Ask Catherine Cohen: My Friends Hate My Ex. Should We Get Back Together?

“Being alive is all about ignoring the people you love the most because you’re horny.”

Catherine Cohen sitting at a table with a magazine spread out in front of her
Photographed by Valerie Chiang for W Magazine

Catherine Cohen is a comedian and actress. In her original show tunes, character videos and on her popular podcast Seek Treatment (co-hosted with fellow comedian Pat Regan) she skewers the clichés of millennial aspiration, deadpans about sex on antidepressants, and earnestly celebrates such triumphs as finding love or drinking seven beers. Her first book, God I Feel Modern Tonight: Poems From a Gal About Town is out now. Have a question for Catherine? Send it to

LITERALLY HELP. I recently had an old childhood friend move back to my city and re-enter my life. He was my best friend's older brother growing up, and we’ve gotten to be pretty good friends as adults. But suddenly things feel different: He goes out of his way to hang out with me every week on my day off; he texts me every day, he made me download Marco Polo (now I’ve heard everything) so that we can video message, and he calls me when he’s in the neighborhood to get lunch, etc. He has also made jokes about us making out, or will compliment me in a very kind and intentional way. BUT, here’s the kicker: he also talks to me about other girls he is talking to/interested in. I am at a loss because I’ve never had someone show so much interest in me when they weren’t interested in me, but when he mentions these other girls I’m like.....ok is he just using me for an emotional relationship? Am I his bro? HELP. THX BABE.

Wait, do you have a crush on him? Because he has a crush on you, actually. The main thing about people is that they do what they want to do. He’s showing interest in you because he is interested in you. Doesn’t it seem simple when a 30-year-old advice columnist with a big ass and a playful disposition points it out?

Men just make everything so confusing due to the way that they are (horny, annoying, good at taking their shirt off with one hand). He jokes about you two making out because he wants to make out with you. Get it?! That’s the hilarious joke! One time this guy I knew from a cappella in college (take me to jail) was like “I’m so weirdly attracted to you” which was insulting and meant that he was attracted to me.

If this BFOB (best friend’s older brother) mentions other girls, he’s probably trying to evoke the classic romantic emotion of jealousy in order to get a sense of how you feel about him. And if I’m totally wrong and he’s acting in this amazing manner yet isn’t into you...he’s being kind of manipulative. I hate being wrong! Either way, we (as a community) must find out his intentions.

So I suggest you just (drumroll please)…ask him…what’s going on? 1+1= 2 vibes!! You should tell him what you just told me and see how he responds. Worst case scenario is he says he just wants to be friends, and then you fall off a cliff. But at that point you’ll be so concerned with the cliff situation that you won’t really be thinking about him anyways. Best case scenario: love is in the air! Sending good vibes towards you and yours Xo

I am madly in love with my ex and we are talking again, but my friends do not stan her. How do I cope?

If your friends don’t like her, they’re probably onto something…but is that going to stop you from getting back together with her? No! Being alive is all about ignoring the people you love the most because you’re horny.

Listen to your friends when they voice their opinions—they could be trying to protect you from a situation they feel isn’t healthy for you. But on the off chance that you and this person are an iconic duo (I’ll wait), your friends need to get over it and support you. And if they don’t ultimately change their tune? They’re not your real friends! Which, by the way, is totally fine. Friendships ebb and flow—the solid ones survive the little storms that love affairs bring. Cut to my bff not speaking to me for six months because we shared a wall while I was going through my “sleep with everyone who lives in Williamsburg” phase while he was studying for the bar exam. (FWIW, we are still bffs)

All of this also means that if you get back together with your ex and it fails again, your real friends will be there for you then too. It’s sooo fun when a pal breaks up with an annoying person and is finally available to hang 24/7. It gives montage energy…

Best of luck with the ex. For what it’s worth, I once got back together with an ex and it lasted for three sensual weeks! Whatever happens with your sitch, it’s lovely to know you have friends who adore you enough to tell you the truth. Should we all hang out?

I’m the last single one of all my friends, how do I get over my fear of dying alone and also avoid jealousy?

Not to be a bitch, but randomly, we all die alone. Like, the best-case scenario is that we are married until death? Where do they come up with this stuff?!

Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t make any of this shit easier. It’s so not the vibe when you feel like the odd cutie out. That being said, as it was famously stated in the As Told By Ginger theme song, the grass is much greener on the other side…

You’re jealous of your coupled friends, but they’re probably jealous of you. Being in a relationship can be annoying as fuck—just ask my boyfriend! (Hold for applause). I promise some of the pals who seem like they have it all together envy that you can do whatever you want with your time, body, money, and energy. So what’s a girl to do? You simply must savor the perks of modern singledom: sleep 11 American hours per night or don’t sleep at all, spend all afternoon chopping up vegetables like Emily Mariko or just lay out a towel on your duvet and slurp spaghetti by the fistful—when you’re single, the world is your oyster and your dumpster all at once. You exist to please you!

And the crazy part is, once you exist in this way, once you start enjoying time with yourself, the universe will send you someone who is begging to hang out with you too. It’s math. Not to be so like charging my crystals under the full moon, but if you do the things that make you happy, you will attract happy people who are similarly nourished by their own company. And that’s the key to a happy relationship. Also rose quartz.

I live in a top ten American city, have a reasonably sized one-bedroom apartment, a goofy and supportive network of friends and family who are close-but-not-too-close by, and a smart, hot boyfriend (#brag). Yet sometimes I feel this inescapable urge to leave it all in six months and move somewhere new where I know almost no one. Specifically, London. It’s hard for me to distinguish if these feelings are mid-twenties vibes and I should embrace the adventure, or I’m not appreciative enough of the good things I’ve got going here. So, basically, should I risk it all to explore the only country that gives reality TV and fried fish the respect they deserve, or cool my jets and enjoy the lovely things in my current life?

Go! Go? Go!!! Oh my god. Literally you must go. You can be grateful for the life you have and still need more—trust me, there are many books on the topic. Novels, even! If you’re already feeling that itch in your mid-twenties, it’s time to scratch it before your old-ass bod is itchy all over. Moving away may not dissolve this stirring need inside of you—the void is perpetual after all! But you might as well have some fun while you come to that conclusion.

Dropping everything and moving abroad will undoubtedly be difficult, expensive, lonely, etc. One time in London I paid $13 for a box of cinnamon toast crunch because I was lonely and homesick and ultimately unclear on the exchange rate, but eventually, after eating my feelings with whole milk, I put myself out there, took my ass to museums, met some cool people (i.e. had some bad sex), and ultimately experienced one of the most formative and treasured periods of my life.

The adventure you’re about to embark on could be idyllic, or it could be a total fucking mess. Either way, you’ll have something to talk about in your memoir.

WHAT is the point of being 23?

HAHAH scholars have been asking this question since the dawn of time! Basically, there is no point, but (spoiler alert) there is also no point to…anything. I am laughing as I type this because life is literally like a long, weird walk through space where you just try to smash your body against someone else’s or earn enough cash to buy an iPad. Then one day you simply cease to exist, and you don’t have to worry about doing laundry. Anyways, being 23, or any age, is just an excuse to try and feel joy for a single second while learning from the moments in which joy was not felt.

When I was 23, I was a terrible waitress with three roommates who wanted me dead and a boyfriend who once told me I was “too obsessed with my boobs???” Of course I’m obsessed with them—if anything is iconic, it’s boobs! I was often despondent and horny, jealous and euphoric, hungry and tired and in love with Trader Joe’s. And I’m still all those things. Time flies, I never got to be on a 30 under 30 list, and the only thing that really matters is the way that dogs are (perfect). But I made it through 23, which is mainly the age you have to be if you want to be 24.