Ask Anna: On dating ruts, reading between the lines, and dealing with annoying exes

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Q. I’ve been single for about six months now. Granted, COVID has complicated “dating,” but aside from the interesting conversation, the attention, and, in one case, decent sex, why do I feel so blah? Am I missing something? — Casual Dating Blues

Dear CDB,

It might be the added obstacles of pandemic dating or you might have low-level malaise or situational depression from any number of crap stew ingredients 2020 has given us. Then again, you might just be tired of casual dating and seeking a deeper or more meaningful connection. There’s nothing wrong with casual dating, of course. It can be an excellent salve, boredom cure, fount of funny or horrifying stories to tell one’s friends, physical release, and/or all of them at once.

But most of us, at some point, want something more. A partner (in crime or otherwise). Someone exciting to be boring with. Someone to end the barrage of swiping. You might be reaching that level. Alas, the solution to this is to go on more dates. If you’re not feeling that deeper connection with the crop of guys you’re dating/zooming/banging, you’re gonna have to keep trying.

That said, you could also take a break for a while, recharge, give your thumb a rest, and get back to it when you’re feeling a little less blah. Up to you. But don’t worry too much. It happens to the best of us.


Q. What does he mean when he says “You’re great, but I don’t want to stop seeing other people?” — Reading Between The Lines

Dear RBTL,

It means he wants to keep having sex with you, but he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend. If that’s not what you also want, and/or the sex isn’t spectacular, then move on.


Q. My boyfriend’s ex is, to put it delicately, annoying. It’s not that I’m worried he’ll cheat on me with her, but she is prone to dramatics, blows up his phone (like 20 texts and 10-15 calls when he doesn’t respond immediately), and asks for unreasonable favors while offering nothing in return. He agrees it’s excessive, and complains to me about her, but insists on being her friend. I don’t get it. What can I do, if anything? — Ex-treme Annoyance

Dear EA,

While you can’t make anyone (your boyfriend included) stop being friends with someone (no matter how annoying they are), what you can do is set your own boundaries around the ex. For instance, you can tell your boyfriend you don’t want to hear about her, which should curb his complaints. You can also ask him to put his phone away while the two of you are hanging out or put it on do-not-disturb mode.

It may be annoying, (exes generally are) but ultimately the decision to not be friends with her is your boyfriend’s alone. If she continues to be a douche bucket, then hopefully he’ll figure it out sooner than later. In the meantime, minimize her interference in your life as much as you can and take any distance or space you need to stay sane.


(Anna Pulley is a columnist answering reader questions about love, sex and dating. Email your quandary to


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