Ask Polly, formerly of The Awl, has found a new home at New York Magazine's The Cut, and earlier this week posted the best, most cathartic, kind, lovely, and incredible advice column I've ever read.
I'm a bit of a connoisseur of advice columns. In my free time, when I'm not tearing bar coasters into tiny pieces, rolling them up, and making a little pile next to my beer which I'm sure the bartender hates to clean up, I'm reading advice columns. Dear Prudence, old Dear Sugar, Dear Coquette, Friend Zone, Pot Psychology (RIP), the prior iteration of Ask Polly, Dear Abby, Ask a Married Guy, Village Voice's wonderfulAsk Andrew WK, etc etc etc etc etc. Other people's problems are fascinating, and advice columnists' responses to those problems can sometimes be beautiful and terrible. It's like sitting in on a therapy session.
In this week's installment of Ask Polly, Heather Havrilesky answers a question from a woman who recently amicably ended an 18 month relationship with a man who, for one reason or another, simply didn't love her. This isn't the first time this has happened to the advice-seeker; she's spent much of her adult life in relationships with men who don't love her, despite the fact that she's always been balanced, kind, understanding, and a generally "good" girlfriend.
Havrilesky's response to the woman explores self-worth, the way women are conditioned to hide who we really are to please a man, why it's okay to be "difficult," and so many other issues that women I've known (or been) have dealt with that after I read it the first time, I had to sit back and stare at my hands for a few minutes to let the whole thing sink in. It is one of the smartest pieces of writing on women relationships I've read in many moons. This week's Ask Polly is so good that I don't even want to excerpt it here. Please, do yourself a favor and read it for yourself.
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