Ask LadyJ
WARNING: This column is not for the timid! The views expressed in this column are the raw, unfiltered words of LadyJ herself, and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but LadyJ. Persons of sensitive disposition and those with heart conditions should proceed with extreme caution!

This article and all others appearing under the "Ask LadyJ" banner are for entertainment purposes only. No opinions expressed in this column should be interpreted as medical, legal, or psychiatric advice. "Ask LadyJ" may contain adult subjects and language, and should not be viewed by children.
I have absolutely no idea what to be for Halloween this year, so I'm running a contest. Participants should send me an email with their name, address, and costume suggestion. If I go with any of the suggestions, I will print the winner's name and suggestion on my site, and mail him or her a prize! Entries must be received by next Friday, October 29, 1999. Creativity, humor, and simplicity are all probable characteristics of a winning entry.

Dear LadyJ,
I recently stumbled onto your web sight and stopped in for a gander. I like your style of "pull no punches" advice and calling things the way you see them. Having said that, here's my problem: 8 years ago I had a girlfriend that I thought the world of and wanted more than anything to marry, grow old, and live happily ever after with. Unfortunately she was killed by a drunk driver. As you can imagine this destroyed me for a good length of time. I've had relationships since her, but none have been as good, and whenever they end I'm reminded of that feeling of loss(like when she was taken from me). Now somehow I think I equate Love with death, or the ending of a relationship with death(or something like that). I realize that live is a rollercoaster and with the good comes the bad. I know that we have to take risks. I suppose my question is how to cope? how do you lessen the pain? how do you do it over and over again if it hurts just as much (or more) each time?

You went through a horrible tragedy. No one will dispute that. As I'm sure everyone close to you has finally said, it's got to be put behind you so that you can continue to live your life. I know you know this, because as much as you loved her and cherish her memory, you finally got around to dating again.

The mistake you're making is that you're using her memory as a yardstick to measure these other women. Knock it off. It's not fair to them and it's not fair to you. Your memory of your departed love is so strong and positive that no one will be able to compete with it, and the truth is that no one should have to, because the odds are stacked. If your deceased girlfriend were alive today, even she would not be able to compete.

You see, because it's been 8 years, and because she's no longer among the living, and because good memories of someone are much nicer to retain than bad memories, you have filtered what you carry with you. You don't think about any arguments you had, or any of her little habits that may have bugged you. In fact, there were probably a hundred little habits she had that you didn't have a chance to discover and dislike. In any event, what you remember of her is wistful and incomplete. When you measure living, flesh-and-blood creatures against this airbrushed memory you have, there's no way they can win.

Another thing you have to come to terms with is that relationships tend to end. This will continue to happen, and it will continue to hurt. It must be risked if you want to try to find another person with whom to be happy. Had your lover not been killed, there's even the chance that your relationship with her might have hit one of those rough spots and collapsed. You don't know for certain it wouldn't have happened, and there's no way to tell.

Realize also that there are not a whole lot of people out there that you'll want to be with. It's true of almost everyone. It's the premise of thousands of formula movies and television shows. You're going to find that most people you date aren't worth keeping around, because that's just the way it works. The most basic reason we date is to get to know people and figure out what merits and flaws they have, in order to decide if the end result is satisfactory. I don't know about most people, but I find that most people are not satisfactory... well, at least not for the long haul anyway.

Lastly, you don't have to find a significant other. There's no law that says you must pair off. However, it's unhealthy to keep clinging so tightly to something that no longer is. In fact, it's pretty damned morbid.

Born and raised in NYC, LadyJ developed a quick wit and an acid tongue to entertain her friends, and cut down those foolish enough to oppose her.

This abrasiveness earned her a reputation as a heartless bitch in some circles, but those closest to her still believe she has a great capacity for understanding and caring, and a talent for advice.

On this website, LadyJ offers herself both to help those who ask her advice, and to entertain those who find her humorous. Those who fall into neither category are leftovers, and we all know that no one likes leftovers.

So, if you have a problem that you need help with, and the courage to accept her advice...

Ask LadyJ!

Special thanks to The Geckoplex for its help in launching and promoting the advice of LadyJ.