Q: My previous relationship was passionate but was with an emotionally abusive man. I’ve been dating a new man for five months. I wasn’t initially attracted to him, but he ended up sweeping me off my feet because he’s the most generous man I’ve ever met. He’s all about me. He goes out of his way to do so many nice things for me — even buying me things I can’t afford. We’ve had fun, but I’ve had doubts creeping in, like about how he’s still not my physical type. Also, I’m not sure we share enough interests or, quite frankly, are on the same level intellectually. Then again, I know he’d go along with anything I wanted to do, because he just wants to make me happy. I’m just not sure that’s enough. Because of all the pros about him and my previous bad choices, I made myself give him a chance. Perhaps I’m just sabotaging things because subconsciously I don’t feel I deserve all this kindness.
A: Wanting to want someone isn’t enough. Eventually, when he starts getting all smoochy-feely, your head will lecture your retreating funparts, “Come on…he’s so nice. You should want to get it on,” and your body will counter with, “Unfortunately, you’d rather have your face eaten off by a raccoon.”
If only one of the “many nice things” this guy does for you could be transforming himself into somebody you’re actually attracted to. You, like many well-meaning but misguided idealists, want to believe you can become attracted to somebody the way you can learn to fly-fish or bartend. Sure, great people sometimes get more attractive as you get to know them. But for them to get attractive enough for you to want to get naked with them, they have to have enough of the stuff you need in a person to go “hubba-hubba” instead of “yawna-yawna” or worse: “Get away from me, or I’ll scream.”
You say you’ve had doubts creeping in, and around the top of the list should be, “Is he a man or a purse dog?” It’s a bad sign if he really would “go along with anything (you) wanted to do.” His unflagging eagerness to please suggests he’s one of those guys who think they have to buy a woman’s company with their cash and compliance. On a more positive note, this pleaserhood does resolve the matching interests issue, since one big thing you have in common is that he likes whatever you like. (Have you nicknamed him “Xerox”?)
If you don’t feel you deserve a nice guy, that’s something to address, but not by bolting yourself to some all-weather Santa you find borderline dumb and about as sexy as grout. You need to hold out for physical, emotional, intellectual, and best friend-ly chemistry. A guy should also be enough of a person to sometimes find what you want to do hellishly boring or excruciatingly girly and suggest you do it alone or with a friend. If he’s right for you, at times when he isn’t right there with you, you’ll probably find yourself wandering off into fantasies about him — and not the sort in which the guy gets kidnapped immediately after paying for dinner.
Q: I’m 21, and I’ve just gotten my first girlfriend, this amazing girl I’ve known since high school. I lost my virginity to her, and I’ve since started having sex dreams about my female friends. Two of these girls are recently single and have been hanging with me a lot and using me for a shoulder to cry on. I love my girlfriend, but the opportunity for stepping out, combined with my overactive libido, has me worried.
A: When you’re a 21-year-old guy who has just discovered sex and is looking to remain faithful, loving someone deeply is a start. It also helps to pay someone to knock you unconscious and encase you in a block of ice. Welcome to the 20-something male libido. In other words, of course you’re having sex dreams about your female friends. (You were expecting recurring thoughts about stenciling wall art in the front room?)
Life consists of tradeoffs. You can have a girlfriend or a sex buffet. Pick one. And be realistic. Your heart might belong to your girlfriend, but if other parts of you are raring to go all Dora the Explorer, you may need to have a bunch of sex friends before you’re one woman’s boyfriend. If you do choose love, be mindful about how easy it is to succumb to temptation. Keep yourself out of harm’s way with some fidelity-promoting rules, like that you aren’t allowed to be alone with lonely single women, except maybe those who’d have a hard time catching you because they are 90 and didn’t get the motorized scooter that goes up to turbo.
Advice Goddess Radio: Yale Parenting Center’s Dr. Alan E. Kazdin on how to get kids to behave without stress, screaming, or berating.
It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio — “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ -- 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or listen or download at the link, at iTunes, or on Stitcher.