Illustration by Jim Cooke/GMG.

Welcome to Dear Jane, Jezebel’s advice column.

Dear Jane,

I’m a single 34 yo woman who about 6 months ago moved to a completely new area for a job (which I love) but means I don’t really know anyone outside of work and have no close friends nearby.

I’ve had a couple of serious relationships and a few less serious ones. I’m happy currently being single, I ended all my past relationships and I don’t mind being on my own. What I do mind is not having sex.

At my age how do I solicit casual sex? In my youth I obviously had one night stands with guys I met at bars, and while this isn’t completely impossible now, I lack a reliable wing woman. I know the internet often has the solution for these problems but I just couldn’t bring myself to outright ask a Tinder match for sex. Also, I’ve found as I get older I become more and more introverted and have a harder time talking (and so flirting) with new people.

Help! I miss the D. Self care can only get one so far!

Yours,

Single and sexless

Dear SAS,

We’re going to do a little reframing before I offer any help with the D. Which I have! Wait for it…

First, congratulations on figuring out what you want. Holy moly, that is difficult and you nailed it. I’m excited for you! Ahh, the good old days, when loving work and wanting dick prevailed. You’re 34—still in your “youth” as far as I’m concerned, independent rather than codependent, and horny. What a beautiful time for you. I hope you’re reveling in it because it doesn’t always feel this way, as you know.

I think you’re suffering from that old “centuries of oppressive handed-down societal norms” syndrome, which is totally curable if you’ll bear with me. The issues you’ve brought up that keep you from finding sex? They aren’t real. No one needs a wing woman. In fact, a person sitting alone, or bowling alone or shopping alone, can often be far easier to talk to or make longing eye contact with than one who is engaged in conversation with a friend. You can be that person.

Also, trust that you don’t have to propose casual sex in a message on a dating app; just put a line in your bio that say “not here for anything serious.” You are quite welcome.

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There’s a part of me that wants to ask you if you’re actually ready for casual sex, though, if you are seeing roadblocks to it all over the place? Casual sex is the easiest sex of all the sex there is to find. My only warning about it would be that you can count on it being “casual” maybe the first time if you’re lucky; these people catch feelings, especially if they’re hooking up with someone whose head is as squarely on her shoulders as yours seems to be. Perhaps the threat of a suitor or relationship is keeping you from all that hot, hard D? That would make total sense and be a 100 percent legit reason to not pursue it as aggressively as you could. But if that’s not the problem, you can stop telling yourself you’re ill-equipped to find it. You got this.


Dear Jane,

This is going to be kind of long, but I hope you can read through it and help me.

I am currently 24 years old and I am living with my parents after graduating from grad school this past summer. It has been difficult finding a job since I came back home and my parents graciously allowed me to come back rent-free while I am actively looking for a full time position. I have two older sisters—one I am very close with, and the other (I’ll call her Morgan), we haven’t been on speaking terms for about 10 months. (The sister I am close with, I’ll call her Catherine, she hasn’t spoken with Morgan in over 3 years—for some deep, dark reasons I’d rather not touch on.)

Morgan is 25 years old, has two children by two men, and basically has a messy life in comparison to mine. She barely graduated high school and had a baby at 19, much to the disappointment of our parents. But, today, they are happy and love their grandchild very much. Morgan struggles financially and openly asks our parents for money a few times a year. I never say anything to my parents because it is none of my business. However, Morgan seems to take any opportunity to take a jab at me claiming I am useless, spoiled, etc. for living at home rent-free (even claiming I’m not even trying to find a job, completely false). We stopped talking at the beginning of 2017 because she claimed I flew home from NYC to LA on my parents’ dime (which is untrue) and that they paid for me to have a “dick appointment” with my longtime boyfriend. It was very hurtful to read those text messages to my mom’s phone from Morgan, simply because it was completely untrue. My parents have been supportive of my academic career (I’m their only child to graduate college, let alone graduate school). However, they didn’t pay for my tuition nor did they co-sign any of my student loans. So, I alone am in debt around $50,000 from my entire college career. This fact seems to go over Morgan’s head: when my mom tries to explain that I have student loan debt she says “that doesn’t matter.”

Today, Morgan visited with one of her kids and spent the day with our parents. I tried to get in touch with my mom but her phone was off because I just wanted to know where they went (at that point they had been gone several hours, which is strange for them). After being gone 8 hours, they all returned and I was still in my room hanging out with my cat and reading a book on/off. After a few minutes, I hear Morgan say my name a few times and claim I use my mom’s credit card to “buy an expensive wallet” and ask if I “leave like this without telling them often,” - the second question doesn’t even make sense since I never left the house the entire day, I just merely spent time in my room because I didn’t want to cause any discomfort for my parents as they spend time with their grandchild.

I am not able to move out any time soon because of my financial situation and the fact that I cannot find a good paying job in my field yet. I cannot figure out a new way to rationally explain to my sister vis-a-vis our parents why my living situation is of no importance or matter to her. If my parents are okay with me staying at home while I look for a full time job, Morgan should respect the boundaries of our parents. It was her decision to move out and have a baby at 19, whereas at the same age I was in my second year of college choosing a study abroad program (another thing I financed without my parents).

Her phone number and all her social media accounts are blocked because I knew I didn’t want anyone so negative to have contact with me. I don’t know what to do; she blatantly lies about me and does nothing but spread negative energy about me to our parents. I am really trying hard in my job search and my parents believe in me and support me. I know she’s entitled to her opinion of me, but she’s dividing our parents and making it increasingly difficult to live with my parents.

What should I do?

1. How DARE you write in and not tell us what happened with Catherine and Morgan?

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2. Why is your mom avoiding your calls while she’s with your sister?

3. Your family is wayyyy too far up each other’s butts. How can your parents be so happy while you and your sister are miserable? Two of your siblings haven’t talked in three years? You are 24 and playing with a cat for EIGHT HOURS straight? Man. Look, you can’t change Morgan and you can’t change your parents. You could ask any or all of them to attend family therapy with you, though. Does that sound appealing? Remember, when you ask something like that you have to be willing to follow-through and, I dunno, sounds like maybe you’d rather stab your eyes out?

You’ve inserted yourself deeply back into a family dynamic that you know doesn’t work for you and the only advice I have is to suck it up until you move out. From now on, Morgan’s voice sounds like the teacher from Peanuts and your parents are two robots who keep the heat and water on in the building where you sleep. The cat is also a robot, but one who serves no purpose. Your boyfriend is Doctor Dick. Catherine is God.

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Keep working on your exit strategy. It doesn’t have to be permanent or awesome; just a tidge better than your current situation. Also, maybe keep the whole “I’m the only educated one around here and I did it all by myself” thing to a minimum since it’s half-true (see: free room and board post-graduation) and proves nothing about your value as a human being.


Dear Jane,

I’m a 30 year old woman in a relationship with a 35 year old man. We’ve been together for about a year and we just moved in together. We initially bonded over being the only Latino people in our small community and our shared culture and values. We enjoy spending time together, shared hobbies, compatible Netflix preferences, great sex, etc. Throughout our relationship, we’ve argued several times about various things and it always plays out the same way. He’ll do or say something that I find odd/offensive/upsetting/hurtful and so I react in a way that feels (to me) appropriate. This is often me expressing calmly that what happened wasn’t cool with me and explaining why. He then BLOWS THE FUCK UP. He’ll tell me that I’m being an asshole, I’m too sensitive, I’m trying to change him, I’m misinterpreting things, and so on. It’s almost like he takes offense to my feelings.

I’ve told him that this is not a good way to react and I’ve told him how I need things to be different if I’m going to stick around. He says that he hears me but ultimately, it happens again and again. I’m being gaslit by an otherwise wonderful dude and I’m not sure how to move forward. I want to build a life with this person but I feel like I can’t be open about my feelings unless I’m prepared to deal with him taking those feelings as a personal attack.

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Your boyfriend is insecure AS FUCK. Which isn’t incurable, but it’s a major bummer and impossible for you to cure.

You’re too sensitive AND an asshole? He should be kissing your magical unicorn ass. Instead, he’s getting defensive and lashing out, on top of whatever thing he did that made you confront him in the first place. Not only is his go-to an avoidance tactic in the moment, it helps him avoid further confrontation by establishing a gnarly system of communication that you’d rather avoid. You can’t win. Honestly, as your friend, I want you to dump him immediately. I’m not kidding! Tell that dude “peace.” He’ll either go off and get some amazing therapy and realize what a dumb-dumb he’s being or he’ll go off and WHO EVEN CARES WHAT!? God, I hate him, I’m sorry.

Okay, calming down... breathing... breathing. Have you suggested couples’ counseling? That’s one option. Think, Jane, think!... Um, have you tried not caring about what he does or says or how he interacts with the world? Dammit, Jane; get it together! Alright, what about hypnosis? Not the kind where he knows it’s happening; the secret kind. Or a spell?

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I don’t know, I think you’re kinda screwed. There’s no way to tell an insecure person that their lack of self-esteem is the issue. “You know what your problem is? You can’t take criticism.” If he felt better about himself, your complaints wouldn’t hurt so deeply and he’d see your sensitivity as a good thing; a sign post for a road toward growth. Cut him loose for a bit, or at least tell him it’s that dire and ask him what he is going to do to right the ship. “Honey, I love ya, but I can no longer be thought of as the source of our problems, one of which happens to be pointing out that we even have problems. Let me know what you’re going to do about this dynamic and how I can participate in a way that’s helpful because I’m already carrying quite a heavy load here.” I shudder to imagine his response.