Dear Harlan,

I’ve been dating my high-school girlfriend for the past two years. She is two years older than me and will be going to college this fall. We are planning on breaking up when she leaves this fall. But it will be too hard to be apart. I still love her and she loves me, but the distance and age difference make it too much for us. I’m having a hard time thinking that we even can be friends. I can be a jealous guy, and I can’t stand the idea of her sleeping with other guys. I told her that I can’t handle being friends if she decides to sleep with other guys. Now she doesn’t want to break up, but I don’t know if I can handle her being so far away around so many other guys. I’m having a really hard time with this whole situation. Any ideas?


Dear Breaking,

Dude, you’ve already manipulated her and she hasn’t even left for college. You’ve told her that she can’t have any relationships with other men or you will cut off the friendship. That’s called a threat. But what she does when you break up has nothing to do with you. You have NO BUSINESS dictating what she does and with whom she does it. Basically, you’ve threatened to abandon her when she needs you most because you can’t handle other men wanting her. What she does and who she does it with will not diminish or minimize what you had. It might make you uncomfortable, but that’s part of breaking up. Jealousy is toxic for any relationship, especially one with distance. And really, jealousy is just you thinking she will find someone better because you don’t think you’re good enough. You’re afraid someone else will come along and she will realize you’re not the best. Until you know you’re good enough, you will never be comfortable with her or with anyone else. If you really love her, you would want her to find happiness with or without you. Until you can get to that place in life, let her go. She absolutely shouldn’t date you or be your friend. You’re way too controlling. She doesn’t need this.

Dear Harlan,

I’m seeing a man who will call me “baby,” talk to me and text me as if we are a couple. When my friends asked him if he likes me, he said, “Not like that.” What does this mean? Does he just want a pretend girlfriend or does he want to make things official? Do I cut him off or keep playing this game?

Teen Crush Confusion

Dear Teen Crush Confusion,

You must be bored or desperate. Only someone bored and/or desperate would consider putting up with this. A man who hides and denies his feelings in public doesn’t want a relationship. But when you’re desperate, bored and longing for love, the easy answers can be hard to see. You’ll try to convince yourself that something bad is good. If this guy wanted to make things official, he wouldn’t tell people he wasn’t into you.

Once he starts telling people he’s not into you, he officially becomes a creep. Before cutting him off, ask him why he is hiding this relationship from friends. Give him a chance to officially explain himself before dumping him. But it doesn’t look good.

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 harlan(at) 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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