Q&A: John Boehner's House of Romance
(Editor's note: United States Speaker of the House and relationship expert John Boehner was kind enough to join us today to answer your questions on love and heartbreak ... and heartbreak, especially heartbreak. Thank you, John, and also to our readers for their tremendous questions. We apologize for any that may have gone unanswered.)
My husband obstructs me on everything. I obstruct him on everything. The brinksmanship frightens our children, but it is also the lifeblood that sustains us. Any advice?
Difficult in Dover
Double down. The only way to get what you want is to be as unyielding as possible. Threaten to take the family to the brink of disaster, only to pull back at the very last moment when you both come to a resolution that could have been reached early on. The lasting distaste you will harbor toward each other will power you through to the next disagreement. Going through life with white knuckles, a red face and complete disdain for the ones you are supposed to love are all perfectly healthy. When necessary, cry for sympathy and then go for the knees.
Eight years ago while on a business trip, I spoke to a woman on the bus for 15 minutes. They were the most amazing 15 minutes of my life. Over these past few years, I have managed to convince myself that had I asked her name, we would be married now, but I did not. Her stop came first and I have been punishing myself ever since. She said, "I'll see you later." Those are the only words I hear when I awake in the morning and go to bed at night. Should I forgive myself? How do I move on?
Arrrrrgh in Arlington
Well, that's irrational. You screwed up, and it is your responsibility. Don't try to freeload joyful emotions off the rest of us. You had your chance. So how about this? The imagination is the most combustible instrument of emotional self-immolation available to human beings. Use it. Think of the birthdays, the anniversaries, the children, the dog, the cat, the happiness, the sadness, the trips to your favorite restaurant, the vacations. All of it. I recommend obsessing and obsessing some more. Do not think of anything or anyone other than the one you long to see just once more, just so you can get it right -- this time. Consider how that bus ride was the most significant lost moment of your life and how you will never, ever get it back. It will build moral fiber.
I currently find myself in a rather atypical long-distance relationship. You see, I am time-traveler and I met Alice on a trip to 1868. She understands the situation, I understand the situation, but the expanses of time are much more difficult to overcome than a few states. I can't even Skype across the space-time continuum! It would be one thing if I lived in L.A. and she in Boston (which actually is the case), but I trudge through every day knowing Alice is not even alive in my time. I mean, my God, I looked it up in the dusty public records at the Boston Public Library (It's not like I could just go creep around her Facebook page and scroll through all her daguerreotypes for hours, while accidentally liking one from 1864, which would be incredibly awkward and demand an uncomfortable explanation, you know? Have I thought about this? Yes, I've thought about this.), and you know what I learned? She died of cholera in 1871! She has been dead for 142 years! I wish I did not know that. What do I do?
Longing in Los Angeles
Time machine, time machine. First of all, I am going to have my editor get you in contact with Arrrrrgh in Arlington. I'm feeling sympathetic all of a sudden. It's a strange sensation. But regarding your question, how about this: You. Have. A. Time. Machine. You have mastered the unmasterable and the fact you didn't advertise the hell out of this reality tells me all I need to know about you. Get in your little time machine and ask her to go with you to an age where cholera does not exist. Problem solved. Screw the butterfly effect. Time is a property imagined by humans anyway, and it's OK to be proactive once in a while. Half the time, I don't know why I put myself through this.