Dear Harlan,

Back in May, I met an incredible gentleman. It was like love at first sight. He makes me nervous — but in a good way, of course. Shortly after meeting, we began talking and decided to meet up, which included a four-hour drive. But this would be the last time I would see him until January, because he was leaving for Afghanistan the next week. He swept me off my feet. I solidly promised myself that I would wait for him, because this could be it. About a month and a half later, I was introduced to another man, who happens to be in the Army. He was absolutely persistent in having me. I honestly did not pay much attention to him, because I was still set on waiting for the man in Afghanistan. Well, soon enough he pushed his way into my life and told me he will do anything he can to keep me around. I’m just torn to pieces. I currently am not dating anyone, but I’m just so confused about what to do. I still constantly think of the man in Afghanistan, because he was originally the one to have my heart racing.

And yet, this new Army man is just ideal. I truly am at a loss and am just torn. Please help me.

Waiting Room

Dear Waiting Room,

Sitting around in a make-believe relationship just creates make-believe problems. Let’s cut to it: You don’t want to get hurt. So you’re creating problems that don’t exist. Try dating. It doesn’t have to be marriage or the rest of your life. Date and see what feels right. There is no shortage of men who will make your heart race. See what feels right by dating, and then decide where you want to commit your time and energy. Make sure you have a life outside of your love life, and you can do it safely. And really, no one pushed his way into your life. You invited him inside because you like him.


Dear Harlan,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year and a half. I’m a freshman in college, and he’s a senior in a high school about two hours away. He recently told me that he had two similar dreams in a week — dreams that he was cheating on me. He told me the morning after the second time, and he was extremely confused by it. Being away at college has made things difficult, but we have a pretty strong relationship. After he told me, I Googled the topic and found that some people say that’s supposed to somehow show your commitment. I know he would never purposely hurt me, but I can’t help thinking about it. What do you think it means? Do you think I should worry?

Bad Dreams

Dear Bad Dreams,

I’d only worry if he woke up from his dream with another woman. It’s true, we fear losing the things we love the most. We have this way of rehearsing the pain and practicing what it would feel like to get hurt. It goes along with being vulnerable and emotionally all-in. The fact that he shared this with you and had an explanation should make it comforting.

Go with the explanation that he’s crazy in love with you and fears losing you so much that it’s haunting his dreams. As long as he wakes up alone, I wouldn’t worry.

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