It seemed as if we were having a good thing. She was single and so was I when we started this thing a couple of years ago. The sex was fun, our interests were similar and we’d got over most of the usual problems that people had. Or so I thought. Then she springs this one on me. “I think we have something really good going here, but I also think it can get better if we both date other people, so we can come back together and see what a great thing we have.” I don’t even know if that’s logical.
Tell this person a parable. It is a parable from Dr Know.

Once upon a time there was a person who was walking about on both legs. This person thought, “I think I should break a leg in order that I might see how fine it is to have both legs working when I recover.” So saying, the person went out and got himself a sledgehammer and had at the left shinbone and then spent several months in a plaster only to discover that the damage was not going to be reparable. And, so, those wonderful legs? They were a thing of the past.

Tell this person the parable as you pack your things. What she is saying is, “I don’t know why I am bored. I have no reason to be bored. I want to go out and play with other people. I want to do this with a clear conscience. I want to also keep you on hold so that in case all that playing doesn’t work, I can head back to you and say something bright and perky like, ‘We did agree on this, didn’t we?’ and start where we left off.” She cannot bring herself to say this and so she is saying that you and she need to play the field so that you can tell how nice the home patch is.

She wants to wash up. She wants to wash it. She wants to clear her mouth after a kiss. She wants to swab me down. I don’t think I can take this level of cleanliness, simply because she is making me feel dirty. And, I’m a guy and I think some grime goes with that, but I do bathe every day and I do change my clothes and I floss and I clean my teeth and scrape my tongue and all the rest of it.
First, you have to get this one. Men and women have different standards of cleanliness. There’s some talk about how this is also evolutionary behaviour. If a woman were to be not very concerned about personal hygiene, she would put future generations at risk by leaving all kinds of germs around. There’s also some talk about how too much cleanliness may produce auto-immune conditions and allergies. So that’s science for you: every answer available, now take your pick.

Let’s start again. The problem is not with you, it’s with her. She’s got some mild (or serious, it is difficult to tell at this remove or without enough information) form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. But, most women seem to have some form of this when it comes to cleanliness, so try to see if you can relocate the problem. Say to yourself: “I’m not dirty. She’s the one who needs to be clean, and, if it were some other guy here, she’d be swabbing him down as well”. Then you might find a way not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. And, the origin of that phrase in Elizabethan England will tell you a thing or two about how standards of personal cleanliness have changed. The Elizabethans had a semi-annual bath in which a tub was heated and everyone bathed in it, with the man of the house going first and the baby going last. By the time the baby was in the bathwater, it was likely to be so murky that… but maybe this is something you don’t want to tell her about.

I read somewhere, okay it was on the internet, that a woman said, okay, it was Jane Krakowski, “When you break up with us, that means it’s over, and we will only sleep with you two or three more times.” Is this true?
Uhm, Jane Krakowski? You’re reading Jane Krakowski for relationship advice? No, hold on, you’re writing to Dr Know for relationship advice. After all, Jane has got some Emmy nominations for Ally McBeal, right? That counts.

Okay, get this. There are things called jokes. There are other things called witticisms. The line above may not be very funny to you or may not sound witty, but it would seem that the speaker’s intention was to make you laugh, not to make you act on this as if it were advice.

Meanwhile, when a woman says, ‘No’, you had better take it to be a ‘No’. You might not want to be explaining who Jane Krakowski is to a court of law or even why you took her word for what women want.

Most women have some form of OCD when it comes to cleanliness, so try to see if you can relocate the problem. Say to yourself: “I’m not dirty. She needs to be clean, and, if it were another guy, she’d be swabbing him down as well.”