“I can’t stop dating. Seriously, I just can’t stop. My last long-term relationship ended almost two years ago and since then I’ve been on a perpetual hunt to find a new mate. I’ve met a handful of guys over that time that seemed okay but no one has really captured my heart in a way that I would’ve hoped for. I’m starting to become concerned about being too obsessed with finding a partner. I’m 31 years old and I spend almost all of my free time outside of work scouring online dating sites in hopes of finding Mr Right. All of this can leave me feeling depressed and overwhelmed but I just can’t seem to stop the search. How do I make sure I don’t miss out on the right guy but feel less consumed by the process?”
I’m currently doing the online dating and hook-up thing and showed my profile to a close friend. She was horrified to read that I explicitly state that I’m not interested in meeting Asian or black men. She told me that, as a white man, I was being racist to discourage these folks from contacting me. I thought she was being over-sensitive and ridiculously politically correct. Other white guys are just what I’m attracted to — would it be considered sexist that I’m not sexually into women?! My friend and I haven’t spoken since but I’m left wondering whether there’s something I need to look at here. What do you think?
“My partner recently woke me up to something that has probably always been there. He expressed concern about how much I criticize myself (my looks, career and so on). I’m so accustomed to having this little gremlin in my head that is constantly judging me that I don’t really notice it or how awful it’s making me feel. I’m unable to walk by a mirror without tearing myself apart even though, on another level, I know I look just fine. While I know this endless judgment isn’t helpful, I can’t seem to shake it. Can you please let me know how to shut this critter up so I can live my life with some inner peace and self-confidence?”
“I’m 36 and dating a new man; it’s going very well. Last week we had our “Is this getting serious?” chat and he shared with me that he’s been HIV-positive for a few years. I think at first I was putting on a really good poker face because I’m quite crushed out and didn’t want anything to slow down the train. But upon further reflection, I’m feeling rather anxious. As someone who is negative but sexually active, I’ve probably happily slept with positive guys and not known it (while taking all the precautions) but since my boyfriend let me know his status I’ve been fixating on it and way more fearful than I was with those other guys. I don’t want to mess this up or hurt him with my fears. How should I proceed?”
“I’m struggling with feelings of helplessness about my girlfriend’s depression. We’ve been together for about two years now and I knew that she had episodes of depression before we met, but this is the first time I’ve really seen her in the throes of it. Nothing seems to be of any help. She gets cranky with my attempts to lift her up and, to top it off, she’s occasionally mentioned thoughts of taking her life. How can I best help her get better?”