I've read a text on http://www.nytimes.com and a sentence from it confused me a lot.

I didn’t understand then that I had used him, too, to learn how to get from Point A to Point B again, and, let’s be honest, to simply eat at times.

What does "from Point A to Point B" mean in the above sentence? Now that it's a text about love and the lovers fell into love and finally parted with each other, I thinks the Point A here should refer to "the process they fell into love", while Point B means "the result that they parted". Am I right in this?

Considering that you might lack the context, here is the text:

Getting to that safe place

2 Answers 2


I think the phrase is chosen to mean almost the opposite of what you suggest.

As Barrie England says, it is used "figuratively to refer to different emotional states"; and as you say 'Point A' may be aligned with the beginning of the affair and 'Point B' with its end.

However, what the author says is that she used "him" and the affair to learn how to get from Point A to Point B again—the last word referring to the failure of her previous abusive relationship.

She has now come to realize (as she did not at the time) that the affair was inauthentic on her part, a therapeutic exercise. It did not actually engage her in active commitment, it merely followed the trajectory of getting from Point A to Point B.

  • thanks a lot. while there is still one thing that i don't understand, why the author use "i don't understand" in the sentence, what does the sentence mean?
    – clay686
    Sep 22, 2012 at 17:04
  • @clay686 The author says "I didn't understand". She did not at the time the affair ended understand ... which is what I say at the beginning of my last paragraph. Sep 22, 2012 at 17:50
  • :i think the very last sentence "let’s be honest, to simply eat at times." shows that she had recovered from the affair, at least, she was optimistic when saying so.and that should be the safe place metioned in the title. do you agree?
    – clay686
    Sep 23, 2012 at 2:05
  • @clay686 No. What she says is that she did not recognize at the time that she had also "used him [...] to simply eat": she traded sex for free meals. The "safe place" is where she ends up in the final paragraph. But this is getting into lit crit, which is off-topic on this site. Sep 23, 2012 at 2:12
  • i can understand the text better now, thanks a lot
    – clay686
    Sep 23, 2012 at 10:22

To get from point A to point B means to get from one place to another. It’s normally used in a literal sense, but here it seems to be used figuratively to refer to different emotional states.

  • yeah, i certainly know that, but what exactly are the different emotional states?
    – clay686
    Sep 22, 2012 at 16:03
  • @clay686: That's a matter of context. Sep 22, 2012 at 16:25

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