We got a big mailbag this week, people. Sure, there’s the usual run of fantasy questions, but more impressively, we seem to have the full spectrum of relationships here — from getting engaged to being on the rocks to EPIC break-ups to happily married and living on a cruise ship. It’s a fun one. Let’s dive in.

Caveman,
Football first: My league switched to keepers this past year. Managers can keep up to 3 players, only one of which can be a free agent. Players cost one round higher than drafted, FA’s cost a 10th-rounder. I’m considering keeping Doug Martin (2nd round), Demaryius Thomas (5th round), RGIII (6th round), and Russell Wilson (10th round). Who’s the odd man out? Even if RGIII’s rehab goes perfectly, I’m still leaning towards keeping Wilson because he comes 4 rounds cheaper, isn’t coming off a major knee injury, and now has Percy Harvin. Plus the Seahawks will actually employ the full playbook with him from the start, which they didn’t do until the 2nd half of last year. But if RGIII keeps up his superhuman-ness, and Fred Davis and Garcon have healthy seasons, I might regret it. Maybe I ditch one of the other guys, keep both QB’s and trade one early in the season?

I don’t know. In order to get good value for RG3, you’d need his rehab to go perfectly so he starts the season (an iffy proposition), plus he’d need to be awesome RIGHT AWAY. If he starts the season on the bench or a little slow out of the gate, it might be tough to get a Doug Martin-level (or even Demaryius Thomas-level) player in return. And until you can make a trade, you’ll be stuck with “Which awesome young QB do I start?” every week while bemoaning the hole in your receiver corps.

I think Martin, Thomas, and Wilson are the right picks — and it’s worth noting that I’m a reverse-homer when it comes to Seahawks in fantasy football. If experience has taught me anything, it’s to consistently expect the worst from everyone I cheer for.

Relationshipy-ness: I’ve been with my girlfriend, let’s call her Ann, for close to 2 years, living together for about 8 months now. We’re in no rush, but I’m looking down the line and am quite certain I’ll marry this girl. I know someone wrote in about the whole “how much should I pay for a ring” question a few weeks ago. I’m more and more convinced that the money I would save for a “3-months salary” ring would be put to much better use for things like (1) a really kick-ass honeymoon, (2) ensuring the wedding has an open bar and really fun band, (3) a down payment on a house… oh wait, nevermind, I live in the Bay Area and even storage sheds cost $500k. You get the idea though, things that are either more fun or a better investment than a diamond. THIS ARTICLE did a great job convincing me that diamonds are garbage, by the way.

A winning headline if I’ve ever seen one.

On the flip side, I wouldn’t want to leave Plant hanging without the precious rock that all her friends and family would expect to see.

Is Plant the same as Ann?

I’ve considered trying to split the difference and re-purpose an already-in-the-family rock, and while I’m not sure that’s possible yet, there’s death and divorce aplenty in my family so the chances aren’t zero.

Hooray for death and divorce!

Bland is generally of a similar mindset as me on cost-vs-practicality issues like this but I’ve yet to broach the subject specifically.

Is Bland also Ann? Are you telling hilarious jokes that I’m not getting, or are you having a stroke?

[UPDATE: I have been outed as NOT having seen every episode of Arrested Development. I don't even come close to giving a shit what you think about this.]

Knowing that she’s pretty down-to-earth, would resetting an inherited diamond in a new band and using the savings for better things be a good plan?

Yes.

The added twist is that Annabel’s sister and her sister’s boyfriend just completed grad school in different cities, and her sister is already talking about getting married and setting minimum thresholds for the karats

carats

in her engagement ring before they even finish finding a place together. How much of a wrench does that throw into my plans, both in terms of ring-size competition and vying for wedding dates? As sisters, they get along pretty well, but can get competitive with each other sometimes. My current plan is to do things in my own time and not worry about what I can’t control, but say they do get engaged a week before I’m going to pop the question (unlikely), how long do I have to table the whole thing?
– Blood Diamonds are Forever

Don’t sweat it, it’s nothing you can control. Well, actually, it’s something you CAN control —  by working out a plan with Ann’s sister’s boyfriend. You can collaborate on getting diamonds that are exactly the same size and brilliance, get them the same setting, and even propose at the same time in similar manners. And the sisters would STILL find something to be competitive about (Who can have the more spectacular wedding?!?!), because that’s just what women do, whether it’s sisters or best friends. (Some version of this is probably true of brothers as well, but I don’t have one, so I won’t speculate.)

**********

Dear KSK,
I have played FF for the past two years. I am a Cowboys fan and have suffered for that both as a fan of the team and a FF player. Just like the Cowboys, I look like I might make noise in the post season and then fail. Such is life. So, considering that I am a busy, married, father of two; why on earth should I play this frustrating and insidious time suck? I have one friend that plays in the just for fun league that I am interested in and my brother plays in a 4 figure buy in league that I can’t even fathom. So, any encouragement to continue?

Nah, man. If it’s a time-suck you don’t enjoy, don’t do it. Just because I like something doesn’t mean I think everybody else should do it, too.

Sex: I win. 

I didn’t realize it was a competition. Take your dicks and go home, everybody. Dingle McKringleberry won sex.

Married for twelve years this year. I have an amazing wife who encourages me to go ahead with those crazy ideas you sometimes get and present as a half kidding joke. This leads me to strange and often beautiful places. I am currently working as a nurse on board a cruise ship off the coast of Hawaii on a 56 day South Pacific cruise. My whole family of 4 is stuffed into what is essentially a small single bed hotel room, but it’s Hawaii. Yes, I’m bragging.

About what? Living in the same room as two children on a boat? We have different versions of winning, sir.

Hawaii’s beautiful, though (if you’re not spending two consecutive months inside a steel poop container).

I want to give my hearty endorsement of your break up advice and re-entry plan. It was only after I started on a similar plan that I became worthy of the awesome that now exists for me. Stick to it, it works. My little bit of advice would be to remember that if you want to be able to talk about anything, you have to be able to not flip out when your partner talks about anything.

I think that’s sound advice.

As a USN veteran, I leave you with this joke: How does a Navy sailor keep a Marine away from his girlfriend while away on deployment? Surround the bed with unpolished shoes.
-Dingle McKringleberry

Bad news, sailor. Between Corfam shoes and rough-side-out combat boots, Marines don’t polish footwear any more.

Anyhoo, Marines don’t really have jokes about other services, aside from calling them fat. There’s just not a realistic threat that one of our girlfriends would go slumming like that.

**********

Caveman -
FOOTBAW: So I’m in a keeper league (PPR, otherwise pretty standard scoring) and can keep 3 guys, the round they were drafted doesn’t matter. I’m pretty set on Doug Martin (obv) and RG3 (god I hope his knee is OK), so I need to use the last spot on one of these guys: Reggie Wayne, Greg Jennings, Antonio Brown, Colston, James Jones, or Blackmon.

That’s an excellent collection of fantasy WR2’s you end up hating.

My feelings: Wayne was obviously the highest scoring last year, but he is also getting old and I feel like locking up a younger guy would be a better idea. There are also some good younger WRs on the Colts and Luck can spread it around a la Rodgers.

Yeah, but teams that throw it a lot and spread around can have multiple receivers who produce solid fantasy numbers.

James Jones caught nothing but TDs, so he was a little boom or bust, plus I naturally lean towards possesion WRs due to the PPR. But he did have some awesome games, and will have increased responsibility with Jennings gone. Jennings has been a bag of shit for 1.5 years. And he has Ponder throwing to him. Not feeling great about this one.

I feel like Brown is the best choice, he’s one of the youngest, and also with Mike Wallace gone, he will be the #1 WR on a pass first team. Colston is very consistent, but he has a ceiling and is also getting older. Blackmon is a total wild card, but if I drop him and he turns into Dez 2.0, I’m gonna be pissed. What say you?

I’d have to agree, begrudgingly. Sometimes a bump to the #1 wideout slot means fewer looks/catches because he draws the opponent’s best corner. So while I don’t wholly buy your reasoning, I think Brown is the best option, followed by Jones, Wayne, Colston/Jennings, and Blackmon.

Relationship: What are good groomsmen gifts? I was just gonna buy some good booze (keep it practical). I could try and get something more sentimental/special, but yknow, booze.
-Dingus

I certainly like the idea of getting booze, but you should get something that has some meaning for your lifelong friends, not a bottle to drink and throw away. Get something manly that you can engrave a nice note on, like Leathermans, flasks, or shotguns.

**********

Captain,
First off just want to say thanks for all the advice you give. I just got out of a 3 year relationship (long distance killed it). Just moved to NYC, in the Sugar Hill area about a week ago. I know it’s way the fuck up there and there’s not much around, but it’s quiet and cheap and the subway is close.

Sugar Hill is so far uptown I didn’t know where it was.

ANYWAYS. My question of a seasoned New Yorker is what is the protocol with picking up girls on the subway?

Lift with your legs. You don’t want them thrashing around and throwing out your back.

I mean, I see gorgeous girls on there all the time, but I’ve never seen any guys try to talk to them. Is it better or worse if there’s less people on the train? I would think better, because then there are less people to see your failure but at the same time it’s probably creepier when it’s you, her, a homeless guy and 4 or 5 randoms late at night. I moved up here from South Carolina so subway game is very new to me.

I have been trying to follow your advice, besides moving to a great city I’ve joined a gym and I have been trying to go out and meet new people. Did meet a girl at an alumni event for my college, but after 3 years in a relationship I want to meet a lot more.

Sincerely,
Clever Name

The subway is among the hardest places to pick up women, and it’s only gotten tougher with the rise of tablets and smartphones and sexual predators. Not only is there a greater fear that a random guy is a serial rapist, but it’s pretty tough to break through the various shields of sunglasses, headphones, and a smartphone. And you can’t very well say, “Oh, I loved that book!” to someone reading a Kindle, you know?

Good news, though! I once picked up a woman on the F train eight years ago, and therefore I am an EXPERT on this matter. I was lucky in that one of the few available seats was right next to her, then I pulled out my book of Bukowski poetry (literature of choice for the SERIOUS ARTIST without a job and keen tastes for booze and women), and started reading while trying not to look at her. She peeked at what I was reading, I started a conversation, then I got her number before getting off the train. She was an aspiring model, which made me excited to date her, and SUPER dumb, whiiiich… I mean, there’s only so long you can not introduce someone to your friends.

ANYWAY. Those days are long gone, but if I’d never met my wife and were trying today, I’d probably rely on what’s always worked best with me: making some kind of joke that makes the person who hears it your ally. Subway stops for a long time? “Oh, good. I was afraid I was going to get to work on time.” She looks at you, maybe smiles. “Miss, please don’t look at me, that makes my palms sweaty.” Even if she laughs, it’s still weird to actively try to pick someone up on the subway, so before getting off the train, I’d say something like “I’m Matt, and I’d like to buy you coffee some time.” Then I’d hand her my card. (Also, compliments are nice: “Your smile really improved my commute;” “Those shoes are fantastic;” “your perfume really covers up the smell of hobo urine.”)

By giving her your information, you get credit for making that bold first move in public, but it doesn’t violate her privacy (i.e. giving out her name and number). It gives her the opportunity to Google you and see your Facebook profile and make sure you’re not wanted in seven states for dogfighting.

**********

Hey Matt. May I call you that? I’m bad at thinking of punny nicknames.

Yes. Everyone can call me Matt, except kids. SHOW SOME RESPECT, TURDS!

No fantasy question. Will this photograph of Jessica Chastain suffice as a replacement?

Indeed it will. Also, do yourself a favor and check out the rest of Ellen von Unwerth’s photos in British GQ.

If it weren’t for her few “look at our crazy hot actress!” scenes, Zero Dark Thirty would have been unbearably tense.

Sex: My girlfriend and I have been dating for about 3 years. We dated through most of college, and have been living together since we graduated. Our years together in school were fantastic, but, as you could probably predict, things are getting pretty stale. We still get along pretty well, but there are a couple of problems that are making me question our long term (ie potentially legally-bound) future. She is a new teacher, which is what she thought she always wanted to do. The lack of attention or importance placed on her department by the administration and other teachers at her supposedly excellent school is erasing her faith in humanity. I have encouraged her to try something else, but she is unwilling to accept the fact that she hates her job. In any case, Teach for America has basically induced her into indentured servitude for the next year through her contractual agreement with the university that sponsors their graduate program. Teach for America is awful. Also, she tore her Achilles not too long ago, so that’s been a nice icing on the shit cake that has been the last year.

My wife had surgery on her hip a couple months after we got engaged. Planning a wedding + no sex + crutches in winter = not the ideal scenario.

As a result, she’s always exhausted, often irritable, and rarely in the mood. I recognize that we can’t have constant sex now that we both have real lives, but I feel like a month between fucks is not healthy at 23.

It is not.

She blames me for this, as I “never come on to her at the right time,” which is, trust me, total bullshit.

I do trust you, and it is bullshit.

She always has an excuse not to do it no matter when I try. We are now effectively roommates who share a bed.

Enter the temptress. A friend of mine is roommates with this girl whose picture should be included under the Wikipedia entry for “eye candy.”

Feel free to make that edit, as there’s presently no image associated with either Eye candy or the Eye candy sub-article in Attractiveness.

I’m fairly certain that she would very much like to parlay with me if I was ever inclined. She is also kind of insane in that insecure way that smart, super attractive girls often are. Naturally, I am finding excuses to hang out with my friend to see her, like a kid trying to pee around an electric fence.

I love my girlfriend dearly. I want this to work. We’ve shared and helped each other through too much for me to just throw in the towel. I’ve been blindsided by heartbreak before, and I really don’t want to do that to her. But part of me can’t help but think that my subconscious is screaming that it’s over. So, finally, my questions:

1. Is that part of me right?

Possibly. You paint the picture of a person who is deeply unhappy with her life right now, to the point that she’s no longer concerned with your happiness. Some people who are unhappy can only find pleasure in making others around them unhappy. Whether it’s conscious or not, I don’t know, but there’s this attitude of “If I can’t be happy, no one else should be, either.”

2. If you think there’s hope, what do I do to make it better? I’m sorry if the solution seems obvious, or if this question is too hard to answer, but I am young and stupid.

Sincerely,
A Dolphins fan

There’s ALWAYS hope, unless you’re a Browns fan. If you want to make it work, there are always more steps — more communication, clearer communication (“This is what’s wrong with our relationship. If we can’t fix it, I don’t think this will work long-term”), therapy, couples  therapy, etc. However, as reader Jeff pointed out in an email this week, this article in the Atlantic — titled “How to Walk Away” — details the sunk cost fallacy nicely. Give it a read; if it hits too close to home, it may be time to call it quits.

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This last email is crazy long, but it’ll make you appreciate whatever situation you’re presently in.

Dear Salami Swami,

You will one day regret you wrote that.

My girlfriend and I fell in love rapidly six months ago, and we enjoyed all of the perks: mutual interests, fun with friends, explosive sexual dynamism, caring, sharing, whatever. After a few months, my friends that began asking if I thought she was “the one”, and I put my hands together like one of them Sex and the City bitches and squealed.

There were only a couple of snags. You’ll put these next two facts together before I can connect them for you, but here goes. I had just started planning a move to Brooklyn, and I didn’t want to give up that goal in spite of a burgeoning true love thing here at home. Five years ago I did the whole “Hey, I could chase my dreams, but you’re cool and you involve more sex than my ambitions, so fuck it, I’m staying” after college, and promised myself I wouldn’t do it again. The other snag was her ex hanging around. She had nothing good to say about him, and in spite of a few random texts from him (which she was open about) I put suspicion and jealousy aside. The relationship was too awesome to spend time worrying about that shit.

What’s more, she was on the cusp of a career change too! We had circumstance on our side now, and we began to talk about moving together-ish. Maybe I could move a month or two ahead of time, and she could follow when ready, which relieves the pressure of “Holy Shit! We’re moving together.” After a couple months of discussing this plan, I spent a weekend with friends on the east coast to scout things out. When I left, everything was good: sex in the morning, have a good trip, bye, love you—she even sent me an apartment listing to check out, which I read as further support of the plan. Here’s the first sally of bullshit: By the end of the weekend, she’d developed what women call “doubts”; she said I didn’t care about her, didn’t love her, etc. After lying about it, she finally admitted that not only did she fuck her ex whilst daddy was away, she’s also still in love with him. Fucked up, right? Did I mention that she also accused me of being a sociopath? I’m not a sociopath, but based on what happened next, I must be insane.

After a week of going apeshit, it turns out she doesn’t love him, and she deeply regrets her shortsighted fuckup. She can’t believe she treated me this way and feels horrible. I told myself that my lady is just a wounded and deeply confused creature. Let’s all be adults! I cheated in a past relationship and felt genuinely regretful; this was my chance to forgive and be mature, because goddamn, man, this was true love! Besides, dude was about to move, too (because nobody wants to live in this city), so he’s out of the picture for good.

So there’s the first part when you tell me how stupid I am, but let me pile on some more stupidity so you get your money’s worth.

I took her back with full knowledge that the same thing she had done to me, she had done before with another ex. This was obviously a pattern of behavior, but I thought if I reacted with empathy and patience, I could end the cycle of her craziness.

Wrong! After saying we would ease back into the relationship and take our time, we were back in full swing within a week. I went ahead with my plans to move, and she kept saying she wanted to come with. I told her I was open to the idea of moving to the west coast because she’s got more of a foundation there, but nothing specific came of it. I never pressured her to make more concrete plans, but she still gave us the green light. Our possibilities were endless. We were thirty years old and ready to conquer the world.

Until two weeks ago when she became uncorked again. It happened just as suddenly as the first time. Friday was awesome, and by Sunday she was giving me the third degree. She started by getting angry and accusing me of not wanting her to go because I was honest about my concern that she wouldn’t stick around. Rather than think to herself that she’s got to work on being reliable and build up trust, she pointed the finger at me again. I insisted that I wanted her to go one more time, and she finally said she didn’t want to go. She said—don’t laugh—that she may still be in love with her ex (whom, I must say, looks and dresses exactly like me. Seriously, friends have confused us). She said we’re breaking up because I’m on a different path, and then she said it’s not me, it’s her.

I agree with her on that much.

Now, she won’t talk to me at all.

GREAT! So what’s the problem?

She said she still loves me and supports me, but she won’t return any phone calls. I told her I’m devastated and I don’t want it to end this way, but she ain’t care. Basically, the high road took me right off a cliff.

You’re probably thinking this is the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

YUUUUUUP.

Maybe it is. I’ve heard that they keep a lot of women in New York City, but frankly I was done looking.

lol ok

Other than the two times she went crazy, she was a fucking first ballot hall-of-famer, and I miss her a lot.

Okay, shut up for a second. When you’re making an exception for an awesome woman, “the two times she went crazy” doesn’t qualify if “going crazy” includes “fucking another dude.” Good examples:

  • “Other than her parents being divorced and hating each other, she’s a first ballot hall-of-famer.”
  • “Other than a mole on her back that’s kinda weird, she’s a first ballot hall-of-famer.”
  • “Other than slightly floppy tits, she’s a first ballot hall-of-famer.”
  • “Other than kinda crooked teeth, she’s a first ballot hall-of-famer.”

All those are totally fine and worth overlooking. What isn’t: sleeping with her ex and blaming it on YOU NOT LOVING HER. Holy shit. She did you a favor by breaking up with you, and she’s doing you an additional favor by not talking to you.

Plus, I’m just shocked that somebody who was so vocal about her love and support and gratitude for our relationship could simply turn cold and shut me out.

Because something is wrong in her brain chemistry, and it will probably get worse as she gets older unless she gets professional help and medication. Let that be someone else’s headache. There are still sane women out there. Yes, even in New York City.

Now I know how Welkah feels. I’ve had enough relationships to know when they start to get shitty, and this one was the opposite.

So, what’s the deal? Just forget about it? As soon as I finish drinking myself into oblivion seven nights a week, I’ll get on the Ufford Post-Breakup-Regime, but I’m not quite ready for that yet. Should I even try to talk to her before I go, or just let it be?
-T.J. Juckson

She’s gone, and you’re better off for it. Delete her number from your phone.

And let me tell you: what you’re feeling isn’t special or unusual. You didn’t have a world-conquering love. You had the same kind of torrid romance that I and just about everyone else reading this has had before, and now you get the same heart-rending bullshit that everyone has either had or likely will have before they die. What you feel is totally normal, and I can tell you this because I’ve been the same heartbroken lovesick moron that you are right now. (A couple times, actually. Took me a long time to learn.)

Anyway, go ahead and sulk for a while, but the sooner you pick yourself up and start working on your life, the sooner your life will be something to enjoy.