Dear Dategirl, I am a single, attractive, 22-year-old college student who seems to be in a rut, and I need your help. After the combustion of a three-year relationship a little under a year ago, I have gotten out there, met some interesting, as well as some rather odd, men around Seattle, and now feel like I've hit a wall. People have been telling me about the wonders of online dating, but is online dating usually a place for people looking for a serious LTR or more for casual dates and fun? And if I let people know I am not in it for the long haul, is that going to hand me a ton of horny freaks? I am in a place where I just want to meet a lot of different people. I don't have any rush to get back into an LTR. Should I even bother with online dating? Will people think I'm an ass for parading around not wanting a full commitment?Curious in Seattle
I understand why you don't want a big, fat committed relationship, but what I don't get is how it is that you're part of a generation that pretty much grew up with the Internet, yet you've never heard of the "casual encounters" section of Craigslist. Just giving it a quick skim, I see several gentlemen eager to offer NSA (that's no-strings-attached) fun to the right (translation: "willing") lady. Many of these gentlemen have even thoughtfully included penis pics, so you can see what you're getting ahead of time. Be warned, however, that objects online may appear larger than they appear in real life. Then again, these may be the horny freaks you were hoping to avoid. Most dating sites have options where you can specify what type of relationship you're looking for—long-term/marriage, just friends, dating, or play. I think that if you just specify that you're looking for friends or people to date, you'll do fine. Actually, you'll do better than fine. You're 22 freaking years old! You're supposed to be running around, dying your hair silly colors, getting felt up by strangers, and making foolish—but never unsafe—mistakes. The bonus being that most boys your age would sooner gnaw off their left testicle than get involved in a serious, committed relationship. Go forth and have fun. My man has been pretty low recently. It's the result of the kind of pressures that weigh us all down from time to time, plus a few added problems, unique to his situation. He's been depressed for a while now, and while I can occasionally cheer him up, it's not as frequent as I'd like. And he's not one for therapy. I'm a devoted gal, and understand the pain of depression, so I know that this isn't the real him. I would love to take away all the stress in his life, but obviously that's impossible. I am very supportive, but I don't feel like it's doing any good. I hate feeling that I can't help him turn it around. What can I do?Secondhand Rut
You need to realize that your role is girlfriend, not nursemaid. It's frustrating to watch someone you care about sink into depression, but your boyfriend has obviously grown comfortable in his discomfort, and there's nothing you can do to change that. You've offered support and suggested therapy, and he has refused to engage. If this isn't the "real him," then who is it? Like it or not, this is who you're with right now, and there's no guarantee that's ever going to change. In fact, if he continues to be unwilling to help himself, it's probably going to get a lot worse. Being depressed doesn't make him a bad person by any stretch, but do not underestimate the price you'll pay for continuing your involvement with someone who's content in his misery. I'm not saying you should necessarily dump him, but I do suggest you start off the new year by taking a step back and taking care of yourself. Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.