Dear “Ask Barf” Advice Seekers, While all of you know that I’m not a certified counselor or licensed therapist of any kind (and have never claimed to be), I think I hold a certain kind of responsibility when answering your letters.
Click to enlarge (Illustration by Liz Dempsey)
Dear “Ask Barf” Advice Seekers,
While all of you know that I’m not a certified counselor or licensed therapist of any kind (and have never claimed to be), I think I hold a certain kind of responsibility when answering your letters. What I usually do is try to look at the question and answer based on my own experience as something that I have either done, wish I would have done or would tell a friend.
That being said, I feel like my answer to yesterday’s column was sort of wrong. A woman wrote and told me that she moved to a new city with her boyfriend and suddenly doesn’t want to fuck him or even kiss him at all anymore, and I told her she should break up with him. I did admit that I have problems when dealing with sexual intimacy and I think that’s why my response seemed… off.
While breaking up is one possible solution, it’s not THE solution. I’ve had two friends point out to me that it seemed like I was using “counter transference,” which means that the “client’s” issues triggered my unresolved issues, which prompted me to give advice from a biased perspective that suited my situation more than hers. Another friend told me about a similar situation he had been in with his current girlfriend. It was his fear of intimacy that was the real problem, not the girlfriend. He had moved to a new city with her and suddenly was like, “Is this it?” He felt so stuck forever with her that he freaked out and didn’t want to fuck her because everything seemed so final. Eventually that feeling passed. He continues to work through his intimacy issues just as she does, because we all have them and when we want to work something out rather than just quit, cheat, lie or freak out, we do just that. We work on them. It’s work.
So as an alternative to yesterday’s answer, I wanted to address that maybe the girl should give it some time in the new city with her boyfriend and see if things change. I also wanted to apologize for seeming flippant. I know you guys don’t write me to get all the answers or anything, but you do write me honestly and come from vulnerable places, so I feel it’s important for me to put more thought into my response. I think part of what compels people to write to “Ask Barf” is to get a normal person’s perspective on normal things we do, rather than pay a real doctor or get a boring answer that takes like ten years of talking about your childhood to figure out.
I feel honored that you guys keep writing me, and I learn so much from it and have so much fun doing it. Please keep writing and I promise when I’m wrong, I will call myself out on it and explore it. Not always in this super long postscript, but maybe in a comment. Or maybe not, because this is totally the first time I’ve ever been wrong.
Send “Ask Barf” letters / replies to AskBarf@StreetCarnage.com (include photos!)
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