Auntie Dote is HBI's answer to the usual, treacly, self-help advice columnists.

Disclaimer: This isn't an advice website. Yet from time to time we receive email asking for the Heartlessly Bitchy point of view. If you need serious medication, therapy or professional help, seek elsewhere. However, if you still insist on soliciting OUR advice, just remember...


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Ask Auntie Dote
The Auntie Dote for what ails you...



From: Bobbi

Date: March 24, 2008


Dear Auntie Dote,

I know you hate stories so I will be sparing with details.(Or at least I will try. Some of them are part of my question.)


Au contraire; we don't hate stories. Details are very important to an accurate assessment. Sometimes people just don't care for our diagnosis. ;-)


I have been in a seriously bad place with relationships. Every time I meet someone one of two things happens. Either we start of hot and heavy but realize there is nothing there within a week (Which is okay I met my two best guy friends that way)


I see nothing wrong with that. Too many people make too big a deal out of this. Dating is just DATING, folks. It ain't brain surgery, it ain't rocket science, and it sure as hell ain't always pretty. You sound able to be flexible and pragmatic about your expectations, so that's good.

Or I find someone who seems really great until I find out that they are taken.


Whoa. What does that mean? You're making an assumption here that dating and relationships are always and only exclusive and monogamous. Not everybody has that.

This has happened five times in a row and the last three I have found out from the other woman involved. Is there something I am not picking up on, or doing wrong?


Do you ASK them up front? If it really matters to you. I can't think of anything else you should be doing. There's no chip implant (as of yet) that you can scan to see if a guy is dating, married or living with someone. Or booty banging on a Saturday night. Or getting his little booty banged. Not to be paranoid, but you get the idea. Men are pretty free-range animals.


My close friend was angry with me after the last guy who did this because I wasn't angry with the guy I was trying to figure out what I am doing so wrong.


Well, it could be that you're assuming exclusive availability, which isn't a given with dating, and it could be that you're just not asking, for whatever reason. Maybe you think it would put a damper on the relationship's potential. You may be right, but if it matters this much to you, be DIRECT. Ask when you first meet someone if he is single or seeing anyone, some men will find this to be very refreshingly attractive, that you are making your own interest AND dating conditions quite clear. And if you discover later that he's lied about it, then you can know for sure that you have GROUNDS to be pissed off.

I know that I shouldn't blame myself entirely but the only constant in these five terrible relationships in a row is me.


Eh. It's not always your fault. There are predatory assholes a'plenty out there. 5 dates (and isn't it really 3, who were "taken"?) isn't really a broad sample. There could be a cultural/regional factor of where you live and WHERE you pick up/meet guys. 


I know better than to hope that the bad men will wear a sign to make it easier for me to avoid them.


You don't need a sign, or a chip implant. You need to use words, mi'ja!


I never recall even a hint with any of them that there was anything wrong until I found out about the other woman. (Or women in one case).


Yeah, big deal. Not everyone is monogamous, this is not news and it is not (in most cases or jurisdictions) a crime. The truth is, when it comes to who is fucking whom:  nobody cares but the religious fundamentalists. So just make yourself happy. That's it, the meaning of life.

All of that exposition leads me to my question. What am I missing? Are there alarms or signs that should be painfully obvious? I am not trying to deny my part in this when I say that I seriously have had no idea that any of these guys were with someone else.


I've outlined what your part is. How could you know, without ASKING, or hiring a private detective? I recommend the former. Stop beating yourself up, but just realize that not everybody has the same dating assumptions you do.

I donít want to fall for it again but I also donít want to let these bad experiences keep me from dating altogether. I know that there is no handbook or instruction manual but I am sure that others have observed the signs that I am missing.


It's just as plain as I've laid out for you. Often it's not you; it's them. There are cheating lying assholes out there. Just don't make it easy for them. If YOU have expectations about dating then express them early. That's the only way to establish whether you are in agreement or not.


Thank you for taking the time to read (and hopefully answer) my query.




Dating is by definition EXPERIMENTAL. Some eggs are going to be broken (no double entendre intended). Relax and realize none of us are mind readers. Use COMMUNICATION. And where you find inconsistencies with your values, switch gears away from dating (as you've already done on occasion), and/or boot the assholes to the curb, the earlier the better.


Good luck,




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