Dear Harlan,

What would motivate my ex, who has a baby and a boyfriend, to call me up and tell me she had a dream where she had sex with me? We haven’t talked in more than a year. The breakup was upsetting to me on many levels. I’ve finally moved on and was surprised to hear from her. What gives?

Sex Dream

Dear Sex Dream,

Next time she calls, she’ll tell you she’s pregnant with your dream baby. And no, you can’t get her pregnant in her dreams. Want to know what she wants? She wants attention. She LOVES attention. And she got it. She got it from the guy who got her pregnant. She got it from you again when she called. She knows how to push your buttons (and dial your number). Writing me about her gives her attention. Reading this response about her gives her attention. STOP giving her attention! She doesn’t deserve it. This woman is horribly disrespectful to you and her current relationship. Reaching out to an ex to share a story about a sexual dream is emotional cheating. She either wants to act out her dream (don’t do it, man), or she just wants attention. Either way, she’s a big horrible nightmare. She is not to be trusted. She should have woken up, pretended her boyfriend was you, taken care of business and rolled back to sleep. Stop taking her calls. De-friend her on Facebook. Do not text her. Run. She got your attention. Wake up and give her what she deserves — nothing.

Dear Harlan,

He was my best friend in high school, but we never actually dated. I always felt more for him than he did for me. When I told him how I felt about him, he would tell me that he didn’t want to ruin our friendship by dating me. He would then say that he loved me and always put me first, but we were never together. We stayed best friends, but eventually, life and circumstances pushed us apart. We haven’t spoken in two years, but I think about him every day and how much I miss him. I know this is holding me back, and I don’t know what to do. I’m thinking of reaching out to him to help move on and find closure. How do I get over a first love I never dated?

Imagining More

Dear Imagining More,

I got news for you — he never put you first. He might have made you believe that he loved you and would always love you, but he doesn’t talk to you. That’s not love. As for not dating you because he didn’t want to ruin the friendship, that’s another lie. He’s had two years to call and date you without ruining the friendship — because there has been NO FRIENDSHIP TO RUIN. He never put you first and hasn’t been nice to you. The reality is that you’ve been dating someone who has not been dating you. How you can love someone who has given you so little love and respect in return is where you should begin your self-reflection. I’d find a therapist ASAP and figure out why hiding in an imaginary dysfunctional, unhealthy and emotionally abusive relationship is better than having a real relationship. You need to learn how to love yourself first. Only then will you realize that you never loved him — just the idea of him.

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.

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.