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Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 01:48 am

The tweakest link

I met this man, and it was instant attraction. I’m a 40-year-old woman with my own place, a car and a good job, and he’s an ex-convict who served four years in prison for selling meth. He’s very loving, but he has no car or driver’s license (it expired during prison), has a minimum-wage job, and is too needy – always checking up on me and doubting where I am. I pay for our meals, etc., and drive him everywhere. It’s like I’m taking care of a child. I’m trying my best to forget about the material things and just base this on love. –Weary

It’s a good thing you think the guy’s hot, or you might try to trade up to a serial murderer with a driver’s license.

It must’ve been a kick to get it on with a real bad boy instead of the kind who pulls up on a Harley wearing a leather jacket he bought at the mall. But, assuming you don’t have all the conscience of a dirt clod, how could you make this more than a one-nighter? Sure, officially, he’s “paid his debt to society,” but he wasn’t in prison for growing pot, the gateway drug to lying in a beanbag chair and reinventing the wheel. He was selling snortable slow suicide, complete with rotting teeth and a “meth mite” bonus – nonexistent but seemingly real crawly bugs that users try to dig out from under their skin with their fingernails or sharp objects, leaving some really sexy open sores.

Beyond what he’s done to make a buck, he’s now about as independent as one of Paris Hilton’s purse dogs (although he probably asks his “mommy” to buy him a cheaper class of sweater). You can’t possibly respect him, and if you can’t respect him, you can’t love him. You’ve just been calling this “love” to cover for a bad decision that you let give birth to a whole litter of bad decisions. You did have help – the flawed machine known as the human brain. When we do something dumb, our brain encourages us to ignore evidence we’ve made a mistake so we can hang on to our shiny image of ourselves as smart people making wise choices. This feels good in the moment but can, say, leave a person working hard to convince herself that she’s shallow and materialistic to want her equal.

If you can accept making mistakes as a normal, expected part of being human, you can put your braying ego on mute, critically assess all your decisions, and admit your mistakes instead of getting into a committed relationship with them. (There’s no time like the present to start.) As wonderful as it is to feel needed by a man, it’s best if it’s simply because he loves being around you, not because without you he’d have to eat raw hotdogs out of the package and take two buses to make the meeting with his parole officer.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405 or e-mail her at AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com). Copyright 2012 Amy Alkon

Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon

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