KSK Mailbag: For real, stop dating suicidal people, people

03.13.14 4 years ago 95 Comments

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This is two weeks in a row where we’re dealing with dating people who’ve attempted suicide. Listen: depressed people need love, too. Absolutely they do. All I’m saying is don’t START a relationship with someone who attempted suicide after making out with you. That’s a red flag, people.

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE: I am leaving the country on Sunday in order to avoid the flood of pop culture brackets that are the annual mark of the NCAA Tournament’s arrival. Your guest mailbagger will be the charming Sarah Sprague. As usual, you can submit your emails here, or — if you’ve got a private LADY QUESTION specifically for Miss Sprague — you can reach her here. Enjoy.

Dear Private Poker,
I’ve been into this girl dating back to the summer. I’m 25 and she’s 21. We were always flirty towards each other but nothing ever came of it. She went back to college, I stayed at my job here.

On New Year’s Eve, she ended up at the same party I was (by my invite) and we got to drinking and joking and so on and so forth and eventually led to a hot make-out sesh before I dropped her off at her parents’ house. We kept in contact over the next few weeks, but she went back to school.

Thank you for calling it a “sesh.” It makes the mailbag feel like Page Six. “ITEM! Which anonymous reader finally acted on his schoolgirl crush?”

Along the way, she tried to kill herself


and had to move back home. I found out too late that she was actually clinically depressed.

Yes, I would say so.

We were hanging out one night and each decided that we liked each other and decided to give it a shot. Went out on Valentine’s day, had an awesome time, ended up fucking (three times!) and all was well for like three days after.

She decides that we rushed into the sex and about six hours later breaks it off with me completely.

I feel like I know your answer, but let me know how I should proceed anyway.
Assless in Arkansas

Generally speaking, if someone says they think they know my answer, my answer is probably what you expect. And that is this: she did you a favor.

I have no doubt that the sex was fantastic, but no sex is good enough to warrant starting a relationship with a clinically depressed person who has recently attempted suicide. Like, it’s one thing if you’re in a long-term committed relationship and the person you love is struggling with depression, but in the early stages? Nope nope nope. There are red flags, and then there are flashing signs that say “WRONG WAY.”

As we learned last week, ending a relationship with someone who’s willing to attempt suicide can be a traumatic and thorny affair. If she’s broken it off with you, consider that a big-time favor and move on.

(And don’t give in if she changes her mind.)

(Because she will.)


Hey Cap,
I have a recently laid off girlfriend (let’s call her Shmelissa), I already bought a ring and I’m gonna pop the question next month.

Well then! Good for you, and allow me to offer my tentative, premature congratulations.

She started looking for jobs outside our current area (Chicago suburb) and her current career (journalism) and I’m fine with that; I’d love to live somewhere fun and exciting! She looks to be in the lead to getting a marketing job in Cincinnati. So much for fun and exciting.

After catching my uncle up with our situation the other night, he offered to set up an interview for me at his swanky tech firm outside Seattle. (Nepotism is the best!)

I told her about the offer and that he’d fly us out this weekend for the interview and she shut it down immediately. After telling her I’d move wherever we needed to to boost her career she couldn’t do the same for me. It’s too far from our families and IT isn’t my career field, so it’s a job. Also it rains a lot.

I dunno, I’d rather work in marketing than IT (though Seattle would beat Cincy regardless of where our families lived).

My rebuttal was that a two hour flight from Seattle and a five hour drive from Cincinnati doesn’t seem that different and marketing wasn’t her career either, after her first marketing interview I had to talk her out of the sense she was “selling out.”

And I’m not even saying my uncle’s job is what has to happen! Just let’s not rule anything out, besides, the job would pay more than I make now, plus what she’d be making in Cincinnati! She could hold off on the job search until she finds the perfect job for her!

Still, she wasn’t having it and went to sleep. And now I feel shitty and I’m questioning how devoted to our relationship she is. I get that she wants to be in control of her own life and I want to support her, but I want her to support my life as well and not look a gift horse in the mouth! Am I wrong here?

-All full of words apparently.

Everything you say makes perfect sense to me. Like, at least accept a free trip to Seattle? It may be dark and rainy there right now, but it beats the fuck out of a Chicago winter.

Unfortunately for you, I’m not your girlfriend. From your email, it sounds like she’s someone who (a) would prefer to stay in the Midwest (or what she perceives to be sufficiently close to her family), and (b) thinks that her skills as a journalist translate to marketing in a more satisfying way than IT. These aren’t unreasonable stances. They may be less adventurous than what your or I find to be ideal, but they’re not unreasonable.

I suggest taking a break from your very justifiable mindset (Seattle over Cincy!!!). Instead, try to adopt your girlfriend’s mindset. What’s she thinking? How does she feel? Why? Tell her that you want to understand her parameters for satisfaction so that you can adjust your expectations (and suggestions) accordingly. If not Seattle, what are all the cities she WOULD live in? If not IT, what kind of jobs WOULD she take?

And finally, I’d note that just because you’re open to more possible outcomes doesn’t necessarily make your girlfriend less invested in the relationship. Let’s pretend that instead of Seattle, you were talking about anal sex. You love this girl, you’ve dated her for a couple years, and you want to marry her. But the sex has kind of tapered off a little, and you suggest trying anal sex to liven things up. And she like, “NO WAY! That’s just not something I’d ever be comfortable with.” It doesn’t mean she’s not committed to you; it just means you never talked about it before. (Although she could have been nicer about saying no.)

Everyone has limits in life, and part of a committed relationship is exploring the other person and finding those particular walls. Sometimes you need to push gently, moving the wall to encompass a bigger slice of life. Other times you learn to live inside those parameters.

(Also, Cincy’s fine. Plenty close to Kentucky’s vast stores of cheap bourbon.)


Oh captain my captain,
Fantasy: What the hell do I do until August? This sucks.

I do two things: (1) reconnect with the humans in my life,  and (2) patch together a TV-watching schedule that distracts me until the fall. Justified and Archer get me to April (Game of Thrones and Mad Men debut in consecutive weekends), which in turn gets me to mid-June, which is when the World Cup starts. That goes until mid-July, at which point I can work on cleaning out the DVR with various other sitcoms, maybe crank out a season or two of something on Netflix and OH HEY NFL PRESEASON ALREADY! Time to start working on my draft board!

Sex: My girlfriend of 6 months is still socially intertwined with her ex. A couple years ago she and 9 other people all taught English abroad for a year. When they got back she moved cross country to move in with him. They broke up about a year later and a shortly after she started seeing me. The group is “tight knit.” They have a running facebook chat every day and now they travel cross country when someone has a kid or gets married.

Forget the ex — a daily running Facebook chat? Gross.

The group is half her social life despite the ex being the only other person who lives in this town. Before I knew about this I once said in a hypothetical conversation “there’s no reason to talk to an ex after a break up other than to pick up your stuff. You’ve gotta move on and move forward.” and she said “not necessarily” and we left it at that.

She talks about the group and the chat regularly, but omits mention of him to spare my feelings. Is it reasonable for me to be pissed? There’s no good time to bring this up. There’s sort of a behind-my-back element in play here. Then again, I suppose I have no right to be pissed having never voiced this.

INCORRECT. You are allowed to have feelings regardless of your previous actions or whether the feelings makes sense. And in this case, the feelings make sense.

We should probably communicate or something, right?


I don’t want to be the insecure needy boyfriend writing in to relationship advice columns.

Oh but speaking of insecurities, I don’t like it when she makes jokes about banging musicians or football players. If I do anything other than laugh it off she’s day “Honey, I’m kidding!” but I don’t think this cool and would never do it to her.

She at least owes you an apology for those comments, according to my favorite tweet ever.

What do I do?

Hilarious Sign-off,
Some guy

First, regarding her interaction with her ex: this isn’t the cut-and-dry “Hey knock it off with talking to your ex” because he’s part of such a tight-knit group of friends. And by the way, it’s great that they stay so tight. They had a formative experience together and created a lasting bond that they’ve maintained. That’s worth celebrating. Even if you and your girlfriend get married years from now, you’ll never fully crack that circle. And that’s fine: right now, you’re building your own set of experiences with her that — with time and love — may surpass that set of friends. But in order to do that, you can’t compete with them.

And obviously, one ex being in a group chat with ten people isn’t as bad as nonstop private messaging or lots of texts. But regardless of whether she should have so much contact with her ex (she shouldn’t), you’re right to let your feelings known. And that’s the nice things about feelings: they don’t have to be right or make sense. You can’t control them. So you say to your girlfriend, “I’m sorry, I’ve tried to be cool about this, but X, Y, and Z make me insecure and/or disrespected. It’s not how I want to feel, but that’s the result and you control whether I keep feeling that way.” — and that’s not an ultimatum. It should be the beginning of a longer conversation that seeks a solution.

Of course, you could befriend her ex. Watch sports with him when she’s away. STEAL HIM! Now SHE’S the one worried about what HE’S telling YOU! CHECKMATE!


Fantasy: I’ve been in a league with friends for 5 years now. The league predates me, but they have never done keepers and the waiver wire is some bullshit. They tried the waiver wire where teams with worse records get first go, but the older guys complained and they switched it back to anyone can pick up anybody at anytime. I don’t think I can convince them to change the waiver wire, but I would like to start doing keepers, even if it’s only one guy. Any suggestions on how to get them to switch?

haha ok

“My girlfriend wasn’t interested in trying a threesome, but what if I suggested a FOURSOME? With hookers!”

This is how people end up in seven different leagues.

Sex/Relationship: Let me start by saying I’ve never been very good with the ladies. I’m 26 and I’ve never had a relationship last longer than dating for a few months. So I go to my parents for dinner last week and my Dad mentions there is a new girl at work who is attractive. He says something about about mentioning me to her and that he would invite her over for dinner (I don’t live with my parents). Then my Mom interjects asking if just she would be coming or if other people would be too. He says other people would be coming also. I just stare blankly at them for a moment thinking how awkward that would be and change the subject.

God, that paragraph was like a scene from a Jason Biggs movie.

Fast forward one week and my Dad sends me her email address and says “ask her out, but get her number first.” I got on Facebook and looked her up. She definitely is attractive, but her profile pic is with some guy


(not sure if I am reading too much in that). Basically I am looking for advice whether or not to email her and if I did what the hell would I say?

There are two instances in which someone has a profile picture with someone of the opposite sex. That second person is only ever a significant other or their child. You’d be better off with your parents’ terrible dinner party idea.

Bonus question: this young lady also has the same name as my sister….generally, is that weird to date someone with the same name as someone in your immediate family?
Fuck the Seahawks. GO RAMS!

It’s a sliding scale. Like, if your sister’s name is Emily, would you be like, “No thanks, Emily Ratajkowski, that would be weird”?



PHOTO: Walter Iooss for Sports Illustrated

I would guess not. But if it’s Average Emily from Accounting, then it gets a little weird. You just have to figure out where the line is. How hot is “hot enough to forget I’m saying my sister’s name during sex”?

J/K no one says first names during sex.

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