Dear Harlan,

I recently got out of a serious relationship. I’m starting to think about getting back out there again. How long after a breakup should I start dating? I want to make sure I’m giving myself enough time to heal, but I’m not sure how much time I need to get over the past.

Back in the Game

Dear Back in the Game,

Make sure to take enough time to avoid “Band-Aid” loving. Band-Aid loving is used to cover up the pain from the past. The best way to avoid Band-Aid loving is to train in your thongs. Yes, that’s thong underwear. Training means looking in the mirror in your physical, emotional and spiritual thongs. It’s working to know you are attractive enough, good enough and have a life that’s full enough without having a boyfriend. Training is about actively working to change the things you don’t love and working to love the things you can’t change. Consider enlisting the help of a professional therapist to help you throughout this process. When you’re more comfortable in your thongs, you’ll be ready to date again and avoid Band-aid loving.

Dear Harlan,

How I do know if a guy really is a good guy, or a jerk pretending to be a good guy? I seem to date guys who wear the “nice guy” mask only to reveal they are anything but nice in the future. How do I know if a guy is pretending or really a good guy? I’m tired of getting hurt.

Tired and Hurt

Dear Tired,

Look in his past and keep your pants on. Men who treat women poorly don’t have a good dating resume. They leave a wake of haters. Yes, there can be a good man with an occasional bitter or crazy ex who has her own issues, but a man with more than two exes who hate him is trouble. Three angry exes and there’s a clear pattern. Another way to avoid hurt is to give it time. Men who want to use and discard women tend to be impatient. They don’t like waiting around for sex. They want to use you — not date you. So, get to know a man while fully clothed (or partially clothed) and look at his past. I wouldn’t ask about his past relationships on a first date, but it’s something you should discuss before you get naked. Time and history will reveal the truth.

Dear Harlan,

How do I handle a boy who has a girlfriend, but confesses that he has feelings for me? I would be interested in him, but don’t want to be the other woman. Should I be flattered or turned off?

Boy Problem

Dear Boy Problem,

Be flattered that a boy likes you. Then be turned off that he’d betray his current girlfriend like this. Who knows? You could be the next one he betrays. Explain that if you were his girlfriend, you’d find it totally disrespectful if your boyfriend expressed his feelings to another women. Tell him to wait until he’s single to tell you if he wants to flirt with you. But now is not the time.

The reality is that he probably wants to know if you’re an option for him before he dumps his current girlfriend. Sounds like a very immature guy.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.