DEAR HARRIETTE: I started talking to a man during quarantine and now he’s trying to get me out.
We have come closer from afar over the past year. We even had phone sex. It was fun under the circumstances.
I feel safe with him, or as safe as I can if you haven’t spent time together. Since we’ve established intimacy on the phone and through zoom, I think he’ll actually want to be physically close soon.
I’m scared to death in part because the actual intimacy is something I haven’t had in a year, and also because I feel like I know him, it feels really new too.
How can I talk to him about it so it doesn’t get uncomfortable? I’m nowhere near ready to have real sex with him, but I want to get together.
DEAR REAL LIFE: Be honest with him.
Acknowledge how much fun you’ve had over the past year and get to know him virtually. Tell him that you are excited to meet him in person. However, admit that you are a little nervous.
Developing a virtual relationship feels different than maintaining a personal bond. Admit that you worry that things are going too fast. Tell him that you want to take it slow and get to know each other personally.
You may not need to mention sex at all. If you think it is necessary, tell him you don’t want to be familiar with him yet. You want to wait for it to feel right.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend and I have been friends for almost 25 years. We managed to stay close when I went to college, but when I got back I found that our relationship wasn’t that fruitful. When we hang out, I don’t feel valued; I feel insignificant because my worries, feelings, and ideas are unimportant and that somehow their problems are worse and their views are more important. I feel so stressed and irritable. How can I break up with my boyfriend?
DEAR GROWING FRIENDS: Before you step away from this lifelong friendship, speak out loud. Tell your friend that you want to come together to have a heart to heart.
Be open and honest with her. Explain that your friendship makes you feel unappreciated. Give her examples of the two of you speaking and how she seems to be focusing on herself to the exclusion of you.
Be very specific when illustrating what hurts your feelings or irritates you. It sounds like she’s not a good listener and she’s self-centered. Do your best to outline what you want in your friendship. Make clear points about what would make you happy to get from her.
There’s a good chance your girlfriend won’t realize she’s doing this. Give her the chance to change her ways. If she doesn’t change, or can’t change, you don’t necessarily have to break up with her. You can just spend less time with her. You may be less available to get involved, come together, or speak.
Harriette Cole is a lifestyle stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative that helps people access their dreams and activate them. Questions can be sent to email@example.com or Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.