Dear Harlan,

I met this guy a few weeks ago, and we’ve been hanging out ever since. He says he has real feelings for me and is attracted to me, but that he can’t have a relationship because of his future in med school. Not that I necessarily want a relationship right now, but should I even continue dating him if he already has the end in mind, or should I go for it, live in the moment and see where it goes?

Dead End

Dear Dead End,

Here’s the truth — nothing is forever. Everything is temporary. I don’t buy into this idea of not getting involved because life is changing. It’s always changing. Once he finishes med school he’ll need to find a residency, then a job. Who knows where he’ll be? He’s looking at 10 years of moving around. If you have something good, enjoy it while it lasts.

Sure, there will be times in life when things are more stable than others, but as long as you can handle it not working out, see how it works while you have the opportunity to experience it. Once he settles into med school and life gets routine, he might realize that he misses you. Or he’ll fall in love with a resident during one of his rotations and have her tell him she can’t commit because she’s going to be getting a job soon. The point is that he doesn’t know what life will be like in the future. Take what he can give. Date other guys if he doesn’t want to commit, but keep him in the rotation. There’s a chance you two can make it work in the future. But to have a future you need to make the most out of the present.

Dear Harlan,

I have a real problem with a guy. We went on dates, communicated with each other, told each other that we liked each other, kissed and almost acted like we were a couple. However, he did not want a relationship and since I don’t feel comfortable being intimate with someone I am not in a relationship with, I suggested that we should just be friends. We are on OK terms, but I can’t help but wonder if I have made a mistake. I miss that guy and I want to talk to him again. Should I talk to him again, and if I should, how should I approach this?

Confused Friend

Dear Confused Friend,

What do you regret? That you didn’t want to have sex with a guy who didn’t want to date you? Want to know what’s regrettable? Getting a sexual souvenir (like herpes or genital warts) would be regrettable. Getting pregnant would be regrettable. Having sex with this guy and finding out he’s having sex with other women would be regrettable. This is NOT a mistake. This is a strong woman sticking to her values and principles. The only mistake is thinking you made one. You can miss his friendship, but don’t compromise your values. Before moving on, feel free to tell him that you are open to being more than friends if he’s interested in dating you, but beyond this, there isn’t more to discuss. Feeling lonely doesn’t mean you made a mistake. It means you need to find other men who want to be your friend without benefits.

Harlan is author of “Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)” (St. Martin’s Press). Write Harlan at [email protected] or visit online: All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 3501 N. Southport Ave., Suite 226, Chicago, IL 60657.

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