Anonymous: I used to like this guy, who broke my heart two years ago, but I still think about him sometimes, despite the fact that I moved away a year ago. He broke my heart, and I'm pretty sure he knew about it. He's a jerk, but somehow, I still have feelings for him. After he broke my heart, I've tried to avoid him. Recently, he sent me a chat on facebook asking me to send him letters so I can be his "penal". what do you think I should do? I'm sorry if this is a stupid question.
No question is a stupid question as far as personal matters are concerned.
I’m not sure about some important elements of the story, so I’m not well-equipped to give you the best advice here. But from what I can tell based on the details you gave me and the diction you used, I think you know the answer already. It may be tempting, but if this guy broke your heart and is a potentially toxic influence in your life you have every right (and dare I say a responsibility to yourself) to excise him from your life. It is certainly possible that he doesn’t fully recognize the pain he put you through and thus thinks you can be friends now, but the only person who can determine if you two are ready for that step is you. You owe him nothing, let alone your letters and companionship. The important thing is not whether he’s okay; it’s that you’re okay. And if you don’t feel comfortable with it now, then you should hold off on it until you are ready (or forever, if you don’t think his companionship is meant for you in the long haul).
I too really liked someone a few years ago, and for a long time I thought it would go somewhere but disappointingly it didn’t. My heart was broken and hers didn’t seem so. After a period of angst and one last moment of contact in which I explained why I felt hurt and admitted appropriate responsibility for the mistakes I made, I cut off contact with her. Because I got some closure, I felt better equipped to handle a future without her. It wasn’t easy because I had really liked her for a long long time, but I have since moved on and feel much better about the whole situation. I’d say that as long as you get the closure you feel you need, it will benefit you in the long-run to cut off that contact (or at least avoid extra contact with him and turn down the offer to become “penals”). You deserve better than the what he has given you, and whether or not the falling-out reflects on his personal flaws, you need to maximize your happiness and keep him out of your life so long as it feels like a threat or detriment to your happiness.
Thank you for the question, and sorry for the late response.
EDIT: I forgot to mention, it’s okay that you still think of him sometimes. I do that with the girl I used to like too, sometimes. You can’t blame yourself for that or think too much of it—it’s just a natural part of the acceptance process after some tragedy or heartbreak.The key to moving on is not denying their importance to you in a part of your past, it’s recognizing that your present and future can be just as good without them.
This week struck me as a particularly exhausting one when it came to that certain brand of provocatively-headlined-but-probably-not-what-you-think-it-is science news that we know and
As usual, it’s the science media click-machine that’s to blame, which is a polite way of saying that there exists a gaping void of careful, cautious, skeptical, dare I say scientific science writing out there amidst the great internet knowledge machine. It’s desperately hard to get people to read your articles or watch your videos, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to disengage the gravity of reason and drift off into the aether of just-so stories.
PHD Comics has summed up this vicious form of the science news cycle very well:
It’s not all bad, of course. There’s some real diamonds that we can regularly depend on to shine through amid the soiled throngs of pseudointellectual beggars out there, and I, along with others, try to highlight their work regularly. I shall do so again here.
Here, I present two cases of “science things that were badly reported” and some links to better explanations. As usual, the defendants come from that tenuous intersection of neuroscience and behavior, because studying the brain is hard stuff, folks.
1) Mice Can Inherit Memories: No they can’t. Well, maybe they can (although I doubt it), but that’s not at all what this widely-reported paper in Nature Neuroscience says. The poor authors of that study are probably at home, drinking, wondering how, after years of hard work, their paper about how mice may pass on sensitivity to smells got so twisted. Headlines ranged from declaring this the source of human phobias to saying that Assassin’s Creed is based in real science.
What the researchers did was to condition some male mice to associate a smell (cherry blossoms) with a mild electric shock, which is mean, because that’s a nice smell! Naturally, the mice began to avoid the odor. The weird part is that their offspring, even two generations down the line, also seemed to avoid that specific cherry blossom odor, without ever encountering it before (and without their dads showing them). The dads’ noses all had more of the cells that smell that odor, as did the noses of their offspring. This did not happen with female mice and their offspring.
These kind of things aren’t supposed to be possible in a single generation. A mouse dad shouldn’t smell something, become afraid of it, and then be able to pass on a change to his kids. That’s precisely the kind of thing that got Lamarck and his giraffe necks laughed at more than a century ago. But it is possible that these mice were transmitting some sort of epigenetic change.
It’s possible that there was an epigenetic change passed down. But it’s not for sure. Beyond that, the way that statistics are applied to mouse behavior studies make it possible that the differences they see are just due to sample sizes, or not including certain controls, or some other random factor like that the humidity on a particular day happened to make the mice very jumpy. There’s also the fact that there is no known way for nerve cell changes or chemical responses within the olfactory bulb to be communicated to the testes, where sperm are made (there’s literally a blood-testis barrier to prevent that kind of thing).
Read this instead: At National Geographic, Virginia Hughes goes through the research in great detail, including comments from several people in the field who remain, shall we say, less than convinced. Extraordinary claims call for extraordinary evidence, and that’s lacking, at least in part. “More work needed” as they say!
2) Men and women’s brains are wired differently, therefore men are better at reading maps. That’s almost a verbatim headline from this news outlet. It speaks of “hardwired differences” (our brains are not hardwired) and is loaded with brainsplaining and neurosexism. This story is frustrating notsomuch because of the science, which is so-so, but because it is being misapplied by the media to reinforce cutsie-pie stories about what men are good at and what women are good at and never the twain shall meet and boy is it funny how men and women argue over getting lost?! GUFFAW!
Read this instead: At Discover, Neuroskeptic explains why the spatial resolution of the techniques used are like making a road atlas, while on the moon, using a pair of binoculars, and how the only real difference here may be that men’s brains are just slightly bigger than women’s (which doesn’t account for any noticeable difference in abilities, but can mess with scans a lot). And if you’d like a nice introduction to the idea of neurosexism and pigeonholing gender-based brain research into outdated social molds, might I suggest you read this article at The Conversation?
The fact is that men and women are mostly the same when it comes to their brains, but “Everyone can probably become pretty good at reading maps whether or not they are male or female, suggests common sense, not needing to be backed up by neuroscience” doesn’t make a very catchy headline.
None of this is to say that any of the results presented in the scientific papers are patently or provably false. But as we communicate the vagaries of Science In Progress, we must include the Don’t Knows and the Possiblys and all the other fine (and frustrating) forms of cautious optimism. It doesn’t kill the excitement. It just comes with the territory. I read it on a map somewhere.
I actually had a conversation with the roomies yesterday about the “mice inherit phobias” research. Reporting third parties on the internet, although useful and easily accessible, are often over dramatized or simplified to get the attention of the masses.
Be careful out there, science junkies!
1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”
2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.
3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.
4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.
5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.
6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.
7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.
8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.
9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.
10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists."