In the era of social media where Facebook friends morph within nanoseconds into real-time lovers, then descend just as quickly into frenemy territory, splits and their attendant issues now live on the World Wide Web for all your so-called "friends" to see and engage with. News about relationship difficulties, alleged infidelity, outright cheating, divorce battles, and garden variety breakups that used to reside in the private domain between two people and maybe a handful of close friends can be spread farther and faster than a rhinovirus in winter. Aided and abetted by web-based and wireless technology, breakups, dissing your ex, and nailing a cheating partner can get downright nasty. Welcome to the new world of breakups.
We are both graphic designers. Well, I was one before Yakov undid me. The disparity in our personal net worth (due, no doubt, to mere differences of age, experience, intelligence and talent) was such that I decided, albeit subconsciously, to devote the twelve hours a day that I had selfishly reserved for my own career entirely to Yakov's. This included a campaign of public relations that would make Michael Ovitz look like a Vermont housewife, and resulted in several magazine articles, a major book deal, and an impressive client roster that oddly resembled my own. At one juncture, I was concerned that lending him two thousand dollars to start his art magazine, pay his rent, and things like that might "damage our relationship" if this debt went unpaid. My then-psychiatrist had an interesting idea. Why not just give him the money? After a year and a half of qualified bliss, we broke up. I had the funny feeling that he was, um, using me.
While still in my twenties, I had tasted the fast lane. I managed to sneak my way into a senior job at a major media company by wearing impeccable blue suits, white shirts and black polished shoes, by speaking only when spoken to, and by keeping cool under the pressure of large and vexing financial transactions. I took the company public after decades of near-obsessive privacy, only to play a pivotal role in selling it for billions of dollars ninety days later. I went ahead despite the cries of outrage by the community, who saw the initial public offering (IPO) and quick sale as the abandonment of a public trust. My crowning achievement, being quoted on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, was crushed a few days later. My wife Erin was tired of my shit. The sale of my company had finally been announced; I may have been king of the financial world, but to her it was time for me to start acting like a father. She flew upstairs and rifled through my bag from my overnight stay after the dinner. Finding a package of contraceptives inside, she came downstairs to confront me. "I know you're having an affair. Why don't you just admit it?"
Conventional wisdom has it that the female orgasm is shadowy, elusive and "complicated," while the male orgasm in the pre-Viagra years is a simple and straightforward affair. Men, we learn, are supposed to be worried about not coming. Yet contrary to popular belief, not all men experience sexual intercourse as an exercise in controlled cork-popping.
Almost all relationships come to an end, so how do you do so quickly and gracefully? Sex And The City ruled out the Post-It note. So how's a person to do it as humanely as possible? Catie Lazarus explores this and more in the video episode of On The Couch.
Snooping—reading his email, logging into his Facebook account—is generally a recipe for disaster. But for one woman, find out her husband's secrets was the key to getting over her divorce. "The pain of reading his diary was oddly liberating. Once I got past my disgust, I couldn't lose what I didn't have. And if that was the man I was married to, I thought, I didn't lose much. In actuality, reading his diary may have been one of the best things that have happened to me. It made me see that he was never really there for me to begin with. I didn't have to worry about how I was going to make it alone. I'd been alone all that time and just didn't realize it."
I kept going, and my stomach dropped as I realized that "massage" was simply Internet parlance for sex. All the time we’d been together, when he’d refused to use condoms—until I finally went on the Pill—he'd been hiring, or trying to hire, hookers. I could tell at least one of his attempts had been successful; a woman emailed back to say that he'd left a piece of jewelry behind with her. Another response, from an escort site which I promptly visited, made the imagery all too real.
What would inspire a rich, powerful man (say Eliot Spitzer) to risk it all on a tryst with a prostitute? Well, in some cases, it's a little oral sex. Studies show that men seeking prostitutes are often just trying to get a bj. Other studies show that almost all men are into receiving oral sex and not that many women are enthusiastic about giving it. Correlation?
Mutual friends are plentiful while you are in a romantic relationship—a recent study shows 63% of married couples met through just such a network. But what happens to them if the two of you call it quits? Suddenly these same friends you once called for coffee and double dates could be called on by your ex to trash-talk you.
“Bargain shopping! I used to spend a ton of money in malls. Now it’s DSW for shoes and outlet malls for clothes. She helped me spend my money a little more wisely.” –Thomas, 27, construction management consultant “I used to drip water all over the floor after showering. My ex explained how to brush off my body before I grabbed a towel. I even shared the ‘Jessica Dry Brush’ with my nieces and nephews.” –Andrew, 34, project manager “She introduced me to The Nile, a Middle Eastern restaurant in New Jersey where singers and belly dancers perform. I still go with my friends.”
This video episode: Japanese divorce, robotic lovers, and breaking-up by SMS.
or the best advice on sex, love, dating and relationships we ask two experts with personal experience. Cathi Hanauer is the author, most recently, of Sweet Ruin, a novel about love, marriage, and adultery. Daniel Jones is the editor of both the "Modern Love" column for The New York Times, and Modern Love, an anthology derived from the column. They've been married for 15 years, and together they provide a his and hers take on relationship questions. This round: bad kissers. Question: I recently went on a date with an amazing woman—but at the end of the night, I discovered that she’s a terrible kisser. Is this a sign that we shouldn't get more physical, or can I "teach" her to improve her technique? -Sean, 29
For the best advice on sex, love, dating and relationships we ask two experts with personal experience. Cathi Hanauer is the author, most recently, of Sweet Ruin, a novel about love, marriage, and adultery. Daniel Jones is the editor of both the "Modern Love" column for The New York Times, and Modern Love, an anthology derived from the column. They've been married for 15 years, and together they provide a his and hers take on relationship questions. This round: same-sex hook-ups. Question: I just got engaged to my boyfriend of two years, and I feel regretful that I never had a sexual experience with a woman—even though I'm pretty sure I'm straight. Is it too late for me to explore this fantasy? –Vanessa, 29
Occasional bickering is one thing, but constant fighting is another. Especially if you have the same argument over and over. Below, how to know when it’s time for a professional intervention. A new baby at home? Stress leading you to avoid your partner? Marriage counseling might help.
Hollywood rarely depicts sex accurately: near-instantaneous, always-simultaneous orgasms? Sheets that conceal only naughty bits? But they get at least one thing right: the act is often hot and the aftermath is often messy. And that's not even getting into polyamory or open marriage. Even the most fun threeway can wind up as complicated as Y Tu Mama Tambien or Wild Things. That Ky Henderson advises you set terms of a threesome to try to save feelings of jealousy and self-loathing and unpleasant realities like sexually transmitted disease and social stigma.