The Zip Code Rule.

Via Ella Lauser
on Dec 16, 2010
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Question of the Week

Weekly advice column shared via Ella Lauser from her site Go Ask Ella–a site full of informative healthy communication on sexuality and all that it encompasses.

Dear Ella,


I have been dating my girlfriend for over six months and we’re just starting to take things to the next level.

In fact, I just started calling her my girlfriend a few weeks ago.

Last week we said goodbye for a month of holiday time with our respective families. We made no pact of monogamy but from our behavior, it’s assumed. Now, at home, I’m immersed in my old high school lifestyle, where I see all my old buddies, including the girl I always was secretly in love with. This girl and I have always had a connection, but she’s always been dating one of my friends.

Now, suddenly she’s single and we’re hanging out a lot. She’s as amazing as ever and seems interested! Obviously I can’t act on this because of my current relationship, but something feels wrong about letting this opportunity go.

What can you say to someone who is torn between nurturing a young relationship in the city they live in, and acting on impulse with the girl he’s always wanted, even if it’s not possible to let that relationship grow at the moment?

I just want to grab her and kiss her, but I don’t want to betray my commitment, even though it’s very new and seems like it exists in another universe.

Help please,
Sarasota, FL


Dear Rick,

Zip codes, schmip codes—we’re talking alternate realities, a war of the worlds here.

Having a girlfriend implies that you’re not sleeping with other people and to most, you’re not even allowed to “grab and kiss other girls.”  Obviously you know this and your predicament is not uncommon.  Everyone and I mean everyone has a different take on what “being in a relationship” means and making assumptions sometimes looks like the easier path but if you make a judgment call that doesn’t add up to the other’s expectations you could lose that person.

Your choice to “not hurt” your partner is your choice so don’t put it on your relationship, make it about your preference so you don’t feel trapped (hello rebellion response).  It’s not about betraying your commitment to your girlfriend but to yourself.  What does Rick want in the long run? Another universe comes with scenarios that are just as boring, ugly and annoying as your current world- you just haven’t seen that side yet.

Ultimately, you’ve got a toss up-

which ball would you like to be caught red-handed with and hold on to at the end of this year?

I recently went to my high school reunion and a classmate of mine expressed that she felt a lot of pressure and expectation that evening because her aunt had brought to her attention that she “could meet the one” at the reunion since it had happened to her.

Now, I didn’t have contract killer obligations but I did get the chance to be a fly on the wall as well as the designated driver of the evening so I got to watch a potential reactionary reunion hook-up, I had front row seats!

“You know I’ve always had a crush on you” + a few too many screwdrivers = serious snogging.

This girl I went to high school with then pulled herself away at last call and ended up asking me for a ride to her gal pal’s place so that she wouldn’t go home with her long time crush and “be a bad girl.”  I couldn’t help thinking that nothing is inherently about being “bad” but more about what’s in alignment with who you are now and where you’re wanting to go.

Who knows, when you play in the world of fantasy it’s a crap-shoot.  If your heart, body, and mind is saying “this feels right” then I’d consider taking a chance.  If something “feels wrong about letting an opportunity go” as you said,  I’d consider where that perspective is coming from because it sounds very ego-biased to me. The world that we actually live in when we return from holiday madness is what you’ve got to consider- that’s not a flash in the pan, it’s the house your building from the ground up and it deserves that respect.

There’s something syrupy sweet and idealized about yester year Grosse Pointe Blank Debbies not unlike a sticky caramel apple- tempting and hinting at a time more simple and easy to discern like which carnival ride you want to line up at first.  When you feel the urge to take action on a ghost or glimmer of what looks really good to you (this happens with exes, random connections, and old classmates alike), you have to consider how your whole being feels about it (not just your pants or your ego’s desire to feel vindicated/deemed worthy of this hook-up).  Nostalgia sometimes belongs in a yearbook, the past is the past for a reason although 99% of romantic comedy movies, DeBeers and Kay jewelers would have you believe otherwise.

Something else will always grab your eye, you’re a dude (we all ponder and get a little mixed up being mammals) but this is the moment where you get to make your bed and lay in it.

The grass always looks greener until you realize the girl next door isn’t perfect and just like you thought she’d be (especially when you wake up next to her the following day and she’s snoring with a drip of drool coming off her chin). Only you, especially a sober you (read: holiday punch, mistletoe and gin-dosed egg nog are not your friends) can make the right decision for you and your life. The I always wanted to know what it’d be like to kiss/fuck/date that holy grail of a person is tucked away in all of us somewhere and I’ve heard every story imaginable as an outcome but most end up with disappointment for having torn down the wall of illusion and being left with a real, human, flawed to perfection person ala Rita Hayworth’s famous predicament:

“Men fell in love with Gilda, but they wake up with me.”

We’re all suckers for a great story and for people ending up with “the one” but don’t let a storybook set-up plot dictate your happy ending.

Love actually and factually,



About Ella Lauser

Ella Lauser is a new paradigm sexual health, spiritual growth and wellness coach but more importantly, she’s the sister you probably never had. When she’s not nose-deep in holistic medicine or sex ed research, she’s baking muffins, re-watching Amelie for the umpteenth time, doula-ing (supporting women in birth), on her yoga mat listening to Bon Iver or answering questions from around the world about the “things we don’t talk about but should.” Ella is available to support individuals and couples in one-on-one wellness coaching sessions via skype, phone and in person (if you’re located in/near Los Angeles or San Francisco) and is also available for inspirational lectures. She answers questions and post hot topics regularly on her site. Visit her website Go Ask Ella or email her at goaskella at gmail dot com.


3 Responses to “The Zip Code Rule.”

  1. jon says:

    Q: How can I cheat without cheating?
    A: How do you want to define cheating? It'll still be cheating if it's cheating.

    What this person is suffering from isn't a dilemma about commitment but a dilemma about being left out if only the other one is having fun elsewhere during a long absence from a relationship. If there was confidence that the other one would be "loyal" in the right way, then holding back would be easier. But since there isn't, it's a matter of "How can I make this okay for me to do?" rather than the much more honest "I would be hurt if I found out the other had trysts." This question is about illusions of control, but he doesn't want to make it that since he'd be either an overbearing asshole or a weak victim of a man if he asked it that way.

  2. annie says:

    This is just about making a choice, owning it but not wanting that choice to be wrong/mistaken, but as we can't predict the future, mistakes are going to happen.

    There is a lot of misty nostalgia about opportunities that we supposedly missed out on due to timing or whatever one wants to blame it on. The reality is probably more simple. These opportunities were one time options that are no more because time has moved on and things are different despite feelings remaining the same. And even missed opportunities, if we are honest, resulted from choices made at the time.

    There is something about going backwards to right things that seems to invite disaster. Perhaps things really don't happen for a reason?

    This young man is looking for permission to do something he already knows is going to be seen as a betrayal. If the situation were truly right – he wouldn't be looking for second opinions.

  3. Ella says:

    Annie- well put! I think that both you and Jon make the point that cheating/betrayal is betrayal any way you slice it. I think this asker wanted to have his cake and eat it too even though he know it would result in a seriously bad tummy ache. My take on things is if you have to justify it, RED FLAG! I think opportunity knocks just to tempt us and offer an option to redefine what you want. If he found out other trysts were afoot back with his girlfriend he may have felt more regret for not partaking in his own but at the end of the day- you remain the common denominator and you've gotta sleep (or try to) in the face of your choices.