Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.

Dear Miss Information,
A week before Thanksgiving, I started seeing a guy named David. A week later, he left to go on tour for a month. Not feeling the need to be monogamous after only seven days of dating, I started seeing another guy, Jason. Right away, I told Jason I was seeing other people. He was okay with this, especially because he lives six hours away. About a month later, Jason realized who David was (one of his friends) and told me he couldn't deal. We ended things.
It's now June. David and I have been seeing each other casually since November, but we've never had any sort of relationship talk. I don't want to be his girlfriend, and I sense that he feels otherwise. Unfortunately, because Jason lived so far away — and I wasn't sure what he and I were even doing — I never talked to David about wanting an open relationship, or about Jason.
It didn't seem to matter until a week ago, when I met Robert and, for better or worse, hit it off with him. Robert and I have already discussed the open-relationship thing, and we're both cool with it. What do I do about David? How do I suggest we keep things casual but, at the same time, express my continued interest in him? I've never dated more than one person before and wonder if David sees a kiss as a sort of contract. It just seems too late to be tactful. — Nice and Naughty Confusion


Dear Nice and Naughty,
For someone who doesn't consider herself a girlfriend type, you've sure got yourself a whole shitheap of men. God only knows why this dating shit always seems to work out that way.
You're right — it is a little too late to be tactful, and this should teach you a lesson about the importance of being upfront. Open relationships require advanced ninja-like levels of honesty and disclosure. If you can't handle that with casual dating, how do you think you'll do when it's someone you really dig?
If David really is that into you, I doubt he'll be thrilled to hear about the guys you were seeing while he was on (and off) tour. If you want to keep dating him (which I strongly question in the first place — he doesn't exactly sound like a casual-relationship kind of guy), I'd tell him sooner rather than later, and be prepared for some major backlash. The but-we-never-talked-about-things excuse is going to sound pretty lame, and you know that, otherwise you wouldn't feel so weird. Just because something hasn't been explicitly spelled out doesn't mean there isn't an understanding or expectation from one or both parties.
On the off chance that David still wants to date you, I would look beyond his circle of friends (and Robert's, for that matter) for any future dates. Yes, it's hard to keep your hands off band boys, but no one wants to be known as the next Yoko.

Dear Miss Information,
Last year, I met a wonderful woman online. Our relationship progressed quickly, and soon we were talking about spending the rest of our lives together. A few months ago, her ailing mother took a turn for the worse, and my love told me she couldn't be with me as much. So I backed off. She says that once the crisis has passed, she wants to pick up where we left off. In the meantime, she has essentially shut me out of from her life. I miss her terribly, but I'm trying to accede to her wishes by keeping my distance, while letting her know that I'm there for her.
Is it impossibly selfish of me to want or expect more from her? Part of me is worried that if we can't comfort each other in rough times, then we don't have much of a future. Then again, I know it's tough to think about much else when a loved one is dying. I intend to bide my time until we can be together again, but I wish I could do more to help now. — Waiting (in Vain?)

Dear Waiting,
This is a sad one, and I wish I had something more for you than a long-winded version of "Keep waiting, dude." But that's what you need to do if you're genuinely interested in seeing this thing through. People who are grieving need tons of space and don't always make the best relationship material. It's pretty tough to say "Why aren't we doing it more?" or "Spend some time with me, you jerk!" when a significant other's mom is in hospice. You tend to come off like an ass.
That's not to say that you should settle for being ignored. You have certain emotional needs, and it's unrealistic of her to expect you to shelve them until she's ready to be a couple again. Barbie and Ken may work that way, but not people. Think about what would help you feel better during this difficult period. Is it a commitment from her to check in every few weeks, even if it's just a quick phone call? An understanding that you two aren't going to date other people unless you talk about it first? Once you've figured out what you want — and made sure it's not too taxing on her — go ahead and ask for it.
The worst she can do is say no. Then you'll know that, despite your best efforts, this coupling may be missing one key element of all successful relationships: timing. Unfortunately, that's one thing you can't control.

Hey Miss Information,
I've been dating this guy for five months. In the beginning, he said he couldn't sleep with me because he loved me too much. He said he didn't equate sex with love and couldn't have sex with someone he loved. He has a history of sleeping with a lot of girls. After a lot of confusion on my part and some talks about it, he seemed to get over it, and we started having sex more regularly.

However, I still feel like he has little or no sex drive. Fearing rejection, I'm afraid to initiate things. But when he initiates, we have good sex. I'm used to guys who are all over me (because they're guys — I thought that's what they do). I feel like he doesn't want me. So what do I do? If I try to talk about it more, I risk disturbing an already-delicate situation. But I also know that in new relationships, it takes some time to let loose and get to know each other more intimately. — Bah

Dear Bah,
Just because someone's born with a dick doesn't mean they're a mindless fuck machine with no sexual hang-ups. I know it's hard not to compare your guy to past lovers, but try to remember that everyone's issues, tastes and experiences are unique and can't be judged on gender alone.
So what's up with his "I can't fuck you because I love you" stuff? I don't know. Maybe he's cheating. Maybe he's not attracted to you. Maybe he feels guilty about his past. Then again, maybe he just likes to get it on a little less than you do.
Whatever it is, you're definitely not satisfied, so it's time to tell him about your fears and how you've been feeling less-than-sexy of late. Don't whine, and don't bring up past partners (i.e. "Well, so-and-so always wanted to fuck me!"). Tell him specific things he can do to make you feel more wanted, whether it's leaving a dirty message on your voicemail or paying more attention to you in public.
Part of this also has to come from you. You bear the ultimate responsibility for your sexual self-esteem. Start initiating sex when you want it, and try not to take it so personally when he doesn't. Remember that you can always take care of business (that's a nice word for "wack off") until you two get in sync. The last part of what you said was dead-on: it does take time to let loose, and that may be what this relationship needs. If you're still having these same problems a year from now, get to a couple's therapist and ask for the Miss Information discount.

Previous Miss Info

©2005 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com

Commentarium (6 Comments)

Jun 03 05 - 5:30pm

Ninjas practice subterfuge.

Jun 03 05 - 9:34pm

Regarding "Miss Information's" advice to "Bah":

I think the reason Bah's boyfriend said "I can't have sex with you because I love you" is less to do with his lack of libido, than to do with his respect for women. Given his past sexual history, it seems to me as though said boyfriend was used to dating scores of women whose bra sizes were greater than their IQs; hence, he was unable to have sex in a monogamous relationship with an intelligent woman whom he respected and cared for. Love and sex were mutually exclusive for this guy: the only women he could sleep with were the ones he didn't respect. Sad, really.

Jun 04 05 - 1:53am

Erin - for gawd's sake read ths book before you dish any more crap out:

Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies by Dr. Michael J. Bader

Jun 04 05 - 9:17am

I disagree with RT. I've had a couple of serious boyfriends who've made this, "I love you too much to do it with you like I have with a hundred others"-claim,-- and I stuck around to see if they'd get over this, er, hump. I tried the specific suggestions, and was ignored. The last time I tried, actually,I was whispering in the guy's ear, and he said he couldn't hear me, imitated the sound of what, apparently, was my Pebbles Flintstoney whisper-voice, and then fell asleep. When I was mad the next day and told him why, he said, "I DID hear you!" and proceeded to yell all of my suggestions in my face to prove it -- in broad daylight-- in his house full of roommates. Before that crap happened, I'd tried initiating sex myself, patiently -- lovingly, and was told I was "being too aggressive". Now, I know I'm just bitterly venting, and my situation can't be applied to all fellows who make this excuse for their own sexlessness, but I've come to the conclusion that a low libido along with a low self-esteem, (which can lead to all the previous mean-nothing fucks in the first place) -- can leave you with a man who's unwilling to pursue a well-examined [sex]life. They've gone to a lot of trouble to prove to themselves they're a stud, and then are so scared of rejection by a woman of substance that they're willing to say anything to avoid being labeled a dud in bed. It is heartbreaking to be in love with someone who won't fuck you like you want to be fucked, (or anywhere near as often as you'd like to be). I say get out before you're ready to set fire to everything with resentment. Clearly, I've got some work to do on this particular hazard, my own self.

Jun 04 05 - 11:58pm

ninjas DO in fact practice subterfuge, whoever said that ;)
....... I think the advice for Bah was pretty good - very straightforward, esteem-building stuff... My own theory on why the guy says he can't b/c he loves her too much = probly seeing someone else in the beginning, either that or he really just isn't that into her, but still likes fucking her every now and then. blames the shit on loving someone too much, ultimate excuse huh... altho there was a time in my own life when i couldnt get it up with this hot, hot girl... I think it was nerves though, and after 20-30 minutes things worked themselves out, but hm.. either she really makes him nervous (unlikely), or he really isnt that into her and it's just an excuse...

Jun 07 05 - 10:59pm

Re: the woman who worried that they guy loved her too much to have sex with her.

Three of my friends had this problem, and in all three cases, the guys turned out to be gay. FACT.