Dear Harlan,

I recently got involved with a guy whom I have been hooking up with off and on. We both don’t want to be in a relationship, but I sort of have feelings for him. It’s not like we want to date, but we do have some investment in each other. I don’t really know what to do. Should I continue on with him, or should I just end it here and now? It seems hard to get rid of him, but at the same time, part of me feels like I should.

Hung Up on a Hook Up

Dear Hung Up,

Yes, it’s very hard to get rid of a man who likes having sex with you. It’s also hard to stop hooking up with a friend when you don’t believe you have better options. And I know you don’t believe you have better options because if you did, you would stop this immediately. Until you stop hooking up with him, you’ll be emotionally (and physically) unavailable for other men to date you. Until you demand something better from him, you won’t get it. The only chance you have of salvaging a relationship with him or anyone else is to stop hooking up with this friend. I know it’s bothering you, or you wouldn’t have written. Oh, and you’ve been lying to yourself. Sex (or hooking up) is a relationship. Bottling up your emotions while baring your bottom is a bad feeling. If you want something better, stop hooking up and start dating other men. If you want to be in a relationship with this friend, tell him so. And if you don’t know what you want, keep your pants on, have fun being single and take time to figure out what you want.

Dear Harlan,

A man I met recently is courting me. He is 15 years older than me — 60 — though he looks good for his age. He works out, is a vegetarian and has lots of energy. Is 15 years difference too much? I know that the bigger the difference in age, the less chance the relationship has to last. What’s your opinion on this? My ex-boyfriend and I ended our relationship in January. I had fallen in love with him, but he became mean toward the end of our relationship so that I would break up with him. He wasn’t interested in a long-term relationship and, looking back, I’m glad. After the breakup, I feel I have a wall, and I don’t know if I don’t like this older man, though he’s handsome and very talented, or if it’s the wall preventing me from opening up to a fulfilling relationship with kind and sincere people.

Walled

Dear Walled,

If you were 15 dating a 30-year-old, I’d think age was an issue (and so would the police), but you’re a mature woman who knows what she wants. If Veggie Man turns you on, enjoy him. If he lives to 95, you can have 30 years of bliss with your hot older man. As long as he treats you with kindness, respects your boundaries and encourages you to be your best, I don’t see a problem. As for the walls, give them time. Date him. Have fun. And see where it goes. Practice dating a man who treats you well, and see how it feels. Then see if you’re able to open up and break down the walls. Kindness, respect and a man who can be trusted can help over time.

Write Harlan at [email protected] or visit online: www.helpmeharlan.com.