Stressed business woman working on a laptop

MediaJuly 29, 2016

Hello Caller: ‘I suck at dating – so should I give the douchebag I’m seeing another chance?’

Stressed business woman working on a laptop

This week: psychotherapist Ms X on settling for second best, dating dry patches, and knowing when to kick him to the kerb.

Hi Ms X,

I’m feeling a bit stuck here and could do with some cold, hard advice and maybe a bit of a reality check. First up, I am the worst at dating. I never do it, and when I do it’s always with the wrong people and it ends up with me turning into a huge mess and festering over it for months on end. Not ideal. Any kind of dating gives me intense anxiety, like can’t eat can’t sleep anxiety.

The advice I get from friends is to date more and it’ll get easier. This is not as simple as it seems. How do you even find people to date? I’ve tried Tinder and the like and it’s just always a big ol’ flop. But that aside…

I started dating this guy a few months ago. We went on some dates and things seemed good. He actually appeared normal and different from my previous disasters. Then we had this weird little argument and he stopped talking to me. This is the kind of thing that drives me insane and turns me into the anxious mess described above.

Anyway I was playing it cool until I found out he was seeing someone else so I hit him up. Like, that’s not cool, you should have said something, for my health, it’s gross kinda thing. Obviously at this point in my head things were done and dusted, sayonara, 2/10 would not date again. Except he started texting me again and I’m huge sucker so I started texting back.

Then I did a bad thing and I kissed his friend. He got mad. I got mad. Everyone is mad. It’s all madness tbh. I tried to be an adult and organise for us to have dinner and talk about it but he bailed with some weird excuse like he won’t be able to stay angry at me if he sees me..?? He’s acting like I’m Anne Boleyn and he won’t be able to resist my powers of seduction. WTF.

So Ms X, what the fuck should I do? Do I drop him like a hot potato or soldier on? This is the first time I’ve had an ongoing dating thing in a while which is what makes me hesitant to drop it. It could be months before I get my ass into gear and date someone else.

Sorry for the essay.


Yoko Boleyn (23)

Dear Yoko,

I need to go and get one of those screen cleaning kits to get the spit/toast/tea speckles off mine because I was screaming “DROP HIM” as I reached your two last paragraphs.

So lets break this down.

You were dating. You had an argument that seemed minor but he ghosted you and appears to have offered no explanation. Then he started seeing someone and still didn’t tell you.

Then you snogged his mate – and assuming you and no.2 were both single, I am failing to find the “bad” here, but I know NZ is very small so I am taking a deep breath – and then HE (no.1) gets mad at you?

I’m glad to hear you got mad back at him at this point because that is a healthy response to his A Grade bullshit.

I am very interested in you trying to reach out and “adult” this situation by setting up a dinner to calm the situation. You may need to channel that good energy into a hostage negotiation course or something because I wouldn’t have passed him a dirty napkin at that stage. Then, in return, he claims the seductive powers of your lady garden will so overwhelm him that he couldn’t possibly see you again for a casual meal. I think I just sprained my eye roll muscle.

OK Caller, lets go.

Step away. Don’t call him, if he texts then you are busy and politely getting on with your life. Tending that prize winning Lady Garden perhaps.

He might be a nice guy deep down but he is not even approaching an approximation of decent adult behavior right now. He is emotionally an adolescent in charge of a penis and he needs to be arrested by the penis police. Some grow-up time in the dick tank is what he needs.

Seriously, Yoko: he is dead to you without the inconvenience of attending his funeral.

Now let’s talk about you getting out there and making dating choices that don’t have the blow back of a Dawson’s Creek episode.

You say that dating is very nerve wracking for you. Do you get anxiety across any other areas of life? How is work? Because if you manage work worries then I want you to think about how you do that and maybe apply some of the same attitude to your dating life. A cool head and some analytical thought won’t go astray when you are dealing with intimate relations.

There is always the amazing hormonal response you get when you first meet someone exciting but part of growing up is considering how the rest of their behavior makes you feel after the pheromones are dwindling.

Simply put, if they are continually, reliably mean or dismissive or sending very mixed messages then hit PAUSE and have a think.

I suspect that young people often rush into ‘being exclusive’ a bit fast and when they’re confronted by bad behavior finding an exit strategy can be like trying to run backwards through mud. Sure, you’ll end up with amazing thighs but in the long run it’s cheaper – emotionally speaking – to pay for a cross fit class instead.

So the first step is to start considering people who seem a little more reliable and mature (not necessarily in actual age) in their responses to you.

And don’t rush in. Do lots of things together so you can see how they react to life situations. How do they handle rush hour traffic, sudden changes, life in general? Because you want a read on that stuff: it tells you how you might fit together going forward.

And in answer to your question about meeting more people – how do your friends do it? Is it a case of trying some new things where you can meet people. Or being a bit more adventurous when it comes to swiping right?

Also readers: please inundate us with any ideas on how Yoko might cast her net wider and ultimately cut more copies of the key to her spectacular lady garden. Where do you go to meet dateable people?

Caller, you can do this. You are smart enough – as evidenced by the great Yoko Boleyn joke. Good luck.

Ms. X

Got a question for Ms. X? Send an email to, ideally including key information such as your age and gender.

All messages will be kept in the strictest confidence and your name will not be published. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, consider using a free remailer service like Send Email.

Need help now?

Lifeline 0800 543 354

Youthline 0800 376 633

OUTline (LGBT helpline) 0800 688 5463

More helplines can be found at the Mental Health Foundation’s directory. For a list of Māori mental health services, click here.

A new documentary follows Scribe’s grim past, and looks towards a hopefully brighter future. Image compilation: TVNZ/Tina Tiller

Behind the scenes of Scribe’s new documentary

'We knew that potentially it could be an incomplete or unfinished story arc and that the end of the story might well be Scribe's vanished again.'
Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

Get The Spinoff
in your inbox