Can't vs. Won't: The Battle of the Contractions

This week we're going to cover the difference between "can't" and "won't." I can't do a cartwheel. I won't ever see another Kevin Smith movie (Chasing Amy, my ass). I can't speak Mandarin. I won't eat eyeballs, brains, or tripe. You see, can't involves a physical or intellectual inability. Won't is more whim-based. Now that we've got that straight, looky what I got in the mail this week:

Please help me! I have been sleeping with a coworker on and off for over two years. The only time we stopped was when he dumped me for someone else. But when they broke up, our affair started again. I know it is wrong (I have a boyfriend), but I think we are addicted to one another. We try to see each other out of the office every chance we get. My mind tells me to stop, but my heart won't let me! What should I do?


I'm involved with a guy I'm crazy about. We started out as friends and then started sleeping together. The sex is great and we have a fabulous time. The catch is, it's fabulous when it's only the two of us. He refuses to take our relationship public, saying he isn't ready for a commitment. But it's not like I've asked to marry him or anything. My self-respect is taking a beating and I know that staying away from him is the only way to salvage my honor, but I've become obsessed and can't say no when he shows up late at night. What's a girl to do?

I'd advise both of you to immediately purchase a good vibrator. If you already own one, brush off the dust and use it. Often. Sure, it's not the same as having sex with someone who's too embarrassed to be seen in public with you, but flying solo can take the edge off. Chickie with the workplace side-action—you say we are addicted, yet he had no problem ditching your ass as soon as someone else came along. I'd rethink those lunchtime liaisons. Girly with the creepy night crawler—you can quit answering your door.

Late-night booty calls and illicit affairs are fine as long as both people agree to them. Hell, they're pretty exciting, and a quickie in the copy room can really perk up an otherwise dull day at the office. But neither of you seem very pleased about your situation. Nor can either of you figure out how to battle this all-consuming passion/ addiction/obsession. You say you "can't say no." Hmmm, well then, I guess you should just go on being doormats, continue feeling like crap about yourselves, and resign yourselves to a life of being someone's dirty little secret. Or you could both quit your bitching and admit that you just want to have casual sex with these nasty brutes. Ladies, there's nothing wrong with fucking for fuck's sake. I don't know many men who frown on casual sex—come to think of it, I don't know of any (except maybe my dad). But if no-strings sex isn't what you want outta these winners, there's only one solution.

I was obsessed with this brooding Eastern European sculptor for years. He was absolutely beautiful, like a prettier, circa late '60s Mick Jagger. Unfortunately, he was also fairly cruel, a tad insane, and not remotely interested in me when sober (which, granted, wasn't often). I'd do him on a moment's notice and hoped that eventually this would cause him to fall madly in love with me. I even fucked his roommate to hasten this change of heart (don't ask—it didn't make sense at the time either). Needless to say, Mr. Multi-Consonant never did come around. I am pleased to report, however, that I did eventually grow weary of behaving like a moron.

It would appear that you both have a bit of growing up to do. This whole "obsession/addiction" rationale does not hold water—the only thing you're addicted to is dick. And yeah, penises are a whole lotta fun, but you're not going to die if you go a few months without one. (Trust me on this one.) You're both adults, so don't abdicate responsibility for your actions to some mythical higher power: We're not talking about spoon bending or stigmata here—we're talking hot, naked, monkey love. Dump them. Yeah, it's gonna hurt, but better a quick bite than a slow burn. I was just as "addicted," yet I managed to control myself (eventually). And nothing too terrible happened as a result—just a bit of crying, whining, and petulant behavior. But hell, that's just another Saturday night 'round my house.

Send your questions d'amour to (she's not always such a bitch).

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