. If you are not doing this then you are NOT acting like an adult. Being drunk or impulsive is not an excuse. The guy you’re with ‘totally isn’t the kind of guy with STDs’ is false, if he is having unprotected sex with you then he is having unprotected sex with other people. And if you are willing to have unprotected sex with him then he should treat you with the same suspicion. Use protection every time.
Go now, break things off with your current boyfriend. Then take some time, a few days or a week and don’t do anything with anybody no matter how fun it is or drunk you are. Really think about what you want and how it should happen. Stop lying and cheating, start acting like the grown up you want to be.


Dear AuntieBubboPants,
Bit of an odd question, but here it goes. I have the habit of knitting wherever I can, including before school, on the bus, and at lunch. Now I’m not the most popular person in my school. Yet when people I hardly know see me with a couple of sticks and a ball of yarn, they come up to me, and start talking like we’ve known each other for ages. I know for a fact if it weren’t for me breaking out a sock-in-progress or something of the sort, they wouldn’t take any notice of me at all. Please give me some advice on handling this kind of a situation?
Pain in the Skein

Dear PitS,
One of the questions people ask a lot is “I don’t have any friends. How do I make friends?”. It’s a tough question to answer because there are any number of reasons why they might not have friends. One common bit of advice is to them is to take a deep breath and try to engage another person in conversation. You see someone that you might want to talk to, you try to go make conversation with them.
Sure, these people might not talk to you if you were just sitting there doing nothing. The reality is that you are doing something and someone finds that interesting and wants to talk to you about it.
I’m an old lady and as such I would advise you to talk to these people and get to know them. Having friends is a good thing.
But you are not an old lady and old lady advice isn’t always very helpful. If you really do not want these people to talk to you you will have to cultivate a bit of an aloof personality, be quiet and curt when they try to ask you questions. Don’t be rude, that helps nothing. You can’t make people not be interested in what you are doing, so you’ll just have to deal with them as they approach you.
Also, maybe talk to them and make new friendships.


Dear Auntie BubboPants,
Recently an incident that occurred in my knitting acquaintance has blown up into people taking sides, some people not speaking to other people, and other unhappiness. I’m not going to go into details, but it wasn’t a serious matter like dishonesty or racism or bullying.
I don’t think anyone was deliberately malicious or rude or oversensitive, but somehow it all blew up into a storm. We’ve all experienced something like it: hurt feelings, misunderstanding, personality clash.
I guess I have a selfish motive for writing to you, because I just want this to stop so we can all get on with enjoying our knitting and each other’s company! Maybe some people like having a bit of a spat, or being stubborn, but I wish that they could realise that the unhappy atmosphere is affecting other people.
I have tried to subtly encourage them all towards a rapprochement but to no avail. So I am really, really hoping that if you reply to my letter, anyone reading this who can make the first move to smooth over a minor upset, whether they were “right” or “wrong” in the first place, will do so.
Non-signing Conflict-hating Chicken Butt

Dear NsChCb,
This letter was sent back in May and I do not know if the conflict has been resolved or not, but as you say, someone else might be experiencing the same situations.
I have a bit of a guilty pleasure, I must admit. I read the links posted in the Rubberneckers group. Part of it is just a morbid curiosity to watch things happen, but there is more to it. I go into these threads and I watch people interacting with each other. I watch how the conflict starts, I watch the scrabble and antagonism. I can see where there is honest misunderstanding and where there are heels dug in and huge stubbornastacy simply because they don’t want to concede a point even if they know they should.
I read them because it helps me understand how people go from being courteous to being 12 pound wieners in just a few hours.
You were a group and things were going well and someone did a thing and someone else reacted unexpectedly to that thing and other people felt that if some people are getting frothy then maybe they also should froth up. I swear, 90% of these things happen because one person got upset and people thought they should follow suit. One person did it so it must be the correct thing to do.
How can these things be prevented? How can they be calmed and brought back to earth? The hardest part is getting everyone on the same page about 1. appropriate responses and 2. choosing to end the conflict. I recommend to everyone all the time, practice something called Mindful Speech.
Before you say anything to anyone ask yourself, “Is it honest? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”
Honest? Yeah, let’s talk about ‘honest’. People hide behind the grand banner of honesty and use it to mask their own angry or pointed or hurtful remarks. They say that a person should not be upset with them because they are being honest and honesty is great and grand permission to act like a double butted donkey. If you want to say something ‘honest’ stop and ask yourself, “Is it also necessary? Is it kind?”
Sure, maybe the other person is not understanding and you want to tell them otherwise. Do you actually need to tell them this? Do they need to know?
Okay, so maybe you do need to tell this person what you honestly think they should know. Fine, good! Before you open your mouth or set your fingers on the keyboard, consider the phrase that you want to use to tell them. Does it sound condescending? Mean? Snotty? Jerkwaltery? Can it be rephrased to blunt the edges?
Be mindful of the things you say. Don’t put giant honesty underpants on your head unless you will wear the socks of kindness on your hands and the sequined halter top of necessity on your butt. It DOES NOT MATTER how the other person is reacting, you CHOOSE how you react. Conflicts, especially the little ‘meh meh meh’ ones can be prevented almost all of the time if people would just stop their own selves and be mindful of the possibilities of their actions.
Also, apologize! Dammit, apologize when you act like a turd. Even if you do not like the person you are arguing with, even if you think they are totally wrong you still apologize for acting like a turd. Be mindful of your actions. Don’t argue with someone just because you don’t like them. Don’t fight with or insult people even if they are being jackasses. Apologize freely and honestly and watch the conflicts slow down.