Carolyn Hax: She doesn’t know whether she’s in a relationship or how to ask

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Adapted from an online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn: I have been dating a man for three months. Neither of us has brought up whether we are in a relationship, although I trust we are exclusively dating. I want to be in a relationship and fear I am in the friends-with-benefits zone.

I tend to think it’s best to wait for him to bring up that he wants to be in a relationship, not me, because then I know he really wants it and won’t think I am trying to trap him into one.

I know part of me is afraid of getting rejected because he got out of a very long relationship seven months ago, and maybe I am not ready to walk away if he rejects a relationship. How do you think I should approach this?

— FWB-Zoned

FWB-Zoned: Why aren’t you worried he’s trying to “trap” (ugh!) you into a relationship? He has value, but you don’t?

And why isn’t it possible he is waiting for you to bring up that you want to be in a relationship because he wants to know you really want it?


Live! Your! Life!

Ask for what you want.

If you don’t get it, then say, “Oh, well, I tried,” and then walk away. Hurt like hell. Have a cry. Eat some noodles. Go back to living your life.

Whatever you do, whomever you love, however you express yourself — just think of how much room there is for you to be you, in a variety of ways, throughout life — stop handing control of your relationships to other people. Stop waiting silently for them to figure out what you want and decide whether they’ll give it to you.

Give yourself time to figure things out, sure, but don’t just assume the begging position because that’s the role you know.

Thank you very much.

Dear Carolyn: I am a single mom of three almost-grown kids. My 25-year marriage was loveless, and the sex was forgettable.

I now find myself with a man who adores me and is easy to be around! He has depth, integrity and many great qualities, we laugh a lot (which was missing from my past relationships) and my kids love him.

He has zero desire for sex. His doctor suggested some solutions, to no avail.

I don’t really want to lose him, but I feel insecure without physical closeness. We have talked about this, but he is very proud. What happens next? I suggested therapy, and he doesn’t think there is a problem.

— Another Loveless Relationship

Another Loveless Relationship: Meaning, he’s okay with things as they are.

But you’re not. So: Enjoy the company of this lovely friend, who is just a friend, and keep your heart, mind and calendar open just for you, including for the possibility of something/someone different. Just because you love this person doesn’t mean you have to center your life on him. Don’t make an unsatisfying mistake twice.

Again: You be the center. Take your best care of yourself and be your best company. Have fun times with your friend when you feel like it and don’t when you don’t. See what else, who else, life has to offer.

Write to Carolyn Hax at [email protected]. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at