Dear Harlan,

I’ve been spending time with a girl and it feels completely comfortable. I feel that she is meant for me and I’m meant for her. The problem is that she is pregnant, but not with my child. Right now we are friends, but I want to be more. She isn’t with the baby’s father anymore. What can or should I do?

Love Trouble

Dear Love Trouble,

My wife just had a baby. She was pregnant for 10 months (41 weeks). This is our third kid. I can tell you from experience — pregnant women get tired, emotional, uncomfortable, miserable and vulnerable. I wouldn’t want to date a pregnant woman — especially one carrying another man’s baby. I’d be friends with her, be there for her, get to know her over time, understand her relationship with her baby’s father, and see if I still want to date her once she has the baby. That’s just me. But you might like instability and uncertainty. If you are meant to be together, there is nothing wrong with being there for her as a friend and dating her in the future. While her baby’s father isn’t in the picture today, he might pop in later. And even if it doesn’t change, she might change. Becoming intertwined in her life at this moment is a lot for any man to handle. My suggestion is to be a close friend and see where she is once the baby is born. If you do date her, make sure you anticipate that life is about to be turned upside down. Once the baby is born, you’ll become No. 3. She needs to be a mom first and a girlfriend second — that’s a lot for any man to handle.

Dear Harlan,

I’m extremely shy and in my early 20s. Once I get to know someone, I don’t have any problems. I’m a great friend. It’s the time before where I have problems. I’m told I’m attractive and that can be intimidating. Because I’m quiet, people (especially men) think I’m snobby. I’m not. I’m tired of it. I’m neither of these things. I’m just quiet. I don’t know exactly what advice you can offer, but I needed to vent. Just because a woman is quiet doesn’t mean that she is snobby.

Not Snobby

Dear Not Snobby,

I used to have the opposite problem. I talked too much. Shy women would find me annoying. But I’m not annoying, right? When I’d get nervous, I’d talk a lot and make jokes. I thought it was charming. I think it just scared shy girls. So, I’d like to tell all the shy women who found me annoying — I’m really a good guy who was totally misunderstood. And that leads me to my advice. We are all misunderstood. We all make assumptions based on our own insecurities. You assume everyone thinks you’re a snob; I assumed all pretty shy girls thought I was annoying. The truth lies somewhere in between. Life changed for me when I learned to give the world permission to not know me. I let people misunderstand me. I trusted the ones worth knowing would get to know me over time. I put myself in situations where I could get to know people and they could get to know me. It worked. Try it. We are all misunderstood. Once we understand it, the world becomes a much more forgiving place.

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. All letters submitted become property of the author.

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