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Ask The Vatican Assassin (Troubled in Toronto)

Got a problem? Well, your worries are over: We here at Shaking Through World Headquarters have an expert in the field of "problem-solving." When he’s not busy carrying on the noble tradition of the Knights Templar (“God’s Green Berets”) -- snuffing out world leaders, dispatching demons and generally saving the world like a long-haired, street-smart James Bond -- Vatican Assassin spends his free time indulging his every hedonistic whim, which gets him into lots of trouble. Who better to dole out helpful advice to the lovelorn, conflicted and confused?

Posted: October 31, 2001

Dear Vatican Assassin,

I'm a sophomore in college and I've been dating a boy (let's call him "Eric Johnson") for about eight months. We really hit it off, and about two months ago, we moved into an apartment together. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but ever since we signed the lease, he's been a bit more distant, sometimes staying out with his friends all night without even telling me where he's going or what he's doing. When we are together, more often than not we sit on the couch and watch TV; he doesn't even seem interested in me anymore. When I called him on it, he shrugged and said we were just in a transition period, that it happens to a lot of couples.

But it gets worse. I recently went away for a week, to attend a family wedding in another city (Eric stayed home). On the day I returned home, Eric was at work. As I unpacked, I found a few strands of long blonde hair in his hairbrush (I'm a blonde; Eric has black hair). Vatican Assassin, I have never used his hairbrush. I also found a box of condoms tucked deep in one of his bathroom drawers, a 12-pack with only two condoms left in it. I'd never seen this box before, and it's a completely different brand from the kind we normally use. Most disturbingly, I found a pair of black bikini briefs crumpled in a heap on the floor (Eric has worn boxers his entire life). When Eric got home, I asked him about the briefs, then about the hairbrush. He told me the briefs were his, and got very defensive when I mentioned the blonde hairs. He insisted they must be mine, and then turned it around and got angry with me for supposedly using his hairbrush, and stormed out.

Vatican Assassin, I suspect Eric has been cheating on me. Every time I try to bring up the hair or the briefs he gets angry and storms out again. What should I do? Or am I just crazy?

Sign me,

Troubled in Toronto

Dear Troubled in Toronto,

We must be related, because I'm troubled as well. Troubled by the fact that you must be monumentally naive.

Now since you asked for my opinion, here it is:

He's LYING. Big time. Let's be real. Wouldn't you notice if he'd switched condom brands on you? And the briefs. Since when can you buy ONE pair? And did they even look like they would fit his unshaven ass? If so, then you gotta wonder about a guy who can fit into his girlfriend's underwear comfortably. And if they are his (as he says) buy him some more. See what he says then.

My first impression is always that someone's story is always peppered with just enough half-truths to paint a better picture of themselves. So I'm sure I'm not getting the whole story here. But based off what you say: I'd scream in his face: LIAR!!  And even if he isn't, well he certainly needs to get his fat ass off the couch and start paying more attention to you and his end of the relationship responsibilities.

Here's a suggestion: Kick him out. Whoah, who said THAT?!  If you both signed the lease, then it's safe for you to kick his uninterested ass to the curb. If he shows up later ,disheveled and tattered, looking to come back to you and that he's sorry: Close the door. Lock it, too. You'll find out soon enough if he's been seeing someone else because that's where he'll probably go in order to stay somewhere for the night. If there is no one else, than it's still for the best because if you two had any success at this in the past it was because you didn't live together and actually had to make time to see each other.

Here's another news flash: He isn't fulfilling your needs. These are the things you hope to find out before you walk down any aisles, so consider yourself lucky. It means that you two let complacency win out, or rather he did, which is the death knell for any relationship, marriage or otherwise. It takes two people, not one and certainly not three, to make a relationship work.

The facts here are muddier than the Mississippi, but that doesn't change some fundamental principles: If you ain't happy with the present situation, then Amityville was right: You need to get out of the house. Regardless of whether what you suspect is true or not, it boils down to you being happy. Period. If you're not happy, then YOU need to affect those changes, not anyone else. Including advice columnists.

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