July 2008 Archived
To Long, Too Long
Published: July 27, 2008 | | Submit An Inquiry

Dear Chivalry,

     How do people manage these long distance relationships? The longing hurts so bad, invades my dreams, distracts my days, brings me down. I fight going with the flow and being stubborn in the stream.  For years I've tried to be happy where I am and find companionship, like my produce, locally. The truth is simply that my heart, and my fortune-filled career that allows frequent flights into my love's arms, are too far away. I don't want to settle for what's near and this heartache is too unpleasantly unsettling. Can you help plug this hole that my love leaves in his absence?

Lost and Longing Lady

Dear Lost and Longing Lady,

     There is no quick and easy cure for the loneliness caused by absence, but there are a few things that may help ease the pain.  You can start by looking to your close friends for companionship, take this time to nurture the relationships with those around you and enjoy their uninterrupted company.  However, beware of those who may see your boyfriend being away as an "opportunity".  Not to stereotype, but the tendencies of those who are "near" can create situations that will test your will power and ultimately make things a great deal more difficult.  Just something to keep in mind.  Another device that I've always found comfort in is the simple act of making things for others.  Focusing on small projects that aim to bring happiness to the one you're with always helped me to deal with time apart, or at least made that time feel more productive.  And after all, what's better than giving a gift to someone after they've been away?  

     The one over-riding positive that comes from separation would most obviously be when the waiting is finally over.  The anticipation and build up that precedes the day when you are together again can provide a feeling unlike anything else.  All the time spent apart can melt away in that single moment of your first embrace.  It's said that you can not fully appreciate something until you have to be without it.  So at its best, distance can provide a learning experience that shows you how strong your feelings really are.  Staying true and focusing on the day of your reunion will help see you through these desolate times.

     Stay strong.




Books, The - "A Little Longing Goes Away"
Electrelane - "To The East"
Jib Kidder - "Dark Summer"
Little Wings - "Gone Again"
Kat Cosm, The - "My Letter of Fate, I Write For You Tonight"
Kings of Convenience - "The Build Up"
Mount Analog ft. Karl Blau - "That's How I Got To Memphis"
Will Oldham - "Patience"
Tren Brothers  - "Gone Away"
Penguin Café Orchestra - "The Sound Of Someone You Love Who's Going Away..."

Film: Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles

Bring The Light
Published: July 16, 2008 | | Submit An Inquiry

Dear Chivalry,

     The pain of the old always interferes with the hope of the new... How do I get rid of my grudges, fears, and false desires?  So that I can metamorphose... become something beautiful?



Dear Anomaly,

     "Don't fight the darkness, bring the light and the darkness will disappear."

     - M.M.Y.




Vaclav Nelhybel - "Dark Cosmic Clouds"
Takagi Masakatsu - "Light Song"
P:ano - "Dark Hills"
Smog - "A Guiding Light"
Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach - "In The Darkest Place"
Hisato Higuchi - "A Hundred Signs Of Light"
Dirty Projectors - "Darkened Car"
Felicia Atkinson & Sylvain Chauveau - "How The Light"
Phosphorescent  - "Be Dark Night"
Ink Spots, The - "I'm Beginning To See The Light"

Film:  The Light In The Dark 

Game: Archon - The Light and the Dark

Beyond The Meet And Greet
Published: July 13, 2008 | | Submit An Inquiry

Dear Chivalry,

     I've recently found myself in a wonderful relationship with a girl who is, by all standards of normalcy, rather unconventional.  This is probably the reason I am so drawn to her.  We're
actually an interesting couple, and hardly ever questioned by those around us. We have fun, and are very passionate with each other.  However, we are currently separated over the summer due to living arrangements.  We have mutually agreed to maintain this over the summer, and as far as I can tell, no feelings have truly been lost.  My problem however lies in my own mind.

     I can't help but shake the feeling that I'm with this girl for bad reasons, like the fact that maybe she is the best I can do, or if I let her go, I will be alone forever.  On top of this, I have a picture of my own as to what my ideal woman was going to end up being.  My girlfriend makes me very happy, and the more I think about her, the more positive characteristics I find, but I still am left wondering if maybe I'm fighting too hard for something that isn't everything I would hope it can be...

     So... I ask: Would the right thing to do be to throw a beautiful working relationship into disarray by openly talking about some very dangerous feelings, or to give her time to prove that the good that I see in her is everything I make it out to be?  Could all of this thought merely be a symptom of my temporary separation and loneliness?


Confused and Scared

Dear Confused and Scared,

      There are many things about your letter worth discussing, but in the interest of keeping things relatively brief, I think we should try to focus on the idea of the "ideal".  I'm sure you can agree that part of growing up and being in a meaningful and mature relationship is realizing that whatever picture you have of your "ideal" person is most likely never going to happen.  When you find the right person it's rarely the case that they are exactly who you had in mind.  You might find yourself head over heels for someone who you'd never envisioned for yourself, and that's completely exciting.  The real danger here is that you can spend your whole life trying to find that one perfect person and ultimately end up where you started.  On the other hand, it's not to say that you should settle for a relationship that isn't fulfilling your needs.  Complacency is a dangerous attitude and can sometimes lead to a lifetime of unhappiness.  Do you really want to make decisions based on fear of being alone?  I think you know this is irrational, but I understand how it can play a role in your thinking.  Finding your one and only is such a game of chance, so it's easy to feel you might never meet someone again.

      To answer your first question, which seems to be should you share your concerns with your girlfriend.  I would say yes, after you've taken a little more time to think things over, you should.  It's unfortunate that you are not in the same place right now, because these are difficult things to talk about over the phone or internet, so try to wait for the appropriate moment and be as patient as you can.  Perhaps you can pose the same question to her, does she have her own picture of her "ideal" man?  Maybe she's feeling the same way.  It's important to feel like you can share your feelings because after a while it can become dangerous to let these things tumble around in your head and grow into worse problems.  Now, with respect to your question of this all being a symptom of loneliness, there is something worth mentioning here.  Basically, time apart can do one of two things:  It can show you what it's like to truly miss someone, or sometimes it can send you in the other direction.  If this girl is fun and unconventional and makes you feel good, then you really shouldn't be stressing. You should be beside yourself and counting the moments until you see her again.  It does sound like you care about this girl quite a bit especially when you say the more you think of her the more you find that you like.  Then keep thinking about her!  It's important to be open to the fact that your definition of "ideal" can evolve over time.

      In closing, I have to be honest and tell you that I can empathize with you on this more than you know.  I've felt this way more times then I would like to admit, and I know how hard it is to be in this position.  Fear and doubt are completely normal feelings when you're unsure of
such an important thing, and it's hard to admit when you're scared and confused about being in a relationship.  I have no absolute answer for you here, it's not a black and white issue in the least.  But I hope you can be patient and take the time to look at your own feelings first
and then approach your situation in a thoughtful and mature manner before possibly throwing away a good thing.  As a general rule I would say that it's important to work and try to understand the relationship you are in, not the one you might be in someday. 

      Thank you for your letter and good luck.




Talons' - "F*** Everything"
Bronze Float - "Talks To Dust"
City Center - "Gold Girls"
Walkmen, The - "Another One Goes By"
Hi-Lo - "Alaron"
El Perro Del Mar - "This Loneliness"
Rand & Holland - "Let Me Down Gently"
Taken By Trees - "Make 1, 2"
Antony & The Johnsons  - "Mysteries of Love"
Grouper - "When We Fall"

Film: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

An Example
Published: July 7, 2008 | | Submit An Inquiry

Dear Bonny,

     How do you deal with the lonely times?


Dear Patrick,

     At this point in my life, I am rarely lonely. This is new for me. I am 38 years old, and it took me a good 36 or 37 years to enjoy my own company and to enjoy fully the quietness of that state. Prior to recent times, being alone meant being scared, and I would deal with it through reading, drinking, or enjoying the proxy companionship that movie-watching provides. Or writing, or running scared. Sometimes doing objectively horrible things! But those days are not here for now. As easy at it is to deny or forget, doing maintenance was always the best way of dealing with the lonely times. Weeding, sweeping, responding to letters. Things that, unfortunately do not give immediate visceral satisfaction. Still, when the tasks were done, I would feel happier, and the time for sleep, and dreaming, would be closer at hand.


"Bonny" is singer / songwriter / actor Will Oldham.  He recently released his seventh studio album under the name Bonnie "Prince" Billy entitled: Lie Down In The Light.  We sincerely thank him for his advice.

Buy his music here.

Published: July 7, 2008 | | Submit An Inquiry

Dear Reader,

     Please write to: dearchivalry@gmail.com with any questions you may have.  We look forward to hearing from you.