Hi Harlan,

You definitely have planted the notion of taking more risks in my mind, so I really appreciate that. However, I still have some reservations about really making my feelings clear to this guy who I’m interested in, because I’m pretty confident he doesn’t feel the same way about me. We’re acquainted and talk when we see each other, but he seems somewhat apathetic about me. I don’t think he dislikes talking to me, but I also don’t get the sense that he’s particularly into me. In this case, doesn’t it seem like a logical and reasonable conclusion to not make a move if the other person doesn’t seem interested? Should I still casually suggest getting together and make my feelings clear, or should I let things go and wait until a time when there seems to be more of a connection on both ends? Thanks!

Disconnected

Dear Disconnected,

Nah, no, nope. If a man gives off a vibe that he’s not interested in more than friendship, he doesn’t deserve your love. Especially a man who is a friend. And why you are attracted to a man who barely shows you attention is something worth exploring. Before sharing your feelings for an apathetic friend, I’d date a lot more men. The more men you date, the easier it will be to see if he changes from apathetic to apologetic. Dating other men isn’t about making him jealous. It’s about you finding someone who is excited to be with you. Apathetic sounds more like pathetic.

Dear Harlan,

I am in my 40s, and the man I’m currently involved with is in his mid-50s. Notice I said “involved.” I don’t know what to call him — lover, partner, significant other, boyfriend, man-friend, other? Are we going out, dating, serious or just having fun? We’re not teenagers — we never had the “Will you go out with me” or “Here’s my letterman jacket” conversations. We talk openly and candidly via phone at least three times a week while he’s working. He drives on the overnight shift, so it passes time for him. I’m grateful we’re learning about each other. He seems old-fashioned. I love the fact we don’t text to communicate, but have actual conversations. The weekend is when we get face time, and we’ve been sexually intimate. And I’m not sure how to bring this up. I don’t want to come off like I’m needy for a label. I’m looking for a definition of what’s happening between us. Is that last sentence the answer to this dilemma?

Man Friend

Hey Man Friend,

I don’t know what to call him, but I know he likes you. Considering you talk for 90 minutes a night and get naked face-to-face, you should be able to have this conversation. You should know if he’s monogamous or pulling off the road after he’s done talking with you and finding a friend he knows nearby. The conversation can be casual and comfortable. Do it when you’re together so you can look in his eyes during any silence. Explain how much you enjoy spending time with him and that you’re struggling with this one question. Ask him how he sees the relationship. Tell him how you see it. If he backs away or doesn’t share your feelings, find out why. Wanting to understand a sexual relationship isn’t needy — it’s healthy, normal and necessary.

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: www.helpmeharlan.com.

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